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Monday, September 14, 2020

Equality... Over the Top


Since childhood, I’ve heard the line that “too much of anything is not good.” But there is a parallel version of this idea that hits a bit harder. It goes, “too much of anything is good for nothing.”

I feel we could well be reaching that point with sports and the racial equality and social justice movements. Of course, I would not be allowed to say this if I worked for any major media—be it radio, newspapers, or television. I could not likely say it if I had major sponsors for any of my writings. The pressure companies face is too great.

All sporting events seem to have taken the pledge to make some form of a diversity statement show up in a myriad of ways. It’s more pronounced, of course, in sports where black athletes are highly visible. Hockey and golf pay homage to the issue, but it has not become the dominant conversation point.

In baseball, the NBA, and now football, we find ourselves in their version of re-education camps. In watching a recent Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins contest, a huge banner now sits at the right field wall at Target Stadium. It is there to “honor” George Floyd. Even the Minnesota music legend Prince did not receive such a tribute!

Thursday Night Football on NBC was a steady stream of discussion and commentary from the announcers and in features both in pre-game shows and the actual game itself. (It’s always helpful to hear two white guys paid to make their pitch on the importance of social justice. Yawn.)

The game itself took on a bizarre moment related to pre-game song performances. The Kansas City Chiefs had all their players lined up and locking arms to the tune of “Lift Every Voice.” This was followed several minutes later by a performance of our national anthem in front of the same display of “unity” from Chiefs players and coaches. Minority artists performed both songs. A must.

But what made the showing a bit bizarre (as I noted) was the absence of the Houston Texas team for either song! They chose not to make a “statement,” which they felt would be distracting to the game. And as a result, their team was booed by KC fans in the stadium. Something that apparently bewildered Houston player J.C. Watts!

Saturday now has some college football being played. I switched on Fox for their pre-game show on Saturday. Lo and behold…what should I see? Lots more chatter on the same topic. And watching a few players warm up, t-shirts with messaging related to the issue as well. In other words, it’s everywhere!

Like many of my caucasian brothers and sisters, I support the idea that black lives matter—but not the organization by that name. Two inspirational black leaders of our day— Tony Dungy and Ryan Bomberger—dare speak up on issues like abortion and homosexuality in ways that put them in media peril. Ryan goes further.

Bomberger, whom I’ve interviewed, wrote a superb article earlier this year titled, “Top Ten Reasons I’ll Never Support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.” Read it…and weep. Weep, because of all those souls who cannot separate the movement from the evil backside it reveals. (story link below)

If the souls of all these Americans who are suddenly socially conscious were bared for all to see, shame would be on many faces. Racism is a sin of the heart. Preaching to darkened souls the “radical” idea that every person created by God is of great worth is lost on most people. Just look at the way the false gods of Hollywood and sports are idolized for their “worth” compared to you and I.

Jesus followers KNOW the following statement to be true (if they are genuine): “Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.” Galatians 3:28 (CEV) We are to believe it and live it.

Attempting to press the message of equality and value of our fellow human beings is a lost cause on lost souls. And in the massive attempt to do this, I fear it’s going over the top. Instead, it’s creating tune-out.

Just don’t tell anyone I said that. Well, except Dungy and Bomberger.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosyuBzdSh1mXIas_kGY2Aw?


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Monday, September 7, 2020

Witness the End



One of my favorite movies is The Three Amigos. In one particular scene, the Amigos are in a Mexican bar when a wild shooting spree takes place. The bartender responds, “This town is getting too rough for me.”

America is turning into such a vitriolic, hateful, and sometimes violent place that I’m now thinking, “This country is getting too rough for me!”

There are many contributing factors and I suppose plenty of blame to be shared. But it’s bigger than that. The very soul of our nation has become sick. We can’t even treat our neighbors well—much less the “enemy.”

Witness the recent story from Park Ridge, Illinois, where a business owner had to close up shop so his workers could have a “mental health day.” What?? This was due to their having to deal with “confrontational customers.” Some didn’t like the mask policy of the restaurant. Another became threatening when the business tried to enforce the “no dogs eat here” health regulation at a restaurant. These are customers in an upscale neighborhood.

Then there were the multiple reports of the highly offensive “protestors” who showed up at the White House on the last night of the Republican National Convention. Having been to Washington a number of times, I’ve witnessed constant protests of one kind or another outside the White House gates. This was different.

The President had a number of guests invited to the event—several giving inspiring and spiritually uplifting messages. Forget about Trump here. These speakers were Americans who love their country and the cause of freedom. Outside the gates, within earshot, protestors organized live bands to disrupt the proceedings.

But it got worse. Guests were harassed as they were leaving the event. One of them, Jim Daly, is president of Focus on the Family. In his words, “Stepping off the White House grounds, I was immediately confronted by angry individuals who hurled profane insults at me. They let loose with a verbal barrage I’ve never personally encountered–which is saying something given my upbringing in a rough section of Southern California.”

Senator Rand Paul encountered the same abuse. He tweeted, “Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.” A DC police officer was holding a police line around the senator and his wife when a protestor reportedly punched the officer in the face, causing a cut requiring stitches.

What fuels this kind of angry and bitter reaction to those with whom one disagrees? Hard to know for sure. But here’s one idea.

Recently arriving in whatever bookstores remain open (and online) is this gem: In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action. Written by Vicky Osterweil, the publisher offers us “strategies of wealth redistribution and improving life for the working class.” What strategies? How about “a fresh argument for rioting and looting as our most powerful tools for dismantling white supremacy.”

One of the arguments raised claims, “Looting represents a material way that riots and protests help the community: by providing a way for people to solve some of the immediate problems of poverty and by creating a space for people to freely reproduce their lives rather than doing so through wage labor.” Add this truly special insight, “Looting is an act of communal cohesion.”

Aside from the content of the book, it is interesting to note that Vicky Osterweil, the author is a self-described agitator” and is transgender-identified. A rebel.

People of faith should—must—stand in sharp contrast to this nonsense. Even in the midst of turbulent times for many who lived under Roman rule in the first century AD, the apostle Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (NIV)

The breakdown of a civilization is a bitter thing to watch. To see a free country, raised in principles found in the Bible, so rapidly giving in to robbers and anarchists is beyond shocking. It is horrifying.

Certainly…the end is near.


That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosyuBzdSh1mXIas_kGY2Aw?


For more information: