Sunday, October 30, 2016

10 Things You Should Know About the Protestant Reformation


AS WE APPROACH THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION IN 2017,  I will  be posting articles that help explain the massive tsunami of events of 1517 that shaped and reshaped the modern world spiritually, cultural and politically.

To wit, the art above, Breugel's Peasant Wedding, is a painting---one of my lifelong favorites---which captures the Protestant Reformation emerging art tradition focusing on scenes of modern life rather than the religious or classic themes of the Catholic Church which many if not most reformers considered idolatrous.

Anyway, the following piece by Tim Chester was linked  at TGC is a great read: 

1. The Pope started the Reformation.

The fourteenth century was a bad time for the papacy. For a period, there were two rival popes and the papacy was under pressure from the French monarchy. It wasn’t a good time for the city of Rome either—seven successive popes abandoned Rome in favor of Avignon in France. Rome was sidelined and Saint Peter’s Basilica fell into disrepair. The popes returned to Rome in 1377 and then sorted out their divisions in 1417.

A hundred years on, things were looking up: in 1505, Pope Julius II had decided to knock down the old St Peter’s and start again. He had big plans for his own tomb and wanted a basilica to match. It was time to make Rome magnificent once again. But that didn’t come cheap, so the church embarked on a fundraising campaign. It was this campaign that brought Johann Tetzel to Germany to sell indulgences, promises of time off purgatory in exchange for cash. And so it was that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his protest against indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

2. The Reformation was about sausages.

During Lent 1522, a group of students in Zurich held a sausage-themed party. Traditionally only vegetables and fish were eaten during Lent. But they wanted change and that meant hot dogs. The city council fined the host of the party, albeit only a nominal amount. A few days later, Huldrych Zwingli, the leader of the city’s church, produced a pamphlet in support of the students. The Bible, he argued, didn’t have much to say about sausages—there was certainly nothing about eating sausages during Lent.

The Council convened a debate to decide whether Zwingli’s views matched what was taught in the Bible. Zwingli won the day. But really, he’d won before it started because the terms of the discussion assumed the authority of Scripture. And that, rather than sausages, was the real issue—though it’s reassuring to know that bacon sandwiches get the thumbs up.

3. Luther’s marriage was a bit fishy.

Catholicism's focus was on becoming right with God through the sacraments or monastic life, but the Reformers preached that being right with God is a gift. There’s no need to do works for God’s benefit. It’s already a done deal—achieved by Christ and received by faith. And that frees you up to serve your neighbour in love.

In 1523, a group of nuns contacted Luther. Convent life made no sense, so the nuns wanted Luther to help them escape their cloistered life. Luther enlisted a merchant who regularly delivered herring to the convent. On April 5, the nuns escaped by hiding among the empty fish barrels. Their families refused to take them back, perhaps because what had just happened was still a crime under Church law. So Luther set about marrying them off—no easy matter, perhaps, since they smelled of fish!
Gradually, he found husbands for them all—all except one. No husband could be found for the ringleader, Katharina von Bora. So, somewhat against his wishes, Luther himself married her. He was forty-one and she twenty-six. It turned out to be a good match.

4. There were 97 theses before there were 95 theses.

Luther’s famous ninety-five theses were not his first stab at provoking a debate. A few weeks before, he’d posted ninety-seven theses. They included an attack on the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who’d made something of a comeback in the Medieval period. As it happens, no one took much notice of Luther’s ninety-seven theses. Yet they were much more central to the thought of the Reformation.
So, when Luther was summoned to account for his actions before his Augustinian order, it was to the themes in the ninety-seven theses that he returned. Aristotle said we become righteous by doing right acts—your identity is the result of your actions. It’s something you achieve. Luther said this gets things the wrong way around. In the gospel, our identity is a gift from God. It’s something you receive. And then our actions flow from our new identity. Unbelievers can be constrained by laws and peer pressure, but a life of wholehearted righteous living is only possible if God makes us new people.

5. The Reformation involved a rediscovery of the work of the Spirit.

In 1524, Desiderius Erasmus published an attack on Luther. Erasmus was Europe’s leading celebrity academic. Erasmus thought people already had enough power in themselves to do good. He defined free choice as "a power of the human will by which a man can apply himself to the things which lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from them." Luther replied, "You do not realize how much you attribute to it by this pronoun 'itself'—its very own self!—when you say it can 'apply itself'; for this means that you completely exclude the Holy Spirit with all his power, as superfluous and unnecessary."

As far as Erasmus was concerned, we just need to try harder. But Luther realized our problem was much more fundamental than that. Our problem is not that we’re lazy or ignorant, but that we’re sinners deep down to the very core of our being. So, if we’re ever going to please God, we need a radical inner transformation. And that’s what the Holy Spirit does.

