Kingdom 1st is on Hold

Until further notice, I will be blogging entirely at The Veritas Network.  Come on over and get lost in all the goodness.  Thanks for your readership.

 

 

Massachusetts forces schools to let ‘transgender’ boys use girls’ restrooms, lockers

Our current Western culture is obsessed with tolerance.  Tolerance is, at best, a word that points to people tolerating traits, characteristics, and belief sets, about others.  At worst, there is no objective framework for how far to tolerate.  Obviously, tolerance is great when practiced toward the things that make our country great, but it seems this word—tolerance—is being applied to everything these days.

Most recently, and hilariously sickening, tolerance has been applied to K-12 public schools in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester has issued orders to the state’s K-12 public schools requiring them to permit “transgender” boys and girls to use the opposite sex’s locker rooms, bathrooms, and changing facilities as long as they claim to identify with that gender.

Many elementary schools in smaller Massachusetts towns include children from kindergarten through eighth grade, making it possible for boys as old as 14 to share toilet facilities with girls as young as five.

First of all, this is absurd.  Secondly, a 14-year-old boy with a five-year old girl in the same bathroom?  I absolutely cannot believe this is real.  It seems like something that is science fiction, or something that would take place in a Wayans Brothers film.  However, the absurdity doesn’t stop there.

“The responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student,” the statement says. “A school should accept a student’s assertion of his or her gender identity when there is … ‘evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.’” That evidence, according to the document, can be as simple as a statement given by a friend.

That means, according to the newly issued school policies, that boys who say they identify as girls must be addressed by the feminine pronoun and be listed as girls on official transcripts.

They must also be allowed access to girls’ facilities and be allowed to play on girls’ athletic and club teams. The same is true for girls who say they are boys.

Obviously, I am a proponent of a real God who creates real people with real gender identities… all for his glory.  However, if this happened when I was in high school, I know two things that would have happened:

1) I would have been the best “girls” basketball player in the nation.

2) I would have been the first guy to “sign up verbally” to hang out in the girls locker room.

Do you read with a highlighter, pen, or pencil?

So, I am reading this book right now, called, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, and it is just amazing.  Allan Jacobs is the name of the author.  He is an English Professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, and he has written extensively on one of my heroes—C.S. Lewis.

I came across this passage the other day that just made me laugh out loud.

Warning, there is a profane word in what follows:

Those of us who were trained as scholars may tend to over annotate, but I think it’s fair to say that most other readers suffer the opposite temptation.  Reading with a writing instrument in hand is an unnatural acts for many readers, yet I think in most cases it is necessary to attentive response.  You may be able to tell from what I’ve said so far that I am not a fan of the highlighter.  Highlighters allow you very quickly and easily to mark a text, but only by covering it with a bright color; and the very quickness and easiness of the process are inimical to the kind of responsiveness I’m recommending.  (There’s something to Simic’s preference for the stub of a pencil and the intimacy with the page it enforces.)  With a highlighter you can have a text marked before you’ve even had time to ask yourself why you’re marking it; and while you might be able to add a question mark or exclamation point in the margin, that will be the limit of your interaction.  And such marks are often quite hard to see after they dry.

I tend to use a mechanical pencil myself, because its line is precise and sharp enough that my marginal annotations are legible, but thick enough to make underlining reliably linear.  When I try underlining with a fine-point pen I invariably produce lines that look like paths meandering through a forest—and then of course I can’t erase the damned things.

I laughed at this for 2 reasons:

1) I am a huge nerd.

2) I was reading with a highlighter in hand.

A Must Read Piece on Michael Jordan

Because ESPN doesn’t really talk about anything serious, they have provided for us a month-long special on Michael Jordan.  He turned 50 this past Sunday (Feb 17).

MJ was my hero when I was a kid.  I literally had everything MJ.  When I was 9, I even went to the store and purchased his #45 jersey with a bunch quarters, nickels, and dimes, the day it was released.  I had over 300+ MJ cards.  I had the posters.  I had the wardrobe.   I had the shoes.  In my opinion, there is no question he is still the greatest basketball player ever to play.  Will Lebron be better?  I honestly don’t think so.  There is only one MJ.

