State of the Culture: “Smart” men and stupid ideas

By Jonathon Van Maren

The sexual revolutionaries work in very predictable patterns: First,  they demand some new sexual “freedom” as a human right. Then, call everyone who points out what could result from accepting that new set of premises “fear-mongers” or “phobes” of some type. Finally, when the thing they said could never happen and mocked Christians for warning could happen ends up happening, they retreat into silence and turn their attention to the next project. Bluntly: they don’t care. Some of them knew the Christians were right and were blatantly lying. Thus, stories like this one over from Fox News continue to crop up:

A transgender Idaho Falls woman was arrested on one count of felony voyeurism for a report that she took pictures of another woman changing clothes in a dressing room in a Target store in Ammon, Idaho. (Unlike a fake news report from April 2016 involving a woman supposedly arrested for taking pictures of underage girls in a Target bathroom, this report is real.)

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the store after a woman reported that someone was taking pictures of her while she was trying on clothes inside a dressing room. The victim noticed the suspect reaching over the wall with a cellphone taking pictures and confronted her, prompting the suspect to flee the store on foot.

According to a Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office news release, “Detectives were able to review witness information and security footage from Target that led them to come in contact with 43-year-old Sean Patrick Smith, who also identifies as Shauna Patricia Smith, a transgender female.”

Yaawn. Every revolution has its casualties. Moving on.

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Last week, I highlighted some of Douglas Wilson’s brilliant comments on what Christians will have to do as the culture turns against us. This week, the Gospel Coalition Australia highlighted a few assumptions Christians have made that are rapidly turning out to be false—the first one being that many people assumed that the culture was simply disinterested in Christianity. The truth is turning out to be somewhat more nefarious.

For all of the talk about exile, the language of Athens, and the need to find a voice in a culture of competing ideas, was far more prevalent than the language of the true city of exile, Babylon. We were exploring ways to deal with the culture being disinterested in us, not despising us.  I well remember myself saying “People are not walking past your church and saying, ‘If I never go to church, that’s the one I am never going to.’ No, they don’t see it at all.” That’s Athens talk, and assumes that if we can just show a point of connection to the culture then the conversation will flow and we will all get along.

I have changed my mind on this one. If the last five or six years are any indication, the culture (read: elite framework that drives the culture) is increasingly interested in bringing the church back into the public square. Yes, you heard that right. But not in order to hear it, but rather in order to flay it, expose its real and alleged abuses and to render it naked and shivering before a jeering crowd.  It is Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego standing up before the statue of gold, whilst everyone else is grovelling and going, “Pssst, kneel down for goodness sake!”. It is officials conspiring with the king to show that Daniel’s act of praying towards Jerusalem three times per day is not simply an archaic and foolish hope, but a very real threat to the order of the society and the new moral order that will hold it together.

If the primary characteristic of Exile Stage One was supposed to be humility, the primary characteristic of Second Stage Exiles will have to be courage.   Courage does not mean bombastic pronouncements to the world, not at all.  It has to be much deeper than that.  It will mean, upon hearing the king’s command that no one can pray to any god save the king for thirty days, that we go into our rooms with the window open towards Jerusalem and defy that king even as our accusers hunt us down.  It means looking the king in his enraged face and saying, even in our God does not rescue us from the flames, we will not serve your gods or bow down to your statue of gold.  Unlike Athens, Babylon is not interested in trying to out-think us, merely overpower us. Apologetics and new ways of doing church don’t cut it in Babylon.  Only courage under fire will.

Courage under fire. It will be interesting—and frightening—to find out what “under fire” means.

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Conservative columnist Mike Adams recently tackled the topic of courage in his piece “Onward Christian Pansies.” At church after church he attended, Adams writes, he could not find a pastor who would actually defend the tenets of Christianity:

I wish I could say my next pastor was different. But he was not. He was privately appalled by the concept of same-sex marriage. But every time he broached the subject you could see him shaking from the pulpit. His voice would tremble as he tried to express his views in coded phrases. Unfortunately, the congregation was too obtuse to know what he was saying. When push came to shove, he failed to take a firm stand on Amendment One, which was North Carolina’s traditional marriage amendment. Clearly, he cowered out of fear of offending the droves of Obama supporters that helped pay his massive mortgage. I could no longer stomach his cowardice. So I left his church in frustration.

