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Is it possible to feel safe in an unsafe world?

Years ago, political activist Ralph Nader wrote a bestseller about the auto industry called Unsafe At Any Speed.  The book put Nader on the map and was the subject of controversy for years.

Most of us care about safety.  We want our family to enjoy life but be safe in the process.  Yet we live in what the Scripture calls a “fallen world.” 

Sin affects everything in God’s beautiful creation.  Criminal behavior, disease, conflict and wars, not to mention bad weather, all confront us.

So how do we stay safe in an unsafe world?

In Psalm 142, King David is hiding from his enemies in a cave.  He says, “I cry aloud.”  “I pour out my complaint.”  “No one is concerned for me.”  “I am in desperate need.”

Then he refocuses on what he knows to be true: “O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 

When the seas of life seem ready to overwhelm us, the surest way to steady the ship is to trust in our heavenly Father.

 

© 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.    

Is it possible to know “Why” God allows certain developments in the world?

Human beings are inquisitive people.  We want to know why things happen, what they mean, what might happen next.  It’s human nature.  

And to some extent we can discover answers to our questions because God made us in his image, with the ability to reason and learn.  We can think, but we are not omniscient.

When bad or destructive things happen, like tornadoes or weather events the insurance industry calls “Acts of God,” we want to know why.  When tragedy occurs, like an accidental death, we want to know why.  When serious illness strikes, we want to know why.

Sometimes we might be able to discern why, but usually this is long into the future when we benefit from hindsight.  But often, we will not know.

Scripture reminds us,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When we do not know, yet we know God’s character and promises, so we put our trust in him.

 

© 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.    

I’ve written that America has lost its moral center, and that America is celebrating irrationality.  Here are a few results.

Questions for our moment:

1) Why have politicians on both sides of the aisle, who just a couple of months ago willingly dictated behavior restrictions (some unconstitutional) to preserve public health, suddenly become so feckless in the face of lawless rioters?

2) How, despite Justice Neil Gorsuch’s verbal gymnastics in the US Supreme Court’s recent majority opinion for Bostock v Clayton County, reading sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) back into the 1964 Civil Rights laws, can anyone believe that SOGI and religious liberty are not on a collision course?

3) How can people, rightly believing “Black lives matter,” jump on the bandwagon of the radical organization Black Lives Matter, which lists its views, antithetical to Christianity, on its website?

4) Why have America’s opinion elites: journalists, academics, celebrities, corporate executives, become so afraid of being “politically incorrect” that they rush to virtue signal their bona fides by kowtowing to the latest mob insanity du jour? –Cancel or silence people for their views? Sure. –Topple statues of great achievers? Sure. –Force board resignations or cancel church leases for leaders’ “Likes” of unacceptable politicians' Tweets? Sure. 

5) Do the national personalities who regard abortion-on-demand—infanticide by another name—as a sacred, inviolable norm really believe a baby is only a baby if it’s wanted, that a mother’s “rights” supersede the child’s right to life? 

 

© 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.    

America is now well into a “Celebration of Irrationality.”

As I’ve noted earlier, America has lost its moral center. For a few decades now, we’ve discarded the Judeo-Christian values, drawn from the Bible, that guided American culture from its formative colonial period. We tossed aside the values that helped to develop—for all America’s fits and faults and sins—the freest, most prosperous, most aspirational country in history. Our forebears created and bequeathed to us a country, based upon a public morality defined objectively by God, or natural law as some described it, providing citizens with ordered liberty, rule of law, and a fabulous Bill of Rights, a country capable of endless opportunity and growth.

But since the late 1960s, my adult lifetime actually, Americans began rejecting the timeless verities the Founders entrusted to us, replacing these precious ideals with nothing other than moral relativism, which is the very definition of “nothing.” 

Now, we have almost nothing left. There’s no longer any “there there,” no philosophic glue holding our culture together. The rationale and values undergirding E pluribus unum, making unum possible, are disappearing, so pluribus is unleashed, undisciplined, and undefined—hence our growing inability to appreciate our heritage or even to define American identity.

If there’s no God or at least no objective, outside-ourselves standard, nothing that provides meaning and direction, nothing that makes order out of chaos, nothing that defines “good” and “evil,” then how do we decide what is right or wrong? 

