DC
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Author Archive

[290] Covid-19 & Worldview

Have you noticed that the split between lockdown and reopening over Covid-19 neatly coincides with secular progressives on one side, and Judeo-Christians on the other?

I suggest it has much to do with worldview as it relates to life.  If your worldview holds that this life is all there is, you will do two things: Protect it at all costs, and getting as much out of it as you can.

That means protecting yourself against every perceived threat to your physical existence.

In the Christian worldview things are very different.  First, this existence is only the temporal side of life. Second, our eternal self has been created to honor God.  This means that, although we will value self-preservation, this life is not an end in itself.  Instead it is a call to invest it, amid risks, in doing God’s work.

We value life but do not worship life.  We worship the creator of life and give our life to his purpose.  What makes our life sacred is not its existence, but its purpose.  Pursuing that purpose is rarely devoid of risks. In fact, that pursuit may cost one one’s life due to martyrdom or other factors.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it,” says Christ in Matthew 16:25.  What is important is not how well one protects one’s life, but how well one has invests it. DC

[290] Irrelevance

In my last post I mentioned the ever-more common trend of denominations retreating from biblical authority, and accommodating secular thinking in a desperate attempt to appear relevant to the world.  These churches seem to think if only they would bend a little to the world, “modernize” some doctrines, and become more secular-friendly, their pews would fill.

They are dead wrong.  Researchers continually cite diminishing attendance in theologically flexible—liberal–mainline denominational churches, while finding growth among more biblically-centered, evangelical churches.  

The reason is that the gospel has never been relevant to the world, and all the manipulations and permutations will not make it so.  All such churches do, is excise the power of truth from their message, hence, neutering their potential impact.  They become toothless do-gooder voices with little appeal to the non-believer who finds Christianity at best, mythical—certainly not fashionable.

In 1 Cor. 2:14, Paul puts it in our face. He says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

There it is, right there. The gospel is irrelevant, folly, foolishness to those who are not spiritually awake.

But he had more to say.  In Romans 1:16 he said he was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…”  The gospel is clearly irrelevant by contemporary standards.  But that irrelevant message has truth, and truth has power that trumps social relevance every time.  DC

[289] Correction

When the stock market goes through a negative spasm it is called a “correction.” Churches and denominations experience corrections as well, and I see another one coming. Almost 90 years ago there was a mass revolt against liberalism from the ranks of orthodox Christians. Denominations had—over decades—relaxed their allegiance to scriptural authority and seminal doctrines—the virgin birth, the reality of miracles, the infallibility of scripture, etc. The shift toward what was then called “modernism” reached a watershed, resulting in groups splitting off to form new denominations, ones faithful to the traditional creeds.

I see another correction coming. It seems inevitable. The further denominations move off a scriptural base, the greater becomes their distance from the centrality of the gospel. And there is much such movement. Universalism, retreats from biblical authority, and easy accommodations to secular thinking (in a desperate attempt to appear relevant) now abound in settings that were formerly more orthodox. That can stretch only so far before there is backlash from those who can no longer tolerate the drift. The result will be a correction—a nearly perfectly descriptive word. DC

[289] Don’t Be Surprised if…

I am going to depart for a moment from my usual format and throw some political items your way.  Here is a baker’s dozen plus one.

Don’t be surprised if…

Biden unceremoniously drops out—for ostensibly medical reasons–before or just after the convention, leaving the Dems with better options, in addition to chaos.

The current presidential polls are way off because most voters are not thinking about November.

There is a sudden shift in the polls after the first debate (if the debates happen).

If there is a severe split among the Dems after the fall election—win or lose–in a battle over control of the party with Pelosi being a casualty…

If Trump loses largely due to failing to pursue the women and black vote intelligently.

Kamala Harris is the Dem pick for Biden’s VP (assuming he persists) as she is the strongest woman of color available.

If the Repubs suddenly trot out Hunter Biden in an effort to pin the corruption label on his father (assuming Biden persists).

If Dems will attack Trump much more on style and character than substance and performance.

Trump loses owing to his handing Covid-19.

Dems focus on the African-American vote more than ever, as poor turnout among blacks was a killer in 2016.

We continue to see comparatively little of Biden (should he persist) to limit his exposure per his questionable mental competency.

If the Dems continue to marginalize the Clintons–due to their high negatives–and feature as much of Barack and Michelle as possible.

The Repubs rely solely on Trump and Pence for the campaign, with nary a mention of George W. Bush and other prominent members of their party.

If there is a sudden end to urban rioting the night after a Biden win.

DC

[288] Identity as Worldview

It is easy to get lost in Identity Politics—that contemporary trend of defining oneself by the social group of which one is a member, especially in the case of race and gender.  Hence, if one is gay that is the overwhelming determinant of who one is.  Problematic as that is, what is much worse is that social group membership often becomes a worldview, and all differences of opinion on matters like race and gender are then taken personally.

Say you have a good friend who is gay and he asks your opinion of gay marriage.  If you find such alliances objectionable, that view may be received as a personal attack by your friend, because his primary selfhood, and therefore his perspective on the world, is lodged in being gay.  This tendency comes at an awful price—that of stifling free inquiry and open discussion. One no longer feels free to disagree with someone else over a matter pertaining to a social group, because that disagreement could very well terminate a relationship.

