Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Fun: This Week's Church Sign

Please, people. Please be careful with potential acronyms.

Have a good Mothers Day/Ascension Sunday, everyone!

HT: Stephen Lake

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Prayer for #NationalDayOfPrayer

Today is my country’s National Day of Prayer, and this is my prayer (when I say “we,” I’m referring to myself as well as many Americans):

Dear Heavenly Father, Creator of All Things,

Thank you for our country. As I strive to worship you, God, and serve the poor, I regularly am blessed by the fruit of our country’s founding vision of freedom, responsibility and humility. My children attend a very resourceful and culturally-diverse school and church, and there are many other ways my wife and I feel uniquely blessed by our community.

However, we have erred from what is right by Your commandments and what would continue to be deemed good stewardship and cultural flourishing in the land You have given us. 

We have sought self-fulfillment in the wrong places, storing up treasures on earth. Have mercy.

We have treasured our sub-culture and/or country more than your love and grace. Have mercy.

We have had the over-confidence to disregard the notion of intelligence other than our own, pridefully refusing to be teachable. Have mercy.

Under a guise of justice, we have sought vengeance and victory instead of reconciliation and the common good. Have mercy.

Wanting to create a culture that we thought was better, we have ignored facts and believed heinous lies about people. Have mercy.

We have selfishly sought our own trivial good and ignored the significant plight of others. Have mercy.

We have continually mocked leaders and those in authority that you have ordained, and not prayed for them as you commanded. Have mercy.

Unlike many of your children outside of our country, many of us continue to lack an adequate theology of suffering. Have mercy.

We ask, Lord, that you would give wisdom and strength to both President Obama and the next person who will be given the difficult task of leading and shepherding a diverse and polarized country. 

May we have the strength to continue to serve you, help others and work for the common good. 

May we, following your commands, in our relationships with one another, seek absolute grace and not relative justice. 

May we, following your commands, be elitist about ideas but egalitarian about fellow children of God.

May we never forget, Lord, that you are not surprised or intimidated by actions of men. You are our perfect example of humble servanthood. Give us the strength and courage to serve our country.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Three Signs that the American Polity is in Trouble

Interesting post. Thoughts?

No nation lasts forever. The United States of America nearly fell apart in the Civil War and faced stresses early in the Industrial Age that destroyed other nations (such as Russia), but which we survived.

We should not take our stability for granted. I have pointed out many times that the order created by the World War II generation is over . . . for good and bad. Global organizations built after the War have outlived their usefulness and in many cases impede peace and our national sovereignty.

1. The ruling class no longer believes the founding story.

2. The intellectual class is hostile to the traditional values of the nation.

3. The working class and middle class feel powerless. 

You can read the rest

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seven Questions About Transgender Theories

This post echoes my honest questions about the phenomenon. If you're reading, please give an honest and informative (rather than an ad hominem) response. It'd be helpful for me as I continually strive, with my church, to find ways to serve others in the north Chicago metro. If you're interested more about the background of each question, you can read the explanations. (The post's conclusion is a call to Christians).

1. Do transgender theories undercut or contradict the idea that sexual orientation is unchangeable?

2. If gender identity is fixed and unchangeable, why do many children who experience gender dysphoria lose these feelings after puberty?

3. When a person feels a disjunction between one’s sex at birth and one’s gender identity, why is the only course of action to bring the body into closer conformity with the person’s psychological state, rather than vice versa?

4. Is the higher rate of suicide among transgender persons due primarily to the inner tensions of experiencing gender dysphoria as a disorder, or are these acts motivated primarily by societal rejection?

5. Why are the strongest critics of “gender binaries” the most likely to support gender stereotypes on display in transgender celebrities?

6. Why must one’s declared gender identity be accepted without question, while other forms of self-identification can be dismissed?

7. Without a settled definition in our legal system for transgender, how can we avoid all sorts of problems, including bathroom access?

Monday, May 2, 2016

We Can't Talk to Each Other Anymore

We can’t talk to each other anymore. It’s sad. It seems like civil and productive dialogue are impossible in this socio-politically charged country, left alone friendship across most differences. Presidential candidates are becoming more uncompromising and growing further apart on the ideological scale.

