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March 26, 2014

Boycott: Evangelicals Blast World Vision Decision to Hire People in Homosex "Marriages"

Ben Johnson reports at LifeSiteNews.com:

The nearly billion-dollar Christian charity World Vision has reversed its longstanding policy, announcing that it will begin hiring homosexuals in same-sex 'marriages' to work for their ministry. . . .

"World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church -- which I find offensive -- as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church," said Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and leader of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. . . .

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, said, "World Vision has abandoned the warning of Paul and compromised the integrity of a ministry financially supported by Christians who regard Scripture as the final authority on the issue."

"Christians who support World Vision should stop, as should all of the artists and authors who raise money for them," he emphasized. "There are many other organizations that sponsor children around the world who remain true to the Gospel."

"Stearns likened the divide between Christians to controversies over the proper baptismal method, saying eliminating this theological issue would help focus the organization's efforts to promote Christianity," LifeSiteNews reports.

"I know the Evil One would like nothing better than for World Vision to be hobbled and divided on this issue, so that we lose our focus on the Great Commandment and the Great Commission," Stearns is quoted as saying. 

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler disagrees, calling Stearns' reasoning "pathetically inadequate," according to LifeSiteNews.

"It is ridiculous to argue that World Vision is not taking sides on the issue,” LifeSiteNews quotes Mohler as saying. 

"Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin" and "will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation," LifeSiteNews also quotes Mohler as writing.

"Donor bases come and go. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands forever," said Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, according to LifeSiteNews.

One should point out that Jesus of Nazareth himself has spoken quite clearly on the subject of marriage, saying, for example, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female . . . For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Matthew 19:4-5).

I, for one, join with Jesus of Nazareth and with all others who revolt on behalf of intelligence against "marriage equality" or any other such phrase that fronts for counterfeits and masks societal barbarism.

On its website, World Vision has the tagline, "Building a better world for children."

How sweet, but ironic. How hopeful, but savage. And how loving, but false. 

And how vain to do so in the name of Jesus. Not only is claiming Jesus for that which Jesus explicitly rejects a spiritual and strategic loser, it is a way of taking the Lord's name in vain.

In fact, because of its rejection of the Creator's verifiable information and wisdom concerning marriage, World Vision is now committed to making a worse world for children

Water yes, marriage no.

That's not sweet. That's not hopeful. That's not loving.

If World Vision cannot be trusted to speak and practice truth regarding a phenomenon as foundational as marriage, which is so clearly emphasized in the data of Scripture, how in the world can the organization be trusted to speak and practice truth in other important but less foundational matters?

That's not relief, that's pain.

And if World Vision breaks faith with Jesus here, at such a foundational point, who is to say it will not break faith with Jesus elsewhere, when the board again is "overwhelmingly in favor" of such a regressive step?

This is not simply a matter of the blind leading the blind. It's the depleted disserving the starving.   

It is vanity, incoherence, and worldliness, all in the name of ministry.

By its own choice, World Vision has exposed itself has having lost its vision. It has broken faith with Jesus, the verifiable Lord of history, the water of life

A loss of funding may be the least of the organization's problems.

Here is contact information for World Vision:

World Vision, Inc.
34834 Weyerhaeuser Way South
Federal Way, WA 98001
1-888-511-6443
1-253-815-1000
info@worldvision.org 

Related
The Revolt of Intelligence Against "Marriage Equality" 
Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age" 

February 13, 2014

American Humanist Association Demands Students Stop Feeding Starving Kids

Todd Starnes writes:

Stop feeding starving children, or else!

The American Humanist Association [AHA] sent that message to a school in Robbinsdale, Minn., accusing them of violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing students to participate in a community service project at a church that involved preparing meals for impoverished children in Haiti.

The humanists got their britches in a bunch after the family of a student at the School of Engineering and Arts objected to the project being held at Calvary Lutheran Church.

"The school has clearly violated the Establishment Clause,” Starnes quotes AHA attorney Monica Miller as writing in a "threatening letter to the school and district officials."

According to Starnes, the lawyer wrote, "By sending public school children under your authority to a religious environment -- to work with a religious organization that is on a religious mission -- is a violating of the First Amendment principle of church-state separation."

Sorry, but this use of the First Amendment is humanist horse-hockey. Utter propaganda.

Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution forbid schools and churches from working together to help others in the name of Jesus.

Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution forbid even individual states from establishing their own denominational state church, should the good citizens, say, of Minnesota, decide on such a course of action.

And nowhere in the U.S. Constitution can you find the phrase "church-state separation."

What the Constitution forbids is the federal government ("Congress shall make no law . . .") from sticking its intrusive nose into the choices that a free people under God decide to make as they seek to live lovingly and truthfully in community with God and their fellow man, their neighbors, their communities. Even if those neighbors live in communities in places such as Haiti.

What is forbidden is the establishment of a national Christian state denominational church, so that there is not a monopoly of ecclesiastical and governmental power wielded by, say, the Baptists or Anglicans in unity with the political power structure of the day.

That would be too much power consolidated into the hands of too few people. It's the sort of thing that a free-thinking people do well to attend to if they would learn the lessons of history.

What is the point of the Constitution? To set up a form of government that enfleshes and protects the rules of freedom as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

And what is at the heart of human freedom and dignity in the Delcaration? None other than the Creator. Not as a private feeling, but as public truth.

What says the Declaration?

We hold 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.

This is not the Creator "religiously" domesticated, as some propagandists seem to envision -- that is, some kind of fairy-tale figure locked away safe and sound inside church walls and prayer closets.

No. This Creator is a public figure. This Creator is pro-verification, pro-evidence, and pro-reason, and this Creator expects human beings created in his image to apply the principles of human freedom and dignity across all of life.

Humanists are trying to impose their propaganda and ahistorical secular superstitions upon the American people. They are trying to consolidate all power under the control of a religiously secular state, with its freedom-denying tentacles choking every aspect of our daily lives.

The result is not enlightenment, but darkness. Not humanness, but inhumanity.

"This is a new low even for humanists," Starnes concludes. "It takes a special kind of godless thuggery to take food out of the mouths of starving children." 

Related
Why We Revolt: Cheerleaders Violate "Separation of Church and State"? 
How Critical Thinking Saves Faith 
Philosopher William Lane Craig Skewers "Incoherence" of Humanism in WPost

January 30, 2014

Chick-fil-A Gives Free Food to Motorists Stranded in Southern Snowstorm

From Todd Starnes:

Chick-fil-A had a captive crowd of hungry customers. So why did they give away their food?

Related
What I Saw at Chick-Fil-A Today 

January 28, 2014

Thomas Sowell: The Blessings of Inequality

"We are lucky that we are so different," Thomas Sowell writes, "so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations."

But more than this, Sowell argues, the inequality of abilities (or "diversity," one might say) we see in human beings can save lives and enhance "everyone's well-being."

Yes, human beings are created equal, as the Declaration of Independence so appropriately notes.

This fact of life affirms the ontological worth and significance of the human being. It expresses the basis upon which people are to be respected by the powers that be and not steamrolled by big government, big business, big media, big "ministry," big Hollywood, big "science," or big anything.

Thus government, business, ministry, and so on, are created to serve man. Man is not created to worship and serve any of these entities. 

But note: Human beings are created equal in their individuality, as well. All of us have fingerprints, and yet every set of fingerprints is unique. In the human being, therefore, both unity and diversity are equally affirmed.

When diversity -- or inequality, properly understood -- is respected, our lives are enriched (in creativity, achievement, healing, wealth, and so on). Vive la différence.

The opposite is equally true. When diversity (or inequality) is disrespected, our lives are impoverished. Freedom, ideas, speech, excellence, and creativity begin to disappear as society is herded down the road to serfdom, to borrow a phrase. 

Diversity can also be deified. But this is a bad move because, as an idol, diversity breeds chaos -- even if it is well marketed ("Diversity is our strength!").

Chaos in morals and politics is, of course, unlivable. And so the temptation comes: Let us organize our lives around "unity." 

But when unity is grasped as a final solution, when it is deified in reaction to the totalizing god of "diversity," the real-world result is uniformity and oppression. The individual is smashed in the name of equality (or "fairness," "tolerance," etc.).

All too quickly, a people faces an elitist steamroller of presidential pens and phones, of federal laws and regulations, of dog-whistle peer pressure seeking to impose pretended absolutes enforced by those who hold power at a particular moment in history. 

How do we move forward to achieve individual and corporate balance? By realizing that both unity and diversity are gifts from the Creator. They are too wondrous and powerful to be left in the hands of politicians. 

Related
The Revolt of Intelligence Against "Marriage Equality" 
Memo to Conservatives: Accepting Homosex "Marriage" Opens Door to "Unlimited Statism"

January 22, 2014

Missy Robertson: "Taking a Stand for Christianity in a Public Way"

In an interview with Fox News, Missy Robertson (wife of Jase) is asked what she has "come to learn about the audience that watches Duck Dynasty" following A&E's suspension of her father-in-law, Phil.

Missy replies:

Our fans are truly passionate! I can say personally that I am completely overwhelmed by the outspoken support of our family.

People have called to me from the open windows of their cars, across parking lots, in the grocery store, at the mall, just about everywhere I go in public.

They have gone out of their way to make a point in letting us know that they support our family 100 percent and appreciate our taking a stand for Christianity in a public way.

Missy's emphasis on standing for "Christianity in a public way" is quite to the point. For the Biblical worldview, properly understood, refuses to let itself shrink into a "private value system" or "belief system" (or "my truth" or "my values") but rather has always embraced the concept of publicly verifiable and publicly actionable information from the Creator.   

"Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital 'T,'" Francis Schaeffer stated in an address at the University of Notre Dame. 

As such, said Schaeffer, what is affirmed is "truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality -- and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth."

Thus the title of Nancy's book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity. 

In contrast to Schaeffer's affirmation, and to Missy's emphasis, we have the likes of "A&E and other secularists," who "seek to domesticate Biblical content from the Creator by redefining 'faith' as a 'personal matter' for so-called 'religious people'," as I noted in my most recent column.

"This effort reflects the modern reduction of 'faith' to a private 'belief system' or 'religious feeling' and is the product of anti-Christian secularism, not of a robust, pro-verification Christianity. Instead, the Biblical record concerns testable information regarding objective reality and is meant to be acted upon by free-thinking human beings across the whole of life, including public life."

What Missy states directly in this interview was also noted by Korie (wife of Duck Commander CEO Willie) when she said during a New Year's Eve interview on Fox, "At the end of the day we sit down and thank God for our blessings. . . . Hopefully we can spread that message. . . . As a country, if we can come back to that a little bit, maybe we’ll have a great 2014."

Yes, Christianity is so true to reality that its message can properly be applied to the country.

As I see it, the "Christian worldview is decidedly not 'religious' in the dumbed-down modern sense of the term but rather challenges people to 'test everything,' to evaluate truth-claims, and to think and see for themselves." 

Control freaks are right to be wary: Knowing the truth can not only set you free, but it can liberate a nation as well.

December 24, 2013

4 Elements of a "Merry Christmas!" The Revolt of Intelligence Against Religious & Secular Stereotypes

You might have heard: The revolutionary good news that landed ashore Planet Earth that first Christmas morn "confronts cults of faith, secularism, religion, and politics." I have written about that here. By way of introduction, consider these four passages to provide an overview of the "elements of a 'Merry Christmas!'":  

1. Good-Bye Stereotypes: "First, in contrast to pagan, religious, media, and secular stereotypes, Christmas is about real people living and working in a real world. The inaugurating events of Christmas occur in and around Bethlehem of Judea. They concern watchful shepherds, pregnant women, and surprised husbands. All are flesh-and-blood people. All are individuals who think, act, wonder, emote, and make choices in situations of life that are less than ideal. . . ."

2. Escape From "Warm Fuzzies": "But humans today are increasingly asked to live in a fragmented world of image, feeling, and PR. A candidate for president of the United States can tell Americans that Christmas is the season of miracles, but what about the rest of the year? Is God alive December 25, but dead by January 1, not able to survive the party? In contrast to warm fuzzies delivered by admakers, politicians, and ministry machines, the Christmas of history is about the objectivity and unity of truth in the midst of tremendous challenge. . . ."

3. Hemingway Avenue: "The third element of Luke 2:20 specifies that Christmas is about the visual and aural validation of answers from God. Rather than a religious truth or spiritual technique that escapes the world, Christmas lives down the street. It is alive to the real world and is one of those things that can be “heard and seen.” Hemingway, who grew to hate generalities but love discrete facts, could have given the manger scene an address in one of his novels. . . ."

4. Test Everything: "Christmas is about enfleshed truth that is accountable, a body of information and series of events that can be rationally considered, verified out in the external world, and discussed among regular people as facts of life. Among the facts are Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, a baby, and a manger, none of which are feelings. The facts also include the angels and the veracity of what they said to human beings, for what the shepherds saw and heard in Bethlehem was 'as it had been told them,' the fourth element from Luke 2:20 under consideration here. . . ."

We thank you all, dear readers of The Pearcey Report, for visiting us throughout the year. To all of you and yours: Best wishes, thoughts, and prayers for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

April 22, 2013

Chinese Christians Choosing "Theology of Resistance"

In China, Christianity is growing so fast that the Chinese may well become the majority within the Christian world. And which "brand" of theology are they choosing? Calvinism -- because it is a "theology of resistance" to unjust power, noted Andrew Brown in the U.K. Guardian in 2009. To quote from Brown:  

Calvinism isn't a religion of subservience to any government. The great national myths of Calvinist cultures are all of wars against imperialist oppressors: the Dutch against the Spanish, the Scots against the English; the Americans against the British. So when the Chinese house churches first emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution in the 80s and 90s "They began to search what theology will support and inform [them]. They read Luther and said, "not him." So they read Calvin, and they said, "him, because he has a theology of resistance."

Related
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

April 18, 2013

Shock! Christian Ministry Affirms Truth, Not Mere "Belief"

In "The Seduction of Relativism," author, blogger, and friend Darrow Miller of Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA) explains why the global ministry he co-founded now publicly "Affirms Truth and Not Merely Belief."

As you will see in his post, Darrow's journey, and therefore that of DNA, has been shaped significantly by his explorations at L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, which exposed him to the strategic work of Francis and Edith Schaeffer while Darrow and wife Marilyn were living in the chalet of Udo and Debby (Schaeffer) Middelmann.

In his post, Darrow mentions recent dialogue he and I have been having regarding questions of truth versus belief. He concludes: "Rick, thank you for your gentle but clear admonition! Thank you for seeing again the seductiveness of relativism. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17)!"

My reply: Thank you, Darrow and DNA, for the opportunity to engage in fruitful dialogue! As for my part, I want to say "Thank You" also to the Schaeffers and the Middelmanns for their work and their contribution to our understanding of what constitutes authentic humanness in community with a verifiable and redemptive Creator who acts and speaks in a broken but healable world. 

To explore DNA's "Seven Core Truths We Emphasize," please see this page.

Related 
Edith Schaeffer and the Apologetics of Beauty
How Critical Thinking Saves Faith 
What Can We Learn From Francis Schaeffer?

March 31, 2013

Easter and Other Four-Letter Words

For millions of people, the entrance of God into verifiable history in human form is cause for celebration. It began with that birth in Bethlehem, and it culminated with an empirically verifiable resurrection in space and time in Jerusalem. Here was an individual observably alive at point A, dead at point B, but then alive again at point C. Thus we have Easter, a rock upon which to build a house, a life, a city on a hill, and even an entire civilization, once the profoundly pro-human implications of the Judeo-Christian worldview begin to be understood and applied across the whole of thought and culture.

No one should be surprised that the consequences of factual events so amazing should cascade like fresh mountain waters over the centuries into new years and into new lives every year. Christmas becomes a time of joy and celebration. Easter becomes a time of doubt followed by certainty and then amazement. But for others it’s a different story. King Herod’s is such a story. So is that of Pontius Pilate.

Herod searched for the newborn king not to celebrate but to destroy a potential rival to power, and that is why he ordered the death of boys in Bethlehem “two years old and younger” (Matt. 1:16). Pilate had Truth staring him in the face when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:19). But instead of setting an innocent man free, a man in whom Pilate found nothing wrong, the Roman washed his hands and gave Jesus over to be crucified (Matt: 27:26), just as the religious establishment wanted.

Had Pilate really been honest in his question about truth, in a matter of days he could have begun investigating the ample evidence regarding the resurrection of the man about whom he found nothing wrong. His curiosity might have been stimulated, one would think, after hearing reports of strange goings-on at the tomb of Jesus. After all, a dead man usually does not unwrap his grave clothes, roll away a massive boulder blocking the entrance to his tomb, overcome sentries whose job (upon pain of death) is to ensure his body stays put, and then convince utterly defeated followers that he is the Lord of life.

One thing pretenders and outright liars seem to have difficulty understanding, whether they be corrupt religious leaders, maneuvering politicians, or enablers easy to command: Truth never dies, is never really defeated, even if you kill it.

Celebrations of Easter and Christmas in America today occur at a time and place far different from that of the countryside and politics of ancient Israel. And yet, there is continuity, for ours too is a time of celebration and praise -- but also one of pretense and hatred and even persecution. That’s right. Persecution is the correct word, it seems to me, if we are to reflect sensitively a Biblical understanding of what is at stake in the world today. 

Continue reading "Easter and Other Four-Letter Words."

March 29, 2013

Memo to Conservatives: Accepting Homosex "Marriage" Opens Door to "Unlimited Statism"

Editor's note: While the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Prop 8 this week, apologists for homosexual "marriage" ask how such an arrangement poses any harm to society. In fact, very much is at stake, and negatively so, for the individual person and for society at large, as Nancy Pearcey demonstrates below, in remarks published in 2011, prior to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

The conservative coalition has always been unstable. And homosexuality may be the issue on which it shatters.

Several groups have announced that they will boycott next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because of its decision to invite the pro-homosexual activist group GOProud to participate.

Dissenting groups include the Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, The American Principles Project, American Values, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage.

Not all conservatives support the boycott. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey opines that by pulling out, social conservatives create the perception "that they don’t even want to debate their position on homosexuality."

At Commentary, Peter Wehner says that these groups could give the impression "that they do not have the arguments needed to win on the merits."

Unfortunately, too many Americans already have that impression -- especially younger voters. A 2009 Pew study found that 58 percent of young adults 18 to 29 years old support same-sex "marriage," compared to 39 percent of the population nationwide.

By voting with their feet, however, social conservatives are not giving up, they are taking a public stand -- which creates a forum to make their case more effectively. They should take this opportunity to argue that the practice of homosexuality has a negative impact not just on the family but also on individuals -- that it expresses a profound disrespect for a person’s biological identity.

Biologically, physiologically, males and females are clearly counterparts to one another. The male sexual and reproductive anatomy is obviously designed for a relationship with a female, and vice versa.

Homosexual practice thus requires individuals to contradict their own biology. It disconnects a person’s sexuality from his or her biological identity as male or female -- which exerts a self-alienating and fragmenting effect on the human personality.

And the logic of alienation will not stop there. Already the acceptance of same-sex relationships is metastasizing into a postmodern notion of sexuality as fluid and changing over time.

For example, an article in the Utne Reader highlights individuals who came out of the closet as homosexual, but were later attracted to heterosexual relationships again. The article quotes psychotherapist Bret Johnson explaining that people today "don’t want to fit into any boxes -- not gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual ones." Instead "they want to be free to change their minds."

What we’re seeing, Johnson concludes, is "a challenge to the old, modernist way of thinking 'This is who I am, period' and a movement toward a postmodern version, 'This is who I am right now.'"

In other words, yesterday I was straight, today I may be homosexual, and tomorrow I could be bisexual. One’s psychosexual identity is said to be in constant flux.

In the past, homosexuals employed the defense that they were born that way. But now they are beginning to embrace the postmodern idea that you can be anything you want to be along a sexual continuum.

This contradicts conservatism at its philosophical core. Conservatism bases human rights on the recognition that there are certain non-negotiable givens in human nature, prior to the state, which the state is obligated to respect.

As political scientist Philippe Beneton explains, in conservatism, equality "is grounded in the recognition of what is human." By contrast, in liberalism, equality "is founded on the claim that nothing is specifically human" -- that human nature itself is a social construction, something we make up as we go along, including our psychosexual identity.

In that case, however, there is nothing in the individual that is given, which the state is therefore obligated to respect. Liberalism undermines the basis for inalienable human rights.

The CPAC walkout is a chance to highlight what is at stake. Jesse Hathaway at NewsReal Blog defends CPAC, saying, "I’m a bit fuzzy on why it matters what a person does in the privacy of his or her bedroom, as long as it doesn’t affect me."

But it does affect him -- and everyone else. Every social practice is the expression of fundamental assumptions about what it means to be human. When a society accepts and approves the practice, it implicitly commits itself to the worldview that supports it -- all the more so if the practice is enshrined in law.

If America accepts practices such as same-sex "marriage," in the process it will absorb the accompanying worldview -- the redefinition of human personhood as a purely social construction -- which opens the door to unlimited statism, because there is no human nature that an oppressive state could possibly offend.

Those who resist will be compelled by the state to go along, or face penalties for "discrimination."

Margaret Thatcher used to say, "First you win the argument, then you win the vote." Instead of caving on this issue, the leaders of CPAC should be vigorously advancing the core arguments of conservatism. Not just to win the vote but to preserve the foundation of the American republic.

Note: This column first appeared in The Daily Caller.

Related
The Revolt of Intelligence Against "Marriage Equality"  
Memo to Supreme Court: Who Respects the Human Body? Not Homosexuals
Rosie O'Donnell's Oppressive Coat
Coulter on "Faggot" Easy to Defend

March 07, 2013

Nancy Pearcey Offering Courses in Worldview Apologetics at Francis Schaeffer Center

Join best-selling author and professor Nancy Pearcey for a "full year (two semesters) of intensive study in worldview apologetics to ground students in the knowledge and skills needed to think critically about secular worldviews and apply a liberating Christian perspective in their studies, their professions, and across the whole of life," announces the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture at Houston Baptist University.

Out of the Box, Into the World: In the Fall 2013, students can take "Worldview Apologetics: 'Testing Everything' with C.S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer."

