Friday, August 31, 2007

Colson: What Would Darwin Advise?


We have traced before how there has been an immense drop in the number of babies born with Down Syndrome. No, it's not because of any advancement of medicine or science, it is because parents are encouraged to abort babies that will be born with this ailment. Our "Culture of Death," (which is a correct term) is so obsest with death and murder, that our culture is now defining who is worthy of life and who isn't.


How can an "enlightened," society do such a thing? Where is the idea of innocents and the love of life? I find it interesting that we find ourselves bold enough to judge who is to live and who is to die, and yet we never think about the fact that our very parents found it necessary to birth us. Our culture is drunk with pride.


Any society that celebrates death will itself die!


Where does such logic come from? According to Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, argues that our society is essentially asking, "What Would Darwin Advise?" He points out that such an idea, as it relates to the murder of innocent children and elderly, is a contradiction. Darwin believed that evolution would eliminate defects like Down Syndrome, but history has proven that whenever we cure one disease, we are having to deal with hundreds of new ones. Evolution teaches the idea that one day everything will be perfect, but reality shows just the opposite.


I strongly enocurage you to read Colson's commentary. He makes some interesting points and we need to read his words. What would Darwin advise? Apparently murder, pride, and judgementalism in the name of compassion, greed, and selfishness. Darwin would be so proud.



For the past few years, I’ve been telling BreakPoint readers about our
culture’s undeclared war on people with Down syndrome. Earlier this year, the
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that all
pregnant women, regardless of age, undergo amniocentesis. Obviously that’s to
put them under increasing pressure to abort the child if a genetic defect is
detected.

I thought that I heard every possible argument for and against this barbarism,
but I was wrong. Apparently, in addition to asking themselves “what would Jesus
do?” women should ask themselves “what would Darwin advise?”


But Dr. Frank Boehm of Vanderbilt Medical Center has doubts about doctors’ ability to adequately counsel patients” about having a child with Down syndrome. Properly counseling patients requires painting a balanced picture of life with such a child. Boehm points out that while there are “considerable challenges . . . there are also many positive [aspects] as well.” Boehm cites his own experience with his grandson, who has Down syndrome.


Through his grandson, Boehm has come to appreciate the often “unappreciated” “richness” in these children’s lives. He sees how their parents feel that their child offers “love, affection, happiness, laughter and joy” as well as teaching “compassion and acceptance.”


Boehm’s position is a welcome addition to the debate over the treatment of children with Down syndrome. But part of Boehm’s argument has me scratching my head. He ended his piece by saying that not telling patients about these “positive aspects of life” would constitute a failure to “understand the evolutionary process.”


I don’t get it. What does evolutionary theory have to tell us about the “positive aspects” of genetic defects? More importantly, what does it tell us about the human capacity for altruism and compassion—the very things Dr. Boehm is advocating? The answer is: nothing.


Dr. Boehm is a classic example of muddled thinking.


Darwin insisted that natural selection would “rigidly destroy” any variation—such as Down syndrome—that would hurt its possessor “in the struggle for life.” As much as we love kids with Down syndrome, it’s impossible to imagine how Down syndrome helps people in “the struggle for life.” Quite the contrary—it’s a variation that, if Darwin were right, should have been “rigidly destroyed” a long time ago.


And clearly evolutionary theory can’t explain the compassion and love that parents shower on their Down syndrome children. If evolutionary theory is right, then the time, resources and energy it takes to raise a child with special needs could be put to better uses—such as raising children who are more likely to strengthen the species.


The late philosopher David Stove, who was an atheist, called Darwinian explanations for altruism and compassion “confused” and a “slander” against man. They miss the obvious fact that man “is sharply distinguished from all other animals by being in fact hopelessly addicted to altruism.”


The “addiction” that Stove talked about is not the product of evolution. It is the
product of being made in the image of God.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mohler: Heresy Precedes Homosexuality


Here is another great article by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, concerning how a denomination begins allowing homosexuals into their congregations and in their clergy. The answer is simple, heresy precedes homosexuality. How so? Mohler explains in this article. Once you begin to say things like, "well Paul only said that women weren't allow to lead in the church because of the culture in which he lived," or "Jesus wouldn't condemn homosexuality," (even though it is condemned throughout Scripture), you are setting yourself up for destruction.

Here is Mohler's article:



The mere fact that the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is the Episcopal Church's first
openly homosexual bishop ensures that he will be a media celebrity on both sides
of the Atlantic. To a great extent, he has become a symbol to both conservatives
and liberals in contemporary Christianity.


To conservatives, Bishop Robinson
represents a near-total theological meltdown. An entire universe of the
theological principles and doctrines of orthodox Christianity must be jettisoned
or redefined before an openly homosexual bishop becomes imaginable. In order for
this to happen, the tradition of the church must be sidelined and the authority
of Scripture must be undermined.



For liberals, Bishop Robinson is a sign of hope. The liberal wing of institutional Christianity represents a call for theological revolution in order, they would argue, to liberate Christianity from repressive doctrines and an oppressive tradition. The election of Gene Robinson is the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire is, they sense, the shape of things to come.



The Anglican Communion -- the worldwide communion of Anglican churches
-- may be torn apart by the election and consecration of Bishop Robinson.
Thus, there is significant interest in the Bishop within the British press. While recently in London, Bishop Robinson attracted widespread media attention by claiming that, without its homosexual priests, the Church of England would collapse.



Here is how The Times [London] reported the story:





The openly gay bishop whose ordination sparked the crisis in the Anglican Communion has claimed the Church of England would be close to shutting down if it was forced to manage without its gay clergy.



The Bishop of New Hampshire in the US, the Right Rev Gene Robinson,
who is divorced and lives openly in partnership with a gay man, said he
found it "mystifying" that the mother church of the Anglican Communion
was unable to be honest about the number of gay clergy in its ranks.




More:





He said many of the English church's clergy lived openly in their
rectories with gay partners, with the full knowledge of their bishops. But he criticised the stance of bishops who threaten the clergy with enmity should their relationships become public.


Speaking in an interview in London, Bishop Gene said: "I have met so many gay partnered clergy here and it is so troubling to hear them tell me that their bishop comes to their house for dinner, knows fully about their relationship, is wonderfully supportive but has also said if this ever becomes public then I'm your worst enemy.


Ruth Gledhill of The Times published the entire interview, conducted by Andrew
Collier, on her blog. In the interview, Bishop Robinson observed that the
Episcopal Church has been ordaining openly homosexual priests for years, but
that controversy emerged over his election as bishop. As the Bishop
rightly observed, it makes no logical sense to allow the one and forbid the
other. Both conservatives and liberals should agree on that point.


