“That ‘Nones’ May Not Perish”

Click on the picture at left to listen to my interview with Melanie Cogdill of the Postmodern Realities Podcast about who the “nones” are and how we can think about trying to reach them.

Date: September 10, 2017
Appearance: “That ‘Nones’ May Not Perish”
Outlet: Postmodern Realities Podcast #49
Format: Podcast

The Tyranny of Scientific “Consensus”

We’ve just seen the culmination of a “week of action” that started with “The March For Science” on Sunday, April 22, 2017 and continued through April 29th. It was brought to us by the steely-eyed, unbiased defenders of reason and “settled science” at 600 locations worldwide. It was meant to sing the praises of scientific consensus. According to The March organizers, their mission was all about:

“A call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

Which makes it a little confusing. I mean, how did the references to “political leaders,” and “policy makers” make it into the mission statement of a pure “call for science”? And get this: The March began with a fiery call to action by Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and stand-up comedian who has proven over and over again to have trouble even pretending to be a scientist. It ended with another march that proclaimed its purpose with perfect clarity on its website:

On the 100th day of Trump’s presidency more than 300,000 people in Washington DC and across the country joined together in a powerful demonstration of unity for jobs, justice, and climate action.

In summary, we have a non-scientist posing as the spokesman for a weeklong movement to undermine the public policies of a politician by demanding “jobs, justice, and climate action.”

Maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t seem all that “scientific.” In fact, it almost sounds like the whole thing has very little to do with science, and a lot to do with Leftist politics. If you happened to be one of the few who listened to the rhetoric of The March’s speakers, you would find that is pretty much all they talked about.

The truth is that this “movement” is meant mainly to empower the wielders of professional hatchets who are armed to destroy the careers and reputations of anyone who dares question the approved “scientific” narrative. These are people who disguise their political agenda not behind science, but behind a secularized worship of science called scientism.

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Peace With The Bedlamites

“Black Friday” chaos, “Cyber Monday” deals, Amazon Prime, stress, retail profits, travel disruptions, and finding the “right gift” (which, apparently, demands a trip to the Lexus or Mercedes dealership) have all come to define this time of year. The only thing that seems to change is how early it starts. Santa in Walmart in October? No problem. A giant, inflatable snowman writhing in your front yard? Of course.

‘Tis the Season! Happy Holidays!

Welcome to the cultural event formerly known as Christmas. How did we get here? Has our society lost its mind? It seems that with regard to the celebration of Christmas the answer is clearly, “yes.” But maybe a little history will help to put things in perspective …

In 1247 the sheriff of London, a man named Simon FitzMary founded a priory for the sisters and brethren of the order of the Star of Bethlehem just outside the city walls. It was used, as one of its special purposes, for the housing and entertainment of the bishop and canons of St. Mary of Bethlehem, its mother church, and thereby became known as the Priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem.

By 1330, records show that the priory had become a hospital and that by 1403 some of its patients began to remain there permanently. When King Henry VIII later dissolved the Catholic monasteries in Britain, the priory was given to the city of London and, in 1547, officially sanctioned as an insane asylum which soon became infamous for the brutal ill-treatment meted out to the insane and the clamor, commotion, and pandemonium that could be heard emanating from within it. Because the local residents spoke in a dialect that didn’t quite live up to the King’s English, their cockney pronunciation of Bethlehem came out as “bedlam.”

So, in a way that only human beings could contrive, the word we now use to describe lunacy and chaos actually has its source in the name of the city of Jesus’ birth: Bethlehem.

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Making Snowflakes

We are hearing a lot of negative press about the “snowflake generation” these days and I must confess that I have been guilty of joining in the mockery. It is hard to take seriously the growing movement for “safe spaces” on college campuses, “cry rooms” for those who have been traumatized by election results, “micro-aggression” awareness, “trigger warnings,” and the growing trend to silence any voice that isn’t saying what some college faculty member, president, or commencement audience wants so desperately to hear.

While I find the combination of all these trends and issues to be a sad commentary about the direction of our culture and of the freedom of expression, religion, speech, and assembly guaranteed by the first Amendment to our Constitution, I also find it a little too easy to join the chorus in damning the younger generation for their gross lack of wisdom and civic virtue.

I say that for two reasons …

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Black And White Rainbows

rainbowwebAlmost forty years ago I joined a youth group Bible study with a band of high school acquaintances who shared two things in common: life as military brats who all lived on the same base in Michigan, and a serious pursuit of the truth of our faith. We studied the Bible, went on retreats and, as a result, that group formed the core of our social life in high school. Many of us became close and lifelong friends. In fact, I met the girl who would later become my wife in that group in 1976.

Another girl in that group was a year younger than me, personable, athletic, outgoing, and deeply dedicated to knowing what was taught in The Book. She was a serious disciple. She went on to complete a distinguished and honorable career in the U.S. Army, entered seminary after she retired, and was ordained an Episcopal Minister. I haven’t actually spoken to her in decades but from what I see on social media she doesn’t seem to have changed much in those 39 years. She has a lot of friends who speak highly of her and love her dearly. She still sports a big smile. She seems to love her life and to serve God as fiercely as she ever did. I’m glad to see that but I really wish it was otherwise. If so, it would be much easier to say what I’m about to say and post it publicly. But that is not that case and as a result, it pains me to write this … but I have to.

Last month my friend entered into a legalized, same-sex union with another woman.*

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Stop Staring, Please

Two and a half weeks ago, my dermatologist performed a Moh’s surgery procedure on me to remove a patch of squamous cell skin cancer from the inside of the bridge of my nose. It really is more of a nuisance than a serious threat but the healing process has not been fun. It was painful at first and came with a swollen, partial black eye and an obnoxiously large bandage that blocked my vision. The big bandage took a week to get reduced to a large bandaid, and now I’m down to a small circular one that I almost forget is there … until I go out in public.

This whole ordeal has given me a new perspective, and not just on the issue of why we need to use sunscreen. I already knew that and have chosen to ignore it for most of my life. The bandage is a consequence of my bad choices and a reminder that I have made a lot of them. But the reason I’m writing this is because the bandage has also become a trigger for making me realize how badly most of us react to those who are different from us. It’s a realization that may even be uglier than squamous cell skin cancer.

It’s only a bandaid people!

Little kids stare at me like I have a third eye. Adults in the airport pretend not to look, but then I catch them stealing glances. It’s as if I had a giant growth sticking out of my forehead and it has made me think, “What if I did?”

What if, like the young man my wife and I saw in Times Square this week, instead of a two-week stint with a bandaid, I had a lifelong attachment to a giant growth that deformed my face and forehead? What if I had Down Syndrome? What if I had a speech impediment? In other words, what if I could never take the bandaid off? Do we even realize how much we can affect the personality of someone simply by staring at them because they are different?

I doubt it.

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