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Ever wonder why, in the face of evil, pain, and suffering that God does not return now?  Why does he seemingly delay the Rapture and Resurrection, and hence his later Second Coming?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #133 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

I recently wrote a blog for the ministry with which I serve, SAT-7 USA, called “Living in the Worst of Times.” The title is borrowed from Charles Dickens’s introduction to his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, in which he famously wrote:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”  

Dickens tells us about a time of chaos, conflicts, and despair, as well as some happiness and progress, but mostly contrast and futility, two steps forward, three steps back.

If you were to think about our current time you could draw your own conclusion. Is this the best of times, or is it the worst of times? 

I confess that several social developments have occurred in the past few years that I never expected, and not only that, which surprised, maybe shocked, even discouraged me.

It does not take rocket-science intellect to note things like US government overreach in response to the pandemic, i.e., the willingness of political leaders and bureaucrats to take unconstitutional actions, and the willingness of much of the public to accept it.

In 2020, following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, a summer of lawlessness broke out in cities across the country. Then came the nonsensical “defund the police” movement.

Maybe this was predictable, but what discouraged me was the “soft on crime” approach of governors, mayors, and district attorneys, because supposedly the looters deserved to steal and destroy because they were poor or minorities or because discrimination exists.

This refusal to enforce the law continues in California, Portland, Chicago, New York, and many other cities, even as police are at times told to stand down.

More recently we’ve witnessed the President of the US intentionally refuse to enforce the law and therefore has allowed millions of illegal migrants to flow across the southern border, unvetted and unknown. Yes, some are indeed actual asylum-seeking families. But many others are not refugees, but like in Europe, fake refugees, mostly younger men of military age seeking handouts – which again amazingly, so-called sanctuary cities are providing, supported by American taxpayers:  cell phones, cash, food vouchers, free rooms, free healthcare. 

More mind bending is the President recently saying he’s done everything he can do to stem the tide, forgive me, an outright lie that any attorney can demonstrate. It’s willful dereliction of duty and degradation of American society in the interest of perceived political power.

Last example, and this one really did shock me: Even though I spent my early years in higher education, and even though I have followed the philosophic and moral freefall in public universities and the neo-Marxist ideology promoted in those universities, I still was caught off-guard by the widespread antisemitism, pro-Hamas rallies, and blatant hatred of Jews expressed by American university students in the streets and on campuses – and they had the audacity to yell their antisemitic attitudes not just at a people group half a world away but at fellow students, professors, and others who are Americans, but also Jewish. It’s still happening.

One additional amazing thing is how many of these students or others in the street have no idea what they are protesting or why. Some do, of course, but many are clueless, simply following the maddening crowd.

This made me think of two Scripture passages that detail city riots protesting the Apostle Paul’s ministry:

In Acts 19, “the assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there” Acts 19:32.

Then again in Acts 21, “Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks” Acts 21:34.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, King Solomon summarized this human issue in a principle, saying, “What has been, will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” Ecc. 1:9.

This kind of mass hysteria has been evident in cities across the globe. Some say they are protesting for human rights, some because the US or Israel are supposedly “colonialist” or “settler” states – and these people, in particular, don’t know their history. 

It’s not unlike the “person in the street” interviews you’ve seen wherein young adults cannot name the country the US fought to win its independence, or whether the North or South won the Civil War, or who is the current Vice President, or even that Hamas radicals butchered innocent Israelis of all ages, and perpetrated even worse, graphic and gross crimes against humanity that I’ll spare you from listing here.

Despite the fact that some Hamas terrorists wore GoPro cameras filming their atrocities, video now released to the public, some protesters deny 10/7 ever happened.

These protesters try to stop traffic on major highways, attempt to shut down LAX, or block vehicle tunnels, risking their lives perhaps in some instances, and certainly not engaging in legal peaceful assembly, yet many don’t know why they are there.

Is this mass hysteria as I mentioned? Maybe. Is this the product of indoctrination, i.e., certainly not critical thinking and not liberal learning, but more like the misled Muslim men we see chanting in the streets not only in Tehran but now in Berlin or London or Paris?

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he witnessed something like this. In Matthew 9, it says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” Matt. 9:35-36.

Americans, or if you wish Westerners in general, despite the vast religious, educational, and political blessings of Western civilization, are today harassed and helpless. We’ve created our own “worst of times.”

Our culture is looking for answers everywhere except in the old, over-sized Bible that nearly every American family maintained during the 1800s and much of the 1900s.

Our culture has been on a 60-year bender rejecting or redefining the religious and philosophic roots that made it possible for Western civilization and specifically the United States to flourish in the first place.