A personally anti-abortion pastor led another church I attended briefly. The problem was that his personal anti-abortion stance remained private and did not make its way into his sermons. In fact, he would not allow any discussion of the topic in his church for fear that someone in the congregation might have had an abortion. So he tossed any chance of redemption out the window for the post-abortive congregant. To make matters worse, he adamantly opposed pro-lifers showing pictures of aborted children in the public square. In other words, he was “pro life” so long as no one ever talked about it inside or outside the church. To make matters even worse, two of the members of his congregation later castigated pro-lifers for showing pictures of abortion on the UNC-Wilmington campus (where I teach). There is an obvious lesson here: If the pastor is a coward, it will always spread through the congregation.

It has taken several tries but I am happy that I have finally found a pastor and a church that is solidly pro-life and pro-family and not afraid to say it. I’m just sad that in the last sixteen years, I have learned that at least three quarters of the pastors who actually know what is right still lack the intestinal fortitude to take a stand for what they believe.

Many Christians are fed up with the capitulation of the church and respond in a way that is different from my chosen response. Rather than continuing to try and find a courageous pastor, they simply stop going to church. So this raises an interesting question: If Christians actually stop going to church because they are tired of pastors refusing to take a stand is it possible that some people never seriously consider Christianity in the first place for the same reasons?

Take a few minutes to read the rest of your article. It’s a good one.

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This article from Public Discourse is very well worth your time. An excerpt to get you reading:

When Christian rock star Trey Pearson announced he was coming out of the closet and separating from his wife and their two children after seven and a half years of marriage, he said that his wife had been his “biggest supporter” and that “she just hugged me and cried and said how proud of me she was.”

If this account is exactly true, it is troubling. Think about the degree of social decay required—especially within Christianity—for a Christian wife to be so conditioned by popular culture that she immediately congratulates her husband for abandoning her and their children, rather than reaching out for help to preserve their marriage and family. A man who walks away from a marriage because of same-sex attraction is no different from a man who abdicates his role as husband and father for sex with other women. We shouldn’t view Trey Pearson’s actions as heroically true-to-self, but as simplyselfish.

I should know. I walked away from my marriage nearly twenty years ago because of my same-sex attraction. I made a stunning error in judgment. Thankfully, our marriage has been very happily restored for more than five years now. Along the way, I learned that marriage is more than just a tradition or a religious or social construct. Monogamous, complementary, conjugal marriage is a pearl of great price worth investing one’s entire life in, a pursuit that surpasses all its imitators and impostors.

We desperately need voices at a time where anyone who does not support the LGBTQ complex is ridiculed and marginalized.

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The voices on the other side grow increasingly stupid. Now, the New York Times reports, Oregon has allowed a man to declare that he has no gender. Just done with the whole “being a man” thing, apparently, but still didn’t want to be a woman.

A judge in Oregon has granted a petition allowing a person to legally choose neither sex and be classified as nonbinary: an important development for transgender Americans while civil rights and sexual identity are in the national spotlight, advocates and legal experts said.

Though the petition was granted with little fanfare in a two-paragraph decision on Friday, the experts said that, to their knowledge, the ruling was the first of its kind in the country.

Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center in Oakland, Calif., described the decision in an email as a “historic step” toward the government’s recognizing “nonbinary members of our community and ensuring they have access to identity documents that reflect who they are, just like everyone else.”

The petitioner seeking the new designation, Jamie Shupe of Portland, Ore., is a retired United States Army sergeant born with male anatomy who had successfully battled the military to be given discharge papers that reflected the female sex.

Jamie — who prefers to use only a first name and the pronouns “they” and “their,” instead of singular pronouns — underwent hormone treatments to transition to a woman. But ultimately, neither sex fit, Jamie said in an interview on Friday.

Notice that even the Times uses strange terminology. They accept, with great solemnity, the transparent ridiculousness of a man declaring that he has no gender at all, and write this babble with the utmost caution. Why is it that the so-called intellectual elites are always the first to accept the stupidest ideas?

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