Sunday, 30 January 2011

"Nobody Gets Married Any More..."

Sorry, but this is another rant on one of my favourite topics.
From Here...
Here are a few excerpts...

Urban teachers face an intractable problem, one that we cannot spend or even teach our way out of: teen pregnancy. This year, all of my favorite girls are pregnant, four in all, future unwed mothers every one...
Personal moral accountability is the electrified rail that no politician wants to touch.


Thanks to the feds, urban schools like mine... public schools with large low-income populations... are swimming in money. At my school, we pay five teachers to tutor kids after school and on Saturdays. They sit in classrooms waiting for kids who never show up.


Within my lifetime, single parenthood has been transformed from shame to saintliness. In our society, perversely, we celebrate the unwed mother as a heroic figure...
Movie stars and pop singers flaunt their daddy-less babies like fishing trophies. None of this is lost on my students. In today’s urban high school, there is no shame or social ostracism when girls become pregnant. Other girls in school want to pat their stomachs.


Boys without fathers cultivate an overweening bravado to overcome a deeper sense of vulnerability and male confusion. They strut, swear, and swagger. There’s a he-man thing to getting a girl pregnant that marks you as an adult in the eyes of your equally unmoored peers. But a boy’s interest in his child quickly vanishes. When I ask girls if the father is helping out with the baby, they shrug. “I don’t care if he does or not,”


The path for young, unwed mothers—and for their children—can be brutal. Consider how often girls get molested in their own homes after Mom has decided to let her boyfriend move in. The boyfriend splits the rent and the food bill, but he often sees his girlfriend’s teenage daughter as fair game.


And there are other dangers. I once had a student named Jasmine, who had given birth over the summer. One day, I observed her staring off mulishly into space for nearly the entire period, not hearing a word I said and ignoring her assignment. At the end of class, I took her aside and asked, with some irritation, what the matter was. Her eyes welled with tears. “I gave my son to his father to look after yesterday. When I picked him up, he had bruises on his head and a cut.” Her son was six months old.


Every fall, new education theories arrive, born like orchids in the hothouses of big-time university education departments.
Every year, the national statistics summon a fresh chorus of outrage at the failure of urban public schools. Next year, I fear, will be little different.


Behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated.
Behaviour that gains approval will be imitated.
I believe that the death of decency; the death of outrage; the death of shame in this area, will be the ultimate downfall of our society.

Years ago my daughter worked in a grocery store. One of the other cashiers, not married, got pregnant. She was heartily congratulated. Smiles and giggling and laughter and plans for baby showers all around. But when my daughter announced she was getting married, (she was not pregnant) everyone thought she was crazy to give up her freedom at such a young age.

The world is upside down. I'm afraid I find it all rather discouraging. As I have said before, I'm a bit of a fatalist in one sense. The world will go the way the world will go. But I hate to see what the attitude of the world is doing to these young people. I am sad for what is happening to them. And I am sad for what they are bringing upon themselves through their choices. And I am angry at a society that seems to push them toward those choices. If only they could see the better way. And if only the world would stop blinding them to it.

Tale Care

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Archbishop's Speechwriter?

Check this out, a bafflegab generator...

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see the following disclaimer,

The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. The Postmodernism Generator was written... ...using the Dada Engine, a system for generating random text from recursive grammars...

Also linked is a site describing how NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal’s brilliantly meaningless hoax article, similarly composed, was actually accepted by a cultural criticism publication.

Very clever.

Take Care

A Funny Start to My Saturday Morning

From the Edmonton Journal "Venting" column this morning, something that made me spew my coffee:

I think YouTube, Twitter and Facebook should amalgamate into one large social network. It could be called YouTwitFace.com.

Read more here...

Take Care

Friday, 28 January 2011

Against the World?

Doug Wilson makes a post involving G.K. Chesterton, whom I consider one of the most insightful writers I have ever read. I take it he was speaking about where society tends to be heading, and how almost all the population at any given time seems to tend to follow particular trends, just because everyone else is following that particular trend. What is a trend, after all, but whatever it is that a lot of people are doing or thinking. In any case, Wilson says, regarding Chesterton,
...when Chesterton spoke of those sociologists who spoke of the great need we have to accommodate ourselves to the trend of time, he noted that, in any given time, the trend of the time at its best consists of those who will not accommodate themselves to anything.

I think of a great flock of birds flying around. Have you ever seen this? The whole flock seems to be able to turn in the same direction at the same time. It is almost as if the flock is a thing of its own, not a collection of individual birds. It seems to be the same in society, whether the trend is moral, taste in entertainment or the stock market.

But if a certain trend is wrong, or in error, what or who will be remembered, the trend, or those who bucked it? In another quote from Wilson's post, he refers to St Athanasius. Athanasius stood against the Arian heresy in the fourth century, and he stood practically alone against the empire, but without him, we may have had quite a different Christianity than we now do. But as Wilson says,

Athanasius had to stand contra mundum [against the world], and it is he who is the representative man from that era, and not the whole world he had to contend against.

In another context, who do we remember; Wilberforce, who initially stood virtually alone in his fight against the slave trade? Or do we remember the names of his opponents?

Those who follow this blog will know that two of my foci are the encroaching tide of liberalism in the church and the parallel downward spiral of morality in society in general, which certainly seem to be the, "trend of our time,". I think that as time goes by, and these trends continue, as they surely will, those who stand for revealed Biblical truth and Godly standards of morality will stand increasingly alone in the face of ever greater opposition yet to come.

I realize this has been a bit of a shotgun post, but hopefully it all connects. At least in my mind it does. The world will go the way the world will go. My hope and personal desire is that some, whether or not through thoughts started by my writing, might come to realize that they can know the God who made them, and can come to a saving relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.

Take Care

By the way, a biography of Athanasius may be found Here...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Muppets Phenomenon

Midwest Conservative Journal gave us a trip down memory lane with this...

So I thought it appropriate to present this Muppets parody of their own number featuring Kermit with a young Sandra Bullock.



Take Care,
John K

Those Who Defend the MTV Program "Skins" Should Not Object To This

2nd graders had oral sex
From Here...

MTV has introduced a new show called, "Skins," apparently involving fairly explicit depictions of sexual activity among young teenagers. Comments from those who defend the show run something like,
"If you don't like it, don't watch it,"
"MTV has been diligent in warning of the show's content. It's up to parents to control what their children watch."
The show just reflects what kids are already doing. It's nothing new."

Which is all just disingenuous claptrap. They know full well that kids too young to see are going to see it. And they know full well that kids are influenced by what they hear and see. Sex has become so promoted and normalized, much of it by songs, programs and movies available to kids as young as these grade two students, that such activity has come to be seen as normative. Children see others being depicted in sexual situatins and may indeed feel they are somehow different if they do not partake too.

And if you don't think that the liberals don't want things they find objectionable censored, I offer as evidence the fact that the Dire Straits song, "Money For Nothing" was banned recently because it contained one objectionable word

I'm not trying to say that there is only one cause of our present level of morality. Not every instance of underage sex can be attributed to TV shows such as Skins, or songs by Lady Gaga, or explicit rap videos, but even one child pressured is too many. I am reminded of the very stern warning given by Jesus regarding those who would lead children astray:
“It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17:2)

Many people have assumed that Jesus' warning was to anyone who hurt a child, but the term is, "causes to stumble." What it really means is this:
...to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, to offend, to entice to sin.

I wouldn't want to be some people when they stand on the day of judgement before the one who said it.

Take Care

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Let's Be Consistent, Shall We?

So Fox has told Ashley Madison they will not air their ad on the Super Bowl. Well, that's just nothing but blatant discrimination, isn't it? I mean, if a couple in England can't refuse a room to a gay couple in their bed and breakfast; if a Saskatchewan marriage commissioner can't follow his conscience regarding gay marriage, surely adulterers have a right not to be discriminated againsst! After all, shouldn't adultery be counted as a legitimate sexual orientation?

But Noel Biderman, the founder of AshleyMadison.com, a dating site which offers "guaranteed affairs" to married people, just doesn't get it. Here are a couple of his comments
"If you stop my advertising, if you try to quash my service, people are still going to have affairs.

"They had them long before I came on to the scene and they’ll have them long after I’m no longer in existence.

"...it's ridiculous to think people who are happily married would watch it and decide to commit adultery.

"This notion that somehow my ad is gonna go and create an infidelity nation of Americans or Canadians who watch it is ridiculous."

Which is all completely beside the point. Sometimes it's just a matter of taste. Sometimes it's just a matter of principle. Sometimes it's a matter of just doing the right thing. Biderman can't imagine how someone might say, "I object to your product on moral grounds, and choose not to participate in its promotion.

Now, that may not be Fox's position, because they apparently have accepted other ads from the organization, but that's what I would say.

If I were Fox, that is.

Take Care

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Barnabas

A program by Charles Price started me thinking about Barnabas. He is one of those Bible characters we might consider a minor character, but I think we’ll see he may be much more important in the early Church than we might think. In fact, and I’ll explain this as we go along, I think he may be given credit for the writing of much of the New Testament.

Barnabas was not his original name. As we see in Acts, his given name was Joseph,
...a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”)…, (Acts 4:36)

And in Acts 11:24 he is described as, “… a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith…|” He was an encourager, and that’s the quality I want to focus on.

Saul, who would become known as the apostle Paul, was one of the most enthusiastic persecutors of early Christians. He sat looking on approvingly as Steven was stoned to death. But then he had his conversion experience, meeting the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. But the trouble was that none of the early church leaders trusted him, and who could blame them. But Barnabas must have seen something in Saul, and stood up for him.
When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. (Acts 9:26-30)
(Tarsus was Saul’s home town, so in effect, he just went home.)
Some time later, we read in ‘Acts chapter 11,
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. (Acts 11: 19-26)
We don’t know how long Saul had remained at his home town of Tarsus, but think of this; without Barnabas, would Saul just have remained at home there? We don’t know, but it was Barnabas who took it upon himself to go and get him.
And we see that Barnabas must have been a faithful friend, sticking with Paul through tough times and difficulties, not only on their missionary journey, but in later ministry as well. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says,
Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas (Peter)? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living? (1 Cor 9: 4-6)
It almost seems like only Barnabas is sharing Paul’s hardship in some areas.

We see another example of Barnabas’ faithfulness and encouragement in his relationship with his cousin Mark, also called John Mark. John Mark accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey, (Acts 13), but we see that Mark left them part way through (13:13) We don’t know why Mark left. Maybe he was young and homesick. Maybe he had, “frosh flu”, first time away from home, etc. But Paul was quite angered by this, because when it came time for he and Barnabas to embark on a second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul was adamant that they do not.
Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company., (Acts 15: 37-39a)

But Barnabas must have seen something in John Mark, just as he had seen something in Paul himself. Barnabas stood by Mark and took him with him on their own trip to Cyprus. And we can see that at some point Paul must have had a change of heart, because we see in a number of his letters that they were eventually reconciled and he speaks rather highly of young Mark. In his last letter, his second letter to Timothy, he says,
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. (2 Tim 4:11)

In his letter to the Colossians, he asks that church to welcome him, and in the book of Philemon, he calls Mark a fellow worker.
And we look back and see how important Mark became in the early church. Peter, in 1 Peter, calls him his, “son.” Mark, of course, was a follower of Peter, and it’s quite likely that he set down the story of Jesus as he learned it from Peter in the Gospel that bears his name – the Gospel of Mark.

But it was Barnabas who stuck up for him, and if not for his encouragement, what might have become of him? Would we have his gospel today? And if Barnabas had not stood up for Paul against the other disciples, or had not taken it upon himself to go to Tarsus to bring him back to ministry in Antioch because he saw something in him, would we now have Paul’s letters? Obviously, God ordained that what happened would happen, but I think he used Barnabas and his gift of encouragement in a powerful way to bring it about. Not only was Barnabas an encourager, he was bold enough to stand up for what he knew was right, and defend those in whom he saw good, even against severe opposition.

Those of you familiar with the Alpha Course might remember this story from Nicky Gumbel.
Albert McMakin was a 24 year old who had recently come to faith in Christ. He was so full of enthusiasm that he filled a truck with people and took them to a tent meeting to hear a travelling evangelist telling about Jesus. There was one 16-year-oldteenager whom he was especially keen to get to a meeting, but this young man was hard to persuade He was just not interested. Eventually Albert managed to persuade him to come by asking him to drive the truck. When they arrived, Albert’s guest eventually decided to go in. He went back again night after night until one night he went forward and gave his life to Jesus Christ. The year was 1934 and the young16 year old was Billy Graham.

Everyone knows Billy Graham but how many remember Albert McMakin. Yet without McMakin we may never have seen Graham.

Encourage someone today. You never know what the eventual result might be.

Take Care