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Why The German Response To Home Schooling Confuses Me

            I have some trouble understanding just what troubles German juvenile officials so much when it comes to the issue of parents taking an active, daily role in the education of their children.  They are fighting too hard for it to merely be something that they are uncomfortable allowing to happen.

            If they merely were uncomfortable it would not make sense to insist that parents do not have the right to control the education of their children to the point of moving from a position of discrimination to a position of persecution against these parents and their children.

            I do not use the word persecution lightly and I know that there are many who will take exception to its use here.  When parents face heavy fines it is discrimination in my book.  When parents are in court defending their right to control the education of their children it is discrimination to me.

            When, however, parents are serving short sentences in the local jails without the benefit of a hearing and without legal appeal it becomes persecution in my book.  When those same parents have their children taken into state custody just because they are home schooling their children it goes from discrimination to persecution.

            That is what is happening in Germany.

            The Germans gave us the Reformation.  They have long been on the forefront of cultural changes in a positive way.  There are many things we must be grateful to the Germans for, including their incredible engineering skills and their scientific work that lead to some of the greatest breakthroughs in technology and medicine that we have ever seen.

            Something has happened though.  I have a couple of photos that sum up the confusion I am experiencing much better than words ever could.

            The first photo is one I personally took during the 2009 Octoberfest in Munich, Germany.  I was there just a few days after I had experienced a moving meal with the Schimidt family in nearby Otting, Germany.  Just before we ate they offered a family prayer to bless the food and our time.

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

Schmidt family praying before lunch

            The confusion comes from the fact that one of these activities is highly acceptable in modern Germany.  The other has begun to lead to many problems for families in Germany—particularly those families who are trying to control the education of their children.

            Maybe the problem is that God is okay as long as we do not take Him too seriously.  That is a problem in American as well as Germany.

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Our Evolutionary President

As I watched the State of the Union address I was struck by only one thing.  Well, actually, I was struck by a whole bunch of things, most of them bouncing back off the television after I threw them, but there was one theme that seemed to run through everything that was said.

I cannot believe how much the logic of the arguments for evolution has become a part of the mainstream thought process.  Stick with me here.  Evolutionary logic goes like this:

            “The rocks are four billion years old.”

            “How do you know their age?”

            “Well, there are dinosaur bones in the rocks and we know those bones are four billion years old—so the rocks have to be four billion years old.”

            “How do we know the age of the bones?”

            “The archeologists have told us how old they are.”

            Then we talk to the archeologists:

            “The bones of the dinosaurs are four billion years old.”

            “How do we know their age?”

            “Well, the bones are in the rocks and the rocks are four billion years old—so the bones have to be four billion years old.”

            “How do we know the age of the rocks?”

            “The geologists have told us how old they are.”

That is the circular logic that is used to prove at least part of the argument for evolution.  Remember, we have to believe in evolution if we are going to lay the proper foundation for the death of God, or His nonexistence.

By now you are wondering what this has to do with the State of the Union.  It is simple.  Obama used the same thought processes in his speech.

            “Everything I say is true.”

            “Do you have anything to back up your statements?”

            “I do not have to back them up, they are true.”

            “How do we know they are true?”

            “They are true because I said them and I tell the truth.”

            “How do we know these things are the truth?”

            “Because I said them, are you not listening?”

And thus, here we are with a scattering of information from a variety of topics that beg for us to ignore logic and simply believe.

The trouble is that evolutionary thinking is based on the fact that there is no God and if there is no God we are supposed to live by logic not faith.

Now we have an evolutionary thinker asking us to defy logic and live by faith.

That is twisted!

I Agree With Glen Beck, Or Che Sucks

            Che sucks.  There I have said it.  I know there are many who think he looks really cool on a tee-shirt or a poster.  After all, it makes you look like you are open to cool new ideas.  Before I wrote this I watched the two part movie on Che.  He certainly looked like a really nice guy in that one.  He just wanted to educate everyone and help everyone get medicine.  Though the movie did show Che with a gun, I do not remember him killing anyone.  Clearly he was all about nonviolent overthrow of government.

            No, wait, he was all for killing to achieve your ends and evidently, like that bastion of freedom Fidel Castro, he believed in killing to keep your power once you had achieved your ends.  And look what they did—together they built that island paradise, Cuba.  Wait, no, since the fall of the Soviets there is no one rushing to Cuba to enjoy the freedom of the new world.