Hello Campus, Good-Bye God: In the Spring 2014, students can take "Worldview Apologetics: Surviving and Thriving at the University."

For contact information and course descriptions, read the Francis Schaeffer Center announcement here.

February 16, 2013

Cal Thomas v. Star Parker: Should Ben Carson Apologize to Obama for Prayer Breakfast Remarks?

Cal Thomas says yes: "Our politics have become so polarized and corrupted that a president of the United States cannot even attend an event devoted to drawing people closer to God and bridge partisan and cultural divides without being lectured about his policies. . . . 
Carson should publicly apologize and stop going on TV doing 'victory laps' and proclaiming that reaction to his speech was overwhelmingly positive."

Star Parker says no: "What seems to offend Cal Thomas is that Dr. Carson has not fallen victim to the Washington disease that Thomas himself seems to have contracted as [a] result of too many years in our nation’s capital. . . . Religious ritual devoid of content is pointless and destructive. This was Isaiah’s message 2,800 years ago. This is Dr. Ben Carson’s critical message for America today. It’s certainly nothing to apologize about."

Related
Udo Middelmann: "Jesus Came to . . . Argue" (Human Action vs. Religious Passivity) 
Politics an Idol That Distracts Christians From What's Really Important? 
Francis Schaeffer on Authoritarian Government 

December 22, 2012

Udo Middelmann: "Jesus Came to . . . Argue" (Human Action vs. Religious Passivity)

In the Foreword to the new edition of Pro-Existence, Udo Middelmann writes:

Life in the circle of reality does not consist only of observing what happens, in holding people's hands and washing their faces to accompany them in their sad state. Human beings have a calling from God to be human, to gain dominion by figuring out how creation and the human being works in order to build with those insights, vary and embellish life, as well as to actively oppose the decline towards the permanment lure of evil.

Elijah was sent to a king to denounce his evil reign. Jesus came to do the Father's will, to heal the sick and argue with false teachers. Paul defended himself all the way to the court in Rome against mistreatment. Isaac dug a well to irrigate the fields for his sheep.

All such actions follow from the encouragement to Adam and Eve after the fall to stop accusing each other, to put the hand to the plow against an encroaching nature, and to have babies against the approaching death. Their work diminished the weight of a pitiless fallen nature. Their son Cain carried on to develop cities, metallurgy and music, as God encouraged and protected him.

To be human is to actively engage life and not simply to react to events, hide in prayer closets, or to blindly accept the status quo, whether it is thought to be set by media, politics, or by any group, religion, or orientation that erases a human being's God-given individuality.

Yesterday's press release announcing the formation of the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture states, "Courses created by FSC will give students a unique opportunity to work through
. . . foundational resources on worldview and cultural engagement."

Middelmann's book Pro-Existence is a "foundational resource," in my view, and I would recommend it to any person seeking to better understand what it means to stand as a human being living in community with God and man in today's world.

December 21, 2012

Press Release: Nancy and Richard Pearcey to Lead Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture at HBU

The following press announcement is available for immediate release:

Nancy Pearcey & Richard Pearcey to Lead
Francis Schaeffer Center
for Worldview and Culture at HBU

Dec. 21, 2012, Houston, Texas -– Best-selling author Nancy Pearcey and writer-editor J. Richard Pearcey have teamed up to create the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture on the campus of Houston Baptist University.

The purpose of the Francis Schaeffer Center is to “promote foundational research and out-of-the-box creative thinking based on historic Christianity as a total way of life informed by verifiable truth concerning God, humanity, and the cosmos,” according to the FSC mission statement.

Nancy Pearcey serves as Director of the Francis Schaeffer Center. Formerly an agnostic, Nancy is Professor and Scholar in Residence at HBU. She is the author of seminal works such as Total Truth, The Soul of Science, and Saving Leonardo, and also serves as editor at large of The Pearcey Report.  Nancy was heralded in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual." 

Courses created by FSC will give students a unique opportunity to work through Nancy's award-winning books and other foundational resources on worldview and cultural engagement.  "Our goal at FSC is to equip students in every major to be critical and creative thinkers," Pearcey said. "Under the visionary leadership of President Robert Sloan, Houston Baptist University is moving forward strategically to implement a Christian worldview approach more intentionally and comprehensively across all the disciplines."  

The Center is named for noted author Francis A. Schaeffer, whose work with wife Edith at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland won international respect for giving an “honest answer to honest questions.” Time magazine hailed the Schaeffers' work as a “Mission to Intellectuals.” 

J. Richard Pearcey serves as Associate Director of the Center. Richard is Scholar for Worldview Studies at HBU, as well as editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report. He is formerly managing editor of the Capitol Hill newspaper Human Events and associate editor of the “Evans-Novak Political Report.”

“If the Christian worldview is true to reality, and we think a rational case can be made that it is, it can be the key to a renaissance of humanity, freedom, and creativity,” Richard said. “Nancy and I met at L’Abri in Switzerland, so we are grateful for the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the Schaeffers and their work by inspiring students and others -- teachers, activists, professionals -- to apply Christian thought forms across the whole of life, from art to science to business and politics."  

HBU Provost John Mark Reynolds said, "When I was a young adult, the writings and films of Francis Schaeffer modeled a way of doing Christian apologetics that had an important impact on my life. It is my honor to see HBU set up a study center dedicated to the Schaeffer approach to worldview studies. There is no better time for Christians to impact the culture, few better models than Schaeffer for evangelicals, and no better team than Nancy and Richard Pearcey to set up the Center."

According to the FSC mission statement, "Since its founding, Houston Baptist University has built a rich heritage of Christian higher education.
. . . The Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture will give focus to HBU's goal of equipping students and faculty with a Biblical worldview for application to their thinking and their lives.  

“FSC will equip HBU students, faculty, staff, campus organizations, stakeholders, and outside partners to apply the liberating principles of a Biblical worldview in the classroom, across the campus, and around the world.”

To arrange an interview with the Pearceys, please email Nancy at npearcey@hbu.edu or Richard at Pearcey@thepearceyreport.com

If you are interested in learning how to direct support to the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture, please contact the Pearceys or Charles Bacarisse (Vice President for Advancement at Houston Baptist University at 281-649-3428; email cbacarisse@hbu.edu), or visit this HBU website 

###

December 19, 2012

Breaking: Nancy Pearcey & Richard Pearcey to Lead Schaeffer Center at HBU

Nancy and I can now gladly, with thanks, announce today the formation of the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture, located on the campus of Houston Baptist University

This is a developing story. More information will follow.

December 10, 2012

Obama "Holiday" Card Spotlights Dog, Not Christmas (You May Not Like What Obama Really Wants for Christmas)

That would be "Bo Obama," a Portuguese water dog. Thus the savior of Obamaworld.

In contrast, real Christmas is about a verifiable and rationally knowable Jesus of Nazareth entering occupied territory in space and time to lead a movement of resistance against alienation, sin, death, and decay.

Of course the dog and the card arrive with soothing words: "This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays."

But it is: Rank Hypocrisy. That soothes to conquer.

"Family" for Obama is merely a social construct, a counterfeit at war with the Creator and His liberating norms for family life and human community.

The dumbed-down Obama "family" is an arbitary power arrangement gift-wrapped under an authoritarian state that, among other violences, delegates to females the terror to decide who lives and dies. "Hi, Mommy. Good-bye, Boy."

Friends? Obama's "friends" work in secret day in and day out to ensure that the objective meaning of Christmas is censored from the public eye, lest the truth sets them free.

Tyrants from Herod's day until ours cannot stand the arrival of any challenger to their pretensions to power and authority over all. Beware comrades and cronies bearing gifts.

And "joy"? Tell that to a people living in darkness and oppression under an extremist regime of bread and circuses, carrots and sticks, and of hatred for and discrimination against the Creator and the rules of freedom, of which He alone is the source.

That kind of "joy" does not end well. Go ask the Gulag.

Obama for Christmas would have America focus on a dog. Dogs have leashes. What Obama wants for Christmas is America on a leash. 

December 01, 2012

FYI, Free-Thinkers: 1st Counterfeit "Marriage" at West Point Chapel

Madeleine Morgenstern reports at The Blaze

The first same-sex wedding ceremony will be held Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Cadet Chapel, USA Today reported.

Two women, Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin, will exchange vows one year after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays from serving openly in the military came to an end.

Here's what's really happening: In the name of a pseudo-intellectual theory of liberation, the policy called "don't ask, don't tell" has been replaced by a form of oppression and discrimination that demands "don't question, don't speak." 

If you are a free-thinker, if you are willing to think outside of the closed-down, closed-in homosexualist box, consider:

Wrapped in the typical liberalist marketing language selling the "sizzle" of "freedom," "equality," and "love" . . . [is in fact] a product loaded with hate, discrimination, and intolerance.

That would be hatred for the rules of freedom (rooted in the Creator [see the Declaration of Independence] who gives both unalienable rights and liberating norms for married love and human sexuality).

That would be discrimination against the wonder of the male-female diversity, oppressing vive la différence with a steamroller of mono-dimensional sameness and flatness (Oh, yeah, "equality").

And that would be intolerance against people who think for themselves and prefer real marriage, real family, and real diversity to pseudo-intellectual counterfeits all gussied up for the county fair in liberaland hickville (imposed by government extremists from Washington).

People who say they are "conservative" should not allow themselves to be duped by the superficial sizzle of "gay" marketing.

Arguing there is a "conservative case for 'gay' marriage" is as sound as arguing there is a conservative case for counterfeit money. You can make it, but only fools bank on it.

As for the GOP, that party needs to realize that human beings do not live by economics alone.

It needs to start thinking, quit reacting, and refrain from allowing marriage-counterfeiters to impose their extremist agenda upon a free people that prefers reality and wholeness over escapism and reactionary pet theories.

Far better, GOP, is to affirm social policy consistent with rules of freedom grounded in reality, instead of submitting to liberty-denying compromises with inflexible counterfeiters who would eat your lunch, not to mention your country. For

. . . a "house-divided cannot stand. The choice is yours -- the rules of freedom vs. the rules for radicals. Choose freedom and you will live. Choose the extreme radicalism . . . and you will not live. Remain a house-divided and you will collapse."

The antithesis is real. Say yes to reality. And throw the well-baited counterfeits of hate, discrimination, and intolerance onto the ash heap of history.

What is true of military struggle is true in society at large: The most deadly assaults always begin from the inside.

Related
Coalition of Black Pastors Targeting Counterfeit Homosex "Marriage" 
French Protests: Marriage = One Man + One Woman

November 30, 2012

Who'll Win: Islamists or Sexy West?

Let's see, thinking in the longterm, the Western world wants sex, sex, sex, brought to you by respected universities of diversity, such as Harvard.

Meanwhile, Muslims are willing to die to take over the Western world. And they think Allah is on their side.

While Harvard students are just happy to be side by side.

Who could possibly come out the victor in that struggle?

November 21, 2012

Former RNC Chairman Makes Case for Counterfeit Homosex "Marriage"

Eddie Scarry writes at The Blaze:

Ken Mehlman, former RNC chairman and 2004 campaign manager for George W. Bush, makes the conservative case for gay marriage in today’s Wall Street Journal.

"Some misperceive the issue of marriage equality as exclusively progressive," Mehlman writes. "Yet what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values. . . ."

Utter nonsense, of course. But wrapped in the typical liberalist marketing language selling the "sizzle" of "freedom," "equality," and "love," while in fact camouflaging a product loaded with hate, discrimination, and intolerance.

That would be hatred for the rules of freedom (rooted in the Creator who gives both unalienable rights and liberating norms for married love and human sexuality).

That would be discrimination against the wonder of the male-female diversity, oppressing vive la différence with a steamroller of mono-dimensional sameness and flatness (Oh, yeah, "equality").

And that would be intolerance against people who think for themselves and prefer real marriage, real family, and real diversity to pseudo-intellectual counterfeits all gussied up for the county fair in liberaland hickville (imposed by government extremists from Washington).   

Arguing there is a "conservative case for 'gay' marriage" is as sound as arguing there is a conservative case for counterfeit money. You can make it, but only fools bank on it.

Finally, a word to the GOP: A house-divided cannot stand. The choice is yours -- the rules of freedom vs. the rules for radicals. Choose freedom and you will live. Choose the extreme radicalism of Mehlman and company and you will not live. Remain a house-divided and you will collapse.

The antithesis is real. Say yes to reality. And throw the well-baited counterfeits of hate, discrimination, and intolerance onto the ash heap of history.

Related
French Protests: Marriage = One Man + One Woman
 
Rosie O'Donnell's Oppressive Coat
Black Pastors: Banning Chick-Fil-A From Cities Is "Same Thing" as Banning Blacks From Restaurants
Pro-Same-Sex "Marriage" Lesbian: "Institution of Marriage Should Not Exist"
What I Saw at Chick-Fil-A Today

November 19, 2012

The Decline of Focus on the Family

Joseph Farah writes at WND:

Like many great cultural institutions founded by great Christian men -- Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, the New York Times, yes, even the United States of America
-- [Focus on the Family] lost the Christian vision and passion of the founders.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the new non-confrontational, wimpy, smiley-faced, lukewarm Focus on the Family as personified by its new leader, Jim Daly, who seems all-too eager to distance himself and the organization he now heads from the legacy of Dobson.

Daly, apparently, also states that he wants to distance Christians from the Republican Party.

Farah quotes Daly as saying, “If the Christian message has been too wrapped around the axle of the Republican Party, then a) that’s our fault, and b) we’ve got to rethink that.”

"What’s funny about that," Farah comments, is this:

a) Daly sounds just like the leadership of the Republican Party who, like him, don’t want to stand up forcefully and passionately strong for biblical values, and

b) What he’s really talking about is giving up on one of the few cultural and political institutions in which Christians even have a voice and a seat at the table.

Withdrawal from politics is, of course, not an option, just as withdrawal from business, medicine, science, the arts, or church life is not an option.

This does not require, or even come close to requiring, that one identifies Christianity with the Republican Party. That is a silly and easily avoidable error, and I can count on maybe two fingers the number of people I know unsophisticated enough to buy into that mistake.

Rather, all of life is meant to be lived in liberating community with God and man -- and any group or individual that shrinks from his place in this struggle is on the wrong side of the Creator's demand that we be salt and light in this broken world.

Sometimes we can make nice. Other times we have to clear the Temple. It's not as if God Almighty has been unclear about this: Being a human being is not for the faint of heart.

Related
Politics an Idol That Distracts Christians From What's Really Important?
The Curse of Comfortable Christians
Bible Student Confesses to Killing Spiritual Leader's Wife
Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age"

Sex Therapists Want to Legalize "Virtual" Child Porn

Ian Sparks reports at the UK Daily Mail:

Two sex therapists have sparked outrage in the Netherlands by calling for "virtual" child porn to be legalized to relieve the urges of paedophiles.

Amsterdam hospital sexologists Rik van Lunsen and Erik van Beek claim allowing perverts to view drawings or computer-generated images of children would "regulate their desires."

The sexual revolution is built on the concept that human beings are merely animals (as opposed to human beings endowed by the Creator with "certain unalienable rights"), who therefore respond as such in a whole range of circumstances, including sexual circumstances.

Throw on top of this ill-formed worldview the academic socially contrived construct of "sexual orientation" and you have a rationale for treating child porn and adult-child sex and just another kind of orientation ("God," nature or society "made me this way!") that shalt not be judged, because, after all, we're all merely animals in the final analysis.

The so-called sexual revolution is a regressive reactionary devolution too small in its worldview for the dignity and freedom of actual human beings created in the image of God.

Yes, San Franciso, there is a difference between diversity and perversity. The pursuit of happiness has nothing to do with the sexual pursuit of your neighbor's children. A humane and civil society knows the difference.

Related
Sexual Anarchy: The Kinsey Legacy
"Evil": Attendees at Prominent Pro-Pediphilia Conference Horrified by Sessions
HHS: "Children Are Sexual Beings -- Even Infants" 
Humane Worldveiw vs. Kiddie Pole Dancing
Rolled Model: Tennis Pro Harkleroad "Proud of My Body"

November 16, 2012

Bible Student Confesses to Killing Spiritual Leader's Wife

Rachel Quigley reports at the UK Daily Mail:

The Bible student who confessed to killing a spiritual leader's wife told police he was acting under the orders of her huband, who told him to make it look like suicide.

The body of Bethany Deaton, 27, from Kansas City, was found in a van on October 30 with a bag over head, an empty bottle of pills and a suicide note.

Her husband Tyler Deaton is now under investigation in her death, prosecutors announced yesterday.

Micah Moore, 23, confessed to murdering Bethany on Friday and said he did it to prevent her from telling her therapist she was being raped by men in their spiritual group. He also said the assaults were recorded on his iPad. . . .

Witnesses in the case who have not been named, said the group first met at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and had moved to Kansas City to participate in the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization.

What kind of "spiritual" nonsense would lead someone to accept orders from a "spiritual leader" to murder the spiritual leader's wife?

Sadly, this kind of abuse is a possibility, not just generally in a broken world full of very imperfect people, but also specifically within ingrown, cult-like groups that operate on the basis of "revelation," "I really believe God gave me a verse in Scripture" ("and now I get to run your life") and "God is still revealing his vision for us" ("Meet my son, Moses") -- as if human beings already do not have an objective, real-world and verifiable road-map to living available in information given in the Biblical data.

What does the Creator who endowed human beings with unalienable rights also say? "Test Everything." That includes you, Mr. Moses "I just got some goosebumps in the shower." And you too, Ms. Prophet of the mind-meld.

So, you see, "worldliness" is not just something that happens out there in big, bad politics or business, let us say. Some of the most profound and damaging example of deep evil can occur right under your super "spiritual" noses.

For example, in your favorite Christian bookstore -- where the owners set up a raffle designed to make a favorite customer win.

Or consider a well-respected a pastor who succumbs to tempations to play the God-card and lord it over his flock and be treated like some kind of god. I mean, he's written 35 books! Spiritual giant!

Or consider a Christian school that asks staff and faculty to sign ethically compromised legal documents, the very signing of which is an act of lying, perjury. Or maybe the secular-spiritual divide really is what rules the roost. Forget all that worldview stuff when it comes to power and money.

Interesting, isn't it, that these people who claim special access to God via dreams, revelations, and ongoing visions somehow haven't gotten the message universally available to "we the little people"?

That message is already in Scripture for anyone to read and apply
-- all about not lying to students, not manipulating trusting parents, and not requiring staff or faculty to behave dishonorably. 

What this suggests, thinking more broadly, is that the "challenges one faces in politics are no different in principle from the challenges of living as salt and light in any calling of life today, and in any aspect of society," as I have written elsewhere. In addition:

Politics, education, the arts, recreation -- all of life is meant to be lived in community with God and man.

But, equally, in a broken world, each of these can be a distraction and a lure away from our true calling.

A pastor, church, or Christian who fails to apply -- across all of life, including political life -- the verifiable, publicly actionable wisdom given by a knowable Creator is failing to be salt and light.

When that happens, society suffers, as is evident in the news and events of life in America today.

What tragedy and heartbreak is unfolding in Kansas City. And yet how pleased the Devil must be at his success in preparing the battleground for catastrophes such as this -- in the stores, on campus, in church, and even inside the prayer closet. When it comes to resisting evil, resisting this nonsense, now is always a good time to revolt, and here are four action points to get started.

November 13, 2012

Politics an Idol That Distracts Christians From What's Really Important?

Politics can certainly be a distraction.

And yet, any aspect of creation can unduly distract and lead to idolatry -- including caring for the lost, sick, and so on.

The challenges one faces in politics are no different in principle from the challenges of living as salt and light in any calling of life today, and in any aspect of society.

A few examples: Pastors and churches are tempted to lord it over their flocks and be treated as gods; Christian businesses and bookstores equally face temptations to lie, cheat, and steal; Christian musicians face the temptation of settling for less than excellence and instead produce "praise" music that's better suited for the gods of elevators.

Politics, education, the arts, recreation -- all of life is meant to be lived in community with God and man.

But, equally, in a broken world, each of these can be a distraction and a lure away from our true calling.

A pastor, church, or Christian who fails to apply -- across all of life, including political life -- the verifiable, publicly actionable wisdom given by a knowable Creator is failing to be salt and light.

When that happens, society suffers, as is evident in the news and events of life in America today.

The comments above, slightly edited here, first appeared in Facebook.

Related
The Curse of Comfortable Christians
Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age"

November 03, 2012

Is It a Sin to Vote for Democrats?

Radio talk show host and columnist Peter Heck examines the case for Christians voting Democrat or in support of Barack Obama and finds that case wanting.

The issues now are so sharply drawn, and the philosophical divide so great, Heck writes, that "it's a time for choosing."

Related
Wisconsin Bishop: Vote for Homosex "Marriage" Jeopardizes Your Soul
Billy Graham Ad Encourages Voting Biblical Principles 
Betraying Christ: Obama Affirms Perverted Sex

October 20, 2012

Billy Graham Ad Encourages Voting Biblical Principles

CBN reports:

Rev. Billy Graham is encouraging people to vote based on biblical values, in a full page ad in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

"We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake," Graham said in the ad. "I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms."

The Judeo-Christian worldview is rooted in knowable, verifiable information regarding God, man, and the cosmos.

This way of life based on truth and not upon a secularized, privatized concept of "faith."

As such, this way of living welcomes the questions of free-thinking critical thinkers such as Francis Schaeffer (former agnostic) and C.S. Lewis (former atheist), not to mention our approach at The Pearcey Report.

This is about human beings and human minds set free to question authority and examine all things, and it is meant to be expressed with creativity and love and humanity across the whole of life, including political life.

This, of course, is bad news for the Obama campaign, which aggressively and religiously wars against the rules of freedom and the worldview upon which these rules rest.

But it puts Romney-Ryan on notice, as well. Freedom means nobody gets a free pass, either during the campaign or afterwards.

September 15, 2012

Male Homosexual "Partners" Face Child Porn Charges

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

Two Jersey Village men face felony child pornography charges after investigators raided their apartment and found illicit photos and videos of children as young as 5 engaged in sex, Harris County prosecutors said.

Christopher Duncan, 38, and his live-in partner, William Burklund, 20, are each charged with possession of child pornography, court records show. A judge set $20,000 bail for each.