“In God We Trust”?  No.  God is dead, or at least inconsequential until it’s time to hope “the man upstairs” decides we’ve done enough good things to get into heaven.

Sin is medicalized, redefined as disease, or maybe described in media as “He struggled with his demons,” but either way, set aside is any need to own our moral choices, to take responsibility, and then to seek help outside ourselves in the person of God himself. No, we are told to “trust your heart” and “seek your own truth.”

We’re told to blame the environment, our upbringing, our race or ethnicity or our biological sex – these are the source of our problems, not us and not our heart. The solution is psychology and therapist, not theology and pastor, much less the love and accountability of a nuclear family.

In our contempt for truth, we embrace mendacity, not moral right and wrong. 

Crime has decreased only because we now define certain formerly illegal acts as acceptable. Police are turned into social workers. As my friend says, “We’re told to follow the science, political science that is.”

It is not a stretch, not an exaggeration, to describe our culture as “harassed and helpless,” and it will remain hopeless if we continue to jettison Judeo-Christian values, the Church, and most importantly the Gospel of Christ.

So, with all that, why doesn’t Jesus return now?

2 Peter gives us the answer:

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:8-9.

God created freedom of religion, freedom of choice. God waits, allowing more helpless and harassed to hear the Word of Truth and come to Christ. 

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024   

*This podcast 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 or https://twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Ever wonder or maybe observe how the occurrence of bad things, even wicked, debased things, can cause people to ask moral questions they’d never before asked?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #119 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

I remember when then President Bill Clinton got involved with a Whitehouse intern during the mid-1990s. Suddenly in our secularizing, morally relativistic culture, national news anchors like Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Ted Koppel, started using terms like “adultery,” “morality,” “lying,” and “marital fidelity.”

Then, Sept 17, 2001, just days after the horrible 9/11 death and destruction that was visited upon New York City, Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania, 

I remember watching Dan Rather and David Letterman discussing this terrorist attack on Letterman’s late-night show. What struck me at the time was that these two celebrities, one known for his toughness, who’d been in war zones all over the world, and the other known for his irreverent take on life, were genuinely scared.

I’m not making this up. They admitted it on air and spoke in tones not typical of their demeanor. Dan Rather became overcome with emotion on air because this thing had gotten their attention like few other circumstances could have. 9/11 literally rocked their world.

Not long after this, Sept 23, 2001, Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities helped organize a huge service in Yankee Stadium called “Prayer for America.”

This was a multi-faith program in which leaders from many different religious denominations prayed or spoke. Then country singer Lee Greenwood performed "God Bless the USA."

After 9/11, in some ways like the response to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, media elites suddenly talked non-stop—understandably—about betrayal, treachery, religion, and other moral categories.

The point is, both these very different national crises caused people to ask deep, existential questions that prior to these experiences, people pretty much ignored.

Since Oct 7, 2023, we are living in a post-Hamas-massacre world. Suddenly, with regularity I am seeing these phrases in articles or hear them intoned on air: moral clarity, moral equivalency, moral litmus test, moral pretzel logic, moral bankruptcy, moral hypocrisy, moral collapse, moral cowardice, moral reckoning, moral imperative.

Now, is it odd that these kinds of phrases are used? Depends on how you look at it.

If you think about the evil incarnate that rained down on innocent Israelis Oct 7, then no, these phrases are not odd or unexpected.

If you think about the dilemmas faced by the Israeli response, the commitment and the need to bring Hamas to justice and to eradicate forever their capacity to support terrorism, yet with a desire to minimize civilian noncombatant injury and death, then no, these phrases are not odd or unexpected.

If you think about the 242 innocent hostages from at least 27 countries, then no, these phrases are not odd or unexpected.

But if you think about American culture’s pell-mell rush into nihilism, its rejection of God in favor of Do-It-Yourself religion, its rejection of truth and moral absolutes by embracing moral relativism – with, ironically, an absolutist zeal – its celebration of all thing’s material, hedonistic, and vain at the expense of time-tested verities, its unfettered embrace of unfettered sexual dissolution, it’s utter disdain for any discussion of right and wrong, i.e., morality, then yes, these phrases incorporating moral considerations are indeed odd and unexpected.

People ask, why would God allow something like the Israel-Hamas war? I don’t know, for I am not God. But I do know something about God’s character and will, as he reveals them in the Bible.

God is not the source of evil, but he allows human beings to choose, and he knows our evil choices result in emotional and physical trauma that causes men and women to seek solace and to think about moral categories.

