Tag: society

The real issue with the Boys Scouts

13350239_624569961040640_8092507861845382051_oPeriodically, controversy will erupt concerning the Boys Scouts of America. The latest “outrage” over the Scouts allowing girls to join Cub Scouts, with the promise of adding a program for older girls in the near future, is just the latest salvo in the culture proxy war that has become modern scouting.

Liberals and social justice warriors feel that if they can effect change in the Boys Scouts organization, they can use that victory to effect change in the culture at large. Conservatives and Christians feel with every change that takes place, more ground is lost in the culture war.

And so it goes, both sides lighting up the phones on talk radio, writing letters to the editors of local papers, and blasting or praising the scouting organization itself. Lost in all of this hyper-political drama is what’s at issue itself.

In this case, it’s the idea that girls should be able to join the Boys Scouts and learn what boy scouts learn.

Now, on one hand, I get it. The world is changing, and it would be nice to have some thing to hold on to that will not change. A reminder of “the good ole days,” as it were. But as I have previously posted, the good ole days are going away, and are not returning.

That doesn’t mean the future is dim, but rather that our future good ole days are going to be different, and we’d be wise to position ourselves to enjoy the future good ole days.

When I look at what is at stake with the Boys Scouts admitting girls, I see an organization that teaches it’s members to do their best, to do their duty to God and country, and to always be honest and act with integrity. I fail to see the harm in teaching those things to girls.

When I look at what Boys Scouts do, learning to tie knots, fix things, build things, hunt, fish, camp, survival skills, archery, etc, I see no harm in teaching girls the same things. In fact, with masculinity declining in our culture, girls need to know these things so they can function in the presence of a man who cannot do these things.

Masculinity. There’s an issue. Matt Walsh, a commentator for The Blaze and a conservative blogger, tweeted in the aftermath of the decision to allow girls into Cub Scouts, questioning why boys couldn’t just have a place to be boys? Good question. However, the question insinuates that by allowing girls to go on the camping trip, we’re somehow taking away the boys’ place to be boys. I mean really, have Cub Scouts Camps become “safe spaces?”

Here’s the issue with masculinity in the Boys Scouts. Like it is in our culture, masculinity is fading in the organization. Here’s why.

Since the Cub Scouts began allowing women to be scoutmasters in 1976, with the Boys Scouts making the same move in 2014, more mothers are becoming scoutmasters. And they do a heck of a job. A great job. I know a few. The issue to me isn’t women teaching boys to be men, it’s why aren’t more men stepping up to teach these boys to be men?

This issue is neither limited to the scouts, nor is it caused by the scouts. I read an article recently where tool manufacturers and hardware stores were starting to market their products by teaching millennials how to use them. Basically, “this is a skill-saw, here’s what you’d use it for, and here’s how you’d use it.”

While it would be easy to poke fun at millennial men for not being able to use a table-saw, we have to wonder why he doesn’t know. For every 20-something that doesn’t know how to change a tire, I’ll show you a dad who never took the time to show his son how to change a tire.

For every 20-something that can’t figure out how to use a drill-driver, I’ll show you a dad who never built a deck or tree-house with his son.

The reason masculinity is declining in our culture is because dads don’t teach their sons how to be men. How to take responsibility and raise and support a family. How to fix the toilet. How to change a taillight.

That’s a cultural issue. And that’s where the culture war is being lost.

So, if the Boys Scouts want to admit girls, let ’em.

And if your daughter wants to join the Boys Scouts, let her. Maybe she’ll learn some skills so a future repairman won’t empty her wallet by charging for blinker fluid.

As for me, I’m going to re-evaluate my life, and go home and teach my boys how to build a privacy fence in the back yard.

What I learned from a recent trip to the buffet

When you have seven kids, a simple trip to a restaurant for dinner is not only a major logistical operation, it’s a huge financial undertaking. Hence, it doesn’t happen very often.

This past Sunday being Fathers’ Day, however, we decided to go to an all-u-can-eat buffet in Waco, Tex. The kids could serve themselves, thus making logistics easier. The cost of the meal would top $100, but given that there was all-you-can-eat steak and shrimp on the buffet, the benefits outweighed the costs. And so we went.

This particular establishment was packed. Yet, despite the crowded conditions, everyone got along great. People helped kids load their plates, patrons courteously allowed other patrons ahead of them in the catfish line, and everyone was having a good time.

