Reading History

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.    Philippians 4:8

This past weekend saw any number of articles about how warped the Fourth of July celebration is, how screwed up the Founding Fathers were, and how flawed the Declaration of Independence is.  There’s a mistake that most of these criticisms have in common; not recognizing context.

But let me first point you back to my 7/4 article, The Miracle of America.  It is based on an article by the same title, which was linked in the post.  Yes, America is a miracle, but it also has its sordid, ugly sides.  I will not make any excuses for past bad behavior, but I want you to think about this…

One of the first things to understand about studying history is to look at it through its own time.  If you truly wish to understand what happened or was written at a certain point in time, your first job is to look at it in the context of its time!  Anything else is just trying to argue against something before you fully understand it.

Have you ever conversed with someone who only listened to argue?  Maybe you’ve done it yourself.  That person constantly interrupts by playing a game of “gotcha” with almost every syllable you utter.  You never have a chance to completely paint the picture of whatever it is that you advocate.  Nothing of substance never happens in such conversations.  All that matters at the end is who scored the most and biggest points.  Truth becomes a casualty.

That’s what everyone was doing this year.  Without belaboring all the criticisms and dirty laundry of America, please allow me to give you what we can truly take from our Founding Founders, the Declaration, and the birth of our country.

I will not excuse the hypocrisy of “All men are created equal” when laid next to slavery.  It can’t be done.  But here’s what we can understand.  The Founding Fathers were men of their time.  Slavery was a fait accompli before they were born.  They were “in the chute” of history without even knowing it, riding that slide to its conclusion.

Slavery was not right, but for them it was normal.  It’s like a dog who has been chained to a stake in the ground its whole life.  It knows nothing else.

Of course, there were those Founders who didn’t like slavery and were becoming enlightened.  Still, they were unable to discover a way around it as they wrestled with the idea of independence from Britain.  It was a tough nut to crack, as the massively destructive Civil War was to prove.

Thomas Jefferson

What, then, did they do?  They wrote a Declaration of Independence that sounded all the right notes, even if the Founders themselves were unable to play them all in their time.  They were flawed men aspiring to bring about something great, even if at least some of them knew further greatness would be beyond their lifetimes.

But it was a start!

And let’s remember this – we are all flawed!  We all, even in our best efforts, miss things and produce flawed results.  I’ve been in leadership roles and been close to top corporate leadership in corporate planning meetings, and I can tell you that leading and governing invariably draw criticisms and attacks.  We must thank God who has blessed us with leaders in every capacity who have the vision and courage to forge a trail.

No one in our current time as had the need to summon enough courage to start a completely new country based on principles no one has ever use.  How dare we denigrate the Founding Fathers for laying a foundation that produced a world leader!

If someone wants to critique their efforts in founding a brand-new country, let’s lead with what they got right.  Let’s lead with what the long-term results are.  Let’s write articles with headlines that call attention to what got done right instead of vilifying our country and its foundations.

One doesn’t heal a wound by picking at the scab and constantly reopening old scars.  Healing comes from nurturing the healthy parts of the body that contribute to healing the damaged parts.  In dealing with our mixed history, let’s cling to the foundations which grew a country that, more than any other, people clamor to enter.  Let’s continue to grow the good of America, which people risk death to arrive at.  Let’s prune away the damaged parts and heal those pruning scars.

We must put aside past hurts, however foul, and proceed together in unity.  We must always focus on the good even as we address the bad.  That is true for people, and what is a country but a large group of people?

Betrayed by Their Apps!

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.    Matthew 24:42

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I do my best to follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 24 – Watch!

For a quick primer on Matthew 24, this is often called the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus’ disciples asked him about the end times, and Matthew 24 is His answer.  End times prophecies started with Daniel in the Old Testament.  Most of his prophecies came true, enigmatic as they were.

The Olivet Discourse builds on Daniel and provides a very short version of Revelation.  The sequence of events in Matthew mirror the future events related in Jesus’ Revelation to John.  That makes sense, of course!  Jesus “authored” both!

