Monday, January 30, 2017

Allen Raynor Weblog: Re-Issue of “The Changing Culture Down Sesame Street”-Jan. 30, 2017

          Since 2007, I have had the privilege of writing and sending out weblogs on various issues pertaining to Christian living, current events, and theology.  My intent from the beginning was to help God’s people think just a little deeper about a variety of issues.  Further, it was a way to stay in touch with people in previous churches I had pastored, friends, and extended family.  My original mailing list has more than quadrupled in size.  I hope these have been an encouragement to you.  As this year marks the ten-year anniversary of these weblogs, I am going to be re-sending some throughout the year, in addition to sending out new ones.  Thank you for your encouraging words along the way and letting me know how these have been an encouragement to you.


The following weblog is from November 16, 2009.  It is one that received a lot of feedback, because, I suppose, it is on a subject that hit close to home for many people!


Allen Raynor Weblog: The Changing Culture Down Sesame Street

(Nov. 16, 2009)


          Can you believe it? Sesame Street turned 40 last week!  I was one of the millions of kids who often spent my mornings watching the colorful characters engaging in banter, projecting moral and life lessons, and generally trying to teach kids how to make the world a better place.  When I was watching Sesame Street in the mid-seventies, the issues addressed were wholesome ones such as acceptance of other races, sharing, the value of friendship, and many other worthwhile things.  But, as the culture has changed over the past 4 decades, so has Sesame Street

          Children have increasingly become the targets for indoctrination by those with various agendas.  Gone are the days of universally accepted values based on a Christian worldview.  Replacing these traditional values is a secular system of thought proclaiming the highest of virtues as “tolerance” and/or “acceptance.”  If a boy wants to be more like his mother or if a girl wants to be more like her father it is ok.  If a girl has two mommies or two daddies, it is great!  Families are anything someone proclaims them to be.  The important thing is that there is love.  Unfortunately, the homosexual rights’ activists have captured shows like Sesame Street, and others to use them as tools in the advancement of their causes.

          In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, which began in 1969, DVD sets of earlier episodes are becoming available.  Interestingly enough, these DVD’s come with warning labels cautioning parents that these episodes are not for children.  Ironically, this children show’s early episodes are deemed not suitable for the current generation of children.  The reasons cited are that children are seen riding bikes without helmets; the Cookie Monster is seen gorging on cookies instead of the much healthier snacks he eats today, and Oscar the Grouch is portrayed as suffering from a personality disorder, displaying signs of depression, and is perhaps even suicidal!  I will agree that things do change over time in light of new information, but COME ON!  Political correctness is paralyzing us!  It is killing us!

          Our culture has evolved rapidly to a point that every small minority is given preferential treatment over and above the majority.  Sesame Street is far less of a trend-setter than it is a trend-follower.  It is a snapshot of what is going on in the public school system, through other television targeted at children, through children’s books, etc.  We have largely lost the freedom to be “us” anymore!  It is difficult to even have a frank and honest discussion about anything with anyone anymore!  You must fall in line.  You are welcomed, even encouraged to question or berate anything traditional, conservative, or Christian-oriented, but you are forbidden from questioning anything deemed to be politically correct or you will be maligned with venomous hatred from those on the political left.  Now, even honest, hard-working, traditional, God-fearing Americans are fearful of being unjustly labeled as racist, bigoted, or fanatically religious.  Their pseudo-solution to the problem is increasingly to be silent while liberals scream!

          Sesame Street is just one example of the many television shows which have largely lost their way and bowed to political correctness.  TV shows, too numerous to list have, one by one, cut themselves off at the knees because their writers, who are flaming left-wing liberals, are on the fringes of society having pushed and pushed and pushed to move their ideas into the mainstream.  As the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  These fringe people on the far left are, by far the most vocal, most militant, most organized, and most galvanized in their hatred of all things traditional, while those supporting traditional values have largely been silent.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest congregation in America was asked an easy question on ABC’s The View, in regards to homosexuality.  He actually answered the question correctly but he did so in such a sheepish and non-reassuring manner, I am not sure if I even believe in traditional marriage anymore!!!  Just kidding, but my point is that liberals have got their bluff in on us and why, I do not know!  They are taking over everything we have, one by one, while we, for the most part, stand by and watch!

         Isn’t it time “we the people” stand up for what is right again?  If you look at all the heroic acts which were done by brave men and women to found our country and preserve our country at various points, I think they would be ashamed and appalled at how we have let it simply drift into the hands of far left extremist.  God is not political, but what we do politically is a direct reflection of what, better yet Who, rules and reigns in our hearts.  I do not buy for a minute Jimmy Carter’s oft stated argument that politics and our faith are two completely separate realms.  They are inseparable.  As a good Okie boy, like myself, would say, either it is or it ain’t!


In Christ,


Dr. Allen Raynor, Pastor


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Allen Raynor Weblog: The Beginning of the Trump Presidency In a Kingdom Perspective-Jan. 26, 2017

          Last week the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was inaugurated into office.  His campaign, election, transition, and inauguration were all marked by tremendous controversy including a number of protests.  Nevertheless he is now the nation’s President.

