Discernment is not only the ability to choose right from wrong; it is the ability to choose right from almost right. Similarly, one of the closest companions to wisdom, a companion without which true wisdom cannot exist, is humility, the virtue whereby we recognize that we lack wisdom and must acquire it.
In our digitally dependent age, information comes at us constantly from every direction and, it often seems, with ever-increasing rapidity. Never before in history have we had such an abundance of information that we can so easily access, and yet never before in history has there been such a lack of wisdom.
In fact, it often seems that there are many who do not even see wisdom as something that they should aspire to possess. In many respects, Western culture has ignored the pursuit of wisdom for so long that even the word wisdom has almost completely disappeared from its vocabulary. We live in a culture that rebels against the wisdom of the aged and revels in the foolishness of the elementary.
Part of the problem is the idea that knowledge equals understanding and that understanding equals wisdom. Shortcuts such as a web search or echoing the perspective of social media gurus or celebrities provide superficial knowledge that often satisfies people today.
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By Thomas Brewer — 10 months ago
I trained to be a lifeguard at a camp one summer when I was younger. I passed most of the tests, but there was one test where we had to tread water while holding a heavy weight for a few minutes. It was difficult, and I couldn’t do it. I gave up. I remember quitting and feeling like a failure. Adult life likewise brings no shortage of things that prompt us to give up, that make us feel like we’re just treading water. This world can be discouraging in its sin and brokenness.
The prophet Elijah gave up. He’d just achieved a monumental victory in serving the Lord by defying King Ahab and the false prophets on Mount Carmel. God had sent down fire to consume the sacrifice of Elijah, while the prophets of Baal had spent all day crying out to their impotent god. It was a time for supreme confidence, but that confidence was only momentary for Elijah. Queen Jezebel heard about what happened and swore to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:2). What did Elijah do in response? He ran for his life down to Judah. He even left his servant behind and went into the wilderness—near the same wilderness in which Jesus was tempted. He had to get away. He sat down and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4).
Elijah made a death wish: “Take away my life.” Have you ever made a death wish? Perhaps you haven’t made one out loud, but I think many of us have quietly wished we were dead in moments of desperation. I don’t mean suicidal; nor do I mean that we’re simply wishing for heaven. I mean we wish things were over. Done with. We’re tired of suffering, faltering, and struggling. We wish we could leave the trials and difficulties of this life behind. We just want to die.
When Elijah asked the Lord to take away his life because he was no better than his fathers, did he mean he couldn’t continue to live up to the calling of a prophet? Did he mean he recognized his human weakness, and it was simply not enough? Did he mean he couldn’t turn the hearts of the Israelites back to the Lord? It’s not clear. Maybe it was just a cry of desperation that didn’t have a strong grounding in any fact. It’s an expletive, as we might say, “I can’t take it anymore!” Whatever the case, Elijah fell asleep in the middle of the wilderness. But lo and behold, verses 5–7 tell us that an angel showed up. He touched Elijah and told him to get up and eat. In front of him was a baked cake with water. He slept again, and the angel came again with food and water. God gave him strength.
By Steele Brand — 2 weeks ago
Why does exploring the founders’ reliance on God in the Declaration matter today? Because it is the most fundamental matter at the root of every political question. Why are humans equal? Because God created them so. Why do all humans have dignity? Because they are created in the image of God. Why can government not solve every problem? Because it is not God.
Mike Johnson opened his tenure as Speaker of the House with a speech citing the creator God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. The speech drew criticism from columnists in the Washington Post, Time, PBS, and the New York Times, among others. Much of it shifted between Johnson’s support of Trump, his church affiliations, and his penchant for employing biblical language.
Each of the columns raced to the accusation that Johnson is a Christian nationalist. Yet none of them offered a counterargument to the fact that the Declaration of Independence actually does reference God in the course of justifying America’s separation from the British. The Declaration in fact makes four references to God, using the parlance of the 18th century.
The first reference is in its opening paragraph, which appeals to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” thus grounding the legitimacy of the new “thirteen united States of America” in natural law and its divine author. This nation endeavors to conform to God’s moral order from its inception.
The second reference comes in the first sentence of the next paragraph and is the most famous: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The securing of these rights concisely expresses the American understanding of government’s purpose. Government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” But both government and the people are subordinate to the Creator, who stands outside the material world and brought all things into existence.