            It is time we demanded results before we give our worship.  Look at the life of these petty dictators and let them speak for themselves.  And remember the words of our first black Secretary of State, Colin Powell—America fought in World War II and all the land we ask for was enough to bury our dead.  That is the testimony of freedom that our founding fathers envisioned when they risked everything to give us the great American experiment.

            Back to Che, like Fidel he was a murderous man consumed with himself.  Of course, in this time when America is stepping back in time to pre-revolutionary times, like before we fought to avoid answering to a king, Che looks like a hero to many.  Why is it that only rich Hollywood types want us to copy dictators in the running of the country?

            Have we elected a king instead of a President?  School children are compelled to sing songs praising the president—I do not remember that being a part of the America I grew up in, of course that was a long time ago, maybe I am just old and outdated.  We are a long way from the reign of the last golden boy of the left who was at least decent enough to tell us to ask not what our country could do for us, but to ask what we could do for our country.  Now, we just need to figure out how to serve the king—long live the king!  It just rings from the lips of every American, doesn’t it.

            Let us remember, many have given everything that we should be free.  Shouldn’t we at least give a little to remain free—rather than rolling over without a fight.  Long live freedom, the king has three more years and then he can travel the world acting like a rock star.

A Church Defined By What It Is or Getting Away From Check List Christianity

            I am tired of hearing Christians define themselves by what they are not or by what they are against.  It has always interested me to see how quickly people are willing to start conversations with the negative points.  I believe it is a mistake to allow ones’ self to be defined by negative moments or negative beliefs.

            Jesus did not spend a lot of time dealing with the things God hates.  He was constantly confronted with people who were sinners and yet, except when He was dealing with the religious leaders who were corrupting the Temple, Jesus always showed mercy to those separated from God.  We never see Jesus on the corner preaching the good news that God is angry with you and you are therefore going to hell.

            Do not get me wrong—I certainly believe in heaven AND hell.  I certainly believe that only those who believe in Jesus are going to be admitted into heaven.  Paul talked about becoming all things to all men.  He was looking at what he knew of the life of Jesus.  Jesus met those who were trapped in their sins by setting them free.  He did not need to spend time telling them what they had done wrong—they certainly knew what their sin was.

            We have been tricked into believing that sinners no longer know they are sinners.  Part of the reason for this is that modern man is so big at flaunting their sin and acting as if God is dead.  What we fail to realize is that man has always been that way.

            God convicts man of his sin.  He speaks in the heart of all men.  We have to remember that God has placed eternity in every man’s heart.  We do not need to convince man of the hole, we have to convince man that only God will fill it.

            We have spent our time being against abortion.  I am not against abortion, we are for life.  We are against homosexuality.  I am not against homosexuality, I am for heterosexual relationships.  We are against Islam.  I am not against Islam, I am for Jesus.  I am not against sickness, I am for health.

            Jesus is not anti-darkness—He is light!  Jesus is not anti-wickedness, he is righteousness!

            I think the reason Jesus never spoke on the issue of homosexuality is that He knew that if men would come into right relationship with God they would not behave in improper ways.  In the presence of God sin flees, not because someone is screaming against sin, but because sin does not exist in the same space as God.

            I think our approach to sin and dwelling on what we are not is the main reason we have a check list Christian culture.  We do not drink, unless we are in Europe where it is acceptable.  We have to wear the right clothes. We have to read the right version.  We have to attend the right services.

            In other words, check list Christianity does not worry so much about what we are as it does about what we look like.  I have known pastors who were adamant that they believed drinking was a sin—at least until we arrived in France and everybody, including the Christians was drinking.

            I am not arguing the finer points of Baptist theology here.  There are many reasons not to drink—but I daresay that no one at the wedding in Canaan was arguing about those finer points.

Preparing For The New Year

This has been a very tough year for the IHRG and me.  We have fought hard in the battles we had, but it has been a struggle to keep everything going forward.  The economic crisis has meant that we have to do more on less.  It meant that we had to move some activities to next year that we wanted to do this year.

I am not discouraged however.  Already we have ended the year strong.  We have a couple of cases that are being developed, one in Norway and one in Germany.  We are working on a case in Greece that is still not ready for public discussion.  We are working to protect the rights of missionaries at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia and at the World Cup Soccer Tournament in South Africa. 

I also have the opportunity to go to Lebanon and Syria to meet with key Christian leaders there.  Please start praying now for the team as we prepare for this trip.  There are many issues facing believers in the Middle East and we want to be able to protect them as much as possible.

