Monday, July 21, 2014

Church: Relevant or Relevant?

The loss of interest in attending church, especially among young people, has a variety of causes.  One of the causes is “relevance.”

But the term “relevance” can have a wide variety of meanings in the context of connecting church with people.  Here is a list of possible meanings.

“Relevance” as applied to the church – listed in order of usefulness in accurately and persuasively presenting the Biblical message:

  1. World view-centered content:  Messages and teachings of the church containing timely real life examples, situations, and people outside the church that provide a meaningful backdrop for presenting or contrasting a Biblical world view.  These examples may include other world religions and ideologies, government policies, economics, wars, cultural oddities and snafu’s and other timely topics.  This approach offers numerous opportunities for tying in news and current events into virtually any Biblical teaching.
  2. Personal needs-centered content:  This form of relevance is more ego-centric, or self centered and deals with the personal needs and infirmities of the congregation.   This is inward focused relevance compared to the outward focused relevance of 1, above.
  3. Pop culture style: Pop culture in the form of pop music (rock, rap, hip hop – with feel good Christian-sounding lyrics) and casual “pop” attire, in a sterile, modern setting, is another, albeit negative, form of relevance.  This is thought to be necessary by many churches to attract the younger un-churched.
  4. Pop culture content:  The content of the messages and teachings are in accord with the popular secular mood swings of the day, most often including acceptance of homosexuality as normal, the “right” of abortion, the normalcy of gay marriage, and the idea that every religion is an ok path to God, with “god” being whatever you want to believe him, her, or it to be.

The above definitions of church relevance degrade from the most mature and Biblical (1. World View-centered content) to the least mature and Biblical (4. Pop culture content). 

Personal needs-centered content (#2) is appropriate as a part of most services, but should not dominate the messages and teachings.  But it often does as I have experienced in my church attendance.

The reasons people of all ages stop going to church begins and ends in Relevance definition number 1, “World view-centered content” is rarely offered.  The Gospel message is lost without it.  It is the back drop necessary to provide context to the gospel message.  As the old saying goes, “a text without a context is a pretext.”  Translated:  The gospel message is a meaningless pretext without the context of timely, significant current events and cultural anomalies required to grab our attention and to provide a context.  The Bible did it.  Why don’t pastors?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I may be an odd duck…

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I may just be an odd duck.  I may be an odd duck with odd expectations of the messages and prayers during typical church services.

Over the previous week there have been several world-shaking events taking place and continuing.

Israel, the home of persecuted Jews, the cradle of Christianity and our best ally in the Middle East has been pummeled with hundreds of rockets from Muslim Gaza and is in a fight for its survival as a nation and as a people.  There are demonstrations around the world by Muslims who wish the elimination of Israel and who profess their hatred of Jews.

Russia shot down a Malaysian aircraft over Eastern Ukraine as part of its war of division among the Ukrainians.  Hundreds of lives were lost.

Central American cartels and governments are encouraging families to be split up by sending their children to the United States for an imagined “better life”.  This “better life” creates danger, uncertainty and fear for the children, encourages violation of our laws, creates havoc at our borders, and drains our own limited resources.

Every day, churches are burned, Christian families are martyred and Muslim converts to Christianity are killed – by Muslims.

The church service I attended today did not have one prayer, not one mention in the church bulletin, not one word in the sermon about any of the people impacted or terrible situations going on in the world today.  This odd duck found this to be strange.

So this odd duck felt a need to perform a reality check, thinking that today might possibly be “ignore the World Sunday” on the church calendar.

Odd duck called several friends who he knew attended several different churches in the area.  Here are the results:

Friend one:  His church did not say one peep about any of the above events, either.  Wow, I thought to myself.  Maybe there is such a thing as “ignore the World Sunday” on the church calendar.

Friend two:  Her church included a brief mention of a couple of these events during their corporate prayer time.

Friend three:  His church also mentioned these events in their prayer time.  But he explained that they don’t want to scare people away by dwelling too long on what is going on in the world from a Christian perspective.

All three of the responses to my odd duck survey confirmed that I am indeed an odd duck in my expectations for church services.  I confirmed that while today may not be a total and absolute “ignore the World Sunday” on the church calendar, it appears to be a quasi ignore-the-World-Sunday.

The troubling thing to this odd duck is that most Sundays in church seem to be pretty much the same way.  Ignore what is going on in the world.  Ignore the impact on and influence of Christianity in the world.  Ignore the impact and potential impact of Christians in the world.  Ignore the mention of the will of God in world affairs.  Ignore trying to express the will of God for the world in our prayers and our messages.  The huge majority of all messages appear to be focused inward, focused on ourselves as if we all require repetitious self-gratifying, narcissistic messages.

I do not know the extent to which the denominations of these various churches require strict adherence to their stock topics and scripts. But it seems odd that there is no provision for deviation from the stock topics when current events would warrant.  And worse, if there is latitude given for deviation from the script or topic why pastors do not take advantage of those situations to create an impactful relevance to their Biblical message.  Why create an imaginary made up “hook” or attention grabber at the beginning of the message when real life hooks are all around us that will and do impact us in real and significant ways.

Ahh, but odd duck, we don’t want to talk “politics” during the service.  News flash!  All of life is politics: The tension between personal autonomy and larger social forces.  All of the Bible is about politics.  The backdrop for the Gospel message was all about world events and politics of the day.   If the Bible limited itself to the topics the church limits itself today, its shelf life would have been no longer than that of a dime store novel. 

To this odd duck, the repetition of the message of the Gospel Sunday after Sunday loses its impact and becomes mundane when its context and relevance to current events and the world’s challenges to Christianity are ignored.

Yours truly,

Odd duck.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coincidence that Putin informed Obama of downed plane during phone call about US sanctions?

Here is an interesting and possible scenario concerning the motivation for firing on the Malaysian aircraft that addresses the question:

Was the downing of the passenger plane a random error of judgment by Russian separatists or a premeditated, deliberate act by Russia?

First, the background facts:

At Putin's request, Putin and Obama arranged to be on the phone to discuss US sanctions against Russia relating to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. – FACT   http://www.ibtimes.com/mh17-crash-obama-putin-discuss-malaysia-airlines-plane-crash-phone-call-over-ukraine-1631764  It can be assumed that Putin established the timing of the call.

During the phone conversation, Putin expressed his displeasure with US sanctions on Russia (the Russian elite).  The final words of Putin during that phone conversation informed Obama that a Malaysian passenger plane crashed over Ukraine. - FACT   http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/22688

US and Ukraine intelligence reveal that Russian” advisors” fired the missiles that downed the plane.   FACT  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/18/smoking-gun-intercepted-calls-point-finger-in-jet-downing-at-russian/

Putin is seeking ways to retaliate against the US for US sanctions against Russia – FACT        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/18/putin-set-to-retaliate-against-obama-by-trashing-iran-deal.html

Putin has expressed his revulsion toward homosexulaity in Russia by saying Russia must cleanse itself of homosexuality – FACT   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/putin-russia-must-cleanse-itself-of-homosexuality/

Aids is known to have initially spread through the human population through homosexual behavior and continues to be spread primarily through that behavior - FACT.  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/epidemic-1-2-of-gay-men-will-have-hiv-by-age-50-if-current-rates-continue-w  and HERE.

As many as 100 people heading to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne were on the doomed flight -  FACT   http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/18/aids-community-mourns-as-leading-experts-feared-killed-in-downed-plane/

It is likely that the Ground to Air Missile System used to take down the Malaysian plane was removed back to Russia – FACT   http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/19/malaysia-air-crash-missile-launcher-used-to-down-jet-likely-back-in-russia-us/

Based on the above 8 sets of facts, the following represents a reasonable scenario:

The shoot-down by Russian “advisors” in eastern Ukraine was a planned action, not an accident.  It served two purposes which could not be passed up: 

1) It was timed to impress Obama during Putin's phone call to him. The shoot-down demonstrated to Obama that any further sanctions, or even persistence of existing sanctions by the US on Russia will result in Russia renewing or reinvigorating its support of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and perhaps actions equal to the downing of the Malaysian aircraft, or worse.  This whole episode is a pretext in the context of Russia’s natural predisposition to support Iran against the West.