For example, one result of the evil work of ISIS in which Muslims killed muslims, in fact killed more Muslims than Christians, is that this suffering caused Muslims to ask questions like, what is this, Muslims killing Muslims in the name of our common god? This question, getting to the heart of their indoctrinated faith, allowed them to think new thoughts, to wonder about other faiths, and for some, to ask, to seek, and to find Christ in the Gospel.

This could be one providential result of the horrors of the Israel-Hamas war—severe adversity, then agonizing ethical considerations causing people to seek answers, including in the Christian faith.

Our current circumstances bring the ethical naivete of street protesters into bold relief. For example, I have trouble considering protesters calling for peace credible who harass uninvolved citizens, vandalize property, or destroy flags, threaten police, and turn violent. This happened Nov 15 in front of the Democrat National Headquarters in Washington, DC.

I have trouble with protesters who accuse Israel of holding Palestinians to a “collective responsibility,” i.e., collective punishment of the many for the wrongdoing of the few, who then turn around and harass, even physically and verbally accost American Jewish students heading to the dining hall, or a Jewish professor in his classroom, or a Jewish person walking the street, as if these American citizens who happen to be Jewish have anything whatsoever to do with the Israeli leadership and the IDF. Who’s assigning collective responsibility now? In racial overtones no less.

I have trouble with protesters who chant antisemitic slurs against Jews, and those who express hate of Palestinians, in American or in Europe, as if either the one or the other of these people are responsible for what’s happening in the Holy Land.

And what happened to the hostages? It’s as if they’ve been written off, out of sight, out of mind. I'd like to see a Pro-Hostages demonstration.

This did finally happen. Nov. 14, some 290,000 marched on the Washington, DC, Mall for Israel, for the hostages, and for peace, making this “one of the largest gatherings of Jews in U.S. history at a time when an ongoing war in Gaza has sharply divided public opinion around the world. An additional 250,000 people watched the event through a live stream.”

What we need in the USA is both a revival and an awakening. 

The words revival and awakening are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. An awakening takes place when God sovereignly pours out his Spirit and it impacts a culture. That is what happened during the Jesus Revolution (in the late 1960s, early 1970s), and it’s what happened in multiple spiritual awakenings in the history of the United States, predating its establishment as a nation. A revival, on the other hand, is what the church must experience. It’s when the church comes back to life, when the church becomes what it was always meant to be. It’s a return to passion.”

Revival is when God releases a special work of grace that reveals His power and presence amongst Christians. The word “revive” means to bring back to life. Hence, it cannot be talking about reaching the lost because they were never alive to begin with.

Renewal is when committed Christians are worn out from laboring in the Lord, and God sends a spirit of refreshment that restores them to vibrancy. Awakening is when a revival spills over and begins affecting the surrounding communities.”

R.A. Torrey, a friend of Dwight L. Moody, was a great preacher and evangelist in his own right. He gave this prescription for revival during a February 1917 address at Moody Bible Institute. He said to “1) Get right with God, 2) get together with other Christians and pray for revival, and 3) make yourself available to God, especially in winning souls.”

“Revivals don’t last forever. They have a beginning, a middle and an end…Someone once asked the evangelist Billy Sunday whether his revivals lasted. He replied, “No, neither does a bath. But it’s good to have one occasionally.” The American Church needs revival.

A “spiritual awakening, that outpouring of the Spirit, is up to God. We can’t organize it, but we can agonize for it in prayer and call upon God to send it.” America needs an awakening.

Pray to God that he will pour out his blessings upon our nation. We need his grace. 

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

  

*This podcast 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.  

The past few years have witnessed a landslide of negative cultural change, so what does this mean and how should we respond?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #118 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

In the new millennium, I have experienced social and political developments in the USA that I never thought I’d see in my country.

During COVID, 2020-2022, I wrote about these new developments, e.g., airy dismissal of First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion, specious unconstitutional government intrusion in education, enterprise, everyday life, a willingness of anxious citizens to trade personal freedom for government mandates promising illusory safety.

Predating and overlapping the pandemic, we have witnessed the aggressive emergence of a brook-no-argument promotion of sexual libertinism for all ages down to toddlers, and alongside this, radical woke politics – rooted in critical race theory and what’s called cultural Marxism reaching back to the 1960s. I have followed all this, written about it, and have become increasingly alarmed as citizens and elected officials demonstrated a willingness to ignore the rule of law, especially following the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis in 2020, the promotion and implementation in many locales and states of an inane “defund the police” movement, all this moving away from the ideal of “blind,” meaning impartial, neutral, fair, justice in favor of so-called “social justice,” weighted with racial or ethnic victimhood that are intrinsically unfair and inequitable, all this in the name of a new idolatry of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

More recently, October-November 2023, the face of the Holy Land crisis, I find it mind-blowing to watch American university students, later all ages, protesting not simply on behalf of an admirable concern for Palestinian lives, but chanting “Gas the Jews,” “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide, we want Jewish genocide,” “Death to Israel,” “Free Palestine, by any means,” “Divest from Zionist genocide now,” “F___ Israel,” “Glory to our martyrs.”

A Cornell University professor said of Hamas’s actions, “It was exhilarating. It was exhilarating, it was energizing. And if they weren’t exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, the shifting of the violence of power, then they would not be human. I was exhilarated.” He has since apologized, saying “did not reflect my values.” One wonders whose values his words represented if not his own?

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see and hear open antisemitism chanted in American streets and university campuses, except perhaps from fringe neo-Nazis or skinheads. 

What’s ironic is that these offensive, bigoted death-threat comments are coming largely from those on the left, progressive side of the political spectrum, the people and groups who have been preaching about hate speech and political correctness for the past decade. 

The COVID pandemic was not the reason for the negative cultural trends I see in my own country. These trends, including sexual liberation and woke politics, have been building steam for several decades.

But the pandemic provided a platform on which to push initiatives and values that contradicted, undermined, and dismissed the traditional American Judeo-Christian consensus that had allowed the USA to flourish for over two hundred years.

The big government socialist tendencies of the pandemic politics, together with sexual libertinism and woke policies, became a toxic brew that’s poisoned American culture at every level.

Now, with the Israel-Hamas War, we’re seeing the dark underbelly of ideological animosity rooted in the evil heart of men and women. In the U.S., the issue is cultural centrifugal forces—and by “forces” I mean influences of our own doing and volition, not some fatalistic karma beyond our control. By our choices, we have become a culture unleashed from its Judeo-Christian moral moorings that, in turn, now creates a crisis of meaning with every new social political development.

“What is happening in America has happened to every other great nation/empire in history. They have a good run.  They get rich and powerful, and then want to enjoy that prosperity. So, they get fat and lazy, weak, degenerate, immoral, and pleasure-loving. Those characteristics never produce growth, success, and prosperity, they only result in decline, decay, and destruction. And America is smack in the middle of that right now. We have turned our back on God, and we are suffering the consequences of it. And no nation in human history has ever reversed things from such a decline. There might be the occasional blip on the screen, the Hezekiah or Josiah, but the general trend is downward. And that is the direction America is headed right now and has been for over a generation.

The only answer is a return to the positive spiritual values the country was founded upon and that made it a great nation. That doesn’t appear in the offing, and it never has happened before. The majority of Americans have succumbed to a degenerate evil and self-absorption—mimicking the country’s leadership…The answer, the cure, is in the human heart.

Nobody wants to look there. The Left certainly isn’t going to because they want nothing but power, and their power comes from evil.”

“It is inconceivable that the day would come that Jews in America would need to feel fearful. For all of its flaws, America has been a secure place of refuge for the downtrodden, including Jews, who have been historically oppressed in nation after nation.

This anti-Semitic wave is just one of many examples of the decline of our nation. Several months ago, the Wall Street Journal opined that if Western Civilization, of which the United States is a prime example, were to die, it would be through suicide. In that op-ed, Gerard Baker notes, ‘If we are losing, it is because we are losing our soul, our sense of purpose as a society, our identity as a civilization. 

We in the West are in the grip of an ideology that disowns our genius, denounces our success, disdains merit, elevates victimhood, embraces societal self-loathing and enforces it all in a web of exclusionary and authoritarian rules, large and small.’”

I’ve read articles and books that sound like the author is giving up hope. I understand the angst. Watching your country and culture implode is not fun, nor does it seem like there’s much we can do about it.

I’ve read pundits, who put their hopes for positive change into a grand scheme for the Republican Party. Somehow, if we could just get these people elected all would be well. But history, and even an honest look at the party and its politicians will pull the rug out from under that hope. The Republican Party does still acknowledge certain important values about life, liberty, human responsibility, but despite tons of promises, at the first sign of pressure the record demonstrates that most of these people fold or disappear.

Then there are those who put their faith in a political leader, particularly former President Donald Trump to do what? “Make America great again.” Now, does he offer some policy positions that are desperately needed in Washington, DC? Yes, he does. Are all his views, attitudes, and behaviors aligned with Christian values? No. What most motivates him? I’ll leave that to you to decide. My point is not to knock Donald Trump but to remind us that no leader is a failsafe guarantee to right the ship. Scripture says, “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Ps. 146:3).

