"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

America Is Paying Attention to Enid, Oklahoma

Enid, Oklahoma, remains the only city in America whose local government (the mayor and city council) has voted down a mandatory mask mandate for her citizens. Some cities have refused to consider the question, but Enid is the only American city to vote mandatory measures down.

This Tuesday, August 4, 2020, an Enid city council member named Ben Ezzell is once again bringing up a proposed ordinance to demand citizens cover their faces in public and to impose civil penalties for violations of his mask mandate.

The police chief of Enid has publicly said that if the ordinance passes, his officers will not be enforcing it. I've made it known that we will never shut down worship services under order of the government. If we shut down, it will be our choice because we are persuaded it is the best course of action for our city. 

I pastor a church of 3,000 members in Enid. We have three Sunday morning worship services, a private Christian school, and dozens upon dozens of different local ministries. We have enhanced our online ministries, moved all our worship services into the main auditorium for more spacing, and urged people to take personal responsibility for their health while giving freedom to others to do what they deem best, and that means "don't come" if you're fearful of catching Covid-19. That said, in a day when death is nearer than you may know, it would seem listening to an expert on the state of your soul is something you should be doing. 

Amazing how the liberals cry "listen to the experts" when it comes to the body, but "ignore the experts" when it comes to the soul. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 10:28 who we should be listening to:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
Masks have never been mandatory at Emmanuel Enid. We will respect those who choose to wear a mask and we will respect those who choose not to wear a mask. If you think that "all the medical experts agree that mandatory masks are necessary," it will take you five seconds to do a Google search and come across reams of material that suggest mandatory masking may actually harm people. The medical community and professional epidemiologists are divided on the issue of mandatory masks. 

For example, the country of Sweden has obtained herd immunity through no lockdown and no mandatory masking. While countries all around Sweden are having a second wave of Covid-19 cases, Sweden's leading epidemiologist is trumpeting lockdown free Sweden's positive corona virus declines and the pointlessness of mandatory masks.

Enid's number of corona cases has risen, and it will continue to rise. I know at least three dozen people who have had Covid-19. Only two have been seriously ill, and even those two have now recovered. Death rates remain low, but that doesn't mean Covid-19 should be taken lightly. Some people will get very sick, and some people will die.

I believe Americans are smart enough to figure out for themselves what needs to be done. The government should persuade us and then trust us. I trust the American people and the good citizens of Enid to do what is best. I trust the local businessman. I trust the local pastor. I trust the local school administrators. I trust the local family units.

Let the people be free to do as they see.

Ben Ezzell sent me an email asking me to support his mandatory mask mandate. I responded:
"I am solidly, 100% against a government mandate for masks. I believe private citizens, private businesses, and private entities have enough intelligence to determine what is best for their unique situation. I have no problem wearing a mask around the vulnerable. We encourage social distancing. But I do not believe the government should mandate a law and enforce civil penalties."
Ben Ezell is a city leader who is motivated by public health concerns, as am I. He responded with an email that contained the following sentence:
"I wish that you were correct, that private citizens and businesses and entities were intelligent enough."
There's the issue in one sentence. 

We have a city leader who does not believe that the citizens of Enid are intelligent enough to do what is best. It's not enough to persuade us and then trust us. The average citizen isn't intelligent enough to see the light, so he or she must be forced to see the light and do what is right.

The liberal elitists follow Plato’s model, believing that they know better than anyone else. Plato’s ideal separated the elite, the guardians of society, from the dross below them. This concept of intellectual elitism is infused in the hearts and minds of the liberal left.

Anyone who disagrees is so undermining to the liberal left’s agenda as to be intolerable. Or, in the common left vernacular, he who disagrees is “deplorable.” Leftists are tolerant of only those in agreement with their positions. Their opponents deserve to be persecuted and ostracized. Failure to conform to the liberal left’s ideology is subversive and must be defeated at all costs.

America is watching Enid.

America is watching, Enid. 

Pay attention, citizen of Enid, to that comma in the sentence above. 

America is watching you.

75 comments:

Unknown said...

Wade, I am appalled that you would cherry pick from my email without even the courtesy of the return phone call you promised me. For the record, here is my full email.


I don't want to interrupt your vacation, but I am happy to chat if you find yourself with down time.

I think you're pre-judging something without knowing the content. I also think you're treating the issue as black and white when we're really talking about a balancing test. So much of law is about balancing tests, weighing two important goals that are pulling in different directions. We both agree that public health is important (I am sure you wouldn't suggest that seatbelt laws are inappropriate), and we both value liberty. Where we differ is how to balance those values in this challenging moment where we are all struggling with a huge set of unknowns.

I wish that you were correct, that private citizens and businesses and entities were intelligent enough. Except that the data says they are not, that we are seeing thing escalate in an alarming way here in Enid. We can also look to other communities which have implemented some mandatory public health measures and see that their outcomes have improved where ours have declined.

What I have proposed this go around would more closely tie the mandatory measures to the week by week health of the community while relying on standards set by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which can hardly be accused of being overly restrictive during this crisis. In the balancing test before us, I'd like to err a little bit on the side of caution while being as minimally invasive as possible.

I am trying to strike the best balance we can. Inaction is inadequate to meet the moment. Give me a shot to pitch you my plan. This is an opportunity for the community to come together so we can all take care of each other, hand in hand, and I would hate for the opportunity to pass by without at least making the attempt.

Thanks,

Ben Ezzell

Wade Burleson said...

