Change And The Books You Read


I got to thinking about our reading habits and decided to put up a poll on Spec Faith to learn where readers are getting their books these days. The thing is, I really want to know more. I want to know how much readers think their book-buying habits have changed and what has affected them most.

Hence, I decided a poll here is in order too. It’s not a scientific study or anything, but it’s representative — especially so if a good number of people participate. Please feel free to share this post liberally. I’ll keep the poll open for a month, as I’m doing at Spec Faith. You can also select up to three options if they apply.

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Published in: on April 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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God And The Moral Standard


I’ve said plenty about Moral Judgments in the earlier posts here, here, and here, but one more thing jumps out at me. Anyone who believes truth is relative is on thin ice when it comes to God. In fact, I’d venture to say, a relativist doesn’t really believe in God. Not a sovereign God, anyway. Not a good God. Not a God who says what He means and means what He says.

Relativism requires each person to determine what’s right and wrong, good and bad, for his own circumstances, within his own worldview. Hence, God is not Himself an absolute standard. His ways aren’t necessarily the right ways, since any person might decide “right” is something altogether other than what God has said is right.

In that vein, God can’t be sovereign. He isn’t ruling over others; they are the master of their own view of right and wrong, their own judge, their own determiner and interpreter of their lives.

God also can’t be good because Person A might say God is responsible for war and violence and hatred down through the centuries, and this would be true for him. Person B might say God is an impersonal force, a prime mover, and nothing more, and this would be true for him. Person C might say God is the great whole, of which each person is a part, and this would be true for him. Consequently, God becomes the author of hate, an amoral force, and an impersonal other. But Good? Not if relativism is true. God could only be good for those whose truth is that God is good. For all the others in the world who believe something different, then God is not good.

Finally, God would not be a keeper of His promises. His Word would not be settled in heaven, as Scripture says, nor would His word endure forever.

For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25)

How, then, could we say God is love? He might not be tomorrow. How could we say He forgives? Maybe five years from now, He’ll decide He wants to hold the forgiven accountable after all. How could we say He’s holy or unchanging or all powerful or merciful or true? None of those things are reliable unless God is Himself absolute — the firm and fixed, unmoving standard.

In short, the postmoderns who claim to be Christians are either rejecting God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and in the world He created, or they are denying their own relativistic beliefs when it comes to God. There can not be an absolute Sovereign and relative truth. The truth about the absolute Sovereign would have to be relative, too, and then how would you know He was absolute?

To be true to relativism, you pretty much have to conclude, we know nothing for certain. And that’s precisely where much of the world is headed. It’s a nihilism that allows for a hedonistic lifestyle and a clear conscience. It doesn’t, however, remove guilt or final judgment because the relativist will one day face the absolute truth of his own death.

I don’t think we can wait to tell people that relativism isn’t shaky ground — it’s thin ice!

Published in: on April 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm  Comments Off on God And The Moral Standard  
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Determining Right And Wrong


In this short series about moral judgments, I concluded in the first post that we all make them and in the second that there needs to be a standard by which to make them besides what do I like?

Thankfully, such a standard already exists, so we don’t have to invent the wheel. We do have to accept it, however, and we do have to learn to use it correctly.

If you’ve hung around A Christian Worldview of Fiction for any amount of time, you already know what I’m about to say — the standard by which we should make moral judgments is the Word of God.

Think about it for a moment. If there is a standard of right that is more than a politically correct idea, it’s right whether or not the majority of people believe it to be so. It’s the flat earth/round earth debate. How ridiculous it would be to take a vote on that subject. No matter how many people down through the centuries may have stated emphatically that the earth was flat, it would still be round.

There is a standard of truth, a level of fact, a moral right which is not up for grabs. Green is green and it’s not going to be orange. Two plus five is seven and it isn’t going to be nine. God is love and He never will be hate. And Man is to obey God, never ignore Him.

In other words, there are certain unshakable absolutes in the world. God’s Word communicates just such unshakable absolutes. But of course we have to believe that the Bible is what it says it is.

Perhaps most pertinent to this discussion, the Bible says it is inspired — breathed — by God. In other words, God chose to communicate with us in a clear and relevant way — through language. He did so before Christ came, sometimes speaking directly to people like Abraham and Gideon and Samuel and Elijah. Sometimes He spoke through dreams to people like Joseph and Daniel. Other times He spoke through a prophet like Ezekiel or Jonah or Jeremiah.

