As you’re undoubtedly aware by now, there’s a growing chorus of believers concerned about the so-called “dumbing down” of Christianity and the “falling away” of some prominent evangelical icons. It should be noted — particularly for the sake of blunt honesty — that by “some icons” we’re really only talking about two specific people: Joshua Harris, author of the renowned “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and Hillsong singer-songwriter, worship leader and musician Marty Sampson. Both men released public statements to their followers essentially stating that they had become disenchanted with Christianity and were leaving the faith. The secular news media and Internet trolls have done their usual bang-up job at making the whole thing sound far more broad sweeping than it actually is. Contrary to popular belief, there is no epidemic of hoards of Christian leaders committing apostasy throughout America within the last week. And, to be fair, Sampson did subsequently walk back his statement and position, saying that “he hasn’t renounced the faith.”
That being said, I do think it’s important to address what is happening with these popular Christian figures and to touch on a disturbingly common trend among the church culture of elevating young leaders simply because they look cool, sing well, or speak eloquently. Let’s tackle the latter first.
You might be surprised to know — or you might not — that the Apostle Paul warned against this in chapter five of his first letter to Timothy: “Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22, NLT) Some translations use the expression “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily” (NAS) and indeed the original Greek refers to “the laying on of hands.” While this phraseology might be citing the early custom of laying hands on a penitent sinner, it’s also possible — and more likely — that it is referring to laying hands on a man in order to ordain him to a position or install him in an office of the Church.
It should go without saying, but apparently it must be said, that there is an inherent danger in promoting or advancing a leader before he’s qualified. You wouldn’t put a 21-year-old White House intern in charge of the nuclear launch codes. That’s a really good way to accidentally blow Greenland to smithereens. You wouldn’t replace the CEO of McDonald’s with the lady who just got hired yesterday as a cashier. That’s a really good way to destroy an entire fast-food corporation. By the same token, you shouldn’t expect a young or inexperienced man to be able to tend to the souls of the bride of Christ or to be a shining example of the faith. That’s a really good way to lead an entire church flock right over a cliff to meet their death on the rocks below. Paul’s admonition to Timothy is to avoid making the mistake of promoting or designating a leader unless that man has proven himself to be mature, proficient, and equipped. I don’t know for certain that this is what happened in the case of Harris or Sampson, but it’s certainly possible and therefore worth mentioning.
Before I start getting hate-mail, allow me to clarify that this is in no way a jab at “young” pastors or worship leaders. Some of my best friends became pastors in their late 20’s and early 30’s. My own father was licensed to preach at 20, but spent many years accumulating experience and gleaning insight, advice, and wisdom from godly men before serving in a full-time pastoral capacity.
As for this notion of “falling away from” or “out of” the faith, this is all terribly worded and often misconstrued. If Harris and Sampson are truly saved, then they are not “unsaved” simply because they suddenly find themselves struggling with doubts or questions. The very nature of God’s grace and forgiveness supports this. Of course, in the case of someone like Harris, who publicly renounced Christianity, openly declared that he is no longer a believer, separated from his wife, and apologized to the LGBTQ community, you could certainly make a theological argument that he’s intentionally rejected the Holy Spirit. Sampson, on the other hand, still seems to be hanging in there, albeit on “shaky ground” by his own admission.
But, rather than get bogged down in the theology of it all, I’ll close by mentioning what I think happened with these two guys, and has indeed happened with many in my generation in particular: Their faith was or became more about emotion than truth. One of the biggest problems we face in the modern church culture — and American society in general — is an environment where feelings reign supreme. In the church, this has sadly taken the form of Christians who love to worship and listen to sermons, but fail to realize that the essence of genuine worship and the pulse of sound teaching is reflected by a humble obedience to an almighty and infinite God and an unwavering belief in solid doctrine. Faith isn’t just a momentary emotional or spiritual high. It’s a daily lifestyle that values the truth of the Word over our emotional, and often childish, whims, wants, and desires. The truth of what we believe doesn’t change just because our feelings about it change. Unfortunately, Harris and Sampson seem to have indulged in their emotions and chosen their feelings over their faith. This is truly a travesty.
To any Joshes or Martys who may be reading this: I empathize with your struggles, the disillusionment, the disenchantment, the exhaustion that stems from trying to reconcile the Christian faith with the current modern American culture. I write about it all the time. I know it can be discouraging and disheartening. Even as a pastor’s son, I’ve wrestled with comprehending the nature of God in the wake of the moral decay happening around us. I’ve questioned, I’ve doubted, I’ve studied. And while I certainly can’t identify with the pressures faced by so-called “evangelical celebrities,” I can offer this encouragement to fellow believers: Hang in there. Tough it out. Endure. Don’t give up. Yes, there are some things about our faith, and about this life, that we will never understand until we enter Eternity, but the promise of Jesus is worth so much more. And I don’t know about you, but…
“I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I’d rather be His, than have riches untold.
