Other than Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’s story “A Christmas Carol,” Tiny Tim is certainly the most memorable character. Dickens used the boy in the story to soften the hearts of both Scrooge and his readers toward the worthy poor. Although Victorian sentiments questioned the thrift or industry of the masses, a crippled, saintly child was obviously above reproach. In Dickens’s day, the disabled were feared because people believed they could be contagious.
In a world where academia, the “mainstream” media and other elites have made it clear to the herd that religious beliefs have no place in the “real world,” it can be shocking to some to see a Christian like Tim Tebow who (duh!) takes his faith seriously enough to let it pervade every area of his life. But sportscaster Gregg Doyel gets it, and exposes the hypocrisy of the self-appointed pop-culture guardians.
Communities across South Dakota took a look at their needs for the past several years and with the help of state and federal grants and loans some of those needs have been taken care of. However, there is one question that probably hasn’t been asked. Is our community pretty? Is our town attractive, good looking to a visitor, be he or she a family member or someone who may be looking for a town just the size of where you live to start a new business?
The Christmas season is once again upon us and with it overwhelming encouragement from Madison Avenue to spend what we have not earned to buy what we cannot afford. This Christmas let us not be swept away by the illusory claims of consumerism; instead, let us revel in God’s gracious gifts, to drink deeply the wonder of relationships and life and every moment of this season—these will leave you truly satisfied and debt free!
According to a recent report comparing attitudes in Europe and America, only 49 percent of Americans now feel that American culture is superior to others. This is down from 60 percent in 2002. What the study does not examine is what we mean by culture. Culture is about the prevailing core attitudes of a society. And, when we look further into this same study, we find that American attitudes are distinctly different from their European counterparts and that these attitudes very much reflect what is uniquely American.
As we, once again, approach this national day of “thanksgiving” I thought it necessary to reflect upon our nation’s long history of acknowledging and giving thanks to Almighty God. On October 3, 1789 George Washington issued the nation’s first presidential proclamation in which he called the nation to set aside a day for giving thanks to that “great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be….”
Marybeth Hicks, author of Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-aid, says that she makes the statement that conservatives and Christians have pretty much lost the culture war for the hearts and minds of our children. But wars that once appeared lost can flare up anew, and the tables can turn. Do Christians who understand and appreciate our moral heritage in America have the determination to regain what we’ve forfeited in the last 50 years?
It is a sad testament to the character of the Penn State organization and its students that the main concern expressed in the immediate aftermath of these revelations has been the fate of Coach Paterno’s football legacy. It has been said that America’s universities represent the future of our society. If that’s true, and if Penn State is representative of other universities, then may God help us all.
I have been writing my weekly commentaries for nearly ten years now and I remain amazed and humbled by the scope and audience the Lord has granted. However, for those of you who have been following my ministry for at least the last couple of years, you know that I have recently added a new ministry direction. I will henceforth soften my self-imposed commitment to publishing an article each and every week.
I’m afraid a new term might accurately describe our current situation, because it does appear we may be on the verge of trading in our 200+ year old republic for an ineptocracy. Ineptocracy – a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.
Your immediate response may be, “What does Christianity have to do with economics?” In response, I would say: everything, if you think of economics as the system and means of production and exchange whereby people meet their own and each other’s essential needs. What qualifies Christianity to speak on economics? Simply put, to properly understand economics, you must begin with a proper understanding of man.
Obviously no one should judge another’s character based on a disability, or on any other trait that’s merely physical. The problem is that people frequently take whatever quality stands out in their lives, even a fundamental character flaw or deep behavioral problem, and make it the center of their identity.
For nearly 2,000 years, from the time, early in the third century, that churches began to build and maintain their own facilities, ecclesiastical architecture strained to direct the thoughts of worshipers to the unseen realm, where Christ is exalted in glory. Are we losing our vision of the unseen realm or just trading it in?
Traditional marriage (specifically, Christian marriage) has through the centuries served as a critical civilizing force in society. It has been, quite literally, the glue that holds communities and peoples together. A society that spurns the traditional obligations of marriage is certain to reap a bleak harvest.
Does theology matter? It does when you consider that poor theology leads to a less than adequate understanding of what it means to be Christian, which in turns leads to a less than adequate witness of the gospel. In J. I. Packer’s 1973 classic Knowing God, he points out that “ignorance of God—ignorance both of his ways and of the practice of communion with him—lies at the root of much of the church’s weakness today.” The ignorance to which Packer refers is first and foremost theological.
A key hindrance to the community of today’s church is not a weakness of the institutional church and its leadership but rather the radical individualism of its members. This is not simply a matter of concern over sporadic church attendance or mediocre participation in the church potluck dinner; the absence of visible community is a central underlying principle that undermines the witness of God’s people and opposes the redemptive mission of God!
As Americans, we enter the church with nearly overpowering individualistic inclinations. We come with and cling to expectations and demands that are centered on ourselves. We want people to talk to us but we are unwilling to talk to strangers. We have a myriad of personal preferences that we impose on the church about worship styles, music, and the like. We grade the pastor on whether or not he has met our needs through his sermon. And we certainly aren’t interested in anyone getting in our business! We don’t humbly submit to one another. We argue and divide over inconsequential issues.
They say there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. Thanks to unbelievable gains in medical technology in recent years however, most Americans are now able to delay the former inevitability for decades longer than their ancestors. Because of this, at a time when America’s real estate industry is struggling, there’s one market sector that’s proving to be recession proof: senior housing.
Under the institutionalized church-centric model, the church’sde facto mission was focused mostly on recruiting “members” through evangelism while “mission” was understood to be a program of the church. The goal or mission really settled on the institutional maintenance of the local church, whose success or failure was inevitably, and I dare say exclusively, measured by the number of members. However, as I pointed out earlier, “the church of Jesus Christ is not the purpose or goal of the gospel, but rather its instrument and witness.” This brings us to our second question: What exactly is the church’s mission?
You have to hand it to the British… they don’t mince words. Speaking of the violent civil unrest that erupted across London in recent weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron offered a frank assessment of the motives–or lack thereof–behind the chaos: These riots were not about race,” he said. “These riots were not about government cuts … And these riots were not about poverty. No, this was about behavior … people showing indifference to right and wrong; people with a twisted moral code; people with a complete absence of self-restraint.”
Two names loom large in today’s news. Two names that ordinarily we wouldn’t think about together. But, in the great struggle now unfolding before us for our nation’s future, it seems to me these two quintessential Americans are worth thinking about in light of each other. One is Steve Jobs. The other is Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
To the modern Democratic National Committee, the mainstream media and other “progressive” outfits such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the words “patriot” and “patriotism” have become synonymous with “right-wing extremism.” . When your point of view originates from so far out in the leftosphere that it takes the Hubble Space Telescope to spot the center of our political universe, Mom, God and apple pie tend to look like fiery comets hurling toward your bugged-out, bohemian planetoid.
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have much use for pop culture and celebrities. So when a friend wanted me to see a video about the wedding of Kim Kardashian (a pop culture figure I’ve heard of but barely have any idea who she is or why everyone talks about her all the time), I was more than a little dubious. This transitioned quickly into uncontrollable laughter not at the subject of the video, but at what was going on in the background.
The Australian Daily Telegraph and other outlets are reporting on the unusual punishment a mother has for her son who has a repeat problem with stealing. She made her son sit in public with a sign pinned to his shirt which said “Do not trust me. I will steal from you as I am a thief.” Liberals are, of course, outraged.