Friday, August 29, 2008



Barack Obama has been the phenom of the year. His groundbreaking large political rally in Philadelphia was full of peace, good will, and star-quality. I know - I was there. As the (Rev.) Wright and Bill Ayres controversies unfolded and the comments of his wife Michelle offended some, his star quality faltered a bit as Hillary Clinton won most of the late primaries, some by a large margin. Many felt that if the earlier states revoted, Hillary would have been the clear winner. Perhaps this is why Mr. Obama devoted two nights to the Clintons.

As I have noted over the last several national election cycles, Democrats are presented as the answer to all the world's problems. The obligatory attacks on President Bush and John McCain of course ignored the fact that the approval rating of the Democrat-controlled Congress is an abysmal 15%, only HALF as high as President Bush's already poor 30%. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who would become President if something happened to the President and Vice President, was largely ignored, as she has proven to be an empty suit who doesn't even understand the basics of her own Catholic religion. Harry Reid, who leads the Senate has been similarly uninspiring. Certainly, Congress is no great sales team to reassure people that Democrats are the answer to all our problems. Interestingly, Mr. Obama did not emphasize them at all.

Hillary gave a speech that regardless of your political views was that of a pro. While she contradicted most of the nasty things she said about Barack in the primary season, conventions are kiss-and-make-up affairs. Her note of 8 failed years artfully placed all the blame on George W. Bush, ignoring the fact that Democratic Congressional leadership over the last four years has failed more and has shown the nation a Congress out of sync with the people. The dismal approval ratings of existing Democratic leadership were artfully omitted, just like a pro would do. The tangerine pants suit was probably the biggest indication of a lack of judgment which most people will forgive. I have long thought Hillary has over-estimated her experience. She entered the Senate with no ostensible qualifying experience, but then so have a lot of people going into the Senate. Hearing some of our Senators speak, they lack the life experience and judgment of the average person having to work for a living. Nonetheless, Hillary has worked hard in the Senate and gained respect from both sides of the aisle. While HIllary and Barack very closely parallel each other in terms of poor moral positions and corrupt associations (check out Hillary's legendary earmarks for New York while in the Senate), I voted for her opponent Mr. Obama in the primary because of this life experience and seemingly more developed spirituality.

Bill Clinton in his speech smiled broadly as he was doubtless swallowing his pride. I'm not sure many people believed him. After all, his wife had just been ignored for VP and he could no longer prowl his old haunt - the White House. He did what politicians do and people were grateful to him for it. His talk of division ignored the class warfare his party specialized in and the uniting he talked about ignored all the Republicans. After all we are one country.

The playbook of deep division and fear was quite in evidence. In fact, the making fun of seniors and people who disagree with them shows deep hypocrisy within the party. Moses was 80 when he started leading Israel. I believe most people would agree that he was successful. Margaret Thatcher had no foreign policy experience when she began to lead England. I am likewise tired of the mantras of the RNC about Barack's thin resume. One can learn if they are a fast study and a truly open person. I am not put off by Barack's experience types. I am put off by his poor associations, his misjudgment on the war, his lack of economic understanding, and his abysmal and indefensible positions on the moral issues.