But I refuse to become pessimistic, much less give up or throw in the towel. In fact, I believe Christians should be proactively optimistic. Why?

  1. Because we know the end of the story, history or his-story, written in the Word of God.
  2. Because God is there, and he is not silent.
  3. Because 1 billion peoplein the world are still breathing, and as long as they are breathing they are still able to respond to the Gospel.
  4. Because it may seem like the End Times, and maybe it is, but we don’t know but what things could get much worse because they have been worse at other times in human history, and Lord said in the concluding chapter of the Bible, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).
  5. Because Jesus said, “And surely I am with youalways, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20).

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023    

*This podcast 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.  

Have you ever been caught off-guard by a new meaning for a long recognized word in the English language?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #79 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

 

Words are how human beings communicate. A gift from God, the power to speak using words, sets human beings apart from animals. But if words do not possess established, recognized shared meanings, they can be manipulated and therefore people can be manipulated. 

Words are hijacked, which is to say, unilaterally repurposed at the expense of normality, reality, and truth, so a given group can control the narrative.

In the postmodern 21st Century landscape in which we live, confusion reigns supreme. And confusion creates division.

Division, which then leads to power, is the goal of the secular progressive left. A way to do this is to distort language, turn discourse upside down or make it impossible by constantly redefining words.

In the 1990s, President Clinton famously defended his conduct with Monica Lewinski by stating "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

“Language provides an avenue to express shared meaning so humans can relate to one another. On college campuses, social media, and in the courts, this shared meaning is being destroyed. Through linguistic activism, (the secular progressive Left has) begun a full-scale war on language, playing by their own set of constantly shifting rules.

Words can now literally be defined with their antonym. We are a hair’s width and an ounce of stupidity away from (George Orwell’s frightening phrases in his book 1984), ‘war is peace, freedom is slavery.’ This isn’t innocent linguistic drift or slang; it is a conscious effort to reshape society.

(For example,) consider “the phrase ‘undocumented immigrant’ in place of ‘illegal alien.’ The rallying cry is that ‘no person is illegal.’ But of course, ‘illegal’ refers to the action and status, not the personhood of the individual, and ‘alien’ is the technical term for a foreign citizen.”

The term ‘illegal immigration’ is no longer politically acceptable because it might reflect negatively upon some poor, misunderstood ‘migrant’ who entered the United States illegally seeking a better life. The (secular progressive Left) now identifies them as ‘undocumented immigrants.’

“By separating gender from sex, linguistic activists tore the very fabric of mutual understanding, and created a new class of victims, and by definition, a new class of offenders. Pronouns, the simplest way to identify another party, are now subject to feelings.” Dozens of nonsensical new pronouns sprang into existence.

“Controlling how people speak is the implicit goal of this movement, which combined with anti-hate-speech activism seeks to empower the Left as the arbiters of morality and to punish those who wrongfully use language—ironically, achieved by abusing language themselves.”

Racism is no longer based on religion, color, creed but on political orientation, and anyone who challenges the (secular progressive) Left's agenda is branded a ‘racist.’”

Creating new definitions for existing words helps (the secular) progressive (Left) redefine society into newly created classifications of perceived disenfranchised individuals they promise to protect, while fundamentally changing America.”

Another example: various efforts have been made to remove “husband” and “wife” from federal law, replacing them with gender neutral terms like married couple, spouse, etc. “The current social engineering requires leftists to continually change public perception of reality.”

“Phobia” is now an all-purpose word used to condemn anyone who does not agree with the Left, as in homophobia, transphobia.

The list of hijacked words is now almost endless, including, gay, assault rifle, equity, progressive, pro-choice to replace pro-abortion, Holiday to replace Christmas, and sex, meaning one’s biological physicality at birth, now replaced by the word gender, meaning a changing or fluid condition one feels psychologically or socially.

Same-sex marriage changed the meaning of marriage. Now it’s about something call “marriage equality.”

In many public schools, there are no longer boys or girls but simply “students.”

Global warming is now “climate change”, and since the weather is forever changing, the idea of climate change is impossible to disprove.

Young criminals are now in some localities referred to as “justice-involved youth.”

Tolerance is used to censor opposing views, and any non-leftist views, are ipso facto, hate speech. Justice is now increasingly displaced by “social justice,” something depending not on right or wrong but upon one’s politics.

There’s a “challenge” at the southern border, not a “crisis.” Migrant children are being held in “reception centers” not “cages.” Instead of “border security,” it’s “border safety.” 

