Bring Me His Head on A Platter

Beheading of John the Baptist
Beheading of John the Baptist (Photo credit: Walwyn)

When rulers are more worried about saving their reputation than being righteous because they’ve made rash and unwise public promises:

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, 7 so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison,11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. – Matthew 14:1-12

 

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

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

How Should Christians Respond to Controversy?

How Should Christians Respond to Controversy?
Truth (Photo credit: d4vidbruce)

Reaction to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has shown that some Christians are confused about how to respond to a controversial issue, especially one that is highly charged emotionally. Since the verdict, I’ve seen some high-profile, otherwise rational, deliberative Christian thinkers make statements that range from unhelpful to flat out untrue.

While I’m sure they were well intentioned, we must remember that having good intentions is not the same thing as being right. We have no problem seeing that where theology is concerned but it sometimes goes out the window when dealing with social or political issues.

Part of the problem is that Christians don’t like controversy so our first instinct is often to make it go away. We are, after all, called to be peacemakers. However, that does not mean at any cost.

Phil Cooke in a post called Five Non-Christian Habits Christians Need to Learn says this:

Speaking the truth invariably creates conflict because someone won’t like it. So we have a choice – either stand up or shrink back. We don’t have to be jerks or control freaks. But there are times when we do have to be bold.

So what should this look like with a high profile, controversial issue like the verdict in the Zimmerman trial?

  1. Don’t take the story at face value. We must do our best to find the truth before making public statements (Proverbs 18:17). If we bear false witness against someone because we’ve simply repeated the talking points of the media or special interest groups rather than forming an opinion based on the facts, we’ve sinned against that person the same as if we’d chosen to slander them deliberately.
  2. Remember that all points of view are not valid and deserving of a response. Sometimes Christians think they should always seek to reconcile two opposing parties. While we are to be about reconciliation, that is not at the expense of truth.  A claim of wrong is not proof of wrong, especially in the absence of any corroborating facts (Deut. 19:15). If it’s necessary to downplay or compromise truth in order to reconcile, it’s not reconciliation the other party seeks but validation of their viewpoint.
  3. Similarly, we do not always have an obligation to “see both sides” –  if by that we mean that both sides represent equally legitimate points of view. They don’t always. We should certainly seek to understand the other side’s position but if their position (or ours) is based on lies, misrepresentations or half-truths, we should say so unapologetically. We should then point people to the truth, not do handstands to find a way to reconcile truth with untruth, something the Bible tells us is not possible (II Corinthians 6:14).
  4. A person or group’s past experiences, no matter how difficult, do not give them permission to lie, believe lies or repeat lies. Past experiences may explain why someone is reacting as they are but we are under no obligation to validate their reaction if it is contrary to the truth simply because of their past experiences.

In short, Christians are to speak truth. Certainly in love, but truth nonetheless. Some truths are difficult for people to hear. No matter how they are shared offense will be taken.  We should share them anyway. If we’re unwilling to do so, we should stay out of the discussion.