Week in Review: 7.2016

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  • Everything this week was overshadowed, in my opinion, by the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  I will write more on the issue that now arises with his death and departure from the bench, but it is sufficient to say that this is a severe blow to our nation. We have lost a strong judicial leader. Scalia held firmly to the notion that we must be governed by the Constitution…a growing rarity in the Federal Government. Scalia once said, sadly, that he didn’t think we would ever return to abiding by Constitutional Law. Without it, the Federal Government is unaccountable. Scalia fought to bring us back under that accountability. Now he is gone. The Remnant must be in diligent prayer for this. If the current President appoints a replacement, it will be someone who is of the complete opposite opinion. The court will tip further toward the position that law is to be made by those in power but without Constitutional authority to do so: the Judicial and Executive Branch, with all of its Agencies. Without any accountability coming from the press or the State Governors, we are increasingly allowing the Federal Government to become an unfettered beast.
  • The Louisiana Governor Edwards has threatened the good people of his state that unless they agree to raise taxes, LSU football will not be played this year. Although there is a big debate about the “profitability” of college football, my guess is that the LSU football program has been targeted by the Governor, not because it would help to balance the state’s budget were it eliminated, but because the threat carries great emotional weight in the battle to raise taxes. Just as the President closed things like the WWII monument during the battle over passing his federal budget, these things are done, not because the financial truth necessitates them, but because of the manipulative power they carry. This is a rather disgusting lack of integrity. But it isn’t as if this virus isn’t common to human nature, for it is found even in the child who tries to manipulate the parent by saying “you don’t love me” when they don’t get their way.  It costs little to keep a memorial open but it is worth gold in the game of manipulating the minds of an unthinking and emotional driven citizenry. The federal and many state budgets are in deep trouble, yet the foolish mindset continues to think that raising taxes, rather than cutting expenses, is the way forward. It isn’t. It is the way of the fool. Education is a huge governmental business. It not only doesn’t belong there, but it suffers from the same monopoly symptoms from which any monopoly suffers: high cost and low quality. Instead of dropping LSU football, the whole country would be better off privatizing colleges and letting the cost/benefits play themselves out in the market.
  • Another “shake-your-head” item comes from San Diego where a city manual intimated disciplinary actions were awaiting those who would dare use the phrase “Founding Fathers”. This, apparently, was a no-no in the regulations entitled “Bias-Free Language”. The rules were fortified this week with additional verbal warnings.  When a watchdog group cried foul, the Mayor immediately tweeted his actions to remove the offending language. One wonders, however, what would have happened had there been no voice raised against it? We all bear a responsibility to speak up when we find things that are wrong. Don’t abdicate this role.
  • This will raise some controversy, even among conservatives, but Virginia is proposing to adopt a law that makes it a $100 offense for smoking in a car with a child. I don’t smoke, but I have long been an advocate for their freedom and for the freedom of a business to allow or disallow smoking on its premise. At issue here is how far we allow the civil government to limit citizen’s freedom under the guise of “protecting” them. The mayor of New York believes that they should protect people from too much sugar and outlawed “big gulp” soft drinks. Others want to outlaw trans fats. I agree that there are things that are harmful to us. But it is a double-edged sword to cry for the government to save us from ourselves. If you are an avid supporter of anti-smoking laws, take notice that we only limit those things that have become politically correct to rail against. Smoking is a popular PC cause today. Sex and profanity and violence and immorality in movies and music aren’t, even though they are polluting us in far worse ways than questionable effects of second-hand smoke. Be careful of granting more power to civil government. If it is of concern to you, sponsor public ads telling adults to refrain or roll down the windows.
  • The Iranian state TV is celebrating its January capture of U.S. Navy sailors by showing humiliating videos of our men during the ordeal. This, of course, is the kind of “lack-of-respect” response that most any Mid-Eastern expert would have predicted following our show of weakness in the President’s illegal treaty with Iran last year. This is but a small consequence compared to those which I believe are yet to come.