In fall 2020 during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, “then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett was criticized for using the term ‘sexual preference,’ in responding to a question about legal protections for the LGBT community during her confirmation hearing? ‘Sexual preference’ was weaponized by the (secular progressive Left) for being a homophobic slur. The correct term is ‘sexual orientation.’ Most alarming in Justice Barrett’s case is after she uttered the term, 

Merriam-Webster updated its definition of ‘preference’ to include the word’s usage in certain contexts may be ‘offensive.’”

In spring 2022, during “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., asked the Supreme Court nominee: “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” Jackson responded, ‘I’m not a biologist.’”

Science, which used to be defined as conclusions based upon tested evidence gleaned from the natural world, is now something based upon feeling or politics.

Biblical images like the rainbow, meaning God’s “covenant with (humanity), that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:8-16), has now been hijacked as a symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement, adopted in 1978 as its flag.

Diversity now means difference of appearance, not differences in thought, leading to conformity of thought. 

Education at one time meant teaching independent, critical thinking, knowledge, and wisdom, but now it means indoctrination in moral relativism, globalism, and historical revisionism.

Freedom once meant personal liberty but now it means rejection of the burden of being, no stress, and economic dependence on government.

Climate change is not about environmental stewardship and conservation of resources but really is about redistribution of wealth, replacement of free enterprise capitalism by socialism, and minimizing humanity.

If the Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr returned today, his vocabulary would not fit today’s landscape. In fact, many of his goals, like attaining a colorblind society, are now considered racist. Yes, like Abraham Lincoln, in our Orwellian society, Martin Luther King, Jr. is now a racist.

Witness this quote from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Aug. 28, 1963, wherein he expresses optimism and patriotism, concepts now rejected by the secular progressive Left:

“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 

Scripture reminds us God’s Word is truth. It never changes, and we must live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). We are, in turn, to engage in “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). To do this, in an age of prevarication and division, we must remember: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Our spiritual and perhaps our social/political well-being depends on it.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast 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.  

It doesn’t take much reflection to realize a lot has changed in the past 50 years besides iPhones and the Internet. If you are older, have you noted the extensive changes in American culture? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #78 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get my arms around the moral freefall so widely apparent in American culture. At the risk of sounding like an old fogy, I must say that the American culture in which I grew up, indeed lived into my middle adult years, is either in serious trouble or gone, depending upon how you want to assess certain measures. The point is, it’s really different now and I’m not sure younger people realize or recognize it.

I’m not suggesting that in days gone by, things were all as they should be, that we experienced no problems and no failures “back when.” Indeed, we had plenty of personal and cultural sins, among them racism, or men treating women in inappropriate ways the MeToo Movement finally and rightly pointed out. What I’m saying now is that moral shifts have taken place in American culture during my lifetime that are as wide, deep, and threatening as a 9.0 earthquake.

When I was in grade school, teachers read a few verses of Scripture each morning before we said the “Pledge of Allegiance” together and started our day. I was in 8th Grade before I learned what homosexuality is and that was from a “Birds and the Bees” conversation with my Dad, not via the street, public school, or television. In high school, I did come to understand racism and civil rights, because I heard Martin Luther King. Jr’s incredible “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (1963), and I watched the social protests of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. When I was in high school, I never saw or barely heard of drugs. 

Throughout my public school elementary, middle school, and high school experience, I was blessed with teachers who knew their subjects and who taught, teachers who were, with the exception of a couple I could name, moral, decent, caring, professional people, teachers who were permitted and who wanted to teach “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic,” history, biology, language, and critical thinking. 

They did not spend – I should say waste – time on sex education or promote LGBTQ special rights, look upon every occurrence as evidence of failed diversity, equity, or inclusion. They did not re-vision American history as a dark and desperate story of white privilege, cultural relativism or systemic racism. While we learned about conservation and environmental stewardship, teachers did not instill students with fears about climate change or promote socialist, anti-free enterprise, anti-humanity ideologies about saving the world.

Consequently, I was educated, not indoctrinated.

I was taught to respect the fact that men and women from this country in which I was born had on several occasions given the last full measure of sacrifice so that I could enjoy life and liberty. I was taught that patriotism focused on a set of ideals, of aspirations about human freedom, not just blind loyalty to a country or ideology.

I was taught to think, not shrink in fear of micro-aggressions or perceived oppressions. I was not taught “tolerance” in the current sense of the term, meaning a promotion of one demography at the expense of others. Rather, I was taught to “love your neighbor,” to understand that each person a free citizen of his/her country, equal before the law, innocent until proven guilty, free to pursue opportunities without class consciousness and to succeed or fail based upon our own work ethic, commitment, and the merit of our ideas.

I was never taught by parents, preachers, or teachers that there is no such thing as truth, something that is now the prevailing acceptable idea across American culture, and this false idea is reaping devastating effects.

I was taught that boys should become men, and that one aspect of this maturity was a recognition that men should respect and protect girls and women. I was taught that real men were respectable, responsible, and reliable, that real women were capable, considerate, and caring. I had role models of both sexes who were honest, hard-working, and courageous.

Honestly, I did not understand abortion until I got into college, and while I was in college the Supreme Court of the United States handed down Roe v. Wade (1973).

Though I had watched male comedians dress as women for the sake of comedy when I was young, I did not know what a transvestite is, much less what transgenderism is.

And when I say I did not know what these things were, I mean well into and college age, because these things were not part of or morally endorsed by everyday culture. Trans ideology was not taught in school, as it is today, not available on the Internet, as it is today, not presented in acceptable forms on television, as it is today, and not “accepted and affirmed,” as the recommended wording goes, by preachers or churches or Christian families.

Getting hammered, when I was in high school, meant some kids drank too many beers Friday night. We were just beginning to hear about marijuana, and later uppers and downers, LSD, and other spinoffs of the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll” of the 60s Counterculture. But when I was in high school, this was all “out there” somewhere, not commonly available in our town. let alone hard drugs like heroin or cocaine, and later—actually now---opioids and fentanyl.

When I was in high school, as I recall, two classmates got pregnant. Both girls attended for a time, then dropped out to have their babies. These new mothers eventually returned to finish their educations. The issue—unexpected and unwanted pregnancy—has been around since the dawn of time, but moral codes and expectations limited the prevalence of the problem. At least this was the case when I was in high school, 1966-1970.

Although the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive in 1960, contraceptives were not available to married women in all states until Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and were not available to unmarried women in all states until Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972).

The pill, as it was called, helped propel the Sexual Liberation Movement of the 1960s toward breaking new boundaries in the 1970s. This movement continues today with LGBTQ demands for normalization. When I was a youth, while this movement was well underway, it had not reached our small town in any identifiable public way. The pill, and other contraceptives developed later, represented the technical or medical side, so to speak, of sexual liberation, but the real rocket fuel to the movement was a significant change in the nation’s public moral consensus – what culture thinks is right and wrong, OK, or up to you and no one else’s business.

American culture’s moral tectonic plates are shifting away from the Judeo-Christian moral consensus that once provided what sociologists of religion called the “sacred canopy” integrating society. 

We’re moving from There is a God, He is the source of our liberty and laws, and We are accountable to him to There is no God, liberty and laws are about libertinism, and we are not accountable to anyone.

In Romans 1 (18), Scripture warns about those “who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Our culture has long-since begun "suppressing the truth," so it is becoming irrational, unrealistic, and dysfunctional. Unfortunately, it can get worse; there's more sophisticated insanity yet to come.

During the April 2, 2023, Country Music Awards, co-host Kelsea Ballerini sang while joined on stage by a group of drag queens. She later tweeted, “Thank you to these iconic queens and... CMT for celebrating love, self-expression, and performance." Clearly, she did not invite the drag queens because they enhanced her music. She was making a statement.

Celebrity leftist radicalism is nothing new, but Blue State officials, like Gov. Gavin Newsome, California, intentionally positioning their states in opposition to the rule of law, federal courts, and the legislatures of Red States is new. California bills itself as a sanctuary state for transgender kids or those wanting abortion access. Not just California, but a number of Blue States have adopted laws directly contrary to laws in Red States. This includes laws regarding abortion on demand, transgender youth policy, transgender athlete access to athletic events based on gender identity rather than biological birth sex, classroom discussion of race or sexuality, and more.

This division, this civil-war-like antipathy, was unknown when I was young, but it exists now and is being described as “the great divergence.” Given that the bedrock of all this is not politics but moral worldview, the 2020s are likely to be a time of increased challenges to American social cohesion. American culture is coming apart at the seams.

Pray for E Pluribus Unum.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023     

*This podcast 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.  

When you listen to the news, most of it negative, have you ever wondered what’s causing all this chaos?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #66 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life. 

How does decline in Christian influence upon culture, in numbers of believers, in theological or worldview understanding of Christian teachings, of a Judeo-Christian moral consensus work itself out in everyday life?

How does this decline evidence itself in culture in ways beyond declining church attendance or increasing biblical illiteracy?

