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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why Mark Richt is Better than Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Steve Spurrier

I know it was only the first weekend of the 2014 college football season, but there was one distinct and noticeable difference among the coaches of several of the best teams in the best conference in college football. This difference, I believe, sets the University of Georgia's head coach Mark Richt apart from his excellent counterparts at Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina.

In many sports, sometimes it is the intangible things that make the difference. This is certainly true in college football. This distinctive difference just might be the reason that Georgia goes all the way this year. The photos below clearly reveal what I'm talking about:


As you can clearly see, unlike Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Steve Spurrier, Georgia's head coach Mark Richt does not color his hair. Richt is easily the youngest of these deans of the SEC. Saban is 62, Miles is 60, and those chestnut colored locks of Steve Spurrier are 69. Mark Richt is only 54 and has more gray than the other three combined!

Each of these men has made tens-of-millions of dollars coaching football and certainly can afford to do whatever they want with their hair. However, what kind of message does it send to young men playing the most physical sport in America that, once one starts experiencing a little adversity with one's manly mane, that it's time to go the way of Donald Trump?!

Who knows, maybe Richt's natural-do was the reason Georgia backs ran so hard against Clemson. However, there is one thing that the three other coaches have that Mark Richt is still chasing: a national championship. Now I don't know if the coloring preceded the championships or not, but I suppose us die-hard UGA fans now face a bit of a dilemma: do we want our "au naturale" head coach to go the way of these divas if it means a national championship? 

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forget the Facts in Ferguson--Libs Want an Indictment

The liberal media is already laying the groundwork for the next round of riots in Ferguson, Missouri, now that a grand jury has been convened. The game is to continue to perpetuate racial conflict in America, write stories, organize protests, and remind Americans why they need to vote for Democrats. But since the grand jury in Ferguson consists of nine whites and three blacks, many liberals have decided that true justice can’t possibly be served.

Case in point would be the recent musings of progressive commentator Sally Kohn. Her recent piece in the Daily Beast concludes that, given the racial make-up of the Ferguson grand jury, an “obvious question” has been raised: “Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police?” Because, you know, when weighing whether to change a man with murder, it’s always important that grand juries “empathize” with the community at large. After all, isn’t the word “empathy” prominently featured in the Fifth Amendment?

Given such progressive nonsense when it comes to our legal system, it’s no wonder that Texas liberals were able to indict Rick Perry. Such thinking is pervasive and long-standing with liberals when comes to the U.S. legal system. It’s one of the reasons why federal courts are falling all over themselves to legalize same-sex marriage. Since more Americans than ever are “empathetic” towards homosexuality, it’s only just that our courts find “rights” for homosexuals that have eluded us for well over 200 years.

Kohn also asks: “[C]an America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?” In other words, forget the facts; forget what grand juries are supposed to do; the Ferguson grand jury better indict or what we just witnessed in the St. Louis suburb will look like a bad weekend at Freaknik.

(See this post at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

America: I Wish She Were "Hot or Cold"

I live in the northeast Georgia area. I’ve spoken often—to God and man—of how blessed and thankful I am to have been born in the greatest nation the world has ever known. Not only that, but I’ve also been extremely blessed to have grown up in one of the most conservative and one of the most Christ-influenced areas in the United States.

My political district is the Georgia ninth. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, Georgia’s ninth is currently the third most republican district in the U.S. Yes, republican doesn’t always imply conservative (and certainly doesn’t imply Christian), but of course, conservative—especially conservative Christian—almost always equals strongly republican. Thus, whatever political madness America must endure, I can usually take solace in the fact that my area of the country will be somewhat shielded from the fallout. Thank God and the Founders for the vertical separation of powers!

Of course, such “political madness” is especially prevalent when the realms of politics and faith collide. A recent case in point involves a public high school, Chestatee High School (CHS) in Hall County Georgia, which is about 15 minutes from my home. Along with writing and maintaining a website, I currently teach mathematics at another high school within the same district. Thus I became very curious when my lovely wife approached me the evening of August 12 with the news of the spiritual and potential legal conflict that was brewing at CHS.

