Sunday, May 28, 2017

Drawing Line After Line

We went to an extended family temple wedding the other day. When it was over we were exiting by way of the foyer and saw an extended family member who has made it very public that he is gay, and his sex partner. They were making a big production in the middle of the room about tying this grown man's tie. Being the center of attention in some way appears to be their modus operandi. Now, this homosexual relationship is common knowledge. And they increasingly insinuate their relationship into family events, even though they have been told not to. Sadly, parents and grandparents have pretty much given up trying to take a stand. The result is the normalization, even the encouragement, for all of all ages including young children and teens to see, of homosexual behavior.

It didn't take much thought. It was obvious what we had to do, sad and uncomfortable as it was. We decided that we had to skip the family photos and the luncheon and the reception, later leaving our gift with the parents of the groom. We found out we will not only forego gay weddings, we will forego gatherings we know will be attended by openly proud gay couples, i.e. sodomites.

We are having to draw yet another line we will not cross,this time concerning family get-togethers.

Let us break this down a little. Would you attend a party where openly proud pedophiles/child molesters were present and generally welcome? How about porn producers or stars? Or pimps? Or child sex slave recruiters, all who make their proclivities and activities widely known? Would you mingle with them socially? Would you shake their hands? Would you break bread with them? Would you have your children around them? Would you want your photo taken with such people under these accepting, normalizing, equalizing conditions? Where would you draw the line? Would you draw any line at all?

Would these gay guys draw any line anywhere? Who knows? Who knows how desensitized they have become? But you can bet these flagrant homosexuals are all about not giving others the courtesy of drawing any lines. As we've said, they have been asked not to flaunt their relationship at family gatherings. In other words, at the very least, the sex partner is not to be there. Apparently they ignore this request completely, and the heads of the family have given up trying to enforce their request. It seems that they delude themselves into thinking this "couple" doesn't do anything sexual. If this weren't so blind and pathetic it would be laughable. Ask any gay couple if their relationship is sexual. They will get a good laugh.

How's that for gays pushing their weight around? How's that for gays insinuating themselves into wholesome situations? How's that for gays having zero respect for those who know their age-old sins to be harmful and destructive? How's that for gays not caring about anybody but themselves and their current proclivities?

This is what our culture has come to. Are you willing to draw any lines? Any lines at all?


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lusts and Lies

There is misinformation going around about physical attraction, which confusion is being used to excuse homosexuality and promote homosexualism. The lie being propagated, and actually persuading people, is that everybody is sometimes attracted to people they are not supposed to be attracted to. And since everyone is attracted inappropriately, it's okay or normal, or at least okay and normal for homosexuals. Crazy, but people are buying it.

Such a conversation might go like this:

A: It's wrong to be same-sex attracted. They can get help and repent."

B: Well, have you ever been attracted to someone other than your spouse?

A: Well . . . yes.

B: There you go! People can't help being attracted to whoever they find attractive.

We'll continue that later. So far, it's all wrong. It's not the right story or the whole story. It's a false distraction and a clever way of making people think there's nothing wrong with homosexuality. Let's break it down.
 
What is lust? Is it the same thing as noticing that someone is an attractive person? Or is it purely sexual? Are human beings able to control lust, that is, sexual attraction? Is lust always bad? Is love lust?

We are bringing up these questions because the world has got them upside-down and backwards. And people are buying it! So let's answer them correctly.

Lust is very strong sexual desire that is out-of-bounds. Lust is one of the seven deadly sins. It consists of thinking, fantasizing, daydreaming graphically about sex and sexual desire, alone or generally or with others. It is a selfish pleasurable sexual objectification of people and even things. Thinking dirty, talking dirty, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, lasciviousness, promiscuity, rape, child sexual abuse, homosexuality, and the like, are all lust-based, although other sins may play a part, such as power over others, greed, and idolatry.

Lust is never a good thing. It has nothing whatever to do with love and kindness. It is not the same as wholesome attraction between a male and female. It has nothing to do with seeing or feeling an impersonal attractiveness in people or clothing or talents or art. Lust is the line that is crossed when a wholesome attraction or perception of beauty turns to purely selfish sexual feelings.

People cannot help seeing whether a person is male or female. They can't help seeing the shapes of people, their skin, or their features. This is simply because God gave us eyes and we have learned what to find beautiful. We can't help seeing innocent attractiveness in people, or beauty in works of art or the ballet, for example. In other words, we all notice attractive people and beauty.

