NPR finally gets it Right

NPR finally gets it Right

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Photo by EVGENIY MALOLETKA /AP PHOTO

National Public Radio (NPR) is a left-leaning news source covering news stories that interest liberals. White, college-educated, and upper-middle-class listeners make up the bulk of their audience.((Clark, Harry. “By The Numbers: Who Is Actually Listening to Public Radio.” Market Enginunity. blog.marketenginuity.com. N.D. https://blog.marketenginuity.com/by-the-numbers-who-is-actually-listening-to-public-radio))

Right-of-center figures have periodically called to eliminate government funding for NPR almost since its founding. Proponents of the cuts argue that the government should not be funding a media outlet and that NPR tends to have a political bias towards the left.((National Public Radio (NPR), www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/national-public-radio-npr/.)) In recent years NPR has greatly reduced its dependence on federal and state funds (under 10% now), but they have other supporters that donate to NPR; for example, in 2010, NPR received $1.2 million from George Soros’.

I will admit I listen to NPR on occasion. I like to know what the enemy is thinking, but aside from that, they have reporting that interests me in content and quality. 

Another example of NPR’s left-leaning reporting is the continual bias against the nation of Israel. NPR has been repeatedly accused of demonstrating bias against Israel but reports favorably toward Palestine. “The pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) considers NPR to be the most anti-Israel mainstream news outlet in the United States.”((National Public Radio (NPR), www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/national-public-radio-npr/.))

So what did NPR get right? In the AP photo that has come to symbolize the attack in Mariupol, a wounded pregnant woman lies on a stretcher, holding her lower belly and splattered with blood, being rushed out of the hospital by emergency workers seeking care for her elsewhere. Neither she nor her baby survived.((Treisman, Rachel. “The pregnant woman from the iconic Mariupol photo has died. Many more are at risk.” NPR, npr.org, 14 March 2022 https://www.npr.org/2022/03/14/1086424049/pregnant-woman-photo-mariupol-maternity-hospital))

I am sure most who read the NPR article did not even notice their reference to the unborn being a baby. I myself had not read the story until Albert Mohler’s The Briefing mentioned how the media is reporting on the death of a pregnant woman and her baby. I can promise you NPR almost never refers to the unborn as a baby. Let us take a brief look at any articles or news reports by NPR that mention abortion in March.  

  • Out-of-state abortions. (March 17)
  • Out of state abortions and gender-affirming treatments. (March 15)
  • Abortions after 15 weeks in Florida (March 4)
  • New Texas abortion law (March 2)

If you read or listen to these stories by NPR, not one will refer to the fetus as a baby. As I pointed out, these are just the stories in March 2022 as of the 17th. Not that many since Russia and Ukraine have been headline news in March. Prior to the Ukraine invasion, the abortion issue was headline news because of the new Texas law and Mississippi abortion case the Supreme Court looked at. 

If we back up to February, NPR had 12 reports, most before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Here are some brief observations from the stories in March. 

  • An abortion clinic is always referred to as a clinic.
  • Reporters always point out the difficulties women have when seeking an abortion. 
  • Proposed laws that make it illegal to perform an abortion and apply financial penalties are referred to as bounty hunter bills.
  • Gender surgery or procedures are called gender-confirming care.
  • Quoting liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the court’s three liberals in dissent, called the case “a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas, who have a right to control their own bodies.”
  • Doctors in Texas have been warning that the state’s abortion law known as S.B. 8 would make it harder for them to treat medical crises and endanger their patients. 
  • Examples of rape and incest are offered for reasons to have an abortion.
  • Abortions are to be legal, safe, and accessible for all women, but if they are not, they can place women in dangerous circumstances.  

It is pathetically obvious that NPR has a substantial left-leaning view of abortion, but they got it right this time. Because of the Russian attacks, a woman and her unborn baby were killed.

What is your view on abortion? Should it be legal, accessible to all women regardless of age or reason for the termination of a human life? If that is what you believe, you can continue to listen to NPR, CNN, USA Today, and other biased media that will confirm your beliefs. Or, you can consider other sources and rethink the abortion issue, a human life and death issue. 

