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Last week’s presentation.

Idea is:

1) Modern-day false prophets are not just preachers but celebrities, intellectuals/professors, politicians, media personalities, activists, online influencers.

2) Greatest existential threat to America is not external, ie., China or international radicalism, but internal, ie., moral relativism, which these false prophets “preach.”

Modern-Day False Prophets from First Baptist Middleville on Vimeo.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021 *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.

Pray for the Taliban.
 
What? Why?
 
1 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt 5:43-44).
2 – “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (Ezek. 33:11). “The Lord… is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9).
 
What if the next Billy Graham is presently an Afghan Taliban?
 
What if, like Iran, Afghanistan became the fastest growing Church in the world?
 
What if the Taliban emerged as the next “Berean” Church, that “received the message with great eagerness”?
 
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” (Matt. 6:10).
 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*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.    

Yesterday during his press conference describing strategy to get Americans and allies out of Afghanistan, President Biden said, “And thank God, so far, knock on wood, we’re in a different position.” Interesting juxtaposition of phrases.

Side-stepping partisan politics or a critique of the Afghanistan debacle, let’s focus on the phrases.

Pres Biden uses the superstitious “knock on wood” phrase a lot, including back into his vice presidency. Pres Trump used the phrase as well. But again, the point here is not politics.

When celebrities are complimented on their success they regularly say, “I was lucky.” Really? Are they saying they have no talent, did not work hard, made no good decisions, are subject only to the "fates"? Somehow, unlike the rest of us unlucky woebegones, they lucked out?

Maybe, but more likely this is their way of being modest and avoiding any reference to religion.

What makes Pres Biden’s comment so interesting is his combination—thank God, knock on wood. To cover the bases, acknowledge some sort of supreme being but, just in case, tap into mythology too.

This is American religious culture in a nutshell.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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

I’m not a person who gets embarrassed. Maybe that’s some chink in my armor. I don’t know.  But I’ve learned this about myself over the years.

I have to say that in the past couple of years, I confess I’ve periodically felt embarrassed for my country. 

—when a President acted boorishly on the world stage, making juvenile comments about, well, a lot of things. 

—when mayors, district attorneys, and sometimes governors blithely dismissed rioters, refusing to prosecute and hold them accountable before the law.

—when universities, corporations, and American elites rushed to adopt new sexual orientation and gender identity and critical race theory paradigms, ostensibly to demonstrate their woke virtue, but in actuality to preserve and develop their position and profit.

—when elected officials acted like wanna-be dictators, mandating a long list of lockdown restrictions in the name of public health.  

—when a President talks about the debacle in Afghanistan in alternative reality terms no one, except maybe those who report to him, believes is happening on the ground.

It’s not so much a matter of pride or patriotism as it is a sense of lost moral credibility, a loss of place and purpose in the world that looks to this last best hope for democracy.

Ideals are important. Losing them to hubris or irrational idealism is not something I find comforting.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*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.    

“We do not know why God is doing what he is doing, but we know why we trust God, who knows why…We may be in the dark about what God is doing, but we are not in the dark about God.” 

I thought of this favorite Os Guinness quote this evening watching coverage of Afghanistan and Haiti, then hearing of a young family in our church just in an auto accident in which the teen daughter was seriously injured.

Why? I don’t know, but I am blessed to know and trust God who is at once the omnipotent, omniscient Sovereign God of the Universe and our Heavenly Father. These are not hollow platitudes. This is knowable truth.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*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.    

Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018), became a bestseller and in short order put her on the high-rent corporate training circuit. 

The book first hit the market to tepid response, then racial matters exploded in the U.S. following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, May 25, 2020. Soon thereafter, Diangelo and her catchy phrase “white fragility” were all the rage.

Diagnelo is smart, no question, and she writes from extensive experience talking to seminars about race and racism, so she offers many illustrations and she’s learned how to respond based upon her ideological filter to virtually every reaction or comment about race and racism.