One event that is clear even though not explicitly stated is a one world government.  The Anti-Christ will arrive as a charismatic man who will finally solve the problem of peace in the Middle East.  The indication is that he heads a single government.

When I watch current events and hold them up to Biblical descriptions, I pay attention and watch to see what develops.

That leads tonight to a recent article you may have heard about; certain electric utility customers in Texas realized their homes were getting awfully warm, because their thermostats had been raised by the utility company through the app they signed up for.  Some were aware this could happen, but most were unpleasantly surprised.  They didn’t realize that they had relinquished control of their thermostat to the utility.

My point is that we are gradually giving up our ability to make our own decisions without oversight from some other entity.

Do you use a GPS app on your phone?  Have you ever wondered how those apps detect slowed traffic ahead?  They track your phone and everyone else’s and watch how fast or slow they are going.

Let me tell you an experience of mine dealing with the US Secret Service.  I was working the front desk of a large hotel in Ohio in 1983.  Vice President George Bush was staying there, so we had a lot of security considerations.

My bellman came to me after taking an odd woman to her room.  She showed him her cane.  Sword cane, that is.  With Vice President Bush in the building.

Um…

I called the Secret Service room and told them what had happened.  He asked for her credit card number and said he’d get back to me.  It wasn’t close to a half hour before he called back and said not to worry about her.  She’s not a threat.

They were able to make that determination that fast before we had the internet!  Who knows what information they can mine on us now!

Look you, I’m already in the chute, so to speak.  Society has gotten to the point that we really need to have cell phones, computers, etc.  What we can do is to either be extremely judicious with social media or maybe withdraw altogether.  After all, we were plenty social back in the day when the only phones were land lines…with rotary dials.  If you’re too young to know what that means, just Google it.

Still, we are not to live in fear.  We should live cautiously, not putting ourselves out there too much and inviting trouble.  God is already in our future, and He has everything handled!

The Grey Men

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.    Acts 1:14

The Grey Men is the title of a book by Ralph Hope about how the Stasi, the secret police, controlled and even drove people to suicide all in the name of the state.  How did they do it?  “No touch” torture.

Some examples are calling people on their house phone and not talking when they answer.  This could go on periodically for hours on end.  Sometimes they would continually enter people’s homes and make small but noticeable changes in the house; slight furniture arrangement, moving things around, opening drawers, etc.  It drove some people quite mad and some to suicide.

From the book:

“The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident,” writes German historian Hubertus Knabe. ‘It preferred to paralyse them and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions.’ 

The book, by former FBI agent Ralph Hope, whose beat included Eastern Europe, tries to track the progress of those thousands of Stasi secret policemen who never faced punishment for what they had done but simply disappeared into the reunited Germany, reinventing themselves as businessmen, academics and politicians. 

What’s more, 21st-century Germany, he says, seems happy to connive in this, with ‘apathy and a misplaced nostalgia for a ‘quaint and fun’ East Germany that never existed’ supplanting the historical truth.

So much so that, according to polls, a majority of students in Germany today think there were democratic elections in the old East Germany whereas the truth is that it was a one-party, Left-wing dictatorship whose power was protected by thugs.

This happens today in the US, although it isn’t done directly by the government.  We call it “gaslighting.”  The difference between gaslighting today and no-touch torture in the past is that it is done digitally today.

There’s no need for a late-night knock at the door — Facebook is already inside.

This isn’t too far-fetched, not when you consider what is already happening in China. There, the WeChat messaging service — used by a billion people across the globe — is routinely scanned.

Here in the US the woke brigade are the new secret police.  Especially horrific is how they’re going after our children, indoctrinating them into woke culture and Critical Race Theory.  Those that it sticks to will end up opposing their parents and possibly end up reporting them at some point.

That scenario reads not too unlike Nazi Germany, where kids were indoctrinated as Hitler Youth and would report their parents for not being in line with party ideology.  Our current state of affairs is nothing like Nazi Germany right now, but the parallels are unmistakable.

Again, from the article:

It’s (Stasi like tactics) happening here already, under the guise of keeping us safe from CV, if more people don’t start resisting these stupid rules it will never stop.