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NPR finally gets it Right by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The War In Ukraine

The War In Ukraine

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The above title is outlawed in Russia. Putin forbids my very use of the word “war.” Using that word could place a Russian reporter in the Gulag Archipelago for 15 years. They are not allowed to use “war,” “invasion,” or “assault” when describing their invasion of Ukraine.1

The New York Times reported last Friday, “Russia clamped down harder Friday on news and free speech than at any time in President Vladimir V. Putin’s 22 years in power, blocking access to Facebook and major foreign news outlets, and enacting a law to punish anyone spreading ‘false information’ about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison.”((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022))

For Putin, it is all about controlling the narrative within his authority. Those critical of his actions will quickly be labeled criminals and face severe consequences. 

Instead, the Kremlin says their invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation.” The Kremlin has also blocked access from within their country to major western news sources or popular social networks such as Facebook. Consequently, the general population within Russia will only hear the state-managed media.((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022))

This war will not end quickly, and those who have orchestrated the invasion and war in Ukraine will be suffering economically. But what does that mean exactly? First off, you need to understand that Russia is an oligarchy. What is that exactly? It is a government-run by a few very powerful and very wealthy people. Just a handful of individuals manage and own all the property, businesses, trade, and energy. To give you an idea, Putin is worth about 100 billion. Yes, I wrote billion, not million.((Mohler, Albert. “Thursday, March 3, 2022.” Audio blog post. The Briefing. albertmohler.com, March 3, 2022. Web. March 8, 2022)) Give that some thought. One hundred billion. For example, if Putin lost 99% of his entire wealth, he would still have 1 billion left. Can you picture a billion dollars? For those who are math-challenged, think of it this way, 1 billion dollars is a thousand million dollars. Could you live on that? Could a millionaire be comfortable with that? How about someone with a hundred million? You see my point. 

These sanctions will undoubtedly hurt the oligarchy, but what is a 90% loss of their billions? It is a nuisance, maybe an aggravation, but I would not even go so far as to say a discomfort. These men and women in power will not suffer one iota from our sanctions. Who suffers? The people of Russia. Many of them may disagree with the invasion of Ukraine but, out of fear, will say nothing against it. Why? Because the Kremlin passed a law making criminals out of those who speak out against their military or government. Vyacheslav Volodin, a Kremlin official, said with the new law, “those who lied and made declarations discrediting our armed forces will be forced to suffer very harsh punishment.”2

The sanctions may place such a general stress on the populace they could rise up and overthrow the government, but they are already cowed by laws, restrictions, and threats of harsh punishments. Constraints on free speech are in full swing and will only get worse. Those who don’t toe the line will quickly disappear and be examples to those who might consider speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine. 

World view matters, and I can’t say this strongly enough. Countries like Russia and China don’t care about the people; those in power only care about gaining more power and influence even if it costs their people or innocents, including women and children. Culture is downstream of religion, and politics is downstream of culture, always. So what Russia is doing and what China is planning on doing has everything to do with politics, culture, and undoubtedly a religion, or lack thereof. Those in charge are answerable to no one, and they will do whatever they can to keep it that way. 

Ukraine will fall. Those who fought to keep their country independent will either be killed or whisked away to prisons in Siberia, never to be heard from again. If you think Russia will be satisfied with Ukraine, you are sadly mistaken. It may not happen in my lifetime, but the Russian oligarch will continue to make moves westward. 

And I predict within my lifetime, China will take Taiwan. And like Ukraine, we will not want to go to war for another country’s freedom. So like it or not, it is simply a delay of the inevitable. Ideas have consequences, and the ideas coming from Russia and China have world-impacting consequences. 

Does injustice diminish depending on the distance? For example, what would you do if you were to walk out your front door and see a man abusing a woman or child just a few feet away? I think most men and women would immediately step in and put a halt to it if they could. What if it was across the street? Does your responsibility for the abuse that you have knowledge of lessen because of the increased distance?

David French, a conservative Christian and political commentator wrote, 

“The true battle for our country isn’t political, it’s cultural and spiritual…Our nation can survive lost elections, but over the long term it cannot survive a decayed culture.”3

As Christians, we should recognize secular ideas regarding ethics. Secular moralities such as the ones we find from the Kremlin and China are established on the belief that their own ideas and moral codes (what is right and wrong) are merely based on their views. Nothing more than that. No higher universal standard or judge that we may call God. They recognize this and act on it. “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is not a final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”((Schaeffer, Francis. How Should We Then Live? Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976 p. 154))

You are mistaken if you think theology doesn’t matter. Theological arguments matter because they arrived in the form of jetliners on September 11. You are also mistaken if you believe Godless leaders are a better option. If you have heard and believed the party line that religion has been the cause of more deaths and wars than anything else, you’re deceived. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler, atheist dictators, were responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century. 

