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The Center of Controversy

The term controversy refers to a prolonged disagreement often resulting in heated public debates.  These discussions are marked by emotional expressions of opposing views.  Altercations take place daily on cable news, college campuses and social media as world views clash.  This war of words involves an exchange between two or more parties, wrangling to expose the flaws of their opponent.  When someone becomes offended by another belief, comment or post, these words quickly become the center of controversy.

But avoid foolish and ill-informed and stupid controversies and genealogies and dissensions and quarrels about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless, Titus 3:9.

Based upon my observations over the past decade, it appears that three main groups determine, define and dictate what is considered controversy and what is not.  Academia, entertainment and the media combine forces to police speech in America.  A growing number of universities once focused on higher education, now seek to create safe spaces for their student body.  Meanwhile, Hollywood stars are using their platform to become social activists, speaking out against points of view they deem controversial.  To avoid being hypocritical, disclaimers are presented before any movie or show, pre-warning audiences about their content.  Finally, the media controls news stories to denounce, excite or outrage audiences, hoping to persuade viewers to embrace their side of an argument.

After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], 11 well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned [and is gratified by causing confusion among believers], Titus 3:10-11.

During one of his many messages, the reverend Billy Graham once said, “the Bible will always be the center of controversy.”  Whoever opens up this book will be challenged to alter their life style.  Thus, when an outsider hears commands, decrees and precepts from the Bible, many will be offended.  Often responding back with words like “I can’t believe you said that.”  The shrewd will reply, “I didn’t, I just quoted God.”  Meanwhile, other religions continue to object to Jesus’ own words, “there is only one way to heaven,” John 14:6.  Perhaps its time to follow in the footsteps of Hollywood by placing a disclaimer inside each cover of the Bible.  Warning this book will radically transform your life if you have ears to hear and eyes to see.  No matter what Christians do, atheists, liberals and progressives will continue to refer to the Bible as controversial.  Nonetheless, as long as modern believers strive to be salt and light to the world, quiet godly character will be more persuasive than getting caught up in a long winded controversial dispute.

by Jay Mankus

Who Should I Believe?

Technology may enhance some aspects of life while destroying others.  Prior to personal computers, the media held the news in its own hands.  Today, blogs, cell phone cameras/videos and you tubes allow the public make the news or go back in time to see if what is being presented is accurate.  Thus, this cultural shift is making the nightly news and print journalism obsolete.  However, you still have to decide, “who should I believe?”

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1.

A good friend recently visited the church in Charleston, South Carolina where nine Christians were shot to death during a Bible Study.  This up close and personal view gave a different perspective than media’s typical spin cycle.  The congregation was welcoming, full of love and yet still hurting, struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones.  This unique access confirms that I am more likely to believe a friend than a stranger on television.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” John 20:29.

Nonetheless, often you don’t have an option, relying on second and third hand information.  During the Dark Ages, Christians didn’t own a Bible of their own, forced to trust the interpretation of a local priest.  Today, doubting souls can open this book for themselves, investigating matters on their own.  While commentaries, religious leaders and scholars provide their own beliefs, eventually everyone will have to make up their own minds.  May the Holy Spirit guide you as you make this important decision about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

by Jay Mankus

Something to Talk About

As a former member of the print media for 2 years, I’m familiar with some of the tricks of this trade.  When I was given an assignment for a new piece, I usually started to ask probing questions to uncover someone’s hot button issue.  Once you discover this subject or topic, the best thing you can do is just let them talk.  Unless you were detached from the media, most Americans learned last week that Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers has a history of racism.

Whether his taped conversation was legal in California or not, the more Sterling spoke, the clearer his racist tendencies became.  According to the Bible, the fool does not demonstrate restraint, often thinking out loud.  Meanwhile, the prudent illustrate self control, holding their tongue, Proverbs 17:27-28.  In this age of instant messages, photo bombs and twitter, filters are disappearing as people are wearing emotions on their sleeves.  As members of society open their mouths, bystanders are hearing what it stored up in the hearts of mankind, Luke 6:45.