Ben, the sentence I quoted from your email is verbatim. Maybe you should consider being appalled that you actually thought it strongly enough to write it. I do not question your motive. I am sure you have a heart that wants what is best for the city of Enid. I am questioning your judgment. You seem to believe that you know better than the good citizens of Enid you represent. I believe that you should trust the people. I said as much publicly at the last forum where mandatory masks were discussed. Yet, it seems by your own words that you do not believe the people you represent have the intellectual ability to determine what is best for them. This is where we part ways.

Sherr Darity said...

Wade, I agree with everything you said 100%. Thank you for being brave enough to take stand. I stand with you!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Yes, we are with our grown children (and their kids) on vacation. The Oklahoma Blood Institute told me I had antibodies last April and continues to ask me to give blood. Rachelle and I have both tested positive (asymptomatic). We had no symptoms, no fever, no nausea, and have always felt terrific. If someone else's experience with Covid-19 were like ours, the common cold would be worse. But of course, not everybody's the same.

Unknown said...

I think it is up to each individual whether to wear a mask or not. I choose to wear one because of my age and health conditions.

Unknown said...

Great read Wade. What I find appalling is Ezzell saying as a business person I am not intelligent enough to make my own decisions.

My decision is to let others decide for themselves what is best, not have Ben Ezzel tell me that.

Unknown said...

I don't know Ben Ezzel, but he is undoubtedly several decades old. To toss away that many years of common sense, to side with the weaponized mainstream media's narrative of what they wish us to believe, that this particular virus is somehow deadly, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is the appalling element to me. He is a perfect example of the success of the MSM in leading us this way and that in our thought processes, decade after decade. One only has to realize the plan to steer us toward a "new world order" is in full progress and succeeding with only minor setbacks. When people en masses wake up, then and only then can we fight back against that pressure. Ben, (and everyone else) please research Agenda 21.

Ifnfih said...

Inside every liberal is a tyrant screaming to get out.

P. Shaw said...

Thanks Wade, for standing up for our rights as citizens and our intellectual capacities!

Tim said...

The only thing that should be in place is that businesses decide if they want people to wear mask or not and the individuals should decide if they want to wear a mask or not, thats it! The government has no place or say so in the matter especially when covid 19 really isn't that dangerous. We don't go through all this for a bad flu season which some would argue is much more dangerous. But somehow the government wants to tell me how to stay safe from a mild upper respiratory infection that people have to get tested to even know they have cause they dont show symptoms at all. That's crazy to me. And then the skewed death numbers are crazy as well. They are putting people in the death toll that died from non covid related deaths to covid deaths because they tested positive for it even if they died from a car crash or heart attack or other things that don't pertain to covid at all. I think ben is mad cause enid isn't falling for the BS we see all over the world that makes no sense.

Sandra Cinnamon said...

I thought pastors weren’t supposed to lie. He claimed the intentions and acts of liberals as facts. I am a liberal and I don’t do anything he says which means he lies.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim

Well stated.

Wade Burleson said...

Sandra,

You are a pleasant liberal indeed. :)

Christiane said...

" . . . I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East."
(M.L. Haskins)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

Enid has my prayers for good to come.

Christiane said...

It is important to try to do the right thing as best we can, as God gives us to see it.

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."
(James 4:17)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

“America Is Paying Attention to Enid, Oklahoma”

I believe the average American doesn’t know Enid exist.

Three miles from here is our small town, Ector, Texas. My niece moved from there to Seattle. A neighbor asked where she came from.

“It’s a small town you wouldn’t know.”
“Well, what town is it?”
“Ector, Texas.”

The neighbor saw a resemblance; shook her finger in her face, YOUR GRANDFATHER PUT ME IN THE DITCH THREE TIMES

I hate mask since you get less oxygen and have to breathe your carbon dioxide, but I do admire Ezzell saying he’d like to err a little bit on the side of caution.

https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/21/black-lives-matter-marxist-movement/

In a recently surfaced 2015 interview, one of the three Black Lives Matter co-founders declared that she and another co-founder "are trained Marxists."

RB Kuter said...

"Mandating" rules upon the populace is where the "rub" comes in. One would think that Mr.Ezzell and other Council members would be intelligent enough to recognize that.

One wonders if it is necessary to accomplish what the council members hope to achieve; having a healthy, safe response to an aggressive, contagious disease. Hopefully, THAT is the objective of the council. But their methods and rhetoric project that there are alternative motives. When the Council chooses the course of "forcing" or mandating citizens to comply to council's instructions and then implies they are doing it because citizens are incapable of making wise choices independent of authoritarian application it leads many to question as to whether the Council is simply attempting to position itself as sovereign.

If the Council's objective is genuinely to function in a manner that results in its citizens complying to cautionary measures to reduce exposure to the virus, they can do this through less assertive measures. They can achieve a high degree of compliance simply by encouraging private enterprise to insist customers wear masks or to have them post signs that strongly encourage them to do so. The Council can post signs on all county facilities requiring that those entering wear masks. The high visibility of expressions of concern portray the civil authorities' serious concern regarding risks involved by not taking measures to protect oneself.

Even if some choose "not" to wear masks, a majority will and the environment is rendered much safer without having a heavy-handed application of the local government's will upon the people.

Mr. Ezzell's choice of words saying that citizens were not intelligent enough to make these decisions on their own was a terrible choice of communicating. The American people have shown the opposite by complying to strongly encouraged advice from government and health officials. People do not practice shelter in place or "social distancing" because they are afraid of being given a ticket if they choose not to. They submit to this policy because they are wise and intelligent enough to see the logic in it and observe how seriously government experts are taking this crisis.

The abandonment of taking safe measures does not surface because the populace is stupid but because they get signals that the government is easing off this as being a priority and conclude that the worst is over.

