In times of deepest trouble, how do we most effectively call on God?
In Psalm 44, the Sons of Korah beg God for help in dealing with their present trials. The singers are referring to a national trial, probably a defeat in battle during the time of Hezekiah or Josiah, but with existing evidence we cannot be certain. Since the singers make no mention of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, and since there is no mention of religious persecution, this Psalm is probably set during or after the Babylonian exile.
The Days of Victory
Korah’s sons begin by looking back. Israel had glorious days under the watchful eyes of their loving God. Through His power, Moses delivered the Hebrews from Egypt, Joshua conquered the Promised Land, and David made them into a mighty nation. Verses 1-3 demonstrate that fathers taught their sons for generations about the awesome works of God on their behalf. The sons listened.
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Across the United States, several teachers and at least one coach have been fired for their opposition to Critical Race Theory (CRT). Parents have rebelled at the teaching of CRT in schools, and are being hotly opposed by educational administrators and the political left. Outside the classroom, CRT has dominated the discourse about race and gender in America. It is worthwhile to investigate it.
The Tenets of Critical Race Theory
Merriam Webster defines “race” as any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry. Some hold that race is a modern European construct intended to “scientifically” justify white supremacy by classifying and devaluing all non-whites. In reality, civilizations have divided people by differences in cultural and physical traits since the dawn of time. The Hindu Vedas sharply discriminate between Aryans and Dasyu, the indigenous people of the Indian subcontinent and perennial enemies of the Aryans, characterizing the Dasyu as “phallus worshipers,” “dark-skinned,” and “harsh spoken.” The Bible notes the Ethiopians as a “people tall and smooth skinned (Isaiah 18:7).” The Muslim writer Said al Andalusi (d. 1070) wrote:
“For those who live furthest to the north between the last of the seven climates and the limits of the inhabited world, the excessive distance of the sun in relation to the zenith line makes the air cold and the atmosphere thick. Their temperaments are therefore frigid, their humors raw, their bellies gross, their color pale, their hair long and lank. Thus they lack keenness of understanding and clarity of intelligence, and are overcome by ignorance and dullness, lack of discernment, and stupidity. Such are the Slavs, the Bulgars, and their neighbors. For those peoples on the other hand who live near and beyond the equinoctial line to the limit of the inhabited world in the south, the long presence of the sun at the zenith makes the air hot and the atmosphere thin. Because of this their temperaments become hot and their humors fiery, their color black and their hair wooly. They lack self-control and steadiness of mind and are overcome by fickleness, foolishness, and ignorance. Such are the blacks, who live at the extremity of the land of Ethiopia, the Nubians, the Zanj, and the like.”
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Conference notes on how leaders and members can revitalize a church.
Each year, Southern Baptists birth 1,000 local churches per year and bury 900 local churches. Membership numbers at churches within the Southern Baptist Convention lag the population growth in the US. In part, this is because formerly Baptist churches no longer wish to be associated with the name Southern Baptist, which has unfortunate connections to American slavery. Many of these churches change their names and continue with solid Biblical teaching as before. Christ is still being proclaimed, and there seems little reason for concern.
In America, sadly, fewer people, Protestant or Catholic, are attending church at all. Secularists rejoice, believing that religion is inherently bad. Some hope that religious beliefs of all varieties will wane as science advances, personal freedom increases, and economic conditions improve around the world. This hope is not new…people like Voltaire held it centuries ago.
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In this lonely, painful world, how can we have deep, meaningful relationships? How can we be true to each other?
In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor shouts “et tu Brute?” when he sees his close friend, Marcus Junius Brutus, among his assassins. Though most Americans are not plunging daggers into each other, relationships in the world, the United States, and even the Church are shriveling and dying. According to US Census Data in 2020, our population growth has slowed to its lowest point since the 1930s. Experts blame COVID and economic troubles, but this trend has been present for decades. Marriage is less common, and couples are having fewer children. People are having less sex, and even dating less. Research from the Barna Group indicates that Americans have fewer friends and higher levels of loneliness than in the past. Elders are less lonely than Boomers, who are less lonely than Gen X, who are less lonely than millennials. The stereotypical image of a lonely widow in our culture may be less common than that of a lonely teenage girl.
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