By Johnny O. Trail — I sincerely believe that it would be very hard to be a young person in our current climate of toleration and electronic media. Our youth are exposed to so many bad things at such an early age. Previous generations have said this very thing about those who have come before them, but it seems that our culture is more aware of things than they once were. In certain contexts, the words of Jeremiah the prophet ring very true, “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge” (Jeremiah 4:22). Continue reading
Schools don’t often make the headlines with good news today.
Mass shootings (murder), children severely assaulting classmates or their teacher, inappropriate clothing being condoned, illegal relationships between students and teachers, rampant drug abuse, and…students calling their teacher ma’am.
You didn’t read that list wrong. A young man was recently punished by his teacher for calling her ma’am.
I understand most teachers are satisfied with Ms., Mrs. or Mr., but what is wrong with a child who shows respect to an authority figure by using ma’am?
I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill but I will make a big tree out of a small root because I believe this situation is a small snippet of the root of the problem in our culture today; a culture that does not have much respect for life, personal responsibility or authority figures!
A large part of the reason these conditions exist is because these things are not truly expected anymore, not even from children in schools. And it has gotten to the point to when they are shown, the people showing these characteristics are the ones punished as if they are wrong.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV)
Alex Trebek recently garnered the ire of feminists when he asked a female contestant, who was a retired Master Sergeant in the military, if it was hard to give orders in her job because she was a woman.
“That must be really tough for a woman because a Master Sergeant is giving orders most of the time. How was it for you?”
The irony of the situation is Mr. Trebek was accused of stirring the sexist pot even though it seems as if (to me) he was actually acknowledging the supposed platform of feminism – women not being given a fair-shake in a male dominated culture.
The reason I say this is Mr. Trebek’s question was offered to a woman who served in culture was that was alpha-male driven … an alpha-male culture that does not always like to listen to other alpha-males who give orders, much less from an obviously physically weaker female. And yet the game-show host is blamed for being sexist because he asked a woman if her job was hard simply because she was a woman.
If her job wasn’t hard simply because she was a woman then feminism has no platform! The question was giving feminism a chance to justify its position.
This situation reveals my problem with twenty-first-century feminism. Most feminists today want to be treated like men until they want to be treated like women, but if you treat them like a man when they want to be treated like a woman the offense is as offensive as when you treat them like a woman but they want to be treated like a man.
It’s a no win situation because you don’t know when because the when is constantly being moved depending upon the way feminists feel about the situation.
Do you want to be treated like men or women? Feminists need to make up their mind.
There are differences between men and women (some make men the stronger sex and others make women the stronger sex) that no cultural agenda will ever change. Feminists need to just man up, quit whining, and recognize them … if being treated like man is what they want that is.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV)
On my way home I noticed the wording on the road-sign for the Church of God. For some in the religious world, the sign made a pretty bold statement. It said, “God’s grace demands right living.” According to the scriptures that statement is doctrinally sound (Titus 2:11-12, Colossians 3:15). See how easy it would be to settle the overwhelming number of divisions that denominationalism has caused if only we would go by the right standard? If it’s true it’s not new!
From the mouth of babes…I asked my five-year-old daughter yesterday if her ear was sore. She confidently said, “No.” About five seconds later she said, “I don’t even know what sore means.” Ignorance by itself doesn’t get us into trouble as much as ignorance that wants to remain that way (John 9:39-41).
Men from Mars are chauvinistic. Women from Venus are feminist. Men and women made of the Earth know each are made in the image of God, and God’s image carries with it responsibilities that will outlast fickle times that believe changing the culture equates to changing the truth (Genesis 1:26-27, Ephesians 5:33). Continue reading
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian declared war on establishments which wished to decline services to those of the LGBT community. Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes bakery, were driven out of business by a lawsuit in the wake of their refusal to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. According to Todd Starnes,
They faced boycotts and picket lines and other wedding vendors were threatened with similar action if they did business with Sweet Cakes. The family’s young children received death threats and the store’s social networking platforms were overrun by militant LGBT activists posting obscene and profane messages (read here).
On top of that, they were ordered by the court to pay the couple $135,000 in emotional damages.
If you teach a child they’re no more than an evolved animal, then don’t be surprised when they act like nothing more than an animal.
Children need to be taught they’re life is valuable. Children need to be taught they’re more than an animal. Children need to be taught they have a soul that distinguishes them from the animal world.
When these things are taught, then, and only then can we expect them to see other people in the same light.
Until then, children who continue to grow older (which is different from growing-up/maturing) in an amoral home, culture and society will do no more than what an animal naturally does…prey on the weak, take what can be taken, kill for the fun of it, and create offspring instead of a family.
But perhaps, at the end of the day, acting like an animal is the right and natural thing to do. Because after all, “survival of the fittest” is what got people to where we are right?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
I’m 34 years old. That means I’m at the very, very back-end of the millennial age group…or maybe it’s the front of the line?