Here are Bishop Robinson's words:




'That's right. It's very interesting. As I look back on this – and perhaps
it has something to do with the theology of the episcopate – ECUSA has been ordaining gay priests for many, many years. Not every bishop will do that but many do. I will and have. Many make a requirement that the person be celibate, but many do not make such a requirement. It's
interesting that the wider Anglican Communion has either not known that or has not chosen to make an issue of it before now. I understand that a bishop is understood to be ordained for the whole church, although that's true for the priesthood as well. One is a priest of the church and provided they are a priest of good standing, they can exercise their ministry anywhere in the world. It's just a surprise to me that this issue did not become an issue until a gay and lesbian person became elected bishop. If it's wrong for one (bishop and priest) it ought to be wrong for both. Bishops have a certain importance, but it's just an importance that the church has given them. It's not an innate importance. So it either ought to be wrong for all orders of ministry, or for none.


The Bible clearly disqualifies an unrepentant homosexual from the Christian
ministry. Why would a church allow the ordination of homosexual priests
and then balk at homosexual bishops? Forces for biblical orthodoxy within
the Anglican Communion must recognize that a decision to allow
openly homosexual priests is, in effect, a decision to allow homosexual
bishops. [The Church of England faces this reality on the question of
female bishops already. The decision to ordain women as priests means the
inevitability of women as bishops.]



All this is interesting enough, but one section of the interview that escaped media attention deserves a closer look. In this section, Bishop Robinson explains that he was attracted to the Anglican tradition because of its spirit of enquiry:


'Yes. I go off to college, which quite coincidentally happened to be owned by the southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church and met an assistant chaplain there. When I raised my questions again, instead of telling me that I shouldn't be asking, instead he congratulated me on asking all the right questions and said he didn't have all the answers, but I was welcome to come in and let's look for those answers together. I member being struck at how undefensive he was about his religion – that anglicanism seemed to be big enough and broad enough to allow and even encourage those kinds of questions. It had its own answers, but it existed to help me come to my own answers. I remember thinking 'gosh, that seems to me to be the way religion ought to be'. So I was very encouraged by that. One day when I was ranting and raving about how much of the Nicene Creed I didn't believe, he said 'well, when you're in church, just say the parts of the creed you do agree with. Be silent for the others. We're not asking you do so something against your integrity'. And again I thought whew, that's what one would hope for from a religion – honesty and integrity. And I guess that's a theme that has carried throughout my life in Ministry – that God wants us to be honest and full of integrity.

This is indeed a fascinating and revealing recollection. As a young man, Gene Robinson ranted and raved to an assistant chaplain of his Episcopal college about "how much of the Nicene Creed I didn't believe." The chaplain's response is classic liberalism -- just say what you believe and stay silent for the rest.


The Nicene Creed, we should remember, is one of the touchstones of Christian orthodoxy -- a creed that defines the full deity of Christ and affirms a summary of biblical teachings concerning the Christ:



We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made;
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.


And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen




This is the creed about which Bishop Robinson, as a young college student, ranted and raved. This is the creed in which he found so much he did not believe. This is the very essence of Christian doctrine. Without these truths, there is no Christianity.


So, long before we ask the question of why a church would elect an openly homosexual bishop, we must ask why it would ordain a candidate for the ministry who, at the very least, openly doubted the very basis of the church's faith?


The election of an openly homosexual bishop does not emerge out of the blue. It can be traced to a succession of events and decisions made by this church. The
toleration of heresy precedes the toleration of homosexuality. Bishop Robinson helpfully reminds us of this important fact.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Political Correctness and Homosexuality

Sometimes I wonder if the Political Correctness only applies to white, male, straight conservative Christians. I am all of those things. And as a result, I am told to abide by certain rules that do not apply to others. I am not interested in getting into issues relating to race, gender, or religion on this post, but rather I want to discusses the issue of homosexuality and political correctness. Our society is so obsessed with making homosexuals feel welcomed and accepted, that they do it at the expense of anyone who disagrees with that lifestyle. Therefore, anyone who disagrees with it and thinks it wrong, are essentially tarred and feathered labeled as bigot homophobes. They are considered the evil ones of our nation all because they hold to a moral code contrary to that of theirs.

Call me intolerant and closed minded, but I believe that homosexuality is a sin. If you don't like it, get over it! I have a first amendment right too.

Now, our society is in such a way that to be against homosexuality, or to even have a negative opinion on it that you keep to yourself, is wrong and bigoted. And yet, the same people can turn around and use the same language ridiculing Christians for having a moral code by which they live by that condemns Christianity. And so, they can condemn Christianity freely because we condemn homosexuality. And yet, no one calls them out on this hypocrisy. So I will.

Such people are antichristian bigots! (I bet I'll get some nasty comments on this one)

I am not necessarily mad at anything today, but I think it is time that the Church stops cowering in the dark ashamed of what they believe. Furthermore, as an American, I want some consistency here. If I am not allowed to criticize homosexuality, then they must not be allowed to criticize me. If you can criticize me, I should be allowed to criticize you. That is consistent. I can hold to my opinions and teach my kids them, and you can do the same likewise. It's called freedom!

If you don't believe that the politically correct rules applies only to those who are not insinc with our culture (that is conservative Christians) then just watch this video. A few weeks ago, comedian Stephen Colbert interviewed Charles Kaiser on his show.

Charles Kaiser is the author of "The Gay Metropolis." The Gay Metropolis is a book of "the landmark history of gay life in America." Colbert invited Kaiser onto his show despite the fact that Colbert himself is against gay marriage, is a Republican, and somewhat conservative on many issues.

The interview is very interesting, and Colbert has a way of finding humor in almost anything. This was no different. Butt there was a few points and comments made that prove the points made above. Essentially, political correctness does not apply to homosexuals.

RACISM

The conversation goes (this is my transcript, not an official one):


Kaiser: Without them, without gay people and black people, we'd have nothing but straight white men.
Colbert: Don't equate black people and gay people, ok. Alright. Don't' just say that black people are on board with the gay thing, ok. I know your both oppressed minorities.
Kaiser: No, but their both more interesting than straight
white people. That's all.


In this one small bite, the racial police should be out firing their canons at Kaiser. To say such a thing is racists. And this is coming from a white person! What would happen if Colbert, or any other white guy, said "straight people and white people are more interesting than blacks and homosexuals?" They would be feathered and tared, and Comedy Central would have fired Colbert.

But why not criticize Kasier for his racists comments against whites. The answer is simple; he's gay. And if we were to criticize someone who is gay (or any other minority for that matter) we are bigots, oppressive, mean, hateful, and every other negative connotation you could think of. And, since he is gay, he can say whatever he wants and gets away with it.

Furthermore, no one will say anything because it is whites that are being criticized. Again, if he were to criticize a homosexual or an African-American, hispanic, or whatever, then Colbert would be criticized by the media and by our society.

Political Correctness when it comes to racism, doesn't apply to everyone. It mainly applies to "straight white people," as Kaiser put it.