The world war for worldviews is just beginning. What side are you on?

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The War In Ukraine by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. AFP, “Russia Bans Media Outlets from Using Words’ War,’ ‘Invasion.’ The Moscow Times, February 26, 2022, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/02/26/russia-bans-media-outlets-from-using-words-war-invasion-a76605. March 8, 2022 []
  2. Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022 []
  3. Friedersdorf, Conor. “How Breitbart Destroyed Andrew Breitbart’sLegacy.” The Atlantic, 14, Nov. 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/how-breitbart-destroyed-andrew-breitbarts-legacy/545807/. 9 March 2022 []
God’s Not Dead

God’s Not Dead

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Above image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Did you see the movie God’s Not Dead? I watched God’s Not Dead several years ago when it first came out. I returned a few days later to watch it a second time with my son and several of his friends. This time I took notes, as well as anyone can take notes in a dark theater.

If you have watched this movie or plan on watching it, then take a moment and read this. It will help explain some of the arguments used by both the atheist, Professor Radisson, and the Christian student, Josh Wheaton. This review (if you can call it that) is far from exhaustive in covering the logical fallacies and apologetic arguments, but it may be useful for the layman.

The Most Intelligent People are Atheists

The first argument Professor Radisson used when he walked into his philosophy class was to point to a list of famous, intelligent, if not brilliant, people who were all atheists. This is a logical fallacy called an appeal to authority. If you come up with a list of famous, educated, or influential people who support your cause, your cause must be essential and intellectually just.

Every year in politics, you see candidates endorsed by famous actors or actresses. They do this because the Hollywood spotlight holds a position of influence over us. If a famous actor or actress supports someone, more people will vote for that individual. Both the Republicans and the Democrats use a Hollywood face or well-known sports figure to promote their campaign. The fact that both sides take part in this should tell you something. It works.

Christians could also come up with a list of brilliant minds that believed in God or the Christian worldview. In popular culture, we have Tyler Perry, Ryan Gosling, Patricia Heaton, Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Martin Sheen, Angela Bassett, to name a few in the Hollywood circles. They all believe in God or profess to be Christians. We could also list those famous for their towering intellect. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Mendel, to name a few.

Appealing to authority can be persuasive, but it does not make something true. Even if everyone I listed above thought that the world was flat, it would not be true. And when Professor Radisson shows off a list of brilliant and famous people that were, or are, atheists, it does not make atheism true any more than the lists I offered make Christianity true.

The prompting is that only intelligent people are atheists, but you can see that is not the case. The suggestion is that science trumps faith, and that science and faith are at odds. Or more specifically, that knowledge and faith are on opposite ends of each other. Many atheists and even some Christians believe the less knowledge you have, the more faith you need. Please give it some thought. This is obviously not true; the opposite of faith is unbelief, not knowledge, and the opposite of knowledge is not faith, but ignorance. Throughout history and today, brilliant minds have excellent reasons and evidence for their faith.

Atheists do not have the market on knowledge, reason, and science. In my readings on apologetics, I have found tremendous support for my faith in Christ. As my knowledge has increased, so has my faith/confidence. As Josh researched the Christian worldview, no doubt his faith also increased.

I want to address two apologetic arguments Josh Wheaton used in the movie. This will help those watching the film for the first time understand the philosophy behind them. It is also important for every Christian to be familiar with them because they commonly come up when talking to skeptics or atheists.

The First Cause

The first argument Josh brought up was the Big Bang Theory.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble noticed what he called a ‘red shift’ in the color of very distant galaxies. This turned out to mean that the galaxies were moving away; in other words, the universe was expanding. Why is this significant? If we dial back time a thousand years, the universe would be smaller than it is today. If we were to go back a million years, it would be smaller still. So we could go back to the beginning and find the universe compressed into a single point that science calls a singularity. What caused this singularity? We call that God. As Greg Koukl puts it, to have a Big Bang, you must have a Big Banger.

Just a few years later, Albert Einstein came to peer through the telescope at the Wilson Observatory to confirm, at least in his own mind, the findings of Hubble. Since then, science has continued to confirm this, and the Big Bang Theory is widely accepted in the scientific community. 

