12 May 2014
Just wanted to let you all know that I do feel called to do a bit more writing and posting on my blogs. However, without paying for the ability to to do, I have found that WordPress simply is a better format for blogging with a great deal more options available to the writer as far as layout and format go.
For that reason, this blog is moving to WordPress. The blog has copied over every article and post that I have shared thus far - in other words, no content is lost. you can go back through all my previous posts there as well. This blog address will still exists, acting as a archival holdings place as well.
See the blog over at http://thesoundword.wordpress.com/
See you there, and be sure to change your bookmarks.
07 March 2014
As most Christians would confess, Hollywood has done far more to degrade our society and to mock God and His ways then it ever has done to make society better. 100 years ago when moving pictures were just getting started with films like "A Trip to the Moon", the subject matter was a bit more tame. With the first open-mouth kiss coming to film in 1926, it did not take long for things to progress. Subject matter transformed from Charlie Chaplin's innocent, confused, compassionate and loving character of 'the Tramp', to women having sex with the devil in Rosemarie's Baby in a relatively short period of time.
Recent statistics show that faith-based, family friendly and patriotic films gross more money for Hollywood studios then all other film types. The ratio of worldly films vs. faith-based/family friendly films I am unable to ascertain, but it has to be high (100 to 1??). AND YET, despite the numbers, despite the greater profits in faith based films, Hollywood insists on producing hundreds of worldly films each year, with films rated R and above making up 55% or more of the total. When you run a corporation and your profit margin is greater making faith-based, family friendly films, and yet you choose to continue to make a preponderance of R rated non-family friendly films that earn a lower profit margin, there has to be ulterior motives. Even Disney has produced R rated films and is now infamous for the subliminal adult messages in their children's films. Clearly, there are ulterior motives.
Hollywood has an agenda, and the agenda is a liberal, non-Christian one. Films and TV shows promoting same sex marriages, gay parents raising children, constant and promoted pre-marital and extra-marital sexual promiscuity, sexual activity being promoted at younger and younger ages, drug usage and so much more pelt our screens both big and small. Worse yet, with today's technology, we (and our kids) now carry Hollywood in our pockets with our smart phones and other devices. It is an all out assault set to destroy Christian values and assimilate Christians into a worldly society. All in the name of "tolerance".
So, when we see or hear of some Hollywood 'superstar' use the word Jesus, God or faith in any context, what is our first reaction? Generally speaking, and as a whole, Christians will JUMP on board, both feet first to support that actor or actress; we tweet, re-tweet, post and share at light speed those words spoken by Mr. or Ms. Hollywood with all the accolades worthy of some sort of royalty. We are so excited to find someone, anyone in Hollywood that has anything kind to say about faith or God - that we all too often put our common sense as Christians aside and join the crowd in praising this person like pigs running off a cliff. We desire to be loved, we desire to be taken seriously, understood, or just plain recognized as Christians so badly, that reasoned thought often goes right out the window when we see someone from Hollywood giving thanks to 'God'. Why? Because we want to be like the world, we want to be accepted, we want to think that these people are really just like us. We want that fantasy relationship we have in our minds with this Hollywood actor or actress to become 'real' and 'better' - just because they are Christian. Sadly, we often get it wrong because we jump top conclusions without checking things out.
The most recent occurrence happened this past Sunday at the Oscars. There, Matthew McConaughey when accepting an Oscar for Best Actor thanked 'God', because that's "who he looks up to". He continued on to add the statement that God has shown him that is "is a scientific fact, that gratitude reciprocates".
Based on that, the social media-types began the onslaught of social media support. Tweets, re-tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts and shares by the thousands began to spread like wildfire. Christians everywhere were jumping on the Matthew McConaughey bandwagon and driving it into the setting sun! One famous female blogger turned author of a very popular Christian Best Seller titled, "a Thousand Gifts" Ann Voskamp had this to say on her Facebook page and other social media links:
"So apparently the man who walked away with the Oscar for the Best Actor? Matthew McConaughey said, "God has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates." And while we may or may not humbly disagree with the merit of what else was said, we can smile & quietly nod: God does *command* us to give thanks in everything --- because He knows *this is the only way to live through anything.* Because it keeps us remembering that God is good & enough... and that He's lovingly working all things together for good. That there is nothing that He can't redeem it. And yep, there are some scientific facts about gratitude #1000gifts [p.s. want to live the good of gratitude? maybe start with this journal & a pen & thanking God for just 3 gifts/day? http://amzn.to/1h50wHn]
Ann has some wonderful things to say, but what is she really saying? There is something curious about her remarks. She did not see the event happen and therefore isn't responding from a contextual foundation when making her remarks. She won't say whether she agrees or disagrees with anything else that he said and instead focuses on the one point that she can use for self-promotion. Ann then goes on to promote sales of her book, journal and pens, going so far as to and add links to make the purchases all the more easier for you the happy consumer. Maybe this is 'gratitude reciprocating'?
