14 February 2015

Thoughts on the modern church

The modern church is floundering. It's losing people faster than it can replace them. It can't understand why it's being abandoned by older parishioners and why the younger generations won't even give it a second look. The church mistakenly believes that if it becomes more "relevant," i.e. looks more like the secular world, it will draw people to attend. 

Church leadership has been championing the destruction of the church in the name of saving the church for decades. One of the clearest examples of this is the so-called Worship Wars, which concerns contemporary praise music replacing traditional hymns. Those who are against this secularization of worship services are called Pharisees, implying that they care more about appearances and so-called legalistic rule-following than about the hearts of the worshipers. Praise music is authentic, according to its proponents.

And yet this simplistic, ego-driven music is the exact opposite of authentic. It's worldly corruption, pure and simple, and it is a direct appeal to the vain hearts and egos of those who claim to love it. Anyone who dares to point this out is to be silenced and shamed.

A good example of this comes from this recent post, Stop Blaming Your Lack Of Worship On Your Worship Leader. Stephen Altrogg

e writes that the complaints about modern praise songs are usually about these three things: it's too loud, it's too simple/repetitive, and I don't know the words. These are apparently not valid reasons to complain. Take his reasoning concerning the simplicity criticism:

One of the values of repetition and simplicity is that it allows us to grapple with truths in ways we can’t when we are moving quickly through multiple verses of substantial depth. We so easily forget eternal truths, and repetition and reminder drill God’s truth deeply into our hearts.

Our worship services should include songs with words like “bulwark” and “Ebenezer”, but they should also include simple, easily understandable songs.

The assumption that the best way to learn eternal truths is through simple and easily repeated songs is flawed, but this is where church leadership keeps getting confused about how to best serve their congregations. By simplifying and, in essence, dumbing-down doctrine to supposedly make it more accessible they are in fact alienating more people than they are drawing in.

The world is full of lowered expectations. Our culture celebrates immaturity and perpetual adolescence, and rewards the average above the exceptional. When our churches reflect the world's values back to us, why would we bother to go? The church should be a refuge and a refutation of the world, not an endorsement. And it should be expecting more from its members than simple recitations like "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love."

If we are to call ourselves mature Christians, we need to act like mature Christians. We should expect more of ourselves and of our worship services. We should not expect to go to church to be entertained and made to feel good. Eternal truths are a weighty topic and they should be treated as such. If church is not appealing to some because they might have to dress more formally than usual or because they are uncomfortable in some way, then they are probably not going to church to worship any other god than a god of their own making, which is essentially the god of themselves.

10 February 2015


Over at Amerika Brett Stevens has written a post that clearly delineates the problems our society is facing and the actions needed to remedy the situation.

Our goal is to destroy what is in power because it is corrupt. This includes not only the lying government and the deceptive media, but all people who have benefited from the system as it is now. To benefit, you must not only accept the lie but force it onto others, the oldest “multi-level marketing” or pyramid scam in existence. These people are therefore corrupted and cannot be saved and must be exiled, executed or otherwise driven out of our society. They used the lie to their own advantage, which makes them criminals, not leaders. Our media pundits, “entertainers,” fake religious leaders, corrupt politicians and leaders of useless industry are all parasites like the leech or the mosquito, and we need our blood to rebuild not to subsidize these otherwise useless people.

A new creation is needed, arising from a desire for purpose instead of equality. Toward this goal we each do our part, and so derive roles which are not interchangeable but specific to us. We value ourselves by what we are able to do, not what titles or money we have tricked a corrupt system into paying us. This will reverse the current situation, which is where the parasites are on top in the workplace and in politics, elected by the credulous millions and their pretense of making the “right” choice when they actually make the convenient one that flatters their egos, and instead will put the most capable people in charge. We can have one or the other, rule by parasites or rule by the capable, but not both.

It's a powerful clarion call to action.

