Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Offensive Jesus

One of the more outrageous statements coming from certain sectors of American society runs something like this: “Jesus would never offend people like ____ does / do.” For years – actually decades – doormat Christians have accepted this hype, and shut their mouths when they should have defended Truth.

Last Sunday, I was sidetracked as I listened to an excellent sermon (sorry, Brother Paul!). The sermon focused on the Gospel of Matthew, and as I checked out a reference that Pastor gave the congregation, my eyes fell on these words: “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard [the words of Jesus]?” (Matthew 15:12). In case you are not familiar with this passage, these were words spoken by Christ’s own disciples – to Jesus Himself! And I’ll bet that you are equally unfamiliar with what Jesus the Messiah did next: He didn’t apologize. He didn’t slink back into the shadows. He didn’t offer an explanation. Instead, he served up another plate of Truth.
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots,” Jesus replied to His then-politically-correct disciples. “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (verses 13-14). Pretty harsh words from “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” – right?

In case you are not aware of this fact, there are plenty of modern-day Pharisees around us. They insist that their authority trumps Biblical, God-centered authority. They insist that “modern” trends like same-sex civil unions and gender-confused children should be elevated above Biblical marriage and parenting. They especially delight in the “evil-called-good” syndrome when it comes to abortion and “good-called-evil” subterfuge regarding the persecution of ordinary Christians like Barronelle Stutzman, the florist in Washington State who refused to provide flowers for a gay “marriage.” God’s Word warned us thousands of years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). But modern-day Pharisees staunchly defend such outrageous behavior, presumably because they believe they are in charge of the dictionary.

What to do? How about following the Lord Jesus’ example? Keep speaking the Truth in the face of these people’s reprehensible conduct. Stand firm, as Jesus did. Yes, you may be crucified. But Who arose the third day? It certainly wasn’t the Pharisees.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When Words Have Different Meanings

I am an instructor of English. That is not only my bread and butter; it is my passion. I wholeheartedly believe that communication is the foundation of an ordered society. But true communication is founded on certain principles, the definition of words being among them. 

A lowly individual like me would assume that people in authority – any sort of authority – would have a mastery of communication principles. I also used to think – years ago – that a true journalist would use words carefully; he or she would try to use words precisely in order to express the exact meaning they wished to convey. But, once again, this idea has been proven to be wrong.

The mainstream media has an agenda, and it has nothing to do with conveying truth. It has to do with shaping the opinions and actions of our society – more exactly, our political system. Let me start with an example.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton signaled her intention to run for the presidency. The media immediately signaled its approval. Day after day – morning, noon and night – any person watching the mainstream news channels was inundated with “words of wisdom” from the candidate-to-be. It was as if one person – and one person only – was the “candidate du jour” worthy of attention.

And then, with one stroke, everything changed. Barack Hussein Obama threw his hat into the ring, and – poof! – Hillary was a persona non grata. Overnight, journalists who religiously interviewed or quoted Clinton daily were now solely focused on what Obama had to say, as if a young community organizer in his first term as a United States Senator were suddenly endowed with a wealth of experience and wisdom that Mrs. Clinton could only hope for. It was a miraculous turn-around – and it left me in no doubt that something quite fishy was going on.

And now, eight long years later, full of dictates and pronouncements from the POTUS that I can only describe as – to put it politely – totally foreign to the America I had grown up in, a person who has promised to counter the destruction I see has been elected fairly. But this whole idea of “fair” has been twisted by the media.

Apparently, it is not “fair” that my vote was cast for someone other than Hillary Clinton. It is not “fair” that I did not desire a woman of her skewed values to be elected to the highest executive office in the land. And now it is not “fair” that Trump will take the oath of office on January 20th to become the 45th President of the United States. It is not “fair” that the supporters of this new president want a peaceful inauguration; it is not “fair”… but need I go on?