This is why Christians must be involved in their communities and be aware of what’s happening in government.  Freedom of Speech and Religion are already being eroded.  This erosion of our rights will continue. If we do not stand up for ourselves.

A Canadian Underground Church

 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.    Matthew 6:33-34

No, I’m not talking about underground as in actually being under the soil.  This is a church that has been shut down by the Canadian government over the COVID crisis.

GraceLife Church in Alberta was shut down for failing to follow public gathering rules by the government.  The pastor, James Coates, was jailed for over a month in a maximum-security prison.  He was led away in chains, apparently without a trial.

Um…  Maximum security?  For a pastor who was just leading worship services?

After his release, police erected a fence around the church to prevent people from using the building.  Over two hundred police – including riot police – were guarding the fence line on a Sunday to make sure no one got in.

Gosh!  I hope they were all socially distanced!

Pastor and author John MacArthur confirmed that they will continue to exercise religious liberty and stand against abuses of power in Canada by worshipping together in an undisclosed location.  GraceLife is the first church in North America to be shut down and go underground.  With this precedent, it may well not be the last.

Canada used the pandemic to target a Christian organization as it continues its secular agenda.  Although there were large protests at the church by outraged citizens, the government really isn’t backing down.  Otherwise, why would GraceLife start having secret meetings?

Now is the time for all of us on this side of the Atlantic to start taking the threat against the faithful seriously.  We haven’t had religious persecution here and can’t imagine it could happen, but it has!  We need to let this shake us out of our complacency to pray for God’s providence as secular authorities continue to put pressure on Christianity.

Prayer; it should be our means of first resort!  Studying our Bibles should be a virtual tie with it in importance.  Talk to God in prayer and hear His answers in His written, inspired Word.

America’s Place

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”    Matthew 5:14-16

Today’s article is based on an article from The Real Truth magazine.

The Matthew 5 verse above is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Politicians have used this city on a hill imagery to their political advantages over the years.  Yet, it’s roots as part of American heritage go back centuries.

Puritan leader, John Winthrop wrote a sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” in 1630.  From his sermon:

“The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and by-word throughout this world.”

Perry Miller, a mid-century scholar of history and literature, was travelling abroad when he had an epiphany.  While mentally reviewing great civilization throughout history, he was struck with the motivation to discover and define what moved America to be what it is.  It was in that research that he uncovered Winthrop’s sermon.  Here it was; America’s reason for being, the thing that makes us a great country with a responsibility to the world.

From the Real Truth article:

The National Endowment for the Humanities said Miller “turned it into the key text of American origins.”

Winthrop preached to those first “Americans” that they were doing something very different, very grand.  People will pay attention to how this great experiment turns out.  He drew on Old Testament teachings, and that effort had the Founding Fathers making the connection between the USA and ancient Israel.

Indeed, one original design for the new country’s seal was the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with Egypt in pursuit and Moses leading the way.  Such was the impact of God’s Word and the history of His people on the founding of America.

After the first meeting of congress in the then-capitol of New York City, Washington led a procession of the representatives to St. Paul’s chapel, which still stands near Ground Zero.  Following is his prayer, which is prayed aloud every day at Mt. Vernon.

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Devine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.  Amen

The question must now be asked, are we a happy nation?  We were before and after the Second World War, living on the sacrifices of The Greatest Generation.  We found ourselves to be a world leader without ever intending to be.  I submit that it happened because of who we were and what we believed.

Are we as happy now as we were in the late 40’s and the 50’s?  Are as happy after listening to Madelaine Murray O’Hare and abolishing public school prayer and removing the Ten Commandments from our courthouses?

Or are we in danger of becoming a story and by-word throughout this world?

Rule of law is becoming scarcer every year, it seems.  Vulgarity and the demonic have become our national entertainment.  Our sacred freedom of speech is under attack in light of “wokeness.”

Pray.  I like to say prayer should be our means of first resort.  Yes, there are other things we can do from freely sharing our faith to political involvement.  We should each do what we feel led to do, using our spiritual gifts from God.  Pray for all those who fight against evil, whether in uniform or in the halls of government.  Pray for those who are going against God’s Word for their enlightenment and change for the better.