Then He sent Jesus, the Living Word. His language was His life as well as His stories and sermons. His was the whole package. But for us who live all these years later, we have the words of God to the men and women of God which He preserved for us.

But here’s the point. What God chose to communicate is one of those absolutes. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like and what we dislike from all He’s said, Genesis through Revelation.

When I was growing up, I didn’t like those “rod of correction” verses that informed my parents about good discipline. When I was a young adult, I didn’t like the “to die is gain” verses that reminded me that this world is not my home. Regardless of my attitude toward these things and many others, they remain true. They remain God’s standard.

Consequently, I don’t get to say, Love God — check; love my enemy — NO WAY!

I am not the authority passing judgment on the rightness of God’s moral standard. That is completely backwards. Rather God’s moral standard reveals my heart and shows me how far short I fall from His Holiness.

Which is why I need a Savior.

Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm  Comments (4)  
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If I Like It, Then It’s Good


In thinking about Moral Judgments yesterday, I ended with this:

The question, then, isn’t should we make moral judgments. We do — that’s a simple fact. The question ought to be, on what should we base our judgments? And that will take a bit more thought.

When I taught seventh and eighth graders, I soon learned that a good number of the boys students found it amusing to look for double entendres, particularly ones with a possible sexual slant. I decided early on that I could either learn all the latest slang and work to avoid any words that might carry sexual innuendo, or I could teach my students to employ a little self discipline. I opted for the latter.

The problem I came up against was that some bright kids astutely said, in essence, But why shouldn’t we laugh? It’s funny. They were right, of course. Suggestive interpretation can be funny. Dirty jokes can be funny too.

So, I asked, is that the standard we use to determine what we listen to — if it makes us laugh?

It’s the question we should all be asking today. Is the standard we use to determine what we read, watch on TV, listen to on our iPods, where we go, who we hang with, how we spend our time, what Internet sites we visit nothing more than that it entertains us? Is the highest good, our feelings of pleasure — happiness, mirth, satisfaction, gratification, amusement?

You’d think so, judging by what we talk about and how we spend our time. But most of us realize there are more important things than what pleases us — the good of our family, for instance, or for Christians, doing what God wants us to do. In public schools here in California, the overriding principle students are to use as a guide for their behavior is, Do no one harm.

But all those and the countless other standards used in the business world, in government, in the legal system, in the marketplace, offer no definition for “good” or for “what God wants” or “harm.”

Is it harm to make fun of someone? If so, then why do we allow Saturday Night Live to stay on TV? Is it “good” for someone to be mocked for his lack of singing ability on national TV? Is it “what God wants” when we write a book that says there is no hell?

How are we to make such judgments?

We could go with what pleases us. Saturday Night Live is a funny show, so whatever they joke about is just fine.

We could say, A person gets what he’s asking for, so the clowns who try out for talent shows when they have no talent, deserve to get hammered. But does that mean someone cheering for the Giants in Dodger Stadium is asking to get hammered?

We could say, What we think is right, is what God wants us to do. So when people like President Obama support fetal stem cell research because they believe as a result, many, many people will be cured of diseases, are they doing what God wants because they believe in their cause?

Clearly, every issue has two sides. Who’s to say what’s right? Person A says pornography hurts a person and tears apart marriages. Person B says it’s an innocent way of releasing sexual tension.

Person A says abortion kills babies. Person B says abortion saves children from lives of abuse and neglect.

Person A says bullying is part of growing up and every kid gets teased. Person B says bullying destroys self-esteem and pushes victims toward retaliation of one kind or the other.

On and on, round and round. Is it true that we should just go with what the majority of people believe to be right? Do we take a vote? Today it’s wrong to throw Jews into concentration camps, but tomorrow, if we have enough votes, we can decide that good means Jews will be arrested and jailed?

Is there no fixed standard? No way to know what is right and what is wrong for all time? Or are we left to our whims or to the trends of society fashioned by the best propaganda money can buy?

One of the telling facts that came out of President Obama’s statements last month about the Supreme Court’s deliberations about the Constitutionality of the health care law was that he considered many people in favor of the law to be a reason it should stand and not be struck down. As if popularity outweighed the law he has sworn to uphold.

But President Obama is a man of the times. How does he define good? It would seem he does so by what he believes to be good.

Essentially, our society has come down to this: every person does what is right in his own eyes, and if he’s doing something the law says is illegal, he moves with greater caution so he doesn’t get caught.

