Marriage and Our Culture

This past week, the Supreme Court made a ruling that redefines marriage. Marriage, they say, is not defined as between a man and a woman. Therefore, homosexual marriage is perfectly legal as defined by law. What the Supreme Court failed to realize is they have no say in what the definition of marriage is. No man, woman, child, or human institution, including the church, has any power, any say, over what marriage is. I know you have all heard before, that Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman. Yes, this is true. But what I have wondered, over and over, is something many do not think about.

One of the primary arguments for gay marriage is that the church has no place in government. Now think about that for a moment. Where did marriage come from? Did it not come from God, from the Bible, in the first place? Marriage is a holy unity of a man and a woman, according to the Bible. If the Church, and consequently the Bible, have no place in government, then marriage has no place in the government. Marriage is of the Bible! Why would two homosexual people want to get married, under the same Book of Law that says their lifestyle is wrong? The same book that says they cannot get married? If you want nothing to do with the Word of God, then you should want nothing to do with marriage! It is simple as that! Marriage is of the Bible, defined by the Bible, and therefore has no place in the lives of people who reject the Bible’s laws.

Now, this does not mean that non-Christians cannot get married. But, think for a moment. If two non-Christians are going to get married, then they need to do it according to the Bible, which is what defines marriage. This means no premarital sex. This means that you must be one man and one woman. Not two men. Not two women. Not two men and one woman. One man. One woman. This also means that you are married permanently, for better or for worse. Divorce is only acceptable in extreme conditions, says the Bible. If you are not going to follow these laws of marriage, then there is no point in getting married. If you do not follow these laws, then it is not marriage. Government has no authority over the Bible. They cannot redefine marriage, because no one can. God will not either. His word stands eternal.

So, America, my message to you is this: You cannot pick and choose what parts of the Bible you like, and then dump the rest of it. You cannot redefine the Bible. You either accept the Bible for what it is, for all that it is, and accept all of it, or you deny the Bible’s authority, and deny all of it. Make your choice.

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Disease

Everyone has a disease, now. I look around and see ADD, ADHD, Social Anxiety, and countless other “diseases” that didn’t exist twenty years ago. I see councilors and therapists driving Mercedes and Beamers because of these diseases. I see the corruption of their tactics, as they take as long as they can to “cure” their patients, just so they can make more money off of the parents. The children are spoiled, because they are “special needs”. The only special need they have is a good spanking and a solid “No” answer. Let’s go disease by disease here.

Technical name: Attention Deficit (Hyper) Disorder. Real name: Lack of Self Control.  Everyone has ADD to a certain extent. We are humans, and we are easily distracted by shiny objects. It is just who we are. It is not some disease, some mutation, that we have. It is not some special need. It is the result of not being taught self control. And it is the parents job to teach this, not some councilor or therapist. They are the ones who tell us that it is a disease. I say bull. It’s human nature, a nature that needs to be taught (or, in some cases, beat) out of us.

Technical name: Social Anxiety Disorder. Real name: Social Awkwardness.                       Again, this is something that we all have to a certain extent. It is just your basic fear of failure, not some disease that needs treatment. This is natural in all humans, everyone who is born into a sinful world. Just certain personalities have this fear more than others. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and anyone can overcome it, it just takes hard work and encouragement from others, not some medication. I should know, I have this fear of failure as well, though certainly not nearly as much as I used to. That is because I have worked hard to overcome it, with the help and encouragement of my friends.

Now, I know there are a lot of real mental problems in this world. There are many retarded kids, kids and teens who just don’t quite get it, kids and teens who are violent because of this. They do need help, but medication is only a temporary fix. Sometimes, nothing can “fix” them, and you just have to trust that God has some purpose for letting them live like this. It is a fallen world, and it has many problems. But don’t try to explain every sin, every aspect of human nature, whether natural or not, as some disease. Do not cover up guilt and conscience with medication and feel good therapy. Parents, do your job as parents, and don’t let someone else who only cares about their pocketbook do it for you, and do a terrible job at that. Tell your child “No”, and punish them when they do wrong. I don’t care what kind of so called “disease” or mental problems they have, good parenting is never a bad thing, no matter what your therapist tells you. They may hate you for it. I know I hated my parents for punishing me. But, I think I turned out alright, and I love my parents. Don’t let therapists tell you how to parent your child. Don’t let them turn the next generation into a bunch of uncontrollable babies who can’t deal with life because they were never taught how. Don’t let that happen. It’s not too late.