America has been a light.  It still is.  People still make heroic efforts to come here.  The question is for how long?

Equality

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…    Ephesians 5:22-25

linked gold wedding rings on white background

People hate this part of Ephesians 5, because they can’t get past Paul telling wives to submit to their husbands.  I challenge to try to grasp what is truly being said here.  Namely, the husband arguably has the tougher role.  If his behavior in marriage is to mimic what Christ has done for the church as His bride, a husband is to make the first move in doing the hard things that need doing.  He has to practice sacrificial behavior in favor of his wife for her benefit.

Her loving response is to submit to him just as the church submits to Christ.  It is not a matter of servitude or slavery.  It is about sacrificial love being rewarded by submissively grateful love!

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

There is no overall equality in the world.  How could there be when there are different tasks that need to be done, different roles that contribute to the whole?

As I have often said, issues usually remain muddy – often deliberately so – until terms are precisely defined and applied consistently.

This brings us to today’s topic: Equality.  Namely, the Equality Act.  Conservative Candace Owen had an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News.  As usual, she excels at defining issues and not letting others get away with careless and even misleading use of language.

“I find this to be unbelievably offensive: the idea there is nothing different between men and women.  ‘They don’t know what equality is. They don’t know what equality means.  They believe in sameness. Making everybody a carbon copy of the others.”

I don’t know that she’s being deliberately Biblical, but her analysis echoes St. Paul that there are differences between men and women and each have their place in the world.  She believes that people should be treated fairly, but they should not be forced into all being the same!  Here’s her version of equality:

Owens said that conservatives ‘want to make sure there are equal opportunities, but we acknowledge that there are real biological realities that cannot be ignored.’

If equality means equal pay for equal work, then I’m in agreement.

She also brought up the latest hot button on the equality issue…women’s sports:

Conservative activist Candace Owens warned on Monday night that the Equality Act threatened to end competitive sport for women, describing the bill which passed the House last week as ‘unbelievably offensive’ and ‘quite frankly, insulting’.

Her point is supported by Inez Stepman.

On Tuesday Inez Stepman, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum, claimed that the effects of removing sex from criteria had already been felt.

‘In Connecticut, two biologically male athletes won a combined 15 girls state championship races, allegedly taking opportunities for further competition and scholarships from female runners in June 2019,’ she wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

Who is looking after equality for those biologically female athletes who are being displaced by biologically male athletes “identifying” as female??  Mind you, I’m not dismissing their claims that they feel like women in men’s bodies.  I’m not going to play mind reader here.  But there is no denying the fact that such males still have the biology which makes their bodies male and stronger and faster than female bodies.

Then there is the religious aspect.  The Equality Act could force religious organizations to hire people who live a sexual lifestyle that is in opposition to the Bible.  In other words, those organizations would be forced to compromise their beliefs to accommodate the state.  That is the very sort of oppression that motivated the Pilgrims to leave Europe for a life of religious freedom across the Atantic.

Pastor Jonathan Falwell with Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, said the bill would force religious people to hire individuals who disagree with their beliefs, even if they fundamentally clash with their religious beliefs. 

The first amendment to the US Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The Equality Act certainly prohibits free exercise of religion, if it forces religious institutions to hire people who’s lifestyles undermine core beliefs.

Corporations follow this sort of thing all the time making hiring decisions.  One question is whether someone can do the job.  Equal to that – and sometimes more important – is will they fit in with the corporate culture?  Some companies are willing to hire a match to their corporate culture and work on training them into the job.  That is how important a person’s personality and life style is in impacting an organization’s culture.

Equality.  How do you define it?  St. Paul teaches us that equality is not always a good thing.  It can be damaging to an organization and a society.

Election Thoughts

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.    Romans 13:1-3

This past weekend I only wrote some fluff articles.  I really did not want to spend any time on all the fuss going on.  Even now, I would rather write about anything else!

However, there some aspects for us all to at least consider.

Although I’d rather have Trump than a pro-abortion president, although I’d rather have a president who is good for American business instead of a Democrat with a socialist VP, I’ve been silently wishing Trump would show a little grace and just concede to the inevitable.

