Put your faith in the economy, your job, your home, your earthly relationships, or your happiness, security identity or sanity, and you’re bound to have the rug pulled out from under you eventually. Put your faith in God and trust in His grace, love and righteousness, and you’ll stand firm.
And don’t think for a second that you can put one foot on the firm foundation of faith and the other on the shaky ground of comfort in this life. You’ll fall flat on your face every time.
Filed under: Religion and Video
This message is aimed at football fanatics everywhere — except those of us who bleed blue and gold for the West Virginia University Mountaineers.
Let’s go … Mountaineers!
On a more serious note, Jason Hardin used the video to make an excellent point at his blog, Imagine Man As God Envisioned (IMAGE): “There is an epic reality that must overshadow and define sports as nothing more than meaningless games. Let’s raise our children with that sort of framework. To search for lasting happiness and true fulfillment in the outcome of a game is vanity and a striving after wind.”
Filed under: Culture and Religion and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
Last month at First Things, I learned that I have some work to do if I want to live a good life. I can do many of the “50 Things A Man Should Be Able To Do” but not all of them.
I can make a budget, change a diaper, cook a signature dish, type with more than two fingers, and perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver (I actually had to perform it on my mother not long ago). I can even hug another man without embarrassment.
But I can’t maintain my car, push-start a car with manual transmission or navigate an unfamiliar city, and I definitely can’t help someone who is throwing up without also barfing myself (ask my kids.) I also don’t yet know whether I can get a prostate exam without crying. And I have no interest in innocently flirting with a woman twice my age, conversing with people who bore me to tears or planning for a zombie apocalypse.
The good news is that I’m fairly certain my wife can’t do everything on First Things’ list of “50 Things A Woman Should Be Able To Do.”
Here are a few that pose challenges for her:
Filed under: Culture and Family and Human Interest and Religion
Our children don’t need as “leaders” religiously correct busybodies who are determined to push all references to God, even those that are part of America’s government and culture.
The key quote from this video: “So, this school district is arguing that Judeo-Christian views, as expressed in our nation’s history, are too offensive for students to view — but other religions, even anti-religion … OK.”
(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)
Filed under: History and News & Politics and Religion and Why We Home-School
Today was “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day,” an online protest manufactured by a bunch of juveniles who fancy themselves defenders of the sacred American principle of free speech.
Does the First Amendment give them the right to engage in such offensive behavior? Absolutely. Do I, a journalist whose livelihood depends upon that constitutional guarantee and a Christian whose religious freedom is protected by it, defend their right to be willfully obnoxious? Yes, reluctantly.
But what I won’t do is praise anyone who thinks it noble to viciously demean another man’s beliefs.
That’s especially true of people who profess to follow Christ. “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” violates a core tenant of Christ’s teachings: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 7:12)
Notice that Jesus didn’t say “treat people the same way they have treated you” — or, in this case, your religion. So the fact that blaspheming all things Christian is considered high art in America these days is no justification for a supposedly artistic counterattack against Mohammad.
Drawing Mohammad in order to stick a collective finger in the eyes of his disciples doesn’t make him look bad, but self-proclaimed Christians who participated in the event certainly made Jesus look bad by disobeying His “Golden Rule.”
Filed under: Culture and News & Politics and Religion
Christians often use phrase “What would Jesus do?” (and the modern shorthand “WWJD”) as a reminder that the Son of God, who took on the form of man and lived without sinning, is the perfect example of how we should behave.
After reading this tweet by a young woman this morning, I know at least one person who needs to adopt a slightly altered motto — “What would Jesus say?”:
Her idea of getting ready to worship God is cursing on Twitter about how good it feels to be a Christian? Clearly there is a disconnect between her spirit and her flesh.
James, the brother of Jesus, warned that no man can tame the tongue and that “from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing” (James 3:8-12). But it’s rare to hear such a stark contrast in the same sentence — and in eight words no less.
We live in an era when political leaders are “caught” using vile language on a regular basis and when worldly people embrace those vulgar moments as mottoes rather than being embarrassed by them. People young and old also think it’s cool to curse and take the Lord’s name in vain in abbreviated form. It’s tough to walk in this filthy-mouthed world and not be of it.
But that is exactly what God demands. Being “like Christ,” which is the definition of “Christian,” means behaving and speaking as He does. While His speech was seasoned with salt always, He never spoke with a salty tongue — and definitely not as part of His preparation to worship His Father.
So before you speak, it’s a good idea to ask yourself: “What would Jesus say?”
Filed under: Culture and Religion
Comments: 2 Comments
Like most of America’s official recognitions of God, the National Day of Prayer now at the center of a legal dispute is rooted in the spiritual heyday of the post-World War II era. The day was first celebrated in 1952.