There ought to be a better way to determine what is right and wrong. And there is.

Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm  Comments (7)  
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Moral Judgments


Everyone makes moral judgments, even those who say, You shouldn’t make moral judgments. That statement itself is a moral judgment. As soon as someone says, You should, or even I, we, they should … or, shouldn’t … they’ve made a moral judgment.

If the idea is that something should be better, there’s a judgment that it isn’t as good as it could be. Implied also is the existence of a standard against which the current thing is being measured.

“You shouldn’t make moral judgments,” then, is a judgment. It is not saying that the listener isn’t capable of making moral judgments, but that life would be better for all if people didn’t make moral judgments. In extreme cases, a person might mean that it is actually wrong to make such judgments.

But how can someone who doesn’t believe moral judgments are right, or that life is better without them, make such a moral judgment? The statement itself demonstrates that everyone, even those who don’t realize it about themselves, makes moral judgments.

In today’s relativistic society, the going belief is that what is true for you may not be true for me. But that truth statement is a moral judgment — an absolute declaration saying that absolute truth does not exist.

Relative thinkers want to make absolute statements to propound their beliefs, but in doing so, they disprove the relativism they say they believe.

Relativism is similar to saying, All ideas are good. Your idea. My idea. The idea someone in China has or in India or Iraq. It’s fine to respect other people’s opinions and culture. But what if our ideas conflict? Are all ideas still good?

What about the idea that not all ideas are good? Is that idea good? How can it be when it says the opposite of “all ideas are good”? The relativist says, All ideas are good for me and all ideas are not good for you. But he has made a moral judgment about my idea, limiting it in scope to accommodate his idea. In essence, he is saying his belief that all ideas are good is a notch truer than my belief that not all ideas are good. He has given a higher value to his statement.

Discussion about relativism and moral judgment can quickly take on the feel of a circular argument, but in actuality, if relativists weren’t making moral judgments, there would be no debate, no discussion, and certainly no argument.

But the fact is, everyone is making moral judgments. People who like a blog post or rate it as one star or five or anything in between are making value judgments. People commenting are making value judgments. People who stop reading part way through are making value judgments.

The question, then, isn’t should we make moral judgments. We do — that’s a simple fact. The question ought to be, on what should we base our judgments? And that will take a bit more thought.

Published in: on April 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm  Comments (7)  
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Flagrant 2


In professional basketball, a personal foul — contact with an opposing player not allowed by the rules of the game — is a violation and results in either free throws or possession of the basketball by the opposing team. A flagrant foul is a personal foul that is excessive or violent and could injure a player.

There are two levels of flagrant fouls. The first level, deemed less severe by the referees, results in a technical foul — free throws and possession of the ball by the opposing team. The flagrant 2 is the most serious, results in immediate player ejection and may also bring further suspension by the League office.

No dirty tricks, the NBA is saying. Basketball is not going to sink into violence. Players are to play by the rules, which admittedly allows some contact, but they aren’t to deliberately hurt anyone either by intentionally trying to do so or by playing so rough, that’s the inevitable consequence.

These flagrant foul rules came into the league a few years after Boston’s Kevin McHale close-lined Lakers forward Kurt Rambis and threw him on his back as he was going up for a lay-up. As I remember, McHale was called for a foul, received no technical, and was not ejected from the game.

Professional hockey used to be known more for the fights on the ice than any actual skating and scoring, but their league also took action and has done much to clean up the game so that it is growing in popularity.

Schools are beginning to call a flagrant 2 on bullies. No more purposeful, intentional, harmful bashing — physically or emotionally — of another student. The damage is too great and the repercussions are unacceptable.

The problem, however, is that the flagrant 2 is a penalty, not a prevention. Yes, in sports and perhaps in schools, the penalty may act as a deterrent. That would seem to be the case in hockey, and fewer players are being thrown on their backs these days in professional basketball.

But the flagrant 2 does not address the heart of the matter — the heart. Bullies of any stripe in any venue don’t care about the rules. They only care about not getting caught.

How else can we explain a professional football coach paying players to go out and hurt athletes on opposing teams? Rules don’t matter to guys like that, so no flagrant 2 ruling is going to change a person like that.

What will?

A heart transplant.

Chuck Colson, who died on Saturday, is proof of what a new heart can do. He was involved in the greatest political scandal of US history, and ended up serving jail time because of it. But in the midst of the finger-pointing and cover-ups, he found Christ, and the world began to see what a changed life looks like.