Using Mr. Ezzell and the Council as symbolic of the "left" side's authoritarian methods, it continues to be an amazement that NEVER has there been outrage or panic expressed by local, leftist, government authorities over the riots and civil protests being conducted. NEVER have the local authorities where those events occur enforced "mask wearing" policies or laws or enforced limitations to the size of mass gatherings for those activities. Why is that?

If Mr. Ezzell is intelligent enough, he should be capable of recognizing the justified cynicism and distrust generated by the abuse and political orchestration of this virus crisis by government officials and politicians and seek to be more attentive to the will and character of his constituents.

Christiane said...

is it possible to consider the forced/unforced wearing of masks as A MORAL DILEMMA?

in short, to opt for the joy of freedom but knowingly, at the 'cost' of another's suffering??

consider the story synopsis of Ursula Guin's book: "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", this:
"Everything about Omelas is so abundantly pleasing that the narrator decides the reader is not yet truly convinced of its existence and so elaborates upon the final element of the city: its one atrocity. The city's constant state of serenity and splendor requires that a single unfortunate child be kept in perpetual filth, darkness, and misery.

Once citizens are old enough to know the truth, most, though initially shocked and disgusted, ultimately acquiesce to this one injustice that secures the happiness of the rest of the city. However, a few citizens, young and old, silently walk away from the city, and no one knows where they go. The story ends with "The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas

I ask this because it occurred to me that the mask/freedom quandary is much like the thinking of those who struggle with the heaven/hell question;
a suggestion that turns up on today's Internetmonk in a comment, which I found interesting that happiness could be had but only at the cost of another's peril.

Am I wrong to see a similarity in this strange 'dilemma'? Am I over-simplifying? Maybe.
But the thought occurred:

some will wear a mask REGARDLESS, EVEN IF TEASED OR LAUGHED AT, for the sake of 'the other';
some will refuse the command to wear a mask, but will wear it ANYWAY, for the sake of the vulnerable;
some will never wear the mask, knowing in their consciences that they are placing others in harm's way, but demanding the 'right' to be free of the inconvenience at all costs

a moral dilemma? I believe it is, at some deep level.

Another quote that is seen in the 'wiki' link, this:
"Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fourier's and Bellamy's and Morris's utopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far-off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torture, what except a sceptical and independent sort of emotion can it be which would make us immediately feel, even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjoyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?" (William James)

What cost(s) are acceptable to each of us for 'freedom'? What are we walking away from? What are we walking towards? 'post-modern', 'universalism', or just a question about what is most important to us when there is some moral dilemma, and how do we sort it all out?

Christiane said...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/4lKiWOG2WzCWAFRYB3UIpWTg0fMpjNJD3Qe45ty5GiRrbxgftIdU8s0Lt-9e9h5nLcZQj775JcFnvnvMP1Rc0fMgwcGAIvsH-7lo9T7krh8pWCBtOnUETARg7hT4AkJZCLdyZ1J00jbqeftzWcELhbiC6dYg7GGNK7s

Rex Ray said...

There are 4,756 Walmart stores in America, and 11,501 in the world.

I don’t know if they have the same ‘rules’, but our store won’t let you in without a mask. It has a separate entrance and exit. It has shoe prints painted on the floor six feet apart.

Wade, what about your Walmart store? Bet you won’t answer. :)

Barnabas Blackwelder said...

All Walmart stores have a mask policy.However, (per Walmart policy) no one will not stop a customer from entering and shopping without a mask.

Barnabas Blackwelder said...

Keep up the good word pastor.

Christiane said...

As to the mention of Sweden, in this post, may I add my own thoughts here please:

for goodness sake, don't judge Sweden on the current controversies over covid-19 reaction in that beautiful county; also please do not judge the people on the basis of that dreadful film 'Midsommar'

I think the vlogs of Jonna Jinton are expressive of the soul of Northern Sweden and of the goodness of the people. I find them refreshing after all the worldliness of our own culture these days. As for 'the old gods', seems to me that in our own country now, we have come to worship a golden calf who seems a bit deranged to say the least, so I will tend to see the Swedish people as Christian (either Lutheran or other denomination, but Christian). The old festivals and love of nature are incorporated into the celebrations of Christian Sweden, yes. Here is a sample:
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

for goodness sake, don't judge Sweden on the current controversies over covid-19 reaction in that beautiful county; also please do not judge the people on the basis of that dreadful film 'Midsommar'

I think the vlogs of Jonna Jinton are expressive of the soul of Northern Sweden and of the goodness of the people. I find them refreshing after all the worldliness of our own culture these days. As for 'the old gods', seems to me that in our own country now, we have come to worship a golden calf who is a bit deranged to say the least, so I will tend to see the Swedish people as Christian (either Lutheran or other denomination, but Christian). The old festivals and love of nature are incorporated into the celebrations of Christian Sweden, yes. Here is a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34xgG2q8KMQ

Ramesh said...

Wade sorry to bother you. An off-topic comment ...

Emmanuel Enid podcasts since April 12th (mp3s) have incorrect pathnames in the XML file

Hence no one can access or download the podcasts

I sent one email at your church contacts section. Not certain if anyone looked into it.

Could you kindly get someone to fix it.

Thank you and much appreciated.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Read this today:

“…joined our heavenly Father…”

“…went home to his Lord…”

“…was called home to Jesus…”

Someday, which do you like or would you want something else?

My list of 691 people that’s been down my slide tells four things: their number, name, age, date, and comment.

There’s one that has only three things:

“Belle Deupree Ray, 80, 12-27-12, met Jesus”

Christiane said...

Is there a moral dilemma that current politics poses for those who would proclaim the Gospel,
a story that illustrates what no longer makes sense to me:

https://sites.asiasociety.org/asia21summit/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/3.-Le-Guin-Ursula-The-Ones-Who-Walk-Away-From-Omelas.pdf

Christiane said...

https://sites.asiasociety.org/asia21summit/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/3.-Le-Guin-Ursula-The-Ones-Who-Walk-Away-From-Omelas.pdf

RB Kuter said...

Christiane asks; "is it possible to consider the forced/unforced wearing of masks as A MORAL DILEMMA?"

I do not mean to oppose any of your subsequent thoughts expressed. But the aspect of this issue as you address it makes me think of the question, "What is morality?" or "What determines what is 'moral'?"

There have been recent reports claiming how one does not have to believe in God to be moral and that many who do not believe in God are more "moral" than those who do! That immediately brings the question to my mind, "How do those making those comments define what is 'moral'?"

The trend in the world is to define what is "moral" based upon how a particular society defines it. Hence, the "morals" in a Muslim society will be quite different than in a secular American society or a genuine Christian society. All can say they are "moral" and their behavior is "moral" while saying those with opposing standards are "immoral".

Of course, the authenticity of one's own definition of what is "moral" is confirmed by that person's sincerity of applying that standard without being hypocritical or contradictory. For example, it is impossible, for me, at least, to accept anyone's portrayal of something being "moral", such as being cruel to animals, while they support, or ignore, the slaughter of yet to be delivered infant children. That person may as well be whistling "Dixie" as far as I'm concerned, when they promote their definition of what is "moral".

Meaning, it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to come to a consensus on what is "moral" without a serious attempt to include the perspective of Jesus Christ in the equation. I believe that you do attempt to do this, even in your portrayal of the "moral" aspects of "wearing masks". But even then, Wade would no doubt inject other aspects of the teachings of Jesus to support his position as being the more "moral" position.

Christiane said...

Mr. Kuter,

Thanks for commenting. I am sure you are familiar with the speech the St. Paul gave at the Areopagus in the Book of Acts, this:

" Paul Before the Areopagus
22Then Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said,

“Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and examined your objects of worship, I even found an altar with the inscription: To an unknown God. Therefore what you worship as something unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man He made every nation of men, to inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us 28‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’ . . "
(Acts, Chapter 17)

In my Church, we have a strong understanding of 'moral conscience' as a doctrine, but it is not seen in the same way in the Southern Baptist faith,
so the best help I might give you is to quote from Acts, the words of St.Paul as he was speaking to the pagans in that great theatre where people came to listen to many different ideas.

If we understand 'human persons' made 'in the image of God', we can better read the meaning of St. Paul when he says "God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us 28‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’"

So in my Church, we think all human persons are deserving of respect, regardless of race, religion, ethnic identity, etc. simply because they derive their human dignity from their Creator God. And St. Paul assures the pagans that God is close to them and them to Himself. As for Our Lord Christ, He has the title also as 'the Son of Man' and represents for us the way our human kind was before the Fall in Eden, when Adam and Eve still walked with God in the Garden.

I know this may not answer to what you are referring completely, but I hope it helps some. You might want to examine the 'doctrine' of 'moral conscience' as I understand it and here is a link, if you care to look at it and there are biblical references at the end of it:
https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm

Christiane said...

Mr. Kuter,
the concept of 'moral dilemma' in non-theistic circles is sometimes seen in those 'theories of moral development' such as the old 'Kohlberg Theory' which today is much criticized;
but more recently, moral dilemma's are seen under 'ethical' concerns in non-theological terms.

I think an interesting theological discussion on moral dilemmas shows up in the work of Dr. Roger Olson, a theology professor and author, who writes for Patheos Evangelical Blogs. Here is a link for you that is more appropriate for someone from the evangelical tradition:
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2020/03/the-ultimate-and-the-penultimate-an-important-distinction-in-christian-ethics/

RB Kuter said...

When people abandon the basic premises of seeking to live within the boundaries established by The Creator God and assume the arrogant idolatry of establishing their own, then they have no justified argument that their morals are better than anyone else's.

There is no credible argument for valuing any principle or premise. There can be no valid argument saying that "to do wrong" in one person's opinion is not "to do right" in another person's. So if one says that their morals justify killing babies, who is to say they are "immoral"? If someone says that "to lie for the purpose of accommodating your own self interest" is morally acceptable, on what premise does anyone have for saying they are incorrect?

No, "No God", "No Moral Justification".

Debra Cope said...

Ben...have you observed mask wearers lately? I walked into target in Edmond,OK a few days ago...employee with mask on neck talking to a customer with no mask... same all over town. People really can’t be trusted to wear masks appropriately. So, if masks are not worn properly are they helping? Are you going to be able to govern proper mask wearing? We have a deadly virus in our mist and people wear all different forms of masks...painters wear more protection. Is that logical? I am so happy to read this article cause I am now going to come to Enid to do my business! Yay!

RB Kuter said...

When the creature attempts to function in violation of the created order there are no parameters.It is arrogant idolatry for humankind to determine its own standards in defiance of its Creator. Humankind has no sovereign over their Creator and certainly is incapable of establishing any alternative system that serves the interaction within societies better.

Your standard of what is "right and wrong" has no basis if it is determined what "I" tell you is right and what is wrong. "I", nor anyone else, have the authority or capacity to establish what is moral. Those who do not acknowledge the set of standards as determined by their Creator are flying by the seat of their pants, or skirt, or simply empty air.

TRUE that heathens CAN live morally when the standards they choose to live by are in harmony with those determined by their Creator. Whenever they define what is "right" as being anything contrary to those standards set by their Creator, they are "immoral" in the truest sense.

RB Kuter said...

When the creature attempts to function in violation of the created order there are no parameters.It is arrogant idolatry for humankind to determine its own standards in defiance of its Creator. Humankind has no sovereign over their Creator and certainly is incapable of establishing any alternative system that serves the interaction within societies better.

Your standard of what is "right and wrong" has no basis if it is determined what "I" tell you is right and what is wrong. "I", nor anyone else, have the authority or capacity to establish what is moral. Those who do not acknowledge the set of standards as determined by their Creator are flying by the seat of their pants, or skirt, or simply empty air.

TRUE that heathens CAN live morally when the standards they choose to live by are in harmony with those determined by their Creator. Whenever they define what is "right" as being anything contrary to those standards set by their Creator, they are "immoral" in the truest sense.

RB Kuter said...

When the creature attempts to function in violation of the created order there are no parameters.It is arrogant idolatry for humankind to determine its own standards in defiance of its Creator. Humankind has no sovereign over their Creator and certainly is incapable of establishing any alternative system that serves the interaction within societies better.

Your standard of what is "right and wrong" has no basis if it is determined what "I" tell you is right and what is wrong. "I", nor anyone else, have the authority or capacity to establish what is moral. Those who do not acknowledge the set of standards as determined by their Creator are flying by the seat of their pants, or skirt, or simply empty air.

TRUE that heathens CAN live morally when the standards they choose to live by are in harmony with those determined by their Creator. Whenever they define what is "right" as being anything contrary to those standards set by their Creator, they are "immoral" in the truest sense.

Christiane said...

An interesting and thoughtful article by David Barr:

https://voices.uchicago.edu/religionculture/2018/01/16/evangelical-support-for-trump-as-a-moral-project-description-and-critique/

"The primary aim of this piece has been to show that there is more to the meaning of evangelical support for Trump than the obvious meaning, which is the one that most often makes the headlines. Recognizing republican theology helps us see beyond the obvious. Recognizing Christian nationalism, on the other hand, helps us see why racism, xenophobia, and other forms of bigotry are the obvious meaning in the first place. If republican theology is going to persist as a defensible option in American politics, it has to separate itself, consistently and vocally, from the tribal and bigoted elements of Christian nationalism. The more evangelicals support figures like Trump, who embody “nationalism” more than “Christian” and are so publicly and unrepentantly immoral and who (at the very least) signal to bigots that they are friendly to their cause, the harder it will be for others to see any moral meaning to their behavior. The obvious meaning of that support will become, even more than it is now, the only visible meaning. "

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, in order for you and David Barr to understand the connection Trump has made with the evangelical community, it would help for you to view this link with comments he made during a speech. Although, I doubt your being able to stomach it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PaB5rvNR24


I suspect that you and Barr's perspective is so skewed by now with disdain for this man that you could never consider anything he says as being a genuine statement of his heart and I understand that. I was the same when Nancy commented that she was going to "Pray for the President". We all get perverted by our political bias to the point of not being able to discern any positive aspects of those we oppose.

The substance of this message is played out by his actions related to the Christian community. He is a friend of the church and defends it with fervor. He is unapologetic and very bold in his association with God and references to the nation's dependency upon God.

We NEVER have heard any politician be as outspoken in their associating with God and Jesus Christ as this President. We NEVER hear a leftist associate themselves with God as does this man, primarily because they are more fearful of being seen as "not separating the state from God" more than they fear God's disdain.

Is he sincere? Only God knows and all we can do is observe his actions. Even there, you would likely not be able to assess that objectively, perhaps me either, due to our bias for and against.

When evangelicals see and hear a national leader vocalize "their" message of devotion, faith, trust, and dependency upon Almighty God as the sustain-er of their lives and of the welfare of this nation, of course it will resonate with them. When he associates the relationship with God and the prosperity and security of this nation, of course Barr would relate it to "nationalism".

Barr, and perhaps you, apparently do not understand the evangelicals' devotion to God as being connected to the freedoms and liberties they cherish that are related to the national institution of the United States of America. If an evangelical goes to the hell of war and takes the lives of those bent on destroying this nation's freedoms, it is more related to Jesus follower's devotion to God and their determination that the citizens of this land have the freedom to worship and serve God without inhibitions about government oppression as we see in communist nations.

As a matter of fact, the original patriots of these colonies when to the hell of war for that primary purpose; to preserve the rights of citizens to worship God without the tyranny of an oppressive central government power. Was that "nationalism"? Absolutely.

Barr, and perhaps you, would find it difficult to recognize the connection between devotion to God and their support for a leader who propagates their own devotion to these beliefs. For those opposed to that leader, they would of course be forced to be cynical and even hostile toward his expressions of standing with those who are fervently devoted to the principles to which he also expresses support.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, in order for you and David Barr to understand the connection Trump has made with the evangelical community, it would help for you to view this link with comments he made during a speech. Although, I doubt your being able to stomach it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PaB5rvNR24


I suspect that you and Barr's perspective is so skewed by now with disdain for this man that you could never consider anything he says as being a genuine statement of his heart and I understand that. I was the same when Nancy commented that she was going to "Pray for the President". We all get perverted by our political bias to the point of not being able to discern any positive aspects of those we oppose.

Pattycee said...

And that is where the problem lies. If u look at countries who have had low death rates it is because the people all co-operated with their medical advise. S Korea has lost between 200-300 people and pretty much cleaned up COVID 19. The people of this country are so arrogant they refuse to do what it takes to clear this mess up. Sad. The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness.

RB Kuter said...

