Monthly Archives: January 2018

Homeschooling, Worldview, and the State

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Beyond the crazy guilt-by-association stories, the debate over homeschooling boils down to this: Who is responsible for our kids’ education?

Hi, I’m John, and my wife and I homeschool our children.

I hope in the future that’s not how we’ll have to introduce ourselves as a sort of public warning to others. But make no mistake, the phenomenally successful homeschool movement does have its enemies: enemies constantly working to turn public opinion against parents who have chosen this way to pursue their children’s education.

A recent and -obscene example comes from the New Republic, where writer Sarah Jones is using the horrible story of the torture inflicted by David and Louise Turpin on their 13 children as a means to attack the idea of homeschooling itself. Under the inflammatory headline, “The Turpins Won’t Be the Last: How Lax Homeschooling Laws Enable Child Abusers,” Jones argues that this horrifying case is representative of a larger trend of child abuse enabled by the freedom to homeschool.

Now folks, to use a phrase I introduced a few weeks ago on BreakPoint, this is nutpicking nonsense. There’s nothing inherent to homeschooling that creates abuse. Abuse happens in all educational, parenting, ecclesial, and for that matter, cultural contexts.

My BreakPoint colleague Shane Morris, a product of homeschooling himself, tackled Jones’ cheap-shot article in a sharp-elbowed but necessary response to Jones at The Federalist. I’ll link you to it at BreakPoint.org. Shane writes, “In [Jones’s] mind, the fact that some homeschooling parents abuse their children is proof that something is wrong with liberal homeschooling laws. But we might also apply her line of reasoning to public schools.

“In New Jersey,” he continues, “93 teachers pleaded guilty to sexual relationships with students from 2003 to 2013.” And “Reuters reports that in 2014, ‘almost 800 school employees were prosecuted for sexual assault.’”

It would be absurd to conclude from these statistics that public and private schools “assist abusers.” No one thinks that way.

But that’s exactly what Jones does to homeschooling, when she and other proponents for increased regulation worry that what they call the “state of deregulation” “actually assists abusive parents.”

Not surprisingly, Jones also questions the motives of groups like the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association and downplays the impressive academic achievement displayed by homeschooled children, as well as the research “that shows homeschooling produces, on average, better-educated and more college-ready students.”

There are, as Shane writes, good schools and bad schools—schools that produce college-ready students by the boatload, and there are schools that graduate kids who can barely read. In the same way, there are parents succeeding at homeschooling and there are those that aren’t. If you’re not calling for the state to abandon public education for the bad apples, you’ve got no business calling for a crackdown on homeschooling because of the evil deeds of these two California parents.

In the end, I think Shane is right: “On a more fundamental level, those who want to place additional barriers in the way of homeschooling families have a different worldview. They see the state, not the family, as ultimately responsible for rearing and educating children.” That’s a worldview that Christians don’t share, no matter how we choose to handle our own children’s education.

Kids belong to God, who entrusts them to parents. Whether parents choose homeschooling, private education, charter schools, public education, or like many of us  do some amalgamation and combination of those options, the bottom line is, kids don’t belong to the government.

And that means at least two things for us. First, Christian parents ought to take that responsibility just as seriously and intentionally as it sounds. And second, we should call out the lie that abuse—which sadly happens everywhere—discredits an educational choice that’s blessed over a million-and-a-half kids.  Instead we should ask what’s broken in our society that’s making abuse so common.

 

Homeschooling, Worldview, and the State: Who’s Responsible? 

Click here to read Shane Morris’s column in The Federalist, “Don’t Blame Homeschooling for Child Abuse Cases Like the Turpins’.”

Resources

Don’t Blame Homeschooling For Child Abuse Cases Like The Turpins’

  • G. Shane Morris | The Federalist | January 22, 2018
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President Trump was changed as we should hope, and pray for others to be

  1. President Trump, just a matter of years ago, had described himself as very pro-choice, but now he can only be described in terms of his actions and statements as very pro-life.