I revisited the history of such “ceremonial deism” (the Supreme Court’s term) in my 1999 “Congress Back Then” column for IntellectualCapital.com, and I am reprinting it here to offer some context for the current debate about the National Day of Prayer.
Congress Back Then: America’s Spiritual Heyday
Earlier this year, policymakers, pundits and people on the street reopened a uniquely American (and seemingly infinite) debate. In the wake of another incident of school violence, this time a mass murder at a high school in Littleton, Colo., they pondered a familiar question: Just how far should our nation go in trying to maintain a clear separation between church and state?
Congress debated the question in mid-June and decided that perhaps we had gone too far. More specifically, House lawmakers saw a need for a greater religious presence in the public schools, so they cast a series of votes designed to give new spiritual direction to the nation’s youth. The most-publicized decision: They sanctioned the posting of the Bible’s Ten Commandments on school walls.
The primarily symbolic votes topped the news of the week, not at all surprising in an era when Americans are sharply divided on the relationship between religion and government. But four decades back, the votes might have gone unnoticed, an unremarkable act at a time when Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, and made the phrase “In God We Trust” the national motto and a mandatory slogan on all U.S. coins and currency.
All of that religious posturing, and more, happened during the presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower and in the early days of a Cold War that most patriotic Americans apparently saw as a battle between Christian America and the godless, communist Soviet Union.
Filed under: Books and Culture and Entertainment and History and News & Politics and People and Religion
Every couple of years, some court interjects itself into America’s infinite debate about “separation of church and state,” and more often than not, the judges take the side of atheists and agnostics who wrongly believe the Constitution demands irreligious purity.
So it was yesterday in Wisconsin, when U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. An American tradition practiced for a half-century is now in jeopardy because she said “the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”
My reaction to this new judicial attack on spirituality is similar to the one I had back in 2002 when the phrase “under God” in the “Pledge of Allegiance” was ruled unconstitutional. (The same court ultimately reversed itself on that issue.)
On the one hand, the history of this nation makes clear that there is a difference between freedom of religion and freedom from it, which is what too many courts are demanding these days. But on the other hand, the faith of Christians does not depend upon the superficial endorsement of the government or any other secular institution.
Our allegiance is to God, and it demands a deep commitment to righteousness, not just a symbolic declaration that we are “under God.” Faith also demands a life of prayer, not a superficial and arguably politically motivated day of it. When government takes the side of those who reject God, it should strengthen the resolve of His children to serve the Lord, come what may.
Filed under: News & Politics and People and Religion
Comments: 5 Comments
My father forwarded this e-mail to me months ago, but I just rediscovered it in my inbox. The message is consistent with the theme of this blog, so it’s worth a reprint:
Filed under: Culture and Rednecks and Religion
The Bible is indeed a transformational work of spiritual art, so I am intrigued by this four-step plan for a New Year’s resolution from Joe Carter at First Thoughts:
I, for one, plan to give it a go, and I hope and pray that come this time next year, I will be in the “tiny minority … that will recognize the genius behind the process and apply it to their own life. This group will later say that my claim was an understatement.”
Filed under: Religion
Rural America, where most of the much-maligned redneck population lives, ain’t as bad as all of those elitists want you to believe.
Researchers at the University of Illinois proved it by studying unemployment rates, poverty rates, high school drop-out rates, and housing conditions across the country. The results: One in five rural counties scores better than the nation as a whole on all of those measurements.
Rural counties in the Southeast and Southwest scored poorly, but half of the rural counties in the heartland (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and parts of six adjacent states) are prosperous. “The results supported what many rural people believe to be true — civically engaged religious groups and a common ancestry can really matter,” said economist and planner Andrew Isserman.
A related master’s thesis that studied two prosperous counties linked “local churches, a shared ethnic identity, small colleges, locally owned manufacturing, innovative farmers, and extraordinary cooperation and civic engagement to job creation, education, and housing.”
In other words, all of the characteristics that elitists hate about “flyover country” make flyover country a great place to be if you want to prosper.
Enlightened rednecks didn’t need a study to convince us; we’ve known it all along.
Filed under: News & Politics and Rednecks and Religion
American schools are full of filth, and as a Christian, I wrestle internally about how to respond to it. On the one hand, I want to awaken mature adults, and especially parents, to reality by showing them the kind of content that passes for educational material these days. On the other hand, some of the content is so vile that I don’t want to subject myself to it, let alone put it before others.
In the past week alone, I have had to weigh those options twice — first with the news that the nation’s “safe schools” leader, Kevin Jennings, has a history of endorsing sexually explicit books and second with reports of naked teachers in New York.
Others have struggled, too. The Washington Times published an editorial this week about what I’ll call the Gay Sex 101 curriculum taught in graphic detail at an event organized by the group Jennings once led, but the paper included a strong warning:
And today, my blogger friend Ed Morrissey of Hot Air explained why he is only now writing about the Jennings controversy: “To be honest, the story is so shocking that I haven’t quite grasped how to approach it.”