ESPN’s, Wright Thompson, released a pretty impressive long-form piece on MJ’s basketball career, business endeavors, and current mental psyche.  I have to admit, I felt absolutely empty as I read it.  As I finished the article, I felt extremely sad for MJ.  In a way, my childhood heart aches for him.

I mean, this guy has everything.  But, really, he has nothing.

If you are a child of the 80s and 90s, then take 30-minutes and read this article.  I bet your childhood heart breaks too.

Are Men the Weaker Sex?

In a recent article at the Harvard Business Review, Alison Beard doesn’t really come out and call men weak.  She does, however, use the word silent in her description of men today.  Her framework for this description is found in a simple and provocative message:

The feminist movement has been so effective in advancing women over the past several decades that the ability of men to thrive–indeed, their fundamental role in society–is now in peril.

We have, at everyone’s fault, said that it is not okay for men to have any powerful role in the advancement of society anymore.  Books are coming out called The End of Men and Men on Strike that point to this phenomenon of men being afraid to move forward in the world of work because they are potentially afraid to admit their own weakened position–again, by the fault of everyone.

Listen, I am totally okay with women in the workplace.  I am totally okay with women who are stellar candidates for CEO positions.  I am totally okay with women who function as great CEOs.  I would even be fine working for a good woman leader in the work place.  However, I am not okay with men being afraid to speak out, work hard, and move our society forward, even if it steps on the toes of the feminist movement.

So, for example, when a female CEO openly discriminates against a male job candidate, no one says a word.  Conferences and events geared toward helping women in business remain commonplace, even in industries where they’re reaching parity with men.  Research centers focused on women win grants, but no one demands comparable funding for studies on men.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of wimpy men who can’t adapt to an ever-increasing white-collar, female-launching, male-discriminate society.  As Beard states,

No man wants to be branded a whiny antifeminist by the growing sisterhood of leaders who are women.

My question for men (and women) is:  Why not?

This should be something we should talk about.  This is something there should be conferences on.  This is something there should be books written about.  This is something we should talk about in our churches.  This is something research centers should get grants for.

I, personally, am sick of the silence.

Sundays are for Family Time (And 3 Other Lies)

Sundays are not for family time.  I hear people say this all of the time, like it’s an automated response to an unasked question.  It’s almost as if people have this preconceived thought that pastors are going to ask them where they were when they missed their worship gathering on Sunday.  No, Sundays are not for family time.  Sundays are not for getting together with family at restaurants, homes, or any other place.  They are not intended to gather for birthday parties, go hiking, or simply, just hangout with family.

What’s more, Sundays are not for relaxation.  They are not for sleeping in and resting.  They are not for catching up on the sleep you lost throughout the week, or the weekend, when not sleeping.  Though not as popular as the first excuse, I still have heard it before.  Sundays seem, to many, as a luxury.  A luxury that has allowed them the choice of getting up or not getting up.  A luxury that points to two words:  entitlement and uncommitted.

Sundays are also not for working.  Though I am the first to extend grace to those who must work for whatever the case may be, and I am certainly by no means a Sabbatarian, Sundays are not necessarily for working.

And Sundays are not for sports.  Sundays are not for focusing entirely on youth sports, traveling/competitive sports, professional football, or even the NBA All Star Game — though that last one is hard for me to say.  No, Sundays are not necessarily for any type of competition.

No, Sundays are for corporate worship.

 

2 Great Reviews on Reformational Manhood

514yr-WNCxL._SL500_SY300_So far, nobody has really come out and said, “Your book should be burned.”  So, that’s a good thing, I guess.  However, in my experience, the books that people are calling for to be burned are the ones that usually change the world… or at least societal tradition.  Though I have no idea how many books have been sold, and I realize Reformational Manhood has a unique and specific audience, I am continuing to pray that God would use it greatly to engage the hearts of men — young and old — to be gospel-centered warriors in his great Kingdom.

