Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lowest Common Denominator

In mathematics the lowest common denominator is the least common multiple of the denominators of a set of vulgar fractions. Ie; 4/16 divide each number by the lowest common denominator, 4 and you come up with 1/4. Use the smallest positive integer that is a multiple of each denominator in the set. This term has entered popular culture and now denotes the least sophisticated person(s) in a particular situation. The term is often used as a figure of speech indicating the most basic, least sophisticated level of taste, sensibility, or opinion among a group of people. Most reality TV shows tend to appeal to the lowest common denominators among us. If you tend to gravitate to “Honey Boo”, “Jersey Shore” or the “Kardashians”, you just may fit into the category of lowbrow, uncultured, or low information individuals looked down upon and considered to be on the fringe of society.

Of our own accord, many of us would stoop to our lowest common denominator and sit for hours and watch “Dancing with the Stars” instead of taking time with our God in prayer or meditation on His word. ELCA teachings step away from the words of our God and decide that, “the times, they are a’ changin’” and tweak the words our God decided were the best path for His children to take. Our more enlightened friends that lead the apostate ELCA decide to modernize God’s word and contrive all sorts of “new things” that they believe that God must have really meant in that “book of faith stories”. Take Christ out of Christianity and we engage in doctrine that lifts up the true selfish nature of humanity. Christ died for all humanity, so why not neglect to emphasize that faith in the Risen Christ is necessary to gain salvation. It’s hard to deny oneself and so demeaning to admit to our selfish and sinful nature. Think that the producer of “Noah” took creative license with the story of the flood, think again. These supposed men and women of God have, with the stroke of a pen and the vote of a fallen humanity, attempted to change God’s will forever. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Disobedience is so easy. We are all rule breakers at heart. We expect the leaders of God’s church to preach the pure Gospel, as it is stated in God’s word, the Bible. Having the very persons charged to uphold sound doctrine, contrive ways around our Lord and Savior’s teaching is beyond the pale. We do quite a fine job of finding ways to displease our God all by ourselves, we don’t need the church affirming us within our sin. But, Luther himself said to sin boldly, so what is the problem? He also said that we are at once, both saint and sinner. In other words, we remain a sinful humanity that continually falls short of the glory of God. We need to recognize our sinful nature and how easily we fall into disobedience. We need to recognize that we need a Savior, because we can never earn the grace that is so freely bestowed upon us. We need to recognize that, because of our faith in the Risen Christ, we are forgiven. What the leaders of the ELCA fail to understand is that, if there is no sin, there is no need for forgiveness. If there is no need for forgiveness there is no need for a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, there is no need to attend a church that is welcoming, tolerant and affirming of sinful behavior.

More of Luther’s letter to Melanchthon. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2 Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.” The false gospel of tolerance and affirmation trivializes Christ sacrifice upon the cross. Essays published in the “Lutheran” magazine and what is being taught in ELCA seminaries attest to the fact that the leaders of the ELCA are deliberately fomenting a revolution against sound Lutheran doctrine and the authority of Scripture. This battle against God is extraordinarily insidious as the ELCA promotes all sorts of unsound theology at its’ seminaries and then persecutes and silences any and all seminarians that resist its’ false teachings. Bound conscience is truly a one way street, contrived to silence any opposing, traditional voices.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ adrift in ELCA churches need to wake up and smell the roses. They are being led onto a path towards destruction. Accepting the false doctrine of bound conscience is tantamount to worshiping themselves. Believe what the snake oil peddler is selling and you will fall to your lowest common denominator, the sinful human being lavishing even more sinful behavior upon yourself, secure in the fact that your church says that it is okay. Pray long and hard for our brothers and sisters to realize that fact before it is too late.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

If a Tree Falls.....

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Many a philosopher and now even an auto insurance commercial wrestle with this question. In today’s hyper-partisan environment, when certain events occur, nary a peep is made. As the media controls the narrative of the day, only that which they deem important makes the news. In the former Soviet Union, propaganda filled the pages of Pravda and the airwaves. The Politiburo determined what it wanted its’ citizens to hear, think and say. Dissidents were jailed or simply disappeared, some ending up in Siberia with what amounted to a death sentence. In this bastion of freedom, known as the United States of America, we are hearkening back to those days behind the Iron Curtain. The narrative that drives our current day media outlets focuses upon progressive ideals, scoffs at conservative values and ridicules those foolish enough to profess their Christian faith. Our President, so longed for and expected to heal everything from the racial divide to our very planet, uses the arms of the government, such as the IRS to exact political revenge upon those seen to oppose his agenda. Yes, political retribution has been refined to a fine art by this current “Chicago style” administration. Wisconsin, which is becoming the poster child for partisanship in the aftermath of Act 10, has taken political retaliation to an entirely new level.

Israel Ozanne, democrat district attorney for Dane County, filed felony voter fraud charges against a republican state representative’s staffer. As you may know, Wisconsin democrats have been fighting tooth and nail to defeat a voter ID bill that they say will disenfranchise minority voters (when all it will really do is make it tougher for democrats to cheat and overturn the will of the people). Milwaukee’s democrat mayor, Tom Barrett denies that voter fraud is even an issue, complaining that there is nothing to see here and asking over and over to show him the violators if there is a problem. A 2004 report by Milwaukee Police found that between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots during the national election that year. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; homeless voters possibly voted more than once. 65 felony charges of voter fraud involving 35 individuals have been issued since 2008. One of those cases an Oak Creek man submitted 54 fraudulent voter registrations while working for the Community Voters Project, a liberal based organization. Common to each of these cases was the intent to commit voter fraud. Cue the crickets as little attention is given these cases by the media. However, the case of Marcie Malszycki, who cast her votes in 2008 and 2010 at the district where she lived before becoming a staffer for Republican State Representative Warren Petryk, apparently is a big deal. Her mother lives in that district and Malszycki resided there before moving to Madison. She did not cast a vote in either of those elections in Madison or any other polling place. This makes the front page of local newspapers and TV news reports. Ozanne, a democrat, also refused to issue charges against a Cross Plains woman who made repeated e-mail threats to kill Republican Governor Scott Walker and his family. Nary a peep on this issue either. I guess all is fair in love and war.

While the Obama administration is embroiled in a seemingly endless stream of scandals that would likely overwhelm any other administration, those abuses are decried as “phony” or contrived by the Tea Party and Fox News. Impeachable offenses by Obama and his administration are largely ignored or minimized by the main stream media, while any misstep by a conservative is blown out of proportion. (See Chris Christie and “BridgeGate”) Far worse are the thousands upon thousands of Christians that are being murdered throughout the Muslim world and yet the media remains silent. Repeated rocket attacks against Israel, targeting civilians are largely ignored. Even Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that there were no deaths in Israel due to terrorist attacks in 2013, ignoring the 6 Israelis that were murdered by Palestinians and that attacks in the West Bank more than doubled in 2013 -- 1,271 as opposed to 578 in 2012.

And then we have those athletes that announce their homosexuality and are immediately proclaimed heroes by the media. Keep repeating after me while watching the shiny object. There is no liberal bias in the media… The producer of the new epic film “Noah” complains that negative reactions to pre-screenings of his movie are unfairly being driven by a small minority of conservative Christians. Sorry about that, but if you are going to take creative license with a Biblical story, perhaps you should stick a little closer to the story line, after all it is about a historical figure. And since we are bringing up minorities that drive narratives, how does the minority LGTBQ community drive the opinion of so much of our secular society? Seems like a group, that consists of less than 5% of our population has much more clout than any other class of people in this country. When the mini-series, “The Bible” was broadcast, for the most part keeping true to the Word, it became the most viewed cable series of all time. Perhaps when conservative Christians speak up, Hollywood may behoove itself to listen.

All Christians can be assured that while the devil does his best to turn our world upside down, everything that happens, does so for God’s purpose. God’s plan continues to drive the events of our world, even those that seem to run contrary to His will. Each and every trial and tribulation is used by our Father in heaven to mold us. We can use these, sometimes troublesome events, as God intends or we can give in to our selfish nature and do as the evil one would desire, complain, blame God or behave in a manner unpleasing to Him. Every person placed into a position of authority is done so at God’s command. Those leaders that behave as they do, even when it appears that they are doing the devil’s work, are doing so for His purpose. When President Obama proclaims to the world that the United States is no longer a Christian nation, sleeping Christians wake up and work to restore their faith. When the leaders of the ELCA lead the faithful astray, a new revival begins and denominations true to the Gospel break away and thrive. We can never truly understand why God allows evil people into positions of authority, but know this, our Father in heaven is in charge and while we are called to submit to the authorities appointed by Him, we are not called to lay down as sheep being led to slaughter. Do not allow anyone to drive you away from your calling to be a disciple of Christ. Do not be frustrated when it appears that the powers of darkness seem to be winning every battle. The story has been written and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has triumphed over the evil one and his minions..

1 Peter 2:13-18, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

This world is but a brief existence for God’s children. When we focus on what is truly important, submit ourselves to Gods’ will and work to further His kingdom here on earth, we come to understand our role in all of this. Do not be afraid to speak out for our Lord. Do not be afraid to speak out at the ballot box by supporting candidates that uphold Christian values. Do not be afraid to do the things that are pleasing to God.

1 Peter 1:23-25, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”