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Potpourri, July 1997

religion, articles, christianity
Eleven Commandments Now I lay Me Down to ... High School
Bork Sowing and Raping' PC Hymns
Christian Chronicle Feeding the Hungry Lady Promise Keepers
Quotations Fear the Queer  

The good news is that the Firm Foundation continues to happily skip along with an increasing number of readers. One subscriber wrote, "Thank you for this great work. I do not want to miss a single issue." There are many who continue to walk in the old paths. Some ­ too many ­ follow the broad way that leads to destruction.

It is sad - alarming - that the majority in the religious world have little concern about doing the will of God and are mainly inclined to do their own will. Though disturbing, it is not surprising. From the time of Eden until now, the disposition of humans has been to discount the divine precepts. The attitude of the multitude is, "Yeah, hath God said." Someone has observed, "We can sympathize with a child who is afraid of the dark, but the tragedy of life is that most people are afraid of the light." A greater than Solomon said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."

The trend is to cast doubt on the words of God by clouding and muddling the teaching of the Bible with extraneous, extra­biblical material, and quibbling over "foolish questionings and genealogies." Any device to discount revelation is acceptable to those who have no respect for revelation.

Anyway, we just wanted to say "much obliged" to our loyal readers and supporters.

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Eleven Commandments

Judge Roy S. Moore of Alabama keeps a display of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. The American Civil Liberties Union objected to the judge's taking that liberty. The Alabama Supreme Court has issued a verdict: The judge can keep the Ten Commandments in the courtroom. An appeal has been filed and the United States Supreme Court may decide if the Mosaic Code can be kept on the wall of a government building.

Edward P. Mosher, The Politically Correct Guide to the Bible, has jokingly suggested a revision to the ten commandments to make them politically correct. His list, with some editing, follows:

  1. Thou shalt treat all gods, goddesses, demigods, demigoddesses, cults and beliefs with equal respect and devotion.
  2. Thou shalt honor thy birth mother and birth father, or mother and father of step, or mother and mother, or father and father, or surrogate mom or dad. Or thou shalt sue any of the above for negligence.
  3. Thou shalt not steal, except when: charging $2 for an ATM transaction ... robbing defenseless seniors ... it's limited to paper clips and memo pads.
  4. Thou shalt commit adultery. If it feeleth good, do it. Particularly if you are ... the insatiable governor of a Southern state whose troopers tempt him with an endless supply of willing consorts, or a member of the royal family.
  5. Thou shalt not discriminate on the basis of religion race agnosticism atheism national origin, sexual orientation, gender or genders, marital status, parental status, age, youth, ability, ascent, pre­existing medical conditions, test scores, appearance, scent, drug test results, or ethics.
  6. Thou shalt not be factually challenged nor engage in an excess of literalism nor otherwise bear false witness, unless plea bargaining, or campaigning for or holding public office.
  7. Thou shalt not worship false idols, except Elvis.
  8. Thou shalt not murder, unless you can afford a dream team of morally disengaged attorneys.
  9. Thou shalt remember the Sabbath day and get all thy shopping done at that time.
  10. Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain, but with gusto.
  11. Thou shalt never place the Ten Commandments on a schoolhouse or courtroom wall.

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Robert J. Bork, in an article, "The Conservative Case for Amending the Constitution" (The Weekly Standard, Mar. 3, 1997), speaking of the political nature of the Supreme Court, said, "Only recently, the court has created special rights for homosexuals, protected obscenity on cable television, and, in the grip of radical feminism, ruled, contrary to a century­old understanding, that state­run all­male military colleges violate the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Hawaii is about to rule that homosexual marriages must be permitted. Lower federal courts have created a right to physician­assisted suicide and euthanasia."

Bork went on to say, "Courts have all but banished religion and religious symbolism from our public life, created a wholly spurious right to abortion, made discipline difficult to impossible in public schools, required discrimination by race in public schools, ordered violent felons back on the streets because of what judges perceive as overcrowding in prisons, taken over hiring and promotion policies of police and fire departments, required drastic changes in the composition of state legislatures, and transformed the First Amendment from a protector of ideas to a protector of self­gratification, so that obscenity and pornography are rife in our culture."

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Christian Chronicle

The Christian Chronicle ostensibly a middle­of­the­road publication, leaning neither to the right nor to the left, will host its third Christian College Workshop. Some of the speakers will be Steve Flatt, president-elect of DLU, Carley Dodd, professor at ACU, Don Crisp, chairman of the board of ACU, Tom Trimble, regent of Pepperdine University (we do not use an abbreviation for Pepperdine for obvious reasons). The letter announcement was signed by J. Terry Johnson, publisher of The Christian Chronicle. I mean, how much more unprejudiced can you get?

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Marijuana isn't harmless to those whose lives it ruins" (Headline on Ann Lander's column).

Imagine a bright, literary young woman- raised with four sisters by a married feminist mom in a Manhattan brownstone, spending her adolescence (like everyone else she knows) hanging out in "Sheep Meadow" in Central Park in the middle of the night smoking pot, looking at the stars, getting smashed on cheap liquor, and sleeping with boys-coming to grips, through sheerly personal reflection without assistance from any religious or moral tradition, with the question: What does sex mean? [T]he attractiveness of AIDS is that it gave back to sex what the Sixties stripped from it: consequences. If sex can kill you, then, at least, sleeping with someone means something (Maggie Gallagher reviewing the book, Last Night in Paradise, by Katie Roiphe).

Mrs. Whitehead says we should treat our marriages the way we treat our family cars. But we already do: we love them when they work, and dump them when they don't work so well (Robert L. Plunkett, reviewing Divorce Culture, by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead).

Richland Hills Church of Christ will conduct a Palm Sunday service at 6 p.m. tomorrow [March 23] in the auditorium. The church's Family Singers and Drama Ministry will present original music in a production, The Last Journey, which depicts Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (Ft. Worth Star Telegram, Mar 22, 1997)

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home (Kenneth Olson, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977).

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Now I lay Me Down to ...

Heather Knutson, 17, thought to greet Valentine's Day with a novel idea. She proposed to pass around pledge cards. Her fellow students would be invited to commit themselves to sexual chastity until marriage. The pledge movement began under the principle, True Love Waits.

Over fifty students signed the pledge cards before the principal discovered that the pledge movement was tied to the school's Christian Fellowship Group. A dear violation of separation of church and state. The principal ruled that the pledge movement had to cease (National Review, Mar. 24, 1997).

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Sowing and Raping'

A new law forbidding the sale of sexually explicit magazines at U.S. military bases was struck down Jan. 22 by a federal judge in New York. Backers of the law-passed as part of the 1996 defense authorization bill-had argued that the discount pricing system at base exchanges put the government in the position of subsidizing materials that have the effect of undermining core military values of "honor, courage, and commitment." The law didn't prohibit military personnel from buying pornographic materials off base, but Judge Shira Scheindlin still found the provision unconstitutional, ruling that it violated "our cherished right to free speech" (World, Feb. 1, 1997).

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Feeding the Hungry

A group of religious leaders met with the governor of Maryland and told him that the government - not the church - is primarily responsible for helping the poor. Religious leaders, they said, are overburdened with other programs and can assume no additional responsibilities-like feeding the hungry.

Maryland's secretary of state says there are 185,083 individuals receiving welfare payments in that state. There are more than 5,000 places of worship in Maryland. If every place of worship became responsible for just 37 individuals, the welfare roles in Maryland would be wiped clean. Bigger churches could do more. [The Klein Area Church of Christ in Houston distributes food to about 150 individuals every week-and it is a small congregation, number­wise, that is.] But if churches see the poor as a burden and the state as primarily responsible for helping, they are rejecting one of their fundamental mandates and opportunities (Cal Thomas, Los Angeles Times).

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Fear the Queer

The bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (Anglican) have publicly apologized to homosexual people who have been hurt by the "unacceptable prejudice" against gays and lesbians within the church. The bishops, meeting in a synod in Cape Town, said in a press statement released on Mar. 6: "As a church we have been responsible over the centuries for rejecting many people because of their sexual orientation. The harshness and hostility to homosexual people within our church are neither acceptable nor ... in accord with our Lord's love of all people. We repent of this attitude and ask forgiveness of many homosexual people who have been hurt, rejected and marginalized because of this deep seated prejudice."

