The Virtue of Being Slow to Speak


Gagged and silencedOne of the ways social media may harm the Church (and society as a whole) occurs when Christians rush to comment on news stories and issues of social importance.

As I noted in my previous post, America’s Greatest Sin—And How It Sets the Stage for the Antichrist, we are obsessed to our detriment with novelty in America. If it’s new, it draws us. For Christians, though, being the first in line or first on the bandwagon is likely not a good thing.

The Ahmed Mohamed story blew up (no pun intended) this past week and incited much commentary on the Web, with people quickly choosing sides.

What disturbed me about this case is that we commented as if we had insider info about conversations that happened between the principals of the story: Ahmed, teachers, and police. We spoke as if we knew what was said that led to this young man’s handcuffing.

Problem is, we didn’t know. As more facts come in, it’s clear that more is going on than was initially known or reported.

I later read a screed that polluted further conversation about this case by examining the boy’s father’s past and drawing negative conclusions from that man’s run for president of Sudan and opposition to a Koran-burning pastor.

The problem there is the genitive fallacy, a logical fallacy that mistakenly draws conclusions based on a person’s past positions or allegiances and not on the facts at hand.

I also question Christians when we accuse someone of a response that if the situation were reversed and the Christian accuser were put in the place of the accused, the Christians would cry, “Persecution!” Could you and I be accused of the same thing we’re accusing someone else of? If so, how would we react to that accusation? Why would it be OK for us to react negatively and not the person we’re accusing? The Golden Rule applies to speech too.

Lastly, it’s September, the most active month for Christians making outlandish (and perpetually wrong) eschatological predictions. Christian obsession with the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that fall in this month means talk of doom, Rapture, more doom, and all manner of end-of-the-world predictions and visions.

Sigh. I am burned out of Christians doing the following:

1. Using logical fallacies to persuade

2. Rushing to promote some new End Times prediction by the latest hot “prophet”

3. Speaking without having all the facts

4. Condemning others using arguments that would cause outrage if the tables were turned

5. Not thinking long and hard before speaking

The Bible states we are ambassadors for Christ. A major characteristics of an ambassador is carefully choosing words so as to promote rational discussion of difficult issues, with a focus on creating peaceful outcomes that benefit all sides.

Can we Christians in America today say this is how we speak?

If we cannot—and I firmly believe we can’t—perhaps we should not be speaking at all. At least not until we have pondered and prayed over all the facts and can then speak in the way that an ambassador for Christ should. Seriously, we know many of the verses with which God chastens us concerning our speech. Are we obeying ANY of them? Do a study on what the Bible says about this topic. It’s a huge undertaking, believe me, because how we communicate with others is of great importance to God

In an age of social media, how must the Church speak and yet not appear uninformed, angry, hasty, or deaf? How do we operate as ambassadors of Christ in what we say, both in person and online?

Something to consider for this week and the days to come.

America’s Greatest Sin—And How It Sets the Stage for the Antichrist


If you’re a normal human being of any thoughtfulness, you must be wondering,

Why the heck does everything in American life seem crazy right now?

If you’re like me, you’re trying to make sense of some of the inanity you’re seeing in the news. Heaven knows I’ve been trying to find some common thread.

Take a look at the following and ask what that commonality might be:

  • The ascendency of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders
  • The hunt for the “murderer” of Cecil the Lion
  • The Kim Davis case in Kentucky and the rapid rise in support for same-sex marriage
  • The decline of Christianity in America
  • The failure of the Planned Parenthood videos
  • The pornification of everything

If you don’t see the connection, don’t feel bad. I only just realized it myself.

What ties those six items together is one concept:


Let’s unpack this by starting with the last item on the list.

Scientists have studied pornography and its effects on the brain, and they’ve been startled at their findings. Pornography’s addictiveness is linked heavily to novelty. The porn addict is more addicted to the newness of every image seen than he or she is to the actual content of the image itself. It’s why porn addicts can’t be satisfied with seeing a pornographic image; instead, it must be one they’ve not seen before. That portion of the brain that resonates with novelty must be fed.

Internet, novelty

Trump, Carson, and Sanders are doing well in political polls for the very reason that everyone they are running against is a dyed-in-the-wool, tired politician of the kind we’ve all seen a million times before. But that trio is new, fresh.

The reason the Cecil the Lion case blew up is as much about our boredom with hunting down typical bad guys as it was about the actual killing of a notable animal. Ho hum with the mass murder of human beings (boring, old news), but some American dentist shot a famous lion! That’s different.

America’s boredom explains why only Christians interested in fighting abortion were entranced by the Planned Parenthood videos. Abortion? To everyone else, this is a dead horse. One the same “fanatics” keep flogging. Really, time to move on to something new!

Such as same-sex marriage. Soon to be followed by plural marriage. Soon to be followed by whatever new form of marriage we can dream up. Heck, even Christians are spinning this toward the novel when we talk about this being the FIRST DOCUMENTED CASE of Christians (Kim Davis and her supporters) being persecuted in America (which it isn’t, but hey, some of us want it to be).

And on and on.

Novelty. Not just idols, but NEW idols. Every single day.

This obsession with novelty may very well be America’s greatest sin.

When you start to think about it, that sin of obsession with novelty begins to make sense of the nonsensical. It can explain almost everything. Why people stand in line for the latest iPhone. Why you can’t engage people in conversations with any meaning. The enthrall of social media and its cascade of what is happening right now. All of it revolves around novelty.

Give us something new.

Which is why I think, in part, that Christianity is suffering in the West. It’s old, ancient even. Everyone is used to it. Even people who aren’t Christians can spout something about Christianity. And just like Asian religions swept America in the 1960s, Islam (new here, unusual, different) is making inroads in America. This seems otherwise crazy in light of 9/11, but not if novelty is the driving force. This also explains the sudden appeal of atheism. In a world filled with religions, how novel is NO religion?