"The City of Jersey Village offers its residents a safe, caring small town atmosphere in the heart of the Houston Metropolitan area,"says the Jersey Village website.

Challenging this mission statement is child pornography, which is an inhumane phenomenon and rightly policed. But also challenging this mission statement, and even more destructive strategically, is a homosexualist philosophy that would seek to normalize child pornography.

That philosophy preaches "'love' without limits." This slogan is a sermon in a nutshell, but it is bad faith and intellectually empty.

It is an angry preaching that not only lacks an adequate basis for defining love (and distinguishing it from mere lust) but the embrace of this view requires a) the rejection of the Creator's liberating norms for marriage and human sexuality and b) the acceptance of a private relativistic concept of "values" based on impersonal nature, "orientation," or just raw power. And it places children at the mercy of "loving" "adult" adults.

Today, the consumption of child pornography is a crime, as it should be.

Tomorrow, however, if homosexualist finger-wagging from the White House, Hollywood, the "news" media, and other secularized power establishments (not to be confused with the American mainstream) are successful in imposing their extremist philosophy upon Americans, no child or community will be safe.

Philosophies have consequences. Ideas that are true and humane can elevate a set of colonies to exceptional greatness. Ideas that are false and inhumane can tear down a town, city, state, or country. This can happen even if those ideas are marketed as "liberation."

The immoral criminal jailed today may be hailed as the pioneer tomorrow. Or Wisdom can triumph in the streets. 

Related
Coulter on "Faggot" Easy to Defend 
Rosie O'Donnell's Oppressive Coat
 
The "Gay" Anti-Science 
What I Saw at Chick-Fil-A Today

September 11, 2012

Humane Worldview vs. Kiddie Pole Dancing

You may have noticed in the news lately that a dance studio is offering "kiddie pole-dancing classes." 

As a counterpoint to this, friend and author Darrow Miller has alerted us to the intriguing creative work of Jeremiah and Mona Enna in Kansas City.

Miller writes: 

After spending time studying and dancing in Europe, the Ennas moved to Olathe, Kansas, near Kansas City. There they created The Culture House and the affiliate Storling Dance Theater. Their dream was to bring the performing arts and the local community together through “excellence, education and engagement.” The Ennas seek to found their work in the performing arts on an integrated Biblical worldview.

The whole point of an "integrated Biblical worldview" is to recover our humanity in a broken world, in a life of community with God and man.

This too is central to "cultural apologetics" -- that is, to being salt and light in all sectors of society, so that love and truth (His will) is exhibited "on earth, even as it is in heaven."  

Someone such as Francis Schaeffer, for example, whose work the Ennas claim as an influence on their creativity, understood the Biblical emphasis that the case for knowable truth from the Creator is meant to be articulated and lived out across the entirety of society. 

As such, this verifiable worldview is not [to quote a recent Acton Institute article] "some exercise in supernatural therapy for people bewildered by the adversities of life. Instead, [Schaeffer] drew out the connections between Christianity, social events, art, history, music, government, and the many other endeavors of human beings in the world."

Schaeffer's reality-oriented commitment "led Christians out of their tiny reading room and into an enormous library of human experience and learning."

This approach gives a basis for a genuine and humane renaissance of life and mind and imagination across the whole of human existence, including, and equally including, politics, science, education, entertainment, journalism, art, medicine, the humanities, church-life, and socio-political healing in the public square. 

Here is a video that explains the vision of Jeremiah and Mona Enna for the Artist Development Program at the Storling Dance Theater.

The next time we're in Kansas City, we hope to pay a visit to The Culture House and Storling Dance Theater.

Related
Rolled Model: Tennis Pro Harkleroad "Proud of My Body"
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Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning

(Note: Portions of the preceding comments first appeared on Nancy Pearcey's page in Facebook)

September 07, 2012

Contra Jefferson: A Godless Party Expels the Creator

Pat Buchanan writes:

The authors of the Democratic platform have inadvertently revealed to the world the sea change that has taken place in that party we once knew.

For the first time — and in the longest Democratic platform in history, 26,000 words — there was not a single mention of God, the Creator, whom Thomas Jefferson himself, father of the party, proclaimed to be the author of our right to life and liberty.

The convention had approved the new platform, but when a firestorm erupted, a panicked Barack Obama hastily ordered "God" reinstated.

"But when the amendment was offered to the convention by its chairman, Antonio Villaraigosa, the idea of restoring the name of God to the platform was hooted, jeered and booed by half the delegates on the floor, who three times howled, 'No!'," Buchanan recounts.

"The omission of God is being called an oversight," Buchanan writes. "But the viral reaction to returning God, even when Obama asked that it be done, testifies that this was no accident. God was deleted deliberately."

July 24, 2012

Marine Corps Law Enforcement Battalions to "Control Civil Disturbances"

Steve Watson writes at Infowars:

Units of hundreds of military police officers trained to investigate crimes have been created by the Marine Corps and will “assist local authorities” in securing crime scenes and building cases, reports the Associated Press.

The report notes that “the battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects.”

While the units, each comprising 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs, will “deploy worldwide,” recent forays by the military into domestic policing in the United States may have some Americans wondering if the newly created “law enforcement battalions” will be used at home.

The further the Washington, D.C., establishment moves away from Constitutional governance rooted in Declaration principles -- that is, "unalienable rights" under God instead of under the state, nature, skin color, or last Tuesday's poll from San Franciso -- the more that establishment will have to rely on raw power (financial, social, police, military, etc.) to impose its private values upon the rest of America.

A radicalized U.S. military torn asunder from its duty to protect and defend Declaration freedoms and Constitutional government could be one of several tools available to a political elite to impose control and demand obedience.

That such a scenario is thinkable may startle some. But, in large measure, imposed unfreedom has been the history of the world. Until America showed up. May she show up once again.

And not just for Americans, but for any people and any nation that would actualize what the Creator has already endowed upon all humanity. God, not geography, is destiny.

July 17, 2012

Faithfull & Footloose: Nancy on Radio, Wendy on Dancing

Performing artist Wendy Paschalidis listened to our own and Houston Baptist U's Nancy Pearcey on KKLA's Frank Pastore radio show yesterday, and here is the conclusion of her comments in a thoughtful blog post titled "I Serve Jesus. I'm a Dancer" (I encourage you to read the entire post):  

For all you out there who think that writing, dancing, singing, creating video games, drawing, making films, exercising, etc. isn't ministry . . . think again.

Here is a podcast of yesterday's show.

July 09, 2012

Open Letter to Carrie Underwood

WND's Joseph Farah writes:

What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?

That’s the question I would like answered by Carrie Underwood, other Christian celebrities, and, quite honestly, most non-celebrity Christians and their pastors.

Last month Underwood, a country-music superstar, suggested in an interview with the U.K. Independent that she has no problem with same-sex relationships and marriage.

It’s not unusual, of course, for entertainers to take such positions -- in fact, it’s expected. But what made the interview newsworthy all over the world is the fact that Underwood claims to be a Christian.

May 25, 2012

150+ Maine Churches to Launch Campaign Protecting Marriage

In an AP story posted at The Blaze:

Scores of Maine churches will pass the collection plate a second time at Sunday services on Father‘s Day to kick off a fundraising campaign for the lead opposition group to November’s ballot question asking voters to legalize same-sex marriages.

Between 150 and 200 churches are expected to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine evangelical organization and a member of the PAC. Conley is also trying to drum up support for the Maine campaign from religious leaders from around the country.

Kudos to people of goodwill in Maine stepping up to protect kids, families, and marriage from the extremism and aggression of pro-homosexualist activists and their secular enablers in the media and elsewhere.

Love of neighbor includes protecting the neighborhood.

Stand up to monodimensional secularist bullies who despise the wonder and liberation of male-female diversity in marriage.

And overcome those reactionaries who would impose their private, subjective values upon a body politic rooted in verifiable truth rather than relativistic marketing campaigns awash in half-truths, distortion, and invective. 

Here is the Facebook page for Protect Marriage Maine.

April 06, 2012

Easter, Four-Letter Words, and the Facts of Life

The following reflection is taken from my article titled "Easter and Other Four-Letter Words":

For millions of people, the entrance of God into verifiable history in human form is cause for celebration. It began with that birth in Bethlehem, and it culminated with an empirically verifiable resurrection in space and time in Jerusalem. Here was an individual observably alive at point A, dead at point B, but then alive again at point C. Thus we have Easter, a rock upon which to build a house, a life, a city on a hill, and even an entire civilization, once the profoundly pro-human implications of the Judeo-Christian worldview begin to be understood and applied across the whole of thought and culture.

No one should be surprised that the consequences of factual events so amazing should cascade like fresh mountain waters over the centuries into new years and into new lives every year. Christmas becomes a time of joy and celebration. Easter becomes a time of doubt followed by certainty and then amazement. But for others it’s a different story.

King Herod’s is such a story. So is that of Pontius Pilate. Herod searched for the newborn king not to celebrate but to destroy a potential rival to power, and that is why he ordered the death of boys in Bethlehem “two years old and younger” (Matt. 1:16). Pilate had Truth staring him in the face when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:19). But instead of setting an innocent man free, a man in whom Pilate found nothing wrong, the Roman washed his hands and gave Jesus over to be crucified (Matt: 27:26), just as the religious establishment wanted.

Had Pilate really been honest in his question about truth, in a matter of days he could have begun investigating the ample evidence regarding the resurrection of the man about whom he found nothing wrong. His curiosity might have been stimulated, one would think, after hearing reports of strange goings-on at the tomb of Jesus. After all, a dead man usually does not unwrap his grave clothes, roll away a massive boulder blocking the entrance to his tomb, overcome sentries whose job (upon pain of death) is to ensure his body stays put, and then convince utterly defeated followers that he is the Lord of life.

One thing pretenders and outright liars seem to have difficulty understanding, whether they be corrupt religious leaders, maneuvering politicians, or enablers easy to command: Truth never dies, is never really defeated, even if you kill it.

Celebrations of Easter and Christmas in America today occur at a time and place far different from that of the countryside and politics of ancient Israel. And yet, there is continuity, for ours too is a time of celebration and praise — but also one of pretense and hatred and even persecution. That’s right. Persecution is the correct word, it seems to me, if we are to reflect sensitively a Biblical understanding of what is at stake in the world today.

March 22, 2012

Atheists Don't Own Reason

Tom Gilson argues at the Huffington Post:

"The new atheists’ difficulty with valid, responsible reasoning is widespread and systemic. Far from being the defenders of reason, they are among the chief offenders against it. It’s time we called them on that."

This is consistent with a discussion I had last night with one of the parents of a student of ours at Rivendell Sanctuary: The secularist position does not have an intellectual leg to stand on, and it's high time those of us who truly are critical thinkers, willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, said so.

February 04, 2012

Tyranny Watch: Obama's Abuse of Scripture

Michael Youssef writes:

Many of us who are biblical scholars have watched Mr. Obama's use, or should I say abuse, of the Bible with dismay.

Who can forget when he gave a speech mocking the ceremonial law of the Old Testament then saying something to the effect of, "How can you govern by the Sermon on the Mount?"

Well, he did it again at the National Prayer Breakfast. . . . 

The president quoted the Bible to justify punishing those who have worked hard, and most of whom are very generous givers, in order to take their money and give it to many of his constituencies who are always standing outside the doors of the White House with out-stretched hands.

Mr. Obama, in justifying his misguided policy, quoted Jesus in Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

No, you do not have to have a seminary degree to know that Jesus is talking about individual stewardship in an individual's relationship with God.

For it is God who gives each person different portions of gifts, talents, and treasure to manage according to His sovereign will. It is God who entrusts people with what they have, not the government.

Barack Obama is a serial abuser. Not only does he abuse the Bible, but he also routinely abuses the Declaration and U.S. Constitution.

But such abuse must be the order of the day and precisely what must be done -- if your agenda is to replace the rules of freedom with the rules of unfreedom.

Obama quotes Christ but breathes Alinsky and channels Marx.

Michael Youssef is an Egyptian-born American and founding rector of The Church of The Apostles. He holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. 

Hat tip: OneNewsNow

January 05, 2012

Did God Show Pat Robertson Who Wins in 2012?

Martin Gould reports at Newsmax:

The Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear Republican winner, but former candidate Pat Robertson says God has shown him who will win the next election -- and it won't be President Barack Obama.

The 81-year-old evangelist won't say who the Almighty is picking for the White House, claiming on his 700 Club, “I'm not supposed to talk about that so I'll leave you in the dark.”

This announcement by Pat Robertson isn't just odd, it demonstrates (if reported upon accurately) a methodology of privatized spirituality that does not comport well with Biblical Christianity, which is rooted in verifiable information from a living Creator who acts and speaks in space and time.

In the Biblical data, yes, the Creator can and does communicate rationally with people made in his image. But this is done in ways that are open to consideration, discussion, and verification. You can ask questions to ensure, for example, that what you are experiencing is not just some fanciful dream, overworked imagination, or autonomous spirituality. 

Thereby are Christian truth-claims and assertions that one possesses information from the Creator able to be distinguished from various political, religious, educational, or other kinds of cults. Thereby is Jesus of Nazareth distinguishable from pretend messiahs such as Barack Obama, Karl Marx, or some guy who says "God" told him the world is ending next Tuesday at 6:35 am eastern time. Or that Joe Blow will be the next president. 

Human beings are creatures of great nobility and dignity. By virtue of having been endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable capabilities to think for ourselves and to test various truth-claims, no one is asked to "believe" or act on upon supposed "revelation" from the Creator, unless there are basic ways to test that information out in the empirical world and also to test that information for consistency with previously known verifiable content from the Creator.

Inner feelings or goose bumps in the shower or 30 hours of prayer time are nowhere in Scripture given as indicators by which one knows that God is speaking. And neither is having a TV show.

Claims of "God told me" this or that are not the end of the discussion but the beginning of the discussion. This is true in matters political, ecclesisastical, scientific, and personal.

Cheap believism, like cheap grace, is not an option.

To obtain a fuller picture of how to properly assess claims of revelation from the Creator, and of the validity and need to be able to test such claims out in the real world, you might turn to the work of thinkers such as C.S. Lewis, John Warick Montgomery, or Francis Schaeffer. Or read the histories of Moses and Joshua, not to mention the Gospels themselves. 

And given that less than two weeks ago, we celebrated one of the more dramatic events in human history, you might consider my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." When the Biblical God speaks and acts in human history, people are not left in the dark.

December 29, 2011

4 Christmas Reasons to Dance on New Year's Eve

We have seen how the historic space-time events of the first Christmas are anything but a quaint "religious" story for "people of faith."

That stereotype may be comforting to secularists, atheists, religious enablers, and elitist politicians, but it has little to do with Christmas per se.

Instead, the arrival of that baby boy in Bethlehem of Judea signals reality-oriented, revolutionary good news that "confronts cults of faith, secularism, religion, and politics."

How so? Consider these four action points: 

* First, be an old grizzled shepherd, not a smiley-faced "believer." The shepherds of Luke 2 do not put God in a closet and say you can know him but only if you go in there and submit to some kind of privatized epistemological baptism that happens to “people of faith.”

Yes, the Bible knows about “believers,” but that’s to emphasize the commitment of the whole person to truth-claims that are accepted on the basis of reasoning and information that make rational and evidential sense in the real world.

Shepherds, grizzled or otherwise, do get to smile, but first they see the baby.

* Second, develop sales resistance. Christmas is about individuals willing to evaluate things for themselves.

There is no need to check your brains at the pasture gate just because of bright lights in the sky, fancy advertising, or manipulated symbols on CNN or in form letters from ghostwriters employed by respected bigshots, religious and otherwise.

Question authority, think freely, foil the manipulators, eyeball the materialists, refuse the hypocrites, and take responsibility for your life as a choosing, thinking being made in the image of God.  

* Third, affirm the whole person. Reject the despair of a splintered secular existence where hope sinks like a lead balloon but we’ll pretend it floats because pleasing feelings attend a current holiday.

Christmas is about fact and meaning together because the Savior of the world is a real baby in a real manger who lives a Gospel that touches the same ground we walk on every day.

Celebrate the humane unity of life as a complete person liberated from brokenness and bad philosophy.

Act coherently and authentically at work, in government, on campus, in church, before the easel, in the lab, and with your family.

Embrace humanity in community with our true Creator and then watch love and truth burst out of the secular straight-jacket.

* Finally, celebrate the individual. An individual named Jesus came to Bethlehem to live and die for people, not for useful cogs in a cosmic machine that burped a mass of humanity into being by accident.

He chose a path leading from Bethlehem manger to Roman cross because, despite our choices to walk away from truth and love, flawed human beings remain magnificent creatures of great worth and significance, having been made in the image of God.

The Nativity is about regular people, what Francis Schaeffer called “little people” in “little places,” who join with the Creator to rage against the machine, death, sin, and decay.

The love of a parent for a child, of a living God for human creatures with particular names and life stories that matter, is not a cruel joke foisted off on us by our genes.

Nor is this love of God and man to be disrespected or steamrolled to the ground by the demands of big government, big business, or big ministry.

With God we revolt against any who would deify themselves or their groups to transfigure creatures of such great worth into enablers, minions, pawns, and alter egos for the rich, powerful, and hard-chargers of this world. 

The Christmas heard and seen in history is a comprehensive and humane revolution of love and truth launched by God for man, one by one, from Bethlehem, to Jerusalem, into Judea, Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth.

That’s worth a dance on New Year’s Eve.

Note: The content above is adapted from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." For more, please go here.

December 27, 2011

No Facts, No Christmas

Is Christmas about objective fact or passionate belief? Consider:

Christmas is about enfleshed truth that is accountable, a body of information and series of events that can be rationally considered, verified out in the external world, and discussed among regular people as facts of life.

Among the facts are Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, a baby, and a manger, none of which are feelings.

The facts also include the angels and the veracity of what they said to human beings, for what the shepherds saw and heard in Bethlehem was “as it had been told them” [Luke 2:20]. . . .  

What “had been told” the shepherds is not an experience that evaporates when they go into Bethlehem and then return back to work.

It is not the kind of phenomenon that melts away after one wakes up, puts the book down, leaves the theater, or arrives home after a big conference.

Young Jesus in swaddling clothes still lives and breathes after the visitors go away.

The angels returned to heaven, not to nonexistence, when the shepherds left to see and hear facts on the ground in Bethlehem.

As in everyday life, just because an event is past, it does not therefore become untrue or slip into epistemological shadows or nebulous worlds of private feelings.

The above is excerpted from "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts are forthcoming during this holiday season. If you would like to read ahead, go here.

December 26, 2011

But Isn't Christmas About the "Heart"? A Spiritual Story, Not Real History?

Yesterday, I wrote, "Every living celebration of Christmas is an embrace of space-time reality, not an 'escape from reason' (as Francis Schaeffer might say).

"Thus, the revolutionary good news of a child's birth continues to confront cults of faith, secularism, religion, and politics."

But how can this be?

Isn't Christmas more about the "heart" and one's meaningful but very private value choices and personal spirituality, not evidence and reason and the real world? 

So, yes, let us ask: 

Is all this talk of seeing and hearing really Biblical?

Pietistic secularists or liberal religionists may be indeed taken aback at such brazen objectivity, such lack of “faith.”

But the Bible consistently affirms the public validation of truth claims, whether these claims concern testimony in court, questions about prophetic status, affirmations of a resurrection, the authority of the Messiah to forgive sins, the division of waters for escape routes, messages from angels, and babies in mangers.

This concreteness in matters “spiritual” sets forth a basis for not being manipulated by authority figures, celebrity personalities, bureaucracies, or abusive bosses, whether in little corporations or from international ministries.

Part of the Good News of the Christmas of history is about protecting one’s self and one’s family from false prophets, political messiahs, pretend gods, vain philosophy, superficial analysis, inhumane discipleship, wayward trends, money-grubbing marketing, and power-grubbing PR.

The call to a healed relationship with the Creator is for a thinking humanity expected to take seriously truth-claims and evidence rooted in reality.

More than this, public validation is God’s idea and an expression of his identity as a creative, rational being who makes distinctions.

He has created a reality of sight and sound so that human beings are capable of sensory experience and can thereby not only enjoy beauty and revel in harmony but also examine the content of angels.

This is not reducible to a 30-second witnessing campaign between subway stops.

Individuals made in the image of God are equipped to tell the difference between good and bad fruit, apples and oranges, stones and bread.

It is an approach that applies across the whole of life.

Just as readers should be able to know who the true author of a book is by its cover, seeking individuals can expect to know who the author of existence is by means of the “cover” of this world.

What is at issue is the dignity of man. Nothing could be more natural in a cosmos created by God, or fitting during the holidays of Christmas and the New Year, than that human beings resolve to test everything.

The preceding is excerpted from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional readings for reflection are forthcoming between now and the New Year. If you would like to read ahead, go here.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All (with a nod to Ernest Hemingway)

On this day we say a hearty Merry Christmas! to all the readers of The Pearcey Report. May today be a special time of remembrance and joy with family and friends. 

Today's thoughts on the meaning of the fact of Christmas take their focus from information in Luke that affirms the real-world, historic Nativity as something that human beings could hear and see.

Every living celebration of Christmas is an embrace of space-time reality, not an "escape from reason" (as Francis Schaeffer might say).

Thus, the revolutionary good news of a child's birth continues to confront cults of faith, secularism, religion, and politics. Consider:   

Luke 2:20 specifies that Christmas is about the visual and aural validation of answers from God.

Rather than a religious truth or spiritual technique that escapes the world, Christmas lives down the street. It is alive to the real world and is one of those things that can be “heard and seen.”

Hemingway, who grew to hate generalities but love discrete facts, could have given the manger scene an address in one of his novels. 

The very livelihood of the shepherds depended upon their ability to excel at hearing and seeing.

If the shepherds had had, let us say, no ability to perceive empirical realities, then clearly no number of angels from on high, no matter how sudden, loud, or bright their appearance at night, could have averted the attention of the shepherds, much less give them the jolt of a lifetime. 

Alive to Sight and Sound
The angels are free agents of God who were seen, delivered a message that was heard, and then returned to Heaven, which, by the way, may well have streets and addresses.

