Honor God – Not Mammon – On Thanksgiving

FOR MUCH OF THIS NATION'S HISTORY, THANKSGIVING WAS ABOUT GOD AND FAMILY, NOT ABOUT SHOPPING.

FOR MUCH OF THIS NATION’S HISTORY, THANKSGIVING WAS ABOUT GOD AND FAMILY, NOT ABOUT SHOPPING.

There was a time in this nation’s history when merchants had proper respect for Thanksgiving, a holy day our Founding Fathers set aside “to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor,” as President George Washington proclaimed in 1789.

Until 1939, merchants dared not even kickoff the end of year shopping season until well after Thanksgiving for fear they would be accused of defiling a day sacred to the nation’s Christian faithful.

Not until 1939 would merchants totally commercialize the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Indeed, they wouldn’t even advertise the shopping season – reminding Americans how many days left until Christmas – until after Thanksgiving Day, for fear of accusations of defiling a holy day for the nation’s Christian faithful.

The change occurred when Fred Lazurus Jr., founder of Federated Department Stores, the forerunner of Macy’s, successfully lobbied President Franklin Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving up a week to give the nation’s retailers more time to peddle their dry goods before Christmas.

By the early 1960s, the day after Thanksgiving came to be known as “Black Friday,” the unofficial start of the profanely secularist holiday shopping season; during which Mammon is worshipped, and Jesus Christ, the reason for the season, is an afterthought to the retail money changers.

Now, in 2013, merchants aren’t even waiting until Black Friday to get the holiday selling and buying started. Their doors will be open, their cash registers ringing this upcoming Thursday, which, as Abraham Lincoln said in 1863, should be “set apart” as a day of  “Thanksgiving and praise for our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

What particularly outrages are the buckraking retailers who dare to suggest they are performing some sort of public service by opening on Thanksgiving.

“As part of our commitment to helping parents fulfill kids’ wishes as they check off the items on their lists, we’re providing a unique opportunity for Rewards ‘R’ Us members to snap up a selection of Thanksgiving Weekend deals one day early,” said Peter Reiner, Senior Vice President for Toys ‘R’ Us.

“This year, we’re adding to the anticipation and excitement around Black Friday shopping with a sweepstakes that could change an Old Navy’s shopper’s life overnight,” said Stefan Larsson, Old Navy Global President, promising that one lucky shopper will become an “Overnight Millionaire.”

“Wal-Mart associates are really excited to work that day,” said Mac Naughton, Executive Vice President of Walmart.

What’s noteworthy about the remarks by Reiner, Larrson and Naughton that not one of them explicitly stated that their stores would be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Reiner said Rewards ‘R’ Us parents would be able snatch up a selection of toys for their kids “one day early,” which means one day before Black Friday, which means Thanksgiving Day.

Larsson mentioned added “anticipation and excitement around Black Friday shopping.” But to take part in that Black Friday sweepstakes, a shopper has to pass through the doors of an Old Navy store on Thanksgiving Day.

And Naughton maintained that Wal-Mart rank-and-file are “really excited to work that day.” But that day is Thanksgiving and it’s hard to believe that the mass of Wal-Mart employees would prefer to be at work than spending the holy day with their families.

And those are not the only retailers, not the only company execs, determined to secularize Thanksgiving; to removing God from the holy day.

Fred Lazurus Jr.’s old company, Macy’s, will be open Thanksgiving. As will Best Buy, Target, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Hollister, H&M, Forever 21, American Eagle, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and who knows how many other unGodly retailers.

That represents a test to those of us who share the faith of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln: Will we honor Almighty God, our beneficent Father, on Thanksgiving?  Or will we worship in the latter day temples of Mammon?

Let us be informed by the words of the Lord God: “Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who despise Me will be disdained.”

Is There an ‘A-List’ in Heaven?

EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

In a letter to newly planted churches in the Roman provinces of Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia, the Apostle Paul explained how lost souls might receive the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

“If,” he advised, “you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Many, if not most, of us have received the gift of salvation; have the promise of everlasting life.

We look forward to heaven, which the Book of Revelation describes as having twelve gates of pearl and streets of pure gold.

We can hardly wait to take residence in the mansions that, according to the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus has prepared before us.

But many, if not most, of us will find heaven very much different than we are expecting. We mistakenly believe heaven will be egalitarian; that all who are saved will enjoy the same standing in the hereafter.

But that’s not what the Word of God teaches. It promises us – it warns us – that heaven is a meritocracy.

That, while our salvation guarantees us a place in heaven, our works on this side of eternity determine what exactly that place will be in the hereafter.

Indeed, the Lord declared, “I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”

The Book of Matthew tells us the Son of Man will sit on the throne of His glory. That before Him all the nations will gather. That He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

That He well set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left. That those on His right hand will inherit the kingdom prepared for them. And that He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you cursed.”

Those of us who are saved are the Lord’s sheep. An inheritance awaits us, everyone. But everyone does not have the same inheritance awaiting.

For some devote their lives to being good and faithful servants. To standing in the gap for the Lord. To fulfilling the Great Commission. To fighting a good fight, finishing the course set before them, and keeping the faith. To suffering persecution in the name of the Lord, even unto death.

There is laid up for those saints crowns of righteousness. They are on heaven’s A-list.

And it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Those who truly love Him are those who let their light so shine before men, that they might see their good works, and glorify the Father which is in heaven.

As to those of us who do not lead such a purpose-driven life, who do not labor in the Lord’s harvest fields bringing the lost to Christ, who do not feed the hungry, offer drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and minister to the prisoner, there is a place prepared for us, too, in eternity.

But let us not delude ourselves that we can do little or nothing in service to the Lord and enjoy the same rewards earned by such great men (and women) of God as Abraham, Moses, David and Esther or John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, the Apostle Paul  and St. Peter.       

Papias of Hierapolis, who authored five books on Christian oral tradition, who said he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, taught that “there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundred-fold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold.”

The first, wrote Papias, “will be taken up into the heavens.” The second, “will dwell in Paradise.” The last “will inhabit the city.” Everywhere, he explained, “the Savior will be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see Him.”

Salvation earns us a place in the city, with its “splendor” beyond anything we have seen or experienced in this fallen world.

But more is required of those who will spend eternity in paradise, with the “delights” far beyond the splendor of the city. And much more is required to be “deemed worthy of an abode in heaven,” where God, the Father, sits on His throne, and His Son, Christ the Lord, sits on His right hand

That’s why the Lord, Himself, advised us, encouraged us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,” but “store up treasure in heaven,” where our good works will be eternally rewarded.

Really? The Gospel According to Britney Spears?

CREATORS OF NEW MUSICAL DESCRIBE AS THE “BRITNEY SPEARS AND JESUS CHRIST MASH-UP.”

THE CREATOR OF A CONTROVERSIAL NEW MUSICAL DESCRIBES IT  AS  THE “BRITNEY SPEARS AND JESUS CHRIST MASH-UP.”

Patrick Blute is no Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

Webber was 23-years old when he famously staged the rock musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which debuted on Broadway in 1971. Blute, a 23-year-old ColumbiaUniversity grad, is the creator of  “Spears The Musical – The Gospel According to Britney,” for which there is a funders preview this week.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” was fairly faithful to the Gospel account of the last week in the earthly life of Christ before He went to be with the Father. It featured such notable songs as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane,” and, of course, “Superstar,”with music by Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

‘The Gospel According Britney,’ on the other hand, is Blute’s twisted account of the greatest story ever told, which he conveys through the songs of Spears, including ‘Stronger,’ Crazy,’ ‘Lucky,’ and ‘One More Time.’

“These are Britney’s lyrics,” said Blute. “These are Britney’s lyrics. The Britney Spears you see is not Britney Spears. The Jesus Christ you read is no Jesus Christ. These are manifestations. Accounts through the media, through the words of followers, of friends, of foes, of villains, of heroes, of liars, of biases.’

Say what?

The tell-tale word Blute uses is “‘biases.”  The native of San Francisco – Sodom on the Pacific – perceives those of us who hold fast to traditional Christian values – like the sanctity of life and marriage strictly between man and woman – as foes. We are villains. We are liars. We are biased.

