Saturday, December 7, 2019

Judging Kanye West

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article takes a very different approach for me because I am not a fan of rap or Kanye West, nor have I heard his release titled Jesus Is King. I had read about West's conversion to Jesus Christ and have been surprised by his pro-life stance and assertion that black people do not have to automatically vote Democrat. Now he is on trial.

Kanye West has made a profession of faith in Christ and been active. Some Christians are judging him, and they need to slow down and let God work.
Credit: FreeImages / Jason Morrison
Don't be disunderstanding me now, pilgrim. Mr. West is not going before a tribunal or standing trial in a court of law that I know of. No, he is on trial in far worse places: the courts of public opinion and the judgement of professing Christians.

There is a podcast called Cultish that examines false religions and has interviews with people who have left various cults, but the people at Cultish rode a side trail to discuss Kanye and Christians. What is happening here has resonated with me, because some religious folks can be petty and judgemental. (On the other hand, we've been fooled by celebrities that had announced their alleged Christian commitments when it was in vogue, then proceeded to live like the devil.) When I was asked about his profession of faith, I said that I was taking a "wait and see" approach since I did not have much information on West's conversion.

If you study on it, he has an uphill road to climb. A successful recording artist who has won awards, is known as a man of the world, has views that are unpopular with leftists, is bipolar — and now a new Christian. His conversion can cost him friends and business dealings while he is attempting to live a godly life.

Things become worse because Mr. West has to deal with professing Christians who seem to expect perfection while forgetting their own growth in sanctification. It is not instant. Suppose Pastor Highlyrespected was overheard using profanity or doing something that is blatantly wrong, would that mean he was never saved in the first place? Not hardly! We all sin (Rom. 3:23), even after salvation (1 John 1:9).

Related to sanctification is what the Bible calls bearing fruit. This is a part of growing as a Christian where our relationship with God develops; we become more Christlike, God works in us and we bear fruit spiritually. It takes time. Again, sanctification is not instant (consider the Parable of the Sower). Some people make a pretense at religiosity but are consumed with hate and receiving the adoration of people who hate God. When that continues, it is apparent that they need to examine themselves to see why they are not bearing spiritual fruit or if they really are in the faith.

How are they lyrics on Jesus is King? Are they the words of a shill, or someone who is new in the faith and enthusiastic? Don't be expecting expository teaching from rock, pop, country, or rap lyrics.

There are also people who want to judge West for not believing "the right way". In my own experience, I have had to correct professing Christians who have bluntly stated that if someone believes in evolution, that person is not really a Christian. Wrong-o! Their understanding of Scripture is probably lacking or they may be compromising to gain the approval of secularists, but rejecting Darwin and embracing recent creation are not essentials of salvation. Then there are those who condemn people to perdition for not believing the "correct" end-times views. Oh, grow up.

I have been criticized because I refusing to confess either Reformed or Arminian doctrines. In fact, some in the Calvin cult have told me that if I do not accept the Doctrines of Grace, my faith is immature — or I may not even be saved! One angry Arminian would essentially quirt me with stories (often myths) about how John Calvin was allegedly a bad person, so I should reject his teachings. Such guilt by association "reasoning" is used by atheists and anti-creationists, and Christians should rise above bad logic.

People who want to judge Kanye West should realize that they are not the Holy Spirit. Let God do his work in his own way and his own time. Not yours. Sure, West has been in the company of the false teacher Joel Osteen. That caused me some discomfort, but I heard that Kanye talked more about repentance in just a few minutes than Osteen has over a much longer period of time. Maybe Mr. West will have such an impact that Osteen repents of his false teachings.

My advice to Christians is to rein in and holler, "Whoa!" Let God do his work, pray for Kanye, and give him time. Ask yourselves if you are really interested in furthering the Kingdom of God, or if you want to build up your egos by criticizing others. The narrow road is not an easy one. If you want to hear the podcasts on Cultish, I have three ways for you: go to the site and subscribe to the podcast so you can get the MP3 downloads, listen online, or save the direct download links that I'll give you. Interested? Okay. The first one is "Discerning Kanye West, Conspiracies, & Joel Osteen" (direct MP3 link here), and the second is "Part 2: Discerning Kanye West, Conspiracies, & Joel Osteen" (second direct MP3 link here).