No, Mr. Colson didn’t turn his life around. His personal flagrant 2 didn’t set him straight or even scare him straight. He actually entered prison as a Christian, and as God so often does, He used what appeared to be the lowest point of Mr. Colson’s life to do something of greatness.

It was in prison that Mr. Colson came to understand what life was all about and what his purpose was for. A year or so after his release from jail, he founded Prison Fellowship. The change in this man’s heart began to have widespread affects, not just in the lives of the inmates who had the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ but in the Church as it came face to face with the responsibility to reach beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone to our neighbors we’d rather flag with a flagrant 2 and be done.

Mr. Colson has given the Church far more than we may realize today. I suspect his legacy will be among the great Christian thinkers. Well, it already is.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His godly ones” (Ps. 116:15).

Published in: on April 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm  Comments Off on Flagrant 2  
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It Takes Work


No one likes to talk about it when they’re starting out, but it’s true — relationships take work. Friendships, business associations, marriages, sibling or any other familial connections, neighbors, and more — if the bond is to become strong, then the people involved need to work at getting along.

Perhaps the first and most important part of this work consists of getting to know the other person.

This is no less true for Christians getting to know the God with whom we’ve entered into relationship. Yes, relationship. One of the descriptions used a generation or so ago of someone redeemed by Christ’s blood was that he had a personal relationship with Jesus. That’s accurate, though coming to Christ might best be understood as meeting God. How strong the relationship, how deep the friendship, seems to depend on what happens next.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you,” James says. But how, precisely, are we who are mortal and finite to engage the immortal and infinite? We couldn’t apart from His initiation of the relationship. For one thing, He’s revealed Himself in the world and in His word. We can go looking for Him in both.

Recently author friend Wayne Thomas Batson started a series of blog posts about knowing God. He’s making his way through the book of Matthew and one of the things he’s asking is, What do I learn about God from this passage?

It’s a great question, a great way to read Scripture, and a great way to learn more about God. Reading Wayne’s posts brought to mind a variety of ways I’ve approached Bible study. By far my best experiences have been studies without the filter of some other teacher or writer. Don’t misunderstand. I’ve done studies, and benefited from them, designed by a Bible teacher. But the ones that have impacted me most were the ones similar to what Wayne is doing.

The first one I did was when I was just starting out as a teacher. I got involved in a small group Bible study in my church, and we did a study of Romans, I think. It was unusual, to me. We had to commit to regular attendance, as I recall, and the structure of the study was to outline ahead of time the passage we’d be looking at. Outline! Fortunately I’d had a high school teacher who had been a stickler for outlining, so I didn’t shy away from it. And what I found was connection. I started seeing how one verse related to another, one thought illustrated a larger concept, how the parts all fit into the whole.

The key, though, was that we were to formulate an application based on our study, and that was to become the thing we asked the group to pray for us that week. Effective! So much so that when I went on a three-year short term mission, I ended up finding a small group willing to try the same study approach with the book of 2 Corinthians.

When I returned to the US, I initiated a Bible study with my class (I taught in a Christian school and the subject was Bible!) using a different method similar to what Wayne is doing. We studied three or four verses a week, first paraphrasing them, then answering five different questions, and finally making a personal application. The questions were (1) what do these verses teach me about God, (2) what sin do these verses show or teach me to avoid, (3) what command am I to obey, (4) what example am I to follow, (5) what promises do these verses give me to claim.

At some point, when I was having a hard time connecting with the Psalms, I decided to take the first question and write down in list form what each Psalm taught me about God.

Later there was a Bible study method a former principal had given us teachers which I found helpful, in particular as I prepared lessons for my high school Bible class.

The point is, there are lots of different ways of studying the Bible, but one thing I found to be true about them all. Well, two things. One, they took work. Two, I drew closer to God.

How can we not, if we spend significant time in Scripture?

In our relationships with other people, as we spend time with them we get to know facts about them — where they went to school, where they were born, what flavor ice cream they like, and so on. We also get to know their character — are they honest, do they gossip, are they funny. And we get to know their dreams and desires — what do they hope to do or become.

We can learn all those same things about God from what He’s told us about Himself in the Bible. Sure, He doesn’t give us His favorite color or food — probably because He likes them all equally, seeing as how He made them all — but He does tell us what He loves, what He’s passionate about, what He wants to see happen, what His character is like, what He’s done in the past, what He’s planning to do in the future.