Blute prefers his own version of the Gospel, where anything goes, no matter how unGodly; where all are automatically absolved of sins – without confession, without repentance – by “the power of forgiveness.”

That’s not the Gospel to which true Christ followers subscribe, who are informed by the words of the Apostle Paul: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Blute is an idol worshipper who has made Britney his personal Jesus, like all too many of her 33.6 million Twitter followers.

He no doubt hopes his bizarre, sacrilegious tribute to Britney will somehow endear him to the pop star – because she is gay friendly. But he may very well find that just the opposite occurs – not the least because Blute has appropriated his idol’s copyrighted music without permission or payment.

And young Miss Spears may also be offended that Blute has used her work to mock the Gospel she grew up with as a Southern Baptist. For while she may have fallen away in recent years from the faith of her youth, the Holy Spirit still resides within her.

Yet Another So-Called Reality Show Mocks Christians

PASTOR JAY HAIZLIF AND WIFE CHRISTY GO HOLLYWOOD AT THE PREMIERE OF 'PASTORS OF L.A..'

PASTOR JAY HAIZLIF AND WIFE CHRISTY GO HOLLYWOOD AT THE PREMIERE OF ‘PASTORS OF L.A..’

First came “The Sisterhood,” a supposed Christian reality show, which debuted this past January on TLC network. It was advertised as “a candid look into the lives” of five Atlanta preachers’ wives who “aren’t your typical church ladies,” TLC teased.

Indeed, these pastors’ wives were very much in touch with their sexuality, as they explored such topics as pornography and masturbation. They also “kept it real” when talking about getting high, with one of the wives telling her fellow “first ladies” about her crack smoking. And they burnished their “street cred” by getting tatted up.

Then came “Preachers’ Daughters,” another supposed Christian reality show, which launched on Lifetime TV this past March. “God made the world in seven days,” said a promo. “Moses parted the Red Sea. But if these preachers can control their teen-age daughters, it would really be a miracle.”

That included Taylor, the rebellious teen-age daughter of a Lockport, Illinois pastor. She’d sneak out the house, make out with boys and yield to who knows to what other temptations. Indeed, she confessed, “My alter ego kind of wants to be a porn star.”

Now we have yet another supposed Christian reality show on cable – “Preachers of L.A.,” which premiered this month on Oxygen.

It offers “a rare glimpse into the lives of six high-profile pastors from Los Angeles,” who are “Living the God Life,” according to Oxygen, which apparently includes multi-million dollar homes, private jets, luxury cars, designer clothes and expensive jewelry.

“P. Diddy, Jay-Z. They’re not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in nice houses,” says Bishop Ron Gibson, pastor of Life Church of God in Christ in Riverside, California (not L.A.), purveyor of the so-called “prosperity gospel.”

Then there’s Minister Deitrick Haddon, who pastored a Detroit church before moving to L.A. to further his career as a gospel singer. In 2012, Haddon parted ways with his wife of nearly 15 years, Damita, amid rumors of adultery, which were confirmed when the pastor’s mistress gave birth to their love child.

“I met this young woman, Dominique, and I fell in love with her,” Minister Dietrick explained on the first episode of “Preachers of L.A.”

When he found out he had gotten his mistress pregnant, the pastor remembers thinking, “Oh my God, my career is over.” He knew, he said, “it was going to look scandalous because I have a young lady pregnant out of wedlock when my divorce is not final.”

Yet, that didn’t stop Minister Dietrick from performing a “comeback” concert on Oxygen’s surreal Christian reality show.

And none of Hadden’s fellow “Pastors of L.A.” was more willing to overlook his lust of the eyes, lust of flesh and pride of life than Pastor Jay Haizlip, spiritual leader of the Sanctuary Church in Huntington Beach, California (not L.A.), who enjoyed the concert with his wife Christy.

“I loved how they were just crunking up there,” said Christy, getting her groove on. “It was just phenomenal.”

We’ll have to wait until a future episode to see what Pastor Jay and wife Christy think of Minister Dietrich’s nude “selfie,” which was released last week by yet another woman of ill repute who enabled the minister’s serial adultery.