Do we even care what is right and wrong? Surely, we do not when it comes to abortion-on-demand. No longer is abortion to be “safe, legal, rare” but “unlimited.” In abortion there is no right/wrong calculus, just convenience, preference, or a personal situational ethic determined by “might makes right,” which is to say the Mother is mightier than the baby, so she gets to decide what is “right”…for her.

We’ve offloaded not only morality but the inconvenient truth of reason and rationality. In fact, we now culturally believe there is no “truth” other than what we subjectively want to believe. Don’t tell me about truth. I will be my own church, my own religion, my own god, and I will decide what is truth. We live now in a post-truth culture. And if indeed there really is no truth, who cares?  

We do what is right in our own eyes, the laws of nature be hanged. Surely, this is the case with respect to “gender fluidity,” a term itself that makes no biological or historical sense, that is patently irrational yet is now one of the new sacred norms of Woke Culture. Laws of nature be hanged. We’ve developed 58 and counting (on Facebook) gender identities. In the UK, Facebook apparently needs 71 gender categories. No matter; we’ll determine our own “sexual orientation” and pursue whatever one we might devise. And this is limitless because no one is allowed or can say, “This is it”—and don’t forget the catch-all category, “Other,” added to cover the new gender identity developed tomorrow. No, we have LGBTQQIAAP or LGBTQ++, the pluses indicating an ad infinitum sexual proclivity run amok.  

The US Supreme Court case Bostock vs Clayton County (2020), defined biological sex as understood in the 1964 Civil Rights laws as including sexual orientation and gender identity, and in so doing, unleashed a new wave of social disruption upon American culture. This case will result in confusion, chaos, and more lawsuits. And while Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion attempted to dampen fears of a clash with religious convictions and liberty, history suggests he is naïve and wrong, for this case has set in motion a collision course between the newly reinforced, legally protected categories, sexual orientation and gender identity, and religious liberty. 

If we’ve thrown off moral guidance, reason and rationality defined by God, or even nature, in favor of a brave new world of our own making, then how do we live? There’s no meaning, and since no human being can actually function in this manner—we are after all, not Zombies…at least I don’t think so—we must fill the vacuum with something. Historically, the something that enters the hole in our heart is, inevitably, angst > disillusionment > despair > hopelessness > hate. It is nihilism come alive.

Human beings were created by God to be rational, reasoning, and relational, with God and with others. Nihilism leaves human beings alone, bereft, and adrift. They have no recourse but to hate everything around them including themselves.

Nihilistic behavior is visible in American culture. The Left, where nihilism flourishes (not Liberals, the Left, there’s a difference) is currently on a rampage exercising intolerance in the name of tolerance, silencing in the name of expression, mobocracy in the name of democracy, defaming, defacing, and destruction in the name of respect, violence in the name of peace. Tear down while virtue signaling and shaming anyone who dares to question your aberrant actions.

Meanwhile, irrationally, police departments are attacked and “defunded” as somehow the only source of racial animus in society, a claim that cannot be demonstrated with data. Yes, there is police brutality. Yes, there should be police practice reform. But No, police are not the number one or most threatening force destroying Black culture or taking Black lives—abortion is, along with the broken family, and so are a list of other cultural pathologies. 

Mobs—now only ostensibly connected with any real pursuance of racial justice—are presently more influential in some cities than elected leaders. These mobs are using the language of race, civil rights, justice, but they are using the tools of racism, violence, and injustice. Naked force, a kind of newly constituted gang, is ruling what happens in streets and neighborhoods and if you’re a citizen nearby, get out of the way. 

Nationwide vandalization of historic monuments have moved way past concerns for racial justice. The latter can’t explain defacement or destruction of Matthias  Baldwin’s, an abolitionist, statue in Philadelphia, or the defacement of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in Boston, an all-Black group of Civil War Union soldiers, or the toppling of General and President U.S. Grant’s statue in California, the man who helped defeat the Confederacy. 

Meanwhile, elected political leaders charged with the safety and security of their state, district, or city, incredibly, order police departments to stand down and not protect citizens from larcenous vandals. Why have politicians on both sides of the aisle, who just a couple of months ago willingly dictated unconstitutional behavior restrictions to American citizens to preserve public health, suddenly become so feckless in the face of lawlessness?

