MAKING AN IDOL OF REASON — PART 3

Is the enemy of the people an unborn baby or selfish and prideful adults?
Is the enemy of the people an unborn baby or selfish and prideful adults?

About Those “Secular Values”

This post continues from Part 2: Are The “Experts” At The Reason Rally Actually Experts? post on June 4, 2016

The “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally seem to like trumpeting an oxy-moron, “secular values”.  Google “reason rally” “secular values”, and see what I mean. Apparently, the “reasonable” people do not know “secular values” is an oxy-moron. So here is an explanation.

Check the definition of secular. Here is the etymology => secular (adj.). If you believe in “secular values”, then your religion logically becomes secularism.

secularism (n.)Look up secularism at Dictionary.com“doctrine that morality should be based on the well-being of man in the present life, without regard to religious belief or a hereafter,” 1846, from secular + -ism.

If all we have to form our values is the secular, that means we must focus on the things of this world: acquiring lots of valuables (the god of stuff), enjoying worldly pleasures (the god of sex), securing our safety by joining a big gang (the god of state), and promoting our self over others (the god of self). That is, we must think like an animal. Our instincts then become our values.

Does secularism explain the Reason Rally’s issues, sexual concerns and a fear of bad weather? Seems all too likely.

If the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally cannot truly claim expertise (see the last post) and their values are based upon their instincts, then what do they have? They have a sense of entitlement and an arrogant pride. Those sort of “values” just make us easy to manipulate.

A Sense of Entitlement

You deserve it” is among today’s most favorite advertising slogans. How is it we deserve anything? Well, since the mere fact we breath doesn’t entitle us to anything, that is rarely explained. Nevertheless, political leaders have their own version of “you deserve it.” If you are on their side, “you deserve it.”

Here is an example. Personal Freedom is a Choice by Tricia offers us the words of a brave soul who resisted the tyranny we find today in Cuba. The communist rulers of Cuba demand obedience. However, because that brave soul refused to affirm this phrase, “I am with Fidel”, they sent him to prison.‘s post is about what that brave soul had to say about his struggle with the regime.

Consider that Cuba is a communist state.  It exists by pitting those who covet  against those who have. Communists exist by creating a sense of entitlement in thieves who covet the property and even the minds and bodies of others. Such is also true of the demagogues among ours leaders. They nurture our greed and promise to redistribute other people’s money to us. We just have to be “with them”.

To be “with them”, would-be tyrants, is a trap. Eventually such leaders will find a group to abuse and terrorize. Then they will declare that anyone who wants to remain “entitled” must join in the “fun.”

In Nazi Germany, the “entitled” would have had the Fuhrer’s picture up on the wall. They would have spoken approvingly of his leadership, including his treatment of the Jews, the Gypsies, homosexuals, those with birth defects, and so on.

Every totalitarian state creates a sense of entitlement in the slave masters. Every totalitarian state creates an enemy of the people, but the real enemy is in our own hearts.

Did I say the demagogues among ours leaders would eventually find a group to abuse and terrorize? It might be more accurate to say they already have, but they won’t stop with the abuse of unborn children.

Arrogant Pride

Because we each suffer from wants, desires, losses, and even real harm, we have a tendency — a crying need — to blame someone.

Imagine being born blind at birth. Who would you blame? Blame… by insanitybytes22 takes up the lesson of John 9. Just because something bad has happened does not mean we need to blame someone. Consider how  ends her post.

How different the world would look if every time we were dealt a crappy hand of cards, we would look to Christ and praise God for the gift He has just handed us, the opportunity to be His Light. If we would truly embrace the fact that every hardship, every challenge, every affliction exists to make manifest the glory of God, how different everything would be. These are not curses, these are blessings, and even though I cannot always see it, I know it, I have seen God in action enough times to trust in His word, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

There is an entire book in the Old Testament, Job, that is about a good man given this sort of strange opportunity. God allows Satan to afflict Job with all sorts of the most dreadful suffering. In his notes on the Bible, here how John Wesley explained Job 1:12.

Job 1:12

[12] And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Behold, … — It seems strange, that, God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages. (from here)

We live in a world fallen because of sin. Yet as Romans 8:28 explains, God makes all things, even our suffering, work to the benefit of those who love Him. So it is that when we suffer, we suffer because of sin, but not necessarily our own sins.

As that blind man who could finally see discovered (John 9), there are other forms of blindness. As Job proved by example, it does no good to blame anyone, but we can strive to do the right thing and trust God.

But what does someone full of arrogant pride do? They look down their noses at others. When it suits them, they abuse other people. Then, to avoid the guilt, they blame their victims.