The meaning of “fair” has been twisted beyond any recognition. It certainly does not mean what I – in my English “simplicity” – learned so long ago that it meant. And other words have recently been similarly “sculpted” – words like “influence” and “hacking.” Pray tell me this: How does someone – good, bad, or indifferent – hack into a system that is not online (unless you sincerely believe that being connected to electricity makes an appliance vulnerable to “hacking”)? And what, exactly, was the “influence” that certain entities supposedly imposed on my choice in voting? I voted, and I make no excuses for whom I voted. There was no “influence” that could have made me vote for Hillary Clinton.

St. Paul famously wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13: 11). It’s time that people grow up and put this childish manipulation of words behind them. 

And then watch the inauguration on Friday.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Myth of Theory

Recently, the citizens of the United States received some dreadful news: the Honorable United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had been removed from this earth by the Supreme Judge of this world (see the Declaration of Independence). This is wonderful news in Heaven – I assume – but it is miserable news for those Americans left to suffer under the current president of the United States’ unconstitutional activities.

I am not about to eulogize this amazing jurist. People are engaged in this activity all over the globe, and I don’t see the need to add to this corpus. Instead, I want to remark on a peculiar label that has been attached to Scalia by the so-called media “intelligentsia”: Scalia – we are told with a straight face – was an “originalist theorist.” Forget the conservative / strict-constructionist title that this man embodied during the first part of his three decades on the Court. Now we have to use the word theory and the man’s name in the same sentence!

Allow me to explain why this terminology nauseates me, especially now that Justice Scalia is no longer here to defend himself.

In the World of Academia, theories are more highly prized than facts. As a young college student many years ago, I absorbed the Scientific Mantra: First come observations (also known as “facts”), then comes the assessment of those observations (also known as “deduction”), followed by the formulation of a Theory as to why the facts were observed in the first place. The objective of such activity, I was led to believe, was to ascertain and discover Truth.

No longer. Truth is out; theory – as some sort of end result – is in. Facts are useful only insofar as they support one’s current theory. Although some members of Academia still protest that they are striving to discover Truth, the vast majority of professors (especially in education) strive only to “discover” and postulate the Newest Theory. The possession of said Theory is readily transformed into prestige, through publication, lecture, or conference paper. Never mind that Dr. X’s Theory is virtually identical to Professor Y’s; if one can offer facts to support one’s Theory (always provided you can demonstrate the proper statistics), so much the better.

Why does this provoke such a visceral reaction in me?

The promulgation of this sort of idiocy is deliberate and destructive. At the same time the scientific / political world elevates Theory to the throne of the mind, it necessitates the DE-throning of truth. The two stances cannot occupy the same space (shades of physical certainties!).

Furthermore, the entire process suggests tyranny over the mind of humanity. In effect, this “theory” game excludes any speech (much less thought) that is not in line with this philosophy. Want to talk about God? Go sit in the time-out chair. Want to talk about the certainties of the Moral Law? Talk to the hand. Want to discuss what the American Founding Fathers actually had in mind when they penned our illustrious (and still viable) Constitution? What an idiot you are!

Let us return to Scalia. This man was famous – and rightly so – for saying to his colleagues when they tried to write laws: “You’re nuts!” (or words to that effect). He realized, early on in his career as a jurist, the fundamental truth (there’s that inconvenient word again!!) about the court – any court. It is this: a court is not empowered to make laws. Period. Its sole purpose and power is to judge whether or not an existing law has been broken.

The unfortunate precedent the Supreme Court invented in 1973 of “a woman’s right to choose” death over life sent a floodwater of raw, smelly Theory surging through the courts of America. Gone was the Truth that laws could be broken; in its place sat monster Theory, who has been a relentless foe of stability and order. Scalia saw this and spoke against it many times. However, calling him a “theorist” was the liberal attempt to offset the truth of his statements – a favorite ploy of those who reject absolute moral constraints, who want to make the law suit their particular flavor-of-the-month social cause.

What to do? Political avenues seem hopeless. Voting accomplishes little. Writing letters and emails adds weight, but effects no fundamental changes in those in power. Our only hope is Heaven – the residence of all Truth, and the seat of all Power. We definitely need to make an appeal there.