Social

#FirstWorldProblems

I’m always amazed at the depth of thought and wisdom represented by the people in our congregation. What blesses me the most is that their “heads are in the game,” in that they really do seek to bring a Christian mindset to today’s issues.

While not a hobby horse, this is a deep passion I have: to teach people to think biblically. During the recent demonstrations on many college campuses we heard many new phrases and slogans being thrown around such as “safe spaces” and “micro-aggressions.” It made me think of the state of education today, especially at the university level.

In addition to being a committed wife and mother with a searching mind, Jessica Greer is also a fairly recent college graduate herself. I asked Jessica to write a guest piece for “Keeping Your Head in the Game.”

I thank her for her labor and insight, and I know many of my readers will thank her as well.

- Pastor Warner


#FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS

By Jessica Greer

Engagement phots, proposition re enacted

On September 12, 2015 the student government president of Missouri State University, Payton Head, complained in a Facebook post of an off-campus incident in which he was the victim of racism and anti-gay bigotry. Two unidentified people in a pickup truck shouted slurs at him as they drove by.

From this post grew a pseudo-revolution that engulfed and inspired several college students throughout the country to wage war against the establishment. The Mizzou students set the tone by demanding that president Tim Wolfe of Missouri State University resign as a result of his inadequacy to secure “safe spaces” for black students by addressing the racial issues being protested; as well as apologize in a handwritten note for his “white privilege.”

Wolfe pandered to these so-called radicals. Like all parents that accommodate and reward irrationally destructive spoiled children, he could not win their approval. Wolfe eventually resigned on November 9, 2015.

The chain reaction that followed was not merely based on race, but even more on revising the history or heritage of the country. College students from Yale University, Amherst College, Claremont McKenna, and others united to destroy the foundations of the quest for scholarly credibility, truth, knowledge, and critical thinking, only to replace these with a revised “diversity curriculum” that has nothing to do with enlightenment but everything to do with narcissistic nihilism.

Their entitled demands read as a litany of absurdity. “President Martin must issue a statement of apology to students, alumni, and former students, faculty, administration, and staff who have been victims of several injustices including but not limited to our institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latin racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma, and classism. Also include that marginalized communities and their allies should feel safe at Amherst College.”

Students began complaining, that while they may have never actually experienced overt sexism, racism, xenophobia, and all these other offensive -isms and phobias, they had still been exposed to and even persecuted by what they labeled “micro-aggressions.”

Micro-aggressions are described as “small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.” So these would include, for example: a joke, a debate, a history lesson, a conversation, the news, facts, basically anything that you hear that you do not like.

A whole movement inspired by the alleged victimhood of those exposed to micro-aggressions swept our first world education system like swine flu, with paranoia and sensationalism being galvanized by the media.

The momentum slowed when these same students for equality and unity threw their final public tantrum after being pushed out of the limelight by the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015. They then claimed that the media attention shifting to 130 fatality victims was intentionally “erasing” their “struggles,” thus equating micro-aggression to terrorism.

If that is not the ultimate reflection of egocentric relativism, I’m not sure what is.

For almost sixty years the liberal universities have been peddling the same doctrine: all ideas are equal; the highest value in academia is no longer truth, but tolerance; the individual has been replaced by the collective, and the most dangerous enemies are not the radicals blowing up markets every five days, but rather those that reject ideas and lifestyles that are detrimental to the whole.

Pedagogues have dedicated themselves to demanding students open their minds up to intellectual discourse by first becoming a clean slate of nothingness: no morality, no religion, no right, no wrong. From their bully pulpits they have perpetuated the three sacred campus ideologies: Radicalism, Rape, and Revolution.

If you are, in fact, an educated intellectual and an open mind, says the collective, then it must follow that you will be a radical, casting off all restraints that keep you STD free, drug free, and moral. If you are a minority of any kind, then it must follow that you have been raped, either by colonialism or a fraternity of white boys.

Finally, you are expected to join the revolution which seeks to destroy the foundations of our first world luxuries in the name of progress, annihilating the very documents that give you the right to hold such protests and defy such ideas.

What should we expect? Our first world education has massacred male curiosity, surgically removing it from grade school onward by drugging up boys who would much rather play outside than dress transgender dolls. The result is a bunch of 20-year-old men who accuse universities of micro-aggressions in the hope of starting a revolution.

If you can’t handle a snub, I’m not sure you’re suited for a revolution.

Liberals have revised history to eliminate the parts that make them feel uncomfortable; naturally this has led to a total ignorance of the realities that have always followed radicals and revolutions.

The French Revolution of 1789 was perhaps one of the most influential revolutions in history, setting off a causal nexus of revolts throughout Europe and South America.

The Revolution of 1789 held to many ideologies of liberty and natural rights, all very familiar ideas to the American Revolution. However, the French liberals became so radical that they believed they had to purify France of any remaining shred of monarchy because they felt threatened by any potential counterrevolutionaries.

They also sought to eliminate Christianity, and these factors collectively resulted in the Reign of Terror. As revolutionaries became more radical, they began to massacre thousands of French citizens in the name of liberty. After a chaos of bloodshed, the irony of the revolution emerged when Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power as a dictator, and later an emperor.

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 erupted out of a need for equality. Promising food and freedom to the peasants with the radical notion of an economic Utopia through communism, it failed the Russian people miserably.

The first Marxist state was established by Vladimir Lenin, who demanded that citizens capitulate to the collective state by surrendering their individuality, property, and religion. Lenin and his successor, Joseph Stalin, went on to murder millions of their own people in the name of equality.

How does a movement morph from liberty and equality into the guillotine and the Gulag?

Eliminate God.

In his novel East of Eden, John Steinbeck writes: “In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?”

The trending specious arguments are using the term “safe space” to refer to an all-encompassing refuge for ideas and values, no matter how contradictory or destructive.

In 1973 Roe vs. Wade established a precedent for one of the first “safe spaces” where women could terminate their pregnancies for the supposed betterment of their lives. The most recent spectacle is the Boston Health Care for the Homeless, which will soon be providing a “safe space” for heroin users to get high with the support of medical professionals.

The hope is to use this non-judgmental environment as a bridge to rehab. Kind of like providing radical Islamists with more comfortable bomb straps for a better jihad experience.

Psalm 74:4-8 says: “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, ‘We will crush them completely!’ They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.”

The outcome of the American Revolution is a historical anomaly. The ideas of liberty, freedom, and equality have circulated through many generations, cultures, and civilizations. Yet the Founders, unlike the rest, not only embraced the God of the Jews, they based natural rights and fundamental principles on God’s laws.

Why then, would we in the free world seek the eradication of these convictions? How can we create “safe spaces” when those spaces include ideals that by natural law are perilous?

Our trivial first world problems will fall into actual critical plight if we continue to undermine the reality of sin. Unlike American politicians, God does not need to indulge the wicked for their approval. He is God, He is king, and He is good.

The real problem in the first world is not the lack of “safe spaces” or of micro-aggressions against easily bruised narcissists. It is the lack of awareness and ability to distinguish the truth from the lies.

Would The Apostle Paul Use Social Media?

A good fisherman always “sets the hook” before trying to reel in the fish. Hopefully, now that I’ve got your attention, let me go back to July of 2009. Something was growing in me, a whole new realm of inspiration. I was going to start writing a blog, “Keeping Your Head In The Game.” Two things were converging.   The first was using the numerous communication tools that technology has made available to our age. Thesecond thing was as the sub-title of the blog states, “Helping people think Biblically and have a Christian mindset throughout life’s journey.” I was excited! I was “pregnant” with a God-idea!

The timing for my launch might have been a little bit off. It was during the Sadler’s Alaska Ultra-Challenge in 2009, which is the longest and hardest wheelchair or handcycle race in the world, 256 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage. The questionable timing was because I didn’t have a full grasp on the time demands that writing would make, even bad writing. So, to try to do this during a six-day stage race was a bit taxing. Either way, I made the plunge, and since then, there have been some starts and stops, as I’ve juggled my time between preaching and teaching, and the new craft of writing.
 
This led to Twitter, the most well-known of all the micro-blogging websites. It has over 200 million people using it, and it has become part of how people communicate today or “the people’s voice. I am very aware of the valid spiritual and moral concerns in the world of social media. This is why you must have some clear spiritual guidelines and parameters to use technology effectively. However, I believe some of these pitfalls are trumped if it is used as a tool for the purpose of communicating God’s truth. Here is what we came up with how to best use Twitter for the church and its mission as a medium of communicating truth.
 