6. The Reformation wasn’t about salvation by works—at least not quite.

There’s a version of the Reformation which says Catholics believed in salvation by works and the Reformers believed in salvation by faith, but it’s more subtle than that. In fact, Catholics talked a lot about faith and grace. They would happily say we’re saved by grace. They would happily say that righteousness comes by faith.

But grace for the Catholic Church is like a shot of adrenaline that boosts your spiritual performance. And righteousness is a God-given ability to live a righteous life—if you work at it at. Baptism gives you a kick start and the mass gives you a boost along the way, but it’s up to you to live a righteous life that will win God’s approval. So the net result is grace plus works and faith plus works.
Just to be clear, the Council of Trent says, "If anyone says, that by faith alone the ungodly are justified in such a way as to mean that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to receive the grace of Justification and that it is not necessary for a man to be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema." (Canon IX)

The Council of Trent was the Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation, a response it has never repudiated. The reason this subtlety matters is that it brings the issues closer to home. Evangelicals all know we begin the Christian life by faith. But we all too easily slip into thinking we need to win God’s approval through our activities. We become more Roman Catholic than we realize.

7. The Reformation wasn’t about the authority of Scripture—at least not quite.

In his attack on Luther, Erasmus begins by talking about Scripture. "I confess it is right," he says, "that the sole authority of Holy Scripture should outweigh all the votes of all mortal men." So far so good. But he continues, "The authority of the Scripture is not here in dispute. . . . Our battle is about the meaning of Scripture." He goes on to say we need the authority of the Church to determine the true meaning of Scripture.

In other words, everyone agreed with the authority of Scripture. But the Catholic Church placed Church tradition alongside Scripture and claimed the exclusive right to interpret the Bible. The Reformers, however, rejected the notion that the church establishes the authenticity of the gospel. It’s the other way round: the gospel establishes the authenticity of the church. They were happy to learn from church tradition, but when push came to shove, Scripture alone is our ultimate authority.
Again, this brings the issues closer to home. Today no evangelical rejects the authority of Scripture. But all too often we place our experience alongside Scripture or use experience to interpret Scripture—rather than the other way round.

8. The Reformation is not over.

Earlier this year I stood in Piazza Martin Lutero in Rome. Yes, they’ve named a square after Luther. In Rome. With the Pope’s blessing. Proof surely that the Reformation is over? Sadly not. It’s true that the rise of secularism means Protestants and Catholics often find themselves standing together on issues of morality and religious freedom. It’s also true that many Catholics and Protestants hold similar theological views.

But that’s because many Catholics no longer follow the official Catholic teaching and many Protestants have lost touch with their Reformation roots. But the fault lines of the Reformation have not gone away. "The Pope’s a Catholic" is the epitome of a non-news story. But, despite the PR coming out of the Vatican, in a 1985 lecture, Pope Francis claimed the Reformation underlies all the problems of Western civilization, from secularism to totalitarianism. He labeled Luther and Calvin "heretics." Lutheranism is "a good idea gone foolish" while the "schismatic" Calvin tore apart humanity, society and the church.

9. The Reformation still matters and not just when we’re talking to Catholics.

The Reformation was always intended to be an ongoing project. One of its slogans was semper reformanda. It’s usually translated as "always reforming," but a better translation is "always being reformed." The church is always being reformed by God’s Word. It doesn’t describe a movement forward to some uncharted horizon, but a continual movement back to God’s Word. On justification, Scripture, preaching, grace, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, and everyday life, evangelicals have important lessons to learn from the Reformation.

10. The Reformation makes us small and Christ big.

Why was the Reformation controversial in the sixteenth century? Why does it remain controversial today? The answer, I believe, is that the Reformation (or rather the biblical gospel it rediscovered) makes us small and Christ big. At the heart of the Reformation was the realization that:
  • We are more helpless than we realize.
  • Christ is more sufficient than we realize.
  • God is more gracious than we realize.
This is what’s meant by soli Deo gloria, "to the glory of God alone." There’s no room in Reformation theology for human boasting. No one can claim their salvation or their knowledge of God is down to their intellect, morality, or religion. It’s all of God from start and finish. That’s our great hope and confidence. Our salvation is founded on the certain promises of God and the finished work of Christ. And if it’s all of God from start to finish, then the glory goes to him alone.

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a pastor of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, and curriculum director of the Acts 29-Oak Hill Academy, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is the coauthor of Total Church and is the author of over thirty books, including You Can Change, A Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.
reshaped the modern world spiritually, culturally and politically.

To wit, the art above, Breugel's Peasant Wedding, is a painting---one of my lifelong favorites---which captures the Protestant Reformation emerging art tradition focusing on scenes of modern life rather than the religious or classic themes of the Catholic Church which many if not most reformers considered idolatrous.

