The Downfall of Institutions and Pride

The central point of Romans 9-11 that is missed because of our fixation on Calvinism, is the warnings about rejoicing at the fall of the “others.”

Paul explains the interaction between Jews and Gentiles in those chapters. The Jews were chosen to bring forth the Messiah. Through them, by way of the Messiah, all nations would be blessed.

Unfortunately (if that’s the right word), the Jews rejected their own Messiah. In so doing, they were cast aside for a time. But also, fortunately (if that’s the right word), through the rejection of the Messiah salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection is fully revealed, so much so that Gentiles will be drawn to The Light.

Paul warns Gentiles not to get arrogant. Gentiles will think Jews were set aside because Gentiles are better. Paul says not to go there!

“Don’t get a big head, Gentiles, if God cut out the original people, you better believe He’ll cut out new rebellious people.”

This issue has implications for other contexts as well.

Last week the Catholic Church got busted and I saw many a Protestant Evangelical proudly preening. “What’d you expect from them? You don’t see that problem in our churches.”

Willow Creek is falling apart and many with small churches like to point out the megachurches and the flashy suburban Christian stuff. “What’d you expect from them? You don’t see that problem in our churches?”

Republicans and Democrats trade these shots on a daily basis, pointing out the fault in the other side. “What’d you expect from them? You don’t see that problem on our side.”

Here’s the thing: Is is on your side, you just forget it or justify it more easily.

When we point out the failures of others, our own ego gets a boost. When our egos get boosted, we soon fall into our own pits.

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride comes not only through your own success, but also by observing other people’s failures.

Pride will knock you down. Legitimate wrong should be addressed and punished. But gloating over sin, over destructive behavior in others, is not helping; it will only foster the same arrogance that produces sin to begin with.

Pursue righteousness. Other people being sinners does not make you or your side righteous. Doing righteousness is what pursuing righteousness is. Do that.

Blinded By The Fight

The Catholic Church took a big hit last week. The largest child abuse case was detailed in Pennsylvania. The offending priests were shuffled around, no one took action to stop the abuse.

Willow Creek Church is falling apart as board members and clergy resign after founding pastor Bill Hybels was accused by multiple women of adulterous relations. No one took the allegations seriously as they were going on.

Ohio State football is going through a similar ordeal. Which reminds us of the disgusting revelations of the Joe Paterno Penn State program.

The president and other politicians can say and do all manner of ridiculous things and yet their party continues to back them.

There is a pattern here!

Institutions take on a life of their own. Members of the institution feel that their institution is doing great work, they must be preserved so their work can carry on.

If a bad apple gets in the bunch, cover it up! The institution is bigger, and the work is too important for one person to bring it down.

Everyone is guilty of this fault. We are a communal people and we’ll defend our communities to the death.

Of course, if the other side does an equally bad thing, that’s the worstest thing ever! Hitler!

Human institutions appear important, but they are like all earthly things: temporal.

But our eyes get clouded. We start looking to the things of this earth and defending them. We will compromise our values, our morality, and our witness to maintain the important work of our institution.

People get hurt when institutions become too big. The poor kids whose lives will forever be scarred, it boggles the mind how such sickness can take place, let alone be covered up.

The power of institutions is a scary thing. What institutions carry too much weight for you? Your political party? Your football team? Your denomination? Your theological camp?

We each have at least one institution we defend. Be careful. No matter how big or how important you think your institution is, it’s not bigger than the Gospel and the simple truth that we are to love our neighbor and do righteousness.

Don’t be blinded by the fight for your institution. The only fight to fight is the fight of faith.

Gloria Copeland’s Jesus Flu Shot

Gloria Copeland, wife of Kenneth Copeland of televangelist fame, has recently told her people that they don’t need flu shots if they have Jesus.

“We all ready had our shot. He bore our sickness and carried our diseases” Copeland slurred. I wonder if Christ’s wounds heal slurring issues?

I’m not mocking her slur. I’m merely pointing out the inconsistency of the message. If Jesus heals all diseases, why does she appear old and show signs of stroke? Why does Ken wear reading glasses? But this sort of logic does not stop the flow of stupid.

“Jesus Himself gave us the flu shot. He redeemed us from the curse of flu.”

She staggered on, “By His stripes we were healed. When we were healed; we are healed. So get on the word, stay on the word, and if you say, ‘well, I don’t have any symptoms of the flu,’ well great! That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Just keep saying that I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu. Put words, inoculate yourself with the word of God.”

Interestingly enough the words, “I’ll never have the flu” never appear in the word of God.

The power of positive thinking does not heal people, nor does it prevent disease. This is pure gibberish.

Meanwhile, they repeatedly miss the clear point of Isaiah 53 and the supremacy of Christ to redeem sinners.

The clear message of “Repent and believe the Gospel” has been replaced with “Don’t get a flu shot cuz Jesus.”

