A Commentary on the Modern World


Lacking Hope, Faith, and Love
August 4, 2011, 12:43 am
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Although there are many people who would strive for people to live their life controlled by the feelings that are provoked by their circumstances, it is a doomed mindset for living. What must become common knowledge to all people is that feelings and circumstances cannot be the primary motivators for their actions – because circumstances dictate feelings and feelings are often the reason we will hurt ourselves, our neighbors, and God. Whatever hope you have in who God can make you to become, it will only come about when you are able to ignore the feelings that are provoked by your circumstances to get through the circumstance rather than to be moved by them. What makes a great fighter is his willingness to stand toe to toe with his opponents and overcome them – not let the circumstance of the fight and the fear of the blows push him to let his opponent overcome himself. The hope of being a greater fighter is possible by faith to believe that you have the power to fight and the loving obedience to step forward to that hope in spite of circumstances and emotions. The hope of being a greater servant of Christ is possible by faith to believe that God will grant you the power to become your hope and the loving obedience to step forward to accomplish that hope in spite of your emotions and circumstances. Without a hope, one has nowhere to go. Without faith, one has no power to get there. Without love, one has no ability to step forward. This is why if you have a great hope and a great faith but lack love, you will go nowhere.



Taxes, Tanning, and Abortion
February 19, 2011, 11:05 pm
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I have a friend who works in a tanning salon, and they have made me aware of how the tanning tax is effecting their business and the health of those who use tanning beds.  Recently, the Obama administration spoke of a need to tax tanning beds to discourage people from using them so people would be  forced financially to be more healthy.    So they taxed tanning beds to try and keep people from tanning because it is bad for their health.

Now as I was sitting in this tanning salon yesterday waiting for my friend to get off, a conversation began to stir about how high the price of tanning was now. The 10% tax on tanning forced the owners to drop their prices on all their tanning beds because the increase was so significant. So, first and foremost, this tax is killing this small business owner’s profits. When the owner raised her prices to try and make up for all the lost revenue, their were two important negative responses.  The first thing that happened is that many people could no longer afford to have tan memberships, which is the only guaranteed source of income for the tanning bed.  The second thing that happened is of greater importance to this post: people started tanning in the tanning beds that were more destructive to their health.

So basically this tax is killing their business but more importantly it is provoking many to use more dangerous tanning beds.  The price of the safest tanning beds were pushed up much farther than before, and the price of the worst tanning beds was now equivalent to the price of the safest before the tax.  Hence, the worst beds after the tax were now the most economical but not the most healthy choice.  Since the tax, use of those particular beds have went up because of how cheap they are.

Thus, the tax on tanning beds to encourage health is actually causing a great number of people to do something even less healthy.

Then I remembered the debate about abortion, and that famed line that “while we do not desire for anyone to get an abortion, we must pragmatically acknowledge that if we do not have legal abortions, women who want abortions will subject themselves to very unhealthy methods to get an abortion.” Thus, they argue, for the sake of better health, the government should not forbid abortions. Effectively, they acknowledge how unhealthy abortion is for the mother but in the hopes of having a more healthy abortion, the government should not do anything to forbid it.  They are saying it would be wrong for the government to forbid abortion because women would then receive less healthy abortions. Why, then, would it not be equally wrong for the government to discourage tanning with a tax if that tax resulted with people seeking out less-healthy methods of tanning?

While this might seem trivial, there is absolute proof that this is what is happening. People are buying the tanning beds they can afford, which are tanning beds that aren’t near as safe as modern beds that are more expensive.  If the government should protect abortion because forbidding it might be destructive to some who would choose to continue getting an abortion, how can the government discourage tanning with a tax when there is proof that it is more destructive to those who cannot afford the more expensive – safer- beds but choose to continue tanning.

They say, “We cannot discourage something to all that would provoke a few to do something worse.”  But they tax the people proving that when money is involved, they don’t really mind.

