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Category Archives: Culture

Another non-apology apology

The exploits of Ryan Lochte have been well chronicled over the past week. Unfortunately, he became more infamous for his behavior out of the pool than famous for his accomplishments in the pool.

In reading his apology, I was more surprised by what he didn’t say than what he did say. He led off by stating,

Lochte apology 1

He apologized for “not being more careful and candid.” He didn’t apologize for vandalizing a service station, lying to cover up his actions, leaving town to avoid facing the consequences, or waiting to come forward until his teammates were able to leave the country.

His apology went on to say,

Lochte apology 2

Lochte didn’t apology for creating the traumatic situation. Instead, he shifted the blame to the security guards for stopping the vandalism and for the station attendant asking him to pay for the damages. He played the victim card and called it a “traumatic” situation “with a language barrier – and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave.”

He closed his apology by stating,

Lochte apology 3

His last paragraph sounds curiously like, “Stop calling attention to my sins and let’s go back to talking my athletic achievements.”

While he said, “I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons,” it has the feel of when parents caught me doing something wrong and asked, “Are you sorry for what you did or just sorry you got caught?” His apology has the ring of the latter rather than the former.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Quotes, Sports

 

Religion in the news

Three news stories about religious issues caught my eye this week. The first two are ones I’ve followed with great interest. The third one struck me as amusing because of the reasons given for the decision.

Preserve Faith-Based Higher Education – “Yesterday, the presidents of California’s faith-based higher education institutions received news from Kristen F. Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), about Senator Lara’s intent to amend SB 1146 to only include disclosure requirements and add a new item requiring institutions to disclose reasons for student expulsions to the California Student Aid Commission. He intends to inform the Assembly Appropriations Committee of these amendments later today. Pending review of this new language, Biola will change its position on this legislation from “oppose unless amended” to “support.” Biola has long held to the importance of transparency in explaining their policies and the reasons for them.” If you’ve been following the story, this is very good news and cause to praise and thank God.

First Russian Charged Under Controversial Anti-Missionary Law – “A Krishnaite in southern Russia’s Cherkessk has been charged under the “Yarovaya Law” for handing out religious books on the street, the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis reported Thursday. This is the first time that charges have been pressed under the anti-missionary part of the controversial law.” And so it begins …

Cannes Mayor David Lisnard Bans Burkinis on City’s Beaches – The seaside French city of Cannes has banned burkinis, full-body swimsuits worn by some Muslim women, from its beaches. Mayor David Lisnard cited the recent tragedy in Nice and a subsequent attack on a church in Northwest France in an ordinance forbidding swimwear that doesn’t respect “good morals and secularism.” While I’m sensitive to the concern about terrorism, I found it amusing that swimsuits and beaches are places for “good morals and secularism.” With logic like that, France is on its way towards a similar law like Russia prohibiting beach evangelism.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Culture, News stories

 

Proposed State Legislation Jeopardizes Religious Freedom of California Christian Higher Education

BARRY H. COREY

Office of the President

Biola logo

Dear Biola alumni, donors and parents,

It is unprecedented for Biola University to reach out to our community regarding legislative issues, but California Senate Bill 1146 could significantly challenge Biola University’s ability to continue in the mission that has guided us for 108 years. Though Biola and other faith-based colleges and universities have worked closely with California lawmakers in recent months to find an agreeable compromise on the language of this bill, negotiations seem to have now reached an impasse. SB 1146, if passed, would substantially interfere with the ability of California’s faith-based colleges and universities to live out their religious convictions and expect their students to do the same.

As the president of Biola University, I am asking for your help today. I am asking our community of supporters, even those who live outside of California, to raise awareness about Senate Bill 1146 and the consequences it could have for California’s faith-based colleges and universities.

SB 1146, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), seeks to eliminate the current religious exemption in California that fully protects the freedom of Biola University, along with dozens of other California faith-based universities, to operate in a manner consistent with our religious mission and faith tenets. The provisions of the proposed bill represent a dramatic narrowing of religious freedom in California. It would mean schools like Biola would no longer be able to determine for themselves the scope of their religious convictions as applied in student conduct policies, housing and restroom/locker facilities, and other matters of religious expression and practical campus life. Though the free exercise of religion is guaranteed by both the U.S. and California Constitutions, SB 1146 would make religious institutions like Biola vulnerable to anti-discrimination lawsuits and unprecedented government policing.

This bill, if it became law, would diminish religious liberty in California higher education. It would unfairly harm faith-based institutions and it would weaken the rich educational diversity of our state.