Meanwhile, Pastor Jay’s ministry has issues of its own. In a recent episode of “Preachers of L.A.,” he’s approached by a former church member, April, who has undergone a sex change operation since he last saw her. 

Pastor Jay didn’t  want to tell her straight up that she has committed an abomination in the eyes of God and that she should pray for forgiveness. So, instead, he asks the transsexual how he can help. And the former April responds, “You can call me David,” to which Pastor Jay, no stand up man of God, all too willingly acquiesced.

The execs at TLC, Lifetime and Oxygen who green-lighted, respectively, “The Sisterhood,” “Preachers’ Daughters” and “Preachers’ of L.A.” are insidious, maintaining that the intention they had in airing those reality shows – which most Christ followers almost certainly would find outrageous – was only to entertain their viewers.

But their real motive is to mock Christianity by portraying as somehow representative of the faith high-living preachers, oversexed, drug-abusing, tatted up preachers’ wives, hell-raising preachers’ kids, and gender-confused church members.

What if ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ is Wrong?

'THE LAST JUDGMENT,' BY MICHELANGELO, ON THE ALTAR WALL OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL.

‘THE LAST JUDGMENT,’ BY MICHELANGELO, ON THE ALTAR WALL OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL.

Once upon a time, Groucho Marx hosted the popular game show, “You Bet Your Life.” At the start of the show, a “secret word” was revealed to the studio audience. If a contestant said the word during the course of the show, a reward would descend from the rafters (a one hundred dollar bill).

Whether we know it or not, we are all, Christians and non-Christians alike, contestants in the spiritual equivalent of “You Bet Your Life.” If we bet wisely, our reward is eternal life. But if we bet foolishly, we condemn ourselves to eternal damnation.

That brings to mind Pascal’s Wager, credited to the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. He famously posited that every human being bets his or her life on whether or not God exists.

“Let us,” he wrote, “weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”

To put this in terms to which most of us can relate, even if the odds of God’s existence are, say, 1 in 175 million – the odds of winning Powerball on a single ticket – it is worth the wager.

Because, if we have bet on God, and God does not exist, we lose nothing. That is, save for indulging in certain behavior proscribed by God, including sexual promiscuity, idol worship, adultery, homosexuality (and other sexual perversions), thievery, greed, substance abuse, slander and robbery.

But if we bet against the Almighty, and indeed He does exist, we shall be cast into the lake of fire, eternally separated from God. We shall be condemned to place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Where we will be burned with unquenchable fire.  Where we will be tormented day and night forever and forever.

Most of us are rational. So we heed Pascal’s advice.

Even if we are uncertain there is a God, we hedge our bet. We respond to an altar call at some point in our lives. We say we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. We get baptized.

In so doing, we believe we have ensured our eternal security. We believe that, because we went through the ritual of being “saved,” we have a lifetime “Get Out of Hell Free” card. And that we can live our lives as it pleases us – not God – with impunity.

But what if we are wrong? What if this doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved,” espoused by many Godly pastors, preached in many purpose-driven churches, is errant? What if it actually is possible for us to forfeit our eternal salvation, to condemn ourselves to hell, by living brazenly and unrepentantly in defiance of God’s law?

That presents a corollary to Pascal’s wager, one that has not been considered by those who profess themselves Christ followers, but who are not truly leading a Christian life.

Let us call this corollary the Salvation wager, in which we weigh the gain and loss in betting on “Once Saved, Always Saved.”

Those who reject the doctrine, who believe those of us whom the Son sets free, must go and sin no more, must faithfully strive to live in obedience to God, have everything to gain if the doctrine is wrong and nothing to lose if the doctrine is right.

But those who subscribe to the doctrine, who believe that, having been saved, they can commit any and all manner of sin and it doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme of things, have hell to pay if they are wrong.

So what might Pascal advise?

That even if it’s more likely that once a person is saved, there is absolutely nothing they can do to lose their salvation, and that even if the odds are, say, 175 million to 1 that the widely-accepted doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved” is right rather than wrong, it still is wise to bet against the doctrine.

Because there are many who claim themselves Christians, who think their names have been written in the book of life, who will appear before the great white throne of judgment, who will find themselves sinners in the hands of an angry God.