STEREOTYPING HOMOSEXUALS

Again, my transcript:


Colbert: Your saying that gay people have contributed a lot to our society? More than anyone else per capita?
Kaiser: Absolutely...West Side Story. Isn't that enough?
Colbert: [Your saying that everyone but Rita Moreno in West Side Story was gay] Kaiser: Jerome Robbins
Colbert: Jerome Robbins was not gay. Oh why, because he was a choreographer?
Kaiser: Yeah. Yeah.
Colbert: Yeah ok. That's stereotypical. Your stereotyping gay people. I'm offended as someone who is not gay.
Kaiser: You wish you were a choreographer?
Colbet: What? No I wish I could stereotype, but I'm not allowed to because I'm not gay. I have to play by the rules you make but don't live by.
Kaiser: That's right. Correct.


Here is a witty way to point out the truth. What Kaiser is doing here is stereotyping. He assumes that because someone has a certain job, talks a certain way, has certain hobbies, or whatever, they must be gay. I have been criticized by people for making the same stereotypes before, even as a joke. Why? Because I am not gay, and I am therefore being vicesious. And yet, a gay man can stereotype other homosexuals.

How is this fair? As Colbert points out, such rules only apply to people who aren't gay. This is very similar to some of the race issues we face. A white person cannot use certain words that are ok for a black person to use.

And, chances are, by me pointing out these things makes me a racist bigot. But if the tables were turned, and I were gay, everyone reading this post would be rooting me on, and I would probably have my own TV show or my own book selling by the media!

Again, notice how political correctness only applies to people like me, and not to the "oppressed minorities."

STEREOTYPING REPUBLICANS AND CHRISTIANS

(I am using the transcript supplied from Newsbusters here):


Colbert: "Now, nothing against gay people. But why do they have to be open about
their gayness? For years... I'm serious here. For years they were, you know,
they weren't any gay but we didn't have to hear about it."
Kaiser: "We discovered if you're not open about who you are, there are two possibilities. You become a Republican congressman who then sends nasty notes to teenagers over the computer or you lead a large congregation in Colorado of
Christians."
Colbert: "Now you're stereotyping Republican congressmen."
Kaiser: "Absolutely right."
Colbert: "And members of mega churches. It’s okay for you to be a bigot."

Here is classic bigotry on the part of Charles Kaiser. When asked a somewhat witty question from Colbert, he responds with a very bigoted, stereotypical answer. He assumes that all Christians and Republicans are hypocrites and living secret lives. Such a response is bigotry in the rankous form, and yet no one will call him out on it, except for Colbert here. He is right whenever he points out, "It's okay for you [a homosexual] to be a bigot." And the answer is yes it is ok for him to be a bigot because he is gay and the rules don't apply to him.

Kaiser clearly knows nothing about these two situations. First of all, former Congressman Mark Foley stepped down immediately after he was aware that the emails where going to be made public. Immediately the Republican party, alongside every other party and person in America, expected his resignation and his shame. And that is what happened. The Republicans moved on, while the rest of America, especially liberals and the media, used it as a campaign platform in order to win. And win, they did.

But what I find interesting is that Democrats in the past have done very similar things (even worse) and yet liberals, the media, and America embraced them (or ignored them completely as if it never happened). I posted one such instance in the post-Mark Foley era. Senator Dan Sutton was accused of actually fondling a page. Remember that Foley never touched a page, only wrote inappropriate emails to them. And as a result, he was forced to step down. Sutton, however, ran for reelection and won! Who is the hypocrite now?!

As to Ted Haggard, in whom the reference to the man who leads "a large congregation in Colorado of Christians," is likewise mistaken. Haggard resigned, repented, and has taken the appropriate steps to reconcile with God, with the Church, with Christians, and with America. Haggard has admitted that he was a hypocrite, wrong, and committed sin. And he is exactly right. It was a sin to do what he did. Haggard was married, and was committing adultery. Not only that, but he was having a homosexual relationship with someone, which is wrong as well. He should have stepped down, and if he didn't, Christians in America would have expected him too. To read a letter written by Haggard to his church, click here.

Former Govenor of New Jersey, James McGreevey came out and said he was having an affair with another man as well. Just like Tedd Haggard did. His response?


Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am. As a
young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused...


Yet, from my early days in school, until the present day, I acknowledged some
feelings, a certain sense that separated me from others. But because of my
resolve, and also thinking that I was doing the right thing, I forced what I
thought was an acceptable reality onto myself, a reality which is layered and
layered with all the, quote, "good things," and all the, quote, "right things"
of typical adolescent and adult behavior.


Yet, at my most reflective, maybe even spiritual level, there were points in my life when I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me. Were there realities from which I was running? Which master was I trying to serve?


I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. I believe that God enables all things to work for the greater good. And this, the 47th year of my life, is arguably too late to have this discussion. But it is here, and it is now.


At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's
soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or
hope to see it, but as it is.


And so my truth is that I am a gay American. And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with the tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, in a country which provides so much to its people...


I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony. It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable...


It makes little difference that as governor I am gay. In fact, having the ability to truthfully set forth my identity might have enabled me to be more forthright in fulfilling and discharging my constitutional obligations...


To facilitate a responsible transition, my resignation will be effective on November 15 of this year.

This was the famous speech that McGreevey gave announcing his affair and being a gay American. Notice his reference to God. McGreevey was, and still is, a practicing Episcopalian. Without getting into theology, he believed that he was a Christian, just like Ted Haggard.
Notice that there is no remorse for offending God, as Haggard showed. There was no repentance, as Haggard sought. And no restitution, as Haggard went through. Only regret that he cheated on his wife.

In fact, McGreevey wasn't too worried about it apparently, because his resignation was planned so that a fellow Democrat could continue to run the state. In other words, he played politics over a homosexual affair! Haggard stepped down immediately, apologized, repented, and has gotten out of the spotlight, as he should have. McGreevey, on the other hand, told Americans that we should embrace him, that it was a good thing, and God was on his side.

McGreevey even entered into a seminary to be a priest!!!!! He then turned around and wrote a book about it celebrating the fact that he has come out of the closet. Where's the hypocrisy now?!

I'm sorry Charles Kaiser, but you are wrong. Making such wrong accusations is more bigoted than what these two men, Foley and Haggard, ever did. You are the real bigot Kaiser!

SUING THE DEAD

The conversation concludes thus:


Colbert: "You said that J. Edgar Hoover was gay."
Kaiser: "I didn't say that. He did not have a sexual relationship with his aide. They went to work together everyday in the same car. They came home together. They lived around the block together. Did they do it? I have no idea. I don’t assert that they did."
Colbert: "Okay. But you put him in a book called The Gay Metropolis."
Kaiser: "That's true. You can't libel a dead person, Stephen."
Colbert: "What?"
Kaiser: "You can't libel a dead person."
Colbert: "Why not?"
Kaiser: "They can’t sue you. It's the law."
Colbert: "I'm big on slandering dead people."

So you can't be sued by a dead person (like J. Edgar Hoover), but you can arrest a Christian for proclaiming his religious beliefs as a hate crime? And I thought political correctness was for everybody, including such antichristian bigots like Charles Kaiser!

Here's the video of the interview in full:


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

AIG: Orgin of Hype - No Intelligence to Create Life?


Recently, I blogged about the developments and claims of certain scientists that they were on the verge of creating life from scratch. Many hail this as proof of evolution because we have come to this point in our development, but the truth of the matter is that it disproves evolution and gives evidence to a Creator God.
How so? Simple. If the scientists were proving evolution, then they wouldn't be doing the experiments. Evolution says that everything happens by chance. Therefore, life should form out of an empty room. The scientist, rather, have equipment, learning, and the tools necessary to (they claim) create life from scratch.
Therefore, they have proven that it takes a higher, more intelligent, designer/creator to create life. This is the very argument Christians and Creationists have been making from the beginning. Evolution says nothing + nothing = everything. The very thought of it is irrational and silly.
Furthermore, it proves another important lesson debunking evolution, that is, evolution cannot happen "ex nihilo" (that is, out of nothing). The Bible is clear that God spoke everything into existence before there was anything. He created "out of nothing."
Scientists have yet to master this ability. The scientists are starting with DNA, cells, microscopes, and others tools and matter, and then "creating," life. They can't simply start with empty space and then create.
And so, in summary, scientists continue to prove the existence of God, but are too blind to see the obvious. "Professing to be wise, they became fools. (paraphrase, Romans 1:22)" As John MacArthur put it, we give them Ph. D's and yet they remain foolish.
Here is an excellent article from Answers in Genesis, written by Mark Looy, that was posted shortly after the announcement from these scientists. I encourage you to read it, it makes some interesting points.


For more than 50 years we have been told by scientists that they have
been on the verge of creating life in a laboratory. Remember the famous
Miller-Urey experiments of 1953, accounts of which have appeared in our
school biology texts ever since? Some people today believe (
wrongly)
that Miller-Urey conclusively showed that life could be created in a lab.
1 This week the latest claim (reports the Associated Press) is that, in various places around the world, “scientists are trying to create life from scratch, and they're getting closer.”2Some people today believe (wrongly) that Miller-Urey conclusively showed that life could be created in a lab.

What is the operative word in that quote? Scientists create. In other words, intelligent scientists working in multi-million-dollar facilities are trying to create life. Now, if it requires intelligence to accomplish this, it begs the question: who
would have been the cook making the first primordial soup billions of years ago
in evolution’s supposed history?

In addition, these scientists are using chemicals from DNA to help create their protocells. They are not starting from scratch at all! In reality, the formation of these chemicals requires an extremely complex process, which they are avoiding by starting with the end products.

Furthermore, there is even a greater insurmountable barrier: the scientific law of abiogenesis, which states that life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life. Creative manipulation by intelligent scientists does not override this basic law of science in nature.

There are yet other stumbling blocks to producing such artificial life. For example, how will this “new” life-form reproduce itself (we note that the Creator made living things with the ability to multiply; Genesis 1:28)? How will the DNA chemicals come together in a meaningful way to supply the information needed to allow the cell to function? And how will the cell be able to acquire food and make
energy?


An incredible intelligence was needed to create something as incredibly complicated as the DNA molecule and its genetic code system, and then also to create the ability for organisms to reproduce and turn food into useful energy. All of the elements have to be there—all together at the same time—for a living thing to come alive. It can’t be accomplished in a stepwise process, for it will bog down and die, and there will be no advance. But it was all there—and fully functioning in the organisms designed by the Creator during the creation week of Genesis.

Evolutionist Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School admitted in the AP article that “we aren’t smart enough to design things.” But before you think he might be warm to Genesis creation, he then incongruously added: “We just let evolution do the hard work [of design] and then we figure out what happened,” In other words, the process of evolution is smarter than we are.

Ultimately, experiments such as the ones being conducted today show that
a Master Designer created life—that it did not come about by the mindlessness of
evolution which scientists are trying to replicate. But these researchers are
using their minds and their own creativity to do so—and all to prove that life
came around by chance?

Now, such engineering might be useful in the medical arena in fighting diseases for example (but there might be pitfalls to such engineering3). But don't be fooled into thinking that no intelligence and no pre-existing chemicals are involved in these latest experiments. Frankly, these scientists could save millions of dollars if only
they would consult the
Bible, starting with Genesis, to find the real answer about life’s origins—and purpose.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Colson: Of Dogs and Babies



Charles Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship, has written an excellent article that should open our eyes. We all know about the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal where he would torture and murder dogs that didn't perform well. We can all agree that what he did was grotesque and senseless, but Colson points out an interesting twist to the story.

How is it that our society, and our media leading the way, can go crazy over the abuse and murder of innocent animals, and yet ignore the fact that millions of innocent unborn babies have been murdered since 1973? Is animal life more important than human? You would think not, but the way we have reacted to the Vick case makes me wonder. I do not want to minimize the Vick story. He should go to jail, but why isn't there the same outrage over the State-Sponsored murder of innocent unborn children?
An interesting question that we should all consider.
Here's the article:

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia isn’t known for mincing words on the Senate floor. Still, even by his standards, his recent comments about a crime in the news were especially impassioned.


He repeatedly called the alleged crime “barbaric” and even volunteered to attend the execution of the accused. He told
his colleagues that he is “confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God’s creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt . . .”

What prompted the senator’s ire? Genocide? Ethnic cleansing? No, cruelty to animals, specifically the indictment of NFL star Michael Vick.

As you probably know, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was recently indicted in connection with a dog-fighting ring allegedly operating out of his home in Virginia.
The indictment included shocking details about the cruel way in which dogs
that could no longer fight were disposed of.

Public reaction to the indictment was so strong that NFL
commissioner Roger Goodell took the unusual step of telling Vick not to report
to the Falcons’ training camp. If he had reported, Vick would have seen dozens
of picketers outside the camp holding signs reading “Kick Vick” and “Sack Vick.”

Let me be clear: The allegations, if true, are barbaric, and whether the
defendants plea bargain or are tried, if convicted, they should be punished to
the fullest extent of the law.

Still, as former Congressman J.C. Watts noted, something’s “out of whack” in this response. He wrote that people get “more worked up over yhe admittedly brutal and inhumane treatment of soulless dogs” than “the brutal procedure known as partial-birth abortion.”

Writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Watts quoted CNN’s Nancy Grace, who said that the dogs “can’t defend themselves.” He then reminded readers that unborn children are even more defenseless. “If only,” Watts continued, “animal-rights [advocates] would acknowledge the more precious worth of human life.”

Watts’ explanation for this moral blindness is that “cultural degeneration” has so
skewed our priorities that we decry “the mistreatment of innocent animals, while
we turn a collective and legislative blind eye to the premature and yes, barbaric killing of human life in the name of ‘choice.’”

He concludes by saying that “once—just once,” he would like to see people express the same level of outrage at the taking of innocent human life as they do over the mistreatment of animals. “Absent that, [he weeps] for them and for our culture.”

The blindness Watts describes is the result of the two most destructive ideas in our
culture. The first is the belief in radical autonomy which exalts “choice” and
blinds us to the reality of what is being chosen. Choice, after all, is just a
process. What matters is what you choose.

The second is the denial that there is anything inherently special about man—he is just an especially clever primate. Thus, there’s no reason to get more upset over the death of humans, however barbaric, than the death of animals.

Combine the two and you have sad irony that Watts noted—an irony whose contempt for human life should make us all weep.

If Your Happy and You Know It, Thank Your Family?


An interesting poll has just been released asking teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 what makes them happy. With the way young people are portrayed today, one would expect the answer to be sex, music, movies, entertainment, video games, and a whole host of other answers. But what the posters found is surprising.
The number one thing that those surveyed said that made them happy wasn't any of those things. Rather, it was their family that made them happy. Family? How can that be? I find it interesting that MTV played a role in this poll, and they are one of the leading culprites of painting the current caricature of a teenager; rebellious, doesn't listen, obsested with sex, and doesn't care what their parents say or think.
Isn't it odd that it is the family that teenagers and young adults say make them the happiest. Even better, close to family, parents are considered an important aspect of one's own happiness. What a surprising result in the eyes of our culture.
Our culture has obsessed over destroying young people as we know it. As a youth pastor, I see it all the time. Our society has given up on them. We are told that teenagers are rowdy, rebellious, and angry. You can talk to them, you can't reach them, and they don't care about anything. It has gotten to the point that parents expect their teenager and college student to rebel, to not to listen, and to ignore them. And yet, all of these things are not true. If a parent or a church expects this type of behavior from their young adults, they will get this type of young adults. There have always been teenagers. Only the stereotype is new.
This poll should at least be encouraging to parents. For one, it means that they matter. The teenage years are frustrating for every parent, and a story like this should help parents get back on their feet and continue to lead. Everything you say, do, and don't say or do matters. The atmosphere in your home determines much about your youth.
Similarily, in this same poll, the question was asked who was the teenager or young adult's hero? Despite the stereotype of teenagers and young adults, the answer wasn't movie, music, or sports stars, but one or both of their parents. As the article puts it, "when asked to name their heroes, nearly half of respondents mentioned one or both of their parents. The winner, by a nose: Mom." And I think the typical, god fearing, dad wouldn't mind loosing to mom.
Secondly, this poll reminds us of the importance of parenting, and staying together as a married couple. Too many homes (over 1/2 now) are broken homes. Most marriages end in divorce now, and as a result, the children never really have a home. This week there with mom, but next week they'll be with dad. Such an enviroment is not good for the kids. But for marriages that stick together, it is clear that good things result.
So parents, be encouraged, you do matter. How you relate to your spouse and your children are important and are always being noticed. Family is the place where morales and religion are to be taught, according to the Bible (Deu. 6:1-9), and it seems that that paradigm has not changed. God expects much from the family because it is vital to the survival of a society, and it brings great glory to His name.
One more thing should be pointed out here. The expectation of this poll was that money and sex would have made teenagers and young adults happy, and yet very few of the polled mentioned these superficial thing. To the believer, this should not surprise us. Sex and money do not truly bring happiness. They may feed a hunger for a moment, but they are fleeting.
Scripture makes this very clear, and we are seeing the application of it in this one poll. Scripture says:
"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never
satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."
-Ecclesiastes 5:10
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." -1 Timothy 6:10

And it is nice to see that, not only young people, but Americans are finally started to see this truth. The family plays a vital role in the happiness, security, and morality of children, teenagers, and young adults. This is a call for parents everywhere to stay together and raise godly kids. For if you do, happiness is just around the corner.
Here is an article reporting the poll results:
NEW YORK -- So you're between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A
worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this:
Sex, drugs, a little rock 'n' roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.
Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was
the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey _
more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 _ conducted by The
Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America's young
people.
Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a
significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young
people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.
"They're
my foundation," says Kristiana St. John, 17, a high-school student from Queens
in New York. "My mom tells me that even if I do something stupid, she's still
going to love me no matter what. Just knowing that makes me feel very happy and
blessed."
Other results are more disconcerting. While most young people are
happy overall with the way their lives are going, there are racial differences:
the poll shows whites to be happier, across economic categories, than blacks and
Hispanics. A lot of young people feel stress, particularly those from the middle
class, and females more than males.
You might think money would be clearly
tied to a general sense of happiness. But almost no one said "money" when asked
what makes them happy, though people with the highest family incomes are
generally happier with life. However, having highly educated parents is a
stronger predictor of happiness than income.
And sex? Yes, we were getting
to that. Being sexually active actually leads to less happiness among 13-17 year
olds, according to the survey. If you're 18 to 24, sex might lead to more
happiness in the moment, but not in general.
From the body to the soul:
Close to half say religion and spirituality are very important. And more than
half say they believe there is a higher power that has an influence over things
that make them happy. Beyond religion, simply belonging to an organized
religious group makes people happier.
And parents, here's some more for you:
Most young people in school say it makes them happy. Overwhelmingly, young
people think marriage would make them happy and want to be married some day.
Most also want to have kids.
Finally, when asked to name their heroes,
nearly half of respondents mentioned one or both of their parents. The winner,
by a nose: Mom...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mohler: Heresy in the Cathedral


Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. has written another important article that we all need to read. It concerns the issue of heresy and John Shelby Spong, the retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey. Spong has essentially denied every orthodox doctrine of Christianity. He is to the point that even believing in God isn't necessary to be labeled a "Christian." Spong is a heretic to say the least, and yet people treat him as a great Christian leader, whenever he isn't a Christian to begin with.

Recently, Rev. Peter Jensen, Australia's Archbishop of Sydney, has stepped in and prevented Spong from filling the pulpit on a number of occasions do to Spong's heretical views and writings. Such an act is unusual in our day and I applaud the Reverend's decision.

However, Spong was not denied access to the pulpit at Brisbane's St. John's Chapel. Anlican Primate Phillip Aspinall has opened his doors to the retired Bishop and will let him continue to spread blaspheme to his congregation. Aspinall defended his invitation to Spong by saying:


"Bishop Spong speaking at St John's Cathedral is not particularly extraordinary...That Bishop Spong holds views which some Anglicans
might find challenging is no reason to exclude him from speaking. Our
church has thousands of members and widely diverse views on a wide variety of
subjects. I am sure Anglicans will listen respectfully to the bishop's views and
make their own minds up."

What a shameful response. Church, worship, and ministry should not be about hearing one's views and the congregation "make their own minds up." This is rooted in the sense that all things are relatives and who really has the truth? As believers, we know the answer to that. Because God has revealed His will to us, through inspired Scripture, we are mandated to preached His Word unapologetically. We must not tailor to the culture, but let the culture bow it's knees before Christ.

