Looking Out For The Next Generation

I am a youth advocate. Many are. Perhaps most. This advocacy requires that we help young people learn how to think, not just what to think. Critical thinking skills and the art and science of problem solving must include how to frame a debate…how to consider all sides… how to see an argument and its counter argument(s) and how to arrive at a conclusion. Regardless of our own positions, it does next generations no good whatsoever to indoctrinate. The only real way someone can make an informed decision is for that someone to actually know how to get to an informed decision.

The article linked below touches this much needed conversation/ debate/ corrective in both today’s academic and journalistic circles. It’s a recent tale of a teacher, her students, the Walkout on Behalf of the 17, and, apparently, her desire to seize the day during a teachable moment to help her students truly understand the dynamics inherent in such decisions and actions. Her story is creating ripples in a big pond. Folks are taking sides. Read the article. You’ll get it. Unfortunately, with the scope of information available in the article, one can hazard only a couple of conclusions.

1. If the information presented is truthful AND complete, it seems this teacher tried real education and was unfairly shut down. Something to which my experience would cause me to respond, “I’m not surprised considering the direction American academic institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

2. If the information is less than truthful OR incomplete, then any reader’s comment on this teachers situation would be pointless since the article is either unintentionally incomplete and therefore poor journalism or intentionnally misleading and therefore yellow journalism. To which my experience would cause me to respond, “Either way, I’m not surprised considering the direction American journalism institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

My point? Both are cause for concern. So quit looking to the pundits, the politicals, and even the professors for solutions. Do what YOU can and all YOU can to be a youth advocate who knows the difference between true education and indoctrination.



Praying for Darren Aronofsky

I read a quick review about “mother!” I learned, while being offensive, it had a quarrel to pick with Christianity. Decided to watch it. Glad I did. (Trust me tho, in other ways, I’m sorry I did.)

The man behind the movie also made “Noah” a few years back. According to what I’ve read since seeing his movie, he’s an avowed atheist. Saying the movie was offensive is a monumental understatement. It’s also gross, violent, immoral, and seriously tedious, doctrinaire, and superficial. What actors and actresses are sometimes willing to do for “art” amazes and bewilders me. Yet this is not what I find bothering me.

I find myself wondering and praying. I wonder what lies in the soul and the past of Darren Aronofsky–the movie’s creator…and I pray for him. There is a hurt pouring from every move of his “artistic” life. It’s a hurt producing more pain. Thinking he’s genious, he’s merely simplistic. Thinking he’s discovered the true nature of God, he’s lost in the misinformed statements of the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens crowd. Thinking his problem is intellectual, he is blinded to the socio/emotional obstructions covering his hurt heart.

I do not intend to see more of his movies, but I intend to keep him in prayer. I also intend to remember the words of a godly woman from Multnomah School of The Bible, Pamela Reeve, who said to her students, “Take your shoes off when you enter someone’s life, because it’s holy ground.”


Dear Mr. Aronofsky, I recognize the risk in my post. I recognize folks can easily take my words and position to be immeasurably arrogant and self-important. I’ll take that risk. Not doing so runs another risk…not caring, not being compassionate enough to address my observations. My guess is that you run the same risks, so you make movies based on what you think and feel. Offense may not be intended, but it may very well be taken. Of course, no one other than the Creator and the sub-creator can know for sure whether offense was intended. So I can not know whether or not you meant to offend this customer, but rest assured you did not. Been there, done that speaks volumes. Your worldview is neither new, original, or even interesting. It’s just kinda worn out. It fails to prevail. Intended to eradicate something, it merely twitters itself away. No amount of sensationalism–on the big screen, in a book, lecture, play, or antics of a jester can prevent death giving way to death. I do so hope you keep searching. Your sin and mine start in the same place. The ways upon which it travels, however, are obviously different. So again, keep searching…and I promise, I will too.


Unalienable or Constitutional

Since when did unalienable rights become rights sanctioned by the Constitution.

The phrase “unalienable rights” occurs in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Here it is:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

The Bill of Rights, (added to the Constitution out of the concern of citizens that government must truly remain submissive to the people) limit government.* They do not liberate individuals. Neither are they our only rights. While everyone loves to remember the first, second, and fourth, not many remember the ninth:

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Our founding fathers were steeped in the theology of natural rights granted to all mankind by our Creator. It is because the Lord created all men and women equal with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that such rights are unalienable. According to the dictionary, this means these rights “are not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated.” They are “inviolable, absolute, unassailable, and inherent.” No other person, and certainly no government, has the right to infringe these rights. Neither can they grant these rights since they have already been granted. There is only one exception. Since God granted them, he can also adjust them or rescind them. The Apostle James, writing by way of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote:

There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:12-15

Why is all of this so important? It’s really simple. If these rights are Constitutional Rights afforded us by the government they can be changed. This means I can share the life-changing news about my Savior so long as the first amendment remains. Change it or eliminate it, either by constitutional process, or by presidential weight, judicial writ, or legislative whim (of which all three are unconstitutional and therefore illegal), and sharing the life-changing news about my Savior becomes unlawful. However, they are not Constitutional Rights afforded by a government, they are unalienable rights endowed by the Creator.

What does this mean to a follower of Christ? It means we practice our rights only under his discretion.

As James said, If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.

As other apostles said on another occasion (when ordered not to proclaim Jesus): But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19,20

As Martin Luther said, when ordered to give up his beliefs by the powers that be, “Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” This may have been a bit flowery based on the standards of both today’s culture and by that of the first century Hebrew and Roman cultures, but it was still effective.

One is reminded of the words of Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

We live and breathe by the grace of God. Will we not also speak by the grace of God?

So, how about the next time we refer to our rights we remember to say “our God given rights,” rather than “our Constitutional rights.” And finally, how about the next time we refer to or even remember our rights, we remember to say “our God given rights subject to the grace of God.”


*Remember, the first ten amendments to the Constitution were added out of the concern of citizens that government truly remain submissive to the people. One might paraphrase the historical context: “Let there be no mistake. As was said earlier in the Declaration of Independence, governments serve at the will of the people. And just to be sure everyone remembers that rights are not granted by governments, but by God, let’s spell it out in these ten amendments we’ll call the Bill of Rights.”



The Most Delightful Telling of the Christmas Story I’ve Seen in a Long, Long Time

Okay, you know the truth about Jesus. God became a man. However, sometimes the laughter and innocence of children are needed to jump-start us back into the wonder of having faith like that of a child. You will really like this video. Just click on the link below. After you watch it and smile a bit, remember to pray for the children in and around your life. Merry Christmas.