Let me be clear, this is not a rant against or about Ann Voskamp. It is a response to thew willingness of the average Christian, even 'high-profile' Christians to leap before the look. Ann's ministry and book have done wonderful things for a great many people, and the Christian community, is better off because of her ministry. I also know that all the profits from her book sales are going towards ministry purposes, which is in fact, very noble indeed. Ann built her ministry on solid biblical ground; that we ARE to be grateful. We ARE to be thankful. We are to put God before us in all things and show our gratitude for Him in all that happens in our lives, trusting Him that even in the bad times, to know what is best for us. But what about the statement Matthew McConaughey made, that she clearly supports, that "it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates." Here, Ann takes a little liberty, and uses as an opportunity it to push sales of books, pens and journals. Was this wise?
Gratitude reciprocating cannot be a 'scientific' fact, because there is no empirical science behind emotion. Emotion is not a science. Secondly, if God were to work in such a way, it would be a supernatural fact, not a scientific one. So is this a supernatural fact? Does 'gratitude reciprocate' because God says it does? Is this even a biblical principal? THESE are the questions we SHOULD be asking - LONG BEFORE we jump on the Hollywood Bandwagon of Matthew McConaughey or anyone else for that matter, and certainly before we use it to extract money from other Christians for our books and wears - even if it does support a ministry.
There are some scriptures and biblical principals that we can use to weigh in on this issue. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God's Word will not return void. In short, if we are preaching biblical principals and biblical truth, that it will produce results according to HIS will, and HIS plans - whatever they might be. In taking this into consideration, we must also consider the very verses that precede this, verses 8-9, where it states that God's ways are not our ways, and that His thoughts are not our thoughts. In essence, what we have planned for the return of His words, may not be what HE has planned, and we may not even like them. Conclusion; gratitude may not always reciprocate.
We can also look at the book of Psalms and for that matter, all the books of wisdom and see all sorts of references to being grateful, thankful, offering thanksgiving to God. Yes, this IS a biblical principal, and one that Ann Voskamp used as a foundation for her very successful and very powerful book "One Thousand Gifts". More attention should be paid to this function we have as Christians, but I can find no biblical principal purporting a mandatory response from God reciprocating our thankfulness.
I'll take this one step further. It is not a 'scientific fact' that gratitude reciprocates. It is not even a biblical principal. As matter of fact, if we are showing gratitude, thankfulness and honor to God with the expectation or principal of gratitude in return, it ceases to be gratitude and thankfulness!
Why jump on board supporting this guy as a Christian? Ann's remarks spawned hundreds of responses, a large majority of which are in support of Ann and all her followers who also are so very proud of Mr. McConauhey's 's speech. But why are we so proud? Should we be so proud? We know as Christians, good things can be done by good people, and mean nothing in the sight of God. Again, for some reason, we all seem to want to defend famous people and Hollywood types as soon as we have the least little inkling that they might be Christian. Sadly, we do this all to often without looking into things as we should.
It sure seemed wonderful to have Mr. McConaughey thank God. But who is his god? Based on the balance of his speech alone, one could say that he thinks that we are all little gods. But let's not judge MM just on this one speech. Let's act like we are called to act, and judge the fruit we see in his life. I was reminded in a delightfully succinct and simple manner just this week in a sermon by Greg Harris, father of authors Alex and Joshua Harris who's books Do Hard Things, and I Kissed Dating Goodbye respectively, have been life changing for many thousands of Christians. In his sermon Greg reminded us that we are to check our own fruit, and the fruit of others. It is the FRUIT that allows us to determine in any reasonable way, the spirit behind the man. In paraphrasing, Greg said, "A bad man can do good things, but he will not bear good fruit. On the other hand, a good man can do bad things, but he will still bear good fruit. What determines whether we have good or bad fruit is our nature." So, let us take a deep breath, take our time and REASON through this. Rather than jump on the Matthew McConaughey is a Christian Worth Defending Bandwagon, let us look at the fruit of his chosen career.
His first role as an actor was that of a drug addict making light of and showing support of recreational drug use in Dazed and Confused. The next year he was part of the family of mass murderers in "Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Next Generation". Before this year's Oscar win, Matthew was best known for his role of 'Dallas' in Magic Mike as a male strip club owner who takes under his wing two lost and confused young men to make them the best male strippers the world has ever seen. To "study" for this role he went to a real male strip club with some of his fellow cast mates to take it all in. Apparently (during filming) he was dancing around the stage in a thong, when it was nearly ripped off his body by extras. He thought that this incident that occurred while filming that scene was funny, not only to him, but to his wife as well who watched all this happen and said it was "a riot". But there's more. A sequel to Magic Mike is rumored to be in the works. When asked if he would revive his role as Dallas in this new film, he said "Yeah, if there’s a good one. There’s a great sequel out there." To top that off, by my count (and I'll admit my numbers could be off by one or two), 20 of 32 made for theater releases he has participated in are Rated R, with another 10 being PG13 and at least one NC-17 (the new "X"). I did see 3 PG movies, but not a single G rated film to his credit.
