Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Closing of Minds, and Loudening of Voices (Nov. 17, 2016)

          Not everyone is happy with the results of the 2016 Presidential election.  Every 4 years there is approximately 50 percent of the country that wishes the result had gone the other way, but some take it better than do others.  In recent days we have seen wide-spread rioting in the streets of major cities and a variety of protests taking place on college campuses around the country.  Perhaps strangest of all is that professors and administrators have actually given students time off from class, postponed exams, and grief counselors have been brought in to help students work through their trauma!  Yes this has really happened! We have seen several celebrity rants on Facebook, talk shows, and in other forums with disenchanted people acting in every manner from vulgar to childish.

          The roots of the issue we see are much deeper than sorrow over an electoral loss.  They stem from years of grooming by several compliant parties including parents, teachers, Hollywood, and the media.  At the heart of the issue is the fact there has arisen a generation that does not appreciate the concept of “free speech” like others who have come before.

          Liberals, of every stripe, have been allowed and even welcomed to speak on college campuses but conservative voices have been silenced by protests and demonstrations; consequently invitations have been revoked.  This is a generation that has not been taught to listen to all sides and evaluate the merits of various arguments.  Instead, they have largely been brain-washed, and manipulated into believing certain things because the alternative was either neglected or rejected by those dispatched with the responsibility of teaching.

          The overwhelming number of state universities have very non-diversified faculty.  Statistics have shown that 75, 85, even 95 percent of some universities’ faculty are comprised of professors identifying themselves as Democrats or liberal with only 25, 15, or perhaps 5 percent identifying as Republican or Conservative.  This ideological in-balance is also true among the mainstream media.  Persons identifying as liberal saturate news organizations while conservatives are often edged out or not hired in the first place.  Therefore, when it comes to hearing and evaluating arguments, young people often lack the tools by which to do so, because they have only been taught one viewpoint/worldview.

          Kids growing up in conservative homes may be heavily influenced by parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. toward conservative ways of thinking . They are not however, immune from liberal ideology because of their exposure to Hollywood, the main-steam news media, and universities, if and when, they attend.

          Even beyond differences in ideology, it is the particular behaviors of some in the wake of Trump’s victory that have left many scratching their heads.  It is all the crying, and whining, and acting like spoiled brats that is hard to process.  Many conservatives were devastated in 2012, 2008, 1996, and 1992 but we saw nothing of this sort of behavior.  Where are they learning that these types of displays are good, healthy, or reasonable?

          In her 2008 book The Death of the Grown Up; How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization, author Diana West explores how that childhood is being extended longer and longer.  One of the reasons is because kids are not forced to become adults like they once were.  Generations ago those in their late teens were getting married, going off to war, farming, having and raising children, and starting the pattern of adult life that would carry them for the remainder of their lives.  Now many, well into their 20s and beyond, are still acting like children, shirking responsibility, living for the moment, undecided about the future, unable to maturely assess situations, and properly rationalize and analyze.

          One of the hallmarks of maturity is being willing to take a little more than your share of the blame and a little less than your share of the credit.  Another mark is to accept that which you do not like and do so with dignity, grace, and poise.  The election protesters on college campuses are angry because they have largely been taught to be angry.  In many cases, the professors that have taught them to be angry about their government and perceived injustices are then letting them postpone their exams and applauding their walk-outs.  These professors have effectually become enablers and promoters of the tearing of the fabric of society.  All that would have ever needed to be done was to present both sides and let students make up their minds with all facts on the table, but that has strangely become rare.

          One of the central issues in this debate is, first of all “What is truth?” and secondly “What place does truth hold in your worldview?”  The truth is never afraid to be examined, scrutinized, or viewed under the brightest of lights.  Truth will always stand the test.  If one is to have the confidence of “truth” on their side, they need to understand where others are coming from and not be wooed by propaganda hand-fed by political parties or agenda driven media.  And yes, not even by tenured faculty at major universities.  Lies/falsehoods are the opposite of truth.  Lies demand tolerance.  Lies fear exposure.  Lies beg to be left alone.  Lies love to be shouted but hate being examined.  If university faculty, and their students believe that what they believe is the truth, why not let others with alternate, conservative viewpoints come in and make speeches and presentations and they pick apart their arguments.  The fact that they are largely unwilling to do this gives strong indication they are afraid.  They are, in essence, closing their minds as a form of self-defense. 

          The overall delusion we are witnessing in our country is unnerving and will not lead to a good place.  Countries in Europe have been ahead of us in seeing these things play out to their natural conclusion and it is not a pretty picture.  Just take a look at what has happened in Greece.  God gave us minds to think with and to evaluate ideas, viewpoints, and the world in general.  College should be a time that students learn diversity, tolerance, and about worldviews different than their own.  Sadly without even realizing it, they are being indoctrinated into a strange, closed world that is not easy to vacate.