In the modern world, an agenda is often more important than consistency or being faithful to an ideal. No one should seek to hurt themselves or others for something as vain as the color of their skin, yet there is something to be noted.  The difference in tanning and abortion is that tanning in moderation, or even once, will not immediately digress and destroy the health of a life but having an abortion, even once, can be shown to cause immediate long term decreases in mental, emotional, and  physical health of the mother, let alone the child.



Tragedy as the Basis to Restrain Freedom of Speech

The value and freedoms of individuals are always restrained by their negative effects on others. The Founding Fathers said that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created and endowed by their Creator, certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The government was established to punish people who infringe on these rights, and in the pursuit of the government to punish those who infringe on these rights, it is often experienced that those who take the right to life, would in turn lose their life. Those who abuse their liberty, temporarily lose their liberty. And those who rob men of what they attain in their pursuit of happiness should likewise pay fines of loss to make amends from the goods accumulated in their own pursuit of happiness. Unless my eyes and experience have deceived me, this is what can be seen of the manner in which this republican federal government has typically sought to punish those who seek to infringe on the freedoms of American men, women, and their children, ever since it was established.

Now what can be said, however, is that it would be a damnable offense for a person, who either of ill mind or emotional response, sought to take the life of another person and such a murderer was used as the basis for why the freedoms of others should be taken. Justice demands that those who take must give to make what amends can be made, and the government that seeks to do so, indeed, exercises justice. The government who limits that punishment illustrates mercy, while the one who does demands nothing but offers forgiveness for these wrongs provides grace. Since the government has been ordained by God to punish those who abuse their freedom to steal life and what has been gained in one’s life, it is inexcusable for a government to take the liberty or property of people who did not take the life, liberty, or property of others. Can such a thing be considered just? For a government is ordained by God for the purpose of punishing only those who have done evil so that such practitioners of death and destruction would find no solace in the company of these people. Hence, only the life of the murderer should be taken in this republic, and not those who only wished or thought to murder. Only the goods of the thief should be relinquished to make amends for what was taken and not those who coveted or envied. Only those who have thought and acted in their liberty to destroy the lives and properties of others are the focus of punishment, and it has always been the purpose of God in government for the government to punish the evil doer, for this is why He said the government “does not bear the sword in vain.” (Romans 13) While the freedom to administer grace should only be in the hands of those who have been offended, the government is always to administer justice, not merely to enforce the law , for laws can be corrupted by evil people. Rather, the government always seeks to punish the theft of life and goods. Laws are to make this truth more clearly.

In the light of these truths, we can see that it would be a travesty to justice if the government were to punish anyone other than the evil doer. Only the rights of those who, they –themselves – have physically infringed upon the life and goods of another, should be suspended as a punishment to that specific evil doer for it is against the ordinance of God for the government to take the freedoms of law abiding men and women as a protection to the people. Truly, popular culture has expressed in countless films that mankind would be safest when mankind is completely incapable of doing anything at all. With the murder of those in Tucson, we must embrace our freedoms. For it was a murderer who infringed on the lives and liberties of others, and it is this murderer whose life and liberty should be taken. It is irreprehensible to take the life or liberty of anyone other than those who take the life and liberty of others , not merely in word or thought, but in the effort of their deeds. The sword of the government should be reserved for those and those alone.



Jared Loughner, Carolyn McCarthy, and Gun Control
January 10, 2011, 11:00 am
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It has almost been two days since the now infamous Jarred Loughner shot up an Arizona “Town Hall” murdering 6 and seriously wounding 14 others.   And, up until now, there has been little politicization of the incident. Save for an ignorant sheriff and an overzealous blogger, the incident has been reserved as the actions of a madman, rather than the result of the brainwashing of Republican or Democrat ideologies.   However, it is very important to acknowledge what will assuredly be the next debate to rise from all of this: Gun Control.

In this modern world, the government seems to provide solutions to the problems of man.  From a Biblical perspective, Romans 13 teaches that the government is founded to protect people from evil deeds saying that the government “does not carry the sword in vain but to punish the evil doer.”  Laws are brought in to clearly define what is evil and what is good.  Hence, the law comes in to forbid the behavior that will be punished by the government.  So ideally, the government will punish evil and will produce laws to clearly define that evil.

Now as it pertains to this situation, Mr. Loughner had his heart set to murder.  The weapon of choice was a gun. For this reason, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has set her heart to outlaw guns. Effectively, she presumes that because Jared used a gun to kill these people, there wouldn’t have been a mass murder had a law existed to deny him a gun.  Hence, Congresswoman McCarthy believes that the solution to the problem is dependent upon the government adopting a law to prohibit the possession and use of guns.

Now let us briefly interpret this from the biblical understanding we have just obtained for the purpose of the government.

  • God purposed the government to punish evil with the sword.
  • The Government issues laws to expose that evil.
  • Hence, laws reveal the evil that the government will punish.

Effectively, a law against guns suggests that merely holding or possessing a gun is, in and of itself, an evil act.  Yet, we must now ask ourselves, is holding or possessing a gun ‘evil’?  Logically, this does not hold up because there are millions of Americans who have both held and possess guns but have done no wrongs to anyone with them. Thus, evidence can be shown that holding and possessing guns is not evil.  However, using a gun to hurt someone is an evil act, and that is the case that will be made to outlaw guns.  But be cautious to allow the government the authority to say, rather ignorantly, that holding or possessing a gun is evil, as such laws banning them will do.  The government bears the sword to punish evil deeds, and evil deeds are outlawed to inform the public of what deeds the government will punish with the sword. To outlaw the possession of guns is authorizing the government to deem that holding or possessing a gun is evil, when in all actuality, no evil is being done.  Obviously the intent of the congresswoman is to outlaw what can be used to inflict suffering on others, and she has a noble motivation, indeed.  Yet, the motivation in this case cannot be properly or logically applied, for if guns are outlawed because they are used for evil, it is only rationally consistent that every thing that HAS been utilized to hurt others, even self, should also be outlawed, such as baseball bats, alcohol, knives, ropes or even pillows.

While many think that the law will protect the people from those who seek to do evil, I fear that such faith is misplaced.  The harsh use of the government’s “sword” against the evil doer will do far more to deter evil and protect people than a law outlawing the murderer’s weapon of choice, which will always vary according to the person and what is available to them.

Don’t agree? Sound off in the comments section, and we’ll chat.

 



The Various Expressions of the Culture
October 13, 2010, 7:20 am
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Does the culture of entertainment provide anything of value to mankind? Commonly, those who feel that they know more about the world, God, and such will commonly reiterate how valueless and evil the culture is. I have begun to have a bone to pick with that, not because I don’t believe there is some pointless garbage forced through the entertainment pipeline for us to watch when it should be flushed down the toilet instead. Rather, I believe that people, particularly Christians who embrace their own understanding of holiness, find themselves completely making themselves irrelevant to a culture they believe is evil. So in shunning popular culture and her movies, games, and shows, they also shun the best expressions of the state of where America’s morals, values, and relationships stand.

What seems to be ignored by those who seek to completely deny the culture is that there is a message being portrayed in every game, every film, every song, and every commercial. It is illogical to presume that you can understand the values, morals, and relationships of a culture when you ignore their most obvious ways of expressing them. Even when the message of a film, game, song, or commercial is bad, how can you discuss the value of the message when you seek to absolutely ignore it? It is only the severely prideful who believes they can judge someone or something without even seeing how they choose to express themselves and the message they are choosing to express.

What I am trying to say is that what is entertaining America and selling in America only succeeds if America is watching it, listening to it, playing it, and most importantly, buying it. These forms of entertainment are an expression and reflection of what the people of the culture desire. And yes, this includes even those who believe in God and moral absolutes. Truly, the modern means of divulging the culture provides a far better way to understand and interact with the culture in a relevant way. The message of games, movies, songs, and the like should always be willingly examined, just as the effectiveness of the manner in which it is portrayed is.
So I must conclude this thought by affirming that all that we do has a meaning, even when it is entertainment. To be so ignorant to dismiss a form of entertainment because it takes longer to engage and understand it is a childish response. Surely, an individual can waste their life in any form of entertainment, but if we fail to recognize what is desirable in the entertainment and what is being taught by tapping into those desires, then we miss the fact that we are a part of the culture so that we can learn about the people of the culture to better serve the people of the culture. If there is something evil about entertainment, it shall only be found in how people use it for their own evil deeds for it can illustrate what to do and not to do with one’s life. The case is made not on the form of entertainment but on the one who desires to be entertained. American entertainment teaches the American culture. The key is to learn why it is worth reading, understanding, and interacting with. For the good can be taught as an example, while the bad can be taught as a warning.  Then what your entertainment serves a purpose, for it can be used to teach others how the culture can be bettered as it delivers its entertainment through these various mediums.  Whatever way the knowledge of the culture is delivered is specific to the taste of the individual, be it a film, game, or book.  Like with everything else in life, the value of this industry hinges upon this:  what you do with what you know.  Thus, Engage. Examine. Equip.



“The Last Exorcist” is not another dumb horror film
August 28, 2010, 7:02 am
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Seldom does Hollywood produce a film that has a righteous or godly message in it.  What is even more seldom is when such a film is of the horror genre.  So you can only imagine my surprise when I witnessed a film that had such a message.  Truly, the film itself is a tragedy.  Yet, the tragedy of the film is ultimately founded in a lack of belief in the record of Scripture, the truth of Scripture, and the God of scripture.  Yes.  I believe I just watched a film that has a clear message for people to turn to God and believe what He has said is true or else permit the Devil and his minions to take control as we try to rationally explain the evidence for their activities while denying their existence.  Such a message is the source for the conflict in “The Last Exorcism.”‘
When I began to watch “The Last Exorcism,” I was unsure of what to expect.  I figured mindless horror and cheap scares would be the natural thing to expect.  Yet, when a preacher began to speak on his lack of faith, my attention was aroused.  I figured this film would not merely be an exorcism film in the traditional sense, but a film to try and expose the ignorance of believing in demons and God at all.  What surprised me was the accurate retelling of the story of the origin of demons.  From Satan’s reign to the fall of the third of the Heavenly Host, I was shocked at how theologically accurate and respectful the script was to the source material.  Still, the main character, the skeptical Preacher, was adamant to  rebuke the existence of demons, and the book and God who said they existed and to rely on His power to overcome them.  One particular line was especially powerful:  “If you accept Jesus, then you must accept Him as He is presented in the Bible. He was an exorcist of these evil demons. So, yes, I do reject demons.”  Basically, in saying He rejected demons, he is rejecting Jesus.
I won’t spoil the remainder of the film, but I must compel you to understand that the ultimate lack of faith and trust this preacher had in the word of God would be the source of his own sorrow and the source by which demonic powers ultimately take hold.  He was convinced of the ability of science to explain the evidence of what people believed was demonic activity, and because science, who denies God and the supernatural, could explain the activity of God and the supernatural in a rational way that shows that they do not exist, the Preacher took their word over God’s.  The Preacher was discouraging to the faith of others, and quick to judge their acts of faith as ridiculous being based on his presupposition that the faith he had formerly practiced and they presently practiced was false. Hence, the ultimate source for this Preacher’s struggle was taking the word of man over the Word of God.

Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by this film because, although there is a lot of scares and disturbing moments, the reason all of it is permitted to go on is due to a lack of faith.  Faith in the power of God is always where the sorrows of man originate.  And I don’t care who preaches that message, be it Hollywood unintentionally or Billy Graham with a purposeful passion.  The message of holding fast to the faith in the power of the Spirit is timeless.
Truly, we live in a day and age in which a science, who rejects the existence of God and the supernatural, practices a scientific method that teaches that God and the Supernatural does not exist, we all could easily be like that Preacher if we listen to them. Hence, this film captured the essence of what the struggle of faith really is.  Will I believe what man is telling me and how I feel in regards to what they are telling me or will I trust and believe God and His Word in spite of how I feel and what they are telling me.  The consequences of listening to the word of man couldn’t be more costly in “The Last Exorcist.”  For this reason, I am challenged and warned by the film.  If you can tolerate some scary scenes, support the film and take notes of the message.


Lesson from a Sunburn
July 14, 2010, 7:53 am
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Today I sat on the beach.  Sand in between my toes.  The wind brushing sand against my legs.  I lay reclined and chilled, simply feeling the sun beam down upon.

Ah. The Sun.  We have such a history, and it seems I haven’t learned from our relationship yet.

You see, the Sun and I have had a rocky relationship.  Yes.  Most of the time it just chills out feeding the plants and regulating everything from gravity to evaporation, but every now and again, I get in the way of the process for the sake of pleasure and find myself not too comfortable anymore.  Today was such a day.  I swam in the ocean sporting SPF 4 which was easily washed away after an hour.  Following my swim, I threw on a grey wife beater, and took to the highway to run down to Cherry Grove pier.  It’s exactly 2 miles.  Running down the highway, the Sun stands over my shoulder.  I feel its heat, but I can’t remember feeling as if I was going to get burnt.  Once I reached the pier though, and I turned to face the Sun directly, I felt my face tingle a little bit and my shoulders react to my stop.  I knew as I looked down that 2 mile stretch of my return journey that there was no way that I would get back to Ocean Keyes without a very unpleasant sunburn.  I was right.

Did you know that when I was in 5th grade, I got 2nd degree burns from the Sun?  It was the school pool party, and I thought I would not need sun screen. “Only pansies needed to be protected from the Sun.”  A day later my shoulders had blisters the size of baseballs on them.  Yes. I was revealed to be a pansy. I was miserable.  I cut the blisters off thinking that would fix the problem.  Yeah. It wasn’t as gross looking, but I was in torture after that.  This was my first terrible sunburn.  I swore to never be so dumb again but  have had many after, sadly.

Everytime I have gotten a sunburn, I always tell myself the same thing. “I will never be so stupid to do this to myself again.”  Yet, I get in the moment and start enjoying life.  Then the inconvenience of denying myself a simple pleasure or the laziness of just not doing it right starts to lie to me and keeps me from doing what I need to do to protect myself.  Then I go and say, “Oh I’ll be just fine. This time it will be different.”  Well, here I am again.  Burnt and unpleasant.  Then it hit me.  This is a very common thing.

I’m not talking about sunburn.  I’m talking about people suffering from something they absolutely hate over and over again.  But they do not take the steps necessary to keep them from doing it again. Girls do it ALL the time.  “Oh! Next time, I’m going to date a good guy.  The kind who won’t treat me bad!” Yet, they aren’t willing to do what they have to do to narrow their options to only get the kind of guys they want.  Then you have people who are trying to get off of an addiction.  “I hate feeling like I’m dependent on it.  I won’t let myself do this anymore”  Yet, you aren’t willing to avoid the people who push it on you, the places you buy it, or endure the hard times of life without it as a crutch.  For some people, it’s a relationship.  “I’ll never go back with them.  Never.  They are horrible to me.  I hate the way they treat me.  It’s over this time.”  Yet, the first time the inconvenience of being lonely comes up, you cave in and run back to what you swore you would never return to.

I am as much of a fool as any one of these people though.  I have suffered sunburns too many times to say I don’t know any better, and I have no right to yell or scream about how bad it hurts when the only reason I’m hurting is because I was too set on my own convenience and pleasure to just put some more sunscreen on.

So I guess i’m writing so you can say, “You’re an idiot.  Why would you suffer the pain of something you do not have to suffer, when you have the power to keep from suffering its pain?”  I hope you might ask yourself the same thing about things you have the power to change in your own life but refuse to do what is necessary to change it.  When these things are destroying you, God cares.  He gives us common sense and the power to change these things.  I hope me and you both work at doing that very thing.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”  Proverbs 26:11