What made the harmony among the people so amazing was that, not only was this restaurant overcrowded, but the crowd consisted of a diverse group of people. There were multiple ethnic groups represented, ranging from Caucasian, to African American, to Hispanic, to Middle Eastern, to Asian. There were also people of different lifestyles, ranging from Christians arriving for a Fathers’ Day meal after Sunday worship, to LGBTQ, tattooed and non-tattoo’ed.

Everyone got along. There was harmony. There was friendliness. One African-American lady even complimented me on my looks. (That never happens to me, by the way.)

I should not have been surprised by the harmony and congenial atmosphere experienced that day. The same thing happened at another all-you-can-eat franchise in Washington, DC, during a visit I made there two years ago. But, given the political climate of the day, I expected more cold shoulders, and less comments about my beautiful red hair.

When you read articles on social media, you are treated to a barrage of racial incidents, and commentary which tells us that racial-tensions are at an all-time high, and race-relations are at an all-time low. Turn on the news, and you see BLM protesters blocking freeways in cities where police shootings have claimed the lives of African-American citizens. These are tragic circumstances and are not to be minimized.

But if those instances are indicative of the culture at large, the deep racial divisions in our country were not manifested in my recent trip to the buffet line. Here’s what I think is really happening.

Tragedies are happening. A police officer shoots an unarmed African-American motorist. The news media sensationalizes the story, because in the 21st Century media economy, page views and impressions are everything. Sensational headlines generate traffic, which generates ad revenue, so the story is sensationalized.

Activists groups then use the tragedy as a publicity and fundraising tool, and protesters take to the streets furthering the story, which goes viral on social media as those who have been victims of racism want to show solidarity, and those who have not wish for the problem to go away.

Then, CNN does a story about race relations being at an all-time low, which generates web traffic and TV viewership, the nation debates the issue, and the drama continues online.

Meanwhile, at a buffet in Texas, African Americans, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, Caucasians and Asians are gathered together at the table of brotherhood which is adorned by an endless supply of steak, shrimp, fried chicken, fried fish, and all the fixin’s.

I could draw the conclusion that people are people, regardless of race, who just want to live their lives, enjoy good things, and get along with everybody. At my core, I believe that to be true.

On the other hand, perhaps we all got along because we were drawn together by a common cause: steak and shrimp. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned. Perhaps the leaders and voices of our nation could draw people together by reminding us of the things that we hold dear, that we ALL hold dear, while offering comfort in the aftermath of tragedy.

Perhaps the leaders of our country could unify the country by reminding us of how great our country is, in spite of the tragedies that happen.

But that will never happen. The key to winning elections today is to divide and conquer. Convince one group that others are out to get them, and that you are the only one who can offer protection, and you have that group’s vote. Plus, calling someone a racist gets more page views than posts about unity. Our leaders and media sources will take the easy way out every time, to the detriment of our society.

So, it’s up to us. It’s up to us to see the humanity of each other. To see that the man across the table who has a different skin color, a different world view, and possibly a different religion is still a man. He has a life, responsibilities, worries and a family just like we do. He is, after all, a man.

In that humanity, we have a common bond. Once we recognize that, true healing and unity can take place in our nation, if it hasn’t started already.

I fear blogging about racial issues. I fear that my words will come off as calloused, uninformed, or even offensive.

But know this, regardless of who you are, I will pray for you, I will pray with you, and I want the best for you. And if your freedom is threatened, I will go to bat for you.

May God bless you, my friend.

 

Objectively analyzing Rand

Ayn RandHoward Roark was an idiot.

He represented himself in a court of law, fulfilling the old proverb, “A man who represents himself in a court of law has a fool for a client.”

He sat there at the defense table while a coalition of accusers bent on destroying his career testified against him. He never cross-examined. He never defended himself. He was thus found liable in a civil suit that cost him everything.

In the book, The Fountainhead, Roark was an architect who rejected long revered traditions and cultural influences, and designed buildings based on what was practical.  He cared less for critical acclaim, and more for producing a product that served his clients well. Those who commissioned his buildings were well pleased, even if their friends belittled their choices. Those who hated him aimed to destroy him.

Such was the set-up for the lawsuit that wiped Roark out in the middle of the book. A religious enthusiast contracted with Roark to build a temple for all religions. Roark initially refused, being an atheist, but relented at the insistence of the buyer, who was put up to it by an altruistic leader in New York.

Roark designed a temple that looked nothing like the classic temples of the ancient world, neither did it look like a church. The client was unhappy, and sued.