Objectivity is gone. Debates aren’t won by scholarship and execution, but by marketable cliches, fallacious witticisms and passionate tenacity. It’s okay to use ad hominem and over-simplification on certain people and ideas, but not others. All the issues are quite simple, right? I’ve seen people supposedly debunk and solve millennia-long debates in a Facebook meme. After all, it’s the 21st century. We don’t talk to each other anymore.

Of course it would be easier if we all believed the same things. But the truth is that we’re roommates in a diverse country, a country founded, in part, on the notion that people that think differently could live securely together. But it takes some selflessness and grace. That’s hard when all people care about is victory and/or vengeance. We can’t talk to each other anymore.

The previous three candidates for President of this country (both parties) were considered moderate. Now people are wondering why the two most likely candidates for president are so polarizing. It’s because we can’t talk to each other anymore.

As you lobby, vote, and serve your country in various ways, I encourage you to be elitist about ideas and egalitarian about people. Be selfless and have compassion for your supposed enemies. Make it less about winning and more about reconciliation. Otherwise, we’ll become more divided, and we can’t talk to each other anymore.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Fun: Cubs Fan Pessimism

From The Onion . . .

CHICAGO—Stressing that “it’s only April” and that “there’s a lot of baseball still to play,” Cubs fans throughout Chicago told reporters Thursday that they remain cautiously optimistic about their World Series chances after pitcher Jake Arrieta threw his eighth no-hitter of the season, with the team scoring over 30 runs for the 12th straight game. “The Cubs have started really well, and Kris Bryant already has 38 home runs on the year, but it won’t matter unless they can play like this in October,” said longtime fan Spencer Palmer, noting that while he is happy with their performances, he isn’t getting ahead of himself after the Cubs’ five-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals by a combined score of 168-0, which included seven different batters hitting for the cycle. “Arrieta’s thrown six perfect games in his last 10 starts, but if he gets hurt, we really just have Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel, and they’ve only thrown five no-hitters between them all season. If everyone can stay healthy and maintain their average of two triple plays per game, I think they’ll have a great shot in the playoffs. But we’ll see.” At press time, Palmer had reportedly lost all faith in the Cubs’ hopes for a championship after watching right fielder Jason Heyward strike out for the first time all season.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

True Masculinity and Feeling Other

My adolescence was a social nightmare. I grew up in the rural South but didn’t fit the mold of Southern masculinity in the slightest. Sports piqued no interest in me; roughhousing made me nervous; slaying innocent animals seemed cruel and gross. Of course I never expressed such blasphemies—I wasn’t stupid! But I was everything opposite of what my Duck Dynasty-like culture insisted I should be. I was sensitive. I liked to read. I liked to draw. I liked to journal. I wasn’t your mud ridin’, hog huntin’ kind of boy.

The nightmare cranked up to a Freddy Krueger level of horror when I realized I was attracted to the same sex. While my male peers were crushing on girls, I was crushing on them. I didn’t utter the word “gay” to describe myself until I was 19 years old, and no one prior to that time knew about my so-called sexual orientation. But I knew. I was painfully aware of how abnormal, unmanly, distorted, and screwed up I was, which made relating to other guys . . . well, I just didn’t relate to them.
You could see how this might make life a little scary for me.

Feeling Other

I really thought whatever god was responsible for creating me must have been a little drunk when he pieced me together. I never felt like a woman, nor did I want to be one, but I also didn’t feel like a man. I felt other, which made me feel inferior to other males and uncomfortable around them. I mean, sure, I had guy friends. But those friendships were a forgery. Those guys didn’t know the person I really was inside; they only knew the fake Matt—the Matt who played football, partied, and dated girls just to be perceived as normal. The real Matt Moore, the one I concealed from their sight, was constantly filled with fear and anxiety in their company since I didn’t believe I measured up to their standard of manliness. I felt less than what I was supposed to be. Incomplete. Distorted. Other.
You can read the rest.