Socialism

socialism

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age. Galations 1:3,4

Each week I review a folder that contain blog ideas to see what piques my interest. Socialism keeps coming up.  It’s in the news almost daily.

I have touched on it in several times in past posts:  Groupthink, History, GI-W = E. In Reading,  I noted that millennials are generally poor readers and thus end up with a very shallow base of information from which to do critical thinking.

A recent poll by Yougov shows that close to 70% of millennials favor socialism and would likely vote for a socialist candidate. That’s not a typo. Oh…the same poll says that 64% of Gen Z are similarly inclined. The 2020 presidential election is actually framed by candidates who advance socialist or socialist inspired policies.

To be clear, socialism is an economic and political system in which the government owns and controls the means of production in an effort to promote equality. It favors large government which controls social services and becomes involved in every aspect of the lives of those in the system.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is a system that recognizes private ownership of property, and limited government involvement in our lives. It is based on self-reliance, not a welfare state.

The reasons for the trend in public opinion are various. For many millennials, it is the staggering college debt which now totals around $1.52 trillion.  That’s a “T”, not a “B”.  The average college debt per student is around $29,800 for those who took out loans in 2018.

It’s beyond the scope of this post to analyze causes of college debt. Two factors exacerbated the situation: a lax student loan government policy and the colleges themselves which have escalated tuition costs because they could.

But the students bear some responsibility in some cases, often pursuing a high cost degree in a field that has limited career prospects. That leaves them up the creek without a paddle.

In many cases, they have adopted a victimhood mentality – they are in a bad position because of the “system”, and if the system caused their problems, maybe it’s time to change the system from capitalism to socialism.

There’s only one problem with that rationale: it is neither biblical nor practical. History has taught us that socialism as an economic construct never works and usually ends up in a totalitarian government.

As for inequality, the wealthy 1% are replaced by the powerful 1% that run the government.

Deaths ensue when the government tries to keep all of its populace in line such as the 100 million that died under communism in Russia in the last century.

On the biblical side, one should realize that socialism is entirely secular.  It is an economic ideology that starts with the premise that there is no God. As Dr. Jack Graham states: “Socialism is fundamentally at odds with the Christian worldview because it seeks to suppress all people according to the dictates of the state.”

He continues: “No one serious about their Christian faith can accept socialism and here’s why: ‘Socialism is totally secular and is predicated on atheism’.”

Graham’s comments appeared in a newsletter by James Dobson. It is a worthwhile read and gives a good biblical analysis of socialism vs. capitalism.

The new face of the socialist promise is that “this time it will be different” and “hostility to faith is a thing of the past…..it has changed since the days of Karl Marx.”

Only that is not born out by the facts.  Every socialist country still oppress people of all faiths. Look at China, Cuba and Latin America.  Can you name a socialist country – whether communist or not – that is open to religious liberty? I rest my case.

The advocates of new socialism say it is neutral on religion; the facts say otherwise. They oppose Christian appointees to our federal judiciary – Brett Kavanaugh is an example.

A Christian bakery in Colorado was sued by the state Civil Rights Commission because it refused to decorate a cake for a same sex marriage. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court which ruled for the bakery.

Then, there is the abortion movement where 60 million babies have died since Roe v. Wade.  The Christian worldview is for the dignity of all life – not just the mother’s life advanced by the pro-choice movement.

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, taught that eugenics was good because it helped eliminate babies from poor and mostly black communities.

There have been four Planned Parenthood clinics opened in North Carolina in one county. Every one of them is located in predominantly black neighborhoods.  Their placement was not accidental.

I find the tilt to socialism alarming and problematical with a generation that is struggling economically because of crushing student debt.  One story which startled me was by Jarrett Stepman who went to the Socialism 2019 conference in Chicago.

Stepman notes that while the new democratic socialism is touted as “anti-totalitarian”, it was hard to overlook a sea of “red shirts and posters of Karl Marx.” There was even an occasional use of the word “comrade.”