Denver - Bishops of the United Methodist Church are praying and talking with one another "in a new spirit of honesty and openness that is both painful and hopeful," according to a statement released April 12. The 250 word statement came days after the episcopal leaders expressed their "pain over the church's stance on homosexuality."

New York City - a prominent Methodist clergy­woman who recently announced that she is a lesbian has agreed ­ after coming under pressure within her church - to stop talking publicly about the issue of homosexuality.... The General Conference, a policy­making body that meets once every four years, will meet in Denver April 16­26. Supporters of a more liberal approach to homosexuality will make a major effort, as they did in 1992, to change church policy.

Ann Arbor, Mich. - The role of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Lutherans in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was the topic of discussion when Lutheran Campus Ministry of Gay and Lesbian Persons in Church and Society, met at the University of Michigan, March 6­9. The purpose of the conference was to "provide an opportunity in which the gifts of gay and lesbian people among us could be celebrated, could be made visible, but also that the burdens that they realistically face in our church could be faced."

London - The head of Britain's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), held a controversial celebration for its 20th anniversary in London's Southwark Cathedral, vowing to ensure that the issue of homosexuality is on the agenda of the next Lambeth Conference (the gathering of church leaders of the Anglican Communion Worldwide) in 1998. The aim of the LGCM meeting was to secure the ordination in the Church of England of openly practicing homosexuals. Philip Hacking, chairman of a prominent evangelical group, Reform, warned against ordaining practicing gays. He told the Press Association news agency: "If we go further down this road, it will lead to a fragmentation of the Church of England."

Firm Foundation advises the saints to keep their eyes open. Homosexuals are on the march and will not rest until they have made their best effort to pervert your children. Most children have more sense than homosexuals, so we are not too worried.

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High School

Illegal drug use among teens continues to rise, according to a government study released Dec. 19. Leading the way: a resurgence in the use of marijuana. Although the level of marijuana use is still below the record levels of the late '70s - when 70 percent of high school seniors said they used the drug - the gap is narrowing. Today, 36 percent of high school seniors say they have smoked marijuana, up from 22 percent just five years ago. Also tending upward: use of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine stimulants (World, Dec 28. 1996).

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PC Hymns

Christianity Today (July 15) mentions the creation of another new hymnal. An examination of this misguided undertaking reveals a commitment to re-conceive God in terms of democratic egalitarian ideology that rejects hierachy and patriarchy. God is only rarely depicted as Father, Lord, and Ruler and never as King and Master. Among the new designations for God are the "All Inclusive One," "Great Spirit," "Architect Divine," "Womb of Life," and "Source of Being." More personal appellations include "Mother," "Partner," and "Friend."

Sing on ye joyful pilgrims.

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Lady Promise Keepers

Last August 10 in Wichita, Kansas Heritage Keepers conducted its first conference. The event, registering 8,000 women, was held in the Central Community Church auditorium, which seats 3,000. (It appears that 5,000 women stood-not really, cause the 8,000 did not show up-the girls have more sense than their male complements.) Heritage Keepers was designed to teach women how to be godly to family, God, ant community, says Bob Beckler, who created it along with his wife, Lori. "If the Lord wants it to go further, it will," Beckler said. Well, I guess he didn't.

Meanwhile, Delores Tyler of Morristown, Tennessee, has organized four "Keys For Abundant Living: A Promise Keepers Counterpart" conferences. Meetings in Dallas, Birmingham, Nashville, and Little Rock drew about 1,000 women.

Looks like the girls attempt to reproduce an emotional outburst like that of the Wild and Crazy Guys fell on its face. Promise Keepers may not be far behind-you cannot fool all of the people all of the time, nor even most of the time.

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Feature Book: The Second Incarnation — A Pattern for Apostasy

by Curtis A. Cates

Paperback, 55 pages
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H. A. (Buster) Dobbs