Pattycee, you had my attention until you had to enter your comment, "The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness." Then you further undermine any credibility of your opinion when you add, “The people of this country are so arrogant they refuse to do what it takes to clear this mess up. Sad. The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness.”

What country do you belong to? It is this meaningless, arrogant, attitude of such lofty elitists that generates the cynicism and distrust for you and all of those politically motivated arm-chair quarterbacks who do nothing when the battle is raging but only wait until the game is over to make accusations about what “should have been done”.

Fact is, the vast amount of countries has failed miserably to contain this virus, not just the US. Armchair quarterbacks like you accuse the other 6 billion people in the world as arrogantly refusing to do what it takes to remedy the situation and causing you misery. Sad.

Add to the meaningless, arrogance the added destructive practices taken by those who portray your attitude with their double standards. They shout how we should keep the society shut down while at the same time expressing NO rage at all for those who are congregating and "protesting" in groups of thousands! The biggest and most dramatic sky rocket of this spread came AFTER you and yours began all of the uncontrolled, unprotected, "protests" over BLM. It appears to us arrogant people that you actually want to extend and elevate the COVID cases for your political purposes so you throw accusations about whomever you oppose!

Perhaps you acquire some satisfaction and self-gratification by assessing yourself as being perfect and highly intelligent in comparison to all of ua dumb animals with whom you must tolerate in this country. Maybe you would be happier in South Korea instead of being here and attempting to make some meaningful contribution for cooperation and unified effort. No, don't do that. The South Korean people are too gracious and certainly don't deserve that.

RB Kuter said...

Pattycee, you had my attention until you had to enter your comment, "The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness." Then you further undermine any credibility of your opinion being of substance intelligence and objectivity when you add, “The people of this country are so arrogant they refuse to do what it takes to clear this mess up. Sad. The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness.”

It is this meaningless, arrogant, attitude of the lofty elitists that generates the cynicism and distrust for you and all of those politically motivated arm-chair quarterbacks who do nothing when the battle is raging but only wait until the game is over to make accusations about what “should have been done”.

Fact is, the vast amount of countries has failed miserably to contain this virus, not just the US. Armchair quarterbacks like you accuse the other 6 billion people in the world as arrogantly refusing to do what it takes to remedy the situation and causing you misery.

Add to the meaningless, arrogance the added destructive practices taken by those who portray your attitude with their double standards. They shout how we should keep the society shut down while at the same time expressing NO rage at all of those who are congregating and "protesting" in groups of thousands! The biggest and most dramatic sky rocket of this spread came AFTER you and yours began all of the uncontrolled, unprotected, "protests" over BLM. It appears to us arrogant people that you actually want to extend and elevate the COVID cases for your political purposes!

Perhaps you acquire some satisfaction and self-gratification by assessing yourself as being perfect and highly intelligent in comparison to all of those dumb animals with whom you must tolerate in this country. Maybe you would be happier in South Korea instead of being here and attempting to make some meaningful contribution for cooperation and unified effort. No, don't do that. The South Korean people are too gracious and certainly don't deserve that.

RB Kuter said...

Pattycee, you had my attention until you had to enter your comment, "The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness." Then you further undermine any credibility of your opinion being of substance intelligence and objectivity when you add, “The people of this country are so arrogant they refuse to do what it takes to clear this mess up. Sad. The rest of us are paying for your rebelliousness.”

It is this meaningless, arrogant, attitude of the lofty elitists that generates the cynicism and distrust for you and all of those politically motivated arm-chair quarterbacks who do nothing when the battle is raging but only wait until the game is over to make accusations about what “should have been done”.

Fact is, the vast amount of countries has failed miserably to contain this virus, not just the US. Armchair quarterbacks like you accuse the other 6 billion people in the world as arrogantly refusing to do what it takes to remedy the situation and causing you misery.

Add to the meaningless, arrogance the added destructive practices taken by those who portray your attitude with their double standards. They shout how we should keep the society shut down while at the same time expressing NO rage at all of those who are congregating and "protesting" in groups of thousands! The biggest and most dramatic sky rocket of this spread came AFTER you and yours began all of the uncontrolled, unprotected, "protests" over BLM. It appears to us arrogant people that you actually want to extend and elevate the COVID cases for your political purposes!

Perhaps you acquire some satisfaction and self-gratification by assessing yourself as being perfect and highly intelligent in comparison to all of those dumb animals with whom you must tolerate in this country. Maybe you would be happier in South Korea instead of being here and attempting to make some meaningful contribution for cooperation and unified effort. No, don't do that. The South Korean people are too gracious and certainly don't deserve that.

Christiane said...

Mr. Kuter,
Here is another 'version' along the same lines of that link that is a little better to understand in my opinion:

A man and his dog were walking along a road.
The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.
He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road.
It looked like fine marble..
At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked
like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, ‘Excuse me, where are we?’
‘This is Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.
‘Wow! Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.
‘Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.’

The man gestured, and the gate began to open. ‘Can my friend,’ gesturing toward his
dog, ‘come in, too?’ the traveler asked.
‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’

The man thought a moment AND THEN TURNED BACK TOWARD THE ROAD and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.
There was no fence.
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book….
‘Excuse me!’ he called to the man. ‘Do you have any water?’
‘Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.’

‘How about my friend here?’ the traveler gestured to the dog.
‘There should be a bowl by the pump,’ said the man.
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

‘What do you call this place?’ the traveler asked.
‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.

‘Well, that’s confusing,’ the traveler said.
‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’

‘Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope That’s hell.’
‘Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?’
‘No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.’

Mr. Kuter, I think when we are CONFRONTED with the 'costs' of a 'trade-off' (in trumpian terms, 'a deal'),
we then learn who we really are and what it is that we are willing to 'give up' in order to get what we THINK we want.

Sometimes, the warning is that 'too much is asked' and if it is paid, that part of our souls go with the price and we are left less human and WE KNOW THIS because we HAVE been confronted and were 'willing' to make the 'deal'.

Confusing? Think about why the man wouldn't abandon his dog. It was about 'love'. And without the pup, would he truly have been happy in those 'streets of gold' that someone told him was 'heaven'???

:)

It's complicated, but I think the story about the dog helps me understand this better. I lost my pup before my husband passed away, and I tell you that dog was a 'comfort dog' when he lived. God sends us help and peace. We just sometimes don't recognize what the important things are but I don't think 'authority' and 'power' and 'control' matter in that place where it is okay to bring in those we love and not abandon them for an 'alternative paradise'. Hope this helps some. God Bless!

CM said...

CM writes:

Christiane, this story is actually based upon a Twilight Zone episode called "The Hunt."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Interestingly enough, this episode (and the plot it based on from an earlier 1953 episode of The Kate Smith Hour) was written by Earl Hamner, Jr. The same one of the Spencer's Mountain novel and The Waltons TV show fame.

Christiane said...

Thank you, CM

that was a cool link :)

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, I saw the Twilight Zone episode that CM refers to. It's a great story.

You are so right about "trade-offs" being necessary. For me, there is absolutely NO trade-off for the issue of abortion. I don't care who is the candidate, what are their positions on socialism, capitalism, open borders, globalization or any other issue. If they are anti-life of the infant child, I am against them. If Donald Trump was running as the Republican candidate against AOC as the Democratic candidate and they both maintained their same stance of capitalism and communism, and Trump was anti-life and AOC was pro-life, I would vote for AOC. Honestly. No contest, no trade-off. It is and should be seen as THE most important issue on a level that "trumps" all others.

It totally befuddles how anyone, but especially those who profess to follow Jesus Christ, could ever sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies every year for any reason.

Back to the man and the dog story; I interpret this as the "Golden Gates and pavement" as being the socialists promise of free everything for all but you have to sacrifice your liberty and independence and commit to being a slave of the state to have it. The country water pump, symbol of capitalism and principle for working for what you get.

GREAT illustration! Thanks a lot.

CM said...

CM replies:

RB Kuter,

Never saw that one. My favorite Twilight Zone episode has to be "To Serve Man", followed by "Eye of the Beholder".

Christiane said...

Hello Mr.Kuter

I think politics is NOT where we 'fix' 'the abortion problem', unless people want to BEGIN to help new parents and single mothers by way of paid leave for doctor's appointments and for the term after delivery as many countries have done that ARE civilized.

Otherwise, the Church NEEDS to be 'the Church' and will/must/should address the problem of 'abortion' AS THE CHURCH, not as some kind of political hack for a Trump, no.

I don't see a political short-cut, Mr. Kuter. The truth is that even if Trump won another term and Justice RBG kicked the bucket and another very socially conservative justice was chosen,
supposing abortion was made illegal again . . . would that stop it? No. It would send desperate women to the back alley butchers. I see THE CHURCH as the operative difference in helping people to recognize the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. The Church is not a 'voting block' hack for some would-be autocrat, no. The Church serves Christ, the Lord of Life. And it's time the Church got out of the political arena and back to work in the places where the people are who need Christ. That is my own opinion. But I'm Catholic and come from a different tradition, and we've got our share of 'political'-minded folks who think politics is the 'answer' to the wrong needs, when what is needed is what the Church has to offer instead. So, it's my opinion.

People need to reach out to young folks and LISTEN to their problems, so that when trouble comes for them, they will trust the Church as a source of help, not condemnation and abusive response. That is so important. So important. No 'short-cuts' to that, no.

I like AOC myself. She fights for her constituents like a tiger and doesn't let them down. She does her job for them. And she is not someone who suffers fools lightly. She has a working-class common-sense about her, and I think she also knows that politics can't answer all moral ills. The Church NEEDS to do ITS job because politcal solutions like 'banning abortion' just send troubled women to the back-alleys and the killing fields are just a change in geography. If I speak too plainly, I'm sorry. But I think I see where the need is and I know the Church can make a REAL difference, because it helps change hearts for good to come.

Callie M said...

Hi Wade! Callie in Israel just dropping by to let you know how much I appreciate you and your wisdom on these issues! People need to hear that they are trusted and that they are capable of making sound choices.Thank you for being a light, and for building people.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Our young sister’s dog died. She asked our mother if her dog would be in heaven.

“Do you think you will be happy in heaven?”

“Yes.”

“Then if it takes your dog to be in heaven for you to be happy, then your dog will be in heaven.”

She was happy with that answer.

RB Kuter said...

Cool answer.

CM said...

I thought all dogs go to heaven? At least that is what the movie tell me.

Ramesh said...

Please if you can find someone to edit the XML file, here is an easy fix:

http://www.glimpsesofgrace.net/itunespodcast.xml

Before April 12th

http://www.emmanuelarchive.org/sermons/Covid/2020.05.04_Covid03.mp3
Colossians


...

After April 12th

http://www.emmanuelarchive.org/sermons/Special/2020.12.04_Easter.mp3
Colossians



URL is missing /sermons folder text

So all the MP3 after April 12th have this problem

Very easy to edit the XML file

Can easily be done in five minutes or less


Ramesh said...

One possibility is since your XML has no style sheet, I am guessing the April 12th entry broke this XML auto style sheet format

So the error crept in with April 12th entry

Any web developer can easily look into this

Warren said...