One panel discussion was on the topic that “traditional family structure reinforced capitalism and […] that the answer was to simply abolish families.”

Stepman says that the New Green Deal is actually Red  and that the movement ostensibly based on climate change is a trojan horse for socialism. The Green New Deal would “change the U.S. economy into a command-and-control economy reminiscent of the Soviet Union.”

One of my favorite sayings is that if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.  For whatever reason, a majority in the next generation need help in identifying what a duck actually looks like.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Your mentee may have a favorable idea of socialism, and one of your roles may be to speak truth.

FURTHER READINGJames Dobson Newsletter–  Dr. Jack Graham

Attending a Socialism Conference in Chicago in 2019 Stepman

Millennials Favor Socialism   Business Insider

Green New Deal is a Trojan Horse for Socialism Daily Signal

WORSHIP: Listen to God You’re So Good by Passion

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OK Boomer

OK Boomer

 

You might not have heard this slogan.  It’s popular with the next generation, and there are even sites where you can get swag, hoodies and tee shirts with the slogan on them. It seems innocuous until you read the small print: “Have a Terrible Day.”

The tee shirt above was designed by 19 year-old Shannon O’Conner. The shirt resulted in more than $10,000 in orders on Bonfire, a site that sells custom apparel. She is not alone, and there are now hundreds of “OK Boomer” sites selling OK Boomer products.

A video that went viral on TikTok was the inspiration. In it, a gray-haired man in a baseball hat says: “”The millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan syndrome, they don’t ever want to grow up.”

The Gen Z response was the simple phrase “OK Boomer”.  It was a declaration of hostility between the generations. Millions of Gen Z kids are fed up with older people who “just don’t get it.”

Intergenerational warfare is not new.  The Boomers were a part of it when they said “don’t trust anyone older than 30”. Those that said that are now in the 60’s.

So, what in the world is going on here?  For starters, according to researcher Joshua Citeralla, Gen Z see themselves as “the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them”.  They think they are getting the short end of the stick.

They are concerned about what they see as “rising inequality, unaffordable college tuition, political polarization exacerbated by the internet, and the climate crisis”. One seller of “OK Boomer” merchandise puts it this way:  “Everybody in Gen Z is affected by the choices of the boomers, that they made, and they are still making.”

If that wasn’t enough, there is now an OK Boomer song written by Jonathan Williams titled “ok boomer.” It’s opening line:  “It’s funny you think I respect your opinion when your hairline looks that disrespectful.” Ouch.

Millennials and Gen X are more respectful, so it is mostly Gen Z rebelling with the “digital equivalent of an eye roll”.

Taking a step back, one of the keys is the criticism that there is a reluctance by boomers to “change or to embrace what are perceived to be the real issues of the day” according to James Emery White in his blog “Church and Culture”.

White goes on to note that boomers currently lead the vast majority of churches, and few, if any, are actively trying to engage younger generations for leadership or mentoring relationships.  White is in a better position to comment on leadership involvement, but I agree with him on the lack of mentoring engagement.

Gen Z is turned off by a too often dismissive attitude towards those as younger as “uninformed, whining overly indulged snowflakes.”  I get some of that when I mention that I write a blog about the next generation and sometimes I get an eye roll from adults.

In a way, the message is one of victimhood, something that our culture now embraces. Instead, the message should be for self-reliance and self-sufficiency – the idea that they are the masters of their destiny despite what previous generations have left behind.

When it comes to mentoring, boomers have generally dropped the ball. My own estimate of mentoring by boomers is that less than 5% are involved. Given that the vast majority of millennials indicate a desire to have a mentor, the supply of mentors is woefully inadequate to meet the demand.

So how do you deal with these kinds of criticisms?  Some of their perceptions of boomers missing the mark are based on Groupthink, such as climate change, inequality and the appeal of socialism.