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land. I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.
Than to be the king of a vast domain and beheld in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”
Earlier this week, a local TV station in Grand Rapids, Michigan published a report about a public art event scheduled to be held in their town, one which would feature men and women taking the stage as “drag kings” and “drag queens.” This is disgusting and abhorrent enough, but as is so often the case with these situations, it gets worse: The drag performers are Down Syndrome patients and are part of a group known as Drag Syndrome, an attempt by one twisted LGBT activist to promote his definition of “inclusion.” The event is called Project 1 and is being coordinated by ArtPrize and DisArt.
You might remember first hearing about Drag Syndrome last year whey they stirred up debate throughout London and other various parts of Europe with their controversial shows. According to the group’s official Instagram page, they market themselves as being “Freshly fierce!” (whatever that means) and also brag about having “Highly addictive drag queens & kings with Down-Syndrome.” Much like any other drag show, the performances feature song and dance routines by men wearing women’s clothing, eyeliner, ridiculous wigs, and even fake breasts in a few cases. The women don men's apparel and fake beards. The only difference, of course, is that Drag Syndrome is the first and only of its kind in which the entire troupe is comprised of mentally-handicapped entertainers.
Back in May, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) showcased the group in a brief video, explaining how they were brought together by choreographer and Creative Director Daniel Vais in an effort to “provide a platform for performers with learning disabilities and to challenge stereotypes.”
Somehow, it continues to get worse. Jill Vyn, Managing Director of DisArt, says, “We sought them [Drag Syndrome] out because they are at the very highest level of disability drag…We recognize that not everyone is going to love this show, not everyone is going to think it’s for them. And that’s OK.” Translation: We know we’re going to get a ton of criticism for this because it’s psychotic, wrong, and evil, but we don’t really care so long as our political and ideological agendas are promoted.
It should go without saying that people with Down Syndrome are typically unable to comprehend the ramifications of their decisions or to know why they’re doing what they’re doing. In fact, WebMD puts it this way: “Down syndrome…affects a person’s ability to think, reason, understand, and be social. The effects range from mild to moderate.” I have a friend in the medical field who has personally worked with Down Syndrome patients and other extremely intellectually challenged individuals. I can’t tell you how often she has told me that these patients feed on what she refers to as the 3-A’s: acknowledgement, affirmation, and attention. In other words, if you can assure them that they’re loved and safe or that they’ll be favored in some way, you can practically get them to do anything — whether it’s walking on all fours and mooing like a cow or dressing up like the opposite gender and engaging in sexually suggestive dance choreography in front of a bunch of adults. Apparently soulless scumbags like Daniel Vais have chosen the latter course.
Celebration of the LGBTQ agenda is becoming shockingly commonplace in our society and often at the expense of the most innocent among us. It was only a couple of months ago that Vice sent out a tweet glorifying the sexualization of a group of pubescent and prepubescent boys, referring to the kids as “the next generation of drag queens.” And of course, there’s 11-year-old Desmond Napoles, who twerks provocatively on stages at gay nightclubs while grown men shower him in dollar bills. And let’s not forget the Drag Queen Story Hour events at local libraries where drag queens are grooming little boys into this lifestyle by teaching them to twerk or by allowing them to fall asleep in their arms.
And now they’re not only sexualizing and exploiting children, but mentally-handicapped individuals who lack the cognitive reasoning skills and social awareness to understand that they’re being used as pawns in a game of ideological chess. Ironically, these patients — because of their mental handicaps — are indeed like children themselves, which is precisely why these degenerate activists so easily take advantage of them and prey on their senses. It makes perfect sense when you really think about it. The only thing that a Down Syndrome patient knows in this situation, literally, is that it’s fun to play dress-up and dance around. Yet, much like the aforementioned children, they are completely unaware that they’re being used to promote an agenda and simultaneously fulfill the sexual fetishes of grown adults. It was only a matter of time before trans-activists went after them. The whole thing is grotesque, morbid, sickening, heartbreaking, and utterly depraved.
Everything about this only serves to further promote the tolerance and acceptance of the sexual exploitation of children and intellectually-disabled individuals in our society. Those who push this mantra would never be willing to outright admit, “Yes, we want to exploit little kids and take advantage of mentally-handicapped patients for ideological and political gain, as well as to fulfill our own lewd desires and pornographic fetishes.” Alternatively, they’ll seek to lecture us on diversity and the beauty of inclusion and they’ll spend countless hours arguing that there’s nothing even remotely sexual, creepy, exploitive, or immoral about an auditorium full of adults watching a troupe of cognitively-impaired men parade around in dresses, makeup and high heels. This is what they’ve been insisting all along. “It’s all just harmless and normal,” we’ll be told.
And the second that we call them out on it, we’ll be labeled judgmental bigots and berated endlessly for daring to have a different opinion. On and on the cycle will continue, all while the children suffer and the handicapped are shamelessly manipulated and controlled by psychopathic monsters.
Thousands of followers and zero friends.
That’s the Millennial Generation in a nutshell these days, at least according to a new survey by YouGov, which found that about 30 percent of the 22 to 37-year-old demographic “always or often” feels lonely. This means that, in comparison to the Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials are now the loneliest and, ironically, most social media savvy generation in the country. In other words, we’re pros at making “friends” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, but when it comes to real life, well, not so much. The poll also evaluated responses from 1,254 adults ages 18 and older and found that 27 percent of Millennials have no close friends, 25 percent have no “acquaintances,” and 22 percent have no friends at all. Only about nine percent of the Boomers and 15 percent of Gen Xers reported having zero pals. As you can see from the numbers, we’re not exactly doing a bang-up job at the whole companionship thing.
Much can and has been said of Millennials over the last several years. I’ve personally written an array of columns about my generation’s tendency toward laziness, our affinity for choosing poor political candidates, and for making even poorer life decisions. (Skinny jeans and avocado toast not withstanding.) But rarely does anyone ever stop to ask what factors might be contributing to our problems. Rarely does anyone take the time to analyze why we do what we do. Our culture simply acts as if the modern day Millennial is some kind of mysterious extraterrestrial who crash landed in central California and emerged from a dented rocket ship sporting a man bun and clutching a participation trophy for his first successful spaceflight. Or maybe he’s more like the Rodents of Unusual Size in William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride,” lethargic, smelly, unkempt, yet always poised to viciously attack anyone who might dare enter his domain with a worldview that contradicts his own. Our society studies these bizarre creatures and airs documentaries on them, but only observes from a safe distance.
Of course, the truth is that Millennials are neither space aliens or giant swamp rats. They are human beings possessing the same spectrum of complex emotions as everyone else and are therefore subject to a whole variety of feelings and psychological tendencies. Among those is the capacity for loneliness.
But why do we feel this way? Who or what is to blame for our loneliness? While the culprits may differ in a few select and specific situations, I don’t think we can continue to blame technology and an addiction to social media platforms. That’s a massive oversimplification of an inherently complex problem. We honestly can’t even blame employment, environment, transportation, or finances. I’m an epileptic Millennial with a driving handicap, living at home, dependent upon my parents and friends for transportation, working part-time for my dad’s nonprofit organization and a local lifestyle magazine, while occasionally cutting grass on the side, and I still manage to find time for social interaction, dating, and the like. Enough with the excuses.
The real reason most Millennials “feel” lonely, and report a lack of friendship, is because they actively and intentionally choose to isolate themselves and avoid meaningful connections with other people. Something within their emotional and psychological makeup decides that they would rather get by in life without developing deeper relationships. Sure, they might spend eight to ten hours a day with their coworkers at Burger King or at the office, but when they clock out and go home to an empty apartment or to mom and dad’s house, they still feel overwhelmed by a sense of emptiness. Some of them might even go to church once or twice a week, but never take the time to form a substantial bond with another human being or have coffee with a few peers. They live lives of utter seclusion, totally cut off from the rest of the world, all while wondering why they feel so alone. This is not healthy.
Whether they’re glued to Facebook or textbooks is irrelevant, so let’s stop having the social media debate. We all know young people are typically active online and, more often than not, are glued to their smartphones or laptops. But even married Millennials often report feelings of loneliness due in large part to spending their days consumed by their jobs and only ever seeing their coworkers and spouses. These couples spend little time with family, friends, other couples, or a local church which, again, are all intentional choices. And at the end of the day, isolation is isolation.
I’m making sweeping statements here, but they’re accurate statements nonetheless. Many Millennials have fallen victim to a dangerous mindset that independency and the coveted solo-life are so desirable that, in doing so, they’ve completely ignored the truth that mankind was not meant to try to survive life alone. The numbers simply don’t lie. And I think it’s important to address this detrimental behavior and to issue a couple of reminders to my generation:
1) Don’t get ahead of yourself in life or become discouraged because you haven’t obtained certain social accomplishments like a career, an apartment, a house, a marriage, or whatever. Your peers and your Facebook friends might have those things, but it doesn’t mean that you need them yet.