2) It served Russia’s anti-homosexual agenda as a bonus.

Or was the missile firing at that particular plane at that particular moment merely just an unfortunate accident?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The US in 2050: Would we want to live here?

35 years from now, few people over the age of 50 today will exist.  Thirty somethings today will be 65.  Teenagers will be in their 50’s.  Newborns in their 30’s.

90% of kids today spend  more than 70% of their waking hours in public schools and public and private universities being indoctrinated in liberal and Godless ideologies.  Morality will become more and more “relative”, e.g. “situational.”  For example, can we kill others?  Sure, if it benefits society (which can be very problematic.)  So, abortions and birth control will be the norm, and euthanasia will flourish for the elderly and sickly.  The normalization of homosexual relationships will further erode birthrates.  Birth rates among native born Americans will plummet.  A rapid change in cultural “norms” will stress cultural transition and relations. 

Immigration standards will be relaxed and amnesty will be granted without requiring any significant indoctrination into American history, culture or government.  Not just the great numbers of immigrants, but their lack of education, their attitudes and motivation will overwhelm our service systems and financial capacity.  Government handouts will become a greater motivation to immigrate than work.  Assimilation will be neither desired nor encouraged among the newcomers.    See “Baby Democrats” HERE.

Today’s minorities - Latinos, blacks, Muslims – will become the majority.  Whites, Christians, western Europeans will become the minority.

The Judeo-Christian underpinnings that served our nations founding and its 200 years of prosperity and civil behavior will be long forgotten, erased from our history books and our collective memories.

If political correctness continues on its current track, be careful about expressing yourself.  Do you have a conservative view of economics, government, religion, or life in general than the progressive “mainstream?”  Do you encourage or promote Judeo-Christian moral standards? If so, gird yourself for persecution.  You will be subject to being marginalized in our culture in a number of ways:  Loss of job, loss of reputation, fines, penalties, and imprisonment.  Being labeled “bigot” and “intolerant” will be mild compared to the new version of “tolerance” promoted in 2050 America.  We are seeing the beginnings of this today.  See the new book “God less America.”

Today the practical policies of Republicans and Democrats are barely distinguishable (despite the rhetoric), only by degrees:  Degrees of excessive taxation, regulation, and government largess to special interests.  Most of our working age population will lose most of their incentive to work.  We will be conditioned to game the system.  National productivity will plummet.  Work ethic?  What’s that?

By 2050 we will rival 3rd world nations economically, or, at best, we will mirror today’s struggling Eurozone nations.  In 35 years (if we survive that long as a nation) we will have given away the government farm, so to speak.  We will not only lose much of our identity as a nation, but our government will submit itself to international control – the “one world” government that many of our leaders have promoted since the 50’s and which most are promoting today, either consciously or unconsciously.  The vested financial interests of too many of our leaders lie outside of our nation.  Our national borders will be no more than the boundaries of taxation and census zones.  Promoting nationalism or national autonomy will be contrary to federal policy. 

We will, by 2050, have gone through several severe austerity programs in the manner of recent Greece and Italy fiascos.  As a consequence of having to reduce government entitlements (in this case excessive government largess that bankrupted our nation), we will see periods of sustained urban rioting.  There may be periods when political factions call up militias, where states call up the national guard, where our military is called upon to suppress an angry citizenry, or  where rogue units of our military attempt to thwart an out of control authoritarian government.

This chaos is likely to result in some regional balkanization (northeast/Midwest/south/north central/far west) or rural regions vs. urbanized zones.  There may be some point where either the “haves/have nots” or the “patriots*/progressives*” become polarized to the point of creating their own mini-states or enclaves, formal or informal.  The “have nots” are likely to be the aggressors against the “haves.”  The “patriots” will be subject to legal sanctions by the “progressives” to the point of patriot rebellions of various sorts, a la the Boston Tea Party of old.

Living in the US in 2050 will be like living in Rome in the early 400’s.  See HERE.

Dinesh D’Souza’s movie “America” asks us to imagine the world without her.  Now we can imagine an America without the America as we knew her.

_____________________

*Patriots:  Comprised of fiscal and social conservatives, devout Christians and Jews, most libertarians, most hard workers and entrepreneurs, and those who feel strongly about preserving the US Constitution.

*Progressives:  Comprised of liberals, Communists, hippie types, Muslims, most of academia, most uneducated, and those who rely on the government to maintain their style of living (either employees or welfare recipients.)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Federal government doled out millions to churches as part of plan for invasion of illegals

Between Dec 2010 and Nov 2013, the Catholic Charities Diocese of Galveston received $15,549,078 in federal grants from Health & Human Services for “Unaccompanied Alien Children Project” with a program description of “Refugee and Entry Assistance.” -

See more HERE: http://www.libertynews.com/2014/07/exclusive-hhs-bankrolled-catholic-and-baptist-church-from-2010-to-2013-to-prepare-for-obamas-2014-invasion/?Ref_ID=27061#sthash.MJR92Hwj.dpuf

The Catholic Church in the US (and apparently some Baptist churches) seem to be in the government’s pocket almost as much as the German Church of the 30’s.

This is just more evidence that we have an impeachment-worthy president leading the revolution against America.  Even worse, we likely have this destructive mindset rampant throughout the leadership of many agencies of the Federal Government.  I am not confident that a minor “housecleaning” will fix this.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Costco Squelches Free Speech…

Time to look for alternative places to save a buck…

  • Sam’s Club
  • BJ’s
  • Wal-Mart
  • Amazon
  • Harbor Freight

Any place but Costco.

Costco has declared war on conservatives and patriots.  They ordered the removal of all copies of Dinesh D’Souza’s book,  “America:  Imagine the World Without Her”  from their stores.  This book just happens to be Amazon’s #1 best seller in the category of “political commentary and opinion.”

Read more about this HERE.

Costco is a big fan of Obama.  A big contributor.  Costco, like a majority of dumbed down Americans, cares more about personality and “cool” than they do about their country and the things that made us a good and great nation.

Costco declared war against free speech because they admire Obama so much.  They have done what Obama, deep down, would love to do:  Eliminate the Constitution and eradicate diverse opinion.  For a government hell bent on promoting diversity including Islam, Sharia, Muslim Brotherhood, gays, transgenders, communists, and abortionist, this pair, Costco and Obama, sure seem to be easily offended by diversity they disagree with.

I need to stop typing now so I don’t belch all over my keyboard.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why US Iraq and Middle East Policy will FAIL…

We keep hearing from “experts” in the State Department and Obama himself that Maliki's failure to be “inclusive” of all Islamic sects motivates the so-called “radical” opposition such as ISIS.  They believe that much of the popular support ISIS enjoys would evaporate if only the Iraqi government would include all Islamic sects into their elusive democracy.  So we are now pressuring Maliki to include all Islamic sects, including the ill-named “radicals” into equal partnership in governing a Pollyanna-esque Iraq.

There are a number of problems with this scenario.  Where to start.

First is the delusion of most leaders within the US administration, both Obama’s and Bush’s, that Islam is, overall, a “religion of peace.”  Only when Islam is subdued is it a religion of peace.  It has been subdued by western powers during brief periods of its existence – most recently for several decades prior to the 1960’s.  When it is in its ascendency, as is currently the case, it is not feeling subdued.  It is expansionist.  It is following the aggressive pattern of intimidation and conquest that has been its staple from its Muhammadan inception in 630 AD.

Those our administration and media call “radicals” are NOT radicals.  They are Islamic.  They are not radical relative to orthodox Islam.  They are doing as Islam teaches.

