A key issue surrounding the CRY this time was that of abortion. It wasn't really what all of the event was about, but there was significant discussion and prayer about this issue.
A Little Bit About Me...
- I have many hats that I wear. I am a husband and father. I am pastor/teacher at my church. I am part of a team working on a large project at work. I am a friend. I am a budding visionary. I am a writer, an actor, and a director. I am an artist. I am a student of the Bible. I have a brain that comes up with some pretty crazy and interesting ideas, and I have a personality to match. I try to treat all people how I would like to be treated. I strive to be steadfast, immovable in my faith. I seek after the TRUTH, and I believe that it can be found, not just 'from my perspective', but for all people.
Monday, August 25, 2008
A key issue surrounding the CRY this time was that of abortion. It wasn't really what all of the event was about, but there was significant discussion and prayer about this issue.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I was involved with something on Saturday August 23rd, 2008. It was called the CRY. It was about young people of the Christian faith getting together to pray and cry out for Canada. Some may read some of what I write about over the next few entries, but these will be some of my reflections of what I saw and experienced.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
People in our culture worship sex. Sex has become God, and it seems that the more secular the culture gets, and the farther away from relationship with God the society gets, the more it puts sex in God’s place. The more people put faith in a Godless creation and strengthen evolution’s hold, the less value there seems to be on life. It is a slippery slope. If people believe there is no God, then things that just a few years ago were respected, are just walked over and trampled under foot. Things that used to be considered sacred no longer muster the respect that past generations gave them. If there is no God, and nothing is above the human race, then why bother? People then are free to pursue pleasure for pleasure’s sake.
Sex seems to be the pleasure of choice for most that live in this world view. All things revolve around the lead up to the next time (or the first time) and there seem to be few rules. Practice safe sex. What does that really mean? If you live in the worldview where sex is a toy it means that you wear a condom to be safe. If you live in the Godly worldview then safe sex means waiting until you are married and staying faithful to one person (of the opposite sex) until death do you part.
Look at all the things around, and how much money is made or spent around the sex act. TV commercials thrive on the slogan “sex sells” and it really does sell. People see no problem with indulging in lust as they view a person half naked for a shower soap commercial. Gum commercials seem to focus on having fresh breath only so you can “make out”. Is that the only time people should have fresh breath? What about when in a car beside someone driving? What about after eating onions? What about when you are praying with someone? There is nothing like praying with someone that seems to edge on the whole Hallelujah Halitosis.
Some of these body spray/deodourant commercials should be sued for false advertising. Most people wear deodourant. Of all of those people, how many people have had some perfect stranger go running at them in pursuit of “sex now” when they walk in the room? How many of them have had some random person start dancing inappropriately in the grocery store to get their attention? Come on!
Now there is an ice cream company on the radio that does a whole monologue where they insert the product name in where they imply you should replace it with the word ‘sex’. How desperate are they to sell their ice cream? Can ice cream really be that powerful?
New technology is almost always used as a part of the worship in the lust for sex. I think at one point I had heard that the Internet was 80% pornography. I know that number has gone down since then because other companies and businesses have gotten online, but still it is tough to navigate the web without running into an ad for a screensaver with a woman in a swimsuit, or a link to a dating service marketed on it’s ability to find people one night stands. You can’t really predict it. As a man striving to do things God’s way shutting down a window becomes an art form in speed. I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a woman…. I think I read that somewhere before (Job 31:1)
Let’s not even get into the really trashy stuff that is on the net. Suffice it to say that the junk is out there. People can’t get enough of it. Young women ruin their lives for a bit of money… How sad! Some think that it is a good way to pay for college, and end up selling themselves like prostitutes. They think they are safe because the man is on the other end of the webcam watching in carnality. Safe sex? Or virtual prostitute? Too bad virtue was not on either of the minds of the people involved. Magazines, sex toys, movies… The list just keeps going on. For those that have seen, and have come to salvation, they wish they could burn the images out of their mind.
There are so many other things people do to chase after the ultimate sexual experience. Certain foods are supposed to enhance their performance. Pills, which seem to be advertised daily in junk e-mail make the process last longer some say. The right alcohol mix in some gets the process started.
