The Wintery Knight link of the week

For those of you who aren’t already regular readers of the Wintery Knight, don’t miss Should Christian doctors be forced to act like atheists at work?

He starts by addressing a chilling account of how religious freedoms (mainly those of Christians) continue to get suppressed.  It isn’t just about keeping people from imposing their views on others, it is about silencing religious speech completely.  A patient complained that his doctor offered to pray for him. Eek!  Apparently that made him feel bad because the doctor thought his religious views were superior.  Free advice: If you have such a shallow faith that the mere hint that someone else thinks their views are right makes you squirm, then you should examine your views more carefully.

Then he points out how flawed the foundation of Liberalism is, both morally and economically.  You’ll want to read it all, but here’s a sample.

The General Medical Council is asking medics if it should “regulate doctors’ lives outside medicine” in a review of its guidelines on ethics.

Currently it would only be a disciplinary matter if behaviour after hours affected a doctor’s work or brought the profession into disrepute, or if they imposed their views on others.

. . .

It comes as the watchdog prepares to investigate the case of a GP in Margate, Dr Richard Scott, who is accused of upsetting a patient by offering to pray for them.

The GP says their conversation turned to religion after they had finished discussing medical options, and that he asked permission to raise his Christian beliefs with the patient, who is of another faith.

But the GMC sent him a warning letter, claiming his comments had “distressed” the patient and “did not meet with the standards required of a doctor”.

. . .

“It is further alleged that Dr Scott subsequently confirmed, via national media, that he had sought to suggest his own faith had more to offer than that of the patient.

And this gets extended to cases where pro-life medical doctors and nurses are forced to before abortions against their conscience. It’s not just evangelism that is threatened, it’s the freedom to not murder at the state’s bidding. This pressure to comply with the state doesn’t come out of nowhere – it occurs when the state is in control of an industry and there is nowhere else for Christians to go to find work. And it is stronger for those who work in government monopolies.

If you are a doctor in a government-run single payer health care system, then you have a choice of one employer – the government. In the West, that government will likely be secular, and the main job of that government will be to get themselves re-elected. Conservative political parties will be able to get re-elected by delivering national security and economic growth. Even moderate conservatives like George W. Bush can deliver unemployment rates of 4.4% and 160 billion dollar deficits – so the voters re-elect conservatives because they have jobs and because they are safe. But liberal parties can’t produce jobs or balance a budget – like with Obama’s 9.5% unemployment rate and his 1.7 trillion dollar deficits. Liberals screw up the economy, and then they have to resort to bribing the electorate with government spending in order to be re-elected.

So what goodies do the liberal parties provide? Well, take health care. There is a block of voters who want to be able to engage in risky activities that make them feel good, and then get out of them by having the government take their neighbors’ money to pay for their medical bills. (Or, their neighbor’s children’s money, to be more precise, since it is much more politically acceptable to run up 1.7 trillion dollar debts than to embrace pro-growth economic policies that would lower the unemployment rate, as with Bush’s tax cuts). For example, may liberal voters want the government to provide things like taxpayer-funded abortions, so that they can engage in reckless premarital sex without being burdened by the consequences of their own choices. And the liberal party buys their votes by transferring wealth from other taxpayers to pay for these abortions.

Now, when these liberal parties go before the voters, they don’t talk about wanting to provide taxpayer-funded abortions to liberal voters. They tell sob stories about people who need medical treatment but who can’t afford it, or about hungry children who have less to eat than other children. Boo, hoo, hoo, they explain. They play on people’s fears and emotions, and, for some ignorant voters, that works. Even many Christians who decide who to vote for based on their emotions and peer pressure will fall for this – they are too busy watching “Dancing With the Stars” to read about reducing health care costs through consumer-driven health care or improving educational outcomes through school choice.

. . .

Helping people isn’t the government’s job, it’s your job. Stop trying to resolve your fears and uncertainties about life by making the government into God. Government shouldn’t have that power. It’s not their job to help others – it’s your job. It’s not their job to provide you with happiness in this life by taking your neighbor’s money, either.