I know many Christians that have been uncomfortable with this, but it plays into the hand of those who believe in God. Simply put, if the universe had a beginning, it must have been created. For centuries, scientists believed that the universe had always existed, but Genesis says, “In the beginning God created…”

One form of the cosmological argument is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and essentially it states the following premises and conclusion:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Someone might ask, “Then who caused God?” but God is an uncaused, eternal being. He stands outside of his creation, much like the author of a book stands outside of his novel. Time is inexorably tied to our universe, and God stands outside it. He is not bound by his creation any more than Thomas Kinkade is bound to live in one of his idyllic country cottage paintings.

Professor Hugh Ross, who has written several books on cosmology and lectured at over 300 campuses, wrote, “Consider the way parents prepare their children to explore and relate to the world and the rest of humanity. Step-by-step, as the little one matures, father and mother allow the world of exploration and relationships to expand. Likewise, according to the Bible, God will allow his children to move beyond their smallish playground (planet earth) into the expansive realm (the new creation) he always intended for them to experience and enjoy.”((Ross, Hugh. “Why Such a Lonely Universe.” Why The Universe Is The Way It Is, Baker Books, 2008, p.78))

Problem of Evil

Another argument Josh addressed is the problem of evil. The argument goes something like this: how can an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God allow evil? David Hume put it this way, “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”

Let me ask you, what is your purpose in life? If you hold a Christian worldview, you must understand that your purpose in life is not your happiness but to commune with God. This life does not end with our last breath but spills over and opens up a door to an eternal ocean of God’s presence and love.

The old woman in the nursing home toward the end of God’s Not Dead spells it out nicely when she says to her son, “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble, because he doesn’t want them turning to God.”1 Some of you may have the same experience I do when I say the times I have been the most active in prayer are when I have been going through difficulty. No doubt many of you have experienced the same thing. How many have cried out to God when encountering a sudden life-threatening experience? In times of difficulty, most everyone recognizes we turn toward God, but sometimes the answer is no, and we suffer great pain or loss. For many of us, this brings us closer to God, and a greater understanding of the purpose to our life.

Timothy Keller wrote, “For many years, after each of the morning and evening Sunday services, I remained in the auditorium for another hour to field questions. Hundreds of people stayed for the give-and-take discussions. One of the most frequent statements I heard was, ‘Every person has the right to define right and wrong for himself or herself.’ I always responded to the speakers by asking, ‘Is there anyone in the world right now doing things you believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?’ They would invariably say, ‘Yes, of course.'”2

We are all free to do good, and we are all free to do evil. The same freedom allows us to do one or the other, but we could not measure evil without good. Without God, evil is just a behavior that some don’t enjoy, and it becomes a subjective feeling. 

Timothy Keller pointed out that without a grounding objective morality we get from God, then evil is just a point of view. If we each decide what is right and wrong, then evil is just a matter of opinion. 

Volumes have been written on the problem of evil, and it is one Christians should be familiar with because it can be one of the most challenging questions to answer when the suffering does not offer any rhyme or reason. 

See God’s Not Dead if you have not seen it. I would have enjoyed more classroom debate and apologetic arguments in greater detail, more character development. Still, it has raised awareness in Christians who might otherwise never have considered intellectual and philosophical arguments for their belief in Christ. 

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God’s Not Dead by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. God’s Not Dead. Dir. Harold Cronk, Perf. Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper. Pure Flix Entertainment, 2014. Film []
  2. Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print. []
The Secret Life of Walter

The Secret Life of Walter

Reading Time: 7 minutes
I heard about Walter from Russ Peters. It is a story I will never forget and one I wanted to share with my readers how it represents sustaining grace and forgiveness.

After World War II, Russ and Alva Peters moved up into Twain Harte, California. They began to work with and alongside Pastor Calahan in the Twain Harte and Sonora area, and once a week they would go to the poor farm, which was found on the top story of the old Tuolumne hospital. The poor farm was a place for the homeless and discarded. As Russ put it, “A place to farm out the unwanted relatives.”

There was a large room lined with beds that held the broken, elderly, sickly, and often unloved members of our community. Today many would be homeless, but in the 1940s, they were cared for by the community hospital. Once a week, Pastor Calahan would visit the poor farm and minister to the broken. As they would sing old hymns, Russ noted how many would open their eyes and even sing themselves, recalling the old melodies from earlier, happier years. They seemed unaware of the mediocre voices of Pastor Callahan, Russ, and whoever else was with them on any particular Monday. Over time Russ observed this was the most animated they would see the residents of the poor farm.

After a time Russ discovered Walter. Walter was not with the rest of the poor farm residents. Walter was down a hallway in a room all by himself.

As a young man, Walter “catted around,” as Russ put it. In other words, he spent time chasing women, and consequently, he contracted syphilis. There was no cure for syphilis back then, and it attacked Walter with a vengeance. It seemed to focus on his legs and caused Walter great pain and anguish. Eventually, it twisted his feet backward 180 degrees, and they were amputated. The disease did not stop there but continued to attack his body. They amputated again at his knees and finally all the way to his hips. Walter also lost the use of his left arm completely, and in his right arm he was only able to move a single finger and thumb. If you placed a spoon between his finger and thumb, added a bit of food, Walter could slowly feed himself. Walter was completely dependent on others for survival. He wore a diaper and had no mobility. 

The loss of critical functions does not determine our personhood. If it did, then as we all age or suffer from chronic debilitating diseases, we would be losing our personhood along with the advancement of the illness or disability. Stott Rae, during a lecture on Bioethics said, “Being a person has nothing to do with the functions a person can perform.”((Rae, Scott. “Answers to Bioethical Challenges.” Apologetic Lecture Series. Biola University, La Mirada. n.d. Lecture)) If functions or ability did determine our personhood, then infants or the unborn would not be persons. If that were true, then the elderly would be on the downside of the bell curve in the loss of their personhood.

The disease destroyed Walter’s body, but not his mind. He was highly intelligent and did not lose his speech or ability to communicate with others.

Russ was unsure when Walter became a Christian, but he was confident it was due to pastor Calahan and the gentle service provided over the years to Walter and the other patients in the poor farm. Pastor Calahan was not a bible-thumping fire and brimstone evangelist but rather a servant who lets his actions minister to those he loved.

When Walter was saved, it was evident to everyone. His newfound faith completely transformed him from a wretched, despondent human being, to someone who became intimately involved in the lives of everyone he met. Walter began to pray for them. He would remember everyone he met and ask them questions about their life. He would recall what they shared and pray for them, and the next time he saw them, Walter would inquire about their husband, wife, children, extended family, and follow up with questions about the prior circumstances and if anything had changed. Russ said Walter had a very sharp mind and would even remember chapter and verse of where they left off in the Bible reading from week to week.

Over time, Russ realized that Walter was ministering to them (the Monday night troop) more than they were to him. Walter impacted those around him, and Russ shared that few people in his life had quite influenced Russ as Walter had. This was because Walter was experiencing what Louie Giglio calls ‘sustaining grace.’

In his book, The Comeback, Louie Giglio explains three categories of grace we can encounter. First and foremost is saving grace, the grace we experience when we allow Christ into our lives and trust in His ability to be made alive again. The second kind of grace he calls ‘transforming grace’ which covers us each time we fail and have to get up again. This grace works daily and sometimes hourly instead of saving grace, which is a single decision and experience. Finally, Giglio talks about sustaining grace. “This grace is specific. Timely. Personal. This is the type of grace that God gives you when you get a phone call that changes your life forever. The shock of the blow hits you so hard, and your mind is a jumbled mess of questions. Where do I go now? What do I do? Who do I call? God gives you sustaining grace for that moment. This is the type of grace that God gives you when you walk down a hospital corridor and know that behind the door is the body of someone you love. Nothing can prepare you for this moment. There’s no textbook for this.”((Giglio, Louie. “Jesus is Enough” The Comeback, Passion Publishing, 2015, p148.))

  • This grace is found when you are on the floor completely broken.
  • This grace is found when your father dies.
  • This grace is found when your mother dies.
  • This grace is found when your child dies.
  • This grace is found when dreams hoped for will never come to pass.
  • This grace is found when life changes direction down an unwanted path.
  • This grace is found only in the hope of Christ because there is nothing else to hope for.
  • This grace could be found in Walter.

Our Sunday morning men’s group is reading a book in a study led by Zach Nye. The book’s author is Steven Mansfield, and he wrote, “I don’t care about your appearance. Manliness, in my view, is about doing. It doesn’t matter what you look like. I’m neither put off by nor in awe of the physical. I’ve known great men who are three and a half feet tall. I know an awe-inspiring man who has not arms or legs. I’ve known powerful, dynamic men who looked like women from a distance…It is the doing, the deeds, the actions that make a male a man.”((Mansfield, Stephen. “Gentlemen, We Begin…” Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men, Nelson Books, 2013, p11.))

