Where do you turn when your church strays from your faith?


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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHURCH STRAYS FROM YOUR FAITH?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I’d like to do a lightning round with you today. I’ve got three different stories. The first story is out of The National Catholic Reporter. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine is withdrawing from the main council of churches in a bid to distance itself from LGBT advocacy and other stances that the church says could compromise its public moral witness.

DR. REEDER: As you know, I do some talks on the Civil War and one of the fellows that I talk about finished out his life there — born in Brewer, Maine. He taught Natural and Revealed Religion at Boden College in Brunswick, Maine and then became the famous Union general called “The Hero of Little Roundtop” in the Battle of Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain.

As he finishes his life out in Portland, Maine with a political appointed position, he was struggling with where to go to church. The very church that had known the great blessings of God and the great awakening in New England, The Congregational Church, had begun to go into liberalism but, more pronounced, Unitarianism with its abandonment of historic Trinitarian Christianity.

Chamberlain was not able to go to where all of the elite went to church in the first parish, so he went to the second congregational church in Portland, Maine and that church remained faithful, continued to be faithful and has eventually left the Congregational denomination completely after it completely left a historic confession as a denomination and it is now a part of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Now, the council of churches there in that area has decided to go the route of adopting, embracing and normalizing what God has identified as sin and, rightly so, the Roman Catholic Church says, “We will not go down that path.”

Well, now I turn to my compatriots within the evangelical church whereby we claim to uphold the Gospel of grace and stand in the legacy of the reformers who were willing to die for faithfulness to the Word of God, will you die not only for faithfulness to those doctrines surrounding the Gospel of redemption, but will you also be faithful to the Lord God who is not only our Redeemer but is our Creator and uphold the sanctity of marriage and sexuality?

PROFESSOR WANTS KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM TO TEACH THE DANGERS OF TOXIC MASCULINITY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Let me take you to Story 2 out of Lifeset and Campus Reform. Kathleen Elliott, an assistant professor in the Education Foundation Department of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, wants to add an item to the current kindergarten curriculum. Along with recess and learning the ABCs, she wants little kids to fight “toxic masculinity.”

In a recently published article in On the Horizon called “Challenging Toxic Masculinity in Schools and Society,” Elliott argues that toxic masculinity supports and is supported by gender patterns of power that perpetuate broad inequities and schools have an important role to play in challenging these inequities.

DR. REEDER: For those of our audience that think the public school system is neutral concerning world and life view, you can see very quickly that it is not. Kindergarten and first grade, sometimes in contradiction to what their home and church is teaching, are being taught the tenets of the sexual revolutions, including autonomy in terms of gender — that I can be whatever gender I identify — and this matter of toxic masculinity.

When you look closer at the story, you find out that what the author is saying is not the perversion of masculinity is the issue, but masculinity, in general. Any notion of masculinity that is something distinctively different between men and women — both in who they are, how they are composed and how they are to function in life in a well-ordered society — that there is an absolute rebellion against that and that masculinity is toxic.

What is absent is any notion of toxic femininity. There will be nothing in the curriculum that says, “We must avoid toxic femininity,” because femininity as now being described, is incapable of being toxic in its behavior in the current culture. However, masculinity is incapable of not being vulnerable to the charge of toxicity.

From a Christian world and life view, we would teach masculinity, but you teach it Biblically. What are the two premier tenets of Biblical masculinity? First, men are called to be strong and courageous in embracing their responsibilities in life.

Secondly, they are to be sensitive and compassionate to embrace their relationships in life. That’s where the whole concept of the gentleman comes in. A man is using his God-given strengths and calling to be a protector and provider, generally, in life and, specifically, within his family and within responsibilities in relationships and not to use his power to intimidate.

Do we need to deal with toxic sin in the name of masculinity? Absolutely. Is masculinity toxic? Absolutely not. We are in desperate need of a reclamation of that Biblical phrase that’s repeated five times. We need to understand what it means when the Bible says, “Act like a man.” And, when the Bible says, “Act like a man,” you know, first, there’s something about manhood, and there’s something about living life as a man and there’s something about living life as a woman.