Joe Biden has the biggest whites I have ever seen with a dazzling smile. He had a compelling personal story, though it was hard to reconcile his response to bullies when he voted against the rather uncontroversial FIRST Gulf War. Perhaps McCain's ad of Joe Biden dissing Barack Obama was too much in the background of my brain, but it was disingenuous for Joe to say the opposite once he got the nod. This man ran for President multiple times and never polled well. His plagiarism scandal (twice, both in law school and as a candidate) and his multiple racially insulting comments killed him off before. Like a Phoenix from the ashes, he has reemerged. It was distressing no doubt to many Obama fans to see a hard establishment inside-the-beltway guy partnered with their hero. Do change and no-change cancel each other out? Biden claimed to be close friends with John McCain. Yet despite prior glowing comments, he engaged in ad hominem attacks. Differences in policy are one thing. but personal viciousness does not play well in Peoria. Finally, Joe Biden contradicted Obama on class issues. Barack has admirably tried to move among people of all economic and social "classes". Paul Bagala commented on CNN that Joe Biden talked to the "Ham and Cheese" people. This is a barely veiled put-down of blue collar people, some of the best folks around. This Democratic strategist put into words what I have found - racial and economic attitudes of liberals are no better than conservatives and often worse. This is becoming less of a well-kept secret. CNN's pundits also portray those who are pro-life and those who are cautious about sex education and those with the temerity to actually believe the history of earth as taught in the Bible as right wing lunatics. Yet HONEST polls repeatedly show that a huge number of Americans (whether a majority or not is quite debatable but is beside the point) believe the cultures of immorality, wanton abortion and inherently atheistic evolution are wrong. We will see what the numbers really are in November, as too many Christians have muddled worldviews and have compromised what they do believe themselves.

I honestly thought Michelle's speech was the best of the bunch. I know the dismissive remarks about her acting like June Cleaver, but so help me I really liked what she had to say. It was real, and it confirmed my good feelings about the Obama family. Yes, she spoke her mind, and I believe that to her it was the first time she was proud of her country. I know personally that many highly accomplished Black people have a bittersweet experience, and the failure of the conservative talk show people to understand that gap in the American experience indicates we still have a long ways to go.

Mario Cuomo issued a stem-winder speech in 1984's DNCC. Barack Obama wowed the crowd in 2004 (I'm not sure which 2002 speech Hillary Clinton was talking about - I believe she meant the 2004 one). In fact, some might feel Obama's 2004 speech was better than this year's. The promises are all there in all the speeches and I have heard many in my lifetime. The template is the same. All needs are promised to be met by government programs while most people (in this speech's case 95%) would pay fewer taxes. Ostensibly all this would magically be done without increasing the deficit which is also pilloried. Barack must have conveniently forgotten he wants the tax cuts to expire, which affects 50% of Americans, and the proposed FICA limit increase would hurt many entrepreneurs of all races. These are drastic tax increases and they ignore the fact MOST people work for small businesses. The economic ramifications could be known by anyone not sleeping through an Economics 101 course, so perhaps that was what happened if Barack actually studied economics. More to the point, we have been down that road before. The War on Poverty and the Great Society achieved neither. MORE of the poor benefit when there are good jobs and a good entrepreneurial climate rather than give-aways or make-work. Minority businesses prosper when they compete in the open market as opposed to getting non-competitive set-asides. The huge growth in minority businesses tied into E-Bay and other companies have given more and more people more money than they dreamt of.

The statement of being one's brother's keeper is obviously true. We are. Problem is that Obama's brother lives on under $1 per month in Kenya. Charity starts at home. Despite astounding financial prosperity, the Obamas only started giving anything of consequence to charitable causes when that information would become public. Al Gore's tax returns showed a paltry $274 donation to charity when he was running, so this has been true of other candidates as well. Many Americans are sick and tired of essentially self-absorbed people lecturing them who do not practice what they preach. Dick Cheney is perceived as a mean Republican. but his family's charitable contributions beat them all proportionally. The anger we saw at the convention is also not the way most people view life. Even those without a lot of this world's goods can smile and laugh and be thankful. The fact is that conservatives are more happy than liberals. People who wait for marriage to have sex have happier marriages. Why is that? People in socialist countries are NOT all happy. Countries with "universal health care" often lag in delivering critical care of innovating solutions. Funny that almost all breakthroughs come through our "broken system". To be sure deep reform is needed, but we don't have to start over. We don't need more graphic sex education and even more accommodations to immorality, If that worked, Hollywood would be happiest place in the world. The world is desperately looking for universal approval of their rebellion against God.

Obama ignored the fact McCain was joking at Saddleback when he talked about $5 million being rich (which McCain ironically predicted would be misconstrued). Obama castigated Mr. Cain for voting with his party 90% of the time, but Barack voted with his party an astounding 97% of the time. So who is crossing the aisle more? The simple fact is that Barack has almost no record of bipartisanship. The Dems were pressing for McCain to pick Joe Lieberman but they didn't pick them themselves. Silly. The criticism of Katrina totally ignored the fact the first two lines of defense at the city and state levels were controlled by Democrats who failed miserably. FEMA should have been demonized but the blame should be evenly distributed. Despite Nagin's huge failures and demonstrated incompetence, he was reelected. There was no call from Democrats to deny him another chance. Blind partisanship is no "change we can believe in".

While a potential expanded war in Afghanistan will surely cost big dollars and lives (remember Russia lost there), and Obama's sole comments on the military were limited to loyalty to the soldiers, one wonders how this would work with the draconian decreases to the defense budget he has advocated but which was conspicuously absent from the speech. Likewise, how would Afghanistan feel if he pulled out of Iraq prematurely? Since Obama voted against the surge, how sure could a country be that he would stick it out even if things got tough and the polls were against him? Regardless of President Bush's shortcomings, and believe me there are MANY, he has shown the character to stick to what is right regardless of the polls and the political consequences. Mr. Obama simply did not address the critical issues in this dangerous world including Israel in his speech.

The dismal picture of the country is a favorite pastime of Democrats. While the economic factors have improved as a whole, I know first-hand the economic funk. It is deeply distressing when costs rise, income falls, and home prices fall. While the situation is deeply troubling, it has happened before. Obama's rehash of Jimmy Carter's policies with some even more risky strategies could lead to the same disastrous economy that was far worse for more people than the current one (I was there). The facts are that unemployment is far less than it was back in that day. Fewer people work at the minimum wage, and the computer has opened up extra income opportunities to millions of Americans. A host of people are really doing very well. Despite the economy, I am an optimist, and do not see how raising taxes and having more wasteful government programs will really help - history shows it hurts. The RNC has angered many by its own heavy spending and deficits, so we will see next week how believable anything they say is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


If you study history, you will find that the media is rarely truly "fair". If just didn't begin with the Communications Act of 1937, which required radio stations to give access to opposing political candidates if it gave access to one. If also didn't begin with the "Mayflower Doctrine" in the early 1940's which prohibited editorializing on stations. It further did not begin in 1949 with the "Fairness Doctrine" that required reasonable opportunity for having opposing points of view on controversial subject matter presented. The fact that the FCC was in charge of it actually resulted in just the opposite, with news and events and viewpoints presented as objective, non-biased fact, when in reality they were deeply biased group-think points of view with no opportunity for them to be challenged. I find it interesting that those interested in reviving this doctrine which was vetoed in 1987 by then President Reagan, is ALWAYS pushed by the LEAST FAIR elements of our society, those who bash others, who seek to eliminate freedom for Christians to express themselves, and those who are the most brainwashed by a SINGLE point of view.

Unlike a host of pundits, I actually like the idea of a true Fairness Doctrine - if in fact it could be done. That is an AWFULLY big if. Frankly, I am tired on one-sided media. I am tired of those against the "mainstream media" who themselves embrace "Christianity Lite" but do not hold to the beliefs of "blood-washed saints", the uniqueness of Jesus as our God and Savior, and the depravity of evolutionary and humanistic thought patterns. Hannity and Colmes tries with liberal and conservative pundits and Glenn Beck is now on CNN, giving much needed diversity there, but aside from the fact, none are professing born-again Christians, I honestly don't think they have achieved true "fairness" yet, and I don't believe that it is fully possible. Certain media are controlled or heavily influenced by agendized persons which stacks the deck. Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me define 'media" the way I see it. If you use Microsoft Word, Bill Gates' minions would define "media" as "the various means of mass communication, thought of as a whole, including television, magazines, and newspapers, together with the people involved in their production". The key here, of course, is "the people involved in their production". The television, radio, newspapers, and magazines are in and of themselves fair. It is people that mess them up. And it is people that can clean them up. I was privileged to be on radio for over five years and I taught the gospel and Christian living through Bible Study, Dramas, and Commentaries. People were blessed by that part of the "media". I hope to be able to go that again. I use the Internet for blogs and websites and email to see to persuade people of the truth. In my opinion, though, the media is truly broader than even Bill Gates' minions proclaim. It is called "the spirit of this world". It pervades everything - school, museum, public meetings, and even church. Jesus said it best - "If they love me, they will love you. If they hate me, they will hate you". The people weren't fair with Jesus, and those in positions of influence then were multiplied more times unfair with Jesus than the general populace. Nothing has changed in that regard.

For years, the schools and colleges have been one of the "various means of mass communication:" 72% of college professors are politically liberal, and it has been amply documented how frequently they IMPOSE their viewpoints on impressionable grade-seeking students who regurgitate back uncritically deeply flawed ideas and arguments. The music industry is surely one of "the various means of mass communication". Dreadful ideas that have born dreadful fruit in the lives of their purveyors are blasted into the heads of people with no antidotes offered. The preponderance of illicit sexual activity portrayed in television and the movies have persuaded many to live like animals (and it doesn't help that their biology teachers tell them they are just animals and send them to the nurse to get birth control despite the fact that animals don't use birth control - even lower forms of life understand that sex and reproduction are linked). People themselves are the media - they spread these ideas like gangrene and cancer and it all seems to fit conveniently together. The "spirit of this world" is at work. Look at how they all converge - in school, chlldren are taught that everyone should be embraced even if what they are doing is considered "sinful" by their unenlightened parents. They are also taught to act out on all their sexual urges so they can be happy. They are told that the Bible is a book of pleasant myths while the myth of evolution, the myth that all religions lead to the same place, the myth that teachers know more than parents, the myth that homosexuals are born that way, the myth that yoga and eastern meditation practices are not "religion", and on it goes. WHen they go to the museum, or watch PBS or Nova or Discovery, a deep convincing voice talks about millions of years every time it gets the chance regardless of the facts, the relevancy, or the controversy. The textbook committees will accept books with known scientific errors as long as in the words of a famous scientist, "God cannot be allowed to get his foot in the door". When they go to a Veteran's Day observance (if any still go to honor the supreme sacrifice people can make, to give their lives for their friends), prayers with the name of Jesus are forbidden, and vague mainstream churchianity is the only option on the table. If they decide to go into the military, they have to see Chaplain's censored in how they can pray. If they visit Washington D.C., they will see Moses and the Ten Commandments anbd all manner of inscribed Bible verses on the building but listen to justices proclaim how the BIble that actually was the basis for our nation has to be separated from every part of life now. The music tells them to give themselves to their urges, to imagine filthy things, and that they are the truly enlightened ones. The television teaches them that everyone but married people enjoys sex and anybody who is anybody swears well and swears often. When they go into Barnes and Noble, 90% of the books contain secularist, humanistic, pagan, hedonistic, or cultic content, with one row devoted to religious books, many of those seeking to disprove who Jesus really is. The newspapers give them a tilted view of the world, all based upon the assumptions of writers with worldviews alien to Christianity and in full accordance with the "spirit of this world". The magazines they see at the supermarket checkout lines tell them 100 new sex secrets every week and glorify the body while debasing the soul. Then, if they still go to church, they mostly hear a watered down gospel that has made its peace with the world.

The church is part of the media as well you know. And, a major part of the problem. When what is preached does not oppose the "spirit of the world", but instead is a sleeping pill to put people at "ease in Zion", the church as a part of mass communication can be a direct agent of Satan. It you look through history, the organized church has more often than not stifled anyone who disagreed, Ask Martin Luther or John Huss or anyone in Foxe's book of martyrs about "The Fairness Doctrine". preachers put in prison in colonial Virgin where is was illegal to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the years before the "First Great Awakening". Ask those in colonial New England about what happened when they refused to baptize their babies but instead stood for believer's baptism. Find out what the term "freedom of religion" means in a Muslim country. Find out what the "Fairness Doctrine" means when Christians excoriate those who disagree on details from the pulpit. Have you ever heard balanced discourse on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit fairly addressing the many scriptures mentioning it in an "Independent Fundamental Church"? Have you ever heard balanced teaching on "worship" from those who swing from the chandeliers but have little or no time for sound Bible teaching?

No, people were not fair with Jesus - they turned on him as soon as the giveaways were over and the time to bear their crosses was at hand. No, people are not fair with gospel preachers who insist on righteous and holy living and who do not compromise with the devil. No, people are not fair with the Bible, choosing to believe and disbelieve at will and loving to take half-verses out of context and building belief systems more pagan than Christian out of them while willfully ignoring or disobeying passages which are crystal clear and beyond dispute. Christians are not even fair with each other, pigeon-holing each other and failing to submit to one another or learn from one another. So if the world cannot be fair, and Christians themselves are all too often far less than fair, how can we put any of them in charge of "fairness"?

I believe it is best to allow absolute freedom of speech. I also believe Christians need to lobby media outlets to be fair. After all, just because we aren't perfect yet doesn't mean we aren't seeking to please Jesus. While the world will never be fair, we must do the most we can to influence it for the sake of people everywhere. God wants people to have the truth, because the truth will set them free. We need to use every means at our disposal to spread the truth, to counteract lies, and to look for the righteous to shine like the sun. The unFAIRNESS DOCTRINE is nothing new. There will always be people seeking to silence others. Let us be sure we do not silence those who can speak God's truth into our lives.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008


The Saddleback Forum with Rick Warren was a rather new approach - invite both candidates to a mega-church and ask them the same questions - but not when they are together, but separately. There is a desire for Christians to make intelligent choices in the voting booth. All too often, decisions are made based upon one issue or upon rumor or upon social pressure. Rather than simply try to sell you on one candidate or the other, I have compiled just a handful what I have heard as reasons Christians have for voting for either Barack Obama or John McCain. Since this is a blog, give me your comments as to whether you believe any of these reasons are legitimate as well as you own reasons for supporting whom you support. Given that Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, and some other minor party candidates are given no shot at winning, please confine your comments to the two major contenders:

1) I want change, and I believe Barack Obama has the ability to change. In fact, he has recently changed himself, moving more towards the mainstream.
2) I believe Barack Obama can deal more effectively with the energy situation. He is not controlled by "big oil".
3) I believe Barack Obama is a Christian, and will bring his faith to bear in his decisions.
4) I believe Barack Obama will be more effective dealing with the world around us.
5) I believe Barack Obama is better able to heal our racial wounds and the time for that has finally come.

1) I want a pro-life president and John McCain has voted pro-life.
2) I believe John McCain will appoint Supreme Court justices who will protect our Christian freedoms and who will not expand abortion or homosexual agendas.
3) I believe John McCain is better able to protect our country against the perils we face.
4) I believe John McCain will better control spending and new or increased taxes.
5) I believe John McCain will be a stronger ally of Israel, and the future of our country is linked to our support of Israel.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

BIG Media, BIG Science, BIG Religion

Everything seems to be BIG these days. Instead of small, medium and large, it is increasingly BIG, BIGGER, and BIGGEST. Everything is in CAPS or BOLD, or underlined. A Deluxe car used to be top-of-the-line. Later it was the stripper model. Now, even the cheapest car isn't worthy of being saddled with that name. The country used to be filled with mom-and-pop businesses. Restaurants with interesting names. Now small hardware stores, individual restaurants, and family stores are a disappearing breed. You have Home Depot's or Lowe's, Mc Donald's or Applebee's, Macy's and Target's from one part of the land to the other. If there were no signs and it was not in the middle of summer or winter when the weather might yield a clue, you would have no idea whether you were in Iowa, Florida, Kansas, or even in Connecticut.