09 February 2015

Helpful links on the journey

When I first started my journey from the traditional secular to the traditional Christian, I had a lot of anger towards Christianity that needed to be examined. I had been convinced that my anger was warranted based on my experiences with the Christian church and other Christians. I grew up under an interpretation of the scriptures that was flawed at best, completely wrong at worst. It was a feel-good interpretation that championed social justice work and the aggrandizement of the ego. I wanted no part of this.

As I began to re-examine the scriptures and read the Bible for myself and not through the lens of others' interpretation, I began to see the teachings of Christ in a whole new light. My anger at Christianity itself was misdirected: the anger should have always been at the so-called authorities whose understanding of the Bible was heresy.

There have been several websites that have been highly instructive as I journeyed down this path to truth.

The Ligonier Ministries (particularly the blog and Tabletalk) -- Reformed pastor R. C. Sproul and his staff have been highly instrumental in my reading and understanding the Bible correctly.

Faith and Heritage -- Nathaniel Strickland and his contributing authors write about race from a Biblical perspective.

The Sola Sisters -- Two sisters who left the New Age movement and now write about its infiltration of the church.

The Aquila Report -- A news aggregator that focuses on what's happening in the Reformed world and the larger Christian sphere.

Alistair Begg -- Reformed pastor whose sermons have been highly instructive in my search for a church home.

Reading and interpreting the Bible as a call to social justice work, increased charity/welfare, and more immigration of any sort is wrong. True Christianity understands this and correct reading of the Bible confirms this.

Anything else is heresy.

28 July 2014

We live in a perpetual disconnect from reality

We are told that two people of the same gender can have a baby. We are told that if women aren't provided with birth control and abortion-on-demand then those women are oppressed and being abused. We are told that importing millions of illiterate illegal immigrants will bring Americans more work and end the recession. We are told many lies that simply don't hold up under scrutiny and in relation to reality.

The people who perpetuate these lies -- the media, elected officials, twitter pundits and bloggers -- defend them viciously, employing tactics that they claim to abhor, like bullying. No matter how often you point out the inconsistencies and fallacies of their position, no matter how much you counter them with reality, they will always claim to be the enlightened ones while we are the ignorant and uneducated.

How did we end up in a place where reality is called a lie and a lie is called reality? How can so many people be so disconnected from reality? Reality isn't open to interpretation and it isn't different for every person, like the New Agers would have you believe. It is a constant. It is truth. It is incorruptible. And yet so many are completely disconnected from it.

I think cities bear a large brunt of the blame for this. Our modern Towers of Babel, we have built these massive cities, full of massive buildings, teeming with humanity and we congratulate ourselves that we have triumphed over the natural world. To me cities have come to represent the worst of humanity: ugly, brutal, anonymous, loud, dirty, relentless.

When you obliterate nature and the night sky, you create a world in which you think you are God. When you think you are God, you think that you can trump the natural world and the laws that govern it. Soon you believe that two same-gendered people can biologically have children, that sex is only for recreation and not procreation, and that there will always be an endless supply of other people's money to spend as you want.

But perhaps the most insidious consequence of this God complex is the belief that one is entitled to disconnect from reality.  I would argue that most people are on some level aware that they are willfully flouting the laws that govern reality in a bid to get what they want, regardless of the outcome. These people don't care what they destroy in the long-term so long as they receive the benefit in the short-term. Besides, there will always be someone they can blame when things go awry.

Reality will only be ignored for so long and nature can only be subdued so far. There will be a reckoning and a remediation, a balancing of accounts, to remedy this unsustainable situation. People who have a God complex believe themselves to be immune from the consequences of their actions. Thankfully, that's not the way things actually work.

10 May 2014

Bring back the government shutdown

I don't generally venture out into the world all that much. I run the requisite errands to the grocery store but other that that I would prefer to spend my time in other ways. Where I live when the school year is about to start, the state offers a tax-free weekend to bolster spending and, in theory, help lower-income families prepare for the coming school year. This is usually a horror weekend that is best avoided at all costs. Unfortunately I had to venture forth to Target that weekend and I expected the worst.

