Dying Alone

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”    Matthew 28:19-20

I’ve been watching the old series Boston Legal lately.  You might remember that every episode ends with Alan Shore and Denny Crane sitting on the balcony outside Denny’s office, drinking scotch and smoking cigars.  It serves as a recap of the episode, wrapping up certain points as well as continuing to define their friendship.

Denny is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, which he usually refers to as his Mad Cow disease.  He is sometimes a lunatic and sometimes brilliant.  He’s always politically incorrect.  In one episode he gets Alan to promise to shoot him whenever he’s too far gone to be of any use anymore.  They often profess their friendship, their love for each other.  Alan quoted Emerson once: “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.”

I was struck by a balcony scene I just saw where they agree that their friendship means they won’t ever die alone.  It was poignant but not entirely true.

Whether or not we have a friend, spouse, or child in the room, we will never die alone.  There will be someone there no matter what.

My pastor told me the following years ago as we discussed my mother’s recent death.  He said he’s seen to incredible sights over his career that don’t always happen but often do.  One was when he sat by the deathbed of an elderly, comatose woman, a member of his church.  She suddenly did a perfect sit-up, stretching her arms toward the ceiling with a beautiful smile on her face.  She then laid back down and died.

By the same token, he was at the death bed of an elderly man who was not a Christian.  Pastor was there to comfort the family who he knew.  Also comatose, the man started becoming agitated, making sounds of great fear.  He kept pushing toward the head of his bed as he seemingly tried to ward something off from the foot of his bed.  He died in that state of agitation and fear.

The woman likely saw Jesus coming for her and was overjoyed to see Him in person.  Likewise, the man likely saw his eternal fate approaching and tried to get away.

This also reminds me of something a nurse once told me.  She was working third shift and had an elderly woman to care for.  She wasn’t expected to last the night.  The nurse checked in periodically.  The last time she went in, she was shocked to see a white dove sitting on the woman’s chest.  The dove looked at her and took flight toward the door and out into the hall.  She gave chase into the hall, but the dove was nowhere to be seen.  She asked the cleaning woman in the hall if she saw the bird fly out of the room and where it went.

The cleaning woman said she saw nothing.  When the nurse explained, the woman smiled and told her that must have seen the Dove.  It sometimes comes to take peoples’ souls to heaven when they die.  I’ve shared this with a couple other nurses at other hospitals, and they have also see the Dove.

My point in all this is that we will never be alone when we die.  There will always be someone to see us into eternity.  If you’ve accepted Jesus’ as your Savior, accepted His payment for your sins, you may well be greeted by Jesus’ Himself or maybe even the Dove, the Holy Spirit.

If you have not accepted His saving grace, you may find yourself greeted by whatever terrified that old man so.

You will not die alone.  It’s up to you who you want to greet you when you pass from this world into eternity.  If you haven’t accepted Jesus, I urge you to pray to Him right now.  Ask Him to enter your life and forgive you.  Accept His free gift of eternal life and then get yourself a Bible.  Study it so as to know you Savior and God and how They designed you to live.  Amend your sinful ways and live a life of gratitude for what Jesus has done for you!

Give Us What We Want!

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.    James 4:2-4

I ran across an article last month about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas made the statement that the Supreme Court has become the most dangerous branch of the government.  It never used to be that way.

‘The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,’ Thomas said. ‘And I think that’s problematic.’

He made this comment – and expanded on it – in light of politicians arguing over packing the court.  In other words, adding justices to the Supreme Court to get in appointees who will swing decisions their way.

He said that justices do not rule on their ‘personal preferences’ and the country’s leaders ‘should not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcome that we like…When we begin to venture into the legislative or executive branch lanes, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble.’

‘I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are antiabortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out,’ the justice said, per the Washington Post. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician.’  

‘That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.’

Think on it; if a Supreme Court Justice starts legislating from the bench, there are no longer any checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches.  The system gets short-circuited!