We should all be in a state of mourning over the state of the church.

One More Thing I’m Not Worried About: Google Home Doesn’t Know Jesus.

I’m not even sure why this is an actual news story, but a Nashville TV station reports on a person who is troubled that Google Home does not know Jesus.

Seriously, this is a news story.

Google Home is Google’s version of Siri or Alexa. A box you ask questions to that gives you answers from the internet in a computerized voice.

Apparently, if you ask Google Home who Jesus is, it replies, “I’m not sure how to help you with that.”

The complaining citizen goes on:

“I even asked Google who is David Sams? Google knew who I was, but Google did not know who Jesus was, Google did not know who Jesus Christ was, and Google did not know who God was,” Sams said.

Sam later went on to say, “It’s kinda scary, it’s almost like Google has taken Jesus and God out of smart audio,” Sams said. “First it started with schools.”

Another person quoted in the article said, “They took prayer out of schools, they think just taking Jesus out of everything is politically correct these days and I think that’s the stem of a lot of our problems.”

This argument tires me. Logically it makes no sense.

Follow the logic:

God was in the schools
They took God out of schools
Now our culture is the pits

Didn’t the time when God was in schools lead to the time when He wasn’t? (Which also raises the silly notion that God is bound to go only where people have passed laws allowing Him to be.)

Why does no one take it back to that? If God in the schools led to a culture that took God out of school, then clearly we can say that God in the schools wasn’t all that great either. Maybe having school in charge of God wasn’t a good idea based on the results.

In all honesty, I do not want the schools teaching about God. They will mess it up, as history clearly seems to show. The Church is the institution entrusted with teaching who God and Christ are.

So, yes, I’m sure you can guess that I do not care that Google Home is not teaching people who Christ is.

Google Home, according to the article, has no problem telling you about “the prophet Muhammed, Buddha — even Satan.”

This is simply more confirmation that the world doesn’t like Jesus. No kidding. What was your first clue?

There is no point to being upset by this. If anything, it’s amusing and shows the world’s fear. I’m cool with that.

If you want more people to know who Jesus is, I suggest not relying upon a computer device, but in your own ability to go tell them. You’ll hopefully do a better job anyway.

The Great Commission is not, “Go forth and tell computer devices to tell the world about Jesus.” That’s our job to tell people about Christ. Go do it.

Matt Walsh on the West’s Indifference to Church Persecution in the East

Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than it has ever been in history. Christians in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, and many other countries, are regularly imprisoned, tortured, beaten, raped, and martyred. Their churches are destroyed. Their houses burned. They meet and worship in secret, risking their lives in the process. They live every moment in constant danger.

About 215 million Christians face what is called “extreme persecution” for their faith. It’s estimated that around a million have been slaughtered since 2005. There is no way to know exactly how many. What we do know is that Christianity has been dramatically reduced in parts of the world where it had existed for nearly 2,000 years.

But what do we care?

There are other things to worry about here. Hollywood sex scandals. Twitter disputes. Whatever controversial thing Trump said this week. So on and so on. We — myself included — spend far more time, and spill far more ink, on these issues than we ever have on the coordinated genocide of our fellow believers in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Why?

I have come to believe that our disinterest stems not only from the general apathy that defines western society and the western church, but from moral cowardice. To face the plight of our brothers and sisters is to face ourselves. To see these Christians who would rather be shot dead in the desert than renounce their faith is to see our own faith as a shabby, pitiful, hollow imitation. To see Christians who would risk their very lives to go to church and preach the Gospel is to question why we will do neither of those things, even though we are perfectly free and able. We cannot confront these truths of ourselves, so we will not confront the truth of Christian persecution.

We have submitted to the forces of darkness. We have bent our knees in homage to Satan, and the enemies of the faith haven’t even fired a shot to induce our surrender. Satan does not beat us with a stick; he dangles a carrot. He lulls us to sleep. He distracts us. He tempts us. Kill us? Why would he do that? We are no threat to him. A Christian in Afghanistan is a threat. He must be destroyed. It’s the only way. But a lazy, soft, equivocating Christian in the West? There is no need to persecute him. He is not worthy of it. Just give him a television and the internet and let him damn himself.

And Satan laughs.

He does not want us to be jolted out of this stupor, and he has no doubt instructed his legions accordingly. The persecutors of the church in America have quite an easy job. For them, the strategy is clear: Put down the gun. Drop the machete. Don’t scare these people. Don’t make martyrs of them. Don’t give them any hint that there is a war going on and the fate of their souls lies in the balance. Let them be arrogant and self-assured. Let them push out any thought of their own mortality. Let them dismiss everything I’m saying right now as “pessimistic” and “negative.” Let them enjoy themselves. Let them have their spiritual indifference and let them dress it up as “positivity” and “hopefulness.” Let them have it all. Fluff their pillow for them, even. Turn on the TV and hand them the remote. Feed them. Pamper them. Pleasure them. Give them everything their hearts desire. Don’t appeal to their fear; appeal to their lust, their laziness, their gluttony, their vanity, their pride, their boredom.