TV shows broadcast it like people can have sex with anyone, and there are few consequences. Don’t even get me going on the topic of soap operas. One musician put it, when describing soaps, “Every immorality known to man, done by everybody, to each other, every day, all within and hour… Hey what a deal!” He was being sarcastic of course, and was in no way endorsing soaps. Sometimes the shift in morality is subtle. Shows that begin as wholesome slowly over their 7-year-run get darker and to keep ratings up, add sensuality. Sometimes it is overt, and sudden. Dive for the remote! (Those of you that choose not to worship the god of sex)
Forty years ago there was a shift in the culture. In 1967 there was a shift towards free “love” (more in the line of lust and sex outside of God’s plan), and towards sexuality that was open, flagrant, without limits. The Bible, in the 10 Commandments says that we, as people, are not to have any gods, before God (Yahweh, the God of the Bible), and that we are not to make idols to worship. Most people when they think of the idea of an idol, they think of something out of an Indiana Jones movie, a little gold statue, or a Buddha with his big belly to rub for luck, but really what is an Idol? It is something set up to worship, that takes the place of the real God.
As people moved from the idea of worship of God, and from a close relationship with Him, other things fell into that place of worship. In 1962, kids prayed every morning in the classrooms of the United States. “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and beg for thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.” They prayed that every day. In Canada, I can remember back in grade 3 and 4 (in the early 1980’s) praying the Lord’s Prayer every morning in my classrooms. I can remember receiving a New Testament in my Public school classroom in grade 5. (From what I understand, they still receive the New Testament in the Catholic school board, but they are not allowed to read it in class, and in the public school board, young people have to have their parents sign that they want the New Testament, or they don’t get it.) If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny… “Dear parent, we request that you respond to this letter. A group of people will be distributing a piece of religiously specific literature in the classroom next week. Do you consent to your child receiving this book? We cannot name the item as it does not comply with the school’s code of tolerance. Suffice it to say that it is not Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist….” The reply goes , “Dear school, I do consent to my child receiving this book if nothing else but to figure out what the heck you are talking about.”
Slowly, but surely there does seem to be a push to remove the traces of the Christian roots of Canada. There is a strong Christian root in this… in our culture, and there are pieces of evidence for it all over the place. History books are filled with people motivated by their faith, that set the moral standards of our culture in government, in business, in education, and in the arts/media.
But now there is a strong push for all things Christian to be removed. We live under things called tolerance and political correctness. All religions are acceptable EXCEPT Christianity. All things religious have been pushed and manipulated into “That’s just your philosophical view”, or “No one can ever know if they are 100% right, so my view is just as valid as your view.”, or “That may work, for you, but this works for me. I have a god I am ok with. You worship your god, I’ll worship mine.” Listening to Josh McDowell recently, he spoke about the process that a pilot goes through before take off in their plane. Can they ever be 100% sure that the plane will not crash? Obviously, no. But does that mean that they won’t check out the plane before they take off? Definitely, NO! When it comes to one faith versus another, would you check out the facts and the evidence to see if what you are going to believe in is true? Or do you have it backwards, and say that something is true because you believe it?
Listening recently to a preacher named, Stuart McAllister as he was addressing this idea that far too many people have about the truth not being attainable. His attitude was that finding the truth is hard work. Just because something is hard, it doesn’t mean that it should not be done. So what has been the result of the sexual revolution? What is the result of the worship of sex in this culture? We do have to face the truth. Of the people that read this, and try to live a life as God would have them live it, how many have been exposed to the following terms? Tantric sex, safe sex, casual sex, sex toys, cyber sex, softcore porn, hardcore porn, internet porn, adultery, infidelity, rape, date rape, spin the bottle, seven minutes in heaven, sympathy sex, one night stand, cheating, emotional adultery, flirting, kiss on the first date?, sleep together on the first date?, blind date, lust, abortion, AIDS, sexually transmitted disease, French kiss….. I could go on and on with this list, but I will stop there just so that nothing gets too vulgar. Even those that have lived a life waiting until marriage will encounter many of these terms without trying.