Unfortunately, this is where we are as a society, as a world even!  When we can’t get what we what within a system, we start gaming that system, looking for short-cuts that “allow” us to cheat.

Perhaps we can thank advertisers who have bombarded us for years with slogans like “Rules are made to be broken” followed not long after by “Break all the rules!”  Then there is the feeble excuse that someone operated “within the system” even though they gamed it with technicalities.  They argue that they do whatever they want so long as they at least can appear to follow the letter of the law.

But law and rules are more about intent, which is why we have a judiciary to try and keep things in check.  Indeed, the Founding Fathers knew this about humanity and tried to provide such safeguards.  I am tempted to think that they wrote the Constitution with their hearts in their throats, knowing that it depended on good behavior in the first place.

John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

That statement gives the lie to our current concept of “separation of church and state.”  That phrase originally was addressing the religious persecution by governments over practice of either Catholicism or Protestantism.  Recall that people were tortured to force conversion to one or the other by the state!

The intent was never to remove faith in God and use of His ways from government and society.  It was to prevent persecution for being Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, or any other expression of following God.

We have lost our way after decades of not allowing prayer in schools and removing God from consideration when governing.  Indeed, our society now is not one of community but of self.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Society determines how its members will conduct themselves and each individual affects how society will continue.

The same holds true of our churches; if we don’t get what we want from them or God, we try to change them.  We form our own interpretation of God and Scripture, trying to game The Almighty!  Or we simply leave church and God behind altogether, which America has done for the most part.

If we don’t get what we want, we petulantly stalk away from either just the institution, God, or both.  The real tragedy is if someone is frustrated by a poor church teaching, they reject God!  I once pointed out to someone who was condemning the church to look to God instead.  If you have a problem with topic X, take it up with God.  Study His Word.

What if we want what’s bad for us?  Shall we stalk away from God for not doing us harm?  We often do!

Instead of telling God, “Give me what I want,” our prayer should be teach me what I should want!

Too Much Contention

Why are we so angry?  What is it that makes so many of us sanctimonious on issue after issue?  My first suspect was the internet.  People can anonymously skewer each other, riding on a cloud of righteous indignation, enveloped in the complete anonymity of avatars and screen names.

But then I see story after story about increased violence everywhere you look; New York City, Portland, OR, airplanes and airports.  Did that grow out of violent expressions on the internet?  Have we programmed ourselves to as vile in person as we are online?

Even Christians can’t seem to be decent to each other over different issues, let alone be decent to non-Christians!  It all leaves me feeling weary and even a bit depressed.

But let’s ask God about this instead of me.  Lack of humility seems to be the biggest problem.  What does God have to say about humility?  Through St. Paul we learn the following.

And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house…    Acts 20:18-20

Two things are going on here.  First, Paul proclaimed the Gospel Jesus entrusted to him.  He did not shrink from it.  He did not dilute it.  He also preached in all humility despite being a target for violence from the Jews.  He did not rise up indignantly.  He stuck to his charter, preaching the Gospel.  While people might take offense at Jesus saving news, the offense is from the message, not the messenger.

Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.    Philippians 2:1-3

How much selfish ambition and conceit do we see in internet comment sections?  How much esteem for others do wee see in passenger jets over something as simple as a mask or insistence on using one’s phone when prohibited?  If we are operating in a spirit of loving comfort and affection, is a mask so much to endure?  Where is the mercy and sense of community in any actions aboard airplanes?

And, yes, I said community.  People in a plane are a community of fliers.  Cooperation is the key word in any community.  However, an over-inflated sense of self destroys communities, whether aloft or in a city.  Cooperation in driving, schooling…pick an area…is the key to peace and consideration.

Here is what Paul has to say about character:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;    Colossians 3:12

If we adopt those characteristics, how do you suppose public dialogue would change?  If we adopt those characteristics, indeed require them of ourselves and our Christian community, what effect would that example have on those not of Jesus’ fold?