Nor can people help noticing blatant immodesty or seductiveness. It's sad, but there it is.

What people can help is what they do with these images, in their minds to begin with. Lust is when a person turns that innocent loveliness or that immodesty, seductiveness, even that nakedness, into something purely sexual inside their own heads and hearts. Think about it. Jesus could see anyone in any condition of dress or undress, in any condition of innocence or wickedness, and not turn that person into a sex object. It's possible! No one should go around thinking lewdly, that is, objectifying and lusting after anybody. Lust is always bad, because it is always low and always purely selfish.

The fact that people are actually going around saying that noticing someone is physically attractive is the same as lust, shows how far our pop culture has come in sexualizing human beings. This used to be called having a dirty mind. Beauty, the human form, human flesh, has been made over into sexuality first and foremost. This is what our debauched sexually permissive culture promotes. Many people have no qualms about the idea of lewdly and lustfully undressing anybody they see or meet in their minds.

It's no wonder human sexuality is taking every possible turn. Everyone and everything is sexualized, when the truth is, sexuality should only be used properly, lovingly, unselfishly, solely between husbands and wives. In fact, decent people do not think about anyone other than their spouse in terms of the decent people's personal sexuality at all, or know they shouldn't and take care not to. Think of doctors and nurses, parents, families, friends, coworkers. There should be nothing sexual there toward others, whether clothed or naked. 

Lust has no part in being sexually attracted to someone you intend to get to know and perhaps marry. In addition, good couples who are dating or engaged or married do not think only sexually about their loved one. They think of the whole person and often put the other person's wishes before theirs.

A friend was visiting our home several years ago and made a casual comment about our 2 or 3-year-old that was strange. "Oooh, sexy," she said. A toddler sexy? Wrong. She may have been referring to the child's grace, her comely shape, her attractiveness. But sexy? Please.

People need to read good literature (and not read bad literature). Classics, including the scriptures, refer to people often as fair, the fairest in the land, attractive, beautiful, lovely. No one can help noticing someone extraordinarily attractive or charismatic. But, generally speaking, we are not to go any farther. School thy feelings, says the hymn. Keep your heart pure. Whoever has trouble doing this---and it may be more difficult in this sexually permissive, oversexed, in-your-face world--- needs to repent continually. Some, at some times, are more prone to lust than others, but we all have our weaknesses. We are all in constant need of turning back to God and relying on Christ.

We mustn't buy into this oversexualization of everything, including each other. We are all children of God. We should be able to tell, or know, who is male and who is female, leave the sex distinction at that, and act accordingly when it comes to clothing, modesty, bathrooms, grouping, roles, and propriety. The only human relationship that should include sexuality in thought and deed is the one where marriage is concerned.

It's a little frustrating to write about these things because they shouldn't have to be taken apart like this. Time was when the birds and the bees, when right and wrong, when good and evil, when the difference between lust and love, were all taken for granted in a thousand spoken and unspoken ways. People need to read some good books and watch some good old movies. It's all there. But now the devil has had his way. He has so twisted and contorted male and female, sex and sexuality, child and adult, that people are talking nonsense and confusing everybody else. You can't help who you lust after? You can't help who you "love?" Oh yes you can. Everybody needs to stop with the sexualizing and homosexualizing of everything and replant their feet firmly on the good, honest earth.

Let's finish our conversation between A and B and give it a good ending.

A: When I said I find people attractive other than my spouse, I didn't mean sexually, or anything personal. Why did you assume I did? I don't think sexually about anyone other than my spouse. If I did I'd have to repent. I'm just noticing that there are handsome or beautiful people.

B: Oh, sorry. But it's still an attraction. I'm trying to show you how gays can't help how they feel and there's nothing wrong with it.

A: And yet you seemed to be convicting me of lust. Why?

B. I don't know. Everything gets sexualized these days. It seemed like a good argument to excuse homosexuality.

A: Oh, so if everybody sins, sin is okay?

B. Hmm. I guess that's not a good argument.

A. The thing that makes any physical attractedness inappropriate is the sexualizing of the person or people.And people aren't necessarily doing that; at least we can hope they aren't. There's a difference between people's attractiveness and turning that into sexual lust.

B: Oh, I see. So attractedness just is. But when people say they are same-sex attracted they are talking about same-sex sexual desires? When they say they can't help who they love, they really mean they don't want to restrain their lusts?

A: Right, that's how people are thinking nowadays and both lust and homosexuality are always wrong. People of the same sex can and do love each other, but they mustn't sexualize those feelings.

B: Wow, I never thought about it. Whatever else it may be, homosexuality has to be sexual. And I wasn't fair using general attractedness to excuse homosexual lust.

A: Yes. And like other sexual sins, homosexuality is out-of-bounds both in desire and deed. It is based on lust and lust is always wrong.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Johnson Amendment and Churches

Image result for lyndon johnsonFirst, a little history lesson on the Johnson Amendment. In 1954 Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election to the  U.S. Senate. Some local Texas ministers were preaching against him from their pulpits. He saw this as being detrimental to his chance of winning. So he connived a plan. He went to congress and proposed an amendment to the tax code which would threaten churches with loss of their tax-exempt status if they preached against specific candidates, which of course includes parties. Ever since then, churches have bowed to this intimidation.

Tax-exempt status means that churches as institutions do not have to pay any federal (and consequently state) income taxes on their net profits, nor property taxes. Net profits include all tithes and donations, and all businesses, properties, and holdings such as real estate, malls, stores, products, books, restaurants, TV stations, newspapers, web sites, etc. Neither do they pay property taxes on all their lands and buildings. So we could be talking a lot of money here, say millions and millions of dollars per year.

It appears that churches love their money. But money may not have been the only issue. If a church was already annoyed with some internal rifts over political parties/candidates, the Johnson amendment smoothed out its job. It had a governmental excuse not to address political concerns. Politics became off limits. But churches took it farther than keeping mum about political candidates. Eventually many churches used the attitude/perception of the Johnson amendment as an excuse to turn themselves into neutral zones concerning the most immoral and wicked and depraved practices that mankind has ever known-- because they have become politically-charged. That these moral issues have been politicized is not surprising in our Godless world.

This is when we start hearing people defend their churches. No, no! Our church is conservative! It still upholds family values and the scriptures and God's laws! You think so? When was the last time you heard anybody in your church, from pulpits or otherwise, talk against the popular practice of abortion, even when Planned Parenthood was caught selling baby parts? Do you see an increase in warnings against pornography and its many dangers? Or do you see a softening toward it, as in it's an unfortunate addiction and users are victims? Does your church say anything much against lust and sodomy? Or is this just "who people are?" How about child sex abuse? How about child sex slavery? How about the torturing and mass murdering of Christians in the Middle East? What about Americans being sued and punished for exercising their constitutionally protected right of religious freedom? These are huge current events. When was the last time your church, local or world-wide, used its resources or got involved in combating any of this issues, and stuck with it, even increased its vigilance?

Back to the Johnson Amendment. Wonder of wonders, this week this travesty was lifted, at least temporarily, by an executive order from President Trump. The Washington Post reported,

“For too long the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs,” Trump said, later telling those gathered for the event that “you’re now in a position to say what you want to say . . . No one should be censoring sermons or targeting ­pastors.” 

The plan of this administration is to have this amendment officially repealed as part of their tax reform plan. It's about religious freedom, and all churches should be overjoyed. No longer do churches have to fear standing before the world for truth and righteousness and teaching their congregants what is right and what is wrong ---morally, politically, and spiritually. These inspired leaders can even tell their members what party to belong to and who to vote for! Every faithful church-goer and ecclesiastical leader should be so happy. 

No longer need churches be afraid of financial entitlements being taken away for anything they teach. Now leaders of America's churches can feel completely free to unite their members in the most important and essential issues of the day and keep their churches true to the faith. On essentials we must have unity, said St. Augustine. A house divided will fall, said Lincoln. If ye are not one ye are not mine, said Jesus. Failing to stop evil leads to more evil, said Richard Giannone.

Check and see what your church said about this great gesture toward religious freedom. There's a problem if it insists on maintaining its neutrality. Are churches supposed to be neutral on anything important? What does the Lord say about being lukewarm? Indeed, it appears that churches have been exploiting the Johnson amendment so as to not have to referee their congregants over politics, take pressure from the various sides within the church, discipline members who took positions opposite the church, or spend resources fighting battles against the world. When churches take a stand they sometimes get embarrassed or come under fire. Sad to say, if they can't take the heat, they decide to stay out of the kitchen.