  • The earth is but a small spot in the Milky Way Galaxy, which contains 100 billion stars. And, the Milky Way Galaxy is an even smaller spot in the enormity of the Universe and only one of 100 billion “known” galaxies. That number just went up this week as an observatory in Australia discovered several nests of galaxies that have been hidden behind the brilliance of the Milky Way. It boggles the mind to even think of the magnitude of what has just been found: nearly 300 new galaxies discovered. Yet 300 is just a drop in the bucket to the 100 billion galaxies that exist. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1
  • Speaking of a drop in the bucket, we learned this week that over 500,000 “non-citizens” were granted $750 million under Obama Care last year—folks who did not, or could not, verify their citizenship. This is part of a crazy policy where the government gives out money without verification and then asks for it back later if the verification doesn’t eventually show up. For people who have to pay taxes, $750 million dollars is a lot of money, but in the context of a federal budget approaching $4 trillion, it is quite nothing to a federal bureaucrat.
  • And, speaking of budgets, the President and Congress shook hands last year on a 2-year spending plan, and then the President promptly broke that promise this week and submitted a $3.72 trillion dollar budget request, which is a mere $400 billion dollars more than revenue. At some point, some day, and sometime soon, this insanity has to stop. It will either end through wise, tough measures, or it will end in runaway inflation and financial collapse. Why can’t we see this? I suppose it is not much different than the alcoholic whose family keeps pleading with him, asking why he continues to destroy himself and hurt everyone else in the process. We hear the voices, but we can’t stop spending…we can’t stop grabbing more power. It is a national addiction.
  • I can’t stop talking about this…let’s say your daughter makes $33,200 per year. Yet, every year, she spends more than she makes. Her credit card debt is now at $190,000. She keeps getting new credit cards because the others are maxed out. She is excited this year because she intends to add only $4,000 to her debt. Are you okay with this?
  • Last Sunday’s Super Bowl brought in a lot of revenue from the commercials, charging $5 million per 30 seconds. One of those ads was a Doritos commercial showing a pregnant mom getting an ultrasound while dad munched on Doritos. The baby in the womb reacted to the Doritos and appeared to reach out to one held out by the dad, “chasing” it as he playfully moved it around. Most thought it was cute, but the NARAL Pro-Choice America bunch were incensed because Doritos had “humanized” the fetus…obviously making a human baby with arms and legs and a beating heart and maybe just a few weeks from delivery, appear as if it were…well…“human”! My goodness…how politically incorrect of Doritos to make a human baby appear to be a human baby. NARAL wants, of course, for them to be portrayed as something akin to oil sludge. Does anyone else have the sense that we have entered into La La Land?

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Cultural Leprosy
Just when you thought our culture couldn’t get any crazier, we now have a 47-year-old father of seven who wants to be identified as a six-year-old girl. But the really crazy thing is that our culture is gushing over him. Why? Well, it’s primarily because of the Covenant of Tolerance, where we discard the notion of absolute, transcendent Truth, substitute the individual as it’s source, and then affirm each other’s absolute right to follow our heart. The Covenant then says that I will affirm you if you will affirm me. And we are going to affirm ourselves into a cultural abyss. By affirming the increasingly absurd, we are hoping that we will, in turn, be affirmed in our own absurdity, our own self-centered desires…so that nothing can be denied us…no desire, no want, no need…absolutely nothing can be called into question because there is no absolute truth, only individual truth. And the Covenant assures that we will affirm each other...a solidarity of self-centeredness, if you will. This leads us to see pathology as healthy, selfishness as praiseworthy, and evil as individual righteousness. This is cultural leprosy. We can no longer feel pain--a natural sense of danger; no longer feel when our hand is on the hot stove; no longer hear or see the warnings of lies and evil. We have made a Covenant to hear no wrong, see no wrong, speak that there is no wrong. Cultural leprosy will lead to death. Over time, each evil and lie that we close our eyes and ears and voices to, kills another part of our culture until we become the walking dead. We may still exist, but as a culture, we are dead. We will have literally destroyed ourself through selfish stupidity. So now we applaud Paul Woscht, ('please call me Stefonkee'), who has left his wife and family and has been embraced by an affirming Covenant family who has taken him in as a 6-year-old girl. He dresses in dresses and colors and no doubt plays house with his new “mummy and daddy’s” grandchildren. And to call this insane or deranged, demented or loony, or just plain sinful to abandon one's family for selfish desire, is to be called hateful, bigoted, narrow-minded, and trans-phobic. Because we have become cultural lepers. I would call you again, Remnant, to join together to pray for repentance, Tuesday, noon eastern. Put it on your calendar. Pray that the Lord would strike us all with repentance that we might come to our senses and escape from the trap of the devil who has taken us captive to do his will.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26  
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When a Culture Develops a Phobia of Truth... It Attacks Chick-fil-A
In the upcoming (hopefully and prayerfully) “Engagement” series, the first tour* will examine the rise of a phobia in our culture toward Truth… Truth with a capital “T” that is, for our culture is filled with little “t” truths… those truth claims that have their genesis in our own precious and special little hearts. We celebrate those truths so much that it borders on being a new cult… one in which the individual and the individual’s belief is elevated to something akin to divinity. To say “my heart tells me…” or “this is who I am…” is tantamount to speaking scripture and to speak against the feelings or desires of the individual is to be labeled with the culture’s current schoolyard names: bigot, hate-monger, intolerant, etc. etc. in hopes, as we did in grade school, that we can elevate our own significance and posture by sneering immature “put-downs” at our favorite “nobodies” and “deplorables”. It would be a grave mistake, as many Christians have done, to label what is happening here with things like “liberal” or “progressive” or “Democrat”. What we are witnessing is a wholesale attack upon truth that has infested much of the cultural powers. The New Democratic party has been deeply infected. But it isn’t the Party… it is the worldview. That worldview is one in which Transcendent Truth is no longer merely ignored nor just set aside so that we can go our own way. No… now there is a war against it. There is a hatred toward it… and a deep fear. An interview on several northwest campuses highlighted this fear. The interviewer, a 5’10” white guy, was trying to get university students to tell him that he wasn’t a 6’ 5” Chinese woman. Even though it was obvious to them, they were afraid to speak it, for to do so was to trump the individual’s declaration with something Transcendent… even that which was obviously real. So, last week, Daniel Piepenbring, writing in the New Yorker, decries the advent of a Chick-fil-A store to the City where, Daniel believes, it “doesn’t quite belong”. He writes that the store’s arrival “augurs worse than a load of manure on the F train”. Why? Is it because he believes there is something wrong with the chicken or the fries? Is it because the milkshakes carry a lot of calories? And, in a city that bans “Big Gulp” drinks in order to protect its citizens from consuming too much sugar, is the store simply out of “nutritional” step with New Yorkers? No. That isn’t why Piepenbring writes a scathing article against Chick-fil-A. It is because Chick-fil-A and its owners embrace a Transcendent Truth. Here is the caption under the article’s picture of the new store: “Chick-fil-A’s corporate purpose begins with the words “to glorify God,” and that proselytism thrums below the surface of its new Fulton Street restaurant.” Interesting, isn’t it? A corporate purpose that begins with “to glorify God” is viewed with distaste and is equated with one of the growing schoolyard taunts: “proselytism”? By the way, “proselytizing” is viewed as an attack upon the divineness of the individual, for It implies that the individual should be persuaded to a different way of thinking and living. In a culture that has made the individual divine, to say there is something wrong in the individual’s beliefs is to speak blasphemy and deserves a sentencing to the stocks… or worse. That is the tenor of the article. It is written with a sense of outrage, of seething anger and hatred toward an establishment, as Daniel states:  whose headquarters “are adorned with Bible verses”… Oh my! Or its stores have the audacity to “close on Sundays”… double Oh My! Then comes, of course, the thing that is probably stirring up the greatest phobia in Daniel, and that is the position of Dan Cathy, the CEO, who stood for “traditional marriage”. Our culture is in a war against Transcendent Truth and anyone who dares to stand for that Truth. If it is a transcendent truth about anything: sex, marriage, male and female, God, Jesus, salvation by Him alone, moral right and wrong… anything… you will be either opposed or openly hated by the cultural “elites”. Although the war against truth has been raging from the Garden, it has never been so openly waged in our culture as it is today. This is a recent phenomenon. But, there is a strong and faithful remnant in the land… take hope. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus, Matthew 5:10-11 Do everything in your power to live at peace in this culture, but don’t let it bully you into giving up the Truth. Jesus said He was the Truth. We will not turn away from Him, even if the beautiful people of Hollywood mock us, or the professors scorn us, or the NBA or NCAA move their games, or the state and the courts threaten us and close our stores, or even if a writer holds us in disdain and contempt. You are the light of the world. If you hide your light, then the whole house groans in darkness. We are a Remnant of Hope. Stand firm in Him.   *the Engagement: Tour 0: “In a Land of Nought—A Remnant of Hope”