How should we handle disagreements?

…in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,    2 Timothy 2:25

As often happens, the shorter verses have more to unpack.  I recently had a discussion online with someone over abortion.  We were in opposition on some points, but we heard each other civilly.  In this verse from 2 Timothy we read that we should correct those in opposition.  I don’t think that means telling someone, “You’re wrong!”  I think it means laying out our reasoning based on God’s Word on why we hold X.  It means studying and referring to Holy Scripture to solve issues when we find ourselves opposed by another interpretation.

But here’s the trick; we are flawed human beings.  It is possible to misinterpret Scripture.  It happens.  Regarding the abortion discussion I had with a young lady, one of us at some point might realize we are mistaken.  It could be me.  It could be her.  Eventually, God will lead us to truth.  In the meantime, Jesus stands ready to forgive those who get it wrong – whatever “it” happens to be.  I concede that I may have gotten things wrong in the abortion discussion, but my position is the best I can come up with.  Not having been in certain situations, I may not be able to fully appreciate all factors.  But the only way any of us can hear each other to offer our thoughts in humility.

If only we could assume a humbler demeanor.  There would be so much less contention!

My thanks to the young lady I had the conversation with!

While You Can

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.    Romans 12:10

I heard a line in the closing dialogue of a TV show this past week.  I don’t recall the exact words, but it ran something like this: Why don’t we tell the people we love the things we wish we would have after they died?

This is something we are all acutely aware of.  Why else do we sometimes daydream about attending our own funerals to hear what people say about us?

There are two trains of thought that come from this.  First is to be affectionate while there is still time.  That can apply to strangers as well as loved ones.  I travel much and try when possible to compliment someone or just be nice.  When true, I compliment parents on how well-behaved their children are.  When I have a waiter or waitress who impresses, I tip extra and track down the manager to compliment the service I got.

Loved ones – how often do you say loving things to them, do loving things for them?  Do you make memories for them?  When my daughters were just big enough to justify getting them full-sized bicycles, I decided to make it special.  We went to Toys-R-Us on another, legitimate errand.  I told them to check out the bicycles; daydream about their ideal bicycle for when the day came to get one.  I returned after a while and found them each standing proudly next to the bike of their dreams.  I told them to go ahead and get the ticket to take to the cashier.  Today’s the day!

We’ve done some big things as a family.  My job enabled me to take the family overseas to London a week before Christmas one year.  It was their first flight, first time out of country.

I once asked them for their favorite childhood memory.  Without hesitation both said it was those bicycles.

You never know.  Make the effort.

Second, when I think about my death and funeral, I imagine it won’t be well-attended.  After moving far from my hometown and everyone I knew, my job these last ten years has seen a lot of travel.  I haven’t made many close friends.  I’m known at church, having taught Sunday morning classes, but I’m not an integral part of that church family.  I didn’t grow up there as so many have.

I sincerely doubt my funeral will be well-attended.  There may not even be a point to having one outside of a small memorial for my wife and daughters.  I’m well liked but not deeply, I think.  Obviously, I’m a bit maudlin about that.

But then does that matter so very much?  Perhaps…it’s a measure of how well you lived your life, but there’s another measure.  How well did you work for God’s kingdom and purposes?

I have spoken about Him to seatmates on flights.  I’ve been writing this blog for years now, although I’ve hit a dry spell recently.  My statistics show that I’m read by at least someone in many countries.  Some countries I’ve never heard of.  A pastor in India has written me a couple times about how he uses my articles with his mission teams that go into the bush.  I have no idea how effective my witness and writing have been.  No one has ever come back to tell me that I changed their life.

But the one eulogy that does matter, the one Person whose attendance I look forward to is Jesus’.  I hope and pray that my efforts in life will win even the smallest smile from Him.  I believe there will be some sort of recognition of at least having tried.

In the end, that’s all that really matters.

Be nice.  Be affectionate.  Serve God.  While you can.

