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Does Racism Exist in Rural Northwest Ohio?

etch a sketch

The Etch-a-Sketch is made by Ohio Art, a Bryan Ohio Company. Once Manufactured in Bryan, it is now Made Overseas.

I am a member of the Growing Up in Bryan, Ohio Facebook group. The group is made up of people who live/lived in Bryan, Ohio. Recently, the subject of racism was brought up and this provoked a lively discussion about the state of race relations in Bryan. This got me to thinking: does racism still exist in rural NW Ohio and Bryan? Have we reached a place where we live in a post-racial era? Before I answer this question, I want to spend some time talking about demographics and my own experiences as a resident of northwest Ohio.

My father grew up on a farm three miles south of Bryan and attended Bryan High School. My mother moved to Bryan as a teenager. Both of them worked for local Bryan businesses such as K&R Cleaners, The Hub, Carroll Ames, and Bryan Trucking. My father was part of a close-knit ethnic Hungarian group that settled in the Bryan area. My parents considered Bryan home and in 1957 it became my home. My brother and sister were also born in Bryan.

Even though I have spent most of my life living other places, Bryan is home for me. Try as I might to flee the boring flatlands of Bryan and rural northwest Ohio, I consider Bryan my home. Over the years, I’ve lived in California, Michigan, Texas, Arizona, and southeast Ohio. I’ve also lived in or near the northwest Ohio communities of Farmer, Deshler, Harrod, Alvordton, Mt. Blanchard, and Findlay. Currently, I live in Ney, six miles south of Bryan.

Bryan was settled in 1840 and is the seat of Williams County. In 1950, the population was 6,365 people. In 2010, the population was 8,545 people.  Bryan saw a 12.9% population growth between 1970 and 1980 and 5.9% growth between 1980 and 1990. Since 1990, the population has grown 8.2%.

According to the 2010 US Census:

  • 94.3% (8,056) of Bryan residents are white
  • .6% (47) Black
  • .9% (73) Asian
  • .2% (14) Native American
  • .1% (5) Pacific Islander
  • 2.0% (170) Mixed Race
  • 5.1% (436) Hispanic or Latino

Statistics taken from 2010 US Census Report

The Bryan of today is more racially diverse than at any time in its 175 year history. While this is good news, the reason for the diversity is non-white medical professionals moving to Bryan to work for the local hospital and medical group and white-collar professionals moving here to work for local companies. This diversity is primarily driven by economics.

The Bryan of my youth was 100% white. I was five years old before I saw a black person for the first time, a porter at the Chicago train station. As a teenager, I was told by one proud and ignorant Bryanite that Bryan was 100% white and proud of it. According to him, any black caught in town after dark was run out of town. I suspect his attitude was quite common

In the 1970s, I attended high school in Findlay, Ohio, a community 75 miles southeast of Bryan. The 1970 population of Findlay was 35,800 people. Like Bryan, Findlay was as white as white could be. There were two black students who attended Findlay High School and they were brother and sister. Today, .3% (886) of Findlay residents are black.

In the mid-1970s, I attended a Baptist church in Bryan. I can still remember the day that a woman who once attended the church and moved away, returned home with her new black husband. Oh, the racist gossip that ran wild through the church: why, what was she thinking…marrying a black man! Think of the children! It was not long before she and her husband moved on to another church.

It was not until I moved to Pontiac, Michigan to attend Midwestern Baptist College that I came into close contact with blacks. Freshman year, one of my roommates was a black man from Philadelphia. The college was connected with nearby Emmanuel Baptist Church. Emmanuel ran numerous bus routes into Pontiac and Detroit, busing in thousands of blacks. Most of the children from Detroit attended B Sunday school. The B was the designation given for the afternoon Sunday school. It was not long before I figured out that the B stood for black. When an overtly racist man became the bus pastor, one of the first things he did was stop running the buses to Detroit. We were told this was due to budget restraints, but many of us thought the real reason was race.

The college and church were located in a bad part of Pontiac. (Some might argue, is there a good part of Pontiac?)  The projects were nearby and the area east of the college was decidedly black. My experiences with the local black community, with its rundown housing and rampant crime, helped to reinforce the racist stereotypes I had been taught by my parents. It didn’t help that gangs of black youth repeatedly broke into the dormitory and ransacked the place while everyone was at church. A few years back, the college relocated to an overwhelmingly white community.