Violence and our Culture

In the past two years, I have seen more incidents of shootings or bombings than I have seen my entire life before that. I remember Columbine High School. I remember 9/11, and the horror and tragedy of both those days. But, since then, nothing had happened. Security tightened at schools and airports alike, as Americans swore this would never happen again. Terrorists were hunted across the globe, a quest for vengeance and justice. So, we had a time of peace, of a dull nothing, with isolated incidents and threats being ignored by the media. We had no more terror on American soil, and we were content with that. Perhaps too content.

So, when the shootings started, Americans were shocked. We didn’t know how to respond, other than the mourning of those lost. The Fort Hood shooting left us numb, wondering how this could happen once again on American soil. Not too long after, The Dark Knight shooting in Aurora, Colorado once again rocked the world. At this point, questions of gun control began to rise. How could we let psychopaths and terrorists alike get their hands on high capacity, automatic weapons? These debates were still beginning when the worst shooting in 30 years time occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary. 26 people dead, and of those, 20 were children, innocent children with their whole lives ahead of them. Children who did not deserve to die, but did because of the sins of one man. How soon after was gun control put to the top of the debate list of our officials? Too soon. Debates rage on as the Boston Marathon Bombing takes place. And all of these I remember clearly. No fuzziness, like those memories of 9/11 or Columbine. I remember these clearly because they all happened very recently. So why the sudden rise in violence, in acts of terror and insanity?

Many people blame guns. I say, don’t blame the tool, blame the user. Guns are dangerous. They kill people, yes. Scissors are dangerous. they kill people, yes. Stoves are dangerous. They hurt people, yes. Cars are dangerous. They kill people, yes. Are we just going to ban all of these things? No. When a tool is misused for violence, whether it is purposeful or an accident, no one blames the tool. Unless that tool is a gun. Perhaps it is because guns are designed to kill. Cars are not designed to kill. Scissors are not designed to kill. So, because the purpose of guns IS to kill, people get scared, and look at the gun as a device of violence, something that should be banned. But think about this. If guns are banned, the only people who will have guns are police, criminals, terrorists, and psychopaths. Criminals could care less about law. They will get their guns whether it’s legal or not. Not only that, but this is taking government control too far. The Government should fear the people, not vice versa. Banning guns is not the solution. Making new gun laws is not the solution. We already have gun laws! Making new ones is completely pointless if you’re not going to reinforce them. Reinforce the ones we already have! And do not infringe upon our basic second amendment rights. It will do nothing but harm us. Guns are not the problem here, people are the problem.

And what do I mean by that, exactly? Well, think about it. Why are people the problem? Why would someone murder children? What kind of monster could shoot up a theater, a military base, or bomb a marathon? A walking bag of chemicals, that’s who. Education is the problem. Every day, kids, teens, and adults alike are bombarded with evolution. We are told by teachers, media, the internet, the government, and people around us that we are nothing but a product of chance, a monkey that, by a stroke of pure luck, emerged from a massive explosion, caused by gases who’s creation is unexplainable. We are told that we are just walking bags of chemicals. We are nothing but evolved slime. So, let me ask you this: If we are just evolved slime, and our existence is due to an accident, an event of pure chance, why should we care? Why is it such a tragedy when 26 of us walking accidents die? If our existence is due to merely chance, then Two-Face had it right when he said that “Chance is the only moral in this cruel world”. With these teachings of evolution and the big-bang theory, life is degraded. We are nothing more then animals who shouldn’t exist, they tell us. We have no meaning, no purpose in living. So why should we care who lives or dies? Why should we care when people get shot and killed? Why should we care when children are shot and killed? Evolution tells us we shouldn’t. Evolution strips away morality, degrades the value of human life to nothing, and then tells us that we shouldn’t kill people? Why? There is no logical reason that we shouldn’t! If evolution is true, then we should not care! We have no reason to behave any better than animals! Morals have no place here!

