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Archive for June, 2011

John Sommerville is the author of how the News Makes Us Dumb.  Before news became an industry, Sommerville writes, society was held together not by news but by its cultures.  People shared “fairly settled assumptions about what was reasonable, natural, expected or good.”  Scholars call this a culture’s metanarrative — a  narrative that “binds our thinking.”

The Bible provided this metanarrative for Western civilization.  Even nonbelievers were familiar with its stories and ways of structuring moral and social reality.  But the media — the news industry — changed that.  People in this industry generally disregard or blatantly defy the Judeo-Christian narrative.  They believe it’s their job to shape our thinking.  They are constantly raising questions that cause people to doubt Christianity or any cultural traditions grown out of Biblical thinking.  Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, writes, “The result is that many people accept the idea that we should be constantly reevaluating what we believe and understand about the world — including our religious beliefs — but news stories cannot replace a culture’s metanarrative, because, by its very nature, the news gives priority to the shocking and the new.  It is a cycle of endless deconstruction.”

“The good news,” writes Colson, “is that Americans are recognizing that the ‘news’ is becoming a little more than vulgar entertainment, largely irrelevant to our lives.”

A good practice is to use the news for appropriate and limited purposes.  Sommerville offers this suggestion: “We should balance our bloated appetite for news with a cultural diet rich in books, reflection, and discussion.  And we should put the news through a mental metanarrative grid — asking ourselves if the ‘news’ being offered up reinforces our cultural story — and our views of Christianity — or tears it apart.”  Colson agrees.  “The news may make us dumb — but reading and discussing great books, especially the Bible, leads to the kinds of wisdom that brings real understanding.”

Appreciation to How Now Shall We Live Devotional
by Charles Colson, Tyndale House Publishers

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Benjamin Rush signed the Declaration of Independence.  He also served in the Presidential administrations of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  Each came from a different political party.  How could Benjamin Rush serve Presidents from three different parties, and what was his own party affiliation?  He once proclaimed:

I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat.  I am now neither.  I am a Christocrat.  I believe all power . . . will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man.  He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him.”

Rush made his choice of candidates based on which one better stood for Godly principles, no matter what party affiliation.  As Proverbs 29:2 states:

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

What legacy will we leave the next generation?

President James A. Garfield, a Christian minister, reminded Americans: ” . . . [T]he people are responsible for the character of their Congress.  If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.  If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

Source: Original Intent by David Barton

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Some would claim I am guilty of heterosexism if I do not embrace the practice of homosexuality or the teaching of the homosexual lifestyle to children in school.

Then, does it follow that I am also guilty of some form of “racism” if I do not embrace thievery, alcohol or drug abuse, adultery, cheating, rape, pedaphilia, or murder (to name a few) or the teaching of these practices to children in school?

All of these practices are harmful.  It is for that reason that God’s Word consistently warns against them and calls them wrong.  Vibrant civilizations have always warned against them and called them wrong.

What, you say?  A person with homosexual tendencies is born that way?  Cannot the same be said about the person who is an alcoholic or prone to violence?  Thus, the practice of self-control.  Restraint.  Setting of boundaries.  All for a person’s own good as well as the good of his neighbors.  If someone is looking for help in practicing self-control and — in fact — putting the old, harmful ways behind, tell them to give Exodus International a call.   This group offers the same hope for “recovering homosexuals” as Alcoholics Anonymous does for “recovering alcoholics.”

It is bold and progressive to demean me with words like heterosexist.  No matter.  I am going to refrain from embracing a dangerous lifestyle even while I embrace the person struggling with it.

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Students identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ)  are asking conservative, evangelical colleges to change policies and theology to reflect their “sexuality” and behavioral choices.

In his article for CitizenLink (6-13-11), Jeff Johnston notes that LGBTQ students are rallying on the campuses of Cedarville University, Hope College, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, and more.  The Wheaton LGBTQ website states, “We do not believe there is anything wrong with being gay.  We don’t just believe otherwise, we live happily, and even faithfully, otherwise.”

The Cedarville group concurs, “Most of us still identify as Christian and are joined in our belief that God made us gay and that being gay is not a sin.  Instead of a burden or a struggle, we see our and everyone’s sexuality as a gift.”

Once again, I take issue with God “making people to be homosexual.”  Does a loving God create a person who can’t “fit” together with another to procreate and bring new life into the world?  Does a loving God sit in heaven and laugh when homosexual behavior produces STDs, anal cancer, and HIV/AIDS?

Johnston is correct.  “To affirm homosexuality and transgenderism takes some major Scripture twisting.”  Evangelical colleges and universities would have to change basic tenets of the Christian faith in order to embrace LGBTQ theology.  Johnston gives three examples:

  • Humanity is created male and female in the image of God.
  • God established marriage to bring into union a husband and wife and as the foundation for procreation and family.
  • The metaphor of husband and wife is the central biblical image that illustrates God’s deep passion for His people and Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church.

To affirm homosexual or transgender behavior is to ignore 5000 years of Judeo-Christian foundational teaching.  More, as Johnston states, it assaults the core features of what it means to be human.