Halloween

My grandmother lived right across the street from us when I was a child.  We spent all our time there.  She practically raised us.  She taught us to play games, read to us, and indulged us in so many ways!  It was always about the things she did, not so much about spending and gifts.

One of the times she got us something she chose a Ouija board.  Mind you, she was a very strong Christian, and we all went to church every Sunday.  She saw it as a game, manufactured by Hasbro.  We played with it briefly and never really got anything out of it.  It went back in the box and got lost.

Knowing what I know now, I’m sure God protected us!  There are so many accounts of people toying with such things only to open a door for evil to enter their lives.  Once there, it’s very hard to get rid of, and the damage is usually lasting.

That isn’t true of just Ouija boards.  There are many things that people do innocently that bring great evil upon them.  I personally know of two people who thought it would be fun to try and raise a demon, not believing anything would actually happen.  Both times a demon manifested!  They described the foul stench and the terror and how they quickly knocked over everything they were using to break the contact.

A pastor of mine told me about how a few of his seminary classmates tried a Ouija board one night and got something to start talking to them.  When they asked who it was, the reply was Satan.  Disbelieving, they asked for proof.  The board directed them to look out the window.

They could see the quad below, lit with floodlights and a fresh blanket of snow falling.  A dark figure stood below one of the lamp posts.  There were no footprints.  Scared out of their wits, they tossed the board.  One of them ended up in a mental hospital.

My point in telling you these things is that we flirt with small indiscretions, playing with things that should be left alone.  We call it simple curiosity.  It’s a just scary movie – entertainment.  We explore haunted sites and cemeteries at night for the thrill of maybe seeing a ghost.

We take our children out on Halloween night dressed as ghouls and skeletons.  Halloween night is widely accepted as the most powerful night of the year for evil.  Wiccans and Satanists perform special ceremonies on that night.

Yeah, Halloween is celebrated in secular society in cartoonish fashion.  No one is actually trying to call up demons or ancestors.  But things often start very benignly.  People become desensitized to the subject to the point where they no longer see the danger, no longer know where the line is.

Satan is very good at the long game!  He knows that a full-on attack is easier to spot and resist than subtleties.  He’ll try to ease us into evil a little at a time.

Let’s try to work Halloween out of our lives and replace it with worship.  If Halloween is a prime night of power for our enemy, why not spend it in church praying?  Sing hymns, praise God, and be God’s spiritual warriors!  Make your alternate plans now while you have most of the month to come up with an alternative.

Be Patient

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.    2 Peter 3:9

I thought of this verse as I read about Abraham’s story in Genesis.  Here’s a quick recap of what God told him when and the promises He made.

God’s first promise came to Abram at age 75.  He and Sarai were childless, and Abram was resigned to the idea that someone not his heir would inherit everything.  God told him it would not be so; he would be the father of a great people.  He would indeed have an heir of his own flesh and blood.

Eleven years later, no kids.  Genesis 16 records how Sarai was getting impatient.  Her suggestion?  Have Abram sleep with her servant, an Egyptian named Hagar.  Apparently, he didn’t need much convincing to bed Hagar, and Hagar had his son in short order.  She got a little uppity with Sarai, having had the child Sarai wanted.

Sarai went after Abram like this was his idea.  Guys, let’s all take a lesson from Abram; sex with anyone but your wife – even with the best intentions (did I actually just write that??) –won’t end well for you.  Keep it in your tunic!

Cut to Genesis 21.  Abram is 99 years old.  Three travelers come to camp, God in His three Persons.  Abram prevails on them to stay while he gets them a meal.  Toward the conclusion of their visit, they reiterate God’s promise of fathering a great nation.  Sarai, now well past her child-bearing years, sits inside the tent and laughs; yeah…that’ll happen!

One year later they have their son, Isaac.  Twenty-five years after the original promise.

Being a human being and lacking patience, I’d be tempted to tell God that the whole Hagar thing never would’ve happened if He’d have been a little quicker on the trigger.