Yet, something inside us tells us that we should. Something inside us tells us that killing is wrong. It also tells us lying, stealing, and hurting is wrong. This is what we call a conscience, and I will tell you one thing: conscience is not a result of chance. The human mind is not the result of chance. In fact, the likelihood of the human brain emerging from spacedust is one in five hundred trillion. Yet, this is the theory they want you to believe? They tell you that chance beat theses odds? I think not. Chance had nothing to do with our creation. I’m not going into a debate about who or what created us, that’s for another time. But the fact that we were created by a greater power, and eternal power, is undeniable. Pride just gets in the way, and people want to believe that we created ourselves, that we are the greatest species. They don’t want there to be a greater power, so they deny it’s existence, even though they know it’s true. If there is a greater power, though. Because there is a greater power, a Heaven and Hell, a life after death, we should care. We should mourn those lost, and teach those who hurt and kill that it is wrong. Because we were created, suddenly we have a purpose in life! We have a reason to live! Suddenly, there is a reason that it is wrong to kill people! Yet, this is the teaching that we never hear, I fear even from churches. And it is because of this that violence is still rising. It’s not the gun’s fault. It’s society’s fault. It’s the people who refuse to admit that there is a God, and constantly bombard us with moral-degrading crap to try and convince us otherwise. Don’t blame the gun, blame evolution.

Racism

Everywhere I look these days, I see racism. Whether people even realize that they are being racist or not, I don’t even know. What do I mean by racism? No, African-Americans are not ill-treated, they are not slaves, they are not mocked or bullied for their skin color. No, the reverse is not true either. What I do see, though, is colored people often claiming exclusive benefits of some sort due to their being a “minority”. That’s like collecting for a disability that you don’t have. If I were to say, “I’m white, so I deserve extra benefits and exclusive privileges”, I would be laughed at and called a racist. In fact, I will probably be called a racist for writing this blog. I am most certainly not. One of my best friends is black, and I have many other friends of the same skin color. They are people, just like me, and should not be judged by the color of their skin. They are not “minorities”, they do not have some disadvantage because of the shading of their skin. These so called “Minority Groups” are just as racist as the racism they fight against.

The president right now is Barack Obama, America’s first black president. I must ask, why is it so significant that he is black? If you believe, like me, that they are people just like you and me, the color of skin shouldn’t matter! If you voted for him because he is black, I have news for you: Whether you realize it or not, YOU ARE RACIST! If a white person wrongs you, and you say it’s because of your skin color, YOU ARE RACIST! 99% of the time, color of skin has absolutely nothing to do with why they fired you, or why they hit your car, or why they wronged you in some other way.

Racism is an edgy topic to discuss these days, mostly because of the “minority groups” working to shut down people like me, people who aren’t afraid to call them for what they are: racist. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have already told you I am not racist. I also want to make clear that I know perfectly well that not all black people are racist. In fact, the majority of them aren’t. It just tends to be the people with voices, the ones who make themselves heard, the radicals, that are. Groups that emulate the Black Panther Party are who I am talking about, groups that claim to be fighting for civil rights. These groups are no longer fighting for civil rights. They already have equal rights as any other American. Now they are just fighting for supremacy. It’s wrong, and I won’t stay quiet about it.

New York – Final Thoughts

The trip to New York was amazing. I have shared several stories, and the linked blog tells a few more. This is my last blog post about the trip, and I’m eager to get back to my normal blog.

New York City is a truly amazing city. You hear about so much crime, so much corruption, so much dirt and grime, fumes, and taxis that try to kill pedestrians, but honestly, it’s a big city. It’s a city that, in a space of only 305 square miles (195,000 acres), houses more than 8.2 million people. That’s more people in one city than in the entire state of Oklahoma. In fact, it’s more than double the amount. So, crime is no worse than crime in Oklahoma. There is just double the population, in an area a fraction the size, so there is double the crime. But, the ratio is the same. People there aren’t the rude people that movies and social media suggests. Everything there just moves so fast, people don’t have time to stop and be nice, or stop and chat. You and them would get trampled and left behind. They really are nice people, they just don’t have time to show it. Granted, there are some pretty rude people, too. But, aren’t there rude people everywhere?

