OK...I am not one who generally even stops to look at anything free on the internet but occasionally I will look on the internet for training that I expect to pay for. With that said I stopped over at https://www.biblicaltraining.org and saw that they had "free" training if you sign up. On a whim I did it and to my amazement there is actually free lecture MP3s and their associated transcripts and/or outlines.
These are real professors at real schools who are available for no charge. They have the site set up for different needs based on the kind of training you are looking for. I am very impressed and look forward to making use of this site. If you are interested I strongly encourage you to check this out for yourself.
To be clear, there is a store where you can by materials related to the classes but is mostly stuff like an entire course on CDs if you don't want to download them individually. But again...the material is free if you are willing to download it. And you can't beat free.
I find it interesting to read news from several sources. I typically do this as a way to get a wider amount of coverage of the different types of news stories available. I am have come to accept that the bias of every media group causes them to select only stories that fit with their worldview. I can respect that since no organization can cover all of the news and I wouldn't expect them to put effort into things that are unimportant to them.
That said, today I found two articles about the same news item and it was fascinating how differently those stories read. The basic story is that a young activist teacher sent a letter home to the parents of her students to inform them that they were going to be exploring different pronouns in her class.
Both articles are linked below and quite short I encourage you to read them both.
The Washington Times: Fifth-grade Teacher Gets Schooled by Parents After Gender-Neutral Grammar Lessons
There are two major things I find compelling about these articles:
First: In the Washington Times article you get the impression that the teacher simply wished to be called "they" or "them" and that the problem was that the parents felt their children would be confused by using a plural pronoun instead of a singular pronoun. In the Washington Update article we are told that the primary pronoun she wishes to be identified is Mx. So this isn't really a story about singular and plural since Mx. is a singular pronoun for a single person. This story is really about gender confusion and promoting it in the classroom with elementary students. This seems to me to be a classic case of intentionally omitting a primary detail to change the flavor of the narrative.
Second: This teacher is also a political activist. While I fully acknowledge her right to advocate for anything she feels passionate about I don't believe the classroom is the proper and professional place to conduct such activities. Children are not prepared to think clearly about such things. I believe the most telling point here is that as a teacher her duties were to include teaching math and science. This was a personal agenda of hers and not something she was being paid to promote in the class room. We all have feelings and opinions but when we are working for our employer we are expected to conform to their norms since we represent them and their interests.
I believe the decision to move this teacher to adult education was the best for all parties. She is not being driven out of her career or somehow persecuted, but she is being moved to an environment where she is more capable of expressing herself with an audience that can either accept her or reject her ideas based on informed adult thinking.
The Negative Infects of Sexual Liberalism (by The Family Research Council)
The article above is short and to the point...but that doesn't mean that it doesn't pack a punch. One of the things that really struck me was "The outbreak of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reached an astounding two million cases last year, "the highest number ever," according to the Centers for Disease Control.". This isn't some "Christian" rhetoric or complaining...this is a secular organization that isn't targeting any specific people group other than Americans.
I am struck that the situation is referred to as a crisis, epidemic, or outbreak. This makes it sound like the situation is the same as a flu outbreak or a natural disaster...but this could have been avoided in most circumstances. This isn't a case of some unforeseen, uncontrollable, unknown pathogen. Yet our culture speaks like it couldn't be avoided. Why is that?
I propose it is because since the "sexual revolution" we have fallen into the decadence of sexual addiction. Each person in saturated in sex and sexuality. We are awash in "sex sells" marketing, sexually educating the young, pornography available on every connected devices, sex in all areas of political and judicial dialog, sex trafficking objectification of women, pedophile priests, an explosion of the LGBTQAA+ agenda, and a cultural attitude tells us that a person's value is somehow connected to sexual prowess, desirability, or experience. We can no longer expect (or even suggest) someone should suppress their sexual desires no matter how aberrant, dangerous, or offensive.
The consequence is we have developed an insatiable appetite. As we indulge we need more quantity, more often, and crossing new unbelievable boundaries. How is this not a description of addiction? Those who are openly celebrating their sexual liberation should be honest with themselves and admit they are no happier, no more satisfied, and no more content than if they had followed a more traditional series of life decisions.