To use it judiciously in a thoughtful and prayerful manner (you get in trouble if you think you must say something about everything).

To help facilitate the dynamics of leadership with words of encouragement, vision, purpose, and admonishment here in the U.S. and around the world.

To help people feel connected with the preaching of the Gospel, the mission of our church, and various church-related news, activities, and prayer requests.

A way to shape the cultural conversation, letting people know about current events, serious or pop culture, what we can call people’s attention to, and comment upon.

To steer people to more substantive platforms, such as our website and blog postings.
 
In another sermon I preached just this February, this was part of the introduction: “You’re not going to stop today’s technological tsunami, but our challenge is we must diligently work to understand how to live for God faithfully in a technology-saturated world and coincide with Jesus’s mission and mandate, ‘I will build My church.’” Overall, I have tried to adhere to these principles. I received a note right after the November elections that said, “The presidential election being what it is and gay marriage and pot smoking being approved in my state. I could use a positive/encouraging tweet right now.”
 
So, back to practicing the discipline of writing. This post was preceded by a statement I read by Jocelyn K. Glei. She wrote the following: “Today,  writing well is more important than ever. Far from being the province of a select few as it was in Hemingway’s day, writing is a daily occupation for all of us – in email, on blogs, and through social media. It is also a primary means for documenting, communicating, and refining our ideas. As essayist, programmer, and investor Paul Graham has written, ‘Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.” Having said that, I know there are some things that can only be effectively communicated face-to-face. Listen to the Apostle John, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2John 12) I’d like you to see that the Apostle John is comfortable using “1st century technology”: paper, pen and ink. John was able to use technology in the service of the church, but he still recognized that this was inferior to embodied relationships. He employed both kinds of communication; but he believed that only face-to-face reality offered both him and others “complete joy.”
 
All of this was sparked by a powerful incentive that came to me just recently in one of those “God-reminders” that often comes to those who follow Jesus Christ. I came across one of the 40-year old weekly articles that I used to write for the Prescott, AZ newspaper, The Prescott Courier, which ran every Friday. The series was called “Metamorphosis” which is the Bible’s word for change or transformation. I actually had forgotten about this, but it reminded me that the desire to write had been with me, placed there by God for a long time. It confirmed the truth of (Eph.2:10)

“For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

I remember some of the events surrounding this. I was a young Christian in the Prescott Foursquare Gospel Church. I had the “idea” that maybe the paper would print an article highlighting the miracle of people’s changed lives in Christ. I told my pastor about the idea, and he suggested that I talk to another man in our church about writing it, Phil Payson, He was a good man, and certainly much more qualified than I was. The only problem is this idea had not been birthed in Phil’s heart, as gifted as he was; and it wasn’t growing in the garden of his soul! After awhile I felt the Holy Spirit challenging me that He wanted me to write this article, since he’d deposited this “open door” originally in my heart. Here’s a copy of one of those articles with my by-line! I’m quite sure that it wasn’t Pulitzer-quality writing, but that reminder spoke to me that these desires to communicate the Gospel through various media outlets had been planted in my heart a long time ago, and God had not forgotten!

It was the author Kurt Vonnegut who said, “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way – although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petitioner to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.” One thing I do know is that God’s grace in my life has equipped me with the capacity to feel very deeply or passionately about things that matter most!
 
Oh yes, the title question, “Would the Apostle Paul use social media?” Paul’s exposes his heart to us in (Rom.1:14,15) “For I owe a great debt to you and to everyone else, both to civilized people and uncivilized alike; yes, to the educated and uneducated alike. So, to the fullest extent of my ability, I am ready to come also to you in Rome to preach God's Good News” My sense is the man who wrote this would most likely employ every communication tool at his disposal, while recognizing some real pitfalls inherent in how it’s used.
 
The purpose of this blog posting is to do a kind of spiritual reset! I take encouragement from a writer’s adage, “Have the courage to write badly.” OK, I can try that! I’m excited because on the one hand, the Word of God is inexhaustible, and on the other hand there is the Holy Spirit’s inspiration enabling me to care deeply about things. So, in shameless self-promotion (!), I encourage you to follow me on Twitter and visit the web site for any new postings. I will keep trying my best to be.....“STILL AT IT!”