Just after we got our four children to bed, Michelle informed me that Hall County School district, due to prayers and references to Scripture involving the football program at CHS, was under threat of a lawsuit by the American Humanist Association. My reply: “Good!”

As lawsuit after lawsuit results in courts across America tossing out the marriage amendments passed (usually overwhelmingly) by dozens of states; as nudists seek to exercise their “right” to be naked; as San Francisco politicians export their home-grown perversions (warning: graphic) to other parts of the country; as corporation after corporation pays homage to the (tiny) homosexual community; as self-identifying “Christians” kill unborn children “in the name of Jesus;” as so-called “evangelical” pastors “come out” in support of homosexuality; more and more Americans, whether they like it or not, are being forced to make difficult moral decisions. In other words, many Americans, who would prefer to remain on the sidelines as we continue to debate the moral issues in America, are being forced to declare with whom they stand.

As Screwtape cautioned Wormwood, just as warfare with bullets and bombs renders one of the best weapons of Satan (“contented worldliness”) useless, the mounting moral conflicts in America are pushing many of us out of a contented and willful ignorance and complacence and into a place that the enemy of all mankind really doesn’t want us to go: a place where we are forced to confront the social, political, and spiritual consequences of our beliefs and behaviors; a place where we also must examine why we believe what we believe—and, determine if what we believe is really the truth.

This is why I say….let’s have it out. As I noted on the Redskins nonsense, let’s debate the morality and the justness of all these matters. Let us each loudly and clearly cast our moral standards before the American people, the courts, and most importantly, the Creator and see where we stand. This is certainly not to imply that, at least when it comes to the American people and the courts, such a confrontation will produce results that you or I will like. However, as Christ warned the Church at Laodicea, let us not be “lukewarm!”

If America is to stem her descent into a spiritual and moral winter, then Christians across the country must do their best to ignite fires of faith in their families, churches, communities, schools, places of work, and so on, and be the light we are called to be. We do not need Christians who see compromise (with Scripture) as the way forward. Neither do we need Christian monasteries or compounds where biblical values and truths are hoarded and hidden from our nation.

What we need are communities full of faithful families led by fathers and mothers who want to work hard, raise children, attend church, and pass on their biblical values to the next generation, and the next, and so on. As Psalm 78 implores the rebellious nation of Israel: fathers teach your children, so that they will in turn teach their children—so it should be with every nation that wants to walk in the truth.

Such communities need to be “cities on a hill,” welcoming all those who want to join, so that the American people can clearly contrast the ways of those who are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” with those who seek to live the “godly life in Christ Jesus.” Thus Americans can clearly choose whether to be part of, as Augustine put it, the “City of God” or the “City of Man.”

And we need more communities to react like the Hall County community did once word of the lawsuit became public knowledge. On Friday, August 15, The Gainesville Times reported that after the Hall County School system received the threat from the atheist group, “at least three prayer events were organized on school (CHS) grounds.” In addition, a Facebook page—to facilitate and encourage the prayer groups—was started that received over 11,000 “likes” in just over a day. Other high schools in Hall County, including my own, Johnson High, joined the prayer movement.

Perhaps most encouraging, as Todd Starnes noted in his piece on the issue, was the response of Hall County School superintendent Will Schofield. “Unfortunately when school systems get letters like this and people start rattling sabers, usually the first reaction by a lot of school districts is, ‘Oh my goodness, we don’t want to be in the news. We don’t want to be sued, so we better stop doing whatever we are doing,’” Schofield said. He added, “I don’t think that will be the first reaction of the Hall County School Board.”

Such should be the reaction, not only on matters concerning public expressions of faith, but on the definition of marriage, on abortion, on sexual perversions, on the breakdown of the family, on postings of the Ten Commandments, and on each and every moral issue that we face. In other words, America is in the midst of a battle for her soul and it’s time that more Christians started acting like it.