Such is the case with BIG Media. The old networks used to hold sway, but now the cable outlets have proliferated. The BIG Media seem to be every-where. Whether on radio, in USA Today, or TV, people are getting largely the same predigested information. The electoral map is changing as people everywhere are beginning to believe the same things. Oh, there are differences, but it is not nearly as clear as it used to be. The challenge is that BIG Media drums ideas into people's heads and censors out inconvenient news and ideas. It is like a large snowball. While there are some who assiduously consult alternative media and the more diverse opinions on the Internet and do some critical thinking of their own, most still trust sources with thinly or unveiled bias that is embarrassing to thinking individuals. BIGGER is not always better. The ability to marshal large resources can also result in huge dependencies on those who do not wish certain truths to be expressed in the media. It is shocking when you consider how much news is NEVER spoken, shown, or published. The censorship is not from the government, it is from BIG Media mavens and the culture that is selective about what is newsworthy and that is reluctant to report what doesn't fit in with their preconceived notions. There needn't be any conspiracy - it is simply that those whose god is this world think alike – they have the same father, and he isn't the heavenly one!

BIG Science is much the same way. While educated people like to perceive of themselves as not agendized, but impartial people committed to the truth, that is often not the case at all. Some of the most quoted scientists have extreme prejudice based upon their own belief system. "We cannot let God get his foot in the door" hardly seems an appropriate sentiment when considering monumental evidence that the world had a designer. Insisting on ever more exotic beliefs such as "punctuated equilibrium" by Stephen Jay Gould when the evidence was not supporting classic evolutionary philosophy is hardly an objective way to approach things. The mantras of BIG Science are so consuming that the slightest deviation, even by one of their own, which happened at the Smithsonian, is seen as treason and betraying the cause. This is not the stuff of objective science; it is the stuff of religious bigotry and a narrow-mindedness that dwarfs that of even the most legalistic Christian. The facts are that it is hard to get a research grant if you do not bow at the altar of man-made global warming. It is difficult to get a university teaching position if you do not mindlessly repeat evolutionary mantras and "millions of years" in any context regardless of the facts, the evidence, or the relevancy. At least one professor refused to write a letter of recommendation for medical school to any student not enamored with the theory of evolution despite the fact that evolution has nothing to do with the necessities of medical education or practice. A six-day creationist was one of the best professors that the renowned Washington University School of Medicine ever had, and he says evolution never contributed anything to medical education. Not a popular position. BIG Science, like BIG Media, can be most oppressive, and truth is ignored for conformity with presuppositions and religious bigotry.

That brings me to BIG Religion. Oh, boy. The growth of the mega-belief systems interestingly has many parallels to BIG Media and BIG Science. You note I did not say mega-CHURCH. While to be sure, some mega-churches stifle anything not fitting the script, other churches are large because God IS doing something great there, and there can be considerable diversity within that large assembly. There are some storefront churches as well as the big boys that subscribe to mega-belief systems that are stifling and unbiblical. Whether the deviation comes from wanting to be inclusive to avoiding offending anyone contributing to a seven or eight figure annual budget, or whether the deviation comes from an unfounded interpretation of the Bible or a refusal to run the church the way God has ordained, the results are the same — weak Christians who have little life in their relationship with God, a daily lifestyle that whether too rigid or too loose that fails to spread the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit, and division based upon insisting on that which is alien to the Kingdom of God. Some will castigate you if you do not fall in line with the big gurus of Christianity, even when much of what they say is either a gross distortion of the Bible, is rooted in cultic beliefs, or is actually contrary to sound Bible doctrine. Others will castigate you if you do not follow man-made rules, which are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Still others will poke fun at you if you do not worship in a contemporary and animated style but love the older style hymns and choruses while still others will mock you if you DO worship in a style, which involves moving your body, expressing your emotions, and raising your hands. BIG Religion does not like dissent. Just try to ask some basic questions sometime - here is a "baker's dozen"... not all apply everywhere, but I haven't been ANYPLACE where at least one or more is not an issue. Let me know how you make out —

1) Why are messages in tongues or prophecy prohibited when the Bible clearly lays out the protocols for these gifts of the spirit (increasingly, not just classical evangelical churches, but also Pentecostal churches restrict these gifts in the main services)?

2) Why are women in positions of authority over men when the Bible clearly prohibits that?

3) Why are Christians who divorced as Christians without Biblical grounds being remarried in the church?

4) Why are persons living together who have attended the church for some time never confronted about their sin? Or practising homosexuals? Or dishonest businessmen? Or persons who swear or gossip or tear down a brother?

5) Why is tithing pushed and mandated when the New Testament clearly teaches that we are NOT to give under compulsion, but voluntarily in accordance with God's blessing (not a "seed" we don't have!) and according to what he has placed in our heart? Why are Old Testament rules SELECTIVELY preached when we have a better covenant and the freedom in Christ who set us free from the law?

6) Why are religious acts that are more entertainment than ministry promoted and supported as "ministry" and not simply as wholesome entertainment you pay admission for? (And while you are at it, why are neophyte entertainers who become Christians idolized over the mature saints who have labored in prayer for years and been through the fire?)

7) Why are rich people with good jobs given a disproportionate number of influential positions in the church? Why is the rich man still honored more than the poor man as James warns against?

8) Why are the rich in the church not encouraged to share their wealth with the poor of the church so that no one has too much and no one has too little? Why is conspicuous consumption by Christians celebrated in church when Jesus and the Apostles gave the OPPOSITE direction? And why are riches linked to spirituality when Jesus said it is HARDER for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle?

9) Why when it comes to building programs is it that a million dollars can easily be raised, but to spread the gospel through missionaries giving up everything and going to an unfamiliar land, a hundred thousand dollars seems to be a much too aggressive goal?

10) Why are services choreographed with all attention on the platform when I Corinthians 14 clearly states what is to occur EVERY time we come together — with the BODY of Christians participating in the service flowing in the diversity of gifts of the Holy Spirit has given to them?

11) Why are Pastors richly compensated in many cases while those with the gift of Administration given by the same Holy Spirit are paid little if anything? Those who teach ARE worthy of DOUBLE honor, not TEN-FOLD or more honor.

12) Why are leaders with obvious faults and strongholds never confronted about them as is commanded in the Bible, as we are not to be partial toward an elder who sins?

13) Why are being "slain in the spirit", "soaking", or other non-Biblical experiences (which interestingly have parallels in eastern religions), wild emotional outbursts, references to the Holy Spirit at a force or an "it" with supposed manipulation of that "force", and highly amplified (sometimes almost to the point of pain) "worship" that has more to do with us than with him becoming the new liturgy, with devotional worship oriented toward God and his attributes and our relationship with him, solid Bible teaching, prayer for our leaders and each other, and calls to repentance given a minor role if any at all? After all, we are commanded to preach the Word, pray with respect for our government leaders (no rants allowed!), intercede, flow in the gifts of the Spirit, and call all people to repent of their sins and live Holy lives.

I think you know the answers to many of these questions. Christians are being pounded into conformity with so much that is contrary to the gospel ONCE delivered to the saints. It can be political conformity, cultural conformity, religious conformity or even ALL THREE. Romans 12 tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds that we would prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God! We must strenuously avoid the spirit of this world wherever we find it!

Let's be conformed to GOD and his infallible word and not BIG Religion. After all, the Book of Revelation tells you all you need to know about where BIG Religion will lead us. EVEN THE ELECT are vulnerable, so be sure to stand for the eternal WORD OF GOD. Many have died for the truths we know today. Yet few are willing to stick their necks out to defend the church against enemies old and new. Let us contend for the faith and enjoy the good fruit of a faithful relationship with Jesus.