Two New eBooks at Amazon Kindle!

FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponRSS Feed

Social movements, inevitably, move beyond their founders, triggering events, and initial raison d'être. Don’t believe me? Read history—that is, if anyone cares anymore about history:

  • Multiple competing agendas develop
  • Without a charismatic leader who embodies the movement they become directionless
  • Without that genuine leader, pretenders turn on each other, destroying the movement
  • Celebrities get involved but with rare exception are shallow by definition, seeking 15 minutes of fame and no more
  • Meanings of words change, to the point people talk past one another
  • Original intent can be overwhelmed, hijacked, displaced, unrecognizably recrafted, forgotten
  • Violence can occur but rarely makes the impact anticipated
  • Sustainable social change takes place when goals resonate with an objective reality that aligns with human aspiration.

“Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time” (Ecc. 1:10). 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

One of the things I find fascinating, and at times frustrating, is trying to convey to young adults just how much societal and cultural things have changed. I mean from the time I was their age, and especially since I was in my 20s or when I was a kid.

This may not sound like much, or it may sound like just another old codger grumping about getting older, and maybe it is. But I don’t think so.

For example, I remember the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, which in some ways is similar to race discussions now but in other ways not at all. Yes, there is more to be done, but No, it is not true that no progress has been made. And if you read speeches given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, you’ll hear him calling for human rights for people of all colors and creeds. You’ll hear him dream about a “color-blind” society. This is decidedly not what we are hearing today. Now it’s about “identity politics.” It’s about advancing one group’s rights, or power, versus another. It’s not about respecting and realizing the ideals of the American experiment, as King called us to do, but about rejecting those ideals. Race politics in the 2000s is qualitatively different from race politics in the 60s and 70s.

The abortion issue looms large. Since Roe vs Wade (1973), more than 58 million abortions have taken place in the United States. Now it seems there are fewer political leaders on either side of the aisle who are willing to stand as pro-life, and even more importantly, actually work to change this situation. We’ve had “pro-life Presidents” like Reagan or GW Bush, but we still have abortions. More and more of the next generations simply consider abortion a civil right, so things are not likely to change soon.

Moral issues were front and center in the 60s: “Make love not war,” do what feels good, the whole spectrum of loosening and changing sexual mores, except one key difference. The sexual discussion in those days assumed the existence and historic attractions of man and woman, not the 71 hybrid versions of gender identity some now say exist.

In addition, LGBTQ has become a social force demanding recognition for any and all manner of self-proclaimed sexual proclivities, which in turn are presented regularly on television programs, i.e. sit-coms must have a gay character and entire shows are built around LGBTQ characters.  It’s really incredible how quickly LGBTQ points of view have been embraced by the general culture and by political leaders, like for example former President Barack Obama who began his term opposed to same-sex marriage and by the end was its best-known advocate

“Trans” quickly became the next frontier after same-sex marriage was accepted, particularly through the high-profile transition of Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner. Bruce, a gold medal decathlete in the 1976 Olympics, and later the increasingly emasculated father of the Kardashian clan, had worldwide fame, so his inexplicable and sad transformation got global coverage and thus reinforced the idea anyone who wants to be trans should be saluted for doing so. And the rest of the population must make accommodations from public restrooms to youth camps. Corporations made a pell-mell rush to present themselves as “with it,” proclaiming their support, or not-supporting athletic tournaments or even entire states like North Carolina where laws existed that seemed to discriminate against trans people using public facilities. In any event, there’s an ongoing movement to try to normalize LGBT and now every manifestation represented by Q, and for a sports fan like me, seeing a hero athlete like Bruce, who was young when I was young, follow the path he has taken is a sad experience indeed.

Don’t get me wrong.  I support human rights and civil liberties. I do not embrace or endorse discrimination against any American citizen, including those with different gender or sex orientation than I understand, nor for that matter undocumented immigrants. I do not want any American citizen to be prohibited from working or living in given communities, etc. But I do not believe every inclination, sexual included, of any individual must ipso facto be embraced and normalized. Some things people want to do are objectively wrong and injurious and should not be legalized.

For example, I do not believe in “cultural relativism.” While I do not in any way believe immigrants or refugees should be discriminated against or in some other way socially harmed because of their faith or culture, at the same time, I recognize that among both Muslim and Christian subgroups in some cultures, actions like FGM or honor killings or forcibly arranged marriages are practiced. I reject these actions, regardless of the religion or culture involved, because these actions are, on a human rights level, immoral and threatening to the individuals involved and to society. They are quite simply, wrong, and I believe society must be able to say so, thus preventing these behaviors. But today, there are many who argue otherwise, saying whatever one’s culture prescribes is, in essence, OK, and the public has no say. This is very different from the American social logic generally applied when I was younger.

I could list other examples of societal or cultural change but perhaps this is enough. And I do not mean to imply that all change has been bad or wrong. I appreciate the progress American culture has made in recognizing how women are treated and in giving them access. I am glad for the progress made in the ways American culture views physically or mentally disabled individuals.

But I am also concerned about what seems to be a cultural decline based upon sporadic and now systematic rejection of American ideals, the ones drawn from centuries of Western Civilization and ones that proved their time-tested worth, like respect for human life and all human beings, respect for truth—even the idea of truth, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech—the right to be heard, not silenced, and the right to access to the public square. If these values continue to be rejected, the changes we are experiencing in American culture will not be beneficial to the generations that come after us.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

I am 65 and experiencing things I never thought possible when I was 25, and I’m not talking about technological wonders.

When I was 25,

-No one searched my bag when I went into a church service. Now, in many churches this is a routine security check.

