Sunday, May 28, 2023

A prayer for Memorial Day

 I did not write this but I first used it so long ago that I do not recall whence it came. It is presented here as a responsive. 


Holy and redeeming God, may we honor your holy name by living up to the inheritance of your salvation, as we bear the name of your son, Jesus Christ our savior, with passion for his work of reconciliation of all the world. 

May your vision of peace and justice be realized and enacted among nations embroiled in war, among families affected or bereaved by war, and may all hearts that find their rest in you.

Lead us to that day when every tear is dried, every life is fulfilled, and the law of love is written on our hearts.

We thank you, Lord, for the lives of all those whose sacrifices have made our freedom possible. We beg your grace for our country and your wisdom to guide each of our citizens.

Let us not squander the freedom we have been bequeathed by those who died to preserve it. More than in any human system, let us live as redeemed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whose life, death and resurrection we are made free indeed.

Remove from human beings the arrogance of power, our will to anger, our reliance on weapons, and our love of violence.

Chasten us with humility and strengthen our trust in you. Make us agents of your peace in all places. We lift up to you the persons whose names we gratefully remember this day, and in remembering we pause in silence:

We pause for a time of remembrance

O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them.

Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence. In the name of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

 And please remember:

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Paganism is coming back strong

 These are four long-ish essays that deserve careful reading because, though not collaborative products, they all interrelate remarkably. I wish I had the time to excerpt them and comment. So for now, at least, the list:

Generation Z and the Future of Faith in America

From Commentary: The Return of Paganism - The spiritual crisis afflicting contemporary America has ancient and enduring roots—and so does the cure. Key point: As explained in the article, pagan practices ultimately always result in human sacrifice, especially of children.

The Queers Versus The Homosexuals - We are in a new era. And the erasure of gay men and lesbians is intensifying. (Yes, it is relevant to both links above)

Rape of the Locke - Western liberalism is being replaced. What comes next is illiberal to its core.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Going to a theme park? Be prepared for fist fights. . .

Multiple theme parks across the country are enforcing stricter rules about adults being required to accompany children in the parks. Knotts Berry Farm even closed down several hours early one day because of teens' behavior.

The largest group to implement chaperone policies is Cedar Fair, which owns and operates many parks, including California's Knott's Berry Farm. Knott's Berry Farm was forced to close early on July 16, 2022, due to "unruly behavior and altercations involving a number of teenagers," according to a statement from the park.

A few days later, on July 20, 2022, the park announced it would be implementing a chaperone policy on Fridays and Saturdays only. It also updated its code of conduct page to include details of the police.

A large number of other parks have implemented stricter rules as well. 

Why has this become an issue? Well, Consider: "U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households," for one. 

For decades, the share of U.S. children living with a single parent has been rising, accompanied by a decline in marriage rates and a rise in births outside of marriage. A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

And according to the Census Bureau, the number of children living with a single parent climbs sharply as children get older. 

Note that among children 12-17 years old, 36.6 percent live with only their mother and 40 percent live with only their father. That makes almost 81 percent of all minor teens living with only one parent.

And as we pastors all know, worship attendance or other participation by post-Boomer generations has fallen sharply - and the younger the generation, the more sharply.

American religious identity has experienced nearly three decades of consistent decline. But this roughly linear trend masks significant generational variation in religious identity. Research has consistently shown that every generation of adults is somewhat less religious than the generation that preceded it.[7] This pattern continues with Generation Z demonstrating less attachment to religion than the millennial generation did.[8]

In terms of identity, Generation Z is the least religious generation yet. More than one-third (34 percent) of Generation Z are religiously unaffiliated, a significantly larger proportion than among millennials (29 percent) and Generation X (25 percent). Fewer than one in five (18 percent) baby boomers and only 9 percent of the silent generation are religiously unaffiliated.

It’s not only a lack of religious affiliation that distinguishes Generation Z. They are also far more likely to identify as atheist or agnostic. Eighteen percent of Gen Z affirmatively identify as either atheist (9 percent) or agnostic (9 percent). In contrast, fewer than one in 10 (9 percent) baby boomers and 4 percent of the silent generation identifies as atheist or agnostic.

But there is a lot more to this drop than mere year of birth, there is politics, too:

A growing body of research finds that religious practice and identity have become entangled with politics.[11] What is notable is just how recent some of these shifts have been.

According to Gallup, in 2021, only 35 percent of liberals said they were a member of a church or other place of worship.[12] But liberals did not always have such low rates of membership. In fact, the left has experienced a precipitous drop in church membership over the past three decades. In 1998, a majority of liberals (57 percent) were members of a church or other type of religious organization.

Conservatives have also experienced a steady drop in church membership, but it has not been nearly as steep. More than six in 10 (62 percent) conservatives belonged to a church or congregation in 2021, a significant decline from 1998 when 77 percent reported being a member.

But it’s not only that liberals register lower levels of religious participation or membership. They are also less likely to have been raised in a religious tradition. Liberals are nearly twice as likely as conservatives are to say they grew up religiously unaffiliated (13 percent vs. 7 percent, respectively). They also report engaging in formal and informal religious activities at lower rates. Rather than religious disengagement reflecting decisions liberals make as adults, their trajectory of disassociation appears to have been set much earlier.

It is not a coincidence that more and more children are being born to never-married mothers: Statista's graph agrees with the CDC's report:

Percentage of births to unmarried women in the United States from 1980 to 2021

Increasingly, the traditional, two-parent, religious nuclear family is becoming an exception rather than the rule. Heck, according to these numbers is already is the exception and it is no accident that this is the deliberate intention of the American Left.  And so we are reminded once again:

But at least some people are taking what is now a counter-cultural position: "‘Get married and start a family’: Georgia Tech grad speaker."

Students should not be solely focused on making money and becoming a success in their field, according to a Super Bowl-winning kicker who spoke at Georgia Institute of Technology’s graduation ceremony.

Harrison Butker, the kicker of the Kansas City Chiefs and an alumnus of Georgia Tech, instead urged graduates to “get married and start a family.”

He said this is an antidote to ongoing mental health problems in society, including loneliness and depression. He also reminded attendees that not every good deed or success will be noticed but “what is done in the darkness will be brought to the light,’” Butker said, quoting the Bible.

The devout Catholic and pro-life advocate then showed off “the most important ring” he had to the crowd – his wedding ring. Butker also has two Super Bowl rings.
And Glenn Reynolds writes that we are seeing the return of "Those shocking bourgeois values."

Rethinking Marriage

What the Christian religion has to do with marriage is a huge subject, so at best this is an overview. I call it Rethinking Marriage becaus...