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Diversity and inclusion are now measures of excellence and ultimate trump cards not only in culture but increasingly the Church, but what do these words mean and how do they square with a Christian worldview?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #11 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. 

Diversity and inclusiveness are mantras of the emerging Postmodern ideological religion of moral relativism and political correctness. Not that these values are necessarily bad or wrong in themselves. Diversity can be a good thing. So can inclusiveness, if you aren’t tossing aside morality when you use the term. But definitions vary with the ideology of the user.

Certainly, diversity is a watchword of our culture today. One’s demography is now destiny. News stories of appointments to government offices lead with the gender, race or ethnicity, maybe sexual orientation of the appointee before they report the professional credentials and accomplishments that hopefully justify the appointment. 

I am saddened by the resurgence of racism in recent years. And I believe our society should continue to enlarge freedoms for all American citizens, regardless of race. I’m not so sure that racializing virtually every issue, calling all differences the result of discrimination much less white supremacy, or arguing any difference of results ipso facto violates the highly subjective idea of equity is the answer to racial harmony. There’s a better, biblical way.

Some two thousand years ago, God ordained something called the church, understood in lower case as a local body of believers (and usually non-believers as well), and capitalized as, the Church, the trans-cultural, trans-country, trans-time Body of Christ, the universal Church, the Family of God.

The Church, by definition, is diverse. How can it not be? Thinking of it as the Family of God it includes believers from every kindred and tongue since Adam and Eve

Heaven is and will be the most diverse place we’ve ever been. 

So too, today, in the universal Church, the Body of Christ on earth. It’s diverse—Americans, sure, but Chinese, Russians, Iranians, Saudis, and more are part of the Church, not due to nationality but to their relationship with Christ.

The Church is a picture of a diversity that includes every nationality, black, brown, yellow, red, and white race, ethnicity, both sexes, all ages and language. However, while these attributes bring a richness to our world, none determine moral character and virtue.  

What matters is not demography but habits of the heart. Put another way, God created everyone and cares about their race and sex, but he cares far more about whether in their heart they honor Him. So should we.

Meanwhile, some so-named “progressives” emphasize “inclusiveness,” but what they mean by this is sexual orientation and gender identity – not just biology but socially constructed morality.

These attitudes about sexual orientation and gender identity—the acronym SOGI—are now the point of the spear of a rapidly emerging ideologically driven religious worldview that directly rejects Judeo-Christian values.

Sadly, what these progressives mean by “inclusion” is a different doctrine than the creation order and morality given in the Word of God

Their inclusive view may sound loving, but in the end it is not. Affirming falsehood, which is to say, a lie that perpetuates irrationality and unreality, does not help anyone, least of all the person caught in a web of confusion and struggle about his or her sexual desires or perceived gender fluidity.  

Love your neighbor as yourself” is the best inclusive statement ever written, but it comes with the rest of God’s design. Certainly, Christians must help individuals struggling with their understanding of their sexuality and sex. 

There is no place, none, zero, for harsh, arrogant, or self-righteous attitudes, much less physical or emotional abuse ostensibly in the name of the Lord

We can, and we should, love the person even as we disagree choices with gentleness and respect with their lifestyle choices. Jesus loved, “accepted,” and forgave the thief on the cross, personally and spiritually, but this did not constitute an affirmation of the thief’s thievery. 

Christians who believe the Word of God cannot simply waive aside God’s definitions of moral matters.

Accepting people struggling with sexuality as a person made in the image of and loved by God? Absolutely

Accepting them without personal condemnation while speaking the truth in love? Yes

Accepting their struggle with dark forces and embracing, defending, or endorsing their choices? No.

Adopting their redefinition of language and use of fabricated pronouns? No.

So, inclusiveness is a loaded word. Like “tolerance,” inclusiveness generally now applies to anything and anyone except biblical Christianity and Christians, particularly on public university campuses and increasingly in politics, media, and in some churches and denominations.  

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.

Sexual progressivism is also the point of the spear when it comes to religious liberty. Increasingly, expressed biblical views of sexuality are labeled “hate speech.” Individuals or even churches who publicly cite biblical views of sexuality are declared intolerant, bigoted, hatemongers, racist, sexist, phobic

Under the guise of inclusiveness or “nondiscrimination,” religious, especially Christianconvictions and the liberty to hold them and speak or teach them in a free society are now coming under attack. Worse, these views are called unacceptable and thus it is argued they should be “silenced” and the people who express them “cancelled,” which can mean loss of freedom of speech, due process, reputation, influence, or employment.

