Unions Getting Creative in Election-Year Struggle

Unions Getting Creative in Election-Year Struggle.

Unions-1In our culture watch and Reformed worldview items we like to keep our eye on the worldly labor unions. They may not have the power and influence they once did (former President Ronald Reagan had much to do with busting their unquestioned power), but they still wield much of these. In fact, under our current President they are once again flexing their muscles.

With that in mind, this “Foundry” (Heritage Foundation) report from last week (April 2, 2014) caught my attention. Though brief, it is an interesting glance at both union advances and setbacks.

Here is the opening of the report; read the rest at the link above.

If it seems like unions are making a fuss lately, it’s because they are.

It’s an election year, and they need money.

Just one in 15 private-sector workers is a union member—in 2013, union membership was at its lowest rate since 1916.

That might explain why they’re grasping for new members in stunts like unionizing college athletes, especially as their influence in the workplace is being challenged in the courts.

As Kevin Mooney reported for The Foundry:

Lawyers with National Right to Work Foundation…argued before the high court that it is unconstitutional to compel Illinois residents to fund SEIU’s political activism. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, payment of union dues by personal caregivers no longer would be mandatory but become voluntary.

“They’re trying to lock people into paying dues while they still can,” said Linda Dobbs, a dues-paying California union member who questioned a visit she received from some aggressive union representatives.

Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance.

Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance..

MoxFirefoxpicThis is another of those stories that will make you realize how intolerant and antagonistic our society has become toward those who support traditional marriage (Biblical, i.e., God-ordained and defined). This news item broke this week and it is just one more indicator of the fact that the pro-homosexual, anti-Christian crowd, for all its talk of tolerance and freedom, really only wants this for itself, not for those who stand for and support traditional values.

The fact that this man’s contribution “got out” because of an IRS leak only makes one more upset. With the continued slide into moral decay on the part of our country goes loss of freedom and privacy. We may expect more of this in the future. Signs of the times, these things are. Signs of Christ’s return – for judgment (on the impenitent) and salvation (for penitent believers). May our hope be fixed on that great day.

Here’s the story as posted April 3, 2014 at “The Foundry” (Heritage Foundation) – read the rest at the link above:

Mozilla Corp. co-founder Brendan Eich has resigned as CEO after a week of public pressure stemming from a campaign contribution he made six years ago. Eich supported the wrong cause; he supported California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

For some who favor the redefinition of marriage, tolerance appears to have been a useful rhetorical device along the way to eliminating dissent.

Eich, on the other hand, seems to have been quite tolerant. As Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, commenting on the development, said of  Eich’s 15 years at Mozilla:

I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness.”

 

The outrageous treatment of Eich  is the result of one private, personal campaign contribution to support marriage as a male-female union, a view affirmed at the time by President Barack Obama, then-Sen.  Hillary Clinton, and countless other prominent officials. After all, Prop 8 passed with the support of 7 million California voters.

C.Trueman on Political Correctness – in the Church!

trueman-fools.inddThe final chapter in Dr.Carl Trueman’s collection of essays titled Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone (P&R, 2012) is also about the use of language and words (see my post of last week). With the heading “Is the Thickness of Two Short Planks a Forgotten Divine Attribute?”, this essay exposes the deceitful and worldly way in which modern Evangelicalism uses language to cover up sin. The two examples he references are sins against the 9th and 7th commandments – lying and adultery – and his treatment of what the church has done with the Biblical language for and definition of these sins will hit you right between the eyes.

There are many good quotes I could pull from this chapter, for Trueman pulls no punches! But I leave you with the last two paragraphs, because they will also help you understand why he chose the title for this essay that he did. Ponder the weight of these words – but especially the weight of God’s Word when He speaks to us about our sin.

Worse still, of course, are the theological implications: to think that I am an idiot is one thing. Many have done that; it’s not unusual and, sadly, I am sure there is plenty of evidence to suggest that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But these people seem to think they can fool God with their slick talk and sound bites. Yes, believe it or not, they apparently regard themselves as cleverer than their maker. Like Adam and Eve sewing fig leaves together in the Garden, they believe that, if they use the right words, he just won’t notice the reality that lies behind their thin veil of semantic scamology.