There may also be motorcycles, sportsplexes, and ways to improve one’s skills in craftsmanship, for while the Creator despises sin, death, and decay, he loves creativity, action, physicality, aesthetics, and so on, all of which belong to that category of “good” he talked about in Genesis back at the beginning of this world.

The “new heavens” and “new earth” are not likely to be boring places (Is. 65:17).

“Angels We Have Heard on High” are real creatures operating in space and time, not magical beings created by the fear and imaginations of shepherds.

These angels can be observed by human eyes, with no need of 3-D glasses or suspended disbelief in dark theaters.

When these angels speak, they communicate content that can be heard and processed by individuals with the same kinds of ears that listen for wolves in the night.

The angels themselves are alive to sight and sound, and so also is the content of their message.

At first only one angel appears, and he tells the shepherds to not be afraid.

That limited introduction may well be an act of compassion, for the unexpected appearance of a “multitude” of messengers might have been more than shephardic circuitry could bear.

The angels give reasons the shepherds should not be afraid: There’s good news that coheres with previous verified information from God, the Savior has been born, and you can check it out. 

Even though the Nativity concerns God, angels, information from Heaven, and so on, let us remember that what is described is not a “faith” experience at all.

That kind of “faith” may flow rather nicely with the agenda of secularists working harder than Santa’s elves to keep Christmas domesticated, safely tucked away in private realms of glorious, subjective experience.

But the long-awaited Savior of history is a fact born in a specific locale on planet Earth, and not very far away.

The City of David is within walking distance, just over a hill or two.

Just in case the shepherds don’t get the hint, the first angel tells them, “This will be a sign for you” (Lk. 2:12).

A “sign,” such as a traffic sign, is an object posted for public view so that people will be informed about how to drive properly.

The “sign” the angel brings up refers to a living public object “posted” in a manger, so that shepherds who see and hear will have a way to evaluate the truth status of what the angel is saying and to observe what God is doing in human history that very night.

It’s then, in the course of a holy night with a timeline, that “a multitude of heavenly host” appears praising God (Lk. 2:13).

Again, this unfolds in the context of geography and empirical knowledge, with events occurring in ways consistent with cause and effect.

The angels leave the scene, and then the shepherds say, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened” (Lk. 2:15).

They went, they saw, they were glad. They saw flesh-and-blood people named Mary and Joseph.

They saw a baby occupying space, "lying in a manger," inside the particular geography of the shelter where he was born.

“And when they saw it,” says Luke 2:17, then “they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.”

In the first Christmas, real people had something to say to other real people on the basis of extraordinary, observable events that occurred in the real world.

This may challenge the hopes of secular faith, but truly free thinkers don’t mind a jolt here and there.

The preceding is excerpted from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts are forthcoming during this "most wonderful time of the year." If you would like to journey forward and read ahead, go here.

December 24, 2011

"Is God Alive December 25, But Dead by January 1?"

In contrast to the objective and holistic reality-orientation of the historic Nativity,

Humans today are increasingly asked to live in a fragmented world of image, feeling, and PR.

A candidate for president of the United States can tell Americans that Christmas is the season of miracles, but what about the rest of the year?

Is God alive December 25, but dead by January 1, not able to survive the party?

In contrast to warm fuzzies delivered by admakers, politicians, and ministry machines, the Christmas of history is about the objectivity and unity of truth in the midst of tremendous challenge.

The Good News of salvation concerns hope despite the tragedy of a humanity spoiled yes by sin, but the individual is not materialistic junk.

Ontologically speaking, man is fundamentally good and worthwhile.

We have made a mess of things, but there’s still some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for, as Frodo’s friend Sam says in The Lord of the Rings.

Christmas is a message of whole and holy healing for humanity’s ethical fall into sin and darkness, and it is a solution set forth in the context of a humane and Godly connection between fact and reason, hope and meaning.

That’s what we meet in the second element of Luke 2:20, where the shepherds are “glorifying and praising God” as they return from Bethlehem.

This behavior demonstrates a straightforward, healthy, and connected approach to life.

The shepherds know already what it means to praise a co-worker for returning a wandering sheep back to safety.

They understand that glory is due when predators are routed because a shepherd stands with courage.

As humans subject to death, they would know about fear and sorrow and loss if a lamb is found too late.

It is a life situation where spouse and siblings in herding families offer glory and praise for work well done, food on the table, milk to drink, and clothes to wear. 

In the information of Luke 2, the glorifying and praising is directed to work well done by the living God.

This is excitement related to information given by angels in the same fields where human action to save endangered animals would have been honored by words of affirmation.  

Reason, Objectivity, “My Truth”
But it is important emphasize that this glorifying and praising of God upon the return of the shepherds is not a religious act, in the sense of “religion” and the kind of “faith” we hear about today.

Instead, the shepherds are responding as any reasonable human being might respond after observing the kind of phenomena described by Luke.

They are responding to a set of challenging events that occurred while they were doing their jobs in terrain they knew like the palms of their hands.

Theirs is a reasonable and heartfelt response to empirical information.

It concerns not “their truth” or “my truth” where religion operates in a safe place or on approved dates of the year (though the names of holidays may be changed to protect the children).

In this way “religious” events and “people of faith” are protected from inquiry but also are isolated from necessary educational, scientific, and political challenges outside the confines of one’s private heaven in an earthly closet.

What is presented in the history of Christmas occurs in the world of objective information, not mere feelings, private “faith,” or attempts to construct one’s own reality on the tabula rasa of a blank, indifferent cosmic canvas.

This real-world orientation includes fields, paths into town and back, Bethlehem itself, Mary and Joseph tired and worn out, and a baby in a manger.

This is wholeness without halos, a this-worldly emphasis that stands in epistemological continuity with the facticity of angels who occupy space and require ticks of the clock to deliver words of world-historical importance. 

The angels are like humans insofar as they are personal beings who make significant choices and are not machines predetermined by an impersonal cosmos.

But one way these angels are unlike humans is that they have not made a mess of heaven (others tried, but the coup failed), while we humans have successfully made a mess of things on earth.

Attending the appearance of these messengers is light that illuminates familiar surroundings at night, so that human eyes see colors and sights at 3 a.m. that they usually observe at 3 p.m.

But whether by angel-light or daylight, it’s the same factual world of space, time, cause and effect, in which significant personal beings make choices and change history. 

The Biblical Christmas affirms reason.

This includes the free-thinking rationality of man as male and female created in the image of a reasonable God who loves both form and diversity, creativity and unity.

But it is not cold rationality separated from the wholeness of human personality.

In the Biblical context, as in all healthy human living, shepherds and kings, poets and prophets, prisoners and paupers can shout out to their hearts’ content about what angels have said and what a living God is doing at a particular moment in history.

This can be done as whole persons with free minds wide awake in schools, soccer stadiums, and halls of Congress.

It is the world of Johnny’s learning to read and of minds questioning authority, Ronaldino’s futbol creativity and Jesus’s carpentry, Caesar’s rule but also the inability of enemies to keep dead the King of Kings.

Hope and meaning join hands with fact and reason in a coherent unity of praise and wonder for God and man, angel and earth, lion and lamb, but also for love and beauty, courage and persistence, and progress towards final victory over disease, death, and decay.

Reality does not split apart, humans do not fragment, in the earthy spirit of the historical Christmas.

The above excerpt is from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts are forthcoming during this Christmas season. If you would like to read ahead, go here.

December 23, 2011

Christmas Blows Up Secular Superstition

Are you enough of a free-thinker to question atheistic and materialistic superstitions about who you are and about the universe in which we live?

If not, go back to sleep. But for those who prefer not to commit intellectual suicide in the name of personally comforting beliefs about the wonder-working power of secular supernaturalism, consider the following:

Many contemporary eyebrows have bought the notion that cause and effect has arisen from a universe that either a) popped into existence out of absolute nothingness (for which there is no evidence), b) is self-caused (an incoherent self-contradiction), or c) has existed eternally as impersonal dust, rock, emptiness, and particles -- in which man as a personal being becomes an unexplainable, alien lifeform permanently homeless in cold, dark space.

This astounding naturalistic miracle has an unfortunate benefit for some. If you are a dictator looking for fodder for a revolution, or a Silent Night-singing camp guard bothered in your conscience by your job at Dachau, it’s a ready crutch to help you make it through the night. 

The presumed miracle-working power of secular supernaturalism makes the singular wonder of a Virgin Birth look like child’s play.

Science closed down by naturalistic philosophy defies logic, lacks evidence, denigrates humanity, and makes a mockery of justice, love, family, friendship, holidays, and celebration.

Human beings, regardless of what some might say on the surface of their lives -- but in how they live and in how they think -- defy it with every fiber of their being and with all that we know of ourselves as significant individuals who observe on a daily basis the creative link between mind, personality, cause and effect.

What is needed is courage to ask about the cause of effects such as human personality, curiosity, rational thought, and the phenomenon of a stable, orderly universe that allows regular people to travel with confidence from the fields into town and back again to discover first-hand that words from empirically available angels correspond to the empirical realities of baby and manger not far away.  

Yes, from the standpoint of philosophical materialism, one would agree that Mary and Joseph received answers that were not reasonable.

If matter -- cold, lifeless nature -- is all there is, was, or ever shall be, that certainly would have to be the case.

But that reductive understanding of life makes a whole host of phenomena unreasonable -- not just a Virgin Birth or angels from on high but also other realities too big for the test tube, including mind, meaning, aesthetics, freedom, choice, ethics, love, etc.

Even the words “physics” and “chemistry” are lost to humanity in a materialistic cosmos, for they are laden with information that is independent of the material medium that carries their message.

Even if one presupposes the eternality of matter, the impersonal begets the impersonal begets the impersonal, and no amount of time or complexity gives one a consistent, observable basis from which to adequately explain (much less affirm) love or babies or justice or beauty.

These are a level of being qualitatively different from chemical reactions, protoplasm, or chance arrangements of atmospheric dust at certain times of day (dusk or dawn). 

Materialism rejects angels, but cannot explain shepherds. It rejects the Virgin Birth, but cannot explain the shepherds’ children.

The Biblical information affirms a much richer, humane awareness of the wonder of life and its possibilities on earth. The Creator of the reproductive cycle knows how to start life without the participation of a male human and can discuss with Mary some of the particulars.

This approach reflects an openness to phenomena outside the materialistic box, but it does not require blind acceptance of any claim to truth based on any particular kind of supposed experience, whether from God, angel, man, government, or machine.

If you want information, go to Bethlehem: Ask, study, seek, find. The Biblical framework gives a basis for, and calls for, testing all things (1 Thess. 5:21). Unlike materialism, this is good for people and for science.

The above excerpt is from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts are forthcoming during this Christmas season. To read ahead, go here.

December 22, 2011

Politics, Science, and the Virgin Birth

Principles of science such as cause and effect may war against the private spiritualities of orthodox secularlists and greedy politicians (who pretend to create money out of nothing), but they are right at home in the reality-oriented information given in the events of Christmas No. 1.

That is to say: 

Cause and effect has little to do with modern-day religion, private spiritualities, personal ethics, Eric Hoffer’s “true believer,” varieties of religious experience, or with assorted “people of faith.”

Let us also not discriminate against orthodox secularists and naturalistic scientists who create their own private truths and valued feelings in an effort to cope as humans with an otherwise unbearable life.

The standard line these days is that questions directed to these private realms are considered impolite, out of bounds, and over the line.

Presidential candidates get to pass “Go” and collect votes if they promise their faith really is just theirs -- that is, something merely private and inward, not public and not applicable to policy.

The Creator, and the information he communicates about life in the world, is permitted to inspire during devotions inside closets or during limited times of public tragedy, but he shall have no substantive impact on public life, foreign policy, and so on.  

In contrast to a retreat into subjectivity, the Biblical mentality, including the world-altering events that launched Christmas in the first place, has much to do with the natural order.

The Bible knows that messages and songs and other intellectual and aesthetic content come not out of nothing.

Roman edicts are the creations of Roman Caesars, inns too full are the effects of a finite number of rooms plus many travelers hitting the road at the same time.

First-century people did not have electricity, but they knew night skies are not illuminated to reveal familiar daytime geography without a cause of light.

What is given in the Bible is a framework for distinguishing between campfires and angels, both of which are natural phenomena in a cosmos that is the product of a living Creator.

But both of which are also supernatural in a cosmos that is reduced, as some theorize, to particles cold and unaccounted for, arranged without reason in greater or lesser degrees of complexity. 

Joseph and Mary knew where baby humans come from, how they are conceived, and how they arrive.

“There is one thing often said about our ancestors which we must not say,” C.S. Lewis writes in his essay “Miracles,” in God in the Dock.

“We must not say ‘They believed in miracles because they did not know the Laws of Nature.’ This is nonsense.”

Why? Because “when St. Joseph discovered that his bride was pregnant, he was ‘minded to put her away’. He knew enough biology for that. Otherwise, of course, he would not have regarded pregnancy as a proof of infidelity.”

Mary and Joseph had questions that speak to this issue of cause and effect.

How could she be pregnant without physical relations with a man? Should Joseph reconsider marriage since knowledge of the natural order indicates Mary is not the virgin she claims to be?

They received answers that are reasonable in light of information from a Creator who has within himself the power of being and is free to act into history, just as human beings are empowered to act as well.

In effect, the God of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and David says he will again act into human history, into what after all is his cosmos, to bring about a physical change in the living, physical environment he created in the first place.

Though she is not married, and although people will talk, Mary is asked by God whether she would like to be the virgin mother of the Messiah (see Luke 1:26ff).

For his part Joseph is asked, in effect: “Do you take this virgin with child as your lawfully wedded wife, seeing as I have used my power to create to conceive a baby in her womb?”

Joseph also knew eyebrows would be raised, but he agreed to move forward (see Matt. 1:18ff). Mary showed herself to be a woman of strength who by her choices maintained her dignity.

The above is excerpted from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts are forthcoming during this Christmas season. If you'd like to read ahead, go here.

December 21, 2011

What? Christmas Is for Critical Thinkers, Not Believers?

Have you considered that one of the charming things about Christmas is the way it confronts cults of faith, secularism, religion, and politics? Thus:

In contrast to pagan, religious, media, and secular stereotypes, Christmas is about real people living and working in a real world.

The inaugurating events of Christmas occur in and around Bethlehem of Judea. They concern watchful shepherds, pregnant women, and surprised husbands.

All are flesh-and-blood people. All are individuals who think, act, wonder, emote, and make choices in situations of life that are less than ideal.

In the foreground of Luke 2:20 are shepherds. They are persons who work, can be frightened by sudden events, are curious, and are willing to check out things for themselves.

They are not identified as “believers.”

Rather, they are choosing beings who process information and labor outdoors in the fields day and night in all sorts of weather. They do not live six feet off the ground, tip-toeing through life on a cushion of holy air, protected by a nice God from the ups and downs of existence in a broken world.

They face predators and thieves, living and dying. They search for stray lambs, and they respond appropriately to unexpected beings who go bump in the night.

Critical Distance
In their work, the shepherds keep a protective physical distance between flock and predator, whether man or animal.

In their humanity as creatures made in the image of God, they keep a protective critical distance between well-grounded information about God and new but untested messages from angelic beings who show up without so much as a knock at the door.

The events of the Nativity concern God, man, angels, and words of salvation, but it is a mistake to conceive of them as “religious.”

Quite unlike “faith” in a progressively fragmented world today, the data about the birth of Christ in the Christmas of history is about a tangible world and knowable events in an objective universe of space and time, cause and effect.

It is about hopes and dreams connected to geography, dirt, history, and fields, not private imaginations and imperishable souls being released from the dark confines of matter in an escape to Mt. Olympus and the comforting arms of gods made in the image of Greek mortals.

Identifiable places matter when you’re talking about a living God who has decided to act into human history.

The Creator of matter respects the space located between the ears of human beings and knows the human brain is more than so many pounds of meat atop a set of shoulders.

Rejected here are politically correct beliefs about the brain as a product mysteriously organized by chance (or by unaccounted-for “law”) to achieve a savage but temporary survival of the strong over the weak in a meaningless, dying universe.

Instead, we have in the Biblical data a regard for persons as thinking individuals of great intrinsic dignity; they are not regarded as easily unpluggable though complex machines that process bits of information.

The Creator expects shepherds and carpenters, students and rabbis, prostitutes and tax collectors to concentrate their minds and to think freely about facts and evidence in a search for wisdom that may challenge current understandings.

The shepherds occupy an external, orderly world that provides a stable context in which ideas can be communicated and truth-claims checked for their veracity.

In contrast to mythology about warfare between science and the Creator, the Biblical worldview affirms matter as good and orderly and provides a foundation for the scientific enterprise, as Nancy Pearcey discusses in her article "Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper."

The Biblical framework also gives a basis to resist cults of religion, politics, or holiday sales. It challenges the imposition of any pious imagination, activist agenda, or news broadcast that refuses to subject theory to fact.

The Christmas of history operates in this kind of earthy framework. It is good, wholistic news for a splintered, fragmented world that can no longer complete the circle.

That good news doesn’t make life easy, as a pregnant woman who traveled by donkey some 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem might be able to tell you.

The events of Luke 2 show a respect for time. The action occurs at night, those hours of the 24-hour day between the setting and the rising of the sun. At a particular moment in the history of a particular night, darkness was pushed back by light.

The content delivered by angels required a quantifiable number of moments to communicate, as did the shepherds’ trip into Bethlehem, as did their return, as did the trip of a mom to Bethlehem, as well as the passage of a baby through a birth canal.

The long-promised flesh-and-blood child was placed in a manger at a particular moment of world history.

Quirinius was governing in Syria, Caesar Augustus was emperor of Rome. He had been the leading power in the empire since 31 B.C. when he defeated Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. All was made official in 27 B.C. when Augustus became Rome’s first emperor.

The above is excerpted from my "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." Additional excerpts will be forthcoming during this Christmas season, but if you want to read and think ahead, go here.

September 01, 2011

Red State on Pearcey, Bachmann, New Yorker

Having become aware of Nancy Pearcey's response to Ryan Lizza's New Yorker hit piece on Michele Bachmann, Red State editor Erick Erickson asks, "Is Ryan Lizza an Idiot or Willfully Distorting Christian Theology?"

Related
Bachmann, Schaeffer, Pearcey, & Dominionism Paranoia 
Cal State Prof: Michele Bachmann a Scary Dominionist?

August 16, 2011

Cal State Prof: Michele Bachmann a Scary "Dominionist"?

The following guest column is from Richard Weikart, professor of history at California State University, Stanislau. He is the author of four books.

In his recent New Yorker article and NPR interview, Ryan Lizza tries to evoke fear of Michele Bachmann by alleging that she has been heavily influenced by “dominionism.”  The two chief culprits allegedly spreading this pernicious “dominionism” to Bachmann and others are the prominent Christian intellectuals Francis Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey.

Accusing Schaeffer and Pearcey of peddling dominionism -- and associating Bachmann with it -- is a serious charge, since Lizza defines it as those who believe: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”  Sounds like theocracy to me.

Aside from the fact that Lizza never produces any quotations from Bachmann showing that she endorses dominionism, does his guilt-by-association argument hold any water?  Were Schaeffer and Pearcey tainted by dominionism?

As an undergraduate in the late 1970s I read just about everything that Schaeffer wrote.  I read Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto (1981), his most political book, as soon as it was published. 

Even though I do not agree with Schaeffer’s position on political activism therein, it is hard to see how he could have stated his opposition to theocracy more plainly.  He stated, “First, we must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy.  Let me say that with great emphasis.”

In the next paragraph he argued, “There is no New Testament basis for a linking of church and state until Christ, the King returns.”  He then criticized the Roman emperors Constantine and Theodosius for merging church and state, calling it a mistake causing “great confusion.”  Schaeffer was a strong opponent of theocracy (and thus dominionism), Lizza’s revisionist history notwithstanding.

Casting Nancy Pearcey as an evil dominionist influence on Bachmann, as Lizza does, is even more bizarre.  By way of full disclosure, I have met and corresponded with Pearcey, and she even sent me her manuscript Total Truth -- the one that Bachmann mentioned as important -- before it was published. 

Though I don’t agree with all of Pearcey’s political views, nowhere have I seen even a hint that she thinks Christians should shoulder everyone else aside to take sole control of the government, economy, or culture.

Indeed Pearcey believes that Christians should apply their worldview to every facet of their lives, including politics, but one of these Christian insights she insists on is that Christians should be servants to others.  As with Schaeffer, love, not domination, is the driving force in her worldview.

That such a savvy political correspondent as Lizza could get things so wrong is disheartening.  This is especially so, because one of his main gripes about Bachmann is that she doesn’t always get her facts straight. 

I suppose Lizza is just illustrating the truth of that Biblical adage that those who judge others condemn themselves, because they do the same things.

Disclaimer: This article should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of Bachmann’s candidacy.

August 01, 2011

Extremism and the Democratic Party

"Extremism on the left infects the entire Democratic Party," writes James M. Thunder at American Spectator.

For more, see "What Is 'Mainstream' America?" and "How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War."

December 02, 2010

Diversity Dump: Philly Mayor Restores "Christmas Village"

"A day after discussions of religious diversity led officials to remove the word 'Christmas' from signs at the Christmas Village merchant fair outside City Hall, the event's organizers decided Tuesday to take down the signs -- only to have the mayor reverse that decision," AP reports.

"Mayor Michael Nutter jumped into the fray by announcing yesterday that the 'Christmas Village' signs would be back up today," states AP.

The mayor reportedly "told the Philadelphia Daily News, 'The Christmas Village is not a religious service. It's an outdoor fair. It's a very commercial enterprise.'"

Someone should inform the mayor that the Christmas signs would be fine, would pass Constitutional muster, and be entirely consistent with the Declaration of Independence even if the "Christmas Village" was a religious service with Santa and the elves rolling in the aisles.

The nation is founded upon a verifiable Creator, not upon that secularist nothingness currently termed "diversity" -- which all too often is code language for getting rid of the enduring and defining mainstream of the American experiment under the Creator and replacing that mainstream with the state, group, skin color, gender, nature, or some other inadequate extremist passion that lacks a sufficient basis for unalienable rights, human dignity, and individual liberty.