Some things He comes right out and says (e.g., God is love) and some things He illustrates. Some things we have to deduce. (e.g., God created the universe, therefore God is creative).

The point is, God is a person, and as in any other relationship, if it is to grow, if it is to become strong, it takes work — a lifetime of work. That’s OK, because when we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and that makes it worthwhile.

Published in: on April 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm  Comments (3)  
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What Postmodernism Gets Right


The Audacious Ride for Visions, painting by Leda Luss Luyken

When I first started examining postmodernism to know how precisely that way of looking at the world differed from what I was used to, my pastor at the time, Dale Burke, said that postmodernism is no more dangerous than modernism — neither one is a Biblical worldview but neither one is all wrong either.

He was right. And yet it seems so much easier to camp on the ways that postmodernism contradicts what I believe rather than affirming the things about this way of thinking that are helpful.

First, postmodernism is essentially a way of looking at the world that stands against the ideals of modernism — things like socially progressive trends; affirming the power of the human being to create, improve, and reshape the environment; and replacing the old with the new to facilitate the advance of science and technology.

One thing that seems true of postmodernism is that science and materialism is no longer the end of all knowledge. Instead, there’s a new awareness that there is spiritual knowledge — influences that can’t be scientifically defined or measured and a world beyond the material that can’t be quantified.

This is a good thing. In some ways it’s a replication of the difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the latter being the Jewish sect that didn’t believe in supernatural intervention in the world such as angels or visions or presumably, the Holy Spirit, and certainly not the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

It was the Pharisees that could say when Paul was arrested, Wait a minute; maybe he has seen an angel.

The point is, the refusal to see beyond the material world is a huge barrier to anyone coming to Christ. How do you explain God’s existence to someone who begins the discussion believing that the only viable proofs are material in nature? It’s like saying, Show me love.

Postmodernism reintroduces the spiritual into the conversation. Granted, another part of postmodernism wants to accept all and any spiritual experience as equally valid and true, so it’s still far from a Biblical position, but nevertheless, it seems to me more Pharisees were likely to believe Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road than Sadducees who thought communication with a supernatural being an impossibility.

Something else I think postmodernism has right is validating human experience. Today there’s much more emphasis put on a person’s story, and on story in general. Telling stories as opposed to delineating facts puts the heart back into history. How people feel and how they act as a result is a holistic approach to understanding others.

Of course, postmodernism misses again by thinking that no one can understand another person’s experiences because of the limitations of language and that all experiences, even those that clash, are equally true because they are true for each person in question.

The important thing for the Christian, I believe, is to pay attention to what our culture says and to measure it by the standard of God’s word. How others in society perceive the world matters a great deal.

In many respects, someone like Rob Bell (Love Wins) or Paul Young (The Shack) is doing nothing more than mirroring the thinking of the age. Christians can pooh-pooh those ideas and scorn those books, but we had better understand why so many people listened. Two of those reasons are things postmodernism gets right — stories touch our hearts and the spiritual is real.

Those things are consistent with a Biblical worldview, and it would be wise for us to admonish and teach and evangelize by capitalizing on exactly those things.

Published in: on April 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm  Comments (3)  
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God’s Best-Kept Secret


I suppose it’s inaccurate to call it God’s secret since He put it in the Bible. I mean, if God wants to keep something about Himself secret, no one is going to pry it out of Him and no one is going to sneak behind His back and discover it.

But you’d think it was a secret, seeing as how few people seem to know and understand this basic fact — God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

People think He does. Some say He’s blood-thirsty and tyrannical. Others say He repented of His Old Testament violent streak which is why He sent Jesus. Some think He rightly takes pleasure in killing off the wicked and so they gleefully announce the doom awaiting those who scorn God’s Son.

What all these people are missing is the difference between announcing something that is true and announcing it with gladness.

I don’t suppose parents say it any more, but when I was growing up, it became quite a standard joke. Before a parent spanked his child, he’d say, This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you. Ha! all the kids thought.

My dad said that line to me once, and I asked him how he could say such a thing. He explained how he did not want to spank me, how sad it made him, but how necessary it was for me to learn to obey. So my dad was willing to take the hurt of going against his true nature, inflicting temporary pain on the children he loved and only wanted to protect.