Faith-based institutions of higher education are making profound contributions to the intellectual and common good of society, contributions not in spite of but because of our deeply held faith convictions. Our presence in society enriches it rather than diminishes it. We provide economic vitality to our communities. Our graduates leave with servant-leader hearts. Our focus on ethics and integrity is inherent to all our programs. A disproportionate number of our graduates seek careers in public service or non-profit organizations. Why would California want to harm institutions like this?

STOPPING SB 1146 REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION

Right now SB 1146 is being heard by the California Assembly’s various committees. It has already passed the California Senate. On Tuesday, June 28 it will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. If approved, it will then move to the Appropriations Committee and then the Assembly for a full vote, likely in August. The best chance to stop it is before it reaches the Assembly floor for debate and vote. Updates on the status of SB 1146, and timely action steps you can take to help oppose the bill, will be posted on this website, so check back regularly to stay informed.

HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP IT:

·        Step #1 — Spread the Word. Forward this email to parents, students or alumni of faith-based colleges and universities, churches or others who value religious freedom for faith-based institutions in California. Anyone who has an affinity for faith-based higher education should know about this threatening bill.

·        Step #2 — Social Media. Express your concerns about the bill on social media using hashtag #SB1146. On www.opposesb1146.com you can find suggested social media posts, as well as FAQs about the bill. Please express your concerns with civility and respect.

·        Step #3 — Pray. Pray for this moment in California history when our deeply held beliefs are being challenged. Pray that Biola is able to continue living and educating in ways that are consistent with biblical convictions. Pray that our mission can remain unchanged: to prepare our students in mind and character, through a biblically grounded education, to impact the world for Christ.

In closing, I want to assure you that while this law is intended to alter the heart and soul of schools like Biola, we will continue to advocate for our religious liberty. If this bill is passed and signed by the governor into law, we would join other California religious institutions in exercising our constitutional rights to pursue legal action and, if necessary, ask the Supreme Court to intervene. If SB 1146 becomes law, it would likely not impact Biola in the near future as legal action would be filed. We would prefer, however, that this bill be stopped or amended now rather than resorting to litigation later. So please join us in raising awareness about this bill and its consequences for faith-based higher education in California.

Thank you for your prayer and support in this issue.

In Christ,

Barry H. Corey President

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:5-6)

Biola logo 2.jpg

 

 
 
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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Biola University, Culture

 

How far does your conscience stretch?

An Alabama county official refused to lower flags to half-staff this week in honor of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, saying that doing so would signal a lack of resolve in the face of terrorism. While his “soul ached for the victims” and his family prayed “for them and for the world,” he did not feel it was a “valid circumstance” for lowering the flag to half-staff.

A student is given the assignment of writing a term paper defending evolution. As a Christ follower, they feel it will violate their convictions.

An employee is told to fly a rainbow flag at half-staff in front of their office building to signify mourning for the victims of the massacre in Orlando, FL. While they mourn the tragedy, they wonder if the action means they approve of a lifestyle that goes against their biblical convictions.

In the 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire, Olympic athlete Eric Liddell is scheduled to compete in the 100 meters during the 1924 Paris Olympics. However, he discovers that the preliminary heat is scheduled for a Sunday. Being a Sabbatarian, he refuses because it goes against his Christian convictions. The dialogue below reveals how the British athletic leaders try to convince him otherwise.

Lord Birkenhead: Liddell, he is your future king, are you refusing to shake his hand? Does your arrogance extend that far?

Eric Liddell: My arrogance, sir, extends just as far as my conscience demands.

Lord Birkenhead: Fine, then let’s hope that is wise enough to give you room to maneuver.

Lord Cadogan: Don’t be impertinent, Liddell!

Eric Liddell: The impertinence lies, sir, with those who seek to influence a man to deny his beliefs!

HRH Edward, Prince of Wales: There are times when we are asked to make sacrifices in the name of that loyalty. And without them our allegiance is worthless. As I see it, for you, this is such a time.

Eric Liddell: Sir, God knows I love my country. But I can’t make that sacrifice.

As a Christ follower, how do we practice our beliefs in an increasingly antagonistic culture? When do we stand firm and when do we compromise? How far can our convictions stretch before they break altogether and mean nothing?

Fortunately for us, the book of Daniel in the Old Testament provides some insights as to how we can live out our convictions in a culture that either ignores or rejects God.