 

I cannot dream of understanding exactly how he came from a pro-choice position to a pro-life position, but I do know this: he put himself very much on the line in that webcast of the March for Life. He has also put himself and his administration on the line for the pro-life position in numerous executive orders and in developments even just the day before.

 

 

Whatever happened in the thinking and in the heart and in the policies of Donald Trump over the last several years is exactly what needs to happen amongst millions and millions of our fellow Americans.

( Read or listen to the  rest of this commentary /here .)

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I am encouraged that so many young people (our future leaders) are pro-life a

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never miss viewpoints

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When the Supreme Court removed most state restrictions on abortion back in 1973, who could have predicted the world we live in today?

When the ruling came down, few understood the long-term implications. I remember speaking on the issue in college classrooms a few years later and wondering when the Supreme Court would reverse its decision. By the 1980s, it seemed like only a matter of time that abortion would once again be restricted in America. That did not happen.

A whole generation of young people has grown up never having known a time when abortions were illegal. They may have seen some protests and may have heard some debate about the subject. But that is perhaps the sum total of their experience.

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Your Desires Don’t Define You Emily Thomes’ Story

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When someone states that he or she was “born this way,” maybe the most biblical response is, “me too.”

The Huffington Post is all in a huff over a stupendous viral video about homosexuality and the Gospel—a video that’s racked up nearly 2 million views. Created by the Christian media ministry Anchored North, this production gives every appearance of being just another “coming out” story by a lesbian woman.

Emily Thomes tells of how it “went terribly” when she revealed her first romantic relationship with a woman to her father. In her Southern lilt, she describes the conviction at age twenty that if anyone in the Bible Belt was truly a Christian, they would approve of her lifestyle. “If not,” she says, “then you were legalistic and you needed to re-read what God was really about: ‘Judge not.’”

Then, at twenty-two, Thomes was invited to attend a ladies’ Bible study. Certain the women would reject her, she gave it the old college try. But something strange happened. Thomes was not shunned by these Christian women. As a result, she began asking herself questions: “What if it’s all true? Are you sure this is who you are?”

She turned to the Bible to see if her ideas about what real Christians believe were accurate, and soon found herself in the sin list of 1 Corinthians 6. Paul’s promise of judgement, she says, scared her. “I realized I was in the ‘will not enter the kingdom of God’ lineup.” And then she read verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified.”

The freedom promised in this verse ultimately opened her eyes. “I could hold onto my sin and reject God,” she says, “or I could turn to Him. All the debt that I racked up living like I had lived didn’t have to be mine…”

Predictably, HuffPo slams Thomes’ story as a commercial for the “scientifically discredited and flat-out lethal idea that gay, lesbian, or bisexual people can change their sexual orientation if they pray hard enough.” They quote one so-called “queer Christian writer and pastor” who insists “a robust, Christ-centered” theology teaches that God accepts every lifestyle, that He is “all gracious, all merciful, and extends forgiveness and love to absolutely everyone.”

The irony is that Thomes would agree that God extends forgiveness and love to all. The difference is that her idea of forgiveness involves repentance, and being born again.

People regularly confront her with the refrain of the LGBT movement: “I was born this way.” Her reply? “Yeah, me too. You’re not born with right affections. That’s why Jesus had to come. You’re feeling a desire for sin just proves you need grace like me.”

This answer is more than just a good one. It’s the definitive response from a Christian worldview to those who insist sexual desires define them.

What Thomes’ story so beautifully portrays and what proves to be such a stumbling block to the editorial staff at the Huffington Post is a little something called the Gospel. It’s the same message preached by other disciples called out of the gay lifestyle, like Rosaria Butterfield, who no longer identify themselves by their desires, but in Christ.

Secular news outlets want to associate this with so-called “conversion therapy,” the once popular practice of trying to clinically “cure” homosexuality. But as Thomes says, the transformation we undergo in Christ isn’t from gay to straight. Despite being happily married in the Lord today, she reminds viewers that “God calls us not to heterosexuality but to holiness.”

The central lie of the LGBT movement and the sexual revolution is that our sin and our desire for it are our identity—even something in which to take pride. But the good news of Christianity is that in Jesus, we can have a new identity. We need no longer be enslaved to our fallen passions. We were made for something better.

 

Your Desires Don’t Define You: Emily Thomes’ Story

Click here to view the video of Emily Thomes’ testimony. And continue to pray, as Emily reminds us, that Christ’s call to holiness will be heard and responded to by all.

Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List

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Open Doors USA has released its annual report on the persecution of Christians. And numbers don’t tell the whole story.

One of the greatest persecutors of Christians of all time, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, was purported to have said the following: “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”

Stalin would have known. Millions of Christians perished during his dictatorship. But the saying was spot on.

Like an old vinyl LP with a scratch on it, we keep hearing the horrible statistics over and over about Christian persecution worldwide—statistics that can numb us to the individual tragedies.

And that’s why I want to thank the CEO of Open Doors USA, David Curry, for the way he began last week’s press conference where Open Doors released its 2018 World Watch List, which details the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians.

Curry painted a picture of tragedy.

“Today,” he said, “I’m dedicating this moment. . . to a 47-year-old nun who, like Mother Teresa, works with the poorest of the poor in India.” Curry told the story of how despite threats on her life from Hindu extremists, she continued her ministry in the name of Jesus.

“Two Hindu extremists,” Curry went on, “came to her medical clinic, attacked her, raped her, drugged her, and left her unconscious, tied to a bed. When the police came to investigate, they began to systematically destroy evidence, and had the shoddiest of investigative processes.

“That’s what justice [for Christians] is like in India today.”

And that my friends, is what the tragic persecution of Christians around the globe looks like.

According to the 2018 World Watch List, for the 16th year in a row, North Korea retains the No. 1 danger spot for Christians. Yet the gap between Kim Jong-un’s totalitarian state and other countries is closing. Afghanistan has moved up to second place.

“Afghanistan and North Korea nearly tied,” says Curry. “Both countries are extreme in intolerance and outright persecution of Christians in every area Open Doors monitors. . . This is a tragedy considering the efforts being made by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan are failing to ensure freedom of religion.”

And while the public here in the U. S. is focusing on the disturbing revelations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, the media, and halls of government, around the globe an even-more sinister assault is taking place, and Christian women are among the most vulnerable.

“Every day,” Open Doors says, “six women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith.” Like Habiba, a 14-year old Nigerian girl kidnapped on her way to work, married off to a Muslim man, then sold into slavery for $160. There have been an appalling 2,260 incidents documented against women—and as Curry makes clear, this is likely only a fraction of those actually raped or harassed.

A few other facts from the report: Nearly one in every 12 Christians worldwide lives in a place where Christianity is illegal, forbidden, or punished; of the 50 countries on the list, 30 saw an increase in persecution; and 22 of the 50 are on the Asian continent.

Please, come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List. Share it with your friends and neighbors—in person and on social media. Get it into the hands of your pastor. Send the link to your representatives in Congress.

And bring it to your prayer group. Make a point of praying for the persecuted, that God would give His people endurance, and that He would work all things together for good—even in the midst of suffering and tragedy.

 

The Very Human Tragedy of Persecution: Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List

Get involved in interceding for the global Christian community. Many are experiencing extreme persecution, and yet their light shines brightly. Click here to listen to Open Doors USA CEO David Curry at the World Watch List Report 2018 press conference, and here to read the 2018 report.

 

 

Resources

World Watch List 2018

  • Open Doors USA
Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians

  • Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, Nina Shea | Thomas Nelson Publishers | March 2013

BreakPoint: Planned Parenthood’s Annual Evil Pray to End Abortion—and Its Funding

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Planned Parenthood’s recently released annual report exposes the organization for what it truly is.

