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The Power of a Lie

While spending 3 years of my life in full time youth ministry, I attended several conferences, seminars and workshops. One of the most beneficial aspects of these events was learning new Ice Breakers. Although not every idea worked, I found that playing telephone once a year forced my students to become better listeners. Also known as Chinese Whispers, one teenager starts by reading a written down message or sharing a short story. This information is shared via a whisper over and over again until the last person recounts what this initial message has morphed into.

Truthful lips shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is [credited] but for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. Proverbs 12:19-20.

The first participants of telephone were Adam and Eve. Despite knowing the only rule established by God, Genesis 2:16-17, each were intrigued by what a crafty serpent had to say. As soon as the boundary lines were set in the Garden of Eden, both knew that the Tree of Knowledge was off limits. Nonetheless, Eve began to entertain the thought planted into her mind. Instead of telling this snake to scram, Adam began to second guess God. This is the power of a lie, convincing yourself through good intentions to justify wrong actions. Since this day of deception, human beings have become more and more gullible, falling for lie after lie.

No [actual] evil, misfortune, or calamity shall come upon the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil, misfortune, and calamity. 22 Lying lips are extremely disgusting and hateful to the Lord, but they who deal faithfully are His delight, Proverbs 12:21-22.

Since the death of George Floyd, a few riots have been fueled by false reports posted on Twitter. By the time this lie was exposed, it was too late as city streets, local businesses and neighborhoods resembled a war zone. Instead of double checking sources to confirm the accuracy of a report, cable news and the print media have become sloppy, jumping the gun so to speak. While President Trump refers to these felonious accounts as “Fake News,” the Bible calls this lying. In the passage above, King Solomon doesn’t speak kindly to those who distort, exaggerate or fib a little. If a politician in cooperation with the media tells a lie over and over again, sooner or later the masses will believe this to be the truth. This is the power of a lie.

by Jay Mankus

More Than a Phoenix Rising

In Ancient Greek folklore, a phoenix is a bird that cyclically regenerates. This regeneration process is similar to the Christian concept of becoming born again. To rise like a phoenix is symbolic of overcoming adversity. When a phoenix rose from the ashes, this new bird emerges stronger, smarter and more powerful than before it’s death. Thus, when an individual makes a spiritual decision to die to self, 2 Corinthians 5:21, this resurrection is greater than a Phoenix rising.

But now if Christ (the Messiah) is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; 1 Corinthians 15:12-13,

Without the resurrection, the Christian church would merely be a club or group living in denial. The Roman’s feared accounts of Jesus’ resurrection so much that soldier’s were bribed with a large sum of money to spread fake news, Matthew 28:11-13. This lie became widely accepted as rumors spread like an out of control wildfire claiming that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, his disciples merely came and stole his body. Recognizing that many still believed this theory, Paul devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to the resurrection of the death using Jesus as his inspiration.

14 And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded).15 We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised, 1 Corinthians 15:14-15.

While doing research for this blog I discovered that Phoenix Rising is the name of a charity that supports people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a disabling disease that affects multiple body systems which often results in a post-exertional malaise. As a Christian, there are many days that I wake up without any energy. Just as Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak,” this struggle still exists today. When you start to lose this battle, the power of the Holy Spirit is needed to rise from the ashes of defeat to a higher spiritual state, more than a Phoenix rising.

by Jay Mankus

Another Axis of Evil

On January 29th, 2002, President George W. Bush introduced the phrase “axis of evil.”  The first State of the Union speech following the events of September 11th, 2001, was used to pinpoint the common enemies of the United States.  In an attempt to rally Americans to support the War on Terror, the president elaborated on his theory.  The imminent threat of this axis focused on Iran, Iraq and North Korea.  Bush’s secondary concern involved the countries of Cuba, Libya and Syria.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, 1 John 4:1.

Over the weekend, another axis of evil emerged on social media.  In a rush to judge a group of male Catholic high school students wearing Make America Great Again caps, a series of posts on Twitter went viral,  According to eyewitnesses, several people taking videos on their phones said, “we got what we need.”  Instead of doing their do diligence, cable news anchors, journalists and social media members piled on by accusing these teenagers of hatred, racism and violence.

