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I'm into social media, Facebook, Twitter, so this is not a Luddite rant. But along with others I've mused about what the social media juggernaut seems to mean or imply for thinking, writing, and civility:

  • People say things in print they often won't say in person.
  • The quantity of online expression may be inversely related to its quality.
  • Because something is posted doesn't make it so.
  • Road rage has given way to cyber rage with neither one amounting to much.
  • It's easier to misrepresent, even lie, with more extensive, longer-lasting negative impact than it used to be.
  • No leader(s) can any longer stay ahead of or respond in a timely fashion to real-time events because people are communicating about the event as they participate in them and as they happen.
  • It's possible to say something profound in 140 characters, but this won't often happen.The number of followers or fans one counts is more a measure of celebrity than significance.
  • Christians should be active via social media like they should be active via anything else that doesn't violate the moral will of God.
  • Both the noble and the ignoble show up in social media because people are involved.
  • Tweeting what one had for breakfast says more about the tweeter's need for affirmation than the tweetee's need to know.
  • Relationships can be developed via social media, but the same character criteria should be applied as in any other relationship.
  • Social media is no longer limited to youth.
  • If international Christian ministries want young people to learn about, care about, and engage with missions, the ministries had better increase their online presence because youth live in cyberspace and if a ministry isn't there it doesn't exist.
  • Static websites, i.e. limited changes in content over time, attract one-time visitors.
  • Websites still form a foundation but they're almost passe in favor of more dynamic, rapidly changing real-time interaction available via new media.
  • Personality and character show up in social media expression, print or audio or video.
  • You are what you post?
  • Almost no one, let alone a notable leader or celebrity or otherwise recognizable person, is ever now in a truly private circumstance beyond the reach of cell phone video or still shot cameras, voice recorders, and of course, the emails, text messages, or other communications of people nearby.
  • The more we're plugged in, the more we live on the grid, the less we're unplugged and live life off the grid...what are we missing our Grandparents understood?
  • Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears are easy to envision working in social media, not so much Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Mother Teresa.
  • In the movie "Gladiator" the Maximus character said, "What we do in life echoes in eternity." True, in the hands of Providence, but now what we post echoes for all our life in Google.
  • Wonder what the next Twitter du jour will be?
  • © Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    This week the SAT-7 Field Staff spent time in two seminars focusing upon "asset-based giving." Both sessions reminded us that "God owns the cattle on a thousand hills." He owns all that we are, have, or ever hope to have.

    Randy Veltkamp, President of West Michigan Christian Foundation, led the first seminar, along with VP Jamison Kuiper. Both men explained that most people give to charity out of an approximately 7% cash or liquid portion of their net worth. In other words, we work from our checkbooks. Meanwhile, for most individuals, whether wealthy or not so wealthy, our actual giving capacity is tied up in some 93% non-liquid assets, like property, stocks , or other investments.

    While Americans are very generous people, giving some $307.65 billion to charitable causes in 2008, still, on average Americans only gave about 2.5% of their incomes. Their net worth and thus full giving capacity is far higher, so the percentage Americans gave of their actual ability to give is much lower than 2.5%. Christians don't give appreciably more and, thus, don't remotely approach the 10% tithe God commands in his Word. So the story of American generosity is a good news, bad news scenario.

    What we need to do as fundraising officers of Christian nonprofits is to help people understand giving spiritually: it's a mind thing, developing a theology of giving; and it's a heart thing, developing an obedience to God's direction and a compassion toward others. Once people understand giving spiritually, they'll give more cheerfully, more often, more faithfully, and usually just plain more.

    In a second seminar, Richard Dorsey, Planned Giving Director for The Salvation Army West Michigan and Northern Indiana Division, reviewed several issues, questions, or concerns people raise when they're presented with opportunities to give. People say, "I cannot afford to give more" or "My assets are tied up in real estate, what can I do?" Or "I'm going to sell my real estate...etc soon." All of these concerns and more are legitimate, but none of them prevent a person from becoming better stewards of the resources God has given them. They just need help seeing what options are available to them, ones that legally and appropriately reduce their tax liabilities while increasing their ability to care for themselves, their heirs, and their favorite charities.

    People sometimes look upon fundraising as manipulation, trickery, or strong-arming, sort of a bucketful of ways shysters leverage money from people's pockets. Unfortunately, at one time or another fundraising, or rather fundraisers, have been all these things.

    But fundraising rightly understood and implemented is simply a process of placing in front of people opportunities for them to help others by being good stewards of the resources God has entrusted temporarily to them. Helping people grow in their understanding of giving and their capacity to give is helping them to experience the joy of giving while they're living.

    Learning to give wisely out of ones total assets, not simply available cash, is a win-win. It's beneficial first to the giver because it preserves assets from undue taxation and moves them toward personal support, family, or charitable causes. And second, it generally means charitable causes, the ones closest to the giver's heart, experience greater support and therefore ability to fulfill their mission.

    SAT-7 USA is developing its sophistication in assisting supporters' spiritual well-being and their stewardship. In this we trust God is pleased.

    © Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    Philanthropy is the act of giving money, goods, or services to charitable causes. It's a Christian concept. God says a great deal in His Word about wealth, and philanthropy is one major focus.

    In Proverbs, God says that "one man gives freely, yet gains even more, another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell" (11:24-26).In 1 Timothy, we're told to "be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" (6:18).

    Giving is an expected part of the Christian life, not only in the form of a tithe to God, but also as offerings to good causes over and above our tithe. In all this, we are to be cheerful givers (I Cor. 9:7).

    Christians in colonial times took God's giving commands so seriously that they encouraged each other to give even more than tithes and offerings in order to endow schools, colleges, orphanages, missions and more. In fact, a person who died in possession of great wealth was disdained as a poor steward.

    Philanthropy is not just a task and an opportunity of the wealthy. It is the responsibility of every Christian within the level of means God has provided. In the New Testament, Jesus praised the Widow for her faithful and sacrificially given mite, one of the smallest of Middle Eastern coins.

    God blesses all gifts given in true charity.God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He does not need your gift, but He expects it and He will use it.


    © Rex M. Rogers –All Rights Reserved, 2010

    Revised "Making a Difference" program #136 originally recorded, September 22, 1994.

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


    One of my “bucket list” items is to visit all 13 official presidential and museums/libraries, along with the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

    Until about four years ago I’d visited only one, the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Then my wife and I, along with our daughter in law, visited the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Outstanding. Still, it didn’t occur to me that visiting all of them might be fun.

    A couple of years later Sarah and I went to Kansas City and took time to drive the short distance to Independence to visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. I had just finished reading David McCullough’s Truman, so my understanding of President’s Truman’s Administration and impact were fresh. He was a homespun but highly effective leader and the number of major decisions he made with long-term historical impact were amazing.

    That did it. From there it dawned on me that visiting all the presidential museums might be both possible and fun. Since that time I’ve been able to visit a few more, including one in the past week. I recommend the same goal to you. Here’s a summary of what I’ve enjoyed so far:

    Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum – I always felt I had some distant emotional tie to Mr. Ford, largely because August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced his intention to resign, August 9, 1974 President Nixon resigned and Mr. Ford took the oath of office as President, and August 10, 1974, Sarah and I got married. So it was a great weekend for a young man interested in politics and a certain young lady.

    The museum is located along the river in Grand Rapids while the library is located at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The museum is not huge but nice, includes a replica of the Oval Office during the Ford Administration, and does a lot with the shortest presidency in history, focusing especially upon the Nixon Pardon. President Ford lived longer than any previous president, passed away at 93, and is buried on site.

    Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum – For me so far, the Reagan Museum is the Gold Standard of presidential museums. It is located on a hilltop with a view of the Pacific in the distance, features a large section on Reagan’s Hollywood years and another large section on the presidency. All the president’s signatures are engraved in the wood-paneled walls of the entryway, which is a distinctive and intriguing feature. Nancy Reagan is given her due as is the Reagans’s love for their mountaintop ranch. Reagan’s gifts as the “Great Communicator” are available in audio and video throughout.

    Without question, though, the most impressive exhibit in the museum is the jet that Reagan, along with Ford, Carter, both Bushes, Clinton, used as Air Force One. Alongside the jet in what amounts to a museum hanger is the helicopter Reagan used as Marine One, as well as his automobile. You can walk through the jet. I had walked through FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower’s planes years before, which are housed at Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton, but seeing Reagan’s jet is on another level. President Reagan is buried on site.

    Harry S. Truman Library and Museum – Truman’s museum is small by comparison to others built today, but I doubt you can find more significant history per square foot than this museum offers. Surviving an assassination attempt, firing General Douglas MacArthur, ending WWII with the Atom Bomb, the United Nations, NATO, full renovation of the White House, recognition of Israel in 1948, the Marshall Plan, and more. My favorite presidential picture is featured here. It’s Truman in Independence walking away from the camera in topcoat and hat, out for his traditional morning walk—alone—the next morning after arriving home from relinquishing the most powerful office in the world. Truman retired with no pension—that came later for him and subsequent presidents due to the work of his friends in Congress—and no continuing Secret Service protection. He didn’t believe he should use the stature of the presidency to earn money after the presidency. It was a different era. President and Mrs. Truman are buried on site.

    Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum – Nixon’s museum is also small by comparison to the ones being built today, is located along a main street in Yorba Linda, California, includes his boyhood home on the property, and one of his helicopters. Watergate is featured, but a debate is currently underway about how to portray associated events and with what tone or critique. President and Mrs. Nixon are buried on site. I enjoyed the visit because it brought back so many memories from my early college interest in politics, and 1972 was the first presidential election in which I voted. But I left feeling a bit down and realized it was a feeling of betrayal (I used this in an article I wrote about betrayal). Nixon’s is a leadership that might have been.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum – The Eisenhower Museum is located in his hometown, Abilene, Kansas, is small by present standards, is beginning to show its age so is in need of a facelift, and is, like the Truman Museum, packed with World War II history, including an amazing array of medals given to General Eisenhower by grateful nations of the world. A distinctive feature is Eisenhower’s boyhood home located on its original foundation. In other words, the museum, library, and chapel where the President and Mrs. Eisenhower are buried are located on the family and nearby property in Abilene. So Ike played in that yard, walked barefoot in that field, etc. Interesting.

