Halftime and holiness

While the Super Bowl is a recent memory, let me comment on several subjects.

The first is that it seems like it was a very exciting football game. I like American football but live in Spain where “futbol” means soccer. I didn’t see the game except for a few highlight touchdowns on the news the day after. I’m sorry I missed the football.

Second, it seems like the halftime entertainment either was the “best in years” or “terrible,” depending on people’s opinions. I didn’t see it, but apparently, it included some kind of a striptease. I saw a few seconds of women gyrating on the stage in a news clip. Frankly, that felt demeaning, and I switched channels.

There seems to be an appetite for this kind of lewd entertainment, especially at the Super Bowl. Many years ago, Michael Jackson was the halftime act. (Again, I live in Spain and had never seen Michael Jackson do anything, so I watched.) I thought it was pretty cool that when everyone expected him to be on stage, he appeared way up in the stands. But, after about one minute of his dirty dance moves, I was moved to turn off the TV in disgust. Since that year, there has been a “wardrobe malfunction.” Not too long ago, the featured songs included cop-killing lyrics, performed by a star in skimpy clothing.

Is there a demand for this sick and bawdy brand of entertainment? You betcha.

Franklin Graham came out with a statement about Sunday’s performance. He said the halftime show sent the message “that sexual exploitation of women is okay.” He added that “millions of children (were) watching. This exhibition was Pepsi showing young girls that sexual exploitation of women is okay. With the exploitation of women on the rise worldwide, instead of lowering the standard, we as a society should be raising it. I’m disappointed in Pepsi and the NFL.”

I understand that the actors were paid huge amounts of money to put on a show. They probably do similar—but less spectacular—things when they normally perform. I wouldn’t know.

It’s time for the Christian community to draw a few clear lines. They should not merely be, “Oh my! Can you believe what we just saw?” while still watching.

The Christian community (as well as society at large) needs a heart change.

When I was a child, we sang, “Be careful, little eyes what you see.” Never was that more needed than now.

The Psalmist said, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me (Psalm 101:3).

Job proclaimed, I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? (Job 31:1)

Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

Paul admonished Christians: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

My purpose is not to rail against a performance that I didn’t watch. It is, rather, to encourage my fellow Christian women to be pure in what we allow ourselves—and our children—to view.

How can you set your own entertainment standards?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it pure?
  2. Does it promote pure thoughts and emotions?
  3. Is there good moral tone?
  4. Will I be more Christlike after viewing this?

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Listening to little girls

Are young people being exploited in order to change public opinion?

I think so.

Greta Thunberg is a just-turned seventeen-year-old climate activist. How did this happen? She began by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean twice in order to attend climate change summits. She has addressed the U. N. and other important international bodies. She’s smart and passionate and obviously believes the earth is in dire trouble.

I’m reminded of Malala, the Afghan girl who also addressed the United Nations at sixteen years of age—after having being shot by the Taliban and mostly recovering from her wounds. She rose to prominence as an advocate for girls’ education at a very young age. (See The Malala Effect, written by yours truly. You can access it, here.)

They’ve been hailed as heroes—which I would agree they are. Not many young girls have crossed the Atlantic solo or promoted the cause of female education while in an Afghani grade school.

But, I’m wondering if adults aren’t setting these young women up as experts and exploiting their innocence in order to accomplish their own goals. Who is speaking through these mini-activists? I’m not sure.

There are quite a few more. In fact, in the court case Juliana versus the United States, a group of 21 children, some as young as eleven, has won the right to go to trial, suing the U. S. government over climate change.

Think about it: what kind of maturity and discernment did you have at sixteen? (I shudder to think about my own “incredible wisdom.”) Even brilliant people have very little maturity at that age.

Yet, these young ladies and children are the spokespersons of the world. For climate issues, why not consult a scientist with a PhD? Do we not want to listen to those who seriously know what they’re talking about?

Or do we prefer the fresh innocence and passion of youth?

Granted, young, smart women offer the wow factor—especially accomplished young ladies like Malala and Greta.

But, maybe we should be getting advice from older, wiser sources. Maybe the U.N. chould give the platform to scholars and scientists, people who have proved themselves over many years.

I don’t know.

It just seems a little strange to put teenagers on the world stage.

I’m not surprised someone helped Malala withdraw from the spotlight and concentrate on her university studies.

I sincerely hope someone helps Greta do the same.

The Bible speaks of young people being wise and their parents therefore being happy. It also tells us the source of wisdom: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). I pray for both Malala and Greta to find that holy wisdom in their hearts. I would love for them to know the Lord. I believe, as a result, Greta would become less strident and angry. A godly woman’s speech is filled with kindness.

It’s interesting that when God gives the qualifications for pastors and deacons—the leaders in the church—He wants them to be mature. I don’t think this necessarily applies to children speaking out about a cause, but it’s interesting that leadership comes from mature, practiced-and-proved men. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:4-7).

To whom do you listen: a seasoned veteran or a young teen?

Do you believe these children and teens have been exploited? If so, does this bother you?

Your thoughts? Please feel free to share.

The real problems with mass murderers

Serial killers, mass shooters, knife attackers, bombers, and suicide killers have several things in common.

  • I have read that all use drugs.
  • Most are from homes without a father.
  • They are subjected to some kind of hate information—online, influencers, or in their communities. They are encouraged to carry out attacks, whether actively or generally, through vicious ideologies.
  • Many of the young people committing these crimes train beforehand on video games or in actual physical training grounds.
  • They plan their attacks in detail.
  • Almost all leave behind some kind of evidence that exhibits hatred for their targets. They show an obsession against a group of people.