Solyndra

Here is a great timeline on the Solyndra scandal, courtesy of Verum Serum.  It is already a little dated, though, as it doesn’t include how the Solyndra executives promised to testify yet are now refusing.

This is pure crony capitalism and political payoffs.  It also highlights the foolishness of much of the Green movement.  Hopefully this gets to where the mainstream media can’t ignore it (though MSNBC is trying by not mentioning it in prime time).

Note how the Bush administration rejected them but the Obama administration wasted half a billion dollars on them.  Coincidentally, of course, a major Obama fundraiser and donor was involved on the Solyndra side.

Also see the timeline of how Obama is using GM (“Government Motors”) to manipulate the electorate.

Rob Bell’s Co-Pastor is also a false teacher

“I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell, I can only entertain theological possibilities.” – Shane Hipps, co-pastor of Rob Bell’s church Mars Hill in Grand Rapids

via Sola Sisters: Rob Bell’s Co-Pastor Shane Hipps Says He Can’t Know For Certain About Heaven or Hell.

Huh?  He can only teach about what he has actually experienced?  If he can’t pick a lane he should get off the road.  Why would anyone pay him to be a “pastor?”

The Sola Sisters make a great point here:

As Todd Friel of Wretched Radio/TV recently pointed out on a great video clip, Rob Bell should have never become a problem, not if our pastors and leaders had been willing to do the hard thing, and step up and name names and call out false teachers before they – and their heresies – became full-blown.  But most of them didn’t, sad to say, and the result of this has been that false teachers, like Bell and now Hipps, two postmodern hipsters who have always made it their goal to be culturally relevant and thus appeal to the youth,have captured an entire generation of young people with their damning heresies. Brothers and sisters, and especially, Christian parents: Let’s please try to get ahead of this one so that we will be equipped and ready to answer back to their lies.

Church leaders need to use better discernment in what they permit to be taught in their churches.

Jesus died for this?

I was getting a lot of traffic for this 2007 post so I thought I’d re-run it.

—–

In an episode from The Simpsons where Homer sues the church, Marge tries to discourage him by saying that he’ll be made fun of in the church bulletin. Then Homer shows her that they already are making fun of him.

jesus-died-for-this.jpg

This was just a little gag in the episode, of course. But the world could plug a picture of any of us at our worst possible moment into that bulletin and ask incredulously, “Jesus died for this?”

It points to a grand and shocking truth: Yes, Jesus did die for this – for slobs who fall asleep in church, and for those who sin countless times in countless ways (i.e., you and me). Satan wants you to believe that you are beyond hope and unforgivable, but that is a lie. (He’ll be just as glad if you believe the opposite lie — that you are just swell and good enough for God on your own without Jesus.)

2 Corinthians 5:15-17 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The world can’t handle that truth. It constantly tells you that you have to earn your way back to God with your good deeds. But that is futile. No amount of good deeds can bridge that gap. But there is good news:

Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:9: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Yes, Jesus died for “this” — the sinners. God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to salvation.

A commonly misinterpreted verse: Philippians 4:13

Hello visitors!  I hope you enjoy this post and come back regularly.  If you go to the main page you can subscribe via email in the upper right hand corner.  Also see another commonly misinterpreted verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me”) is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. I used to misuse it. I can’t remember the last time I heard it used correctly. It is one of the top 10 searched verses on biblestudytools.com, along with another frequently misused verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

We can’t ignore 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.).  Getting Bible verses wrong isn’t a felony, but if we love God and our neighbors we’ll want to be careful with his word and humbly change our views once we realize we’ve been mistaken.

I enjoy the Pyromaniacs blog and agreed with the basic premise of Self-esteem, Possibility Thinking, and Philippians 4:13 .

That verse is not a manifesto for self-esteem and possibility thinking —although it is often used that way. People quote the verse as if it meant “With Jesus’ help you can achieve whatever dream you have for yourself.” That’s not the idea at all. Paul is speaking as a man who wants to do the will of God and knows he is too weak and sinful to do it, but he is laying hold of Christ’s power to do in him what he knows he cannot do on his own.

