Odds and Ends are letters covering important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
U.S. MIDTERM ELECTION
Well, at long last, the U.S. Midterm Elections are almost over. The anticipated Red Wave did not happen except in Florida, which had a tsunami. Actually, the election has turned out to be a wake-up call for the Republican Party, and it could well be a sign of the end of Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. In my opinion, the Republicans will not win the Presidential Election in 2024 if Trump is on the ticket. However, it will be difficult for them to win without the support of the Trump followers. Somehow or other, Trump needs to step aside and make room for a new player like DeSantis. We must continue to pray for our nation as we wait to see what happens in the years to come.
NONDENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES ARE ADDING MILLIONS OF MEMBERS. WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?
Over the last decade, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and every other Protestant family has declined except for those who say they are nondenominational.
The 2020 U.S. Religion Census, due out later this year, tallied 4,000 more nondenominational churches than in 2010, and nondenominational church attendance rose by 6.5 million during that time.
At the same time, mainline Protestant Christianity is collapsing following five decades of declines. In the mid-1970s, nearly a third of Americans were affiliated with denominations like the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church. But now, just one in ten Americans are part of the mainline tradition.
In 2021, nondenominational Protestants in the United States outnumbered mainline Protestants. But what is causing this tremendous shift in the church landscape?…
What is driving the growth of nondenominational churches? While in the past it resulted from a significant portion of individuals leaving a mainline tradition, now it looks like nondenominational congregations are increasing by taking in people who were raised Catholic—which is about a quarter of the general population.
At the same time, more and more young people are being raised in nondenominational churches, which means that retaining their own will become just as important to nondenominationals as bringing in new adult members in the future (christianitytoday.com).
Liberal comedian Bill Maher has attacked “woke” Americans who criticize America as an oppressive country and told them to look instead at Afghanistan now that it is under the Taliban’s brutal control.
“If you think America is irredeemable, turn on the news,” he said on his HBO show Real Time. “There’s a reason Afghan mothers are handing their babies to us. We’re not the bad guys, oppression is what we were trying to stop in Afghanistan. We failed, but any immigrant will tell you we’ve largely succeeded here, and yet the overriding thrust of current woke ideology is that America is rotten to the core, irredeemable racist from the moment it was founded,” he said (Newsmax).
Climate change does not appear to be at the top of people’s concerns at this time. Instead, the economy and inflation are first and foremost. However, one thing that has been brought to our attention is that severe weather changes have occurred in past times. Take, for example, the Great European Heat Wave and the drought of 1540.
In a paper ‘The year-long unprecedented European heat and drought of 1540 – a worst case’ in the journal Climatic Change an international group of 32 scientists shows that in 1540 Western Europe suffered a heat wave and ‘Megadrought’ that were probably worse than the European heat wave of 2003. They also determined that even the best current climate models can’t simulate so severe an event (dailykos.com).
As someone put it, “The 1540 Megadrought in Europe: Rhine (river) ran dry, fires burned, and no one blamed coal or beef steak” (iowaclimate.org).
Another article (zerohedge.com) by Tyler Durden tackles the same issue.
THIS STUDY IS STUNNING THE AMERICAN CHURCH
In a shocking revelation, a study published by the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University showed that 58% of people who identify as Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is not a real living being but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity.
In another surprising statistic, while 176 million American adults identify as Christian, only 15 million, or 6%, actually hold a biblical worldview.
Among the errant perspectives most widely embraced are:
- Seventy-two percent argue that people are basically good.
- Seventy-one percent consider feelings, experiences or the input of friends and family as their most trusted sources of moral guidance.
- Sixty-six percent say that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue.
- Sixty-four percent say that all religious faiths are of equal value.
- Fifty-eight percent believe that if a person is good enough, or does enough good things, they can earn their way into heaven.
- Fifty-seven percent believe in karma.
- Fifty-two percent claim that determining moral truth is up to each individual; there are no moral absolutes that apply to everyone, all the time (charismamag.com).
RECORD NUMBER OF COPS DIED IN 2021
After a record number of their fellow police officers died in the line of duty in 2021, law enforcement officers say they fear the ongoing vilification of cops, combined with so-called criminal justice reforms, will likely produce a similar grim result this year.
There were 484 line-of-duty deaths in the past 12 months, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks all reported officer deaths. The causes vary, and a majority of fatalities, 325, were linked to COVID-19.
But the number of police officers who met a violent end also hit a new high in 2021: 63 cops were gunned down (two listed as inadvertent shootings), 17 died in vehicular assaults (newsmax.com).
FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
TV Commentator Piers Morgan had this to say about freedom of speech on college campuses:
This is what my new show is about, ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored,’ because what is going on college campuses, not just in America but around the world, is brutal. Censorship of any views by anyone that differs from this woke, cancel culture, mob mentality. And when you read this New York Post story, it’s really quite terrifying in a way. What you discover is that nearly 600 educators at faculties around America have been punished in some form for expressing opinions. And the rate of these punishments being handed out is now multiplying four or five-fold every year, which means that there’s a real, ongoing attempt to suppress freedom of speech on college campuses. … One of these professors actually got canceled because he was holding a class, educating people about how to deal with offensive language. And as part of the lecture, he used offensive language to illustrate what he was talking about and was immediately branded a homophobe, a racist and so on, using offensive language deliberately to make a point about offensive language. That is how ridiculous this has all gotten. So I applaud these professors for speaking out. But everyone who works on a college campus around America, in fact, globally, they should all be looking at this piece and asking themselves one question. What kind of kids are you seeing coming through these colleges? If only one narrow worldview is allowed, to me, it’s a complete disgrace (foxnews.com).
CELEBRITIES SPEAKING UP ON PROLIFE
Not all celebrities are pro-choice. Many speak up in favor of pro-life. Here is one few will know, film star Jack Nicholson: Writer, director, producer, and actor Jack Nicholson has received the most Oscar nominations of any male actor. Nicholson’s mother was pregnant as a teenager. Pressured and forced into an abortion, which she eventually refused, shaped Nicholson’s view on abortion. “I don’t have the right to any other view. My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life” (crosswalk.com).
SPLITS ARE HAPPENING IN THE TRADITIONAL DENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES
Australian Anglicans split over same-sex marriage. A conservative splinter group opposed to same-sex marriage announced the formation this week of a new Anglican diocese in Australia, triggering an apparent split in the church in that country… Glenn Davies, former archbishop of Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia, was appointed as bishop of the new diocese Thursday at the Gafcon Australasia Conference, a gathering of conservative Anglicans from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific that met in Canberra, Australia, this week (churchleaders.com).
Here in America, a number of churches in the Methodist denomination have left the denomination. These splits are over the issues of gay marriage, sexual orientation, and the Bibles teaching on these topics.
Newsmax. (2021, October). Bill Mahar’s ‘Woke-Up’ Call.