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The E.Newspaper By Dr. Howdy, Ph.D. A.P.E., N.U.T.
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English religious reformer and bible translator William Tyndale was burned at the stake as a heretic at Vilvarde, near Brussels, Belgium, on the orders of King Henry VIII. The Anglican priest pioneered the first English translation of the Bible. Many will do anything & everything to keep this Book out of The Common Man's hands. (See Communist, Kings, Dictators, Liberals, ACLU, Educators, Popes, etc.).
The British are NOT Coming -- Film at Eleven: How We've Trivialized the News
More than 225 years ago, Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride to let Americans know "The British are coming!" It was important, life-changing news.
But how times have changed! Today, thanks to a thriving media and broadcast industry, "the news" is brought to us every hour on the hour -- whether something important is happening or not. And at least one historian says that all this daily "news product" is, well, making us dumb.
In his book, HOW THE NEWS MAKES US DUMB, author John Sommerville observes that people used to exchange news only when something really important happened. But what are we given as "breaking news" today?
On the typical morning news program we may find out that the president has a new dog, or see what celebrities are wearing. We learn what the weather was like yesterday in Bucharest, or discover what some film critic thinks of Hollywood's latest flick.
In other words, most of what's called "news" today is really just a flood of trivia -- mostly inconsequential data that will be soon forgotten. Sommerville calls this the "flotsam and foam" of history. If you don't believe it, check out a newspaper from 50 years ago. How much of what you find is truly newsworthy? And how much of it influenced the course of history? Not much.
But if nothing truly important happens most of the time, why do reporters behave as though they have earth-shattering news for us every single day?
It's a bittersweet day in the ancient Near East thousands of years ago: The thrill of being home again after years of exile is tempered by the humiliation of still being vassals of Persia. A tattered band of Hebrews gathers for several days of prayer, worship, and teaching.
Nehemiah leads the former exiles in a time of national confession and repentance. Then they pledge themselves in a binding agreement to live for God and obey His commandments. Nehemiah draws up a new governing charter for Israel, drafted in accordance with God's laws.
It would be a pattern for generations to come. Thousands of years later, in 1620, the Pilgrims draft yet another governing charter-the Mayflower Compact. They open their Bibles and read the account of Nehemiah. In imitation of the covenant pattern described there, they draw up their own set of mutual obligations.
The Mayflower Pilgrims saw themselves as the New Israelites building a New Jerusalem in the American wilderness. So the Old Testament pattern of government by charter seemed only fitting.
The tradition started by Nehemiah continued throughout the settlement of the New World. Every Puritan colony drew up its own constitutional charter following the pattern of the Mayflower Compact.
It began in 1639, when the great Puritan evangelist Thomas Hooker directed the drafting of Connecticut's constitution. The Reverend Hooker required that each article in the constitution be justified by references to Scripture.
This document became the blueprint for the constitution of every other colony in the New World. When it was time to construct a national constitution, the drafters imitated the pattern already set in the colonies.
So we can trace a straight line from Nehemiah, dedicating himself and the people to God in ancient Israel, to the founding of our own nation and form of government.
It's good to remind ourselves that the constitutional freedoms we enjoy did not come out of nowhere. They did not come from the ancient Greeks, who contributed in many other ways to our Western heritage. Nor did they derive from secular philosophies, though these, too, have contributed to our heritage.
No, America's most fundamental ideas about law and freedom stem from the biblical idea of a covenant, an agreement freely entered into between God and His people, outlining their mutual duties and privileges.
The great statesman Daniel Webster, on the 200th anniversary of the Pilgrims' landing, noted that the American Founders sought to base all our institutions, civil and political, on the truths of the Christian religion.
History textbooks often ignore the biblical roots of the American system of government. Under the banner of so-called "separation of church and state," our school books are silent about the religious influences that shaped our nation's history-to the point where many Christians do not even realize the enormous impact our faith has had on the American heritage.
Let us commit ourselves to educating ourselves and our children on the impact the Christian faith has had on America's constitutional form of government. And then let's recommit ourselves to the practice of confession and prayer for our nation. For there's truly no greater hope in times like these.
"BreakPoint with Chuck Colson" ("BreakPoint") is a daily commentary on news and trends from a Christian perspective. Heard on more than 425 radio stations nationwide, BreakPoint transcripts are also available on the Internet. If you know of others who would enjoy receiving BreakPoint in their E-mail box each day, tell them they can sign up on our Web site at www.breakpoint.org. If they do not have access to the World Wide Web, please call 1-800-457-6125.
If we were to draw out in symbols and timelines the road maps of our lives, we could pencil in both single and crucial moments as well as entire years marked with particular themes of development. In any picture of a life laid out before us, there are abrupt moments of pivotal formation and gradual phases of transformation. It is a paradox that insight seems to grow gradually and yet it also seems to arrive in overpowering moments of abruptness.
As Peter, James, and John climbed the mountain with Christ, they were startled when Elijah and Moses appeared before them, talking with Jesus. It must have seemed a moment of both honor and awe. Peter immediately responded to it; "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4). But before he had finished speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice from the heavens thundered, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" The disciples were terrified. And then as suddenly as it all began, they looked up and saw no one but Jesus.
There are transforming moments in our lives that may seem isolated in both time and vividness. We remember them as mountaintops, points in life lifted above the majority of the map. But are they not also much more than this? Whether distinguished by joy or pain, a transforming moment is always more than a moment; they are no more isolated in the pictures of our lives than they are isolated in the picture of reality.
Professor and theologian James Loder was on vacation with his family when they noticed a motorist off to the side of the road waving for help. In his book The Transforming Moment, he describes kneeling at the front fender of the broken-down car, his head bent to examine the flat tire, when he was abruptly alerted to the sound of screeching brakes. A motorist who had fallen asleep at the wheel was jarred awake seconds before his vehicle crashed into the disabled car alongside the road and the man who knelt beside it. Loder was left pinned between the car he was trying to repair and his own.
Years later, he was compelled to describe the impact of a moment marked by pain, and yet unarguably something much more. Writes Loder, "At the hospital, it was not the medical staff, grateful as I was for them, but the crucifixes-in the lobby and in the patients' rooms-that provided a total account of my condition. In that cruciform image of Christ, the combination of physical pain and the assurance of a life greater than death gave objective expression and meaning to the sense of promise and transcendence that lived within the midst of my suffering."(1)
His encounter with God, like the Transfiguration of Christ to a small group of frightened disciples, did not merely transform a moment; it was a moment that transformed reality and thus, the whole of life. Writes Loder, "Moments of transforming significance radically reopen the question of reality."
When the disciples came to the end of their mountaintop encounter and looked up, they saw only Jesus. Moses and Elijah were no longer there; the cloud that enveloped them disappeared and the heavens ceased to speak. But the divine Jesus was fully and humanly present to them, the glimpse of God in that transforming moment on the mountain a radical reality shaping all of life.
There are times when truth must dazzle gradually, until it is given its proper place. Other times we seem to find ourselves moved nearly to blindness as we encounter more than we have eyes yet to see. Sometimes, like Peter, we interpret these moments of transcendence imperfectly. Yet God is at work even in the deciphering, and in the final examination, the content of our transforming moments is Jesus alone, the transfigured one, the transforming one, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.
(1) James E. Loder The Transforming Moment (Colorado Springs: Helmers & Howard Publishing, 1989), 2.
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