Whether or not this comment is published, I want to observe that the recent results of a search for “Sweden” and “herd immunity” strongly suggests that Sweden’s strategy has failed. Like virtually all other Canadians, I shake my head in bewilderment at what is going on in your country. I have rapidly moved from having lost much faith in the American version of evangelicalism to a firm conviction that it is beyond redemption. May the Lord have mercy.

RB Kuter said...

Wow, Warren! Wonder how you define "evangelicalism" and what aspect of it generates such disdain? Maybe you could take a moment to elaborate.

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define "evangelicalism"?

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define American version of evangelicalism?

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define or describe "American version of evangelicalism" or perhaps it would help if you defined "evangelicalism".

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define or describe "American version of evangelicalism" or perhaps it would help if you defined "evangelicalism".

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define or describe "American version of evangelicalism" or perhaps it would help if you defined "evangelicalism".

RB Kuter said...

Warren, how do you define or describe "American version of evangelicalism" or perhaps it would help if you defined "evangelicalism".

Warren said...

Deeply entwined with the politics of the state. Libertarian in its leaning. Infant-like demands for its "rights" and "freedoms". Unbalanced in its priorities. Convinced of its superiority (in relation to the rest of the world). Quick to call anything and everything socialistic and/or communistic - if it isn't in line with its underlying political agenda. And I could go on and on.

I know I tar with a very broad brush, and there are countless exceptions, but other voices are increasingly being drowned out. Also, I don't speak from complete ignorance or simply through the lens of my preferred media. My career in the Canadian Air Force allowed me to spend three years in upstate New York and two in Colorado, during which time my family and I were deeply involved with local churches. I look back fondly at those years, and made many friends, but I can hardly recognize things now. In part because of the attitude shown by many churches and Christians towards COVID-19, I hope my country keeps the border closed to casual US visitors for a long time (again an attitude I share with virtually all Canadians). Here, the biggest problem lies with the age 20-29 demographic, and with Christians from conservative evangelical churches. I need to do more thinking about the strange likeness of mindset in certain regards.

Don't expect any more correspondence from me. I'm old enough and experienced enough to know that what I've already written is a complete waste of everyone's time and will change nothing.

Warren said...

And I'll make a liar of myself since I failed to define evangelicalism. I look to theologians such as Roger Olson for a definition I can agree with. However, the word has become so tarnished I think it might be best if it was stricken from the language. It's probably the last word you would want to identify yourself with if you are trying to share the gospel (which is a big component of being an evangelical) with a non believer in Canada; and not have them automatically assume all kinds of mean and nasty things about you that have little connection to true Christianity.

Christiane said...

sadly, American 'evangelicalism' seems forever connected now in peoples' minds with Donald Trump and his ways, especially towards women and minorities

is this fair?
no

but it seems too late to alter the connection, although some think Trump is leaving evangelicals behind and taking up with the Q-anon cult

all this is conjecture, I'm sure, and therefore not worth giving much thought to, but the 'impression' remains that political involvement did hurt the Church badly

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RB Kuter said...

I know what you mean, Warren. The term "evangelical" has taken so many nuances so as to diminish the original intent of the label as being someone who proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We "evangelicals" have indeed sometimes behaved in a manner that distorts that label by our taking positions on various issues held in common to those who follow Jesus and prioritize His message, but are unpopular by the rest of society. In addition to our ideology and faith being inconsistent with what is socially popular, much of the distortion has been unjustly applied to us from hostile opposing forces.

For instance, we evangelicals do stress the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ as being the sole path for reconciliation in a personal relationship with God. That is not a popular proposition with those who think otherwise. Immediately, "evangelicals" assume a label as being cultist. That has always come with the territory. So the term immediately takes on negative connotations with a majority of this world's society due to its serious devotion to Jesus Christ alone being the door to God.

Another significant occurrence that has projected evangelicals into a group having a common cause that may not be readily identified as having anything to do with proclaiming the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is the collaboration of evangelicals in a manner that has resulted in their being a significant block of power players in the arena of secular politics. I am "guessing" that this sort of element is what is repulsive to you and many others and I can understand.

The development of "evangelicals" becoming predominantly affiliated with one political party as opposed to the other increases the tension that has evolved, primarily over the past 3 decades or so. This may be seen as some as an abandonment of the priority of proclaiming the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and even being counter-productive by alienating evangelicals from those lost souls needing to hear the Message the most.

However,when anyone assesses the development of things objectively, the progression of evangelicals in support of one political party should be an expected occurrence given that one party tends to identify itself the most as having political positions most consistent with the views of evangelicals. For instance, the stance on abortion, liberty and freedom from oppressive political powers, freedom of expression of religious beliefs and worship, and the power and sovereignty of this nation that assures its maintaining its national identity and ability to determine its own destiny unhindered by outside ideologies. Of course, a political party that more readily and openly identifies with US dependency upon God's favor and blessing always strikes a chord in the heart of evangelicals.

I may well have developed a bias due to supporting one political party that over the past years seems to portray a position most in harmony with these important issues and evangelicals' core beliefs. Still, I honestly believe that if the other political party abandoned its extreme support for destroying "yet to be delivered" infants, push to eliminate the sovereignty of this nation through continued globalization measures, and the extreme push to move us into a Marxist, socialist society, many evangelicals would shift their support.

I hope you won't be too hard on us, Warren. Please strive to be empathetic and avoid being influenced by those sources hostile toward evangelicals who are politically active as a means to protect an environment conducive to our proclaiming the Gospel freely and having a society most in harmony with those basic Biblical priorities portrayed as being God's priorities.

Warren said...

My last comment has little context - because the comment that preceded it was not published. Presumably my assessment of American evangelicalism was too harsh for this blog.