Second, look at the inclusiveness in Egypt that Obama attempted to impose on the Egyptian government with the overthow of Mubarak.  The Egyptian population and military painfully discovered that the Muslim Brotherhood was not civil enough to be included in their government and has since declared it a “terror organization.”

Now Obama and his other defenders of orthodox Islam are attempting the same game in Iraq:  Forcing the Maliki government to include Islamic purists into a governing partnership.  What we fail to recognized is that the world is in a period of orthodox Islamic resurgence where significant momentum has been established within the Islamic sphere of influence to impose orthodox Islam on, first, its own populations, and next, on the rest of us.  Honest US Muslim experts quote surveys that confirm that the overwhelming majority of Muslims support the orthodox Islamic agenda.  And most of those are NOT intimidated into that support and belief.  It is ingrained in their culture and religion.  So much for the myth of “moderate Muslims.”  They appear moderate when the situation requires.  But their heart is invested in the Islamic culture, history, and orthodox doctrine.

It is folly for us to attempt to instruct Muslims in nations that are 99% Muslim such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and a dozen others in the Middle East and around the world to ignore and cast off the mandates of their own religion.  What mandates, you ask?  Mandates to do exactly what the so-called “radical Muslims” are doing:  Fight against any behaviors that deviate from orthodox Islam.  Any watering down of Islam such as the formation of a secular-tolerant government is un-Islamic and should not be tolerated according to orthodox Islamic doctrine.  This intolerance is imposed against both the less orthodox Muslim as well as non-Muslim.  Who are we to tell Muslims what their faith teaches or should teach?  That is our foolishness. 

Finally, our foolish quest for democracy in Islamic nations is a form of US self-deception and wishful thinking.  Democracy is a tool of the majority to control the minority.  So in practice in certain situations it can be a fascist form of government.  What makes a policy hell bent on encouraging democracy even worse is promoting it in a nation that will only use it to empower a governing system of the majority whose religious ideology, Islam, requires the elimination or subjugation of the minority that does not believe in the same orthodox Islam that the governing powers do.  That is exactly what will happen in Islamic nations where we ignorantly promote a democracy.

Our own blood and treasure should have no part in being spent on this fools errand.  Such policies will only waste our resources and will fail.

Our first step to survival will be to acknowledge the danger and evil of Islam – all of it.  Our foreign and domestic policies will not succeed until we recognize this fact.  Once we come to this conclusion, we will begin a long overdue turn-around in achieving respect in the world from where respect is due:  From both our allies and our enemies.  Yes, we will always have enemies.  That is a fact of life.  Even if we give up everything and anything we believe in and are seen as inert, powerless and irrelevant, we will still have enemies because we will not believe as they do.

Our foreign policy is unrealistic and doomed to fail because we believe the other half of the world can be “just like us.”   They are not.  Face it.  Admit it.  And defend ourselves against them instead of wasting our resources on trying to change them.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Obama demands compromise with the devil…

Obama is once again demonstrating his true colors, this time applied to Iraq.  He chastises Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for not compromising with the most vicious sect of Islam, the Sunni al Qaeda who are imposing middle ages sharia on their conquered territories.  This is a position of most leftists with another illustration of this given via a current Slate article HERE.

So, Obama insists that another nation compromise with the devil in the same manner he wishes the rest of us here, especially  conservatives, sacrifice our values at the alter of big brother government and fascist Islam.  These two – big government and fascist Islam - happen to be allies of convenience at the moment.

Here is Barack’s money quote:

"This should be a wake-up call; Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people in order to bring the country together," he said.

What does “compromise” mean in this context?  It means giving into the most orthodox and radical doctrines and culture of 6th century Islam – including the cutting off of fingers, arms, legs and heads as the preferred form of justice.  It means tolerating nothing but strict Islamic doctrine and severely punishing those who think or act otherwise.  This is the “compromise” demanded by Obama.

