As a child, I was captured by the stories that my grandfather told about life on the farm in Oklahoma in the early 1900s. The images I've held are not those of pleasant surroundings and ideal conditions; they are impressions of twelve-hour days spent working the land, dust storms that could devastate a crop, blistered and sunburned skin, and poverty unlike most Americans know today. Life, in general, was harder then, but interestingly enough, character seemed much stronger—it was a time when commitment, integrity, and honesty stood in place of contracts, disclosures, and bylaws. A handshake and a man's word were generally good enough. I'm not suggesting that we return to that time in history, but that we learn from the past and strongly encourage those same character traits today.
Through the 1960s until the 80s, my father, Jim Idleman, and his dad, helped build a Little League field in the small town of Quartz Hill, Ca. Baseball has been flowing through our veins ever since, and my brother started a baseball training center in this town a few years ago.
Recently, I was asked to manage a team. Stepping onto the field again, this time as a manager, many memories called out from the past. These several years later, I've found that, while some things have changed, others have not: more >>
G.K. Chesterton has this famous quote about the importance of upholding the sagacity of the past:
"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
Memorial Day is primarily about honoring the legacy of the dead, especially persons who served sacrificially in the military. But ideally it also provokes remembrance and appreciation for the accumulated wisdom and experience of generations gone before. Assuming that we in our own time stand at the pyramid's peak of enlightenment, which is currently widespread and popular, is arrogant and foolish. Future generations will reflect on us and our generational errors with as much condescension and contempt as we often do of our ancestors. more >>
Hundreds of former Marine and military veterans have been spared from the growing suicide and divorce rates among combat veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because a professional MMA fighter's faith-based retreat taught them that their disorder is no match for God's "blueprint" for their life.
Former MMA fighter Chad Robichaux, who did eight tours of duty as a Marine in Afghanistan and has a career 19-2 record in professional matches, was on the verge of losing his wife and family due to his inability to cope with the struggles of PTSD upon his return home from combat.
Although he was back from war, the only thing he wanted to do was go back to Afghanistan and fight. That was until he started making money fighting in various professional and televised mixed martial arts circuits. Although Robichaux used MMA as physical outlet to "heal" the symptoms of PTSD, the sport was not "curing" the root cause of his issue. more >>
I have no desire to pile on with more comments about Josh Duggar, who appears to be a very serious and committed Christian who has made no excuses for the sins of his youth and who deeply desires to make a positive impact for the Lord in the years ahead. I simply want to share some redemptive thoughts, supplementing some of the excellent statements made by others, including former governor Mike Huckabee and Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore.
1. Jesus really does change people. While critics of the Duggar family want to indict them (along with other, evangelical Christians, especially those with large families) for Josh's actions, and while many seem ready to throw Josh under the bus, the fact is that while he did sin grievously, through repentance, faith and counseling, he became a new man. Jesus really does transform sinners.
How many of us did wicked things as teenagers? I was shooting heroin at the age of 15 and broke into some houses and even stole money from my own father before being radically converted at the age of 16. I was profane, filled with pride, anger, and lust, yet the Lord had mercy on me and totally turned my life around. more >>
Eight conservative Arizona pastors have banded together to teach a sermon series to their local community titled "Progressive Christianity: Fact or Fiction," but one local United Methodist Church pastor, who holds more progressive views on the Bible, says they're trying to alienate people who don't interpret the Scriptures literally.
The series will be taught at eight different Fountain Hills churches and is being advertised on large billboards in front of each of them.
"It's a sermon series dealing with some of the essential tenets of Christianity — that being the deity of Jesus, the validity of Scripture, the literal, physical resurrection of Christ and the atoning sacrifice of Christ," said Christ's Church of Fountain Hills pastor Don Lawrence, one of the eight pastors preaching the series, to The Christian Post. more >>
Russell Moore, president of the ethics and public policy arm of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., shares his frustrations with how some Christians fail to pursue racial reconciliation and the particular challenge he faces as a white man in ministry in a video recently shared online.
"The easiest thing in the New Testament would have been to say, 'Let's plant Jewish Christian churches and Gentile Christian churches and let's just go in that direction and keep them from getting together and killing each other.' But that's not what the apostles did, because that's a sign to the powers and principalities," Moore says in a videotaped discussion posted online Friday by ministry website The Gospel Coalition.
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the more than 16 million-strong Southern Baptist Convention, went on to insist that racially and ethnically homogeneous black, white, Hispanic or other congregations should question why they do not have a diversity of ethnicities represented among their numbers. more >>