I have no way of measuring the degree of anguish spanking caused my father, or of comparing that to the physical discomfort I felt because of the swats he gave. But I certainly understood, my dad did not delight in punishing me. Yet he gave me spankings.

Undoubtedly my parents’ approach to discipline has helped me understand God’s judgment. I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that He delighted in destroying the wicked. If He did, He would never have promised Noah that He would refrain from wiping out all living beings with another flood. Instead He would have been more apt to say, That was fun; let’s do it again!

He would never have gone to such an extent to send Jonah to Nineveh or Jeremiah to Jerusalem or Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar if He wasn’t more interested in repentance than in judgment.

If He took delight in the death of the wicked, why would He have sent His Son to provide a way of escape from the consequences of sin?

It’s a silly thing, really, to accuse God of delighting in killing off the wicked. But apparently the people of Ezekiel’s day were saying the same thing. God gave a clear answer to the charge:

“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? . . .

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.” (Ezekiel 18:21-32, emphases mine)

I can only imagine that God has been maligned by those who think He shouldn’t punish people at all — or that He shouldn’t offer grace and mercy to those people.

In other words, some judge Him to be cruel because He holds people accountable for their actions, so they deny that He does. A different group judges Him to be sentimental in offering forgiveness to the most heinous sinners, so they deny that He does.

The former pass out copies of Love Wins and the latter waves signs along with the Westboro Baptist crowd. Both obscure the truth about God: He loves the world and He will not allow sin to go unpunished. That doesn’t mean He delights in the death of those who reject Him. Instead, He wants them to repent and live. That’s the secret so many are missing.

Published in: on April 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ethics, Scandal, And Doing What’s Right In Your Own Eyes


The US federal government has been hit with a double whammy. First the GSA scandal, then the one involving the Secret Service.

I actually had to look up the General Services Administration because I’d never heard of them. How in the world could they be wasting a million dollars (the amount I heard projected for the lavish conferences they were due to hold this year) of taxpayer money and I’d never heard of them?

In researching the organization ever so briefly, I discovered this:

GSA employs about 12,000 federal workers and has an annual operating budget of roughly $26.3 billion. GSA oversees $66 billion of procurement annually.

So apparently wasting a paltry million dollars is no big thing to them.

How ironic that there’s an effort to raise taxes, nationally and in the state of California, which some of us oppose on the grounds that the money going to government isn’t being spent well.

And speaking of money not being spent well, do you think tax dollars went into procuring the prostitutes for those Secret Service and military attachés?

Lust or greed, which is the worst scandal?

The thing is, none of this should surprise us. We taught a generation of our children that they are valuable, important, and deserve all the best there is. What’s more, we reduced morality to not getting caught.

So those children grew up and conceived of ways to get what they wanted by using government and business to their own advantage, legally or illegally. Mitt Romney went into corporate raiding — legal, to be sure, but ethical? Good for the people who worked at the companies being gutted?

And we had a President who felt no compulsion about lying to the grand jury to cover up his sexual liaisons, and another candidate for the Presidency who saw no problem with using campaign funds to provide for his mistress so that he could keep her hidden.

Greed and lust.

Our athletes and movie stars are role models for lust. Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Wilt Chamberlain — these are the Lakers stars who have won championships for the city of LA, but they were also involved in sexual scandal at some point in their past. Movie and TV stars are apt to change sex partners or spouses as often as they change roles.

Greed we see in every commercial that tells consumers they just have to have the next new gadget that is faster, shinier, cooler, hotter, flashier. When do we have enough? Never. Not as long as our economy depends on us spending. So greed needs to be ramped to a fever pitch as often as possible: Get those consumers confident so they’ll go in debt some more.

All of it is so reminiscent of the days before Israel had a king. In reality, God was to be their King, but instead, every man did what was right in his own eyes (see Judges 17:6 and 21:25).

Scripture catalogs gang rape, rampant homosexuality, murder, civil war, sex trafficking, hypocrisy. These were supposed to be the people of God, but they were choosing to live like the peoples around them who worshiped idols.

God would give them over to conquerors, but in His graciousness, when they cried out to Him in repentance, would then send a judge to rescue them.

If only we in the US would recognize the road we’re on — it leads to destruction. There’s only one way off, and it has nothing to do with electing the right people in November. It has everything to do with getting on our faces and repenting for doing what is right in our own eyes rather than listening to and obeying God and His Word.

Published in: on April 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm  Comments (4)  
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