They will look to Jesus and say, “Lord, Lord,” hoping He will spare them from punishment. But He will declare to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice wickedness.”

That’s a warning to those abiding unabashedly and unrepentantly in sin. They have bet their lives on “Once Saved, Always Saved.” And if they are wrong, eternal torment awaits.

Nobel-Winning Physicist Rebukes Atheist Extremists

PETER HIGGS, CO-RECIPIENT OF THE 2013 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS, DEVELOPED THEORY FOR THE SO-CALLED ‘HIGGS BOSON,’ WHICH IS BETTER KNOWN AS ‘THE GOD PARTICLE.’

PETER HIGGS, CO-RECIPIENT OF THE 2013 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS, DEVELOPED THEORY FOR THE SO-CALLED ‘HIGGS BOSON,’ WHICH IS BETTER KNOWN AS ‘THE GOD PARTICLE.’

The atheist community hailed last year’s scientific confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson, for which the British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs was co-recipient this past week of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Higgs had theorized, all the way back in 1964, that there must be something that gives subatomic particles their mass, which enables them to form atoms, which, in turn, form molecules, all of which is integral to creation as we know it.

That something turned out to be the Higgs boson.

And its discovery, declared Dan Barker, co-president of the so-called Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist hate group, based in Madison, Wisconsin, “gives God one less place to hide.”

Barker and his fellow unbelievers would like to worship Higgs like, say, they worship Charles Darwin, who wrote the book of evolution. Not the least because Higgs, the 84-year-old physicist, has publicly stated that he does not believe in God.

Yet, Higgs has nothing but contempt for in-your-face atheists like Barker, as fellow atheist Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist found out last year when the physicist ripped him in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

The Dawkins approach to promoting his atheist views, which are emulated by Barker on this side of the Atlantic, are “embarrassing,” said Higgs. He noted that Dawkins concentrates his attacks on those he deems religious “fundamentalists.” But, said Higgs, “Dawkins, in a way, is almost fundamentalist himself, of a different kind.”

And while Barker sneeringly suggested that confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson undermines the idea of a “hypothesized intelligent designer holding the universe together,” that’s not how Higgs sees it.

“The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers,” said Higgs. “But that’s not the same thing as saying they’re incompatible.”

Indeed, he said, “Anybody who is a convinced, but not a dogmatic believer, can continue to hold his belief. It means, I think, you have to be rather more careful about the whole debate between science and religion than some people have been in the past.”

Higgs noted that a lot of scientists in his field actually are religious believers. And while he doesn’t happen to be one of them, as Dawkins and Barker and their fellow atheists have pointed out, repeatedly, the physicist himself said “that’s just more a matter of my family background than that there’s any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two.”

The irony in the discovery of the Higgs boson, long regarded as “the most sought after particle in modern physics,” is that it is more famously known as “The God Particle,” which it was dubbed in a 1993 book authored by Leon Lederman, a Nobel-winning physicist in his own right.

Lederman title wasn’t meant to pay homage to the Almighty, but to suggest that creation as we know it just happened on its own.

That the name Lederman facetiously created for the Higgs boson has actually brought more glory to the Lord – without Whom neither Higgs nor his boson would exist – only goes to prove that, truly, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world,” like snarky book titles, “to put to shame the wise.”

Transgender Right to Teach at Christian University?

THE FORMER HEATHER ANN CLEMENT (L) IS NOW HEATH ADAM ACKLEY (R).

THE FORMER HEATHER ANN CLEMENT (L) IS NOW HEATH ADAM ACKLEY (R).

For 15 years, Heather Ann Clement was a faculty member at Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical Christian school in Southern California.

But that changed last month, with the start of Azusa’s new academic year, when Heather came out as a transgender. The professor of theology began referring to herself as Heath Adam Ackley. And she even started to develop a more masculine appearance.

The professor of theology formerly known as Heather demanded that Azusa officially recognize “his” new name and gender change. So university administrators sat the prof down for several “thoughtful conversations.”

After hearing out Heather/Heath, it was abundantly clear to Azusa administrators that the evangelical Christian university’s long established “views on the theology of sexuality” were decidedly different from those of the transgender faculty member.

