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Recent political upheaval in Tunisia and subsequent protests in Egypt remind us once again that a compelling drive for freedom exists in the heart of every human being.

Freedom, variously called liberty, so beautifully described in the United States Declaration of Independence, is the God-given inalienable right of every human being who has ever lived. While not every person experiences freedom, every person nevertheless possesses it. Freedom can be taken away from one’s body, but freedom can never be taken from one’s soul.

Freedom is more precious than gold. Just ask those without freedom.

Freedom is a gift, from God, and from those who’ve gone before, paying for the gift with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Freedom must be protected and preserved.

Freedom in its fullest and best sense is a matter of the body—freedom of life, assembly, mobility, mind—freedom of speech and expression, and soul—freedom of religion.

Freedom is a political birthright for those blessed with nativity in a nation based upon respect for life and dignity, the rule of law, the recognition of right versus wrong, equality, justice. It’s a birthright in that I did nothing to earn it. My freedom as an American citizen was handed to me, no questions asked, when I came screaming into the world.

Freedom can be a spiritual birthright for those who acknowledge the sufficiency unto salvation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My freedom as a Christian was handed to me, no questions asked, when I was born again.

Freedom must be cultivated, multiplied, shared, for it is not a concept or reality limited to the American or Western or Caucasian or Well-born or Well-off or Male or Mighty.

Freedom is a responsibility, for which we’re accountable.

Freedom produces aspiration and inspiration, a hope for our country, culture, and children.


© 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 or follow him at

New methods of purportedly preserving life, or resuscitating it after you’re dead, are now being marketed by the immortality movement. Want to sign on?

Cryonics puts your remains in deep freeze, hoping one day technology will catch up with our desire to live forever. Ted Williams is frozen somewhere in Arizona, maybe upside down and apparently sans head, awaiting his return to the ball diamond. In order to create a sense of permanence and political legitimacy, Bolshevik supporters of Vladimir Lenin, who died in 1924, embalmed his body, a la the ancient Egyptians, in the now infamous mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square.

Techno-utopians, as they’re sometimes called, hunger for a time when humankind can outthink God and remake itself in its own image. Robots, androids, $6 million men, bionic women, the Borg, and the latest promises to upload our minds to computer chips, fantasy culture aspires to prolong life indefinitely. It’s an idea as old as the Garden of Eden, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth, and Frankenstein.

But the Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, KJV). No one lives forever.

While it is true death originated in the Fall and the Curse, the reality of death is not a uniformly bad thing for the advance of civilization. Yes, we eventually lost Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, but who misses Nero, Ghengis Khan, Adolph Hitler, or Pol Pot? Death sometimes is described in Scripture as the “last enemy,” but at times it’s a blessing from a Sovereign God who limits the extent and impact of evil in the world.

Western culture seems taken by the idea life must be extended at all costs, and we’ve built a health and medical life support system to make it happen. While this may not seem unwise, much of the impetus behind this movement is based upon a faulty worldview that believes life is all there is. Who wouldn’t want to extend life if you genuinely believed there’s no life in the after-life?

Saying this doesn’t mean I support euthanasia. I’m just pointing out that we’re mad for life because we aren’t as connected personally or culturally as we once were to the Giver of Life.

For the record, I believe science will continue to discover ways to preserve body parts and re-use them in other needy bodies. I’m in favor of this as long as the removed body parts are taken from the dead not the yet living. I also believe science will continue to identify or develop ways to fabricate body parts for replacing ones we’ve worn out or injured beyond repair. A lot of people are ambulatory today because doctors have developed knees, hips, and other amazing replacement parts.

On the other hand, I don’t believe science will ever develop a means for postponing death indefinitely. I don’t believe we’ll ever terminate death because death is part of living in a sin-cursed world. It is God’s accountability, the great leveler. And death comes to us all great and small.

For believers, if we know we’re “absent from the body, to be present with the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 5:8. KJV) nanoseconds after death, why worry?