There is the opportunity, but it won’t happen in a vacuum. The challenge is to interact with Gen Z on their terms and reach them with wisdom and experience. Only Boomers can do that – the next generation has been crying for mentors all too long.

I say “OK, Boomers”.  It’s time to act!

FURTHER READING:  Why do young people keep saying ‘ok boomer’?  Metro

‘Ok Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations   NY Times

OK Boomer– Church and Culture (James Emery White)

Over Half of Millennials Favor Socialism  American Institute for Economic Research

A Climate Change Emergency?  Hoover Institute

The Truth About Income Equality  WSJ

WORSHIP: Listen to Doxologyby Todd Fields

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Groupthink

 

grouopthink

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus Christ had.  Romans 15:4

The concept of groupthink has more relevance to the next generation than ever before. It is the idea that what the group thinks has a powerful impact on what you think. There has always been a tendency of adolescents to conform rather than stand out and be different.

While parents and families can be and are strong influences, in today’s world, the peers of the next generation are even more influential.  You choose your friends; you don’t choose your family – they are given to you. You also choose your social media peers.

Judith Rich Harris is a developmental psychologist has studied the influence of friends on young people. She says that there are actually three forces at work: one’s personal temperament, one’s family and one’s peers.

Of those three influences, the peer influence is far stronger than anything else. As she says, “The world that children share with their peers is what shapes their behavior and modifies the characteristics they were born with.”  Thus, it “determines the sort of people they will be when they grow up.”

As I read that statement, I realized the wisdom of the saying that if you hang around with the dogs you will get the fleas. As a parent, we were always concerned about who our kids hung out with for that very reason.

Children almost automatically take on the attitudes, behaviors, speech and even dress code when they identify with a group.  They instinctively want to be like their peers.  It’s a tribal phenomenon.

It extends to what psychologist Irving Janis calls “groupthink” which is when thinking derived from cohesiveness in a group overrides an individual’s motivation to consider alternative courses of action.  Janis points to classic past foreign policy disasters as being the result of bad group thinking as examples.

In essence, it is the idea that the group knows best and that the direction that is dictated is beyond any kind of careful examination, even if your own instincts are crying out otherwise.

There are lots of studies to show the influence of the effects of groupthink. A 1951 study by Solomon Asch which put college students in a group with one “outsider” who wasn’t aware of the nature of the experiment.

The group intentionally gave incorrect answers to obvious visual tests (e.g. the length of lines), and the outsider answered the question only after hearing everyone else.

In most of the cases, the outsider answered with the group, even though the correct answer was obvious. They later said they gave the wrong answer because they were afraid of being “singled out”. That’s how strong the tendency for conformity is in a group.

My mother put it this way: “If you stand up in a crowd, you are going to catch a tomato.”I see this principle played out almost every day in a world where partisanship discourse often makes no sense.

An example occurred this past week when one of the most brutal terrorists in the world was killed. In the past, his death would have been celebrated. But a large part of the media has its own journalistic groupthink.

The media bent over backwards to alter the story because celebrating the death of a murderer and rapist would bring credit to a man they abhor who authorized the mission.

The Washington Post headline was that an “austere religious scholar” had died. That is like reporting Adolph Hitler’s death as the “loss of a German philanthropist”. After blowback, the headline was changed to “terrorist-in-chief”.

This is but one example of the consequences of groupthink, where a partisan narrative outweighs being truthful about the facts.

Pause for a minute to think about how groupthink can affect decisions about our futures.  One might accept the group opinion that physics (or some other subject) is uncool, and steer away from it.

Even worse, the groupthink might be that studying is not cool. That might be the code. If you are interested in science, you might be labeled a geek or a nerd.

The danger of groupthink is that it can be a detriment to one’s individual judgement. A group thinks in unison and behaves similarly. Schools of people are like “schools of fish” who act and behave en masse.

It’s no wonder that a recent poll showed 70% of millennials in America favor socialism and communism, despite overwhelming historical evidence that it is an economic model that it has never worked.