-Culture knew the difference between male and female, sort of a no-brainer. But not anymore. Facebook offers something like 56 gender options and some are arguing there’s more than 70. I’m sometimes confused, but not about this.

-No one policed the infants and children’s areas for fear someone would come to harm or take a child.  I know this is now necessary and am glad for the people who protect children, but I’m saddened by this obvious change in our culture.

-Churches didn’t have special windows in children’s areas not only so people could walk by and enjoy them but to increase the number of “eyes-on” as an accountability to all adults working with or entering among children, thus to protect the children from various kinds of abuse.

-Criminal and financial background checks were not performed for every personnel hire, even within religious nonprofits, because today, there’s too much risk, too much legal exposure for hiring a person who has serious issues.

-No one thought much about it to see a young man walk down a country road with a rifle.

-Most people thought patriotism was a good thing, even hippies leftover from the 60s.

-On trips short and long our children romped freely on a quilt we placed in the back end, back seat down, of our hatchback Chevy Vega (I loved that car), not in car seats made for astronauts.  Now I am not against progress in keeping children safe, of course, but I am forever amazed at how involved and how expensive our kids’ kids’ stuff has now become.

-Politically correct meant we could answer questions about politics and government accurately.

-Gay meant happy. 

Strange changes, not all of which are progress.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

A Christian's hope is not a "vain wish" regarding something about which you can do nothing, as for example, "I hope my team wins next Friday."

People place their hope in many things: themselves, their “inner strength,” people—who always fail and falter, talent—drive—wealth—education—beauty—success, false gods. But none of these things can ultimately provide hope in the face of hopelessness.

However, a Christian's hope is based not upon earthly and temporal and limited things, not upon what might be, but upon what has been, the already accomplished fact of Christ's sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death and in this demonstrated the victory of HOPE over hopeless then, now, and forever.

So, when you choose hope based upon the omnipotent Sovereign God, you are not irrational, emotional, or even mystical.  You are rational, reasoning and reasonable because you are opting for fact over fiction.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2017     

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

I’m pleased to announce two of my books are now available in ebook format on Amazon Kindle.

My first ebook, Living For God In Changing Times, was previously published in print as Christian Liberty: Living For God In A Changing Culture, (Baker Books, 2003). (The title link will take you to this ebook’s Amazon.com page, where the ebook is available for $.99)

This eBook suggests Christian liberty is the least understood and least practiced doctrine in the Bible. So the book explains how to enjoy living with the "In the World/Not of the World" Tension. It also examines both micro and macro issues relating to the so-called "Culture Wars" and offers Christian perspectives on postmodern culture.

Social change is happening at a faster and faster pace. It's both exciting and unsettling. Some change is "good" and some not, but how do you tell the difference? Jesus said, live "In the World" but "Not of the World." But believers have often responded to this command by developing a list of "Dos" and "Don'ts," resulting in legalism, "Holier than thou" attitudes, and withdrawal from cultural influence.

This book demonstrates that the Christian life is not about "Holy Lists" of "Dos and Don'ts" but about developing a biblical worldview and applying your faith to an understanding of the times and the world in which we live. This book teaches you how to live proactively and productively in a rapidly changing postmodern culture—how to enjoy living for God in changing times.

Social change, culture, and how people live their faith have been interesting to me since college days. This book is a bit of a personal manifesto. If you want to know how I think and what makes me tick, this book tells the story.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

We live in rapidly changing times. More scientists, more technology, more information, more capacity to communicate and travel, more of nearly everything exists today than once existed, and more is being added as I write. Nothing stands still.

Meanwhile, Christians are supposed to live “in the world” while being “not of the world” even as they go “into the world” (John 17). We’re here in 2011 for a purpose. We’re supposed to be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation.

But how do we do this if we don’t understand the principles and values God gave us in his Word, and how do we do this if we don’t understand the times in which we live?

In the Old Testament, we read the story of King David's effort to unite the kingdom of Israel. To help King David win the battles ahead of him, God sends to David a long list of "mighty men of valor." These men were seasoned soldiers who knew battle tactics and weaponry and who were men of great courage.

But right in the middle of this long list of mighty soldiers, God sends the men of Issachar, and the only thing on their resume is that they were men "who understood the times, to know what Israel ought to do." While they could fight, their main contribution was to give King David sound advice.

Their value to David was that they not only understood what was happening but why it was happening and whether or not it was a good thing.

Now, this is what we need today. We need Christian "men and women of Issachar" who understand their times. This means that Christians must understand the Bible, God's Word, as well as learn about the ideas that influence our nation.

If you're a Christian, you should be able to relate God's unchanging biblical principles to these rapidly changing times. You and I should be able to apply the principles and values of a biblical worldview in our lives, in our cultures, and in our times. We should be able to “give the reason for the hope that you have” with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

What does a Christian worldview have to offer the environmental movement? What really does a biblical understanding of life and Christian faith suggest we should do in the Middle East? What is a truly Christian view of stem cell research? Is Christianity relevant to public morality? Are Christian values regarding family, sexuality, and personal morality still valid and meaningful in 2011? When should, if ever, a Christian go to war? Is there really a Christian view on capital punishment? How can Christian values be fairly represented in education, entertainment, law, medicine, politics?

My point is this. The Christian life must be lived-out in the world. That's what James meant when he said, "Faith without works is dead." We should live our faith in a relevant way.

How many Christians do you know who have faith but don't do anything with it? And how many Christians do you know who know a little about the Bible but have never learned how to connect Bible truths to the everyday world?

Let's read, learn, and "study to show ourselves approved." Let's become a man or woman of Issachar who understands the times. Let's change the world.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.