If I were Roark’s attorney, I would have argued that the buyer was warned the temple would not look like any temple ever built, that Roark was given total creative freedom, and that the services requested were delivered on time. If I were Roark’s attorney, I would have won that case. And I don’t even have a law degree.

Following Roark’s legal demise, his girlfriend marries another man, and Roark vows to wait until she leaves her new husband and returns to him. At this point of the book, I had to call “bullcorn!”

The Fountainhead is one of the definitive books of 20th century America. Written by noted philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead has inspired many successful Americans. Mark Cuban, an entrepreneurial maverick, says he reads it for inspiration. Cuban built his fortune online, founding and eventually selling Broadcast.com. He owns several other companies, and gained his biggest notoriety as owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.

You can see a lot of Roark’s character in the way Cuban runs the Mavericks. From his battles with the NBA commissioner, to his taunting referees from the sideline, to his multiple attempts to incorporate Dennis Rodman into the roster, Cuban has lived up to his team’s name.

Still, Cuban fights. Roark surrenders.

In addition to the adventure of a maverick architect, The Fountainhead offers legal drama, romantic drama, irony and the occasional laugh. At face value, the book is a good read, and is the favorite of a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. The problem is, the book was not written to entertain us.

The Fountainhead is Ayn Rand’s philosophical manifesto written in novel form. The entire work was written to propose, explain and promote her political philosophy of “Objectivism.” With Roark being the embodiment of Objectivism, it comes as no surprise that his character has no soul.

Roark has no passion beyond his designs. He has no passion for his girlfriend. He has no passion to defend his practice in court. He pours his heart into his work, then offers it on a “take it or leave it” basis without passionately advocating for it. He just exists, an odd colored flower in the garden of New York.

Ironically, his lack of soul exposes the fallacy of Objectivism.

Boiled down to one sentence, Objectivism is the belief in that which can be verified through tangible means. It removes the aspects of faith and morals, and evaluates everything through the lense of what reality can be verified, what works, and what does not.

As a result, Objectivism promotes selfishness, individualism, to an extent, libertarianism, and social liberalism. And while Objectivism is very strong on individual rights (of which I strongly support), it falls short in that it denies the one thing that sets man apart from the rest of creation, his spirituality.

As such, when Objectivism was captured in one fictional character, that character turned out hollow. He had no soul. (Not that he didn’t have a soul, which he didn’t, he was fictional, but he didn’t have soul. There was nothing to him.)

In promoting her philosophy of Objectivism, Rand often discussed “the virtue of selfishness.” This virtue was lauded for its harmony with human nature. In order for there to be true harmony, each individual can only be expected to act in his own self-interest. Expecting an individual to act against his best interest is immoral, as is the individual who does not act in his own best interest.

Not only does this teaching run contrary to scripture, it denies man’s spiritual nature, and ignores American history.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote about the natural law, the inherent sense of right and wrong that is present in each individual. Whether that individual believed in God or not, that individual had a concept of right and wrong. We may argue about family values, and what does or does not constitute marriage, but we all agree that a man should commit himself to his wife, and that a man is not to just take whatever woman he pleases.

We may argue about what constitutes stealing, and what does not, but we all agree that it is wrong to go into your neighbor’s house and take his television. This is what Lewis referred to as “The Natural Law.” Of course, when he wrote about “The Natural Law,” Lewis was obviously referring to Romans 2, which says that when men who do not have God’s law, do by nature the things contained in God’s law, men become a law unto themselves.

And that natural law defines morality, and that law tells us that only doing what’s in our own best interest is not moral. When we follow such a lifestyle, the Holy Spirit convicts us and we have a guilty conscience. Objectivism denies that our conscience even exists. Objectivism has no soul.

Furthermore, if Objectivism were the pre-eminent philosophy of the day, America would fall. In his essay, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the role the Christian faith played in American society. De Tocqueville wrote that without faith, democracy would falter, because individuals only acting in their own self interests would tear the society apart. With the Christian faith, individuals felt responsible to contribute to society. Thus they did, and thus democracy works in America.

It was a sentiment also expressed by John Adams, who said that the Constitution was written for a moral and religious people, and that it was wholly inadequate to govern any other.

In addition to Objectivism not working for the afore-mentioned reasons, it will not work because it denies the Spirituality of man. We all are embedded with that natural law, and when it has been violated against us, we feel the hurt. Man cannot be expected to turn off his Spirituality. It doesn’t work.