Pride causes us to sin. Pride is at the root of all sins. Pride is the opposite of humility. When we are humble, that doesn’t mean we demean our own abilities. It simply means we strive to be obedient our Creator because He is our rightful Lord. That is, we humble our self before God and put Him in charge of our life. Therefore, when we sin, we do so because we have failed to humble our self before our rightful Lord. We put our own desires before God’s commands. That is why every sin is a sin against God.

Let’s look again at the Reason Rally’s agenda.

  • Climate Change (previously called Global Warming). If we oppose this cause we are anti-science, deniers. Yet there is virtually no evidence of a problem. There is only “A Convenient Untruth” (mocking An Inconvenient Truth).
  • Promoting the LGBTQ agenda. If we oppose a bunch of sexual perverts shamelessly insisting that everyone else accept their unhealthy behavior as perfectly normal, we are hateful. Meanwhile, these perverts flaunt the words: Gay Pride!
  • Murdering the unborn, that is, abortion. If we oppose abortion, we are religious nuts. Supposedly, if a baby is inconvenient, that is not a problem. So long as it is in its mother’s womb doctors should be able to kill it out of sight and out of mind.
  • Sex education. What is this all about? Well, prideful perverts and libertines can’t take the chance other people’s children won’t look approvingly upon their excesses. It is that me first pride thing again.

So are the “reasonable people” who attended the Reason Rally more rational than the rest of us, or are they just human beings in need of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior?

11 thoughts on “MAKING AN IDOL OF REASON — PART 3

  1. Not all non-believers are leftists like this rally’s participants. Nor are all leftists non-believers. There are devoutly religious people at this gathering.

    Socialism in its various forms (communism, national socialism, and the communist species in China, Viet Nam, North Korea, and Cuba) are generally non-theistic. Many take quite hostile views of Christianity, though the Asian communists tend to rest somewhat easier with their eastern religions.

    You mentioned Cuba specifically. Cuba is a communist nation, a miserable regime, and a very Catholic country, from Fidel on down. Fidel was always a Catholic and freely advised people from that perspective when younger. The Soviet masters caused him to clam up about it.

    As soon as Castro was sure that the Soviets were well and truly gone, he issued an official edict making it legal to be a practicing, church-going Catholic and a member of the Communist Party at the same time.

    The visits by Catholic Popes were the among the very few occasions that Fidel felt humbled by his standard fatigues, and wore business suits for those occasions. He was respectful indeed.

    Many of the leading Leftism progressives were very serious religious people. That was true a hundred years ago, including our progressive presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Hoover, FDR. Leftist progressive Israel-hating miserable President Jimmy Carter was our first evangelical Christian president. Obama is a “nominal” Christian, in that he is of no particular faith but he considered it pragmatically useful to be a member of a local, powerful church and, as he put it, their faith didn’t demand much from him.

    Now, Obama relies upon hard-Left communist progressives like Jim Wallis, or “Progressive Christians” like Joshua DuBois. And we tiptoe past the communist connections of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Liberation Theology of many blacks (famously including Barack Obama via Jeremiah Wright) and some other groups outside of black communities.

    You and your commenters keep hammering on “lack of faith in Jesus” as the problem. It isn’t. It is progressivism, which is independent of issues of faith. I would guess that most progressives are Christians, and a good chunk of the rest are Jewish. The Christian percentage will be smaller than Republicans, and smaller still compared to conservatives, but still a majority. Progressives can hold faith and political idealism in their minds at the same time, despite what others see as gross conflicts.

    You have many non-theists as allies. One will likely be on the ballot this year: Austin Peterson. He is a non-believer who is completely non-hostile to Christianity, is ardently pro-life, and very much a conservative despite running on the Libertarian ticket. He’d be a far better choice than the doddering evil tyrants of the two parties now on offer. By insisting, over and over, that the only way to save the country is to confess faith in Jesus (and presumably as part of a certain small number of sects) will tend to alienate those who should be allies.

    We both desire to restore America to a true Constitutional structure and abundant prosperity. You have one approach with its own rationale. It is not foolproof, and it is not the only approach.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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    1. Since the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally aimed to speak for all Secularists, it has proven somewhat difficult, but I did my best to aim my posts specifically at that group.

      Did I attack Secularism? The way these people use the word? Yes. Since you don’t talk about it much, I don’t precisely know upon what basis you have formed your own morals, but I suspect the term Secularism does not describe it.

      Any person with high moral standards believes in something greater than themselves. Do they always call that greater the God of the Bible? No, but as a practical matter that greater becomes their god. What we devote our lives to — the principles we honor uphold — is our god.