Remember, history teaches us mob rule is but a half-step away from tyranny. This is, to say the least, enormously concerning for the future of American democracy.

American culture is off its rails, celebrating irrationality. The question now, is it too late to change? Are we a bridge too far? 

For Christians, there is still and always hope, for we know the Lord and we know the end of his-story. We do not, however, work with guarantees regarding American culture, nor its future, and America’s future is imperiled.

Irrationality is the very definition of crisis.

© 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.    

America has lost its moral center, what sociologist of religion Peter L. Berger once called its “sacred canopy.”  This is the culture’s understanding of public morality, once defined in the United States by a Judeo-Christian consensus. It’s what gives the culture purpose, direction, meaning, and hope.

As Judeo-Christian values are jettisoned one after another, nothing other than a rejection of absolutes is being put in their place, or in other words, nothing substantive or objective at all. No moorings. No port in the storm. No guiding light and certainly no metanarrative that defines the culture. 

This has been happening since at least the rise of the counterculture revolution in the 1960s. “Make love, not war.” “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” While some of the changes since the 1960s have been good, like the rise and effective adoption of the Civil Rights Movement, other aspects of the cultural march to “Everyone doing what’s right in their own eyes” has been anything but good. 

Add to the counterculture the rise of Postmodernity with its penchant for “freedom from” rather than “freedom to” across the spectrum of the academy and culture, wholly embraced by America’s opinion elites, and you have a recipe for moral relativism run amok. 

Sexual freedom inevitably meant more pregnancies, and for women to be truly “in control of their own bodies,” well, then one must have abortion, which was legalized in Roe vs Wade (1973), to be followed inexorably by the spate of abortion-on-demand bills passing state legislatures in the last couple of years. The drug culture has kept expanding until now we have problems not only with illegal, super-charged narcotics like heroine, methamphetamine or crystal meth, and crack cocaine but problems with prescription drugs like opioids as well. Gay Rights plowed the field for what now is LGBTQ+ and a never-ending redefinition of humanity as long as it rejects “the binary” and thus continues to emphasize invented privacy rights at the expense of social order. Meanwhile, divorce and fatherless homes, sexual abuse and violence take a toll on each generation. To make an understatement, women struggle with sexual harassment and minorities with racism. 

With this loss of center our sense of purpose, our ability to agree on right/wrong are gone, as is increasingly our national identity as a people, which we’re watching as centrifugal forces now vie to spin American culture into chaos. There’s no “unum” in E Pluribus Unum.

One of the heartening things in the wake of the tragic police killing of George Floyd May 25, 2020, is the peaceful protests we’ve seen in support of rightful change. One of the disheartening things we’ve seen in the wake of this tipping point is the lawlessness, anarchy, vandalism, violence, larceny, and general demands of a new “woke” culture that self-righteously seeks to silence or shame all who might disagree. Sadly, the latter in its vicious steam-rolling approach has almost overwhelmed the former. 

This disintegration of order and democratic process has been painful to watch. And there’s not much hope of a brighter tomorrow because the many voices do not agree on even the most basic values. We have no sense of a unity to which we can aspire. It’s all now about power, a zero-sum calculus to gore the other side’s ox.

This is not an easy piece to write. It feels hopeless, and yet I am not hopeless because I believe in our Sovereign God. I believe in the timeless verities upon which this country was founded, and I believe for all our fits and faults we still offer much that our children and the world need. But our beacon at the moment is severely obscured.

God grant that we rediscover the importance of centering moral values before centrifugal forces pull us apart.

© 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.    

In modern terms, the Old Testament Prophet Jonah would be called a racist.

He hated the people of Nineveh, so he refused to follow God’s command to preach to them and ran from God.

Jonah took a ship at sea, a violent storm came, so the sailors tossed Jonah, and he was swallowed by a huge fish.

For 72 hours, Jonah cried to God from that fish, then the fish spit Jonah out on dry land.

Finally, Jonah preached to wicked Nineveh, they responded to God’s grace.

Jonah then, unbelievably, became angry at God for being merciful.

You see, Jonah would have been happier to “Nuke the Ninevites.” 

But the story ends with God saying, “Should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh?”

This is our task today.  

To have concern for all the great cities of people, no matter their race or heritage,

“To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

 

© 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.