Depending upon the memory of who’s doing the analysis, the dates vary, but there’s general agreement that a dramatic shift in American culture has been taking place for some time. It’s a shift from a culture widely based upon a Judeo-Christian consensus about what public morality and mores should be to one based upon a largely de-Christianized or post-Christian understanding of life.

How does this shift manifest itself?

If an increasing number of Americans do not believe in the Sovereign God of the Bible and his moral will expressed in the Word of truth – I did not say, do not believe in God, just they do not believe in God as he reveals himself in his Word – If an increasing number do not embrace a Creator God, do not understand responsibility and accountability, and believe they create their own truth, these values will most assuredly result in different choices and a different way of of life than what used to be considered good, optimistic and uplifting, right and righteous, humble, and productive.

Today, we are experiencing increases in every form of human problem, especially emotional, e.g., traumatized youth, anxious or anxiety-ridden celebrities, psychological issues, for example increase rage and mass shooters, and a laundry list of what’s now called mental illness.

These developments are not happening because 21st Century residents are less intelligent or less educated than their forebears. These developments are occurring because human beings have rejected or are rejecting patterns of life God said would allow the human race to flourish.

Ignoring God and moral absolutes results not just in an increase in “Nones” – the people who check surveys saying they have “no religious affiliation” = but an increase in every form of social pathology.  

What we are witnessing in America in recent years is not just a blip, some political anomaly, but the consequence of ongoing value choices in which, as a culture, we embrace death instead of life, despair rather than hope, selfish aggrandizement in place of selflessness.

This shift toward a non-Christian worldview also helps explain rapid increases in these categories of behavior:

  1. Gambling viewed as harmless entertainment.
  2. Pornography, like prostitution, now considered a victimless crime.
  3. Debt accepted as almost an entitlement, because in contemporary outlook, debt does not matter.
  4. Promotion of self-actualization as the highest good in life. Only what please me matters, an idea carried with grave effect into familial, marital, and sexual relationships.
  5. The idea that mental illness, often vaguely defined, and not human choices and certainly not sin, is the source of human problems.
  6. The Hollywood idea that marriage is socially unnecessary.
  7. Maybe even the wholesale embrace of the idea climate change is the greatest existential threat to human existence.
  8. The sad Sodom and Gomorrah confusion now vested in attitudes toward human sexuality, so-called sexual “orientation,” and abortion on demand.
  9. Woke philosophy, or should I say nonsense, that in a very short time has infected virtually every part of American culture.
  10. The constant renewal of racism wherein everything is reduced to discrimination, hate, prejudice, and victimhood.

All of these viewpoints are rooted in non-Christian assumptions about God, humanity, life, and culture. The more we pursue our newfound irrational and unbiblical values, the less free, less humane, and less prosperous our culture becomes. We are losing, nay we are jettisoning, the blessing of American commitment to life and liberty.

Where once Emma Lazarus’s poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty was a beacon of hope to the world – 

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

– now, for many, it sounds like a false promise. Not because America does not still teem with opportunities, but because political ideology has twisted our outlook on immigrants, once a source of strength and new ideas, now viewed as votes to keep politicians in power.

Immigrants given open borders across which to traffic children, hustle fentanyl and other narcotics, only reinforces America’s opioid crisis. 

Immigrants as human beings in want deserve better than to be used by both political parties. They deserve to be invited to participate in a legal process of naturalization, vetted such that the criminals among them are held out, and assisted so they can find a place to put down roots where they can pursue the American dream.

Add to this the sexualization of children that is now so widespread and growing, so heinous, that even listing what is occurring can make you sick.

How can a culture allow this? It does so because we’ve become convinced that for sex anything goes, that anything short of licentiousness is somehow an affront to freedom and well-being. We are a culture that is upside down.

So, for Christians who still have faith in the Sovereign God of the universe, who still believe and attempt to obey the principles of the Word of God, the task is now a tall order in a pluralistic, secularized culture running amok.

But God is not mocked. He is not gone or absent. He has not forgotten us. Our assignment is not simply to believe the truth but to live it.

This is our moment to shine Christ’s light in this dark world. It is our moment to share the ultimate tipping point, the Good News that faith in Christ can transform anyone into a New Creation.

That’s a message of hope for addicts, convicts, the sexually confused, those trapped in unforgiveness or followers of false ideas, religions, or isms that offer no way out. Becoming a New Creation in Christ is there for all, from the Thief on the Cross to the drug-controlled, psychotic killer in the world’s worst prison. If they are still breathing, there is no one beyond the reach of the Holy Spirit of God.

And Christians know this. We have the message of reconciliation. What a mission. What a Great Commission. All in all, it’s a great time to be alive. 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023    

*This podcast 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.