Roundup of Stories on Syria

Roundup of Stories on Syria

The potential US bombardment of the nation of Syria has been front and center in the news in recent days. Here is some of the best of the web on the topic.

Doug Wilson discusses the concept of just war and whether that applies to an attack on Syria:

Syrian Just War, or Just War in Syria?

Rob Slane bemoans the lack of wisdom among our elected officials who see bombing Syria as the solution to the issues there:

Another day, another phoney war.

Pat Buchanan urges the US Congress to stop abdicating their constitutional responsibility:

Congress Should Veto Obama’s War

There have been many shocking videos showcasing the barbarism of the Al Qaeda linked Syrian rebels. Here is one that has not been showcased as much where a group of rebels stops three truck drivers and summarily executes them for being the wrong type of Muslim:

Al Qaeda-Linked Terrorists Stop Truck Drivers on Side of Road then Execute them for not being Sunni Muslims

I pray that cooler heads and the rule of law will prevail in this country before something as serious as attacking another nation takes place. I pray also for Christians in Syria who have been some of the primary victims of this tragedy and who face even more persecution and death should the Syrian rebels prevail, with or without our help.

 

The Closet Racism of “Diversity”

The Closet Racism of Diversity
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Working in corporate America for the last twenty-odd years, I’ve seen “diversity” from many vantage points. In the heady days of the 1980s, it was a “business imperative.” In the leaner times since then, not so much. Once the bottom line moves from black to red, on site diversity managers and  diversity training and programs shrink or disappear completely.

If such things are “essential” the way, for example good R&D or inventory control are, why, when times get tough, do they go away? Because they were not essential, at least not the way they were being run by politically correct human resources gurus. What was essential was to say they were essential to justify the added expense and headcount as well as to placate the diversity industry that sprang up to meet this “business need.”

So, can diversity be a good thing, even a “business imperative?” Absolutely, if properly pursued. Unfortunately, what diversity means in most organizations is having an acceptable number of people who are not white and male on the payroll. This we’re told is helpful because it exposes decision making to a variety of points of view. However, I suggest this view of diversity is a result of stereotyping and even racism and sexism. Think about it. If you assume having a black person in the office automatically gives you a different point of view than having a white person would, you’re assuming no black person would ever think the same way as a white person. You’re stereotyping him or her based on skin color. You’re assuming there is a “black” point of view which also implies black people are a monolithic group. If I said all black people look alike, I’d (legitimately) be called a racist. Why if I say they all think alike is the same not true?

The problem with most corporate and government diversity programs is that their goal is diversity of appearance, not diversity of opinion. In fact, the thing institutional diversity programs want least, is a real diversity of opinion. If you don’t believe that, just express an opinion outside the politically correct party line (such as that expressed in this post) next time you’re in “diversity training.”

The truth is diversity can be had in a room full of all black people or all white people or all women just as well as it can in a room full of a mixture of all three. The key to truly helpful diversity is to pursue a diversity of opinion or point of view without regard to race, sex or other external factors – you know, those things we’re constantly being told are unimportant. Of course, that’s more difficult to do and not as easy to measure as counting the number of noses of a certain color but if your agenda is to help organizations be truly diverse, that’s the way to do it.

Other voices on this topic:

‘Diversity’: The Magic Word by Thomas Sowell

Diversity, Yes; Force, No by Christopher Westley

Jesus On Every Page by David Murray

Jesus on Every Page by David MurrayThere’s a phrase you sometimes hear referring to middle-America – fly over country. This is born out of the (wrong) attitude that the really important stuff goes on on the east coast in places like New York and Washington and the west coast in places like Los Angeles. All the places in between are unimportant.

In some ways the church has treated the Old Testament like “fly over country” in recent years. We parachute in at the Creation then get airlifted out only to drop in again at the Exodus or the story of David and Goliath. But besides the most famous and beloved stories, much of the rest of the Old Testament is treated as either unimportant or irrelevant to New Testament believers. One consequence of this approach is that we see the Old Testament as a collection of stories teaching a moral lesson rather than as one seamless Story of the history of God’s redemption of His people.