This whole idea of rooting on the congregation hoping they'll make the right decision is folly. Mankind is evil and will always choose the opinion that keeps them in their sin. Noone wants to be told that they are a sinner, and therefore speakers like Spong are loved because he provides a gospel without sin, a God without wrath, and a faith without hell. This is heretical in the most obvious sense, and the very fact that anyone would allow such people fill their pulpits apauls me.

With that said, here is Dr. Mohler's article. It is an excellent treatment of the situation.




The Rt. Rev. Peter Jensen, Australia's Archbishop of Sydney, is making headlines
for denying a heretic access to the pulpits of the churches under his care. The
heretic is the retired bishop of Newark, New Jersey, The Rt. Rev. John Shelby
Spong -- a man who has denied virtually every major Christian
doctrine.
Heretics are rarely excommunicated these days. Instead, they go on
book tours. Bishop Spong is visiting Australia at the invitation of Australia's
Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall of Brisbane. When Archbishop Jensen denied
Bishop Spong access to the pulpits of Sydney, Archbishop Aspinall extended an
invitation for Spong to preach in Brisbane's St. John's Cathedral.
As the The Australian reports:

"A row has erupted within the Anglican Church over a
visit to Australia by an American cleric who has being accused of modernising Christ to the point of stripping him of all divinity.
Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen has taken the extraordinary step of banning John Shelby Spong, a fellow member of the Anglican communion who arrives in Sydney this morning, from churches in his
diocese.

By contrast, Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall has invited Bishop
Spong, a leader of the church's liberal wing, to deliver two sermons in
Brisbane's St John's Cathedral."

John Shelby Spong has written a series of books attacking the central doctrines of the Christian faith. As a matter of fact, he has basically run out of doctrines to deny. He has repudiated the Christian faith as treasured by the faithful Church for two thousand years -- the faith of biblical Christianity. This faith is the faith for which the martyrs died.
Mark Thompson, responding to Bishop Spong in the newspaper of the Sydney archdiocese, noted correctly that "one cannot imagine anyone willing to be martyred for Spong's Jesus."

Even the secular press understands the depths of Bishop Spong's denial of Christian truth. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that Spong has denied that Jesus was born of a virgin, that Joseph ever existed, that Jesus performed miracles, that He died
for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead. He also denies the deity of
Christ and the nature of God as a personal being, much less the only true
God. In other books Spong has suggested that the Apostle Paul was a
repressed homosexual. More recently, he has joined the chorus of those
suggesting that the death of Christ was necessary for the salvation of sinners
amounts to "divine child abuse."
So how would Archbishop Aspinall defend his decision to allow a heretic to preach two sermons in this cathedral? Here is his answer:
Dr Aspinall defended his decision to welcome the American
bishop. "Bishop Spong speaking at St John's Cathedral is not particularly
extraordinary," he said.

"That Bishop Spong holds views which some Anglicans might find challenging is no reason to exclude him from speaking. "Our
church has thousands of members and widely diverse views on a wide variety of subjects. I am sure Anglicans will listen respectfully to the bishop's views and make their own minds up."


Not particularly extraordinary? Given Archbishop
Aspinall's own theological liberalism, that might be frighteningly accurate.
What kind of pastor would invite his people to hear a denial of the Christian
faith from his own pulpit and then encourage them to "make their own minds
up?"
This controversy in Australia is indicative of the situation we now face
in so much of Christianity worldwide. Archbishop Jensen defends the faith
and protects his people and is treated as a divisive figure. Archbishop
Aspinall invites a heretic into his pulpit, explains that this is "not
particularly extraordinary," and is seen as a portrait of magnanimous
ecclesiastical leadership. Bishop Spong gets to sell more books, and the
public gets to see a spectacle.
How profoundly sad . . . and how utterly predictable.



To read some of Spong's views on various religious topics, click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Obsess Much?" Harry Potter and Our Obsessive Devotion



I am no Harry Potter fan. I certainly am not one of those Christians that think that it is the most evil thing in the world just because it has magic in it. If we were to ignore everything that had magic in it, then the Lord of the Rings (written by JRR Tolkien, a Christian), the Chronicles of Narnia (written by CS Lewis, also a Christian), and many other books would have to be banned (even from Christian book stores). And so I have not joined the bandwagon of ridiculing Harry Potter on a theological and moral standpoint, I've just never been that interested in it. I have seen two of the movies, and though they were interesting, I have yet to discover what all the hoopla is all about. I'm just not Harry Potter fan.






But I must ask the question of whether or not we have taken the whole Harry Potter phenomenon a little too far. I applaud the fact that the series encourages people (not just kids) to read, to think, and to get lost into a good story (instead of video games and movies), but I feel that this phenomenon has gone too far. I believe we have become obsessed with it and have clouded our judgment and our devotion.



Why have I come to this point? Well, primarily because of one event that took place at a school in Midsomer Norton, Somerset. There, on the last day of school, the headmistress, Carolyn Banfield, whenever she picked up the most recent, and last in the series, book of the Harry Potter series and read the last page to the students.



This event led to an uproar among students, family, friends, community, and the press. How could anyone spoil the end of the most famous fictional book in the world right now? Parents have called the school and complained, children have wept over knowing the ending before reading it themselves, and people as a whole have clearly overreacted.



Here are some excerpts from an article reporting this event. You would have thought the world was coming to an end:





An 11-year-old boy said: "Lots of my friends complained about it. I put my
hands over my ears and squeezed my eyes closed because I didn't want to know
about it."

Parents were also fuming over the incident. Maria Travers, whose son
Travis, eight, goes to the school, said: "He's read the last three books but
there's no point reading this one now."

Another mother, who declined to be named, said: "It's appalling. My son
was going to read a book instead of playing on his computer and I was going to
have some peace and quiet.
"Now that's ruined. What was she thinking of?"...

"Carolyn has been a superb headmistress since she took over about eight
years ago. She is very highly regarded and has done an awful lot of good work."

But education experts were less forgiving.

Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher
Associations, said: "It was unforgivable. It's one of the cruellest things she
could have done, even if she didn't mean it.
"Whether you approve of the
Harry Potter phenomenon or not, it has encouraged children to read.

"This act will probably stop all those children reading the book."




I think it is safe to say that things have gone a little too far. Are we this obsessive over nonreality? Notice that many of the parents and "education experts" have given up and said that there is no hope for children now. Now that Harry Potter has been spoiled, children are never going to read again. They are acting like their whole world has collapsed.



Is it really that important? I think it is time for us to step back and realize that it is just a story, a book, written by an excellent story teller, but it is not reality. The world will continue to spin on it's axis, jobs will still be available, and children will one day be able to read again. This is not the end of the world.



