Five Items of Interest (Vol. 2)

Here’s the second edition of “Five Things” of things I read online since the last “five things.” I hope you enjoy!

1. What is truth?

Steven Lawson at Ligonier writes:

We are surrounded on every side in this culture by the question “What is truth?” This is really the mother of all sins. It is a deliberate setting aside and an intentional rejection of the truth of God.

This is the way it was in the very beginning. In Genesis 3, Satan the serpent slithered on to the pages of human history, and he came to launch an attack on the truth. He said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Satan knew very well what God had said, but he came to call God’s words into question—to dismiss the truth of God. The original sin was a rejection of the truth—a rejection of God’s way. Man chose to go his own way, to decide for himself what is true, to make his own choices in defiance of the truth.

Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Every generation—and every person—suppresses the truth about God, apart from being born of the truth. This tendency is inherent within man, part of the radical corruption and total depravity in human nature. A few verses later, in Romans 1:25, we read how people exchange the truth of God for a lie. That is the hour in which we live. We live in a culture that has exchanged the truth of God for a lie and has suppressed the truth. This is the demise of any life, it is the departure of any denomination, it is the destruction of any nation, and the disintegration of any society—it begins with the rejection of truth.

2. What God says to your tears.

Scott Hubbard at Desiring God writes:

Yes, Christ has come. Yes, he is risen. And yes, he will come again. But still we mourn and ache and weep — and walk alongside those who mourn and ache and weep. We plod through the valley with hearts heavy laden, grieving for any one of a thousand reasons: our depressed children, our distant spouses, our dashed hopes, our deceased loved ones, our ruinous sin.

Sometimes, we cry because life’s sorrows have become chronic, filling our life like unwelcome houseguests who just won’t leave. Other times, we cry because some unexpected misery lands like a meteor and carves a crater in our soul. And still other times, we cry and don’t know quite why; the grief evades description and analysis.

To such mourners, the Bible’s message is not to dry up your tears. No, the Bible says weeping is typical of life in the valley, and its message to mourners is much more sympathetic — and much more steadying.

Read the rest.

3. American Christianity and the Approaching Cultural Storm

Chelsen Vicari at Juicy Ecumenism writes:

The approaching culture storm then has more to do with an increasing secular worldview among nominal Evangelical Christians rather than dying American Christianity, according to Stetzer who will publish a book on the subject in September.

“The shift that is taking also includes about one percent…of people per year change from being a nominal Christian [to secular people],” said (Ed) Stetzer. This means “the buffer between us and the rest of culture” is shrinking away.

4. Gun control advocates should learn gun basics.

David Harsanyi writes at The Federalist:

Like with any contemporary disputes over public policy, there will always be those who attempt to dismiss opponents who possess less expertise. It’s certainly not unique to this debate. And no, simply because a person refers to a “bullet” rather than a “cartridge” or “clip” rather than a “magazine” should not mean exclusion from conversation.

Then again, much of gun-control policy isdriven by the mechanics of a firearm. So while not knowing what a “barrel shroud” is should not prevent anyone from pondering gun policy (well, unless you’re a politician who goes on TV to advocate the banning of barrel shrouds without knowing what they are) but failing to understand the distinction between a semi-automatic and automatic weapon tells us you’re either dishonest, unserious or unprepared for the debate.

5. Federal government and school discipline

Jane Robbins and Erin Tuttle write at Caffeinated Thoughts:

To identify troubled students and avoid a Columbine-type crime, the Florida legislature adopted a strict “zero-tolerance” law in 2002. The law required schools to report felonies and violent misdemeanors committed by students to law enforcement. During the Obama Administration, the law was amended to reflect new discipline programs and policies encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Reporting requirements for student misdemeanors were loosened.  Unfortunately, had these changes not been made, the Florida shooter would have been arrested long before the tragedy on Valentine’s Day.

Instead of accomplishing what the bill was originally intended to accomplish — keep schools safe by removing criminal students — it appears these amendments did the opposite. They shielded the Florida shooter from law enforcement’s radar screen.

As discussed below, the changes made to Florida’s “zero-tolerance” were most likely prompted by federal policies intended to encourage and incentivize the reduction of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of troublesome students (especially minority and disabled students). An early signal of the new federal policies appeared in the infamous Race to the Top program, which “included a program requirement that districts with students of color or students with disabilities overly represented in the district’s discipline rates must conduct a root cause analysis and develop a plan to address these root causes.”

Read the whole article, it’s a long article, but a good one.