  • Daniel was a teenager when he was taken as a prisoner to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-4, 6)
  • The Babylonian leaders wanted to change Daniel’s education, diet, and name (1:4-7).
  • Rather than eat the king’s food (which had probably been first offered to idols, or went against Jewish dietary laws), Daniel proposed a compromise (1:8-16). For ten days, he and his friends would submit to the education and name change, but follow Jewish dietary laws. The steward could then evaluate the results and Daniel and his friends would abide by the decision.
  • King Nebuchadnezzar builds a statue of himself and enacts a law that everyone has to bow down to the image. Daniel’s three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—refuse and face the fiery furnace as a result (3:1-30).
  • Government officials who oppose Daniel enact a law outlawing prayer to anyone but the king (6:1-9). Rather than change his habits, Daniel continues to pray at the same time and same place as he had previously (6:10). Daniel is cast into the lion’s den as a consequence of disobeying the law (6:11-24).

Based on the example of Daniel and his friends, there is a time to suggest a compromise (ch. 1) and there is a time to stand firm in our convictions (chs. 3 & 6). If necessary, we must face the consequences for our choices. And God may, or may not, rescue us from the punishment. Regardless of the outcome, however, we need to be obedient and follow God (3:16-18).

I counseled the student writing the paper on evolution to present what the teacher asked for. The student could quote the teacher’s sources and give what was required. At the end of the paper, the student could then present what Scripture says on the subject. It was a compromise designed to meet the requirements while at the same time declaring their personal convictions.

The worker attached the hardware for the rainbow flag to be raised, but did not participate in any further ceremonies. They performed their duty without endorsing the decision.

As time goes on, Christ followers will face more and more situations where we will have to decide how far our conscience can stretch. May we have the wisdom of Daniel to know when to compromise and when to stand firm.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Scripture

 

A time to weep

After reading the news over the past 30 days, I’ve come to the conclusion it is time to weep. We should weep for a culture where …

  • People live secret lives
  • We think that violence is the answer to our problems
  • Individuals kill others because they are different or hold different values
  • Evil appears to be winning
  • Politicians use tragedies to push political agendas
  • Politicians are more concerned about assigning blame than finding solutions and fixing problems
  • Political candidates are more focused on accusing the opposing candidate of wrongdoing than they are on stating what they truly believe
  • Animal life is valued higher than human life (On May 31, Ed Stetzer tweeted “In 5 days: 700 refugees drowned off Greece, 9000 babies were aborted in U.S., 68 were shot in Chicago … and a gorilla dominated the news)
  • Tolerance is elevated to the highest virtue, and if you disagree with my statement, you must be a “hater” because you are obviously intolerant
  • Christ followers are marginalized because we believe that the Bible speaks to the issue of right and wrong and not everything should be tolerated
  • We are so focused on vilifying religion that we miss when a company with conservative values like Chik-Fil-A goes out of their way to demonstrate compassion to those serving the victims of the recent shooting in Orlando
  • We have become so desensitized to violence and cynical about politicians that we no longer recognize when it is time to weep

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in Culture, News stories

 

First Central has a new name

After three and a half years of discussions & debates, polls & planning, the congregation of First Central Baptist Church voted last night by a three-fourths majority to change our name to First Central Bible Church. The move was prompted by a recognition that the label “Baptist” is no longer a positive one in today’s culture. Since our church is committed to following the Scriptures, it made sense to replace “Baptist” with “Bible.” Keeping the first two words, “First Central” helps us maintain our heritage.

Since the change grew out of a desire to remove any unnecessary barriers that keep people from coming to church and hearing the gospel, we must rededicate ourselves to reaching our community with the life-giving message of hope and forgiveness that is found in Jesus Christ.

 

When cultures clash

Public schools are becoming the battleground in a clash of cultures.

Obama Administration to Give Schools Guidance on Transgender Use” – The title of the article appears to be misleading. Rather than giving guidance, the “federal government will tell public schools across the country on Friday morning that they should allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.” If they don’t comply, they stand to lose Title IX funds.

President Obama: Accept Transgenderism or Else” – Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College has written a response to the letter from the Administration. Burk takes his response back to a basic binary truth, that God created us in his image as male and female (Genesis 1:26-28). Jesus himself recognized this as good and right (Matthew 19:4). “Understanding this binary used to be common sense, and this traditional understanding is no less true even if it is less common.”

From Agender to Ze: A Glossary for the Gender Identity Revolution” – Joe Carter, an editor for The Gospel Coalition has provided a glossary of 31 terms used by the gender identity movement. As Tim Challies points out, it reads like a dictionary of depravity. While it is not for the faint of heart, the list “should help you better understand the linguistic radicalness of the gender identity revolution.”

Certainly, much to pray about.

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Scripture

 
 
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