So they decided “it would be best for Dr. Ackley to pursue professional endeavors elsewhere.” And, by “mutual agreement,” he resigned this past Friday.

But not without becoming the latest cause célèbre among crusaders for LGBT “rights.” Indeed, said Ackley, he has garnered an “overwhelming amount of support” from his former students at Azusa, from fellow university professors, and from sympathizers on social media.

“We stand in solidarity with Adam,” declares an online petition, posted by Alyson Thatcher, an Azusa student.

She and her likeminded classmates, “strive to create a safer environment for students and faculty who have been marginalized by APU’s conservative policies, as well as those who have been victims of spiritual violence on campus.”

But what, pray tell, did young Miss Thatcher expect when she enrolled at Azusa?

That the Christian evangelical university would be no different than your typical Godless, socially-liberal institution of supposed higher learning?

That LGBT profs like Heather/Heath would be welcomed on Azusa’s God-fearing, socially conservative faculty? That students would spend their four years on campus partying like the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah?

And, as to the newly unemployed professor of theology formerly known as Heather, she/he obviously was deluded in thinking she/he could “reinvent” herself as a man, and her/his abomination before God wouldn’t get her/him kicked off the Azunsa faculty.

The transgender didn’t violate any of the university’s policies, her/his attorney, Paul Southwick, told NBC4 in Los Angeles. “The only code they have is homosexual conduct,” Southwick argued, “but Adam hasn’t (engaged) in homosexual conduct.”

His client is just a man trapped in a woman’s body.

Well, Heather/Heath’s gender-identity issues may not be a problem at secular universities – in fact, it probably would be celebrated as example of the university’s commitment to “diversity” in even its most perverse manifestations.

But no truly Christian institution would knowingly and willingly subject its young and impressionable students to an unabashed, unrepentant transgender professor.

Are Asunza administrators “homophobes” or “bigots” or “haters,” as they’ve been accused by supporters of Heather/Heath? Absolutely not.

They have responded with grace to the former prof’s gender confusion. “We appreciate Dr. Ackley’s past service,” read a statement from the university president, “and pray God’s best for the journey ahead.”

God Shows Up Even on Television

ACTRESS COURTNEY COX NARRATED A DOCUMENTARY REFLECTING THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF 'LIFE BEFORE BIRTH.'

ACTRESS COURTNEY COX NARRATED A DOCUMENTARY REFLECTING THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF ‘LIFE BEFORE BIRTH.’

Not long after his appointment as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton Minow famously delivered a keynote speech at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters.

He challenged the television executives gathered in the convention hall “to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you.

Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off,“ he said. “I can assure that what you will observe is a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”

Minnow spoke those words all the way back in 1961. And since then, television has become an even more vast wasteland.

Indeed, the game shows of yesteryear have been supplanted by reality shows that celebrate decadence and depravity, like E! network’s “Keeping Up With the Kardasians,” whose star, Kim, is know for her explicit sex tape, her 72-day marriage to a pro jock, and her recent out-of-wedlock birth to a daughter whom she cleverly named North (because her baby’s father’s surname is West. Get it?). 

The formula comedies about totally unbelievable families have given way today to sitcoms glorifying dubious families like the homosexual couple with an adopted child on NBC’s “The New Normal.”

The blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism and murder that appeared on the small screen in 1961 has been ramped up a half-century later with such popular shows as AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Showtime’s “Dexter,” CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and Fox’s “The Following.”

And the benign cartoons of a generation ago have been replaced with today’s decidedly unwholesome cartoons, like FOX’s “Family Guy,” which regularly caricaturizes both God and the Son of God in the most offensive ways.

Yet, the Christian faithful should not entirely despair of what appears on television. Because the Lord often shows up on TV, when and where least expected. And His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.

We’re not referring here to Christian television, like Trinity Broadcasting Network, Christian Broadcasting Network or Daystar.

We’re not talking about the television ministries of such pastors as Joel Osteen, John Hagee, David Jeremiah and Charles Stanley.

Nor about programming specifically targeting people of faith, like “The Bible,” the miniseries produced by the Christian couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, which  aired on “History” channel this past spring.

