My College Professor Was An Ex-Con…How About Yours?

It’s almost time for another year to begin at colleges and universities throughout the country.  Most students and parents have spent a lot of time visiting campuses, investigating the colleges that interest their family, narrowing down the alternatives, and finally arriving at that one special college.  The class of 2017 is almost packed and ready to head off for their new adventure.

As parents we have faith that college leaders have carefully selected the faculty members who will influence our kids.  As students we hope for the same.  We are anxious to begin the learning process by partnering with knowledgeable, respected faculty members.

Maybe not all of us are that lucky.  Recently, Fox News uncovered some startling information in an article titled, “Columbia’s Cons: Ivy League Social Work Program Run By Team of Former Prisoners”.

For about $43,000 annually you can have your children taught by convicted felons.  The best part?  You probably won’t even know it until your kids are sitting in their classroom. The ex-cons work for a program called the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), a subset of Columbia University.  CJI was co-founded by Kathy Boudin a reported former Weather Underground member.  Fox reported that Boudin plead guilty to felony murder for a 1981 armed robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead. Yet, if you look at her bio on the CJI web page there is no mention of any of any time she spent in prison.

Wilkins, listed as the co-director of CJI, is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia with the title of “research scientist”.  It is reported that she was convicted for a 1996 gunpoint hijacking of an armored car.  Wilkins served a twelve-year sentence.

Mika’il DeVeaux was a keynote speaker for the CJI’s “Removing the Bars” Conference in 2012. There was no mention in his bio of the twenty-four years he served in jail for second-degree murder.

It is ridiculous that we would allow people who can’t pass a basic criminal background check to sit in classrooms and influence students without any of us having the opportunity to know their criminal backgrounds. It is sickening that any university administrators would knowingly allow this situation to develop and thrive. As university leaders we owe our students and parents an education worth their time and investment.  Choose your college or university wisely…your choice matters.

Again, I find myself hoping that folks start to grasp some Biblical wisdom such as these words found in the book of Proverbs, “Follow the steps of good men instead and stay on the paths of the righteous”.

I sure couldn’t say it any better.  Give me righteous men and women as faculty in the classroom and we can dramatically influence our world.  Is there redemption and forgiveness through Christ for those convicted of crimes?  Certainly.  But until that happens, let our students follow the righteous, not the ex-cons.

Fourth Trimester Abortion: Are You Serious?

Today I want to talk with you about fourth trimester abortions.  I hope you are already asking yourself what this means.  The term itself makes no sense.  By definition a trimester has three parts, not four.  Dan Joseph, in this video, explained that his made up term of “fourth trimester abortion” would allow the killing of an infant after birth.  Dan visited the campus of George Mason University armed with his fictitious petition seeking signatures to support fourth trimester abortions.  Within one hour Dan obtained fourteen signatures on his petition.

Dan went to George Mason armed with his petition and gave the usual pro-choice rhetoric as students passed by.  Few students asked about the definition of a fourth trimester abortion and many simply signed the petition.

One student asked if this procedure would harm the baby.  After learning that it would she signed anyway.  Frankly, I don’t know what part of the definition of abortion she didn’t understand. Abortion ends a pregnancy and ends a life. Why would you even ask if this harms the baby? A second student is told not to even read the petition just to sign it and without any consideration for the content of the petition signs his name.

What are some lessons here?  First, if this is the best that our higher education system can provide in terms of critical thinking skills we have a serious problem.  Not all colleges and universities are created equal.  Even a faculty member at this particular college signed the petition.  Go find a college that provides some critical thinking skills and stop wasting your money on colleges that leave you agreeing with fourth trimester abortions and unable to discern between truth and fiction.  Better still; don’t go to any college that leaves you supporting abortion as a viable alternative.  Develop some critical thinking skills and you will soon see the fallacies in the pro-choice agenda. Former President Ronald Reagan understood the weakness in the pro-choice arguments when he said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Second, don’t put a lot of credibility in petitions.  People will sign almost anything.  Next time you hear about a petition with 100,000 names on it just remember these fourteen clueless folks who supported fourth trimester abortions.