It was this unbalanced approach to the Old Testament that led David Murray to write his new book Jesus On Every Page. He had two main goals for the book: to show that all of the Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ and to do so in a way that the average believer can understand and apply.

In my opinion, he succeeded in both. Starting with the second of those goals, David Murray is a good writer. He writes in a style that flows logically and is easy to follow. He uses word pictures and illustrations effectively to bring home his points and he’s quick to point out his own areas of weakness and struggle. It’s clear he’s not out just to show how smart he is but to help his readers learn. This is the same style I found helpful when I read his book on preaching a year or so back.

On the first point, the book is equally successful. The biggest strength of the book is Murray’s multi-faceted approach to the topic. As he points out, there are  a lot of books about one or two ways to see Jesus in the Old Testament but none that do what he’s done –  present an overview of ten different ways. Some of these ways I’d read about before, Jesus in the Old Testament Characters, for example, but others were less familiar to me such as discovering Jesus in Proverbs or in the Old Testament Law.

I was especially challenged by his discussion of Jesus’ Old Testament appearances. I am familiar with the idea that Christ appeared to people occasionally prior to His incarnation, such as in Genesis 18 when the Bible says the Lord appeared to Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. However, I’d never heard Murray’s point that God “speaks to sinners only through the channel of His Son in both the Old and New Testaments.” He teaches that every direct interaction of God with man is through the son. Meaning, for example it was the second person of the Trinity who was the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. I don’t necessarily disagree but would like to explore this concept more.

One area I particularly appreciated was his treatment of Song of Solomon. He does an excellent job showing that Song of Solomon is not an anomaly but is also focused on Christ and is part of the seamless story of redemption that is the Old Testament. This is a welcome contrast to so much teaching on Song of Solomon today that treats it as nothing more than a Christian Kama Sutra.

I highly recommend this book. Our church is doing an Old Testament overview starting in the fall with our adult Bible study classes and I plan to use it both as a resource as I prepare to teach and as a suggested small group study for those in the class to supplement the teaching.

You can purchase the book several places, including at Amazon.com:

Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book free of charge.

I Feel Therefore I Am?

Another hermaphrodite symbol (background-color...

In an article titled What Transgender People Teach Us About God and Our Humanity, Sharon Groves, Director of the disingenuously named Human Rights Campaign responds to Russell Moore’s recent comments on the “transgender question.”

However, rather than, as the title suggests, learning from transgender supporters, the main strength of the article is what it teaches us about transgender supporters.  It further exposes the hypocrisy of the left in general and the LGBT (did I miss one?) lobby in particular.  One of the key points of the author is that biology is not our destiny:

What if rather than saying that biology is destiny we actually explored the ways in which we all experience our own gender identities and expressions?

But apparently feelings and experiences are. Remember, these are the same people who say those with homosexual attractions cannot change. The same people who want to constrain those with unwanted same sex attractions by prohibiting them from pursuing change. The actual, physical reality of who you are should not be your destiny but your feelings and experiences should be.

This was one of the main complaints Groves had of Moore’s piece:

I was struck that in Moore’s piece he didn’t reference the experience of one transgender person.

That’s like responding to an article condemning adultery by saying “wait a minute, there are some people who are perfectly happy cheating on their spouses, why didn’t you talk about their experiences?” Dr. Moore, and all orthodox Christians, see God as the source of truth, not our experiences. Unlike Sharon Groves who seeks to know “who God is for each of us,” they seek to know who God is, period. My experiences don’t change who He is nor do they change His truth. As R.C. Sproul says “One of the most dangerous things you can do as a Christian is to determine your theology by your experience.”

In the end we heed the call to love our neighbors not by affirming them in their sin but by telling them the truth – even when that truth is contrary to their feelings. For those who believe Jesus Christ when He says unless we repent, we will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3), the stakes are too high to do otherwise.

Other voices on this topic:

Your Feelings Don’t Define You. By Mark Altrogge

The Humpfest Masquerade by Doug Wilson

An Open Letter to the Governor of California by Rob Slane