Books, Readings, Movies and Music Celebrating Americanism, Freedom, the Christian Faith, Godly Virtues, and Western Civilization
Introduction: The Great Election of 2016 for the President of the United States is now over and the 45th President will be Donald Trump of New York, a businessman, not a politician. This election will be the subject of studies for the foreseeable future because it was so very different in many ways from all the elections preceding it. Perhaps the strangeness of the election will not be fully known until after the Trump presidency has had a chance to actually do some things that were promised in the campaign.
This election has clearly demonstrated what many of us have known for a long while: this nation is very divided. In my studies as an amateur historian I would say that our nation is more divided than at any time since the 1850’s- 1860’s. The slavery crisis was a complex issue that touched on what it means to be a human being, what the Bible says about slavery, what the Founders thought and wanted, as well as the sheer economics of slavery and the political divide the issue caused including the issue of states’ rights and individual property freedoms. It took the worst war in our history, a war that killed more Americans than any other war, to settle the issue and the lingering issues of race and racism linger still and will likely never go away. But today we are at least just as divided and maybe more so.
The issues that divide us today are just as fundamental as the issue of slavery. Is an unborn baby a human being with rights? Should men be able to marry men and women marry women? What is marriage? What is a family? Can people switch genders and declare themselves a different gender from what they were born with and then force society to recognize them for who and what they are pretending to be? If you have a religious belief that contradicts the liberal sexual mores can you be persecuted and prosecuted by the State and coerced to act against your religion in order to accommodate those with whom you disagree? Do homosexual rights trump religious freedom? Is Islam compatible with any of our western values? What is a nation? Should we not have borders or an official language? Should we purge our history of inconvenient facts because the public’s values have changed?
For the last hundred years or so conservatives and the religious right have slowly surrendered one part of our culture after another despite winning many elections. Our culture is no longer slouching towards Gomorrah, we are going at breakneck speed off the cliff to Gomorrah. And yet we, the religious right and conservatives in general, have just won another election. Sort of. Trump is problematic at best for purebred conservatives.
While political movements, elections, and policies are important, they are just one part of what we must do to reclaim the culture. I would say, boldly even, that the greatest single cause of the decline of our culture is that we have forsaken Christ and His Inspired, Inerrant, Infallible Word. The Church has failed to hold to sound doctrine and failed to pass the faith down to the next generation, and the next, and the next…. We have failed to proclaim the pure gospel and evangelize the lost, failed to claim every part of our culture for the glory of Christ, and failed to lead our world with a consistent and biblical worldview. We have retreated to our Christian ghettos and have been compromised by the world.
Along with the decline in the Church, the next big reason for the fall of our civilization is that we have ceded control of Education to the pagan Left. From the local elementary schools to the school boards, the teachers’ unions, the Teachers’ Colleges and Universities, to the Dept. of Education, our education system is failing and falling short. Our literacy rates are in decline but our athletics are outstanding. The classics are unread, untaught and forsaken but we are computer literate. Americans no longer are even teaching math at university, immigrants are. The Liberal Left and atheists do not and will not, cannot, teach patriotism and moral values anymore. It is now controversial to require students to say the pledge of allegiance, it is not unusual for the Mexican flag to be more prevalent on campus than the American flag and kids cannot sing Christmas carols during Winter Holidays (it used to be called Christmas!)
In short, the American education system is all about keeping children ignorant of the greatness of our country, ignorant of the biblical basis for morals and values, and is more interested in turning out world citizens who cannot think or reason and know not from whence they came, than they are about turning out moral citizens who think critically and cherish their nation’s heritage.
The same can be said for the American entertainment establishment. Gone are the days when sports heroes and movie stars also served in the armed forces and fought in our wars. Today the sports heroes take a knee when the National Anthem is played and the movie stars threaten to move to Canada when their candidate and political party loses an election. One of the biggest Olympic heroes of all time, Bruce Jenner, has made himself a woman. Sort of.
And the News Media, the so-called journalists of our day…are simply disgusting. Useless. Communists. It took an outlaw set of computer hackers, Wikileaks and Anonymous, to break the decisive stories that revealed how crooked the demoncratic party is. They did what the Main Stream Media used to do.
If our government does not address these issues in our education, media, and entertainment systems then all of our political actions and ideals will come to naught.
So what can I do? What can WE do? One tiny thing I am going to do is to promote good books, movies and music that point us in the right direction. If the education system, modern news media and entertainment industry does not promote Americanism, Patriotism, Western Civilization, Virtue and Good Morals, and the Christian Faith, then I WILL. The lists that I will produce are from my personal library and are books/movies/music that I think are important and share a good message that will build up the Church, build up America and Americans, and fight the overwhelming tide of evil that assaults us every day.
I am inviting you to educate and inform yourself through these resources. Certainly we should exchange ideas, discuss the books and the issues. And have fun!
I. History: the Record of Freedom and Oppression, Greatness in Western Civilization
A. General Histories of America: Here are some general histories of America that I have either found to be outstanding or look very promising with good, strong recommendations.
- A History of the American People, by Paul Johnson. HarperCollinsPublishers: New York, 1997 (1088pp.) Johnson is British and the book was originally published in Britain. This is an outstanding, conservative view of the history of America. I would say that if you could read one volume on the history of America, read this book!
- Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties, by Paul Johnson. Harper&Row Publishers: New York, 1983 (817pp.) While this is a world history, it deals a lot with America and her impact on the world, so I am including it here as a companion volume to the one above. I have read this big book twice it’s so good! Even though it is now a bit out of date, if you want to read a great, conservative account of most of the twentieth-century, this is the book.
- The Growth of the American Republic, Volume One, sixth edition, by Samuel Eliot Morison, Henry Steele Commager and William E. Leuchtenburg. Oxford University Press: New York, 1969 (921pp.) The original edition of this classic came out in 1930. Volume Two, seventh edition, 1980 (923pp.) I read these two classics back in 2000 over about 5 months- that fast for such a large work indicates how much I enjoyed these books! The authors tell the story of America in a rich, invigorating manner.
- America, The Last Best Hope Volume I:From the Age of Discovery To a World at War by William J. Bennett. Nelson Current: Nashville, TN 2006 (673pp.) The portions of this book I have read are outstanding! Volume II: From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989 Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2007 (592pp.) This two volume set may be better in some ways than the previous set listed above because Bennett does deal with some modern trends in American History that are liberal and deconstructive. Bennett takes on controversial subjects like Columbus and sets the Liberals straight! If you can afford the time for a big 2 Volume history of America, go to Dr. Bennett.
- A Patriot’s History of the United States From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror, by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. Sentinel: New York, 2004 (928pp.) I have read parts of this book and am quite impressed! It seems that it started out as a one volume work but the following volumes have been added. A Patriot’s History of the Modern World From America’s Exceptional Ascent to the Atomic Bomb: 1898-1945, Larry Schweikart and Dave Dougherty. 2012 (490pp.) A Patriot’s History of the Modern World Vol.II From the Cold War to the Age of Entitlement: 1945-2012 by Schweikart and Dougherty. 2013 (671pp.)
