Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy.
I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.
I think this is important. There are people who I know who claim to be Christian, but they are clearly believing that God is a mystical force who arranges everything in their lives in order to make them happy. They are not Christians because it’s true, but because of things like comfort and community. But people ought to become Christians because they think it’s true. Truth doesn’t necessarily make you happy, though. Truth can impose intellectual obligations and moral obligations on you. Seeing God as he really is doesn’t help us to “win” at life, as the culture defines winning.
Winning in Christianity doesn’t mean making lots of money, or being famous, or winning human competitions, or being approved of by lots of people. Winning for a Christian might involve things like building relationships with people and leading them to know that God exists and who Jesus is. That has no cash value, and it’s not going to make you famous. Actually, it will probably cost you money and time, and make you unpopular with a lot of people.
The Bible doesn’t promise that people who become Christians will be happier. Actually, it promises that Christians will suffer for doing the right things. Their autonomy will suffer, as they sacrifice their own interests and happiness in order to make God happy, by serving his interests. Christianity isn’t something you add on to your before-God life in order to achieve your before-God goals. When you become a Christian, you get a new set of goals, based on God’s character and his design for you. And although you might be very successful in the world as part of serving God, there is no guarantee of that. Christianity is not life enhancement.
A three-man crime spree on the morning of Nov. 10 ended in the murder of an Indianapolis pastor’s pregnant wife, according to a newly released legal filing.
Officials on Monday announced murder charges against two men—Larry Jo Taylor, Jr., 18, and Jalen Watson, 21—in the shooting death of Amanda Blackburn in the Indianapolis home she shared with her husband Pastor Davey Blackburn. A third man, Diano Gordon, 24, faces related burglary charges.
The Marion County prosecutor’s office announced the charges on Monday, hours after police announced Taylor’s arrest. He and Watson also face charges for felony burglary, theft, robbery and auto theft.
[…]The Blackburns moved to Indianapolis in January of 2012 “with a dream and a calling to start a life-giving church that would connect with people who normally wouldn’t connect with church,” the couple wrote on Resonate Church‘s Web site.
[…]But on the morning of Nov. 10, the couple’s seemingly perfect life shattered.
[…]Sometime before 5:30 a.m., police say, Watson, Taylor and Gordon embarked on a small crime spree in search of money that would end at the Blackburn residence.
They allegedly broke into an apartment miles away from the Blackburns where they stole an iPhone from the sleeping occupant’s bedroom, car keys, a laptop and a wallet, according to an account provided to the police by an unnamed “cooperating individual” and outlined in a probable cause affidavit.
After discovering a security camera in the residence, Taylor wanted to kill the sleeping occupant, but Watson and Gordon talked him down, the account says. According to the affidavit, the trio then moved on to another house where they stole TV’s and a laptop, loading them into the previously stolen car.
In search of even more money, they finally arrived at the unlocked Blackburn residence, with Amanda, then 12 weeks pregnant, and her 15-month-old son inside. Authorities say Taylor hit Blackburn with his gun and stayed at the house while the other two drove off to retrieve money from an ATM using her card.
Afterwards, Taylor reportedly told Watson, Gordon and two others that he killed Blackburn, authorities say.
“Taylor stated that she charged at him and he shot her somewhere in the upper body so he would not be scratched,” the document states. “Taylor then told them that he leaned over her body and shot her in the back of the head. He leaned further, looked at her face, and watched her bleed.”
Her husband returned home from the gym around 7:30 a.m. that morning, but remained on the phone with a friend in the driveway until about 8:20 a.m., according to the affidavit. When he entered the house, he found his wife nude and face down in blood on the living room floor.
I don’t know what to say to this. It just made me angry how the media makes justified shootings of criminals by police into such a huge scandal, and then when actual law-abiding citizens get murdered, it’s no big deal. Nothing for anyone to be upset about, apparently. Are we going to have a national movement over the murder of this pastor’s pregnant wife? I think not. Instead, people on the left want to ban guns and disarm potential victims of crime so they can’t resist criminals. Let me make this clear – police are good, criminals are bad, and law-abiding civilians owning guns to defend themselves from criminals is also good. Why are the Democrats on the wrong side of all three of these issues?
