Discerning Culture

/Discerning Culture

Around the Web

Kids Opting Out of Social Media – I’m sure you know of this trend but it still interesting to see an article on it. Our children are narrowcasting not broadcasting. Make sure you are talking with them.

With Him – Jesus’ Discipleship Method.  This has huge implications for parents. Are you “with him?” Are you bringing your children “with you?”

Ask Questions Like Jesus – One author says that Jesus was asked 183 questions but asked 307. Questions are powerful teaching tools. This article looks at different types of questions and will help you in your communication.

10 Questions to Diagnose Your Smartphone Usage – I found these enlightening and helpful.

5 Ways Christianity is Increasingly Viewed as Extremist – I don’t take Barna too seriously. Nevertheless, he usually is on to something. This survey merely quantifies what those in the Northwest and Northeast already know. There are implications for how we disciple our children.

How TV Affects Our Family and World

Here is research proof  to what we already know.

As TV spreads, it changes culture. This article points out how the spread of TV  has reduced Brazil’s birthrate and influenced social mores in India gradually.

The article goes on to point out how TV has changed our culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

Some applications as I see it.

1. We are imitators. We can’t help it. The question is what will we imitate. We will imitate those we admire. If I am saturating myself with TV characters then I will want to emulate them. If I put myself around those who are godly and admire them, I will want to emulate them.

2. Our children are imitators. They can’t help it. The question is who will they imitate? They will imitate those they admire. If they are saturating themselves with ungodly examples, they will emulate them. If they put themselves around those who are godly and admire them, they will want to emulate them.
a. In other words, turn off the TV!!
b. Constantly, praise godly Christians who they can see and touch.
c. Constantly point out godly “heroes” to emulate. (e.g. Tim Tebow types)

3. Since the world seeks to conform us to its image (Romans 12:2), let us train our children to stand against the world and its subtle influence. As the U.S. plunges into a new Dark Age, we can help our children stand as light.

4. Who will be a missionary to Hollywood or set up a competing storytelling recreation?

You have to read the whole article here.

Yolanda Weinberger: A Christian Woman Thinks about Race and Racism

I am honored to have an articulate and wise board of The Apollos Project.

In this interview, I talk with Yolanda Weinberger about her thoughts on race and racism.


00:01 – Meet Yolanda!
04:51 – A few stories of of racism
08:34 – How Yolanda thinks about racism
13:45 – Advice for “guilty feeling” whites
17:24 – Advice for Americans of African descent
22:38 – How Yolanda has tried to disciple her children thinking about race
25:17 – Thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore
31:40 – Applying the gospel to this issue
34:09 – Ways to stay connected with Yolanda.

Download it here.
I think you will agree with me that the information here is solid gold.

You can follow Yolanda at her website www.yolandaweinberger.com


Jesus Came to Testify to the Truth

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.””You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:36-37

Why did Jesus come into this world?  One reason was to speak the truth.

images (7)
We live in a world ignorant about God, ignorant about righteousness and sin, ignorant about successful living. Jesus came into this world to speak truth. His kingdom is established, not by arms, but by truth.

In our verse listed above he speaks, seemingly in vain, to Pilate. Was it in vain?

Pilate’s reaction did not matter. Jesus was commended for making the good confession to Pilate. (1 Timothy 6:13). What mattered is that Jesus was a faithful witness. In fact, that is a name of Jesus – the faithful witness(Revelation 1:5 ). To be a faithful witness you just have to speak the truth. You don’t need to worry about the reaction.

Matthew Henry said, “He rules in the minds of men by the power of truth…The foundation and power, the spirit and genius, of Christ’s kingdom is truth, divine truth. …He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth.”

But not only was Jesus born to testify to the truth, so were you. The nature of the kingdom of God is such that it conquers – not by guns – but by truth. Truth needs a voice; truth needs a tongue. God wants to use you to speak truth.