- The Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin. Vintage Books: New York, 1958 (434pp.) This is an outstanding three book series that takes a series of connected snapshots to lay out the history of this great nation. This is not your normal, straight chronological history; Boorstin’s writing is unique and scintillating. The Americans: The National Experience. 1965 (517pp.) The Americans: The Democratic Experience. 1973 (717pp.) This inexpensive paperback set would be a great addition to any family’s library. The way Boorstin writes and organizes his book is that you can open it to any chapter at random, read it, and feel good about your country and learn a lot. You do not have to read it all the way through, first to last, although that is certainly the recommended way.
- The Oxford History of the American People, volume I: Prehistory to 1789, Samuel Eliot Morison. Mentor: New York, 1972 (422pp.) Volume II: 1789 Through Reconstruction. (540pp.) Volume III: 1869 to the Death of John F. Kennedy 1963. (521pp.) Morison is one of my all-time favorite authors and this series is outstanding. I also have the one volume, hardback edition which can still be purchased: The Oxford History of the American People, Oxford University Press: New York, 1965 (1151pp.) Morison is an old school conservative who is a delight to read. By conservative I do not mean a partisan, rather, an accurate historian who is passionate about our story and seeks to tell it with grace and dignity.
- B. Discovering the Americas: Stories of Adventure, Courage & Greatness: Every American should get to know Christopher Columbus. He has fallen out of favor these days and is blamed for the near extermination of the Native Americans, Indians, and Aboriginal Peoples. I believe that we should celebrate Columbus and his great accomplishments as he had a great faith in God, a sense of divine calling in his life, and he was the most courageous and talented mariner in our American story. Simply put, if Columbus had not persevered in his quest, which was a religious quest, America would not be here.
The study of Columbus does have a particular relevance to our lives today in that he was seeking a way to deal with the problem of Islam in his day. That’s right, Columbus did NOT just sail west because it was there, he did not set out on his journey simply for fame, glory, and riches. He believed God had called him to this task in order to enrich the Spanish Crown and fund a Crusade to reconquer the Holy Land from the Muslims and open new trading routes since the Muslims had blocked the direct route. Along the way he discovered a New World.
- The Log of Christopher Columbus, translated by Robert H. Fuson. International Marine Publishing Company: Camden, Maine 1987 (252pp.) An excellent prime source that demonstrates his faith in God and personal courage.
- The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Edited and translated by J.M. Cohen. Penguin Books: New York, 1969 (320pp.) This book is an Excellent prime source and contemporary account. This is an inexpensive paperback and should be in every American’s home!
- Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem, Carol Delaney. Free Press: New York, 2011 (319pp.) An excellent biography that sheds much light on the religious motives of Columbus. If you can’t read Morison’s lengthy biography of Columbus, read this one!
- Admiral of the Ocean Sea, A Life of Christopher Columbus, by Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Little, Brown and Company: Boston, 1942 (680pp.) This Pulitzer Prize winner is one of my top biographies. If you could only read one book on Columbus, read this one.
- The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Two Volumes in One, by Washington Irving. Cosimo Classics: New York, 2011, originally published in 1893, (489pp., 515pp. respectively). Did you catch the author’s name? Yes, that Washington Irving, the famous 19th century author of The Last of the Mohicans, and The Deerslayer. One Great American writing about another. While I have not read this massive 2 volume biography yet, this classic promises greatness. Morison does quote from Irving several times in his books, but there are some inaccuracies in the book that Morison ferrets out.
- The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages A.D.1492-1616, by Dr. Samuel Eliot Morison. Oxford University Press: New York, 1974 (758pp.) This outstanding book tells the stories of the brave, the cruel, the greedy, and the amazing men who led other men in the very dangerous journeys of early trans-Atlantic sailing to the Americas. The book focuses on Columbus, Magellan, and Drake but includes others. These men should be revered as heroes by every American, but, sadly, their stories have fallen on hard times to our great loss.
- The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages A.D. 500-1600, by Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Oxford University Press: New York, 1971 (712 pp.) This Harvard Professor and U.S. Navy Admiral begins his story with ancient myths of islands and lands west of Gibraltar and the English Isles and then covers in detail the great mariners like Leif Ericsson, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier and Sir Walter Raleigh. These great men, and the adventures they pursued, should be common knowledge today, but have, sadly, been long forgotten. In my lifetime the only men that come close to these heroes are the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs which also are now nearly forgotten.
- B. Conquering and Colonizing the Americas
- Of Plymouth Plantation: Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650, by Governor William Bradford. The Vision Forum, Inc.: San Antonio, TX 1998. Originally published 1856 after being lost and in private possession for over two-hundred years. This edition updated into modern English in 1909 by Harold Paget. (353pp.) I have read this book twice and believe that every American should read this book! Condensed, paperback editions are available.
- Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation, by David A. Price. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2003 (305pp.) This outstanding book needs to be read in conjunction with Plymouth Plantation listed above. The two books give you both sides of the founding of this great country- a search for wealth and adventure as well as a search for freedom to worship.
- A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America, by James Horn. Basic Books: New York, 2005 (337pp.) Jamestown is so important that a second book is worthy of your reading.
- Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the Birth of the American Dream, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, New Jersey, 2006 (274pp.) To understand, love, and appreciate America you must read biographies of the great men and women who founded and built this great country. John Smith was a great man, and here is a worthy biography.
- John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father, by Francis J. Bremer. Oxford University Press: New York, 2003 (478pp.) Surely Winthrop deserves the title of a Founding Father, and this biography brings back this forgotten giant of our history.
UPDATE: Apparently, like most child molesters, Polanski has had sex with a few other underage girls. Check out this story from BigHollywood:
OK Whoopie, defend him now!
Roman Polanski, an Academy Award winning film director, has been arrested in Switzerland and is being held for extradition to the US for raping and sodomizing a 13 year old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in 1977. Many people are questioning the decision to have him arrested and extradited for trial, and his victim, Samantha Geimer, has apparently stated she has forgiven him and does not want to be involved in a trial. The fact that there is even a debate about this indicates that our society has forgotten the concept of Justice and has no shame; we call good evil and evil good. Polanski should be brought to justice.
Now I was not going to write about this because I long ago realized that Hollywood types, athletes, politicians and other rich people, have a different worldview and play by different rules, for the most part. There are of course some good people in those fields who are honorable, but the culture of the rich and famous, by and large, is pretty decadent. Polanski is exhibit 1. But yesterday I was listening to Sean Hannity and heard people calling in to defend Polanski and explain to the incredulous Hannity, why they thought Polanski should NOT be prosecuted. I, like Sean, was totally enraged and dumbfounded at what I heard. I decided that I must write about this case.
First, the case itself. In 1977 Polanski arranged for a private photoshoot with the 13 yr old girl through the girl’s mother, allegedly for Vogue magazine. Problem #1 is you left your 13 yr old girl with a 44 yr old man alone, and he is a Hollywood type. Bad parenting.
Polanski convinced the girl to take off her top for some photos then convinced her to get naked and into a jacuzzi for some more shots. Then he stripped and joined her in the jacuzzi. At some point in the process she said, “No!” and at some point he gave her some drugs and liquor to make her more compliant. Polanski had sexual intercourse and anal intercourse with the young girl.