In fact, they have squeezed God into a box that is so small he barely has the divine equivalent of two brain cells to rub together. Their a priori theological system has led them to assume God is as thick as two short planks, and that a bit of obfuscatory language and the odd specious euphemism will prevent him from holding them accountable for their lies and the filth of their personal lives.

To consider other human beings to be so stupid as not to see through the flannel about ‘theological leverage’ and ‘sins of relational mobility” (the two terms used in the recent past to refer to sins of lying and adultery respectively -cjt) is patronizing and offensive; but to assume God is a moron, as think as a brick, is frankly, dangerous. Make no mistake: unlike the evangelical and Emergent dupes out there, God is not mocked (pp.220-21).

More on Books and Publishing – “TableTalk” Interview with A.Fisher (4)

AllanFisherAlso for our Mondays in March we have been taking a look at this special “interview” article which appears in this month’s Tabletalk. Allan Fisher has led a fascinating life in the publishing industry (including Baker Books in Grand Rapids, MI), and I have found his thoughts on books and publishing to be very insightful and instructive.

I have quoted a few Q&As from this interview in the last two weeks, and today I bring this feature to a close by referencing a few more Q&As, this time dealing with the digital explosion of book publishing. To read the entire interview, visit the link above.

TT: How have the Internet and companies such as Amazon.com changed the publishing world?

AF: Amazon has captured an unprecedented share of the retail book market, making it the largest customer for nearly all publishers—including Christian companies. Amazon has accomplished this by making the purchase of books so convenient, whether print books or e-books. For one sales channel to become so dominant, however, leaves publishers more than a little vulnerable. The Internet represents publishers’ best hope of generating interest in their new and forthcoming publications. It also enables Christian chain and independent stores to reach out to their customers less expensively than before.

TT: What are some benefits and drawbacks regarding the shift to electronic books that we are seeing in our day?

AF: Electronic books (e-books) are perfect for people on lengthy business trips or vacations who want to take along a wide range of reading without weighing down their luggage. For “disposable books” such as mass-market paperbacks and popular fiction, e-books also work well. As a replacement for some kinds of reference works, they’ve proven themselves. When it comes to longform nonfiction, however, e-book technology cannot, on balance, match the technology of printed books. When poring over a book with multiple elements (notes, figures, diagrams, charts, appendices, bibliographies, professionally prepared indexes, and so forth), I’d choose a printed book every time.

TT: Do you believe e-books will ever replace traditional books?

AF: No. The technology of the printed book is just too good to be replaced completely by e-book technology. For large reference works that benefit from periodic updates and for disposable books, the e-book format may replace print. But for serious nonfiction, the technology of the printed book is superior, making it much easier to find one’s way around in the work, notate passages, and so forth. In addition, tablets are now replacing dedicated e-readers. While tablets function as well as the latter for reading e-books, they also place at the user’s fingertips several attractive options: the Internet, e-mail, e-games, Skyping, and more. While an e-reader can be compared to a bookstore and book reading room, an iPad can be compared to a variety store with a video-games area, a TVdepartment, a stationery department, a branch post office, a telecommunications center, and, in the back, a book department. In such a variety store, how much attention will books receive?

Calvinistic Cartoons: Give Kids 26 letters, not 2!

Calvinistic Cartoons: 26.

This is a great “cartoon” to start our weekend! When this “fell” in my email box this morning, it simply had to be our “Friday Fun” post for today. But I hope you catch its serious message.

Have a great Friday – and let your children be entertained (and educated!) by good books this weekend!

Kids&reading-CalvCartoons

More on Books and Publishing – “TT” Interview with Allan Fisher (3)

Turning a New Page: An Interview with Allan Fisher by Allan Fisher | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

AllanFisherThe last few Mondays we have been taking a look at this special “interview” article which appears in this month’s Tabletalk. Allan Fisher has led a fascinating life in the publishing industry (including Baker Books in Grand Rapids, MI), and I have found his thoughts on books and publishing to be very insightful and instructive.

I have quoted a few Q&As from this interview in the last two weeks, and today I would like to do the same with some other Q&As. Fisher has some profitable thoughts on Christian publishing today (especially Reformed materials). I benefited from them, and I believe you will too. Here are a couple more sections:

TT: What challenges do Christian publishers face in the coming decades?

AF: The primary challenge is to be faithful to the mission of Christian publishing: to bring glory to God and to assist the church in its mission as articulated in Scripture. Countering this are the marketer’s desire to give people what they want and the entrepreneur’s determination to maximize profit. Most of Christian publishing today is done by for-profit publishers, and many companies are now owned by multinational corporations that will support a Christian mission only as long as it generates sufficient profit. The two largest Christian publishers, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, are now yoked together in HarperCollins Christian, which in turn is owned by News Corp. The effect of this merger on other Christian publishers remains to be seen.

TT: What are three ways that Christian publishers can better serve the church?

AF: First, by allowing Scripture, not the market, to direct their publishing programs. Hire at least some editors with sound biblical and theological training, editors who are active in church life. Second, by publishing books that reflect the crucial role of the church in the Christian life, rather than books that focus exclusively on the reader’s individual relationship to God. And third, by choosing with utmost care the church leaders to whom they offer publishing contracts. The fact that a man is senior pastor of a megachurch and has a successful broadcast ministry should not automatically qualify him for a book contract.

Creation debate roils Bryan College | World

WORLD | Creation debate roils Bryan College | Daniel James Devine | March 7, 2014.

Creation vs evolutionIn a related story (to the quote posted earlier today) World magazine reported (March 7, 2014) on this significant development at Bryan College, a Christian college in Dayton, TN.

Of particular interest is the fact that the Biologos Foundation of Grand Rapids, MI, an organization leading the way in advancing the cause of theistic evolution, once again enters into the picture.

Here is part of World’s report. Read the rest at the link above.

In 1925, William Jennings Bryan defended a biblical account of the origins of life at the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tenn. This year, a statement on the origins of life has triggered a crisis at the lawyer’s namesake, Bryan College, an 84-year-old evangelical, nondenominational institution.

Students and faculty at Bryan are upset at a move last month by the school’s board of trustees to “clarify” that the college believes Adam and Eve were historical figures created directly by God. The board says the clarification does not change the school’s historical position on origins. But some at Bryan believe the board’s action was intended to force out professors who may be sympathetic to evolution, and think it was unfair to do so at a time when faculty contracts are due for renewal.

…Bryan College’s Statement of Belief is an eight-point doctrinal statement adopted at the time of the school’s founding in 1930. According to the school’s charter, the belief statement cannot be amended or changed, and trustees, officers, faculty, and staff must affirm it once a year. The fourth point in the statement says the school believes “that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death.”

Last month, the board of trustees adopted the following “clarification” statement: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

Board Chairman John Haynes told me the clarification is not an amendment to the Statement of Belief, which may not be altered. “We are clarifying one point in the Statement of Belief, which has to do with the creation of Adam and Eve,” he said. “We’re saying this is the intent of that statement.”

Asked why the board felt it was necessary to make such a clarification at this time, Haynes simply said, “There seems to be some question as to the intent of the Statement of Belief. That’s the bottom line.”

An English professor at the school, Whit Jones, said the timing of the clarification had been a “puzzle” to many on faculty, but might have been sparked by recent writings from two of his colleagues: Kenneth Turner, a Bible professor, and Brian Eisenback, an associate professor of biology who graduated from Bryan College in 2002. Together, Turner and Eisenback are writing science education materials under a grant from The BioLogos Foundation, an organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., that promotes theistic evolution.

More on Books and Publishing – A “Tabletalk” Interview With Allan Fisher

Turning a New Page: An Interview with Allan Fisher by Allan Fisher | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

AllanFisherA week ago on Monday we started to point to this special “interview” article which appears in this month’s Tabletalk. Allan Fisher has led a fascinating life in the publishing industry, and I found his thoughts on books and publishing to be very insightful and instructive.

I quoted a few Q&As from this interview last week, and today I would like to do the same with some other Q&As. Fisher has some profitable thoughts on Christian publishing today (especially Reformed materials). I benefited from them, and I believe you will too. Here are a couple more sections:

 TT: In your years of working in the publishing industry, which book topics have risen and fallen in popularity? Which topics are perennially popular?