The challenge here is that the digital world is a platform which creates groupthink, even though some of the next generation know that following the lemmings might lead one off a cliff.

The next generation (particularly Gen Z) need guidance to realize that the powerful force of conforming  to a group doesn’t mean that you check your brain at the door.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  As a mentor, you may have to dive in to your mentee’s values to be sure that he hasn’t adopted groupthink and accepted a narrative without thinking on his own.

FURTHER READINGOver Half of Millennials Identify as Socialist. Here’s How to Change their Minds. Max Gulker

WORSHIP: Listen to This We Know– Vertical Church

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Workism

workism 

Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes.  Haggai 1:6 (NLT)

The Genesis account of Adam and Eve resulted in the direction by God that man should eat food produced by the “sweat of his brow”.  Put another way, one result of their disobedience is that we have been “condemned” to work. OK, I can live with that.  We have to learn self-sufficiency.

I worked my entire adult life.  Sometimes too much, and I admit that there were times when I was a workaholic. Those were in my “BC” days when I didn’t know that one of my main responsibilities was to be the spiritual leader of my family.

I was mistaken that my only role was to be the breadwinner, and so working long hours seemed to be a virtue in my distorted sense of world order.  When I became a Christian, someone told me something I shall never forget. They said “they never knew anyone on their death bed who said ‘I wish I had worked more’.” Ouch!

Fast forward to today where life in America has gotten more complicated.  In the Atlantic, Judith Shulevitz wrote an article titled “Why You Never See your Friends Anymore.”  Her premise is that our current work culture has caused havoc on how we work, rest and socialize.

Her article traces the dislocation back to Stalin and Russia. Stalin wanted to undermine the family. In 1929, he changed the traditional workweek and eliminated Saturday and Sunday as days off.

Instead, each worker was assigned a color (orange, purple, etc.). which signified what day off they would have. Husbands and wives often had different days off which was deemed fine because it disrupted families.

It was intended to provide a continuous workweek, or nepreryvka. This attempt at social engineering backfired, but the traditional workweek did not return until 1940.   

Studies now show that almost a third of the American workforce are enduring similar and unpredictable work schedules.  Shulevitz says that this free time dislocation might end up being an American nepreryvka.

Employers are demanding what is called “schedule flexibility” where the 9 to 5 workday is in the rearview mirror, and your hours as an employee may be dictated more by market needs (i.e. busy times) than your needs.

White-collar employees are not exempt. Technology has made professionals and managers constantly “on-call”.  In a study, over 90% worked more than 50 hours a week, and a third worked more than 65 hours per week according to a Harvard Business School study.

As a result, a Harvard economist summarized the issue this way: “Professions devote the majority of the waking hours to their careers.” The result is predictable – it leads to the breakdown of family and social ties. I can relate to this, as I noted above. I bought into it, too.

A recent Pew research report on anxiety of the next generation showed that 95% of teens said that “having a career they enjoy” would be extremely important as an adult. Their aspirations for work ranked higher than any other priority including marriage (47%) and “helping other people in need” (81%).

Political philosophers have long said that if you want to create conditions for tyranny, all you need to do is destroy the “bonds of intimate relationships and local community.” Chasing the false god of workism is a potential tool in the toolkit.

Workism, it turns out, is a big deal. It is a kind of religion rooted in atheism which puts forth the concept that “work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity.”

According to Derek Thompson in the Atlantic, workism is the “belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.”

Sound familiar?  Well, I touched on this latter thought in my post on History where I noted that the revisionist history was created with an aim to minimize parental control. If you damage the family through a work ethic that destroys time off, all the better.

These trends are troubling, to say the least. This “new” religion was conceived over 100 years ago and is now taking root in the next generation. It fails spiritually and destroys community by undermining the nature of social and family life.  We need to bow to a different altar by bringing balance back into our lives.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:    Your mentee is not exempt from this pull from peers to make workism a false religion. You have an opportunity to teach biblical values of a balanced lifestyle.