Fruit people. Judge people by their fruit, not by the words they offer up on a stage when they are being praised by one of the worldliest groups of greedy, self-righteous, self-important liberal heathens this nation has to offer: Hollywood.
Is Matthew McConaughey a Christian? I do not know. I do not know the man, I have never talked to the man, I do not know where or IF he attends church, and I've never heard a profession of faith from him. Chances are, neither have any of the hundreds and thousands of people that are singing his praises all over social media for his remarks taken out of context. Is he a Christian? I do not know. What I can do however, is what God has told me to do and judge from his fruit - and that as you can see, is questionable at best.
Let me put it to you this way; If I'm a born-again Christian, my new nature should be such that I desire to do what is righteous before the Lord. We should be wanting to please God in everything that we do. Sure, we'll make mistakes. We may even go through a period where we are back-slidden, but our Christian nature should always be to please God. If I'm a Christian, a real born-again believer, would I want to make R rated movies full of nudity, simulated sex and really bad language? If I'm a Christian, a real born-again believer, would I want to make a film that bordered an NC-17 rating about being the protege for male strippers and dance in a G-string on stage in front of screaming female extras while my wife looked on? Would I later on say that I'd love to do a sequel?
And here's a good question for you: If God has seen this film, do you think His desire would have been to be in that crowd beside the wife screaming at the top of his lungs so that they could hear Him over the throngs of all the women reaching out for this near naked man's G-string and say, "WELL DONE THEY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!!"? If you don't think God would do such a thing, and you call yourself a Christian - why in the world would you want to praise a man who did such a thing for giving thanks to God because he "looks up to him"? NOT because he worships Him, but because he "looks up to him"... Think about that for a second. Lost fallen people do not become believers by "looking up" to God.
Should we be naturally skeptical, or naturally trusting? Well, scripture tells us that we need to test each spirit, and to be like the Bereans to study the word, applying it to our lives. My advice, simply be WISE. That doesn't mean don't trust people, just make sure that you trust GOD more, and are always seeking Him, and leaning on Him for leadership and guidance. Let God lead you through His Holy Spirit on how to proceed with relationships and offering accolades of people. Don't believe everything you see on the surface. Do your due diligence, check into ministries, check into the people leading them, check into people, especially people coming from such an unholy mess as Hollywood, and see who they really are. Remember Mel Gibson?
Be wise, and do this before you hit SEND.
09 August 2013
My response can be found below:
Watched it. Sadly, I'm not convinced, and my "brain did not thank me", it simply asked me one thing, "WHY?".
Great rhetoric, but no real-life support. He did mention one author who wrote a fatwa paper condemning the killing of the innocent. What he did not elaborate on, is the definition of innocent.
Additionally, what is most profoundly MISSING from his statement is the condemnation of the killing of those who (only by Islam's definition) deserve to be killed. He even goes out of his way to confess that war and killing are needful things and certainly not prohibited under Islam, if for the right reason. What do you think that really means?
As a matter of full disclosure, I do not have an issue with this principal as a principal. As a matter of fact I believe a solid case can be made that the same belief is true with Christianity. HOWEVER, the two faiths differ in the extreme when it comes to "just cause' for the act of violence. As an example, I do believe Christianity allows for the use of sufficient violence in defense of one's life, or the defense of the life of others. I do not however believe, nor does any Christian that I know of, believe that the bible (the Christian book of scripture and tenet of our faith), teaches, and calls it the duty and responsibility of all adherents of Christianity to KILL those who will not become Christians or convert from a perceived false religion when given the opportunity to convert. Those in the Islamic faith flatly cannot say this is so, as the book of the tenets of their faith (the Koran) does teach such as being right.
This man is 100% right about at least one thing: The panel he is debating against is impotent. There is no one there who speaks the Arabic language, there are no religious experts (only atheists), no historians, and no one who really knows a thing about Islam. Of course it looked like he tore them up - they do not know what they are talking about and CANNOT refute his opinions and rhetoric when it comes to what HE SAYS is right and true about Islam. Fools.
Sure, I believe this finely dressed man is probably not a suicide bomber, and probably never will be. But what we have to remember is that Islam, like Mormonism and other cults, is what is called a "progressive revelation religion" meaning new truths are constantly being given to new prophets of the faith, and these new truths can rescind previous truths and over-ride existing dogma.
Additionally, one of Islam's tenets is in fact LYING. It is a religion of lies, and this man's lies are not only forgiven of him, they are encouraged by the doctrine of Islam. Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to "smooth over differences."
There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. This means that any Muslim is permitted and encouraged to lie in circumstances that advance the cause Islam - in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them. This is their definition! Look it up.
How do you refute a man who's own cause encourages his lying??? You do not. All you can do is judge the results that you see: unrelenting TERRORISM that is supported by their leadership.
I seems that no matter where you live, there is either fairly well sized contingency or Mormons in the area, or regular visits from 16-18 year old "Elders" of the church passing through wanted to stop and share their gospel message with you. The question I want to pose to you, so that you ponder this the next time you are approached by Mormon evangelists is not so difficult and philosophical as to whether not Mormonism is a cult, whether it is "Christian", or if Joseph Smith really had an authentic spiritual revelation. I want you to ponder something a lot more simple than that. All I want you to think of is this: Are they telling me the truth?
We know that Mormonism is not a religion of absolutes. Of this we can be sure. Why? Simple. Much of the Mormon doctrine has changed since the 1830 encounter that Joseph Smith had with the Angel Moroni (oh, wait, or was it a different angel, or was it God Himself, or was it a "deity", there are 6 different authenticated versions of this story...), and not just small stuff. Take for example the doctrine of polygamy, or as the politically correct say, "plural marriage. This was a doctrine authorized by God Himself in a vision to Joseph Smith (after we was caught cavorting with a 14 year old girl, and was later "over-turned" (God changed His mind I guess?). How about blacks in the church? Their scriptures tell that blacks are a curse, made by God to be black for their failure.
But more so, consider this. The Mormon Church doctrine, like that of Islam, encourages lying. They call it "lying in the Lord", and it is encouraged to protect the faith. Sorry, my God doesn't need me to lie for him. But, don't take my word for it, here's a great article by Joanna Brooks called, "Does Mormonism Encourage LDS People to Lie?" Read it for yourself.
Newsweek/Daily Beast reporter Jamie Reno published a provocative interview this week with Sue Emmett, a direct descendent of Brigham Young and a former LDS Church member, that plumbs controversial aspects of Mormon faith and culture, including the status of women in the faith and a tendency among some Mormons to manage the way they speak with non-Mormons about complicated aspects of our history and religious practice.Flagging concern about how this highly managed communications style has impacted the Romney campaign and might shape a Romney presidency, Reno quotes a former LDS Church employee, who states, “Every Mormon grows up with the idea that it’s OK to lie if it’s for a higher cause.”
That doesn’t quite ring true to my own experience, though I do understand well the truth-swerving phenomenon Emmet and Reno describe. In fact, I cringe when I see the way it connects to Romney’s own tendency to avoid frank disclosure—this week, it’s tax returns—and the frequent charges that ambition and opportunism rather than consistent principle shape his policy stances.
Of course, it’s nothing shocking that an American minority group might develop its own way of talking to outsiders. But in some Mormon circles one does hear bitter accusations of “lying for the Lord,” and sometimes one does witness among Mormon people today the remnants of a deep-seated sense that telling a complete, straightforward story is not always good for LDS interests.
The most penetrating assessment of this Mormon cultural phenomenon comes from linguistic anthropologist Daymon Smith, who ties defensive communication mechanisms—telling outsiders one story in order to protect another version of the story for insiders—to Mormon polygamy and particularly to the decades in the late nineteenth century when federal prosecution of polygamy sent many Mormon men on the “underground.” (Read an excellent summary of his dissertation here.)
Double-speaking on polygamy continues. I myself wrestle with it whenever I’m obliged to talk about Mormon polygamy in public. Since 1890, LDS Church leaders and members have stated publicly and repeatedly that we do not practice polygamy, that the practice has officially ended. This is an earnest effort to distinguish contemporary members of the mainstream LDS Church from ultra-orthodox splinter groups of fundamentalist Mormons. And it is true that any Mormon who were to marry and cohabitate with a two living spouses today would be excommunicated.
But polygamy has not been eliminated from Mormon life. (I’ve discussed this topic at length here.)
The fact is that current Church policy does allow for a living man to be “sealed” (married for eternity) to more than one woman at a time. For example, a widower or divorced man who has elected to terminate his civil marriage but not his LDS temple marriage is permitted to marry another woman in an LDS temple with the assurance that both first and second marriages would be eternal. The same is not possible under current Church policies for living LDS women who have been widowed or civilly divorced.