If you go to Wikipedia and look up “Worst Serial Killers in History,” you’ll find a long and horrible list:

Gary Ridgeway, known as the Green River killer, murdered as many as 90 women. Giovanni Brusca, a member of the Sicilian Mafia, killed at least 100 people. Luis Garavito, a Columbian known as “The Beast” is believed to have murdered at least 138 people, mostly children.

But if you go by numbers alone, you might wonder why Planned Parenthood didn’t make the list. The abortion giant’s death toll in 2017 is 321,384—all of them innocent babies. And that’s not counting women who die through so-called safe, legal abortions performed by Planned Parenthood abortionists.

And who is paying for these mass murders? We are—through our taxes. And it’s time we did something about it.

We have a prolife president. We have a prolife Congress. But as Students for Life of America recently pointed out, despite their pledge to defund Planned Parenthood, “you and I are still being forced to funnel our money to the nation’s largest abortion vendor.”

And despite Planned Parenthood’s oft-repeated claim that it offers “comprehensive health services,” its own just-released annual report reveals what a big, fat lie this is. Their own statistics reveal a steep decline in positive services—such as testing for STDs. In fact, as National Review Online notes, Planned Parenthood’s annual report reveals that the abortion giant “exists to provide abortions and not much else.” As for prenatal services—they’ve “dropped steadily every year since 2009, from over 40,000 that year to just under 8,000 last year.”

But there is good news, as well.

Last year, 32 Planned Parenthood clinics closed. Some of them closed because President Trump is allowing states to redirect funds away from Planned Parenthood in favor of organizations that provide reproductive health care that does not include abortion. And more and more women are choosing life for their babies after seeing ultrasound images of them—something many prolife pregnancy centers offer.

But Planned Parenthood still runs nearly 600 clinics and gobbles up millions in taxpayer money, so we still have plenty of work to do.

For starters, we can take part in the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, so our leaders can see with their own eyes how strong is the support for laws that protect the unborn. We should also keep the pressure on President Trump and our federal lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood and expose its lies.

Second, we can support groups like Students for Life and pregnancy care centers, like the one my wife Susanne runs here in New York City. Centers like these help vulnerable young women make the choice for life through free diapers and formula, parenting classes, adoption services, and temporary housing for pregnant women who have no place to go.

Most important of all, we should pray, pray, pray for an end to legalized abortion. Come to BreakPoint.org/21days and download our free guide, “21 Days of Prayer for Life.” It offers stories of women who chose life, and of women and men who regret the abortions of their children. You will learn how to pray for those who are under constant attack for telling women the truth about abortion on college campuses. You’ll also learn how to make the case for life in just sixty seconds.

And let’s remember to pray for the abortionists who commit these horrific acts—that they will, like the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, leave the “satanic world of abortion,” as he called it—and become children of God.

So please, come to BreakPoint.org/21days and download your free prayer guide. Lives—and souls—are at stake.

 

Planned Parenthood’s Annual Evil: Pray to End Abortion—and Its Funding 

Stand against the scourge of abortion. Support your local pregnancy care center by donating and volunteering. And pray, as Eric has requested, for an end to the horrific practice. Join thousands in the prolife movement as we go through “21 Days of Prayer for Life.” Click here to download your free copy today.

 

Resources

Here’s How Many Planned Parenthood Clinics Closed In 2017

  • Grace Carr | The Daily Caller | December 14, 2017
What Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report Proves

  • Alexandra DeSanctis | National Review | January 4, 2018
21 Days of Prayer for Life

  • Downloadable pdf | Colson Center

A Child Understands Divorce

 

Dr. Dobson shares a touching poem that speaks to the real tragedy of divorce

The Good news and Good news from Tehran that might not make it on your evening news

 

 


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“President Oprah Winfrey.”

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Is she running for President? Is she not running? I’ve got no idea. But here’s why Oprah might win if she runs, and more important, what that says about us.

