Archive for 'Culture'

Resting in Peace
(Visiting Civil War Battlefields)

Resting in Peace <br> (Visiting Civil War Battlefields)

Civil War battlefields stir our souls, humble our hearts and muddy our minds. I know because I recently visited battlefields at Harper’s Ferry, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, Antietam, Richmond and Gettysburg. Wow!

Old battlefields are among the most peaceful places you can visit. The tall grass sways winsomely in the breeze. Rustic crooked wooden fences define the boundaries. Noble monuments stand still and silent. Old barns feature bullet and cannon ball holes forever unrepaired. Visitors are not in a hurry. ...

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“Carpe Spero!”
(Dead Poet’s Society in Hindsight)

“Carpe Spero!” <br>(Dead Poet’s Society in Hindsight)

Back in 1989, I took a date to see Dead Poet’s Society. We watched as a boy, tyrannized by an overbearing father, committed suicide. We were duly horrified by the abusive parenting portrayed on the screen and we sympathized with the fictional boy.

After the movie, we went to a restaurant in the real world where a small boy (about age 5) was having an ongoing temper tantrum at the table next to ours. The father begged and pleaded ...

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Old Alexander McKee

Old Alexander McKee

Alexander McKee passed away on February 20, 1922, at the ripe old age of 102 years, 2 months and 7 days. I know him only through his tombstone at the Wild Rose Cemetery just north of Kendrick on Idaho State Highway 3. It spells out Alexander’s longevity in detail.

His tombstone testifies not only that Alexander lived long but also that he lived well. The epitaph inscribed on his headstone reads thusly:

    Upright and just he was in all his ways,

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Real Men
(Ten Marks of Manhood)

Real Men <br>(Ten Marks of Manhood)

Soon after a murderous rampage on May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, opinions abounded as to what causes such brutality. Among the culprits are allegedly a corrosive culture, mental illness, Hollywood, violent video games, grievance grinding and guns. A few actually blamed evil.

A renewed focus on gender is also apparent in response to this atrocity. Maleness, in particular, is getting some blame. One article observed that out of 71 mass murderers over the past 33 years, 70 were ...

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The Art of Freedom

The Art of Freedom

Some leaders use great words to manipulate the masses. “Freedom” is one such word. Nearly every tyrant in history has used “freedom” in promising, glowing and demagogic ways. It is wise to look beyond mere words.

Art can help. It can carry themes like liberty beyond the realm of mere words. Of course, art can also be abused to distort and manipulate but it can also uncover needs and notions that words alone keep hidden. Art can shed a brighter ...

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The New Neutrality

The New Neutrality

America is passionate about neutrality. This explains the rapid rise of the following fashionable leanings in our current culture:

Aesthetic neutrality: Beauty is only in the beholder’s eye and no one can label things beautiful or ugly. Everything is “equally valid,” including crotch-grabbing, drug-glorifying, misogynistic rap songs about killing cops, hating The Man, or exploiting women.

Moral neutrality: “Sin” is an impolite word to use in polite company. Judgmentalism is one of the few traits we can still judge harshly. You ...

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“Why Not?”
(Dangerous Dreaming)

“Why Not?”<br>(Dangerous Dreaming)

“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.” ~

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), Irish playwright.

This statement is dangerously unwise. It feels great to dream of an ideal world and lament its absence but effective leaders resist this temptation preferring to focus on reality.

G.B. Shaw (quoted above) was a devout Fabian socialist. He advocated equal pay to everyone and condemned private land ownership as “theft.” ...

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Loving Sinners: Part Two
(The Same-Sex Wedding Dilemma)

Loving Sinners:  Part Two <br>(The Same-Sex Wedding Dilemma)

(See part one here)

Jesus was more than willing to eat with sinners. The apostle Paul was the same way, although he drew the line against associating with “a so-called brother” who remained immoral and unrepentant (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Jesus was also willing to tell sinners to repent. This call constituted His main challenge to humanity as a teacher.

Matthew remembered the gist of Jesus’ message this way: “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of ...

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The Preaching Enterprise
Part I: Compliments and Criticisms

The Preaching Enterprise <br>Part I:  Compliments and Criticisms

Troy, a 4 or 5 year old toe-headed boy decked out in his Sunday best, was watching people greet me after I preached a passionate try-out sermon. It was 2011 and I was candidating for the position of minister at Troy’s church. He heard many kind comments coming my way and when his turn came, he reached out his hand and addressed me thusly; “I really liked your . . . ”

Allow me to pause here. Put yourself in my ...

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True Grit

True Grit

No, this is not a review of the classic John Wayne film by the same title. Just go see it. Instead, my focus here is on a disappearing American virtue called grit!

By grit, I mean that indomitable spirit that makes men and women hold to their integrity, come what may (the word “grit” is coincidentally found inside the word “integrity”). True grit refuses to let go of a worthy goal. In “The Searchers,” when John Wayne was asked if ...

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