My parents, typical of their generation, were racists. It is impossible to paint the picture any other way. Whether their racism was from their own upbringing or their membership in the John Birch Society, they made no apology for their fundamentalist Christian-driven racism. They had a special hatred for Martin Luther King, Jr. My mother thought King got exactly what he deserved when he was assassinated in 1968. Like it or not, this is my heritage.

In the 1980s, Polly and I lived in southeast Ohio. For a number of years we were foster parents. One of children we cared for was black. We had made arrangements to rent a house outside of Somerset, Ohio where I was pastoring at the time, from a retired school teacher. When we looked at the house we did not have our foster child with us. Several days before we supposed to move in, the matronly pillar of the community called and said that she decided to not rent the house. We found out later that she told people that she was not going to have a nigger living in her house.

We moved to New Lexington, Ohio and enrolled our foster child in the local public school, thinking little about how hard it might be for her to be the only black kid in the school.  Needless to say, she was subjected to daily racial taunts. One day, the principal called us and said our foster child had created a disturbance in class. One of her classmates had called her a nigger and she threw her book at her taunter and stormed out of class.

I was quite upset at her behavior. Having never walked in her shoes, I had no way of knowing what it was like to be singled out and taunted. I gave her the stern Pastor Gerencser lecture, reminding her that she was accountable for behavior and that she couldn’t respond this way every time someone called her a nigger. While my words had a ring of truth to them, they were quite insensitive and showed that I didn’t have a clue about how difficult it was for her.

In the mid-1980s, the church I pastored had a black missionary come and present his work. I took the missionary on a tour of area and we stopped at the Somerset Snack Bar for lunch. The Snack Bar was where locals hung out and it was always a busy hive of storytelling and news. The Snack Bar was quite noisy when we walked in the door, but as patrons glanced up to see who was walking in, the noise quickly dissipated. I later learned that several of the locals were upset over the Baptist preacher bringing a nigger into the Snack Bar.

In 1995, I moved back home to northwest Ohio, pastoring a church in Alvordton for a short time and pastoring a church in West Unity for seven years. Polly and I have lived in this area now for 17 of the last 20 years. This is our home. Our six children and ten grandchildren all live within 20 minutes of our home.

It was during my time as pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, that I began to address my own latent racism and the racism that percolated under the surface of the local community. As my politics began to move to the left, my preaching took on a social gospel flavor and this included preaching on race, racism, and race relations.

When a church member would talk about colored people I would ask them, so what color were they? Oh you know what I mean, preacher! Yes, I do. So, how is the color of their skin germane to the story you are telling? I did the same when members talked about “those” people, those meaning blacks, Mexicans, or welfare bums.

What made things difficult was that we had a black man attending the church. He was a racist’s dream, the perfect stereotype. He was on welfare, didn’t work, lived in Section 8 housing, had an illegitimate child, and spent most of his waking hours trying to figure out how to keep from working. The church financially helped him several times and we brought him groceries on numerous occasions. One time he called me and told me he needed groceries. I told him that I would have someone bring over some groceries. He then told me, preacher, I’m a meat and potato man, so I don’t want no canned food. Bring me some meat. He’s still waiting for those groceries to be delivered.

As I read the comments on the Growing Up in Bryan, Ohio Facebook group, I noticed that there was an age divide. Older people such as I thought Bryan was still, to some degree, racist, while younger people were less inclined to think Bryan residents were racist or they thought local racists were a few bad apples. I think that this reflects the fact that race relations are markedly better now this area.

The reasons are many:

  • Older generations, those raised in the days of race riots, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jim Crow are dying off.
  • Local residents are treated by doctors who are not white.
  • Interracial couples now live in the area.
  • Migrants workers, once a part of the ebb and flow of the farming season, are now permanent residents.
  • Younger adults and teenagers no longer think race is a big deal.
  • Music and television have brought the world to our doorstep, allowing us to experience other cultures.
  • Sports, in which the majority of athletes in the three major professional sports — football, basketball, and baseball — are non-white. Cable and satellite TV broadcast thousands of college and professional games featuring non-white players.

Exposure breeds tolerance. Bigoted attitudes about gays and same-sex marriage are on prominent display in rural northwest Ohio. These attitudes remind me of how things once were when it came to race. Time and exposure to people who are different from us can’t help but change how we view things like race and sexual orientation. My children are quite accepting and tolerant of others, and I hope that these attitudes will be passed on to my grandchildren. We are closer today than we ever have been to Martin Luther King’s hope of “a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

We haven’t arrived. Latent, subtle racism must continue to be challenged. Unfortunately, on both sides of the political divide, there are those who use race and fear to stoke distrust and hate of those who are different. We  must forcefully marginalize those who want to return America to the 1950s. We must also be willing to judge our own attitudes about race. We enlightened liberals gleefully look at the extreme right and we see racism and bigotry in all its glory. Yet, if we are honest, such things exist in our own backyard. None of us can rest until we have achieved a post-racial world. We have much work to do.