And watch them drop like flies.

 

Read the whole article by clicking here.

Preferred Pronoun Confusion and God

One of the central tenets of Christianity is our aloofness to the idiocy of the world. We’re not to be conformed to the world. We’re to come out from among them and be separate. We’re to be on guard for the deceptions and lies of human philosophy.

If a person does this and has no “dog in the fight,” it’s fascinating to behold what sin makes people do. The irony of sin is inherent to itself–you desire to do what kills you–and the fruit of sin is equally ironic.

Here are two separate news items from our current sin-filled culture.

There is a new law in California about making people use transgender people’s preferred pronouns.

Among the unlawful actions are “willfully and repeatedly” failing to use a transgender person’s “preferred name or pronouns” after he or she is “clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”

The law states that if provisions are violated, the violator could be punished by a fine “not to exceed one thousand dollars” or “by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year,” or both.

Near the same time that this comes out, we also have this news item:

The Church of England should stop using male pronouns when referring to God in order to counter the erroneous belief that the Almighty has a gender, the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords has said.

Speaking before the event, the bishop raised the issue of God’s gender, saying: “We’re told that God created human beings in God’s likeness… If I am made in the image of God, then God is not to be seen as male. God is God.”

Instead of using either “He” or “She” to describe God, Bishop Treweek said she  prefers simply to use the word “God”.

Am I the only one who sees the irony?

Clearly the Bible, which Christians believe was authored by God, addresses God with male pronouns. Male pronouns, like “He” and “Him,” are God’s preferred pronouns. That’s how He wants to be addressed. He is our Father in heaven.

I thought we were supposed to use people’s preferred pronouns and that willfully not doing so was wrong? What gives?

I am so confused.

Yet I’m not.

Our world is insane.

If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, you will notice the insane everywhere. It becomes rather entertaining.

There is nothing new under the sun. The world has always had crazy people because sin makes people crazy.

We’re told that being rational is a result of having a materialistic, scientific view of the world.

The Bible tells us being wise/rational comes from the fear of God and listening to His Word, which is truth.

Stick with God’s Word, it abides forever. Humanity’s words are far sillier and far more temporal. Act accordingly.

7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures

When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was cleaning floors in the Northwestern College cafeteria. My roommate’s girlfriend came in and told me, with tears in her eyes, that Clinton won.

“Oh,” I said, and went back mopping.

The Clinton years were a fascinating time to be a Christian. I will admit I got caught up in the hysteria. Monica Lewinski, rape allegations, “at least Nixon resigned” t-shirts, etc.

The moral outrage amongst Christians was astounding. Clinton was the devil incarnate.

Oh how far we’ve come, dear church.

“a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

Evangelicals no longer think moral failings are that big of a deal in our politicians. The “other side” apparently has no monopoly on moral failing, so our morals have adjusted accordingly.

The recent election is one possible reason white evangelicals don’t think moral failings are that big of a deal.

Hillary Clinton potentially has played into it, as well. Many Republicans find her unacceptable, and it may be that some dislike her so much that they have stretched their conceptions of who it’s OK to vote for.

Hillary Clinton carries with her all the baggage of her husband. Christians, as I recall, absolutely hated Bill Clinton. His wife is lumped in with him. We’ll vote for any louse as long as it’s not a Clinton louse.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Christians think they vote for the lesser of two evils. If we have to vote for someone who degrades women, so be it, at least he’s not for abortion. Although I understand the desire to protect the unborn, tying our boat to the dock of immoral, immature leadership seems tenuous.
  2. Voting typically makes Christians look stupid. Vote if you think it matters, but perhaps consider keeping it private, along with all your political views. A vote is putting a stamp of approval on a person. When the Church is seen doing that, the Church gets lumped in with the politician. This has never worked out well for the Church.
  3. Our government in America is by the people. We get what we deserve. Politicians are not going to morally reform America. They are not going to get rid of abortion. They will, in fact, continue to flush our morals down the toilet, because that’s what human nature wants to have happen. America needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If America came alive to the Gospel, politics would follow. It doesn’t work the other way. Never has; never will.
  4. Moral lapses in our leaders should be expected occasionally. Leaders are people. People are sinners. But that’s why the Bible says the people we follow should be tested and proved to have character. People make mistakes and grace should be shown to both sides of the political spectrum. Currently, however, we appear to be in a time where the majority of leaders are failing regularly. I’m not sure this is a new thing, or if it’s a result of invasive, incessant media coverage. I don’t know, but none of this makes it right.
  5. The typical way to deal with the moral failings of a person on “our side” is to bring up moral failings of a person on the “other side.” We’re in a battle now of ignoring moral failures while also comparing and contrasting them indefinitely. Moral failings are moral failings. Apologies don’t cut it in leadership. If a leader fails they’re supposed to step down. The fact that our leaders fail and don’t step down, but instead point out how other leaders do it too so leave me alone, is not a good sign.
  6. Men are disgusting. If there’s no other point to take out of the recent headlines, it’s that men are out of control animals. Good grief, men. Get a grip. It’s time to personally fight against pornography, sexual perversion in all forms, and dealing with dignity toward women. Women should also wear more clothing. But still, even if women walked around buck naked, grow up men! Get control.
  7. We are more loyal to our party than we are to our God. We’d, apparently, degrade moral standards for the sake of staying loyal to our guys. When we are in a spot like this, it’s time for an examination: Do we have our trust in God who established morals, or rulers who wield temporal power? The obvious answer here is troubling.

