Low birth rate a symptom of Christlessness, not bad economy

The birth rate in the United States has dropped once again, now to 13.5 birth for every 1000 people, the lowest such rate in at least over a century. News organizations and pundits are greeting this news by blaming it on the bad economy, arguing that there is less money to feed mouths, and that is why people are having less children.

While that certainly may be a factor in the short term, that hypothesis ignores the statistical facts; namely, that the birth rate has been in progressive decline since the mid-1950s. The birth rate has declined in economically prosperous times and in times like these, so it seems awfully short-sighted, or an act of plain ole willful ignorance, to say that money in peoples’ pockets, or lack thereof, is the biggest reason for the newest drop in the birth rate (a 2.6 percent decrease, even as the population grew). Continue reading “Low birth rate a symptom of Christlessness, not bad economy”

Article on CNN.com paints picture of fake Christianity and radical faith

CNN.com isn’t usually the place you find thought provoking and fairly accurate analysis of Christianity and the culture, but I believe that to be the case today in “Author: More teens becoming ‘fake Christians'” by John Blake. Kenda Creasy Dean, author of Almost Christian, minister in the United Methodist Church, and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, argues that more teens are being taught a “moral therapeutic deism” which amounts to “a watered-down faith that portrays God as a ‘divine therapist’ whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.” This “imposter” faith, being purported by parents and pastors alike, is a leading cause of church abandonment by today’s adolescents.

Here is a snippet from the column:

Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good — what the study’s researchers called “moralistic therapeutic deism.”

Some critics told Dean that most teenagers can’t talk coherently about any deep subject, but Dean says abundant research shows that’s not true.

“They have a lot to say,” Dean says. “They can talk about money, sex and their family relationships with nuance. Most people who work with teenagers know that they are not naturally inarticulate.”

In “Almost Christian,” Dean talks to the teens who are articulate about their faith. Most come from Mormon and evangelical churches, which tend to do a better job of instilling religious passion in teens, she says.

No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

It is unsurprising, sadly, that Mormons were found in the study to be able to articulate their faith. They do a much better job of “discipling” their children than even most conservative, evangelical churches. Yet it is heartening that evangelicals were found to instill so much religious passion in their teens.

But the “feel good and do good” approach to ministry is still all too common amongst individuals and teachers who profess Christianity. One of the best-selling “Christian” books of the past decade was titled Your Best Life Now. The follow-up, by the same author, was Become a Better You. Joel Osteen’s preaching follows the tenor of his books, and his brand of “Christianity” and his “gospel,” which I’m pretty sure the apostle Paul would call “no gospel at all” (Gal 1:6-9), has run rampant amongst professing Christians. Continue reading “Article on CNN.com paints picture of fake Christianity and radical faith”

How should Christians confront care for the environment?

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The following is an article I wrote as a bulletin insert for my church.

The past decade has seen a revival and intensification of the environmentalist movement in both our country and the world. Today, it is hard to walk into any store without seeing some reference to something being “green” or “good for the environment.”

The environmental movement is like any movement, in that there are many different degrees to which people subscribe to it, but in its most passionate form the green movement seeks to elevate the rest of creation not only above man, but above the Creator. It is a practical outwork, in many ways, of the wrath of God being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). How, then, should believers in Jesus Christ deal with the environment? Continue reading “How should Christians confront care for the environment?”

The solemnity of independence

As I write this many have gathered or are gathering for cookouts, games, parties, and of course, fireworks. The fourth day of July has for a long time in this nation been a day of celebration. It was prophesied to be such when the Declaration of Independence was written and approved by the Second Continental Congress by our second President, John Adams, who was one of the Massachusetts delegates (of course, he was talking about July 2, the day the Declaration technically passed).

I’m not attending a real fireworks display tonight — not because I’m against it or don’t want to necessarily, but because I’ve just driven 2-1/2 hours to come back from Dayton and I’ve got three small girls who should be in bed at least an hour before it’s really dark here. Yet, there is a seriousness about this day of celebration that is definitively forsaken in 2010, and considering where our country has been heading for the past century, and where it is today, we would all do well to learn our history and take a lesson from the founders.

By signing the Declaration men were, in effect, pleading guilty to a capital crime inasmuch as it concerned the British. They were risking their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors for the sake of the liberty of the American states.

The video below is a clip from Part 2 of the miniseries “John Adams,” and I believe it captures the spirit of the signing well. The motion being carried was not met with whooping and hollering, but with silence. They realized the ramifications of the document and what would be the price of freedom.

In a day when Americans and their states have become the subjects of a government seated far closer than London, it would do well to remember that this is not merely the fourth of July. It is Independence Day.

Fred Phelps, funerals, and free speech

Just how much free speech can we take? That is a question one has to ask himself when confronted with the words and actions of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. I hesitate to even dignify this particular organization with the word “church,” though, because as you may be aware Phelps and Westboro, a “church” that consists mainly of his family members, have made their name notorious in the United States for their protests and protest tactics.

Perhaps best known for their “God hates fags” campaign, in which they have posted signs and billboards with demeaning messages toward homosexuals and anyone they perceive does not hate homosexuals, they have become infamous in recent years for their systematic protest of funerals for military personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For example, in 2006 they protested the Westminster, MD, funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died serving our nation in Iraq. They held up signs that read, “God Hates the USA,” “Thank God For Dead Soldiers,” and “Semper Fi Fags,” to demonstrate their belief that military deaths are God’s judgment on the country for its acceptance of homosexuality. Continue reading “Fred Phelps, funerals, and free speech”

Privett in ’12: What America needs

With the passage of the health care bill now in the rear view mirror and with (so far) no inspiring conservative candidates on the horizon (2008 retreads don’t inspire me), I figure it is time to resurrect my long dormant campaign for President of the United States in 2012.

A little history first. I first announced my plans to run for President in 2012 back in 1999. In fact, it contributed to me meeting my wife, so regardless of what happens I have won! Nevertheless, I will be eligible for the presidency in a couple of years and so it’s time to get to campaigning. Therefore, my fellow Americans, I present to you my fake-real platform. I do not pretend that in four or even eight years the country can completely be turned around, but what follows are, in the spirit of Woodrow Wilson, under whose presidency the federal government’s power dramatically increased (to its detriment), my Fourteen Points for turning the tide toward once again guaranteeing  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, for all in America. Continue reading “Privett in ’12: What America needs”