Since there is a push to remove genuine relationship with God, and to experience His reality, the shift has now moved to the worship of sexuality, and in many cases with little or no thought about the consequences of the participants. If people do not have a framework of right and wrong, then they tend to move towards depravity. They indulge in lust and selfishness. When all they see and watch focuses them on having sex, getting sex, finding someone to have sex with. What good reason do they have to abstain if there is no God?
I wholeheartedly believe that the evidence of life points towards a God, and the history and archeology seem to point to the God of the Bible. On the other hand, Sex is what most people believe is the ultimate in human experience. Diving into sex with no understanding of the depth of intimacy it is designed by God to have, and not knowing the rules He set up for our safety has lead many people to great hurt and disillusionment.
Who would have thought that I would be hearing about the idea of “Making Out” being applied to someone in grade one, or to a girl of the age of 12 getting pregnant? The shift that has been moving slowly for decades is hitting our culture hard. Let’s go through some of the history of it….
In the late 60’s there was a big shift in culture. The sexual revolution began. It was all about free love, and empowerment of woman to be able to be sexual and overt like men were. The thought seems to have been to bring people closer together by being free with sexuality. It abandoned the ideas of their traditional parents who still believed that right and wrong were unchanging. The young people moved towards the attitude that said, “away with right and wrong, just ‘love’ everyone”! But what was love to them?
The 70’s had the repercussions of the 60’s. People still saw marriage as the right way to go, but there was some allowance for sex with people that you loved. Watching some 70’s TV in reruns and understanding more now than I would have back then, I see this attitude of guilt in it. People were having sex outside of marriage, but there was also this attitude that they had to hide that they were doing it. They knew it was wrong, but did it anyways. The idea of homosexuality seems to have crept into TV in this decade too. Absolute truth seems to be only held by Old People, and young people on TV agree with their elders to their face and then behind their back do whatever they want.
The 80’s are huge with terms like ‘common-law marriage’, and ‘casual sex’, and you start hearing about young people wanting to lose their virginity. It seems to be a prize to be held to the girl, and a prize to be lost to the young men. Divorce rates edge higher. You see the big push for the woman in the workplace, and children letting themselves in, and being alone until mom and dad get home from work. Relationship in the family moves towards a weaker spot. Women could do anything they wanted except the one thing they really wanted to do, raise a family, and in the 80’s the idea of STD’s got the spotlight. Now there was this super disease that no one knew what to do with called AIDS. Safe sex is the response, not increase in morality… Big mistake.
In the 90’s the Internet really took off. As I was saying above when a new technology comes out, it seems that the sale of sex follows it, and the Net sprouted many new sites to quietly, and with anonymity, hook men (Mostly men, but some women) to pornography. It used to be that people wanting pornography had to go to the corner store and hope for a brown bag to cover up their magazine, or they had to go to the shop on the corner with the frosted window to hope no one saw their dirty little secret. Now they could sit down at their computer, and with a bit of credit card information they could view the images when it was convenient, and they were alone to indulge in the sin of lust.
Internet chatting has become incredibly popular in this time as well, and along with it comes the idea of people chatting either to line up anonymous sex, or for play. The number of marriages I have heard of that have taken a hit from one partner getting hooked into an emotional affair, or people developing a physical affair through chat rooms, is sickening. Marriages have been destroyed because of it.
The 90’s also brought out much in the way of subjective truth (This concept has been around for a long time, but really got a push in the culture in the 90’s… oh, and wait to see the push in the new millennium.) Basically people seem to think that something is true if you believe it, rather than (the more logical) I want to believe something because it is true. Of course that opens up the idea that people can be as sexual as they want, with whomever they want, if they are one that believes that their own personal view is more important than what is true. Either God spells out Truth, or man determines truth. Most people want to set up their own set of rules.