God’s correct answer would be to remind me that He is God.  How about some faith?

What are you waiting for from God?  I was waiting for work after having been laid off.  We lost everything.  I kept telling God that I trusted Him, so…when will “the cavalry” get here?  It did indeed show up, but in God’s time.

When waiting on God, we all need to remember that our human clocks run a lot faster than God’s!  Let’s make every effort to be prayerfully patient!

Casting Pearls…

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”    Matthew 7:6

I seldom get combative comments here.  That happened last weekend.  Someone took umbrage at my article October 2020, Abortion Ritual.  It was a report on how the Satanic Temple has come up with an abortion ritual.  From the Satanic Temple website:

The Satanic abortion ritual provides spiritual comfort and affirms bodily autonomy, self-worth, and freedom from coercive forces with the affirmation of TST’s Seven Tenets. The ritual is not intended to convince a person to have an abortion. Instead, it sanctifies (?!?) the abortion process by instilling confidence and protecting bodily rights when undergoing the safe and scientific procedure.

Yes, more weasel words and wiggle room.  I wrote about the basics of the abortion ritual from the Satanic Temple’s own site and how nice sounding words hid what is actually not so nice.  At least not for the unborn child.

The “someone” asked what makes me the final arbiter of what others think, called me a hypocrite to the nth degree, and had some tortured logic that we celebrate birthdays instead of conception days, proving that human life begins at birth, not conception.  He then elaborated on my conception day, the day my father screwed my mother and how his sperm fertilized her egg.

Um…

My logical mind thought of all the ways I could refute his rude comments.  I then realized that his attack and name-calling showed him to be someone who cannot be argued with.  He might think he’s logical and reasonable, but his tone and comments showed him otherwise.

I was reminded of a saying I read long ago that still serves well.  Never argue with an idiot; people won’t be able to tell you apart.  That’s not me name-calling so much as trying to point out that some people simply cannot be reasoned with.  What would you call them?

I deleted his comment.  He can, of course, have his opinions and express them…on his site.  Anyone visiting at my site is just that, a visitor.  Like a guest in my home, I expect civility from visitors.  Civil disagreements are how we sharpen personal understanding.  Name calling and crude references do nothing to enlighten.

This discussion will hopefully give other readers who also blog an option on how to deal with trolls who visit…especially Christian bloggers.  I have two fellow bloggers – friends, really – who have had problems with trolls, and have discussed how to deal with them.

Jesus’ had the best advice; don’t cast your pearls before swine.  Some people just won’t hear you.  Furthermore, just like feral swine, they will try to tear you apart and eat you.

Jesus echoed this same principle when sending out His disciples into the surrounding villages:

 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!    Matthew 10:13-15

Jesus also practiced what He preached in dealing with the Pharisees.  They did not accept Him, and He treated them accordingly.  Those Jews who at least tried to understand, like Joseph of Arimathea, were welcomed and taught.  In fact, it was that same Joseph who provided the tomb for Jesus in between His crucifixion and resurrection.

Some dissenters can be reasoned with.  Some cannot.

If you’re a blogger who attracts trolls from time to time, consider how you’d deal with someone who came into your house and took a dump in your living room.  Do you let them stay on or spend your limited time with those whom you can talk civilly?

A Purposeful Life

Motivation was my article for Wednesday, August 8.  It covered how people are lacking motivation these days.  Why work when you don’t have to pay rent and can have a comfortable government income?

I followed that up with The Zombi Apocalypse on August 22 based on the book Hollowed Out; A Warning About America’s Next Generation (Regnery Publishing).

“We need to brace ourselves for what lies ahead. I write this book as an alarm bell . . . a project born out of worry, concern and frustration,” says Jeremy Adams.  This National Teacher of the Year nominee is watching the hollowing out of an entire generation.  They are lacking everything human beings have traditionally held close for higher meaning…contentment at least.

What they are lacking, whatever form it takes, is purpose.  Apparently too many people find purpose in lying on their couches and collecting free money.  A poor purpose it is too!  What are such people adding to the world?  What are they doing to make other lives better?  There was no greater satisfaction for me as a teacher than watching that moment when a student went from dull stare to wide-eyed understanding!

That my friends, is purpose!  That is a calling that has been hard-wired into me.

I’m reminded of The Purpose Filled Life by Rick Warren.  I haven’t read it, but I did some cursory research on it and Warren.  He is an American Baptist evangelical Christian pastor and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention in Lake Forest, California.

The purposes he lays out in his book are:

Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Christian Worship) Purpose #2: You Were Formed for God’s Family (Christian Church) Purpose #3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship) Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God (Christian Ministry)

These all are good goals, purposes to have in life.  How we each get there is an individual journey as we learn the gifts God has given us.  I can’t say I recommend the book, not having read it, but it seems a good premise at face value.

Find purpose in your life!  Find that thing that lights you up and then learn how to pursue as the framework of your life.  Accept that your livelihood and your purpose may not be one in the same.  St. Paul’s “day job” was a tentmaker to support himself in his purpose of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.

In fact, Paul’s purpose of preaching to Gentiles was the furthest thing from his mind!  He was “a Jews of the Jews” and devout Pharisee.  He would have shuddered at the very thought of mingling with Gentiles!  Then Jesus explained it to him, and the rest is history!

My point is that you should pursue a purpose in your life best you can but be open to God’s direction.  Just keep trying to live well and do Hid will, which you can discover in the Bible.  God will handle the rest.

Here’s an analogy I like to share; We need to keep moving in our lives, because not even God can steer a car that isn’t rolling!

Are you rolling purposefully in your life?  Are you giving God something to steer, or are you just lying there waiting for your next check…in whatever form it takes?

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.  14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.    Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The Zombie Apocalypse

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.    John 17:17

I read a fascinating opinion piece in the New York Post online; Gen Z is Made of Zombies.  Jeremy Adams, a teacher in California, shows his students several pictures at the start of each new year.  They easily identify Miley Cyrus or Kendall Jenner and other celebrities.  The give blank stares for pictures of Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence.

Adam’s book, Hollowed Out; A Warning About America’s Next Generation (Regnery Publishing) goes into what he is finding in our Generation Z.

“We need to brace ourselves for what lies ahead. I write this book as an alarm bell . . . a project born out of worry, concern and frustration,” says Adams.  This National Teacher of the Year nominee is watching the hollowing out of an entire generation.  They are lacking everything human beings have traditionally held close for higher meaning…contentment at least.

He writes that suicide has become the second-leading cause of deaths for our youth.  Depression has sky-rocketed from 2007 to 2017.

But why?

Teachers have gone from equipping students with knowledge and the basic education needed to function in society to spending a lot of energy on understanding.  If you think about it, it’s a fool’s errand.  Honest scientists admit that even the act of observing something changes the nature of what’s being observed to try and understand it.

How can one understand an empty vessel?  How can anyone learn about the motivation of young people who have been given no motivation?  The profession once designed to give motivation now seeks to understand their failure…after having forsaken motivation!

Adams says that the decline of the family plays a dominant part in all this.  Not only are youngsters not being tended to adequately by teachers, they are being ignored at home where normal, traditional family life grounded young people.  Dinners are spent not at table with family but alone staring into the electronic abyss of cell phones and tablets.

From the article:

He also bemoans the evaporation of religious life. While only 2 percent of Americans identified themselves as “atheists” in 1984, that number was 22 percent by 2020. A college religion professor notes that when he discusses Matthew from the Bible, many students think he’s talking about Matthew Perry of “Friends.” And Luke? His students assume it’s the guy from “Beverly Hills 90210.” 

Religion has been replaced by “a mass culture of ‘banality, conformity, and self-indulgence,’ ” Adams writes, not to mention an obsession with technology.