But the election has not yet been called by the government.  Only the media and Hollywood elites have declared Biden the winner.  Shall we just hold on to our confetti until it is truly official?

I know; Biden looks to have more than enough electoral votes.  But Trump is mounting a challenge to the results, which is his constitutional right.  And what if Trump is right that there has been enough election hanky-panky to call the results into question?

Trump has been right on a number of issues before despite what the media and his opposition say.  The first one that comes to mind is the charge that he worked with the Russians to win in 2014.  He was cleared of that.  People decried the way he responded to North Korea’s assertion that they have a “red button” too.  He said that we have a bigger button than they do.  And ours works.

Critics were apoplectic that Trump was going to start a nuclear war.  The truth is that he understood the world better than most.  He knows that you have to speak their language back at them to get their attention and, frankly, their fear.

Not many people know that the Iranians were originally going to take the Russian embassy when Carter was president.  The Russians told them to go ahead.  They’d blow it up, even with their own people inside.  Fearing the Russians and not the Americans, they took our embassy instead.

Trump was right about North Korea.  They backed down and came to the bargaining table.

Yes, Trump is a lousy communicator.  He’s about the furthest thing from Ronald Reagan we can get when it comes to his constant Tweeting.  Can anyone pry that thing our of his hands?  He has a tighter grip on his iPhone than an NRA member does on his assault rifle!

With all the high decibel rhetoric against Trump’s refusal to concede the election, we need to resist the urge to pile on.  What if he’s right about voter irregularities?  What if he can produce evidence of it?  It’s his constitutional right to challenge.  Who are the media or anyone else to deny him that, especially considering Congress hasn’t declared a winner?

If Biden is truly and legitimately the winner, I know I’ll be massively disappointed, which brings us to my second point.  God decides governments.  God decides how to use countries for His purposes.

What if God has finally decided to take the country as a whole at its word?  What if He decides to exit the door He’s been shown?  He doesn’t want to, but He will, if we continue to thumb our national nose at Him.  Knowing that abortion is really murder, I’m certain that Biden is not God’s choice for president.  However unsavory Trump can be, he at least doesn’t favor abortion.

God may well give us Biden just because we’ve asked for it.  The unfortunate thing is that we might not truly understand what “it” is until we’re deep into it.

Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die.    Proverbs 15:10

Meanwhile, let’s keep our panties on and wait for this to play out constitutionally and then accept those results whatever they might be.  After all, we can be sure God is on the side of His elect even if the nation isn’t on His side.

North Korea Tortures Christians

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’     Matthew 10, selected verses

It’s often hard to remember how good we have it here in the USA.  COVID, layoffs, social violence, and more make life here…not hard, but harder than we’re used to.  Honestly, we still have one of the highest living standards in the world.  Former UK prime minister Tony Blair once observed that the measure of a country is how much people want to get into it.  Our country is almost literally beating them off with a stick!

We don’t live in mud huts or shanties.  We have clean drinking water and plumbing.  This year’s hoarding episodes aside, we have supermarkets with no lines and more food than most of the world’s population can imagine.  I once heard a comedian observe that The Food Channel would be a form of porn in some countries.

Christianity is being persecuted here.  No talk of God allowed in government or schools.  To advocate God’s laws is being seen increasingly like hate speech.  People can lose their jobs over their Christian beliefs.  Some people are beaten in public confrontations over their faith.

Still, systematic persecution is not here yet.  It’s hard to imagine just how bad it is in other countries.  I saw an article in the London Daily Mail about the abuses perpetrated by the North Korean government against religion in general and Christianity in particular.

While the prisons are designed to punish all religious believers, former inmates recalled how the harshest punishments were reserved for Christians.

Pregnant women are forced into abortions and newborns are killed.  There is an electrified cage, three feet high by four feet wide that people are forced to sit in until they die.  One Christian survivor told how he prayed for deliverance.  He passed out after twelve hours and woke up with multiple injuries from a beating he was given while unconscious!