However, this is just a poll and polls are easily manipulated. Polls also show what the majority wants, and a majority of human nature is always going to side with sin.

Actual believers in Jesus Christ are not selling out godliness for the sake of political power. Followers of Jesus Christ are not entangling themselves with the affairs of this life. Jesus paid next to no attention to politics. What He did say is that we seek first the Kingdom of God, He’ll take care of the rest of what we need. He tells His people to let the heathen fight for power; the meek will inherit the earth in the end.

I do wish the Church were more interested in the better country to come than we are in this tottering republic. America has been good to me. I mean no disrespect. But this is not my home. I will not let go of godliness for a bowl of pottage, even if the bowl has the Stars and Stripes on it.

President Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Freedom

President Trump signed an Executive Order regarding religious freedom today. Here is my summation of the act, as far as I understand it. Click here for the full text of the Order.

Section One in my words: The Constitution says we have the freedom to be religious without fear of federal interference. This order lets people know that the Executive branch is on board with protecting people’s religious freedom as stated in the Constitution.

Section Two in my words: The government agencies in charge of taxation will not be allowed to target or penalize religious groups for expressing political opinions.

Section Three in my words: Religious organizations who conscientiously object to various practices will be allowed to conscientiously object without government penalty.

Section Four in my words: The Attorney General will guide the procedures for keeping religious liberty.

Section Five in my words: Something about how if one part is violated the other parts will still stand? Maybe? I don’t know. Too lawyerly of language for me here.

Section Six in my words: Basically this is already the law, this is just an attempt to reassure people this will be enforced. It makes no new laws, nor does it do violence to existing laws.

In summary, I don’t think this makes much difference to anything. I think this was originally created for situations such as the baker who didn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding to be allowed to refrain from so doing without government penalty, which is fine.

Religious liberty has always been a part of American government and this merely restates what has existed. Previous presidents, including Obama and W. Bush, have played around with religious stuff that often looked like interference with religious practice. President Trump is attempting to score points with religious types by passing an executive order that does nothing really except sound nice. He will now be able to tell religious voters he’s “fighting for you.”

There is a chance I am completely misunderstanding this order, but this is my take. It’s one more piece of unnecessary legislation that will be propped up as either 1) Evidence that the Antichrist is coming, or 2) Evidence that Christians are about to take over the world. Neither is true.

Carry on.

UPDATE two hours later:
To confirm my suspicions, the ACLU, which threatened to sue over President Trump’s Religious Freedom Order, has decided not to. Here’s why, in their words:

“Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome. After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process.”

In other words this executive order does nothing except sound nice.

Pastor Says Polygamy is a Christian Lifestyle

Apparently we have too many churches. This is the only explanation for why the church stoops as low as it does to hire guys as pastors.

A 60-year-old Ohio mob enforcer-turned-pastor married his teenage bride and got her pregnant, all with the blessing of the other lady in his life — his 44-year-old wife.

Thom Miller is a pastor in Mansfield, Ohio. Apparently his church is not too keen on his marriage situation. Good for them. “Pastor” Miller is apparently very keen on his marriage situation.

“I don’t preach about polygamy, but I feel it’s a very Christian lifestyle,” he said. “This is America and my wives and I have a right to live any way we please, providing we’re not hurting anybody.”

Yes, exercising a right to “live any way we please” is certainly the bedrock of a Christian lifestyle.

No word as to whether he is still employed by his church. One would think randomly picking a guy off the street would lead to getting a better pastor than this guy.

Are there polygamist marriages in the Bible? Yes there are, and God wasn’t happy with any of them. You don’t find any in the New Testament, incidentally. You also find a verse saying that one of the qualifications of a pastor is that they be “the husband of one wife.” A-hem.

Man Killed By Pastor for Trying to Leave Church

The pastor of an insular New York church where a young man was beaten to death and his younger brother seriously injured was among seven people charged Tuesday with murder.

The pastor, along with his mom and two brothers who were also leaders in the church, beat to death a guy during “spiritual counseling” he was getting for wanting to leave their Word of Life Christian Church.

The victim’s brother was also beaten, but he survived. The session he “estimated was six or more hours, the teen said he was pummeled with fists and whipped with a 4-foot, folded electrical cord on the back and elsewhere, suffering injuries to his torso and genitals.”

I have been aware of several churches in my life that had brothers as leaders. In each case they were legalistic and abusive churches. This is anecdotal evidence, of course, but still, there seems to be a remarkable consistency.

If you have to beat people to keep them from leaving your church, it’s a good indicator your church is worth leaving.

Holy Bat-room, Pope!

I saw this headline on the internets today and couldn’t pass up the article. I wanted to pass it up, I just couldn’t. Which says more about me than the headline, no doubt.

Ecuador Built Pope Francis a Holy Bathroom

The article begins like this:

Where does the Pope poop?

In a bathroom that includes an Asian-style rug and a painting of Jesus — when he’s in Ecuador at least.

It goes on to say:

“The bathroom also includes a large toilet, a shower and a large mirror.”

No explanation as to why it contains a “large toilet.”

There are too many things a guy could say that probably shouldn’t be said, so I am just going to leave this here and move on.

You’re welcome.

Black Churches Are Burning

It’s a very poorly reported story, but six black churches have burned since the Charleston shooting. Six.

Although there may be no connection, nor do the fires show any graffiti or racist anythings, it is slightly suspicious.

Also suspicious this gets no coverage. Imagine if it were six mosques?!

You can donate some money to help these churches here.

UPDATE: It’s now up to seven churches.

Joel Osteen’s Self Help Talk Heckled

Joel Osteen’s “church” was interrupted six times be hecklers yesterday. These hecklers were apparently from another church in a coordinated effort!

The first interruption was right when Osteen began his self-help talk when a heckler yelled “Joel Osteen, you’re a liar.” Can’t argue there.

Not sure heckling is the best approach to opposing Mr. Osteen, nor, based on the recent shooting in another church, was the timing very good.

But hey, you can’t fault people for trying, or can you? I guess you could. Better them than me, but quite frankly, good for them!

The NBA and Jesus

There are two stories about Christianity involving NBA players.

The first is from the Muslim Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who railed on the Prosperity Gospel in a Time Magazine interview. Among other things, he said:

“Like the professional pardoners of the Middle Ages who pedaled indulgences to the highest bidders, they pervert teachings for profit. These are the people that the word shame was invented to describe. . .

“According to the purveyors of prosperity gospel, your friends and neighbors will know how righteous you are by the size of your bank account and the make of your car. . .

Adbul-Jabbar pointed to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said, “Tend to what is permanent (the soul) over what is temporary (material goods).”
“Yet, those pimping the prosperity gospel are preaching the opposite.”

I would whole-heartedly agree this critique.

At the same time, Andre Iguodala of the NBA champs Golden State Warriors, had this to say about God:

The player said he credits the team’s success to God.  In an interview after the Warriors’ win, Iguodala said, “We got a team full of believers. We all go to chapel before every game. We all believe and we all say God has a way for you—a purpose for you. This is my purpose.”

“When people see us on the court, we want them to see God’s work. We want to be a good representation of what we believe in. When you go out there, you’re not just representing your country or the NBA, you’re representing your beliefs. You want to play hard for Someone who died for you.”

As much as I appreciate good guys succeeding, these kinds of quotes always make me cringe.

Believers are to do all things heartily as unto the Lord. We are supposed to be concerned with how our performance in what we do reflects our faith and the Gospel. I applaud that.

However, chalking up a team’s success to God is pretty close to the teaching of the Prosperity Gospel–your righteousness will be displayed by earthly success, whether that’s money or wins.

I wonder when Iguodala mocked Lebron James’ injuries on the court if that was why God rewarded them. Making such “God statements” means people will critique everything you do.

Yes, we need to do our job well, and players on Golden State appear to be good guys. But mouths should be stopped with humility. There is a fine line between crediting God and being arrogant about your awesome faith. Tread the line carefully.

Americans Don’t Trust Anyone and That Aint All Bad

According to a new Gallup Poll, Americans hardly trust any institutions anymore:

Only 8 percent have confidence in Congress, down by 16 points from a long-term average of 24 percent

Thirty-three percent have confidence in the presidency, a drop from a historical average of 43 percent.

Thirty-two percent have confidence in the Supreme Court, down from 44.

Twenty-eight percent have confidence in banks, down from 40 percent.

Twenty-one percent have confidence in big business, down from 24 percent.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in organized labor, down from 26.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in newspapers, down from 32 percent.

Twenty-one percent have confidence in television news, down from 30 percent.

The only exceptions are the military and small business, which both gained trust.

All in all, doubting institutions is a fine thing. I don’t mind that at all. Institutions tend to abuse power.

Unfortunately, all you have left after institutions are individuals. Quite frankly, the only reason I don’t trust institutions is because they are made up of individuals whom I do not trust!

Not putting trust in man is a biblical concept. However, our society is still trusting men, just not men in institutions. The Bible’s answer is to not trust men but rather put your trust in God.

We’ve got the first part down, here’s hoping the second part picks up.

Except I have no confidence in man that this will occur.

Donald Trump and God

Donald Trump announced he is running for president again. Which is fine, whatever. He at least brings some entertainment value.

The Donald said in his announcement that he “will be the greatest jobs president God ever created.”

See, that’s some good entertainment right there.

Mr. Trump is a Presbyterian.

Mr. Trump also seems to have a superstitious affection for the Bible.

“Trump said fans often send him Bibles and he keeps every one of them “in a very nice place.” “There’s no way I would ever throw anything, to do anything negative to a Bible,” Trump said. “I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive, so actually I store them and keep them and sometimes give them away to other people but I do get sent a lot of Bibles and I like that. I think that’s great.””

Mr. Trump, when asked about his church attendance, said “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion,” Trump said in 2012. Then he added: “I’m a Sunday church person.”

So, there you go: Mr. Trump’s Christianity.

The End Cometh. Again. For Reals. And I Feel Fine

In case you need more things to worry about: a woman claiming prophetic insight has received visions of Jesus telling her about catastrophes coming to America starting in September 2015!

Oh dear Lord, please help us all. Start stockpiling those canned vegetables and mac & cheese people. Wackos with prophetic insight have never been wrong before when predicting catastrophe on America!

America WILL END! This time it’s for reals.

What sorts of catastrophes will come on America in September 2015? Jesus is so glad you asked because He is happy to tell you:

“a massive economic collapse, martial law, and riots. She believes great trouble will start in September 2015.”

What? You mean like the massive economic collapse, martial law, and riots we currently have?

One of the best ways to improve your prophetic accuracy percentage is to predict things that are already happening. Genius. That Jesus, I tell ya what, He’s one smart guy.

Something tells me October of this year will be quite lovely.

WWJB: What Would Justin Beliebe?

Justin Bieber, who recently had a string of rebellion, has allegedly gotten right with God and reformed his life.

The singer has reportedly apologized for his past behavior, reconciled with his mother, and was baptized last year.
The 21-year-old singer has now cited scripture and written about his relationship with God in an Instagram post.
“I’m not religious nor do I think I have ANYTHING figured out that’s why I call out on God to help me through what I can’t do on my own. Developing my relationship with God has been the coolest thing I’ve experienced, to know that I’m not alone and I don’t have to live in fear.”
Here’s the thing: these pop star people go through a “Jesus phase” from time to time. I’m all for them coming to Christ and getting right with God through the Gospel. That’s fine.

I just wish there were a little more humility. A little more caution. A little more: shut your mouth and let your life prove it stuff.

As has happened in the past, many of these Jesus Phases are followed by horrible living, which does nothing for the credibility of the person, nor anything that helps out the overall testimony of “religion.”

I hope he’s sincere, but everything within me doubts it. Everything he said above was a Christian cliche, nothing there gives evidence of anything personally going on.

But hey, I’m just a cynical old man, what do I know?

Creflo Dollar’s Kinder, Gentler Private Jet Plan

Creflo Dollar, a famous prosperity “gospel” preacher from the U.S., not long ago got in trouble for telling his fans, er church members, that they needed to buy him a $65 million jet.

Apparently, $65 million was a bit tall of an ask even for those duped by prosperity “gospel” propaganda.

Dollar initially backed off, but not really. Now the board of his “ministry” is making the $65 million jet a priority.

Rather than telling people to fork over $65 million, the board took a much more pleasant approach:

“We plan to acquire a Gulfstream G650 because it is the best, and it is a reflection of the level of excellence at which this organization chooses to operate. We, the World Changers family, so value the lives, the safety and the well-being of our pastors and leaders that we wish to provide to them the best air travel experience possible.”

Wow. I guess all pastors who don’t have $65 million jets don’t have them because people in their churches don’t value their lives. Good to know.

The board also wants you to know that they don’t give a rip about your opinion of their actions:

“We understand that others may interpret biblical truths differently — the freedom to worship as one chooses is a fundamental hallmark of a free society — but wish to assert our God-given right to practice what we believe. This is our faith, the very basis for what we believe, and it is not necessary that we justify it.”

So there.

Prince of the Prince of Peace?

The artist formerly known as Prince is one of the creepiest music guys I’ve ever come across. I don’t like his music, nor do I think he’s a musical genius. But that’s mostly because I just absolutely don’t care for his “music.”

I don’t care for organic food either, but apparently many others do. If you like the artist formerly known as Prince, great. Keep him to yourself before God.

Anyway, the artist formerly known as Prince enjoys being weird and his latest weirdness is doing a cover of a song by  “Christian artist,” Nichole Nordeman, formerly known as Nichole Nordeman.

Part of the lyrics go like so:

What if you pick apart the logic and begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more than folklore that must be told and retold

But what if you’re wrong? What if there’s more?
What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?

I don’t think the artist formerly known as Prince is going through a “Christian phase” like many aging rockers do, I think he’s just making waves.

Nichole Nordeman is thrilled that the artist formerly known as Prince is covering her song and considers it to be an honor. Also larger checks.

There is a rumor that the artist formerly known as Prince converted to Jehovah’s Witness a number of years ago after being raised in a Seventh Day Adventist home.

The guy seems fairly confused, but I hope he does indeed come to the truth and repent of his sins and his style of music.

Big Ol’ Jet Airliner Has Carried Creflo Too Far Away

Creflo Dollar, a prosperity “gospel” preacher, recently asked his supporters to give him $60 million to buy a new private jet for “ministry.”

For some reason, this ask was a bit too big. Apparently it’s OK to weasel people out of smaller sums of money, but not $60 million.

Good to know people have limits.

Since the hubbub began, Mr. Dollar has removed all trace of his big ask from his website, but due to the miracles of the Internets, some of the text from the site remains. Here’s a snippet:

“”Heavenly Father, as the righteousness of God by faith we come boldly, confidently, and fearlessly to Your throne of great grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us obtain this Gulfstream G650.

This G650 will serve as a ministry tool for Pastor Creflo Dollar to carry the Good News—too good to be true—revelation of Your love and grace around the world.””

If that doesn’t make your skin crawl and your antichrist meter ring, I don’t know what would. I’ll quote some Apostle Paul to leave you with a better taste in your mouth:

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

Free Showers for the Homeless! or Something

KCBS has learned that Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.”

This church refers homeless people to several denominationally affiliated services for the homeless and doesn’t want a bunch of drunk people sitting on their porches.

Although I can understand their plight and it is easy to judge them since no drunk homeless people are sleeping at our doorstep every night, it does seem a bit weird.

“Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homeless said, “It’s very shocking, and very inhumane. There’s not really another way to describe it. Certainly not formed on the basis of Catholic teachings.””

Perhaps it’s an application of giving a cold glass of water to your enemies? Perhaps it’s an offer of living water in metaphorical terms? Perhaps they believe in baptismal regeneration and believe they are adding souls to heaven?

Then again, it sounds more like people with vested interests in earthly things and in order to protect earthly things one must drive off those who mess up earthly things.

Lower Grades for Saying “Bless You”

One professor at the College of Coastal Georgia has banned students from saying “bless you” in his class.

This is, no doubt, a sign of deep religious persecution for many. However, upon further reading, the professor’s rule goes like this:

“We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude!”

I can agree with that. I have always thought the whole “bless you” after a sneeze thing was a little weird anyway. I never respond when people say it to me. Occasionally I let out the snide “He already has.” Most don’t get it though.

“Bless you” after sneezing has more to do with superstitious voodoo than Christianity anyway, more than likely.

Death Row Jesus and Wrong Conceptions of Jesus Being a Sinner

New thing coming you should be aware of: Death Row Jesus.

From the creators of Tattoo Jesus (I could have sworn I did a thing on Tattoo Jesus but I can’t find it) comes Death Row Jesus.

“When people think about Jesus, they don’t think about him being on death row, but if you think about what he did when he was on earth, that’s really the experience he had,” Miller said.

Miller said he hopes that message is clearly portrayed through this new video campaign.

“We communicate very directly that Christ became the worst criminal in history when he took our mistakes on himself. The second message is we are all equally undeserving of God’s grace,” Miller said.

I have heard such stuff before, that Jesus became a sinner, or “the worst criminal in history.”

This isn’t true. He was the spotless, blameless sacrifice for us. Yes, God “made him to be sin for us,” but that does not mean He was made a sinner. He became a sin-bearer–He bore our sins in His own body, but that doesn’t make Him a sinner or a criminal.

Even the criminal crucified next to Him knew “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Furthermore, the Bible differentiates between the sacrifice and the sinner. Jesus was not a sinner; He was a sin-bearer.

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Saying that Jesus became a horrible, rotten sinner is a misunderstanding of what’s going on. When the lamb of the OT sacrifice was offered, the lamb didn’t become a sinner, the lamb was a representative of the sinner and bore the sin for the sinner.

If Jesus became a sinner, then He got what He deserved. The Gospel is about love and grace, a sacrifice of a sinless, righteous man laying down His life for unrighteous people, not about judging a sinner.