Is indecision a thing about millennials that bothers people?
Either way, by most people who enjoy categorizing others into demographic pie charts, I’m included in the oft-bemoaned group of today’s up and coming leaders, families, soldiers, work force, business owners, and etc. And to be honest, I get a little tired of everyone incessantly bashing my age group.
Why’s that? I’d be more than happy to explain with an illustration. Continue reading
We don’t often post editorials over on Brotherhood News. Nor do we often post them on controversial topics, at least, that I recall, nor as lengthy as the one that appears today. So this rare bird might just be worth your while.
The Lord’s church is blessed not to be a company, nor to have a hierarchy where men lord it over others, nor even to have means to settle an issue across the brotherhood, but I play with the idea of naming “culture” as the word of the year, as one dictionary publisher has just done.
The wisdom of God has not lashed us together in such a way that if a few go astray, all sink with them them. What does unite us is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is our center and who permeates the whole out to the very edges. So my Forthright Magazine editorial goes, from yesterday.
Our times seem critical, but each age possesses its challenges. I long ago tired of presidential elections touted as being the most important ever, with more at risk than before. Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s a mere election tactic. Let us not fall for our own fearful thoughts that our age is worse and more critical than at any other time in history. Let us meet the progressives and counter as we may their influence, while we rejoice in the faithfulness of God toward his people in this and every age.
The big football league of America sure seems to be overwhelmed with serious moral issues right now…intentional concussion-giving players included. As far as the bandwagon media attention goes, the flow will soon give way to the ebb, but the issues won’t disappear. And maybe it’s just because the issues revolve around the behaviors and decisions of people (sin and temptation are common problems to athletes and non-athletes, right?), but I can’t help but notice how the football league and its problems look strangely like a perfectly clear microcosm of the larger problem that the American culture is dealing with – namely how do we deal with the obvious errors of humanity.
For now, like the American culture at large, the response from the professional league has been to deal with the issues from almost a purely punitive aspect – fines, suspensions, and firings, with a little counseling mixed in here and there. But what about the root of the issues? It doesn’t seem to be the love of money because the problems are costing the players that stuff – not making it for them! What it seems to be is a lack of morality and common courtesy. And it seems that the big league is willing to endorse almost any cause other than the one that could and would solve the vast majority (it would be all, but the answer is based upon the application made by each individual) of the issues that are being dealt with today, not to mention the issues that will be dealt with tomorrow; but for now it seems like they’re only willing to throw a penalty flag at someone who is willing to attempt to introduce a new “head-coach” and “play-calling book” that could and would help every party involved.
Hey, I’m not trying to Monday-morning quarterback here. I just know from experience that when I fail to listen to Jesus, I end up on the bench every time with the decisions that I make; and anybody who has a desire to compete and win knows that sitting on the bench is not where you want to be.
The American culture is severely warped. So warped that it uses children to defend and promote perversity. From homosexual talk-show hosts who bring children onto their set to “come out” on national TV, to TV shows that portray individuals as “minors” who commit fornication and practice homosexuality as if it should be completely acceptable; the media has its target set on the minds of children – and they are hitting the bullseye! Don’t think so? Just read this.
A culture that destroys the innocent in a plurality of ways is a culture that will die in a plurality of ways; first and foremost, it will begin on a spiritual level, and from there only God knows how far it will fall into depravity with the seeds that have been sown. God takes note of such cultures and sooner or later such cultures will take note of God (just read the three chapters of Nahum).
When a culture sows warped seeds, there’s no way it can keep from reaping a warped crop.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
Buying new clothes that look old. I’m sure other cultures outside of America do the same thing but that still doesn’t make it make any sense!
“Brand new” pants with holes, cuts, patches, worn patterns and frayed bottoms straight off of the store shelves at prices higher than pants with no defects?! It’s a second-hand look at souped-up first hand prices. And the same trend can be found with shirts and hats. But I wonder why people don’t buy socks with holes in them? Anyways.
Want holes in your pants? I know a couple of ways of getting them that are much cheaper:
- Truth be told, I have a couple of pair of pants with holes in them – but they got that way because I worked in them and now they continue to be my work pants.
- Actually go to a second-hand store to get the second-hand look.
- Buy a new pair that’s much cheaper than the fake old pair and give them to someone who needs a new pair of pants and let them wear them out and then bring them back to you a couple of years later.
I know this may sound like an “old-man” rant, maybe because it is, but how silly can a clothing trend get?
A culture that can afford to pay more money, and actually makes other people called “clothing designers” very rich while doing so, to get an impoverished look with their clothing is a culture that has more dollars than sense.
But hey, dressing up the outside with clothing that’s deceptive isn’t anything new is it?
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
You know a cultural clock is broken, backwards and outright busted when a sign of the times is made up of heterosexuals who just want to live together and homosexuals who want to get married.