Obama wants to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees this year, then another 100,000 in 2016 and another 100,000 in 2017.
In previous posts, I have laid out several reasons for why we should not take in Syrian refugees. First and foremost is the cost of taking in Syrian refugees – pegged at $6.5 billion total for just the first 10,000 refugees. Canada is taking in twice that number, and their government costed their plan out at $1.2 billion for only six years. Obama himself doesn’t earn any money, has never worked in the private sector. So he isn’t going to pay for this with his own $6.5 billion with his own hard work. He’s going to pass that bill onto young people to pay, but today he’ll preen for the cameras and show how “generous” he is for spending other people’s money. He already added $10 trillion onto the national debt, doubling it.
Second, we don’t have the national security in place to vet the Syrian refugees. The news lately has been full of cases of people traveling with Syrian documents, and some of them trying to come into the USA through our porous Southern border. In general, we should assume from the many national security failures of the Democrats that they cannot be trusted on anything they say about things being safe. We have the Bradley Manning leak, the Snowden leak, the Hillary Clinton private unsecure e-mail server hack, the Benghazi cover-up, the gun-running to Mexican drug cartels, the leak of the planned Israeli strike on Iran, the leaking of the name of the British spy who foiled the airline bombing attack, and on and on and on. Although none of these are remembered by Democrat supporters of the President, they paint a picture of the administration’s incompetence at protecting Americans. In fact, senior officials in Obama’s own administration confirm that the vetting process is unreliable. They can’t even ask them questions that would help to identify them as terrorist risks.
Third, although many of the refugees are women and children, we have to make two points about that. The first point is that women and children are frequently used in Islamic terrorist attacks. Here’s an article tracing some of the recent Islamic terror attacks involving women and children. We need look no further than the Boston bombers to see how letting in Muslim children can turn into a terrorist risk. They were carefully vetted by the Democrats, and yet they murdered anyway. Second point, there is something to be said about letting in a lot of Muslim immigrants in any case, since a critical mass of Muslim immigrants can create the environment that allows terrorist attacks to be planned. Just read this article on how the Islamic “no go” zones in Paris played a part in the recent terrorist attacks there.
Fourth point is about stewardship. What should we do in order to help the refugees. I’m running short of space, so I’ll just point you to this article that argues that it is a much better use of our money to help the refugees where they are. We can help many more refugees if we leave them over there than we can help if we only bring a few here, for the same cost. Although Democrats who are spending other people’s money don’t care to think of who is paying, it’s always a good idea to spend taxpayer money wisely.
The fifth and final point is something I could not articulate, but that was behind my anger at the well-meaning but naive Christians who were calling for us to take on Syrian refugees on Biblical grounds. I think the real reason I was so angry is as follows:
Naive Christians do not understand anything that is happening in the Middle East. They just don’t follow it, they don’t know the players, the previous attacks, the risks and threats, nothing.
Naive Christians take their cues from a pacificist culture, the left-wing media, and their own fact-free emotions. So, they think that war is NEVER the answer to aggression from evildoers, e.g. – Assad and his controllers in Iran. They just don’t have the understanding of good wars like World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, etc. that were clearly wars that America undertook in order to help others from terror, torture, murder and rape. They don’t understand that setting up Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Kuwait, etc. with long-term protection and guidance is what allowed them to recover and become peaceful and democratic.
Naive Christians had nothing to say about staying the course in Afghanistan and Iraq, invading Syria (which we should have done, instead of attacking Egypt and Libya, which was stupid and pointless) and NOT making a deal with Iran. In short, they have nothing to say about preventing the situations where wars and refugees result in the first place. They just want to ride in sanctimoniously after their benign neglect has failed to work, and then appear to be concerned about peace. But only by spending trillions of taxpayer dollars to clean up around the edges, while leaving the core problem intact.