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Slaves, Masters, and our Workplace Reputations

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Every once in a while, I commence to cognating and sometimes writing about reputations. In my sixty years, I've seen and sometimes experienced how things like trust, respect, honor, and reputations take a mighty long time to build on the positive side but can be destroyed in a hurry.

Our reputations, especially as Christians, can be easily ruined after being built up. We have to continue to do what is right and glorify God.
Joseph, son of Israel, as a powerful ruler in Egypt
Image credit: Free Christian Illustrations
The largest section of Genesis, chapters 37-50, have Joseph the son of Israel (Jacob) who was despised by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. Potiphar was important in Egypt and Joseph impressed him so much that Potiphar put him in a position of power. When Joe turned down the Pot-man's wife for a roll in the hay, she lied about him. Joe's reputation was negated because someone in a respected, noble position lied.

Joseph was thrown in prison but the jailer in chief was so impressed by him that he basically let him have the run of the place. A new reputation was being forged, and it was reinforced when he was explaining the meaning of dreams. Later, Pharaoh himself was troubled, and someone said, "Waitaminnit! I just remembered this guy down in the dungeon who might be useful." Joe explained the dream, and Pharaoh made him exceptionally important in Egypt. He even was able to forgive and bless his brothers who sold him into slavery (Genesis 50:20).

All thought the ups and downs, God was with Joseph, who never lost faith despite the circumstances.

It gets difficult when you're accused of doing something wrong and you're innocent. I've been accused by someone who has earned a reputation for being a liar and insane, so sensible people do not take him seriously. Using a form of the genetic fallacy, I've been lied about by someone with prestige; my word was negated, and my reputation took a slapping down.

Ain't no way that I can compare myself to Joseph. There are times when it's difficult to build a good reputation in a workplace when those in power take a notion to dislike you, but you just have to cowboy up and do your job the best you can with what you have.

Recently, we had a lull in work so we were sent home. I filled out the form to account for the difference in hours. Later, I went to my supervisor and said that I wasn't sure of my math. She told me that I overstated the amount by half an hour and she made the adjustment. Although the system would not let her put in an excessive amount of time for me, she said she knew I wasn't trying to get away with something. Another time, I was talking with her supervisor about using a less-known system tool. He said he can trust me with it, but didn't want everyone doing that thing for certain reasons. Those moments of affirmation felt good. While others are more productive than I am in certain areas, it's good that my reputation with those supervisors is pretty good.

Even so, it seems like there's a kind of entropy with people. Bad reports, rumors, other negative things tend to be more easily believed that the positive. A good reputation can be destroyed quickly, especially if it's clearly your fault. I've had to restrain my urges to run my mouth or take other actions, and I have to pray for patience and wisdom quite often.

Christians must glorify God, and we are to do this in our work. I've heard several sermons on Ephesians 6:5-9, which is about slaves and masters in ancient Rome. While our masters cannot actually buy and sell employees, they can fire us. The principles in this passage apply to Christians in the workforce today. We ultimately work for God and should seek to please him.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Seeing What We Expect

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

A few days ago, I was reminded of something I learned about proofreading. Serious publications do not have authors proofread their own work because they see what they expect. People have a tendency to "fill in the blanks" when information is missing so they can make sense of a situation, and this applies to proofreading. If you must do your own, try not to do it on the same day. Fast readers are more prone to making mistakes.

People see what they expect, especially when proofreading. One misplaced letter had humorous results that the computer caught but human minds missed.
Credit: RGBStock / gabriel
The human mind can fool itself, but not computers. Those things are extremely literal, and just one piece of misplaced code can have unpleasant results, as I have seen when tampering with the HTML on these here sites of mine. 

Since my paying job is data entry, I can listen to the audio of videos and use text-to-speech so I can listen to articles, books, and so on. Someone fouled up in an article, and one letter made the difference. I have little doubt that I would have caught the error that escaped the author and the site's proofreader(s), but the computer caught it.

The article mentioned an owner's manual. However, it was spelled with just one wrong letter: manuel. So I heard a name that is common among Spanish, Portuguese, German, and other folks. Owner's Manuel. Frankly (mind if I call you Frank?) he's on my bad side. Owner's Manuel is never around when I need him, so I have to get the owner's manual or go online to learn how to make something happen.