Obama believes that the “Iraqi people” want this – this “compromise.”  Well, perhaps they do.  And if they do, they will get what they wish for.  And therefore, what happens next is none of our business.

Obama’s demand for compromise by the Iraqi government is  instructive for us in the US.  He wants everyone else to compromise while he imposes his socialist, and ultimately, Islamic-inspired civilization.  He wants “tolerance” and “compromise” to be a one-way street.  A one-way tolerance.  Every one else is wrong except him.  No one else’s value system is worth even discussing.  Just compromise.

We ought to have our collective heads examined if we send anyone except the Obama Administration, including Mr. Hussein himself in person, to straighten things out in Iraq at this point.  Which reminds me of my new favorite quote made famous by the most incompetent Secretary of State this nation ever had, that we all should invoke concerning Iraq:

“What difference, at this point, does it really make?”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gov. Perry: Homosexuality can be controlled just like alcoholism…

And he has it right:

From the Dallas News:

Perry, a former and potential future GOP presidential candidate, was then asked whether he believed that homosexuality was a disorder.

The newspaper said the governor responded that “whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that.”

“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way,” he said.

Our culture currently believes that alcoholism, a genetic predisposition among a segment of our population, is not good for society.  Consequently, our culture encourages treatment to curtail the alcoholic's use of alcohol.

On the other hand, our culture currently believes that homosexuality, also a genetic predisposition among a segment of our population, is NOT harmful to society.  Consequently, our culture DIScourages treatment to curtail active homosexual behavior.  In fact, our culture is so manipulated by the aggressive homosexual special interests and sympathizers in this country, that it is a crime to call homosexuality a destructive behavior that adversely affects our society.

This protection of evil is the equivalent of encouraging the alcoholics of America to continue drinking – being blind to the consequences to society.

Our society has declined (not “progressed” as “progressives” would like us to believe) to the point of not realizing or understanding the harm rampant and overt homosexuality will have on our civilization.  We cannot see beyond the next episode of the many TV shows normalizing homosexual lifestyles.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Islamic terror groups are merely the military arm of Islam…

Ever wonder why, when there is a terror attack against Christians, Jews, or the West generally, we never hear widespread condemnation from the  Muslim community against these atrocities – and instead we see photos of Muslims rejoicing in the streets?   Despite these elephants in the room,  the majority of Americans continue to naively believe that Islam is a “religion of peace” hijacked by a few radicals.  Many say that Islam is just another religion to be respected.

If that is true, that Islam is just another religion to be respected, then why are 130 of the 149 groups listed as “terrorist groups” (see HERE) are self-identified as Islamic or populated by Muslims?  Most of the balance of these groups are Communist; fewer than a handful are identified with all other world religions.  So even liberals and progressives, many of whom have Communist leanings and tend toward violence (remember Bill Ayers younger days?), are outnumbered by 10 to 1 by Muslims terror groups.

Believe it – acknowledge it.  The well known Islamic terror groups such as Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Taliban, and World Uygur Youth Congress, among dozens of other Islamic terrorist groups are simply the military arm of Islam.

It is true that most Muslims are NOT terrorists.  That does not mean that they do not openly or privately identify with and support terrorist causes.  They do.  If they did not agree to some degree with the terror that the most visible forces within Islam promote, why would they continue to identify themselves as Muslim?  Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, and Christian terrorists are extremely rare.  Muslim terrorists are legion – a predominant feature of Islam.  What should that tell us?

Our government and media incessantly promote excuses for Islamic terror:  poverty, oppression, US aggression, etc. etc.  Have they ever considered the fact that their “prophet”, their “holy books” and the historic orthodox Islamic doctrine teach and promote this terror?  Does it matter that a significant number of Islamic terrorists are well-educated and from prosperous families?

The evil is Islam itself.  The “small minority of terrorists” are encouraged and supported by the majority of Muslims.  They are the military arm of Islam.  The majority of Muslims support them.  Most embrace intolerance, oppression and terror because that is what their “religion”, their evil ideology, clearly teaches and promotes – from the days of Muhammad to the present.