I agreed with the first part but not as much with the last part. Yes, people misuse the verse to mean that they can accomplish all sorts of things through Jesus. It is technically true that we could accomplish great things with Jesus, of course, but that isn’t what Philippians 4:13 means. The verse refers to Christ’s power doing something very specific in the believer, not some sort of general power.

I love using Phil 4:13 as an example of how to read in context. You don’t need to be a Greek scholar.  You don’t need to read the entire Bible, or all of Philippians, or chapter 4 or even a paragraph to get the real meaning. Just go back one verse!

Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Verse 13 is Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. That’s it. Do every thing through Jesus and you can be content in everything. It isn’t about what you accomplish, it is about how you do whatever you do.

I would never actually say this to someone because it would come across too snarky, but when people quote Philippians 4:13 I’m tempted to ask, “Really? You can do all things through Christ? Does that include reading scripture in context?”

Instead, I say something like, “Oh, yes, Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. I love that verse.” I usually get a slightly puzzled look in return, but I hope they re-read it themselves and see what I meant.

Some people may think they’ve lost something special when they realize they’ve misinterpreted the verse. But did they really think that Jesus was going to help them win every race, get every job, get A’s on every test, leap tall buildings, etc.?

Being content sounds bland compared to our worldly desires, but what a phenomenal blessing the real interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is! How wonderful would it be to have contentment in every situation in life? That’s the true promise of scripture that we seek and rejoice in.

As often happens, the real meaning of the verse is better than what we wanted it to mean.

Also see Reading the Bible in Context for a very important lesson and other examples.

Mmmmm . . . Oreos . . . and Intelligent Design?

As usual, philosophy has some fancy terms to describe simple concepts.  Things are caused by agents or events.  The 10th domino falls because of the event preceding it (the 9th domino falling), but the first domino fell because an agent pushed it over.

Ignoring agent causation is a problem for Darwinists.  We use the inference of agent causation — or design — all day, every day.  The classic “watch on the beach” illustration is just one of countless examples one could use.  If you find a watch on a beach you infer that someone dropped it, not that it came into being by an infinitely long series of random events.  Crime investigations assume agent causation.  And on and on.

Greg Koukl makes this distinction in his essay on Oreos & Origins:

Now to give you an illustration about how the game is fixed by the courts and by the educational system and by the scientific community, I have suggested what I have called the Oreo Experiment. You go to your chemistry teacher and ask if he is able to look at a solution and describe, based on his scientific testing, what is in the solution and how the solution, the precipitate, came to be. The precipitate is the heavy stuff that falls out, precipitates in the solution. In a beaker, for example. It seems that someone who is well-versed in the area of chemistry and well-versed in the area of physics can look and measure and test and describe what happened in a simple kind of thing.

Your chemist teacher takes the challenge and you say, “Okay, I’m going to put out a beaker full of stuff. There you see it, and now I’m covering it. Tomorrow we’ll uncover it and you’ll see something that has precipitated. Then it is your job to figure out how that happened.” Sure. Fair enough. I know science. I know the laws of chemistry. We’ll do it.

However, just before the chemist comes into the room the next morning to begin his experiments to look and observe the precipitate and begin to measure it to solve the problem, you lift the cover on the beaker and drop in an Oreo cookie. He walks in, you remove the cover to the beaker, and there is this discolored solution, but clearly visible is this rapidly decaying Oreo cookie. Very obvious. You can still see the word “Oreo” on it. And you say, “Okay, now using the laws of physics and chemistry, explain to me how that Oreo cookie got there.” And he says, “Wait a minute, it’s obvious that someone put it there because Oreo cookies don’t just manufacture themselves out of nowhere in the middle of a beaker. You are playing a trick on me. Someone dropped it in there.” And then you say, “Foul. You’ve broken the rules. You’ve inferred an outside agent here. You’re not being scientific. It’s your job to be a scientist. This is a chemistry lab. Let’s stick with science. You are obliged to come up with some kind of explanation limited to the laws of chemistry and physics and time plus chance to explain how that Oreo cookie got there in the last twelve hours.” Now, he would be hard pressed to do so. Why? Because it was put there. You know it was. The evidence indicates it was. There was an agent that caused that, but the rules have restricted him from concluding what it obvious in the circumstances.