Of course, this is coming from someone who isn't a Harry Potter fan. What do I know? Though I am not a fan of Harry Potter, I am a huge fan of many other things, especially Lost, the ABC television series. What Harry Potter is to millions of people in the world, Lost is to me. I am obsessive over Lost like millions are with Harry Potter. But I must ask myself what I would do if someone spoiled the ending for me. Would I go bizurk? I hope not. I understand the temptation, but will I give up on all good stories out of anger and frustration? I don't think so. Why? Because it's just a story among a flood of other stories.



I am not necessarily concerned with Lost, Harry Potter, or anything else, my main concern is the extent of our obsessions. Are the things of this world more important to us than the things of God? To me, this is an issue of perspective. Harry Potter and Lost are great, but they are not everything. To assume that all hope is gone because our favorite enjoyment has been spoiled and ruined is putting the things of this world before the things of God and it ought not be that way.



Christ must come first because He is first. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:15-20:



"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by
him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were
created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold
together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and
the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the
supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or
things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."






Notice Paul's argument, Christ is first above all things. He is above everything. There is nothing that is above Him. There is nothing more important than Him. He is first among creation, the Church, redemption, etc. He is first, and we must revere Him as that. And for everyone who doesn't, He still remains on His throne as the "firstborn over all creation." Christ is first.





So this whole issue of perspectives and obsessions is an issue of where our treasure is. If Christ is first, then He will be our treasure. No matter what happens in this world we know that He is in control, and we live to His glory. Can we enjoy the things of this world? To a certain extent. If God is creator, including the creator of pleasure and enjoyment, He expects life to be enjoyed. But not at the extent of loosing our faith, putting things out of focus, or placing things above Him. Such actions are labeled as idolatry in Scripture.




Was what the headmistress did before her students a good idea? Of course not. But is the reaction just? Equally not. Children will still read, good stories will forever be told, and people will continue to make mistakes. The real question is, does it matter? What is first in your life? The savior of Hogwart, or the Savior of your soul?





So, if the ending of Harry Potter, Lost, or whatever gets ruined, so what? Does it really matter? Are we going to live at the end of the magic wand of a fictional character, or in the hands of an almighty God? That's the real question.






"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do
not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
also. -
Matthew 6:19-21

Monday, August 13, 2007

"A City Without Fathers" - A Sober Call to Bring Back Dad


The recent killings in Newark, NJ has led to a debate as to the reason behind the city's crime rate. Newark is anything but a safe city, and has been so for many years now. The recent murders, though grotesque, are nothing new.

The question everyone is asking is what has led Newark to this point? What led to these horrendous murders?

According to this article, it is the absent of men. Thanks to liberalism, big government, and the secularization of the city, Newark homes have become ground zero for social programs. The government has essentially replaced the role of the father. The government, then, is playing the role of the father by bring home the check.

Thanks to feminism in our culture, this trend isn't far behind in many other places. Already we are seeing the outing of fathers, and the welcoming of big government. What results is exactly what has happened in Newark. We need to realize this and face the fact that Scripture was right all along. Marriage and family is something that is done as a tag-team. A mother and father, who are devoted to each other, are to raise the children together.

Another thing this story negates is the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. In this case the government is the village. It doesn't take a village, it takes a mom and dad!

Here is an article discussing the absence of fathers and the problems in Newark. I encourage you to read it and comment on it.



The horrific, execution-style killing of three teens in Newark last weekend has sparked widespread outrage and promises of reform from politicians, religious leaders, and community activists, who are pledging a renewed campaign against the violence that plagues New Jersey’s largest city. But much of the reaction, though well-intentioned, misses the point. Behind Newark’s persistent violence and deep social dysfunction is a profound cultural shift that has left many of the city’s children growing up outside the two-parent family—and in particular, growing up without fathers. Decades of research tell us that such children are far likelier to fail in school and work and to fall into violence than those raised in two-parent families. In Newark, we are seeing what happens to a community when the traditional family comes close to disappearing.
According to 2005 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 32 percent of Newark children are being raised by their parents in a two-adult household. The rest are distributed among families led by grandparents, foster parents, and single parents—mostly mothers. An astonishing 60 percent of the city’s kids are growing up without fathers. It isn’t that traditional families are breaking up; they aren’t even getting started. The city has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the country, with about 65 percent of its children born to unmarried women. And 70 percent of those births are to women who are already poor, meaning that their kids are born directly into poverty.
The economic consequences of these numbers are unsettling, since single parenthood is a road to lasting poverty in America today. In Newark, single parents head 83 percent of all families living below the poverty line. If you are a child born into a single-parent family in Newark, your chances of winding up in poverty are better than one in five, but if you are born into a two-parent family, those chances drop to just one in twelve.
And the social consequences are even more disturbing. Research conducted in the 1990s found that a child born out of wedlock was three times more likely to drop out of school than the average child, and far more likely to wind up on welfare as an adult. Studies have also found that about 70 percent of the long-term prisoners in our jails, those who have committed the most violent crimes, grew up without fathers.
The starkness of these statistics makes it astonishing that our politicians and policy makers ignore the subject of single parenthood, as if it were outside the realm of civic discourse. And our religious leaders, who once preached against such behavior, now also largely avoid the issue, even as they call for prayer vigils and organize stop-the-violence campaigns in Newark. Often, in this void, the only information that our teens and young adults get on the subject of marriage, children, and family life comes through media reports about the lifestyles of our celebrity entertainers and athletes, who have increasingly shunned matrimony and traditional families. Once, such news might have been considered scandalous; today, it is reported matter-of-factly, as if these pop icons’ lives were the norm.
Faced with such a profound shift in attitudes, even well-designed, well-intentioned government programs that have worked elsewhere may have only limited success in a community like Newark. The city’s dynamic new mayor, Cory Booker, has moved quickly
to import successful ideas and programs, including rigorous quality-of-life policing from New York City. Booker is advocating sensible changes to fix the city’s troubled school system, which graduates a shockingly low number of students, and he’s looking at job training programs to get fathers involved, at least economically, in their children’s lives.
But Booker has also shown frustration at the slow pace of change in Newark, and earlier this week he observed that the city’s problems didn’t start yesterday and won’t be solved tomorrow. Given that some 3,750 kids are born every year into fatherless Newark families, Booker’s prediction may be depressingly correct.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Minneapolis and Our Therapeutic Society