081516

One,Two,Three, Repeat After Me: Salvation Bob Gray Style

bob gray sr

Bob Gray Sr, retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, Texas

Bob Gray,Sr., retired pastor of the Longview Baptist Temple in Longview Texas, is a super-duper salvation-dealing machine. Gray is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) who subscribes to the Jack Hyles Easy-Believism, cheap-grace way of evangelizing lost sinners.

I was taught this kind of evangelism while a student at Midwestern Baptist College, but I came to see that it was little more than a cheap gimmick that allows preachers like Gray to say, Look at how many people I won to Jesus. (Gray knows to the soul how many people he has won to Jesus) It promotes an empty Christianity that does a real disservice to people who take the commands and teachings of Christ seriously.

A year or so ago, Gray was in Albuquerque, New Mexico to do some preaching. While at a local Subway, Gray decided to do some soul winning. Here’s his account, which has since been pulled from his blog:

… Flew to Albuquerque, NM, and was picked up by Pastor Brent Lenetine who pastors the Gospel Light Baptist Church of Rio Rancho, NM. I will be joined by Evangelist Allen Domelee Sunday night and Monday. This is a great soul winning church!

After resting for a while I went next door to the Motel to get a bite to eat at the Subway Restaurant. I sat at a table next to a man named Bill McDermit. We joked a little bit together and after a while I went over to his table and continued our conversation. He lives alone in a house trailer and was a devout Catholic. After a few moments I presented the Gospel to him and he took me by the hand and prayed to receive Christ as his personal Saviour.

WOW! That old KJB is still preserved inspiration and is THE incorruptible seed that brings life to a dead soul! Don’t treat this issue of preserved inspiration lightly. He who sticks his head in the sand gets his behind kicked! Either the KJB is inspired or it is not! Which side of this issue are you on?

Let me summarize Gray’s testimony:

  • Gray is on the prowl for souls in Albuquerque.
  • Gray is hungry so he goes to Subway to eat.
  • He jokes around with elderly trailer-living Catholic man next to him. The joking is a pretext for what comes next.
  • After a few moments, Gray shares the Jack Hyles IFB salvation plan with him.
  • The life-long Catholic sees the error of his way, takes Gray’s hand and prays the sinners prayer. Holding the hand is important, just like the salesman giving you the pen. Hold their hand and you are more likely to close the deal.
  • In but a few moments this man goes from a headed-for-hell Catholic to a . . . uh . . . let me think . . . oh, I know! A Catholic who prayed a prayer so the busybody preacher would let him finish his sub,
  • And don’t forget that Gray uses the all-powerful King James Bible to win this man to Jesus. It has supernatural powers that perverted, Satanic, non-inspired versions do not have.

This is the bankrupt gospel preached in countless IFB churches.

What I want to know is whether Gray was wearing this:

 

christian subway tee shirt

I noticed today that Google lists this site on the first page when searching for the Longview Baptist Temple. I love cozying my apostate atheist blog right up next to IFB church websites. That way it will be easier for them to know how to pray for me.

Here’s an interesting photograph of one of Gray’s books (circa 2002?). It will tell you everything you need to know about Bob Gray, the man, the myth, the legend.

longview baptist temple soulwinning clinic manual

Bob Gray, the Man, the Myth, the Legend or the Bullshit IFB Preachers Tell Others

031216

 

Evangelicals and Their Duplicitous Argument for the Generic God

thomas jefferson

Evangelicals are quite specific when it comes to God. There is ONE God, their God, the triune God revealed in the Christian Bible. All other gods are false gods. While it is increasingly common for Evangelicals to embrace Catholics as fellow Christians, it was not that long ago that most Evangelical churches and pastors believed the Roman Catholic church was the harlot of Revelation 17 and worshipers of a false God.  While it is encouraging to see some Evangelicals consider the thought that Catholics and Mormons might worship the same God as they do, the overwhelmingly majority of Evangelicals believe their God is the one, true God. No other gods need apply.

