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Interacting at Walden Pond?

“It is an interesting question: how far would men retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.” — Henry David Thoreau

Interesting indeed, Mr. Thoreau! So let’s see what happened in Jesus’ case concerning His attire…

“And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ ” (Matthew 27:28,29)

Hmm…doesn’t look so good so far. But wait! Several years after His apostles grieved about their Master’s humiliation, one of them had a vision of Jesus in His resurrected glory…

“…I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the seven lamp stands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band…when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’ ” (condensed from Revelation 1)

Looks like He Who was once shamefully naked, Whose clothes were divided among soldiers…that One now outranks all other men, Mr. Thoreau. He is now bedecked with garments of everlasting glory! Hopefully, you learned this glorious answer to your question before His Majesty exercised His dread, sovereign right and unlocked death’s door for you…

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Incalculable Investment Returns

When you consider your gift to be too small, when you feel your service is nothing at all, remember the widow and her two little coins. Jesus said that she put more into the temple treasury than all the ostentatious givers of “megabucks” (Mark 12:43,44; Luke 21:3,4). Was Christ arithmetically challenged? Did He not realize that so much more could be done for good with two thousand or even two hundred dollars than with two pennies?

No, He is the One Who said there will be a reward for the person who simply gives a cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42, Mark 9:41). The God Who can multiply loaves and fish looks on the heart. The widow’s pure motive and self denying love rendered the value of her pittance vastly greater than that of large sums given only for wretched self display.

And as it is with our money, so with all our abilities, talents, and intangible resources. How astonished must that little boy have been! After he gave up five loaves and two fish which Jesus miraculously used to feed five thousand, twelve baskets of leftovers remained! (See John 6:9-13)

Like that of the widow and her pennies, the divine testimony to that lad and his lunch has been proclaimed for two thousand years, giving exemplary wisdom for millions to imitate. Who can quantify what those two humble, ordinary people accomplished by their simple deeds of kindness? Who can measure the value of what you will do in wise imitation of them? What can almighty power accomplish with your small gift and your seemingly insignificant service?

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Yes, we do need help from government…

What, you exclaim?! Has Graham lost his mind or caved to group think, you ask! No, he is just reflecting on the simple and sure foundation of all good government. Here it is:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Parents are the original, God ordained “governing officials” of the human race. Dads wielding authority with love and wisdom as heads of their households instill character in their children. The loving, nurturing Moms at their sides rule the world by gently rocking cradles containing the future. Don’t like that affirmation of distinct male and female roles and characteristics? Tough. Retreat to your safe space or cogently present your rebuttal.

When parents are derelict or removed by tragedy it’s sad enough; thankfully in many such cases grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings and others take their place. In this fallen world, even the best of societies will have children who suffer by having no one in loco parentis. Ultimately, human sin is to blame for all the evil in the world.

But what happens when a society obliterates the countenances of a Mom and a Dad diligently invested in their children? What happens when in their stead faceless, uncaring bureaucratic programs foster the normalcy of unwed women begetting welfare babies? What happens when the sires of those babies are better “equipped’ to be dead beat experts in abandonment? What is the result when a society dabbles in social engineering, with monumental hubris and blind conceit imagining that Moms and Dads can be marginalized or replaced?

The answers are all too evident in the chaos and moral turpitude now rampant in state run schools and elsewhere. Apart from forsaking this folly and returning to strong parental government, our national descent into miserable barbarism will only accelerate.

What do the recent spate of school shooters have in common? They are fatherless.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

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Sanctuary Supermarket

Think about those green, rectangular pieces of paper carried about in wallets and purses by Americans. Called greenbacks, moo-la, etc., these bills once were certificates representing ownership of a certain weight of precious metals. Now they are federal reserve notes, supposedly representing “the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.”

Debating the abandonment of the gold standard which occurred under the Nixon administration is beyond this writer’s present purpose. That purpose is to point out that singles, fives, tens, twenties, and “C-notes” are DOCUMENTS, and to present the following hypothetical scenario.

Picture yourself in a busy food store. The once innovative but now common self checkout area is packed, so you go human; you wind up third place in a line, waiting for another person to scan and bag your groceries…

CASHIER – Thanks for shopping with us today. Your total is $21.47.

FIRST CUSTOMER – Bummer, I just realized that left my money at home!

CASHIER – No problem, we accept credit cards.

FIRST CUSTOMER – Those are home in my wallet also.

CASHIER, uneasily – Well, if you have your driver’s license we can accept your personal check.

FIRST CUSTOMER – I don’t have any checks either. But look, we are acquainted and you’ve seen me shopping here many times before. You know I’m a law abiding, tax paying American citizen and military veteran, can you trust me to return shortly to pay this small amount?

At this point while you, the person in front of you, and the few that have gathered behind you wait, the cashier calls the manager over. A heated discussion follows. The customer departs in frustration, another store worker is given the task of restocking his would be purchase, and the cashier begins the transaction of the person just in front of you…

CASHIER – Thanks for shopping with us today. Your total is $156.89

SECOND CUSTOMER – I don’t have any bills, credit cards, or checks either.

CASHIER, exasperated – Oh no, here we go again! I’ll call my manager.

SECOND CUSTOMER, smiling – Wait! Greenbacks, credit cards, and checks are all monetary documents, right?

CASHIER – Yes, that’s correct, but what’s your point?

SECOND CUSTOMER, smiling more broadly – Well, I’m just an UNDOCUMENTED purchaser! Why should I be treated differently from a documented purchaser? After all, we’re all human, documents are just pieces of paper or plastic. A privileged person like you should be more compassionate. Things are difficult in my home country, and at great risk I sneaked across the border into yours.

CASHIER, embarrassed – Of course you are right sir. I am ashamed that I behaved in such a hateful, racist, and xenophobic manner by insinuating that you should produce monetary documentation in order to take these goods out of the store. Even though you are a complete stranger to me personally and have entered my native country illegally, you are of course entitled to the benefit of these bags of groceries without question. We are a sanctuary supermarket. Go in peace.

YOU – hopefully get the point.

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Let’s Get in Herbert George’s Contraption

Traveling back in time to A.D. 1818, we land our H.G. Wellsian craft somewhere in Old Dixie. Listen…

SLAVE HOLDER: Listen, Mr. Abolitionist! Who are you to tell me what to do with my own plantation! Slavery is legal and it is my CHOICE to have slaves! Besides, if all the slaves suddenly were set free, you would be dooming us cotton planters to financial ruin, thus creating social and economic chaos.

NON-SLAVE HOLDER: Mr. Abolitionist, although I personally would never own a slave, I must agree with our slave holding neighbor here in his stately pillared mansion overlooking a row of crude little shacks. It is his choice, who am I to judge? And his observation about the consequences of emancipation makes sense.

ABOLITIONIST: The slaves are not anyone’s “CHOICE,” they are humans beings whom you are treating like CHATTEL. Like us, they have the God given right to liberty. Yes, a socioeconomic challenge might ensue when we do overcome some day; if so it is worth it. Until then, our underground railroad will continue to save at least some of these oppressed people who have no voice in our society, and get them to freedom.

Wow, let’s get out of this backward place! Back to the future. Listen…

ABORTIONIST: Listen, Mr. Abolitionist! Who are you to tell a woman what to do with her own body! Before our society was enlightened to see its glory, abortion was considered a despicable and abhorrent crime. Thankfully, the opinion rendered by seven lawyers in black robes back in ’73* changed that. Now a woman or teenage girl can make a CHOICE to terminate her pregnancy for any reason – even without any parental consent in the latter case!

Besides, if abortion suddenly was made illegal again, many women and girls would be doomed to public shame and financial ruin. No, we cannot deny a woman the right to get rid of that senseless lump of flesh with brainwaves and a heart beat and which is capable of feeling pain.

PRO-CHOICER: Mr. Abolitionist, although I personally would not have an abortion, I must agree with our neighbor here who works in the baby organs for sale division at our local abortuary. It is a woman’s choice, who am I to judge? And her observation about the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade makes sense.

ABOLITIONIST: Unborn babies are not anyone’s “CHOICE,” they are CHILDREN. Like us adults, they have the basic God given right to life. And just as you are callously and cruelly willing to murder the unborn, you callously and cruelly ignore the rights of the fathers of those babies and in many cases the glad expectations of their would-be grandparents and other relatives. Yes, socioeconomic challenges might arise when we do overcome some day, but it is worth it. Until then, our crisis pregnancy centers will continue to rescue at least some of these doomed children who have no voice in our society, and place them in loving homes.

* “I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes…” — excerpted from opinion of Byron White, senior dissenting Supreme Court justice

 

 

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Conspiracy Theories?

To trust the veracity of the Bible is to acknowledge the existence of a being possessed of a fierce, unreasonable, and entrenched malevolence toward God and all God’s works. The wretched work of this created, non-human but personal entity could be characterized as a conspiracy that has lasted for thousands of years.

Legions of spirit creatures known as demons, his minions, share in his dark project. And because all humanity is by nature rebelliously sinful and at enmity with our common Creator (fallen), many men and women have been his willing accomplices.

Millions of other human beings have had and now have a less direct but equally culpable share in the plot. While busy with their own evil deeds, they have been unwitting pawns of this implacable enemy of all that is Godly, right, and good.

Following are several inferences drawn from these Scriptural truths.

1. None of us are “innocent bystanders.” If one is not with Christ the only and rightful King that one is against Him.

2. Some who scoff at the existence of the evil one (who likely have stopped reading already) are ipso facto among those millions of hapless pawns.

3. Those who by vain philosophy or misuse of that wonderful tool called science seek to persuade people that the deceiver does not exist are accessory cloaks to his nefarious activities. The conspiring, evil genius character in the movie The Usual Suspects paraphrased Charles Baudelaire’s observation to the effect that the “…loveliest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist!”

4. Those with faith in the omniscience, omnipotence, and goodness of this chief conspirator’s Enemy can rejoice in the assurance that ultimately he will fail. He will crash and burn, quite literally.

5. Human history is replete with both absurd conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies. Both have been and can be exposed. Both contribute to the overall strategy of the cunning mastermind to create misery, confusion, and chaos for human beings – who are made in the image of God and are hence the objects of his malice.

Both those holding to Biblical truth about unseen reality and those denying it or offering an alternate often have something in common. That is, they use careful, methodical investigation to distinguish real conspiracies and conspiracy theories. Hence (let’s keep that fine old logical operator of a word alive, people!),

6. The latter group already is at a woeful disadvantage in that pursuit. They usually err by regarding human nature as basically good as opposed to corrupt and fallen. They mock the existence of the hideous adversary. Therefore they are less willing to admit that sub-conspiracies exist. When they do discover actual conspiracies bent on wanton murder, mayhem, and destruction, they are dumbfounded by what they consider anomalous inhumanity, or scratch their heads in bewilderment asking Why? Why does a man make careful plans to hole up in a hotel room in order to shoot and kill dozens of people attending a concert?

7. Those holding fast to the Bible’s clear teaching have several advantages. Their eschatological confidence already has been mentioned. They have the accurate historical reference point for the origin of all conspiracies; they recognize the one Christ called the father of lies. They are not ignorant of his devices and they understand his objectives. In short, they know their enemy.

Yes, paranoia and other factors beget ridiculous conspiracy theories. Yes, there are persecution complexes and people persuaded that wearing tin foil hats can protect them from sinister mind readers. There is also satan, deliberately not capitalized. He has an agenda, servants he enslaves, and human tools he delights to break after he uses them.

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Thoughts on Bigotry

The despicable evil called racism exists, but in our time race baiters and racism accusers are fomenting more of it, resulting in bitter division among Americans.

Regrettably we are stuck with the TERM “racism” as commonly used, but the term itself is divisive. Yes there are ethnic groups, but there is only one human race, and each member thereof is possessed of the same dignity and intrinsic value.

The significance of Mankind’s origin cannot be overstated. One cannot hold to Darwinism (evolution) and consistently “…hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are CREATED equal that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights…” If evolution has been changing the species homo sapiens very slowly for ages, what is the reasonable basis for opposing ethnic supremacists who root their ideology in evolutionary ideas?

In other words, evolutionists cannot cogently deny that one sub-species of homo sapiens (i.e. an ethnic group) might prove fitter to survive in the future than other sub-species. Maybe X supremacy will prevail. Natural selection marches on mercilessly, bringing on the extinction of the less fit, right?

That profoundly Biblical statement from the American Declaration of Independence about human equality and our God given rights reflects a radically different world view. It is the world view which is the matrix of both the U.S. Constitution and the abolition of American slavery about four score and seven years after its ratification. The consistency seeking, naturalistic evolutionist might be able to squeak out some alternate a-Theistic or agnostic drivel such as:

“We don’t declare much about this quaint idea of truth. But we hold that the differences endowed by random mutation on the various subspecies of homo sapiens are negligible thus far. Thank our lucky stars, we founders just might be able to beat the law of the jungle! For all practical purposes we might be able to coexist as equals. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Let us prayerlessly hope that another evolutionary leap, something akin to the Cambrian Explosion, doesn’t happen. That way we can maintain this republic which we less hairy cousins of the chimps and gorillas have cobbled together. Isn’t this result of natural forces acting without purpose over billions and billions of years since nothing suddenly and inexplicably exploded into something an amazing thing?”

Ethnic supremacy, racism, and all that is raised up against the universal privilege and obligation which our righteous and loving Creator has given us, namely to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, should be vigorously opposed. Why?

Because as that phrase from the historical American Declaration of Independence reminds us, our equality as image bearers of our Creator is timeless, divinely revealed TRUTH. If you do not share that Biblical creationist conviction, yet agree that those evils should be vigorously opposed, why? What is the basis of your antipathy toward racism or any evil? In fact how do you determine what is evil, and by what right do you impose what you have determined on others?

Finally, the existence of traits generally found in one ethnic group and not generally found in another does not contradict the truth of our equal dignity and value as beings made in the image of God. Each of us subtly nuances our common Creator’s glory. Each of us contributes to a beautiful tapestry of divinely purposeful diversity.

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