          Love him or not, as Americans we have a long history of respecting the office, even if we do not agree with the office holder.  It was sad to see many Democratic Party members of Congress boycott the Inauguration because they deemed Trump to be, in their words “illegitimate.”   Inauguration Day is much bigger than the one being inaugurated.  It is, above all else, a celebration of the peaceful transfer of power from one person to another, quite atypical of what we have seen down through history, and even up to the present, in many parts of the world.

           Some Americans have not been overly concerned with who won the office, but others have voiced considerable concern.  When you care deeply about who wins, it cuts very deeply to lose.  I remember the first Presidential election of which I was old enough to remember when the candidate I supported lost.  While I had followed every campaign and subsequent election cycle since 1980, I was not disappointed with the outcome until in 1992 when George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton.  I remember feelings of anger and bitterness directed toward third-party candidate Ross Perot, who I still believe cost Bush that election.   I remember not wanting to get out of bed the next morning and hoping it was merely a bad dream.  Nevertheless my theology shaped and formed by God’s Word told me that the Lord was still going to be in control when Clinton took office in January, every bit to the degree he had been in control during the 12 years of Reagan and Bush.  In 1996, 2008, and 2012 I had to dig deep once again to let my theology take precedence over my emotions.

          Sadly I see many “acting out,” even in some childish ways, because they did not like the outcome.  So as not to let Trump’s supporters off the hook, I see a lot of un-Christlike gloating and un-Christlike ridicule of Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, and the Democratic Party in general.  Your feelings may be wrong and they may be right, however the real question is “How would Jesus act in the same situation?”  Would He enjoy a good dig at the other party or would be suggest we pray for those whose eyes were closed to the truth?  The answer is obvious.

          To be upfront and honest and provide full disclosure, I have a degree in Political Science and on the wall of my college dorm room above my desk hung top left – Richard Nixon; bottom left – Gerald Ford; Top right – Ronald Reagan; bottom right – George H. W. Bush.  Centered in between those four 8x10 glossy, signed photographs was a group photo of the four men taken at the dedication of The Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA in July, 1990.  I subscribed to U.S. News and World Report, The Dallas Morning News, voraciously devoured the daily news, listened to National Public Radio, Rush Limbaugh, was a member of the “Political Science Club” on campus, and when I had breaks from school I was reading books such as No More Vietnams, In the Arena, and 1999: Victory Without War, all by Richard Nixon. My goal was to go on to Law School and the University of Oklahoma and become an attorney.  I often told people in those days, there was a need for Christian lawyers.  It seemed like a completely justifiable pursuit in my mind.  But, looking back I now see God’s kingdom did not seem as big to me as it does now; further, in those days the kingdom of this world seemed much bigger than it now seems.

          In the years since then I have come to understand that the politics of this world and the ways they are generally practiced are illustrative of the depravity that is in the human heart.  Most political issues turn into judicial issues where courts decide who has the greater standing on the basis of law.  However, increasingly over the last several years, court decisions have been arrived at, more and more, not strictly on the basis of law, but upon political pressures, political correctness, and exclusively secular-based reasoning.  What we have is a battle of wills that are being settled in courts of law because they cannot even begin to be settled anywhere else. It was Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote in his classic work Democracy in America in the 1830s “There is scarcely a question in America that does not turn sooner or later into a judicial one.”  If only he could see us now!

          So where does that leave us?  Is it time to give up?  I would assert that as believers we have every reason to be optimist.  Not because of something as unimpressive as the outcome of any election or a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court or a vote in Congress, or any other mundane, routine, largely predictable occurrence, but as Scripture says “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20).”  The short-term forecast for believers shows storms ahead, but the long-range forecast shows very pleasant conditions.

          It would be a mistake to put too much stock in anything of this world, because this world is passing away with all its lusts, but instead we need to lay up our treasure in Heaven where the various elements do not and cannot destroy.  However, we do not need to be so disengaged that we fail to be the salt and light Jesus taught us to be.  We need to stand boldly for what is right and stand just as boldly against the things that are wrong.

          Prayer is the first thing we must do.  If you cannot bring yourself to pray for the leader of the free world then I wonder what things you might be praying for instead.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer is the constant act of submitting ourselves to God and acknowledging our utter dependence on Him.

          Believers, or anyone else, can rejoice we live in a free country, and we can even rejoice about the outcome of the 2016 election and Trump becoming our President if we desire.  However, we must be careful to remember this is an earthly office with a flawed human being in it working within a flawed system, along with other flawed people trying to govern some 319 million flawed people.  But it does make perfect sense that we would all turn to a perfect God for help and guidance.  So be careful to not make the new presidency out to be more than what it really is.  I appreciate the instructive words of John MacArthur in his January 17 monthly letter.  He writes “We must never mistake changes to the political landscape as some sort of monumental spiritual achievement.  Nothing that happens in the world either aids or hinders the building of God’s kingdom – He depends on nothing and no one to accomplish His purposes.  In fact it has always concerned me when Christians view the political tides as somehow shaping redemptive history, or as posing a threat to – or enabling opportunities for –the church’s advancement.”  MacArthur has it right.  God is much, much bigger that the small things of this world. 


In Christ,


Dr. Allen Raynor, Pastor