What I find interesting is how duplicitous Evangelicals can be when it comes to the mentioning of God in the founding documents of the United States, on our money, and in the Pledge of Allegiance. Evangelicals, knowing that the constitution forbids the establishment of a state church, argue before congress and the courts that the founding fathers spoke of a generic god, that the God mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance is no god in particular.  And since the documents, laws, and the like use the word god in a generic sense, they do not violate the establishment clause or run afoul of the separation of church and state.

Yet, they turn right around, once they are away from the halls of congress and the courthouse, and say the use of the word God in our founding documents is in reference to the Christian God. They preach sermons and write books about America being a Christian nation. Evangelical pastors remind parishioners that the Pledge of Allegiance’s God is the Christian God. And to some degree they are right.

Did the founding fathers have a generic god in mind when they spoke and wrote of God? The simple answer is No. Now, they most certainly did not have the modern Evangelical God in mind when they used the word, but they didn’t have Islam, Judaism, or any of the other religions of the world in mind either. Their God was the Christian God. Some of them were orthodox Christians, others were deists, but no one, as far as I know, meant anything other than the Christian God.

Why is it that Evangelicals run from this fact when they speak before congress or the courts? Why do they argue that these mentions of God are generic and not a reference to any specific god? Again, the answer is quite simple. They know admitting that these documents use the word God is a specific sense weakens their argument for their continued use. If the Pledge of Allegiance or In God We Trust on our money reference a non-specific God, then it makes it harder for atheists and secularists to argue that these things are unconstitutional (harder, not impossible)

It’s time for Evangelicals to start telling the truth when they testify before congress or appear before state and federal courts. It’s time they admit that the God of our founding documents and much of America’s history is the Christian God. Once they do this, we can then have a legislative and legal discussion about In God We Trust on our money, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the countless other places the use of the word God implies the Christian God.

As the citizens of the United States increasingly embrace secularism and pluralism, perhaps it is time to throw the Christian God into the dust bin of human history. Whatever we might have been in 1620 or 1776, we are not that now and our government should reflect this. Certainly, Christians are free to be legislators and judges, but their religious beliefs should not play a part when they act on behalf of the people of the United States. It’s time we return to the pre-1954 Pledge of Allegiance:

pledge of allegiance before 1954

Pre-1954 Card with the Pledge of Allegiance

Note

A separate issue is whether there should be ANY pledge at all? Personally, I am against any pledge that requires me to swear fidelity to the state.

081516

Biologist Jerry Coyne Mentioned My Deconversion Story on his Blog

No, he didn’t write a post about my vast knowledge of science. That would have taken all of eight words: not much, but more than I knew yesterday. In the post, Why I Stopped Believing, I mentioned five of the books that played an instrumental part in my deconversion. Coyne’s book, Why Evolution is True, was one of the books I mentioned. The book was quite helpful when I was trying to hang on to some sort of God who created. One chapter in particular, Remnants: Vestiges, Embryos, and Bad Design, had a profound effect on how I viewed the natural world.

In a post titled, In Which I Help Deconvert Someone, and on What Works, Coyne writes:

I’ve always said that the definition of “success” in mentoring graduate students is “producing a student who can replace you.” And though I’ve had very few students, I’ve replaced myself in that sense at least three times, so I’m quite happy.

And I consider the definition of “success” as an anti-theist to be “turning at least one person away from the delusions of faith and towards the virtues of reason.”  After all, if theists can boast about bringing people to Jesus, why can’t atheists take pride in helping people go in the reverse direction?

Now I can’t claim full credit for doing that to any one person, but I claim partial credit for helping quite a few—or so they tell me. And I’ll add those partial successes up to assert that N > 1.

The latest partial convert is Bruce Gerencser [sic], a former Christian minister, who explains on his website what led to his leaving the church. As is nearly always true for the deconversion of ministers (or anyone else, for that matter), it is a long, tortuous, and complex process involving many inputs…

…But read Gerenser’s [sic] whole piece (it’s short), because he traces the roots of his apostasy back to the very virtues instilled in him by his religious parents, including a love of reading and having the courage of one’s convictions.