So beware. The diversity qua inclusiveness being touted now by progressives is not the diversity God established and blessed either in the created order or in the Church.  

Current trends toward cultural diversity are divisive centrifugal forces pulling apart the country and many in the ChurchOn the other hand, the diversity in the universal Church is a beautiful fellowship based on righteousness and created reality, allowing for blessed unity and peace.

The history of Christianity teaches us that every generation has introduced new error, new challenges to the faith once delivered in the Word of God, but no ruler, regime, or ideology, no false religion, no “Ism,” nothing, has ever or ever will prevail against the Christian Church.  

The Word of God is given for all times, countries, and cultures, and in it there is no room for prejudice, racism, idolatry, immorality, only unity of the faith

In God’s Kingdom, the Family of God, and the diverse universal Church: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Scripture says, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-6).

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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 driving down the road following a vehicle and watched as the driver pitched a bag of fast food trash out the window onto the roadside? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #10 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 have many faults. But littering is not one of them. 

I do confess, though, that if I have a pet peeve, it’s littering. 

I know there are, let’s call them “worse sins,” in the world. But it still fries my grits when I see people toss trash, willfully acting with such disregard for not only nature but the people around them.

From an early age, I loved the outdoors, starting with Grandpa Rogers’s family farm. That built respect for nature and animals right into my DNA. Later, I learned that our Sovereign God created everything “very good” and charged human beings made in his image with responsibility to both develop and care for the environmental richness of the world. Sometimes this is called the “Cultural Mandate” (Gen. 1:26-28).

So with that I have always been constitutionally unable to throw trash on the ground and walk away from it. I simply can’t do it.  

I remember exploring the woods as a kid and finding tin cans, bottles, or spent plastic shotgun shells, ones that someone else had left behind. I took them with me to the nearest trash container. If I found trash that was biodegradable, like food products, I usually kicked the garbage under a rock or buried it in a nearby hole. But one way or the other I had to do something with somebody else’s litter—a habit I continue to this day.

I remember a time awhile back on the beach with my wife when I noticed a group of young people, late teens and early twenties, occupying some sand near us. I was reading a book and looked up after the group left. To my surprise and disgust, I noted that the area around where the group’s blankets had been, was—you guessed it—littered with half-emptied plastic bottles, numerous pop cans, paper, and plastic wrappers from recently purchased inflatable floats.

Now I ask you, why are these youth so cavalier about littering? Who failed to teach them that the environment is a delicate balance, both ferocious and fragile, and given to us by God to steward during our time on earth? How did they reach the cusp of adulthood and not learn that littering hurts us all?

Littering is an act utterly without redeeming social value. Littering yields no positive side effects. Littering is pollution, and it is inconsiderate, immature, and irresponsible. 

Littering is an affront to the beauty and function of God’s creation. There’s something about trash strewn across God’s handiwork that grates on the eye, the mind, and the soul. 

If someone’s cast-off stuff is truly biodegradable, then I don’t get too worked up. Although even these kinds of products, depending upon where they are discarded, can harm the local ecosystem. That’s why it’s illegal, or should be, to jettison untreated effluvium from your boat’s tanks into inland or coastal waters.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best.  If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, look for us on your favorite podcast platform.  Download an episode for your friends.

E-cigarettes are a new litter: vaporizers, pods, batteries, are now being discarded everywhere and the environmental damage is, worse, longer lasting than a cigarette’s paper and filters. 

Meanwhile, cigarette butts remain #1 litter worldwide. 18 billion butts discarded per day or 4.5 trillion annually. Butts take 18 months to 12 years to decompose. So, they are biodegradable—sort of. Even when they degrade, tobacco product waste contains 7,000 toxic chemicals that leach into soil and water. 

The number of cigarette butts littered per year can be laid end-to-end to moon and back 300 times. And 80% of butts littered worldwide end up in the water system.

By some estimates, cigarette butts account for 38% of non-biodegradable litter items worldwide and up to 21% of coastal waste. 

Plastic straws are pollution, but they don’t make the top five of any anti-pollution group’s list. So, while I’m all for using paper straws, this corporate-bad-item “du jour” is a drop in the bucket compared to cigarette butts. 

