Apr 8, 2016

Prayer Should Not Be An Afterthought (But Action Should Not Be Either)

Prayer is necessary to the Christian life.  One may say that it is a part of the lifeblood to abiding in Christ.  For how can you develop a relationship with a person, the Person (specifically our Lord), without true and open communication with Him.  So then, prayer is a two-way street with our God.  But He is not just a friend, neighbor, or family member; He is our Creator, our Lord, our Sustainer, our Savior, therefore, we should be more attentive to what He is sharing with us of His Will for our lives.

Listening to and for God's Voice is an imperative to knowing His Will and acting upon the knowledge received in a manner that is pleasing in His sight.  Praying to God is a part of our piety made all the more beautiful by seeing our Lord praying (as an example for us) while He walked on earth (see Matthew 26:36-46 / Luke 11:1-13).

It worries me though that some may think of using prayer as a means to an end, instead of having a robust view of all that may happen with prayer and what prayer is truly about.  Prayer should not just be the Christian telling God all that they want and need and desire, but allowing God to tell the Christian all that He wants and needs and desires and, ultimately, has for them.

Too many times, people say that they will pray for someone or for a particular issue as kind of a nonchalant response to a tragic event or an unfortunate tribulation that someone they know is experiencing.  I have always wondered how many people mean it when they say, "I will pray for you!"  It has become such an issue for me that I will put down a reminder for myself to specifically pray for that person or that issue because I believe prayer works for one and I do not want to just say that I will pray for someone without actually doing it.  The act of getting on our knees humbly before our God is not just some cliché thing for many Christian people (and people of other religions as well).  I imagine that many people would not even take the time to pray before a meal or to show solidarity with a fellow brother or sister who may be coming up against a major trial in their life.  Outside of a supernatural context, where the Christian believes that we are connecting with our maker, prayer (in a "natural" sense) may help in some cathartic fashion.  The simple gestures of bowing one's head and closing his/her eyes and focusing on the issue at hand, be it good or bad, has a way of bringing one of bringing one into a peaceful place to a path of healing or just some reflection.

Recently, there was some hoopla back in December of 2015 over the front page of a newspaper called the New York Daily News dealing with statements (dealing with prayer) from different GOP presidential candidates trying to show respect to a tragic event in San Bernardino, California.  On the front page of the paper were these words: "God Isn't Fixing This!"Front page of the New York Daily News for December 3, 2015 about mass shooting in San Bernardino, California - GOD ISN'T FIXING THISNow, most people would know right away that this is just a ploy or a tactic of sorts used by the paper and its "journalist" to get people to read the paper and give their liberal commentary on the conservative candidates making statements but showing little action on planning to stop the kind of violence that took place in San Bernardino.  Of course, what was interesting is that they did not show the same kind of vitriolic and biased attack on the presidential candidates of the Democratic party.  The GOP candidates made these statements through a social media website called Twitter.  I am not sure if the Daily News knows this, but you cannot give much of a plan dealing with a social issue through 140 characters in a post called a "tweet".  Another issue is: how does this newspaper know what God is doing?  Do they have some sort of supernatural and metaphysical means to know His plan?  Or maybe they pray as much as the conservatives that they are writing about and God has given them the authority to speak for him?  If that is the case, then maybe they would like to show us like Elijah going against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18) and enlighten us to what God has next for the country.  But what they did point out in a small way was that too many people have said that they were going to pray about something or that something would change, while they showed little action on making that change.

For too long, many Christians have made prayer out to be an afterthought.  It is something that we do, when we remember to do it.  Then, we do it without little thought to what should do after we get up off of our knees, open our eyes, or hold our heads up.  Moreover, we forget that we can still pray, having the faith that God will answer our prayer, while still moving ahead with wise counsel and making thoughtful and well-planned decisions.  We can see this take place in Scripture: prayer and action can go hand-in-hand.  If you look in the fourth chapter of Nehemiah, there you will find Nehemiah and the people of Israel desiring to rebuild Jerusalem's walls, but finding some opposition.  They prayed that God would change their situation and went ahead with rebuilding the wall.  Their enemies was plotting against them and wanted to fight them, then we come to verse 9 of this fourth chapter, which really grabbed my attention.  Nehemiah 4:9 says:
"But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat."
They prayed to God and still prepared for a fight.  They hoped in the Lord to keep them from harm, while preparing to me danger head-on.  This reminds me of our Savior as He prays in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26.  Jesus asks God the Father to take the pain and anguish away, but He (knowing that the Cross was His destination) said that the Father's Will is to be done.  Jesus and Nehemiah and the people of Israel give examples that prayer should be our priority, but action should not be placed aside, nor do you have to wait to act (every time), even if that means we are to face something that may cause us pain, even physical pain.  However, action should be predicated upon rational planning and wise counsel with premature reflection on possible outcomes of said action.
Was prayer ever meant to be a means to an end?  Was it ever meant to be done alone without any action?

Feb 26, 2016

Why I Cannot Hate My LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters

This piece has been a long time coming.  The issues that the Christian community has faced and will continue to face surrounding the growing influence of the LGBTQ community and their activism cannot be circumvented.  The days are gone when one could say publicly their heartfelt views on same-sex couples with no major backlash; that tide has turned.  Therefore, when a well-known person, who is not a proponent of same-sex marriage (which is not many), is honest about their beliefs, they usually receive some sort of backlash for it.  Manny Pacquiao, a great boxer from the Philippines, is the latest person to vocalize his beliefs and receive some backlash for it.

Now, Pacquiao may have stated his point of view a bit crudely, but it is his to voice in how he sees fit to do so, as long as it is not calling for any violence to be committed towards others.  I find that the major problem is really that he, like so many others, do not know how to state their opinions without lacing them with so many fallacious arguments.  At the same time though, this is hot-button topic now-a-days, so even if one states their argument against same-sex marriage in a logical and loving manner, many people would still dismiss the argument as being steeped in hatred, homophobia, and religious bigotry.  Of course, there are some who are very hateful in their convictions on homosexual relationships, but it is helpful to remember that people who share a view that is opposite of yours does not always mean that they share that view in the exact same way.  But a person cannot know the true reason behind another's opposing position if they do not engage them in some sort of civil discourse.

It can be seen as reasonable that if one cannot fully know another's outlook on any given issue where there is some contention, then that person cannot (without making their prejudice known) proclaim that the other is hateful or bigoted without pointing to hateful assertions made by the other.  This is the problem that I continue to have with many gay rights activists when they write or speak about those of us who will not back same-sex marriage.  To many of them, just to oppose what they call "equal rights" is basically an evil decision; if you so happen to be a Christian, which many that stand opposite of backing same-sex marriage are, then religion is the reason that there is so much hatred in the world will be the tired argument made by them and those in liberal media.  Today it so necessary that every person learns critical thinking and learns how to state their views with clarity and respect and a robust understanding of Scripture (if you are going to argue from that place) and without falling to the foolish rhetoric of some who claim to be Christian or very elementary and childish ways of showing disagreement with this lifestyle.

I am a bit disillusioned with the things that take place in our country (USA) when it comes to debate and the discussion of ideas.  You can see it especially when election time comes around, but it creeps up also whenever there is discord over some social or political issue.

This particular blog is to dispel the myth that every person (typically who is Christian, but not necessarily every time) who are not in agreement with the LGBTQ community must be homophobic or hate them at all costs.  Yes, you read that correctly!  It is a myth!  Is there a lot of hatred?  Possibly yes.  I cannot give numbers.  But it is not all hatred, even I am stand alone in this position!  I am one person who does not hate any gay persons or persons desiring to change genders.  Do I take issue with them?  I take issue with some behaviors and actions that I see as not being beneficial or healthy for our community or our world in generations to come, even when it does not directly impact me.  Yes, I do care like that.  More than I should?  Maybe so!  Think about it in this way: I have never been involved with abortion in any way (which is something that I disagree with), and yet, I see it as being not good for my community, this world, or the future generations to come.  I do not go out of my way to seek out abortion activists to tell them that they are beneath me or that they are condemned to eternal damnation.  I try my absolute best not to even think of them in those ways.

It may be possible that hate for something does not necessarily invalidate an opinion of that thing, but I won't go in depth with that idea here.  More than anything, "hate" speech is not helpful or beneficial to anyone, and it should not be condoned by any Christian, especially if another so-called Christian is the one spewing off such language.  You may tell that "Christian": "Did your Lord speak in hatred, even when he spoke in righteous indignation?"  I think not!  Then, remember to let Jesus guide the tongue and motivate you into "love speech."

Hence, I wanted to write out some "love speech" and not be sarcastic or considered disingenuous.  I am going to list reasons why I cannot hate my LGBTQ brothers and sisters.  This needs to be written and I hope that it causes some discussion for anyone who reads it.

1. They are human beings!

     First and foremost, those in the LGBTQ community are humans.  I have no reason to put them down as beneath me.  Even if a person wants to change genders, they are still human.  They have a heart, a mind, body parts, etc.  Also, they have loved ones.  I (and we all) must hold on to the fact that there are other people that love those who identify as LGBTQ.  I would hope that when my own child is born in a few months that they grow up (if it is meant to be) and marry a person, who is meant for them, but is of the opposite sex.  I will make sure that they know my beliefs.  But if they decide against the beliefs that I hold, then I hope that I would still love them as the child that I helped bring into this world.  It actually saddens me when I hear stories of people disowning their children when that child chooses a lifestyle that they are not in agreement with.  I cannot say that I know with certainty what I would do if I am placed in that situation in the years to come, but I hope that kicking my child out of the house without any means of supporting them is furthest from my mind.

2. I am a fan (of some human beings who live this lifestyle)!

     Another thing is that there are some folks in the world who choose to live lifestyles that are not in alignment with what I believe to be right and I still can love them.  For example, I have had a couple of members in my family who have been drug dealers and I knew about it.  I would still embrace them and love them when I saw them at family functions and holiday gatherings, but I would never support their evil "vocation."  I do not respect anyone who peddles drugs and destroy our communities, yet, I did not dismiss certain family members of mine who feel that it is okay to live that lifestyle.
     Also, there are gay men and lesbian women whose performances in sports and music I truly appreciate.  Have you heard the songs "Rocket Man" or "Levon"?  Well, let me tell you that you do not know what you are missing.  The singer is Elton John and he is an amazing piano player and a wonderful singer.  I have bought his songs before and I cannot tell you that I never will again.  Have you ever watched United States women's soccer?  Have you seen our national team during their World Cup or Olympic run?  Have you ever heard of Abby Wambach or Megan Rapinoe?  They both are lesbians that are vocal about their beliefs and they are fantastic soccer players.  Wambach is now retired but I loved watching her, Rapinoe, and the other ladies win gold medals and championships.  I try to keep up with their schedule as much as I can.  If I have a daughter, then she will be signed up for soccer.  I appreciate what they do in their work, and I cannot somehow take those actions away from the persons that are committing them.  I could go on making an argument with this point, but my main thing is that not every action from a person who identifies as LGBTQ is wrong because of what they identify as.

3. I can disagree with people's actions and still love them!  (I believe that I have been called to love people as God's creations, but I may strongly disagree with & possibly hate their actions!  I am - believe it or not - disgusted with my own failures (i.e. sins) to remain holy and reach God's Glory!)

     Some people may believe that it is hard to disagree with another's actions while loving them.  Of course, I would disagree with them and I would counter that every action from a person does not need to support every time in order to love them completely.  I would like to think that I love my wife completely, but believe me when I say that we are not always in agreement with each other's actions.  For example, I love her natural hair, and I do not like when she adds other hair to it.  That's the way that I feel and I am not changing my mind on that any time soon.  Guess what?  My wife does not support my view, and I love her just fine.  (I hate the other hair though, and I do condemn it to eternal damnation.)  I do not feel that my actions diminishes her value, but I do not see it as truly beneficial to her being in any fashion.  Of course, she would disagree, nevertheless, she has my heart and I have hers.  So, I believe that it is completely possible to love an LGBTQ activist and still disagree with their position on that lifestyle.

4. Ultimately, I follow Jesus!

     Lastly, I cannot hate my LGBTQ brothers and sisters because I believe that it is not in keeping with the life and teachings of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  As a matter of fact, from what I see in Scripture, Jesus even sought out some folks who were not living lives that may have been considered to be righteous or pure in any way.  In Luke 19:1-10, we see Jesus meet with Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, considered to be a sinner (as we all are) by the surrounding crowd, and Jesus desires to fellowship with him.  What about the Samaritan woman at the well in the 4th chapter of the book of John?  She clearly was not living a life of purity, even still, the Lord conversed with her and sparked her to bring others to Him.  It is so important for others to do things in love and for the greater good of valuing people because are people and we believe that salvation is for all, if they would just accept it.

In conclusion, it is vital to be loving in dialogue while in discussion of cultural issues for their to be understanding and a meeting on common grounds.  Discourse needs to be cordial in order to get to some place of understanding, which may lead to an arrival at the truth.  We must listen carefully and think before we speak on any given topic, and the speech must be undergirded with love.  We must hold to this kind of ethic when we disagree with those who see our viewpoint as hateful.  We must see the person in front of us as beautiful even if they are physically changing themselves in one way or another.  Viewing them as beautiful, listening to them carefully, thinking about their position patiently, and speaking with love may cause an about-face in our opponents' ideology, not necessarily changing their "lifestyle" immediately, but helping them to see that there is a genuine love for them and the truth and what is right for community and society and beneficial for generations to come.

[A brother, whose podcast that I enjoy, decided to speak on this blog post.  If you are into podcasts and/or have the time, then I will post the link to the podcast episode discussing my blog post.  It starts at around 42:45!
Everything According to Tony Vance - "Church doings, the tithe, and big love" = Church doings, the tithe, and big love - Everything according to Tony Vance | podcast garden
Thank you for your time.  Please feel free to share with your friends and family!]

Feb 11, 2016

Sharing the Beauty of Christ and the Beauty of Being in Christ Through Podcast

As you may gather from going through my blog site, I love the Lord, and I love listening to podcasts.  I have been blessed with a job recently that allows for me to play podcasts almost all day when I am working from my desk.  I wish I had the time and the ability to do my own podcast, as I see it as a means of doing ministry.  Since I cannot do a podcast, I continue to listen to many, and every now and again, they spur me on to write a blog and air out my own thoughts.

Well, recently, one of my favorite podcasts asked for "fans" of their show to come on and speak about a subject that the "fan" was interested in.  Therefore, my love for the show, and my ideas behind podcasting, led me to jump at the chance to be on the show.  The podcast is called "After the Sermon" and its host is a young minister named Jeremy Lundmark.  He started a segment called "Uncredible" which gives those of us who are not well-known scholars to speak on vital issues in the body of Christ.  I had a blast being on the podcast with this insightful young brother in Christ, who was very gracious and kind as a host and interviewer.  I desired to speak on the beauty of Christ and the beauty of being in Christ, which was a sermon that I preached a few months back, that I still feel is so important to the Church today.

So, I wanted to post this blog because I really believe that "After the Sermon" deserves more listeners.  Not just because he allowed me to join him on an episode (I'm no one special, but because I think it may be beneficial to many others.  You may not always agree with what is said, but I do believe that Mr. Lundmark tries to be respectful and honest and loving when he gives his viewpoint on different topics from politics to the abortion issue.  Also, he is willing to take questions as well.  So, check him out!

Here is the episode that I appeared on: http://jeremylundmark.com/episode-29-church-vs-super-bowl-beauty-of-christ-immigration-war-eminent-domain-and-the-state-of-the-gop/

Jan 26, 2016

Abortion Is Not Wrong Because the Religious Say So

In the past couple of days, news has come out that David Daleiden, who is the head of the Center for Medical Progress, and Susan Merritt, have both been indicted by a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, with charges that are related to the controversial videos released showing officials with Planned Parenthood attempting to gain from the illegal sale of fetal tissue.  They have been charged with a felony of tampering with a governmental record (for creating and showing California driver's licenses with the intent to defraud) and a misdemeanor charge in connection with the purchase of human organs.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out in the media considering this has been a hot-button issue since the secretly recorded videos of "actors" speaking with Planned Parenthood officials were released last summer.  If any person looks up articles on this piece of news on Daleiden and Merritt, then you are bound to see all kinds of comments from our prochoice brothers and sisters showing that they are ecstatic with these charges.  Many will believe that this confirms their beliefs that Planned Parenthood were targeted by these "anti-abortionists" and that the truth will come out soon enough that will vindicate Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.  Prochoice proponents will continue to believe that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America are all about providing reproductive health services and getting resources out to women for their healthcare.

(picture from - http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/04/pro-life-community-vows-to-continue-fight-to-defund-planned-parenthood/)

The fascinating thing is that many people think that this somehow has had an effect on what some Planned Parenthood advocates may consider to be the "truth" of Planned Parenthood's modus operandi.  That is, that Planned Parenthood is just about women's healthcare and reproductive health services and nothing about their having any possible involvement in the selling of fetal tissue.  Those same advocates seem to worry that they may have lost the respect that they once had; as if these controversial videos will affect the view of them as being an organization with caring and compassionate employees in the fight for women.  It is admirable to see many backing Planned Parenthood, even for this prolifer.  I admire people being vocal about what they believe.

My problem is this: the personal failings of one who is against your beliefs does not then make your beliefs true or right.  Many people, who leave comments to articles, tend to give ad hominem attacks against what they disagree with.  So, instead of arguing against the prolife viewpoint, they throw fallacy after fallacy against it, especially when the argument is coming from religious groups, which tend to be the case.  It shows in many cases, on both sides of the aisle of the abortion issue, that many people do not know how to be logical in the defense of their belief.  Abortion is not wrong because a person with a particular religious worldview says so (although I do believe that following Christ should deter many of us from having a pro-abortion belief); abortion is wrong because it is inflicting harm and causing the end to a life (inside of the womb).  Abortion snuffs out a creation.  A creation that (in many cases) would not bring any harm to its mother (whether they want to accept that role or title or not).  If the data from science and medicine shows us that life begins at conception, then why are we looking at life as anything other than what it is.

What is my point in all of this spill on abortion being the wrong choice to make when a young lady becomes pregnant?  What am I trying to say when I tell you that you should argue against a person's belief, based off of how logical it is and how it stands next to reality?  I hope that I am getting across that if one thinks through the issue at hand with clarity and honesty, they can see that it is not at all about Daleiden, or Merritt, or those controversial videos.  Yes, they play a part in how we see things and how the story is told because Kermit Gosnell plays a part in how we see things also (please look up the name and see how the media bypassed news of him).  But, primarily, it should be about why do we even have to argue about the destruction of lives in the womb.  When did abortion become such a top-of-the-list option for "bad-timing pregnancies?"  Does our society have a moral issue on our hands that is becoming second nature to the next generation?

I honestly hope that Daleiden and Merritt did not lie and create untruths about Planned Parenthood.  But, honestly, I do not care.  Let me give a quick anecdote and conclude this thought piece.  Can you think about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King?  Dr. King (to most of us) would be considered a true hero in his fight for equality for all.  Most of us have seen his speeches played time and time again and have seen many documentaries on him.  But in many of those documentaries, you rarely see information about his possible dalliances with other women.  Movies give a scene or two to it, but it does not typically go any further than that.  (Whether they are true or not is not what I am getting at, although at this point, it seems that these affairs were true.)  If it is true that Dr. King was living a double life, does it really take away from racism and Jim Crow laws being wrong?  If Dr. King can be considered as being an unfaithful husband, or not being about the truthful to his wife, does that eradicate his work in the civil rights movement?  Now, focus again on the issue at hand from today's news about the head of the Center for Medical Progress.  Does the argument against abortion become null and void because of the actions of a couple of people against it?  Would you (speaking to the hypothetical pro-choicer) say that your belief in abortion is wrong if you actually saw the selling of fetal tissue?

Nothing can take away from the truth that aborting a fetus is morally wrong because it is destroying a life, at least, for this prolife advocate.  I do believe that the prolife movement stands on the side of truth, not because of the videos that I have seen, but because of the prolifers and the pro-choicers I see standing around arguing.

To the Pro-Choicer: make sure that you tell your mom - "Thanks for being prolife!"

I mean how else would most of us be here to pick a side if our mothers thought that abortion was the top choice or only choice because we came at a bad time!!

Jan 5, 2016

Jan 1, 2016

"Do You Hear What I Hear" (Podcasts for You for the New Year)

There is no doubt that I love, love, love....PODCASTS!!!  I enjoy hearing other intelligent beings thinking through tough issues with rationality.  Plus, podcasts are helpful to me since I cannot always get to a news channel after work and I do not trust much of the major news channels anyway.  I am not a conspiracy theorist; I just want my news delivered without any liberal or conservative slant so I can dissect the story and see the truth for myself.  It is possibly that some viewers may need to be "led" to the truth, but I am not one of them.  Anyway, there are some excellent podcasts out there that help me with my thinking through issues with my faith, politics, and culture.
I have actually been wanting to do a blog that has a list of podcasts that I would urge others to check out.  They have been helpful to me and actually fuels me in my thinking and writing in some cases.  I will put a couple of sentences beside each link so that viewers of this blog may have an idea of what they are getting into when they click on the links to do their own investigation in whether listening to any of them on a consistent basis is worth their time.  I really wish I had the time and skill set to do my own podcast, but until then: I will keep my ears wide open!!

Podcasts to Check Out

1. A Clear Lens - http://clearlens.org/category/podcast/ - I am the "1st Groupie" of this podcast, so I am a bit biased with this group.  I enjoy them because it is a group of 3 guys that can joke around and have fun with games, but they are serious business about their Christian faith and are skilled with defending the faith.  I have sent them a number of questions and they have been kind enough to respond numerous times.

2. A Glimpse of the Kingdom - http://davidwpendergrass.blogspot.com/p/podcasts.html / https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/glimpse-kingdom-by-david-w./id963970363 - I enjoy Dr. Pendergrass' podcast because he touches on different things with ministry and apologetics.  It is just Dr. Pendergrass doing it solo, but he gives thoughtful opinions when he answers questions.

3. After the Sermon - http://jeremylundmark.com/category/podcast/ - This brother - Jeremy Lundmark - has been helpful to me by his giving some time to what is going on with politics and the debates that had been taking place during 2015.  He was also kind enough to use a snippet of one of my sermons on one of his episodes and has answered a few of my questions, which has been helpful.
4. Apologetics 105 - http://www.apologetics105.com/podcast - I found out about R. W. Johnson and this podcast through "A Clear Lens" and I am glad that I have listened to him.  He has had discussions with atheists on his show and he is very kind and reasonable with them (I believe).  He deals with philosophy and theology as well, which is right up my alley.
5. Come Reason Ministries - http://podcast.comereason.org/?_ga=1.109045570.1148520658.1450300458 - Lenny Esposito has been very helpful to me and I actually just found out that he had this podcast this year.  I had heard of him about 3 or 4 years ago and I bought one of his lectures years ago and met him at an Evangelical Philosophical Society conference back in November 2015.  He is a wonderful speaker on the truth of Jesus Christ and is a wonderful Christian apologist.
6. Coram Deo Podcast - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/coram-deo/id963018449?mt=2 - Kyle Howard has a great podcast here with thoughtful answers to deep theological questions.  He also writes on the website of Theology Mix - http://theologymix.com/author/kylehoward/.
7. Elucidations: University of Chicago Department of Philosophy Podcast - http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/podcasts/elucidations.html#current - I am deeply interested in philosophy so I try to check out this podcast as much as possible.
8. History of Philosophy - http://historyofphilosophy.net/all-episodes - Dr. Peter Adamson just gives you the history of philosophy straight, hence the name of the podcast.  Good stuff!
9. ID The Future (IDTF) Podcast - http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/idtf/ - I cannot write that I am a proponent of this theory because I do not understand it completely, but I like listening to the issues that they are working through.  By listening to the podcast, it did make me realize that you just cannot call the intelligent design theory "pseudoscience" if you have not actually researched the material and checked out the scientists behind it.
10. Philosophy for Theologians - http://reformedforum.org/programs/pft/ - I have not seen many episodes, but I enjoy this podcast because they are breaking down different philosophical positions for the theologian.  I love it!
11. The Dave Ramsey Show - https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-dave-ramsey-show/id77001367?snid=show.podcast-a (http://www.daveramsey.com/show/home/?snid=show) - I enjoy and respect Ramsey after my father turned me on to him.  My wife and I are not out of debt yet, but he gives helpful information and advice on all things financial.
12. The Eric Metaxas Show - http://www.metaxastalk.com/ - I found out about Metaxas through Socrates in the City, which I wish had a podcast, and the radio show, BreakPoint.  He brings on great guests, plus he has great music and is very funny!
13. Trackstarz - http://trackstarz.com/category/podcasts/ - I dig the fellows on this show.  They touch on different topics dealing with culture, faith, and Christian Hip Hop (or Hip Hop art created by Christians).  Much respect!
14. The Urban Theologian Radio - http://urbantheologianradio.com/ - I love this show!  I met Vocab Malone (the main host) recently and felt like I was talking to an old friend.  I love that this show sheds light on Christian Hip Hop music and intellectually defends the Christian faith with love for those who disagree with our faith.
Have a Happy New Year and Happy Listening and Growing!!
In Christ,
Jerome Danner

Dec 11, 2015

The New Atheists Have No Need to Worry

Whenever I see pictures of billboards from atheistic organizations or other advertisements from them, I tend to snicker a little to myself.  It is not at the beliefs of atheists because some atheists are sincere in their objections towards God and the Christian faith (besides other religions), which actually helps me to be rational about what it is that I actually believe and hold to be the Truth.  Now, although I have admired, in some instances, the 'work ethic' of some atheist activists (if I may refer to them in that manner), I still feel as though they put too much energy (in my humble opinion, of course) in encouraging naturalistic ideals in every aspect of society.  I am sure that many of them feel that it is of the utmost importance to destroy any hint of religious ideology in the public square, especially when it comes to education and policy-making on Capitol Hill.  Though I can understand the call to activism when one feels that their beliefs are just (as I believe that I have been called to live out and share the Gospel message of Jesus the Christ), I feel that when the odds are stacked in your favor by the push of pop culture philosophies, why work so hard to push your agenda.

If we look at secular entertainment to see how much the Christian impacts it, then the atheist should notice that Christians do not impact it much, if at all.  Now, yes, Christian artists and Christian moviemakers can still be successful in these postmodern times and possibly hold some influence (i.e. Christian Hip-Hop artist Lecrae), but art created by Christians typically seem to be relegated as for the "religious" crowd and not as worthy as more secular works when the time for accolades is handed out.

Musicians and movie stars have carved out a nice little niche for themselves as influencers to young people.  Entertainment channels, like MTV, VH1, and BET, invite stars with songs about partying and doing drugs.  Besides initial backlash and controversy for allowing it, they continue to invite these artists back and praise them for their "artistry," if what and how they perform can actually be considered art.

I honestly believe that certain popular acts do way more damage to Christian ideals than some arguments levied against Christianity by irreligious types.  Way more young people will accept the ideas from a Miley Cyrus or a Taylor Swift than knowing the beliefs of a Dr. Richard Dawkins or a Sam Harris any day.  More young people will follow the direction of the elite of Hollywood than the scientism of the well-known New Atheists with their Oxford and ivy league school backgrounds.  One may imagine that it is easier to get a philosophy over to young minds in a 3-minute song and a flashy video than it is by way of a 40-minute lecture and an opinion-filled tome.

This is not meant to be condescending, but it seems to me that the New Atheists forget to take delight in the irreligious-ness of the famous crowd.  They are doing way more for the kingdom of humanism than their skeptic counterparts seem to be.