When we hit the year 2000, as it was presented in my grade school years, everything became perfect….. Ok, so that thought from the 80’s didn’t come true… The new century brought with it more watering down of right and wrong. Homosexuality seems to have come to the forefront. If you believed the marketing, everyone is gay. In reality that community is a small percentage of the population. Kids in my day grew up and assumed that they would marry someone of the opposite sex, where now people present the idea of experimenting to see what you like. I don’t think I have seen women more exploited than in this current decade. Since there is no moral compass to the majority of people, sex is seen as a toy, or a bargaining chip, or a power play to control people. It is really gross when you hear about what some people are willing to attempt sexually for the purpose of a dollar. There is such loneliness in young people, and they congregate in places where they are accepted.
It is also quite gross what people are willing to do for what they perceive to be love. Sex is not love. Love is selfless, and not about what you get out of it, but what you give. The idea that love is selfless has been tossed out by many and more hurt has happened because of this all being backwards. Do you think that if a person is suddenly incapable of the sexual act, that it means you can leave them? Love would stick by them while lust would try to find “a new best friend”. Young women growing up in single parents homes, with little interaction from a father, and with no positive role models of manhood, seem to tend towards throwing themselves at guys to get the affection that they crave.
Movies are the church of the modern world (an idea put out by George Lucas), but what is the stuff that gets produced and screened? It is the stuff that indulges in what the Bible would call wickedness. It is, however, fiction. This world of fiction is intense in stirring up the emotions of people. Sexuality is practiced with little to no consequences, and is portrayed in a way that suggests that you MUST have sex to live. Can you look at a person and be able to tell if they are, or are not having sex? NO! Can you look at a person and tell if they are or are not eating? Or breathing? YES! Over long periods of time people that do not eat, tend to lose weight. Think of pictures you have seen of young women that have anorexia. You can tell. They have not been eating. And why do they have this disorder? From trying to look skinnier, so they can attract people to be able to have a boyfriend. (among many other reasons. I know, there is more to it in many cases)
There is also a push to do things based on what feels good. I hope some people will sit and think about the dangerous nature of doing things based on feelings. Take a simple example… some days people wake up in the morning, and want a bowl of cereal. But yet another morning, people wake up and say, I don’t feel like cereal today, I feel like a chocolate bar. What would happen if they always felt like a chocolate bar? How healthy would they be? Now what about a person that has been ridiculed at school many days in a row? What if they wake up one morning and say, “I feel like killing those people that made fun of me.” How proper is that? (Or as recently a man stabbed another man over 40 times in a bus in Manitoba and then cut off his head. What was he feeling?)
To all of you people that would argue that people all are entitled to their own set of moral standards, and that people have to do things that are right for them, then you have a logical issue that needs to be overcome. If you agree that each person’s view is as valuable as the next person, then you must conclude that when you hear about school shootings, that those young men are heroes! They were following their own code of right and wrong. Obviously, people are not willing to agree with that, so there must be some standard of right and wrong. I guess the problem comes in when it is our personal desire that is the thing that the standard says is immoral. I’ll go back to this soon.
In this time, there seems to be a push on young people aged 9 – 12. It is like marketers know that if they can hook them onto their product now, they will have them for the rest of their lives. From a Christian perspective for a moment, this is also the age where young people are able to most strongly root their faith in Jesus Christ. To those preaching the Gospel, this is an important time in the spiritual development of a young person. It is like how a child, in the first 6 years of their life is developing who they are going to be, so also is a young person in this age for the things of God. (Not to say that people can’t get saved after this age)
There is something called “Age Compression Marketing”. Basically, the stuff that before was aimed at people in their early teens, is now aimed at kids between 9 and 12. Much of what is being sold to them is overtly sexual, but in many cases the young people do not realize what is being sold to them, or the implications that go with the things they are buying. Some of the slogans that you see on the T-Shirts of young girls are things that make me wonder about the parenting skills of these moms and dads that would allow their girl outside with something so suggestive. Really, most of these young women don’t realize the message they are sending out to the people around them. There seems to be a dulling of the importance of sexual purity. Some people don’t even know what that means anymore. When you have the “teen” magazines telling girls that they should not have sex with someone until they are sure that they love them, and you have boys finding their way onto free porn websites getting “turned on” without the effort of love, or the security of a committed, married relationship, this is not a good situation. Sex has become like a toy. Most young people don’t know why they want sex, or even if they want it, but (especially from the perspective of young girls) they do want the attention.