By the way, cigarette-related deaths in the US stand at about 480,000 per year. This is why, the first question I’m asked at the Dr’s office, after my birthdate, is “Do you smoke?”

Cigarette butts are a universal and ubiquitous pollution.

I walk with our dog on a country road near our home. Given that it’s a secluded gravel road, finding pitched beer cans and assorted debris in the ditches and even over into cornfields, is a regular occurrence. Teenagers—and I’m sure a certain number of adults—don't want to get caught with evidence and their solution is to discard the contraband out the car window. 

After a long winter, last spring on one trek I picked up 44 cans and bottles strung along just .3 mile. I’ve picked up truck tires, trash bags full of torn-off old roofing materials, pallets, and recently, an broken down double love-seat tossed into the ditch, all this on property that does not belong to the eco-polluter. 

In my estimation, littering is an act of disrespect, immaturity, irresponsibility, and laziness. It’s the unwillingness to expend enough energy to walk to a trash can, to stuff trash into your pocket until you find a waste receptacle, to place trash or garbage on the floor of your vehicle until you stop where disposal can be cared for properly. 

Littering is damaging, destructive, and sometimes dangerous. 

No matter how you cut it, littering is wrong.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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.    

Mortality is not a topic most of us want to think about, until we lose someone close to us, but is whistling past the graveyard good planning?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #9 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.

The Old Testament patriarch Methuselah has always intrigued me. First of all, his father, Enoch, was 65 years old before Methuselah was even born. Then Methuselah lived 187 years before he fathered his first son, Lamech. After that he lived another gazillion days, fathering sons and daughters, finally giving up the ghost when he hit, can you believe it, 969 years old!

If I lived as long as Methuselah, I’d have 900 more years to go. It’s unimaginable.

Methuselah lived long enough to see his grandson, Noah, reach 500 years and father Methuselah's great-grandsons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth. Methuselah died just before the Great Flood when his grandsons, mere "boys" at 100 years of age, climbed with their wives into the Ark.  

But for all his living, the phrase that jumps off the pages of Scripture is just three words: "and he died" (Gen. 5:27). Methuselah, who lived longer than any human being in history, still died. 

Scripture makes it plain: “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

All men and women die, handsome or beautiful, rich or poor, educated and illiterate, famous – infamous – unknown, angels of mercy like Mother Teresa and evil doers like Adolph Hitler, every creed and race: “red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight”…they all die.     

There's a gravestone in Kent, NY. It commemorates the life of Howard Russell who died in 1852, and it says this:

    Remember youth as you pass by

    As you are now, so once was I

    As I am now, so you will be,

    Prepare for death and follow me.

Whether you think that’s funny or sobering, I guess, depends upon your mood.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best.  If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, look for us on your favorite podcast platform.  Download an episode for your friends.

Death is certain, we know, but the real question is, are we prepared for it?

We can think about this question on two related levels:  spiritually and practically.

Spiritually, we each must consider our relationship with God. Have you personally responded to the Good News of John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”     

If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, death loses its frightfulness. You can say with the Apostle Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (I Cor. 15:55.)

Practically, the “Are you prepared” question is a good reminder that God expects us to be good stewards of all that is put in our hands—time, talent, treasure.

For the good of our family, the most basic practical thing we can consider is getting our estate plan in place. Isn’t it amazing that about 60% of American adults do not even have a will? Or maybe I should say, they do not have their own will

because if they die intestate (meaning with no will), the state of their residence will step in with a government-defined will for them.  That’s right, if you don’t have a will, bureaucrats and legalese get to decide what happens to your assets.

And on top of the 60% with no will, another 30% have a will that’s out of date

That was us. My wife and I set up wills when we were 38 years old with four children in the house then didn’t look at the wills for another thirty years. Awhile back we took care of that, getting updated wills and setting up a family living trust that will protect our family from probate.

Did you know, too, that only about 9% of people’s estate plans leave a charitable gift to a faith-based organization? People who have lived generously all their lives, tithed regularly, perhaps supported multiple ministries, often make no provision for Christian ministry in their wills and trusts. 

Why? Probably because they were never taught to consider this kind of gifting, never thought of it at the time, and no one reminded them. 