Mayor Nutter made the right move but for the wrong reason, for there is more at stake here than mere commerce. "Man shall not live by bread alone," as Someone once famously said.

It is good that the Christmas signs have been restored. Far better, however, to restore respect for the Founding worldview that makes freedom possible in the first place -- not just freedom of speech or even political freedom, but also the right and responsiblity to live in liberating community with God and man across the whole of life.

"Diversity," religious or otherwise, is no match for the emancipatory power and glory and humanity of the historic Christmas. This is true not just for a "Christmas Village" in Philadelphia today but also for a Christmas birth in Bethlehem yesterday, a mere 2,000 years or so ago. Some events are like that. They never quit.

Related
Christmas Spirit in the Dirt: Good News for New Year

November 11, 2010

How Can Obama Move to the "Center" if He Doesn't Know What the Center Is?

Or if knowing it, he rejects it?

What is "the center"? There is only one known "center" that yields freedom for the individual without leading to anarchy, and yet order in society without leading to tyranny.

And that center is what the Declaration of Independence says it is:

We hold 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.

Obama may or may not "move" to the relativistic "center" of a particular moment in history.

But if for political reasons he does move, apart from a conversion to Constitutionalist and Declarationalist thoughtforms, this will be a tactical "adjustment" only.

It will be a move primarily in rhetoric, perhaps with a few policy adjustments. A move that appears to respect -- but actually continues to reject -- what is the true and defining mainstream of the American experiment.

The loyal opposition must oppose Obamaism root and branch. The loyal opposition must articulate and apply with consistency and courage the comprehensive vision that lays out the DNA of liberty -- from worldview to principles to strategies to tactics -- so that in community with God and man, America can once again become a "shining city on a hill."

Related
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

October 20, 2010

Obama Strips "Creator" From Declaration of Independence -- Again

"For the second time in little over a month, President Barack Obama stripped the word "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence when giving a speech," reports Penny Starr at CNSNews.com.

Here is the text of the speech Barack Hussein Obama gave at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner October 19 in Rockville, Maryland.

Words matter. The midterm election of November 2 is days away. I would suggest that a political party or president that cannot utter, affirm, defend, explain, and apply to government and policy that is at the very center of the American experiment should not hold power in the United States.

For such a person and such a party are not the friends of liberty.

Freedom should always have a friend, not an enemy, in the White House. And freedom should always have in the White House someone who understands from Whom and upon Whom that freedom rests -- and apart from Whom it goes away. Every office on Capitol Hill should understand this.

The defining center of the American experiment rests upon exactly that point where the Declaration places it: The Creator. To the degree that a president or a political party rejects that defining mainstream of the enduring American center, to that degree a president or a political party occupies the extreme. 

If you are a politician of any party who would strip the Creator from your political or governmental practice or philosophy, a free people under God has an eminently healthy course of action to pursue: If you strip the Creator from the Declaration, you shall be stripped from office. You are a danger to the republic and have no business anywhere near the levers of power.

You shall be repealed and replaced by lovers of freedom who understand the true source of the "blessings of liberty."

September 10, 2010

Practice Tolerance, Infidel -- or Else!

Michelle Malkin writes:

Shhhhhhh, we're told. Don't protest the Ground Zero mosque. Don't burn a Koran. It'll imperil the troops. It'll inflame tensions. The "Muslim world" will "explode" if it does not get its way, warns sharia-peddling imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Pardon my national security-threatening impudence, but when is the "Muslim world" not ready to "explode"?

Comment: Violence, even if couched in appeals to tolerance, is the logical endgame of any "faith" (religious, political, scientific, or philosophical) that has carved out for itself an enclave that is untouchable by reason, evidence, and the need to correspond to life in the real world.

Such "faith" is the application of coercion, up to and including physical violence, by other means. Such "faith," as a mere "value statement," is anti-mind, anti-freedom, anti-Man, and anti-God.

It is either the self-inflicted violence of irrational commitment or the other-inflicted violence of hand-grenades and jets into skyscrapers. And politicians, including U.S. presidents, who buy into such a faith will find themselves setting up a machinery of oppression to protect their power from facts, questions, checks and balances, and other legitimate protections against abuse.

In contrast is the openness to verification, and therefore the humanity, of the Founding vision as expressed in the Declaration and safeguarded in the Constitution.  It is a vision of human beings as individuals called to think and act on the basis of that which is true to reality, not as a blind leap, but as a commitment of the whole person on the basis sufficient, verifiable information.

This provides an adequate philosophic basis for both intellectual and political freedom. Apart from it is the kind of personal, intellectual, and cultural fragmentation, and therefore, weakness, Nancy Pearcey has written about in the just-published Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning.

Consistent with the Declaration worldview, this humane vision is rooted ultimately not in "religious" "values," blind matter, impersonal nature, nor in an absolute eternal nothingness that burps alien human beings into existence by chance, but in a knowable Creator who thinks, acts, and feels, and who acts into verifiable history so that free-thinking individuals can evaluate competing truth-claims (in religion, politics, science, or philosophy) for their fidelity to reason and fact and for their ability to explain the phenomena under question.

Tolerance apart from truth is slavery.

Related
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War
Christmas Spirit in the Dirt

July 14, 2010

Mainstream Watch: Angle Says Campaign to Defeat Reid God's "Calling"

"Republican Sharron Angle says her campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada is 'a calling' from God and that her faith is helping her endure a fiercely competitive race in which Democrats have depicted her as a conservative extremist," reports AP.

The extremists here, of course, are those who reject the mainstream American concept that our polity is based on a Creator who a) has made each us of equal worth and significance (ontological equality) and b) has endowed humanity with "certain unalienable rights," among them "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (please see the Declaration of Independence).

Nothing could be more mainstream American, therefore, than that public servants live in community with their Creator and with our fellow man, and then appreciate public service as a particular calling within that overarching, liberating, and humane vision.

America would be much improved if people we sent to Washington understood they are creatures of God and not of a materialistic secular state, or of impersonal nature, social classes, victim groups, or any other of the various divisive splinterings that seem so at home in certain political circles -- and yet so alien to who we are in our enduring national identity. 

Sharron Angle appears to be a person who embraces that general humane calling to live in community with our Creator and then to respond with specifity to her particular life situation. Therefore, she campaigns to unseat Harry Reid, a man who seems significantly alienated from the American experiment.  

That, and not ahistorical allegations of "conservative extremism," perhaps goes far in explaining the ire her work raises among secularized elites rather accustomed to imposing their extreme ideological agenda upon America unopposed. That Angle has a real shot at defeating the incumbent Reid only adds fuel to the ire. 

July 06, 2010

American Founders Hypocrites on Slavery?

"All men are created equal" is a statement of vision, not hypocrisy, argues Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe. He explains:

The Founders chose those words not to describe the nation in which they lived, but a better, more just nation; the nation America could become. Their words became the American creed, the taproot of the American dream -- as worthy of celebrating today as they were in 1776.

Hat tip: Conservatives4Palin

July 01, 2010

Sen. Graham: Tea Party Movement Will Eventually "Die Out"

Clueless in Washington: "The problem with the Tea Party," says Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, "I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out."

Mr. Graham couldn't be more wrong. And if he wants to reconnect with the Declarational and Constitutional mainstream of American thought and liberty -- which is what the Tea Party is reaching for -- he might want to avail himself of "How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War."

June 29, 2010

Australian Prime Minister Does Not Believe in God

"I'm not going to pretend to a faith I don't feel," says Julia Gillard. But she has "great respect for religion," according to the UK Telegraph.

Three quick points:

1) Faith, at least "trust" placed in our Creator, is a matter of facts, not of feeling. The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, for example, is not a feeling. It is either a fact of history or it is not. If it is a fact of history, a reasonable person acts in accordance with that fact; an unreasonable person does not.

2) If the prime minister does not "believe in God," why does she "respect religion"? If a particular "religious" truth claim is false (for example, an assertion that the Easter Bunny is God), why respect it? If a relgious assertion is false, one might hold respect for the misinformed "believer," but "religious" truth claims are the same as any other truth claim. Those which are true ought to be affirmed, and those which are not true ought not to be affirmed. 

3) Finally, the epistemology of the Creator as set forth in the information given in the Biblical data rejects the concept that "faith" is merely a private experience in which people can pretty much "believe" whatever they want and feel good about it. That's not faith, it's nonsense. Biblical "faith" is not about a privatized a way of knowing but rather a fact-based way of trusting -- it's a decision of the whole person based on good and sufficient evidence (as Francis Schaeffer often said) that certain propositions about God, man, and the universe are true.

Gillard gets high marks for her lack of pretense. But based on what we have in this report in the Telegraph, what she rejects has little to do with real Christianity, for what she thinks she rejects is already equally rejected, and even more profoundly rejected, by Christianity itself. 

The real thing -- holistic commitment based on knowable truth -- so that people might live lives of community with their Creator and fellow man -- has always been much more rigorous and reality oriented that what sometimes passes for "faith" these days.

As for me and my house of free-thinkers, we too have great respect -- for truth.

Related
"Religion Very Harmful to People," by Udo Middelmann

June 19, 2010

Nikki Haley S.C. Guberatorial Opponent Gets Religion

Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller:

Is Nikki Haley’s primary run-off opponent in the South Carolina gubernatorial race subtly using her religious background to try to alienate the Indian-American candidate born with the name “Nimrata Randhawa” from conservative voters?

Her opponent, Rep. Gresham Barrett, has been vocal about his deep Christian faith. Haley -- although a baptized Methodist -- was raised by Sikh parents, but converted to Christianity when she was 24.

One well-known Republican in the state thinks so, noting that Barrett’s last campaign commercial was about his faith. “You’re running for governor, not pastor,” the Republican said dismissively of Barrett.

Phillip Bowers, co-chairman of Barrett’s campaign, circulated an e-mail Friday afternoon suggesting Haley has lied about her religion. “There are lots of contradictions to her story. It’s not my place to question her faith, but I do question her honesty. If anyone finds the truth, please let me know,” said Bowers, in an email obtained by The Daily Caller.

A few quick points:

1. There is nothing untoward in evaluating a person's religion. If religion is important to a candidate for office, and if religion influences a candidate, then it seems proper to ask questions about the religion of a candidate. Of course, the questions ought to be relevant and not just a matter of: "Oh, my, she has a different religion."

2. Saying someone is "running for governor, not pastor" is no excuse for not having to answer questions about one's religion. Presumably, one's religious views are held in good faith because one thinks them true and applicable to the real world. Otherwise, why bother? But if this is so, go ahead and answer questions that are relevant to the job for which your are applying, whether it be governor or dog catcher.

3. Not your place to "question her faith"? Nonsense. All "faiths" should be open to question and possible falsification, if you wish their application to the real world. These faiths include faith in science, government, education, various ideologies, political passions, wooly activism, and so on. And, of course, religion.

If you are a human being, you therefore question, for questioning is part of the equipment the Creator has endowed upon each of us to protect us from nonsense masquerading as true science, healthy politics, sound religion, and "I'm from Washington and I'm here to help."
 

June 18, 2010

Gingrich: "Secularizing America Essential for the Left"

Why is secularizing America essential for the left? "Because socialism will be possible only with the suppression of the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation 'we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights'," Newt Gingrich told Newsmax

The Founders' approach, which is the enduring and defining American mainstream, "means no judge, no bureaucrat, no politician can take away your God-given rights," Gingrich said. "Unless you secularize this country, you can’t take away from the American people the rights that God gave them, and so there is an inherent tension between a creator-endowed model and a socialist model."

June 07, 2010

Waste of Time? Gulf Coast Churches Ask God to Stop Oil Flow

Wesleyans, Nazarenes, and Southern Baptists were among those who gathered Sunday for the "Oil Spill Day of Prayer." 

The biblical information encourages both human action and Godly action in bringing about substantial healing in a broken world. Both the creature and the Creator are respected.

Unlike atheistic materialism, the Biblical data avoid smashing man on the altar of the machine (be it cosmic or governmental). Human beings are respected and described for what we know ourselves to be: Significant. First causes. Choosing beings able to affect the course of history. The wonder of being created in the image of God. Yes, even the "sinner" is a level of being higher than that of complex, organic space junk coughed up by an impersonal universe, as materialism would seem to require. 

And yet humanity is not God. And therefore we are saved from having to destroy ourselves by giving into that old temptation to deify humanity and set ourselves on high -- as if we were the Creator. Because we then would destroy ourselves, having reached for what we cannot ever be in our finitude and createdness, stretching beyond ourselves to escape the wonder and goodness of who we truly are, in exhange for a false hope, a false promise, and a pie-in-the-sky secularism of an anthroprocentric  heaven on earth. Which no socialistic paradise that I have ever heard of has come close to fulfilling.

Will God act supernaturally to stop the flow or oil? Or will man act supernaturally as a first cause into the cosmic machine to restore balance in the sea and on the land? Whatever the particulars of this moment in history, the theme is everlasting: God and man, significant in work and community, co-working as Creator and creature together for goodness and justice unto the ends of the earth and in the depths of the sea. 

Hating Facts: Liberals Escape From Reason

"Ignoring the facts is one of the liberals' favorite tactics, because their agenda is not motivated by any facts at all," writes Herman Cain at WorldNetDaily. "Their agenda is totally politically motivated for the purpose of concentrating more power to government rather than the people."

Or put it this way: Operationally speaking, liberalism has "escaped from reason," to borrow a phrase made famous by thinker Francis Schaeffer (see his book Escape From Reason; for a fuller treatment, see Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth).

That is to say, liberalism in both its tactics and philosophical approach has become a political "faith" in the poor sense (and unbiblical sense) of the word faith (for a corrective, go here).

Instead of liberating people to "test everything" -- which is part of the Creator's inbuilt protection against religious, scientific, and political snakeoil -- liberalism instead pushes its "religious" agenda against fact per se and pounds the pulpit with greater ferocity when inconvenient facts raise their challenging heads.

True believers and stubborn sceptics are therefore supposed to click their heels and salute "settled science," turn tail and run in fear from unsubstantiated charges of "racism!," and genuflect before the new and improved manmade "civil right" consensus of the week, so that transgendered lesbian albinos can visit their inter-species canine spouses while sick in a San Fran hospital for kitty kats.

In contrast stands the reasonableness, wholeness, facticity, and humanity of the Founding worldview, rooted in verifiable information from a real and knowable Creator who gives the blessings of liberty and inalienable rights so that any person and nation who acts upon that information can experience excellence and exceptionalism even in this less than perfect world.

It's amazing what human beings can accomplish when they read the directions.

May 17, 2010

The Left's War on Free Speech

"The left pretends to be the biggest champion of free speech," writes Bruce Walker at American Thinker.

In fact, the "left is utterly wedded to thought control," Walker argues. "Like all sibling totalitarianisms, the left in America is addicted to power and repelled by truth."

April 26, 2010

"Our President Is a Moral Relativist"

Obama's moral relativism, says Star Parker, places him at odds with the "whole unique idea of American government." And it leads to a "political arbitrariness in which our lives and property are up for grabs."

April 07, 2010

Machinery of Oppression: Census Used as "Gay" Gimmick

OneNewsNow reports:

Traditional marriage proponents are warning that homosexual activists and the Obama administration are once again working in concert to "manipulate" federal law.

The Associated Press reports that the Census Bureau plans to count same-sex couples who say they are married, regardless of whether they have a marriage license (see AP article). Even though only five states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex "marriages," the Census Bureau says same-sex couples should feel free to check the "husband" or "wife" boxes on the census form, rather than "unmarried partner."

According to OneNewsNow, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality "believes homosexual activists are using the census as their latest 'gimmick' to seek affirmation of their lifestyle, and he challenges Congress to 'step up' and prevent the Obama administration from promoting the 'gay' agenda by dictate."

A concern here, among many, is that we see yet another example of the rogue federal state using an arm of government (the Census Bureau) to justify the imposition upon Americans of an extremist and regressive agenda not only estranged from the enduring American mainstream but also in opposition to "nature and nature's God."

The homosexual agenda is not a "civil right" based on "equality." Rather, it is an uncivil wrong based on extremism.

And now the Census Bureau appears to be acting at the behest of propaganda aims that are both laughable and cruel, a machine of state oppression tearing away at the flesh of the American family and body politic. 

A country that violates the rules for freedom, rooted in unalienable rights as blessings from the Creator, should not be surprized that it thereby places those freedoms at risk in a dangerous world where unfreedom is the abormal norm, not the liberating exception. 

On the other hand, neither should extremists who despise the mission statement of the United States -- freedom under God -- be surprised that a free, dignifed, and creative "We the People" would just as soon stay that way.

In the face of such disrepect for the enduring American mainstream of freedom, resistance is the humane order of the day.

As tyrants at home and abroad have learned before, Americans are a friendly people. But don't mistake the politeness for the whole story. We are lions in sheep's clothing. And yet you attack.

Related
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

April 05, 2010

True Scandal: 78% of Americans "Believe" in the Resurrection

Easter Sunday marks the "day Christians believe Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, and 78 percent of Americans share that belief," according to a new Rasmussen poll, as reported by Newsmax yesterday.

This is positive news, but perhaps not entirely so. Because "belief" today is a very weak sister of the concrete and wholistic spiritual strength required of the human being at all times, but especially so in a day such as ours, so harmed by the impact of secularism upon the modern world.   

Note: The information we have from eyewitnesses is that the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is not a matter of private faith but of public fact. It is based on empirical evidence, not on private hopes and dreams. And it is part of a public orientation that has positive and humane implications for all of life, including media, science, politics, creativity, and fulfilling personal relationships.

Merely private hopes and dreams belong to pie-in-the-sky secularists such as Barack Obama, who is running around the country using emotionalism and sales gimmicks to sell (or otherwise impose) the old-time religion of socialist political mythology to the American people. Free-thinkers "red and yellow, black and white" -- all of them created in the image of God -- demand evidence and are willing to follow the evidence wherever it might lead. Even if Marx, Engels, Rev. Wright, and Preacher Obama are offended.

In stark contrast to cults of politics is the realism of the information we have from eyewitnesses of the empirically empty tomb and the empiricaly available Man from Nazareth who was alive at point A, dead as a doornail at point B, and alive again at point C. None of this is a matter of the privatized, nonbiblical, and inhumane concept of "faith" expected so much in politics, in extremist religion, and in other expressions of the secular kneejerk believism so prevalent in big city anti-existence today. 

The fact of the empirical resurrection in space and time challenges every mere belief system, no matter how large its mailing list -- or how mighty the star power of its A-List celebrity lineup. That kind of fact is superior to groundless religiousity which neverthess is an effective tool politicians employ to win friends, manipulate enemies, "heal" nations, and overthrow governments.

If 78% of Americans ever affirm and live by the resurrection as the fact of history that it is, the various regimes of pretend messiahs setting up shop in Washington, D.C., will be done with. There is but one fact-based risen Messiah, and despite what extremist fundraising letters and formerly mainstream media outlets tell you, he does not live in the White House. A manger in Bethlehem is more his style, and besides, the White House is too small in spirit.

Life lived in community with God and neighbor has little use for the merely religious, for the hardshell secularist afraid to let the faithful think for themselves outside the peer-approved political box, or for other pretenders walking to and fro, seeking whom they might devour in our moment of history.

That's what the real Resurrection is all about: The space-time facticity of life after death. Something physically shocking yet biologically reasonable as an effect the Creator and originator of life would be able to pull off because he has the power of animating being within himself. 

This scandalizes the dogma of the secularist, who when not imposing his private religion upon society is counting the number of atoms dancing atop the tip of meaninglessness. Better to grab ahold of the empirically verifiable Nazarene alive from the dead, if you too would live free and think whole.

Related
Christmas Spirit in the Dirt
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

April 03, 2010

Marxism in Amerika

In a column titled, "Doing the Socialists' Bidding," Henry Lamb writes at WorldNetDaily:

People who follow the teaching of Buddha are called Buddhists. People who follow the teaching of Christ are called Christians. People who follow the teaching of Karl Marx are called Marxists, except in the United States, where they prefer to be called Democrats.

Lamb supports his case by noting how the policies of Obama & Co. line up with the platform of the Socialist Party USA -- on matters such as healthcare, energy, natural resources, climate change, financial institutions, unions, etc., all purposely jammed down the throats of America's future by means of the public "education" system.

"Marxism in a free society is like a cancer," Lamb warns. "It grows and spreads and infiltrates every facet of society, always demanding more taxes to provide universal health care, a living wage, adequate housing, education and other entitlements, until eventually, there are no more taxes to take."

How shall we break free of Marx and Obama? "The only cure for Marxist cancer is radical surgery," Lamb concludes. "The first of two necessary operations is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2010."

Obama and Marx must be repealed -- and then replaced by the Declaration, the Constitution, and "We the People," under God, just as the Founders understood. The Creator's rules for freedom are intellectualy, morally, and politically superior to the rules for radicals and the resulting unfreedom. Thereby we toss the horse and rider of unfreedom into the sea. 

Related
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

March 29, 2010

Chuck Norris: "I Believe in the Resurrection of America"

Chuck Norris writes:

Our founders had a far better solution than government.

And it's probably a good time, during this peak of citizens' frustration (and also being Christendom's Holy Week), to remind Americans that, though our founders initiated our government, they didn't expect it to usher in any form of utopia.

As proud as they were about their republic, their hope was not in government, but in God.

For what? Most of the things that people today often look to government for: life, liberty, happiness, salvation, decency, civility, morality, honesty, restraint, equity of power and future hope, to name a few.

Tragically, government has usurped God's role in our republic and Americans' lives.

But this too will pass. For tyranny under bad, oppressive government is not the birthright of human beings nor the birthright of American citizens.

Reject the slavish rules of Obama and his radicals. Embrace the liberating rules of freedom by which the Founders lived, died, and birthed a republic under God. With the living and verifiable Creator, all things are possible, including resurrections.  

Poll: Massive "Maelstorm" to Blast Incumbents

"A new survey shows a political 'maelstrom' brewing in the U.S. that threatens not only Democrats in power but Republicans who have the tag 'incumbent' attached to their name," reports WorldNetDaily.

Not only must the "bums" be thrown out of office, but more importantly, the unconstitutional and anti-Declarational philosophy of the bums must be thrown out with them as well.

These must be replaced by people of tested character who do not just reject the "rules for radicals" but who also self-consciously affirm the rules of freedom and the liberating "vision-for-freedom" that grounds the American Experiment, as set forth in the founding documents and in the founding worldview.

March 28, 2010

Study Schaeffer With Pearceys

If you live in the Washington, D.C, area and are interested in participating in a Schaefferian study group -- for mutual encouragement, cultural engagement, and true spirituality -- please email Rick or Nancy Pearcey of The Pearcey Report at pearcey@thepearceyreport.com.

Francis Schaeffer, the Religious Right, Cultural Decline, and Aping the World

If in the last 20 years evangelicals who say they are Bible-believing Christians had applied Scriptural teachings on not "aping the world" (a Schaefferian phrase) in regard to celebrityism, questionable marketing techniques, the bigger-is-better mentality, a despising of the individual, pretend "big name" authors, etc., and instead had demonstrated a high regard for truth in practice, the Lordship of Christ over both content and methodologies, and so on, how might the current cultural and political climate of deepening decline and even oppression from the federal government and its power blocs in Hollywood, media, and the campus have been avoided, resisted, and overcome?

And what might this suggest -- for individuals, churches, schools, publishers, and para-church organizations -- for future authentic Christian and humane engagement to be salt and light in this world?

Related
What Can We Learn From Francis Schaeffer?
Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age"
Oxford, Cambridge, Plagiarism, and Christian Worldview
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Approach
I'll Take Sartre
How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

March 26, 2010

Pearcey at WND: How the New Resistance Can Win the Culture War

The following is from a column published today at WorldNetDaily

Despite what has been reported in the formerly mainstream media, the New Resistance in America – the tea parties, the town halls, protests on Capitol Hill and so on – is to be welcomed and not cast aside as "extreme." The "angry mobs" and "unruly crowds" are actually signs of health, sanity and hope.

What these uppity folk are telling us is that, despite years of miseducation and inattention, millions of ordinary people have not forgotten who they are as Americans. Even more, this resistance suggests that significant numbers of Americans may be on a path to rediscovering something rather exceptional.

By "exceptional" is meant not just who they are in their national identity, but who they are as creatures of resistance, hardwired that way by the Creator himself. And to the degree that this New Resistance succeeds, to that degree prospects are increased for victory in the cultural and political war for human freedom and human dignity.

This column is based on a presentation I gave near Charleston, S.C., at Awakening 2010 earlier this year, edited here for publication.

* March 27, 2010, Update: For related content from November 2009, please see "What Is Mainstream America?"

February 24, 2010

Florida School Prayer Order "Blatantly Unconstitutional"

"Liberty Counsel is representing Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) in a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District after a federal judge denied CEAI's request to overturn a consent decree requiring faculty and staff to stop expressing their faith in public schools," reports Bill Bumpas at OneNewsNow.

This federal judge apparently understands neither the U.S. Constitution nor the concrete, public nature of Christian "faith."

Nothing in the Constitution, Declaration, or Bill of Rights gives a local school the power or authority to tell teachers and students to shut up and sit down when it comes to matters of the free exercise of the Christian faith. The 1st Amendment places limits on the Congress, not on the people. It's high time Congress, courts, and schools listen to not just "we the people" but to "we the people" endowed by our Creator with "certain unalienable rights," etc., etc.

Moreover, nothing in the data of the verifiable information we have in the Bible reduces "faith" to subjective feelings and private prayer closets from which there is no escape. What we have instead is a logically coherent worldview rooted in history, verified in space and time, and able to be practiced in the real world. The God of the Bible is very much a public figure, and those who affirm living in liberating community with our Creator get to do that everywhere, even in the schools.

Biblical "faith" is a matter of wholistic trust based on good and sufficient reasons, not a matter of private epistemology pushed aside and hidden away in some corner. We as individuals and communities ought to resist and reject this regressive pie-in-the-sky secularism imposed by judges foisting their private agendas upon the clear meaning of the texts of the founding documents.

Related
Michele Bachmann on Jesus and Public Policy
What Is "Mainstream" America?

February 10, 2010

Spiritual Dimensions of National Survival

Herbert London writes at Human Events:

I’ve said this before but no matter how many times it is said, it bears repeating: the threats that the United States face from a fanatical Islamic foe are made possible by our devotion to positions that undermine our heritage, accomplishments and founding. . . .

Our vulnerability does not stem from a lack of resources or even inept leadership, but rather from a void that emanates from not knowing what we believe. Our real enemy is a lack of confidence, of not believing in our own national achievements.

Arnold Toynbee argued that civilizations die as a result of suicide, not murder. I am not yet willing to concede death, but there isn’t any doubt that America is at risk because of a loss of self-confidence. What ails us internally is at least as threatening as the forces found externally.

Related
O'Reilly, Letterman, and the Culture War

January 28, 2010

Udo Middelmann: Haiti and the Innocence of God

Speaker, author, and former atheist Udo Middelmann, president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, writes:

The assumption that God is behind all things happening, behind the earthquake in Haiti, Katrina’s destruction in New Orleans, and catastrophes as large as the Tsunami or as little as a household accident, is built on the view of a closed system universe.

There is an effect: therefore there must be a cause. True, but who or what is the cause?

If there is a single cause, there is no distinction between good and evil. If there are many possible causes, we do well to discern and oppose the destructive ones.

To blame historic Christianity’s God is not justified in light of Scripture and the person and life of Jesus. The Bible speaks of a world which now gives God grief, where people and nature are not "at peace," and where God interferes precisely because, as the Lord’s Prayer tells us, His will is not yet being done "on earth as it is in heaven." God sent prophets because what people did was in opposition to the will of God, not in concurrence with it. 

Likewise, Jesus, who is God in the flesh and the exact image of the Father, does not walk about holding people’s hands in their misfortunes and accompany them through misery. Instead he aggressively opposes sickness, false teaching, vile government, and death itself.

Where other religions and secular philosophies start with the assumption of the normality of things and events, as sad as they are, God describes a sickening abnormality in his creation and acts, speaks, protests, and encourages us to do likewise.

There is no fatalism in Jewish and Christian teaching, though many times it seems to be in the language and explanations believers use to erroneously comfort themselves. There is the sound of false piety from what is in fact a total contradiction to what Jesus taught and did.

The faith and hope that God’s sovereignty is expressed in every event is something for the future.

For the time being, Haiti, Tsunami, Katrina, and your child falling out of a swing are things you should be upset about. We should not settle into acceptance, but rise for energetic and healing intervention to prevent each and recurrent tragedies.

For a more thorough development of these ideas you may want to consult my book The Innocence of God.

In addition to his work at the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, Middelmann is also visiting professor of philosophy at The King's College in New York City. For more information, please contact Middelmann at The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, CH – 1882 Gryon, Switzerland.

December 15, 2009

Homosexual Houston Mayor Fallout

Dave Welch writes at WorldNetDaily:

I would like to take a point of personal privilege (to use parliamentary terms) and address the pastors of Houston, of Texas and of the nation on what happened last Saturday in our runoff election for mayor and several city council positions. . . . I will let the victor speak for herself on the nature of the outcome:

"This election has changed the world for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. . . . just as it is about transforming the lives of all Houstonians for the better."

So stated Annise Parker, lesbian mayor-elect of Houston, Texas, after 54 percent of the 16 percent of voters who cared enough to show up declared that her private moral life and radical agenda to redefine family was irrelevant. Eighty-four percent didn't care enough.

Here's part of the problem, as Welch sees it: "Liberals have mastered the art of building a farm team and winning by starting at the bottom and running to the top. Conservatives notoriously have the 'King Complex' that municipal districts, school boards and city councils are below us, and start at the top without either experience or political capital."

Do we see a "King Complex" among Christians? That this may be the case, to some degree, seems evident if we simply replace the word King with the word Celebrity.

If I were the Devil, I could think of few better strategies than to get Christians to put just about all of their eggs into a few celebrity baskets. A few big names, a few big organizations, with lots of well-meaning people sending in their checks because:

* Big Name so and so has access to the White House -- But maybe that explains why we heard little to nothing about the growth of un-Constitutional government, spending, etc., from the "spiritual" giant of the hour, during that President's administration. You see, that kind of Biblical critique on behalf of limited government might cut down on White House access and hurt a PR fundraising machine that really needs "I was talking with the President the other day . . ." Sometimes, it seems, "speaking truth to power" works best when directed toward targets of great fundraising opportunity.

* Big Name so and so is a great worldview thinker/writer -- But then, it turns out, he, she, or the machine is rather dependent upon ghostwriters, researchers, radio script writers, column writers -- "authoring" work that becomes "his" after the "name" inserts a few well-placed phrases into the text or simply asserts ownership of other people's ideas (You're On Staff!). In such a system it is often imperative to keep staff harried and busy -- and well-paid, if at all possible -- lest they begin to think about the deceptiveness of what they're doing and consider how the Lordship of Christ might apply even to methods of ministry.

* Big Name says, "It's not about me" -- This is the He's-So-Smart-and-Humble Factor, which as Karl Rove and Vince Flynn in one of his Mitch Rapp novels note means it precisely is about the person in question. The energy, the PR, the image, the fundraising, the website, the biography, the praise from others, etc., etc., in some organizations seem absolutely to be "all about" the Big Name. A name sometimes created through ghosted columns and books, etc., creating alliances aka fiefdoms to mutually support and guard eachothers' backs, and so on. But behind the scenes running over people who truly speak against a secularism that all too often has co-opted much of the good that many well-meaning regular people hope to accomplish.

These are just a few observations based on our experience before and during our time here in the Washington, D.C., area.

My hope: Help protect those who follow -- many of whom care deeply about worldview and political engagement -- from being fed into a religious machine. And maybe to save you 10 or 20 years of energy poured into an activism of questionable strategic and spiritual value, if verifiable Scripture is your guide and if you appreciate the centrality of applying the liberating Lordship of Christ across the whole of life, including political life and including one's methods of ministry in the midst of cultural engagement.

This seems key: Just as politics is downstream from culture, culture in general is downstream from Chrisitan culture in particular. And to the degree that Christian culture or ministry might be darkened by "aping the world" (as Francis Schaeffer so emphasized), to that degree we perhaps should not be surprised at the darkness around us. Perhaps we -- you and I and our methods of  ministry -- are part of the darkness.

But if that is true, there is hope. We know where to begin in the humanity of truly loving our neighbor. We begin by looking in the mirror. If we can deal honestly with that, then maybe the culture and the politics will begin to line up as well.

That may seem like a long way to fix Houston, but it's the shortest route I know of.

Related
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinctive Approach
Francis Schaeffer: "The Central Problem of Our Age"

December 14, 2009

Why "Merry Christmas" Matters

"The New York Times recently revealed that, before abandoning the idea, Barack and Michelle Obama had considered eliminating the White House’s traditional nativity scene as part of an effort to celebrate a 'non-religious' Christmas," writes attorney and commentator Carol Platt Liebau.

"In light of that story," she continues, "it wasn’t entirely surprising to learn that this year, for the first time, the President’s Christmas card contains neither any mention of Christmas itself nor a quote from the New Testament. Obviously, the Obamas aren’t fans of overt displays of Christian religiosity."

Related
Christmas Spirit in the Dirt

December 07, 2009

Ebert: Palin, Huckabee, "Creationists" Should Not Be President

A Review of a Reviewer: One wonders, on the basis of this article, if it's OK with famed film reviewer Roger Ebert to affirm that human beings possess "unalienable rights" because they are endowed as such by the Creator (see the Declaration of Independence).

Especially if such an affirmation is rooted in history, reason, and empirical data and answers the basic philosophic questions of life in ways far superior -- including ways far politically superior for those who think human freedom and dignity are good things -- to materialism, atheism, pantheism, existentialism, Hollywoodism, and various other kinds of secularist mysticisms (such as New Ageism) in vogue now and again.

I am no doubt among the millions of Americans who have enjoyed Ebert's film reviews. But on the question of the relation of Judeo-Christian thoughtforms to politics and government, I as a free-thinking human being suggest Ebert may be sincere but sincerely wrong.

Related
Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper
Christmas Spirit in the Dirt 
Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes 
Secularist Washington-Centrism Un-American

Hat tip: Big Hollywood

November 27, 2009

National Tea Party Convention as Cultural-Political Earthquake

The first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville next February, with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann among the speakers, has the makings of being a huge event -- and that may be a gross understatement.

For if the American people dig down deep to the Declarational and Constitutional bedrock of this country -- down to unalienable rights and the living, knowable, and verifiable Creator who is the basis and energizer of those rights -- we may well be on the edge of a cultural-political earthquake of freedom and liberty not seen since the Founding Era and the days of 1776.

But here's one of my primary concerns: That a political machine (either "left" or "right," with its attendant "leadership") or a religious machine (either "left" or "right," with its attendant celebrity "leadership") may find a way to co-opt what up to now appears to be a genuine cultural movement animated by a return to Declaration foundations.

That would be a tragedy, with another generation lost and another 20-30 years of Big Activism and Big Namism but so little effectiveness against the secularist usurpation. An America tipping toward tyranny may not be able to afford much more of that.

Update, Feb. 8, 2010: Please note that Michele Bachmann did not speak at the event. Here is a January 20 statement announcing that Palin will join Bachmann on the campaign trail.

Related
From Going Rogue to Going Constitutional
What Is "Mainstream" America? 
Francis Schaeffer: "The Central Problem of Our Age"

November 24, 2009

Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

Cal Thomas writes:

Great horrors don't begin in gas chambers, killing fields, or forced famines. They begin when there is a philosophical shift in a nation's leadership about the value of human life. Novelist Walker Percy examined the underlying philosophy that led to the Holocaust and wrote: "In a word, certain consequences, perhaps unforeseen, follow upon the acceptance of the principle of the destruction of human life for what may appear to be the most admirable social reasons."

In our day, the consequences of government seizure of one-sixth of our economy and government's ability to decide how we run our lives (it won't stop with health care) are foreseen. They are just being ignored in our continued pursuit of personal peace, affluence and political power.

Opinion polls show a majority of Americans reject this health care "reform" bill. They think haste may waste them in the end. It doesn't matter. Like members of a cult, whatever the leader says, goes. The facts be damned. The crowd from the '60s will "seize the time," in the words of Black Panther radical Bobby Seale, thus sealing our doom as a unique and wonderful nation.

Welcome to the U.S.S.A., the United Socialist States of America.

Two comments:

1) This column deserves a broad readership. It would be super if Rush, Hannity, Levin, Laura, and others were to feature it and comment upon it on their radio shows. If you agree, contact them via Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc.

2) The day is late, but not over. And the battle for freedom is far from over. We can push back against the U.S.S.A. There is no reason a nation of intelligent, creative, and noble Americans created in the image of God has to sit by and watch barbarians impose tyranny upon this "sweet land of liberty." It's all in the Declaration of Independence, folks. Read it, pray it, act it.

November 17, 2009

How Hitler and Nazis Tried to Steal Christmas

"The Nazi Party tried their best to remove Christ from Christmas by paganising carols, producing glittering swastika, iron cross and toy grenade baubles for the fir tree, research for a new exhibition has found," reports the UK Telegraph.

"Many of the changes made under Hitler, put in place to remove the influence of the Jewish-born baby Jesus, are still in use today, much to the alarm of modern Germans."

Go here for a remedy to this kind of state-sponsored manipulation of Christmas.

Related
Fascism Is Back

October 13, 2009

Self-Censorship of Liberals: Too Scary to Watch

"The global warming fraud is a lesson in the self-censorship of liberals," writes James Lewis at American Thinker, "their fear of finding out the truth."

Sometimes, thinking freely can scare the horses. But it is essential to our humanity as creatures endowed by a Creator with "certain unalienable rights."

As an alternative to the regressive self-censorship James Lewis exposes, here is "Christmas Spirit in the Dirt," an essay that unfolds from this-world biblical data a liberating worldview that encourages freedom of thought, sales resistance to political messiahs, and a healthy skepticism to all future winners of Nobel Peace Prizes.

September 29, 2009

Pathetic Preaching Damages National Security

Dave Welch, founder of the U.S. Pastor Council, writes at WorldNetDaily:

One of the country's most articulate and credible voices on the threat of radical Islam within our borders stated last week that it is the greatest threat to our nation today beyond any other domestic issues we are addressing. In the strictly national security and geopolitical contexts, this person was right. As she stated, government takeover of health care and other industries are not a concern to those who are dead.

I'll have to admit, however, that my spirit rejected the notion that radical Islam is THE greatest threat to America any more than it was when Muhammad's hordes were sweeping on horseback through northern Africa, the Middle East and into western Europe a millennia ago. Imperialist Islam has been defeated and contained before and certainly can be again.

The question is whether there are as many Christians left in America willing to live and die for our faith, families and freedom as there are orthodox Muslims willing to kill and die for theirs.

The pathetic preaching that has created a generation of shallow, self-focused professing followers of Jesus Christ has done far more damage to our national security than any conspiracies of men of any religion or no religion, any race and any creed could do.

More . . .

Related
Francis Schaeffer: The Central Problem of Our Age
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Voice

Pastors Defy IRS Ban on Political Sermons

"A Christian advocacy group says about 80 pastors have preached partisan political sermons -- daring the Internal Revenue Service to revoke their churches' tax exempt status," reports AP.

Few actions seem more timely, more humane, more liberating, more biblical -- and more patriotic today -- than Americans questioning authority and defying government when it violates the Constitution, shreds the Declaration, and sets itself up as the Creator and source of human rights, including the right of free speech. 

And later on -- O Defiant Ones -- when your educated, free, creative, and responsible kids and grandkids full of life and humanity under God ask what you did in the war, you'll have something to say. The blessings of the fathers will be visited upon the children.   

Related
Politics From the Pulpit

September 26, 2009

Politics From the Pulpit

From OneNewsNow:

Sunday services may be a bit different this weekend in some churches across the U.S.

September 27 is "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." According to senior counsel Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defense Fund, it is a time when pastors can stand in their pulpits and proclaim the entire truth of the gospel -- even as it applies to candidates in elections.
 
"It really flows from the fact that pastors have a right to speak freely from their pulpits without fearing government censorship or intimidation -- and that no one should be able to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights," the attorney explains.

The Creator is, of course, a public figure. He is not stuck somewhere inside a "religious" closet, in obedience to the ACLU or MSNBC. 

And He cares about liberating the whole person from sin, death, and decay, as expressed in our relationships as persons across the coherence of our private and public lives -- as fathers and mothers, teachers and students, pastors and politicians, artists and scientists, and all the rest.

The Leader of the Resistance himself could not have been more clear: "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15). That includes pulpits. Even in America. Even on Sundays. And the rest of the week, too. Across the whole of our lives.

Living as a free, dignified, and whole people in community with our Creator has consequences. Among them are what our Founders called "The Blessings of Liberty." This is one reason freethinkers rejoice. And why tyrants with all their god-talk tremble.

September 24, 2009

Spiritual Corruption Watch: Andersen Book Blows Obama-Ayers Cover on "Dreams"

Jack Cashill writes at American Thinker:

In his new book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage, best-selling celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen has blown a huge hole in the Obama genius myth without intending to do so.

Relying on inside sources, quite possibly Michelle Obama herself, Andersen describes how Dreams came to be published -- just as I had envisioned in my articles on the authorship of Dreams. With the deadline pressing, Michelle recommended that Barack seek advice from "his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers." . . .

Andersen continues, "In the end, Ayers's contribution to Barack's Dreams From My Father would be significant -- so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers' own writing." 

One wonders how any self-respecting, truthful person can allow his or her reputation for smarts, much less genius, to be constructed upon the work of others (whether the others are willing or otherwise). And yet there are such people, known people -- here in the Washington area and beyond -- including, to be fair, both Christians and non-Christians.

It's all part of the deception that occurs all too routinely in "authorship," "worldview thinking," column-"writing," radio "commentary," and all the rest.

What, you think these folks so often marked by a culture that doesn't have time to read legislation before they vote somehow have time, energy, and space to write books, columns, etc., etc?

And yet, if these "gods" are to maintain the pretense of having the necessary smarts to save the world from their Washington offices or Washington "ministries," they must create and maintain an image of genius, compassion, humility, "spirituality," and so on.

Hence the necessity of the unseen people doing unseen work, often well-compensated, down in the basement or on contract out in the hinterlands somewhere. Hence ghosted work is parlayed into speeches, retreaded into devotionals, sublimated into training programs, and upgraded in the latest greatest book "written" by Mister Big. And it all goes on the website (bio: "author of 34 books!"), as a humble service for the readers (i.e., potential donors), of course.

If you wonder why secularists laugh at and scorn Christians in Washington, it's partly because the veterans know the score, know the pretense, and are more than happy for ammunition handed to them by which to ridicule, distract, and attack. This pretense, these phonies, and these pretenders hurt many people.

Fundraising machines fueled by Big Names created by PR teams, researchers, and ghostwriters are no way to redeem the culture, folks.

Especially if out of the other side of his mouth Mr. Worldview Expert is telling sinners they need to shape up and accept He who is the Truth. A corrupt political culture is downstream from many things, including a corrupt, secularized, Madison Avenue "Christian" culture.

Fortunately, we can do better and have models available in the likes of a C.S. Lewis and a Francis Schaeffer who demonstrate the authenticity, efficacy, and spirituality of real work by real people.

Until the pretender model of "ministry" is cast aside -- and truth is practiced and not just preached -- it is difficult to see how the God of Truth can bless those who dissemble even while proclaiming on street corners that they move forward under his banner. Claiming the blessing of God -- and having the blessing of God -- are, of course, two different things.

For more on this, you might consult chapter 13 ("Substantial Healing in the Church") of True Sprituality by Francis Schaeffer and chapter 13 ("True Spirituality and Christian Worldview") of Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey.

Related
Francis Schaeffer: "The Central Problem of Our Age"
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Approach
What Can We Learn From Francis Schaeffer?

September 04, 2009

Calling 1,000s to Courthouses 9/11 to Pray for New "Great Awakening"

"America is in need of a new 'Great Awakening' -- an awakening that some Christian leaders say can only come about if Christians get on their knees," reports CNSNews.com.