What kind of example has the adult world set for kids? Divorce rates are through the roof, both inside the church and outside the church. Sexual immorality is rampant in the church, and commitment to relationships are sketchy at best. When pop culture keeps emphasizing “just do what feels good” no wonder people violate their marriages. Sex feels good, but it was designed by God for the strengthening of marriage and the building of a family. It is not something that should be shared between all people. Imagine a world where marriages lasted for life, people stayed faithful to their spouse, and husbands guarded their eyes from things that would cause them to lust. I am considered to be the odd ball because I have never been to a strip club, and because I respect my wife by not checking out the “sunshine girl”.
The very act of sex has been reduced to an animal instinct. People use that as an excuse all the time. If you believe that you evolved from animals, then of course the leap to instinct is not far. If you believe that God created you, then knowing that he has established boundaries for sex is a good thing. These conflicting worldviews are always at war. With all of the hurt, and disease, and broken homes and hurt wives from husbands with pornography addictions, and kids learning sexuality in a way that puts them at risk, does it not make sense that something is wrong? Can’t people see it? Rather than dealing with the issue of faithfulness in marriage, people just find ways around the boundaries God set. This is not just a guy issue either. Women struggle with this too.
Even consider the idea of abortion. People have sex outside of the standard God set, and when they get pregnant, they kill the child of their union. Sometimes it is to hide an infidelity, or out of convenience, and sometimes it is just due to a lack of moral fibre. Why should that child be killed for the purpose of convenience? Why should it’s potential be snuffed out. I hear some liberal thinkers argue that there are a whole bunch of unwanted children out there, and that rather than having unwanted children living in the foster system, we should abort them in pregnancy. Somehow I think they misdiagnosed the problem. If people only had sex in marriage, would there be so many people scrambling to hide their sin?
And let’s put all the pro-choice people to the test. This is a little off topic, but I think it bears a look. Recently I was reading an opinion piece written by a doctor suggesting that mothers that know that they are having conjoined twins should be required to abort them. He actually suggested that the government should be given the authority to make the decision that a baby should have to die. This is the opposite side of the coin, and the implications are huge. Now rather than having a mother choose to kill her child, and call it abortion, the government could remove her right to choose and kill it for her. This is not the current law, but was what this doctor was suggesting. How far should it go? Should it just be conjoined twins that this force is there for? What about a Downes Syndrome child? Should they be allowed to live? What about a blind child? To quote an old Carman song, when he was talking about abortion, “It’s selective breeding. We eliminate human life in the name of convenience, like the Nazi’s and the Jews and with the government’s approval.” Why should someone be able to decide the life or death of an innocent child? Just because life may be hard, it does not give people the right to kill. Each life is planned and created by God.
Bottom line, people need to stop worshipping sex, and refocus on the God that gave them life. They need to acknowledge that he is the one that gave people the gift of sex, and he set up boundaries to keep his children safe. Just because something can be done, does not necessarily mean that it should be done. Get you life right. Worship God. The consequences of the worship of sex go beyond the life here. If you live in your sins, you will be judged based on God’s standards.
(After I posted this the first time, someone sent me this to add)
Check out this quote from Peter Kreeft, Catholic theologian and philosopher:
"Where can the world find infinite passion without God? The obvious alternative is sex. Sexual passion is modernity's substitute for religious passion. Saint Thomas expalins that "man cannot live without joy. That is why one deprived of spiritual joys goes over to carnal pleasures" (ST II-II, 35, 4ad2).
We Christians are accused of being 'rigid' in our mind (our doctrines and principles) by those who seek this property only in a lower organ. There are ten commandments, not just one, but the modern mind has only one infininte passion and projects its passion onto the Church, accusing us of being fixated on sex. It's like a teenager on drugs complaining to his parents, who gently disapprove once in a blue moon, 'You're always harping on that!'
Any addiction blinds the mind, including the addiction to sex. Paul Johnson, in his book 'Intellectuals', and E. Michael Jones, in 'Degenerate Moderns' have documented how most modern ideology came from sexual deviants and their deviance."