Meanwhile, the biblical command of stewardship is clear. It’s about God granting to us all that we have: our time, talent, treasure, and then charging us with responsibility and accountability to be faithful caretakers – another word for “stewards.” God wants us to care for the disposition of our assets in a manner that glorifies him.

In 1789 in a sermon entitled “The Use of Money,” the great preacher, theologian, and scholar John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.” He was not advocating materialism but rather using one’s assets to further Kingdom values. Giving is a part of stewardship.

Well, after 969 years, even Methuselah died. From the perspective of an eternal God, Scripture reminds us, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). This does not mean human beings don’t matter, just that their appointed days on earth are short.

We make jokes about the Grim Reaper or that Father Time is undefeated. But what matters is whether we honor God by being good stewards of all with which he has entrusted us.

If you have not looked at your legal documents for years, or even more, if you don’t have a will and family living trust, I strongly encourage you to take steps today to get your will and trust in place. 

You can learn more and gain free assistance by checking the website of the ministry with which I serve. You can find a lot of information including videos at sat7usa.org.

Death might be a no-fun topic, but I'm looking forward to meeting Methuselah in heaven someday.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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 seems like politics has come to dominate our lives, but is politics after all the end-all-be-all of life?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #8 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.

It is now virtually impossible in the U.S.A to make a statement—about almost anything—without someone assigning it political or partisan or ideological bias or intention. 

In other words, everything is politics

In one sense, this is true if you define politics as the “art of the possible,” the continual effort through negotiated interaction to make decisions and propel progress.

But politics that is government and public policy, not so much. Politics is not everything

In other words, there’s more that matters in life than politics, whether everyday negotiated interaction or the process of government and public policy. 

But it’s the latter that seems to have taken over our culture.

Even as we continue to walk through the pandemic, too often, common sense, health and medical counsel, and spiritual perspectives are set aside for the all-knowing god called Politics. 

In Scripture, “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’” (Mark 12:17).  

This we do because God created government for our good: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad…”

And then the Apostle Paul gets down to brass tacks, saying: “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:1-7).

That said, the Bible also says, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). 

So, we honor, and we render to Caesar what is due, but we render to God the things that are God’s. It is our responsibility as Christians to discern the difference

While giving honor to those in authority, the American people’s tendency has been to build up our leaders to bigger-than-life positions, to look upon them as virtual saviors. This tendency to overstate political leaders’ capacity to solve our problems has increased in the early 21st Century, at least in terms of partisanship or, increasingly, ideology. In so doing we’ve become more divisive, that is,” My man or woman is our ‘savior’ but yours is the ‘devil.’”

There’s no middle ground now. You’re for us or against us.  You’re a patriot or a traitor. Our favorite political leader is going to take us to the Promised Land. Yours would lead us, well, to Hell on earth.

Meanwhile the Bible says, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish” (Psalm 146:3).  

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best.  If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, look for us on your favorite podcast platform.  Download an episode for your friends.

We’d do well to remember that political leaders have a shelf-life. They are but finite human beings with all the wonders, faults, and shortcomings this entails. Sooner or later, they all will fail us.

Politics is important, but politics is not the end-all-be-all of life.

In his book Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom has Become Its Greatest Threat, the Christian scholar and social commentator Os Guinness said, “The first thing to say about politics is that politics is not the first thing.”  

Politics is not the sum total of our existence. Sure, some of our challenges require political solutions, but for the most part, politics is downstream from culture and society.

What happens in politics is a reflection or extension of what’s happening in culture and society. By far, most of our personal and social problems today are not political but spiritual.

The solutions we require, therefore, lie not in political policies but within our understanding of Godwhat he says about human beings and the reality he created and defined, and our willingness to acknowledge his truth.

Americans’ freedom and well-being have never depended simply upon leaders or politics.  

Our freedoms and our wellbeing depend upon ideals:

         “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The Declaration of Independence is not Holy Scripture, but it is an incredibly well-worded, prescient document that set down ideals in 1776 for this “First New Nation.” 

The United States of America is an experiment in self-governance. It is different from any other on earth, what’s called American exceptionalism. This is not an arrogant claim to better-than-thou but a recognition that no other nation was built upon not government-given but God-given human rights. For more than two hundred years, with adjustments, the American system has worked amazingly well. 

One of the keys to its success has been a confidence in people, individuals free to live out their faith in God, to live according to his principles, and to exercise the talents he granted us.  