2) If we’re ever going to break the cycle of Millennial loneliness, and negate all of these new statistics, it will mean getting out of your isolation bubble and making some friends beyond coworkers, classmates, or even your spouse.
These are basic fundamentals, guys. And I really don’t think it’s asking too much. Good luck and Godspeed.
In a rather unsurprising — but nonetheless grotesque and disgusting — announcement last weekend, the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers union in the country, openly declared its explicit support for “the fundamental right to abortion.” The whole thing happened during an assembly in Houston, where they reviewed and approved what was designated as Business Item 56, which states:
The NEA will honor the leadership of women, non-binary, and trans people, and other survivors who have come forward to publicly name their rapists and attackers in the growing, international #MeToo movement.
The document goes on to blame conservatives and President Trump for wanting to abolish women’s rights. Shocking, I know. Now, as psychotically insane and utterly evil as this whole thing actually is, it’s certainly not surprising. We’ve long since known that the NEA is a far leftwing organization and has been for decades. So, bashing the president and conservatives is sort of standard protocol for this group. What is disturbing, though, is just how large, powerful, and influential this institution has become and how comfortable it is with its explicitly declaring its beliefs. With over three million members spread throughout nearly every state in the nation, it’s almost a guarantee that at least one of these teachers, educators, or instructors is or will be in your child’s public school.
The question we must ask is this: If the NEA is willing to publicly and so audaciously declare its support for abortion — without the slightest bit of shame or remorse — what then would its most ardent supporters and loyal members be willing to say to innocent kids in the classroom behind closed doors? Let me be clear: I’m not arguing that every teacher out of the three million is a radical leftwing fanatic or an abortion zealot hellbent on indoctrinating children with progressive ideology. To paint the entire group with such a broad brush would be unfair. I don’t doubt that there are plenty of teachers with character and integrity who are members of the organization. Moreover, I don’t doubt that there are plenty of wonderful teachers in general. I personally had some great teachers during my years in private and public school. But, I am saying that it’s absolutely possible, and even likely, that there are indeed some teachers who would be, and are, more than comfortable with abortion indoctrination because their union is overwhelmingly outspoken about the subject and has now declared its support for it. And for those teachers who were already radical adherents to liberal ideology and the progressive tenets of education, this merely gives them an opportunity and a platform to bring issues like abortion into the classroom without fear of negative reprisals, consequences, or fallout.
As the son of a teacher — and as a student who was homeschooled, and endured both private and public school, as well as five years of state college — I know firsthand the vast amount of power that educators possess, not to mention the colossal influence that they wield over the children in their charge. Teachers are capable of molding and shaping the morals and value systems of their students. That’s not the sort of job that you want to leave to just anyone and it’s why homeschooling is probably one of the better education alternatives — because you as the parent have much more control over what your child is being taught. Even if you’re part of a co-op, you still have far more control over the subjects, the curriculums, and who your child interacts with on a regular basis than you would if he or she were in a private or public school.
It might sound like I’m rambling off talking points from The Great Homeschool Convention or something like that, but believe it or not, I speak from personal experience on this particular topic. You see, I was homeschooled up to the ninth grade and — although at the time I might have complained about being sheltered — I can now say in retrospect that those were truly some of the most fundamental and beneficially formative years of my life. My mother, armed not only with her natural instincts but also with a bachelors degree in elementary education, taught my brother, my sister, and I everything that we needed to know, while simultaneously raising us on basic biblical truths and moral principles. And even though my father was working full-time as an assistant pastor, he played a vital role in my education by teaching me early mathematics, Algebra, and other valuable life lessons.
Now obviously homeschooling isn’t a feasible option for everyone. There are single-parent situations where the mother or father has to work all day just to earn a living, and if there’s no co-op nearby or something of that nature, then public school typically becomes the only choice. Even in some double-parent scenarios, homeschooling still may not be an option if both incomes are required in order to support the family. That’s understandable and I am more than empathetic to those difficult circumstances.
However, I don’t think that we can simply ignore the reality that we’ve reached a place in our society where the public school system could be — and so often is — a potential threat to the psychological and spiritual safety of our children, particularly if they find themselves in a classroom where radical leftwing indoctrination will take place, no matter how subtle or subliminal it may be. The statements from the NEA are just the most recent example. There will be another in a few days. And then another. And another. At the end of the day, the question that every parent must face is “What am I going to do about it?” Of course, the answer will be different for everyone. No two situations are alike and every parent-child scenario is unique. But, I think that if more parents chose to, at the very least, consider homeschooling as an option — even if only for the first few years — we would see real change in this nation, and far less leftwing ideology in the public school realm. It's at least worth a try, isn't it?
In the wake of the first two nationally-televised Democratic presidential debates of 2019, it’s become absurdly obvious just how far from reality the progressive Left has drifted. This is great news for Trump who — despite what he might think about himself — remains one of the most historically unpopular presidents of all time thanks to the public’s previously cemented image of a narcissistic, corrupt, womanizing, immoral, immature, Twitter-obsessed, shady businessman. Correspondingly, over 55 percent of Americans now say they won’t vote to reelect him in 2020, including those who are in key swing states. This explains why Trump has largely abandoned voters in those areas and appears to be concentrating more on stirring up support among his adoring fans. To be fair, this is what he does best. The only problem with this approach is that some of those folks are leftover reluctant Trump voters and may indeed bail on him at the last minute in favor of a Democrat.
Nevertheless, the president could still win reelection so long as one thing remains in place: the ignorant detachedness of the Democratic candidates. If Wednesday evening’s debate was an indication of at least one thing, it’s just how incredibly out of touch this group is with America — how disconnected they are from reality and how divorced they are from any semblance of sanity. Here are just a few examples:
There may be no issue more polarizing and divisive, while simultaneously being the most critical and paramount of our time. And yet, for whatever reason, Democrats seem hellbent on taking ideological and political positions that are completely at odds with the vast majority of Americans’ wishes. Recent Gallup polls indicate that a stunning 77 percent of adults in the United States are opposed to third-trimester abortions, with 53 percent opposing first-trimester abortions in times when the mother “does not want the child.” For those of you who may be accustomed to Bernie Sanders-style math, that is indeed the majority in both instances.
But what did these bloodthirsty presidential enthusiasts do? They stood centerstage — literally — in front of the nation, and proudly announced their willingness to defend abortion-on-demand for every woman, at every stage of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever, at absolutely no charge. “Kill your baby for free anytime you want, no questions asked. Huzzah! We’ll even saddle the taxpayers with the financial burden!” Moreover, they even seemed to be opposed to laws which would require doctors to care for babies who manage to miraculously survive abortion procedures. It was a grotesque display of emotionless barbarism and an utter disregard for the value of human life. The psychotic insanity of it all was capped by off by former Obama Secretary of Urban Housing and Development Julian Castro, who decided that these abortion rights should also extend to biological men.
For a group that is obviously fine with the murder of unborn children, it was ironic to hear them use the term “health care” or to attempt to show any feigned compassion toward Americans suffering from various ailments and physical diseases. They claim that private insurance is a disaster, which, in some ways, is true. Premiums have skyrocketed and co-pays are laughable. But, the answer certainly isn’t a government-run system. One look back at the train wreck of Obamacare should prove how catastrophic that would be.
I speak from personal experience. As a single adult male with a neurological condition, my monthly premium went from $155/month to $344/month for the exact same plan that I had all along. Same benefits. Same coverage. Same everything. Furthermore, the co-pay costs for my medication refills doubled. The latest polls indicate almost 55 percent of Americans are in favor of sticking with private insurance and not allowing the government to tamper with the blasted system anymore than it already has been. And, to be frank, it’s not hard to see why.
I caught myself laughing out loud when Governor Jay Inslee (Washington State) stood among his cohorts and spewed some nonsense about how he would spend $3 trillion in an effort to create “clean energy jobs.” I thought it was a good joke until I realized he was actually being serious. I guess the joke is on Inslee for failing to realize that most Americans won’t be onboard with this level of extreme government spending, particularly when countless federal programs are already drowning in debt. Sure, they might support the notion of cleaner air and water and a better environment, but radical proposals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal are viewed as silly and impractical. Create jobs? Yes. Leave more national debt to our children and grandchildren? No.
There’s almost no need to address the Party’s views on immigration (most favor loose laws or open borders) or free speech (most want it restricted, particularly online) or religious freedom (most would force a Christian baker to make a cake for a gay couple against his wishes.) This is the Democratic Party of 2019 and beyond. This is a Party overrun by tyrannical curmudgeons and progressive maniacs who lean so far Left that they are nearly indistinguishable from the socialists of old. Is it really any wonder, then, that they have no idea what Americans want? How could they? They’ve abandoned our nation’s founding principles, values, and morals. And there is indeed nothing American about that in the least.