But how many times do I hold back because I don’t think it will make a difference. How many conversations have I not had, letters to the editor not written because I don’t think it will make a difference. Because I dont think it will produce those results, I dont speak. But there is power in the truth. And the nature of my calling is to be a faithful witness, to make the good confession no matter what the results. If we have spoken the truth we have been successful

God wants to use you to give voice to the truth. And the focus must be on faithfulness. As we faithfully give voice to the truth, like a sword coming out of our mouth (Revelation 1:6), truth conquerers. So let us know, be filled with, and speak the truth.


Want to know more answers so that you and your young person can testify to the truth? Check out 7 Questions Everyone Should Answer. These CDs will equip you to speak truth to those around you!

Deciphering The Worldview of a Movie

Art has a way of affecting our emotions.

If the story it tells is true, then that art is powerfully helpful. If that story is false, then it can deceive us. One helpful thing we can do is actually decipher the message of a movie. And all movies do have a message.

The following are some questions that have been in my notes. I am sure they are not original with me. Consider printing this list down and asking a few of these questions of the next movie you see.


  • What does this teach about God? How does that compare the Bible? Remember not saying anything about God is saying something.
  • What does this say about the nature of people? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What does this say about relationships? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What does this say about right and wrong? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What problem/conflict does the main character face? (Man against: himself, nature, another man, God)?
  • How does he/she solve it? What guidelines would God have given?
  • Through what character does the author, movie director give his “moral” or lifeview? When does it occur? What is it?

The next time you watch a movie ask one or more of these questions and think about the message you are being given.

Discerning Culture|

Dating Advice for Young Men

CBMW has my latest article up here.

I wrote it to encourage young men to take manful initiative and care in a dateless world.

Have Manful Motivation
1. Treat her as a sister with absolute purity.
2. Treat her as a sister with selfless love.

Take Manful Action
1. Spend some time in groups with guys and girls.
2. Have some modesty toward her.
3. Date with Jesus, not Cupid in mind.
4. Make a formal, in-person invitation.
5. Be ready for rejection. Y
6. Go somewhere.
7. Minister to her by asking her questions about herself.
8. Thank her for her time.
9. Keep your mouth shut around others.
10. If you want to pursue things further, then repeat 3-9.
11. Repeat 3-9, until she tells you to call her father.

My last line:
Men, you can do this! You can show manful care. Bring glory to Christ by being countercultural in your dateless, sex-saturated generation where men have the backbone of a jellyfish.

Read the whole thing.

Adrian Peterson and The False Connection With Spanking

John Nolte pens an article I Once Asked My Parents for a Spanking

He rightly notes that liberals will try and falsely connect Adrian Peterson with spanking. He quite succinctly tears that connection apart.

This is not a defense of Adrian Peterson.

What I see the media and left once again doing, though, is dishonestly conflating Peterson’s whipping of his son to a run-of-the-mill spanking.

Leftists are desperate to use any opportunity to come between parent and child — to exert their grotesque influence into that relationship. Naturally, they are using the Peterson example to blur the line between spankings and abuse, in the hopes that any kind of physical punishment will give the government the right to raise America’s children, and by extension create creepy, borg-like, buttinsky know-it-all Statists like themselves.

Spanking a child is good thing. That’s a fact. Abuse is not. The difference between the two is vast.

Read the whole article here.


Level-Headed Posts on Gordon College and the New McCarthyism


After my screed last week, calmer and more knowledgeable voices have spoken to this issue. It is an issue that should concern every Christian. Our country was founded on separation of powers and religious liberty. Those two principles are under assault. My own state, Rhode Island, allowed many religions (Baptists, Jews, Quakers) to practice their religion freely in the early days of our country. That pluralism is under assault.

Here are a few of the calmer and scarier articles:

Learn the facts – Gordon College provides a facts page.

Mind the Gap  – I dont like the title but the articulate editor of the Gordon Student Newspaper writes a level-headed article in support of Gordon’s position.

Where we’ve come from – And where we are going. Overview of the move to affirm gay marriage and punish those who don’t agree from a law professor writing for Christianity Today. TGC provides a summary here. Thoughtful and concerning.

Religion in a heart shaped box – Another overview from the head of CBMW.

Denny Burke – helpfully summarizes the issues at the beginning of the controversy.