He was arrested a couple of weeks later, placed in a psych ward for evaluation, and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He made a plea deal but, when he found out he would still likely do prison time, he fled the country.
In one of the articles I have linked to below, Polanski boasted of the night’s events and stated that every guy would want to do a young girl.
What are the stated reasons why Polanski should not be brought back for trial/jail?
First of all, many are saying that “It happened so long ago”. The assumption is this excuse is that time has eliminated guilt or that a person’s later accomplishments in life have atoned for his criminal deeds in his younger years. This type of an excuse is a typically American, post-modern excuse, that is part of our a-historical mindset. Americans do not much like history, are ready to forget about yesterday because today and tomorrow are all that matter. Just like hitting a delete button on the computer, whatever we don’t like about the past we can choose to forget. I have noticed, with joy, that the Israelis are still hunting and finding Nazi’s who ran the death camps in Germany in the 1940’s. The demands of Justice do not just disappear with the years, while the guilty still live.
A second excuse I have heard is, “Well he is an old man now.” This is related to the first excuse but seeks to give sympathy for the old Polanski and makes the perpetrator the victim. This is somehow saying that old people should not be held accountable for their past actions. There is an assumption that old people should not have to suffer for the wrongs they have done. Older people can still do incredibly wicked things because they remain sinners. Simply being old does not atone for past wrongs. This kind of logic would mean that those murderers who received a life sentence as a young person should automatically be released from prison at some certain age, just because they are old.
A Third excuse I have heard is that “he has suffered enough already”. This assumes that he feels guilt, and, from his statements in the article below, it appears that he DOES NOT think what he did was wrong. This is common with rapists and CHILD MOLESTERS. They think their victim enjoyed it or had it coming. He was doing the little girl a favor. After all, it was just sex. But again, people who think that “he has suffered enough already” are assuming that any guilt feelings he may have had, any sleepless nights he may have experienced, have atoned for or meted out the justice that he deserved. Again, this makes the perpetrator the victim.
The fourth excuse given is that the woman has now forgiven him and does not want to be a part of the trial as it will dredge up bad memories. This excuse basically says, “Hey, the girl has suffered, but she has forgiven Polanski, so there is no need for the justice system to get involved, it would just cause her more pain.” This lame excuse fails to understand that victims have a certain psychology as a result of the crime. They frequently just want the pain to go away. This personalizes justice in a very subjective manner and fails to give out real justice. JUSTICE IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE VICTIMS! Justice is for SOCIETY as well as the VICTIM. It is about Law and Order and the guilt of a society. Yes, going through a trial would be rough on the victim, but very often in life the best things require temporary discomfort. Justice will, over the long haul, be the best course for both the victim and society.
Incredibly, the fifth excuse I heard yesterday was from a guy who said that in that day and time, the 1970’s, something like a 44 yr old man raping a 13 yr old girl was not unusual and should not be judged by today’s standards; that was back in the era of free love, sex, drugs and rock and roll. I wanted to climb through my truck’s radio and choke him on the spot. He claimed to have two teenage daughters and said that if something like that happened to his daughters, he would wait a couple of weeks to see what they thought about it before he took any action. This guy has no conscience and should not be trusted with children. I graduated from High School the year of the Polanski crime, and I can tell you that the raping of 13 yr old girls by 44 yr old men was not normal and it was unusual. If anything, in that day it was considered to be worse of a crime than it is today. The reaction then was in all likelihood worse than now. I do not think all of these excuses would have been offered 30 yrs ago. The doufus who wanted to wait for a couple of weeks to see how his daughter would respond…if I had a daughter and somebody did that to her, I would be having a difficult time restraining myself from hunting the perp down and offing him.
Now let me analyze these excuses. What are the real excuses?
Obviously many normal people have offered these excuses for Polanski, but most of Hollywood seems to be coming to his defense too. On the TV show The View the other day, Whoopi Goldberg defended Polanski by saying, “It wasn’t Rape rape.”
No Whoopi, it was child molestation, which is worse than rape. Once again we are seeing WOMEN defending rapists like they did back when Bill Clinton was the President. What this shows is that there is something liberal women value more than justice for rapists and their victims- that would be liberal ideology.
The real reason the Libtards of Hollywood are defending Polanski is that he is one of them, and libtards circle the wagons and defend their own NO MATTER WHAT THE OFFENSE. That is why the despicable Bill Clinton was defended and that is why Obamasky is being covered up and defended. For the Hollywood Demoncrat Libtards, rules do not apply.
I guarantee you that if Polanski was a conservative film maker who was an strident anti-communist, who promoted family values and voted Republican, even if he was a famous film producer the Libtard Left would not cover for him, they would call for him to go to prison.
Compare and contrast how Republicans treat their screwed up politicians who do horrible things with how the Libtard Demoncrats treat theirs. Like rugby players we eat our own, the Dems protect theirs. Conservatives have standards and if you break the standards you are off the team. Dems have no standards, none, zero, zip, nada, nyet.
The bottom line with the Hollywood Left when it comes to Polanski is that he is one of THEM, and therefore he cannot have done anything bad and he does not deserve jail. It is an ideology and class view. It is not about JUSTICE.
America is dying. Because we have forsaken the God of our fathers, we turned away from the Bible, we have lost our moral compass and our virtue. We no longer know right from wrong. We celebrate evil and prosecute good.
I applaud the LA DA for the effort to bring this evil man to justice. But will it really happen? Will justice be served? I guess we will have another celebrity trial soon. Maybe, he will go to be a cellmate with Phil Spectre or OJ Simpson.
The Fort Worth Baroque Society performed before about 150 people at the Arborlawn Methodist Church Tuesday night, Sept.1st with Maritza Caceres conducting.This delightful chorus is a wonderful new addition to the family of fine arts in Fort Worth and the musical selections were soothing to the soul.
Beginning with Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden by Bach and including pieces from William Byrd, Haec Dies, Handel, Coronation Anthem No.4, and Anton Bruckner’s Os Justi and Christus factus est, the Baroque Society filled the sanctuary of the Methodist Church with worshipful song from centuries past that should not be forgotten in our own postmodern era.
Though I grew up on the great hymns of the faith, and the gospel songs, and am loving the new praise and worship music from such sources as Sovereign Grace and Newmoniker Music, there is something about an excellent choir singing classical church music that can lift my spirit like nothing else. Being married to one of the singers is of great benefit as well!
Although I certainly appreciate Arborlawn Methodist for hosting the concert, their postmodern architecture seemed a bit out of step with the music. Arborlawn Methodist has a long term relationship with classical music in Fort Worth, however, as they have hosted the Oratorio Chorus from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the past for at least one concert/recording session.
The only part of the concert that I was not really pleased with was the Romantic Dessert which consisted of Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, Opus 52. This vigorous and exciting piece just did not fit the rest of the material and would have been perfectly acceptable in a different context. Singing fast, in German, was certainly a delightful challenge to the choir and audience, but for this listener, I would simply have preferred a more subdued ending for the evening.
Maritza Caceres is an accomplished conductor and is working on her PhD at TCU having previously studied at the Universidad de Chile (BA Music Theory), Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ (Master’s in Choral Conducting) and Doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She is the wife of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony.
After the concert there really was dessert served in the lobby of the church. Come to think of it, they served dessert at the last concert I attended a few months back at Fort Worth Presbyterian. A very nice touch!
The Fort Worth Baroque Society is a an exciting, new addition to the arts world of Fort Worth and deserves your support. The concerts have been small in attendance but worthy of much more. Perhaps a bit more advertising will help, but word of mouth, or in my case, word of blog, might also help. They are planning on a performance of the complete Messiah on December 15 at Fort Worth Presbyterian, conducted by none other than C. David Keith. Get your tickets online at:
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Stupidity, Schooling, and the Takeover of America’s Culture- an Interaction with Evan Sayet of Big Hollywood
In recent weeks I have been spending some time reading the blogs at Big Hollywood by Breitbart. They have some thought provoking columns about cultural things from a conservative, mostly secular, perspective. This morning I read Evan Sayet’s piece, “Stupidity, Schooling, and the Take-Over of America’s Culture”. I want to spend some time interacting with this seriously good column.
Let me get the obvious blunder over with first, I call it a blunder, perhaps he was just rounding up by about 9 years. Sayet is talking about the 1968 takeover of Columbia University in NY yet he says,
Half-a-century ago, a band of Leftist thugs violently took over the administration building at Columbia University and hijacked the American education system.
That was 41 years ago in 1968, not half a century ago. Minor point, I make more mistakes than that in most of my blogs.
On to the good stuff, Sayet’s thesis:
From that moment on, they used this system to indoctrinate – in fact brainwash – generation after generation into their cult of Leftism.
For the next five decades (pseudo)-intellectuals, hiding behind tenure and “Academic Freedom,” have been spewing greater and greater nonsense designed for one purpose and one purpose only: sabotaging and eventually destroying all of Western Civilization.
I substantially agree with his thesis and have stated things like this in some of my own blog rants. While I would agree that 1968 was a key date, that you can pin the radical takeover of the universities, the press, and even the political system to that year, the American Academy was long before controlled by the Left. If you have never read God and Man at Yale by Buckley you ought to; he shows how the godless left controlled Yale in the late 40’s-50’s. And the socialist/communist roots go back even further to the 1920’s-30’s- the Press, the American Media Elites, failed to truthfully cover the Stalinist purges, the disastrous 5 yr plans, and the intentional starvation of millions of unwanteds in the Soviet Union. Why? They were communist sympathizers who wanted “Uncle Joe” to succeed.
While Sen. Joe McCarthy did somewhat exaggerate his claims, and he ended up being somewhat of a loose cannon with his own problems, the basis of his charges that there were communists in Academia, Hollywood, the State Department, etc. has been proved true.
So, while 1968 is the “key year”, for the destruction of the American Univeristies, and American culture in general, it had been preceded by about 40 years of gradual creep. And this doesn’t even address the damage done by Darwinism that started in the middle of the 19th century, Freudianism from the latter years of the 19th century, or the decline of Religion in America- thank you Charles Finney, Transcendentalists, Unitarians, etc., etc.
Sayet gets it right when he points out that, for the Left, Western Civilization is the great Evil that must be destroyed. He does, however, get the chant wrong, “Hey, hey, ho, ho. Western Civilization has got to go.” In reality it was, “…Western Civ has got to go.” Another minor point, but the only reason I bring up these minor points is because I am sympathetic to Sayet’s piece here and I know that libtards who read this will jump all over these minor points and not deal with his big idea.
With control of the “education” system, the Leftists turned what had been a place of scholarship into a Leftism factory with a curriculum and modus operandi designed to facilitate their Utopian dreams which first required the demolition of the great (but imperfect) Western World.
The import of the 1968 revolution is exactly that the Let gained control of the education system on both coasts and some other inland universities. The Leftists had been in the system, but now they made great strides at taking over and changing the system. Today, they own it, THEY are the establishment. Sayet is absolutely correct when he says that “what had been a place of scholarship” was turned into “a Leftism factory…designed to facilitate their Utopian dreams.”
What are the Utopian dreams of the Leftists? The lyrics to John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” come to mind:
Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace…
You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.
(Imagine all the people sharing all the world)
Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.
This adolescent dream of having no God above, no hell below (hence no Judgment or accountability), no nations, no laws, no greed, just a nice brotherhood of man…absolutely fails to understand human history, the present, and MOST IMPORTANTLYthe SINFUL, FALLEN HEART OF MAN.
The problem with the universities today is not merely that they have almost completely purged the curriculum of Western Civ and the great books, though that is a huge problem. The real problem is spiritual. The reason Communism/Statism/Socialism gained ground in American Academia, the Press, Hollywood, Government, is that the Church became liberal, gave up key theological ground and then became irrelevant. The Church failed to answer Darwinism, Pragmatism and Liberalism. The Church left a void in the Universities and the Universe hates a vacuum. What the Church vacated, the devil of communism filled.
The universities have now become Leftist Factories as Sayet said. That means, they make more Leftists. While Leftists frequently do not reproduce biologically, due to their religious rite of abortion and high incidence of homsexuality and their beliefs that humans are a curse upon the planet, they do reproduce ideologically in the Amerikan edukation system. Sayet speaks primarily of the Universities, but the American Publik School System is also owned and operated by the establishment, effeminate, liberal elites. He writes:
With America’s children in their hands, from the moment they enter kindergarten barely able to read or write, until the moment they graduate from Ward Churchill’s “Ethnic Studies” class (still barely able to read or write), the Leftists were able to instill their agenda into the minds of those too young to be able to stand up to these moral and intellectual bullies and fight back with the facts.
How can we conservatives fight this beast? We must recognize that the problem in the universities trickles down to kindergarten through the Teacher Colleges. Liberal Professors in Teacher Colleges produce liberal education theories, textbooks, teaching methods and teachers/administrators.
Further, in the era of unprecedented prosperity (thanks to the efforts and the values of those who came before them), when suddenly virtually everyone went to college, the indoctrination process stretched on (and therefore, so too did childhood) often well into one’s mid-twenties and even into their thirties. Think about that! If a person retires at the age of sixty, having first left the unreal and perverted world of post-coup schooling at thirty, that means they will have spent half their lives – their most formative years – in an indoctrination process of misinformation and lies. Many Right-Thinkers are stunned at how immune Leftists are to facts and reason but, in reality, they are no more so than members of any other cult and, in fact, their response to factual and moral challenges are exactly those of the cultists, seeing the other as the enemy and attacking with vitriol and violence.
There are two solutions to this problem. 1) Pull our children and grandchildren out of public education and homeschool them using Christian curriculum or place our children in private schools that have a conservative and or Christian curriculum. Even this option necessitates a political struggle for parental rights for the homeschoolers and private schoolers to avoid being co-opted by the States which might require liberal, ungodly curriculum.
2) The Conservative movement must recognize that what we have been doing for the past 45 years is not working. We have slowly been losing the cultural war politically and culturally. We must focus our resources and energy on some precision strikes, while fighting a rearguard action to conserve the whole battlefield. Specifially, Conservatives need to identify a handful of universities that can be salvaged and do a hostile takeover. Look at some of the Red State universities, identify which ones are close enough to the conservative ideal and then send in reinforcements. Specifically target the schools of Education, Journalism and Arts&Sciences and establish them as conservative bastions through changing the board of regents, endowments, faculty, curriculum, etc. Work with the State legislatures and State School Boards to ensure a conservative resurgence in the university targeted and in the secondary schools of the state.
This is a long term effort. You cannot get quick results here. You cede the territory where the enemy is strong and you attack your enemy where he is weak. The East and West Coast Universities are hopeless. But universities in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Wyoming, etc. may not be out of reach. This effort will take leadership and money. This campaign must be waged in elections, in hirings and firings, and in advertising.
If we do not change the American Church back into a God-centered place of sound doctrine, worship and practice and change the American education system back into a place of truth, justice, beauty, competition and excellence then the battle will be lost and America will fall onto the ash heap of history.
for pointing me to Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of All Time List.
Now I would like to add my 2 cents worth about the list.
At the # 1 and #3 spots are two novels I have never read but have heard for years are the best novels ever written. In first place is Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” about the Napoleonic wars and Russia. I find it fascinating that a Russian novel comes out as the best novel in world history. The Russians are a fascinating people with a tragic history which makes for wondreful art, music and literature. Maybe someday I will sit down to read this massive tome. The best novel in the English language I have always heard is James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Again, I have not read it, and from what little bit of Joyce I have read, I doubt that I would want to read it.
At #2, however, is one of my personal favorites, and a book I have read 2-3 times: “1984”. I think that every American needs to read this book by George Orwell right now. Yesterday even. The dystopia presented is all too possible and resembles many features of modern day socialist/democrat/liberal society. Read this book and look carefully at what Obamasky is doing.
Lolita at #4 by Nabokov? Gimme a break. Never read it, never will.
“The Sound and the Fury” by Faulkner I should have read but haven’t; hope to read it and some other Faulkner books. Unbelieveable that I have never read Faulkner. So, too, with Ellison at #6 and ” Invisible Man”.
#’s 7 and 9, “To the Lighthouse” by Virginian Woolf and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen I have not read and likely will not. Classics, but girly classics. Tried to watch the movie version of Pride and Prejudice but had to leave the room and go watch some MMA fighting.
But #8’s dual selection by Homer, Iliad and Odyssey I have read and will likely read again. Here is the foundation of Western Civilization!The movie Troy was ok with Brad Pitt, but they really need a new movie of Odyssey.
Numbers 10 and 11, The Divine Comedy and Canterbury Tales are books that I have read parts of but never from start to finish. I really do want to make it through Dante at some point but Chaucer….I dunno, that is some tough going.
At #12 is “Gulliver’s Travels” by Swift. Again, I have read parts, but this is political satire and must be read with a deep understanding of British politics of the day. Interest level here is pretty low.
“Middlemarch” by George Eliot is #13. I haven’t read anything by her and really do not know enough to make a judgment.
#14 “Things Fall Apart” by Achebe has an interesting title, but African lit is not my area of interest at all, so I seriously doubt if I would ever read it.
“The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger may be the single most depressing book I ever read, though “Look Homeward, Angel” by Wolf is a close second. I actually did use Catcher in the Rye in a sermon illustration once because it speaks of the hopelessness, meaninglessness, loneliness, and despair of our modern day. Ranks up there with Camus’ “The Stranger” for me.
“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell comes in at 16. Again, you would think that I would have read this book about the Civil War, but I haven’t even seen the movie all the way through. Why? Put this on my to do list.
#17 is “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Marquez. Sorry, but Latin American lit is not on my to do list.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is #18 and, I am embarrassed to admit, I have never read Fitzgerald either. This list is getting humbling. While I did see the movie and get the gist of what he is saying, I really, really, need to read this book, as well as others by Fitzgerald. Voof!
“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller is another book that has languished on my must be read list, but to no avail.
At #20 is “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. Probably won’t read this one either.
“The Grapes of Wrath” by Steinbeck at #21 I read in college and would like to read again. Actually, “East of Eden” is one of my favorites even more so than “Grapes…” Depressing like most of 20th century lit, but a very good book for understanding the Great Depression and the Okies in California.
“Midnight’s Children” by Salmon Rushdie…muslim lit is not even on my radar.
#23 is “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, another dystopian novel of the future that I read in college but really need to read again, soon. Can we really be controlled by pleasure and security? We are dangerously close to that now.
Virgina Woolf makes another appearance in the 24th spot with “Mrs. Dalloway”. Sorry, never heard of it, wouldn’t read it.
25 is “Native Son” by Richard Wright, another one of those, “I can’t believe I haven’t read it” books. Gotta read this one.
So in the Top 25 I have read all of 5 listed and parts of 3 others. Pretty dismal. Voof! This is a humbling exercise. I read wayyy too much sci fi and military history over the years and not nearly enough of the classics. But some of these I have my doubts about anyway.
26 is “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville, the first non-fiction entry in the list. I read an edited version in college but would like to read the whole, unedited, version again. Soon. In these days of Statism, Socialism, and Obamasky, this book needs to be read and re-read.
At 27 is “On the Origin of Species” by Darwin. Certainly one of the most influential books in history. I reckon I ought to look at it some, but I doubt if I would actually be able to sit down and tead the whole thing.
#28 is “The Histories” by Herodotus. I have read it once all the way through and have started it again a couple of other times. Another foundational book for Western Civ that is fascinating.
“The Social Contract” comes in at #29. Rousseau is good important reading, but I have only read parts of it. I need to just work all the way through this important book. Same with #30, “Das Kapital” by Marx; I read bits an pieces in college, but never the whole thing. This one I probably won’t even try.
Another book I cannot believe I have never read is “The Prince” by Machiavelli at #31. This brief book must be on my list to read.
At #32 is “Confessions” by St. Augustine. I have started this book a few times, but failed to complete. Voof. I can’t believe I have not read this one.
“Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes is another book that I have only read pieces from in a Pol. Sci class or two back in college. Add this one to my list of important books to read soon.
34 “The History of the Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides is a great classic that I read in college in a Political Science course. Well worth the time and effort!
At #35 is The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. I find it unfathomable that this book is at #35 when it ought to be in the top Ten, and for me, top 5. This is my personal favorite fiction book, along with The Hobbit. I have read the whole series 7-8 times, and never tire of it. Written from a Christian worldview there is much relevance to our society today as well as in the time of the Nazis and WW2 in which it was conceived.
Winnie the Pooh at 36 I have only read parts of, never the whole thing straight through. But children’s books like Pooh are vastly better than what passes as children’s lit today. It would be great to have a Top 100 list of children’s lit.
CS Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” comes in at 37. Again, I think it belongs in the top 10. Do muslims have children’s lit? Oh yeah, See Abdullah and Natifa build bombs.
#38 “A Passage to India” by EM Forster I have not read, nor will I in all likelihood.
But I would like to read Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” from 1957. At 39 it would be an interesting look at one side of American life.
My favorite American novel comes in at an unbelievably low #40, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Ever since I read this in Mrs Roberts Lit class in high school, this book has been in my top 10 list. I think I have read it 3 times and need to re-read it. Dang, just flung a craving on myself! The book is about the life of a child as she gets a rude awakening to the evils and prejudices of her time.
Coming in at #41 is the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. Give me a break, on two fronts. First, this ought to be listed as number one for sales alone; but if you consider influence, for sure numero uno. However, why the RSV? That would rank pretty far down in the sales figures compared with KJV,NIV, NASB, or, now, ESV. Yeah, I have read it a few times….
“A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess is #41. I never read it, probably because when I was a kid the movie got like an X rating or something. But I have heard the book is important and good; I ought to go ahead and read it.
43-44 are Faulkner’s “Light in August” and WEB DuBois “The Souls of Black Folk” both of which would be excellent, but neither of which have I read.
45-46 include two books I won’t ever read: “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys and “Madame Bovary” by Flaubert. One is about the Caribbean and the other about France. Why?
“Paradise Lost” by Milton at 47 is one of those, “I can’t believe I haven’t actually read it” books. I love the Puritans so I need to read this.
48 “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy…not gonna happen in this lifetime. Voof, as much as I loved Russian history you would think I would read some Tolstoy.
49-52 is Shakespeare: Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Sonnets. OK, I admit it, I am an illiterate wannabe. I have never read Shakespeare. I tried a couple of times…but just cannot do it. However, in my own defense, I have enjoyed some Shakespeare plays on stage. Drama is to be seen and heard on stage, reading it is grueling for me. I love plays and would gladly attend any of the Shakespeare classics, just don’t ask me to read it…voof. I might have too though.
OK, we have made it through the first half of the list. I will follow up with the other half later.
In this second quarter of the list I have read all of 7 and parts of 3 more; certainly proof of my inadequate education. For the first half then I have read all of 12 and parts of 6.
How many have you read? If you can, please count your way through these first 52 books and tell me how many and which ones you have read.
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Dan Brown and Ron Howard have teamed up with Tom Hanks to make yet another anti-Catholic movie that will make lots of money while promoting an anti-intellectual view of history and an anti-Christian view of religion.
Rarely will I ever write a review of a movie or book that I have not read or watched or even intend to read or watch. This is one of those times. I did read DAn Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code and I watched the movie as well. The book was a fun, quick read. But what the book promotes is awful. From everything I have read, Angels&Demons is of the same ilk. See the story of the Angels & Demons controversy here:
Notice that the title of the article is, “Catholics Attack Dan Brown Film” and not Ron Howard’s Film Attacks Catholics. WE HAVE ISLAM TAKING OVER EUROPE AND FOMENTING TERROR ALL AROUND THE GLOBE BUT HAVE NO MOVIES ABOUT THE ANTI-INTELLECTUAL BARBARIC MUSLIMS, BUT WE GET ANTI-CATHOLIC MOVIES LIKE THIS ?
Although Ron Howard defends his film and states that he thinks Catholics will enjoy it as an exciting mystery, the story absolutely paints a picture of the Catholic Church as being anti-intellectual, power hungry and murderous. All of which are true in a limited extent historically, but the story is outlandish and draws an evil caricature of the Church.
My biggest problems with Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code is that the book, though fiction, actually purports to be based upon some facts. When the book came out I ignored it because I do very little reading in that genre, but so many people asked me to read it, so many people came to me with theological and historical questions about the book, that I had to read it. Then, when th emovie came out my Youth Minister and I got the youth watching an excellent video curriculum that defended the faith and exposed the lies of the book. We then took the group of youth and young adults to watch the movie and discuss it later. That was very profitable. the older generation at the church didn’t think much of it, even though the view of history DAn Brown promotes is related to the Masonic Lodge view of history directly and most of that church’s older crowd were Masons.
The view of history promoted by Dan Brown and his books/movies is rooted in some Masonic ideas about hidden, secret (esoteric) knowledge of ancient mysteries that came from the Egyptians to the Jews and is passed down in a secret society from generation to generation. It includes such wonderful organizations as the Templars, Illuminati, Jesuits, Opus Dei and such. The story line is that Jesus really secretly married Mary Magdalene and had children by her and the Catholic Church was covering that up. Even a very respected secular historian, Bart Ehrman, tore up the Da Vinci code’s idea of history.
Without reading Angels & Demons I can safely assume the book and movie have a similar fantastic plot that takes gross liberties with history and denigrates the Catholic Church.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no defender of the Catholic Church. As a Baptist of the Reformed variety, I view much of Catholic teaching as heresy. That is a strong word and I used it intentionally. I still believe that many Catholics are born again Christians and expect to see quite a few of my Catholic friends in heaven. But as a student of history I absolutely disagree with how Brown and Howard are portraying the Catholics.
Get a life preacher, its just a novel and just a movie, don’t take it so seriously. Normally, I would treat this as just entertainment. But, when the book was making the rounds I cannot tell you how many people came to me with SERIOUS questions about the church and history and theology, based on the book. This tells me that people were taking the book seriously. When I read the book I saw that Brown was deliberately blurring the line between fiction and history.
I will not read Angels & Demons, nor see the movie in the theater. I might watch it on DVD or when it comes on TV, BUT I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE BECAUSE OF THE FALSE WORLDVIEW ESPOUSED BY BROWN/HOWARD.
Here is some updated information with links as of 05/15/09:
And here are two excellent reviews by Baptist Press:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Friday, May 1, 2009– A Bible believing Christian beauty queen from a Christian College in California, Carrie Prejean, is taking a public stand for the biblical view of marriage at great personal cost and risk. Since losing the crown in the Miss USA pageant last month and coming in as 1st Runner up, Miss Prejean has been the source of some godly controversy.This controversy will continue to grow and this reporter believes that her life will be endangered.
The controversy began Sunday April 19th when Miss California was asked by pageant judge Perez Hilton, a flaming homosexual who runs a disgusting Hollywood gossip website, for her view on gay marriage. Miss Prejean, a Baptist who attends San Diego Christian College and goes to church at The Rock Church in San Diego, basically stated that while it is great that in America people get to choose gay or straight marriage, her views were that marriage is for a man and a woman. The judge asked for her opinion and got it.
Perez Hilton and at least one other judge graded her down for her answer. Those low grades bounced her from 1st place to 2nd, and she did win 1st runner up. When she gave her answer there were some jeers and some applause. Come to find out, the audience had a large percentage of homosexuals. Question: why is a homosexual judging or even attending a beauty pageant?
Here are a couple of stories about the event and the aftermath as well as the video of the question being asked and her response:
In the following article by USNews there is a poll attached asking if Miss Prejean should have been able to voice her opinion about gay marriage. 89% of the respondents supported her and only 10% disagreed with her. USNews is no conservative media.
Now for the update, and the plot thickens. Miss Prejean is now openly participating in a pro-traditional marriage advertising campaign that will be aired in New Hampshire whose legislature just legalized gay marriage, but is awaitinga possible veto by Governor Lynch. Her participation in this campaign is irritating the Miss USA organization no end. Read the story below from Baptist Press.
Those are the basics of the situation and the controversy, but now I want to analyze it some. Here are the key points and questions:
1) Why would the Miss USA pageant officials include male homosexual judges?
2) Why go through the process of asking culturally relevant, potentially volatile questions if you are only wanting Politically Correct answers?
3) Notice the gross INTOLERANCE of the homosexual community in all of this? The inability to even allow for a difference of opinion without rancorous objections.
4) Notice the vileness of the homosexual responses in that Perez Hilton called Miss California a stupid bi–h and c–t. Again, the liberals and homosexuals seem to have lost the ability to have civil discourse.
5) Miss California’s response was in keeping with the majority of Californians who, just last November, voted against legalizing gay marriage. Hilton’s inability to accept that shows an adolescent attitude. This does not mean homosexuals cannot or should not continue to present their case and their opinions. But this was sheer childishness.
6) This whole story reveals that the liberal and homosexual crowd are not about fairness, justice or even equal rights for gays (which is a stupid concept- equal rights based upon perverted sexual behavior denigrates the word “rights”, and yes, I am intolerant of others’ bad behavior. Homosexuals deserve the same rights as anyone else, but not to be based on their sexual orientation. In other words, we are to show then the same common respect and courtesies as we do anyone else. But they do not get special rights like marriage, which by definition means a man and a woman. To grant them special rights based upon behavior that is deviant would be unjust). They do not merely want to be free from prosecution and persecution for their perverted behavior, they DEMAND that we AGREE with them that their behavior is good and equal with heterosexual marriage in virtue. They want us to call their evil “good”. And if you Dare to Disagree, then they will persecute you as being evil.
7) Miss California has demonstrated a rare form of courage and is now speaking truth to evil power. So many people, 99% probably, would instead just go quietly into the night, go along to get along. She lit a candle in the darkness and the hounds of hell are baying all around her.
8) If the rest of us fail to also speak up the homosexuals, the liberals, the muslims will be running America and we Christians and Jews will become the persecuted. We Need To Speak Up! We Cannot Remain Silent. We Must Call Sin Sin, Evil Evil.
I will pray for Miss California because I believe she is in real danger. If Miss USA gets selected for Miss Universe then Miss California, as the 1st runner up, gets promoted to Miss USA. Already the organization behind Miss USA is Very Upset with Miss Prejean for what she said. They may try to unseat her for her stated opinion! More important than her crown, I believe she is in real danger from the dangerous kooks on the liberal/homosexual left.
Friday, April 3, 2009– Iowa. Corn country. A largely rural state in the center of the heartland. Iowa has legalized homosexual “marriages”. Unbelieveable.
This egregiously bad decision was actually linked, by one justice, to an 1839 decision against slavery. What a leap in illogic.
Iowa’s gay marriage ban “is unconstitutional, because the county has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage,” wrote one justice. I might add, where in the Iowan constitution is their power granted to the courts to change the definition of marriage?
Folks, I hate to say it, but I think this battle may be lost, at least for the next hundred years. The reason we are losing these court cases is because of the dominant legal philosophy that is taught in law schools all over the country that basically says you can make the law say whatever you want it to say, there is no objective truth, no eternal verities, no right and wrong. The reason our law schools are like that is because that is what our colleges and universities teach. And, the high schools, middle-schools and grade schools are teaching the same worldview. And many churches and denominations are teaching it as well. And of course Hollywood, TV, ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBC teach it as well.
And the reason all these institutions are teaching this false philosophy? The Church failed to adequately defend against evolution, modernism and existentialism in the past 150 years. The Church failed to evangelize biblically and failed to preach the gospel truthfully and uncompromisingly. At the bottom of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision lies the American Church in total abject failure.
Here is a great article about the new, Post-Christian America:
Let the Dark Ages descend.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Update:In the Baptist Press article below, we see that the citizens of Iowa are rising up in disgust at what their Supreme Court and Demoncratic Governor have done. Under the Iowan constitution the people must go through the legislature to amend the constitution. The Iowan legislature is controlled by the party of perverts, Demoncrats. Efforts to get a bill to amend the constitution and restrict marriage to men and women are underway, but it may take a total transformation of Iowan politics to get the Demoncrats ousted in order to pass this amendment.
According to an article by Michael Spencer, a survey by Barry Kosmin, and my own observations of our society at large as well as my personal experience while pastoring a small church in Fort Worth for 15 years, the future of Evangelicalism and Christianity in general in America is not very bright. We have been in a downgrade for at least 3 generations as modernism has drained the Church of its vitality. Compromising with the culture and the loss of sound doctrine has made much of the church useless and the numbers are showing it.
In the survey linked below and discussed by Dr. Mohler below, we have seen an increase of the non-religious in America from 8% to 15% of the population since 1990. And this doesn’t even account for the religious but secular crowd which is likely at least half of the Church in America. While the survey shows that we Baptists have grown, we have lost ground as a percentage of the population. The non-religious is now the third largest group behind Catholics, the largest single group, and the Baptists.
Is it any wonder, then, that we see the economic collapse as being caused by the moral failures of businessmen and politicians alike? They reflect the moral values of our irreligious society.
The Spencer article in the CS Monitor and at internetmonk, is interesting, but I disagree with him in some points. I think he is correct that in the next ten years there will be a big collapse of the mega churches and ministries as the older generation dies off thathas funded the Evangelical movement. In fact, with the current economic collapse and the impending bankruptcy of Amerika, this collapse of the Evangelical movement may hit sooner. As people lose jobs, become fearful of the future, and become more cautious, they will tend to stop giving as much.
I disagree with Spencer about some of the causes for this collapse, such as his first point:
1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.
The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.
The last two sentences in the above quote, I agree with, most of the Church is incapable of articulating the Gospel coherently and much of the Church does believe in a cause, or other things, more than in the Faith itself. But I think he is wrong to say that it was a mistake to identify with political conservatism. I am not sure what his alternatives would have been, but I am firmly convinced that the Gospel is inherently political, cultural and conservative in the sense that to follow Christ will necessarily mean we are pro-life, pro-family, pro-morals. It is not inconsistent with the Gospel to be involved in the political realm of the society in which we live. If anything, I would say the culture is going down the drain BECAUSE the Church was Too Silent for Too Long.
By saying this I do not mean that the Church’s primary task is political. Our primary tasks remain 3: Worship, make disciples, evangelize the world. But this means bringing the truths of Scripture into every part of our society. Praise God that Wilburforce was not silent in England or that those hearty believers who ran the underground railroad and cried out against the slave trade in America were not silent. It was the Black Church and a few white allies who, under Dr. Martin Luther King’s leadership fought the injustices of our segregated society in the 1950’s – 60’s and changed America. It was the Church in Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s and early 90’s that brough freedom to the Eastern bloc countries. The Gospel is inherently political, why do you think the Chinese Communists are willing to have capitalism but not freedom of religion?
Spencer’s second point:
2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
I absolutely agree with him here. I would add that it is not just the young people who are ignorant of their faith. In the church I pastored, where the average age was over 70, there wasn’t 1 out of 10 adults who could clearly articulate their faith let alone carry on an intelligent conversation with a lost person. I know that sounds arrogant, mean even, but my 15 years of pastoring that church has convinced me of why America is in the shape it is in today. Faith has become an entirely personal matter, and in the public it is enough to simply live a moral lifestyle and then invite people to church. Make me vomit! Our young people are weak today because for the past 3 generations we have been weak.
3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
Here I think Spencer may be overly pessimistic. There is a revival going on in the Southern Baptist Convention with a rebirth of many churches that are awakening to the Gospel of God’s Sovereign Grace and our Calvinistic past. This includes a new, God centered worship, a rigorous discipleship with accountability and church discipline, and a Bible based evangelism that seeks to confront sinners with the reality of their sin and the wonder of God’s Amazing Grace. The church I am in now is a universe apart from where I was.
4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.
Again, I absolutely concur with Spencer here. We have not taught our children to think, even in Christian schools. Our Christian Universities and Colleges especially seem to have compromised with the secular world. But again, maybe Spencer is too harsh. The rise of the homeschool movement is giving me lots of hope in this area. The dozens of homeschool families in my church are truly encouraging. With the impending collapse, I think we might see more homeschooling and more church schools rise up as government utterly fails.
5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.
Indeed, with the new budget and tax proposals by the Obamasky administration, charitable giving will decline. With lawsuits and State Laws bringing a showdown over homosexuality, I can see many ministries closing rather than being forced to hire homosexuals. Even the Catholic Hospitals are looking at either closing or going into a major civil disobedience mode over potential new Obamasky rules regarding forcing physicians and hospitals to provide abortions.
What about the future? Spencer thinks the a lot of Evangelicals will become even more pragmatic and therapeutic while many more will jump into Catholicism and Orthodoxy. He is the most optimistic about the growth of the Pentecostals and Charismatics, though that is problematic too. He seems to think the Emergent movement will merge with the liberal movement and vanish from the scene. There will be a small band of the faithful who will continue to work hard and be biblical yet innovative; their efforts will not be enough to spark a 2nd Reformation. Denominational organizations will tend to fade but “networks” will grow.
Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, “Christianity loves a crumbling empire.”
We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.
We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.
I think that we need to prepare for two things, two likelihoods. 1) I am really thinking that the Lord will return soon. The world situation, not just the demise of Evangelicals, is getting so bad that I think we are reaching the crisis point. But, Jesus may let the world blow itself up and descend into a long, slow Dark Age. (My aren’t I the optimist?) 2) Therefore, the Church needs to prepare for a long persecution, and a long time of watching the culture die. If we sufficiently recover the true Gospel, and persevere while suffering, years (centuries?) from now we may see another society that is characterized by the Christian world view much like the one that has now died.
And in support of the above stories, here is a story about a recent Barna Poll that shows less than 1%, that is less than one percent, of today’s young folks in the 18-23 age bracket have a Biblical Worldview.
The questions used in the survey were about some basic beliefs, and even the range of questions was not very deep.
A biblical worldview, as defined by the Barna study, is believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
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Friday, December 19, 2008–Last night I did something I never thought I would do- I went to a ballet. And I enjoyed it. A lot. Thank you Havilah for inviting us, your church, to experience the magic, laughter and sheer delight of watching The Nutcracker.
Texas Ballet Theater is the Fort Worth Ballet troupe, and they regularly put on The Nutcracker at the Bass Hall. Havilah Sprunk, a member of our church and our care group, is a young ballerina who played the role of Clara, the young girl who has the magical dream.
While I have long been a fan of theater (I had a small part in my senior class play and my brother is a professional actor), the Fort Worth Symphony, and the Oratorio Chorus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I have never done the ballet before. I last saw The Nutcracker on TV when I was a child. I do have a CD of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite- and love it!
Ballet is another form of drama, set to music, using dance and mime to do the acting instead of words. What I noticed right away is that while there may be a central story line on stage, there are several other things going on all around the central act. Several stories are being acted out at once. What this means is that you have to keep your eyes and ears open to evverything that is going on; it demands the full attention of the audience.
One thing that totally caught me by surprise is how funny it was. I didn’t know it was ok to laugh at the ballet. The antics of Clara and Fritz, and the other children, were funny enough, but when you add the old grandfather and some of the other adults in, it was very funny. I love physical humor. Lucy Ball was great with physical humor. The ballet offers up very physical humor!
Speaking of physical, I was amazed at the athleticism of the dancers. After some pretty hard dancing, I never saw anyone breathing hard or sweating. And they were always smiling. The most interesting and complicated dance of the night for me was the Chinese dance with the 2 young men with the sword and staff. That was amazing.
It had been so long since I had watched the Nutcracker I forgot about the big rats harassing young Clara and the heroics of the Nutcracker/Prince and the toy soldiers. The cannon was a pleasant, and loud, surprise!
Havilah Sprunk was the perfect choice for Clara. Though Havilah is about 20, on stage she looked and acted like a young girl of about 12. She beamed through the entire performance and her dancing and frolicking on stage really communicated the joys of childhood and the magic of Christmas.
The music was pre-recorded, the Fort Worth Symphony was not present, and that was a disappointment, but understandable considering the expense involved. I would rather have a ballet in Ft Worth than not, even if that means sacrificing live music. But Tchaikovsky is one of my favorites. When I am studying I enjoy listening to classical music. My favorites include Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker Suite has been my favorite Tchaikovsky piece since I was a child. Now when I go to listen to my wife sing with the Oratorio Chorus and the Ft Worth Symphony, I usually close my eyes and enter an almost dream state which enhances the listening experience. I obviously had to keep my eyes open last night at the Ballet!
But now I must move from a review of the Ballet performance to a brief study of Christians in the performing Arts. Our church and Care Group have really tried to encourage young Havilah in her profession. We had about 25-30 from our church at last night’s performance. We absolutely believe that Christians should be involved in the performing arts and bring their faith with them instead of hiding it.
The arts can be one of the main ways to communicate the beauty, order and creativity of God. Sadly, Bible believing Christians have, to a large part, abandoned the world of the arts and therefore, the arts have been somewhat corrupted. This can lead to a lot of judgmental Christians eschewing the world of the arts and this is seen in our spartan sanctuaries and church buildings. We can even have a secret view of Christian artists as being compromised, liberal or otherwise weak. Except for music, that is one area the church has held on to half-way.
But to the point, we need more Havilah’s. She is a brave young believer with sound doctrine and strong convictions who is consciously serving in a place that is nearly entirely pagan. She does so with grace, joy and skill. We need more young people willing to enter the performing arts who will serve with excellence and not compromise their convictions. And to the other artists who may not be Christians, I never would have gone to the ballet last night had it not been for young Havilah. I will now be a lifetime ballet convert! Bravo! The TexasBalletTheater will be performing Swan Lake, also by Tchaikovsky, in February. Dawn and I will be there, and hopefully, a full contingent from our church.
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