What could Walter do? Clearly, he had enormous limitations on his life. Walter could not go next door to help an elderly woman with some plumbing. Walter could not mow the lawn of a disabled gentleman who was bound to a wheelchair. Walter could not serve the homeless at a Thanksgiving dinner downtown on a cold November night. Walter could not volunteer at schools and read books to small children. Walter could not own any pets because he could not care for them, let alone care for himself. Walter could not even own a fish. Walter wore a diaper and could not clean himself.

Over the years Russ shared he never heard Walter complain. On occasion, Walter would lament that the nurses would have to clean him and change his diaper, but their response was one of mercy, kindness, sincerity, and love. They would tell Walter how they loved him, enjoyed him, and would take pleasure in helping him as much as they could.

Despite these tremendous barriers, Walter impacted the world for Christ. When Walter passed on, the nurses at the hospital said the light of the hospital had gone out.

I never met Walter, he died before I was born, but I meet with Russ, a man who knew Walter, ministered to Walter, and was ministered to by Walter. The secret life of Walter impacted my life and has touched the lives of several I have shared his story with.

Walter’s life permeated forgiveness. Why do I say that? How could anyone not only survive such limitations but thrive? Who could Walter blame for his condition? He could blame the women in his past life. He could blame himself. Or he could blame God. Those who blame never move beyond their suffering and pain. They never rise above their circumstances to see what God has in store for their lives or what great work He is accomplishing for their character and spirit.

As I moved beyond blaming myself for difficult circumstances, blaming others for my pain, blaming God for my grief, and allowing forgiveness to flow, I am beginning to see clearly how He works in my life. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) This verse does not promise that all things, taken individually, are good. Rather it means that God will work all events together for good. Undoubtedly, some events are evil, but we don’t see and often don’t understand the big picture.

With this understanding of events working together for good, coupled with forgiveness, we can learn to be content even in the most challenging and painful circumstances. Philippians 4:11 I pray I am never tested like Walter, none of us would want that, but no matter what you have endured in your life, realizing what Christ has done for you and how much He loves you is a life changer. It certainly was for Walter.

This story is not complete because you can share this story of Walter with others. You can encourage and love others who may be coping with overwhelming circumstances in their life that have left them devastated. But this story is also not complete without knowing that Walter lived in that room for nearly 40 years, ministering to everyone who walked into that room and in his presence. Walter was not only a light for the hospital but a light to the Gospel and who Christ was. Walter reflected what Christ can do for the broken, the unwanted, the unloved, and discarded. In the words of Paul Harvey, now you know the rest of the story.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. – Bernard Meltzer

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The Secret Life of Walter by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Easter Island

Easter Island

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Above Image by SoniaJane from Pixabay

Most of us have seen the pictures of the Easter Island stone heads and wonder who and why a civilization would have created such statues. Easter Island is found off the coast of South America, specifically the Chilean coast. Easter Island is one of the most remote locations on earth. Yes, even more remote than the North or South Poles. One would have to travel nearly 2000 miles to find another human settlement or neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. If not for the island heads, Easter Island would be just another Pacific island among the thousands that dot the Pacific landscape.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the island was inhabited in the 1300s by Polynesians who, for reasons unknown, created these massive heads at over 250 locations across the island. Evidence also tells us that the island was originally heavily forested. In the 1700s, Europeans discovered Easter Island with some 3000 Polynesian islanders, but the forests had disappeared.

In modern years, scientists had concluded that the Easter Island Polynesian culture had decimated the forests in an effort to move/roll the gigantic heads to their current locations scattered across the island.

As to why this extinct and ancient civilization built these monoliths, we may never know, but researchers have found large quantities of red paint/dye around their bases, suggesting they were painted. Other evidence indicates the island culture had ceremonies associated with the Easter Island heads.

All this I found interesting, but what has surprised me, and caused me to write this particular post, was the very recent discovery that the Easter Island Heads, were not just heads, but they had bodies attached.

I remember as a young boy seeing pictures of the Easter Island Heads in National Geographic and wondered who made them, and why they would make them. Then, nearly 50 years later, I discovered there was a whole lot more than just the heads. Some of these statutes are 40 feet tall and over 75 tons in weight.

I wonder how many of us will be shocked to find there is a whole lot more to God than just the generic, sterile, relatively uninvolved being that so many nod to, like an acquaintance across the room, but don’t give him much more thought.

No doubt many have devoted their lives to him. Life-long sacrificial service is their vocation, and they gladly give all they have to those in need. Mother Teresa comes to mind, but I am sure there are countless others who remain nameless except to those they have served, and to God.

How many declare, God must be a powerful being but conclude, due to the condition of our world, He must have limits? How could an all-powerful God allow the evil that takes place in the world today? If a God is omnipotent, he must be powerful enough to stop evil. The problem of evil is one that many Christians struggle with and don’t have an answer to.

Why would God allow the millions to be slaughtered in wars that took place in the 20th century? Why would God allow millions of children to starve in Africa and Asia? Why would God allow the abuse of innocent women sold into prostitution? Why would God allow…?

If we look at the big picture and ask the question of why would God allow, then we must look at the small picture and ask the same. Greg Koukl put it this way in his book Faith Is Not Wishing, “The answer to the question ‘Why doesn’t God stop the evil?’ is the same answer to the question, ‘Why doesn’t God stop me every time I do wrong?’ There is a virtuous quality to human moral choice that both dignifies us and makes serious evil possible.”1

We can’t expect God to stop the suffering caused by evil in this world unless we expect him to do the same for us on a very personal level. He would have to stop us from lying, cheating, coveting, stealing, blaspheming, and a host of other actions on every level of our lives. Why do some cry foul when someone lies about them and damages their character when just the other day they were gossiping themselves? Why do some point the finger at those who commit adultery, yet they have those thoughts daily? Divorce, debt from greed and selfishness, physical and verbal abuse, and murder can be found everywhere, but only when people are affected in a way that they don’t like, do they want God to stop it.

If people were honest, they would admit that their freedom of choice, to do as they please, is paramount in their lives. Too many believers have what Dinesh D’Souza calls, cafeteria Christianity. These believers go through life attending church when they feel the need. Pray to God when they have a need. Quote scripture (more often misquote scripture) when it supports their need. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”((Craig, William L. Hard Questions Real Answers. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003. Print.)) These sayings and many more dot our culture and may imply the existence of God, but in reality, they are used to support their choices just as they use their God to support their beliefs, decisions, and opinions.

William Lane Craig wrote, “…the chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God. One reason that the problem of evil seems so intractable is that people tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se but the knowledge of God – which, in the end, will bring true and everlasting human fulfillment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.”2

When we contemplate the universe beyond our solar system, beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy, which holds hundreds of millions of stars, and the hundreds of millions of other galaxies, which is expanding and accelerating, we get a glimpse of God beyond the figurehead. However, when we consider the other scale of our existence and peer into the tiny details of atoms, electrons, protons, and gluons, which exist less than a billionth of a second, we can only shake our heads in awe and wonder at what God has created. Hugh Ross wrote, “Personal observation over the past few decades tells me that the greatest earthly fulfillment humans experience comes from serving and pleasing God.”3

Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” As our knowledge of our universe increases with technology, so does our misuse of God to suit the desires of our hearts. If you put forth the effort and explore God beyond the need for Him to answer an occasional prayer, you will find there is more to him than you ever realized.

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Easter Island by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Koukl, Greg. Faith Is Not Wishing – 13 Essays for Christian Thinkers. Signal Hill: Stand To Reason, 2011. Print. []
  2. Houdmann, Michael. “What are the most common things people think are in the Bible that are not actually in the Bible?” Got Questions. Gotquestions.org, 2002. 9/20/2013. []
  3. Ross, Hugh. Why The Universe Is The Way It Is. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008. Print. []
That’s Not Fair!

That’s Not Fair!

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Above Image by simisi1 from Pixabay

How many of you remember Robin William’s voice as the Genie in Disney’s animation movie ‘Aladdin? That animation movie rocked, and Robin William stole the show! William’s agreed to do the voice at a cut-rate of $75,000 because he wanted to leave something for his kids and grandkids. Usually, he would have been paid millions for his efforts, but his paternal instincts ruled the day, and he signed the contract for a fraction of what he would typically charge.

Then the unexpected happened. It was a blockbuster hit, sales rocketed, and it made over 500 million! Everyone was shocked, including Williams. In the following weeks, Williams and his agent cried foul. During interviews, William’s explained it was not the money he was angry about but the perceived unfairness. Notice Williams did not complain till Aladdin became a blockbuster hit, then it was all unfair((Voss, Chris. “Bend Their Reality.” Never Split The Difference, Penguin Random House, 2016, pgs 122-123))

Chris Voss, a retired high-level negotiator for the FBI, says the most powerful word in Negotiations is ‘fair.’ If you time the ‘fair’ bomb accurately and wisely, it is impressive how it can change the directions of conversations.