By the way, I often discuss context, and this is another simple example. The context is part of the reason author and proofreaders see what they expect and not catch the one letter that didn't belong. If the word had been capitalized, that is likely to have caught someone's attention so the incorrect word could be corrected. Also, the word by itself is unhelpful. Manual. Are we talking about your vehicle's transmission or the book you consult? Maybe Manuel knows.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Creation Science and the Age of the Earth

First, a bit of behind the scenes for y'all. This site is something I registered because of sidewinders who have tried to dry gulch my name through impersonation. It also is a marker of sorts for some of my activities on teh interweb, so it's also useful. I try to post here about once a month to keep it active. But there's more in this instance.


Nice picture of Earth from Apollo 10 in 1969. The linked post on the age of the earth could not go directly onto Facebook, so here is a workaround with some background information.
Earth from Apollo 10, May 18, 1969 via NASA
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
I wanted to post an article from Answers in Genesis about the age of the earth directly to The Question Evolution Project on Facebook. Although I often post material from AiG, this one was instantly refused for alleged violations of their "Community Standards". Science and biblical history are streng verboten in this case? Well another case, I had to do something similar, but I disremember when.

The linked post on the age of the earth could not go directly onto Facebook, so here is a workaround with some background information.
Used under Fair Use provisions
Click for larger
Posts and articles from this site, Biblical Creation and Evangelism, and Stormbringer's Thunder are supposed to automatically (eventually) post to my Cowboy Bob Page on Fazebook; they won't censor the AiG link when it's in this post. Then I can copy the link on one FB Page and schedule it to another one. I like to schedule my posts.

So, let's get to the post for which I've been doing a workaround and giving you behind the scenes information.
The question of the age of the earth has produced heated discussions on internet debate boards, TV, radio, in classrooms, and in many churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries. The primary sides are
  • Young-earth proponents (biblical age of the earth and universe of about 6,000 years)
  • Old-earth proponents (secular age of the earth of about 4.5 billion years and a universe about 14 billion years old)
The difference is immense! Let’s give a little history of where these two basic calculations came from and which worldview is more reasonable.
To get on with it, click on "How Old Is the Earth?"

Monday, August 19, 2019

Snap Judgemental

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Being judgemental is usually frowned on in Western societies, often based on misusing verses like Matthew 7:1. The immediate context and other parts of Scripture command Christians to exercise righteous judgement. Here is an example of an unrighteous snap judgement.


A lesson from a very brief experience on how I could have used unrighteous judgement, and how hasty conclusions can be harmful.
Credit: Unsplash / John Tuesday
People use the corridors at the workplace for conversation and smartphone use. This is a common thing in places of employment. I was on my way to the restroom, and a woman was in the corridor using her phone. She looked up at me for a split second and went back to her activity. No greeting or acknowledgement of my presence, but we had briefly seen each other several times before.

My snap judgemental thoughts included that she is stuck up, aware that she is very attractive, possibly afraid of me (I believe that women nowadays are trained by leftists to loathe men, but that's a topic for another time), that I am unimportant (well, I am in that place), and so on. Maybe she wants to go mattress dancing with me but is afraid to ask. (No, she's not blind or drunk, so that thought is easily dismissed.) But what did I really know from her actions?

This ties into something I have tried to teach in several of my articles: we only know so much, thus making hasty judgements counterproductive. As A. Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes say in A Study in Scarlet, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment." I reckon those words are true for just about everyone.

The woman was using her phone. She briefly glanced up at me, then back down. I know that she works for the same company as I do but in a different department. I don't know much more than that, not even her name. I have no reason to judge her. Interestingly, the next day I was told to grab my gear and saddle up, I was working in her department for a spell. This woman was nearby. Someone engaged her in a brief conversation, but she is not like some chatterboxes that I've been around. Nope, the quiet type. If I had judged her harshly in my mind, I would have had to modify my opinion in light of more information.

But in any case, I would not have been exercising righteous judgement. I certainly don't like being in the gunsites of judgemental folks, so I try to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). That helps reduce bad behavior on my part. I still have a long way to go.



Saturday, July 20, 2019

Earthside Reflections on Apollo 11

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited July 21, 2019

It seems like only yesterday — not really, it seems like fifty years ago that Apollo 11's Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon. As a nine-year-old boy playing with space toys and waiting for the big event, it seemed interminable. Today, I have a better idea about why NASA did not do things on my impatient timetable. Years later, I learned more about just how dangerous space and space travel can be. Scientists have also learned a great deal.