Despite the School House Rock campaign using Saturday morning advertisements to proclaim this country as, “the great American melting pot” in the 1970’s,  this country was mostly segregated until the 1980’s.  Thus, blacks and whites did not know, understand or want to stand hand and hand unless forced as displayed in Remember the Titans.  However, progress is being made as a generation is growing up, striving to see others by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.  While ambulance chasers in the media continue to kick the Donald Sterling’s in life while they’re down, just listen to their words for they like Sterling will expose who they really are or what they want.  Just let them talk…

by Jay Mankus


The Media’s Double Standard

While the scene was different, the Navy Yard in Washington DC, Monday’s mass shootings follow the patterns of Columbine High, Virginia Tech and Fort Hood.  Unfortunately, this tragedy will likely inspire Congress, nudged by the media, to take drastic measures to restrict or take away more freedoms of Americans.  Based upon the initial coverage, the gun or guns used are to blame, not the individual, Aaron Alexis, who has been portrayed as nice and quiet with a few instances of hearing voices in his past.

New York Daily News

Meanwhile. the media appears to have no problem with reality shows like Amish Mafia that promotes revenge and violence, displaying several of these acts on camera, with a few containing guns.  In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last December, the Discovery Channel did cancel American Guns despite regularly promoting gun safety and offering self defense classes for women.  Nonetheless, when the latest frenzy over gun control subsided, the History Channel has since added God, Guns and Automobiles.  As long as it continues to have good numbers and makes the network money, this show will remain until the next crisis.

I wish networks could apply the same principles they portray in horror movies into real life massacres.  Saturday Night Live had a regular skit with Dana Carvey playing the Church Lady with the famous quote, “could it be Satan?”  Well, if Aaron Alexis did hear voices before planning this and eventually pulling the trigger, why isn’t anyone in the media talking about Genesis 4:6-7.  Cain allowed envy and jealousy to build up within him until it exploded, resulting in murder.  Demons and the Devil is real, not just something from Friday the 13th flick.  May God convict the media of their ignorance and open their eyes to the powers that push individuals toward evil acts, Ephesians 6:12.

by Jay Mankus

Voice of America

In 1981, the progressive rock band Asia came onto the music scene.  Four years and 2 albums later, Asia produced Astra in 1985, releasing the hit song Voice of America.  Known as the official external broadcast of the United States Federal Government, Voice of America is the radio name established back in the early 1940’s.  Based on a 1976 law, this radio program was initially intended to be accurate, objective and comprehensive.  However, like anything in life, time, politics and power have corrupted this once highly esteemed program.

If you read the major newspapers of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and or watch the major cable news networks you will find 2 common occurrences.  First, the introduction of talking points has caused collusion, with the most politically correct or incorrect stories receiving the most hype, often over blown.  Meanwhile, the human interest or positive stories like guns actually saving someone’s life are swept under the rug, withheld from Americans.  Thus, sites like the Drudge Report, the Blaze or other unbiased online sites provide the whole context of these stories, not just the clips or snippets the media wants you to hear.

Unfortunately, the Voice of America is close to becoming the new moral authority in the nation, replacing the Bible.  Instead of following passages like Ephesians 5:3-5, the government is producing their own politically correct guidelines which appear to override the Bible.  If the Riley Cooper racial slur is any indication, the Voice of America has forgotten about God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness.  Don’t get me wrong, words are powerful, containing venomous poison like a snake bite, James 3:6.  Comments like Riley Cooper’s, any angry parent or someone filled with hatred may take years for a wounded soul to heal.  Yet, the one thing missing from the Voice of America is God.  If “in God we trust” is on our money, why can’t we invite the Lord back onto our public airways.  Welcoming God back into public education might even eliminate the need for medal detectors, drug sniffing dogs and suicide counselors.  Mr. Radio man, if you can hear me, let God back in, Revelation 3:20.

by Jay Mankus

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