Transcript: Episode 0028

This transcript:
  1. Was machine generated.
  2. Has not been checked for errors.
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good it

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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast. I am Corey J. Mahler.

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And I'm Woe. In today's episode of Stone Choir, we're going to be talking a little bit more

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about framing and talking about some issues and some things that we can do in our own

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lives or questions that we need to solve individually, personally, in our own lives.

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Before we get into some of the specifics of what we want to talk about, we want to just

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speak in generalities, specifically about speaking in generalities. So I mean by that

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is this. A lot of the topics that we've discussed in the past have been big ticket items, things

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like Christian nationalism. That's a concept. That's a big, I mean, talk about an entire

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nation and you're talking about a religion. Those are for better or worse, ultimately

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sweeping generalities. You can talk about the principles involved, but it doesn't necessarily

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tell you the individual, okay, what do I do next? So today we're going to take it to the

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other end of the scale. What do I do next? Not in a prescriptive fashion like we're not.

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This isn't going to be an advice show. We just wanted to talk in general about, like I said,

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some questions that do need to be answered in some of our lives and many of our lives.

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To frame that, I think it's important to note the crucial distinction between strategy

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and tactics or another way of thinking about it that is the ends versus the means. So strategy

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and tactics or it's a distinction that is principally derived from warfare where the

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strategy is the macro scale goal. What is the big ticket achievement that you want? And

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the tactics are the individual things that you perform to achieve that strategic goal.

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So for example, during the Revolutionary War in the colonies, the strategic goal of the

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colonies was to become independent and the strategic goal of the king was to maintain

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control over his colonies. The tactics were what happened after those two strategic worldviews were

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fundamentally misaligned. They could have just said, we're going to part our separate ways,

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no harm, no foul. Instead, they shot and killed each other for a while. I'm going to talk about

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the specifics of that, but that's just an example of the strategy is I have a goal of being no longer

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a colony of England. I want to be an independent state. And then the tactic is, well, do I shoot

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lobster backs or not? The ends that are used or the ends that we seek and the means by which

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we seek them are two different things. They should be aligned. I mean, obviously, you want your

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tactics or your means to be aligned with what your strategic goal is. So when we do an episode on

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something like Christian nationalism, that's a strategic, well, that's the question. Is Christian

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nationalism the strategic goal? And I think the answer is no. I think that even something as big

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scale as that is still fundamentally the means to an end, where for Christians, the end, the

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ultimate end, the ultimate strategic goal should be, I want a Christian world, I want a Christian

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nation, I want a Christian country, a Christian government, I want a Christian community with

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Christian laws, I want a Christian family, and I want a Christian church. So strategically,

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that's kind of, I think, where most of us are coming from. We want everything to be ordered in

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a godly fashion. And so something like Christian nationalism is, it's not reinventing the wheel,

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but it's just saying, hey, this is something that used to exist for almost all of human history. And

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then we got rid of it. Maybe when things got worse and we got rid of it, that's a signal that we

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should go back to what we were doing. But the important point is that the idea of Christian

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nationalism itself is not the goal. It's not the end state. It is a tool, as a means or a tactic

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of achieving the ultimate goal of just having a Christian nation, a Christian country, a Christian

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people, and on down. So the reason that we wanted to focus on this first is so many times when

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these various discussions come up all over the place on the right, on the Christian right in

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particular, everybody wants to be, well, what about, well, what about this? Well, what about that?

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You say you want a Christian country, but then people are still going to do crime. So how does

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that even make sense? That's nonsense. You do the thing if it's the right thing to do. And if not

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everything is perfect, you have to realize that that's because Jesus hasn't come back yet. Nothing's

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perfect. Nothing's going to be perfect. So it's not a negating of the tactic to say that the entire

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overarching goal of everything being Christian and godly hasn't been achieved. I want to get people

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thinking in terms of this one small thing that I can do in my life that's an improvement is worth

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doing, even if it doesn't solve all my problems. There's a real tendency on the right to think

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that at some point, we're going to have a leader who stands up, and we're going to go from the

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current disaster area that we see around ourselves to some sort of pristine semi-paradise here on

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earth, practically overnight. And that's just not the way any of this works. It's not the way that

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anything in life works. If you want to build a house that's done brick by brick, you have to lay

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the foundation first. And before you do the foundation, you have to survey, you have to clear

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land. There are steps you have to take to do these things. You're not going to go from A to Z

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without going through all the points in between. And we have to come to terms with that on the

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right. We have to come to terms with that as Christians. What we need to be doing is the small

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things in our everyday lives. Every single time you choose to do a good work. You're making the

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world just a little bit better. And that ultimately is actually the end goal. Because the end goal

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is to set conditions under which more people choose to do the good thing in more circumstances.