      What the agenda of the Reason Rally devoted itself to are the gods of stuff, sex, state, and self. Since such “values” stink, I just pointed out what the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally must logically believe.

      Given what the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally believe, can you think of a better way to save those people than for them to confess faith in Jesus? Please note I have no way of making anybody do that. It is voluntary. It is between them and God, and it is definitely not a solution to save the country. It is a way to save people’s souls. I regret that I did not express that more clearly.

      Note that you did not take issue with my conclusions about the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally. You just want to label the participants in the “Reason Rally” Progressives. That they are, but they labelled themselves Atheists and Secularists. Mind you, my tongue is in my cheek, but if you want them to call themselves Progressives, then you need to talk to them.

      I agree that just as the political beliefs of Atheists varies so do the political beliefs of Christians. Since Christian Churches tend to stay out of politics, I tend not to blog about their politics. However, I have.
      https://citizentom.com/2012/12/09/what-does-the-bible-say-about-abortion-part-3/.
      There some things that people who call themselves Christians do that are shameful.

      I have also blogged about Christian Socialism => https://citizentom.com/2011/08/07/christianity-and-socialism-part-1/.

      Like most “pundits”, I try to pick on everybody. BTW, you would not believe the origin of that word. =>
      http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=pundit

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      1. No, but as a practical matter that greater become their god. What we devote our lives to — the principles we honor uphold — is our god.

        This strikes me as a rather peculiar formulation. You state it as a given, but such semantic games seem to devalue your own God, relegating that God to simply a set of “principles.” Have you really devoted your life to those principles? Have all Christians who nominally state their faith, even though it seems to exert little control over their lives, really devoted their lives completely to the “principles” of a Christian God?

        It seems to me that this effort to make certain that people like me (or like non-believing Progressives) have a “god” is pushing the semantics a bit far.

        Most Christians, I would guess, go through their lives with their faiths playing a small or even negligible role in how they conduct themselves day to day. There are exceptions, some of whom are noble indeed. Other beliefs are likely much the same; a discussion of Islam in this context seems worth a post.

        Atheists/non-believers/agnostics go through their lives with religious faith playing no role at all. In many cases, it would be hard to tell the difference from nominal Christians, or sometimes even very devout Christians, merely by their actions.

        So what does play a role? It seems to me that each person initially absorbs from their societal surroundings a set of principles that unconsciously guide their actions. We in the West call these “morals,” and the effects of conflicts between them and our actions our “conscience.” I don’t object to the names.

        In the US, these guiding principles in the larger society initially came from the Judeo-Christian-influenced Enlightenment, with a large dose of influence from this country’s excellent founding documents and early leaders like the highly admirable George Washington. Note that it would not have mattered if Washington were really a devout believer or an atheist who put on a show of piety for an audience that expected it. His actions would still have been impressive, and sometimes astounding, and he was a worthy man to look to for guidance.

        These national influences are merely a canvas, it seems to me. More local societal influences can vary widely from this, and add their own color to spots on the canvas, sometimes hiding it completely. Even if a young man in a Washington DC ghetto and a young woman in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown might both be Christians, they will nevertheless likely start out their young adult lives with very different principle sets indeed. Individual family differences can play a large role here as well. Two young men of the same age and ethnicity from adjacent homes can emerge with very different core guidance.

        As we grow, we reach a point where we start consciously thinking about our guiding principles, and we have the option of modifying them. We’re not forever trapped in the mold in which we were initially cast. It is not easy to change, as habits become our masters all too soon. And it involves actively thinking and then acting on a part of us that normally gets no real thought at all.

        Conversion to a different religion often provides a set of guidelines that will often be at least somewhat different from the ones one had previously, together with a strong rationale (for the new believer) for adopting them. Many people are at least partially successful in updating their core principles, though I suspect that few can make changes that match the newly offered set completely. Some profess to very radical changes, which seems to me a rather extraordinary feat. I imagine that this happens less often than is bragged about.

        This topic was, interestingly, a rare moment of speaking the truth for Donald Trump. He described with some insight that, growing up in New York City, he would have different “values” than would someone who had grown up in Iowa. This led, later, to Ted Cruz’s comment on New York values, but the expression came from Trump himself. Trump’s comment about his values and Cruz’s observation about them were both correct. But it still cost Cruz a lot, perhaps the election, because of Trump’s and the media’s portrayal of it.

        To me, these “values” were the internalized guidance I’m talking about. And even in New York City, there will be much variation between individuals, largely from more local “societal” influences — just as will be true in Iowa. The “averages” of these in the two locales, though, will be clearly different, and that was Cruz’s point.