Diangelo says identity politics is how the nation works and that “implicit bias is always at play because all humans have bias.” The book, she says in the introduction, “is unapologetically rooted in identity politics.”  She leaves no room for growth or change, just you-are-who-you-are. Everything for Diangelo boils down to a person’s race.

She claims whites are ongoing victims of white fragility because they are schooled into racism from birth, they are defensive (silent), uninformed and ignorant (argumentation, certitude, other forms of pushback – her words, not mine, e.g., “If you are white, your opinions on racism are most likely ignorant.”

We are in the United States, according to Diangelo, trapped in social forces that prevent us from attaining racial knowledge—our individualism, meritocracy, depictions of whiteness as the ideal, jokes, truncated history, white solidarity, and more – even "objectivity," which she says argues it is possible to be free of bias, something she rejects. Again, you-are-who-you-are and there’s no out.

Diangelo argues the US economy was based on abduction and enslavement of Africans, displacement and genocide of indigenous people, and annexation of Mexico. Americans are ipso facto “colonizers.”

She rejects the idea of a melting pot, saying only European immigrants were allowed to melt. She offers no evidence for this assertion.

Racism as a system for Diangelo is somehow rooted in individualism, capitalism, democracy, consumerism, and meritocracy. –Read this again.  Diangelo is saying American ideals that have produced the freest and most prosperous country in the history of the world, one with racial sins and struggles for sure but one that fought a Civil War to end slavery and eventually established civil rights for all individuals, is somehow at its core, racist. For Diangelo, American ideals are the precursors of systemic racism.

Since people of color do not hold power—Diangelo’s broad brush—they basically cannot be racist, only whites are racist.  

Whites, she says, may be against racism but still benefit from it; this is “White privilege.” In turn, “Whiteness,” a spin-off of white privilege, is rooted in self-worth, positive expectations, psychological freedom, freedom of movement, belonging, sense of entitlement. White privilege leads to whiteness which leads to “White supremacy” and finally “White solidarity.”

Diangelo specifically rejects Martin Luther King, Jr’s “colorblind” approach to civil rights and says any white that uses this is hiding racism. No one in her view can be colorblind in a “racist society.”

Any idealization of the past is nostalgia for white privilege. White privilege is a form of bullying, even if unintentional or unaware.

In the name of “anti-racism” backed by pithy phrases, Diangelo has and is making a lot of money in corporate training, but she is ironically propagating a new form of racism. For her, everything is about conflict, oppressor and victim, and race along with gender are key victim groups. 

Diangelo says all knowledge is socially constructed. Nothing is objective, so she conveniently omits any reference to or potential for God and religion and absolute truths. She does not believe any white can really ever change, so there is not room for grace or forgiveness or change. She does not allow for Whites or Blacks or others to experience spiritual transformation. In the end, she doesn’t offer much hope for constructive change, not even for her own life. Ultimately, she just strives to act with “less white identity.”

Diangelo’s analysis and prescriptions yield to reductionism, all things are determined by race, her views are rooted in Marxist critical theory, thus her assumptions and worldview clash with a Christian worldview. She provides no space for considering human beings made in the image of God, capable of and indeed inevitably given to sin (there is nothing in the book about sin or evil), but able to respond in faith to experience redemption and restoration. None of this is found in White Fragility. 

Diangelo dehumanizes whites and blacks, considering people simple products of their environment and racial biology. Strangely, and inconsistently, she argues favorably for LGBTQ+, suggesting biology does not reign supreme over social constructs, yet when it comes to race, she is a determinist, either/or, no alteration possible.

In the end, while Diangelo’s book points to some genuine race problems in American society, ones about which Americans should hold honest and open conversations, her prescription for well-being offers no real transformative power, just try to do and be better.  

So, her book will likely do more harm than good, especially for those who a) want to disrupt American society for their own partisan political ends, b) those who use it as a springboard for seeing racism in everything that happens, c) those who reject American ideals, for ideological reasons, in favor of promoting radicalism, and d) those who want to virtue signal their new woke bona fides.

I do not endorse or recommend this book.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*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.