What responsibility do churches have to stand for truth and righteousness? Actually, it is their primary purpose. Otherwise they are not churches. They are whited sepulchers, shams full of hypocrites who are all about protecting their own worldly interests while pretending to be about loving God and saving souls. The scriptures call such a church the whore of all the earth. It is called this because it sells its virtue, its truth, its God, like a prostitute, for money or other gain. The scriptures also call it priestcraft.

And how is church neutrality working out? It's no good trusting the government. Upstanding American citizens are getting thrown in jail, sued, ruled against, fined, and put out of business for exercising their moral and religious convictions. This is the kind of government we have now, and the kind of judges: anti-Christ---and every good church knows it.

Let's remember that churches are one of the very last protections against despotism, tyranny, bondage. Dictators hate religion because it may encourage people to think for themselves and put their trust in a higher power than the dictator. Churches that espouse neutrality on important moral issues (and almost every hot-button issue today has moral implications), they forfeit any vestige of their own freedom, not to mention their congregants' freedoms, open the gates to totalitarianism, and sign their own death warrant. History shows this time and again. In communist countries, for example, church buildings and cathedrals quickly become off-limits or are boarded up and left to crumble.

Churches are supposed to uphold their doctrines, in every policy, every decision, every word, come what may. How can they expect their members to stand for truth and righteousness if they don't?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Who is Legitimately Loony?

We thought sharing this and our response would be instructive:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I love you, I love you, I love you?":

Whoa! Hahahahahaha! I started out a bit hurt by some of what I was reading here, but this one makes me laugh. Turns out you're just legitimately loony. What a damn relief. Hahahaha 

Our response:

First, there sure are a lot of anonymous people out there. But they are not anonymous to us, and certainly not to the Lord. They are souls of immeasurable spiritual worth and they all have names. It's too bad they do not know this.

Second, it is sad to see how this person has reacted to the sane words we have posted. 

Third, we are posting this particular comment to show evidence of the shaky mental state that exists today, to show the false victimization irresponsible people allow themselves, to show the lack of respect for people who share differing ideas, and to show how these people have no reasonable argument to counter our well-measured thoughts and so resort to caustic sarcasm, name-calling, nonsense, cussing (and oftentimes worse).

Image result for lunatic dreyfusUnhinged mental state: "Hahahahahaha! . . . Hahahaha" (Does anyone remember Pink Panther movies with "the lunatic Dreyfus" and his hysterical laughter? Hysterical laughter is how this character reacted to life and death situations. Now that's madness. Oftentimes movies show somebody slapping a hysterically laughing person in the face to shock them out of their temporary lunacy.)

Victim mentality: "I started out a bit hurt by some of what I was reading . . . " (Again, no one is forced to read our postings, and no one can be hurt by another's words unless they allow themselves to be hurt. This person is in the habit of putting others in charge of their feelings and then blaming others for their feelings.)

Lack of respect: "this one makes me laugh."

No reasonable argument: "Whoa! Hahahahahahah!"

Sarcasm: "Hahahahaha!" (Making light of a serious topic.)

Resort to name-calling: "you're just legitimately loony."

Resort to cussing: "What a damn relief."  (and more victim mentality)

We invite everyone to reread the post named in light of the above comment. It is a well-thought-out, reasonable discussion of a significant event that has far-reaching effects on many people's temporal and spiritual well-being. The questions and ideas presented are based on reality, truth, knowledge, and God. Where is Anon's well-thought-out, reasonable, counter discussion?

It's important to see what this comment more subtly implies, on top of all of the obvious implications cited above. It shows a person with zero interest in truth, in repentance, in knowledge, or in reality, a person who has never been taught or has rejected the history and experience of the entire human race, a person who has set aside God's Word in favor of what the selfish, hedonistic world around him has taught him and in favor of his own current felt-needs. Who does such a thing except a people bent on nihilism and self-destruction?

This tragedy, this choice, this degeneration, this madness, has occurred within the passage of one generation of the human race. No respect for God and righteousness or even people with differing beliefs. No depth of thought or reasoning. No seeking for truth. No wisdom. Hysterical ridicule. Delusional self-comforting by blaming others, even blaming strangers they have never met and aren't being forced to read, for their their own bad feelings. And that's legitimately loony.