Thank you to Owen Strachan, at Patheos, and the Director of The Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW), for his kind words toward the book.

And, thank you, to Ben Birdsong, a student pastor in Birmingham, AL, who also serves with Youth Ministry 360.

Below are some excerpts from their reviews.  You can read Owen’s review HERE.  And Ben’s HERE.

From Owen:

In his well-written book, Greg mixes in textual explanations with personal reflections, and he gets your attention. I particularly enjoyed his story about how he, in trying to be a godly protector of women, had to face down a guy who was threatening his girlfriend (90-92). Get Reformational Manhood, read it with your son or your youth group, and be inspired to go to work in Christ’s kingdom as a man.

From Ben:

Gibson takes a very gospel-centered approach to the topic of biblical manhood.  He is not into writing a book full of boxes to check off in order to become a better man.  Gibson realizes the truth that we are all imperfect man trying to follow the perfect man – Jesus.  Christ is seen as the hero of the book and is presented as the only truly perfect man.

Music that Points Me to Jesus Even If It’s Not “Christian Music”

Good music points me to Jesus.  I mean really good music.  Not the auto-tuned, 1/8th beat crap that all sounds the same.  I’m talking about music that is well written, well melodied, and beautifully accompanied by a real instrument.  A timbered choir, if you can call it that.  A timbered choir always waters my affections for Jesus.

This type of music often reminds me of Isaiah’s description of God’s amazing creation.

“The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet.  They break forth into singing” (Isaiah 14:7).

Music doesn’t have to necessarily be “Christian music” for it to remind you of God’s great Creativity, character, and steadfast love.  He has, in his common grace, given everyone the ability to create.  And, man, do I ever love that about our God!

So, Christian, venture out into those unknown, murky, and “secular” musical waters from time-to-time.  Actually, do it daily.  I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Here are some artists I’m digging right now:

The Vespers.

Waterdeep.

William Fitzsimmons.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

Brandi Carlile.

Trent Dabbs.

Ivan & Alyosha.

 

The Cost of Being Someone Who Runs From Conflict

You are one of two things.  You are either a fighter or a flee-er.  Your personality–the way God made you, coupled with your life experiences, and many other things–tends to lean towards one or the other.  No matter which one you lean towards, however, nobody really enjoys conflict.  Well, maybe some people, but they are the guys no one really wants to be around anyway.

Conflict comes into our lives like storms.  Storms come and they go.  And so does conflict.  We don’t really see either of them coming.  Conflict, like a storm, just appears, and then we find ourselves in the midst of the metaphorical storm where we are faced with those two options:  fight or flee.  I don’t mean ‘fight,’ as in fist fight.  I mean face it head on… in an appropriate way… in a healthy way.  But that isn’t the purpose of this post.  The purpose of this post is to remind us that there is great cost in being someone who runs–or flees– from conflict.

People who run from conflict, flee from everything:

  • Jobs.
  • Churches.
  • Cities.
  • Neighborhoods.
  • Relationships.
  • Sports Teams.
  • Marriages.
  • Everything.

So, what is the cost of being a flee-er?  Well, the cost is great:

  • You miss growth.
  • You miss realness.
  • You miss authenticity.
  • You miss learning about yourself in new ways.
  • You miss the opportunity to learn, period.
  • You miss the opportunity for reconciliation.
  • You miss the opportunity to display the gospel (us being reconciled to God because of Jesus).
  • You miss the opportunity to teach your kids about the gospel.
  • You miss the opportunity to teach your family about the gospel.
  • You miss the opportunity to teach your co-workers about the gospel.
  • You miss the opportunity to teach your church about the gospel.
  • You miss the opportunity to not be me-centered and serve others.
  • You miss getting to have a clear conscience when you take the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:16-17).

And I’m sure you miss much more… I just can’t think of anymore right now.

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