All posts by DanCalabrese27

To stop mass shootings, we must demand our leaders ban premarital sex

PHOTO CREDIT: Cristina Souza via Flickr

Like you, I want to see something done that ensures a mass shooting like the one we saw in Florida last week never happens again.

Like you, I want to look at the common factors in each of these mass shootings and address the circumstances that keep happening again and again.

Like you, I think the lives of past, present and figure victims are more important than some of the individual rights people insist on protecting. I don’t think it’s an acceptable price to pay that people keep dying so you will not lose these rights.

So I have a proposal: Congress needs to ban premarital sex.

We’ve clearly seen a trend with these shootings, which is that the shooters invariably come from homes with no fathers.

And no one should be surprised that it happens this way, given impacts like those outlined here by Jeanine Martin:

The one common thread among all the recent mass shooters is they are children of single of mothers.  These young men had no male role models in their homes.  For 50 years, our society has encouraged women to be single mothers despite all the research proving it is detrimental to a child to be born into a home without a father.  Children born to single mothers are twice as likely to become delinquent. 

Children of single mothers are more likely to be in special education classes in school, more likely to drop out of school, more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol at an early age, and more likely to become delinquent and to be incarcerated.  There are no men on death row from intact families.  Children of single mothers are more likely to witness domestic violence in their homes and more likely to repeat the pattern of domestic violence. Children born to a married couple are more likely to attend college, less likely to be abused, and more likely to grow up mentally and physically healthier.  A child born to a single mother has close to a 40% chance of growing up in poverty while a child born to a married couple has less than 4% chance of growing up in poverty. Children of single mothers are 14 times more likely to suffer abuse and if the mother lives with a man who is not the father of the child, the chances of abuse increase to 33 times that of a married couple. Worse, the children of single parents are more likely to grow up and repeat the pattern, a pattern that is detrimental to children.

Premarital and extramarital sex, which no longer carries any societal stigma in this country, is producing children who are growing up with no fathers. With the exception of Cho Seung Hui at Virginia Tech, all the mass shooters involved in recent incidents were products of these fatherless homes.

Enough is enough. We must do something. People must surrender their rights to make sure this never happens again.

If Congress bans premarital sex, there will be no fatherless children except in cases of divorce. No problem. Ban divorce too.

You don’t need to have premarital sex. You want to, but you don’t need to.  Our leaders need to stop you from doing it so you don’t have any kids who will end up with no fathers. And you don’t need to get a divorce. I realize you can’t stand the garbage you married, but hey, you made the choice. Tough luck. You’re stuck. It’s not as bad as letting someone else be the victim of a mass shooting.

How will we enforce this? What do you mean? When Congress bans something, it no longer happens. No one disobeys the law and, say, obtains a gun that’s been banned. Why would they have premarital sex when it’s been banned?

What about your right to privacy? Actually, unlike the right to bear arms, which is actually in the Constitution, there is no right to privacy. If you’re told to keep it in your pants so as not to sire the next Nikolas Cruz, keep it in your pants, junior.

How will we achieve this? Easy. Send a bunch of high school students who don’t want to get shot to stand outside Capitol Hill yelling “Shame on you! Shame on you!” until Congress bans premarital sex. The media will cover their efforts with fawning praise. The public will rise up and demand that something be done.

Congress will ban premarital sex. People will stop fornicating. Children will stop growing up without fathers.

But people love sex!

Sure. The flesh wants it bad. But unlike a gun, which you could actually use to protect yourself against a would-be murderer, premarital sex can’t do anything to save your life.

If you’re a dude, all it does is give you something to brag to your friends about at the bar. And if you’re the kind of guy who behaves like that, you’re not father material.

Hey. Don’t get mad at me. I’m just trying to eliminate the problem. There is way too much fatherlessness. Ban it. Banning things always eliminates the things.

Then again, if we ban fornication then the only fornicators will be people who don’t respect the law, and the only fatherless children will be the ones sired by people who are irresponsible in the first place.

Sort of like what happens when you try to ban guns.

No problem. Ban lawbreaking too!

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Yes, a woman was jailed for having her daughter baptized . . . but that’s not the whole story here

Not every story that screams out “persecution of Christians” really turns out that way, and this one is a perfect example.