Later, he embedded a racy Monty Python episode that spoofed sex education to make a point. “The hilarity of this skit relies on the ridiculous notion that anyone would ever dream of doing something this inappropriate in a school,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this case, life has trumped satire — and now we call it the Obama administration.”
Like Ed and the Times, I ultimately decided to mention the Jennings story and the news out of one New York school because I am truly appalled by the cesspools that we have let American schools become. I chose not to publish any of the explicit text or graphics available on other sites and included warnings about following links to them, but I felt compelled to say something.
It’s bad enough that educators long ago stopped teaching and enforcing basic morals, but now they seem determined to teach and tolerate immorality in the extreme. Sadly, too many adults don’t know, or don’t want to believe, how bad it has become.
Seeing the filth may not make them believers or outrage them to the point that they start demanding change and holding schools accountable. But they can’t fairly plead ignorance now.
As for Jennings, he should be fired post-haste.
Filed under: Culture and Government and News & Politics and Parenting and People and Religion
I’m a big fan of American coins, especially the older designs that contain something more creative than images of presidents. But with the exception of Guatemalan coins because that’s where our children were born, I’ve never paid much attention to foreign coins.
I’ve been missing a good series. Since 1995, Israel has been striking coins about biblical stories. This year’s coins, available in gold and silver and in different sizes, illustrate the story of Israeli judge Samson killing a lion with his bare hands.
Past coins have featured the Big Three patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — and characters such as Joseph, Moses and his sister Miriam, Solomon and the prophet Isaiah. The Tower of Babel makes an appearance, too.
Meanwhile, on $1 coins here in the United States that nobody uses, this year we’re celebrating presidential powerhouses William Henry Harrison (dead one month after his inauguration because he didn’t have, as the cliche says, the sense God gave a lemon), John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor.
It’s enough to make an all-American guy want to start collecting coins from Israel.
Filed under: Coin Collecting and History and People and Religion
Years ago in a Bible class discussion about lust of the flesh, our teacher made a valid point about men and women who are not married to each other avoiding “alone time” together, especially if one is there to comfort the other during a difficult time. Satan knows how to use such seemingly innocent situations to his advantage by tempting Christians into fornication or adultery.
One of the students in the class took the teacher’s point to an illogical extreme. He also said women shouldn’t comfort other women while alone because they might be tempted into a homosexual encounter. It was the most bizarre comment I’ve ever heard in a Bible class.
Bizarre like the “Christian Side Hug,” an idea that is either a sick satire or a seriously misguided attempt at discouraging lust. In either case, the concept has spawned this viral rap video that is bringing reproach upon the name of Christ:
I thought I was a prude until I watched that video. I’m a proponent of “group dating” and other tactics designed to keep a safe distance between hormonal young Christians (because I remember what it was like to be one), but if a man cannot casually hug a woman without being sexually aroused, he probably shouldn’t be hugging at all.
Ridding the world of “frontal hugs” in order to deter spontaneous lust is over the top. More to the spiritual point, it’s Pharisaical.
The Pharisees, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, loved to bind heavy burdens on their fellow Jews where God had imposed no such rules. Jesus repeatedly condemned them for building such hedges.
The Christian Side Hug is nothing more than a Pharisee Hug. If a man chooses to hug only from the side, that’s fine. But pushing the idea in ridiculous rap videos that preach about leaving room for the Holy Spirit in hugs is borderline blasphemous.
Filed under: Culture and Parenting and Religion and Video
Comments: 1 Comment
When people mix politics and religion, they inevitably concoct recipes that are hard to swallow. The Conservative Bible Project, which is the brainchild of the subjectively written online encyclopedia Conservapedia, ranks at the top of the list — and I say that as a conservative.
The folks at Conservapedia are concerned about liberal bias in modern Bible translations, so they have taken it upon themselves to excise offensive terminology and replace it with words more pleasing to the conservative ear. There’s one glaring problem with the idea, summed up nicely by Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, one of the better writers in the conservative movement:
All Bible translations have strengths and weaknesses, and conservatives are right to be wary of many modern versions, which arguably have more weaknesses than strengths. But the worst possible solution to the age-old dilemma of man translating God’s Word is to get political with the Bible. Conservative prejudice in scripture will lead a person to hell just as readily as the liberal variety.
Nothing good can come of the Conservative Bible Project, and much bad already has come. The effort has given atheists, heretics, pagans and every other enemy of God new and explosive ammunition for ridiculing the good news of the gospel and blaspheming God.
The best possible end to this story is for the much-deserved criticism from left and right to kill the project — and the sooner, the better.
Filed under: History and News & Politics and Religion
Comments: 1 Comment
|« newer posts||previous posts »|