Category Archives: Culture

A DadStory About Contentment

Photo: 5 years ago as of the day of this posting. There’s something great about this time of year!

It was a beautiful day. All 208.8 miles of it.

The first thing I noticed- the sun was bright and the breeze was cool. It was some of the most autumn of all the autumn weather we’ve had so far in West Tennessee. A lot of asphalt was being laid on the highways. It’s finally cool enough I guess, and the extra tax money we’re contributing must have kicked in.

I saw the fullest, whitest cotton fields I’ve seen all season driving through Crockett County. They were even picking some when I came through Dyer County. Dust clouds arose from the bean and corn fields- It is that strange and wonderful time when everything is ready all at once.

Trees are still green, though. Which is fine. There’s no reason to rush the fall foliage. No sooner than it gets here, it’ll be gone. Like the way the weeks and months of 2017 have ticked down so quickly, I wonder where the year has gone, and I’m a little bit sad.

I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed all this today. Because today I have travelled for work, and the people I have met are so focused on the immediate problems in their lives that a lot of the blessings can end up going by unnoticed.

I witnessed tears today. One family experienced the wonder of new birth; another, the gut punch of miscarriage. The scars of cuts made in desperation were there. The inside scars of physical abuse, they were there today, too. Frightful parents, at the end of their rope; I saw them as well.

I spoke my recommendations. I ascertained safety. I assessed. I even spoke my piece- I told her being treated like trash doesn’t make you trash. Believe the people who care about you. If God didn’t take you, it isn’t because he hates you. He loves you and he has something left for you to do.

Somewhere, there are two kids I know are safe and sound, treated with the utmost care. I’m missing them. The highlight of my day is when I had to ask their mama to meet me halfway through Gibson County because I left something at home I needed. Circumstances put them close enough to bring me what I needed. I saw those two boys for the only few waking minutes they and I would have today. In a few minutes, when I’m done writing this, I’ll go look at them and kiss them while they sleep.

I travelled from near the Mississippi River in Northwest Tennessee to nearly the Tennessee River in the Southwest, on rural state highways; through 7 counties including my own. God sped me along safely, and I was blessed. I prayed. I looked around. I knew the day would end and the labors would end, and I felt hope.

I hope I’m not the only one who found some contentment, in the midst of the busyness, and even the tragedy, of today. In a discontented state, it’s easy to become a victim. It’s easy to blame others, even those closest to us, for our dis-ease and discomfort. We have a society of such people these days. It’s the worst when adults blame their children for the problems they experience as a family. It seems that children are either being accused or ignored these days. And in that environment, it is a learned behavior to blame others, blame circumstances, avoid responsibility. And so the world turns…

I have a better hope than that. I look forward to better things. And I can see God in everything. In the sky and the fields. In the opportunity to help another person. In the faces of my loving family. In the Word of God. If it wasn’t for the Lord, where would I be?

Just thoughts on a page. But this is my DadStory today. Do you have one? Let me know.

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The Cultural Injustice of Death on Demand

The disregard for human life in this day and age is breath-taking. It seems that a generation has come that feels there’s honor in controlling the circumstances of death and power in controlling the death of others. I’m referring to the increasing rise and acceptance of euthanasia, which is the younger sister of the much more mature practice of abortion. The culture has embraced death on demand.

Euthanasia and abortion doctors are a special kind of parasites, profiting from taking life from the most vulnerable in society at their most desperate point in life. And it seems that they get to make the decisions about who lives and dies with no third-party, disinterested decision-maker involved. Consider that in Tennessee, from 2000 until now, there has been no requirement for a doctor to provide for informed consent from women seeking abortions. No explanation necessary, according to the law. According to this article in the New Yorker, in Belgium, a death doc carried out euthanasia with no contact made to living family members, and no apparent opinion gained outside of his impression of his victim.

Europe has been the cultural hotbed of such liberal, humanistic, “enlightened” policies, under the guise of “the patient knows best,” and, “Who am I to decide for another person, how they should live or die?” Thus, there it is simply a matter of choice. Like abortion here in the US. One option among many. But which option do the death docs profit from? Which option are they most likely to promote?

It has just gotten to the point where anything resembling authority outside of self is completely rejected. And power over death is the ultimate self-empowerment. Too bad that it is a power reserved for God alone, the One whose Lordship is most spurned today. But is it really self-empowerment when there is such potential for deception and coercion from someone who is going to profit from your death? Is it really autonomy if the options for happiness and fulfillment apart from dying are covered up?

Sympathizing with the desire to die, while understandable as a human emotion, really should have no place in making medical and psychiatric decisions. On that note, as a mental health professional, playing into one’s desire to die is cruel and antithetical to the purpose of improving mental health. Life-long depression as a reason for euthanasia? The potential for psychiatric distress due to having a baby as a reason for abortion?

We have to live our lives and speak truth in such a way that others want to take part in what we have and to understand what makes us who we are.

In decades past, I would feel safe saying that a majority of people in the US would think these sentiments are ludicrous, but today, I’m not so sure. There is some comfort in knowing that, according to Gallup, 51% of Americans feel that abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances, and of that number, 36% believe it should be legal only in few circumstances. While only 19% believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, 44% of the sample asked considers themselves pro-life.

It is pitiful that we even need to measure such statistics, but the reason we do is because death on demand was accepted by the culture, then the government, long ago. I hope we never get to the point where these questions have to be asked about euthanasia, the way we have to ask them about abortion. If we the people aren’t careful, we will let the culture get away from us again. Merchants of death, by reason of the lies they tell, somehow are able to turn their consumers into the biggest cheerleaders for the goods they sell.

So we have to live our lives and speak truth in such a way that others want to take part in what we have and to understand what makes us who we are. We pro-life folks haven’t escaped tragedy and hardship our entire lives, but we have understood through suffering that life is worth living and worth fighting for. Can we pass that on to someone else today?

Join the Ranks of the Redeemed

It’s amazing how much theology affects life. And so many people do not even realize it.

Liberation theology has contributed so much to the philosophy we are seeing executed in our government today- a government of endless payouts, subsides, and entitlements. Also a government that sees taxing the wealthy as virtuous, comparing themselves to Robin Hood just recently, and declaring in the not-too-distant past that, if you have a business that is successful, “You didn’t build that!”

These statements are influenced by a theology that interprets the Bible as showing God having a preference for the poor.” Jesus was born poor and wants us all to be poor… or at least equal.” As a result, anything that elevates the stature of the poor, or brings down people who are not poor, is right. Additionally, it is a philosophy that emphasizes the collective and denigrates personal responsibility.

Well, I don’t subscribe to this theology. I believe God has a preference for the righteous- those who have become sons and daughters of God. He bestows His Spirit on them, and in an instant justifies them as though they had never sinned, sanctifies them from all unrighteousness, and makes them holy. I’m glad I’m one of them!

The Heroes of Faith in chapter 11 always gets me- “They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground,” it says in Hebrews ‭11‬:‭38‬.

The writer encouraged the believers:

Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭32-34‬ NLT)

Are you ready for suffering? Will you stand in the evil day? Or will you be offended and walk away? People who are impoverished and suffering want an explanation. I only have an invitation. Come meet the One who can tell you more about you than you know about yourself. And rely on Him who can provide you better things, eternal things, who will soon scoop you out of this world and put you in a place of eternal peace and rest.

How do you join the ranks of the Redeemed?

Its found in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” (‭KJV). Repentence, turning away from sin and toward Jesus, is still necessary. Water baptism by immersion is the only way demonstrated in the scripture to be buried with Jesus. And the Spirit of Jesus will make your life His home; He is a free gift to those who obey. This is testified of throughout the Word of God.

so, I truly believe that we should take our focus off of what God can do for us here and now, and focus on how we can be faithful to Him so he can take us to the Great There and Then!

