Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to return to a story that we’ve talked about before, but the story gets bigger, and bigger and bigger. Towards the end of last week, more names have come out and more accusations have come out.

We’ve got the host of a major morning network television show – he’s been accused, he’s been fired. We have the head of Disney Animation, John Lasseter took a leave of absence after there were allegations toward him. Oliver Stone, Hollywood director, there are allegations against him. And now another lawmaker, John Conyers, there are allegations against him.

Harry, there is a tidal wave of women coming forward claiming sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Why is this all happening now?

DR. REEDER: I think it’s fair to note that the predominant accusations and revelations surround the world of power in politics, in the media. It’s pretty clear that those entities, which have focused their powers, and their skills and their abilities to promote the sexual revolution since the 1950s all the way into this century from the very halls of influence, now come some of the consequences back to them.

In this present eruption of accusations, there is the statement that this was unwanted advances. Those who are being accused are saying, “Well, I thought it was consensual. I thought it was wanted.” They probably thought it was wanted because they wanted to think it was wanted and so you have this environment in which one’s sexuality exists for gratification.

Well, the flimsy barrier of consent gets interpreted, reinterpreted and erased in just a moment. The reality is, any time you violate God’s law, then the judgment of that begins to be experienced immediately, not only the ultimate judgment such as when God brought destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but immediate judgments of shame and guilt and those things that occur in the life of someone.

Tom, when I sit down and deal with young couples who are on the verge of a marital breakup, Tom, it’s absolutely astounding how many times in the conversation we get back to the reality and the fact that they had premarital sex and the woman, in particular, is still to that day, ashamed and feels that she was taken advantage of.

The guy will say, “Well, I thought you consented,” and then we’ll have to go back and deal with that and bring the Gospel solutions of asking for forgiveness of the Lord and giving forgiveness to each other as you ask forgiveness of each other because you have sinned against them. Only then will we be able to rebuild the marriage to go back and deal with that.

Therefore, what you have is the reality of the shame and guilt that some women have been carrying now, in these cases, some are 20, some are 30, some are 40 years and it hasn’t disappeared.

With this current environment of cultural affirmation of women bringing their accusations back to those who had pursued them or forced themselves upon them and, now, there seems to be, “Oh, here is a way I can get rid of my shame and guilt,” and here is a way that they have to own what they did.

Certainly, I believe that all of this needs to be dealt with – it’s fine for it to be dealt with, it needs to be dealt with – but here’s what we need to understand: When you break God’s law, God’s law breaks you.

You can’t engage in sexual anarchy, you can’t engage in sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion without consequences and the first place the consequences are felt are in shame and guilt because of sexuality outside of the sacred bonds and boundaries of marriage.

Tom, let me make this as clear as I possibly can: Sexuality is a gift from God. It is a good gift, but only where God has designed it. Any time the idolatry of sexuality is embraced by a society, there will be the ramifications and judgments from sexually transmitted diseases, to broken hearts, to broken lives, to shame, to guilt, to all of those things that one feels.

These women have felt used. The amazing thing is that the corporate America that financed it, the political world that protected and promoted it, and the entertainment world that sold it, celebrated it and redefined it in terms that would make the unthinkable thinkable – and, once it’s thinkable, to become doable and then it will be acceptable – the fact that these people in power that were promoting that actually lived that out, somehow, we’re amazed.

Why would we be amazed? This is what the movies told us happiness was, this is what our children went to see, this is what our culture embraced and we are amazed that they actually lived out what they were selling by the song, by the movie, by the book, what they were approving legislatively and what they were financing from corporate America? Why would that amaze us?

The church of Jesus Christ not only needs to speak to the issue and the horrors of public sin, but we also need to deal with it in our own lives. We need to get back to Godly evangelism – what all of these people desperately need is to hear the Good News of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and even the power to forgive those who violated you because of what Jesus can do in your life and that needs to be proclaimed, that glorious Gospel that He will take you right where you are, He will forgive you, His blood was shed to forgive all of our sins and the very things that have destroyed your life can be removed in a whole new life in which our previous weaknesses and sin become strengths of His grace.

I’m not saying that people don’t need to pay for what they’ve done – that’s what the State needs to do and that is called justice. Getting justice will never remove the shame and the guilt for us, but there is a Savior who can remove it and even bring you above it and beyond it.

That becomes salt and light and it filters into society so that the entertainment industry – which, at one time, wouldn’t even show a couple getting into the same bed that was married in order not to bring temptation into the public square – with its unfettered celebration of sexual immorality and perversion, but if we, again, begin to announce that which is true in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe all that He has commanded – do not commit adultery, that sexuality belongs within marriage – if we did that, that would produce not only the light of truth that was proclaimed to society to restrain the darkness of evil, but it would also bring the salt of the Gospel so that the restraint upon sin would take place and that’s another way to love our neighbor.

“We want you to come to Christ, but we also do not want your life broken and we know a society is much more beneficial and inviting to live within when that society embraces Biblical morality.”

You’re seeing this eruption of, “I’ve been victimized. I’ve been the object of sexual gratification,” and it is so destructive to anyone’s life and, particularly, to these women who are speaking up.

And I want to pray for them, I want to ask God to be at work in their heart and, where justice needs to be established, let it be, but I want the transforming power of God’s grace to be brought to these ladies and then I want the truth of the Gospel to come to bear upon men as well as women to understand that there is a better way and that better way is to come to Christ and then, by His grace, have your life conform to His Word, and then know the joys of walking in obedience to Christ. That’s what I long to see and we, the church of Jesus Christ, that’s what we’re called to do.

Therefore, I call upon the courts to deal with these things rightly, but I call upon the church, “Let’s get back to evangelism and discipleship and, by God’s grace, having lives changed.”

He really changes your life and His good gifts can be enjoyed as he has given them to be enjoyed and, whether you eat, or drink or whatsoever you do, when you are walking in obedience to Christ through the Spirit of God, you can do it to the glory of God.

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

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her 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