FURTHER READINGWhy You Never See Your Friends Anymore  Judith Shulevitz

Workism is Making Americans Miserable  Derek Thompson

WORSHIP: Listen to Kari Jobe remind us that I Am Not Alone

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History

history

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

The next generation has all of history at their fingertips. Literally. One problem: having it available and knowing history are two entirely different things.

Edmund Burke stated: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

I know it is stretch in this day and time when technology has changed the landscape to say that history repeats itself, but in many ways, it does.  If it didn’t, then you wouldn’t have ongoing efforts to erase or even rewrite history.

The Cultural Revolution in China was an attempt to purge the impure elements of Chinese society. It was an all-out attack on Chinese society by Mao Zedong. It resulted in the death of at least 1.5 million people. It attempted to erase history.

It was a repeat of Stalin in Russia and the French Revolution in the late 18th century. In both cases, the intellectuals, scholars and elderly were attacked, imprisoned or killed.

In Russia, the “bourgeois” or ruling class were all but exterminated. It was done under the auspices of an ideology, but it really was about power. It’s always about power.

So, what we have learned is that, if you don’t like your history, you can try and eliminate it like Stalin and Mao. Or, you can use a more subtle tactic which is to rewrite it. You just revise history to fit your narrative.

That’s happening now in many school systems in America. The College Board came out with a controversial AP U.S. History (APUSH) which is revisionist. The proponents deflect any criticism as coming from “ignorant” chauvinists.

It is still a battleground, particularly when 55 Scholars from a broad variety of disciplines protested its changes. The changes emphasize the warts or “blemishes” of the past, not on the achievements or successes.

This is a big deal.  In 2015, Congress was called on to withhold funding from nonprofits that developed APUSH because it “emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”

The revisionist narrative is that all whites are responsible for slavery and are to be condemned (no matter that they didn’t do it, but they are condemned since their forebearers may have been involved).

The result is a push for “reparations” to those in the current generation whose forbearers were “oppressed”. The idea is that the victims should receive some monetary benefit from those whose ancestors were responsible.

In effect, all whites are racists – the revisionist history is based on white supremacy.  And if you buy that, then you, as a white, are unable to fix it unless you fork over some money.  That narrative doesn’t bother to note that slavery exists today.

In fact, slavery is a bigger problem than it was 100 years ago. There are an estimated 45 million in slavery today. Instead of attempting to eradicate slavery entirely, those pushing this narrative want to make victimhood its goal.

Slavery and racism have become the new “original sin”.  Once you have sinned, you cannot be redeemed. That’s a dark message today, and it is being broadcast in the media and in our school systems.

One problem:  it is not the original sin.  That happened back in the garden when Eve, then Adam, ate the forbidden fruit.  The bible is full of flawed leaders, but the message is clear that even a flawed leader can make great achievements and be redeemed.

King David was flawed: he had Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could have an affair. Yet he was called a man after God’s own heart. Imagine what a revisionist version of David’s conduct viewed in the prism of the #MeToo movement would look like today?

Geoffrey Botkin wrote a telling article on why the public schools teach revisionist history. He traces it back to the early 20th century when a group of educators from Columbia Teachers College received funding from large foundations (Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie) to change the curriculum for history in schools.

He quotes Sam Blumenfield who said: “The plain truth is that there has been in this country a deliberate plan to change American education so that the American people can easily be led into socialism.”

Botkin’s research found that the foundations that supported the revisionist mission had several motivations, including an attempt to “mold people through schooling“, and “eliminate tradition and scholarship“. There was a “clear intent to weaken parental influence” and “overthrow accepted (theological) custom”.

Their goal was to create Perfectionism as the “new secular religion aimed at making the perfection of human nature, not salvation or happiness, the purpose of existence”.