Culture’s Slippery Slope: On Religion, Relativism, and the Real Danger in Obama’s America

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12-13‬ NLT)

The Apostle Peter was a victim of Nero’s campaign of terror on the Christians, and was executed in about AD 65. The Christians became a secret sect that fell victim to the lions and gladiators whenever they were found. They committed no crime other than to gather to sing songs, quotes scriptures, and encourage one another. From David Bernard’s book, the History of Christian Doctrine: “Pagan opposition to Chrisitanity was based on misunderstandings and false, scurrilous rumors. It was commonly reported that christians murdered people, sacrificed babies, ate human flesh, drank human blood, conducted orgies, and so on. In addition, pagan writers attacked Christianity on the ground that it undermined the state and the fiber of society.”

Let’s fast forward and to the time of the Protestant Reformation. Micheal Servetus was a man who saw the errors of religion wedded with the state and consolidated under a central power, the Pope. As he studied religion and saw the excesses of the church, he realized the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church were in grave error. He traced this error back to the state-sponsored councils that affirmed the Trinity instead of One God in Christ. Servetus had to flee for his life after publishing his views, but he continued to write in defense of the oneness of God, the full humanity and Deity of Christ, and the necessity of faith and repentance in baptism (no infant baptism). And he was executed for it in Oct. 1553, by the protestant city council of Geneva, Switzerland, “in the name of Christ.”

The pendulum had swung to the other extreme. Christianity’s widespread acceptance and sanction by the secular government led to abuses and atrocities being committed in the name of Christ.

Fast forward even further and you’ll find masses fleeing religious persecution in Europe for the shores of America. Out of the descendants of this group would arise men who had the backbone to stand up to government oppression and declare, “We find these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our Founders determined not to institute a state religion, but they realized the role Christianity would play in creating the ideal citizen. “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” (Northwest Ordinance of 1787).

Somewhere along the line we have succumbed to a false tolerance, a moral relevance that has allowed our president this week, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, to say of Christianity,

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

These alleged examples of atrocities committed “in the name of Christ” have been the old stand-bys for Christianity’s critics for decades if not centuries, signposts confirming that the religion of the Bible is not a peaceful and good religion. But we’ve just reached the tipping point in our culture where those examples have come out of the break room and the chat room and have been uttered by a sitting US President in a national prayer breakfast, of all places.

There are evil ideologies masquerading as religion, one of which is Islam. Among the reasons that a President, or anyone, would excuse an evil ideology and denigrate true religion are a denial of absolute truth and an embrace of collectivism. No morally decent person would claim that all Muslims are terrorists or that all Christians are saints. But any morally decent person has to see the distinction between the religion of the Bible and the religion of the Qur’an, condemning the latter as evil. But the President was compelled to go back to the 1000’s to paint all Christians as marred by atrocities and legitimize an ideology that he sees as on par with Christianity.

The clear and apparent fact is that people have committed atrocities in the name of Christianity. Specifically, atrocities have been committed by power-hungry reps of power structures that used Christianity to gain and hold control over others. However, it appears to be the strictest adherents of Islam that commit atrocities in the name of Allah. This is a difference that Islam’s apologists are unable to recognize. The echo chamber of culture amplifies voices like our President’s, producing poisonous lies that threaten individual liberty and legitimize religious oppression. Pretty soon, we will have come full circle in history, and today’s American society will more closely resemble Nero’s than Jefferson’s.

Right to Abort v. Responsibility to Preserve Life

Another anniversary for the Roe v. Wade decision has come and gone. It was an observance of how we codified murder into the law of the land, during which we celebrated abortion as a “constitutional right.”

By “we codified murder,” I don’t mean We the People. I mean a small, non-representative panel of Supreme Court justices in 1973, who took it on themselves to decide murder is ok if it is committed before birth.

And by “we celebrated,” I don’t mean the majority of Americans, I mean the President of our Nation, who released his congratulatory statement in praise of the “right” to kill innocent children.

“Reproductive rights” are the goal, and the push won’t stop until abortion is as ubiquitous as a visit to the nail or hair salon. If you don’t believe me, search “#reprorights” or “#reproductiverights” on Twitter and see what that crowd is saying. If you’re a decent and moral person, it’ll strike you as absolutely vile.

While you are at it, search “#7in10forRoe,” a hashtag that is meant to demonstrate the reasons that 7 out of 10 Americans reportedly approve of the Roe decision (read this article carefully, as it highlights that the states continue to enact restrictions on abortion in record numbers in spite of oh so many being supportive of abortion). There are really about 5 reasons that I’m seeing- men have no say, men’s bodies are not regulated, government doesn’t belong in a doctor’s office, women deserve access to “comprehensive reproductive health care, and women can make decisions for their own bodies. Let’s break these down one by one:

Men have no say- but they contribute to the condition known as pregnancy.
Men’s bodies are not regulated- while unborn men and women exist in a lawless state of peril without the right or the voice to fight for their own existence.
Government does not belong in your doctor’s office- agreed, but doctors do not belong in the murder business either.
Women deserve access to “CRHC”- murder does not belong in the array of reproductive health services.
Women can make their decisions about their own bodies- the decision making process should start well before conception, and here is the evidence: Forty-nine percent of women had not used birth control in the month that they became pregnant.

The most ludicrous statement I’ve ever read on abortion is this one:

The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life.

If women who cited not wanting to be a single parent, not being able to afford a child, not being ready for parenthood as reasons for their abortions- if these women understood the responsibilities of being a parent, then they would have exerted control over their own bodies before conceiving. The most insulting sentiment ever to any self-respecting woman should be that she doesn’t have the control needed to resist sexual intercourse. Abstinence for the sake of not becoming a parent until you are out of school? No way! I’m such a prude for even raising the idea.

Throwing the baby out with the bath water will continue to be accepted practice in our nation as long as contrived “rights” continue to trump personal responsibility, as protected and promoted by our elected and appointed leaders. The President can’t be so ignorant as to think that abortion is a “core constitutional right,” can he? So he must be saying what he means, and meaning what he says. That means moving toward abortion as a universal right is the course our nation is on, unless we all stand up and have our voices heard.

Please #praytoendabortion everyday. And reach out to your elected officials to express your support for pro-life efforts. Joking a Right To Life chapter or just share what you know with a neighbor.

The Distorted Lens of Culture

At the 1:37 mark in this video, Stu makes a tremendous point, the point that I think is the undoing of too many of us that need to be speaking out about abominable abortion- we have been tricked into thinking we are the minority and we have been cowed into acting like it by not speaking up.

The culture represents the “mean” of society’s operating beliefs. But loud voices can skew what that average really is in our minds. That’s why our voices have to be strong.

In a world that needs your connectedness, you can’t afford to be shut down and out of the fight.

#Terrorshaming- All the Rage in a Postmodern, Pro-Islamist World

Terrorshaming is the response from the media and all others considering themselves “elite,” that a person, group, or government is responsible for becoming the victim(s) of an act or acts or terror. This happened after 9/11 to the U.S., and it’s happening now to Charlie Hebdo and the people of France.

Wolf Blitzer and Sally Kohn are two journalists of note who are shaming the victim, as highlighted in this article.

And of course the Islamic apologists are going to say it is the victim’s fault, because the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were worthy of death under sharia for mocking “the prophet”.

Which made me wonder…

Anyway, the “shame-n-blame,” marginalize-the-victim response has been popular domestically of late, as police officers have experienced more and more ambush-type attacks in the wake of Brown and Garner, which has been justified under the statement that “the police are out of touch with the communities they are supposed to serve.” Even if true, does it justify the assassination of police officers?

It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. I don’t think we live in a world any longer where there is enough decency to condemn horrific acts of murder just because that is what they are, without having to try to find a way to justify it and put it back on the victim or victims. There is never, ever, ever an excuse for rape, and it is never, ever, ever the rape victim’s fault. The Catholic Church did not and should not get a pass for young people who were sexually abused as children by priests.

So why are so many condemning the victims of Islamist terror, while calling for empathy for the Islamist perpetrators?