Yes, 36-year-old Kenrdra Stocks was jailed for having her baby baptized. And yes, she showed some courage by enduring the weeklong jail sentence to do it. But there’s a lot more to this, and while Stocks sacrificed for her beliefs in this one isolated way, it really is a cautionary tale about what happens when you play fast and loose with God’s other commands.

For the record, I do not believe in infant baptism because I believe baptism is an ordinance to which an individual is commanded to submit upon surrendering to Christ and receiving His grace for the forgiveness of sins. Someone else can’t decide you should be baptized. It’s not a box to check to make sure you get into Heaven in case you die unexpectedly.

But with that on the record, Stocks does believe in infant baptism, so let’s look at the facts here. Stocks had a baby out of wedlock following a relationship with a guy that lasted six months. The two never married, and when the baby was born, there were legal proceedings concerning custody and the raising of the child. One issue the court dealt with was the religious rearing of the child, and both parents wanted the child raised Catholic. Both agreed they would take no major steps in that rearing without the other being informed and signing off on the decision.

But when Stocks decided it was time for the baby to be baptized, she did so without the involvement or consent of the father, and that’s what landed her in jail:

District Court Judge Sean Smith found Stocks guilty of contempt last March, and wrote that the mother had acted in “bad faith disregard” when she failed to notify Schaaf of the baptism or give him any role in the ceremony, the paper reported.

Stocks appealed, but Smith’s ruling was upheld on Monday — with the original sentence of 10 days cut down to seven.

“I’m scared,” Stocks told The Observer. “I’m sad about what has happened. I don’t regret having her baptized. That was in her best interest … I don’t see how this is in the best interest of the family. Her father is sending her mother to jail.”

Jonathan Feit, Schaaf’s attorney, emphasized that Stocks was being punished not for baptizing her child but ignoring the judge’s order.

“For our system to work, there ought to be consequences for willfully and intentionally violating a court order,” Feit told The Observer. “I teach my children that. I reject the notion that anybody else is responsible for what is happening besides Ms. Stocks herself.”

The couple’s daughter was the product of their six-month relationship that ended in February 2014, according to the report.

So let’s be very clear about this: Stocks was not put in jail by a godless court hostile to Christianity, trying to criminalize the rite of baptism. She was put in jail because she was supposed to get the kid baptized in cooperation with the father, and she flouted that order and just did it on her own.

How could she have handled it better? Well, she could have put aside whatever tension or differences may exist between her and the father in the post-breakup relationship and scheduled a baptism that involved both of them – like the court ordered her to do.

But there’s an even better answer to the question: She could have refrained from sex outside marriage.

If you marry the right person, committing to them in covenant love as God designed and forsaking all others in a lifelong commitment blessed by God, and then you have sex and have a child, none of these problems come up.

Catholics believe that a baby who dies before being baptized does not go to Heaven, so when a baby is born there’s a certain urgency to get the baptism done just in case. Usually they do it when the baby is about a month old, although they believe that in an emergency anyone can sprinkle the baby and God will accept it as valid.

I don’t know if this is what motivated Stocks, or if she just can’t stand the guy and didn’t want to cooperate with him. Either way, you have to hand it to her for accepting a weeklong jail sentence in order to make sure her baby got what Stocks thought the baby needed to secure her eternal destiny.

But she only had this problem in the first place because she was disobedient to God in her sex life. That doesn’t mean she can’t be forgiven for that – of course she can – but it does mean that the rest of us reading this story should understand you can’t just be cavalier about God’s commands without suffering consequences.

There’s a reason God told us to enjoy the blessing of sex at certain times and under certain circumstances. And people who ignore all that and continue to just grab what their flesh wants when it wants it continue to demonstrate that Galatians 5 is validated every time people insist on testing it.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




How can we talk to each other when you think I don’t care about kids being murdered?

I don’t really want to debate the gun control question here. I’ve said what I have to say on Herman’s site here and here, so knock yourself out if you want to read about it.

What concerns me more is what’s happened to our ability as people to have honest disagreements about such things.

Every time we have one of these mass shootings – and it gets worse with each one – we’re seeing the phenomenon of some people making a simple expression of sympathy for the victims, which is immediately followed by other people trashing said expression of sympathy – a trashing that’s quickly rewarded with fawning media applause.