When I arrived at Target on a Saturday afternoon, I totally expected to lose several hours of my life in the endless gridlock of aimless, wandering "shoppers" but I was unprepared for what I actually found. This tax-free weekend happened to coincide with the government shutdown. The result was the unexpected emptiness of the store and relative ease with which I was able to make my purchase and go home. Even the streets were eerily empty. The longer the shutdown went on, the fewer people were out in the stores and on the streets.

Perhaps most surprising was the way in which the shutdown revealed the underlying and usually hidden truth that we suspect exists but cannot see, a truth we're told is a mean-spirited lie. That truth is most people are living on borrowed time, borrowed money, and borrowed affluence. Nothing exposes the lie quite like taking the free ride away. Suddenly all those who rely heavily on debt are faced with the prospect of having to live within their means.

I was astounded at how different the world looked when the government was on the verge of defaulting. It looked more like the America of my youth, an America I never thought I would see again. And while this glimpse didn't last, it did provide me with some hope that it is possible to reverse our current doomed course, and I would love nothing more than to see that happen. It's time to end the government subsidies and let truth prevail.

09 May 2014

Against our better judgment

I came across a somewhat lengthy quote by G. K. Chesterton concerning the unwillingness of people to discern obvious differences. I was particularly struck by this part of the excerpt:

For this is a strange epoch; and while, in some ways, we have quite dangerously encouraged the appetites, we have quite ruthlessly crushed the instincts.

This brought to mind an article that I read some time ago in which the author recounts her journey from quasi-monogamous to full-fledged "sluthood."  What impressed me the most was the author's willingness to admit that she had problems with the transition and that she required the reassurance of her friends to make the transition. Ultimately she had to convince herself against her better judgment that the decision to have a one-night stand with someone who answered her ad on Craigslist was okay.

She writes about her thought process and how she ultimately arrived at her conclusion. It's interesting to note how often she defends herself against her own better judgment. First she admits to staying in relationships with people in whom she's not all that interested just to avoid feeling lonely and rejected, and she feels lonely and rejected a lot. She then proceeds to go on a date with a man that answers her Craigslist ad. After one hour of conversation during which he drops the phrase "male hegemony," she agrees to go to his conveniently located apartment, all the while fighting with herself about the wisdom of this decision.

The next day she has lunch with her friends, to whom she relates the whole sordid night, and in true feminist solidarity, they affirm her completely self-destructive behavior because it's impossible to continue inflicting harm upon yourself without the support of others:

I’m telling you this because sluthood requires support. Because any woman who indulges these urges carries with her a lifetime of censure and threat. That’s a loud chorus to overcome. A slut needs a posse who finds her exploits almost as delicious as she finds them herself, who cares about her safety and her stories and her happiness but not one whit about her virtue. A slut alone is a slut in difficulty, possibly in danger.

It's interesting to watch her justify her behavior. She's fallen into the typical modern, feminist trap of disregarding her feelings of unease at her behavior (her self-preservation instinct) to embrace a lifestyle of danger and promiscuity that doesn't make her feel good but she that she rationalizes intellectually as ethically superior. In doing so she's made the classic feminist mistake: believing that restrictions that are put on women's sexual behavior exist only to limit the pleasure and fulfillment of the women these restrictions are supposed to protect.

The truth is that it does matter how many people you've had sex with prior to marriage. Who really feels good knowing that their future spouse has been with numerous partners other than themselves, that they've shared the most intimate physical connection that two people can experience with such wanton disregard? It shows an amazing lack of self-control and ability to delay gratification which are not the best traits for a future spouse to possess. But more importantly it shows that a person is incapable of discerning healthy from unhealthy, and of the quashing of one's instincts. It is as Chesterton says, that we have encouraged our appetites while crushing the very instincts needed to regulate those appetites.