Finally, don’t forget the wisdom found in the Bible. The book of Proverbs warns us about our need for wisdom and says this, “Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.”

Wisdom is calling to each of us.  It’s time to start listening.

Did I Say Justice? Sorry…I Meant Revenge.

Like most people in America, I have been watching the Zimmerman trial and the aftermath.  I watched the vigils across America demanding justice for Trayvon.  In fact, CNN had one article this week titled, “Nationwide Rallies Demand Justice for Trayvon”.  CNN also reported that one of these rallies in Miami was attended by hundreds of supporters who chanted, “No Peace! No Justice!” One of the demonstrators told CNN, “…as a community, we need to come together and we need to support justice for Trayvon”.

As a former police officer testifying in court was part of my job.  As juries brought their verdicts I could always count on one group to be disappointed with the outcome and demand “justice”…often storming out of the courthouse in a rage.

May I tell you something?  These folks who often cry for justice don’t really mean it.  What they are really seeking is revenge.  You see in the Zimmerman trial justice was served.  The prosecution and the defense agreed upon the composition of the jury.  It wasn’t just one sided.  Both sides had the opportunity to select jurors they wanted and strike those they did not. In courtrooms throughout America this is done everyday and each day justice continues to be served.

So let’s stop fooling ourselves by saying we’re demanding justice for Trayvon and others like him.  Let’s say what we really mean.  People aren’t crying out for justice for Trayvon…they are seeking revenge for Trayvon.

The Bible warns us about the dangers of seeking revenge.  Romans 12:17 tells us, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

In the death of Trayvon and in other situations throughout our lives we may never know all the facts.  Let’s stop acting like we do.  Let’s start leaving difficult situations to God.  He clearly tells us that He will repay those who commit evil acts.  That is God’s work, not ours.

Common Sense: Rest In Peace

Two years ago former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner was accused of sending a sexually suggestive photograph from his twitter account.  The photo was sent to a twenty-one year old college student from Seattle, Washington.  This young college student was one of many who followed Weiner’s twitter posts.

Initially, Weiner denied sending the picture and blamed the photo on others who were trying to discredit him.

Shortly after this a second woman came forward with sexually suggestive material that had been sent to her by Weiner.  As the evidence began to mount against him, Weiner finally said this, I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters, and the media and to be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it. He also said he had engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email and occasionally on the phone and had exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.  On June 16, 2011, Weiner resigned his seat in Congress.

CNN reported last week that just over a month after entering New York City’s high-profile mayoral race this year, Anthony Weiner has moved ahead for the first time in the crowded Democratic primary and is actually leading in the polls. Weiner is again involved in politics.

So, we had a congressman who engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior and then lied when he was caught.  Now the people of New York City are supporting him in his new quest to become mayor.  Do you ever find yourself just shaking your head and wondering what ever happened to common sense? Most of us would never hire someone like Weiner for our businesses yet some folks will elect him to run their city.

I am reminded of James 1:5 that says this, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  Perhaps many in our country should all ask for a liberal dose of wisdom.

Anything Goes!

This week the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples legally married in a state deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.  This ruling struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA.  Several months ago Attorney General Eric Holder also said that the federal government would no longer defend DOMA.

As various worldviews push against the Biblically defined traditional marriage, we have opened a box of alternative life styles that are clearly not scriptural.  I have often reminded folks to follow non-Christian worldviews to their obvious conclusions and this is a perfect example.

If we no longer rely on Biblical teachings to define marriage, then who decides the definition of marriage?  The courts?  The government? Popular opinion? I suppose anything goes and people can define marriage however they would choose.  With no standard…no Truth…who is to say that bestiality or pedophilia should be outlawed? What about polygamy?