That's the view of Rev. William Wilson, who is executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal (ICSR), quoted by CNSNews: 

America right now is facing great complexities. We have a financial struggle that we’re in, we’re facing health-care issues that have us scratching our heads. Our place in the world has shifted. We’re a nation that really needs help from beyond ourselves. We feel like God is the help.

ICSR is a member of the Awakening America Alliance, which CNSNews reports is sponsoring "Cry Out America," a September 11 event challenging thousands to "gather at noon [Friday] at county courthouses across the nation in repentance, to pray for the lost, to cry out for God to send another 'Great Awakening.'"

While free-thinking Americans watch, pray, and rebuild, here are three resources we think provide timely and essential content for national renewal:

* Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, by Mark Levin

* A Christian Manifesto (DVD), by Francis Schaeffer

* Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcey

July 30, 2009

Banana-Eating Jungle Monkeys

A policeman can be fired for calling a black man a "banana-eating jungle monkey."

But a scientist can be fired for not calling Man a "banana-eating jungle monkey."

The former penalizes people for their racism; the latter penalizes people for their lack of evolutionism. 

A bit odd, don't you think?

After all, if the evolutionary picture is the whole show, is not Mankind per se a "banana-eating jungle monkey"? Or at least a close cousin?

Racism is evil.

But we learn that from our true Creator. Not from nature.

Not from an impersonal, indifferent cosmos.

And not from the monkeys, from the bananas, from the jungle, or from those who believe in them. 

Surely, you understand the difference.

Our Founders did: "Endowed by our Creator . . ."

It takes a Creator to start a country. Well, at least a country worth living in.

July 03, 2009

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold 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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

May 19, 2009

Pearcey and Prejean at WorldNetDaily

In case you missed it, WND recently linked (scroll down) to "Beauty and the Beast: Now This Is Extremism," with the following kicker: "Rick Pearcey: Miss California Has Upheld Founders' 'Humane and Liberating Worldview.'"

Here's the article at Pro-Existence.

April 15, 2009

T-Day -- April 15, 2009: "Americans today storm the beaches . . . "

Americans today storm the beaches to liberate a once-free land now under the heel of statist tyranny emanating from a foreign city in a land far, far away.

There will be casualities, ebbs and flows, and setbacks in the struggle against an oppressive empire. But we've seen this before, and, under God -- the living and verifiable Creator who endows every mother's son and daughter with "certain unalienable rights" -- we will win. There is no alternative.

Slavery in exchange for the forbidden fruit of Washington-centric "security" and "fairness" dolled out by a regime of secularist "values," political greed, and unquenchable thirst for power is no option for any self-respecting human being or his neighbor. We are better than this. We are created for higher things. And we will overcome.

Here's an offshore pre-invasion report from WND, noting that a "patriotic rocker, thousands more planning to 'take America back.'"

There goes a rocket even now. See the red glare?


April 13, 2009

Maine Pastor Protests Taxation Without Representation

Rev. J. Curtis Lovelace writes:

On April 15, citizens around the nation will gather in "Tea Parties" to protest profligate spending of taxpayer money, by the elected "representatives" of the people. I will be among them. Let me first state that I am not against taxes. When they are used to meet the constitutionally-intended purposes for taxation, I am willing to put up my share. I am not willing to pay for unconstitutional activities. Nor am I willing to pay your share.

Many in the "movement" of tax protesters have stated that their complaint is not against taxation without representation as was the first Tea Party in Boston Harbor. That may be the case with those individuals. It is not my situation. I am unrepresented in Congress. Millions of others who wish to protect the Constitution of this country are also feeling disenfranchised.

More from Rev. Curt . . .


Rick Warren's Holy Week Crisis

In his handbook for living as a human being in a broken world with manipulative politicians, preachers, scientists, and used-car salesmen, the Creator liberates his fellow rebels against evil by exhorting them to "test everything" (1 Thess. 5:21).

Thus, Sandy Rios questions "America's Pastor" Rick Warren vis-a-vis his Larry Kingish running for the hills on the question of standing up for the Biblical, Gospel, and life-enhancing circle of life called marriage -- as between a man and a woman in community under God.

One might add, however, this to the Rios column: Let's refrain from calling Mr. Warren "America's Pastor." You can be his friend, his seminary classmate, etc., etc. I have never met Warren personally, and he may be a swell guy. But, please, "America's Pastor"? That's ridiculous.


April 10, 2009

Obama vs. Christian America

David Limbaugh corrects the record.


April 01, 2009

Texas Chooses Science Over Secularist Dogma

The Discovery Institute, where Pearcey Report editor at large Nancy Pearcey is a fellow of the Center for Science and Culture, announces an advance in educational and scientific freedom:

Austin, TX -- Today [March 27], the Texas Board of Education chose science over dogma and adopted science standards improving on the old "strengths and weaknesses" language by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence.” In addition, the Board -- for the first time -- specifically required high school students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations. 

The new science standards mark a significant victory for scientists and educators in favor of teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.

“Texas now has the most progressive science standards on evolution in the entire nation,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute.  “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Like the boy who cried ‘Wolf,’ the Darwin only lobby always screams ‘creationism!’ anytime educators or policymakers try to ensure a fair presentation of the scientific evidence both for and against evolution. Let’s be absolutely clear: Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.” 

Regarding teaching creationism or religion in the public school classroom, a couple of points are worth noting.

First, this is a terrific win for academic freedom, but it should be remarked that nothing in the Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution forbids teaching creationism or religion in the classroom. Entrenched secularist dogma on this matter is less than convincing.

In fact, progress in the American experiment in liberty advances from the fixed point of a knowable and objectively existing Creator who endows humanity with unalienable rights. The Constitution is a legal contract designed to protect those rights so that what Mark Levin in Liberty and Tyranny calls a "civil society" might come to actuality, which is what happened in the course of human events that we call the American Revolution.

The 1st Amendment forbids Congress from sticking its Federal Nose into our business, educational or otherwise -- something those who embrace a secularist tryanny over the minds of free human beings seem to disapprove. The 1st Amendment does not forbid Texicans or the rest of us from exercising our freedom and our sovereignity in education.

Here's the 1st Amendment in its entirety:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  [emphasis added]

The question therefore is not whether creationism or religion can be taught in the classroom. Of course they can. The real question is this: What's the evidence? If the evidence for or against a particular theory of origins is scientific, then present the case for and against, let the students think for themselves, and let them make up their own minds. Even in biology class.

The second point is that the Creator acknowledged in the Declaration, and against whom Congress is prohibited from passing laws against, is not a matter of "religious" belief or "faith" in the poor sense of the word bandied about inside and outside of secularist circles today.

The more rigorous, concrete, humane, and Biblical concept of faith has to do with the commitment of the whole person to that which is rationally, empirically, and existentially knowable as true. It is a worldview commitment rooted in truth about God, man, and the cosmos -- that same worldview, by the way, which provided the critical intellectual mass needed to launch modern science in the first place.

This wholistic approach has nothing to do with subjectivist "values," privatized "faith," emotional crutches, blind believism, or other characteristics swimming about in congressional waters, "religious" meetings, secular baptisms, and marketing strategies of the ACLU. 

The wonder and dignity of humanity male and female created in the image of a knowable God who endows each of us with unalienable rights cannot be squeezed into such limiting, dehumanizing, and regressive nonsense. It's time we all broke free of those chains. Bravo, Texas!


March 30, 2009

Tea With Obamalini: Fascism in the White House

Matthew Vadum at AmSpec on the firing of the GM CEO:

This aggressive assault on American capitalism is unprecedented and should give all Americans who care about freedom pause.  

Related
National Obama Socialism
Regarding "Change" -- Liberals Drink Deeply From Fascist Well
Fascism Is Back
The Evil Religious Presidents Do


March 27, 2009

Pre-Pub Update: Nancy's New Book

A hard-copy prepublication version of Nancy's new book arrived in the mail today. This edition is also being sent to expert readers who have requested such a copy. More about this later, but comments already coming in are quite positive, for which we are thankful.

Remembering that politics follows culture -- especially during these days of an oppressive secularism, governmental and otherwise -- I can honestly say that this next volume offers a mighty blow against the forces of manipulation, fragmentation, and inhumanity at large in so many areas of contemporary life, thought, and society.  

Nancy and I are thrilled with how this project has developed, and we appreciate the vision and support of Philadelphia Biblical University in producing this hard copy and in supporting Nancy's writing and thinking. Great job all!


March 26, 2009

Jim Wallis: Obama's "Red" Spiritual Advisor

David Noebel of Summit Ministries writes:

Who is the president's latest adviser? The Rev. Jim Wallis. Frontpage Magazine (March 17, 2009) reports, "The most notable of [Obama's] spiritual advisers today is his friend of many years, Rev. Jim Wallis." Rev. Wallis admits that he and Obama have "been talking faith and politics for a long time." He was picked by Obama to draft the faith-based policies of his campaign at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year. Why should this alarm us?

First, Jim Wallis has had relationships with the communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES).

Second, his "Witness for Peace" was an attempt to defend the Nicaraguan Sandinistas! Wallis, together with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Obama's former pastor of 20 years) "rallied support for the communist Nicaraguan regime and protested actions by the United States which supported the anti-communist Contra rebels" (Family World News, February 2009, p. 7).

Third, Wallis and his Sojourners Community of fellow-travelers believe Fidel Castro's Cuba, Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua and the other revolutionary forces "restructuring socialist societies" are the communist paradises the United States needs to emulate in order to establish "social justice." Writing in the November 1983 issue of Sojourners, Jacob Laksin notes, "Jim Wallis and Jim Rice drafted what would become the charter of leftist activists committed to the proliferation of communist revolutions in Central America" (Laksin, "Sojourners: History, Activities and Agendas" in Discoverthenetworks.org., 2005).

The ugly truth is Wallis wishes to see the destruction of the United States as a nation and in its place "a radical nonconformist community" patterned after the progressive, socialist commune he established in Washington, D.C., in 1971 (Laksin, Ibid.).

More from Noebel at WorldNetDaily.


March 25, 2009

Notre Dame Should Disinvite Obama

"Opposition is mounting to the University of Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to be a commencement speaker in May," reports OneNewsNow.

This is a sign of spiritual health. Inviting him to speak and conferring a degree upon him is a sign of spiritual weakness. Worldview confusion. Sellout.

By his language and actions, Obama inhabits a post-Catholic, post-Protestant, post-Christian, post-Declaration, post-Constitution, post-American, post-humane universe. Other than that, no problem.

Notre Dame would do well to disinvite the President with extreme unction. Just as the great and free people of the United States of America should show him and his Statist, Washington-centric worldview the door at the first opportunity. Exit stage left. Now, April 15, and forevermore. 

If asked to serve humanity in such a fashion, I'll be happy to stand in for the President at Notre Dame to explain the matter in further detail. You don't even have to confer a degree.


March 20, 2009

Radio "Worldview Correspondent" Rick Pearcey

Please stay tuned for program announcements as I am happy to join San Francisco KDIA 1640 AM radio talk how host Karen Hughes for occasional "Worldview Correspondent" (scroll down to "Special Correspondents") comment and analysis on news, trends, people, and events.

The name of the program is "Changing Worldviews." Here's a link to our interview on "Revenue, Rush, and Revolt?"


March 17, 2009

Court Upholds Moment of Silence in Texas

"Texas students will continue to have the right to pray at the beginning of each school day," reports OneNewsNow.

"We just got a three-to-zero ruling in favor of the Moment of Silence law preserving the rights of kids to be able to pray silently at the beginning of the school day and be able to do that without government interference," explains Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Legal Institute.

Sasser says the lawsuit was brought by atheists offended that school children might pray silently in school. 

Speaking of Texas and freedom, one wonders: Do you think defenders of the Alamo prayed, silently or otherwise? Do you think they would have waited for a judge to OK such prayer? Do you think the likes of a Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie would have cared one Tequila whether Santa Anna or Karl Marx might be offended?

Which do you think more likely -- that the Alamo heroes saw their rights as human beings rooted in a secular, atheistic state or, rather, in our true Creator, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence?

Do you think the Creator, who is a public and knowable figure by the way, is upset when people created in His image and endowed by Him with "certain unalienable rights" honestly exercise those rights in public spaces such as schools, even the local government school?

Finally, who is more in line with the American mission statement as set forth in the Declaration and protected by the Constitution, atheists who want to shut prayer down in public places -- or citizens, including kids, who want to live wholistically in community with their true Creator?


March 14, 2009

Rome-Florence-Paris Tour With Pearceys Still Open?

We received an inquiry today asking whether the June 2009 "worldview conference on wheels" tour of Rome-Florence-Paris is still open.

Answer: Yes!

A reminder: We sent the manuscript of Nancy's new book (which is related to theme of the tour) to our agent, and now a publisher is talking a look.

Those who attend the tour will get an exclusive preview of what Nancy has been working on.


March 11, 2009

New Book Developments for Nancy Pearcey

Great news!

As of today, Nancy's next best-selling book is in the hands of our great agents (Yates & Yates). Pre-publication readers are already taking a look.

It's not yet time to release details. But let me just say: If you liked Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity, well, get ready to celebrate again. We'll keep you informed with further updates.


"Jesus" Banned, So Chaplain Resigns

From OneNewsNow:

A former chaplain [Rex Carter] with the Virginia State Police says he had no choice but to step down after a new policy took effect requiring generic prayers at department events.

Stepping down does not mean giving up.

“Why be silent on an issue that I have felt strongly about enough to resign from a program that I feel is so important,“ Carter said. He believes the prayer bill will eventually be re-introduced. In the meantime, he’s encouraging people everywhere to stand up for their religious rights. 

Consistent with the mission statement of the United States, the Founders stood up for their human right to publicly speak and publicly behave in ways consistent with their having been made in the image of God and endowed by our true, public, and nongeneric Creator with "certain unalienable rights," among them "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Officer Carter seems to understand and respect this humane and liberating vision that defines American progress. May his efforts to re-establish the "blessings of liberty" enjoy the support of the One from whom those blessings derive. That approach seemed to work well for George Washington and company.


March 10, 2009

Total Truth Trekkies

We appreciate the way pastors and churches continue to find Total Truth a helpful book. Here's a recent recommendation.


Rick on Radio: "Revenue, Rush, and Revolt?"

My radio interview with "Changing Worldviews" host Sharon Hughes of KDIA 1640 AM in San Francisco aired yesterday.

We are also adding the Center for Changing Worldviews to our list of resources under "Groups" on the main page of The Pearcey Report.

To listen to "Revenue, Rush, and Revolt?," click here.


March 07, 2009

Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington

The great Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo was born March 6, 1475, 534 years ago yesterday. He began work on his famed statue the David in 1501 and completed it in 1504. Michelangelo was 29 years old. 

Let's consider this man and his art and its relevance for our day, interacting with comments from Francis Schaeffer in his work How Should We Then Live? (Crossway: Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Vol. 5, pp. 114-115).

Schaeffer begins inside the Accademia in Florence, where the David is located:

Here we see on either side Michelangelo's statues of men "tearing themselves out of the rock." These were sculpted between 1519 and 1536. They make a real humanistic statement: Man will make himself great. Man as Man is tearing himself out of the rock. Man by himself will tear himself out of nature and free himself from it. Man will be victorious. . . ."

I saw and touched (winning the polite attention of security) one of these statues during my first and only (thus far!) visit to Florence. I had hitched a ride from L'Abri in Switzerland and carried with me a copy of Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy. Having that book in your mind was a tremendous way to see Florence.

"At the focal point of the room," Schaeffer continues, is the "magnificent statue of David (1504)."

As a work of art it has few equals in the world. Michelangelo took a piece of marble so flawed that no one thought it could be used, and out of it he carved this overwhelming statue. But let us notice that the David was not the Jewish David of the Bible. David was simply a title. Michelangelo knew his Judaism, and in the statue the figure is not circumcised. We are not to think of this as the biblical David but as the humanistic ideal. Man is great!

Man, human beings -- you and me, our neighbors, all of us red and yellow, black and white -- in fact are great. But not, as the unfinished statues of Michelangelo may suggest, because we have to tear ourselves out of nature. 

Rather, consistent with what the Declaration of Independence avows (which is the "Vision Statement" or "Mission Statement" of the United States), what makes humanity great is that we are the magnificent work of a Divine Sculptor, who happens to be the Creator by virtue of whom every single human being is endowed with "certain unalienable rights." And, by the way, Nature is also great and not a meaningless piece of particulate junk, because she too is a gift from the Creator and therefore ought to be cared for and respected, just like Genesis 1:28 liberates humanity to do.

As Schaeffer describes it, the political situation of Michelangelo's day bears some resemblance to our our own: 

The statue was originally planned to stand forty feet above the street on one of the buttresses of the cathedral, but was placed outside the city hall in Florence, where a copy now stands. The Medicis, the great banking family which had dominated Florence since 1434, had run the city by manipulating its republican constitution. A few years before David was made, the Medicis had been thrown down by the people and a more genuine republic restored (1494). Thus, as the statue was raised outside the city hall, though Michelangelo himself had been a friend of the Medicis, his David was seen as the slayer of tyrants. Florence was looking with confidence toward a great future. (Emphasis added.)

We see in our own day a manipulating of a "republican constitution" (think: "living" Constitution). Central to the truly living Mission Statement of United States (in the Declaration of Independence) is that a republic under the Creator would respect unalienable rights from that Creator, resulting in a balance of "form and freedom" (a phrase often used by Schaeffer). This amazing and unique balance maximized individual liberty among the people and states but without chaos, and it also established a unity of purpose nationally but without overweening control out of Washington.

To put this in contemporary parlance, it wasn't "unity is our strength" or "diversity is our strength," but rather "unity and diversity under God is our strength." All the difference in world.

To the degree that secular elites have imposed an alien agenda that casts away the founding Mission Statement of the United States (or keeps the form but denies the meaning), to that degree we have seen a corresponding loss of individual freedom, including direct attacks on the unalienable rights hardwired into humanity by the verifiable and knowable Creator. Not unrelated to this, the economic crisis we see today emerges in no small degree from a secularist, power-minded Washington-centrism and is the natural outworking of uprooting the American experiment in liberty from what the Founders knew is the soil of liberty as gifted to humanity by the Creator.

"Hope springs eternal," says the poet. And in the David is a "statement of what the humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow!," says Schaeffer.

In this statue we have man waiting with confidence in his own strength for the future. Even the disproportionate size of the hands says that man is powerful. This statue is idealistic and romantic. There was and is no man like the David. If a girl fell in love with the statue and waited until she found such a man, she would never marry. Humanism was standing in its proud self and the David stood as a representation of that.

The challenge for humanism is not its ideals per se, but that it lacks an adequate intellectual basis to sustain those ideals, so that when crisis comes, we see breakdown instead of recovery. And we do see the breakdown, despite the concerted efforts of political, PR, and marketing types working overtime to simultaneously distract (e.g., attack Rush Limbaugh) and overlay a comfortable but Orwellian spin upon the breakdown (e.g., the president not concerned about market "gyrations").

However, in the world beyond the teleprompter, the press release, and the attack dog, what we are witnessing today is not just the loss of economic power and freedom, but also assaults on freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religious exercise, and so on. Man is great, but man is not God. You could put all the smartest people in the world in Washington and still the federal government is not God, as the original Vision Statement of the United States clearly understands. Secularist Washington-centrism must decrease if a humane American liberty is to increase. Read the directions.  

Our Founders understood this, but many of today's elites seem to reject it. It's not that the secularists are too smart for their own good, but that they are operating out of an inadequate philosophic framework. We'll recover as a nation if we return to the original Mission Statement and mark progress from that point forward. 

Perhaps the later Michelangelo can help lead the way forward:

[T]here are signs that by the end of his life Michelangelo saw the humanism was not enough. Michelangelo in his later years was in close touch with Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547), a woman who had been influenced by Reformation thought. Some people feel they see some of that influence in Michelangelo's life and work. However that may be, it is true that his later work did change. Many of his early works show his humanism, as does his David. In contrast stand his later Pietas (statues of Mary holding the dead Christ in her arms) in the cathedral in Florence and in the castle in Milan, which was probably his last. In the Pieta in the cathedral in Florence, Michelangelo put his own face on Nicodemus (or Joseph of Arimathea -- whichever the man is), and in both of the Pietas humanistic pride seems lessened, if not absent.

I began this post this morning simply as an effort to show an appreciation for one of my favorite artists, a person that I and a host of others would surely have liked to have known. He, like all of us, had his struggles. But even the Great Michelangelo of the Pietas was willing to place himself at the feet of a flesh and blood rebel condemned as a common criminal who happened to be the Savior and Son of God. That's right: A resurrected guy from the Middle East outback whose love and truth challenged and overturns the hopeful but inadequate humanism of then and now. 

The Founders understood the centrality and necessity of the Creator, and they rejected the idolatry of the federal state and the Kingdom of Washington. Many of us today get it. Hope and freedom never die. They are unalienable. They are hardwired into humane and human existence. Yes, we get it. Let's hope Washington hears before it's too late.  


March 06, 2009

The Evil Religious Presidents Do

Dave Miller writes at Facebook:

Rick, Have you noticed how all of these liberals and pseudo-conservatives are coming out of the woodwork and proclaiming shock that Obama is actually a radical leftist, possibly even a card-carrying socialist and outright Marxist? After all the stuff with Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground and Rev Wrong and Black Liberation Theology, you have to wonder exactly what they were thinking.

Of course we know what they were thinking. They were letting their liberal notion of "white guilt" lead them to vote for the first black president despite his views and positions, simply on account of his race. If anyone is a racial coward (sensu AG Holder) it's the cowardly left who blindly voted for Lord Obama.

And this is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that they all knew exactly what they were getting and are now having second thoughts. Their leftist "bed-time story" is a heck of a lot scarier in person than in the text books and leftist think-tanks.

Comment: It is important to analyze the presuppositions and worldviews of those seeking office, because office-seekers always actualize them, or try to. This will help protect people from superficial, politically correct, and reactionary analysis of trends and current events.

Obama may employ the term Christian to describe himself and may throw in a Bible verse for good measure. But to the degree that he presupposes and works within Marxist categories (class struggle, class warfare, spread the wealth, blame and therefore tax "the rich"), those presuppositions will seek incarnation in Obama's policies. A Christian label -- often just political god-talk -- is no match for the actual thoughtforms that inhabit and move a person. (This analysis, by the way, holds for any politician or public figure, including Republicans.)