I believe Isaiah put it best when he recorded the warning that says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
The subject of divorce and remarriage is very controversial in our time, but the controversy is by no means a new one. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus picked up the hot potato subject of divorce and addressed it with direct and simple but very sobering words — “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32). Space won’t allow an in-depth analysis of this text, but Jesus’ teaching here is augmented by His further teaching later in Matthew 19:1ff. There Pharisees attempted to put Him on the defensive by asking in verse 3, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” As a part of His answer Jesus declared in Matthew 19: 8-9 – “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” Those are strong words about divorce and remarriage! Combined, the two passages emphatically declare only one reason God allows divorce — sexual infidelity by the marriage partner. If a divorce takes place for any other reason and then remarriage follows, all the parties involved commit adultery: the divorce-er, the divorcee, and the one the divorce-er or divorcee remarries. That’s tough marriage-medicine in a me-first world where people want a quick, easy way out of any difficulty and inconvenience that arises, including in marriage.
Jesus’ words, though not difficult to understand, have proven difficult for many in our divorce-prone, no-fault divorce world to accept, including some in the church. I have read that a friend of W. C. Fields once entered the old comedian’s room to find him reading the Bible. Fields, a self-avowed atheist, was asked what he was doing. Fields quickly shut the Book, and, apparently embarrassed, replied, “Looking for loopholes, just looking for loopholes.” Many people look, and with first one argument and then another, insist they have found a loophole that releases them from the authority of God’s law concerning marriage and divorce. The mental twists and turns people go through bring to mind something I learned from fellow-preacher and friend David Sain. In a sermon I heard David preach, he mentioned a quote people often use regarding different Bible teachings — “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” But Brother Sain pointed out that saying is incorrect, and went on to proclaim the truth of the matter this way: “God said it….and that settles it!” Whether or not we believe a Bible truth has zero to do with its veracity! A majority of men and women once believed the earth was flat, but that did not make it so. Some in Jesus’ day had relaxed God’s law on marriage and divorce — but Jesus never did. Marriage is sick and getting sicker in our society, and even in the church. The hope for a cure is not in diluting Jesus’ teaching. Let us, at least in the church, take and trust the strong marriage-medicine the Great Physician prescribes.
Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ
Even though the western culture is desperate to get rid of important Bible words like sin, Jesus and judgment there are Bible words that will remain despite the best efforts of some to rid them from our vocabulary.
For example, a handful of miles away from where I live there is a community called “Goshen.” Now why would a little community in the heart of Tennessee be named after a piece of land in Africa? Read Genesis 45:9-11 to find out.
For another example, toward the top of the nation there is a prominent city named Saint Paul. Now even though the Beatles (or at least one of them) thought that they were bigger than Jesus, the city up in Minnesota has nothing to do with one of its members. So who is Saint Paul? He’s this guy.
Another example, and it’s a big one, is our calendar. Yup, I said our calendar. Whenever anyone in the western culture refers to a history timeline, a present date or a future appointment they are using a time line that revolves around the appearance of the Man who doesn’t change with time. And who’s that? He’s the one we mean whenever someone says B.C. and A.D.. And even if one ignores the initials, they can’t ignore the dividing line.
People can plug their ears, cover their eyes and refuse to speak of the Bible’s purpose or existence, but they won’t be able to ignore the Bible words that remind them that it was and forever will be the God of Heaven who has blessed and shaped our culture. From small communities, to large cities and right down to the dates that they were established, as long as there is a western culture, our culture will depend upon Bible words.
It’s the award giving time of the year for Hollywood and all of its media branches. It’s a time when the “people choose” and all the little gold-plated men go to the brightest stars of the multibillion dollar industry. After all, who doesn’t like a good pat on the back? But at the end of the day, the awards given out show more than just who’s “number one” – they show the true heart of Hollywood.
Look at the movies that win. You don’t have to watch the shows to find out. The news channels fall over themselves trying to tell you about it. The movies that win the vast, vast majority of the time are ethically, morally and socially rotten. They continually glorify and celebrate murder, prostitution, hate, violence, profanity, fornication, organized crime, greed, theft, lying and adultery. Whichever movie pushes the envelope the best usually ends up finding its name inside the envelope to get the award.
“But the actors and actresses deserve an award because they make it look so real”, some say. Well I say if you want to see real then get out on the streets where real people suffer because of the things that Hollywood celebrate! But that wouldn’t be any fun would it? The claim of, “movies help to escape reality”, while reality is made up of the actions and behaviors that the movies celebrate just don’t make sense to me.
Never forget, what goes in the heart comes out of the heart. This is true on a personal, community, cultural and national level. And if one considers the poor and disgusting behavior of people on the big or little screen award worthy, then that award helps to reveal what the heart really values. So who’s the winner of our heart going to be? It’ll be whoever we lay out the red carpet for.
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:18-19 – NKJV)”