No, what we’re talking about are the instances when God shows up on mainstream TV. When He sends a shout-out to a television audience that is not expecting Him; when He reveals his ominpresence those with eyes to see, and ears to hear.

Like last week, when ABC’s “Good Morning America” aired a segment on Leon Harris, longtime news anchor at the network’s local affiliate in Washington, D.C., who recounted his recent near-death experience.

“On two days,” said Harris, “I died,” only to be miraculously revived by an otherworldly force. “God kicked my butt out of heaven twice,” Harris told Claire Shipman, who interviewed him for GMA. “So,” he said, “I’m supposed to be here.”

God similarly showed up unexpectedly last week on the season finale of “Jungle Gold,” the reality show that airs on the Discovery Channel. The show chronicled the travails of George Wright and Scott Lomu, who left their homes in Utah to mine for gold in the African nation of Ghana.

They stuck a deal with Dave Thomas, a British expatriot, who makes Ghana his home and somehow controls the rights to 70 square miles of prime gold-bearing ground in the country’s Ashanti region.

The way Thomas was portrayed on the show made it appear he was trying to take advantage of the Yanks to enrich himself (notwithstanding that Thomas agreed to give  Wright and Lomu a 70 percent split of a gold stake worth an estimated at $2.5 million).

Not until the season finale did we learn that Thomas is a man of faith; that he and his wife have planted a church in the Ghana town of Accra; and that he plans to use the money gleaned from gold mining to grow the ministry to the glory of God.

The Almighty seems to have a thing for the Discovery Channel. Because the network recently re-aired the documentary, “Life Before Birth,” narrated by actress Courtney Cox.

“The journey from conception to birth is miraculous and mysterious,” said Cox, who may be a Hollywood liberal, but sounded very much like a pro-life conservative in the film.

Indeed, she said, a mere two weeks after conception, “miraculous changes have taken place. The embryos are developing the germ of a brain and a spinal cord. And, just a few days later, a tiny heart, no bigger than a poppy seed, begins to beat.”

That the actress used such words as “miraculous,” and such New Testament references as “poppy seed,” suggests that she secretly shares common cause with Christians who believe that life begins at conception.

Many others who appear on television are unabashed in their promotion of the Gospel.

Like the kids on season 7 of FOX’s “American Idol,” who delivered a powerful rendition of the well-know praise and worship song “Shout to the Lord.” Like Nik Wallenda, who tight-roped across Niagra Falls, calling upon the name of the Lord the entire way. And like Phil Robertson, patriarch of Louisiana family that stars in A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” who pays homage to the Lord before every on-screen family meal.

Who knows? God just might show up on TV this evening at the Miss America Pageant. We understand that Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, is not just the first contestant to publicly display a tattoo, she also has publicly professed that she is a Christian. 

Wouldn’t it be something if she turned out to be a pageant finalist?

U.S. Infanticide Just as Ungodly as Syrian Genocide

THE HEART OF GOD IS GRIEVED NOT ONLY BY THE SUFFERINGS OF SYRIAN CHILDREN, BUT ALSO FOR THE MASS MURDER OF UNBORN AMERICAN CHILDREN.

THE HEART OF GOD IS GRIEVED NOT ONLY BY THE SUFFERINGS OF SYRIAN CHILDREN, BUT ALSO FOR THE MASS MURDER OF UNBORN AMERICAN CHILDREN.

“Well over 1,000 people were murdered; several hundred were children,” said President Barack Obama.

“These appalling violations against children must stop and those carrying them out held accountable,” read a report from Save the Children.

 “The great tragedy of this century; a disgraceful humanitarian calamity,” declared Antonio Gutteres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

How ironic the outpouring of outrage over the mass murder of children at the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime when there is barely a peep about the mass murder of unborn children here in the United States.

The killing of several hundred children in Syria’s civil war has President Obama ready to unleash hell on Damascus. Yet, America’s hypocrite-in-chief is perfectly sanguine that more than one million pre-born babies in this country are victims of abortion each and year.

That’s because Mr. Obama has sold his soul to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood,” the president publicly declared this past spring, adding, blasphemously, “God bless you.”