The other point this makes is that it’s better, if you want to advance reason, to write and publish (if you have that privilege) rather than to give lectures and have debates. That is because in the quietude of authorship, you can polish and fully express your views, and people can read them at leisure and compare them with contrary views. In a public talk, I often find that the audience comprises people who are already on my side, and have come out of curiosity or to seek affirmation. Those are both fine reasons, and, after all, we all need affirmation (except perhaps Christopher Hitchens!), but in truth I’d prefer a higher titer of opponents when I speak. But again, I prefer to write, and that’s why I wrote The Albatross (soon to be available in fine bookstores everywhere)…

You can read the entire article here.

faith vs fact

Coyne has a new book coming out in May, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. You can pre order the book here. (I receive a few shekels if your order the book through this link)

081516

Bob Gray Peddles Lie About New American Standard Bible

For many years Bob Gray pastored the Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, Texas. After retiring, Gray handed off the franchise to his son. Longview Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church noted for its hyper-aggressive approach to evangelism. It is also known for its staunch defense of the King James version (KJV) of the Bible. According to the Grays, there is only one true, perfect, inerrant, infallible, inspired Bible, and that is the 1611 KJV. All other Bible translations are counterfeit, tools used by Satan to lead people astray. (never mind the fact that the Grays use the 1769 version of the KJV, not the 1611)

Recently, Bob Gray Sr, posted the following graphic on his blog:

from nasb to kjv

In Gray’s mind, Frank Logsdon’s repudiation of the New American Standard Bible is proof that modern translations of the Bible are counterfeits used by Satan to lead people astray. Logsdon’s story has been repeated countless times at IFB preacher’s meetings and conferences. But, here’s the problem…the story isn’t true. In fact, is a lie.

Years ago, the Lockman Foundation, the group that holds the copyright to the New American Standard Bible, released a statement about the  Frank Logsdon story:

The Board of Directors of The Lockman Foundation launched the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE translation work in the late 1950’s following the completion of the AMPLIFIED NEW TESTAMENT.  Dr. S. Franklin Logsdon was acquainted with Dewey Lockman, president of The Lockman Foundation, prior to Mr. Lockman’s death in 1974.  Mr. Logsdon was never a member of the Board of Directors, nor was he an employee of The Lockman Foundation.  Mr. Logsdon had no authority to hire employees or translators for the Foundation, to set policy, to vote, to hold office, to incur expenses, etc.  He cannot be considered “co-founder” of the NASB, nor part of The Lockman Foundation, nor part of the NASB translation team, nor did he write the forward of the NASB.  According to our records, he was present at board meetings on two occasions — once to hear a travel report; and once to deliver an “inspirational thought.”

Mr. Logsdon last wrote to Mr. Lockman in fall of 1973 that he was moving to Florida.  Mr. Lockman replied that he was surprised and saddened by his decision to leave the area.  Mr. Lockman passed away in January of 1974, and no further correspondence was exchanged between Frank Logsdon and The Lockman Foundation.  He resided in Florida until his passing some years ago.

The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8  (NASB)

The Lockman Foundation

While this statement appears on James White’s Alpha and Omega Ministries website, Dr. Jay Wile, a creationist, confirmed with the Lockman Foundation that the statement is theirs.

I will let Bob Gray know that he is spreading a falsehood. It will be interesting to see what he does.

This lie can also be found on AV 1611, Defend and Proclaim the Faith, Jack Chick, to name a few.

Pastor Olugbenga Oladejo: Missionary Position Only or You Will Go to Hell

olugbenga oladejo

Pastor Olugbenga Oladejo

Olugbenga Oladejo is the pastor of Complete in Christ Church (link no longer active) in Orton Waterville, Peterborough, England. The church’s website states, Complete in Christ Church is (link no longer active):

…an end-time church dedicated to holiness, righteousness, prayers and deliverance ministries. We are committed to going to heaven and to minister to as many souls as are ready to go to heaven. We recognise the signs of the end as explained by our Lord Jesus Christ that the love of many shall wax cold(Matthew 24) as we can see in our days. Therefore we teach sinners to repent and children of God to be ready like the wise virgins (Matthew 25).

The Lord Jesus Christ set up this church to bring his children back to the ancient landmark which must not be removed. Proverbs22:28. That is why in Complete in Christ Church we teach holiness and righteousness and abhor all forms of worldliness. We teach children of God to live holy life within and without. When you join us, our beginners class to discipleship class will show you biblical basis of holy living, Psalm15.

Our commitment to holy living is also extended towards outward appearance in our dressings as we discourage all forms of immoral dressings and bodily adornments among men and women.

Complete in Christ Church is a full deliverance ministries where prayers that move mountain are answered by our Lord Jesus Christ. Our services are always full of power of the Holy Spirit with apostolic signs and wonders. Holy Spirit will teach your hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by your arms (Psalm 18:34)…

According to Pastor Oladejo, any married couple that has sex in any other position but the missionary position with the man on top will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doggie style? Hell! Masturbation? Hell! Your sex life may be hot now, but use any position but the missionary position and you will end up in hell!