    Jimmy Carter Library and Museum – Mr. Carter’s Museum, Library, and the Carter Center are located in Atlanta on Freedom Parkway, not far from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. The museum was closed for several months in summer 2009 for total renovation, reopening in October. The museum is first class, features cutting edge technology including a tabletop touch screen computer that amounts to a kind of 22 foot iPhone. President Carter’s Nobel Prize and he and Mrs. Carter’s Presidential Freedom Medals are on display and there are an abundant number of videos of Carter Administration events or interviews with the Carters. It is truly a beautiful museum and setting.

    I have a few more to go.


    © Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    Seeing a friend in a casket is a sad and sobering experience. Feelings especially true when the friend died suddenly, without warning and yet young. “Viewing” provides “closure,” the experts say, and the practice provides an occasion to express support and sympathy to members of your friend’s family. But it’s not fun, and only in cases when the deceased has left a life of suffering do we consider this time a relief.

    People sometimes misinterpret the Christian theology of death. Some of them think Christians are pretty sanguine when it comes to death. Not usually. Christians are as bothered by death as anyone else.

    God never told us we had to like death, only that we need not fear it. Death is still a separation, even from a person we know is now with the Lord. Death is still a transition. It’s an absence. It removes from our daily lives people we care about. So we feel the loss and we don’t like it.

    Nor do we have to like death. It’s OK to grieve.

    But Christians have hope, so we do not and should not grieve as those who have no hope. We know the end of the story and we know the Author of the story. We don’t just believe. We know God is still in charge, is not surprised by death, and is still a God of love. We know Christ has already defeated sin and its result—death—on the cross and in his resurrection. Our hope built upon certainty.

    Christians do sometimes deal with death differently, so maybe that’s where the idea came from that we’re not bothered by death. For example, while there’s nothing wrong with wearing black to a funeral it isn’t really a Christian M.O. I know that’s what’s always shown in movies, especially funerals in New York City, but wearing black is more about tradition than Christianity. Christians mourn, but they recognize that it’s one thing to mourn and another thing to be morose. Sometimes Christians want to wear their hope in brightly colored clothing. It’s possible to do so while respecting the deceased. But again, there’s nothing wrong with wearing black either. It’s our knowledge and attitude that count for more.

    Christians also sometimes conduct funerals that come off like celebrations. This is especially true when the deceased friend or family member has lived a long, full, and godly life. His or her time has come. He or she is spiritually and emotionally ready to meet the Lord, ready to go, ready to renew bonds with loved ones gone before. Such funerals are promotions. I recently attended a funeral for an 80-something friend that was all of that. Remembering him and his life was “fun,” if you can use that word at a funeral. He would have been much pleased, and we know he’s in heaven.

    The most difficult experience is the funeral of a friend who, as far as you know, never placed his or her faith in Christ. How do you remain hopeful in this instance? You literally mourn his or her loss and you pray for, focus on, and invest in the loved ones left behind. Would to God that he awakens them and grants them a peace that passes understanding.

    So, No, I don’t like seeing a friend in a casket.


    © Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduce in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    I've often been reminded that Christian hope is not like any other kind of hope. Christian hope is not a vain wish for what might be. Christian hope is a trust in what will be. Christian hope is based upon Christ's completed work, so our hope may be confident...not anxious, not arrogant, but confident.

    This is very important. We're told by some people that the future is a matter of chance, fate, or luck. Some of these people think God doesn't exist, and some believe God can't do much even if He does exist. People who think like this sometimes end up in one of two extremes. Either they go off the deep end of hedonism, trying to escape their meaningless life in short-term pleasure. Or, they end up in the severe despair of nihilism, wishing they'd never been born and sometimes even taking their own life.

    Now there is another kind of misplaced hope. Some people believe they can control the future. For them, hope for humanity and their own lives is tied up with technology or other kinds of scientific advances. Their hope is optimistic but ultimately baseless. They place their hope in human potential while rejecting God and ignoring the reality of sin. Just check the history of the Twentieth Century for a record of technological advance run amok in world wars.

    So what are we left with?

    On the one hand we find no hope and on the other hand groundless hope. One is pessimistic the other is optimistic.

    People faced with a pessimistic future seek relief in the drug culture, alcohol, or some other emotional tranquilizer. People who assume an optimistic future tend to worship the idols of materialism, eternal youth, or leisure.

    But true Christian hope is balanced. It's never pessimistic, because Christians know the Creator and Savior. We know the beginning and the end of the human story, and we know it's all in God's sovereign care. Christian hope is realistically optimistic. We acknowledge the presence of sin in the world, but we know the Lord will make things right.

    "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." For the Christian--hope really is eternal.


    © Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

    Revised "Making a Difference" program #012 originally recorded February 5, 1993.

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow at