Shades Of Grey, The Billy Graham Rule, #Metoo, Irony

Last week Kim and enjoyed a night out watching the new movie, Murder on the Orient Express. My wife loves a good mystery and especially loves Hercule Poirot. As we anxiously awaited for our movie to begin the typical previews announced and warned us as to what was soon to be released. One such warning came from the movie Fifty Shades Freed.

The next morning, I awoke to the news of yet another sexual misconduct allegation. This one was towards a politician or was it a Hollywood star, or perhaps it was a news anchorman? And yes…. often it is a pastor.

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Politics and… Please, Get Me Off This Ride!

clinton-vs-trump

Photos: Getty Images & ShutterStock , Illustration: Dillen Phelps

Do you remember the days of getting on that roller coaster ride and as it started to crank you up, up, up… You know that feeling you get in your stomach as the old wooden roller coaster clicks you up and the people below seem to be shrinking in size?  You began to think and maybe even said out loudRoller Coaster“Get me off this thing!!” Well, that describes this political season we find ourselves in as Americans. That moment you think, “can it get any worse”?…. And, sadly, it somehow does continue to grow worse. And, unfortunately, I fully expect the worst is yet to come.  :-)

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Image is Everything

Andre-Agassi

 

In the early 90’s, tennis star, Andre Agassi endorsed a certain type of camera and did so with a catchy attitude. The “attitude” and the Cannon Rebel camera soared into the psyche of American culture.  If you are old enough to remember the ad campaign, you will remember its’ slogan.  “Image is Everything.”

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Rob Bell, Oprah, And God’s Word

Rob-kristen-bell-oprah

The below is taken in entirety from In The Line Of Fire by Michael Brown. While, I am wanting to write my own response to recent Rob Bell comments. My thoughts are many, and time is…. limited. So, for now, the below will have to suffice.

My quick response before I turn it over to Mr. Brown.

May our hearts grow in conviction for this 2,000 yr old book and its absolute relevance in our lives today!!  Is there anything more relevant than the God of the Universes revealing Himself and Redemption to us?!? Rob Bell thinks God’s Word to be irrelevant…. Does that make Rob Bell irrelevant?  

Michael Brown

For those who had any questions, Rob Bell has now made himself totally clear: He is willing to trash parts of the Bible as “letters from 2,000 years ago” when God’s Word contradicts his views on same-sex “marriage.”

Bell appeared on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program together with his wife, Kristen, to promote their new book The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. In an interview last December, Bell explained that on page 16 of the book, he and Kristen give their “whole hearted affirmation” to same-sex “marriage.”

That was no surprise in light of his announcement in 2013 that he supported redefining marriage. In fact, that had been his position for years, although he had not proclaimed it publicly prior to 2013.

But on Oprah’s show, he and Kristen went much further, dismissing the words of Scripture and criticizing churches that were determined to be faithful to God.

Explaining to Oprah why they included “gay marriage” in their book, Rob said, “One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

Of course, he’s absolutely right in terms of the importance of intimate personal relationships.

God made us to be relational beings, but in a very specific way. He formed Eve as the fit companion and helper for Adam, the two of them uniquely designed to complement each other in the journey and mission of life.

And Paul’s solution to loneliness (and, even more so, to temptation) was specific as well: “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).

He didn’t say, “Each person should have his or her own companion,” because that was never God’s intent for His creation.

In contrast, what the Bells want to do is take God’s very specific, beautiful blueprint, and radically redesign it in the name of “love.”

To be sure, the church needs to take on the burden of those who struggle with same-sex attraction, helping them in every way possible find personal and relational wholeness in Jesus. But we are hurting them rather than helping them when we think we know better than God.

Rob Bell was then asked by Oprah when the church was going to embrace same-sex “marriage,” to which he responded, “We’re close,” with Kristen adding, “I think it’s evolving.”

Rob then explained, “Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable, and we’re moments … ,” at which point Oprah chimed in, “Moments away from the church accepting it?”

Rob’s answer said it all: “Absolutely … I think culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense. When you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other, and they just want to go through life with someone.”

So, according to Rob Bell, the church of Jesus should follow worldly culture and deny the plain teaching of God’s Word in order to be “relevant.” (For my thoughts on the idolatry of “relevance,” click here.)

And according to Bell, human feelings trump God’s Word, which can easily be dismissed as outdated—2,000 years outdated, it appears.

I guess what’s trending on Twitter trumps the timeless wisdom of the living Word of the living God.

I guess an emotional appeal carries far more weight than transcendent truth.

That’s similar to what Methodist Pastor Frank Schaeffer told me on my radio broadcast last year, explaining that he had to revise his views on the Bible and same-sex “marriage” after his son came out as gay but would “absolutely” have to restudy the issue if his son reversed his position about homosexuality.

Talk about loving your son or daughter (or father or mother) more than Jesus (see Matt. 10:37)

But that is exactly what Rob Bell is calling for: Go with the culture, stay “relevant,” dismiss the outdated biblical evidence and listen to your emotions.

