Week in Review: 9.2016

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  • Police are increasingly bailing out. Last year, 52 officers called it quits in Colorado Springs, citing the dramatic rise in violence against law enforcement as their reasons for turning in their badge: the two police officers that were “executed” while sitting in their cruisers; the officer shot and killed a few days ago while helping to serve an eviction notice; the sheriff’s deputy gunned down a week ago while trying to "sensitively" question a 17-year old who was walking down a street carrying an open firearm and wearing a bandana over his face; a few months ago, Officer Garrett killed responding to a shooting at Planned Parenthood. Many officers sense that the media is targeting them. If they follow proper procedures and a citizen is shot, they will be held guilty regardless of the circumstances. It isn’t that the job carries risk. They knew that when they signed up. But now the “danger” is not simply from a bad guy here and there. They sense the culture as a whole is becoming dangerous. They cite not only the lack of support, but also the steep decline in a respect for authority. --- I don’t think we have any clue what a blessing it is to have a sound, moral police force, nor the horror if it is corrupt and immoral...or missing. If the good guys leave, we will increasingly be left with those who are there for another motive. This is worth a great deal of prayer by the Remnant.
  • Buried in the news are the continued revelations of corruption within the Department of Veteran Affairs. Last year, in a great public show of improved patient wait times, the VA gave out hundreds of millions of cash bonuses for a job well done. Now we know that the VA kept two sets of books: one to show improved wait times in order to guarantee the millions of dollars in bonuses, and the other, a secret set, that showed the real wait times…which weren’t very good. In 2013, the GAO found that all four VA hospitals under construction averaged $336 million OVER budget (take a second look at that number) and 36 months behind schedule. Those cost overruns are now at over $2 billion. No one has been held accountable. Even my own Congressman, who is supposed to head the VA Oversight Committee, got re-elected in the midst of this abysmal catastrophe. He didn’t do much “over seeing” yet he goes back to Congress unaccountable. In case you are not aware, the VA is not buried somewhere in the vastness of Washington bureaucracy. It actually reports directly to the President. The VA has a seat on the President’s Cabinet, led by Secretary Robert McDonald. He hasn’t been held accountable, neither has the President. As the old saying goes “heads should have rolled” over this. Veteran lives and health are at stake here. Instead, the VA got a substantial raise last year and the President requested $18 billion more this year for a $182 billion total budget. This is the way of the Federal Beast…reward corruption and incompetence with more money. It smells bad all the way to Colorado.
  • Another “faking racial abuse” incident was uncovered at Abany University. Three black females charged in January that they were assaulted by a group of white men who were yelling racial slurs and then physically attacked them while bystanders simply looked on. This, of course, generated an explosion of “America is Racist” articles and charges as well as a confirming tweet from Hillary. Well, the video cameras have now been consulted, cell phone video reviewed, eyewitness testimony gathered, and it turns out the three women were actually the aggressors, assaulting a 19-year-old white female. The three white men were trying to break up the fight. Charges have now been filed against the black women, but Blue Media won’t balance out the coverage. This damages not only both races involved, but continues to divide our nation. The biggest blame goes to a media that gushes on this stuff without professional vetting and a populace that allows it. Shame on the girls, shame on us.
  •  I was working at the White House in 1992 when Dan Quayle, then Vice President, was at an elementary spelling bee and used the school’s errant judge’s cards to correct a 12-year-old’s spelling of “potato” to “potatoe”. Even though he later explained that he believed the student’s original spelling had been correct but he defaulted to the school’s materials, the media went berserk. They lambasted him unmercifully and rode his back throughout the election cycle, making this very smart man look like an idiot. I suppose I have never forgiven Blue Media for this as I watched it unfairly pummel a good guy. I also suppose that is why I am so sensitive to their deep bias and why I see it everywhere. Hillary, in blasting gun rights this week, wrongly quoted the Constitution by confusing the Declaration’s words for Constitutional words, stating that, yes, there is a Constitutional right to bear arms, but that right is trumped by the Constitutional right to “ ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ that enables us to have a safe country where we are able to protect our children and others from this senseless gun violence.” Now, in my mind, the 2nd amendment actually allows the individual to provide that protection, but Hillary’s worldview always defaults to the State as the provider versus the individual. However, in regards to the error, I tend to think that we all make spelling mistakes and even sometimes confuse whether words are found in the Constitution or the Declaration. For these we should extend grace. But when you know that Hillary, because she is blue, can not only get away with minor things like this, but can also escape criminal charges for her security breeches, it is frustrating. This, again, is the devastating loss of the unbiased watchdog responsibility of the press. We suffer greatly, greatly from this.
  • Another business is under attack because of their Christian beliefs. The Delormes in Longview, Texas were targeted by a homosexual couple. The bakers were up front with them and told them that they don’t do things that conflict with their Christian beliefs: they don’t make tobacco-related cakes, they don’t make alcohol-related cakes, they don’t make risqué cakes, and they don’t make homosexual cakes. It wasn’t a discrimination against the couple because they were homosexual…they would have refused their own mother if she had asked them to bake something that violated their principles. They even offered to give the gay couple a list of bakeries that would meet their needs, but, instead, the couple went public, accusing them of discrimination. The Delormes were then hit with the barrage of activist threats…against their business and their family. They bombarded Yelp with negative reviews and filthy and violent threat messages were posted and sent to the Delormes. Activists will continue to call us “hateful” all the while being filled with hate themselves. But don’t despair, Remnant. Walk uprightly. Don’t give in to hatred, but don’t stand down.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:13-15