“President Oprah Winfrey.” Get used to those words, because I’m telling you, she can win. During the Golden Globe Awards, the world’s best-known talk-show host accepted a lifetime achievement award and gave a speech that earned a thunderous ovation and ignited chatter of an eventual run for the White House.

Now, Oprah hasn’t been on TV regularly for almost seven years, and for most people, television years are like dog years. But the immediate veneration during and after the Golden Globes reveals that she’s still a guiding star for countless Americans. Don’t believe me? Rasmussen polled likely voters on a potential Oprah-versus-Trump race, and if the election were held tomorrow, she’d win by ten points.

Now whether or not the diva of daytime television will make a bid for commander-in-chief, I don’t know. But there’ still a lesson here for all of us. Specifically, there are two books that describe why she could win. And you need to read them.

The first is one we’ve talked about often on BreakPoint: Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” This prophetic book showed how entertainment was dominating our culture, distracting us, and teaching us to value the trivial. As a result, celebrities became our heroes—experts on all topics, and apparently, serious contenders for high political office.

And Oprah’s celebrity status is unparalleled. Not to mention her brand offers people care, community, and a sense of faith. – all via the glowing rectangle.

But while Postman’s book can help us understand our cultural addiction to celebrity (and why that would help and not hurt a presidential run, as it did Donald Trump), it can’t explain the level of Oprah veneration we saw last Sunday night. That’s why I recommend Ross Douthat’s “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.”

Writing in the New York Times just a few days ago, Douthat argued that if there is an American religion, Oprah is the pope. In “Bad Religion” he explained what American religion is.

America has always been a breeding ground for heresy; think the Mormons, the Shakers, Scientology, etc. But until recent decades, American heresies were peripheral to American culture. Today, western culture spurns its Christian roots, and the historically central Christian denominations have failed to cultivate strong Christian faith within their ranks. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Oprah’s self-help, self-centered, New Agey, do-it-yourself, gooey spirituality has now moved to the center of American religious life.

According to Douthat, Oprah’s “god within” philosophy is the dominant creed in America, and has been at least since the nineties.

In the 1950s, the shared, common inheritance at the cultural center of America was embodied by mainline Protestant and Catholic churches and by religious figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Reinhold Niebuhr, Fulton Sheen, and Billy Graham. Today, we couldn’t even imagine such a thing as “America’s pastor” or a national theologian. Instead, celebrities like Oprah have become, as Douthat puts it, de facto popes.

But before we point fingers without, the church has a lot to answer for within. We’ve so emphasized a “personal experience” with Jesus, we’ve largely neglected what’s True about Him. So, Oprah’s theology of self-empowerment and experience-centric spirituality falls on eager, but theologically unformed, ears.

Whether or not she runs for president, it shouldn’t surprise us just how many Americans are ready to entrust the country to an entertainer who offers spiritual hope.

But it should also remind us that our problems aren’t primarily economic or political. America’s greatest affliction is a poverty of meaning, of purpose, of something to fill that great spiritual emptiness we feel at the heart of our nation.

And as Chuck Colson said often, and I will repeat, salvation will never come on Air Force One.

 

Why Oprah Might Be President: Two Books that Explain

You can get copies of “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman and “Bad Religion” by Ross Douthat at the Colson Center online bookstore.

 

Resources

Amazing NFL play dumb NFL call or rule

 

In a last second play in a NFL Playoff game yesterday the Vikings top  the Saints. This was not only amazing because the Min. Vikings fans have had so many heart break losses in the playoffs. It looked like the Saints were going to win but somehow the Vikes pulled it off. Good job to them. My heart goes out to the Saints.It appeared had this one almost in the bag. But in football, nothing is ever for sure until the clock hits 0.   The dumb thing that happened  the Vikes Scored with no time left on the clock. There was no way the Saints could come back. The media ran onto the field. Players for the Saints were told they had to come back out for the extra point for the game to be official. It took extra time just waiting. This is the kind of thing that makes fans, and others hate the NFL. It is not always best to go by the rule book.