Now, about taxis trying to kill people. That is slightly exaggerated. They don’t try and kill people, but they don’t stop for jaywalkers. While walking the streets of New York, our warning was “The yellow ones don’t stop!” Everything in New York is fast paced, so if you cross the road slow, a taxi will probably hit you. The taxis are in a hurry, which means you should be too. New York city is just another big city, and honestly, I think it’s probably the nicest one I’ve been to (Compared to St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Kansas City, or Austin. These are the only big cities I’ve been to).

Our mission to New York City was to bring a message of hope and change to incarcerated teens in detention centers along the way. We did exactly that, singing at a total of six detention centers on the way to and from New York. But our mission was also to sing the same message everywhere we went. We sang in restaurants, in churches (including the Brooklyn Tabernacle!), at our hotels, at Ground Zero Memorial, even on the top of the Empire State Building. Doing that, especially in New York, is an experience I will never forget, and look forward to doing for my next two years in the Youth Choir. We go sightseeing, and being able to proclaim the Gospel while being on a sort of vacation is truly incredible. I also made a lot of friends. I already knew everyone on the trip, but after thirteen days on a bus, you really get to know everyone on the trip a lot better. It made us more then just friends or acquaintances, it made us family.

New York, new friends (true friends, that is), new experiences, and a new perspective. That’s what this trip brought me. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

New York Part 2

I promised pictures, so here you go. This blog gives the details about where we went and when, and has a lot of pictures.

http://music.qsbc.org/another-year-another-choir-mission/

And as for funny stories, let’s get started. I told you in my last blog that the story about someone getting left on the subway was for later. It’s time for that story. If you want to check the blog I posted above, it happened on Day 8, though the blog says nothing about it. I was in the group that went to Central Park, then onto Little Italy and Chinatown that day. When we arrived at Central Park, a small group of us (One of our sponsors, Jerry, as well as his son, Truett, and two others, Caitlin and Lucas) split and went to the Metropolitan Art Museum while the rest of us enjoyed Central Park and shopping in Little Italy. They planned to meet back with us later near Little Italy.

So after they were finished at the Art Museum, they hopped on the nearest subway to Little Italy. Or, so was the plan. They got to the subway station, and I guess Truett saw a street performer. So, he was watching him play, and as the subway pulled in to the station, Truett flipped the guy a quarter. Except the quarter didn’t quite make it into the guy’s hat. So, Truett bent over to pick it up, put it in the hat, and then turned around in time to see the subway doors closing with the rest of his group inside. They looked around, suddenly noticing that Truett was not with them, and then looked out the window to see Truett’s face pressed up against with a “oops” (Emoticon: :O) look on his face. Then the subway took off, leaving Truett at the station. Three stories underground, cell phone reception is a joke, so they had to wait until the next stop to call Truett. His dad, Jerry, instructed him to get on the last car of the next train, and meet them at the next stop. Truett did exactly as his dad said. Little did they know that only the front half of that subway train was stopping at the next stop. So, all they see is Truett’s face (again with the :O) pressed against the window flying by at 60 MPH. The quick thinking kids decided to catch the last car of the next subway, and meet Truett at the NEXT stop. As they were coming to a halt at the next station, they see a blur of orange (the color shirt we were wearing that day) running alongside the car to make sure that he didn’t lose them again. Now that they were finally reunited with Truett, they caught the next subway to Little Italy, and had a story to tell… That was probably the funniest story of the week.

Another interesting story happened on the bus. Many strange and interesting things happen at the two tables in the back of the bus. This one in particular attracted the attention of the entire bus. A couple of the guys, Adam and Dylan, were arm wrestling. But not just any arm wrestling. The grunting and shouting reached the front of the bus, and the arm wrestle probably lasted for a good three minutes. Their faces sort of reminded me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU4I4Jq6PvA

Pretty soon, half the bus was back their shouting along with them, rooting for one or the other. It was pretty hilarious, and I’m glad our bus driver didn’t crash due to the screaming. He probably wondered what in Heaven’s name was going on back there, though. In the end, I believe Adam won. This started a series of arm wrestles, but none of them were anywhere near the intensity of Adam and Dylan’s…

My final funny story consists of “things Andy said”. Just a few funny comments that Andy, our trip clown, made. The first memorable one was when we saw this bike on the sidewalk:Image

And Andy said, “Looks like someone did too many wheelies.”