So with all that said, here is the article that cured my anger once about this. It appears in The Weekly Standard, and it involves the indomitable Bill Kristol, quoting a journalist named Walter Mussell Mead, who voted for Obama in 2008, who now writes about Obama’s lack of seriousness about opposing evil with force, the disaster that resulted, and his attempt to paper over his stupidity with sanctimonious statements about taking in refugees from the mess he himself created.
Here it is:
“To see the full cynicism of the Obama approach to the refugee issue, one has only to ask President Obama’s least favorite question: Why is there a Syrian refugee crisis in the first place?
“Obama’s own policy decisions—allowing Assad to convert peaceful demonstrations into an increasingly ugly civil war, refusing to declare safe havens and no fly zones—were instrumental in creating the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn. For him to try and use a derisory and symbolic program to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States in order to posture as more caring than those evil Jacksonian rednecks out in the benighted sticks is one of the most cynical, cold-blooded, and nastily divisive moves an American President has made in a long time. . . .
“To think that conspicuous moral posturing and holy posing over a symbolic refugee quota could turn President Obama from the goat to the hero of the Syrian crisis is absurd. Wringing your hands while Syria turns into a hell on earth, and then taking a token number of refugees, can be called many things, but decent and wise are not among them. You don’t have to be a xenophobe or a racist or even a Republican to reject this President’s leadership on Syria policy. All you need for that is common sense and a moral compass. . . .
“For no one, other than the Butcher Assad and the unspeakable al-Baghdadi, is as responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria as is President Obama. No one has committed more sins of omission, no one has so ruthlessly sacrificed the well-being of Syria’s people for his own ends, as the man in the White House. In all the world, only President Obama had the ability to do anything significant to prevent this catastrophe; in all the world no one turned his back so coldly and resolutely on the suffering Syrians as the man who sits in the White House today—a man who is now lecturing his fellow citizens on what he insists is their moral inferiority before his own high self-esteem.”
Read the whole thing. Really. And remember than people on the Christian left are basically the same in terms of foolishness as people on the secular left. They are not guided by evidence, but by feelings. And they need to be told early and often how their feelings fail to work in real life. Otherwise, we will continue taking their compassionate naivete seriously, and go bankrupt paying for it, or maybe just get ourselves killed by the evil we allowed to fester. I know a lot of naive leftist Christians are trusting Think Progress and Huffington Post to tell us what the Bible says about refugees, but surprise! Think Progress is not that good at Biblical exegesis.
My favorite political podcast is The Weekly Standard, and my favorite cultural podcast is Ben Shapiro. I really recommend subscribing to both and listening to them. The video of this lecture shows you what makes Ben Shapiro special. (H/T Kevin the Super Husband)
Question and Answer:
And here’s a news article for those who cannot watch from Breitbart News.
Ben Shapiro’s speech Thursday evening at the University of Missouri was a galvanizing moment for the campus and community that became the national focus of media attention in early November after a group of radical black liberation activists, assisted by leftist faculty members, forced the resignation of the university’s president and chancellor.
The event marked the first large, public backlash to the political correctness gone wild that had overtaken Mizzou in the past several months.
Towards the end of his rousing speech, Shapiro discussed how the “micro aggression” culture of taking offense at minor, even unintended things leads to real aggression. Shapiro said, “There’s never been a bad person on planet Earth who has not felt justified in doing his or her bad thing. All colleges do now is give people reasons to feel justified in doing the bad things that they want to do.”
Shapiro lit into the very real aggressions that had played out at the University of Missouri, including the story that Breitbart News covered of Mizzou faculty member Dr. Melissa Click, who blocked a student reporter with a camera when he attempted to enter a public space on campus that #ConcernedStudent1950 activists had declared a “safe space” for themselves.