Here’s some of the godly sex advice Oladejo gives to married people:

The lord told me, “look, when I asked my children to get married… on their matrimonial bed, they commit a lot of immorality.” He said I should tell them that they are not going to heaven. There is an everlasting covenant. Those who break that everlasting covenant are not going to make it into heaven.

Couples who practice the woman on top… I want to repeat this, because this is the warning he gave me….When you are with your wife, the lord has made man to be the head. Not the woman. So those men who enjoy their wife coming on top of them in the matrimonial bed, the lord says they are not coming to heaven at all...

The lord told me about those who practice like a dog. The lord did not to create you to behave like a dog on your matrimonial bed. Or like a cow. Or like a chicken.”

“If you are practicing hanging with your wife [bondage], you are inventing different styles… Don’t go and be hanging your wife. Don’t go and be hanging your husband. Do not try different styles: they do sex in different styles that are contrary to god.”

“Those who masturbate. That department [of hell] is for them. Those who give lustful pleasure to the flesh. Women who masturbate. Men who masturbate… The demons will come to them.” And while the masturbator “soul will cry,” the demons  “will be laughing. And they will be happy.”

“The man should lie on top of the woman. The natural style, the one way god has given us as man and wife.”

Here’s the pastor’s video. The sex advice begins around the 6 minute mark:

Shalom Pearl Brand Asks, Where Are All the Men?

shalom pearl brand

Shalom Pearl Brand

Shalom Pearl Brand, daughter of child abuse promoters Michael & Debi Pearl, wrote an article for the No Greater Joy website about the lack of good men for all the Christian girls who are waiting for Mr. Righteous to come and sweep them off their feet. Brand writes:

When I was a young woman, the older women were always teaching me and all the other young women what it meant to be a wife, a mother, and a God-honoring woman. As I have gotten older, traveled to many churches, and talked with families, I have seen one overall theme everywhere I go. There are young women walking with God, trained from childhood to serve God so that one day they will make the best wives and mothers possible. They are ready, trained, and waiting for their man to come find them, but the men are not finding them. Why?

These girls are told to wait: He will find you… Stay home and help Mom with the kids… One day that perfect man will come along. But then he does not come and the girls become frustrated and, at times, impatient. The question I hear all the time is, “Where are the men?” Yes there are men, but few are real men—men who were raised to love God, work hard, and make good husbands and fathers. Why?

While mothers have been training their daughters to be good wives, many families stopped raising their sons to be men, instead producing overgrown boys. A large percentage of the boys/men over the last 30 years have been raised to serve the flesh. They were not raised to work; most are soft, sweet-talking, sissy boys. Some are cute and stylish, and silly girls think they are soooo good-looking. Other guys are backward, clumsy, going-nowhere types, and very uncool. But they are the same lazy, self-pleasing, big boys…

…Now as a mother with daughters, I would like to put out an appeal to all the families raising sons. Please teach them to work, love God, and be men—not big boys—so that when my daughters and other families’ daughters are grown, they can serve God through a God-fearing man. My husband and I are raising two little men of our own now. Parker is well on his way to being a man, and our new little one will soon be following in his footsteps. They say boys will be boys. I say little men will be big men.

In the comment section, a man by the name of Mike R left the following advice for properly raising boys:

There are several things parents can do to raise strong, Christian young men. It would take a book to provide a good outline, so I will only provide a few thoughts here.