But test everything; hold fast what is good, 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

In the days that have followed, full videos have come out showing the context of what actually happened.  Students were waiting for their bus after attending the Right for Life March, a pro-life event.  When a group of protesters saw some students wearing MAGA hats, these men began to bully. criticize and verbally assault these teenagers.  At this point Nathan Phillips, a Native American got between the black Hebrews Israelites and Covington Catholic members.  As this native American beat his drum, the students got permission from a chaperone to chant one of their school songs to drown out the insults.  When the press interviewed Phillips afterwards, he gave false and misleading statements blaming this confrontation on these white boys that the media ran with this side of the story, igniting a tsunami of hatred.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

When students returned to Kentucky, school had to be cancelled on Tuesday due to death threats.  Parents of these students might lose their jobs due to outrage and protests from leftist groups.  Why is that media mistakes only happen to conservatives and Christians?  I guess the initial story fit the narrative what the media believes about Trump supporters.  Instead of taking incorrect and misleading posts down, few apologies and retractions have been made by members of the mainstream media.  Meanwhile, terrorist threats have been made at this Catholic institution including fears of a potential school shooting.  What happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty?  Why are members of Hollywood doxing students for supporting president Trump?  If people don’t study the facts before posting news stories, then “fake news” will become another axis of evil.

by Jay Mankus

The Dawn of a Social Media Blackout

Beginning in the 1970’s, the Plato System was developed at the University of Illinois.  Plato’s message application forum Talkomatic introduced the first on-line chat room.  The concept of Usenet was conceived in 1979 and established by 1980 as a joint venture between Duke and North Carolina University.  As operating systems such as Mac OS and Windows emerged in the 1980’s, online Bulletin Board Systems and Internet Relay Chats grew in popularity.  This technology conceived social media platforms like My Space and Facebook in the 1990’s.  AOL launched instant messaging inspiring the film You’ve Got Mail in 1998.  Meanwhile, Windows Live Messenger set the stage for blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter.  When you consider modern search engines like Google, social media has become a powerful form of communication.

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, 2 Timothy 4:3.

Unfortunately, the last decade has revealed the ugly side of this new domain.  Since the 2016 presidential election, cyber bullying, fake news and verbal assaults are a daily occurrence.  Meanwhile, Christians, conservatives and historians are being silenced by several social media moguls.  Sites are being demonetized, posts have been removed and videos have been banned without any logical explanation.  Every week stories continue to spread about cyber police silencing content that offends atheists, liberals and progressives.  Diamond and Silk recently accused Facebook of blocking 1.3 million followers from receiving their newsletter.  Meanwhile, Twitter has been exposed for using algorithms to prop up liberal viewership while taking away followers from accounts deemed too conservative.  How long will this censorship be allowed to continue as a social media blackout?

And will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable], 2 Timothy 4:4.

As I look to the Bible for answers to my concerns, there are one of two possible explanations.  First, this is merely a sign of end times, that Jesus’ second coming in the form of the rapture is drawing near.  The book of 2 Timothy, chapter 3 provides a detailed list of what to expect prior to Jesus’ return.  The apostle Paul eludes to a time when arrogance, disobedience and narcissism influences the culture.  The more I read 2 Timothy 3, the more plausible this theory become.  Yet, current social media conditions can be directly tied to post-modernism.  This worldview is highlighted by a general distrust of grand theories and ideologies.  When post-modernism is embraced, the concept of moral absolutes disappear.  Thus, as social media sites appoint monitors to examine the content of individual domains, judgments are made based upon worldviews held.  As Theism is being replaced by secular humanism and post-modernism, Christians need to do a better job of explaining their beliefs.  Unless conservatives start engaging other worldviews with biblical principles, this targeted social media blackout will continue until hearts and minds are persuaded by love.

by Jay Mankus

Maybe It’s Make Believe?

According to systematic research within the field of child psychology, there are benefits for children engaging in pretend games.  Based upon an article in Psychology Today, Jerome and Dorothy Singer suggest this type of behavior is acceptable up to age seven.  Recent studies have found cognitive benefits to pretending as participants increase their language usage while role playing adults.  Meanwhile, the concept “theory of the mind” is developed and enhanced by children who exercise their imaginations by pretending.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction, 2 Peter 2:1.

If you had to summarize 2017 in American History, some might suggest this is the year of “fake news.”  After a series of anonymous sources, articles and media reports were proven to be false, president Donald Trump took a phrase previously used and made fake news his trademark term.  As a former journalist, I know that there is a degree of truth in every statement.  However, when a bias exists within the mainstream media, exaggerations, opinions and theories are often shaped in such a way to be conceived as fact or the truth.  Perhaps, some individuals have never grown up, still pretending as if a six or seven year old.  This behavior has tainted current journalists and reporters, causing the average American to wonder, “maybe this story is make believe?”