This agrees with my recent article ‘How Did We Get Here?’.  That gives an overview of the work of famed Satanist Alistair Crowley.  We can clearly see the results of his efforts roughly 100 years later.  I also document a list of steps adopted by Communist Russia during the Cold War to destabilize America from within, many of which we can see at work today.  Clearly, Adam’s writing provides an independent confirmation of sorts to what I’ve been writing about for some time now.

Adams predicts that today’s young people will be unprepared for the future. In 2014, a US general was quoted saying “the quality of people willing to serve has been declining rapidly,” with 71 percent of current 17-24-year-olds ineligible due to obesity, criminal records, mental health or drug issues.

Again, this is an independent confirmation of something a friend of mine told me years ago.  He’s a US Navy Commander.  I asked him if a knew about a suicide I read about in the news aboard an aircraft carrier.  He said there are many more that don’t make the news.  Today’s youth are ill-equipped for the stress of serving on a US warship.  Not only is their academic education lacking, but so is their emotional education.  This, of course, harkens to Adams’ comment above that religion has been replaced by everything God tells us to avoid; replacing Him with other gods…cell phones and empty culture.

I’ve mentioned C.S. Lewis’ analogy before, but it bears repeating.  God is like a people-making factory.  The Bible is His instruction manual on how to operate said product within design parameters.  We ignore it at our peril.  The evidence is – scarily – before us.

Motivation?

And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.     2 Corinthians 11:9

I deal with retail parts suppliers as a factory rep.  The problem I see everywhere I go, whether at those stores, or hotels, restaurants and more is that people are electing to stay home and take government assistance checks than working for a living.  I understand the thinking that in the short term they make more money than from holding a job.  I understand, but I also condemn that way of thinking.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians above he writes about how he could expect them to support him as a worker for the Gospel, but he explains that he kept from being a burden to him.  Paul’s trade was as a tent maker, and that’s how he supported himself when he stayed someplace to establish a church.  He did the right thing.

When I was laid off in 2006, I could have made as much on unemployment as I did working a low-paying job.  I decided to work, because I know that it’s easier to find a job if you have a job.  That very decision got me a job more in line with my career.  My manager hired me, because I was willing to work at anything in order to keep myself going.

I want to share my upbringing and work history with you, not to brag but to explain why I am the way I am.  Once I was in high school, I only got food and my room from them.  I was also allowed to use the family car, but only if I paid for my own insurance and my gas.  If I wanted extras, I had to get a job.  I got my first job washing dishes at a Frisch’s restaurant when I was 15.  Except for a couple layoffs, I’ve worked ever since.

I wanted to go out with my friends and have extras, and that motivated me to work for it.  If I wanted to go to college, I had to get work and save for it.

I remember going to someone’s house when I was in grad school to do some acting coaching.  It was extra money.  It was in a very nice development; lots of grass and trees…a beautiful setting.  I was very self-conscious driving my ’68 Rambler station wagon into such a nice neighborhood.  I never though I’d ever be able to live like that.  But…I kept working and striving.  I was motivated to at least do better than I was, to have better than I had.

I fell in love, got married, and we started a family immediately.  Accidently.  I was extremely motivated to be a good father and husband and sacrificed to make enough money to keep everyone fed, clothed, and sheltered.

What I see these days is zero motivation in the work force.  I see people who do what’s easy in the short term.  They lack motivation to make a better future for themselves.  They lack motivation and maybe even the upbringing and education to even think about the future!

How did this happen?  I think that we can see the decline in a work ethic coincide with a decline in looking to God for answer on how to live our lives.  Do they know how St. Paul didn’t make himself a burden to those he came to share the Gospel with?  Do they have his example of working hard as he made tents to earn a living while he preached about Jesus?  Are they motivated by God’s love to live a life that is pleasing to Him?

Right now, it doesn’t seem like it, and that is sad.  They could be so much happier in life than they are!!