© 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 or follow him at

It’s disconcerting to enter souvenir shops in other countries (this time, Malta) and find depictions of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley on cheap trinkets. There’s nothing else, usually, of America evident in such shops and, really, there shouldn’t be. They are after all souvenir shops for the locale. But apparently Marilyn and Elvis sell worldwide.

For whatever reasons Marilyn’s and Elvis’s pictures are available on cigarette lighters, plates and cups, T-shirts, and more. The question for me is why?

I’ll guess. It’s because this woman and man, nearly always portrayed in their late 20s at the zenith of their physical attractiveness, represent a personal presentation and/or sex appeal everyone else yearns for. People want to live vicariously through these celebrities.

OK, but stranger still, both iconic personalities are long dead, and sadly, met their end too young via drug overdose. Yet people still buy products emblazoned with their images rather than, say, currently globally known celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.

Maybe people buy Marilyn and Elvis partly because they’re dead, their youth forever frozen in time. Their foibles and failures are all known and they aren’t around to create further embarrassment. And the fact that they came to their end sadly adds poignancy to their reputations, kind of like John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and political Camelot.

Or maybe Marilyn and Elvis simply attained a certain cult celebrity status during their lives and commoners simply want to associate themselves with entertainment royalty. I don’t know. And I still don’t get it.

Of all the things I consider admirable about America—I won’t take shots at Marilyn or Elvis; I like their movies and music too—it wouldn’t be celebrities. I’d recommend something else for export. Or if it’s people we export, than I’d wish for people of substance, people whose lives and work made a mark. Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower come to mind. So do Helen Keller and Shirley Temple Black.

But it’s the nature of popular culture to latch onto the young, rich, and famous no matter their actual impact or importance. So I guess we’re stuck with Marilyn and Elvis.

Based on this, the rest of the world won’t really learn much about America’s values and contributions. But I guess at least the world will think we're good looking.


© 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 or follow him at


In a recent book entitled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses lead author Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa claim nearly half of American undergraduates evidence no significant academic gains in their first two years of college.

The researchers also noted students spend 50% less time studying than students a few decades ago. Some 50% said they never took a class wherein they wrote 20 or more pages.

Arum and his co-author's research results are discouraging but not surprising. In fact, I find it interesting Arum described the results as “really kind of shocking.” If he means he’s appalled, than I understand. If he means he and other researchers or faculty members in general were unaware of this trend, than I think he must live in an academic bubble. People in higher education have watched these trends for years, but like the growing national debt, not much has been done about them—at least not the things most likely to turn trends in a productive direction.

Higher education has become a huge bureaucracy with its own rhythms, power structures, and focus on means over ends. There’s still much good, but there’s even more that’s not so good. After more than thirty-four years “in the biz,” I’d offer three critiques of American higher education generally:

--Public and private institutions without commitment to Christian or religious worldviews have become “multi-versities” with no coherent over-arching paradigm. There’s no “uni” left. Faculties dispense information as facts but do not provide students with a philosophic overview or set of wisdom principles by which to organize, evaluate, and apply the information/facts.

--A significant majority of faculty members in most institutions have earned tenure and, while it’s not true of all, many if not most professors teach what and the way they will and no longer respond to administrative influence, much less directives, to improve pedagogy or increase excellence. They focus more on advancing within their professional disciplines, which requires research and writing, than upon teaching. Yes, there’s a lot of noise about excellence (every institution of higher learning claims to be excellent) and committees sometimes spend months on the subject, but in the end, most professors do their thing much like they always have. Tenure shields them from accountability, robs them of incentive, and reinforces mediocrity.

Both of these higher education characteristics undermine learning. But declines in student learning are not solely the responsibility of academia. These declines are rooted in American culture too.

--We no longer demand or expect a strong work ethic or excellent work. From family room to courtroom, we’ve established innumerable obstacles for academic authorities to negotiate even if they want to place higher demands upon students. Students are, therefore, protected within a zone of laxity. At home, we don’t teach students restraint, a sense of personal limits, respect for authority, or accountability, so schools and schoolwork that used to benefit from these cultural characteristics are now no longer reinforced.