        I’d be very careful indeed to suggest that, without Christianity (or some religious belief) one cannot have a useful set of internal guidelines. And I’d be more careful yet about suggesting that such internal guiding principles make up a “god” that non-believers worship. They are not even the God of Christianity for believers, though in the best of cases that Christianity has helped the believer to update the core guidance in good ways.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        1. Semantic games? No. Did I just state the matter plainly? I suppose so. I seriously doubt more dramatic writing would impress you.

          I doubt I can say anything you don’t already know about this matter. For example, you have probably heard this. As each us matures, we discover a God-sized hole in our hearts. Because that emptiness gnaws at us, we each try to fill that hole. Only God can fill that hole. Unfortunately, not everyone chooses God to fill their heart.

          Who chooses to fill their heart with God? We only know each other by word and deed. We only know the character of a person by the fruit of their lives, and that is determined by the principles to which they have devoted their lives.

          In ancient times, people created idols that manifested how they had filled the hole in their hearts and the principles to which they devoted their lives. Sometimes their idols were ugly. Sometimes the beauty of their idols covered something sinister. I suppose all we can say about the gods of the Romans and the Greeks is that they were relatively innocuous.

          Do such observations devalue God? I think not. I think we just don’t know how to describe God. Consider the observation KIA made here => https://citizentom.com/2016/05/21/science-does-not-prove-the-existence-of-god/#comment-69551.

          KIA argues that if He exists God is so foreign to us we cannot demonstrate He exists. We cannot know Him. Of course, there is only one problem with that observation. Whether we can know of God depends upon God, not us. Here is a post that explains that problem better than I can => https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/why-doesnt-god-show-himself/

          Anyway, I suppose it is possible you do not have a God-sized hole in your heart, but I doubt it. As you observed, we absorb from our parents and the people around us a set of principles. Why do we need such principles? What are those principles?

          Of course, our growth does not stop at childhood. Many of us contemplate the principles we initially absorb. You strike me as someone who has done that. Such a person is a seeker.

          Because of seekers no society is static. Each person within that society either grows or declines spiritually, and many struggle to pull others with them. We even argue about the definitions of growth and decline.

          God is a riddle to us. We are even an enigma to each other. We cannot bear the sight of God, and we rarely gain a glimpse into the soul of another human being. About all we can do to take the true measure of someone’s commitment to a belief is see what price they will pay for it.

          So do I think that without Christianity one cannot have a useful set of internal guidelines? No. Some people make much of the fact that parts of the Bible suggests that to be save we must literally accept Jesus as our Savior. For all I know that may be the exact truth, and that is a very scary possibility. However, when I look at Hebrews 11, I grow a bit more hopeful. When I read Romans 2:12-16, I grow still more hopeful.

          Romans 2:12-16 New King James Version (NKJV)

          12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

          I doubt God will allow sinful, unrepentant people into heaven. If He did, it would not be heaven anymore. Nevertheless, the Bible says that even those who do not have the law — the Old Testament — may still have the law written on their hearts. Whenever you want to call it, that law is a faith in something, or more likely, someone.

          Therefore, when I share the Gospel, I do it to share the blessing of the Gospel. I do it because Jesus commanded us to share the Gospel. I do because I fear that without the Gospel some will not repent.

          I share the Gospel because Jesus’ message is one of truth and grace. John 3:16 says Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Because there is justice, there is a Hell. So we need a Savior. Yet there is grace enough to save any repentant sinner, but only Jesus has the wisdom to decide who that might be. Therefore, I try to remember Jesus is God. He is the Way, and He gets to decide which of us finds the Way and which of us does not.

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  2. Thanks for the mention Tom in your well thought out post. It’s amazing isn’t it how much suffering is brought upon the world by pride, insecurity and fear. A person in a position of power has an awesome responsibility to the people he governs yet time after time we see leaders pit citizen against citizen to gain votes and even more power. Humility is something they all lack.

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    1. My pleasure.

      All I can suggest we pray for our leaders. If first century Christians were suppose to pray for Nero, I suppose we are supposed to pray for the not so humble fellows we elect. At least they are not burning down D. C. and playing a fiddle. They are just burning up our money.
      😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A recurring curiosity that I have about many of Tom’s posts is the apparent assumption that there is some kind of iron lock identity between political conservatism (“conservatism” as Tom perceives that label) and Christianity (“Christianity” as Tom perceives it). Keith’s more nuanced approach offers the important factual point that professing Christians adopt political views that cover a wide range on spectrum of governance philosophies. There are “left-wing” Christians, “right-wing” Christians and Christians at every point in between. Conversely, atheists, non-theists, and non-Christians can be found across all points on the political spectrum. This observation applies quite visibly in the United States, the politics of which we are all at least somewhat familiar, but in other countries as well, as Keith notes in his first comment. I have asked Tom directly on several occasions several variants of the same question about his views – i.e., the degree to which American political conservatism must be an ineluctable extension of religious faith and/or the degree to which American political liberalism reflects Christian heterodoxy. Can a faithful American Christian be a liberal Democrat (or socialist)?