In fact, within twelve hours of the most recent Supreme Court ruling, Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist with three wives said this, We’re very happy with it (the decision of the Supreme Court). I think the court has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.

Without following the absolute Truths provided in scripture, laws against these types of behaviors only remain as law until there is a strong enough cultural change to remove them.  This is exactly what has happened with the homosexual agenda.

Currently thirty-seven states prohibit same-sex marriage.  Since undoubtedly you will see this marriage definition argument move to the state level, I encourage you to call or write your senators and congressmen and tell them you support the Biblical definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

We are reminded in Hebrews that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Even if our culture changes, God’s Truth always remains as a foundation for Godly living.

Surprise!

It seems as though I am constantly hearing people talk about change.  Folks usually talk about change as though it is some gradual event that we need to just ease into.  Frankly, most changes that I have observed have not been gradual.  The change has come as a surprise.  A frightening diagnosis from the doctor, a spouse who wants a divorce, a death in the family, a child caught in the trap of sin…there is nothing for any of us to just ease into here.  No time to sit back and get ready for it.  One word sums it up…surprise!  So rather than talk about being ready for change, I sometimes wonder if it would be better if we just said what we already know.  Some difficult surprises will come into your life.

Now, how will you react to your surprises?  Will you get angry, depressed, anxious, perhaps even start to question God’s faithfulness?  How many of you will start singing praises to God?  Maybe that one isn’t at the top of your list but let me take you to Acts chapter 16.  Paul and Silas had just cast out a demon from a young girl and suddenly found themselves standing before city officials surrounded by a large crowd. Both men were beaten with wooden rods and then thrown into jail.  Surprise!

The jails in this point in time were horrible places.  A man by the name of Apablaza conducted a study called Conditions of Prisons in the First Century.  Here are some of the things he found about prisons like the one Paul and Silas were in.

  • Prisons were often packed beyond capacity resulting in unbearable heat and dehydration of prisoners.
  • For security reasons the prisons had no windows often resulting in lack of air sometimes at a dangerous level.
  • Most prisons had no light and the psychological impact on prisoners was tremendous.
  • Prisoners were chained by their arms, legs or both.  Each chain weighed about fourteen pounds and the weight would become debilitating.
  • Many of the dead would be piled in a corner of the jail to be taken away at a later time.

Yet, Paul and Silas are sitting in the dark, suffering the pain of a beating, chained, and they were singing hymns to God.  As they are singing God performs a miracle that ultimately releases them from prison.

What are the lessons here?  Surprises are coming.  Don’t ever lose hope in God.  He does have a plan for you.  Whatever you are facing today, trust in God and like Paul and Silas your miracle might be right around the corner.

Are You Dying of Thirst?

Today as I was watching someone water flowers, I began to think about the power of water.  Not the water you and I might ordinarily think about on a hot summer day but rather the living water we read about in the Bible.

When I was younger we used to sing a song in church that said this, Like the woman at the well I was seeking for things that would not satisfy.  But then I heard the Master saying draw from the well that never will run dry.

That song is talking about the Bible story we read in John chapter 4.  In this account, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman at a well.  She has come there to draw water to drink but she is about to encounter the power of God.  This woman has quite a story and must have been pretty disillusioned with her life.  In fact, this scripture tells us that the woman has had five husbands and the man she is now living with is not her husband.  She has been searching for earthly things to satisfy.

As Jesus and the woman were talking about the water in the well, Jesus says this to the woman, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

So how about you today?  Are you like the woman at the well looking for things of this world that just don’t satisfy? Are you caught in the trap of trying to gain money and possessions?  Do you find yourself searching for romantic relationships that continue to fail?  Are you caught in the trap of alcohol or drugs…like the woman at the well just looking for something to satisfy your soul?

If you find yourself caught in these traps, you need a drink of eternal water.  In other words, let Jesus change your life. Give Him a chance to change you from the inside out.  It really is easy. Simply ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and become the leader of your life.  Then watch your life begin to change as God now directs your steps and satisfies your soul as only He can do.