  • For a young man to put his labor and effort into something, he must see that it has merit (to him, not just to you) and that it is attainable. The easiest way for a young man to recognize the benefit of work is in the physical realm. Every young man wants to be strong and God built our bodies to respond to the demands we place upon them. For a young boy, do some pushups together. Set a goal for a reasonable number just above what he can currently do. Work to attain that goal. Realize that growth takes place when you go beyond what you think possible. If a young child can do 4 push-ups with good form, then set a goal at 7. Expand the goal each time he reaches it. This applies to every area of life and it will be good for him to learn the process early. Later, include chin-ups and jumping rope. These are exercises where success is easily measured.
  • Certain good activities should be practiced daily. He should exercise daily. No, I don’t care if he wants to or not.
  • Mastering certain skills will teach the process of learning. Example: Shooting a bow, throwing knives and/or hatchets.
  • Focus on what is important. Yes, in the overall scheme of things bodily exercise profits little, but that snicker’s bar and soap operas don’t profit at all. Success in the early physical things can lead to success in other areas.
  • For school, focus on what is important. Math and science should always be a focus. He can read the history and literature on his own with little effort. Success in math requires a solid foundation and constant work. He is going to have to earn a living, and a sociology, art or history degree is almost surely not going to cut it. Boys need to work and play outside. Don’t expect a son to be a girl and want to sit in the house all the time.
  • Set goals high in every area of life and expect them to be met. A young man should be expected to excel mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. It will take drive on his part, opportunity to practice, try and fail, pick himself up and try again. Don’t drive him into the ground, but have high expectations of success. One or more good examples would be very helpful to a young man so he readily sees what success looks like.
  • Choose the best examples of successful manhood and seek to emulate what you see. A young man can analyze another man’s life and choose to emulate a particular area or skill. Anybody that has played of lot of sports can relate to this. For example, this certain basketball player has a good cross-over dribble, so I will analyze what he does and see if I can do it. However, this approach can be applied in any area of life. Take only the best attributes and leave the bad behind.
  • Before he has to care for a family, let him practice caring for an animal. He should know that he must care for those dependent on him. If he ‘forgets’, don’t do it for him. He doesn’t eat until they are fed, watered etc. No exceptions and no excuses. If he has gone to bed and didn’t take care of his animals, get him up to finish the job.
  • Don’t pity your child. Love him abundantly, but if you pity him, you will ruin him.
  • Never reward a young man with food. Food is not used to reward good behavior or console him for a loss. You don’t want him to be a fat slug, so don’t train him to be one. If you think I am wrong here, get over it, I am not.Stock your house with material providing the best examples of manhood. Examples include the following books for young men: GA Henty novels (Examples: “For the Temple”, “Beric the Briton”, etc), Jim Kjelgaard books (Examples: “Stormy”, “Snow Dog”, etc.), “Cowboy Boots in Darkest Africa” by Bill Rice, “Boyhood and Beyond” by Bob Schultz, Boy Scout Handbook, The Sowers series, biographies of great people (Robert Boyle, George Washington Carver, etc.)
  • Provide the best scriptural teaching you can get. I would suggest audio/video/text: Mike Pearl’s material is good, Ray Comfort’s messages (Hell’s best kept secret, etc.),Christian Science – Answers in Genesis, Kent Hovind, etc.
  • Mom’s and wives, reverence your husbands. It is fine to openly acknowledge success in any area of another man’s life. However, it is your husband and your son’s dad that loves and cares for the family. Your son should spend as much time with dad as possible. Let dad teach him what he knows best.

So what do you think, readers? Is Mike R’s advice just what the doctor ordered for turning a boy into a man?

As for me, I am

laughing man

HT: Amy

Jesus is the Answer for Boy-Crazy Teen Girls

jesus is my boyfriend

In another installment in the Jesus is the Answer for Everything story, mama-hen Jennifer Case Cortez lets teen girls know that Jesus is the answer for their evolutionary, hormone-driven desire for boys:

Have you ever thought about why we girls sometimes do such crazy things for boys? We’ll go to great lengths to get their attention and compromise so many ideals to keep their attention. I’ve been thinking about why we do these things.

Being someone’s girlfriend, even being someone’s wife, will not complete you.

I think that deep inside a girl’s heart there’s an almost insatiable hunger to be desired, to be chosen. We yearn for someone to look at us and say, “You are more wonderful, more beautiful than all the other women in the world. No one else compares to you. I want you and you only.”

Simply put, we want to be loved. And being loved is a good thing! God made us to love and be loved.

Our problem is we take a good thing and make it the most important thing. Our hearts do this all the time, don’t they? Our longings can either drive us toward our God who loves us and gave Himself up for us, or they can drive us to try to satisfy those longings with things that will exploit us and leave us empty.

I’ve learned that being someone’s girlfriend, even being someone’s wife, will not complete you. Expecting a guy’s love to meet the deepest longings of your heart would be like putting water in your car’s gas tank and expecting the car to run. Your soul was not designed to be fueled by human love. Only the love of God can fill the vastness of your soul.

You were made for so much more than this world has to offer. You were made to belong to God Himself, to have fellowship with Him, to walk with Him, to know Him, and to be loved by Him.

Do you believe that? Would you ask God to help you believe it? Why does it matter what you believe? Because as long as we believe that the attention and affection of a guy can give us what we need, we’ll be vulnerable not only to heartbreak but to the suffering sin brings.