Childhood memories of the Apollo 11 voyage and the joy of scientific accomplishments. We have learned so much in fifty years.
Photo of Edwin Aldrin by Neil Armstrong after being run through FotoSketcher
Original photo credit: NASA (Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
I had plastic models and booklets, but also some vinyl records. The "Talespinners for Children" company had a record album that was like a radio play that went through astronomy with Kepler, Galileo, and others. It also contained audio of the moon landing. I'd like to hear it again.

The public and I had moved on. Other Apollo missions followed as well as orbiting space stations, the Apollo-Soyuz mission, space shuttles, unmanned probes to both inner and outer planets, the International Space Station, and other space news. Political and cultural events as well ad budget cuts had an impact on the space program. Having had an interest in creation science for years and managing The Question Evolution Project in recent years, I have learned many things about various branches of science. My favorite has always involved space exploration and astronomy. Want to see my collection of Soviet Union and American postage stamps on the subject?

When the big anniversary of the first lunar landing was coming up, I realized that I was very excited all over again and even a bit emotional. With social media, I could join the celebration and even find some documentaries to watch on my Roku device.

I'm certain that leftists will be crying about how the Apollo landings were made by a bunch of white male heterosexuals, several of them Bible-believing Christians. If that vapid complaining isn't happening now, wait a bit.

As another aside, there are atheopath and other anti-creationist sidewinders who prefer to attack people instead of rationally dealing with subjects. Common epithet used against creationists is "science deniers", "science haters", and similar things. Even a cursory glance of biblical creation science sites (as well as mine) shows that such remarks are blatant lies. What we deny is propaganda and fake science; faulty assertions of "it evolved" (biological as well as cosmic) are things that we dare to question.

To give some creation science perspectives, I have a passel of links for those who want to do some investigation. The first group is from David Coppedge at Creation-Evolution Headlines. (Look for the fantastic artwork by Alan Bean.) David worked on the Cassini mission as a system administrator at JPL until he was fired for having the wrong views. His passion for space exploration remains strong. Some other links of interest follow those.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Bane of Social Media

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

While there are several frustrating things on social media, one stands out from the herd. That is when people are compelled to comment without having read the posts or articles. The worst part is when people who post things are told they're wrong, stupid, lying, whatever, by people who have not bothered to read the material. Answers to objections and questions are often contained in the linked articles.


One problem on social media seems to stand out from the rest. A little experiment helped support my position.
Image provided by Why?Outreach
Sometimes people will read the few sentences of introduction that are placed to encourage people to read the actual article, and they seem to feel that they are well enough informed to comment. Not usually.

Now don't be disunderstanding me, most of us who make posts are not expecting everyone to read everything. Also, a stand-alone captioned picture is an invitation for comments. (People who are aware of my posts and articles may have noticed that I seldom use a question as a title in hopes that people will actually read the linked material before commenting. A question can be taken as an invitation to comment without reading.) This kind of commenting is seen throughout social media, including Fazebook, Twitface, weblogs, and more. 

In fact, I've embarrassed myself by reading something too quickly, commenting, and being informed that my query was addressed after all.



Not too long ago, I posted an article about the value of vaccinations. Many people were outraged, and I saw Proverbs 18:13 validated before my eyes. They did not want to read the material, even castigating me for writing it. Worse, there was no interest in actually reading the material that I wrote or the detailed articles that were linked. Apparently, people were locked in by their emotions and the "facts" that they already believed from anti-vaxxers and similar groups (see Proverbs 18:17).

I had a bit of an experiment a spell back. On Facebook at The Question Evolution Project, I posted an item called "Atheist Accepts Multiverse Theory Of Every Possible Universe Except Biblical One". We had many comments by people who were angry at atheists, but didn't notice the source: The Babylon Bee, a "Christian news satire" site.



Here is where I want to make another point. People tend to accept what they read when the material confirms their biases or assumptions without checking the source. Good satire can be hard to distinguish from actual reports, and this one about the atheist accurately described how many of them act. Some of the people commenting on the post knew that it was a parody site, but others lashed out at the "atheist" in the story. I was letting it go, but another Admin stepped in and made it clear in the comments area that the content was satire.

Care should be used when getting material from unknown sites. You can find material that "proves" ghosts, UFOs, that the Anunnaki are our ancient reptilian masters from outer space working with the Illuminati, anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, atheists, geocentrists, King James Onlyists, and more. Often, the name of the site or the weblog can prompt a reader or researcher to find more reliable sources. I lack belief that sites like that consider material that does not fit their narratives. God gave us minds, and he expects us to use them.