Take a look at how the Huffington Post celebrated those who ripped the Republican Party’s simple offer of sympathy to Florida. It’s mostly an embed of tweets, and you know how that goes, but I’ll sum it up if you don’t want to click.

GOP says, “We’re with you, Florida.” Twitter trolls proceed to rip the sentiment and essentially accuse the GOP of willingly letting kids die in order to keep NRA money flowing into their coffers.

This, of course, is the basic extension of the recently trendy phenomenon of ripping people who offer “thoughts and prayers” whenever there is a tragedy. I value prayers more than thoughts, but I’ll never turn down any positive sentiment on my behalf.

What these people are doing is a) casting aspersions on the idea of prayer having any value; and b) insisting that caring sentiment is worthless and the only thing that’s welcome is the pushing of a pre-determined agenda to which you must sign on, or be excoriated as a heartless monster.

I do not support additional gun control measures because I do not believe legal access to guns is the cause of the problem. If you think legal access to guns is the cause of the problem, I expect you to disagree with my position.

The problem comes when you refuse to accept the sincerity of mine, and that’s what we see happening now in widespread fashion. The default position of the gun-controllers is that anyone who disagrees with them a) considers the occasional mass murder the price we pay for our inalienable gun rights; or b) is putting the political interests of the Republican Party ahead of kids’ lives because the NRA money is so vital.

Aside from the fact that the NRA doesn’t give Republican candidates nearly as much money as people seem to think, these positions are simply vulgar on their face.  They suggest that not only can your position not possibly be wrong, but that no one could even conceivably think it’s wrong, and as such anyone who doesn’t support it must be in favor of murdered kids.

This is furthered when, every time there is a shooting, we’re told, “Enough is enough.” That implies that gun control opponents were willing to accept a certain number of deaths as a necessary consequence of having gun rights, and asserts that with this latest shooting we surely have now surpassed the limit.

That’s about as ghastly as a notion can be.

If I don’t think legal access to guns is the problem, then why would I suddenly support gun control because there is another shooting? I think the corruption of people’s spirits is the problem, and I think the solution is a return to submission before Jesus Christ. So with every shooting, I become more determined to push that agenda, because it’s the one I believe in.

If I thought your agenda was correct, I wouldn’t need any more shootings to support it. I would just support it. But I don’t. More shootings aren’t going to get me to support a “solution” that I don’t think will solve anything.

If you want to argue the merits of your position as superior to mine, give it your best shot. But if you want to sit there and accuse me of knowing gun control would stop the killings, but just not caring enough to get behind it, then I can’t see why I would want to talk to you.

And yet that’s pretty much the character of this entire debate, which is the primary reason we’re not getting anywhere.

Get the complete collection of Dan’s books for the low-price of $49.99! Dan will sign all copies . Order the 4-pack of Powers and Principalities, Pharmakeia, Dark Matter and Backstop.




Or order individually for $15.99 each!

Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



 

Dark Matter (2011): The miraculous resurrection of a young man is caught on video and broadcast to the nation, bringing the spotlight to Murphy Soles and a group of people who claim to be able to heal using a mysterious spiritual force they call the Dark Matter.  But Clay Bender can see that the phenomenon is demonic, and he is forced to race against time and battle his best friend to expose the deception and save the lives of thousands. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)



Backstop (2017): Darius Wilson’s preacher father has always envisioned his son as his successor in the pulpit. Darius has another passion, though – baseball. And when the Detroit Tigers draft him, Darius defies his father and heads to Lakeland, Florida to pursue his dream. But what Darius has learned since childhood about the spiritual forces of evil comes into play when he realizes that Lakeland is home to a very dark presence. And without his father’s help, Darius may not have what it takes to fend off a threat that could bring tragedy to the entire Tigers organization. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)




For first time in human history, one dude has impregnated another dude (unless HuffPo missed something)

It seems like this should be a bigger story. According to the Huffington Post, which would surely not fumble a detail or intentionally leave something out, either Tom Daley or Dustin Lance Black has managed to impregnate the other.

Dude knocks up dude. Gosh, how is this not bigger news?

Congratulations are in order for British Olympic diver Tom Daley and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

The couple announced they are expecting their first child together on Wednesday. Each shared photos of themselves on their separate social media accounts holding up the same ultrasound photo.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Daley wrote in the caption, while Black added, “A Happy Valentine’s Day from ours to yours.”

Both complimented their posts with a same-sex family emoji just in case the message wasn’t clear.

Feel free to read the entire story, if you really want, for any reference whatsoever to the fact that two men can’t biologically conceive a child together, and that somewhere in this whole equation there must be a woman with ovaries and a uterus who is actually carrying this child, and is in fact the child’s mother.

Search furthermore for the fact that, while you can co-mingle the sperm of two different men when artificially inseminating a woman – if that’s what you really want to do – the fact of the matter is that sperm from only one of the men will actually impregnate the mother, and that a simple DNA test would easily reveal which of the two is the actual father.

In other words, no, Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black are not expecting a child together. They are not going to be parents. One will be a father and the other will be the live-in homosexual lover of the father. Somewhere, there is a woman who is the child’s mother, who may or may not have any role in the child’s life.

You know all this, of course. Everyone does. No one is stupid enough to think two men can actually conceive a child through gay sex. Actually I shouldn’t say that so definitively because every time I look at the Huffington Post I think you’d have to be pretty stupid to take any of it seriously, so maybe I’m overestimating some people.

The question, though, is why the HuffPo wrote this story as if none of this was true. And the answer is as obvious as the question.

HuffPo and similar voices of the secular left want to elevate every aspect of gay relationships to a co-equal footing with heterosexual relationships. Anything that provides evidence gay relationships cannot be everything heterosexual relationships can be must be either ignored or, as we see here, fictionalized so as to pretend they actually are the same.

Thus, you see two dudes holding a photo of a baby in the uterus, which is the same type of photo you see male/female couples display all the time. Except in the latter situation, we simply presume that baby is inside the uterus of the woman in the picture. If the baby wasn’t in that woman’s uterus, that would be an unusual twist to the story and it would be explained.

In this case, the fact that neither “parent” in the picture is carrying the baby is completely ignored, because to acknowledge it would be to acknowledge that this whole story is a fraud. These two guys are not having a baby together, because they can’t, because that’s impossible.

You know it. I know it. Huffington Post knows it. But it cannot be mentioned or acknowledged in any way, because the narrative demands we pretend there is no difference between gay couples and heterosexual couples.

So congratulations, I guess, to the father (whichever one he is) and to the mother (whoever she is). As for the other guy, er . . . you’re not a parent, but enjoy telling yourself otherwise if you prefer that to reality.

Don’t leave without buying books! They’re freaky good!

‘Van Elslander is survived by his wife Mary Ann and his life partner, Sarah Cuyler’

That should be some funeral:

“A dynamic and successful businessman, Art spent much of his life giving back — abundantly — to the community that supported his businesses over the years. His gifts to our health system — and to many other charitable programs in Michigan and beyond — have had immeasurable impact on the quality of life for individuals and families within the community.”

Van Elslander is survived by his wife Mary Ann and his life partner, Sarah Cuyler; sons Gary, Kenneth and David; daughters Debra Van Elslander, Sandy Seroka, Lori Webb, Karen Paglino, Kim Van Elslander, Kris Scarfone and Beth Wood; 32 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Achiel and Rose; brother Robert; and children Rickey, Randy and Douglas, as well as Michael, Kyleigh and Kyrsten Webb and Cara Paglino.

If you’re not familiar with him, Art Van Elslander was the founder of Art Van Furniture, which is a well known furniture retailer here in Michigan. I’m not sure where else it operates so maybe the name means nothing to you.

Apparently Art lived quite the double life, although by the end it was hardly a secret he was living with his mistress and hadn’t lived with his wife in years.

Art and the mistress posed for pictures together at events all over town, and no one was shy about publishing them or identifying who was in them. I guess this is just what we consider normal these days.

Look, I can’t be too hard on the media on this one because this is how it is with obituaries. You pretty much let the family word it however they want and they pay you to publish it.

But I can’t help but notice how this is being presented as if it’s such an unremarkable thing. He had a wife. He had a “life partner.” Two different women. Who cares? Life in modern times.

What this really represents is the diminution of marriage in the eyes of the culture, to the point where people think absolutely nothing of telling you plainly they are carrying on with a “life partner” apart from their spouse, and it can’t be judged because nothing can.

It happens at the other end as well, as the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is also treated as essentially the same thing as marriage. It’s a lot easier to toss in the trash when people get tired of it, but considering how easily people toss away their marriage vows – or just flat-out ignore them in order to do whatever – what difference does it make?

Marriage is a commitment you make in the eyes of God and with His blessings. It works in certain ways and is designed to be between a man and a woman, until death, with complete fidelity and unending devotion. That’s what God says, has always said and will always say.

The culture says, hey, list your “life partner” in the survived-by line of your obituary alongside your wife. Who cares? Do whatever, with whomever.

I hope he enjoyed all the rewards he got from selling people cheap furniture. I have a feeling that’s it.

Don’t leave without buying books! They’re freaky good!

Mocking spirit ascendant: Media make heroes of Twitter mockers, and a darkness rises

Mockery is a spirit, described in Job 41 as Leviathan. There are a lot of other references to mocking spirits, although the word itself isn’t used that often.

Job 41 is interesting in that it describes Leviathan as a beast that absolutely terrifies the high and might of the world – and it’s no wonder. Those are just the kinds of people who most fear mockery.

And mockery is sadly ascendant in our society as a manner in which people deal with each other, particularly with the advent of Twitter, where mockery seems to be almost the entire point of life.

Listening to each other is quite passe when you can get in a really sweet burn. Understanding each other is a lot less fun than throwing someone’s words or actions back in their face in humiliating fashion. And because of social media, the average slob can now mock just about anyone and have it seen by all the world.

You may be sitting there in your underwear waiting for your welfare check, but you just nailed whoever, and your burn is being retweeted everywhere.

You did something! Actually you didn’t, but you feel like you did. And much of the mainstream media are helping to perpetuate the idea that the online mocker is worthy of attention and praise.

Let’s take a look at some recent media headlines. I’ll be bipartisan about this. The first three are from the Huffington Post, while the last one is from Fox News:

Eric Trump gets mercilessly mocked on Twitter over new magazine

‘Dear Leader’ gets brutally mocked on Twitter over military parade plan

Twitter explodes over off-the-wall question about men and women eating together

Michelle Obama portrait faces brutal mockery, some praise after unveiling

What news is being covered in any of these stories?

None, really, except for the fact that a spirit is running wild over a culture in which people crave the momentary plaudits they get when they run other people down.

Twitter is little more than a gigantic, digital middle school cafeteria. Those who nail the designated rejects with the  most clever burns become instant heroes. And the mainstream media has become little more than a middle school student newspaper taken over by the cafeteria’s biggest jerks while the faculty adviser is tied up in the closet.

Certain spirits gain influence over the population when their proposition becomes culturally accepted, and right now mockery is at the height of its esteem in the American culture.

I’ve always believed that, in comedy, there is a fine line between mockery and lampooning. Both make a joke of certain people or ideas, but the distinction in my mind is that mockery is designed to hurt, whereas to lampoon is merely to have fun with something. There is neither the need nor the desire to inflict hurt when you lampoon someone. When you mock, you’re trying to leave a wound.

And when you mock others publicly so as to be seen doing it, you’re targeting someone else for a wounding in the hope that others who are carrying around that mocking spirit will approve of you and give you public esteem.

Now here’s the biggest problem with a mocking spirit: It will turn on you, and in the meantime it will rob you of your ability to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

The mocking spirit refuses to see the virtue in anything. The mocking spirit refuses to encourage, to hope, to help or to love. The mocking spirit refuses to believe in anything good. That’s contrary to its nature. It’s entire purpose is to run down everyone and everything that has to do with truth, virtue or love.

Who is susceptible to the influence of a mocking spirit? Often it’s people who have self-esteem problems themselves, and have been hurt by others. They’ve decided true love, friendship and affection are not attainable – at least not for them – or they’ve experienced too much pain seeking it. So they join the ranks of those who try to look like heroes by mocking the whole idea of it.

And when the mainstream media will give you fawning attention for sitting there on your couch and mocking someone, hey, why not? It’s attention you want and it’s attention you’re getting.

The only problem is that this is the closest you’re going to get to an eternal reward.

Don’t leave without buying books! They’re freaky good!

Rob Bell is very upset ‘the Bible has caused so much damage’

I guess the guy who once pastored Mars Hill Bible Church is no longer a fan. But I’m not sure he ever was.

Bell’s game has always been to tell itching ears that he had figured out the real truths that everyone else had missed for 2,000 years, and that none of it meant what it appeared to mean or what everyone else who’s studied it earnestly found it to mean.

No one should be surprised that he’s taken it a step further. Whereas it was once Bell understanding the Bible better than everyone else, it’s now Bell finding that the Bible itself is the problem:

I actually went to Bell’s church in Grand Rapids once and heard him preach. He’s a talented speaker. The sermon was on Exodus 20:7, and how taking the name of the Lord in vain involved a whole lot more than using His name in swearing, which is what people tend to see in that text.

It wasn’t a bad sermon, and he made some good points, but there was still something haughty about Bell’s spirit (this was way back in 2003), and you sensed that he was far too impressed with his own superior understanding of things, and that it would get him in trouble if he kept going down that road.

Here we are.

The crux of Bell’s mistake is the classic one of today’s culture: He conflates rejection of sinful behavior with hatred of those engaging in the behavior. That’s how he justifies his assertion that the church doesn’t love gay people or Muslims. If we did, according to Bell’s thinking, we would approve of everything they do and of everything they believe.

He would deny that he applies that standard, but if he’s not applying that standard then he’s simply lying about the church. Someone who walks into a church and feels unloved because their lifestyle wasn’t affirmed misses the whole point of Christianity, which is to be delivered from your sin and redeemed by Christ.

But ah yes, now Bell’s problem is with the fact that Christianity exists at all.

By claiming Jesus would be “mortified” that “a religion” was established in his name, Bell is pushing pretty hard with the idea that “religion” is nothing more than mean people imposing rules on you, and telling you how bad you are.

This is one of the reasons I am not crazy about the whole “relationship not religion” theme that’s become very popular in modern Christian circles. We tab as “religion” all the stuff about church that’s a drag, especially the parts where you’re told how awful your sin is (and of course, being expected to tithe, being expected to serve, being expected to get up on Sunday mornings, etc.), and label it all as the rotten fruit of the pharisees.

A relationship with Jesus, by contrast, is just you hanging with the ultra-chill lovemaster who accepts you exactly as you are.

Hucksters like Bell glom onto the negative connotations associated with the word religion and apply them to everything and anything about church, or about God’s law, or about repentance. Why, that’s all religion! You don’t want that!

And from there he’s got people easily accepting the idea that every pastor is a money-grubbing, rule-making, legalism-pushing, hate-mongering hypocrite . . . and that Jesus would be mortified to see what they’re all doing in His name.

But why stop there? Why not blame the Word of God itself? If all these awful people hadn’t established a religion based on the Bible, we wouldn’t have all these problems.

Bell started out as an associate pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids under the highly respected Pastor Ed Dobson, who recently lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Bell certainly did not learn this garbage from Dobson.

As far as I can tell, when Bell broke off and started Mars Hill in Grandville (where we lived for 16 years, by the way), he quickly took on the persona of the cool, hip pastor who appealed to young Christians. They liked it when he de-emphasized limits on their lifestyle, and he enjoyed the adulation. My guess is that Bell became enticed by all the praise he got for telling young people not to worry about the way they were living, because hey, Jesus didn’t stress about all that. And the more praise he got, the further he went down that road.

From there it wasn’t a long road to books, video production and finally a move out to L.A. where he could make himself a star telling young audiences that everything their stodgy old pastors were telling them was wrong.

The truth is that Jesus came to free us from our sin, not to dismiss the whole notion that it matters. The truth is that sin separates us from God and we need to be delivered from it. The truth is that leading someone to deliverance from their sin is the greatest form of love you can show them, and simply telling everyone that whatever they want to do is fine is a deception with eternal consequences.

But it’s what a lot of people want someone to tell them, and they’re still buying Rob Bell as a guy who has the theological chops to say it with authority – even now, when he’s crossed the line into blaming the Bible itself for all the problems that bother him.

I wonder which line Bell will cross next.

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I wrote an e-mail to a fellow Christian and did not sign it “In Christ” or “In Him” . . . now what?

I didn’t even say “in His service” or “Praise be unto him” or anything like that. Dude. I just put my name.

I guess I need to know if we’re going to be OK.

Now seriously, there’s nothing wrong with anyone doing things like that out of a sincere desire to give glory to Jesus. If you want to sign an e-mail or a letter (do people still write those?) in that manner because that’s in your heart, then by all means, sign it like that.

I’m thrilled that you love Christ and want to express it.

But I do have to ask this question:

How much do we Christians do things like that just for the consumption of other Christians?

If I just sign an e-mail “Dan”, but it follows a wonderful discussion in which both of us were giving glory to Christ in a variety of ways, I didn’t just invalidate the whole thing by using a simple e-mail signature without any heavenly expressions, did I?

I’m pretty sure my friend knows my heart, and more importantly, I know for sure that Christ knows it.

I do have a serious question here: How many things do we Christians do – whether for the consumption of other Christians or for the world – that are really just playacting the faith rather than sincerely living it?

Again, I’m not saying everyone who signs their name this way does that. But if I had signed my name that way, it would have been playacting. This guy is a very faithful Christian and I can’t send him an e-mail that isn’t signed with “In Him” or something like that.

That would have been my only reason for doing it, so I refrained from doing it.

Can you think of other examples? And if we do these things, are we really just trying to sell our righteousness rather than truly surrender our hearts?

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Mike Pence offers kindness to a gay man on Twitter . . . since it’s Twitter, you can probably guess how that went

If there’s a proxy for Hell on Earth, I’m thinking Twitter has to be it. I’ve always figured Hell’s defining characteristic would be the complete absence of any love, virtue or goodness – since all that comes from God, and Hell is the one place where you’re separated from Him completely.

If that doesn’t sound like Twitter to a T, I don’t know what does. Although in fairness to Twitter, all it does is reflect the current state of the culture. When everyone who disagrees with you must become an enemy targeted for scorn and mockery – since only those who think like us are worthy of even basic humanity – all Twitter does is give voice to this rot.

Mike Pence’s current sin against all things is that he embraces the biblical definition of marriage, which doesn’t leave room for two dudes being each other’s husbands. In the parlance of the current culture, if you disagree with me or would say no to anything I want, you hate me, you are vile and you cannot even be afforded the most minimal decency as a human being.

I wrote over on Herman’s site some weeks back about the hissy fit by gay Olympic athlete Adam Rippon, who is upset that Pence is leading the Olympic delegation, and won’t even accept the vice president’s invitation to sit down and talk.

I guess Pence is determined to convince Rippon he does not hate him and doesn’t wish him ill in any way, because he took to Twitter to express this sentiment:

Now, like I said, it’s Twitter, so no one should be surprised what the swine did with Pence’s pearls:

There’s lots more in that vein, but I think these make the point.

Now look, no one is saying Pence supports their agenda. He doesn’t. Neither do I, because it’s contrary to the Bible.

The problem is that these people have imposed a standard that requires everyone to support their agenda or be treated like complete dog dung.

I can disagree with something you believe, or not support your desire to have a certain thing, but that doesn’t mean I hate you. It doesn’t mean I wish you ill. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have your back in other ways.

It just means that on this point we disagree.

The point Pence was trying to make with his post is that, despite disagreeing on this one issue, he is rooting for Rippon’s success and wants good things for him. That is a perfectly loving way to say, look, just because we don’t agree on everything doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.

But Rippon and his Twitter allies don’t see it that way. They can’t disagree in a civilized manner because their god is their flesh, and anyone who would deny them an indulgence of the flesh is blaspheming their god.

That’s why they see disagreement as hate. The sexual indulgences they seek are the most important thing in the world to them. It’s what they worship.

Followers of Christ understand that God offers us much greater blessings, which He releases as we come into obedience to Him. The world has no interest in waiting on God. It wants what it wants now, and it will destroy you if you disagree with that insatiable demand.

And Twitter is the church of this religion, which is why you’re better off anywhere but there.

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Not shocking: Cornell frat has contest to see who can have sex with fat women; Also not shocking: Everyone pretends to be shocked

One thing we don’t do here is try to impress you with our worldly sophistication and lack of outrage at immoral behavior. When we hear about people doing detestable things, we don’t see it as an opportunity to show you how unfazed we are about the whole thing.

That? That’s been going on since time immemorial! Sorry if you’re not up to speed about what happens in the real world.

Yeah, that’s not what we do here. We take sin seriously and we’re troubled when we see it. And if it’s going on everywhere and all the time, that doesn’t make us feel any better about it.

Now, having said that, one thing that might be even worse than rampant immorality is people pretending to be outraged about it when you know darn well they tacitly approve it – so long as their doing so is not made public.

Would you find it surprising that a college fraternity had a contest in which the members tried to see who could have sex with girls for points, and the heavier the girls, the more points you’d get? Of course you wouldn’t. This is the sort of thing that goes on at colleges, and particularly in fraternities. It’s awful. It’s disgusting. It’s repugnant.

But surprising? Not a chance in the world. This is why people with brains in their heads don’t send their kids to such institutions.

So if you and I aren’t surprised, how could the officials of the college or the fraternity’s governing body claim to be surprised? Or shocked? Or outraged? These people know what goes on under their noses every day, and of course they’re not shocked.

But when such an incident becomes public, they have to feign outrage for the consumption of the public. That’s how we end up with absurdities like this at Cornell:

University officials launched an investigation of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity last year after hearing reports about the secret game, in which members could get ‘points’ by having sex with women.

In the case of a tie in the contest, the win would go to the member who had sex with the heavier woman. The new members were told not to inform the women about the contest.

Cornell’s fraternity and sorority review board determined the chapter was in violation of policies against hazing and sexually abusive behavior.

The fraternity said that the allegations were contrary to its values and mission and that the chapter’s leadership and brotherhood at large were “shocked and appalled” about the unsanctioned activities.

The fraternity said it will conduct a membership review in partnership with its international headquarters and expel any members found to be not committed to the fraternity’s ideals and values. It said it will host multiple educational programs on healthy relationships.

Oh for goodness sakes. Cornell frat members aren’t interested in “healthy relationships,” and no one at Cornell or among fraternity officials thinks they are. Cornell frat members want to get as drunk as they can and have as much sex as they can, whenever they can, because they’re animals.

Like every other college fraternity in America. And the people who establish and run fraternities know perfectly well that this is the lifestyle and “values” they’re pitching when they try to get students to join.

No one joins a frat hoping to live a squeaky clean lifestyle and make it to Bible study on Wednesday nights. You can live in the dorms or an off-campus apartment and do that. You join a fraternity because you want to party, carouse and fornicate.

And universities who agree to charter these organizations know perfectly well that’s what they’re getting into. They hope that none of the debauchery gets so out of control that they have to deal with it publicly, but every college and every university knows students want to party during their college years  – and none of them want to be the school with a reputation of not having a hot party scene.

That’s what makes the statements of indignation from the school and the fraternity so vulgar. They don’t mean it. At all. They’re saying it for public consumption because they don’t want the criticism that would come with failing to speak up, but their ongoing acceptance of fraternities on campus means they both know and accept what happens in those houses all the time.

The immorality itself is a cancer on society, but here’s another one: People feigning belief in morality strictly for PR purposes, when everyone knows they don’t really mean it and everyone is basically fine with that.

The university’s concern is not the sex contest. It’s the details of the sex contest becoming public such that the university has to answer questions about it. The fraternity’s claim of being “shocked and appalled” is so hilarious I can hardly write this without busting up laughing.

You’re a fraternity! What do you think your members are doing? Why do you think they joined?

These people are either extremely naive or completely insincere. And I don’t think they’re naive.

But I also think today’s culture prefers an insincere nod to morality rather than a serious commitment to the real thing. If you just say it because you had to say it for public consumption, and everyone knows that, then we can all get back to doing what we do – but keep the door closed next time.

But if you actually mean it and you intend to impose real limits on people’s moral behavior, now you’re getting in the way of a whole lot of fun and causing students to consider taking their tuition money elsewhere.

Yet these institutions have such little respect for you, they think you’ll be satisfied when they issue these insincere claims of shock and horror, followed by nothing whatsoever of any real consequence changing.

I think I’d rather have them announce they’re fine with students doing anything they want – not because I would agree with such a policy, obviously, but because it’s clearwhat they really think, so putting it out there in the open would give us a chance to deal with it honestly, rather than making us digest dishonest claims that they really agree with us about right and wrong.

By the way, if this contest did not target overweight women – an attractive victim group in today’s culture – do you think there would be the public criticism of it? If they had just had a contest to sleep with as many girls as possible, would anyone even be talking about it?

They should be, but I bet they wouldn’t be.

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