Doubting God’s Word was the first — and still most troublesome — sin.  It ruins relationships, first with God and then with others.  God will not have us doubt His Word.  Tweak it.  Distort it.  But, He would have us use His Word to changes hearts and minds.  To treat even those who doubt His Word with kindness.

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Thomas J. Vilsack is the former governor of Iowa.  My governor.  He drifted away from Iowa in a bubble of political correctness to land in the chair of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Vilsack, apparently still in the bubble, is pushing for an intense brand of homosexual sensitivity training.  The Washington Times (6-19-2011) reports that this training would include a discussion that compares “heterosexism” to racism.  People who view marriage as being between only one man and one woman are guilty of “heterosexism.”

The “push for the training” is coming from Vilsack.  Why?  Does he have too much time on his hands?  Is there not enough work to be done with farm service agencies?  Food and nutrition?  The forest service?  Rural development?  Food safety and inspection?   What does agriculture have to do with homosexual sensitivity training?

Vilsack has launched a department-wide “cultural transformation” that includes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Special Emphasis Program.  It appears that this program goes far beyond any training now being done by the Pentagon.  The USDA’s program is called “groundbreaking [and a] model for other agencies.”  It “delves more into gay issues and terminology.  It also justifies pro-homosexual political positions.”

Rowan Scarborough, writing for The Washington Times, explains that if the Obama administration accepts this kind of homosexual sensitivity training “it could mean more sessions for military service members already undergoing gay-sensitivity indoctrination.  Critics fear additional gay-oriented training would add an unnecessary burden for combat troops and encourage some to leave.”

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, has long opposed the repeal of the military’s ban on acknowledged gays.  She told the Washington Times, “There are disturbing implications for national defense in the USDA’s development of  a ‘groundbreaking’ training program that is to become a model for other federal agencies.”  She notes that “thousands of experienced troops, starting with chaplains and people of faith who do not support LGBT ideology and activism” would be driven out of the military.

Vilsack’s bubble of political correctness will burst.  Of that I am sure.  But, before that happens, I wonder.  How many people and institutions — including the family — will his “cultural transformation” affect?

Why is it more important for the USDA to be a leader in gender-identity diversity training than growing food to feed the world?

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In my last post, I explained a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The CDC is giving a renewable grant to GLSEN, an activist organization that promotes the gay and lesbian lifestyle.  The gay and lesbian lifestyle is proven to be a high risk behavior and is harmful to people emotionally and physically.  Research the statistics for yourself.

The very unnatural practice of homosexuality (sodomy) causes infections; STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes; hepatitus A and B, anal cancer, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

So, why would an organization that exists to control diseases want to partner with an organization that promotes them?

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GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) has been awarded an annually renewable grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  This will allow GLSEN to “partner with 20 targeted school districts across the country” and to reach “14,500 school personnel and 4 million students.”

So, at taxpayer expense, homosexual activism may be coming to a school near me… or you.

How will GLSEN use the grant money (up to $285,000 per year)?  It plans to start “internal Implementation Teams” and training programs based on their Safe Space Kit.  Here’s a “quick review” offered by Candi Cushman (CitizenLink 6-23-11).  The Kit:

  • Promotes GLSEN’s controversial book list for schools
  • Encourages teachers to display homosexual-themed materials from “LGBT organizations” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender).
  • Recommends that schools “celebrate LGBT events” and incorporate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender themes into curriculum and school literature.  “Whenever possible,” the guide tells educators to give examples of “same-sex couples” and “LBGT parents.”
  • Gives teachers an “LGBT-Inclusive School Checklist” to see if their school has a “gender-neutral dress code” and “gender-neutral” bathrooms.

Cushman explains that GLSEN wants educators to avoid using words like “husband,” “wife,” or gender-specific pronouns in the classroom.  The Kit includes a vocabulary sheet that includes “zie” rather than “he” or “she” and “hir” rather than “him” or “her.”

Is GLSEN’s goal to render meaningless the concept of “male?”  “Female?”  Traditional marriage?  Basic English pronouns?

This doesn’t have to happen.  GLSEN doesn’t have to prevail.  Why?  Because God says that children are entrusted to their parents.  Parents have both the right and obligation to raise sons and daughters in a moral, healthy, and God-pleasing way.  The homosexual lifestyle brings nothing good.  Right.  Or true.  It is empty self-gratification.  It brings confusion.  Heartbreak.  Disease.  Hopelessness.  Separation from God.   A parent’s duty is to lead sons and daughters away from danger.  And, if a son or daughter is tempted into harm’s way, a parent is to rescue.  Love unconditionally.  Patiently re-connect to God’s Word for male and female.  Exodus International is one of several ministries helping parents do just that.

Parents, not the government, are to raise children.  The government may express controversial opinions and even fund those opinions with taxpayer money.  But, parents still have a voice.  They must use that voice.  Be a voice of reason.  Unite voices.   And, if their voice is not heard, they need to seek other school choices if possible.

Resources for parents are offered from Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, The American Family Association, Vision Forum, and The Alliance Defense Fund.

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