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[214] OJ & CTE

What if the despised OJ Simpson had CTE? What then? We know that the brain of many football players have been permanently damaged. We know that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is associated with erratic, aggressive, and even violent behavior. Player after player with CTE spent much of their post-playing career behaving “out of character,” engaging in uncharacteristically self-destructive, unhealthy, and antisocial behavior.

Terry Long, Ray Easterling, Andre Waters, Junior Seau, and Dave Duerson all committed suicide. Incidents of domestic violence litter the lives of CTE victims. Dave Duerson, once honored as NFL Man of the Year for his community and volunteer service lost his Notre Dame analyst job for roughing up his wife. When he took his life at age 50, he left a note requesting that his brain be examined. I don’t have to tell you what the neurosurgeons at Boston University found with respect to the condition of Duerson’s brain.

So back to OJ. What if he suffers from severe CTE? He took a ton of football hits. His post-career behavior was apparently much different from the earlier years. No one is justifying murder here, but there may be more involved than simply sociopathic narcissism. DC

[213] Education

Education is not good.  It is not bad.  It is just education.  It is simply the objective process of transmitting knowledge and developing the capacity to think critically.

Education becomes good when it stimulates a Christian worldview.  It is also good when it is transmits knowledge to Christian learners, and teaches them to think critically.  No other education is inherently good.

My father use to say, to educate a Christian person is to create a potentially powerful disciple.  To educate an evil person is to create a devil. DC

[212] Intolerance

Religious persecution is like never before. It is a major issue around the world. It also exists here. In the US it hasn’t taken the form of lopping off heads, or imprisoning parishioners, but it is going on, and figures to get worse. Here is why. The gospel of Jesus Christ has the temerity to claim that it is the Truth. No elbow room. No place for customized, individual versions of faith—the predominant nature of religiosity in an age ideologically ruled by postmodernism.

No. For Christians, the gospel is as true as water being two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen.

Hence, those who proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ are open to the ugly charge of being intolerant—unwilling to accept theological hybrids and substitutions. If that is the definition of intolerance, then indeed those who advance the gospel are intolerant; as intolerant as their God who says there should be no other gods before him.

As you can then see, postmodernism—with all its claims to freedom of thought, belief, and expression—is the primary enemy of the Christian faith. It marginalizes the Truth of the gospel by rendering it optional, one choice among many equivalently valid belief options, something many people choose to believe for whatever reason. It is not the only way to have a relationship with sovereign God. To claim Truth is to be intolerant. That is a violation of the only real doctrine of postmodernism.   DC

[211] Irked in Prayer

I take prayer seriously.  I spend a lot of time praying each day.  Prayer takes energy—focus and concentration.  Yet, it doesn’t seem that many churches take prayer seriously at all.  First, there isn’t really much of it.  A few minutes here and there, seemingly serving as boundaries for the various activities of worship service.  Where this not taking prayer seriously really stands out is during the offering and at the conclusion of the sermon.  Here, while the pastor is praying, any number of people may be marching down the aisle to the front of church or moving to their designated platform spots setting up the final song.  All of this while the pastor is speaking directly to Sovereign God.  Clearly the prayer is just for us parked in the pews; not at all for those involved in the conduct of the service.

None of this walking and setting up would ever be permitted while the pastor is preaching.  If you were scurrying around some grim-faced usher would pull you over to the side of the ecclesiastical road.

But it’s just fine during prayer.  Maybe they think we won’t notice with our eyes closed.

Maybe they really don’t take this means of grace seriously enough.  DC

[213] MLK Day

The left consistently celebrates Martin Luther King Day as if it is a liberal holiday.  The right seems not to make as much celebrative noise.  That is unfortunate.  One would hope that at least the birthday of this champion of freedom would not be kicked around on the political football field.

But there is a more troubling aspect.  The foundation of MLK’s movement was Christian.  He was an ordained Baptist Minister and his organization was named the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Scripture was constantly quoted and long prayer vigils were regular events.  At  the individual level, King reportedly immersed himself in prayer to ward off feelings of hate in the face of injustice.

But you won’t hear much if anything about the Christian core of the MLK’s life and legacy.  The secularists have clipped those pages out of the narrative.  And in doing so, they have made what could be an inspiring day—one of putting down division and seeking unity, into little more than one in which the banks are closed. DC

[212] Reversal?

Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been lounging around the high 30’s, viewed by millions as a crude, villainous bully in need of psychiatric intervention and removal via the 25th Amendment.

But what might happen if two things occur?  What if Trump is found free (or largely free) of Russian collusion by the Mueller investigation and Hillary is found to have been trying—illegally—to manipulate his demise?  Also, what happens if Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book is publically discredited, owing to myriad inaccuracies and poor journalism?

What then?

Suddenly, Trump moves from bully to the victim of a nefarious plot; from a dominating, out-of-control executive to the target of a grossly inaccurate literary hatchet job.

That is a reversal, and it may well show in his approval ratings.

Something this dramatic may seem far-fetched, but nothing about Trump’s political biography has been very predictable. DC

[211] PC Mental Health

Legions of pundits, all practicing psychiatry without a license, have decided that Trump is mentally unstable, and hence, hope they might be able to use the 25th Amendment to unseat the despised 45th President.  What is curious is that amid these charges no real clinical definition of mental health is rendered, and the alleged instability is not described in anything approaching clinical terms associated with mental dysfunction.  All this does not, however, mean these armchair psychiatrists do not have at least an implied definition of mental health.  One very non-clinical one surely does exist among the Trump critics.  It is simply this: Mental health is exemplified by behavior that aligns with political correctness, while dysfunction is measured by the degree of deviation from this standard.  By that bizarre definition–and nothing else–Donald Trump is not only unstable, he is crazy. DC

[210] Diversity

“We have a diverse campus church. You will really like it.” You will hear that more and more these days—particularly at college churches–and hence, it begs the question: Just what is a diverse church? First, I notice most of the diversity proclaimers are white. So what do I black or Hispanic people say? With issues of race and diversity one of my specialties, I can answer that.

First, diversity is not about how many different groups are visible in the sanctuary for a worship service. It is about the substance of the worship experience. More specifically, how evident are the various cultures in the actual service? Are there any soulful solos sung? Negro spirituals sung by the choir? Gospel songs performed with a Latin beat? The answer is few at best, and usually none.

Most churches offer a culturally snow white worship service, conducted by people of various colors leading a mixed congregation in worship.

Legendary urban pastor, Bill Leslie, used to say that everyone needs to hear their own sound in the worship—whether that is in music, preaching style, or other venue. Not every Sunday. Not ever service. But regularly. That is what makes a church diverse. DC

 

[210] Consensual?

It seems the most common defense among those public figures awash in allegations of sexual harassment is that their sexual encounters were “consensual.” There are two quick responses to that. First, it makes these trysts not a matter of relational significance, but rather a form of entertainment rather like bowling or miniature golf. Looking at sex as simply “hooking up” makes these meaningful, and obviously long-remembered encounters—at least if one listens to those leveling the charges–as insignificant physical acts.

Second, it indicates that those fending off the allegations just don’t get it. They do not know the difference between consent and compliance. While Matt Lauer, Dustin Hoffman, and the many other similar public figures seem to believe that they had willing and consenting partners, those partners are saying that they simply complied. And felt ashamed of having done so. They bowed to their fear of potential reprisal by these men who had significant impact on their careers, and simply gave in to their lustful advances.

This is not consent. It is compliance. It is complying with the carnal desires of someone who is more powerful than you, someone who has potentially strong influence on the trajectory of your career. Interestingly, those who tell these stories indicate they felt “dirty” and ashamed of their compliant actions. In short, they are willing to be accountable for their moral lapses. Nonetheless, they are telling their stories, because they realize there is a subtle perversion of the truth on the part of the famous people who whose despicable behavior is now being exposed. DC

[209] Magnanimity

Blogger, Kevin DeYoung of thegospelcoalition.org, had some prophetic things to say about our current political atmosphere. Using the concept of magnanimity—the capacity to let go of grudges and attempts to “get even” in favor of extending grace and generosity in the face of abuse and attack, he encourages a cheek-turning strategy in an era of divisiveness. He urges “pastors, parents, politicians, pundits, and internet pugilists…[to]…show the sort of Christian magnanimity our world needs but rarely displays…” For DeYoung, this “is not simply the way to win friends and influence people. It is the way of the cross. And the way of the One who hung there saying, ‘“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”

It may also be the only way to save our republic. DC

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