Denny Burke – this time highlighting a move that says government is OBLIGATED to disfavor Christians.

May these calmer voices call us to action and to prayer!

Discerning Culture|

Gordon College and the New McCarthyism

You may be aware that Gordon College is making national news. This small, liberal arts college in New England is located in sleepy Wenham, MA. It is not an indoctrinating place at all. In fact, its byline for years past was “freedom within a framework of faith” – emphasis on freedom. For many years, it has been a stronghold for theistic evolution. Hardly the home base of fundies. (Full disclosure: my wife is an alumna and I have a child as a student.)

But now it has crossed the PC bullies and finds itself in their crosshairs. Why? Because it has the audacity to keep living by the Judeo-Christian convictions it was founded on.

The heretical conviction is this: if you want to be a part of the Gordon community, sexual activity needs to be limited to a married man and woman. A conviction, incidentally, that the Judeo-Christian community has had for many millennia.

D Michael Lindsay

Dr. Michael Lindsay, President Gordon College

Wow! How narrow-minded can these people be?

Are they out beating up others who disagree with them? No. Are they calling others names? No. So what has changed? Has Gordon changed something?

So what has changed?
No, Gordon College had the audacity to request a religious exemption from Obama’s new unilateral executive order that requires those who receive federal funds include sexual orientation (read LGBT) in their non-discrimination clause.

And the Boston Globe breathlessly reports this as discrimination. But in their effort to boost sales and take down Gordon, they conveniently bury the fact that the letter was written by Obama’s own Michael Wear.

I would encourage you to read the letter to see how mean and hateful it is. Not.

Wear, who served in the White House faith-based initiative during Obama’s first term and directed faith outreach for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, said the letter’s intent is to find a way to protect LGBT rights but also assures religious organizations that hire “according to their religious identity” that they will not be automatically disqualified from competing for federal contracts. In other words, let’s find a way for all in our country to continue working for the greater good.

But that is not enough for those pursuing a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners approach.

Michael Wear

Michael Wear

Other Christians who signed are also seeking the common good of our nation but (gasp!) want to continue to live by the orthodox teaching of Christianity include the head of the Catholic Charities. Wow! Finally, we are finding the names of all those small-minded, backwards people in our country.

The Reaction to Christians Desiring to be Christians?
And what is the reaction to Christians being who they have always been? The Boston Globe trumpets discrimination. In today’s Op-Ed, Gordon is supposed to be insulting our intelligence. A key line:

People have the right to exercise their religion, to believe whatever they want to believe, but that can’t possibly mean the right to grab tax money while flipping off the very government, i.e. the vast majority of taxpayers, that gives you the money.

How’s that for articulate argumentation? Somehow, I don’t think that following the teaching of Jesus is flipping off the government. What an artful metaphor. No wonder his paper his declining in circulation. Who needs editors like that when I can get this language from a teenager? And you thought New Englanders were so educated and articulate!

The town of Salem, until now enjoying Gordon’s arts in their town, suddenly realizes how evil those people have been all along. And they looked so nice!

Next up, the accreditation board needs to reexamine Gordon College. They are suddenly shocked to learn that all these people with earned Ph.Ds, who care about higher education, who care about students, actually believe the historic Christian faith. Who knew? How did it ever get by the accreditation board in the first place?

What hypocrisy! What witch-hunting – in Salem of all places!

Saddest in all this has been the reaction of a small group of former students. Unfortunately, in their naiveté they do not see what is at stake. They do not see how they are being used.

When they argue that Gordon has not been receptive to their homosexuality, they knowingly misrepresent the university. Eyewitnesses have seen the grace and care that college leadership has given to those who said they were gay. While refusing to yield to their demands to overturn clear Scriptural teaching and two millennia of church teaching, the current administration has treated individuals with care and dignity. Thoughtful public and private discussions have taken place. Thoughtful letters have been written here and here. But you would never know it from the hit pieces.

Nor has that been enough for the former students. What those former students mean is that the university and the Christian faith would not “orient” around their orientation. They gladly accepted an education at one of the United States premier institutions but now call it a dark time because…Gordon is following the teachings of Christianity.