The report detailing these abuses was collected by the London-based Korea Future Initiative, which helps rescue people from North Korea.  The accounts came from 117 victims rescued by that agency.  They related hundreds of instances where people were punished for their beliefs; imprisonment, all manner of torture, sexual violence, and even public executions designed as a deterrent.

Family members turn each other in.  Some imprisoned Christians save themselves by agreeing to act as spies and help ferret out other believers in their community.  It is common for whole families to simply disappear without a trace.

Il-lyong Ju, exiled human rights advocate who helped put the report together, said: ‘The cruel actions of the privileged few in North Korea who take our lives and control our thoughts must be prevented. 

‘North Korean officials, whose crimes evoke thoughts of Auschwitz, must be identified and held accountable. 

‘And we must not forget the testimonies of the survivors in this report who have overpowered death in North Korea. 

‘This is the least that we, the free North Koreans, and you… who has been granted freedom at birth, can do as our collective act of humanity. 

‘We have freedom. The North Korean people do not.’

Indeed, these actions are just like what the early church suffered in Rome and beyond.  Some Christians went bravely to their fates.  Others renounced their faith to escape the lions and other public “entertainments.”  The church at that time was sharply divided as to whether such lapsed believers should ever be allowed back!

Such are the persecutions that are shockingly common in many countries.  Our fellow Christians need our prayers and whatever other help we can offer.  One of the biggest weapons is knowledge.  The more people who know about this North Korean pogrom against Christians, the harder it will be for them to continue.

If you feel so moved, I ask you to share this article as much as possible.  This is something I don’t normally ask, but it’s important.

And keep praying!

Clearing the Noise

Back to the topic of COVID19.  I know – this isn’t really a biblical issue.  I don’t have any theological points to make off it.  I just want to help you understand what is actually happening with this whole crisis.  There’s a lot of static in the news drowning out the real information.

As I’ve written all year, the key is the mortality rate!  Yes, there are horrific stories about young people dying from the disease and others who survived after a lot of pain.  But these are the outliers, the exceptions in the overall narrative.  Let’s recap:

Using published figures on the number of cases number of deaths, anyone can quickly calculate the mortality rate as a percent: deaths divided by cases.  The original figures gave us an approximate rate of 4%.  That quickly rose to 5% and essentially stayed there, plus/minus a few tenths.  About a month ago it fell to an even 3% and few weeks ago was down to 2.87%.  As of 10/9 that rate is down slightly to 2.79%. That’s cumulative since the start, which means the actual current rate is much lower.

The latest headline, without citing mortality, affirms this information: Daily COVID-19 cases in the US are the highest they’ve been in two months.  Deaths, however, are still trending downwards.

By comparison, your average, run-of-the-mill flu historically has a mortality rate of 0.12%.  The Spanish Flu of 1918 was much higher with estimates as high as 20%.

COVID is worse than a normal flu but nowhere near a real pandemic like the Spanish Flu!

Look at it like this.  You’re in a room with 100 people with ages reflecting the population at large.  2-3 of you will die, randomly.  Would you be worried?  Add to that the fact that the random selection is weighted toward people in their 70’s and 80’s, just like with COVID.  Now how worried are you?

See?  The news reports what makes you worried and keeps you coming back.  That’s how they make their money!  Similarly, politicians win elections by telling you what to fear and how they’ll protect you from it.  Truth is a casualty in both cases.

President Trump is going around saying we need to live our lives.  He says, yes, he got sick, but he’s doing well.  All of America needs to start living again!  I wish he was more of a communicator like President Reagan, because his ham-handed tweets don’t come across well, but he’s on the right track.  The statistics prove it!

I am not writing any of this to protect Trump.  I’m trying to protect the truth!!

The shutdown has produced a spike in suicides, alcoholism, overdoses, and tens of thousands of lives financially ruined – perhaps permanently.  The “cure” has proven worse than the disease.

So, let’s work to reason for ourselves and find the truth.  No news service, no politician will give it to you clearly.

And I guess I do have a theological point to make.  It’s about worry, and the best advice comes from Matthew 6:25-34, especially the last verse:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Here endeth the lesson.