The result of all this is that generations are coming to adulthood without maturity—some don’t even know what maturity is—and worse, with a sense the world owes them rather than they owe the world.

If higher education is to produce greater returns on students’ first two years of investment, several reforms must be implemented:

--In colleges and universities, resurrect and implement cohesive “meta-narrative” approaches to education—even if not specifically Christian or religious, schools should define themselves and expect faculty members to support their school’s philosophy of education. Tie state disbursements to whether this gets done, gets implemented, and is owned and applied by school faculty.

--Even if it must be phased out via new hires, eliminate tenure—at secondary and postsecondary level—which no longer protects academic freedom. It just protects poor teaching and poor teachers. Tenure is an impediment to academic excellence. Tie professor advancement and salaries to actual in-class teaching excellence, not solely advanced degrees and most of all, not simply seniority.

--Put political pressure on governors to make education excellence and achievement, at every level, top priority in their states. No other public policy would reap as high a return on investment as could be accomplished via developing truly better schools.

--Reposition elementary and secondary education with family and local support, focusing upon teaching and learning, achievement, and accountability. Sounds like pie in the sky, that maybe we’ve gone too far and it couldn’t be done. But with dynamic leadership it has already been accomplished in some districts, and it can be done in others.


© 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 or follow him at

On 9/11, terrorist hijackers sent more than the American economy into a tailspin. America’s cultural mindset took a hit to its very core and hasn’t gotten over it.

In addition to the ongoing threat of another major terrorist attack, Americans have endured a series of upheavals that, together, have birthed a sense of vulnerability among us like no other time in our history. We live with barely veiled anxiety or fear, which is affecting every level of society.

Wars we’ve fought before, but the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem intractable, yielding nothing but trillion dollar costs and thousands of American lives lost. These wars seem, dare we say, Viet Nam-like, with no end, no hope, and no win in sight.

The global and Wall Street economic meltdown in 2008-2009 further depleted not just our portfolios and pension plans but our reservoir of optimism. And we’re not sure yet if we’re through the Great Recession—still, there are national debts and deficits, debt juggling, inflation, entitlements. Greece, England, and France, nearly the whole of Europe, are in serious financial straits and the United States isn’t far behind. In “the world is flat” era in which we live, what happens elsewhere in the world sooner or later comes home to roost in America. Their problems are our problems.

Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle talk big, but no one has yet stepped forward with a bona fide plan to put America on a financial, big government, entitlement diet. We, therefore, continue to risk our children’s and possibly our country’s future without any real hope of doing otherwise, the Tea Party Movement notwithstanding. The newly elected 112th Congress offers promise, but this and a $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee. Promises unfulfilled are simply rhetoric.

We long for a return to normal, but a phrase increasingly used in journalism, “the new normal,” is becoming the new normal. In other words we aren’t going back to a satisfactory much less an idyllic past. The new normal is uncertainty.

Add natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, tsunamis, and the Haiti earthquake to a list of unsettling developments that stretch our ability emotionally and financially to respond.

While political rancor, name-calling, and divisiveness have always characterized American politics, the level of vitriol, mean-spiritedness, and polarization we’ve experienced this decade have increased, uglier in some ways than the rhetoric of days gone by. Political leaders lack class, don’t seem to have been reared with a sense of limits or social restraint, and clearly don’t think much about their reputations, let alone the reputations of others. Anything can be said because in today’s political equation the end justifies the means.

All this has engendered a cultural pessimism that’s socially and politically debilitating and dangerous. We don’t really believe in progress, in a better tomorrow, or anything much but fate or luck. Our destiny is no longer ours to create. It’s handed to us by forces beyond our control.

