Our friends the Afghanis are set to hang a Christian brother for the dread crime of turning away from Islam, which he did eight years ago. We have spent precious blood, much toil, and a whole lot of money to bring this nation out of Seventh Century tribalism, and what have we gotten?
Basically, Seventh Century tribalism. With little confidence that America is going to stay the course, the population is turning away from us. The Afghan government so many had put hope in is turning out to be increasingly weak and corrupt. And we are reduced to negotiating with the Taliban.
The abominable apostasy and blasphemy laws are how Islam keeps it reign of fear and coercion intact. They also are used to destroy others for strict personal gain.
That after all we have poured into Afghanistan, an innocent Christian man has been imprisoned, badly abused, and is in immanent danger of being executed is simply unacceptable. That the government of our nation has not pressed strongly for human rights in this case is a cause for national shame. We see people clamoring for freedom all over the world, and spilling their blood to get it. And from the White House we hear…. nothing.
Christian Post reports on a tweeting campaign for the freeing of Said Musa. This is a good thing, as evidently the only thing our leaders hear is political volume. Perhaps it will draw Obama away from opining on the situation in Wisconsin.
I’m enclosing below an article from Open Heaven on Said. It is dramatic testimony of what the Lord is accomplishing through him. Our brother is a physiotherapist with six children, and he has held faithful through a hellish experience. Let’s pray that he is saved from this tribal injustice.
And here’s a link to an encouraging report on how with all this repression and upheaval Muslims are looking for something that will take them out of their tragic centuries-long rut of futility and backwardness. They are open, like never before, for the liberating truth of Christ. Please pray. Here’s the first article:
Afghanistan: Jesus appears in prison
A brother in Christ and an employee of the International Red Cross, Said Musa, was arrested in Afghanistan in late May 2010 after footage was nationally televised of Afghan Christians being baptized and participating in prayer gatherings. The broadcast triggered protests throughout the country and calls to execute Christians, including from a deputy leader in parliament. Musa, a father of six and an amputee with a prosthetic leg, explained in a letter written from Oullayat prison in Kabul that he had been beaten, forcefully sleep deprived, and sexually abused by prisoners. He added that Afghan judicial officers granted him no protection and at times encouraged the abuse.
On December 11, 2010, he wrote from his jail cell that he rejoices in the Lord amidst great suffering. “I saw a vision during my sleep one night. I saw the heaven opened and a person, his cloths like snow, his face in dazzling light. He came to me and put his hand on my shoulder and on my head, and told me: ‘Please he happy, I am always with you in this jail. I chose you and you should announce my good news to the people of Afghanistan and all over the world.’ On that moment I was shaking and trembling with fear. I fell down and could not stand on my feet. He took my hands and I woke up.”
“In my dream a very light person told me: I am Jesus Christ.”
Five days later, on December 16, he wrote again about an unusual occurrence, this time involving a Taliban prisoner: “A person who is accused of murder is sleeping in front of me in the corridor of the jail. He’s a hundred percent extremist, a Talib person. One night he wanted to kill himself. I prayed for him and told him: ‘Please be patient, believe in Jesus Christ, he’s the only person to forgive you and save you and release you from this jail.’ At first he began screaming and insulted me. He told me: ‘You’re not clean, you’re not a Muslim!’ But I told him: ‘Oh my friend and brother, please think about my word.’ Then I prayed for him throughout the night.”
Musa continued: “While all the prisoners were at sleep, he woke up and sat on his place. He came near my bed and told me: ‘Please forgive me, brother. You’re really a true person. I have seen wonderful dreams. A very light person spoke with me. He was an amazing person. I fell down on my knees and to the ground. He told me, please believe in your friend Said Musa. I am the Lord Jesus Christ. I forgive you now. I was shaking in my body from fear and then I woke up.’ He told me he now believes in Jesus Christ.”
Various human rights organizations have taken up Musa’s case and call for prayer for him and his family.
I’ve been watching the news from Egypt with a mixture of hope and apprehension, but mostly apprehension. Mubarak finally has stepped down, and he has handed the government over to the army. It is a sad commentary, indeed, that the military is the only institution strong enough to hold the nation together.
What might have been had the US used its influence not merely to keep a brutal dictator in its corner, but to advocate for democracy? We will never know. In letting this thugs brutalize the people, Mubarak poured gasoline on the smoldering fumes of Islamic fundamentalism, and that in turn set the Muslims to terrorizing the Copt Christians.
In short, the nation was falling apart and was doomed to the rule of a strongman. The only question was whether that strongman would be from the military or from the Islamic radicals. We don’t have our long-range answer yet.
It’s a huge opportunity lost. Thirty years of aid, at about $2B a year, and all we bought was delay. But the money spent is not the worst of it. Our lost respect is more expensive. The last two weeks, in particular, has shown the White House stumbling all over itself, not knowing a thing about what was going on, getting its news from the TV, sending its chief intelligence specialist to make an open show of his utter incompetence before Congress.
The key ingredient that could have brought about a different outcome is leadership. Moral leadership. Jimmy Carter professed to be a big advocate of global human rights when he was president. Maybe he was, but he did not back it up with the one thing dictators respect – strength.
The man who did champion human rights, and who also backed it up with strength, was Ronald Reagan, whose centennial we celebrated this week. It’s in vogue to laud Reagan now, but in his time he was derided by the same liberal elites that now praise him.
Reagan made mistakes, such as allowing Hezbollah to survive its bombing of our Marine peacekeepers in Lebanon. But he got the big picture right – something we haven’t done terribly well since. It’s a shame that we suffer with such poor leadership, but then, we essentially get the leadership we deserve.
John Adams said that the Constitution was designed for a religious and moral people; that none else could sustain it. Because our moral foundations are disintegrating, we have lost discernment and opened ourselves up to any sweet-talking shyster with big promises. If we want better government, each of us needs to commit to personal moral and spiritual revival. Jesus promised that if we would clean the inside of the cup, the outside would be clean as well.
I pray that the Middle East can overcome the political strongholds, many of them rooted in religion, that have bound it so long. I also hope that we can overcome the progressing humanist strongholds that keep us from being the witness we are meant to be. The world is crying out for moral leadership. First in Iran, and now in Egypt, the nation and the man that so many had placed their hope in has merely voted “present”.
Yesterday I watched video of Bill Clinton stumping for Maurice Hinchey, one of the most odious characters in a Congress that has quite a few. Clinton was heckled, and he took control of the situation by bragging on his four balanced budgets as president. The audience rose and cheered him with patriotic fervor, and the hecklers were drowned out.
I can only hope that Mr. Clinton gets on his knees each night and expresses thanks for the Republicans who drove him to the center and forced him to adopt policies such as welfare reform and the abandonment of his governmental takeover of health care.
I’ve been watching with displeasure as Clinton enjoys a massive rehabilitation in this season of need for the Democrat Party. It seems that even after 9/11, two wars and a near-depression, America has learned very little.
Until the appearance of Obama on the scene, Mr. Clinton was the most prodigious liar I had ever seen. But his strength wasn’t actually his ability to deceive. With Clinton most people knew they were being lied to. It was his ‘aw, shucks’ good ol’ boy demeanor that disarmed much of the public and let him get away with it.
Not so with Obama. I recall watching Obama during one of the presidential debates, in which he calmly and coolly defended his vote in the Illinois senate against providing pediatricians to protect the lives of aborted babies born alive. He maintained that he voted against the bill because Illinois law already provided for such protection, and therefore the bill was just prolife political grandstanding.
I follow these things and had heard otherwise, but Obama’s intelligence and apparent sincerity caused even me to doubt. Frankly, I have had enough problems with some elements of the prolife movement that I had to consider the possibility that my information had been incorrect.
So that debate ended with me being unsure about the character of Obama. Certainly, the man had much that was winsome. If his votes had indeed been reasonable, I could see why many would support him.
The conflict gnawed at me for a few days before I finally did the research. The Illinois bill that Obama used for cover stipulated that the abortionist himself was to switch hats in the case of an aborted baby born alive and now try to save the life of the baby he had been trying to kill.
Picture that. An abortionist drags a scalded, half-dead baby with limbs torn off out of the birth canal, and sees it’s still alive. He now has a choice. If the baby lives in a deformed condition, its mother would now turn on the abortionist with the finest legal guns in the country. All manner of horrendous publicity concerning him and his trade would ensue, and it is quite likely that he would lose his shirt and be put out of business.
Or he could simply go through the motions but let the baby die. Considering the moral caliber of most people drawn to the abortion trade, what do you think this guy is going to do?
I saw clearly that the Illinois law Obama used for cover was a sham. And I just as clearly saw that Obama was the coolest, most bloodless liar I had ever experienced. What was most troubling was the realization that perhaps only one percent of the nation knew the facts on the Illinois abortion bill. The rest would have been convinced of Obama’s sincerity and reasonableness in the matter, and they probably would have concluded that this man is indeed fit to serve in our highest office.
Now, two years later, many are learning the truth. We see how the promises to be a post-partisan uniter and healer were merely a David Axlerod ad campaign to sell Obama as something he is not. Obama has done nothing to build consensus; he hasn’t even tried. Consensus for Obama is agreeing with his radical agenda, which he has pursued even while the nation was bleeding for jobs. And now that he’s in electoral trouble, the last remnants of post-partisanship have been cast off, revealing the divisive hyper-partisan attack dog that always hid behind the cool demeanor.
The troubling thing here is that with the resurrection of Bill Clinton, much of America is bearing witness that it has learned nothing. It is saying, “Lie to us if you must, we don’t care about the morality. Just give us prosperity”.
Back in 1992, Clinton ran for the presidency on the slogan, “it’s the economy, stupid”. Clinton and his wife had a radical social agenda, including unrestricted abortion rights, but the nation was in a slight recession and he capitalized on that fact. And the media helped him by burying the fact that we had already begun to emerge from the recession in the months before the election.
At that time, Ralph Martin wrote that to place the economy over moral issues as a voting criteria was to violate the biblical prohibition against taking a bribe to pervert justice (Proverbs 17.23). Much of America took that bribe, and we got what we got.
There is much irony here. The economy which had been recovering before Clinton was elected now began to stagnate and sink backwards, as the business community drew back in alarm at Clinton’s agenda, which included the nationalization of one-seventh of the economy, by means of taking over the health care sector.
It wasn’t until 1994, when the Republicans took control of Congress on a platform of reduced government, forcing Clinton to abruptly declare that “the era of big government is over” and to abandon his worst schemes, that the economy gained traction and roared on for years.
In Matthew 6.33, Jesus assures us that if we seek God’s kingdom first, He then will add to us everything we need. This is the lesson America has yet to learn. It’s not the economy, it’s the morality that we need to be concerned with. If we would return to the sound values we were founded on, if we would get humanist statism and political correctness off our backs, the natural creativity of our interrelationships would be unleashed and we would enjoy an economic renaissance the likes of which has not been seen. God wants us to prosper and do well, but He knows it must be done the right way (see 3John 1.2).
And the prosperity we would enjoy would not be the materialistic, hedonistic lust-fest we have seen. We would have our needs met, we would live with purpose and dignity, and we would be a light to the nations once again.
But it must begin by valuing truth above all, even over economic prosperity.
Elections are in three weeks. Consider prayerfully where this nation is spiritually, and where it needs to be. God promises that if we honor Him, He will honor us (1Samuel 2.20). Put God first and you have everything. Place an idol in your heart before him, and you end up with nothing.
Over at the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott has written a very insightful article looking forward. It’s pretty rare to have someone take a peak into the future and come up with a believable scenario, especially one that runs counter to prevailing wisdom, but that’s what Mark has done. And what he envisions for our society has repercussions for the church as well.
You may be aware of the pervasive belief that we are in the midst of an emerging Democrat majority. The argument runs that all the power centers of the culture have been taken over by liberals who direct the culture and define the terms of the public debate. Added to that is the fact that the coming generations are much more oriented toward finding group solutions to social problems than the Boomers, or any other generation in American history for that matter.
The argument is persuasive because both points are incontrovertible. Most of government, the bureaucracy, academia, the media, entertainment, unions, and much of the church lies in liberal hands. Yes, there has been a conservative countertrend, especially in the presidency and to a lesser extent in the Supreme Court, but the overall situation is extremely liberal and humanist. And the digital age has facilitated a group approach to problem solving among the younger set. The dominant meme now is networking and peer-to-peer collaboration.
It’s worth noting that at the hands of the media, entertainment and the public schools, there has been a massive dumbing-down of our children in terms of moral discernment and historical perspective. Had this not been the case, Mr. Obama would not have been able to hoodwink much of the population with deceptive “hope and change” rhetoric.
All this bodes very ill for conservatism, and well for liberalism. So the argument goes.
But a year into Obama’s reign, now that we’ve gotten a glimpse of what his vision of America looks like, Mark Tapscott has peered down the road a bit, and while not arguing with the facts undergirding the emerging Democrat majority theory, has come up with a alternate vision that is at first troubling in its admission but ultimately hopeful in its outlook.
Tapscott makes the simple commonsense point that when the younger generation sees the fiscal bankruptcy that liberal social policies bring, and when they see their own parents impoverished and dispossessed after a life of honest hard work, and when they then realize that they themselves have been stuck with a massive generationally-deferred bill for this big-government disaster, they will recoil in horror and revolt against progressivism.
He then gives the further insight that the very peer-to-peer collaborative skills that have made our young folk more social-minded toward problem solving have also made them more independent of top-down, command-and-control solutions and their necessary massive bureaucratic layers. Those of the digital generation want to work together, yes, but they do not want overhead. They want to target the problem, reach a rapid consensus solution, and then go at it lean-and-mean, hard and fast. The backroom deal-making that Obama, Pelosi and Reid have made their hallmark, even while promising transparency, disgusts such down-to-earth idealism.
For these reasons, Tapscott sees the next ten to twenty years as the generational graveyard of American progressivism.
And I agree, should we survive that long.
Now, regarding the church, I think we can draw two conclusions from Tapscott’s projections.
First, the young generation’s disenchantment with big government will drive it to the church in its search for a network with which to solve social problems. This is a conservative’s dream. Conservatives believe that charity should be by private organizations and individuals, who, unlike government entitlement programs, can discriminate regarding who should receive aid. Unlike government hand-outs, which typically disincentivize responsible behavior, private charity is free to reward responsible behavior and to withhold aid from people who behave badly. And getting the government out of social services will not only clean up the social services, it will give the church the chance to be the church. Privately run welfare is minimalist and direct, efficient and effective. And when it is done under the banner of the Gospel of redemption, the whole man can be healed.
Second, the church will undergo a change of shape that will parallel society, and that will dramatically influence its theology of Body life. Postmodernism is upon us, like it or not, and is here for the foreseeable future. The church has been searching for ways to stay relevant, and a large part of the answer is to be found in flexible collaborative forms, of which cell groups, house churches and other organic models will play an important, if not dominant, part.
Increasingly, the church in America may turn to the church in China as a model. The underground church there is lean on structure and intense on spirit and commitment. Under decades of brutal persecution, it has grown perhaps twenty-fold since World War Two, to some one hundred twenty million souls today. Hopefully the church in America will not have to deal with government antagonism as do the Chinese, but however that works out, the church needs to emulate the fervor of the Chinese believers.
Many fear deconstruction of traditional church structures, fearing the loss of orthodoxy. There certainly will be a dynamic “peer” feeling to the new arrangement (just visit online Christian forums for a taste), but also a vitality, and the Lord can lead His church in it. Indeed the bursting of rigid structures based on the corporation model is precisely what the American church needs.
There are no guarantees any of this will happen, but the above scenario is plausible and food for thought. It would be wise for us to prepare for massive change, whatever shape it may take, because that is a pretty sure bet. It would be nice to be in position when it happens.
Addendum: in the Washington Post, of all places, two well-connected Democrat pollsters have written a powerful admonition to Democrat leaders, saying that the way they have pursued healthcare reform will cause massive backlash at the polls this November, unless there is a backtracking and a wave of transparency and bipartisanship. They barely fall short of outright condemnation of Obama, Pelosi and Reid for the aggressiveness of their agenda in the face of deep public opposition.
I mention this because as we enter this latest “final” push for healthcare, the nation’s unease is increasingly palpable. Rather than being the fatal stroke of socialism, Obama may prove to be our inoculation against it. Saints, we need to keep praying and acting.
Two noteworthy pieces came down today. First, the London Times announced its Person of the Year to be Neda Soltan.
Neda was the young Iranian woman of beautiful spirit who was senselessly gunned down by Iran’s terrorist Islamic regime. She hadn’t a political bone in her body, but she was intuitively outraged by the regime’s brutal repression of the protests against a massively crooked election. She courageously attended her first protest, and gave her life as a result.
In murdering Neda, the regime destroyed forever any illusions of its own decency and legitimacy, while Neda herself was immortalized. Jesus said that “unless a grain of wheat fall to the earth and die, it cannot bear much fruit.” The world will never forget Neda, and the Iranian people will never rest until they are free of political and religious tyranny. Through her sacrifice, Neda has already begun to bear an incalculable harvest of good fruit.
What a refreshing contrast this Times’ pick is, compared to the values-neutral, politically correct, agenda-driven, nauseating pap we’ve come to expect from our own Time Magazine each year. A well-done, inspiring piece. May journalism be reborn with many more like it.
And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads,
even that not any might buy or sell except those having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.
Here is the wisdom. Let him having reason count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. And its number is six hundred and sixty-six. – Rev 13:16-18
We are living in historic times, times that were written of long ago in the Bible. With increasing rapidity, a new world order is coagulating before our eyes.
It began with the League of Nations after World War I, progressed with the Religious Humanist Manifesto of 1933, resumed after World War II with the birth of the United Nations, was supplemented by the rise of multi-national corporations, was again confirmed by the (this time Secular) Humanist Manifesto of 1963, and has made massive headway with the rise of political correctness, multiculturalism and globalism. And now, finally, the environmental movement intends to carry the ball over the goal.
Charles Krauthammer, one of our most consistently incisive commentators, has penned an brilliant piece entitled The Environmental Shakedown, in which he observes that Green is the new Red. What Communism, capital C, could not do, environmentalism is doing. Simply switch the driving ideology from class warfare over to saving our beloved planet, and you neutralize opposition. There will be no control you cannot implement.