If that’s not true, then the Gospel ceases to be Gospely.

Cursed Italian Politician Asks for Exorcism

A senior Italian politician who compared a black minister to an orang-utan has now said he is considering asking the Pope to recommend an exorcist to fight off the curse he claims the minister’s father has placed on him.

In a rather convaluted story, the minister’s father at a prayer meeting “a prayer was said in which God was asked to free Mr Calderoli from evil thoughts.”

Since then the offending politician has had “a series of misfortunes he has incurred since then – including six hospital operations, the death of his mother, two broken fingers and two broken veterbrae,” among other things.

So, the politician now believes he is cursed and requests an exorcism to get the curse off of him.

The praying minister said, “”We are Christians like him, we have forgiven him and our prayer was only meant to encourage him to make statements befitting his role.”

No matter how things get worked out here, not sure the alleged “curse” is this man’s biggest problem.

Satanists Steal Communion Wafer!

“The Archbishop of Oklahoma City is dropping his lawsuit against a devil-worshiping group that had threatened to defile a consecrated communion wafer allegedly stolen from the Roman Catholic Church.”

Apparently the Satanists obtained a communion wafer so they could do a “Black Mass” ceremony. Somehow the archbishop found out and hired lawyers to prevent the Black Mass.

After the threat of a lawsuit, the Satanists backed down saying, “Once the Catholic Church has dropped the lawsuit, they can collect it from my attorney. I don’t feel like wasting thousands of dollars fighting over a cookie.”

In essence, according to Catholic doctrine, the consecrated bread actually was Christ. Satanists stole Christ. Good thing lawyers were around to protect Him.

Prayer Lessons

Well, it’s official: Prayer does NOT work.

Hours before hundreds of workers were to hold a prayer rally as three casinos are set to close, New Jersey officials issued a final closure order for another one.

I am stunned God didn’t come through on this.

I don’t know if I can go on.

Maybe if they had started praying earlier it would have worked. Yeah, that’s it. They were late. It was too late for God to act. He was teaching them what “pray without ceasing means.”

Yeah, yeah, that’s it. Good job God!

Prayer Discounting Diner Gets Threatened by Sensitive Atheists

On August first I mentioned the diner that gave discounts to customers who prayed over their meals.

I mentioned that, “No doubt atheists will be threatened by this.”

Sure enough! The sensitive atheists couldn’t take this one sitting down.

“Mary’s Gourmet Diner reportedly received a letter threatening legal action from the Freedom From Religion Foundation if owner Mary Haglund did not stop awarding the discount to praying patrons.

The letter read, in part, “As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Mary’s Gourmet Diner to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion. Your restaurant’s restrictive promotional practice favors religious customers, and denies customers who do not pray and nonbelievers the right to ‘full and equal’ enjoyment of Mary’s Gourmet Diner.”
This is why I encourage Christians to relax on stuff.Don’t protest, boycott, or sue.

Hyper-sensitivity shows insecurity and a sneaking suspicion that you’re losing.

The restaurant has removed the discount, which is probably the right business move. A lawsuit would put them out of business. Money talks.

All to the Glory of God, No Doubt

“A church in Minnesota will be required to pay $1.2 million to the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) in order to part ways with the denomination.”

Aint that what denominations are all about? Raping small churches for fun and profit?

Oh, I know, I know, it’s much more complicated than that. I know.

I know.

It’s always more complicated than money, money, money.

The split occurred because the church thinks the denomination is wrong on their acceptance of gay marriage. “We had hoped for a much smaller settlement and it took time to accept that this was the price we must pay to follow what we believe to be God’s call,” the pastor said.

Indeed. Too bad following God’s Word ends up costing money to your denomination.

With friends like these. . .

Praying for Discounted Meals

Winston-Salem, N.C. (CBS CHARLOTTE) – After a receipt showing a 15 percent discount for “Praying in Public” hit social media, a Winston-Salem restaurant says it gives the discount all the time for customers who pray over their meals.

Customer Smith said “she and three other people at her table “talked about how wonderful that is and what a cool thing it is that they do [that] as business owners.” She said her group at the diner simply “prayed over our meal and the waitress came over at the end of the meal and said, ‘Just so you know, we gave you a 15% discount for praying.’”

No doubt atheists will be threatened by this.

It also causes tension for people who actually do pray, are they doing it for the discount or because they are praying people?

Jesus, who had specific things to say about public prayer, may or may not be good with this one, hard to say.

That being said, I pray when I eat in restaurants, even bow my head and close my eyes. I don’t do it for discounts, I do it cuz otherwise I will die if I eat unprayed for food.

Just kidding. I pray cuz that’s what I feel I should do.

Local business owners can do what they want, kudos for doing something halfway decent.