          Many educators, politicians, parents, news media, etc. have let this generation down.  I am so thankful for parents, teachers, and others who taught me how to think and evaluate claims without merely indoctrinating me into a particular viewpoint.  That is education.  That is what America has always been about.  Slowly, the American mind is being closed.  It is ironic that liberalism is alive almost everywhere except when it comes to freedom of thought and speech.  If you say the wrong thing you will be punished.  This is not the America most have known, but it is the America we are sadly becoming.


In Christ,


Dr. Allen Raynor, Pastor

Friday, November 11, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Race and Now What? (Nov. 11, 2016)

        The 2016 Presidential campaign, and election itself, is one for the record books.  Not much was predictable and not much followed any type of normal pattern.  Donald Trump, to the surprise of many, was elected the 45th President of the United States defeating Hillary Clinton.  The bitterness of the campaign was unprecedented.  Many expressed their shame for the state of our country because of things being said, the immorality and dishonesty of the candidates, the underhandedness of supporters and the political parties, and their surrogates.  Well, it is all over now; so is it time to rest?  Is it time to relax?  No; it is now time for believers to get serious about prayer for our new leaders, the ones who lost, and for our country as a whole.
          There are many things we must keep in perspective.  Donald Trump may have been a better alternative than Hillary Clinton, but he is a deeply flawed individual with a sin nature that expresses itself in many different ways.  Many of the things he has said and done are deeply concerning to many Americans.  He, like all the rest of us, has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  He will be tempted and tested by foreign governments, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, his advisors, problems that are foreseen and problems that are unforeseen.  It is unimaginable that any human being would enter the Presidency without being committed to daily prayer for guidance.  We as the church of the Lord Jesus need to pray for Donald Trump and for his entire family who will be under vehement attack from now on.  Pray he nominates conservative Supreme Court Justices, works to protect the rights of the unborn, and represents conservative American values, but especially biblical values.  Pray that if he does not truly have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that he gives his whole life to Him.
          We need to pray for those who will serve in the next administration.  Pray for Cabinet leaders, advisers, and support staffs that are vitally important to the President’s success and the overall success of our country.  We need to pray for a smooth transition leading up to the next administration.
          We need to lift up Hillary Clinton in prayer.  I am sure she is devastated in her defeat.  Let us not forget she is a human being.  I say that because, so many of my fellow Americans and fellow believers have been utterly cruel to her since losing the race last Tuesday.  While she may be a political enemy to many, she is still a human being created in the image of God and in need of either developing a personal relationship with Christ or very serious revival.  She has a serial problem with lying and hunger for fulfillment through gaining of power.  Instead of hating her for those things, why not pray for her.  She has already begun to fade from the national spotlight and soon, she will resume life as a private citizen, but her needs remain.  I would ask my fellow Christians if they can really justify not praying for her?  I went through many stages of emotion where Hillary was concerned, including dislike, fear, disbelief, almost hatred, but finally sorrow.  In the weeks leading up to the election, I had made peace in my heart that she was probably going to win, however I began feeling sorrow for her as I thought about what a high premium she put on an earthly office or political position but showed almost no evidence of care or concern for the most important thing of all – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
          We need to pray for our country.  It is deeply divided, perhaps more than at any other time since the Civil War.  Americans are totally embittered against other Americans.  The divisions have been precipitated by two deeply flawed candidates running against one another with such high negative ratings and unlikability.  More than perhaps in any other Presidential election Americans went into the voting booths and voted “against” someone rather than “for” someone.  Since Trump’s victory, there have been protests on college campuses and in the streets of major cities with marchers chanting vile things like “f**k Donald Trump” even though he won a decisive victory in the Electoral College.  Clinton, evidently won a majority of the popular vote, which is concerning in itself, when you consider her overall character and the things the WikiLeaks email releases revealed about her and her attempts to subvert the law, and yet still a majority of Americans cast their vote with her to be President.  It is astounding in a deeply disturbing way.  It strongly supports the supposition that America has lost its moral compass.  Our nation needs prayers!
          I have a very big caution for all those who voted for Trump and are now breathing a sigh of relief.  Now is not the time to relax, nor is it time to start believing that our country is going to get back on the right track.  No matter whether we have had Republican Presidents or Democratic Presidents, our country has been moving in the wrong direction for a long time.  Those we disagree with as conservatives, which is at least half the nation, are not going to suddenly fall in line, any more than conservatives fell in line when we were moving by leaps and bounds toward a socialistic state.  Christ is still going to return at His appointed hour and the end of time will come.  No matter what political party controls The White House or Congress.  Jesus told his followers that His Kingdom was not of this world.  Christians need to keep that in perspective as we move into the days ahead.

In Christ,

Dr. Allen Raynor, Pastor