Thomas Jefferson and the Second Continental Congress presumed a common (although not coerced) belief in God. Without God, the fight for independence was unjust. Without God, the new nation had no duty to protect life and liberty. Without God the people’s right to pursue happiness, understood by the founders as the classical pursuit of goodness and virtue, would deserve no mention. Without God, the Declaration’s claims become sophistry, because the very concepts of justice, goodness, and truth are subject to constant redefinition based on the whims of the moment.
By Christian Winter — 1 year ago
For Christians to truly hold fast to what is good, to truly seek the good of their neighbors, then they must hate what is evil. They must hate the evil lies promoted by transgender activists. Out of love for others and love for the truth, Christians must refuse to speak the lies of transgender ideology.
On Matt Walsh’s New Documentary
At the very beginning of the Bible we are instructed about the division of the sexes: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). There are only two, male and female, and nowhere does God’s Word indicate that men can become women, or women men. In fact, the Bible explicitly condemns attempts to live as the opposite sex. Deuteronomy 22:5 says that “[t]he woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” The Bible is abundantly clear about the nature of sexual division within the created order.
In “What is a Woman?,” Matt Walsh’s new documentary about the transgender movement and its critics, Walsh nowhere appeals to the Bible, but instead uses common-sense, rational questioning to investigate transgenderism’s attempt to overthrow nature—God’s “second book” of revelation. Walsh’s documentary reveals how the transgender movement has exchanged the truth about humanity for a lie. No lie conforms to reality, yet Walsh shows how this lie is especially incoherent and detached from reality. Over and over, licensed doctors, college professors, practicing pediatricians, and sitting politicians fumble through Walsh’s interviews (or end the interview, refusing to answer his questions) thereby exposing their gender ideology for the nonsense that it is. Walsh directs each of his interviewees to a concluding question, one that transgender activists were unable to answer in a direct or logical way: What is a woman? Responses ranged from “Great question” and “I’m not a woman, so I don’t know,” to “Why do you want to know?” and “A woman is someone who claims to be a woman.”
One particularly striking interview was with Dr. Patrick Grzanka, Professor in a University of Tennessee Program for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Walsh begins by asking Grzanka if sexuality and gender are different. In a long and circuitous way, Grzanka answers that the concepts are distinguishable yet interrelated. When Walsh presses Grzanka, asking if we can identify a person with male physical characteristics who identifies as a transgender woman as in fact male due to his biology, Granzka demurs. This leads to one of the most eye-opening exchanges in the film. Grzanka asks Walsh why he cares so much about identifying someone’s biological sex, and Walsh says he wants to understand reality, to “start by getting to the truth.” Grzanka reacts, claiming that he is deeply uncomfortable with the language of “getting to the truth,” and that such language is “deeply transphobic.”
Grzanka and other transgender activists believe in their ideology despite what they see. The external world has no necessary connection with reality for the believer in transgender ideology. Instead, each individual’s deliberate choice decides whether he is a man or a woman. Transgenderism thus requires its adherents to deny the concept of stable, accessible, absolute truth, as well as stable human nature. As Grzanka and numerous other interviewees of Walsh made clear, they recognized “my truth” or “your truth” but not the truth.
Walsh’s interview with Gent Comfrey, a gender affirming therapist, reveals the extent to which the transgender understanding of truth and the world blurs the lines between men and women. This blurring makes even knowing one’s own gender uncertain. Comfrey explained that modern research has shown that sex and gender are not mere binaries and are not restricted by biological sex differences. She claimed that “some women have penises…some men have vaginas.” When pushed by Walsh to explain how that claim is known, Comfrey said that she learned it by talking with transgender people who identify as the opposite of their biological sex. Walsh then asked the logical follow-up: if these concepts are fluid, how can Walsh know whether he might be a woman or not? Walsh explained that he likes scented candles and watched Sex and the City. Could Walsh be a woman? Comfrey did not dismiss the idea but encouraged Walsh to ask the question with curiosity to start his journey of gender identity development.
Walsh interviewed one person who had taken the concept of individualized truth to its logical extreme. Naia Okami claimed to be both a transgender woman and a wolf therian. A therian is “someone who identifies as a non-human earthen animal either spiritually or psychologically.” Okami told Walsh about how he (she?) discovered his inner wolf-ness at around age 10 when watching an anime cartoon. Apparently Okami then went on to spend time at many wolf preserves, communicating with wolves in non-verbal ways.