By William Andrew Dillard
DISCIPLESHIP: DUMBING DOWN OR WISING UP
A common castigation of educational processes in public schools is that of “Dumbing down,” the students when the challenges of modern times obviously call for wising up. By some accounts, the castigation appears to be true. One illustration of this is widespread inability to function in a real world. For instance, I am a tall individual who is often asked, “How tall are you?’ My reply is “I am three foot, forty.” Almost all of the time I follow up (of necessity); “I am four-foot twenty-eight.” Still getting a blank look, I offer, “Actually, I am five-foot, sixteen.” Youngsters for the most part simply do not get it, and I have had business people to say, “Please stop it. I cannot do the math.” What???? My family is a family of teachers. At least one of them was forthrightly told by her principal, “You will not teach algorithms in this school. Please stop teaching the times-table.” What???? A youngster’s report of a measurement to me was “23 inches and five marks.” What??? Fractions, their names and meaning are unknown!” What??? On and on it goes, ad nauseam.
Obviously, modern days do not the millennium make, but technology has produced fantastic opportunities for Christian Education and sharing. Study and research has never been easier or more accessible, but the benefit of those things remain a reality only for those who are spiritually prepared to appreciate them and to use them. In recent years, because of the abundance of materials available, this writer gave away most of his library, keeping only those rare and treasured works that are mostly irreplaceable. At the same time he expanded his research capability and accessibility many times over online. One would think that all those who take the name of the Lord in any degree of reverence would quickly excel in spiritual knowledge and ability. But such thinking would be wrong. Technology is wonderful, but it is no substitute for a personal relationship, and fellowship, with God.
Most within the umbrella name of Christianity are not wising up. They are dumbing down! Their excitement is in material things that fulfill their social desires, and in the acumen of leaders who frame their homilies psychologically to scratch itching ears. Spiritual blessings are equated to the number of people socially attracted, size of property, and /or financial flow; criteria that would elevate most non-Christian sects to the highest of “spiritual blessings.” “Who caused the walls of Jericho to fall down flat?” asked a Sunday school teacher only to recoil in horror that several in her class disavowed anything to do with it; some offering alibis.
The time remaining until all will meet our maker; every tongue confessing and every knee bowing is extremely short. It is not a time to dumb down, but a time to wise up!
Author: William Andrew Dillard
Extremely high on the priority list of men and of nations is the state of peace. Of course, those words may mean different things to different people, so amplification is needed. Stay with me on this one!
Peace! It is an enduring status to some, and so elusive to others. Still others throw it away before they realize they have it. Some folks want domestic peace. What can be more troubling than a home where there is no peace? Others want inner peace, a reprieve from a troubled conscience, or the filling of an inner void. Still others may be as the Hatfields and the McCoys; desperately needing peace in their relationships with others. Nations cry peace, and go to extremes to avoid war and its terrible effects for generations.
But should one trade away all freedoms of life and other potentials for peace to know a lesser degree of stress and turmoil? As the old saying goes, some would rather be red than dead, and will surrender to chains to avoid conflict as though the chains would bring them peace. Those who are troubled, and in need of peace should look nowhere else but to the Prince of Peace Who alone is able to bring permanent peace to the human heart and mind, even in times of stress and trouble. So, often we read apostolic salutations in the scriptures of “grace and peace unto you,” Such greetings were made in the sure realization that those states of being are real and attainable, but they are the gift of God and not of man.
Those who look elsewhere for peace than to the Lord Jesus Christ may find a temporary topical cream for a present troubled situation, but no lasting peace. The scriptures warned that this would be the mindset of men in the last days: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” I Thess. 5:3.
At the entrance of Jesus into the World, angelic hosts praised God saying:” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 He is the Prince Peace and the promise is “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isa. 26:3. Thus did Jesus say to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. One may wonder if there is an alternative to the peace that Jesus alone gives. In such case, most serious consideration should be given to the forceful and simple statement of Isa 48:22, “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.”
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:3-5
In the context of many Bible verses, mankind, and especially those who know and worship God, are admonished to be thankful. In a world of sinners in which Satan is god, and humanism is the religion of choice of the disobedient and wayward, evidence of thankfulness can be scarce at times. Think with me about it!
Next Thursday is a day set aside by presidential proclamation as Thanksgiving Day. It is a federal holiday that sadly will host more reveling than the giving of thanks. America has its problems and they are huge, but of all people on earth, we are blessed, and we should be the most thankful for the bounty of blessings heaped upon us by the Almighty.
One cranky, selfish, ne’er-do-well scowled, “Thankful? Thankful? What reason do I have to be thankful? Another of quick wit retorted, “My friend you just identified it. You should be thankful for reason.” Certainly, it is God Who gives us mental faculties, and the abilities to labor, to go, to do, to enjoy, and yes, the capacity to endure hardships and pain. And this is driving hard at the main point of this article. You see, being thankful is not a ritual to indulge in once a year, or once a month or even once a week. Thankfulness is a way of life, a 24/7/365 lifestyle that acknowledges “it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves.” It acknowledges the value of human life, not only of our own, but that of our neighbor as well. It worships and praises our Creator in the realization that every good and perfect gift comes to us from the Father of Lights with Whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning. James 1:17.
So, perhaps the focus of attention to thankfulness brought to so many of us on this annual holiday is a special blessing. It emphasizing how we should live, and in most cases, underscores how far, and in what ways we have fallen from it. Such realization is priceless. It does not call for resolutions, but of revival; of turning back to a better way of life that acknowledges who we are and why we are here. Such discoveries do not lie in religious leaders, the nostalgia of early America, philosophers, or self determination. Thankfulness, like faith, comes through the knowledge and acceptance of the teachings of God’s Holy Word. Thankful people are well versed in it.
Dare we to pause on this special American holiday to reason why we should be thankful as a manner of life? There may have never been a time in history when the need to experience true thankfulness was greater!