Anyway, the following piece by Tim Chester was posted  at TGC:

Bruegael's Peasant Wedding is a painting that captures the Protestant Reformation artistic tradition: focusing on scenes from modern life rather than religious or classical themes

Source: Boundless. “Impact of the Protestant Reformation.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 26 Sep. 2016. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2016 from

Bruegael's Peasant Wedding is a painting that captures the Protestant Reformation artistic tradition: focusing on scenes from modern life rather than religious or classical themes

Source: Boundless. “Impact of the Protestant Reformation.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 26 Sep. 2016. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2016 from

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fly Fishing Couple Halt Grizzly Attack With Bear Spray and Live to Tell the Story

THIS IS A SCARY BEAR STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING.  I've had more than my share of grizzly encounters over the years in Jackson Hole and the Bridger Teton Wilderness, but have never been charged.  The moral of the story is to take bear spray everywhere you go in the wild and have it ready at all times.  This could have had a very different ending otherwise. BTW, the photo above is one I took  of a sow grizzly with two cubs up near Togwotee Pass this past July....

This from the Jackson Hole News/Guide today:
Fly rod in hand, John Vandenbos was 45 minutes into a hike with his wife over this past weekend descending toward the Lamar River in steep, thick terrain when the brown blur came at him. It was a grizzly bear, unable to hear his approach, in the water munching on the remains of a pronghorn. Upon seeing John and Lisa Vandenbos, the bruin immediately started coming in hot....

“That bear came out of the river bank 30 feet below us so fast it was like an explosion,” the Bozeman, Montana, resident said. “It came up that hillside about 25 miles per hour.

Truly, he was at the end of my fly rod.” Vandenbos recalled only having time to think that he’d be a statistic, and that he ought to fall on his stomach so his pack could protect him. He didn’t have time for even that, but was able to raise his arms to protect his face from the impending strike. In doing so, he stopped the grizzly in its tracks at exactly 9 feet away. How’d he know the exact distance? His fly rod, recall, was in his hand.

“I touch his nose,” he said. “I put it on his snout and yell very loudly, ‘bear!’ and then I flicked it in his face." Time was bought. Vandenbos’ analysis: “The bear doesn’t quite know what to do with the tip of a Thomas & Thomas 5-weight 9-foot rod.”

“My brother bought it for me years ago and it’s falling apart,” he said, “but it’s now called my bear slayer.”

 His wife, Lisa, immediately behind him along the narrow trail, took advantage of the pause. Seconds into the encounter, she unholstered her bear spray and blasted an orange fiery stream that coursed by her husband’s cheek and at the bruin. The bear was alarmed by the noise and perhaps smelled the spray, but didn’t seem to be significantly affected.

 It ran off back toward the Lamar River, but then changed its mind and headed in for another charge.

 Vandenbos’ rod, in the meantime, shot out of his hand, and he reached for his belt to send out a second blast of bear spray. An expanded orange cloud lingered in the air as the grizzly rumbled back for the second charge. This time, the sting of the capsaicin hit the bear.

The grizzly, to Vandenbos’ eye about 550 pounds, took off at a full-blown gallop, passed its water-logged lunch, crossed the river, cleared a hillside and disappeared.

The whole encounter, the Bozeman man estimated, took 15 seconds. Rattled from having survived a life-threatening encounter, the couple gave up on the pursuit of cutthroat trout and hiked out about twice as fast as they made their way in.

They drove off, waved down a passing Yellowstone ranger and filed a report. Because the grizzly was exhibiting natural food-guarding behavior and caused no harm, no retributive action will be taken. John Vandenbos, 60, said that he’s undeterred about fishing in grizzly country after enduring the fist close encounter of his life.

The next day he was out testing his luck on Slough Creek.

 “I’ll go back anytime,” Vandenbos said. “I’ll just make sure I have my bear spray with me and my fishing rod, but I wouldn’t count on the fishing rod. “The bear spray did it,” he added. “Without the bear spray, we wouldn’t have made it.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Newt Gingrich Pushes Back From Megyn Kelly's Inflammatory Language About Trump

I'VE GOT MORE TO SAY ON THIS SOON, but for now posting this exchange from last night is a good beginning.

The Bushes 70th Birthday Blast In Crawford

LOOKING HAPPY AND RELAXED WITH GEORGE STRAIT ON THE RANCH,  I'm sure both Laura and George thank their Great God and lucky stars every day that the White House is forever in their rear view mirror. Beyond that they are jointly celebrating their 70th birthdays.

Many healthy happy, sober returns!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Science and Slippery Slope of Lying, Or Practice Makes More Guilt-Free Whoppers Over Time



 THIS IS A FASCINATING ARTICLE ON LYING and how the emotional twinge of guilt diminishes over time with practice.
A STUDY OF WHAT GOES ON in the brain when someone tells a lie could offer a biological explanation for why untruths often “snowball over time,” according to psychologist Tali Sharot of University College London.