The New McCarthyismJoseph_McCarthy
Which brings us back to the dangerous wind blowing in our country. We dare not forget our country was founded on religious liberty and separation of powers. These principles have led to a flourishing of the greatest nation on earth.

But now, certain well-meaning, tolerance-bullies seek to undermine those principles. Religious liberty for everyone but Christians. Separation of powers is good unless you are a high-minded President.

Civic discussions that should be taking place are thwarted. Instead, the new left strong arms those who speak with grace and truth. And this exercise in intolerance is justified by any means, including monarchial executive orders. It includes punishing those mean, narrow-minded, foaming-at-the-mouth PhDs at Gordon College.

We see now that “tolerance” was a Trojan horse. The rest of us will walk in step or pay the price. This is the new dogma and you will like it.

Can our country survive this new McCarthyism by the left? I don’t know. After all, the leaders of the French Revolution did not know when to stop.

But I do know that the church of Jesus Christ will not be cowered. Like her Savior, we will face opposition filled with both grace and truth. God’s grace is for all. And God’s truth is for all.

Stand strong, Dr. Lindsay. We stand with you in prayer as you continue to lead with grace and truth.

Updated Post – See A Level Headed Post on Gordon College and the New McCarthyism.

Modern Day Parenting Problems

My daughter, who has nannied and babysat for families from New England to Florida, pointed me to this article by a British nanny. She observes five reasons for worry with modern day parenting of little ones. These are good for Christian parents to see because we are influenced by the culture we live in. My comments are in italics afterwards.


Her five are:

1. A fear of our children.
“I have what I think of as “the sippy cup test,” wherein I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. If the child says, “I want the pink sippy cup, not the blue!” yet the mum has already poured the milk into the blue sippy cup, I watch carefully to see how the parent reacts. More often than not, the mum’s face whitens and she rushes to get the preferred sippy cup before the child has a tantrum.”

We are running to their every whim not conforming their will to ours. Gospel parenting knows the need to establish our proper authority and train a child to submit their will to ours.

2. A lowered bar.
“When children misbehave, whether it’s by way of public outburst or private surliness, parents are apt to shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s just the way it is with kids.” I assure you, it doesn’t have to be. Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it’s in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control.”

Absolutely! Children can be trained for obedience. The grace of God trains us. Gospel parenting realizes that as image bearers, our preconverted children are capable of obedience.

3. We’ve lost the village.
“It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad’s eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child’s parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset. They want their child to appear perfect, and so they often don’t accept teachers’ and others’ reports that he is not.”

A biblical worldview says that my little image bearer is also immature with a bent toward sin. I don’t expect him or her to be perfect. Acts of misbehavior do not reflect on my parenting. They reveal he is a little sinner. And we want to deal with these things early. So we are glad when other parents help us in this.

4. A reliance on shortcuts.
“I think it’s wonderful that parents have all sorts of electronics to help them through airline flights and long waits at the doctor’s office….But shortcuts can be a slippery slope. When you see how wonderful it is that Caillou can entertain your child on a flight, don’t be tempted to put it on when you are at a restaurant. Children must still learn patience.”

There is a time for character development and a time for distraction. The majority of time is character development. Don’t let the second replace the first.

5. Parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own.
“Naturally, parents are wired to take care of their children first… I am an advocate of adhering to a schedule that suits your child’s needs, and of practices like feeding and clothing your children first. But parents today have taken it too far, completely subsuming their own needs and mental health for the sake of their children. So often I see mums get up from bed again and again to fulfill the whims of their child. Or dads drop everything to run across the zoo to get their daughter a drink because she’s thirsty.”

Sin makes all of us, our children included, self-centered. Part of moving our children from their natural self-centeredness to other (eg. God) centeredness is having them wait and think of others.

Parents who are seeking to raise their children differently than the world would do well to consider which of these cultural practices are pressing in on their parenting. Child-centered parenting is not the answer. We love our children but we love them from a Christ-centered perspective and guided by biblical truth.

You can read the article here