It goes like this.  If you don’t approve of the issue pertaining to who I am, you don’t approve of me personally, and therefore our relationship is over. You can see the First Amendment wobble in the distance, in part because this worldview-driven personalizing has stifling effects in the media.  In television, radio, and social media, people are simply afraid of taking stands on controversial issues for fear they will be branded hateful, intolerant, or ignorant.

The result is the end of the free exchange of ideas. What binds us together as a nation is our acceptance of our differences–racially, ethnically, and culturally–and our ability to explore all aspects of our diversity freely.  When those ties no longer bind, we descend into a cauldron of warring groups and ideologies, rather than being one nation, under God, indivisible. DC

[288] Not About What It’s About

In an election year everything is political and that obviates any semblance of serious debate. An issue is raised per the COVID-19 and all comments within our political institutions weigh in from a partisan point of view. What should be about the pandemic is actually about politics.  In other words, it’s not about what it’s about.

This is more than a tad distressing.  It is life threatening, because the public, desperately in need of direction, is subject to demagoguery rather than solid and reliable information.

Both sides have elevated this Machiavellian game to an art form in which the victim is the public, whose best interests they allegedly represent.

DC

[287] Pro-Choice RC’s

Have you noticed how many Roman Catholic political figures are pro-choice despite the Catholic church’s staunch anti-abortion stance?  It seems counterintuitive and begs the question why.

I submit it is about worldview.  Many Roman Catholics feel their religious convictions are personal and private; more important, one of a number of key components in their life.  When people view their religion as one very personal, private, off-limits component of their identity, they prevent their faith from permeating and informing all areas of their existence.

Hence, they can be personally against abortion but fully supportive of others’ right to abortion if it coheres with those others’ personal values. That is bad, relativistic, and postmodern (what-is-truth-for-me-may-not-be-truth-for-you) theology. What is murder for the Christian, should in her mind, be murder no matter who engages in it, and that Christian needs to be on the right side of the 6th Commandment.  DC

[287] Ingraham was Right

The NFL’s DeSean Jackson recently passed along some vile anti-Semitic statements on Instagram, only to find himself soon confessing that he didn’t comprehend the full meaning of the content.

Regrettably, Jackson is a poster child for athletes and celebrities who, despite woeful limitations in sophisticated understanding of political issues, feel free to use to toss their  celebrity weight around in the form of social commentary.

Yes, they do have 1st Amendment Rights, but they would be wise to consider that the capacity to dunk a basketball or appear in a sitcom does not ready one for intelligent insight on social issues.

Some years ago, Laura Ingraham was chided for telling NBA players to let go social commentary and “just dribble.” She was right.  DC

[286] Why Colleges Die

Higher education in general, and Christian colleges in particular are heading into hard times.  Secular institutions are under attack for their progressive bent, while Christian colleges continually need to justify their existence, not to mention their hefty student tuitions.  Add to that the Covid-19 plague and colleges and universities of every stripe are in a battle for students.

Thom Rainer, of Lifeway.com published an article on “Why Dying Churches Die.”  Below are reasons why Christian colleges are in trouble—even dying—adapted from Rainer’s assessment of churches.

They Live in Denial: Difficult times are viewed as transitory, the bottom side of a never-ending cycle, rather than evidence of the institution being in trouble.  Hence, when tough times hit, they move toward retrenchment rather than marketing, suffocating creative efforts.

They Flee Accountability:  In short, difficulties are attributed to external factors—the economy, a lack of respect for liberal arts education, poor support from churches–rather than issues within the institution.  This absolves them of responsibility to act.

They Are Waiting for the Magic Bullet: Instead of taking responsibility and moving forward, they await a large contribution, a hefty bequest, state or federal legislation that takes the form of dollars, or some other fall-from-the-sky life preserver.

They Resist Change: Consistent change is one of the unchanging realities of life. Troubled institutions do not live in the context of that reality.  For example, online education is now fully mainstream, yet many Christian colleges have fledgling or no online courses.

They Are Not Really Committed to Diversity:  Though there may be a multi-ethnic presence within the student body, the school does not aggressively pursue racial and ethnic minorities, nor does it address the contextual issues necessary for such students to feel welcome.  They are also slow to attract other non-traditional students—seniors, disabled, and international, etc.

Their Mission is Survival:  Rather than asking the questions, Why do we exist?  What is our Purpose?  What is our Mission?  They seek only to keep the doors open, rather than examine why the doors should remain open, making survival a mission in itself. A defensive, reactive, fortress mentality develops that drives out any aggressive, pro-active, expansionist energy.

Colleges like these are not hard to spot.  Enrollment, endowment, and contribution numbers are visible indicators.  These, however, are not the causes of possible extinction.  They are symptoms that have their root in reasons like those above.

 

DC

[286] Revisionist History

There is nothing new about the current attempts to denigrate figures of the past by tearing down statues and renaming institutions.  It is also intellectually bankrupt.  This movement is nothing more than an attempt at what is called revisionist history—an attempt at judging figures of the past by contemporary cultural standards.

For example, in his time, Lincoln was the ultimate progressive—willing to go to war in part to end slavery.  By today’s standards, he was not sufficiently enlightened.

Again, this is nothing new.  It was practiced openly as far back as the 1960’s.  It is also intellectual bankrupt.  No sane person should expect people of decades and even centuries ago to adopt attitudes and engage in conduct deemed politically correct by current standards. DC

 

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