[…]The audience of over 350 responded immediately with applause that lasted several seconds. The crowd’s applause showed the cathartic impact of someone speaking the truth out loud at the University of Missouri.
Shapiro was invited to speak by the Young America’s Foundation. My first thought when I see an event like this is why aren’t Christian churches more involved in applying the Bible and Christian theology to the culture. My pastor almost never applies the Bible to anything that is happening in real life. He almost never references anything that is happening in the culture, much less current events.
Thank goodness there are brave conservatives like Ben Shapiro who are willing to put rounds downrange onto the target, rather than focus on pious language doesn’t equip anyone to declare or defend their conservative beliefs. There are so many ideas that are undermining the life plans of Christian men these days – feminism, postmodernism, relativism, global warming alarmism, socialism, pacificism, unilateral surrender and appeasement, and so on. And yet so few pastors can see these threats and how they differ with the Bible’s teachings. Even those that see seem to lack the courage of those who speak out about them. We need to be talking about what is happening in politics and in the culture, so that we can make a world where it is safe to speak out about Christian things without fear – even if the truth makes people feel “offended”.
American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.
We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.
[…]In the U.S., our findings also show a racial divide on this question, with non-whites more likely (38%) to support government prevention of such speech than non-Hispanic whites (23%).
Nearly twice as many Democrats say the government should be able to stop speech against minorities (35%) compared with Republicans (18%). Independents, as is often the case, find themselves in the middle. One-third of all women say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities vs. 23% of men who say the same.
Furthermore, Americans who have a high school degree or less are more likely than those with at least a college degree to say that speech offensive to minority groups should be able to be restricted (a 9-percentage-point difference).
Now why is this happening? This is happening for two reasons.
First, we have a retreat from masculinity. A significant part of being a man is being able to tell the truth about good and evil, as well as telling the truth about spiritual things. That’s why whenever I list the male roles, I start with protector and provider, but I also mention moral leader and spiritual leader. It’s no accident that men are more conservative than women on issues like abortion and gay marriage, especially married men. Just look at the 75% of young, unmarried women who vote Democrat. Men are more comfortable with conflict, and more comfortable with expressing views that offend. Men are more likely to speak out for the truth regardless of how other people feel about it. Men are more likely to stick to their convictions in the face of peer-disapproval. But in a society where women dominate the education system, and discourage masculinity, the next generation is naturally going to shy away from speaking the truth on moral and spiritual issues, and everyone will focus more on feelings and compassion. One last point: we should not be supporting policies that get fathers out of their homes and away from their children, e.g. – no-fault divorce, single mother welfare benefits, sex education curriculum designed by Planned Parenthood, etc.
To illustrate this first point, recall a post that I wrote before about a day care worker who explained in the Washington Post how she teaches children, especially boys, not to make moral judgments, by shaming them.
Second, Christian parents retreated away from apologetics, and integrating Bible teaching with worldview concerns like politics, economics and current events. Parents, rather than fighting for policies and moral values that make Christianity viable, and focused on feelings and piety divorced from evidence.There is no emphasis on teaching that Christianity is true, nor that Christian teachings about morality are true. Without a focus on showing why speech is true, younger Christians start to believe that words are just things that make them feel good. They learn that speech is not true or false, but just about good feelings from the parents. And so, naturally, when someone from the secular left comes along and tells them that speech is not allowed if it makes someone feel bad, they go along with this. They don’t see that speech is supposed to be about truth and falsehood, they learned from their parents dismissal of apologetics and worldview that it is about piety and feelings and peer-approval.
To illustrate, recall a post that I wrote before about my own journey to a robust, lasting Christianity, in which I gave the example of a Christian mother who thought that apologetics was pointless, and that’s what she taught her kids.
So there are two solutions to this. First, we need to be mindful of how female-dominated schools crush the ability of men to stand up for what they believe, and second, we need to be careful to teach our children about Christianity with an emphasis on truth and evidence, not on feelings and dogma.