We’re particularly susceptible to cultural pessimism because in the past three or four decades we’ve set aside genuine faith in a real and Sovereign God who stands outside of history. If he doesn’t exist, and if he doesn’t modulate evil in this world, than we’re left with whatever the fates and our own depravity brings to us. Not a pretty picture.

But the Sovereign God does exist and he is still in charge. Within the context of his permissive will he allows human beings to make choices including bad, wrong, or negative ones. He gives us liberty and responsibility, both of which we often use unwisely. But he’s still there. He’s still working his purposes in history and his son, Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd, still cares for his sheep.

We should place our faith and security in the Lord rather than governments, financial markets and pension plans, bank accounts, heroes in their 15 minutes of fame, or our own mind and moxie. All will fail us. Only the Lord never leaves nor forsakes us. Rediscovering who he is and how he works in history will restore our social and personal optimism, tempered by realism yes, but optimism nonetheless.

We may have concerns, and we should work for positive, productive changes that benefit one and all. But we need not live with anxiety, angst, or fear. No matter what confronts us we’re still to live as instructed in Micah 6:8:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”


© 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 or follow him at

The meltdown of the global economy has been front and center in the evening news for at least the past year and one-half. Not that economics is ever far from news coverage. It’s just that since stock markets went awry, real estate plummeted in value, pension plans lost thirty or forty percent of value, and countries like Greece teetered on the edge of bankruptcy we can’t get away from bad economic news.

Add to this scenario terrorism since 9/11, wars and rumors of wars, unemployment, national debt and deficits, inflation, debt juggling, and political divisiveness. People are running scared. The new normal seems to be no normal, at least not like any we’ve seen since the Great Depression. We’re now in the Great Recession with few prospects of a true end in sight. Very few of the rich are getting richer and the rest of us? Forget it. We’re toast.

What to do? Dr. David Jeremiah, Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and popular national radio speaker on his program “Turning Point,” has written The Coming Economic Armageddon, examining economic trends and interpreting them in terms of biblical prophecy.

If you care at all about economics the book is easy to read and engaging, though it’s not fun. The doom and gloom is, well, too doomy and gloomy. But the story told is an important one.

Jeremiah believes we are living in what the Bible calls “the End Times,” the period leading to the bodily return or Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Reviewing both economic indicators, U.S. and some global, and biblical teachings on prophecy, Jeremiah concludes all the signs point to Jesus’ return. When? No one knows and Jeremiah thankfully doesn’t try to pick dates.

Jeremiah discusses political concepts like the “New World Order,” tracks the breakdown of the American economy and the consolidation of governmental power resulting from it, reviews Scripture telling of the Anti-Christ, False Prophet, Mark of the Beast, and more. He is particularly, and rightfully, concerned and incensed by the fact we’ve largely done this to ourselves. In other words, we’ve lived well beyond our means for decades, have piled entitlement program upon entitlement program—like prescription plans, Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits—have put the country into $13 trillion in visible debt, and have done nothing about it.

Jeremiah’s concerns are well taken. The real problem in America is not economics but moral character. We want, we borrow and spend, we acquire, we ignore accountability and stewardship, and we act like there really is a free lunch. All the while, we’re mortgaging our country, culture, and children’s future.

I liked this book’s timely topic and its research coupled with explanations of biblical prophecy. And I especially appreciated that Jeremiah did not write like an alarmist or make you want to jump off a bridge. Yes, he’s genuinely alarmed, but he isn’t crying in despair.

Jeremiah knows God is Sovereign and in charge, and he reminds us of this vital and liberating truth. He concludes by saying “Keep your head in the game,” meaning stay informed. “Keep your house in order,” meaning minimize personal indebtedness and manage your money well. “Keep your heart in your faith,” meaning obey the Lord and follow him no matter what. As Jeremiah says, “Though the world may seem to be crashing down around us, it really changes neither our basic duty nor our ultimate security.” And finally, “Keep your hope in God,” meaning we only lose hope when we take our eyes off the God of hope. I recommend this book.


© 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 or follow him at