This may seem like a technicality. But when combined with the fact that polygamy has never been renounced as a doctrinal principle by the Church and that it remains on the books in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of LDS scripture, it fosters a belief among many mainstream LDS people that polygamous marriages will be a fact of the afterlife. Some mainstream Mormons dutifully anticipate polygamy in heaven. Others take an agnostic view. But many others quietly harbor feelings of grief, anger, and worry. I have experienced these feelings myself, and I hear them from other Mormons all the time. All the time Mormon men and women ask, “What kind of God would expect me to live in an eternal marriage that I would hate?” Not the God I believe in.
Polygamy remains a fact of mainstream Mormon thought and belief—whether as a doctrinal remnant or as a live article of faith, no one knows for sure. And the tensions created by the dissonance between the Church’s public denial of polygamy and the private continuance of the doctrine creates tensions that lead more than a few Mormons to leave the faith.
Given this complicated and conflicted situation, what should a Mormon say when she is asked whether we practice polygamy?
A few weeks ago, I sat in front of a radio microphone for the BBC program “The World”; with me on the program was a high-ranking public relations official for the LDS Church. Together, we did the same program twice: two back-to-back hours of the same hour about Mormonism, one time for the American audiences, and a second time for the whole world. During the first hour, taping for American audiences, when the inevitable polygamy question came, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to convey in a soundbite the terrible complexity of Mormonism’s relationship to polygamy: how while it is true that Mormons today no longer plurally cohabitate, polygamy has never been eradicated from our doctrine, our scriptures, and even from current policy, and that this causes many Mormon women and men a great deal of worry and resentment. My description sounded jumbled alongside the clear and familiar official message: no, we do not practice polygamy, not at all. I felt self-conscious and incoherent and nervous about publicly contradicting Church PR officials, but also determined not to obscure the more complicated and difficult truth. When we deny those truths, their private emotional costs multiply.
Then came the second hour of programming. Our audience in this second hour was not just BBC’s American listeners, but the world. I thought about the global reach of the BBC—the reach of the former British empire. When the question about polygamy came, I imagined listeners in Wales and Bangladesh and Kenya, listeners who had no concept of Mormonism, perhaps, beyond the most rudimentary and familiar stereotypes; including nineteenth-century Mormon polygamy. I squeezed my eyes shut. “No,” I said, “we no longer practice polygamy,” agreeing this time around with the LDS Church public-relations official. As I did, I registered an old, familiar, sinking feeling. I tried to tell myself it was the best I could do.
Was I lying for the Lord? Or was I a regular Mormon struggling to tell a complicated story to a world that often reduces us to stereotypes? What should I have said? Mitt Romney has said, “I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy”—even though polygamy remains a live element in Mormon doctrine and practice. Is that what he really believes? Is that what he felt he had to say? Is this the best we can do?
18 July 2013
The trial of George Zimmerman is one that will live on in the memories of Americans like that of O.J. Simpson. While all the talk is about Travon Martin, the assailant in this case, the trial was concerning the guilt of innocence of George Zimmerman, not Travon Martin - or was it?
First of all, why do all the news agencies refer to this as the "Travon Martin" case? Sure Zimmerman gets his name in the headlines frequently enough, but when this case is talked about at the water coolers of America, on the streets, and at all the protests, it is the "Travon Martin Case". Sad, really.
We did not call the trial of O.J. Simpson the "Nicole Brown Case". We do not call it the "Ronald Goldman Trial". This case was about whether or not George Zimmerman was guilty of Second Degree Murder, the crime for which he was charged. Why do we call it the "Travon Martin" case? Easy - because the media wants to victimize Travon Martin. The media wants you to feel sorry for Travon Martin. The media always wants you to think about what Travon Martin lost, rather than considering the true guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, and what he stands to lose. It's a trick. Don't fall for it.
While the prosecution worked hard to paint George Zimmerman as a vigilante police 'wanna be', try as they may, they were not successful. Here's a few inconsistencies with the way evidence was handled by the Judge
- Zimmerman's first assigned judge was dismissed from the case for making inflammatory remarks about the case that were found to hinder Zimmerman's ability to receive a fair trial. [a]
- It took Zimmerman's Attorneys 6 months to get the pictures of the bloodied George Zimmerman released from evidence to be subsequently released to the public, while George Zimmerman's phone records were made immediately available to the prosecution.[b]
- Travon Martin's activities on Facebook and criminal record were found irrelevant to the case, while George Zimmerman's class in Criminal Justice 7 years earlier was found relevant.[c]
- Zimmerman's Professor in his Criminal Justice Class remembers him a one of the "smarter students" in his class while testifying for the prosecution, but Zimmerman received a "D" in the class![d]
- Travon Martin had a criminal arrest record including, theft and drugs, which was found inadmissible, in spite of the toxicology test that found THC in Travon's blood at the time of his death.
- Metro-Dade County School District Police Department conspired to alter and suppress these records.
- Travon Martin was may have been high on Marijuana at the time.
- The autopsy evidence shows Travon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman at the time the fatal shot was fired as the eye witness testified.
- In addition, the autopsy report revealed moderate beginning signs of brain damage, and mild liver damage associated with prolonged use of DXM or in street lingo “Lean “ in an otherwise healthy young Travon Martin.
- Travon Martin's Twitter Account user name was "NO_LIMIT_NIGGA".
- Travon Martin was living with his father because his mother kicked him out of the house for bad behavior. 
- Travon had been previously suspended from school for skipping classes. 
- Travon's text messages were released in May. Have you seen any of them in the press?
- Texts where he talked about buying a .380 handgun from a friend, an act that would have been illegal?
- Where he refers to himself as a "gangsta"
- Where he admits to smoking marijuana
- Where he was suspended from school just 10 days before his shooting, and that marijuana traces and a marijuana pipe were found in his backpack.
- Where he bragged about being in fights.
- Still to this day, most network new media reports show the picture of Travon Martin as a 12 year old, when he was 17 at the time of the crime.
- Conversely, the same reports show Zimmerman always in his suit, and not the color images of his bloodies head and broken nose.
- NBC News knowingly alters the audio recording of the Zimmerman 911 call to paint him as a racist. 
- Network news even after the fact of the information being released and the case being over, will not report on Travon's known drug use, and suspicions of being a drug dealer. 
- In news reports from many networks, Travon is treated with the utmost respect, calling him "Mr. Martin", while the defendant is simply "George" or "Zimmerman".
I am a religious man. I have great compassion for the Travon Martin family. The loss of the life of such a young man is a tragedy in any circumstance. From all reasonable assumptions based on the facts we now have before us, Travon's life, personal and family, was spiraling out of control, and quickly. Despite this evidence, Travon was a male of 17. A young adult, a young man who, for any number of reasons, made bad choices, and had no one in his life to help him make better ones. THIS is the tragedy. I have a 17 year old son, and regardless of the circumstances, were he to be killed, my heart would be broken, perhaps to never fully recover. I get that, I understand that. But these facts, these feelings do not mitigate the fact that George Zimmerman deserves just as much reasonable compassion and respect.
George Zimmerman may have been acquitted, but his life will never be the same. Yes, George Zimmerman is alive, but his life is changed just as the family of Travon Martin. With the racial bigotry and hatred out there, and even being promoted by our Attorney General, Zimmerman has cause to be in constant fear for his life. For that matter, the proof is in the fact that innocent whites and non-blacks have already been beaten and hospitalized, while the attackers cry out, "This is for Travon!"
The press made this racial. To their credit, the Martin family did not. At least not at first. Travon's own mother said, "People want to make this a black and white issue, but I believe this is about right and wrong,” and the father seemed to agree - until the attorneys got a hold of them. All this black/white talk, and of course you know that Zimmerman is Hispanic - not white.
I'm heart broken for the Martin and Zimmerman families. To go through this would have been horrific. I'm more deeply troubled by the way this is being handled by our Administration and by the citizen's of this fine nation. The Press as an entity is broken. There is no true "press" any more. It's now agenda based propaganda promulgated by the major network news. I pray that God heal these families and this nation. I pray that as we all travel down the road of life that we can begin paying more attention to ourselves, taking responsibility for our own lives, and seeking God's to lead them. In Jesus is our salvation and peace, and in Him alone.
My pastor just a few weeks ago while teaching through Luke, took the opportunity to address the issues of false doctrine, false teachers, 'wolves' in the church and how these issues are not only prominent, but imminently dangerous. Focusing more on the issue that we must ourselves know the truth in order to defend it, he made it clear that from the day of the inception of the church, that these false doctrines, false teachers and their dangers have been ever-present and ever-active.
Look at scripture. The Bible is replete with examples of false teachers and the problems they cause the church and individuals. There are stories of false doctrines spreading, false teachers leading people astray, and of course the resultant effects. There is a great deal of text in the NT especially devoted to this issue. It is mentioned in almost every book. The writers felt it important to warn us frequently to be aware of false doctrine and to be prepared to work against it as individuals and as a church.
While mentioning this subject is very important, I think my pastor may have fallen short in this teaching. While I know his diligence is equal to mine in protecting the people of the body of Christ from false doctrine (of this I have no doubt), in an effort to better protect God's people - sometimes it is important to name names. It is not "unloving" to reveal, and to specifically point out false doctrine.
I'll grant you that calling out false teachers and the false teachings of other churches and teachers can seem arrogant and unloving. Nonetheless, it is necessary, and in the end, one of the most loving things one Christian can do for another. Protect them from the evils of false doctrine and its inviting temptation to lose faith. Perhaps the main Sunday Sermon may not be the best time to do this this (especially repetitively), and the context of the message and mood of the church may dictate otherwise depending on the circumstances. However, not specifically mentioning some of the greater threats at all is a greater disservice to the body, and is not following the examples we have in scripture. How best to defend ourselves, than to know specifically where the false doctrines are coming from, and what they are.
While searching the internet for some possible bible study curriculum that I might use in upcoming group studies, I ran across this article. "Should Catholics Go to Non-Denominational Bible Studies?" (please read this). While not surprising, the author Mr. Ray (a self-professed convert to Catholicism) makes some interesting points about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. To his credit, he is correct on every point where he espouses differences. However, he is equally inaccurate as to why, and tragically incorrect when it comes to the facts he appoints to Protestants.
I'm glad I came across this as this article authored by a respected Catholic writer. It really helps to point out the dramatic differences between Catholicism and, well, the balance of the Christian faith outside of Roman Catholicism, all from a Catholic perspective. Before we move forward to look at these differences in detail, let me simply point this one thing out. This is an quasi-official Catholic revelation as to the fact that the Catholic Church is different, and that all other Christian Church outside of Roman Catholicism teach false doctrine.
Strangely, the Catholics never seem to extrapolate this out to it's most common denominator. What this means in layman's terms is that the Roman Catholic Church is, by their own definition the only true church in the world, and in the history of the Christian faith. Or in even more simpler terms, all churches other than the Roman Catholic Church are false churches. To be boldly blunt,m what they are saying is this - Only the Roman Catholics have Truth.
Now when you read the preceding paragraph, and I had replaced "Mormon Church", or "Jehovah's Witness" or "Jim Jones" with Roman Catholic, it probably would have brought a different reaction from you than the one you are more than likely having right now. Had I been talking about Jim Jones, or the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses, you would immediately thought (and rightfully so) - CULT. But because this is the Roman Catholic Church, in all their grandeur and history and 1.5 Billion followers, you're not so willing to allow your logic to make that leap. Well, let it.
Mr. Ray professes:
- Catholics are different from the rest of the Christian Church (any denomination outside of Roman Catholicism).
- Catholic leadership does not want their congregants to have anything to do with Protestant believers (i.e. non-Catholics) for fear that they might be influenced by "false doctrine".
- Non-Catholics pose a danger to the "proper instruction" of Christians.
The Supreme Authority of the Bible
Mr. Ray, in the list of perceived negatives of the non-Catholics he refers to as "Bible Christians", he lists, "There is no binding authority but the Bible alone." This is correct. Most Christians outside the RCC do hold the Bible as to be the true and infallible word of God. From the Bible all truth is to be drawn, and God as promised, will reach His people by the Work of the Holy Spirit in their own hearts (John 16:7-15). It is true that a laymen may not at first grasp the full meaning of a passage, but being lead and guided by the Holy Spirit the truth that God requires will be given to those who seek it. God promises that His word will not come back void.
Contrarily, the RCC sees things differently. Their belief is that the bible does contain the absolute truth of God, but they add caveats. The RCC official doctrine states that the Pope chosen by men, has equal authority to God on earth with regard to Church doctrine and the dogmatic Catechism of the Church. Additionally, the Pope has ability to speak new doctrine or new truths on behalf of God. His title actually includes 'Vicar of Christ', a term that means "person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson." The definition here is that the vicar speaks on behalf of the true authority, as if he were the true authority. When applied to the circumstances of the Pope, his words are to be followed with the same authority as if they had come from God Himself.
A third layer to "truth" for the RCC is the Tradition of the Church. In their Catechism, Church Tradition (only their church mind you...), holds equal status of truth as the Bible, and the Pope. The reasoning for all of this, is intent to have a single source for church and doctrinal truth. That source through their on doctrine has been divided three ways, held equally, with two of those three bases relying on sinful man for the standardizing, and in many cases the creation of Gospel truth itself to then be held as "Church tradition". This allows the caveat of, "well we know you won;t fuind this in the Bible, but it has been Church Tradition for 'x' number of years, and pronounced by the Pope".
The Bible IS ENOUGH. I'll grant you that in days of yore, Bible understanding was minimal. The handing down of the gospel through oral tradition all but died with the collapse of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. As the Romans routed the Jews and burnt the temple, the diaspora carried with them God's Word, but with each new generation, that tradition was weakened further, yet the writings still remained. As time went on and decades became centuries, the available ancient bible manuscripts to read and study has increased exponentially. The Dead Sea Scroll findings alone nearly doubled early ancient texts, and also provided much in the way of extra-biblical content on which to judge the contemporary vernacular. With today's advances in Bible Study Software like Logos, the idea that any reader cannot get original intent meaning from the scriptures without the support and correction of the Catholic Church is ludicrous to the point of deception.
The Infallibility of the Pope
While the RCC not only believes that the Pope, a human being born of sin, can speak on behalf of God Himself with regards to doctrine, believes in the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. as a creaky-crutch to in part stand on this doctrine, they also use one verse from all scripture that purportedly supports this doctrine. John 16:18-19:
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[d] in heaven.”Literally thousands of volumes have been written on this topic which has consumed the minds of greater scholars than I on the true meaning of this phrase. In short, the RCC thinks that at this point, Jesus, alive in the flesh, before the church was even created, made Peter the first Pope, and bestowed upon him the authority of Jesus Himself to speak on behalf of God the Father in matters pertinent to the church on Christ's behalf. While an initial reading of this passage might leave the average reader believing that some authority had been bestowed upon Peter, to extrapolate from it what the RCC does, is a bit of a stretch to say the least. More directly, the RCC is the only Christian church that recognizes or interprets this passage in such a manner.
I could go into a lot of reasons as to why the RCC interpretation of this passage is incorrect based on biblical and extra-biblical understandings and use of the Greek language here, the fact that the Christ appointed Pope has yest to deny Christ Himself in anathema, the fact that Peter was not the head of the church after this event based on passages in the book of Acts and etc (even rebuked publicly by Paul, relenting to the rebuke). But again, the RCC is the only Christian church to interpret these two verses in the book of John to mean that Christ is hereby appointing Peter to be His earthy representative, speak on His behalf with equal authority, and be heads over the only true church for the remainder of history.
To use the authors terms, Bible Christians most certainly do not recognize the Pope as infallible, or Christ's one and only Rightful representative and interpreter of His Word, the bible. Scripture says that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That the hearts of men are evil. That we are predisposed to sin because of the sin nature born into each one of us. Roman Catholic History itself is full of examples of sinful men, most notably Popes who fathered multiple children with multiple mothers during their Papacy, and Popes who were accused of having homosexual lovers while Pope. There were Popes who gained their office through bribery and still others through nepotism.
I point these things out about the Popes not to bring particular disdain on them, just simply to show that they are sinners like every other man, and prone to the same failings as all others. Lust, bribery, peer pressure, politics, societal forces etc. How could these men, chosen by other sinning men, be infallible and speak with the authority of Christ? Yes, Bible Christians deny this, and proudly so.
This has gotten a bit long winded so I'll end it here. Yes, there are differences between the Roman Catholic Church and other "Bible Christian" churches. These differences are numerous and profound. Some of these differences are so profound as to defy Christian orthodoxy. Examples of RCC doctrine in areas such as the sacraments, baptism, salvation by works, Christ's limited atonement, the Adoration of Mary, Mary being sinless, etc, etc, stand as proof of this.
I just thought it was important to show what the Catholic look is with regards to their thoughts on non-Catholics and their place in the Christian faith. To them, Biblical Christians are to be looked down upon. Biblical Christians cannot know bible truth because it is too confusing, technical, and because their priests are the only ones truly authorized or trained to properly interpret it. To the Catholic, the Biblical Christian is not saved, does not have a right relationship with God, and if not converted to Catholicism, cannot go to heaven.
These are the truths as THEY teach them. These facts do not come from a "Biblical Christian" that has a bone to pick with the RCC, it comes from their Catachism, their doctrine, and from their authors.
Just two days ago the Ag appeared before the NAACP to give a speech. In this speech he said, among many other things:
"it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods."Really? the "concept" of self-defense? He goes on:
"These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if -- and the "if" is important -- if no safe retreat is available. But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common-sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety."All this stems from, of course, the resulting acquittal of Florida resident George Zimmerman in the charge of Second Degree Murder (and later the Manslaughter as well, added by an activist judge from the bench - a crime in itself) against him for the death of one Travon Martin last week. This incident, that Holder in this same speech refers to as "gun violence", has brought social unrest all across the US, with attacks against all races by black in an effort to show some sort of solidarity for the injustice they feel has been done against Travon Martin, all the while, with the Attorney General fanning the flames of violence, hatred and racial division.
Holder is the A.G. Correct me if I'm wrong, but his job is not to create policy - his job is not to drive the Administration in a particular social direction of his choosing- his job is not to push a social agenda - NO!
The office of Attorney General was established by Congress by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The original duties of this officer are "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments." Only in 1870 was the Department of Justice established to support the attorney general in the discharge of his responsibilities.
Please tell me where giving the speech before the NAACP, speaking out against centuries established mandates of the Constitution fall within the auspices of the Office of Attorney General of the US? They do not. This is political activism from a legal bench. This man tries and in some cases is held to adjudicate cases set before him, not to create them.
Repeating something that was said by conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin,
when this country was created we heard the cry, 'taxation without representation', now we have 'representation without representation', and he's 100% spot on right.
Congress should censure Eric Holder for acting beyond the scope of his office and demand that he apologize and stand down from his activism.