When people tell small fibs, she and her colleagues reported on Monday in Nature Neuroscience, their brain becomes desensitized to the emotional twinge that dishonesty usually causes. Lying becomes easier and telling ever-bigger self-serving whoppers becomes more likely, they found: that may be why nickel-and-diming on tax returns sometimes balloons into massive fraud, why spousal white lies become deeper secrets, and why scientific misconduct escalates from “losing” data to faking findings.
The consensus is still out on this study but it does make quite a lot of sense to me. Read the rest at RealClearScience.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday: The Books of Kings---Or Running the Divided Nation Into the Ground In Spite of God's Repeated Warnings


THE TWO BOOKS OF KINGS present a history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of King David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years (c. 960 – c. 560 BCE).  It concludes a series of books running from Joshua through Judges and Samuel, which make up the section of the Hebrew Bible called the Former Prophets; this series is also often referred to as the Deuteronomistic history, a body of writing which scholars believe was written to provide a theological explanation for the destruction of the Jewish kingdom by Babylon in 586 BCE and a foundation for a return from exile

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cindy Crawford and Caitlyn Jenner Could Be Twins

THIS IS WILD, EVEN CREEPY---BUT I THINK CINDY CRAWFORD IS A DEAD RINGER FOR CAITLYN JENNER IN THE PHOTO ABOVE. Always thought Crawford was fairly beautiful. But now that I see her as a Caitlyn lookalike, I'm no longer sure I like her looks and the purple satin blouse is not becoming.  While I'm at it, think Cindy's hair is too long and could use a good cut.   Ditto,  Caitlyn.


Friday, October 21, 2016

I Get Miffed, Then Receive A Brilliant Response From A Guy Friend----If Only Every Man Was This Wise, Funny and Savvy With A Woman, Including Trump



Great to be home.

However, just as I returned today, I was confronted with something that upset me greatly from a chance encounter at the grocery store. While it's beside the point to bore anyone with the details, let it suffice that I was hurt, angry and completely baffled as I left the conversation.

Later I sent another man friend  I considered responsible for the mess a text message something to this effect: Big D, Just ran into X coming out of the grocery and learned that blah, blah, blah....I am deeply hurt and baffled and hold you both responsible. It was an inexcusable over-sight on both your parts.

Within a few minutes I received his brilliant reply:

Call you in a bit so you can chew on my ass. As you know I'm just an inconsiderate SOB as I've always been. (Followed by a couple of hilarious guy symbols).

His response was so brilliant and disarming that I couldn't stay angry at him for long: He wanted to talk and put himself in the line of fire and my ire, rather that being silent or turning tail and running.  He wanted to listen to a raving maniac while at the same time being self-effacing.

My kinda guy. 

 He called a few minutes later and while I tried to be a little mad, I just couldn't get a mean on even though he had been thoughtless and we didn't gloss over the issue.  It ended up being such a civilized conversation that before long, we were laughing and ready to move on.  He  offered me a ride on his plane anytime he and his wife---also a dear friend--- fly to D.C., NYC or Florida. While that was more than a generous gesture on his part, and one he had made before, it was really not necessary.

What turned the tide completely for me was his disarming, charming, take responsibility response.

Now if only Donald Trump could have learned that with Hillary Clinton. It just might have turned the tide of history.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Reflection

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no
one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and
little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket
or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless,
airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable,
impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you
can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.

— C. S. Lewis,
The Four Loves, chapter 6

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall On the Potomac

NEO: AMAZING AIR BATTLE---A MUST WATCH! LEAVES ARE ONLY STARTING TO CHANGE HERE IN D.C. But it's cool and crisp and everywhere I look there's gridlock.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday, How Can Believers Enjoy the Thought of Being In Heaven Knowing Loved Ones Could Be In Hell?

By Tim Challies:

Heaven is far too perfect, far too sinless, far too other for us to imagine in our fallen minds. Our attempts to put brush to canvas have led to depictions of cherubs on clouds, idyllic colors of dawn, Christ as a blinding light, a faceless adoring throng. Some of these attempts to capture heaven’s splendors are beautiful and even captivating, yet we know they are also incomplete. They are, at best, the barest reflection of what awaits. Our imaginations must always fall short of heaven’s glorious perfections.

Revelation 21:4 assures us that in heaven God himself will wipe away our tears, that there will be no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. There is a deeply comforting certainty in our future—a certainty of joy, bliss, comfort, peace, love, and perfection. However, those of us with non-believing family members and friends can find this certainty an area of intense struggle. Why? Because we know that not everyone will be there with us. Many we love today will have an eternal experience of pain, torment, and separation. How could we ever enjoy heaven if our loved ones are in hell? R.C. Sproul tackled this question at a Ligonier Ministries conference years ago and I appreciate his answer.

Sproul begins by recounting a humorous moment from his seminary days. After attending an event in which a speaker unabashedly tore away at Reformed doctrine, young Sproul, disturbed by what he heard, quipped to his professor, “If John Calvin would have heard that sermon, he would have turned over in his grave.” His professor gravely responded, “Young man, don’t you know that nothing can disturb the felicity John Calvin is experiencing right now?”

He reflected little on their interaction, but shortly after heard that same professor’s answer to how a Christian can enjoy heaven knowing of loved ones in hell: “You will be so sanctified that you will be able to see your own mother in hell and rejoice knowing that God’s perfect justice is being carried out.” Sproul’s knee-jerk reaction was to scoff, even laugh, at the lunacy of such a statement.
At face value his professor’s answer felt wrong, insensitive even. However, if we can be certain that our future in heaven is one of undisturbed joy and that at the sight of God’s perfect justice our hearts will cry in adoration, nothing, not even the just fate of the unsaved friend or family member, will disturb our gladness.

Why, then, does our knee-jerk reaction match Sproul’s on this side of eternity? Sproul provides three answers:

We do not know God. That is, we do not really know God. We do not know him as he actually is. We especially don’t know him as the God who is holy, holy, holy. In fact, we are often even offended by his holiness, as if it is an ignoble or capricious trait. We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because our knowledge of God is too small.

We do not know ourselves. We do not know God as we ought but we also don’t know ourselves as we ought. Try as we might, we remain oblivious to how truly heinous our sin is, how truly filthy we are in the sight of God, and how incredible our salvation is. It is so human for us to sin that we may even feel as if God is somehow obligated to forgive us. We need better self-knowledge—the kind God gives by his Spirit through his Word. We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because we do not know ourselves as well as we ought.
We do not know what glorification means. The last link of the Golden Chain of Romans 8:28-30 is glorification. Though we tend to focus most on predestination and justification, they are simply the means to that great end of glorification. We ought to long for the day when we are glorified, when we and everything else is purified of all traces of sin. Heaven is so much more than the absence of death and deterioration—it is also the absence of sin. 

Can you imagine a place where there is no sin? Do you look forward to a place of no sin? That is our hope! We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because we think too little of the beauty of glorification.

Until we are glorified, our sympathies will rest more easily with human beings we love than with God—his glory and perfect justice. But as Sproul explains in his talk, “once sin is removed from my life… and I love the Lord my God with all of my heart and all of my soul in undiluted perfection, my compassion, my love, my concern will be much more for the vindication of God’s holiness than for a corrupt fallen kinsmen of mine.” 

And so we pray for the lost, we share the gospel with them, we plead for their souls. And all the while we trust in the God who is good and who does only what is good.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

D.C. McCallister Puts the Latest Trump Brouhaha Into Historical and Amoral Context----Knocks Ball Outta the Park--With All the Bases Loaded

I AM SLOWLY GETTING OVER MY over- reaction to the latest Trump scandal and starting to put things into somewhat better perspective.  Nothing  in  Donald Trump's disgusting man-talk 11 years ago is defensible.  Nothing. Nor is it surprising since ultra powerful, wealthy, unscrupulous men like he and Bill Clinton are babe magnets for ambitious, beautiful and overly available women in a world awash in easy sex. Power and wealth are indeed the most powerful aphrodisiacs in the universe since the beginning of time.

Both Donald and Bill have drunk lavishly for decades at the font of easy women, easy sex.  Men like these are opportunistic sexual feeders and women they bed do their part to fall over themselves letting themselves be used as sex objects/toys. 

Without doubt, the best thing I've read since this story broke is D.C. McCallister's scathing piece @ PJMedia posted in full below. Please take time to read it and weep--- especially if you're a believing Christian--- as we review once again how we got here to this slippery slope.  We're all guilty and complicit as to where we are today:


THE WIZARDS of smarts in the political arena are telling us Donald Trump's campaign is over because of recently leaked tapes of a private conversation from 2005 that was disparaging to women. The comments are so offensive, they say, he’s not fit for office.

From the moment the tapes were made public, the drumbeat to Trump's personal walk of shame began. Politicians who formerly endorsed him fled in terror, not wanting the soiled stain of sexual stigma attached to them. NeverTrumpers descended into we 're  holier-than-thou glee as they declared how noble and right they've always been not to support such a despicable man. And the left has been howling like puritanical wolves, condemning him for his immorality and sexist treatment of women.

I find this reaction to Trump's private conservation rather ironic. It's ironic coming from a secular culture that long ago declared objective morality dead. It's ironic coming from politicos and media bottom-feeders who defended the abusive and disgusting behavior of Bill Clinton, not when he was a private citizen but when he was a sitting president.

It's ironic coming from a Republican political elite that has told its religious base that social and moral issues don't matter in politics. "It's all about the economy, stupid. Leave your morals in the church but don't voice them in the public square."

The creep of moral relativism in America has been steady for many decades, increasing in speed to the point that the "slouching toward Gomorrah" has become a sprint. The notion that there is objective truth or absolute morality has been universally panned to the point that everything is tolerated except standards of right and wrong. "Everyone decides for himself what is right, especially when it comes to sex" is the mantra of today's culture.

For years, Christians in particular have been attacked and silenced as they've tried to challenge the immorality that is pervasive in today's society. When they tell people casual sex is wrong, they get the inevitable, "You have no right to tell me what I can or can't do." If they oppose sexual immorality in any form, including adultery, they’re maligned as sanctimonious puritans by lovers of libertinism.
How ironic, then, that a culture which rejects moral standards has suddenly become so pure and pristine, sitting in judgment of someone they deem too immoral to become president because of something he said in private. As a logical person, I have to ask these paragons of newly found virtue where this standard by which they've judged Trump is found.

If morality is relative to each individual—a purely subjective experience—by what standard are they judging Trump? Obviously, in such a secular climate, there can’t even be a “standard.”
Why should anyone listen to people who out of one side of their mouths declare the death of objective moral standards yet out of the other condemn someone for violating objective moral standards?

Those who are complaining about Trump today have no basis for their moral outrage. That's because their secular amoral worldview rejects any basis for that moral judgment. Any argument they make against the "immorality" of Trump is stolen, or at least borrowed for expediency, from a religious worldview they have soundly rejected.

The fact of the matter is that Judeo-Christian ethics have been driven from our culture and declared a dinosaur from an ancient past. Right and wrong, virtue, morality, goodness—these have been rejected in pop culture, our education system, the media, and politics. We have been told repeatedly that character doesn't matter because everyone's values are different. All that matters is an ideological agenda and the power that goes with it.

It was this mentality that fueled the defense of Bill Clinton in 1998 when the world discovered the truth about his illicit affair with a subordinate, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton, who had been accused repeatedly of abusing even raping women—all defended by his wife, Hillary—lied about sexual relations with a young woman who worked for him in the White House.

When his despicable behavior was exposed to the point that he couldn't deny it any longer, Clinton spoke to the American people. In August 1998, he gave the following address about his lies, his disgusting sexual behavior, and his mistreatment of a woman who worked as a subordinate.
As you know, in a deposition in January, I was asked questions about my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. While my answers were legally accurate, I did not volunteer information
Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and personal failure on my part for which am solely and completely responsible. . . . .I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.
Now, this matter is between me, the two people I love most--my wife and our daughter--and our God. I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so.Nothing is more important to me personally. But it is private, and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It's nobody's business but ours.
Now, pay close to what he says next because it directly applies to what is happening with Trump, so much so that he should mimic the former president by using these very words in his own defense:
Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.
Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long, and I take my responsibility for my part in all of this. That is all I can do.
Now is the time -- in fact, it is past time to move on.
We have important work to do -- real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face.
And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century.
So willing were the media and Democratic politicians to get past the sexual impropriety of the president that they did just what he said. For months and years following, Clinton defenders repeated with defiant fury, "This is a private matter and has nothing to do with the issues at hand. The American people don’t care about Clinton, Lewinsky, a soiled dress, and a cigar."

The vile and lewd sexual exploits of the president and his mistreatment of a young woman who was in a powerless position didn't matter. Not one iota.

Coupled with this defense of Clinton was the overall messaging that the moral absolutism of Christianity and any religious types who dared judge another person's actions or character needed to exit the public stage. The only thing that was important was the progressive cultural and political agenda of the Democratic Party.

I would posit that this has not changed. All the same people in the media and political class today who are condemning Trump don't give a wit about what he said on that tape. It's all smoke and mirrors with them. Given the rampant immorality in the D.C. and throughout the political media, they're hardly shocked by the businessman's comments.

They don't believe in absolute morality anyway. And even if they do have some semblance of conscience, they don't think it matters what happens in private. All that matters is pushing their liberal agenda. If it takes being hypocritical about Trump, then so be it.

Their moral outrage is as fake as Hillary Clinton's smile during a debate. The real outrage they feel is over any threat to their ideology and their quest for power.

Yet the sanctimonious fools on the right have little-to-no sense to see this or how they're playing into the hands of the left. Republicans have become mere pawns in the Democratic Party's game of political power.

This started years ago when the Republican Party suddenly became enlightened and decided that social and moral issues don't matter. "It's the economy, stupid! Don't talk about the evils of abortion.

Don't talk about the Ten Commandments or prayer in schools. Don't talk about the immorality of same-sex marriage or transgendering or even homosexuality. Don't talk about Bill Clinton's sexual abuse or anything that touches on issues of character.”

Their message to the salt-of the-earth types and "hobbits" who believe in right and wrong, principles, and the Bible has been “For God’s sake, just shut up!”

For years, the religious right was attacked and maligned from within the Republican Party. They were accused of being backward, stupid, moralistic boobs. Political elites were ashamed to share the same space with them on the public stage. They just wanted them to go away.

Well, they didn't go away, but they did listen. If morality doesn't matter in politics, then just elect someone who will at least stop the leftist juggernaut (or slow it down) even though he's immoral, unprincipled, egotistical, and not really much of a conservative. And if he damages the GOP political elite in the process and takes a bit of the shine off of their arrogant crowns, so much the better. Voila, Donald Trump.

So now we have a tape that show's Trump is an immoral, nasty guy, speaking as many guys do in their "man-space" (frats, military bases, golf courses, locker rooms). Is it defensible? No. Is it gross? Yes. Is it immoral? Indeed. But for a society that has declared absolute morality dead, what credible response does it have to Trump or anyone else?

It doesn’t have one. All it has is mock outrage that signifies nothing.

Can Democrats (and Republicans) who defended Bill Clinton criticize Trump with any moral authority? No. They have no moral authority. They abandoned it for political gain, and that’s all they’re concerned about today—power, not virtue.

As for all the Republicans—particularly those of the establishment, the political elites—what can they say except that they are reaping what they have sown?

They shunned the religious right and said morality doesn't have a place in politics. All that matters is economics and the sustainability of the Grand Ole Party.

They—the GOP political elites now chiding Trump voters about virtue—made a deal with the Devil long ago to secure political influence and power. By abandoning the moral foundations that would have prevented the rise of Trump, they have no basis on which to even whisper about the immorality of Trump.

AMEN.  Spoiler alert for Sunday's debate and beyond----Boatloads of moral and righteous indignation and posturing ahead.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Time For Trump To Quit Race, Let Pence Take Over--- Clinton Should Quit Too (OK, This Is Naive Of Me)



ON PENCE FROM CNBC:  Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was "beside himself" and his wife was furious, according to a person familiar with their thinking. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to share the private discussion.
In public, Pence ignored questions shouted by reporters in Rossford, Ohio, where he was campaigning with his daughter.

BROADDRICK:  Bill Clinton's actions speak louder than Donald Trump's words 




I said it before,  after the first debate and I'll say it again: Trump. Will. Never. Be. POTUS.

Yes, I know this hot mic tape with Billy Bush in 2005 is typical, puerile male locker room talk---spoken by chest-thumping males billions of times a day down through the eons. It's probably nothing compared to Bill Clinton's sexual conquests and braggadocios talk.

Nevertheless, this expose will render Trump's campaign D O A.   Fini.  Done.  No apology will change this turn-of-events.(Trump apologizes, says he was wrong.) He should quit  immediately and let Mike Pence take the reins of the campaign.  Conservatives will jump at warp speed on a Pence finish.

While we're at it,  I think Clinton should quit too.  Keeping both these low-lifes and their spouses out of the White House would be the best thing that could ever happen to America.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tim Kaine, My Idea of the Most Unattractive Man in America



The idea of having to watch Hillary and Tim for the next four years in the media spotlight---along with Kim Kardashian---is almost too much to bear.  That's why I will vote for  the very imperfect, sometimes goofy Donald Trump and hope his secret service details will never allow him tweet after sundown, even if they have to handcuff him. Maybe they can put Trump under house arrest in the White House.

Pence rightly points out Kaine's  pugnacious verbosity an avalanche of insults. And he calls Kaine's nonsense the silliness that it is.  Pence plows on and sets the Trump/Pence record straight on the struggling economy,  immigration reform and vetting, premature withdrawal from Iraq,  Iran nuclear weapons plan,  NATO,  cyber-security,  the Russian reset, the Clinton Foundation and the sanctity and dignity of life and pro-adoption. Pence spoke eloquently on being opposed to partial birth abortion.

Lost opportunity on the death-spiral of Obamacare.

The beautiful moderator lost control early on.

The well-informed Pence shined, conveying strength and clarity for his ticket.  Like I said,  Pence is a prince of a candidate and I will enthusiastically vote for him. Though I don't think this debate will move the needle much for either side.

Did the Infamous Pink Panther Jewelry Syndicate Steal Kim Kardashian's Baubles In Paris?



Early Monday morning, five armed men disguised as police officers broke into Kim Kardashian's hotel room in Paris, held her at gunpoint, and stole over $11 million of jewelry. Few criminals have the wherewithal to pull off a heist like that and leave no trail, so it's already rumored that the infamous Pink Panthers were behind the robbery.

The Pink Panthers are a notorious network of jewel thieves. The group was formed over three decades ago, and is said to be made up of close to 200 men and women, mostly Serbians and Montenegrins. According to law enforcement agencies they have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars worth of jewelry from different locations around the world.
All this begs another question, was it all a publicity stunt?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday---Economy of Words: Speaking Less, Listening More

JON BLOOM AT DESIRING GOD HAS WRITTEN SOMETHING I CERTAINLY NEED TO READ AND HEAR OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Whatever the form of communication,  I increasing prefer giving and receiving brevity over verbosity.  If someone writes too much online,  I rarely read or finish it OR I go straight to the conclusion to get the point.  I avoid people who talk incessantly. More and more I love times of pure silence to quiet my pounding heart and troubled mind in a world awash with way too much information, high drama and fear-mongering.

To wit, I will read and re-read  this piece often this week and try to take it more deeply to heart.

Anyway,  Bloom's piece puts  it all in perspective within a biblical worldview: 

Our God is a speaking God. The Bible tells us that the universe was created by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3), and that he holds it together by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). That means everything we see is a word of God, and many things we don’t see, like every angel and demon, every galaxy and quark in existence. One could rightly say God speaks a lot.

With that in mind, have you ever noticed how small the Bible is?
The inspired, authoritative, infallible accumulated written record of the specific words God wanted us to read and remember over the course of 3,500–4,000 years — the definitive book to gather in and guide his people — is tiny. Its sixty-six “books” are brief, some only a few pages long. At a little over 750,000 words, most English versions of the Bible have less than two thousand pages.

Why Didn’t He Say More?

To help put that number in perspective, here are rough estimates for several popular books or authors:

  • William Shakespeare: 960,000
  • Harry Potter: 1,084,170
  • John Piper’s forthcoming collected works: 3,000,000
  • Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics: 6,000,000
  • The Bible: Only 750,000
Numbers like these simply make us pause and wonder over God’s written word economy. 

Our wonder increases when we think that during the most important moment in human history, when the Word himself became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), we only have a relative handful of recorded words that he actually spoke. Unlike us, Jesus seems to have been a man of few, potent human words. Why did he choose the words he did? Why didn’t he say more?
Of the likely thousands of answers to those questions, what we know is that Jesus limited himself to speaking only what the Father gave him to speak (John 8:28). There was more he could have said (John 16:12), but he guarded his mouth, speaking carefully and prayerfully only what gave grace to his hearers (Ephesians 4:29), or delivered the needed rebuke and reproof (2 Timothy 4:2). And he intends for us to learn from him (Matthew 11:29).

Living in a Whirl of Words

Since the fall of man, the human tongue has always been “a restless evil,” “a world of unrighteousness,” setting whole forests of humanity on fire (James 3:5–8). The proverbial author said, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19). And the post-Eden world has been a whirlwind of words. 

But never before have so many been able to say so much in so many ways. Satan, the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), has filled the airwaves, cyber-waves, print-waves, brainwaves, and every other wave of human communication with lying words. He is the father of lies (John 8:44), and wields power over the world (1 John 5:19). He is working to exponentially increase words, and in doing so, to increase the snares of human transgression. The tornado of words is now a raging Category 5 hurricane.

But the hurricane has an eye. It is the Spirit of God speaking through the word of God. The few, powerful, nourishing words of God are still waters and green pastures of refreshment; they are Gibraltar-like rocks of refuge from the whirling wicked words careening across the world in which we live. The few words of the Word have eternal life in them (John 6:68), in a world overwhelmed with tongues of death (Proverbs 18:21). 

Seek the hurricane’s eye. Seek the rock of refuge. The storm of words never lets up. Therefore, like anything else, we get used to it. We acclimate to the howling wind of words. Strangely, the hush of the eye can feel strange. The quiet of the refuge can be unnerving. If that’s true for us, we need the stillness more than we realize.

Let Your Words Be Few

But we also need to speak less. When speaking to God, perhaps we need to take more seriously these few words of counsel:

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
And when speaking to others, perhaps we must take more seriously the concise commands to be “slow to speak” (James 1:19) and to “let no corrupting talk come out of [our] mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Christians are “Christ-ones.” We are being conformed to Christ’s image (Romans 8:29). “As he is so also are we in the world” (1 John 4:17). If Jesus limited himself to speaking only what the Father gave him to speak, if he spoke carefully and prayerfully, if he could have said more at times but held back, what does that mean for us?
It means, in comparison to the volume of words flooding the world, we should let our words be graciously few.

Lay Aside the Weight of Too Many Words

Too many words inevitably result in sin (Proverbs 10:19). Wordly sin just compounds the closely clinging weights of relational conflict, concealed lies, broken trust, a violated conscience, and knowledge of a grieved Holy Spirit. And too much time in the satanic whirlwind of worldly words also takes its toll, weighing down our spirits.
Let us lay aside these sins and weights by:

  • Confessing the sins of our lips to God (1 John 1:9), and to appropriate others (James 5:16),
  • Making this our prayer: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3),
  • Letting our words be appropriately few to God (Ecclesiastes 5:2) and to others (James 1:19),
  • And daily taking refuge from the hurricane of words in the eye of the word of God.
Our God is a speaking God. He is not silent. The Word is speaking into existence you and everything else that exists. And the Word’s few spoken human words have more power in them than five hundred trillion words of men, angels, and demons. That’s why the Father says to us of his Son, “listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). We would do well to listen more and speak less — and when we do speak, to only speak what he gives us to say.