All posts filed under: Opinion

An Unexpected Benefit of Growing Older

By Dr. Michael Brown

Speaking of that ancient hero named Job, the Bible records that after his time of severe suffering, he “lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.” That is one of the great blessings that comes with getting older: you get to see your children’s children, and even their children. (If you live to be 140, like Job, you could see even more!)

Choose amputation? What are we born to be?

Did you know there are people who believe they should be disabled? Do an Internet search with words like “trans” and “disabled” or just “transabled” or the psychological term BIID “Body Integrity Identity Disorder.” Be warned before you do any research. Doctor Phil had a guest who made herself blind. For people who identify as trans-disabled, there is a strong sense that they should remove a limb, paralyze themselves, or destroy their eyesight. One man cut off an arm with a saw, and he felt good about his decision. The blind woman on the Doctor Phil Show believed in what she was doing. Here is one video of a young person in Scotland who chose to amputate a leg: So, what is happening? Why are people like this? The term “trans” is a clue. We have many people, in our modern culture who believe that they should be something, and they need to make a change. There are also people who want to identify as an animal. Two common terms are “Otherkin” and “Furries” and …

What We Have Learned about Censorship and Suppression of Speech in ‘Free’ America

By Dr. Michael Brown

America is certainly not China or North Korea when it comes to censorship and suppressing free speech. But we are not nearly as free as we thought we were. The events of the last three years have made that strikingly clear, bringing to a head a dangerous pattern that had been developing for years before that.

Why are enrollments in Public Schools continuing to drop?

The decline in the number of children attending public schools is continuing in 2023, according to reports The trend towards homeschooling or private schools started before COVID dropped, as parents were already becoming concerned about what is taking place in the public schools. But once COVID hit, the exodus quickly ramped up largely due to the erratic behavior of the public school in response to the pandemic. Parents had no certainty of which way school officials would go, who were seemingly changing their minds on a whim. According to data released by the National Center for Education, the number of children in the public school system dropped from 50.8 million in the fall of 2019 to 49.4 million in the fall of 2020, a drop of over one million students in the course of a year. In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children being homeschooled by American parents. This had grown to five million by 2020 and this trend is continuing. As an example, the number of students being homeschooled in Texas increased five times …

Are you a believer, in 2023? Who is?

Many years ago, when I was in high school, I learned an important lesson. In most classes, I would chat with other students near me, and we would be like study-buddies for the course. Something happened, I think in a chemistry class, and I was shocked. I was a Christian, and I was struggling to find my maturity, as an adult. It was too easy to conform to “Churchianity” to keep my family and church happy. Before the class started, one of my two Chemistry buddies told us what happened to him. He went to a meeting and someone told him he should follow Jesus, and he said yes. I think that was the previous evening. My friend was a new believer, and he seemed happy with his decision. Our other friend was a bad boy. I will skip the details, but he was into things. I was surprised but happy to hear the news. Before I said anything, our bad friend reached up and pulled on the cord for a window blind. Each blind …

How to be arrested, as a Christian

Have you ever been arrested? It’s an interesting experience. I know, because it happened to me once. Just once so far. When I was a young man, I travelled with a friend, in Europe, and we wandered too close to the iron curtain in Communist Europe, specifically Czechoslovakia. Today the location is in Slovakia. There was no iron and no curtain, and we missed a small border marker, and wandered onto the wrong side, and a heavily armed military squad came to get us. Yes, I was handcuffed and held in a forested area, and then we were released to the Austrian police. I remember they drove us to their police station in a Volkswagen Beetle patrol car. On the safe side, the Austrians were unhappy with us for disturbing the peace, and for being so dumb. They were going to lock us in a cell overnight, and then someone convinced them to let us go. That really happened, and it taught me a life lesson. I don’t confront officers in uniforms, with guns. Once …

Religious Wars: Could they happen to us?

Peace love and harmony; isn’t that what it’s all about? I mean religion. Isn’t it supposed to be a force for good? Do you know that people fight about religion? In history, we have had wars and forced conversions and crusades. Some of those religious wars lasted for centuries. But that was history, so we can just read about it in history books, right? We have a problem today; we think we know how the world works, and sometimes we just don’t. For example, religion is still something to fight about, and things could explode anytime. Really. People are still ready to fight about religion, and we should be ready. Here’s an example: This violence happened in the English city of Leicester, recently. The two religious groups that fought were Hindus and Muslims, and the police worked hard to keep things from getting much worse. Actually, there were three religions in this war. Hindus and Muslims fought, after India (mostly Hindu) and Pakistan (mostly Muslim) played in a cricket final. The third religion was a …

Controlling Cults: How do you get out?