See this column on American Thinker.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ferguson, MO: More Tragic Fruit of Liberalism

After a day of calm, upon the release of the surveillance video that purportedly shows Michael Brown, the young man whose death sparked the violence in Ferguson, MO, robbing a convenience store, the protests and looting erupted again. According to St Louis news reports, as the looting occurred, "police dressed in riot gear mainly stood and watched, apparently under orders not to engage."

The Obama justice department did not want the video released, because, you know, when more facts and information to a crime become available, that's always a reason for more looting and violence. Missouri's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, has now announced a curfew in Ferguson. Many feared that a curfew would just spark more confrontations with law enforcement.

But not to worry, Captain Ronald Johnson, the state Highway Patrol officer now in charge of Ferguson security, is going to treat curfew breakers like they are now treating looters. "We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we will enforce it with communication," Captain Johnson said. "We will be telling people, 'It’s time to go home.'" After all, a good talking to is what those breaking the law in Ferguson have needed all along.

Patricia Bynes, a black Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson Township, on Saturday said, "I don’t know what the answer is, but there has to be [some] type of response because it’s only getting worse out there. People are fed up with police brutality and police harassment. There is still so much racism and discrimination in this region, ingrained in the business world and the communities. This is what happens when institutional racism continues." Imagine that!--A Democrat excusing criminal behavior with cries of "racism!" Of course, she is not alone. I won't bother you with links to prove such--just search the internet for "Ferguson and racism" and see for yourself.

We keep hearing about how, though Ferguson is about 70% black, only one out of seven city council members are black. Of course, we are supposed to believe that this is due to racism. Perhaps it's because the Democratic machine has yet to sufficiently corrupt the Ferguson election process. I wonder how the Ferguson vote went on the last two presidential elections. Wanna bet? St. Louis County (which does not contain the city of St. Louis), which contains Ferguson, was one of only three Missouri counties to go for Obama in the 2012 presidential election. 

The fact is that Ferguson is and has been somewhat of a mess for the very same reasons virtually every other urban area in America is a mess: liberalism. As I noted in April of this year, the political machine in most every large U.S. city is dominated by democrats. As Kevin Williamson of National Review pointed out a couple of days ago, "Ferguson was hardly a happy suburban garden spot [before] the shooting of Michael Brown."

Williamson also points out that 40% of the births in St. Louis County are out of wedlock. What do you think Michael Brown's home life was like? News reports identify his mother as Lesley McSpadden and his father as Michael Brown, Sr. Doesn't quite sound like a happily married couple does it?

As I noted, the unbridled liberalism present in many U.S. cities has been complicit in the destruction of the families in these cities. Not only that, as I've also noted, such liberalism has bred crime, violence, dependence, and poverty. 

Williamson adds, "The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides."

In other words, whether its the violence in Ferguson or drugs in San Francisco, liberals are reaping what they have sown. The sooner the citizens of such places realize this, the better off we will all be.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Saturday, August 9, 2014

America's First "Great Awakening" (Another [unedited] excerpt from our next book)

Right in between the colonial and Revolutionary period of America came what historians have dubbed the (first) “Great Awakening.” One of the principle figures of this period of spiritual revival was the brilliant and pious Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards. Born in 1703—the same year as John Wesley—to the Reverend Timothy and Esther Edwards, Jonathan showed signs of an unusually keen mind early on. He entered Yale just before he turned 13. He began his ministry at 23 alongside his maternal grandfather in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Edwards was literally born into Christian ministry. As was noted, his father was a minister, a Congregationalist to be precise. Edwards’ mother, Esther Stoddard Edwards, was the daughter of renowned Massachusetts minister Solomon Stoddard. Stoddard succeeded Eleazer Mather as pastor of the Congregationalist Church in Northampton, MA. He was a firebrand of a preacher who abhorred alcohol and extravagance. Though his theology was in conflict with many contemporary Puritan leaders, Stoddard was an extremely influential religious leader in the New England area for several decades.

