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Truth: How We Handle it Reveals Our National Character

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We’re losing it, America. We’re losing our country, our pride, our sense of fairness and rightness, our justice and freedom, our uniqueness—our everything. What happened? How are we losing our way after only three and a half generations as a nation? One word: truth. We’ve mangled, devalued, redefined and diluted it.

We’ve warped our perception of truth. We treat it à la carte: selecting what we like, rejecting what we don’t. We replace it with “my truth,” which is rooted in desire rather than reality. Instead of discerning genuine truth with our heads, we embrace desirable falsehoods with our hearts. When we do this consistently, we lose the ability to think critically. We base our beliefs on our fickle feelings rather than on immutable truth.

When we ignore truth’s essential nature—its objectivity—we lose the ability to weigh opinions and assertions against it. Without truth’s constancy, we lose a fixed reference point. We’re like mariners navigating without the North Star.

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This failure leaves us open to accepting others’ truths and well-intentioned falsehoods—even when their truths are diametrically opposed to reality.

True believers

It’s not that others mean to mislead us. Most don’t do so consciously or nefariously. Almost all are true believers. They swapped truth for their truths long ago. Most are professors, politicians and pundits who’ve had a lot of practice pontificating at podiums and in front of cameras.

What makes them effective in eroding our trust in truth is their passion. They believe what they believe more than we believe what we believe. It’s a power play. College professors tell students what is true; they don’t teach them to think for themselves. Defending viewpoints through debate is no longer part of the curriculum.

Professors are so sure of their beliefs and so unwilling to allow spirited dissent and sealed so tightly in their echo chambers that they propagandize rather than prepare students for the real world. Same goes for celebrities, senators and talking heads.

Is it any wonder that our social media interactions are drenched in talking points and accepted opinions? Facebook and Twitter are not platforms for respectful discourse or persuasion. Without honest debate and respect for differing viewpoints, many resort to name-calling and shutdown words like troll and hater and racist and bigot.

Dark days and a sure hope

When great nations and empires fall, they erode and crumble from within. How a people handles truth reflects their national character and determines their future.

As Americans, how have we treated truth? By justifying abortion on demand and for convenience as a woman’s “choice?” By discarding basic biology and science by pretending one’s feelings about one’s gender is a matter of choice rather than design? Do we continue trampling truth by rewriting history for political purposes and ignoring context and common sense?

It’s not too late to right our national ship. To do so, we must change course from a heading that’s bearing us toward the shoals of subjectivity to the surety and safety of time-honored truth. As in all things, Jesus is the answer: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus invites us to embrace truth and, with it, freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God is the source of all truth. Rejecting what he says is true and replacing it with subjective, desire-driven falsehoods is a form of rebellion. Accepting the true and the beautiful reality of God leads to joy and peace. When we know there is a firm foundation of truth and goodness and joy, we can rest in it—and in a God who, in truth, loves his children with a perfect and eternal love.

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Patrick is a trained journalist and writer with degrees in English and journalism. He served six years in the Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures and blogging at https://luscri.com/



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Faith

Decrease in Marriage Continues a Spiraling Wave of Problems, and Churches are AWOL

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Over 60 years after the decline of marriage began in the 1960s due to the rise of the “free love” mentality, the results are more dismal than ever. In 1960, only 28% of adults were single. Now almost 50% of adults are single. Marriage rates are at their lowest ever in U.S. history. There are eight times more children born to unmarried parents than married. 

 

This is a problem. While progressives love to tear down the traditional nuclear family, they can’t argue with the increasingly negative facts coming out. Cohabitation arrangements break up around five times more frequently than marriages, and unplanned pregnancies occur three times more often with cohabiting couples than married couples. Unmarried couples with children are three times more likely to split up and have lower incomes. Children without fathers are more likely to suffer an “Adverse Family Event,” which is abuse, neglect or other trauma. Disregarding the old saying “Marriage tames men” is why we are seeing a spike in bad behavior by men.