Have you ever been in a cult? Do you know anyone who is, or was? The word “cult” is actually an insult and a label. It is shorthand for ‘stay away from them.’ Using the word “cult” too much is cult behavior. Telling people how to think, without explaining why, is controlling behavior, and that is what cults do. So, let’s find a better description. Who wants to control you? Who is telling you what to think, but not how to think? Are you doing this to yourself? Are you looking for a shortcut to the truth from some authority, with all the answers that you need? Our own laziness is an important part of the mix. Or are you doing this to other people? Is the truth so essential that they just need to agree? If this makes you think about religious “cults”, controlling groups are not always religious, as we understand religion. They are a “cheat” a short and easy route to some profound truth. ‘Someone else did the thinking, and I just …

Kanye (“Ye”), Kyrie, and the Black Hebrew Israelite Elephant in the Room

By Dr. Michael Brown If you live in a major city of America, then you have probably been well aware of the Black Hebrew Israelites for a few decades. But for many other Americans, their numbers, their influence, and their beliefs are coming as quite a revelation – and a shocking one at that. In the early 1990s, while walking the streets of Manhattan before an outreach service one Saturday afternoon, I heard a loud voice booming through a PA system. When I got closer to the sound, I was surprised to see a small crowd of listeners, all of them Black, listening carefully to the speaker who was standing on a platform, with bodyguards standing on the street in front of him. Their outfits were striking – I remember thinking they looked like a cross between Star Wars and some type of angelic garb – but their words were even more striking. They were quoting the Bible and some other books, even using occasional Hebrew words. At once I realized who they were. They …

Christianized versus truly Christian

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics recently released data from its 2021 census that revealed for the first time since this information was first compiled in 1801, Christianity is now in the minority in Britain and Wales, the Christian Post reports. The UK has a population of 67 million and according to its most recent census only 27.5 million or just over 46% identify as Christian. This is down from 33.3 million (59.3%) who declared themselves as Christians in 2011. While the number of people checking off Christianity has declined, the number of people who checked off ‘no religion’ has risen. In 2011, 14.1 million people (25%) said they had ‘no religion,’ and by 2021, this had climbed to 22.2 million (37%). At the same time, the number of people claiming to be Muslims and Hindus has increased since 2011. Just over 3.9 million claimed to be Muslim in 2022, up from 2.7 million in 2011 and the number of people claiming to be Hindus is now sitting at 1 million up nearly 200,000 from …

Splitting churches: That LGBTQ Issue

A very large split is happening in some churches, these days. You might have heard of the United Methodist Church, a very large denomination with many churches, and their arguments about sexual identity. One of the largest Christian communities in the world is falling apart. This morning I went for a walk with some neighbors and someone remembered me from many years ago. I asked him where we met, and he named my old family church. He still recognized me, after all these years. We talked, and he explained that he lived near us, with his husband. I tried to avoid an awkward pause in the conversation. At our church, a lady that we know was talking to some of us, including a pastor. She talked about her life, and what was happening to her. One issue was that she had recently broken up with her girlfriend. That was awkward. You probably have similar stories. So, with Gay, Trans, LGBTQ or any identification; what should we do? There are other issues, like abortion, and the …

Violence: Are we ready?

A few years ago, I was driving on a wide and busy road. It was a warm summer evening, and I was caught in a slow stream of traffic. It all seemed normal. On the other side of the wide road, and slightly ahead, I noticed a group of people. I glanced over at them, and it looked like an argument was starting. It looked a bit scary, when I looked closely. One older man was talking to some younger men. The older man was not old, just older than the others. He was probably native. The young men were white, and they looked like skinheads. They had short hair and work boots, and they seemed aggressive. The boots are important in this story. If we could describe a racialized and ugly encounter, like a scene in a movie, this was it. Then the fight started. The lone, older man was shoved, and he fell to the ground, on his hands and knees. The fight continued, and I can still picture one of the young …

Addressing Self-Delusion

By Dr James Emery White

Money blogger Carl Richards of the New York Times used to think that helping someone get very clear on their current financial reality was the easy part of financial planning. Once reality was framed, the hard part started: like determining where you want to be in 20 years, and then guessing at such things as the rate of return you will earn and inflation.

Have you been to an angry demonstration lately? Who do you blame?

So, how are you? Are you angry, sad, anxious, excited …? The list can be long. Our culture is changing. People are arguing about things we didn’t talk about a few years ago. Do you believe in a climate emergency, or are those climate people crazy? We also have politics, and abortion, and sexual identity … and that list is long. What we seem to have is a cultural civil war, and the arguments are getting louder. This “war” can become violent. I don’t know how many have died, but some people have been injured in the fights: In the country of Brazil, which makes up about half a continent, a recent election split the vote evenly between liberals and conservatives. The liberals won by about one percent, and now the country is divided. I hope they can work out their differences, but it’s not easy to win a cultural civil war. Expect demonstrations. So, what is happening to us? Why are we changing? There may be many reasons, but psychologists have an expression that …

Burning Bibles? How about eating them?

Did you know that burning bibles is a common thing, during protests? To make some point, Bibles put in a fire, and somehow that level of aggression communicates something useful. Really, burning books is irrational behavior. The person who owns the book can replace it, and continue reading. With online books, a cell phone can hold a large library. Angry protesters are not trying to destroy all copies of a book. They are trying to emphasize an angry point. I don’t think it’s working. The world is not being moved by displays of anger, book burning. Different books may be burned, but the one that gets burned the most seems to be the Christian Bible. The video linked here is more than a year old, but if you can access it, the fuel in the protest fire is the pages of a Bible. Recently, a speaker was invited to a College, in Wisconsin, U.S. and were confronted by protesters outside. The contentious issue seemed to be about trans-sexual ideas. A young man decided to make …

Don’t Allow the Media to Shape Your Opinions and Views

By Dr. Michael Brown Has this ever happened to you? You form an opinion about someone based on what others have said, only to meet them and find out that you had a totally wrong impression? Or you’ve read select quotes from a person, only to learn that these quotes, which were taken out of context, painted a very false picture? Headlines and Soundbites Are Manipulated to Mislead I had been following a political race in one state from a distance, very much opposed to the Democratic candidate but not particularly happy with the Republican candidate, either. He sounded like an unreasonable extremist, not to mention a loose cannon. At least that’s the way I often saw him portrayed while surveying a number of different websites. Finally, I decided to listen to him firsthand, and I was totally surprised. He was well spoken. He was careful in his choice of words. He was reasonable. And he sounded like a solid conservative rather than an extremist. I had been misled by a caricature of the man …

In celebration of the church’s 3 main holidays, Christmas, Easter/Passover and Oct 31?

Christians all over the world would probably agree that the celebration of Christ’s birth and His death and Resurrection are the two most important days in the church’s calendar. But allow me to now add a third day, Oct. 31. No, I am not referring to Halloween or even All Saints’ Day. Halloween, birthed in pagan fears, has to be the worst thing for believers to celebrate. Overindulging in sugar and wearing silly outfits often glorifying evil is strange because evil does exist. Years ago when I did security for a large corporate hotel, Halloween was the worst day of the year for the drunks, fights and all-around mayhem. Yet, we, the church, already have this date, Oct. 31, to celebrate. It is the most significant date in church history since the Book of Revelation was written. The problem is that we collectively have all but forgotten what we have and where we came from. Most Christian historians and theologians agree that the Protestant Reformation started on Oct. 31 in 1517. On that auspicious day, …

Sex Positive: What is that?

One of the most dangerous practices, in our modern culture, is giving names to things. Have you noticed, that we give a name to something and then everyone knows if that thing is good or bad? There is no need to think about it. I used to work as an English teacher, I taught language more than literature, and I notice this. We make the language do all the work, so we don’t have to think, or take responsibility. That is one of the drivers of “Cancel Culture.” The name “Cancel Culture” is one of those shorthand descriptions. If I use that name, you know that you are not supposed to like or approve of that thing. Can we agree, that we will not play the shorthand-blaming game? We are just using a name for something that people do. If we want to form an opinion, we should learn more. Here is one thing to know; we have a shallow and thoughtless way to approve or disapprove of things. We can easily communicate our opinion …

If You are Over 60, You Could be Part of the ‘Joshua Generation’