    Tom’s political opinions are, at least as expressed here, inseparable from his religious views. If that works for him, so be it. The problem for me arises when he attributes, either expressly or by implication, the political opinions of others that he finds disagreeable to defects in religious faith or religious education.

    Scout

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scout

      Thank you for your comment. It doesn’t have much relevance this post, but I suppose it does illustrate how someone can sound like they are saying something when they are not saying much of anything. Hello Josh Earnest!

      Think about what you wrote. You created a vaguely defined straw man (That was suppose to be me?). Then you sort of took a whack at it. Did your straw man fall down? If I ever meet the Tom you wrote about, I guess I will know then.

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  4. Of course, my comment related both to the post and to other comments. That sometimes happens in these blog exchanges. I do think it is reasonably anchored in the flow of ideas, Tom.

    I am glad to hear from you directly, however, that I have misunderstood your positions, both in the post and in many other posts on this site, by assuming that you see a kind of rigid linkage between secular political views and the degree to which a person is an orthodox Christian. I think, however, objective readers can understand the sources of my misunderstanding.

    Scout

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    1. @novascout

      Instead of discussing the issues, you are trying to make me the issue. That is lame, but that is what is what some people do when their stance on the issues is flawed and in their hearts they know it.

      When someone tries to make me the issue, I just do what I am doing now. I point to their “argument”. You are accusing me of doing exactly the sort of thing you are doing.

      Note what I did when I discussed the “reasonable” people at the Reason Rally. I spoke directly to their issues. That included addressing their claim that secularism has a monopoly on reason. Based upon their own web pages and statements, I made logical arguments. Have you done that? No.

      Did I attack these people personally? No doubt they feel I did. When someone presumes that only someone of their faith (in this case Secularism) can reason logically, how can we refute the arrogance of such a claim without attacking the arrogance inherent in such a claim?

      Anyway, it seems likely you participated in the Reason Rally? Would you like to give us your first-hand account?

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  5. Ideas are the issues in these types of sites, Tom, not the individuals. You are mistaken that the point of my comment is about you. Of several recurring themes on this site in your posts, there are two that almost always catch my attention and puzzle me somewhat. The first is the one previously mentioned in this thread – i.e, the apparent link between the idea that secular political philosophy is linked and predictable from religious viewpoints. I formed the impression that, in your view, your type of Christianity dictates your type of politics, and that, conversely, opposing political opinions are reflections of an absence or lack of appropriate religious conviction. That impression was not diminished by your post in this particular item, the bare text of which is not unreasonably interpreted by the objective reader to suggest that the Reason Rally folks suffer from sinful pride, and could not hold the views they do if they were more open to religious texts. My earlier comments went solely to the fact that I thought Keith’s observations were valuable in this context, that horrid governmental policies can arise even in religious cultures populated by professing believers.

    However, I take you at your word, as I must (who would know better than you), my impression of your views is mistaken, that I may have misunderstood the point you were trying to make in the post. I look forward to further elucidation on these matters.

    And, in order not to leave things hanging, the second recurring point that grabs my attention here, is the impression I’ve formed that you view public education as extra-constitutional and/or unsupportable because it lacks religious foundations. I have always thought it strange that one of your major objections to public education seems to be that it is inadequately in providing religious education, but at the same time, you seem quite skeptical of government competence to do almost anything (and I agree that some of that skepticism is well-founded). I have wondered whether you really would want public schools having government employees teaching religion, and, if so, what religion(s) you would want them to teach (I think I could come pretty close with a guess, but I don’t want to speak for you on this). This, again, may be a misimpression on my part, but, in the spirit of exchanging ideas, I thought I might as well throw it out.

    In any event, you project too much to assert that I try to personalize these discussions. That’s not my approach. As one reads back through many of our exchanges, I think one finds that you are very quick to attribute to me personal traits that I do not have and you could not have superior knowledge about, whereas my contributions are much less inclined toward personal attacks than are yours.

    Oh, and since you apparently have forgotten, I am a Christian believer, and I did not attend the Reason Rally. It might have been interesting, but I had other things to do, like power washing the outside basement stairway.

    Scout

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