  • The Obama treaty with Iran that granted them, among other things, a boatload of $billions, is now being used to provide cash incentives for terrorism in Israel. Just as Saddam Hussein offered stipends to the families of suicide bombers and wrote a check for  $25,000 to the family of the terrorist who blew himself up in a Jerusalem café, killing eleven Israelis, so, too, Iran, who has vowed to “eliminate” Israel from the map, is now using its newly-gained billions to incentivize more bloodshed.
  • We sometimes think of government over-reach as it applies to federal power, but the worldview that seeks this is also at work at the individual state and city level. Seattle has issued a $15 minimum wage law (which is guaranteed to reduce the number of lower paying jobs) and is now on the verge of issuing a law that will dictate how businesses schedule their employees. One element of the new law would be to force employers to give employees schedules a week in advance or pay time-and-a-half. Another is that employees must be given a minimum of eleven hours between shifts. This will eliminate the occasional requirement for someone “closing” a store and then “opening” the store. Or maybe the need to get crops in when you have to work until sunset and then start up again at sunrise. Or working a deadline that requires a few late nights and early mornings. Oh, my! Please save us, dear government, from hard work! It all sounds so nurturing on the surface, but it is an encroachment of the civil government upon the sphere of labor that stems from the worldview that, as Plato believed, the people need to be ruled by “philosopher-kings” because the philosopher-king was so much smarter and knew what was better for the common, less-than-intelligent citizen. Of course, Plato never mentioned, as we would neither, that it also has a lot to do with power and control…if not more so.
  • New York is puzzled by the rising wave of “slashing” attacks. I think one of the reasons for their bewilderment is that they have one of the strictest gun control policies in America. The politics of gun control is always closely tied with the promise to reduce violence. Yet, here we are, barely to the end of the second month, and New York has logged 567 slashing attacks. These are often random, where someone will come behind an innocent victim and slash them deeply across the face or a car will suddenly stop and someone will jump out and stab a woman in the abdomen, laugh and then get back in the car and drive away. The mayor is responding by talking about more money and more manpower, and I am reminded of a Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration, comment:

…I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them.  We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government.  That is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.

Of course, that is not on the mayor’s list of solutions. It should be.

I am remorseful that everything in this list is terribly negative. How I wish that a week in review of national headlines was filled with something other than what we now see. Maybe I have a blind spot. If you find positive things, please let me know and we will reserve a spot for the “upside”.

 

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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”