As Koukl points out, Intelligent Design isn’t a “God of the gaps” argument where we fill in the unknown with God.  Many times agent causation is the most likely and obvious answer, but scientists use a “science of the gaps” fallacy.  Their blind faith in science leads them to assume that “science” will explain it later.

But in this case, agent causation is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the “gap” of how the Oreo got there.  The materialists — who ignore agent causation when it is convenient — have a gap, but we don’t.  In the same way, when you examine the complexity and fine-tuning of the universe, DNA, etc., along with the simple logic of the “first cause” argument, it is perfectly reasonable to infer a designer.

I saw this with a conservation I observed years ago.  One friend was making a case for Intelligent Design and the flaws of Darwinism to another friend, who is an atheist.  The atheist couldn’t refute a single point, but merely reiterated his faith that science would figure it out later.

Re-thinking youth Sunday School

As I noted in Why do so many children leave church when they go to college?, critical thinking about faith seems to make a big difference in whether children stay in church.  A big part of that is how Sunday School is done.*

I recommend that churches re-think how they do Sunday School, at least for high school kids.  Consider these facts:

  1. In high school, kids who have taken math their entire lives still have a huge range of classes depending on aptitude and experience.  It ranges from basic math to AP Calculus.
  2. In church high school classes, it is typically a one-size-fits-all approach, even lumping multiple grades together.   Some kids have been well-educated theologically their entire lives and some are new to the faith.

So we have a huge range of high school classes for kids who have had life-long training, and a narrow range of spiritual classes for kids who have had a much wider range of training.

Keeping the kids together for many lessons and activities is fine, but it is inevitable that some kids will be bored by lowest-common denominator material (like mine were, which is why they joined another church) and some will find the material too difficult.

My youngest started attending an adult class at their new church with some of her friends. It was amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to visit myself and I love it. The teacher spent three years in 1 Peter, which at first glance sounds like a recipe for disaster. Yet the class grew and grew and attracted people who wanted meaty lessons because he was so thorough and meaningful.  She would come home every week talking about the lesson.  I’m grateful that she had the opportunity to join the class.

One of the reasons churches may lose post-high school kids is that there isn’t a stable place to study. They can’t go to the high school classes any longer, and the young adult / college classes are too transient to be meaningful.

So why can’t kids with an interest go to adult classes? Are there any Bible verses against parents learning with children? If we expect high school students to learn algebra, Shakespeare, biology, etc., why do we have to dumb down the Bible for them?

Note: I would make the distinction that we should have smaller age / experience appropriate groups (i.e., Mothers of Pre-Schoolers, accountability groups, etc.) where people can share and interact.  In this post I am speaking of basic Bible studies.

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* Reminder: Sunday School has a purpose, but parents still have the primary responsibility to teach their children.  The problem is that most are biblically illiterate.  They just take kids to church and hand the responsibility off to someone else.  If they actually read the Bible they’d know they were shirking their responsibilities.

Ephesians 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

That’s my youngest daughter’s life verse, by the way, though she prefers the translation that says not to exasperate your children (she likes to tease  me by saying, “You’re exasperating me!”). In case you think I’m kidding, this is a picture of her bedroom wall.  I’m glad my kids both kept a keen sense of humor!

Why did unions make endorsements of a bill that hadn’t been written? Why did the White House publicize these?

And why is the mainstream media not bothered by this?  See Crickets Chirp As White House Spams & Sends Out Union Press Releases:

Last week, many Americans watched President Obama stand in front of of his teleprompters and Congress and sell—no, demand—a still unwritten bill dubbed the American Jobs Act. While the President certainly gives an entertaining teleprompted speech, his demands were reminiscent of a third-world barter between a goat herder and a villager: In exchange for two goats (temporary tax cuts), you can give your daughter and her dowry (nearly another half a trillion dollars) to the goat herder so he can give them both to his union boss friends.