By Dr Michael Brown If you’ve been in church circles over the years, you may have heard people refer to “the Joshua Generation,” meaning young people who are full of spiritual fire and zeal, ready to make an impact for the Lord. But if we want to be accurate biblically, while the people Joshua was leading were all under 40, he himself was at least 60.  How do we know this? The math is simple. He was one of the 12 leaders sent out by Moses and the people to spy out the land of Canaan while the nation of Israel was still in the desert. He and his colleague Caleb came back with a good report. “It’s true,” they said, “that there are giants in the land. But God is with us and we can take the land.”  The other 10 spies, however, were totally negative. “They will kill us all! We’re doomed to die!” (This is a paraphrase; for the actual text, see Numbers 13-14.) Unfortunately, the nation as a whole believed the …

Are you Conspiritual? Are we being lied to?

Since 2011, we have had a new word, in English “Conspiritual.” Any description of these ideas is probably negative, from people who don’t like them. New ideas start on the “fringe” and mainstream, and powerful people usually criticize and reject them. Over time, ideas on the fringe grow and become more popular, and they can even become mainstream thinking; truth for most of us. So, expect negative sneering, for now, and more enthusiasm later: We should know what is happening, in our world, and we should know what will happen soon; what is growing. This is not a conspiracy theory, new ideas are growing all the time, and some of them will be very powerful. Brace yourself. Conspiracy – We know what conspiracy theories are. When some important event happens, we might think that some sinister group is using its power, and manipulating events for some secret reason. Right now, we have conspiracy theories about the destruction of natural gas pipelines in Europe. We have many conspiracy theories about the COVID Pandemic, including the idea …

Eugenics: Should we breed the best people?

Are you well-bred? Do you know people who are ill-bred? Do you respect your betters? Does your family get the respect that it deserves? This is another line of questioning: The first questions come from popular thinking that is more than a hundred years old. The last two are modern. Where does thinking like this come from, besides someone’s imagination? One old source is Social Darwinism. When Charles Darwin published his ideas about “The Origin of the Species” he looked back in time, to the beginning of life. Darwin’s ideas were retrospective, he directed us back in time, to origins. He had a theory about where we came from. Charles Darwin’s ideas were very popular, and evolutionary thinking came to us like a revolution. I believe one reason for the popularity of Darwin’s backward-looking ideas, is that some people looked forward. In England, for example, people saw classes in society; as superior upper classes, who were born to rule, and the inferior lower, and working classes, who needed to know their place. That is ancient …

Iran? Russia? and maybe China? What is happening to our world?

The news is getting scary. You have probably heard that people in Iran are demonstrating against their government, and things are getting violent. The news, where I live, is that an army base has been attacked. In Russia, there are other problems. We know about the Russian army attacking Ukraine, a close neighbor. It’s now a complicated story, and the Government of Russia is bringing compulsory military service, to keep their effort going. Apparently, people in Russia are not happy about this, and they are demonstrating in the streets. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of landmass. In China, things seem to be more peaceful, and there doesn’t seem to be a violent crisis. COVID lock-downs are still happening, but young adults are not getting married and having babies, and the population is declining. A younger generation of new adults is distracted by the stress of living, in their country. This may seem trivial, but over time, a smaller population will mean a smaller economy, and that will be a smaller …

Is organized religion dead? Are Christians history?

Have you heard that organized religion is in decline, at least in North America? Apparently, we are witnessing a huge increase in people who claim to have no religious membership, especially in the United States. This increase in “nones”, people with no religion, and a decline in religious memberships has been happening for at least twenty years. This is a cultural trend, and the decline may be happening in other parts of the world. In 2014, Rowan Williams the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury said that the United Kingdom was a post-Christian society. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, where organized religion also controls the government, a young woman, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, was arrested recently, by the religious Morality Police. She was not wearing a head covering. She was supposed to wear a correct head covering, as a Muslim woman, but many women in Iran want to drop that requirement from their lives. Mahsa was arrested and detained, and somehow, she died in custody. Possibly, the police were too aggressive. Apparently, the reaction against that expression …

Seven Steps to Help Unite the Church of America

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

It was Jesus Himself who said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) The same applies for the Church: If we are divided against ourselves, we will be ruined and we will not stand. And if we, the people of God in America, will not stand, neither will our nation. But how we can unite when there are such deep divisions and differences among us?