The next one was after going to the Broadway show “Phantom of the Opera” (which was, by far, the most amazing one you will ever see). If you know the story, then you probably felt sorry for the Phantom in the end. Andy sort of ruined that, though, by noticing, “You know, everyone feels sorry for the Phantom in the end. But, if you think about it, he killed six people. I think he kind of got what was coming to him.”

One night, we went on a midnight walk through Times Square (our hotel, Hotel Edison, was less than a block away). We went to a few shops, and on the way back, we passed a McDonalds. The smell drafting out of it was that of marijuana. I noticed this, and was wondering what exactly that McDonalds was cooking up, when Andy asked, “How do you know what marijuana smells like?” I looked at him, and said “Have you ever been to my old neighborhood?” His eyes got a bit wider, and he said “Yes, actually. All is explained.” (No, I have never smoked or done anything like that with marijuana. However, I had neighbors who did…).

I’m sure there were other funny stories that I haven’t been told yet, but that’s what I have for now. I’ll probably do one more post with some final thoughts and reflections on the trip later.

 

New York Part 1

I’m back. New York was fantastic. Before I go into my usual blog posts, let me share a little bit about the trip.

The first three or four days were a little rough. Our bus ride was fine, as was our amazing bus driver. Our first several concerts, we sang fantastic. However, neither our voices nor the bus ride were the problem. We started out with sounds system problems. Basically, we had no mics and no amps because the sound control box, we found out, was fried. So, our first two concerts, both of which were on the second day of our trip, we had to sing out loud (probably a good thing, actually), and the soloists had to try and overpower us. I’m pretty sure Alisha was the only one who did, though she later said “That was not me. I mean, obviously it was, but I could never do that before. I could just feel the Holy Spirit’s power.” As could we all. So, honestly, the sound system failure did not stop the Holy Spirit from working through us. In fact, it made us stronger than ever.

Two days later, we had three concerts, all in one day. Our concerts are about an hour long, so this, we knew, was going to be a long day. It turned out to be longer than we expected. Our first stop was at a detention center in Virginia. I’m not sure how much information I’m allowed to give about these places, so I will keep it to a minimum. Anyway, at this point we had a new sound box, and our sound technician and church orchestra director John had gotten it working. So, we had our sound systems back. Well, after our concert, our choir director and minister of music at the church, James, did his usual speech about how Jesus died for our sins, how we are not good enough to get into Heaven without Him, and so on. He has a very unique way of telling them about this, and it is truly amazing to see the Spirit moving through him. Towards the end of his talk, he does what he always does, and asks the inmates to give each other some privacy, something that they don’t get much of, by bowing their heads and looking at the floor. if they would not do this, they were asked to go stand at the back wall (and the staff was always very nice and made sure one or the other happened). Well, at this particular detention center, something happened that has never happened before. One of the inmates refused to bow his head, and would not go to the back wall. He had to be escorted out, and caused a disturbance. On the way out, the inmate that caused the disturbance muttered something about “freedom of religion”. James had to work to get the other inmate’s attention back, though he did successfully. I believe we had more than ten people, including several staff members, saved that day. So, certainly not a bad concert at all. The Bible says that Heaven rejoices when one person gets saved, so imagine when more than ten get saved! However, despite the happy ending, the Devil was not done fighting us.

Our next concert went relatively smoothly. However, one of our soloists (I shall not name names) had a panic attack, and though she finished her solo (and sounded great, too!), that was the last time she sung her solo on the trip.