Big Brother vs Big Father

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.    Matthew 6:31-34

Should You Trust Big Tech? by Justin M. Frazier dated June 16, 2020 tells us a lot of what we already know.  The internet, while good for a lot of things, is also a master spy into our personal lives.  That includes the apps on our phones.  Every click, every swipe, every drive, every walk tracks everywhere we go and everything we do.

Here’s what happened to me the other day.  I bought some vitamin supplements online.  The next time I visited the London Daily Mail news website, guess what bombarded and filled the space on the right side of the screen?  Not just vitamins, but the exact things I just bought!!

Do you use a GPS app on your phone for directions?  If so, you’ve probably experienced it sometimes suggesting an alternate route due to construction or an accident.  As you approach the congested area, you see your current route turn orange and then red.  That information doesn’t come from police scanners.  It comes from that very app registering a major slowdown on a road designed for faster traffic.  Everyone’s phone is sending their place and progress back to the app.

We might say, “So what?”  But you’ve also heard how internet providers, social media platforms and more sell information you give them via your “clicks” to the highest bidder to ensnare as many people as possible into buying their products and services.

Anyone paying attention to the current COVID-19 situation knows that the government has been harvesting cell phone data to determine whether people are staying home and restricting travel as the government determines.  It’s both a matter of aggregate numbers, but they can also track individuals.  If you’ve been diagnosed with the virus, the government can track where you’ve been and where you go, using your phone, to determine if you’re being a responsible citizen and seeing who you might have encountered.

All this information is useful for companies, but the government likes it too.  As freedoms erode ever so slowly, the government can use all this data to start ensuring social compliance.  If you think not, look at what’s been happening in China.  They are already there with closed circuit cameras tracking people – not too different from London.  But the Chinese have also started implementing a system of social control which tracks everything you do.

Citizens start out with X number of points to their name.  You can buy and eat what you want, but if those things are graded poorly by the government, you lose points.  The fewer points you have, the more restricted your access to government services and medicine.

The article linked above has some interesting comments; 71% of people polled are concerned about Big Tech and want the government to do something about this privacy invasion.  Roughly 30% are afraid of government using their data to target them.

My favorite quote from the article: “If you’re not paying for it, you are not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

Here’s a case in point from the article:

Charles Duhigg investigated how companies use data to personalize advertisements. In a 2012 New York Times article, he recounted a story about an angry father yelling at the manager of a local Target store for sending baby-themed ads to his teenage daughter. The manager knew nothing about the advertising but apologized for the ads. He called the man a few days later to apologize again. The father told him that his daughter was indeed already pregnant. The ads revealed something the teen wanted to keep secret.

Privacy is gone.

Now, there are those in government who try to introduce legislation to regulate such data use.  However, if you think about it for just a moment, it is not in the government’s interest overall to do so.  I sincerely doubt those who mean well will succeed in the long run, but such regulation is not in the government’s long-term interests.

This has historical precedent.  When the phone system was first being assembled, law enforcement agencies worked with those first phone companies to ensure there was a “back door” for them to enter the system to check on criminals if need be.

Big Brother is very real, both in reality in parts of the world and lying dormant waiting for his moment in other parts.

My daughter rarely reads the news anymore.  It’s just too depressing and worrying.  But her is her comfort as well as mine and yours – Big Brother might be watching, but we have a Big Father over him…and everything else!  We need to be aware of what’s happening in our world; that’s why Jesus and the prophets have given us glimpses of the future.  That’s why Jesus told us to watch.

The Anti-Christ will most likely be the head of a one-world government with tight controls on everything.  The sort of control through technology that we see growing today makes a great prelude to his arrival!  I’m not saying I think it’s going to happen soon, but, as Jesus instructed, I try to keep watch.

Our big heavenly Father is watching over everything and everyone.  The world will proceed, and time will unfold according to His plan for our welfare.  The Old Testament prophets give us example after example on how God ultimately preserved His people on earth.  They deliver promise after promise that He will deliver us all permanently.  All we need do is cling to Him in faith and obedience.

Big Brother vs. Big Father??  That one’s no contest!!