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, 1 John 4:1.

As you grow older, you will meet adults who want to hear themselves speak.  Maybe, these individuals were ignored as children growing up.  On some occasions I have met co-workers who pretend to living an amazing life.  Upon further review, digging deeper through a series of questions, I discovered these adults were simply living a lie.  According to the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, the first century was full of people who twisted the truth.  Thus, unless you test what you hear against the Bible, history and reality, you become vulnerable to believing a distortion of the truth.  May the lessons of 2017 make you wiser in 2018, practicing the advice of the Bible by dong your homework before believing that which is reported.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Pursuit for Truth

Due to an outbreak of fake news, news, political and social media sites are hiring fact checkers to decipher truth from fiction.  However, if one worldview does not belief in absolute truth, distinguishing opinions from reality becomes challenging.  Unfortunately, this pursuit for truth often ends up in a he said, she said dispute.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, Ephesians 6:14.

One of the first sermons I ever heard on the Armor of God has stuck with me.  The pastor was using the analogy of getting dressed.  Unless you enjoy wearing tight clothes or have gained weight around the waist, pants require a belt to stay on.  Yet, if you become careless, lazy or negligent, you can get caught with your pants down.  This occurs when you embrace false statements that on the surface appear to be true.

And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth,” 1 Kings 17:24.

There is a fine line between seeing and believing.  Yet, anyone who consistently demonstrates a pattern of integrity will eventually earn the respect of outsiders.  The woman in the account above may have heard about Elijah, but his actions won her over.  Subsequently, if you want to pursue truth beware of rhetoric.  Rather, take your time, examine the whole context and test what you hear using biblical principles to ascertain truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

Praying for the Press

Common sense whispers to the average person that when attacked you should retaliate.  Whether you are talking about competition, gossip or slander, its doesn’t take much for things to become personal.  Thus, when push comes to shove, how you react reflects what’s in your heart.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ Matthew 5:43.”

Since Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, I have yet to hear the mainstream media say anything positive about the President Elect.  Instead of taking a “let’s wait and see attitude,” liberals and progressives have put on a full court press using hate speech, fake news and misleading opinion editorial pieces to poison the minds of Americas.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44.

This movement of negative news may not end until Donald Trump leaves the White House.  Yet, for now, there is only one logical solution to calm these muddy waters.  According to Jesus, loving and praying for your enemies serves 2 purposes.  The first sends a message of God’s love and forgiveness.  Then, your response makes people feel bad, Proverbs 25:22.  Although it may be difficult for his supporters, its time to pray for the press.

by Jay Mankus

It Use To Be Called A Lie

In the past few months, a new term has evolved from social media, fake news.  Whether its Facebook, Twitter or writers failing to confirm the accuracy of a story, false news is posted daily.  Before the truth comes out, many are believing and embracing that which is a lie.

Test all things; hold fast what is good, 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

On November 14th, 2016, Tucker Carlson debuted in the 7PM time slot on the Fox News Network.  For years I tuned out cable news due to hosts allowing guests to say anything without holding them responsible.  To my surprise, Tucker Carlson is making lying political analysts squirm.  Words have consequences and fake news is finally be exposed as a lie.

Abstain from every form of evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Since the middle of the first century, not much has changed.  Despite good intentions, exaggerations, fabrications and interesting tales comes out of the lips of sinners.  In view of this reality, its essential to test everything to you hear and read.  If you don’t, you may be the next victim of fake news, which use to be called a lie.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Fake News

Some credit Joseph Goebbels as one of the forefathers of fake news.  Goebbels served as Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany.  However, historians point to an earlier date, based upon Hitler’s 1925 book Mein Kampt which conceived the concept of “the big lie.”  If you repeat a lie over and over again, those who hear it will begin to belief it as truth.

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator, Colossians 3:9-10.

Bogus, counterfeit and phony are words synonomous with being fake.  In the days and weeks following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, the liberal media is blaming her defeat on fake news.  Unfortunately, with ninety percent of cable, newspapers and universities on her side, there has to be a better explanation.  Perhaps, the slogan Stronger Together didn’t resonate with voters.

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light, Luke 8:17.

One of the reasons fake news exists today is through a commonly held worldview.  Postmodernism believes individuals create our their own reality, there is no absolute truth and that all moral values are relative.  These core beliefs set the stage for fake news.  Subsequently, when someone does not like the outcome of an event, decision or new legislation, fake news is spread through political talking points to override the will of the people.  May those who spread these lies be exposed by the Holy Spirit for all to see.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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