This is why I believe America is in even deeper trouble than we may understand. It’s why we may be setting the stage for Antichrist or the Antichrist, depending on whether you believe it’s a generalized concept or an actual entity.

Because when Antichrist comes, the characteristic that will most likely define it/him/her will be novelty. It/him/her will gain acclaim for “freshness,” newness, and differentness. The Bible says that Antichrist and the minions supporting it/him/her will be known for the miraculous. And what sucker among us isn’t hankerin’ to see a miracle or two. Because, hey, novel. May even be the top trending news item on Facebook.

God knows we’re primed.

Sleeping with the Enemy, American Church Edition


church demolitionIt’s hard to know where to begin to unravel the craziness behind the fallout of a Kentucky clerk of court saying she’s standing on the Word and refusing to issue–or let anyone else in her office issue–marriage licenses to homosexual couples. After a while, weariness is about the only emotion one can feel.

Yet not weariness that this has happened, but more the kind that comes from repeated efforts to awaken a sleeper who just refuses to wake up.

Christians who quote the Old Testament a lot are yelling about religious liberty and wringing their hands about the end of America. Christians who like to think they are more New Testament quote verses about obeying government authorities and seem bored with the whole fiasco. Solid Christians inhabit both groups, so it’s sad to see that neither group seems to understand the other.

I sit here somewhere in the middle, wondering if both sides are missing the point.

For me, the distress is not that this is the end of Christian dominance in America. It’s not that various Christian groups can’t come to consensus on the events in Kentucky.

If anything, what troubles me is that no one seems capable of understanding that the government of the United States is not the friend of Christians that Christians have always thought it has been, and that the Church has been doing nothing to distance itself from sleeping with the enemy, nor preparing for that day when the truth about that relationship finally crystalizes.

Friend Rick I. noted a case of the frankly delusional state of thought by some Christians. From the Answers in Genesis folks behind the Creation Museum (also, coincidentally, in Kentucky) comes this:

“Bowing to the pressure of anti-Christian secularist groups that have actively opposed AiG in the culture, the state was intimidated last year to withdraw a tax incentive for our Ark Encounter project that had already received pre-approval (see In order to receive the tax incentive, the state is now demanding that our future Christian facility open its hiring to everyone (which then would include applicants who agressively oppose the Christian message of the Ark project), and that the gospel message not be presented at the theme park. Christians increasingly are being treated as second-class citizens in this nation. Essentially it comes down to the fact that regardless of what the Constitution clearly states about freedom of religious expression, those who don’t have a Christian worldview will reinterpret the Constitution to make it fit with their own secular worldview. The Ark issue is a battle of worldviews.” (Source: AIG’s “Not Just Acceptance, But Coercion—Christians Now Being Told to Embrace Gay ‘Marriage’ or Else“)

It’s astonishing to me that any Christian organization can go to the government for money and NOT think there will be stipulations. Or that the government might bow to pressures from “enemy” groups. AIG looked for a handout and got its hand slapped instead. Wow, how utterly unexpected.  :-/

The even better question is to ask why a Christian organization is going to the government at all.

Rather than wringing our hands about what was surely the outcome the Bible predicted, why have Christians in America not been preparing for the day when the court of public opinion turns against us?

If we needed any preparation, Roe v. Wade provided the handwriting on the wall. Despite Christian groups’ repeated attempts to leverage supposedly pro-life forces in the House and Senate, Roe is still here, even when those forces held a majority. Despite the heartbreaking Planned Parenthood videos that should have galvanized our leaders, nothing has changed. Fact is, the powers that be don’t want it to change, no matter what they say they believe.

Yet Christians in America remain shocked at this. Shocked. Meanwhile, AIG is PO’ed that they may not get tax money to build their ark. We act as if Jesus never warned us that the world would hate us. That there would be consequences, difficult ones, for our faith.

The next battleground will be tax exemption for churches. I can almost guarantee that exemption will go away sooner than the Church thinks. Again, it was never a guarantee, but we have foolishly acted like it was.

What happens when the spawn of the Church Growth Movement, all these monster-sized churches with cathedral-like buildings sitting on a plethora of acreage, suddenly gets a million-dollar property tax bill?

What does it look like when a church goes bankrupt?

Whatever the outcome, it won’t look pretty.

I’ve been writing this blog since 2003. In that time, I’ve written extensively on the lack of preparedness by the American Church for times of want and for the day of persecution. Regardless of whether you or I think that time is now, we still are not getting prepped.

I’m not sure what it’s going to take, but I’m beginning to suspect the only way to wake up the Church here is the same way you wake of the board of directors of your typical Fortune 500 company: a string of brutal financial losses. I hate to think that for the Church in America it’s all about the money, but nothing else seems to be jumpstarting our efforts to future-proof the best we can.

Perhaps it’s time to sell off massive church buildings on gargantuan properties. Perhaps it’s time to stockpile food. Perhaps it’s time to draw up plans to secret ourselves. In countries where the church is actively persecuted, wise leaders have taken steps to survive. What are we doing here? Better yet, when are we even going to start talking about this in our churches?

Let’s get something straight, too: This is not panic mode anymore than is having a family escape plan should a fire break out in your home. It’s called being wise.

The American Church has slept with the federal government for a long time. Now we’re seeing that the lover is more a frenemy. Soon, the relationship will degrade even further.

Church, how are we being wise in all this? Does complaining about loss of funds for our fake ark really show any seriousness about the future? Yet that is where we seem to be as Christians in America 2015.

Time to wake up and start prepping for something worse.