Jonathan Edwards succeeded his grandfather as pastor of the church at Northampton. He would later repudiate some of his grandfather’s theological views. This cost him his pulpit as he was dismissed from the Northampton church in 1750. After this, Edwards accepted a role as pastor of a church in Stockbridge, MA. During this period Edwards was a missionary to the local Native American tribes.

Edwards was a vociferous writer as well and is recognized as one of the great intellectuals of his time. He produced such works as Freedom of the Will, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended, and The Life of David Brainerd which inspired countless missionaries of the nineteenth century. In 1758 Edwards became the president on the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He died weeks later from a smallpox inoculation. Edwards was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States.

Jonathan Edwards loved the pulpit, and according to BJU Press, was more teacher and preacher than pastor. In late 1734 and early 1735, revival broke out in Northampton. By the Summer of 1735, it ended, but the seeds for something more lasting were planted. Enter the mighty George Whitefield.

Whitefield is generally considered the “Father of the Great Awakening.” Born in England, in 1714, Whitefield was an unruly child. He described himself as, “So brutish as to hate instruction and used purposely to shun all opportunities of receiving it. I soon gave pregnant proofs of an impudent temper. Lying, filthy talking, and foolish jesting, I was much addicted to, even when very young. Sometimes I used to curse, if not swear. Stealing from my mother I thought no theft at all, and used to make no scruple of taking money out of her pockets before she was up. I have frequently betrayed my trust, and have more than once spent money I took in the house in buying fruit, tarts, &c., to satisfy my sensual appetite. Numbers of Sabbaths have I broken, and generally used to behave myself very irreverently in God's sanctuary. Much money have I spent in plays, and in the common amusements of the age. Cards and reading romances were my heart's delight.”

Whitefield entered Pembroke College at Oxford at age 17. There he joined a group called the “Holy Club,” where he befriended John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley led the group, and as a result of their “methodical” ways, critics took to calling them “Methodists.” Of course, the name stuck.

Upon graduating and receiving his BA, Whitefield was ordained at 22. He began his preaching in the British towns of Bath, Bristol, and Gloucester. However, he felt the call to join General Oglethorpe’s colony in Georgia. In 1738 Whitefield left for North America. Not long after arriving in Georgia, noting the hard conditions, high death rate, and an abundance of children who had lost their parents, he conceived the idea of an orphanage.

For the rest of his life, Whitefield raised money for the orphanage. He also continued to preach. Whitefield’s message was one of salvation. This differed a bit from other Anglicans ministers at the time who emphasized religiosity and moral living. It was not long before most all of Georgia had heard of this young preacher with the booming voice and wild pulpit antics. News of Whitefield and his preaching soon spread throughout the colonies.

In 1739, after a brief return to England in hopes of securing land and funding for the orphanage in Georgia, Whitefield came back to America and would preach throughout the colonies. Jonathan Edwards invited Whitefield to preach in Northampton (Massachusetts). Whitefield’s message resonated with rich and poor, farmers and tradesmen, church-goers and sinners—virtually everyone within earshot of Whitefield (which, according to Ben Franklin, in open space, was 30,000 people!).

Whitefield was not alone. Along with Edwards, men like Isaac Backus, David Brainerd, Samuel Davies, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jonathan Mayhew, Shubal Stearns, the Tennent brothers (Gilbert, John, William), and others implored Settlers and Indians alike to trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. Their message of repentance caught fire up and down the American East Coast. In the words of Brainerd, the ongoing revival was like an “irresistible force of a mighty torrent or swelling deluge.”

The fire of revival can spawn change that is felt world-wide. This was certainly the case with the first Great Awakening, for it was in the pulpits of American churches that the seeds of Revolution were sewn.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World