I don’t want to get into a debate about guns or knives or the means of carrying out these attacks. We don’t seriously believe machetes or kitchen knives are to blame any more than we do the innert materials that go into explosives. So, we’ll leave aside a discussion of weapons in this post.

The sad patterns listed above combine to give us a portrait of a mass murderer. He takes drugs, listens to hate language, and trains himself to kill people.

The root problem, though, is his heart.

I don’t think for one minute that if we erradicated illegal drug use, made sure everyone had a father figure in his life, shut down the dark web, and cleaned up video games—all of these virtually impossible—that we would never have another mass killing in the world. It would be helpful if some of these things were done, but it would not change the fact that there will always be evil people intent on doing harm to others.

Why is there evil?

We only have to read Romans 5. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (verse 12).

That one man was the first man on earth, Adam. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression (14a).

I’m so thankful it doesn’t end there. Read these verses of hope: But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (15, 19-21).

If we could reach young men and women with the gospel—the good news of forgiveness and eternal life available through Jesus Christ—hearts would be changed. Changed hearts result in changed actions. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

I don’t believe that all who hear the gospel will accept the Lord. My opinion is that that we go about trying to fix society’s worst problems in the dumbest ways. Blaming items on the list won’t help.

Only Jesus can change people’s hearts. That is everyone’s biggest need.


I recently saw a cartoon. It’s a sign in the desert: “Warning. This is an inclusive society and if we think you are talking, thinking, or behaving in a non-inclusive way, you will be excluded.” Ha ha!

It’s not far from the truth. It seems that you have the right to agree with popular opinion, but can’t say anything against the accepted views of the moment. If you dare to express different views, you’ll be ridiculed, even vilified. “Think like we think, and you’ll be fine.” And, all the time, they use words like tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity.

In truth, tolerance and inclusivity are only for likeminded people, and diversity is code language for setting cuotas for including women and minorities. If you differ (in religion, politics, or persuasion), or if your skin isn’t the right shade, or if you’re a man … poor you. You’re not tolerated, included, and your diversity wasn’t the right kind. Basically, you allowed to blend in—unless you qualify to be diverse. Figure it.

Wise Solomon said, There is no new thing under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). People have been excluding others who don’t see things the same way they do for centuries.

Jesus said:

  • Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11).
  • Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also (John 15:20).
  • If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you (John 15:18).

When Christians have different views (biblical ones) from the mainstream thoughtstyle of the moment, they shouldn’t be surprised that they’re not popular. Jesus wasn’t either. The public even made up lies about Him.

It’s strange. While the world admires great individuals who overcome and set out and rise to the top, they frown on anyone with a different worldview. Why is it so bad to be maverick? Why can’t a person have biblical values? Why are born-again people reviled? What happened to tolerance and inclusion? Secular, anti-Christian rhetoric prevails.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t only tell us to expect some bumps along the way, He told us how to handle people who become our enemies. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

That’s different, for sure. Instead of being angry and seeking revenge, we realize that our enemies are actually sinners for whom Christ died. They would be different if they embraced Him as Savior and repented of their sins. They’d be Christians, too.

Now, that’s inclusive!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Don’t even breathe!

The ecology people are getting stronger. Nowadays, you don’t only need to recycle. You have to avoid using single-use plastics all together. They outlawed plastic straws in some places, but that’s just the beginning. In Europe, plastic bags are almost as precious as silver. You have to take your own reusable bags to the supermarket, and if you forget, you must buy a bag—and reuse it. Less and less products are wrapped in plastic, and more supermarkets are using paper baskets and bags.

The other day I read, “They used to tell us to save the trees; use plastic instead. Today, they tell us not to use plastic; use paper instead.” It’s a crazy world.

“Recycle everything.”

“Don’t produce trash”—whatever that means.

I jokingly tell my husband he’s allowed to recycle everything but me.

The United Kingdom is promising to be completely carbon neutral by 2050. The morning news said England can’t put a proposed airport runway anywhere but beside existing runways and still meet that target—nor will they ever be able to build a new runway anywhere else in the country.

My husband guesses that in the future we’ll all ride bicycles—and they’ll fine us for exhaling.

You can ask anyone who knows me well: I love trees. I am totally for recycling, changing habits, and not being wasteful. I even compost my kitchen scraps.

But, I think we’re trying to save humanity backwards.

The real need isn’t carbon neutrality, non-plastic everything, sorting our trash, and nixing airplanes. It’s not going back to horses and buggies and subsistence farming.

We need another kind of salvation: for our souls.

You can save the planet, which will all be burnt up anyhow, and forget about the most important thing in the world, your own soul. Jesus asked, For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)

God knows how long the earth needs to sustain human life. He already has a plan in place, and it includes taking care of humans. It also includes the complete destruction of this earth. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

It doesn’t end there. There will be a new heaven and new earth. The Apostle John had a vision of what would happen. He wrote, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (Revelation 21:1).

God gave the responsibility for caring for the earth to the first people, and He gave us the same responsibility. We’re to be good stewards of everything God gives us. We should remember, though, that the earth was made for humans and not humans for the earth.

The fact remains: the most important thing in life is our heart.

Even if the green movement ends up making us ride bikes and fines us for breathing, we need to tend to our hearts first and foremost.

The Ten Commandments begin: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

A lawyer asked Jesus, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:36-38).

God first.

Is Jesus your Savior? Have you been born again? A man named Nicodemus went to Jesus at night to ask Him questions. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then, He explained, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:3, 14-17).

We all have a way to go before we can honestly say we love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. That’s a goal worth working toward.

You can breathe easy and not worry. I guarantee you the earth will be here until God’s done with it.

Your soul is much more important. Let’s love the Lord. He gets top priority.