Our society is addicted to therapy. Every time a crisis hits, we run to some "expert," to tell us that it's not our fault. Our society lives in a world of guilt. We have white guilt, male guilt, values guilt, etc. It is now a sin in our societies eyes to be a Conservative, a Christian, against homosexuality (just ask Bush's nominee for Surgeon General), against evolution, a white male, or many other things. We walk around feeling guilty all the time, no wonder the depression rate is so high in this country.
This therapeutic society also makes us want to find someone else to blame. We might try the victim card; "It's not my fault I'm a drug addict, I'm a victim. I was abused as a child." It's not my fault I am gay, my father molested me." We therefore pass the blame onto someone else.
Or, we try the simple, it's not my fault, it must be someone else's, game. We, therefore, run around trying to find someone to take the fall for us. Look at every major national crisis in recent years and you will find this tendency. Just look at the recent tragedy in Minneapolis and the collapse of the I-35 bridge.
We have already looked at how the left, liberals, Democrats, and the media elites, have already began blaming this tragedy on President Bush and the Republicans (both locally and nationally). Our society can't face the facts of the uselessness of big government, and therefore run and start blaming the party they hate the most (the Republicans), and the politician they hate the most (President Bush).
Well, our therapeutic society leads to other things, and the recent tragedy in Minneapolis continues to illustrate this.
FEAR
One thing this therapeutic society does is turn everything into fear. There is no such thing as security or taking what the world gives you. We fear everything today. This is why every night on our local news station there is the headline, "How to keep your kids safe on myspace," or, "Is your neighbor a child molester? The answer may surprise you." We live in a constant state of fear. We worry about everything.
As believers, we must always trust in a Holy, Righteous, Sovereign, Provident God who is in complete control. There are many things to fear in this world, but worry about them every waking moment, losing sleep over them, shows our lack of faith and trust in Him. Does that mean that everything will be rosy and easy? By no means! But it does mean that whatever the world may throw at us is to His glory, and we must strive to seek and serve for His glory no matter what. Christ said,
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:25-34
Well, as we see with the Minneapolis tragedy, our society is turning to fear. Not only do we fear every bridge we cross on a regular basis, we now fear the possible threat of a gas hike. One article begins:
The Minneapolis bridge disaster that suddenly is the symbol of the nation's crumbling infrastructure could tip the scales in favor of billions of dollars in higher gasoline taxes for repairs coast to coast.
There are 500 bridges around the country similar to the Minneapolis span, and "these are potential deathtraps," says Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, former chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
Notice the utter fear here. This is what drives me crazy about modern news media, it runs on fear. It lives off of scaring it's viewers and readers to death. The what if question is always the most asked, and this situation is no different.
Could there be a gas hike, especially due to tax increases? Possibly. Although President Bush says he'll veto any such bill that comes to his desk. Either way, should we act like it's the end of the world? No. If our greatest fear is the rise of taxes, then we must admit that we have it pretty easy in this country.
SHAME
Therapy, and our society's obsession with it, also makes us shameful of ourselves. This returns us to the self guilt theme we mentioned above. We are not only afraid that the sky is falling (or that every bridge will now collapse), but we want to believe that it happened because we're racists, sexist, bigots, homophobes, intolerant, etc. We can't let go of the past, and we're always afraid of hurting someone's feelings.
The bridge disaster is no different. Only in this instance, we have taken it to new heights. Not only are we racists, bigots, and everything mentioned before, but we are also anti-immigrant and anti-muslim, and this disaster (apparently) proves it. According to the Chicago Tribune, we are guilty of these two sins.
In terms being anti-immigrant, the Tribune argue that we are becoming like a third-world country (or worse.) They point out:
In the war-ravaged land they fled, Somalis got used to burying the bodies of tens of thousands of their dead. They usually knew what killed the victims: maybe a bullet, a hatchet, sickness or starvation.But in a grim irony for many of the 20,000-plus Somali refugees who came to this city in America's North Country seeking peace and safety, at least two of their own - a pregnant mother and her 20-month-old daughter - are lost in the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge. They are among about eight Minnesotans officially listed as missing almost a week after the disaster that killed at least five and injured scores.For Somalis, mostly Muslims living here among one of the nation's largest Somali populations, the limbo has horrible implications. In their culture, it's important for someone to be regarded as either dead or alive...
The family has become a symbol of how many Somalis feel the catastrophic collapse of the bridge seems to be hitting the Minneapolis Somali community particularly hard...
For Somalis, who have migrated here in the last decade, the bridge was a vital lifeline connecting an established community on one side of the river with a growing Somali neighborhood on the other. Sometimes locals jokingly referred to it as "the Somali Bridge" – a lifeline for the 40,000 to 50,000 Somalis estimated by community leaders to be living in the Twin Cities and their suburbsSomali cabbies used it. So did Somali truck drivers. At least two Somali drivers were on the bridge when it collapsed and got out alive. So did at least four Somali children who were on a school bus that fell downward in the disaster.
And Somalis interviewed Tuesday said they wouldn't be surprised if the wreckage ultimately yields more Somalis who have yet to be put on a missing persons list.To the Somalis who live near the bridge, the picture remains unfathomable. After all, they said, bridges collapse in underdeveloped African nations not in metropolitan Minneapolis." (emphasis mine)
Notice the argument here. Those responsible for the bridge collapse are racists against Somalians and don't want them to migrate to America, and America has become worse than a third-world country. This is just pitiful, but this is exactly what we should expect from a culture that is obsessed with therapy and psychology.
In terms of being anti-Muslims, the Tribune wrote:
Still, the collapse was something Somalis never expected to witness in their new homeland. And it has some wondering if the American government has misplaced its priorities by ignoring a decaying national infrastructure in favor of its costly foreign policy."Instead of building bridges, they spent more on invading countries," said Abbi Osman, a young Somali who came to Minnesota four years ago and was watching buddies play dominoes Tuesday in a Somali coffee shop. "They are investing in the wrong places."The collapse too adds to uneasy feelings among Somalis who say they have felt a federal backlash since Sept. 11, 2001 not only because of their Muslim faith but also because Somalia has been accused of harboring terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden. The bridge collapse has added jitters for Somalis who in recent years regrouped and rallied around one another."This all adds up to be very painful," said Omar Jamal, a Somali who directs the Somali Justice Advocacy Center that fights for Somali rights.
And so we return to blaming this whole thing on Bush and the war in Iraq. Such an argument is ludicrous and simply silly. Government has plenty of money. It is stupid to think that they need more. They have too much! The problem isn't with how much, but how they are spending the money they have. Government wastes money and never use it to fix problems, like bridges. And to blame this on being anti-Muslim, and saying that all Bush cares about is killing Muslims is silly.
But what do you expect from a society like ours. We have to have someone to blame.
We are truly spoiled. Any society that can come to these type of conclusions is a society that is blind by it's own sinfulness. How do you preach a gospel of sin and damnation whenever people believe that there is always someone else to blame? "God wouldn't punish me, my mom ignored me as a child."
Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he called the gospel "foolish" (literally moronic) in the eyes of the world, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). So though our culture runs around finding someone else to blame, in a state of fear and shamefullness, we must stand, and preach the foolish message of the gospel, and pray that God will turn man's hearts back to Him.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

First of Many

Here is my first post on blogger. Hopefully I will have my own domain (likely www.kylemcdanell.com). In the meantime, please check out my current blogging site from Xanga (www.xanga.com/mcdanell99).