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Two authors with extensive backgrounds in marriage and the Christian church have written a book, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America, outlining the crisis and showing how the church has failed to address it — but also providing specific solutions to fix it. “Endgame” refers to the crumbling of marriage. 

 

Co-author J.P. De Gance, a Catholic who came from the political sphere working for Americans for Prosperity, pioneered a marriage relationship project called Culture of Freedom — later rebranded as Communio —  which had tremendous results. He launched it in several cities, working with churches and faith-based organizations. In Jacksonville, Florida, which had dismal marriage rates, divorces fell 24% after the three-year project, which focused on 58,912 couples.

 

Similarly, John Van Epp, an evangelical relationship expert, ran his own Christian marriage relationship service, Love Thinks. In one area in Indiana that he focused on, divorce rates dropped 20% over 10 years. 

 

What the authors found is that churches are lacking in marriage ministry. Three out of four churches don’t provide any substantive relationship courses or resources for married couples. And even though singles make up almost 50% of heads of households, more than 90% of churches don’t have an adult singles ministry. 

 

What should be most alarming for Christians is the decline of relationship health is now the most significant factor in disrupting a relationship with Jesus. This is why church attendance is at its lowest rate ever on record in the U.S., 47%. In 2000, it was 70%. Church attendance is largely determined by one variable — parental marriage. Both children with unmarried parents and divorced parents were equally less likely to attend church.

 

Marriage crumbled because of the decoupling of sex, romantic partnerships and parenting. Today, the majority of couples have sex before starting a relationship. The authors point to online dating as one of the culprits — it’s made it easy to leave a relationship the instant a problem arises, because you can find a new romantic interest right away.

 

They found a correlation between atheism and lack of married parents. Millennials who were the least emotionally interested in attending church were also the least likely to report having a positive relationship with their parents. The 30 most well-known atheists in the world had a defective relationship with their fathers. 

 

Progressives may pretend that Christians are no better off than the rest of the population, but the authors found that churchgoing Christians have sex more frequently and are happier in their sex life than those who don’t attend. While one quarter of couples in church have a struggling marriage, 39% of couples in general do. 

 

Unfortunately, pastors don’t realize they’re not doing a good job in this area. While 93% of pastors counsel couples in crisis, 57% of them do not believe they are qualified enough. A “marriage 911” is lacking in the church. Churches spend lots of money on youth programs, but that’s not helping people stay in church. 

 

The authors say we need to go out into the community to find couples to help, not expect them to come searching and find these services. It needs to be portrayed as something everyone needs, in order not to scare people away thinking it’s only for couples who are on the verge of breaking up, otherwise people will be afraid of the stigma.

 

The authors reveal what works as successful techniques. They teach couples to address problems early on in relationships. It’s a myth that good relationships don’t require work. The “balanced relationship” is an illusion. What is normal in a good relationship is this: About the time a couple feels that they have a routine that is working for them … life comes at them fast. One of the most valuable tasks the authors have couples do is to make a top 10 list of what they think their spouse wants and needs from them.

 

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) is key to a good marriage. This means both interpersonal, which includes communicating with your spouse, and intrapersonal, the ability to monitor your own emotions and actions. Studies of people doing tasks who have somewhat higher EQs but also somewhat lower IQs than others reveal that the former perform better, shattering our traditional views of IQ. 

 

The authors also emphasize the importance of both skills and virtues. Secular counseling focuses on skills, whereas Christian counseling tends to focus too much on just virtues. Skills include discernment, appreciation and expectation, self-control and commitment. 

 

The authors conclude by saying the church needs to make marriage ministry and relationship outreach normal. Marital problems shouldn’t be left up to social agencies to handle. The secular world is going to continue to disparage marriage and continue the downward cycle that the misnamed, so-called “free love” brings, so the church has to step up and stop the leak in the dam. 

 

 

  

 

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Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

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Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

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You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

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