And what is it that brings masculinity and femininity into line? First, defining it Biblically and, second, the power of the Gospel.

FAMILY PENS “REVENGE OBITUARY”

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you to our third and final story, a rather unusual story out of Fox News. A seemingly normal obituary takes a dark turn. The obituary was for an 80-year-old woman, Kathleen Dehmlow. It first appeared in The Redwood Gazette. The obituary opens up by giving some history of the woman and how she was the mother of two children but how she later ended up having an affair and leaving her children. The last lines of the obituary: “She passed away on May 31st, 2018 in Springfield and now will face judgement. She will not be missed by her children, Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”

DR. REEDER: Every time you’re in a situation of a funeral, somebody’s going to say, particularly if they’re a believer, “Praise the Lord he or she is in a better place.” In this obituary, they said, “The world’s a better place without them here,” so an obituary became not a memorial to remember the positive things of their life.

Here, the family doesn’t seem to need comfort in grieving — they’re just venting — but there is a hidden lesson in this I don’t want our listeners to miss. The reality is we’re going to give an account for every word and deed we’ve done. The Bible says our lives will either justify our claim to saving faith in Christ or they will reveal that we didn’t have a saving faith in Christ. And all of humanity must appear before the judgement seat to give an account.

While we can debate the lack of decorum and civility as to the use of an obituary and the death of someone to “get even” with them for all of their lifestyle violations and all of the hurts that you had received from them, but there’s another reality in the fact that there is we will all appear and, all that we have done, we will stand accountable for before a God that is holy.

That also brings me to good news that God Who is holy has so loved sinners like us and sinners like this woman, that He has given His Son to die for our sins on the cross. And, when you come to Christ, you can be forgiven of all of your trespasses.

I love it in Colossians when it says, “He has canceled out the certificate of debt we owe to the holiness of God by bringing the judgement of our sins upon Christ on the cross.” And then it says, “Thus, we are forgiven of all of our sins.”

I have a question: what will they say about you? Will there be a desire to get even or will there be a desire to tell people, “My dad, my mom, my husband, my wife, was certainly not perfect — they were a sinner saved by grace — but, let me tell you, they were not only saved, but they were changed and through them, I experienced the power of God’s grace upon them, in them and through them.” That’s the obituary we want.

COMING UP TOMORROW: AMERICANS HAVE NEWS FATIGUE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a Pew Research report that almost 7 in 10 Americans have news fatigue.

DR. REEDER: What is that statistic telling us about news and the American people?

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

2 hours ago

Mobile native Hank Aaron, the greatest ever to play baseball, passes away

Native Alabamian Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, widely regarded as one of history’s best ever baseball players, passed away on Friday at the age of 86.

Born and raised in Mobile, Aaron spent most of his childhood in Toulminville. Growing up in a poor family in the segregated South, his family could not afford baseball equipment, so Aaron practiced the game he loved by hitting bottle caps with sticks. He would also create his own bats and balls out of materials he found on the streets.

As a teenager, he started rising through the ranks as a member of the Mobile Black Bears, a semipro team at the time in the Negro Leagues. At age 20, he made his Major League Baseball debut with the then-Milwaukee Braves.

Over the course of his 23-year MLB career, Aaron became a giant across the country. He would end his legendary playing days as the all-time leader in home runs, RBIs, total bases reached and extra-base hits. He won a World Series in 1957 with the Braves and was the NL MVP that season.

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Among a litany of honors, Aaron was selected to an All-Star team 25 times, which is the most by any player in MLB history. His No. 44 is retired by the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in 1982 on the first ballot and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Aaron spent much of his post-playing career in Atlanta as an executive with the Braves. He made the city his own for decades, and passed away in his home there on Friday morning, according to Georgia’s CBS 46.

Governor Kay Ivey mourned Aaron’s death in a tweet.

Hank Aaron Stadium immortalizes the late, native Mobilian in his hometown. This is the former home of the semipro team now known as the Rocket City Trash Pandas, when the team was the Mobile Bay Bears.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.

Ivey has ordered flags in Alabama be flown at half-staff immediately to honor Aaron. Flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday.

Congressman Jerry Carl (AL-01), who represents Mobile in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement.

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of Hank Aaron’s passing,” said Carl. “A Mobile native, ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ was a baseball legend respected not only for his performance on the field, but also for his personal integrity and character. Hank Aaron never let his humble upbringing and lack of access to baseball equipment as a young boy hamper his growth or dedication to the game. Throughout his storied career, he would ultimately smash multiple baseball hall of fame records, most notably shattering Babe Ruth’s home run record by hitting 755 home runs. I’m proud to call him a fellow Mobilian, and I know his family and friends take comfort knowing his memory lives on in the lives of so many. My prayers are with the family and friends of Hank Aaron today.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Gen. Lloyd Austin confirmed as secretary of Defense with Shelby’s, Tuberville’s support

U.S. Army General Lloyd J. Austin (Ret.) on Friday was confirmed in a bipartisan 93-2 vote by the United States Senate as the next secretary of the Department of Defense.

Austin, who is a native of Mobile and currently serves on the Auburn University board of trustees, becomes the first black defense secretary in American history. He was nominated by President Joe Biden for the post.

U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) voted to support Austin’s confirmation.

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Tuberville said in a statement, “Retired General Lloyd Austin is a son of the great state of Alabama – born in Mobile and an Auburn University alumnus and Trustee – who understands the critical role our state’s five military bases play in supporting America’s armed forces. General Austin’s decades of service make him well-positioned to lead the Department of Defense and confront the threats facing our country. I look forward to working with him for the benefit of Alabamians, Americans, and all of our men and women in uniform to advance the safety and security of our great nation.”

The Senate vote came after both chambers of Congress the prior day granted him a waiver to the law requiring that the secretary of Defense either be a civilian or someone who has been retired from the military for seven or more years.

After a nearly 41-year decorated military career, Austin retired in 2016 as a four-star general. Some of his former posts include service as the commander of U.S. Central Command, commander of the Combined Forces in Iraq and Syria, and as the 33rd vice chief of staff of the Army.

Austin is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds master’s degrees from Auburn and Webster University. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Auburn, and his wife, Charlene, is also an Auburn graduate.

Additionally, the retired general currently serves on the board of directors for Raytheon Technologies and Nucor, both of which have significant Alabama presences.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.

In a tweet, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), who represents Auburn in the U.S. House of Representatives, applauded the confirmation. Rogers is ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Congratulations to General Austin on his historic confirmation. I appreciate his longstanding commitment to our military, and I look forward to working with him to provide our men and women in uniform all the resources they need to successfully defend our nation,” said Rogers.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Two Alabama Democrats file lawsuit, claim Doug Jones tried to ‘give control of the Alabama Democratic Party to Whites’

Two members of the Alabama Democratic Conference have filed a lawsuit against Tom Perez, the national Democratic Party’s former chair. They claim he and former Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) attempted to “give control of the Alabama Democratic Party to Whites.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Randy Kelley and Janet May. Both are affiliates of the Alabama Democratic Conference, a group that describes itself as the “Black Political Caucus of Alabama” and operates independently of the official state Democratic Party.

The case stems from a years-long dispute over Democratic leadership in Alabama.

Barry Ragsdale, an attorney who was has supported the Perez-aligned faction of Alabama Democrats that now controls the party, attacked the validity of the lawsuit.

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“The Plaintiffs are just sore losers, who can’t accept their defeat and who now recklessly scream ‘racism’ because they know that neither the law or the facts support their legal claims,” Ragsdale said in a statement to Alabama Media Group.

The lawsuit is the latest action in an extended legal imbroglio that began in 2018.