Disney pointed out to Robin Williams that he signed the contract and really should not be complaining. It was not only perfectly legal but fair. Nevertheless, in an effort to keep William’s happy, they sent him a Picasso painting worth around $1 million((Voss, Chris. “Bend Their Reality.” Never Split The Difference, Penguin Random House, 2016, pgs 122-123))

In the last few years, I have heard, “That’s not fair!” more times than I can count. More often than not, it comes from one of my 5th-grade boys who have an overgrown competitive gene. We might be playing a game in class or out on the field, and I will adjust to the sides to balance the teams. One boy, in particular (I will call him George, names have been changed to protect the innocent), would always complain if my attempt to balance the teams was not in his favor. After patiently listening to his grievances, I would, without explanation, begin to adjust the teams further. He was a very bright young man, and after just a couple of adjustments, he recognized the pattern, that his complaints made matters worse. In a few short weeks, when I would ask if the teams were ‘fair’ inevitability, I would hear, “They are perfect Mr. Glazier! Don’t change a thing!”

Where do we get the idea of fairness? What about life is supposed to be fair? Is it fair that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes $45 million per season((Haislop, Tadd. “The NFL’s highest-paid players in 2020, from Patrick Mahomes to Jalen Ramsey” Sporting News, sportingnews.com, 9 Sept. 2020, https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-highest-paid-players-2020-patrick-mahomes/s2560yib2yvwzjdlsfy10ox2)) and army captains start out at $53,000 a year?((“United States Army -0-3 Captain.” FederalPay, federalpay.org, N.D., https://www.federalpay.org/military/army/captain)) Is it fair that the average major league baseball player makes over 4 million a year((AP News. “Average MLB salary at $4.17 million, down 4.8% from 2019.” ESPN.com, ESPN, 16 April, 2021, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31270164/average-mlb-salary-417-million-48-2019)) and the average cal fire firefighter makes $74,000 a year?((Sokanu. “Firefighter salary in California.” Career Explorer, careerexplorer.com, N.D. https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/firefighter/salary/california/))

Is life fair? Not even close. Ecclesiastes 9:11

When we have discussions about morality and ethics, we often imply things ‘ought’ to be a certain way. And when they’re not, we are all quick to cry foul and point out the unfairness to anyone who will listen.

As much as some might like to think ‘fairness’ is a courtesy of the evolutionary process, it can’t be true. There is nothing fair in the survival of the fittest with the ultimate aim of human flourishing.

Rules come from those in authority, and one of the objectives of regulations is to place things in a specific order so reality will operate in a particular fashion. The evolutionary processes don’t care about justice, truth, honor, or equity. Evolution can’t and never will put obligations on our behavior towards others. If anything, evolution tells us to put ourselves before others, be first in line for the goods, and never-ever stand in harm’s way for another.

Christian apologist Frank Turek points out, “Morality and biology are in different categories. You can’t explain an immaterial moral law by a material, biological process. Justice is not made of molecules. Furthermore, moral laws are prescriptive and come from authoritative personal agents. Biological processes are descriptive and have no authority to tell you what to do. How could a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ‘ought’ to behave?”((Turek, Frank. “Morality.” Stealing From God, NavPress, 2014, pgs 100-101))

One of the illusions of the modern world and culture is we are in control. Students have become even more susceptible to this belief as technology has been placed at their fingertips. Why bother asking mom or dad when they can just Google it or ask Siri? They have answers to just about anything they can ask. “…kids are tempted to confuse information with knowledge and completely forgo the pursuit of wisdom… having all the answers at their fingertips teaches students that teachers aren’t necessary. Gray hair used to indicate wisdom; now it identifies someone who is out of touch.”((Stonestreet, John. Kunkle, Brett. “Being Alone Together.” A Practical Guide To Culture, David C Cook, 2017, pgs 124-125))

Just Google “where does fairness come from,” and all the top selections will fall under the categories of social justice, evolution, environment, psychology, and economics. Not one will attribute the sense of fairness to God but instead learned evolutionary behavior. Yet, every one of those counterexamples fails. They don’t realize that without a personal agent, an authority that guides us in how things ought to be, fairness is determined by whoever controls the Genie in the bottle. Proverbs 17:15

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