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.

 

Ledbetter: Alabama’s teachers are standing tall with return to classroom instruction

All of the personality traits, values and life lessons that we carry with us as adults were shaped and instilled in us by the people we encountered in childhood. For many, the strongest influences came from our schoolteachers, who opened new worlds of knowledge and taught us skills that remain with us today.

Consider for a moment the music teacher who taught you to play an instrument, the math teacher who led you to a love of numbers, the history teacher who brought to life the stories of our nation’s past, or the English teacher who inspired you to love great literature.

Teaching is one of the few professions whose impact continues to last for decades after the individual who does the job retires.

As many children across Alabama are preparing to return to school even while the coronavirus pandemic continues, teachers have never been more important or vital or deserving of our deepest appreciation.

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Returning to brick-and-mortar school instruction will, hopefully, restore a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives in these decidedly abnormal times.

A return to the classroom and even resuming the online instruction that some are adopting will also help our students maintain their education progress and continue the important social and emotional development that interaction with their peers and instructors allows.

Our English second language learners will receive the communication skills they need in order to better assimilate, and many low-income students will receive the healthy nourishment from the school lunch program that might be denied them at home.

Given the current circumstances and environment, I recognize that some of our public school employees may have a sense of trepidation about returning to school, and that is certainly understandable. Wearing a face mask to do something as simple as shopping for groceries, paying for gas or walking into a restaurant offers all of us a constant reminder that COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.

But our teachers and educators are setting their concerns aside and answering the call to duty.

I know that Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and the staff of the Alabama Department of Education took great care in developing the “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools,” and local school boards are being equally diligent in creating and implementing their own safety guidelines.

The importance of sanitization will be stressed more than ever before, and billions of dollars made available to Alabama through the federal CARES Act will help ensure that any resources that are needed to reopen schools safely will be readily available.

As the majority leader of the Alabama House, I can also offer assurances that the legislature stands ready to pass legislation or make appropriations that are necessary to ease the return to classroom instruction once we are in session.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an even deeper appreciation of the frontline heroes who have remained on the job and provided the most essential services throughout the crisis.

Doctors and nurses in our hospitals and health clinics; grocery store and other retail employees; law enforcement officers, emergency workers and firefighters; postal workers; sanitation workers; restaurant personnel; and those in dozens of other professions are among those who continued working even when times were their toughest.

I am proud to say that the teachers, school nurses, administrators and support personnel in Alabama’s schools also rank high upon the list of those who have stood tall, and their already invaluable service to our state is even more important to students and parents in each of our cities, towns and crossroads today.

Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s most inspirational figures, once said, “It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.”

As I close by wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year, we would all do well to keep Helen Keller’s words in mind.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) serves as majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives

5 hours ago

Alabama Ag Commissioner Pate gives update on unsolicited seed packages from China, urges public to stay ‘vigilant’

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate gave an update Monday afternoon on the spate of seed packets from China that people across Alabama have received in recent weeks despite never having ordered anything.

Pate said that after the state seed labs had performed tests on the packets they had collected from individuals across Alabama, and none of them proved to be dangerous.

“Right at 50% of them proved be some kind of weed flower … 41% were vegetables, and 9% were herbs … we found no noxious compounds, no dangerous compounds,” said Pate at the event.

However, he warned, “They might send out the first seeds that weren’t treated with anything, have a sense of security come about, and then later send something out that could be harmful.”

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The commissioner further urged members of the public to refrain from planting any unsolicited seeds and continue to report them to the Department.

“At the very least something criminal has gone on here,” stated Pate, referencing laws that prevent seeds from being moved across state lines without being inspected by the relevant agencies.

Pate said his department had collected 252 seed samples as of Monday morning.

A total of 385 individuals in all but 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received one of the packets, according to information relayed at the press conference. State workers will be collecting the remaining samples soon.

(AL. Dept. of Ag/Contributed)

“Because we’ve got such a good food and drug lab, because we’ve got such a good seed lab, we knew this was inside of our comfort zone,” Pate said of the decision to conduct the seed tests in-house as opposed to shipping them to the federal government.