No less hypocritical is Save the Children, the non-governmental organization, whose motto claims: “We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential.”

Well, they sure didn’t save the lives of the more than one million unborn children killed last year by Planned Parenthood and other of America’s abortionists. They haven’t fought for the unborn’s right to life. They haven’t helped babies developing in the womb fulfill their potential.

As to Mr. Gutteres, head of the UN’s refugee office, his pronouncement that the civil war in Syria, and resultant carnage, is “the  great tragedy” of this century couldn’t be more absurd.

It is indeed a great tragedy that Syria’s civil war has claimed the lives of nearly 6,000 innocent children, including more than 400 that reportedly were victims of chemical weapons.

Yet, the death toll for Syria’s children is not a tenth, not a hundredth, not even a thousandth that of unborn children aborted this century here in the United States. This slaughter of innocents is America’s shame. It is nothing less than a latter day holocaust.

That Mr. Gutteres, the UN apparatchik, thinks the mass murder of roughly 14 million unborn American babies since the start of the new century is less tragic, less disgraceful than far fewer Syrian deaths over the same the span reveals his myopic world view.

That Save the Children, which claims to save children’s lives, has been absolutely mute in the face of U.S. infanticide reveals the fecklessness of the selectively outraged NGO.

And that Barack Obama his given his presidential imprimatur to America’s unGodly abortion-industrial complex  reveals that he is on moral par with Assad, the Syrian devil.

The Lord Disfavors Dishonorable Work

GAMBLER PHIL IVEY HAS EARNED MILLIONS IN POKER WINNINGS. BUT “WHAT WILL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSES HIS OWN SOUL?”

GAMBLER PHIL IVEY HAS EARNED MILLIONS IN POKER WINNINGS. BUT “WHAT WILL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSES HIS OWN SOUL?”

On a trip to Las Vegas a few years ago, I met Phil Ivey. It wasn’t in a casino, but on the driving range at a golf resort where the poker champion was working on his game in advance of a big-money golf match he had the next day.

We chatted for a short while. And I came away with the impression that he truly was a genuinely nice guy.

Yet, I do not condone what Ivey does for a living. While he’s had a successful career at the poker table – he has earned nearly $14 million in tournament poker, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal – it’s not honorable work.

Now, “honorable” work is not the same as “legal” work. For there are many jobs that are perfectly legal in the eyes of the law – perfectly acceptable to those who see through a glass darkly – that do not honor God.

And professional gambling is such an occupation.

Now I imagine some will quarrel with the assertion that gambling is an unGodly profession but the Scripture suggests otherwise. “Whatever you do,” it advises, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”  We “serve the Lord Christ,” the passage continues. “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs.”

Well, I’m pretty certain the Lord wouldn’t operate a casino. So no one who makes his or her living from gambling can claim to be working as to the Lord. What they are doing is wrong. And they need to come to repentance.

The same goes for any number of occupations.

For instance, abortion doctors kill more than one million pre-born babies each and every year. Such infanticide is perfectly lawful in this country. But it is an abomination in the eyes of God. Similarly, it’s perfectly legal to work in adult films; to sell one’s body for lucre. But the offense is rank, in the words of the Bard. It smells to heaven.

Then there are those professions, those occupations, that most of us have, that are not inherently sinful – like abortion or adult entertainment – that can afford us the opportunity to work as to the Lord, but that also can seduce us into using our skills for purposes that hardly glorify God.

Indeed, banks are not evil. But I would never take a bank job that required that I foreclose people’s homes. Tow-truck services are not bad. But I could not work for one that assigned me to repossess people’s vehicles.

I don’t think “the law is a ass – an idiot,” in the words of Dickens. But I would never seek acquittal for a criminal I knew to be guilty. I respect the Fourth Estate. But I could never work for an opinion page hostile to my Christian faith and conservative values.

So what should a person do who’s employed in a job that doesn’t honor the Lord? Follow the example of Matthew, who left his well-compensated job as a tax collector to answer Christ’s call to discipleship.

That’s not to suggest that anyone who earns a less-than-Godly living should resign abruptly – especially not in the current economy. No, let them seek first another job where they can work as to the Lord. Then let them quit their unredeeming job.

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