No surprise that a majority of the next generation find socialism preferable to capitalism.

The challenge as a Christian is not to put your head in the sand but recognize that a battle is being waged for the minds and souls of the next generation.  The revisionist agenda wants to eliminate the significance of the past and religion by putting society and the future on man’s terms.

God, in this agenda, gets shown the back door. We cannot let that happen.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Help your mentee look at original sources for history – not doctored textbooks. Help them to analyze them through a Biblical grid to come up with their own conclusions.

FURTHER RESOURCESWhy the Public School System Teaches Revisionist History (2010)

The Dumbing Down of America by John Gatto

It’s the 21t Century. Yet Slavery is alive and well. Washington Post

WORSHIP: Listen to This We Know. Passion.

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GI – W = E

formulas

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

This was a new formula to me.  I remember E = MCwhich came from Einstein. It’s part of his theory of relativity. I have only a vague idea what it means, but I do remember the formula.

The formula above was created by Denis Prager, a columnist for the Hoover Institute. As he notes, it is not a formula taught in schools.

It stands for Good Intentions WithoutWisdom Results in Evil. Prager says that the term “rules of life” is another term for wisdom. Those are the pithy little sayings that almost always are true.

Prager explains that life has rules, just as natural science does. I have my own favorite “life rules”.  You can ask my kids which ones they remember. They will quickly come up with examples. Things like:   “Happy wife = happy life.”  After 53 years of marriage, I can attest to that bit of wisdom.

As I thought about this, I couldn’t escape remembering one of my mother’s favorite sayings: “The road of life is paved with good intentions.”  But it’s still a road, sometimes unpaved and bumpy.

Prager’s list includes one:  “Human nature is not basically good”.  This is straight out of the Fall from grace by Adam and Eve in the garden. He continues:  “Ingratitude makes happiness impossible.” You don’t have to reflect long to confirm that.

Prager’s theme is that the more that people live by rules of life, the better off they will be, and the better our society will be.  His PagerU website gets a billion hits a year by mostly those under 35 who are searching for “rules” that make sense out of life.

A provocative book by Jordan Peterson is titled “12 Rules of Life: An Antidote for Chaos”.  The premise of the book is that our next generation is searching for something that works in the post-Christian cultural vacuum where a biblical background provides structure.

One of Peterson’s rules in the book made me chuckle. Rule 10 is: “Do not bother children while they are skateboarding.”  I get that.

Peterson’s book has sold millions of copies, predominantly to the next generation who are searching for answers and not finding them in the usual places from their peers or adults in their life.

They have been taught to pursue “self-esteem” instead of self-control and it hasn’t worked well. Instead of leading to a fulfilled life, this “rule” has “led to moral and professional failure”.

Perhaps the best example of Prager’s formula is communism. It was initiated by good intentions of the rank in file, yet it led to the greatest mass murder ideology in the world. The leaders saw communism as a route to power.  It’s estimated that 100 million died..

Communism started as a means of building a beautiful future for humanity, one which would eliminate inequality and enable people to work as hard or as little as they wanted. It would provide citizens “free” education and “free” health care.  Proponents were convinced that they were good because their intentions were good. Sound familiar?

But what actually happened is another story. The advocates of communism (or socialism today) believe that good intentions is all that matters. It’s foolish because they don’t ask the question what will happen if their policy is actually enacted? In fact, they never ask that question.

A majority of the next generation favor socialism. It sounds good, and it’s intentions are good, so why not? Well, it never works. Ever. Every time socialism is touted as “the answer” it leads to a disaster, yet each time it’s proponents say: “this time it will be different.”

My way of saying this is that Good Intentions without Wisdom leads to Bad Consequences.

Climate change comes to mind.  It’s a good idea to be concerned about the environment. That’s the good intention. But the world is not going to crash in the next 10 years as some predict. In fact, over the past 50 years, there have been dozens of predictions of the end of the world due to climate change that didn’t occur.