Our freedom has not come from politics or politicians or partisanship or ideology as such. It comes from our Sovereign God, who entrusted us to maintain it. To take freedom and well-being deeper into this century, this wise perspective needs to be rediscovered.  

Everything may be politics in a broad sense. But politics is most assuredly not everything.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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.    

Absent from the body, present with the Lord…but what do we do with the body?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #7 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 Western culture, the traditional answer to the question of what to do with the body was “Bury ‘em,” but the new answer is “Burn ‘em”—no disrespect intended.  

Burial versus cremation is not an abstract debate. Since death and taxes are unavoidable, if you haven’t yet faced the bury-or-burn question within your extended family you likely will.    

Cremation, the act of turning a corpse to ashes, was once virtually unknown in the United States but not anymore.   

The first recorded American cremation, aside from ones long conducted by some Native Americans, took place in 1876. Still, before 1930 cremation was virtually unknown and by 1975, according to the Cremation Association of North America, cremation was chosen for body disposal in only 6% of all deaths in the United States.    

Since that time the number of cremations has increased dramatically. By year 2025 the Cremation Association projects 57.27% of American deaths will be administered via cremation, an amazing cultural shift in just fifty years. In 2021, ten states recorded cremation rates higher than 70%. Nevada’s rate was highest at 80.7%.  

To put this in global perspective, consider that Japanese families choose cremation in 98% of deaths. For Great Britain, the percentage of deaths handled via cremation stands at 77.5%. Scandinavian countries register about 70%, and the Canadian cremation rate is increasing rapidly, currently over 73%.       

Reasons for cremation include:

  1. Lower cost than traditional burial—no casket, usually no gravesite, no gravestone, less expensive mortuary process, 
  2. Declining available space in crowded cemeteries, while cremated remains require limited to no space if ashes are scattered,
  3. Convenience in part due to increased family mobility in a transient society less connected to a given area,
  4. Easier to transport remains
  5. Environmental considerationssuggesting cremation is more hygienic, protects land,
  6. Changing religious views

Various religions have embraced cremation, for example Hinduism and Buddhism.  Others rejected cremation in favor of burial: Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, Christianity, Islam – for these groups, not getting a “proper burial” is a dishonor.   

Ancient Israel placed bodies in the ground in a pattern imitating the burials of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Phrases like “gathered to his people” suggest burial in family crypts (Gen. 35:29). This practice continued in the New Testament era with burials of, for example, John the Baptist, Lazarus, Stephen, and the Savior Jesus.       

Historically, Christian tradition opposed cremation as a pagan rite that attempted to thwart the promised bodily resurrection, rejected the body, or reinforced the idea of reincarnation. Christians believed that a deceased person’s physical burial best pictures the substitutionary atonement of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and, in turn, the bodily resurrection of the Saints at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming (1 Corinthians 15:35, 37, 42-44).       

Christians preferred to symbolize in burial the promise of the resurrection. The word “cemetery,” for example, has Christian roots in the term dormitory, a place where people “sleep,” implying they will awaken again.    

We know from the catacombs that Christians buried their dead for centuries. With the spread of Christianity, internment, whether by land or sea, became so common the term “Christian burial” became synonymous with the practice.     

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, look for us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

Some Christians contend that any use of fire in funeral ritual smacks of false religion. 

Yet this begs the question of why deaths involving fire should be viewed any differently, e.g., individuals burned or vaporized by explosives, people dying in fiery plane crashes, or individuals perishing in building fires like and including the Twin Towers of 9/11.  

Some have argued that a gravesite is an important place for gathering, grieving, and remembering, and it is. But so, too, can an urn be a focus of remembering. And with few exceptions, gravesites are not permanent; most dissipate with the sands of time.           

Mostly, arguments for cremation are based upon economics or practicality—less expensive, easier. Arguments for burial are based upon symbolism and tradition—pictures the resurrection, distances Christians from superstition.  

But the Bible does not condemn cremation nor mandate burial. In fact, while the Bible says a lot about death, and while bodies are God’s gift and should be respected, what ultimately happens to bodies is a secondary consideration. So “to cremate or to bury” is today a matter of Christian liberty.     

Centuries-old practice indicates burial is practical. In days gone by, when people died, they were often buried on the spot. Burial met the need.

Cremation also meets the need, practically if not traditionally. And as long as Christian doctrine isn’t denied, cremation cannot be considered unbiblical.  