Then-Senator Doug Jones, unhappy with a state Democratic party infrastructure that he felt was ineffective, attempted to install a personal friend and ally as chair of the state party during a party meeting.

That effort failed, and Nancy Worley was reelected to the position of state chair with the backing of the Alabama Democratic Conference and its longtime leader Joe Reed.

However, a group of Alabama Democrats asserted there were irregularities in how the party’s internal election was conducted.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) examined the allegations of improper conduct and found them to be valid, ultimately ordering the state party to conduct new elections.

After much intraparty fighting, which led to an extended court battle, State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) emerged as the party chairman.

England, who is the state party’s first black chairperson, had the backing of Jones and the DNC.

Worley ultimately stopped pursuing her claim to be party chair in the spring of 2020 after a state judge dismissed a last-ditch suit.

The new England-led regime at the Alabama Democratic Party passed new bylaws that govern the state party and set out how the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) is elected.

Those changes, backed by England, Jones, Perez and the DNC, are the subject of Kelley and May’s lawsuit filed in recent days.

The suit names Perez, England and the SDEC as defendants.

Kelley and May say the changes do not comply with a 1991 federal court order that required black members of the party receive proportional representation on the executive committee to their share of Democratic votes cast.

“After Blacks became a majority of the SDEC, the governing body, Perez joined with Senator Doug Jones and others to weaken Black’ influence and give the control of the Alabama Democratic Party to Whites,” Kelley said in a release posted publicly by the Alabama Democratic Conference.

The new bylaws do change the method of ensuring a proportional amount of black members are on the executive committee. Similar to the previous arrangement, black individuals are added as at large members to ensure proper representation numbers.

However, in the new bylaws, the executive committee as a whole selects the at large members instead of leaving the selection of the at large members to the minority caucus.

Joe Reed and the Democratic Conference leadership had control over the equivalent of the minority caucus in the version of the party that existed before 2019. They regularly used the ability to select members as a tool to assert influence over the state party.

The Alabama Democratic Conference said in its statement that it believes the 2019 changes to how the executive committee is composed amount to “undermining, diluting, and discriminating against Black Democrats.”

Ragsdale pushed back on the assertions by Kelley, May and the Democratic Conference, telling Alabama Media Group that the plaintiffs “can’t accept that their side lost after an open and fair election.”

Ragsdale continued, “At its core, this most recent lawsuit is anti-democratic and an attack on the values of inclusion and diversity that guide the Democratic Party.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

3 hours ago

Alabama’s unemployment rate dips to 3.9%, lowest point of pandemic

The Alabama Department of Labor on Friday announced that the state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate was 3.9%, the lowest mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The latest figure came in the final full month of President Donald J. Trump’s administration and was down from November’s rate of 4.4%. December’s rate represented 87,534 unemployed Alabamians, compared to 100,374 the previous month.

While the latest rate is much improved from April’s bleak 13.4%. it is also still above December 2019’s rate of 2.7%, showing significant work is needed to get back to year-over-year parity.

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Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a statement, “This is the lowest unemployment rate Alabama has seen since the pandemic began, and I’m glad to see us close out 2020 on a good note.”

“While we are pleased to see our rate continue to drop, we know there is still a lot more work to be done,” he continued. “More than 26,000 Alabamians are unemployed now than at the same time last year. We are still down more than 34,000 jobs from last year. Our work in 2021 will be focused on continuing this recovery.”

Wage and salary employment grew in December by 6,200. According to a release, monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+7,700), the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,000), and the education and health services sector (+1,100), for example. Over the year, the biggest losses in wage and salary employment came in the leisure and hospitality sector (-19,400), the education and health services sector (-16,400), and the government sector (-9,700), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in December were: Cullman County at 2.1%; Shelby, Marshall and Franklin Counties at 2.2%; and DeKalb and Cleburne Counties at 2.3%.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 10.6%, Lowndes County at 10.2% and Perry County at 7.8%.

Meanwhile, major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 1.7%; Alabaster at 2.0%; and Madison at 2.1%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were: Prichard at 11%; Selma at 9.0%; and Bessemer and Anniston at 7.0%.

(Click for high-quality image)

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

7 Things: Biden and Ivey keep masks on, cautious start for coming legislative session, Alabama Dems must want Mo Brooks to be a senator and more …

7. Biden’s plan for vaccinations is already on pace

  • For as much as the incoming Biden administration proclaimed the previous administration was a disaster on the coronavirus, you would think that they would set goals that far outpace the criticized output for vaccine rollout, but this is not the case. Vaccine delivery is already on pace for 100 million vaccines in 100 days.
  • Despite this fact, which angered President Joe Biden, some in the Biden administration claim that the administration is starting their distribution program from scratch. Dr. Anthony Fauci denies this.

6. Just stop with impeachment

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  • As if the nation hasn’t suffered enough from phony and politically-motivated impeachments, freshman U.S. Representative  Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has already filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden over his interactions with Ukraine. This is going nowhere.
  • Greene said, “President Joe Biden is unfit to hold the office of the Presidency. His pattern of abuse of power as President Obama’s Vice President is lengthy and disturbing.” She cited Biden’s threat to withhold a loan to Ukraine unless a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter Biden as part of the younger Biden’s scheme  “to siphon off cash from America’s greatest enemies Russia and China” using his dad as leverage, was fired.

5. Keystone Pipeline shutdown wipes out up to 11,000 jobs 

  • In a move that made American liberals and foreign governments very happy, President Joe Biden decided that the previously-approved Keystone Pipeline should be stopped mid-construction. 
  • Biden’s campaign slogan was “Build Back Better,” but the cancellation of the 1,700-mile pipeline stops 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. This is a costly decision because it ends around 11,000 American jobs that would have generated $1.6 billion in wages.

4. Alabama Democrats hammer Mo Brooks

  • Coming off his controversial speech that took place six hours before the U.S. Capitol riots, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has drawn fire from the Alabama Democratic Party and former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Huntsville).
  • The Alabama Democratic Party is selling “No Mo Bullshit” merchandise to raise money from their email list, and Griffth recorded a YouTube video with 23 views, as of this writing, saying that Brooks should resign. He stated, “He chose to support domestic terrorism over the Constitution and has showed no remorse for his actions. Mo Brooks has become dangerous to democracy. He has disgraced and embarrassed the state of Alabama. Mo Brooks must face the consequences of his actions.  Congress must act now to expel him.”

3. Two-week pause after the beginning of the legislative session

  • The legislative session for the Alabama Legislature will begin on February 2, and now House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) has said that they will take a break after the first two weeks to assess the coronavirus pandemic situation and how it’s impacting work.
  • This will also be done to make sure that there isn’t an outbreak of cases, and it’ll be time to figure out which legislation needs to be prioritized. It appears that discussions surrounding re-upping economic incentives, coronavirus liability immunity for responsible businesses and gambling matters are all on the table, along with the normal business of passing operating budgets.

2. Biden: Take a mask with you to travel (like you already were)

  • President Joe Biden is planning to require people to wear masks when they travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, a vast majority of people are already doing this as airlines require it.
  • Biden is also looking to increase vaccine supply and testing for the coronavirus. The White House official directing the national response to the pandemic, Jeff Zients, said, “We need to ask average Americans to do their part.”

1. 15 more days to stop the spread for 6 more weeks

  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that the statewide mask mandate will be in effect until at least March 5 at 5:00 p.m. There were no other major changes to the statewide emergency health order. Ivey said that the masks remain “the one step that we can all take in order to keep some balance in our daily lives, and stay healthy and safe.”
  • One change in the order was allowing more flexibility in recruiting poll workers for upcoming elections across the state. Although, in her statements, Ivey focused on the high number of hospitalizations the state has seen. She said that “of the 1,600 ICU beds in our state, 1,561 were occupied” last week.