Short-Term Gratification vs Long-Term Satisfaction

By Dr Michael L. Brown

A few years ago, I was buying some new clothes to wear on a series of episodes on Christian TV. The salesman, a seasoned pro with a very good eye, picked out some blazers, slacks, and shirts, and after trying them on, I made my final selection. It was only then that I discovered the prices on these items, expressing my surprise out loud. In response, the salesman said something that stayed with me. Allow me to share it with you here.

The 3.5 Percent Principle. Are you tired of being ignored?

Do you have an opinion, about something? Do you feel like you are not being heard? Do you know how to make a difference? Use the 3.5 percent principle. There is an old saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Those are important words; if we don’t have a vision or goal, we are just wasting our time. We are going nowhere. Actually, the problem is worse than that. Without a vision, we perish. We do go somewhere; we travel backward to our own destruction. That old saying has been with us for thousands of years, in the Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs 29:18) If your life is not going somewhere, it is going somewhere else. You were born with a direction and forward motion. On the other side, what is the point of believing anything? Check the news feed on your phone. How many opinions do you see? How many of those ideas were not popular, a few years ago? We are flooded with opinions and radical ideas, and new moral …

Can church make us rich? The prosperity in the Gospel

We don’t hear the words “Prosperity Gospel” much anymore, but the idea is still with us. You might have heard the story of the pastor in Kansas City, who recently berated his congregation because they didn’t buy him an expensive watch. He asked in November, and he still didn’t have the watch by the following summer. One of his statements was like, “So I’m not worth your McDonald’s money?” He specifically asked for a Movado watch. I don’t operate at that economic level, and I had to read more to get the picture. A Movado is a very expensive watch. As a minister of the Gospel, the pastor believed he was entitled to some bling. Prosperity is a good thing, for God’s people. These days, there is always a person with a camera that can record videos. That’s not even a luxury anymore. The pastor’s lecture was recorded, and it went viral on the internet. He also apologized, a few days later. This is a lesson for us all; we can’t get away with anything: …

Camels on the Horizon? The Eve of Destruction?

You might have heard about the camels on the horizon. Lots of people are talking about it. The story is; that a Sheik in Dubai in the Persian Gulf region gave his opinion, in an interview, and his words of wisdom have caught the attention of people around the world. In summary: Hard times make resilient people, and those people fix social problems and make a better society. That easier life produces soft and whiny people, and they make things worse. It’s a cycle of repair and decay. Prosperity and good times, lead us to decay and destruction. People who like this message generally think we are in the soft and whiny stage, and destruction is near. Apparently, many Christian preachers are interested in the message. The Sheik of Dubai is like a wise prophet, to some people. Social cycles are normal, and predictable. And if that is true, we may be at the end of a prosperity peak. We may be on the eve of destruction. What do you think? I’m a Christian, and …

Back to basics

Well, it finally happened, I got COVID. During a heat wave in August, I am well ….. sick! I now understand what the phrase ‘fellowship of His suffering’ means. So on my way to the Futon, I randomly grabbed one of my martial arts books off our bookcase. Just something to read and get my mind off the ugh… I have found it strange, that I have had very few prophetic words concerning direction during this pandemic, but I got a word for the church while reading this ‘random’ martial arts book. The book by Richard Kim, called ‘The Weaponless Warriors,’ is a series of stories about an Okinawan Karate master from the past. Reading a book, while your eyes feel like they are running with what appears to be gorilla glue, is not fun. But I randomly read one chapter and could not see past the goo to read anymore. I initially thought this would be a good story to share with my karate class. Then I felt like God saying, how about sharing …

Reincarnation? UFOs? Ghosts? Do you believe?

1) Do you believe in reincarnation? I know a man, and when he was born, his grandmother held the new baby and said, “This one has been here before.” I don’t think there has ever been evidence to support that belief. He has never mentioned memories of a previous life, for instance, but the family remembers that story. His grandmother believed. Many people believe in reincarnation, or at least they are interested enough to investigate: 2) Do you believe in UFOs? When I was a boy, my big brother was very serious about UFOs. We called them flying saucers, and my brother found some interesting books. I was a good reader, and I learned a lot about UFOs and the people who believe in them. One Sunday, the pastor of our church told us all that those ideas were not true and that we shouldn’t believe in them. I think my mother put him up to that. We kept our ideas quiet, after that, but I did see ET when it came out. I also …