The issue is not climate change. Climate has always changed. Most of the east coast of America was under glaciers at one time. The question is: how much change is an anthropogenic phenomenon?

Yet climate change activism has been taught in schools and now is accepted as true, even though it is not, contrary to what 16 year-old Greta Thornburg said at the UN recently.

The challenge here is that the next generation has been taught to believe a lot of things that come from good intentions. But they have lost the ability to do critical thinking on their own and challenge those ideas.

.MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  You are in the best position to help your mentee navigate through what appears to be popular ideas which often don’t get challenged by social media.

FURTHER RESEARCH: The Equation that Explains Evil– Dennis Prager

Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions – Competitive Enterprise Institute

Over Half of Millennials Identify as Socialist  American Institute for Economic Research

100 Years of Communism – and 100 Million Dead– Wall Street Journal

12 Rules of LIfe: An Antidote for Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

WORSHIP: Listen to God of Wonders by Paul Baloche

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Reflections

 

reflectionFor now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:2

This might be a short post. It was not what I was thinking about writing this week, but it is a topic that keeps me on my toes spiritually and it kept cropping up in my mind.

A song by Keith and Krysten Getty is titled “Speak, O Lord.  The lyrics:  “Take your truth and plant it deep in us.”  It continues: “Shape and fashion us in Your likeness;  That the light of Christ might be seen in us today.”

If we want to be a role model for others, the song hits it on the head. We should be the role model Jesus gave us and be His reflection to the world.

In my power point presentation on mentoring, I use a quote from Jim Henson who created the Muppets. Henson said:  “Kids don’t learn from what you try to teach them.They learn from who you are.”

As the above picture shows, sometimes what or who we think we are reflecting doesn’t correlate. That’s why it is hard to live this life alone: we can’t rely on ourself to be sure we are reflecting Jesus. As Jeremiah 17:9 notes: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

When we become more like Him, we reflect, as it were, Him to others around us. But, if you are like me, we mess up constantly, so the task is not about perfection but about progress. If we blow it, we should take stock, learn from our mistakes and commit to be better in the future.

In today’s world, many of the next generation have not had parents who were role models. We are in a post-Christian and Post-Truth era.

Some have come from single parent households, often with absentee fathers. Some have lived with parents who were critical, harsh, neglectful or even abusive. They may even feel guilty and think that God the Father is judging them the same way.

Their view of our Lord is tainted by the distorted image they have seen here on earth.

While each of us can’t fix the past, we can be ever mindful that “who” we are will be a reflection to our children, mentees and the world around us.  We may be the only image of the Lord they get to see.

I had lunch with my wife and one of her bible study friends this week. Her friend, Barbara, told a story that occurred while she was visiting Dallas on business trip. She visited a large well known church, but when the service was over, she was unable to use Uber to get her back to her hotel. So she called a yellow cab instead.

When she got in the cab, the driver, noting that she had just left a church, asked her if she could explain the trinity: God the Father, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit. Her response was classic. She said the trinity was like water which can be in three forms:  ice, liquid and steam. But they are all water.

Over the next couple of days, she called the same cab driver when she needed transportation. On her last trip, she asked the driver if he had ever made a faith decision. He said “Yes. I just gave my life to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Barbara didn’t try and give a theological dissertation on the trinity. She was winsome and used an analogy that is easy to understand. She was not critical, judgmental nor confrontational. She was just reflecting Jesus.

We can all learn from that.

That’s the challenge: we need to do start each day with the goal of being more like Jesus to others.  Oh, and I didn’t say it would be easy. Human interaction, even among Christians, is fragile and often fraught with emotions.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Who are you reflecting today?  You need to be authentic and transparent.  Admitting your failures goes a long way with the next generation who seek authenticity in people they trust.

WORSHIP: Listen to Speak O Lord with Krysten Getty

MentorLink:For more information about MentorLink, go to www.mentorlink.org.

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