So, while I applaud Rand’s efforts to stand up for individual rights, we must be careful not to blindly follow her entire philosophy. It goes against human nature, denies reality, and therefore can never work.

The real reason Millennials are leaving Christianity

WP_20141002_003Rev. Darryl Bowdre has spent much of his adult life serving the community in north Tyler, Tex. He serves as pastor of the South Central Church of Christ, advocates for the community’s schools and students, mentors young men, and at one time had a radio show on the now-defunct KZEY 690 AM.

Once, Rev. Bowdre spent an entire episode of his show addressing the crisis with young people. Rev. Bowdre lamented that the younger generation was being seduced by violent music, drugs, peer pressure and sexual immorality. These temptations, according to Bowdre, were even overtaking what we would refer to as “the good kids.”

When Rev. Bowdre recorded that show, America was in a time of unparalleled prosperity. It was a prosperity that blinded many to their responsibilities to guide their children, and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

“One day, when this party is over,” Rev. Bowdre stated, “We will stand before our Lord, and answer for what we didn’t do. We will answer for why we didn’t save the children.”

The day we stand before the Lord has not yet arrived. However, the party is over, and we are seeing the results of not having “saved our children.”

A recent article from Fox News offered 10 reasons why millennials are abandoning Christianity. Among those reasons were the breakdown of the family, lack of spiritual authenticity from adults, and the cultural abandonment of morality. These three reasons, along with the other seven, are symptomatic of the central disease diagnosed by Rev. Bowdre almost two decades ago. We didn’t teach our children. We didn’t intervene in their lives. We didn’t save them. Now, those children are young adults, and we are seeing the fruit of our inaction.

With the breakdown of the family, fathers have not been there to teach the children about their heavenly Father. Furthermore, with no functional family present, children have not been taught values, virtue and faith. They have been left to teach themselves.

The children have been teaching themselves using Hollywood, atheistic professors, and personal pleasure as their curriculum. This problem is compounded when they see the adults in their lives being hypocritical; being one person at church, and a completely different person at home. The lack of leadership and guidance from their parents has breed contempt for their parents’ generation, and all the traditions and values that go with it, including religion.

Meanwhile, millennials seek purpose apart from God. They want their lives to mean something, while turning away from the One who designed life itself.

As a result, there are riots at Berkeley, riots in Ferguson, Mo., skyrocketing STD rates, and a willingness by many western youth to join terrorist organizations like ISIS.

Most adults today are horrified at what the millennial generation has become. However, we only have ourselves to blame. In the party of the 1990s and the early 2000s, we abandoned our children, allowing them to raise themselves in society, opening the door for Satan to steal their hearts.

Rev. Bowdre warned us. One day, we will answer for the fact that we did not save our children.

The good news is, if you woke up above the grass today, there is still time to change.

Historically, Christians have been in the minority in the world. We have never really steered the world agenda, although we enjoyed a lot of influence in the founding of the United States of America.

Being the cultural minority leads to revival in the Christian community. Being culturally dominant often leads to complacency, which leads to surface-level faith and weak theology. Being in the cultural minority challenges our faith, which forces us to learn more about God, strengthen our faith, and stand on truth even when it’s not popular to do so.

And on that note, the millennial generation is ripe for a soul harvest. Millennials crave meaning, and desperately want their lives to have an impact. Once they take up a cause, they will follow it no matter the consequences. Which means, if you lead a millennial to Christ, you have not only led a soul to salvation, but you have created a super-evangelist, apologists, author, speaker, and disciple-maker.

When millennials accept Christ, and conform themselves to His image, and not a man-made Christ-like image, they totally sell out for the Lord. The result is more millennials being won for Christ.

It’s not easy. You will not win millennials to Christ by talking about the ABC plan of salvation, or by asking them to say the sinner’s prayer. You have to be the embodiment of Isaiah 1:18 (Come, let us reason together.) You have to be able to discuss your faith, what salvation is, and answer the hard questions. However, if you are sincere, the millennials will see it, respect it, and may even repent and believe.

That’s not to say that the majority will be reached. You may only reach one in a thousand.

However, before that happens, you have to settle your faith in your heart. Authenticity is the highest virtue to millennials. And to have authenticity, you have to be authentic.

Therefore, make your calling and election sure. Study your Bible, learn all you can about the Lord. Settle your faith in your heart. Then get busy reaching these young people for Christ.