This worldview dynamic is how a "Christian" can advocate that which does not line up with real-world information we have from the verifiable and knowable Creator, creating a seedbed for hypocrisy, manipulation, distrust, inhumanity, and revolt.

This is one reason resistance is a civilized option to a "Christian" president who accepts the ugly fascist barbarism of abortion. To wave the bloody banner of "choice" contradicts reason, advances oppression, and constitutes a pathetic loss of dignity. Legalized theft to redistribute wealth and property is also inhumane and sinful, even if you throw a Bible verse on top of it and get a preacher to say a prayer. 

Journalists and observers of the political scene would do all a favor if their work addressed politicians at a more insightful level. Added benefit: Fewer unpleasant surprises and a more humane country.


March 04, 2009

Rick on Detroit Radio

Live From Detroit -- Tomorrow WLQV am 1500 talk show host Paul Edwards and I are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

He tags his show "The Center for Study of God and Culture," and I look forward to joining Paul and his on-air academy again.

To call in, phone: 866-423-WLQV. Listen online here


Screwtape Celebrates 125th Performance in Chicago

From Broadwayworld.com:

The production is the biggest hit ever to play at The Mercury Theater, having entertained over 25,000 theatergoers during its Chicago run. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which originally opened in October, has since extended on multiple occasions from its original six-week run and will continue an open run due to overwhelming popularity. The play also enjoyed sold-out runs in New York and Washington, D.C.

Bravo!


February 27, 2009

Free Speech Victory for Montana Church

Homosexuals complained, the Constitution reigned.


February 20, 2009

Freedom Question of the Day

What poses a greater threat to the American Dream of freedom and dignity under God -- predatory lending or predatory government?


February 17, 2009

L'Abri Confab: Schaeffer Group Raps in Rochester

The Rochester, Minn., branch of L’Abri Fellowship, founded by Francis and Edith Schaeffer, held a conference in town last weekend (February 13-14).

Bob Osburn, Executive Director of the MacLaurin Institute, was there:

"The annual Rochester L’Abri conference, an annual respite from winter’s bitter chill, is a combination family reunion and Chautauqua festival for Christians who have and are cutting their intellectual eye-teeth on Francis Schaeffer.  This year’s conference lived up to its sterling reputation, albeit with a slightly small crowd of 550 as compared with the usual 700.

"First, there are the L’Abri workers themselves.  Schaeffer was an evangelist with a deep feel for the human being in front of him, and his successors carry on that tradition of Christian humanism. They serve and serve and serve, all with good cheer and unusually sensitive attention to the person in front of them.

"Second, of course, there are the registrants, who vary in age from middle school all the way up to their 80s, with a large slab of Baby Boomers and an increasing contingent of 20-somethings. They are a combination of home-schoolers, thoughtful middle-aged professionals, college-aged students, and assorted others -- all questing for answers to deep questions, and finding them. This is no cult, just a community questing honestly for answers.

"Speaking of the content, over 40 different workshop and plenary sessions on topics ranging from gardening to Pascal to music were led by seasoned L’Abri veterans who are universally alarmed by facile answers and eager to get below surface issues to presuppositions.  

"This year’s thematic focus on creation provided needed compensation for those eager to hear -- but not hearing -- in their churches about the profound implications of the first two and the last two chapters of the Bible. Suffice to say, God loves His creation enough to redeem it, and we should too."

Here’s the website for Rochester L’Abri. More on Edith Schaeffer here.

By the way, Osburn tells Pro-Existence that as of March 31, he’s embarking on a “new venture with the Wilberforce Academy, an educational initiative aimed at training students to be redemptive change agents in their home societies.” We look forward to hearing more about this new work.    

Related: Francis Schaeffer: “The Central Problem of Our Age.”

February 14, 2009

Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age"

If politics is "downstream from culture" (as former Capitol Hill staffer Bill Wichterman has observed) and culture in general is downstream from Christian culture in particular ("You are the salt of the earth," Matt. 5:13), these guys -- Rick Ianniello, Ray Ortlund, Mike of On Coffee -- may be on to something regarding the "central problem of our age."

They quote from Francis Schaeffer:

The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism [yes, Schaeffer was a Protestant!], nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us. All these are dangerous but not the primary threat. The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them. [bold added] 

You can find this quote on page 66 of No Little People, a book of sermons that are absolute must-reading for any person who prefers not to have his life's work "eaten up" by the secularism of our age.

Not just the secularism in society at large, mind you, but also, very sadly, by the "real problem," by the secular "power of the flesh" we sometimes observe in the methods and mentality embraced in certain circles of big-time, hard-charging Christian ministry.

Nancy and I agree with Schaeffer and Scripture that this is not a secondary matter. Fortunately, we have been able to witness some of this first-hand, so that we might post a "warning label" to help protect others from going down splashy but spirit-eroding dead-ends. This is an issue we do well to focus on, simply as a matter of spiritual balance and humane vitality.

You may have seen and experienced something of this "in house" secularism yourself. In fact, it is very likely you have. If so, we know you are hurting. This is true no matter what the PR says, or what a politician might say while handing out an award or medal to the latest and greatest hero of the ga-ga crowd (ever-so-humbly accepted, of course). You can read all about it in next month's machine-cranked fundraising letter on a mission from God.

But running over people in an effort to "change the world for Christ" or "engage the culture" does not glorify God or evince love of neighbor. Quite the opposite. It's a practical expression of taking the Lord's name in vain.

In my view, what Schaeffer is helping to awaken us to (I know, it's hard to wake up at times) is central to the real crisis behind the crisis of our age. Moreover, it's an analysis that may help explain much that is retrograde, dehumanizing, undignified, and ineffective as a strategy of cultural engagement.

Look: We have had massive organizations at work for decades. Millions and millions of dollars. Years of blood and sweat and pounds of flesh. No one is saying we have nothing to show for this. And yet things seem to be getting worse on a weekly if not daily basis. Just turn on the TV. You begin to wonder if the current strategy is a cultural and spiritual loser.

Maybe Schaeffer was on to something. Maybe there's a reason the Lord had to get him out of this mess and over into Switzerland just so he could get his head together. Just maybe.

Secularism both cultural and religious is taking huge bites and chunks out of the freedom and dignity of humanity. As a way forward, as a way to begin crafting and living an authentic Biblical alternative, you might want to consider chapter 13 of Schaeffer's True Spirituality together with chapter 13 of Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth. These chapters make the central and humanizing case that the Lordship of Christ applies across the whole of life. Boards of big organizations might be shocked, but this Lordship applies even to the nuts and bolts and nitty gritty of ministries CEOed by really famous people whose big names sell lots of books authored or "co-authored" by other people.

Call me a romantic, but I think we can do better than ape the phonies of this world. It's a lot more fun and humane to be a real person doing real work. True enough -- Your hyped name may not be slapped on the covers of as many books, magazine articles, commentaries, radio broadcasts, Larry King's guest list, or White House appointment calendars. So what?!

As the Leader of this revolution pointedly says, those folks "have their reward" (Matt. 6). You can read about that too in No Little People.

February 13, 2009

Worldview Tour Update: Our Rome-Florence-Paris Tour Brochure Here

Official brochures for our summer 2009 worldview tour of Rome, Florence, and Paris -- titled From Plato to Picasso to You -- are now yours for the viewing.

Included is information on the following: A tour overview, your tour directors, the itinerary, plus details about accommodations, meals, transport (including a night train to Paris), registration, whom to contact for follow-up, and so on.

"We expect this to be a tremendous time of fellowship, on-site examination of significant venues in Western cultural history, and discussion of the relationship of humane and Biblical living across the whole of thought and life."

To see The Pearcey Report on-line version of the brochure, click here. I hope you find the place links and map links of special interest.

Here is a pdf of the official brochure, provided by Philadelphia Biblical University, where Nancy is a professor of worldview studies. We greatly appreciate the university's support for creative worldview initiatives.

As a warm-up, you might brew a cup of coffee and sit down with "Pizza With Michelangelo," in which I discuss a terrific book titled Florence: Art & Architecture.

There's more Pro-Existence tour information here and here.

February 11, 2009

Ultimate Oxymoron: "Christian" Obama-Voters

La Shawn Barber wonders on Facebook "how one can follow Christ and support the slaughter of the unborn."

She was responding to "Christian Obama-Voters," the Ultimate Oxymoron at Breitbart's "Big Hollywood."

I replied: "There is no logical or worldview connection between following the Lord of Life and embracing the culture of death.

"Philosophical chop suey, cognitive incoherence -- a seedbed of hypocrisy and inhumanity -- is the unconscious mental menu of many people."

Any thoughts?

Let Freedom Ring on Darwin Holy Day

It's Casey up to bat in U.S. New & World Report. Hits home run.

February 10, 2009

Coulter Video: Godless Left Hates Idea of Nuclear Family

This CNSNews video features editor Terry Jeffrey interviewing Ann Coultertwo colleagues from my Human Events days.

February 09, 2009

Christian Foster Mother Punished After Muslim Girl Converts

A council in northern England says the woman "failed to respect and preserve" the faith of the teen.

This call for respect rings a bit hollow. After all, the girl "made her own decision," according to the Telegraph.

The mom should resist and take captive this aggressive secularism, rather than deny her calling to live as a whole person in humane community, even in her professional life, with our true Creator.

And according to this report, that is what she's doing. Viva resistance.

November 17, 2008

Regarding "Change" -- Liberals Drink Deeply From Fascist Well, Says Reviewer

Is a Sarah Palin a fascist? That might fit the template in certain political circles today, but additional information may require second thoughts among nuanced observers.

For one thing, it is progressive champion H.G. Wells who had more than a little to do with letting the phrase liberal fascism out of its cage, writes Prof. Angus Menuge in a just-published review of Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg.

Here are a few points from the Menuge review, which appears in The Pearcey Report. Among others, fans of Obama, Hillary, Gore, and big government conservatism may want to take note.

* For Obama fans: Something at work in mainstream culture “makes it easy for Barack Obama to champion a new New Deal (mentioned 9 times in his book The Audacity of Hope) as the solution to our economic woes, without anyone recalling the connections between Roosevelt’s and Hitler’s ‘new deal’ (122, 130-131) and the more sinister sides of Roosevelt’s authoritarian statism.”

* For Hillary fans suspicious of the traditional family: “While being pro-family often elicits the ‘fascist’ label today, the Nazis were opposed to the family –- and not merely because unregulated unions led to unfit offspring. The larger issue was that the ‘traditional family is the enemy of all political totalitarianisms because it is a bastion of loyalties separate from and prior to the state,’ the same reason statist progressives like Hillary Clinton ‘are constantly trying to crack its outer shell’ (377).”

* For disciples of Al Gore: "While today’s progressives are frequently pacifist, they continue the tradition of 'crises,' such as Al Gore’s global warming or European disdain for American foreign policies, which cannot be debated because the time for government action is now."

* For religious and political manipulators: “Both fascists and progressives find it expedient to be disingenuous in the propagation of their ideas. There is an outer core of ideas for popular consumption, surrounding an inner core circulated among the elect.

“For example, fascists and progressives encounter resistance when they express their true contempt for revealed religion. So the attempt is made to accommodate broadly religious themes to the agenda of the state (216-217), emasculating any specific teachings of the religion (e.g., on the sanctity of human life) that are inconvenient. This creates the external impression that progressive ideas are the outworking of faith, while in reality, religion is being co-opted by a divinized state (219).”

* For votaries of big government conservatism: “Many self-styled conservatives have also boarded the statist juggernaut, promoting an ever larger role for government as a surrogate parent.”

Read the review . . .

* Cross-posted at Examiner.com.

July 14, 2008

Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry

William Dembski of Intelligent Design fame questions the healing ministry of Todd Bentley down in Lakeland, Fla.

Such questioning is legitimate, Biblical, humane, and necessary. Humaness, worldview, and discipleship are cut from the single cloth of truth.

We await a reply to Dembski's question: "Faith and Healing -- Where's the Evidence?"

Meanwhile, one way to test the validity of an organization is to examine its methods. Not just the PR methods evidenced on websites with glossy pictures, wondrous bios, and a Herculean list of accomplishments and books, columns, etc., "by" the latest version of "renegade-turned-modern-day-St. Paul."

No, sadly, not the methods on display for public view, but the ones kept "in the basement," as it were. That's where, so often, in the dark, the real work is done.

In this regard, and in liberating contrast, the Lord's work is meant to be done the Lord's way, across the board, and with application to the nuts and bolts of organizations put forward as "Christian ministries."

This was a central concern of Francis Schaeffer, as seen in chapter 13 of the beloved True Spirituality. It is also the concern of chapter 13 of Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth. The Lord's work is meant to be done in the light.

To follow truth is to embrace beauty. To fake it, "nuance" it, and spin it for "the sake of the Gospel" (i.e., fundraising, etc.) is to demean people and take the Lord's name in vain.

Dances with deception set forth in the service of Celebriantity and its hard-charging gods are a disaster, no matter how much noise is made about "worldview" or "reforming manners," no matter how much access to Big Media or the White House is gained, and so on.

You know the song and dance. It's underlined in hundreds of thousands of "Dear Friend" appeal letters strategically underlined in blue and signed by machines. One might be tempted to conclude that some evangelical marketers think Christians are idiots waiting to be led around by their noses.

"Test everything," says the real Apostle Paul (1 Thess. 5:21). "Testing everything" is key to embracing love and avoiding the cruelty and ugliness of a truncated Christianity and inhumane "ministry."

One more thing: If this isn't fixed, it matters little who wins the election. Politics follows culture. Methods matter. It's a warning and a promise.

* Update: See discussion at Dembski's site, here. "Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry" is referenced at response No. 44.


April 04, 2008

No McDonald's Today

My son and I often stop by McDonald's for a bite to eat after homeschool bowling on Fridays.

But not today.

I first heard about McDonald's in 1963. I was a kid. Kennedy had been shot. I heard the news on the radio in a new white Ford station wagon while crossing a D.C. bridge.

We were returning from having been stationed in Germany. The Cuban missile crisis had come and gone. I saw the howitzers in Gelnhausen, lined up and ready to roll.

Sometime later, stateside, we were in Columbus, Ohio. Twenty-five cents, I think, for a McDonald's hamburger. What fun! A great welcome home!

But not now.

Not today, in light of reports that McDonald's has decided, apparently, to declare war on my family. And to declare war on the civilization of liberty, independence, creativity, and humanity under God that my Dad fought for in World War II.

Reports such as this -- "Pink Arches? McDonald's Buys Into Homosexual Agenda."

And reports such as this: "McDonald's Gives Support to Homosexual Agenda."

And this: "McDonald's Signs Onto 'Gay' Agenda."

For Christians, this is a matter of stewardship and "loving thy neighbor" -- Why spend good money on a morally and socially corruptive business?

For families, this is a matter of child protection -- Why support a business that helps fund organizations that disrespect the heart of family life?

For human beings, this is a matter of liberty under God -- Why help finance groups that turn their backs on the Declaration of Independence, the Founding vision, and the living Creator who holds it all together?

If you say you can do without all of that, then I say we can do without McDonald's.

Why, apparently, those McDonald's people can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

Between the wrongness of discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her beautiful and God-given skin color and the correctness of rejecting trumped-up victimhood and pretend discrimination based on membership in an ethically challenged but politically powerful interest group.

Information from the Creator, not to mention simple lessons in biology, says there's a difference between diversity and perversity, between being pulled over for driving while black and being guilty of sinning while human.

A hamburger's worth giving up and giving in to all that?

Hardly.

McDonald's is now on trial.

The fries are good. Even great. But the worldview they support isn't fit for human consumption.

Maybe we'll stop by Chick-Fil-A instead. It's a little out of the way, but I hear they like families.

Real families -- not ones made up by the ACLU last Tuesday.

And what's an extra mile or two to vote with your pocketbook? One way or another, you always pay for your convictions.

* Update: Chicago radio host Sandy Rios and I are scheduled to discuss "No McDonald's Today" at 4:35 p.m. Monday afternoon, April 7, 2008. More here. Central Time.

** Update: See also, "Faggot" Easy to Defend: Surprising Help From Secular America

*** Update: See also, Rosie O'Donnell's Oppressive Coat

_______________
Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (articles).

March 03, 2007

Oxford, Cambridge, Plagiarism and Christian Worldview

Those who care about authentic living and the life of the mind may want to consult a report in today's Guardian. (See Pearcey Report link here.)

In a story titled "Their Dark Materials," readers will learn that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are attacking plagiarism, ghostwriting, and "essay mills." Among other things, the universities condemn the practice of students who buy from -- or work for -- services such as Oxbridge Essays.

Sensitive people are concerned about the presence of this sort of unfortunate behavior not just on the so-called secular campus, but also in Christian circles (as has been reported on from time to time).

One might consider what would happen if one day the Bible-affirming world woke up and all the pretend authors, columnists, "thinkers," publishers, etc., and their staffs of enablers had disappeared. One wonders who in "Celebrianity" might be suddenly missing and how many real books and articles would be left on shelves if works by these "authors" departed along with them.

Imagine also that Jesus of Nazareth said, "OK, people -- from here on only real work by real people is acceptable. Anything else and you get a one-way ticket to AnaniasandSapphiraville." See the unhappy outcome of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.

One way you know the flesh-and-blood Jesus meant business is that he applied truth to both the ends and the means of his methods of ministry. Even if that meant dying painfully and nakedly on the cross as a common criminal and apparent failure.

Nevertheless, he didn't cut corners to win influence, gain a wider audience, achieve access to power, protect his image, or enhance his resume to shape future biographies and the opinions of posterity. He practiced the truth the right way and was killed for it. It was ugly. It was right. And he won.

In contrast, how many books, essays, speeches, blurbs, magnum opuses, and so on would disappear if that same Jesus applied that principle of authentic living retroactively? "Lord, Lord, did we not 'write' wonderful, quiet-time inspired worldview books for you?," might protest the high and mighty after receiving a rejection slip from the Living God.

It's a sobering thought, but there may be some in this world who've so long succeeded at conning others that they even try it out on the Son of God. After all, the well-honed techniques of manipulation and PR have worked on just about everybody else (not really, of course, but in the tiny world of tin-horn celebrity, it may seem that way). "Dysfunctional systems are well-defended," says a book on abuse.

Perhaps the better path is to pull the plug on pretend authorship. Yes, the anti-intellectual money machine may grind to a halt, but a door necessary to a renaissance of authentic thinking (not to mention living) would be opened. The current strategy raises money in the millions, but it's misdirected and loses the spiritual-cultural battle.

What's especially interesting is that similar doors need to be opened in the face of similar challenges in so many other areas of life in this broken world. That doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves along the way, even if honest growth encounters big shots who resist change and try to redefine Biblical challenges and accountability as personal squabbles.

Publishing is just one area among many. In electoral politics, public policy, the arts, philanthropy, and many spheres of life and ministry, authentic Christian worldview remains in its infancy. One hopes it needn't run away from home to survive childhood. Oxford and Cambridge could be just the place for those kind of people.

Related
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Approach

December 12, 2006

Fascism Is Back

Fascism is back," Gene Edward Veith tell us in Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview.

But the daily news makes this clear as well, with among other items, reports of a Holocaust-denying conference held under the auspices of an anti-Semitic government that says Israel should cease to exist.

Fascism "refuses to go away," says Veith. "Fifty years after World War II, it keeps intruding upon our attention in odd facts and disturbing news. . . .

"The lunatic fringe, of course, is always with us, but we are also being confronted by signs of fascism as a larger social movement. . . .

"The implosion of communism was a great victory for democracy, but the vacuum has been filled by an intense, violent ethnic nationalism and the revival of overt fascist movements that had been suppressed since World War II but are still very much alive. . . .

"Unsettling cultural trends are intensifying throughout the West: cynicism about democracy; a yearning for charismatic leadership; economic disaffection; moral skepticism; a cultural irrationalism that breaks out in acts of inexplicable violence."

Fascism Back in . . .
* Academic Circles: "Fascism is back in academia. A recent biography of the existentialist sage Martin Heidegger has uncovered his extensive involvement in the Nazi party. . .

"Far more disturbing . . . is the ideology that is coalescing . . . in today's intellectual establishment. Cultural determinism; the reduction of all social relationships to issues of sheer power; the idea the one's identity is centered in one's ethnicity or race; the rejection of the concept of the individual -- such ideas have become academic commonplaces.

"The project in contemporary thought of dismantling Western civilization and critiquing 'humanistic values' (such as liberty, reason, and objective moral principles) is not new. All of the ideas are direct echoes of the fascist theories of the 1930s."

* Pop Culture: "The popular culture is the most fertile breeding ground for fascism."

* Mass Politics: "Instead of rational analysis of issues and reasoned debate, our political discourse turns on image manipulation through or mass media. . . . This was Goebbels' dream."

* Morality: "Moral issues are today almost impossible to discuss in objective terms. . . . Morality is reduced to social utility or the assertion of the will. This was precisely the Nazi ethic."

What Is Fascism?
"Only five decades ago, the world was in the nightmare of war and Holocaust. We seem to have forgotten everything. Putting aside images of goose-stepping villains from the movies, does anyone remember exactly what the fascists believed?"

"We must know what fascism is so that we can recognize it when we see it. . . . Racism alone cannot explain the virulence of Nazi anti-Semitism. . . .

"The fascists aligned themselves not only against the Jews but against what the Jews contributed to Western civilization. A transcendent God, who reveals a transcendent moral law, was anathema to fascists. . . .

"Fascism was essentially a spiritual movement. It was a revolt against the Judeo-Christian tradition, that is to say, against the Bible.

"Some fascists believe that Christianity could be purged of its Jewish elements; other believed it should be completely replaced. Some advocated a syncretistic Christianity, revising the faith to make it accord with the new culture. . . .

"The fascist rebellion against transcendence restored the ancient pagan consciousness. With it came barbarism, a barbarism armed with modern technology and intellectual sophistication.

"The liquidation of the transcendent moral law and 'Jewish' conscience allowed the resurgence of the most primitive and destructive emotions."

Veith's book is as relevant today as when it was first published, in 1993.

-- Gene Edward Veith, Preface, Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview