Tag Archives: society

The Facebook Dream

dolphin-203875_1280

The other night, I had a strange dream. In this dream, I jumped onto Facebook and to my surprise my feed was full of stories about men who thought they were women, women who thought they were men, and even one guy who had his ears removed and otherwise altered himself so he could live as a dolphin.

What’s worse, there were pictures!

But then I woke up and discovered that it was not a dream at all. It was all true, every bit of it.

Even the dolphin guy.

Then I woke up spiritually and I realized that I was in a different world from the world I had known. In the world I had known, gasoline was 29 cents. In that world, men wore hats, and women wore dresses. There was no designated-hitter rule, and in that world I sang “Silent Night” and “The Dreidel Song” in public school Christmas concerts with my Jewish friends. In that world I had marched on the Fourth of July in my Cub Scout uniform while World War II veterans in their 40’s marched with us in civilian clothes, laughing and having a good time. I realized that the world I had known was really gone.

Suddenly I realized something else, too. I realized that Christians had stepped into an online mousetrap.

I saw that God’s people were discouraging and even defiling themselves by keeping tabs on the disintegration of society. They were studying with great earnestness all the latest shocking evils and sharing stories about these evils with their friends. Without knowing it, they were even causing their children to learn things adults didn’t yet know when I was a boy. They had forgotten the warnings of Scripture: David had said he would set no wicked thing before his eyes; Paul had said it was a shameful thing even to speak about the things that wicked people do in secret. But God’s people had become knowledgeable about many evils.

I remembered how Jesus said that because of iniquity the love of many would grow cold. But looking at iniquity, learning about iniquity, and getting enraged at iniquity was how we Christians were spending our moments of relaxation. The Bible and prayer had become neglected things for many, and instead of moving in the power of the Spirit, we were actually fighting against the Dolphin Guy with weapons that could never un-dolphin him. Much like Lot, sitting in the gates of that other Sodom, we were vexing our souls day and night instead of being refreshed in God’s Presence with Abraham.

Now fully awake, I had learned that what we needed was not to study the darkness and keep announcing its triumphs, but rather to shine the Light. That Light would help other people wake up, too.

Betraying the Son of Man

Photo posted by U2 on Instagram

Photo posted by U2 on Instagram (https://instagram.com/p/2-ON_VAF1Q/?taken-by=u2)

An interesting bit of news. As Ireland votes on whether to allow homosexual marriage, U2 frontman Bono has come out in favor of a “Yes” vote and was quoted as saying, “Marriage is now an idea that transcends religion.”

So you see, this is how you can claim to be a committed Christian and yet not have to face the scorn of the world for saying that marriage is only between a man and a woman. You just say that marriage has nothing to do with religion.

That may be a coherent line of thinking in the opinion of someone who does not profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ, but it can never be considered “wholesome words” for someone who truly loves God and His Word.

No Christian can ignore the fact that the very first recorded words of a human being are these:

“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23 KJV)

After telling us this, Moses, the founder of Western Civilization (may it rest in peace), immediately comments, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 KJV)

Read the beautiful creation story in Genesis 2 and you will see that marriage was God’s idea. The man-woman bond was reinforced in the Law of Moses and, despite what homosexual activists say, was restated by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles Paul, Peter, Jude, and John in the New Testament.

And U2? The band posted on its Instagram (see photo above) a phrase from Bono’s song, “Pride (In The Name Of Love).” The song, which has a social justice theme, contains a line about Jesus:

“One man betrayed with a kiss…”

I wonder if we’re doing the same.

The mystery of the missing Millennials

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It may be bad form in 2015 to disagree with Rachel Held Evans too much, but perhaps the lack of Millennials in the pews will not be solved by offering an experience of a God who is somewhat tangible in bread and chrism.

In last week’s super-viral piece in the Washington Post, Ms. Evans skillfully calls out the hip Evangelical worship paradigm, but is veering towards sacramentalism the answer?

I don’t think so. I think the reason Millennials aren’t in the pews is simply because they have no Christian cultural background that makes going to church part of being an American. In a great many parts of our country, going to church is just not something you do any more. (So I can at least acknowledge their lack of hypocrisy.) And the culture has changed so completely in the past 50 years that we have jettisoned what was affirmed for the last 3,500 years.

The consequences? To give just one example, teens and 20-somethings come into churches already “knowing” that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, to say nothing of homosexual activity. How do they know this? They know this because it’s what everyone in their world believes and knows. So when, as a young person, you go to a church and hear someone reading Romans 1 from the pulpit, you are outraged and you want to call the Human Rights Commissions. You do not cringe with disgust or cover the ears of your kids as your grandfather did in 1955.

So, with due respect to Ms. Evans, encountering God in a “sacrament” is meaningless without the content of faith (the Word) which is behind it, and giving God’s own definition to it. The baseline of the Gospel (which everyone’s flesh hates) is the call to repentance – to yield to God’s diagnosis of my condition and to yield to His prescription for my condition.

Under the wisdom of such a Physician, “culture-war sins” such as abortion and homosexuality are ills just as dangerous for the human condition as the sins that Left and Right can agree to denounce such as greed, racism, and theft. When the Church refuses to say so, Millennials – and others – will not only be missing from the pews, but they will miss their opportunity for repentance and life.

Reading Some Old Letters

Bible_Savio Sebastian

About a week ago, controversial pastor Rob Bell told Oprah Winfrey that the Church is “moments” away from accepting gay marriage:

“… I think culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense…”

Bell’s comment proves we are never static in our view of God’s Word. We are either increasingly devoted to it with the passage of time, or else we move in the opposite direction: first neglecting it, then questioning it, and then rejecting it.

But once people reject the Word of God they never stop there… they go further, and end up despising it, even disparaging it to others.

As Psalm 1 shows us, once we heed the counsel of the ungodly, we end up sitting in the seat of the scornful. Bell ridicules the Word as something we have outgrown in our current state of societal sophistication. But his statement is not sophisticated – it’s sophomoric, and blasphemous.

Was the Apostle Paul unaware of the “modern” issues we grapple with? Were there no homosexuals in the Roman Empire? What conceit and self-deception! The Emperor Nero himself had a homosexual ceremony of sorts. But Bell says we’ll be increasingly irrelevant if we rely upon the Bible. Granted, there are certainly a number of “civilizational” reasons to oppose gay marriage, but Scripture can never be irrelevant to morals.

Ironically, it’s our failure to uphold and submit to the authority of the Word of God that makes the Church in North America so anemic and timid. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and therefore, having cast it aside, the Church makes few converts… but it hatches scorners in abundance.

Photo by Savio Sebastian on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Australia judge says incest may no longer be taboo

Stop Sign

Christians in Western nations must begin to set aside serious time for prayer and fasting. It is no longer something that can be left to the people who are “into” praying. The Apostle Paul said that in the last days perilous times (more literally, exceedingly fierce times) would come. (2 Tim. 3:1) And it appears we are right there.

Fences and gates continue to be thrown down by those falsely promising freedom and joy. All morality and common sense is rejected and renounced as interfering with a person’s right to express and actualize himself apart from God or any other restraints at all on his behavior.

The faster a wall is broken down, the faster and easier the next ones fall. In the past few days there are stories about people advancing the normalization of pedophilia, and now there is this:

Australian judge says incest may no longer be a taboo – Telegraph.

While we can be glad that many were outraged, the insidious worm of pro-incest thinking has likely been planted in a few minds who will now seek to carry this further.

Judge Declares Utah Polygamy Law Unconstitutional In Part

Marriage License

So much for dismissing the idea of a slippery slope.

Yesterday was another watershed in the hard-to-look-at, slow-motion death of our culture. In a case brought by the star of the “Sister Wives” reality TV show, the Federal courts have now begun to chip away at prohibitions against polygamy, succumbing to a carefully planned strategy designed to not only permit polygamy as we usually think of it (polygyny as among Muslims and Fundamentalist Mormons) but true polyamory.

In its opinion, the Court was unkind to our Christian heritage and the common heritage of Western Civilization in general. Judge Clark Waddoups of the District of Utah quoted an historic U. S. Supreme Court case disapprovingly, and commented on it.

“The organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western world.” Late Corp., 136 U.S. at 49. [Late Corp. was the 1890 U. S. Supreme Court case which upheld a Federal statute disincorporating the Mormon Church because it promoted polygamy.] This observation [is] unthinkable as part of the legal analysis in a modern Supreme Court decision…

To be sure, I am providing here just a small slice of a 91-page opinion, but this is illuminating because it’s only when Courts and Presidents are tearing down our Christian heritage that they admit that we actually did have one.

I never liked the term “post-Christian America,” because it seems to me that defining something by what it isn’t is no definition at all. Such language is unhelpful to its intended hearer, and is a self-deception on the part of the speaker. I may tell you that my dog is not a cat, and still leave you in the dark about what a dog really is.

If polygamy is on the way in (to be followed by what else?) then isn’t it time we stopped calling America “post-Christian?” For something is never post-anything without having already become something else – if not in its entirety then certainly in its essential character.

How then shall we call this era? Neo-Pagan America seems a sound choice to me. Others may think differently. Based on their quote above, it appears that the U. S. Supreme Court of 1890 would have called us Barbarian America.

That will be left to the historians. In the meantime, trying days are ahead.

More here: Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional | The Salt Lake Tribune.

Cut Off At The Knees

Pope Francis has cut off pro-family Catholics at the knees. Granted, his newsworthy comments on abortion and gays made up just a small portion of a long interview, but it’s hard to imagine anything more unhelpful to what traditionally-minded Catholics are trying to achieve and defend in the US.

His words can only serve to marginalize even further pro-family voices in American society. Catholics who work against abortion or the militant gay agenda can now be painted by their foes as not even being in step with their own church. This is an astonishing and sudden turn after the combined 35 years of John Paul and Benedict.

The broad family of Evangelicals probably has no interest in the in-house Catholic discussion but can lament the loss of a clear voice for the family.

As a matter of evangelical concern (with a small “e”) these twists and turns point out the need for society’s morals to be informed by the unchanging standard of the Scriptures, and not by the shifting winds of men’s personalities. In Galatians 1, Paul definitively placed himself under the authority of the Word of God, and he even invited that church to measure his teachings by reference to an unalterable Gospel.

That Gospel, well understood, guides the Church and assigns the Church her mission. It is in fact the power of God to deliver, and it does not let us omit people from the scope of our seed-sowing on the grounds that we cannot judge, as Francis is now famous for saying. It compels us to warn the world that, whether I judge you or no, judgment is surely coming – and the fire of the latter day is against those who do not obey the Gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

Yes, as Francis says, there are always many pastoral priorities, but the Gospel isn’t served by altering the terms of the deal, and “repent” is still the first word of the Gospel. Say it with tears in your eyes, say it knowing it will put you in irons or worse, but it must be said. In the Western world’s current environment of relativism and rejection of all standards, Francis’s words are not a cold compress to a fevered brow – they are gasoline on a fire.