Andy Tipton, division director of Food Safety and Ag Compliance, said that 25 states had reported similar seed packets showing up at consumers’ doorsteps. He added that the ADAI was turning over all relevant info to the FBI, who were monitoring the situation.

Pate further told Yellowhammer News that one of the prevailing theories remained that the cause was an internet seller running a scam to artificially inflate their customer numbers and create opportunities for fake reviews.

He ended his press conference saying, “We have no idea the reason for this happening, but it doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant.”

Any Alabamian still receiving one of the packets can report it here.

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

6 hours ago

Alabama basketball star John Petty returning for senior season

University of Alabama star forward John Petty, Jr. will return for his senior season, the player announced on Monday.

The Huntsville native was a second-team All-SEC honoree this past season, after leading the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage.

Petty was considering entering the 2020 NBA Draft, however he decided to return for a final season in Tuscaloosa after evaluating his prospects. Another college season could see Petty lock down his chance at being a first-round pick.

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Tide head coach Nate Oats released a statement on Monday afternoon celebrating Petty’s return.

“It’s great to have John back for his senior year,” Oats said. “He is certainly one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country which is extremely important to us with how we play.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal. Let’s get to work!” the coach concluded.

Follow along with the Bama men’s basketball program here.

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

6 hours ago

State of Alabama, University of Alabama System officials unveil GuideSafe app aiming to keep schools virus-free

Key figures from Alabama’s government and university systems joined to announced the new GuideSafe platform that bills itself as the key for students to safely return to college campuses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The GuideSafe platform will help the state fulfill its promise to test every single college student before they return to campus, and the platform will provide a space for ongoing health monitoring throughout the semester.

The unveiling took place over videoconference, where State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John and other key players detailed the importance of GuideSafe to the upcoming semester.

GuideSafe was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and tech company MotionMobs. It will be provided to any educational institution in the state that wishes to use it.

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Governor Kay Ivey apportioned some of Alabama’s CARES Act funds for the development of GuideSafe and the universal free testing for college students.

St. John on Monday praised Ivey’s “decisive action to provide funding” for the testing initiative and other campus reopening measures.

(Click for higher resolution version that will open in new tab)

GuideSafe will be accessible via app on smartphones and tablets and via web browser on any computer. Students will be invited to join the platform in the coming weeks.

One of the key features of the GuideSafe app is that it will track the location of students via smartphone and then inform them if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This new app – using Google- and Apple-led technology and created by UAB faculty, staff and MotionMobs for the people of Alabama – is a necessary tool in our effort to return to college campuses safely this fall,” said UAB President Ray Watts.

The app also allows students and faculty to report symptoms as they experience them, and get directed to a nearby testing site if necessary.

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college, university and K-12 school to engage faculty, students and staff regarding on-going monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risks of acquiring COVID-19,” said Sue Feldman, professor and director of graduate programs in health informatics at UAB.

A general factsheet on GuideSafe is available here.

Watch:

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

6 hours ago

Trump fires TVA board chair after outsourcing uproar

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he was removing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, an Alabamian.

Thompson, a resident of Decatur, is the president and CEO of Corporate Billing, a subsidiary of Birmingham-based National Bank of Commerce. He previously served as the president and CEO of both First American Bank in Decatur and First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, as well as serving on the board of Decatur Utilities.

Trump appointed Thompson to the TVA board in 2018. He was elected chairman of the board last year.

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The president on Monday cited TVA’s plan to outsource information technology jobs overseas as the reason for firing Thompson and one other board member. Trump warned the other board members that they would be next if the outsourcing continued. The president also called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.

The president added, “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) applauded Trump’s move on Monday.

“TVA fires AMERICANS & hires cheap foreign labor,” the North Alabama congressman tweeted. “TVA executive salaries EXORBITANT. TVA=NO competition, unlike private sector execs who compete to earn profits to earn pay… WAY TO GO [President Trump]!”

RELATED: Doug Jones: ‘The TVA has lost its way’

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