Besides this, no burial method is a threat to Christian resurrection or to the soul.  God can resurrect ashes as well as dust.

Stewardship is an important Christian concept. We’re responsible to God for how we live, handle the world’s resources, use our time, talent, and treasure—and how we pass from the world.  

The intent and content of a funeral service is what really matters, not the method of disposition of the body (or whether body parts have been donated). It’s not death and despair but life and hope that should be our focus, looking past the end-of life to the afterlife.

So, burial or cremation?  

One thing’s certain, “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19).         

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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.    

Given the division, rancor, and politicization of virtually everything—along with the social media-driven “hater” mentality—have we witnessed the death of discussion?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #6 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.

During the U.S. Presidential campaign in February 2016, I stopped posting political content on social media. I just quit cold turkey.  

Before this I’d tried to post about issues. I didn’t mention just one but always several candidates, attempted to be non-partisan, never spoke negatively of the previous Administration, and in no way attacked Democrat or Republican candidates or otherwise use my social media to campaign. In retrospect, I guess I was naïve. I actually tried to conduct a discussion about important issues. Usually, it didn’t happen.

I found that people didn’t read the nuances of what I said, and they didn’t discuss the issue. Mostly, they reacted emotionally, defending their partisan view and/or candidate—who I had often not even mentioned—and frequently did so with rancor not found in my posts. 

I also noticed that my comments about political issues, in part because they got hi-jacked, divided my family, friends, and colleagues. People just couldn’t hang together for an issue discussion without quickly voting each other off the island.

At that point I decided political posting wasn’t worth dividing or losing friends. So I stopped.

Some of my friends have stopped referencing any social or political topic on social media too.

It isn’t that they don’t have opinions or that they don’t care, though perhaps some are less politically interested than others. They don’t want to get into a back-and-forth vitriol on opposite ends of the teeter-totter. 

Think for a moment about “panels” on major television news channels: 

these panels have largely devolved into shout fests about who can talk overtop the other. There’s not much reasoned discourse. 

This same kind of phenomenon showed up not long ago when my wife and I attended a home-gathering comprised of people from the same church—middle class Midwesterners, most who’d grown up locally and graduated from the same high school and who otherwise had much in common. It was a very nice evening. Then someone mentioned the U.S. President relative to a given political issue. Just like that the group divided, including a few prickly comments and negative facial expressions that stayed that way until someone changed the subject. 

Amazing. Good friends suddenly turned edgy when politics came up. 

So the old maxim stands: “Never talk about politics or religion in polite company.”

Years ago, I wrote a book called “Christian Liberty: Living for God in a Changing Culture” (Baker, 2003). I talked about God’s moral absolutes—not a long list by the way— for all times, countries, and cultures, which we ignore at our own peril.

And I talked about the enormous room for discretion, or better, discernment with which God charged us as a way of making good decisions about cultural matters (Phil. 1:9-11). As long as our attitudes, viewpoints, and actions do not violate the moral will of God, he gave us the liberty to decide and to be different.

But I said then and I still believe today, Christian liberty is the least understood and least practiced doctrine of the Bible. I cannot prove this, but I experience it regularly. People in the Christian community do not allow for differences in others.

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Growing numbers of people in our country and culture do not want people to speak if their views diverge from what the dominant group considers correct. 

The answer to opposing views is not a free and open debate on the merits of the argument but to silence, somehow to keep the other view from being heard

If it is heard, then the solution is to react with emotional diatribe or attacks on the character of others who hold the “wrong view.” People who disagree with your view, or who might offer critique, are called “haters.”

The First Amendment’s guarantee of Freedom of Speech is no longer considered a sacred political ideal for whom men and women have given the last full measure of devotion to protect.

We’ve come to a point in a so-called post-truth culture in which politics and polarization are so pronounced we can no longer communicate, resulting in a virtual inability to discuss, much less debate, any social-political issue without it exploding into defensive partisanship, ideological condemnation, or lack of civility.

Discussion, at least public discourse, is dead on arrival

I’d like to discuss political issues via social media but to do so invites dysfunction. 

I think this is sad, among believers an absence of Christian liberty,and among the public, a disappearing understanding of what Freedom of Speech means in and to a constitutional republic.

This trend, whether from Left or Right, is not good for the future of this country.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or 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, 2022    

*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.