AF: As strange as this will sound to younger readers of Tabletalk, when I entered publishing, American evangelicals cared little for the Puritans in general and Jonathan Edwards in particular. Dr. Gerstner, the leading evangelical Edwards scholar of his day, was ahead of nearly everyone in this regard. How times have changed, particularly in Reformed circles. Books based on Reformed theology in general enjoy better sales today than formerly. Three subjects in demand during my early years were biblical prophecy, the role of men and women in the church and home, and recovery from addictions. All three subjects have largely lost their appeal. Perennial favorites are books on marriage and parenting.

TT: Do you believe the future of the Christian publishing industry is bright?

AF: Absolutely. Shortly after printing was invented, God used print mightily during the Reformation, and He has continued to do so. Christianity is a religion of the Book, which gives Christian publishers a somewhat unique role in aiding the church in building the kingdom of God. The Internet, with all its problems, also provides Christian publishers with the means to communicate directly with their most dedicated readers, while allowing the latter to keep track of what their favorite publishers plan to release next. Bloggers and online periodicals have become the source of most book reviews, increasing the number of “published” reviews.

How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World – Scientific American

How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World [Excerpt] – Scientific American.

In Christian apologetics (defending the faith) there are some battles that are closer at hand and larger in significance than those involving what secular atheists think about Christianity and how the world began and continues to exist. But when I saw this headline yesterday (March 14, 2014) in the Scientific American “Daily Digest” email I receive each day, I couldn’t ignore it.

It reminded me that we also need to be aware of how the big but distant enemy (at least they seem far removed from our world) thinks and how it attacks our worldview. How well do we really know how the world – and modern science in particular – ridicules our faith and our God and His work? And how would we answer a neighbor or professor at college who espoused this philosophy?

ImagineNoHeaven-StephensPerhaps this article will help us realize where they stand in relation to us and our faith. The post on SA is actually an excerpt from the new book Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World, by Mitchell Stephens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Below I have simply posted the opening paragraphs as found on SA. At their link above you will find the entire excerpt. It will be worth your time to read all of it. With your Biblical glasses on, of course. And then craft an apologetic that answers such a perspective with our sure hope of heaven because of the (one) true God Who gave His Son for blind, unbelieving sinners.

Science’s contributions to the spread of disbelief is the least controversial segment of the virtuous cycle for which I am arguing in seventeenth-century Europe. For science’s methods are clearly troublesome for religion. The devout, to begin with, are not wont to view their precepts merely as propositions to be controverted or confirmed. The orthodox, as a rule, are used to arguments being settled by authority, not experiment. The hope belief offers does not always stand up well to observation and experience: life sometimes works out okay; sometimes it doesn’t. Faith, particularly of the “certain-because-impossible” variety, and reason have long been tussling. Miracles are notoriously miserly with evidence. Revelation does not lend itself to experimental verification. And the mystical, by its nature, fails to produce facts.

Defining Marriage – Joe Carter

Defining Marriage by Joe Carter | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

marriagepic-2Just last night I finally finished reading all the way through my March issue of Tabletalk. The last article in that issue is the above-linked one by Joe Carter, an editor for “The Gospel Coalition”. And it is an excellent article with a clear message on the matter of how we Christians ought to respond to those who are trying to redefine marriage in our current culture.

I believe this is a great followup to my previous post. I quote a part of what Carter wrote here, but encourage you to read the rest the Ligonier link above.

Some Christians may even concede that while the state doesn’t truly have the authority to redefine marriage, we should go along with the legal fiction for the sake of the gospel witness. Although such Christians may have the best of intentions, they are actually subverting the very gospel they want to protect.

In acceding to laws that redefine marriage, they are doing the very opposite of what Jesus calls us to do: they are hating their neighbors, including their gay and lesbian neighbors. You do not love your neighbor by encouraging them to engage in actions that invoke God’s wrath (Ps. 5:4–5; Rom. 1:18). As Christians, we may be required to tolerate ungodly behavior, but the moment we begin to endorse it, we too become suppressors of the truth. You cannot love your neighbor and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5).

What is needed is for the church to have the courage to speak the truth of the gospel: we cannot love our neighbor and tolerate unrepentant rebellion against God. We cannot continue with the “go along to get along” mentality that is leading those we love to destruction. We must speak the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31) and accept the fact that those who have fallen away may not ever return. We must choose this day whom we will serve. Will we stand with the only wise God or with the foolish idol-makers of same-sex marriage?

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