Grace Revisited

I originally wrote this in October 2012.  In light of my last two days’ writings, let’s revisit it.

Have you ever contemplated what grace really is?  Grace is not an abstract concept, but a fundamental reconstruction of mans’ relationship with the Almighty.

Imagine when you die and go to stand in judgment before God.  Your sins and shortcomings will be laid before you, down to very last.  The case against you is ironclad, even if you are a “good” person.

This is the point of the law – the Ten Commandments, the Levitical Law, all of the guidelines for living contained within the Bible – they are an ideal to strive for, but we ultimately will fail because we are human.  We are not holy, nor perfect, and we cannot approach God in any way because of even the tiniest sin.  God’s infinite righteousness and holiness would obliterate our very existence like a candle’s flame being blown out because we have sin in our hearts.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

Here is where salvation gets interesting.  You and your attorney (the Risen Christ, if you have Him as your Lord and Savior) will not plead for mercy.  Here is how I have heard this characterized.

God: “How do you plead?”

Christ: “The client pleads guilty your Honor.”

God: “The penalty is death then.”

Christ: “Your Honor, Father, the penalty has been paid.  I, Your Beloved Son, have paid it in full.”

God: “The Lord God is Just.  Since the penalty has been paid, no further debt is owed.  Your record is forever sealed and expunged.  Welcome good and faithful servant and enter your rest.”

(I’d like to think that, upon that announcement, the entire heavenly courtroom full of angels erupts into raucous cheers and celebration.)

God loves justice.  He said so directly in Isaiah.

For I, the Lord, love justice.

Isaiah 61:8

There must be justice for the actions you took as an enemy of God, as a sinner.  God will not show mercy at judgment, but rather He will exact full punishment on sin.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Romans 8:7

If the story stopped here, we’d all be royally screwed. Again, THIS is the point of the law in the first place.  The law shows us how we fall short, it shows us our need for forgiveness, for grace, for mercy, and for resanctification.

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Galatians 5:4

We thankfully have a Savior.  He came, lived as one of us – fully God and fully human at the same time.  He surrendered His glory, His will, and His preeminence so that He could serve as the payment of debt for all sin.

We do not rely on the mercy of the Court, but on the fact that Christ already paid the debt you owe.  God is just.

What are you going to rely on?  Mercy or grace?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:13-16

Christ has mercy on you.  He created you.  He came to reconcile His creation to Him.  You might be just a speck in the grand scheme of things, but the Creator of the universe paid your debt.  The payment is grace.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:1-4

The whole concept of the entire Bible, is to convey to us that we are recipients of grace, not mercy.  There will be justice in the end.  There has to be because God is just.

So what is it for you?  Grace and the chance to hear Christ stand up and say “I have paid his debt in full?” Or throwing yourself on the mercy of the court at the very end?

The reason I have such a problem with people picking and choosing what they want to believe out of the Bible is that they are trying to make themselves more comfortable. They are trying to remove the scary part of the grace equation from their consciousness, because to admit that you are as good as shit in a sewer and unable to emerge from it on your own is a scary, unpleasant place to be, and it is even scarier when you consider that every single person who ever lived, except One, was in the same place as you.  The good news is that the One reached down into that muck and all you have to do is take His hand.

That is grace, because

GOD   IS   JUST.

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The Law and You

Yesterday, I wrote what even I consider a pretty scathing piece, but when it comes to the eternal and constant truths of creation and the Creator, I get my cackles up pretty easily.

What I want to use today’s hopefully shorter entry is to address some of the arguments that were presented to say that I was being hateful, or that perhaps I was picking and choosing which laws to follow from the ancient Levitical laws.  More importantly though, I want to redirect the focus of this conversation from the subject of yesterday’s writing, the author of the Momastery blog, and the topic of that writing – homosexuality and the Bible – and bring it back to what all of this is truly about – Truth, Grace, and the Living God.

So let’s take care of the quick and easy stuff first – Levitical Law.  One of the criticisms of my writing yesterday was that I myself was picking and choosing which Levitical Laws to follow and which to ignore.  On it’s face, this criticism has some merit, but when we take the scriptures as an whole, we have to look at these ancient laws differently than we do even the ten commandments.

John Calvin posits that We must attend to the well-known division which distributes the whole law of God, as promulgated by Moses, into the moral, the ceremonial, and the judicial law. Francis Turretin further explained The law given by Moses is usually distinguished into three species: moral (treating of morals or of perpetual duties towards God and our neighbour); ceremonial (of the ceremonies or rites about the sacred things to be observed under the Old Testament); and civil (constituting the civil government of the Israelite people).

Let’s go further back though, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote We must therefore distinguish three kinds of precept in the Old Law; viz. ‘moral’ precepts, which are dictated by the natural law; ‘ceremonial’ precepts, which are determinations of the Divine worship; and ‘judicial’ precepts, which are determinations of the justice to be maintained among men.

Even Saint Augustine, over 1500 years ago, made the differentiation clear, For example, ‘Thou shalt not covet’ is a moral precept; ‘Thou shalt circumcise every male on the eighth day’ is a symbolical precept.

In Genesis 17, God and Abraham made the first covenant between man and God of which circumcision was a symbolic (or ceremonial) distinction between the people that would be later known as the Jews or Hebrews. God and the Hebrews further reinforced or reinstated that covenant in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt, much like our own covenant with Christ after we are baptized and profess our faith.

The law was put in place for a people He had just exposed His greatness to through the devastation brought upon Egypt in order to secure their freedom, through the parting of the sea in order to secure their safety, and then through the physical presence within the columns of cloud and fire that guided them through the desert, and the experience of the entire nation at the foot of Mount Sinai.

In contrast, we as believers, have a personal relationship with Christ.  We have been sanctified and reborn into this relationship.  Based on this change in status, the law (which is in place to convict unbelievers of their sin state).

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Romans 3:19-20

So what responsibility do we have to the Levitical Laws then?

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:16-17

Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh.May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Galatians 6:12-15

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:8-12

I would also encourage you to read the Romans 3 for more on the laws.  Now, the next logical step would be to argue that if the Levitical Laws were fulfilled by Christ and we are no longer bound by them, than all of them are null for a believer.  This is a mistruth – the moral laws as explained by Calvin, Turretin, and Aquinas are still valid.

But wait… we have died to the law and been risen with Christ.  Yep.  We are incapable of fulfilling the laws of God because they are perfect and we are not.  Christ fulfilled the law and has infinite righteousness is given freely to all in order to free us from the wages of sin (death).  So how do we rectify what parts of the law still apply and what parts we can do away with?

First – read Romans 1.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:7-8

Now, consider this:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:19-23

Now, it doesn’t take a theologian to marry the two concepts.  If the mind is governed by the flesh and the acts of the flesh are obvious, then by not leaving the life of sin, the logical next step is clearly spelled out as you are trying to play both sides – you saying you believe in God while acting in open rebellion to Him.

A person, truly trusting and placing their faith in Christ, not only is saved, but begins to abhor sin and to purge it from their lives – this is not an easy or comfortable thing to do because it forces us to carefully examine ourselves.

My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.

Job 42:5-6

Here’s the real crux of what I’m trying to get to and taking a length time to get there (my apologies).  If you are feeling comfortable when you read the Bible’s moral laws, you have a problem.  Those laws are meant to convict us – to show us that speck in our eye where we need to improve. I highly encourage you to look more into this topic at Freedom from Sin, which will much more eloquently explain this topic.

The question I want to leave you with today is this – should Christianity be comfortable?

Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:23-24

 

There is One Truth – A Response to Momastery’s “I love Gay People and I love Christians. I Choose All.” and “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On”

My wife brought a fellow blogger’s posting to my attention – in fact two such posts (one from back in 2010 and another from two days ago).

I wrote on this topic extensively a few months back, but I’m back for another crack at it because of the above two entries into the public consciousness.

What brought me back to the topic of gay marriage is not a change of opinion or heart (both of which would rely on my own faulty human emotions and reinterpretation of The Holy Word of God and the very meaning and Truth behind the words contained within).  What brought me back is the concept I see littered throughout those two pieces I linked above – that of a re-definable God.

Let’s settle something right now.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Numbers 23:19

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.

1 Samuel 15:29

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

I the Lord do not change.

Malachi 3:6

God is immutable.  The God of the Old Testament is the same God as the New Testament.  God, Spirit, Son – all are the same since the beginning of the frame of existence that we call time.  The metaphysical aspect of this concept is that the Triune God exists at all points in time simultaneously so if God changes, then there can be no true god as the concept would then be bound by a dimension of the universe that he created.

The author of those pieces I linked above does not seem to understand this fundamental concept about God and is prescribing a course of behavior completely at odds with the Word of God. This is a particular dangerous thing to do.  While there are some who read what this woman writes with a grain of salt and strong understanding of scripture and are able to test what she says (and what she says is sometimes right and true, which makes it all that more insidious).  Someone without a scriptural understanding and lens to measure her opinions over, they are incapable of spotting the inconsistencies and omissions of scriptural truth.

By biggest problem lies in these quotes:

Your parents are Christians who carefully choose what we believe and follow in the Bible.

No. No. No. No! This is the biggest lie that Satan has managed to interject into the world and deep within believers that must be rooted out.  You do not get to pick and choose for yourself what is Truth.  That is your pride speaking.  That is you saying that you know better than God Himself.

What I’m trying to say is that each Christian uses different criteria to decide what parts of the Bible to prioritize and demonstrate in their lives. Our criteria is that if it doesn’t bring us closer to seeing humanity as one, as connected, if it turns our judgment outward instead of inward, if it doesn’t help us become better lovers of God and others, if it distracts us from remembering what we are really supposed to be doing down here, which is finding God in every human being…

STOP!  Finding God in every human being?  Okay… problem.  BIG BIG PROBLEM.  You can see the finger of God in every person, every creation, but you cannot find GOD Himself.  We are made in His image – that’s it.  Purge this thought from your mind now because it will grow like a cancer and pervert your understanding of God’s nature and the nature of our relationship with Him.  Do not assign your personal pride to another person.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

God gave you the Bible, and He also gave you your heart and your mind and I believe He’d like you to use all three.

Well, that almost sounds like a good idea.  I wonder what scripture says about the heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah 17:7-10

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Matthew 15:19

Well then, sure seems like judging by the heart is a bad idea – it is easily swayed and emotionally led.

Shifting gears here a bit – when you redefine words you change their meaning to you, but not the meaning when they were written, nor the intent of the author.  The author of Momastery relies on these redefinitions to validate her opinion.  She relies on scripture’s call to love, but she badly misunderstands the various types of love.  And here is where she falls into a terribly tenuous place for her – because of her platform and audience, you could consider her a teacher.  I have a tiny fraction of the same audience, but I hold myself as God will upon judgment – as a teacher as well, and for that reason I carefully reflect on scripture, context, and pray upon every word I write so as not to lead someone else astray unintentionally.

Let me try to set something straight here.  Like I said, not everything the author said was wrong, and that’s why it’s difficult for some to separate the truth from it and discount the rest without a strong scriptural understanding.  We’re going to head back to the immutability of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Gospel.  This is Truth.  God loves every one of His creations – mankind – that He Himself, through Christ, offered the only pathway to righteousness through the crucifixion and resurrection.  This God is not a different God from the one who wrote His laws in stone on the mountain in Exodus or provided the remainder of the Law.  Remember – God is constant and unchanging.  The God that rained fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah, sent the plagues on Egypt, and struck down entire armies is the same God who became man two millenia ago.  God is fearsome in His might, majesty, and absolute demand of perfect adherence to His law.  God – pure goodness, pure love, and holiness unblemished in even the slightest way – cannot tolerate sin, even the tiniest one because it is a corruption of the image of God and the bearer of that corruption cannot survive an encounter with the pureness of God.  So the author is neglecting significant chunks of scripture in order to justify their understanding of God and sin.  She discounts Levitical law and various points in the bible where sexual immorality, sodomy, and unnatural relations are expressly prohibited as sinful and meriting death, but forgets that God is unchanging.  She, and so many others, want God to change because it is IMPOSSIBLE for man to follow all of the law without Christ, and that is not unexpected – Christ never promised an easy path – but to use your public pulpit in order to spread mistruths… well scripture has a lot to say on that as well.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute….

2 Peter 2:1-2

…these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

2 Peter 2:12

they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

2 Peter 2:18-21

When you deviate from the perfection and completeness of scripture and begin picking and choosing in order to validate your own opinion, you are acting out of pride.  That in and of itself is bad, but to spread your word as truth rather than The Word and The Truth, you are supplanting God and essentially telling Him that He is wrong and spreading that understanding to others and potentially causing them to fall away from God also.

Now, I will briefly touch on a few things that she got right.

God loves all mankind. Yes, absolutely, otherwise redemption would have been withheld from us.

We are not to judge others or condemn others. Judgment is reserved from God alone and Christ alone is our intercessor.

We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Absolutely.  We’re all in the same boat – we’re all sinners hopelessly lost and in need of the grace and mercy of God, our Father and Creator.  But the author fell short again here… I will end this session with a question – do I truly love my neighbor if I tolerate and celebrate his or her lifestyle if it is sinful?  Am I doing them any eternal favors, by not bringing them into the saving grace of Christ which will free them from the bondage of sin?

 

 

Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

One of the first things people used to see when they emigrated to these United States of America for decades was the gleaming statue in New York Harbor.  What most people saw was the start of the new life.  They were close to the truth, and millions of men and women have looked on that statue and been reminded of the costs of liberty and the responsibility we all share to ensure that it never dies from this Earth again.

It never will.  That statue welcomed those immigrants in days past as a beacon of hope at the end of a long journey.  Read that inscription again, but instead of Lady Liberty saying it… imagine them as the words of Christ.  In fact, He often said much the same things…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

A Letter to My Sons

Even though you are both still young, there is so much you know and understand.

I enjoy watching you take in the world one amazing thing at a time with joy, astonishment, and apprehension.  You have so many firsts still ahead of you, that I look forward to experiencing and guiding you to and beyond.

Sometimes being a father is hard work.  There is doubt if you are doing things right.  There are so many things out of my control that can impact you forever.  There are points where we do and will disagree and butt heads in the future, but even knowing these days will come I will love you through them.

There are so many things I want to and need to teach you in the few short years where I get to influence you: the nature of God, Christ, the ways of the world, the importance of family, the nature of truth, the importance of justice, the source of liberty, and the responsibilities that go with all of that knowledge.

Today is Father’s Day.  God put you here to do mighty things for Him and I cherish the opportunity to lead you to Him and then set you loose to do those things.  It is a father’s greatest responsibility, but also a father’s greatest joy and blessing to be granted that opportunity and blessing.   Through you both, I have come to understand the nature and heart of God much more clearly as he is both my and your Father as much as I am your father and the love and joy that you bring me, I know he feels toward me.

I know there will be times where my words come up short, but your heavenly Father’s words never will.  I know there will be times where you and I fail each other, but I will always ask you to forgive me and forgive you in the same way when it happens.

Regardless of those small happenings in everyone’s life, I will never cease loving you because you are my sons, and that is how God loves us – regardless of how often or how terribly we abuse His love, He will always forgive us and welcome us back to Him.  In fact, He will pursue US.  He will find us hiding in the dark, afraid to come out because of shame, guilt, or whatever is holding us back and bring us home to Him if we just ask.

Today on Father’s Day, I wanted to write something for you… words from Our Father that I hope one day make sense to you as they now do to me.

The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Proverbs 23:24

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:11-12

You saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son.

Deuteronomy 1:31

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.

Psalm 127:3-5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

 

 

The Death of the Republic: Action

It is time to act.

It is time to reject apathy.

It is time to reject ambivalence.

It is time to reject passivity, tolerance, and fairness.

It is time to embrace liberty.

It is time to ensure justice.

It is time to take a stand – to set in stone what you believe and prepare to vigorously defend it regardless of the cost to you personally.

How do we as a country solve this problem?

How do we conquer the attitude of “it doesn’t affect me?”

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Ephesians 4:25

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:11

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

It all affects you.  Every. Single. Last. Thing.  The change that must be made comes from within.  If you are not willing to stand up next to your brother, next to your neighbor, next to your fellow citizen against all evils and in every time of need, we will fall. We must change how we behave personally.

We must be a bulwark against tyranny, not for our own sake’s, but for our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our brothers, and our families.

We must passionately take up the standard of liberty, the Constitution, and the Word of Almighty God as the foundations of liberty – unshakeable, immovable, and eternal.

We must stand on fact, highlight truth, and shout it from the mountaintops for all to hear or the beacon of freedom in the world will be extinguished.  It may very well be extinguished one day, but the truth will never be extinguished as long as one man or woman has it on their lips.

We must take seriously Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbors.  We can say we love God, but if we do not take action to prove that love, what good is it?  We can say we love our neighbors, but if we do not act on their behalf even when they do not want or do not think that they need it, then we have not fulfilled the command.

We must display our passion for our ideals more than ever, and our willingness to not only take up arms to defend liberty, justice, equality, and freedom, but to lay down our lives ultimately if necessary for them.

We must, through our actions, through our voices, and through our lives – how we live and how we die – express with no reservations that there are some things worth giving it all to attain and preserve.

Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

I hope to one day tell me sons that their father did not stand by indifferent and ambivalent about the future of their country and of earthly liberty.

I will one day stand in judgment before my Creator, and I will answer for whether when the time came whether I stood or sat idly by.

I will stand.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.

Martin Luther

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Euthanasia for children nears approval by Belgian Parliament; doctors to mass-euthanize children and Alzheimer’s patients

Euthanasia for children nears approval by Belgian Parliament; doctors to mass-euthanize children and Alzheimer’s patients.

This is flat out evil.  Pray for Europe…. this is reaching the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Death of the Republic:What next?

Yesterday, I named apathy and lack of passion as the cancer and disease eroding the foundations of this great country.  These two problems are downright evil as they have colored gray all of the fundamentals that we once cherished as a country.

Instead of a dedication to God and our neighbors, we are now growing self-centered.  The deeply rooted apathy we as a nation have exhibited toward current events and the scandals now being exposed to public scrutiny is rooted in this self-centeredness.  Just focusing on the NSA data-mining revelation from last week I have heard personally people justify this destruction of the Fourth Amendment’s warrantless search and seizure protections by indicating that it doesn’t effect them personally, that they have nothing to hide, and if it helps to keep us safer, then it is well worth it.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Patrick Henry

This is indifference on full display.  Even after a full explanation of what the snooping entailed and how wide-sweeping it was as an affront to liberty, the people I asked all stood by their initial perceptions of it being no big deal because it didn’t impact their day-to-day life.

That is hedonism.  They are living for the moment.  That hedonism is in and of itself a chain of slavery I liken to modern-day bread and circuses as they appease that person’s need for pleasure at any expense.  As long as the pleasure outweighs the pain, then they will accept it without second thought.

Apathy. Ambivalence. Passionlessness. Hedonism.

Americans are druggies.  As long as our cortexes are teased and pleased on a fairly consistent basis with entertainment via movies, television, books, sex, music, pop culture, and other distractions, we will submit to ever-increasing chains from our would-be masters as they don’t personally effect “me,” or we rationalize away it as an inconvenience or a necessary evil.

This hedonism explains so much about our culture when you think about it.

  • incumbency equals job security despite our displeasure with the government in total
  • the destruction of the nuclear family as husband, wife, father, and mother roles are societally redefined to be more inclusive and fair to debauched behavior and living situations
  • the run-away national debt as we spend the next generations economic output today in order to fund our lavish, irresponsible, hedonistic, pleasure and comfort-based lifestyles
  • absolutely no forethought about the consequences of our actions either in part (individually) or in total (as a country)

All actions become devoted to the self.  The problem that crops up with this devotion to pleasure though is that we rarely band together with others because of their problems, but only ours.  We begin to not see the needs and threats to our neighbors or delegitimize them because helping does nothing for us personally – there is no pleasure or gain to be found in standing next to Eric Snowden, the man who revealed the NSA’s domestic spying operations, there can only be negative repercussions from a vengeful government out of control.  Instead of standing as one in defense of the ideals of our founding and those that hold us together as a society – equality, justice, and liberty for all – we fall apart.

Imagine a society where neighbors only look out for themselves.

They hear a scream in the night from next door and double check their door locks rather than even risk glancing outside to see if their neighbor is in need of help.

They decide that married life is too hard and decide that they’d rather be single and free to pursue the lusts of the flesh – bouncing from bed to bed in search of momentary thrill.

They decide that the problems of the country are too big and they are not smart enough to know how to solve them so they stop paying attention and just elect whoever is running with the D or the R next to their name, or just choose to stop voting altogether.

At 30, they tolerate the new bureaucratic rules that establish that no life saving measures would be taken for anyone older than 60 years old because they are too expensive under a strapped medical care system hamstrung by Obamacare and the single-payer option passed years later to replace it.

Fear is people’s primary motivator after pleasure. They fear to criticize what they see as wrong in their hearts because the government has grown too strong and too big.  It has eyes and ears everywhere and can cobble together truthful-enough evidence to silence opposition because the IRS, ATF, DHS, and NSA.  They fear to point out corruption at work or in public because of the personal destruction of their careers or reputations that they fear from annoying the wrong person.

The people in power recognize these fears and play on them in order to further tighten the screws by enacting more onerous laws, rules, and modicums of behavior in order to further control the citizens and make them into slaves.

Because people are so focused on their own pleasure and are fearful of anything that might upset that, the birth rate will decline.  “Why take on the challenge of raising children?” many will ask.  “Why destroy my body?” “Why tie myself down?”

Listen to me — all of you out there! You were told by this man — your hero — that America is the greatest country in the world!
He told you that Americans were the greatest people — that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly!
He went on about how precious America was — how you needed to make sure it remained great!
And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that is America!
Well, I say America is nothing!! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!
A nation is nothing!
A flag is a piece of cloth!I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different than them!
Captain America

The Death of the Republic: Symptoms

Yesterday, I made clear my belief that the Republic known as the United States of America is in grave danger.  Today, I will show you why I believe that to be the case.  The problem is apathy, or if you prefer: indifference, inattention, ambivalence, or detachment. These corruptions within the culture and system cancers that have taken root because of an even more dangerous toxin inherent within America.

But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors

Hosea 10:14

Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.

Job 15:31

The terror you inspire
and the pride of your heart have deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks,
who occupy the heights of the hill.
Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:16

We, as Americans, have been made to be apathetic.  We feel untouchable, so we have neglected the public trust that citizenship in this republic was meant to bestow on each person.  Diversity, fairness, and tolerance are riding high, our economy is the benchmark of the world (even despite the failings in our recent past), and liberty seems to be safe, but the seeds of our own destruction have been sowed.  Our own understanding of liberty and freedom have been altered and changed from those demanding a responsible, attentive, and alert citizenry to those of a complacent one unwilling, unable, or uninterested in those same responsibilities, liberties, and freedoms.

Based on the Nielsen Ratings from the last few weeks, only two non-entertainment programs cracked the top ten watched television shows. Less than 7% of viewers watched news programs of the most watched programs on television.  The majority of viewers watched The Voice, the NBA Playoffs, or other entertaining programs rather than informational programs.  This is evident of a populace not engaged in the problems prevalent in our society, but rather wishing to ignore them or completely oblivious to them either consciously or unconsciously.

For years, with the notable exception of the youth turnout for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, the voter turnout has been decreasing as a percentage of eligible voters as they become more disengaged with politics and governmental affairs, apathetic in general, or dissatisfied with the process.

With the revelation of the IRS political-enemies targeting, Justice Department press wiretapping, and NSA wide-swath metadata collection programs, there has been little if any outrage outside of the politically knowledgeable, which make up a small percentage of the population.  In fact, with all of the revelations of scandals of late dating from the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running program, through the Benghazi botched response and follow-through, and all of the rest since, the lack of outrage and even a baseline of knowledge amongst the hoi polloi has been shameful as I have observed generally and in the total lack of even a base understanding of what happened, let alone the causes or repercussions.  This lack of knowledge is a sign of the apathy that has taken root amongst the generations today.

The surveillance programs in particular rely on an understanding of the political news cycle that the worst scandals can be swept under the rug in a hurry because the public en masse no longer has the desire to hold the government’s feet to the fire over abuses and usurpations as long as they disappear from the collective radar quickly so they can get back to their entertainment.  The collective attention span has dropped so precipitously that the seriousness of each of these scandals has failed to register.  The scandals, each one, would be enough to bring down an administration in the past, but the speed at which they are being revealed and then replaced in the public consciousness additionally produces a weariness in the public mind.  This same weariness was observed during the last few campaign cycles because politicians never took an off day and the public eventually just tuned it all out.

When apathy becomes an useful tool of the politician to force the public to go along with their plans, that politician has become dangerous to liberty and freedom.  It is not because they convince people to follow their ideas or even have great ideas, it’s that they proverbially beat them until the abused electorate acquiesces to the beatings and just says “whatever you say, I don’t care.”  In addition, when those politicians intentionally obfuscate the political environment and make it difficult to understood who is involved, why, or in what way, they make it easier to fool the public.  As a result blatant positional and topical contradictions go unnoticed because the people simply no longer care to rectify what they hear with what they see.

I. Don’t. Care.  These are the three most critically damaging words in the English language.  But is that not what we’re seeing in the response to the revelations about NSA’s Operation PRISM.  The American public has been beaten over the head for over a decade as to the threat of terrorism and as a result, a majority thinks that the program is fine despite the fact that it casts a wide net and over half of the citizens of this country are under warrantless and illegal searches of their private communications.  What makes it even worse is that these obvious Constitutional violations require an apathetic public, not just after-the-fact, but during it.

Apathy is destroying the United States of America – this is truth, but apathy is only partially to blame.  There is a deeper fault that is causing the apathy even… the apathy is surely a cancer, but the deeper disease is a loss of and lack of passion.

Passion?

Look at the divorce rate (53% of all marriages end in divorce).  What passion do men and women have for maintaining what was supposed to be a lifelong commitment?  Maintain a lifelong love takes hard work and devotion and our culture celebrates this lack of passion now.

Look at the voter participation rate (barely half of the eligible population votes).  What passion do we have as a people for participating in our democratic republic?  When barely half of eligible voters even bother to cast a ballot, the other half is abdicating their right to choose their representatives.  I may not agree with how you personally choose to vote in a particular instance, but a representative republic does not serve the people if the people do not make their beliefs clear through voting, petition, and redress.

Compare the government approval rate and how likely you are as an incumbent to be reelected (Congress approval rate is treading water at 16%, yet 90% of incumbents were reelected in 2012).  What passion do we have about the problems of our day if we keep sending back the same disliked idiots every two or six years to keep just doing what they’ve been doing?  We say that we hate the performance of Congress and then rehire them come November at a near-unanimous rate.

We do not have passion in this country or for this country.

We have apathy.

We have ambivalence…

and it is killing us.

Without passion for this country and passion in general, how can we honestly expect the next generation to understand the importance of our liberties and freedoms, of the moral, theological, logical, and philosophical foundations upon which those liberties and freedoms were derived?

How can we honestly expect the next generation to care if we do not care?

How can we honestly expect our government to abide by the constraints put upon it by mortal men nearly three hundred years ago if we do not understand those constraints and possess a heart and mind for defending them with words, deeds, and arms if necessary?

How will apathy end up killing us in the end?  Tune in tomorrow.

The Death Of The Republic

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Benjamin Franklin

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Revelation 3:15-17

The opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.

Leo Buscaglia

Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low.

Henry Ward Beecher

I intend to explore for the rest of the week and beyond what seems to me to be the a serious threat to our republic, and what could ultimately be it’s death.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are staring at the gaping maw of tyranny – it is here, it is now, it is ongoing with the various and rapid-fire scandals at IRS, the Department of Justice, at NSA, and the full court press that these federal authorities are putting on the Bill of Rights and the liberties and freedoms enshrined therein.

You may say that scandals happen to every administration and the warning of encroaching tyranny is sounded every few years and nothing ever seems to come of it, but I believe we have entered a new highly dangerous point in the history of the experiment of American liberty.

I believe that we are under attack.  The attack is not coming from some other country or even one person or group in particular.  We are the enemy, because the root of the problem is apathy, indifference, and a lack of love.

Tune in tomorrow for why WE are the enemy to our own liberty.

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