Kristen, for her part, explained that some churches are just not getting with the program: “There are churches who are moving forward,” she said, “and there are churches who are almost regressing and making it more of a battle.”

How antiquated! How backwards! How embarrassing!

How dare these churches entrench themselves against the onslaught of worldly culture.

How dare they continue to resist the redefining of marriage and the rewriting of the sacred Scriptures.

How dare they hold fast to their position that God’s ways are best.

How dare they not get with the program of liberal progressivism.

The bad news is that many professing Christians are capitulating to culture and abandoning the holy and wholesome ways of the Lord.

The good news is that the Word of God stands forever (Is. 40:7-8; Matt. 24:35), and one day, Oprah Winfrey, with all her massive influence, and Rob and Kristen Bell, with their substantial influence as well, will be mere footnotes in this age of compromise and apostasy, marked as eternally irrelevant by the only One whose opinion matters.

That’s why I pray for their repentance today.

 Michael Brown

Ice Bucket Challenge And Life

ice bucket

I am not typically a “current events blogger”.  But, occasionally, I feel the need to do a current events post.  First, I want to state loudly and clearly what I LOVE about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

1.)  ALS Awareness:  Who can’t love the attention ALS is getting these days?  It is incredible!  Videos that are often funny, or failed miserably, done by people who are friends and close to you, and done by the comedians, actors, athletes, etc….  Seriously, what is there not to love about it?

2.)  Viral Generosity:  You got to love generosity that goes viral!  We need more of that in our world!

3.)  I have a long health history:  I have received so much from organizations and people!  Here is a shout out to the  Winn Dixie Hope Lodge – my home away from home when I was receiving radiation.  So, how can I NOT love this?!?

BUT,

As a matter of my conscience, I can not participate in the challenge. Please know, I am not trying to stand in judgement of those who have engaged in the ALS challenge nor am I trying to be a downer to the generosity displayed!!  Hang with me to the end of the post!

ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease.  It is fatal and there is no cure.  My heart goes out to anyone who is facing this disease.  My cancer history (diagnosed at 25 – extensive treatments of chemo and radiation) is now in remission.  But, that and other diseases I have wrestled with causes my heart to go out to those ALS.

The Ice Bucket Challenge And LIFE:

1.)  Follow the money:  The ALS Association is the lead ALS organization.  (http://www.alsa.org).  Keep in mind – not all ALS charities are created equal.  But, the lead ALS charity gave a $500,000 to NEALS last year.  (Will that amount increase this year due to the current viral challenge?  I would assume….)  NEALS runs clinical trials for ALS.  (http://www.alsconsortium.org) And here is the problem:  NEALS uses embryonic stem cells.  Read More Here From Lifenews.com. and a slew of other sources you can easily research this!

I am pro- life.  All life.  ALS lives and babies in the womb lives.  If the heart is beating…. I believe in life!  And so, I have no category for donating to a group that sees no problem with ending a life.

Some, are reading this and they are angry with me.  Some may think I am overreacting.  You might be thinking – if you had ALS you might think differently.  Not true.

2.) My Health History

I also have Crohn’s disease.  Due to my cancer history, I have been unable to take what is considered the typical Crohn’s medications.  They carry a cancer risk and with my cancer history they carry too high of a risk.  So, Crohn’s has been quite the challenge for me.  Much to say…. but I will spare you the details.

My point is that at one time I was offered the opportunity to participated in a stem cell trial research.  Maybe this will be a source of relief!  Maybe this could be an answer!  The excitement and anticipation was incredible.  Thrilled with the news when my doctor told me what he was recommending.  A game changer?  A LIFE changer?  PLEASE!!

And yet, I swallowed hard and asked him – is it adult stem cell or fetus?

I am grateful that he replied it is adult because if it were fetus…. No!  How could I take a life in an effort to save mine?

3.)  My God:  Psalm 139:13-19

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!

(Psalm 139:13-19 ESV)

4.)  My Money

There are so many great organizations out there.  Research them and get involved. Consider how you might not only donate your money but volunteer your time.  Because of my convictions I enjoy supporting Pregnancy Resources.   You might want to look them up, and dump some ice water for them!  Or, if you want to donate for ALS research, my understanding is that Team Gleason is worthy of your donated dollars.

I hope some of the above helps.  Let’s pray for ALS victims today and consider how we might serve them!

 

Seattle Campus Shooting

Seattle Campus Shooting

 

I don’t normally post about current news.  Not that that is bad, its just not my thing.  That said, I was so moved when I read the recent statement made by Jon Meis.  Jon is the “hero” in the Seattle Pacific University shootings.  You probably have heard: while the gunman was reloading his weapon, Jon stepped in by pepper spraying the gunman and detaining the shooter.  If he had not done so, there would have likely been more tragedy.  Jon does volunteer security for the school.  So get this……  Jon the volunteer stepped in to a life threatening situation.  This is a small private college.  So, his security duties in the past probably include making sure the doors are locked and handing out student demerits for minor offenses.  But, on this day…. he was a hero.

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