We should apologize to the alcoholics, morbidly obese, and drug addicts. We should live our lives consistently and either admit we should be counted amongst the ranks of addicts or we should celebrate their liberation from reality, praise their chemical (or food) induced freedom, and encourage them right up to the moment their addiction kills them. We lie to ourselves and then pat ourselves on the back for being so enlightened.
II prayed for Nabeel every day for over a year...often many times a day. I prayed for him, his family, his ministry. I really believed that God would heal Nabeel of his cancer. What an amazing opportunity for God to glorify His name. Here was a young man honestly dealing with his faith, diagnosis, and struggles in a public forum for all to see. I was sure that God would honor that and heal him in a way skeptics couldn't easily deny. I was so sure his healing would become a tool I could use in outreach.
When he died on Sep. 16, 2017 I was caught off-guard. I know that God is sovereign, like Nabeel I believe God's will is to heal, so what happened. As I asked myself this and wrestled with it for a few days I came to realize God is wiser than me. His healing would have been a great testimony, but many would have dismissed it as a medical or biological fluke. Instead Nabeel has left us with a powerful testimony of a life well lived and a record of a man who honored his Savior and Lord until the very end. He left us a legacy, much like Job, a way to talk about and understand the problem of suffering without being acedemic or removed. He lived it....and ultimatly it killed him, but Nabeel never turned away from God.
I have included a link the the OYWV study "Nabeel's Journey" that we have used in our small group. Additionally, I have included two video links. David woods has a great video about his friend Nabeel and Dr. Brown spends about an hour discussing miraculous healing.
I just got done reading an article by Victor Stenger. In it he discusses how Atheist debaters should approach Christian debaters. It is always interesting for me to read about the subject from the opposing perspective.
One thing that was really excellent was a list of arguments that apologists use and a summary of how to defeat those arguments. I think every Christian should be familiar with these "defeaters" to Christian belief so they know how to respond to them.
Most amazing of all is how consistent each of the two worldview are. I have learned over the years that the arguments themselves are far less critical than the presuppositions and beliefs that you start with.
Our connection group just completed a six week study of the "i am n" program (created by Voice of the Martyrs). Wow...what an amazing piece of work. I believe it accurately portrayed the challenges, faithfulness, and depth of the persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
You would expect a study like this to make Muslims appear evil. While it does place blame at the feet of ISIS (where I believe it most certainly should). One thing I greatly appreciated was that the average Muslim was not portrayed as a villain. I have grown so tired of America's deep polarization, the idea that if you don't agree with me then not only are you wrong but a bad person as well.
As a sincere Christian I believe that the Muslim believer is sincerely wrong about their faith. I also recognize that the Muslim believer feels that same way about me. I struggle to understand why it is that even though our culture cries out peace and tolerance it really pushes for division and enmity.
I believe the most powerful tool isn't rhetoric and scrutinizing the "bad guys", but instead looking at the victims and humanizing the situation by trying to appreciate both sides. I think of things like the "i am n" material or the Holocaust Museum I visited in Washington D.C. Here I built a connection to the victims but also gained a clearer understanding of those who opposed them.
When I slow down and stop people as victims but as a persecuted group I can better respect their plight. When I stop seeing the perpetrators as "bad guys" and start understanding how their beliefs are driving them, it can help me evaluate my poor thinking. I never want to be the one to be in a position to hurt others. If I am to be an effective Christian I must be building bridges into individual lives. Obviously I won't agree with everyone and embrace their beliefs, I can still learn to respect and even love them.
I find myself in a truly unique position. I am a parent of two children. I also work with young people. These two areas of experience have given me some interesting insights.
I know that the typical parents want the best for their children. We are bombarded with messaging that tells us we need to provide our young people with material goods, very available opportunity, and endless resources to pursue their dreams. As parents we set aside our own desires and ambitions to fuel this provision. We are then frustrated when our children are struggling to be the amazing adults that all of our investing should have created.
I talk to the young people and they are so frustrated with their parents. I believe their two major areas of consternation come from three things:
Every teenager feels it and every adult has been there. You feel socially awkward, the future is looming and scary, and your pumped full of hormones. Your happy, terrified, independent, angry, sad, laughing uncontrollably, and lonely all in 10 minutes; and on top of that you cannot control any of it. If that is what you have going on inside is it realistic to expect to have it all together on the outside at all times. Nope. As parents we have to be realistic about where our children are emotionally. As young people we need to be doing our best to communicate with our parents. They cannot support us if they cannot understand our chaos within.
I am astounded by the expectations some parents have. So many parents go to one extreme or the other. On one extreme some parents provide for every concern and insulate their children from reality. On the extreme there are some parents who drive their children to the breaking point. Placing much pressure on them they feel like they have been thrown to the wolves. If I have been so insulated that I have never faced genuine struggle the transition to independence is terrifying and overwhelming. Conversely, if I have been slogging through my childhood and now I am faced with higher expectation of adulthood I may be too overwhelmed to climb that mountain.
The same thing happens with providing our children. When parents provide for all of their children's wants and desires we have damaged their ability to have reasonable expectations for early adulthood. We are are essentially asking them to transition from a life of ease into a position to where they are responsible to provide all of this for themselves (which they know if impossible) or they have to do without. Of course since they have rarely if ever done without, that seems like a death sentence in our materialistic world. If we don't provide them with enough resources and support they look at the transition to adulthood and it is very bleak. They expect the world will expect as much and the parents....and they are doomed.
Why are we surprised when our children are frustrated, question our methods, and fear we no longer love them. We must learn to balance providing for needs and some rewards while letting some things go for another time. We need to learn to show them they are supported while they will also have to be responsible. It isn't easy being the parent or the child. Let us not forget the difficulties on the other side of the table. If we talk, listen, support, and take responsibility we will get through it. People have been surviving this process for a long time now.
Much is made of the timeline in the Bible. Some say it is no more than 6,000 years. Others say it covers billions of years. Still others (like myself) are interested in the subject but suspect we will never know the answer.
For the literalist the timeline of the Bible is based on the Genealogies that are stated within the Bible itself. All of the generations from Adam to know historical figures are calculated giving a rough date around 6,ooo years,
I have no doubt there are many arguments that chip away at the genealogical method, the only one that I am familiar with is the notion that not all individuals in a family line are included. The idea here is that unimportant or uninteresting people weren't necessarily included. This would extend the timeline, but not so much as to harmonize the differing views.
One timeline issue that jumped out at me is the gap between Genesis 2 and Genesis 3. At the end of Genesis 2 we have the end of the creation account, so essentially the end of Day 7. Genesis 3 opens with the the serpent tempting Eve and continues with the Fall of Man.
The Fall of Man introduces death into the world. So before the The Fall there was no death. Now I suspect that The Fall didn't occur on Day 8. So how much time passed from Day 8 to The Fall? There was no death...so Adam and Eve could have existed in the Garden of Eden for any amount of time.
I don't know if this is relevant. I can't imagine how it would tie into anything, but I find it fascinating none the less.
The Blaze reports (click image below) that NASA has officially created a "Planetary Defense Coordination Office". Now there are three things that I just have to point out:
1. This is a really poor time in our nation's history to spend an additional 50 million dollars we don't have. I love space and I am not a fan of the end of the world...but this seems like a really odd way to fund this type of work. Looks more like a really expensive publicity stunt.
2. The U.S. government isn't well know for being proactive on issues that are expensive and obscure. It seems to me that either there is something out there to be worried about or this isn't what it would seem to be at first glance.
3. The people who cannot secure the border of our country now appear to be taking on the job of defending the entire planet. Only America could come up with such a myopic, arrogant, and hypocritical idea.
This whole thing smells like the start of international frustration related to America being out of touch but speaking for the world or the start of a space based arms race. We really should focus on more terrestrial and homegrown issues.
As an introvert I rarely see people in print, radio, TV, or the internet make comments that clearly indicate they understand me as an introvert. I suppose that is because very few people in modern media actually are introverts.
Imagine how tickled I was while reading C.S. Lewis' Surprised by Joy and stumbling into this quote:
"...I cannot quite understand why a man should wish to know more people than he can make real friends of."
So to all of my well meaning friends who think I should be more social and "network" more. I am more than happy to be social in groups of less than 10 people and continue networking with CAT5e cables instead of people. Thanks...but I with Lewis on this one. ;)
I believe that no matter what worldview we espouse we should understand what we believe any why. I hope to show others that the Christian worldview is not only accurate but true. If not, I hope they will be clear on why they reject it.