We are also preparing to meet with two groups of church planters in Europe in January.  We want to meet these men and women, let them know that the IHRG is there to help them if they have issues regarding their religious freedom and the right to set up and operate in Eastern and Western Europe.  This is what we do.

This is just what is before me sitting here at Christmas.  It does not include what will happen as we move into the new year and other issues unfold.  We must continue to be there.

In addition to everything listed above, we are planning to host a conference in Germany for lawyers and other Christian leaders to develop a strategic plan for moving forward protecting religious freedom in Europe. 

We are also continuing to move forward with planning for developing a jail chaplains program for the Czech Republic.

All in all you can see that the IHRG has a very ambitious agenda for the coming year.  We hope that you will be a part of our support team.  You can pray and you can help support our work through tax deductible donations made at www.ihrg.org/Donate.html.  You can also join our mailing list by requesting to be added.  Send me an email at jt1217@aol.com.

Suddenly, I Don’t Feel So Hot!

            Is anyone besides me glad to finally be getting some manner of the truth from the Global Warming Nuts?  It has been colder at my house.  Maybe we need to drive our cars more to heat up the climate so that we don’t have to wear our coats everywhere.

            I have to admit, it is tough giving up the dream of having my Georgia home become beach front property.  I guess we will still have to drive to Hilton Head, South Carolina for our traditional summer beach fun.  Now I have to live with my property values not getting spike.  Of course, this also means that I do not have to worry about hurricanes hitting the house some four hundred miles inland—so I guess it is a fair trade off.

            The trouble with the revelations of this week is that we are learning that the new religion, science is not as trustworthy as we have been lead to believe.  Remember when we were told that these folks did not have an agenda, except to find the truth and make life better for us all.

            In light of this past week’s revelations we have to ask ourselves what else we should not believe.  Maybe we should question the theory of evolution—like global warming, evolution has long been shut off from scientific debate.

            The most important thing we should to learn from this is that no one can separate their own beliefs from their science.  Also, we have learned that you can prove anything if you are willing to ignore critical facts and twist the data to your own ends.

            So, Al Gore, we apologize for judging your lifestyle in light of your ridiculous predictions for the future of our planet.  It turns out you knew more than we did and therefore there was no need to change you energy gorging lifestyle to match the one you demanded of us—the lesser folks.

            Here it is, on the Internet you invented:  Sorry Al, we will no longer judge your lifestyle—we now know that you were nuts all along and my mother always taught me to be nice to handicapped people.

Separating Culture and Church

            We live in a culture that sees a benefit in the individual over the group—at least it has been true until recently.  We seem to be going through a cultural shift that wants us to give up our individual approach to life and live for the group.

            We are also a nation that seems to believe that the Age of Enlightenment was a Christian movement.  The Declaration of Independence, that great American founding document, reeks of Enlightenment, yet it is most often used as proof of our Christian founding. 

            Therein lays the problem I see us facing today.  No where does the Bible declare that we have a right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The calling of the Christian is to “lay down your life and follow me.”  One down.  Early Christians found themselves in prison, often with a death sentence over them.  Two down.

            As to the pursuit of happiness, that has never been considered a Christian principle—at least not before we got to this modern me first Christian generation.

            Not willing to stop here, I must look deeper into this “Christian” document.  The declaration does talk about ideas such as endowed by our Creator, giving the illusion of a Christian foundation.  Unfortunately, it later clears up the misunderstanding by naming that Creator as “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God.”  This sounds a lot like something more mystical than the God of the Christian Church.

            While we are busy tipping over sacred cows, let’s look at the concept that America has a special place in God’s heart and is inherently good.  This, to me, is the core of what is wrong with the American church.  We are looking to convert the lost to an American understanding of everything, including God.  Yet, God exists outside of time and space.  He is not a citizen of any one country.  He did not design the world on a model of America—in fact, America is late to the game, both our language and our culture.

            It is always a mistake to take our culture and try to fit the Gospel into it.  Our job is to take the Gospel and fit our culture into it.  Anything that does not fit must be discarded as not part of the true Gospel.

            We are not God’s special children, except that all men and women are created in the image of God and that makes us all special.  We are not immune from the problems of the world system—the last year has shown that to be true.  We are in need of God’s grace and love, before and after our conversion to Christianity.

            The only way we will become what we were created and called to be is to move away from the American approach to life and begin to live a truly Jesus centered approach to life.  I am not claiming to be there, I am merely looking at what seems to be obvious to me.  We are not living in a way that Jesus would be approve when we are living for ourselves without a thought to the world around us.

            We are also not living like Jesus would have when we are more loyal to our country than to our God.


Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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