Our final concert for that day was at a detention center in Maryland. We ran into horrendous traffic on the way there, though, and we arrived close to 30 minutes late. On top of this, the security at this place was extremely tight, and it took us forever to get in. When we finally got in, we all had to be patted down. As the security guard explained it to us, “You all have to be searched. The ladies will receive a pat down, and the gentlemen will be thoroughly searched.”. This caused some nervous laughter from me, and some evil grins from my female friends who I was sitting with. As it turned out, though, we all just received a pat down, and it really wasn’t too bad. As Turner jokingly put it, “it felt like a massage”, then, quickly corrected with “Not like that!!” after the looks we gave him. Yes, even us ‘perfect’ choir children have our minds in the gutter to some extent. Perhaps we, as the next generation, should work on changing that, eh?

After getting through security, we got all set up. This time, we were in an outdoor courtyard-like area, instead of a gym or gathering room. Despite the tight security, the center reminded me more of a really intense summer camp than a prison. It had a large field, with some buildings here and there, all surrounded by a 15 foot, razor wire fence. Like I said, intense summer camp. Before our concert began, the staff offered use of their personal restroom. Those of us who were dying to go made a short line (that quickly got shorter) for the single restroom. All I will say is that I probably got lung cancer, nose cancer, and lost about ten years of my life in there.

So the concert begins. The staff is trying to make this sort of a fun event for the inmates, and so it was a bit more relaxed (ironic, with the tight security, the tightest we saw the entire trip), and they even passed out chips and stuff to the inmates. So, of course, the inmates were having a good old time, and completely lacked any respect for us. One of our soloists, and several other choir members, (again, I shall not name names) broke down in the middle of the concert. They kept on singing and going on strong, though, so that was excellent. The disrespect we saw there also had a very negative impact on one of my friends, who got anxiety sickness the next morning because of the rough day before. It continued through the rest of the trip, unfortunately, due to other issues. Despite all this, many came to Christ, they fed us amazing sandwiches after the concert, and we met an amazing staff member who really loved us and what we did, and was one of very few Christian staff there. So, it was certainly not all bad.

The next day, we were on the bus heading to NYC, and during nap time (I had not yet learned how to properly sleep on a moving bus. After an exhausting few days, though, I learned how), I was pondering the question “why”. Why had we gone through such hardships and problems. The answer came to me: The more evidence there is that the Devil is working against you, the more evidence there is that you are doing the Lord’s work.

This thought became even more true that evening, on Staten Island, where we went to see the 9/11 memorial. We took a ferry ride there, and that was cool. We got a good view of the Statue of Liberty, though, which was closed to visitors due to renovation. When we got to Staten Island, we got off the ferry and went to the subway. We bought subway passes for everyone, since we would be using the subway a lot over the next few days. Our first trip on the subway went, well, less than smoothly. No one got left behind (though that would happen later, and is a story for another time), but something did. We got off the subway at our stop, and headed up the stairs. The subway left. As soon as it did, my friend Alexa suddenly turned around and said, “My backpack’s on that subway!”. Well, the subway was gone. The backpack not only had her wallet, with her driver’s license and bank card, but also her friend Heather’s, who had not only her driver’s license, but also over $100 in cash. It was not Alexa’s fault. It was not really anyone’s fault. The bag just fell off. I was right behind them getting off the subway, so the fact that I did not see it made me feel rather terrible. We reported it to the lost and found, but they gave us little hope. We prayed still, but, honestly, it was New York City, so we had little hope.

About two hours later, after we had (sort of) eaten dinner, Heather’s phone rings. It is an unfamiliar number, but because of the recent events, she answered, holding onto a glimmer of hope. A total stranger had found the backpack, taken it home with him, and then somehow got her number from the information in the backpack. We never got to meet him, but he dropped the bag off, at personal inconvenience, at our next hotel, and Alexa and Heather got the bag the next day. Everything was still in it. Not a penny was missing. God answered our prayer, and showed His love and power through that whole situation. And, I am happy to say, there is still at least one honest person in New York City.

The rest of our trip I would say went smoothly, for the most part, and many came to know Jesus. It was an amazing two weeks of fellowship and ministry, as well as sight seeing, and one trip I will never forget.

My next post will be a less serious one, and I will share some funny stories from the trip, as well as some pictures.