“Odds and Ends” are letters covering some important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
ARE GAYS ALWAYS GAY?
The gay community, in its earlier days, held to the belief that gays were born that way. However, according to a Breakpoint article entitled ‘Born This Way’ Is Old Science,’ “There’s also a more obvious problem with the idea of a fixed orientation in the very initials of the acronym, especially the B, the T, and the Q of ‘LGBTQ.’ As political commentator Douglas Murray (who identifies as gay) writes, ‘bisexuals continue to be viewed…as some kind of betrayal from within [the gay community’s] midst. Gay men tend to believe that men who claim to be ‘Bi’ are in fact gays in some form of denial…’
Yet, according to a Pew Research report from last summer, bisexuals account for almost half of LGBTQ adults in the US. In fact, the authors of a new book published by Harvard University Press think that male bisexuals or those who call themselves ‘mostly straight’ vastly outnumber exclusively gay men. Thus, they conclude the old system of ‘gay, straight, or bi’ has, as Stanton puts it, ‘outgrown its usefulness'”(breakpoint.org).
According to ‘Ministry Watch,’ more congregations are reopening but attendance remains flat. “Across the country, religious congregations have reopened, or reopened with some health restrictions still in place, after two long pandemic years, according to a new Pew Research survey.
But there has been little or no rise in the number of people attending in-person religious services over the past six months, while the number of those watching services online has also remained steady” (ministrywatch.com).
SHOUTS TO THE LORD GET BRIEFER
An article in ‘Christianity Today’ had this to say about contemporary songs, “Churches across the US and Canada sang, ‘Refiner’s fire / my heart’s one desire / is to be holy’ for a full decade after Vineyard worship pastor Brian Doerksen released it in 1990. ‘Overcome,’ written by megachurch worship leader Jon Egan in 2007, was just as popular. But North American churches only sang, ‘worthy of honor and glory / worthy of all our praise / you overcame’ for about three years. Worship songs don’t last as long as they used to. The average lifespan of a widely sung worship song is about a third of what it was 30 years ago, according to a study that will be published in the magazine ‘Worship Leader’ in January” (christianitytoday.com).
ITS FRIDAY BUT SUNDAY IS COMING
At Easter time I shared an Easter word and mentioned a sermon titled “Its Friday but Sunday Is Coming.” People wrote to me about who gave that message, but it was a friend of mine in Australia, Dr. Ken Chant, that gave me the real story.
“On ‘It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.’ A few years ago a famous American preacher gained more renown by a sermon on that theme, which, as far as I know, he passed off as his own. But I first heard the item several decades back, as a story that went like this: A seminary lecturer insisted that his students should be so rich in scripture that if someone gave them any short passage they would be able to preach on it instantly. The students banded together and chose Luke 23:54 (KJV) as an impossible text. The professor thought about it for a few moments and then, modifying the text a little to read, “It was Friday, and Sunday had not yet come,” he launched into his exposition. I forget the details, but it was something like this: when Jesus was dying on the cross, sundry parties rejoiced – the Jewish leaders; the Romans; the Sadducees; Satan and his hordes; etc – but it was only Friday, Sunday was yet to come. And then he declared how the resurrection changed everything! I was so moved by the story that I developed my own sermon on the theme, which began by acknowledging the source. It somehow didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped, and I never attempted it again. No doubt the American preacher did (or does) a much better job, but he certainly didn’t invent it!”
HUNTER BIDEN’S STORY
“The New York Times last week confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s missing laptop, a story which was originally dismissed as Russian disinformation by many liberal media outlets leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Television hosts, guests and journalists quickly took to the airwaves in October 2020, reassuring viewers that the laptop was ‘unverifiable,’ likely tied to the Kremlin, and the product of a smear campaign orchestrated by former President Trump and his allies” (foxnews.com).
“Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent declared the day after the New York Post first began reporting on the alleged contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop that it was “Trump’s fake new Biden scandal,” calling the allegations’ laughably weak'” (foxnews.com).
But Bill Maher, well known TV personality, declared, “It looks like the left-wing media just buried the story because it wasn’t part of their narrative and that’s why people don’t trust the media…”
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang agreed, pointing to polling that showed trust in media “falls very sharply along party lines” where 69% of Democrats say they still trust the media while just 15% of Republicans and 36% of independents say the same.
‘This is part of the erosion of institutional trust, where one side feels like the media is on their side,’ Yang said. ‘And it does seem like this Hunter Biden laptop story did get buried because of the timing. I mean, it was coming out during the height of the election in 2020. And they did not want that out in the mainstream'” (msn.com).
CRIMINAL CHARGES IN FINLAND
As reported in a previous Letter, Paivi Rasanen, a Finish Parliament member, faced criminal charges over her biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality. On March 30th, she was handed a victory as the Helsinki District Court unanimously acquitted her of charges of spreading hate. See (billygraham.ca) and (foxnews.com).
Hillsong Church, a global megachurch and music empire, co-founded by Australian pastor Brian Houston, has gone through some difficult times of late. Firstly, Brian Houston has taken a leave of absence from his leadership position as he prepares to face charges that he failed to report sexual abuse, including those of his father Frank Houston. He later resigned following accusation of sexual misconduct.
As a result, a number of the Hillsong churches in America have withdrawn from Hillsong (ministrywatch.com).
“Josh and Leona Kimes, the co-pastors of Hillsong Boston, announced on Monday (April 18) that the two have ‘made the difficult decision to resign.’ The announcement of their departure comes a week after the results of an investigation into Hillsong New York City, where the couple worked previously, were leaked to a Christian online news outlet. The Kimes’ departure is the most recent in a slew of upheavals at the global megachurch and multimedia empire. . .” (religionnews.com).
I want to point out, however, that Brian has been the target of portions of the press in Australia in many years who wanted to take him down in what I call the ‘tall poppy syndrome.’
The Anaheim Vineyard Church was the mother church for the Vineyard movement begun by John Wimber. This church, under new leadership, announced its departure from the Vineyard movement.
“The church once led by John Wimber has a new name, a legal change required by its departure from the Vineyard. On Sunday (April 24), Alan Scott, co-pastor of the former Vineyard Anaheim, announced the church would now be called the Dwelling Place” (churchleaders.com).
NEW YORK TIMES NEWSPAPER
“New book: NY Times misleads readers with distorted stories.” Author says the newspapers is so powerful it does not just cover the news it creates it. An explosive eposé claims the venerable New York Times – long hyped as the ‘newspaper of record’ – has misled its readers with distorted, manufactured reporting that has influenced wars and shaped economies.
‘This is a powerful organization,’ says Ashley Rindsberg, author of The Gray Lady Winked: How The New York Times’s Misreporting, Distortions, and Fabrications Radically Alter History.
‘;It’s a company, it’s a corporate business, it’s worth close to $10 billion, and it’s owned and controlled by one family. And that is a lot of power to put in the hands of very few people. When you do that, things tend to go wrong. That’s what we’ve seen happen in The New York Times again and again.’
Among the newspaper’s alleged sins: – Creation of ‘The 1619 Project,’ which reframes U.S. history by focusing on slavery and the contributions of Black Americans – which Rindsbery calls ‘a cynical ideologically driven attempt to revise American history by rooting the nation’s birth in slavery instead of liberty'” (Newsmax October 2021).