The very next day, Obama hit the campaign trail to demand that the House pass the unwritten bill even as employers and Wall Street shrugged at the unwritten plan.

More fun, even though by now the bill should be written:

President Barack Obama: Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages.

The bill has not been written yet.

Valerie Jarrett, senior White House adviser: Congress should pass this bill right now.

Again, the bill has not been written yet.

Huffington Post: During a time of national crisis, the president has submitted an urgently-needed jobs bill that is well within the mainstream for Republicans as well as Democrats.

What part of THE BILL HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN YET is so hard to understand?

Certainly the GOP leadership understands the concept that a speech is not a bill, which is why they’ve requested Obama’s plan in a form that can be scored by the CBO. They’d also like the White House to stop playing demagogic games with those three free trade treaties and actually submit them to Congress, assuming that the Big Labor stooges currently holding them up have managed to do enough featherbedding. But that’s probably going to take actual Divine Intervention. Or possibly another six months of 9+ unemployment; it’s hard to tell what can penetrate this administration’s Nigh-Impervious Force-Field of Smug these days.

Obama wouldn’t have done this bill if it weren’t for all the Tea Party / Republican pressure, and now he insists it should be passed without politics or debate?  Yeah, because the Democrats would never debate or get political.

Supposedly half of the bill is for short-term payroll tax cuts.  Anyone with business experience knows that those will not increase permanent employement.

Scary Bible verses

Yesterday our Sunday School teacher said that he found this to be the scariest verse in the Bible:

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

As I noted in They wouldn’t like the Sermon on the Mount if they understood it, Liberal theologians and even some skeptics claim to revere the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but that is just because they don’t really understand it.  If they read it properly they would hate it.  That verse is one of the reasons why.

The first hearers of Jesus’ message would have considered the scribes and the Pharisees to be the most righteous people going.  They worked very, very hard to follow the law.  If they had to be better than that there was no hope for them . . . unless . . . they could attain that righteousness another way.  Say, through Jesus.

I find this to be a rather scary verse as well, and it should also point you to Jesus:

Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If those verses don’t make you squirm, you aren’t paying attention.  Sadly, the Liberal theologians are too busy abusing the rest of the Sermon on the Mount to notice those passages.

Here’s a message by Charles Spurgeon pointing out how our inability to be perfect or to have a righteousness exceeding that of the Pharisees doesn’t give us an excuse:

If responsibility began and ended with ability, a man would be out of debt as soon as he was unable to pay; and if a man felt that he could not keep his temper he would not be blamable for being angry. A man may be bound to do what he cannot do: the habitual liar is bound to speak the truth, though his habit of falsehood renders him incapable of it. Every sin renders the sinner less able to do right, but the standard of his duty is not lowered in proportion to the lowering of his capacity to come up to it, or it would follow that the more a man is depraved by sin the less guilty his actions become, which is absurd.

Every Christian will confess that it is his duty to be perfect, and yet he mourns over his inability to be so. It never enters into the Christian’s head to excuse his failings by pleading the incapacity of his nature; nay, this is another cause for lamentation.

Charles Spurgeon, via Pyromaniacs: On the Inability/Responsibility Conundrum.

Remember, you either are Jesus or you need Jesus.  Despite what the lies of the world say, your “righteousness” will not make you right with God.

Why do so many children leave church when they go to college?

There was a very interesting finding in Survey: High School Seniors ‘Graduating from God’, Christian News.  More critical thinking leads to better transitions.

Whether it was with the youth group overall or with a specific adult leader, students who had the opportunity to struggle with tough questions and pain during high school seemed to have a healthier transition into college life,” stated the study by Powell and Krista Kubiak, youth worker and graduate of the Marriage and Family program at Fuller.

And youth workers play a significant part in such conversations involving struggles and tough questions. But in the big picture, youth groups are leaving out any preparations to help students make a successful transition.

Now that doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve always felt that youth groups that focus on entertainment, “walk the talk” and similar themes aren’t preparing youth to go to college where their faith will be challenged from all angles.

I’m glad to see the surveys show that the atheists have it all wrong.  No amount of “brain-washing” works if people think critically.  The faiths that last are much more likely to have been thought through carefully.  The ones that crumble didn’t know what faith really was.

Oh, and you can’t just throw stones at the youth groups.  It is the parents job first.  The biggest fault of the churches is not holding the parents primarily accountable.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

So, how are you doing with that?

Should we ban all religions? Gee, can’t think of any downsides to that plan.

See 2 ad agencies compete to make a better ad for the end of all religion.

What a broad collection of poor-thinking people.  It was a logical fallacy-fest, mostly serial question begging.

They didn’t bother to explain how they would enforce a ban on religion.  I’ll fill in the blanks.  Their premise is simple, inevitable and stupid: “All violence is caused by religion, so let’s use violence to ban religion.”  How else will they ban it?  Just ask politely?  Just research Communist countries to see how it is done.

They ignored the benefits of Christianity.  I see very few hospitals and charities founded by atheists and lots done by Bible-believing Christians.

People rationalize all sorts of evil with religion, but Bible-believing Christians stopped the slave trade.  Yes, people misused the Bible to rationalize slavery, but you don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets.

They are ignorant of the claims of Christianity.  We have a lot of evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

And they ignore a foundational error of their atheistic thinking: While mocking religion for being fairy tales, they assume without evidence that the universe came into being from nothing and that life came from non-life.   They have zero evidence for that.  And even if Darwinian evolution was true, it would be 100.00% responsible for all religious beliefs.  So why are they so mad about religion?  And don’t get me started about their multiverse fairy tale.

They blame religion for everything, as if religion was the cause of abortions, all wars, the Holocaust, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, thefts, child abuse, rape, drug abuse, traffic accidents, adultery, corporate fraud, cancer, hangnails and every other evil known to humanity.

If you follow the biblical guidelines for sex and marriage your odds of getting STDs or out-of-wedlock pregnancies are almost zero.  Your odds of being poor go down dramatically.

It is chilling to see such otherwise average people so excited about crushing religious freedom and free speech.

Roundup

The “theocracy” charge leveled at Republicans is just silly.

My observation is that the GOP field is more concerned with the social conservative determination to use government to deny equality to gays and lesbians and pregnancy choice rights to women.

However, neither of those issues threatens the economy or the republic.

I think the Left is correct in asserting that the social conservative agenda is identical to a promise to impose theocracy.

Cynthia YockeyA Conservative Lesbian, September 3  (Hat tip for the quote: Jill Stanek)

Did you ever notice how China, the former Soviet Union and other communist countries with explicitly atheistic views all recognize(d) the timeless truth that marriage, by definition, is a union of one man and one woman?  Implying that those who oppose government recognition of same-sex unions are trying to establish theocracies is ridiculous –unless you are claiming that atheistic, Christian-hating communists qualify as religious-right Christian extremists.

And are the anti-theocracy folks speaking out against Islam and Sharia law?  The evidence is there in Europe and even in some areas in the U.S.

Also, we don’t oppose “pregnancy choice.”  People have the right to birth control.  What we oppose is crushing and dismembering innocent human beings after pregnancy occurs.  Big difference.

20 Scripture-twisting techniques — A great list of what not to do when reading the Bible.

Rick Perry is right.  As I’ve noted many times, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.  Here are 5 definitions of Ponzi schemes that accurately describe it.  A sample:

Finally, I think this one from the American Bar Association is my favorite:

A Ponzi scheme is a type of securities fraud where the promoter makes some sort of false or misleading statement about an investment (often including a guaranteed high rate of return) and pays off older investors with newer investor’s monies. Eventually, when the promoter can’t find any new investors, the scheme collapses.

Here’s a keeper for the next time Obama & Co. want to preach about civility.  The hypocrisy is astounding.  You’d think after their vicious, carefully choreographed blaming of Sarah Palin after the Arizona shootings that they’d at least pretend to follow their own advice for a while.

While Obama pretends that he’s interested in “respectful” political discourse we’ve seen a parade of Democrats indulging every manner of disrespectful political speech against Tea Partiers and Republicans. Just in the last few weeks we’ve the following:

  • Vice President Biden saying that Republicans and Tea Partiers are “barbarians.”
  • Teamsters President Hoffa Says Republicans are “sons a bitches” that should be “taken out.”
  • Democrat Andre Carson Says Tea Partiers and Republicans want to start “lynching African Americans.”
  • Democrat Maxine Waters says Tea Partiers can “go straight to hell.”
  • Vice President Biden calls conservatives “terrorists.”

Stan on biblical slavery — an important read:

It is important to note, as I have multiple times, that biblical slavery is not the same thing as modern slavery. Consider this. Modern slavery has basically been 1) involuntary 2) for the economic advantage of the elite, 3) typically included mistreatment, 4) where slaves lived separately from their owners, 5) were considered property (and could be disposed of as with any property), 6) could not own property, and 7) were slaves forever.

Old Testament slavery was different. It was 1) normally voluntary 2) for the purpose of solving a debt problem 3) with strict rules against mistreatment. Typically, 4) slaves lived in the homes of their masters, 5) were not property, 6) could own property and, in fact were given property when released, and 7) were only in the position temporarily. Old Testament slavery wasn’t very much at all like the modern version.

Good question by Hillbuzz:

POLL: What term is more effective in describing the gay members of the Left’s goon squad: Gaystapo or GayGB?  Those are both so good.  It is a coin flip for me.  I think the tags apply to anyone on the Left who advances the radical LGBTQ agenda.

This week’s “Why isn’t this a hot news item with the mainstream  media?” entry: New study finds that choice to abort nearly doubles the risk of mental illness — Hey, what happened to the “safe” mantra?

Unions kill jobs.  Lots of them.

Good reasons to use the ESV translation.  I really like it.

Wow, talk about a surprise ending!

I just finished my “read the Bible in a year” plan on my Logos iPhone app.  I don’t want to give away the ending so you’ll have to read it for yourself.  Man, I didn’t see that coming!

It was a plan where you read a couple of chapters of the Old Testament and a chapter or so of the New Testament each day.  I liked the mix of Old (usually in the morning) and New (usually just before I’d go to bed).  It was a great way to frame the day.  I just do an “unplugged” version and don’t refer to study notes.  I did this for the first time in 1996 and it was the most transformational year of my life.

I’m starting a new plan today but on the Bible.is app.  They had a chronological version that should be interesting.  My youngest daughter is in the middle of that plan.  The history is mixed with the prophets who wrote during those times, and chapters like Psalm 51 will go with the historical text (David sinning with Bathsheba).

The Bible.is app is easy to navigate and lets you read the text and/or listen to the audio.

I heard someone say recently that they abandoned a “read it in a year” plan to study it more deeply.  I think both approaches are good.  I like moving through it quickly to get a feel for the entire Bible, and I especially like ensuring that I’ve read everything.  But I also go more deeply via Podcasts, books, Sunday School lessons, blogs, etc.

I challenge everyone to read all of the Bible at least once.  If nothing else, it will keep Christians from looking silly when an atheist points out how odd it is to trust in Jesus for your eternal life yet not care enough to read his book.

Of course, the main reasons to read it are to spend time with God, to know what He wanted to convey to us and to let is transform us as he promised.  Too many people want special revelation from God but haven’t bothered to read the Bible.  I suggest reading the 31,173 verses He provided before demanding something new and personalized.

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

A great ending to Habakkuk

Reading through the Old Testament prophets can be a little depressing at times, so I really enjoyed this passage:

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Update: The music leader read this during service the next Sunday.  That was a nice coincidence!

Cohabiting couples 8 times more likely to abort than married couples

See Holy smoke: check out the disparity in abortion rate between cohabiting and married couples.  Once again, defying God’s guidelines for sex and marriage has painful and deadly consequences.