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One year ago today I had my heart attack. I had a stent procedure, changed my diet and began walking a few miles each morning, lost weight, and otherwise returned to my life, family, and calling. 

Heart attacks get your attention, though. “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

I am grateful to the Lord for his protection and blessing, to the Drs and nurses for their expertise, and to my Good Wife for her decision in the wee hours of that night: “We’re going to the E.R. Now.”

So, I’ll quote a verse my Mother quoted to me many times as I was growing up, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).

And I’ll cite my favorite chorus, “God is so good. God is so good. God is so good to me.”  

He’s good to you too.

 

© 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.    

Race, racism, and racial politics continue to bedevil America. 

I’ve shared my views of race and racism, and on race, racism, and social justice, as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Civil Rights Movement. I’ve talked about re-establishing order in urban streets and the Defund the Police movement. I’ve been particularly vocal about the danger of “Woke” ideas for American culture, the threat of “Wokeness” upon education, and the growing influence of “Woke” philosophy upon the Church.

I tried to develop a Christian worldview perspective—though I do not claim to be a philosopher or a theologian or anything other than a person who sees through a glass darkly—to avoid partisan views, which I find singularly unmotivating and inconsistent on both sides of the aisle, or even to buy-in to any ideological philosophy, though anyone who actually reads my writing will know I am conservative, little “c”.

For all this, I find it frustrating that some people seem to think they know what I believe, yet apparently have never read my writing, and others who presume to know what I believe based upon some portion of what I’ve said, or, they simply disagree and therefore find my point of view uncompelling. 

A number of things bother me, here in no particular order:

  • When I listen to conservative friends, liberal friends, and a few black friends whatever their ideology, it seems to me they are not listening to one another. By this I mean, for example, that I hear different concerns and the same words used with different meanings.
  • I don’t like it when people use social media in an in-your-face fashion, posting “Blue lives matter” or “All lives matter,” both of which I affirm, not alongside but seemingly in opposition to “Black lives matter,” which I also affirm. Why must these value statements be set up as “versus” rather than “both/and”?
  • There are extremists on both the Left and the Right who seemed to have gained an outsized voice, who are shouting their vitriolic messages so loudly, and who have been given so much airtime in Big Media as well as Big Social Media that other moderate, i.e. reasonable, voices are drowned in the cacophony. This includes groups like Black Lives Matter or Antifa on the Left and Proud Boys or KKK on the Right, along with various white supremacists, militias, anarchists, and others promoting overthrow of the American political system.
  • Black Lives Matter has pulled off an amazing and unprecedented coup gaining alignment and hundreds of millions of dollars from American corporations, universities, public schools, and professional sports associations and leagues. The group has done this in part due to the tragic death of Georg Floyd at the hands of police officers and in part because of the genius of their name. Who can or wants to speak against “black lives matter”? Of course, they matter, but the organization is anything but a simple racial justice advocacy group. It is thoroughly grounded in Marxist theory, promotes anti-biblical values and goals, and whether intentional or not, in much that it does advances a new racism in the name of anti-racism. What’s enormously concerning and frustrating about this is that the supportive corporations, educational, and entertainment organizations noted above are all diving in with both feet, afraid of being labeled anything but supportive, and seemingly doing this uncritically, thus embracing values that can or will undermine their very existence in a free, democratic, and capitalist society.
  • Critical Race Theory, now promoted by BLM and being taught in universities and until recently the federal government, is a dangerous and damaging set of ideas that undermines potential for racial reconciliation. There is no redemption or forgiveness in CRT. No dissent, only submission. MLK, Jr. would not recognize and I don’t think support much of what claims to be heir to the Civil Rights Movement. Support for Black individuals realizing the full measure of their citizenship, for sure. Peaceful nonviolent protest, absolutely. Rejection of American constitutional ideals and free enterprise, No. Promotion of Black justice vs objective, truthful justice as such, No. Violence in the name of justice, No. Identifying race as the end-all-be-all of life, No.
  • “Defund the Police” makes no empirical or even common sense, yet it is being embraced by cities across the country. But it was not long ago that the Clinton Administration touted its effort to put 100,000 more police officers on the streets. What happened to this? School teachers have long been told, “Don’t punish the class because one kid misbehaves.” Yes, bad or rogue or evil cops exist, and they should be discovered and removed if not put in prison for their own crimes. Yes, sad incidents have occurred in which a black person has been killed by a police officer, only later to discover that this was not a “righteous shoot.” But the number of times this has occurred per capita and accounting for the number of incidents and shootings that take place is very small. This is not to minimize or trivialize the loss of life. It is not to argue that racism does not exist in the criminal justice process. It is simply to say that criminal justice reform and accountability for bad cops can happen without defunding police departments. This is an emotional, unwise over-reaction. 
  • I do not agree that “silence is violence,” nor do I agree that all white people are by definition racist any more than I think all black people are racist or possess some other negative characteristic. To argue this is itself racist because it condemns an entire category of people based on an assumption, based on the sin of given individuals. 
  • Race politics in America is in a bad place to say the least. Right now, it’s extremists with the loudest voices screaming at each other on the opposite end of the teeter-totter. No real change will take place until right values are identified and embraced:

                     --That all individuals are created equal and loved by God. No one race is better much less supreme. No one race is entitled. 

                     --What people of all races hold in common as human beings is more and greater than what our minds determine divides us.

The Church needs to speak to the moment, not touting Right or Left but applying the whole counsel of 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.    

In a time when belief in objective truth, i.e., to say something is true whatever you or I may think about it, the Bible has come under increasing suspicion. 

Why? It claims to be the Word of God, revelation once delivered. It claims to be truth and to present the Truth and Christians have for two millennia consider the Bible inerrant and infallible, the source from which we develop a Christian worldview and proclaim the Lordship of Christ in all of life.

What then do we believe and know?

  1. The Bible, the Word of God, was written for all times, countries, and cultures.
  1. Without contextualizing or modifying or revising, much less updating, whatever that means, the Bible is permanently contemporary.
  1. The Bible gives us propositional statements, absolutes, about (a rather short list but one we ignore at our peril) moral issues, sometimes called non-negotiables.
  1. The Bible gives us principles from which we can learn to discern, developing our convictions and preferences on matters the Bible does not directly address, by which we can become “fully convinced in our own mind” and apply based upon our Christian liberty.
  1. The Bible is trustworthy on all matters of life and culture. 
  1. Christian liberty may be the least understood and least practiced doctrine in the Bible.

Christians give others room to be different in food choices or maybe clothing. Rarely do they seem to do so regarding politics, yet this in our age is a primary sensitivity. 

This does not mean we cannot disagree. Respectful disagreement promotes critical thinking or spiritual discernment and wise decisions. Nor is this an argument for the moral equivalency of all issues, because the Bible speaks directly to the morality of some issues, while providing principles upon which we can draw to decide our stance regarding other issues. But no one’s viewpoint is non-debatable, non-negotiable, unimpeachable, inviolable. 

Christians in America, or anywhere else, cannot wrap the Bible in their flag and claim the Word was given as if only to them. No, the Bible is for the Church Universal, the Body of Christ across nations, across cultures, across time.

How shall we then live?

  1. Affirm biblical values, by developing our Christian worldview, spiritual discernment (Phil. 1:9-11).
  1. Embrace Christian liberty and allow for differences of conscience (Rom 14).
  1. Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
  1. Exercise grace with humility, knowing we all see through a glass darkly.

We must honor others above ourselves…even and especially those with whom we disagree.  

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12).

 

© 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.    

—If I burned down my house to get a mouse, a snake, or even a man-eating tiger, would you consider me rational?

—If I drained Lake Michigan because about 40 drown in the “Big Lake” each year, would you think it wise?

—If I somehow forced auto manufacturers to stop building and selling vehicles because over 35,000 die on American highways annually would you say, Yes, that’s appropriate risk aversion?

—If I labeled all American military personnel killers, then decommissioned the military because we’ve experienced tragedies like the Wounded Knee, My Lai, Abu Ghraib, would you think this action justified given these war crimes?

These illustrative scenarios sound ridiculous, and they are, but this is the kind of logic now being applied in debates ranging from Defund the Police to Immigration and Border policy to even the First Amendment right of freedom of speech…i.e., by all means don’t offend anyone and if you do, be prepared for silencing, personal ridicule, and professional ruination.

No empirical, honest and unbiased review of the actual data re police killing alleged perpetrators demonstrates police are disproportionately killing, much less hunting, black Americans. It just isn’t happening. Yes, there have been some egregious cases like George Floyd, but this is not the pattern being marketed by the Defund the Police narrative.

And given that police are by far good people trying to do a decent job serving and protecting citizens, and given that crime rates would suggest we might need not less but more police in certain areas, wiping out PDs is like burning your house to get a mouse.

But much of what passes today as political discussion (there is none) or reporting (there’s very little of this) is ideological narrative. Its’s the place we find ourselves in postmodern 21st Century America.

 

© 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.    

Today, to say someone engaged in questionable behavior is involved in something wrong, or worse, sin, can mean you are quickly labeled uncompassionate, judgmental, intolerant, bigot, or hater.

This can include alcohol and substance abuse, promiscuity and a now infinite array of pansexual proclivities, compulsive gambling, even anger management and more. 

The alternative view is these addictive behaviors are defined not as sin but as illness, a disease. Of course, the point here is that if these behavioral choices are a disease, you are not responsible. 

The problem with this view is that it offers no fix, no “out.” If one has a deadly disease, there’s nothing you can do. There’s no hope.

Calling wrong moral choices sin, as God did, sounds harsh, but it can be the beginning of repentance, reconciliation, and restoration. 

The Apostle Paul once called himself the “chief” or “worst” of sinners. But in the same verse he said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

Samson rebelled, and God answered his prayer for strength one last time. 

Jonah rebelled and from the belly of a great fish God heard him. 

David committed murder and adultery, and God forgave him.

There is nothing in which we can get involved, no depth to which we can sink, no addictive behavior, no immorality or brokenness, no sin so awful, that we are beyond the reach of the Holy Spirit of God. 

The old hymn lyrics said it all: 

“Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!”

 

© 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.    

  “Trust the science,” we’re told, re climate change, COVID-19.

    OK, trust the science...

    —abortion kills innocent life.

    —unwanted, botched-abortion, born alive babies are human beings.

    —human beings actually are binary, male or female.

    —intelligent design is a demonstrable concept in nature.

    —feelings and wishes don't change objective reality, meaning e.g. one could "identify" as a Klingon but not actually become one.

"The science is settled," we're told, on a host of issues in which science has been ideologically weaponized.

But the history of science is that it is never “settled,” at least not in terms of the need for free inquiry and continued exploration and research. This is how we learn, and in this world, we all see through a glass darkly. This includes creation vs evolution, fracking, and more.

 

© 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.