I feel like a mama hen right now who wishes she could gather every single one of you under her wings and protect you from the harms of this world. I can’t do that, but I hope you’ll hear me pointing you to Jesus, begging you to trust Him until you know these things for yourselves. Would you trust Him enough to love your heart to wholeness? Would you take a chance on Him that His love for you just might be enough for you, even if it doesn’t feel like it could be?…

Cortez, a 30-something stay-at-home mom with four children, is a writer for the True Woman website, a website dedicated to the “core aspects of what it means to be a true woman of God.”

Because people like Cortez are committed to a fundamentalist worldview, attempting to understand boy-crazy girls from an evolutionary and biological perspective is never considered. All mama-hen Cortez wants teen girls to know is that Jesus is way better than any boy.

No one bothers to ask Evangelicals how the Jesus is way better approach is working. Are Evangelical teen girls holding out for Jesus? Are they waiting for the coolest date e-v-e-r with the man of God? Isn’t it creepy for a 33-year-old man to be dating a teenager? Besides, Jesus might have been gay! Hey, there’s the answer. Evangelical teen girls should have lots of gay men for friends. That way they can have “fun” without, you know, getting intimate with a boy.

Evangelical churches, pastors, and leaders have been trying since Evangelicalism was a gleam in Harold Okenega’s eye to keep church teenagers from intimacy with the opposite sex (no need to mention gays here because there are no gays in the Evangelical church). A variation of Just Say No, Just Wait for Jesus has been a colossal failure. Why? Evolution and hormones. It really is that simple.

Instead of demanding Evangelical teenagers ignore everything their body and mind are telling them, church leaders should be talking to them about sexual responsibility, birth control, and when is it right to engage in sex. Telling them to Just Wait for Jesus is not only irresponsible, but it also leads to guilt later in life. When physical intimacy before marriage is declared a sin against God and teenagers do what teenager do, the result is fear and guilt. Why not teach teenagers how to responsibly handle their sexuality? Instead of telling them to keep an aspirin between their legs until their wedding night, how about teaching them that masturbation is a normal human response to pent-up sexual feelings?

Instead of seeing things as they are and acting appropriately and responsibly, church leaders, bound by the antiquated teachings of the Bible and Puritanical morality, demand Evangelical teenagers act against their nature.  What churches and pastors fail to understand is that nature wins almost every time. How do I know this? I was once a teenager, back in the days of free love, and so were many of my once-Evangelical friends. We know what we know, and all the moralizing in the world by people like Cortez won’t change the fact that teen girls are on the prowl looking for hunka burning love and teen boys are happy to oblige.

Both sexes need to be taught sexual responsibility. Doing so will reduce unplanned, unwanted teen pregnancies, reduce the level of STD’s, and leave teenagers with less guilt and fear to deal with later in life. Or, we can keep telling teenagers to wait for Jesus, the most awesomest, wonderfulest boyfriend e-v-e-r, girlfriend. (Last line must be read in Valley Girl voice.)

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Why Accepting Evolution is Incompatible with Christianity

bible vs evolution

As much as some people might try, it is impossible to square evolution with Christianity. Even embracing theistic evolution requires a significant amount of intellectual gymnastics in order to reach the conclusion that the Christian God is behind evolution. In my opinion, theodicy — the problem of evil and suffering —  presents an insurmountable problem for theistic evolutionists. Why would a God, any God, choose such a violent, painful, deadly way to create?

Jerry Coyne, a biologist and a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, writes:

…It is in fact different from asking whether one believes (“accepts” is a better word because “believe” implies a religious-like faith) in theory of gravity or generality relativity, and the reason is obvious. The theories of gravity and relativity don’t impinge on anyone’s religious beliefs. Evolution carries implications that no other science does—save, perhaps some branches of cosmology. It implies that humans evolved by the same blind, materialistic, and naturalistic process involved in the evolution of every other species, and so we aren’t special in any numious sense. It implies that we’re not the special objects of God’s creation. It sinks the “design” argument for God—the most powerful argument in the canon of Natural Theology. It implies that we were not endowed by God with either a soul or moral instincts, so that our morality is a product of both evolution and rational consideration. It implies that much of our behavior reflects evolved, genetically-influenced propensities rather than dualistic “free will.” It implies that even if God did work through the process of evolution , He did so using a horrible and painful process of natural selection, a form of “natural evil” that doesn’t comport well with God’s supposed omnibenevolence…

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