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Because that's what it means to live in a good world, to live in a Christian society, is you

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have people, individuals making these good decisions, doing these good works, preferably all

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the time. There's no sort of abstract entity that makes everything good. You don't have a Christian

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nation and then that abstraction instead of the concrete individuals, families, etc. You don't have

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that abstraction, making everything good. No, it's the individuals in their daily lives, going

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about their tasks that God has set before them. That's what makes society good. That's what makes

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things better for everyone. Yes, if you have good laws, if you have the proper infrastructure in

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place, it makes that stuff easier. It makes it more likely, which is of course the goal. But you

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still need individuals who are going forth and performing the good works that God prepared

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beforehand for us to walk in them. That's what Scripture tells us. And so we need to look at the

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every day instead of always focusing on these grand overarching issues. Because that's what the

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ultimately what the commandments are about. That's ultimately what Christian teaching is about.

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God does not need our good works. God doesn't need anything. God doesn't hunger. God doesn't thirst.

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Now, of course, I'm not talking about Christ according to his humanity. I'm talking about God,

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the Divinity. So God does not need our good works. Our neighbor needs our good works. And so that is

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how we live out our lives as Christians is in serving our neighbors. And of course, we do that

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first and foremost with our closest neighbors, which if you are married, that is your spouse.

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If you have children, that is your children. And that is your immediate family, and then your

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extended family, and then your nation. And ultimately, of course, yes, others as well,

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insofar as you are able. For most, you aren't going to be able to do much for anyone in the far

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flung corners of the world. But you can most certainly do something good for your neighbor who

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is next door. And it's that every day good work. It's the every day decision to make things a

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little better than they could otherwise be. That is ultimately how we get from A through B all the

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way to Z. And so it's really important for people to try to get out of their heads, the automatic

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naysaying whenever someone suggests something that won't solve all the world's problems.

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As grown-ups, we shouldn't be doing that to begin with. That's a completely childish approach.

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And yet today, it seems like in a lot of discourse, it's almost the only thing you're going to hear

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in response when someone suggests something. The example Corey gave of building a house is

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exactly the one I had in mind. Imagine if your strategic goal is you want to build a house,

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and so you begin by building a kitchen. Well, you didn't lay a foundation, you didn't put up walls,

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you didn't put up a roof, you started with a kitchen. Now, a kitchen is an important tactical

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aspect of having a house. You don't have a complete house without a kitchen. But if you begin there,

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and that's all you have, you don't really have a house. So there are two competing things. There's

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the notion that, yes, I want all of my ultimate goals to be in alignment. I want to have a house

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with plumbing and a roof and a kitchen and all the stuff that you want. And individually, you

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have to make those decisions one day at a time and one piece at a time. And so when individual

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subjects come up, like many of the episodes that we cover, we say in a lot of these episodes,

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we don't think this is the entirety of the Christian life. We'll never say that. That's not

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the focus of what we're doing with this podcast. However, these are all pieces of you being informed

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and then making decisions in your life. So the emphasis that we're placing on things that are in

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some cases peripheral or not very on their face important. Like for example, we did the episode

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Unforgotten Doctrines. We talked about head coverings and we had the question last week about,

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do we think that hymns that were written by women, should they be removed from the hymns?

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And my response was, it's not in my top 50 list of things to fix. Now, I think that if we discuss

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what God says about the role of girls in the church, in communities, in the hierarchy of things,

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many other things that used to be done will naturally return without us getting worked up

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about needing to redline a hymnal and say, we gotta get rid of this page and this hymn,

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we gotta get rid of this. That's not my concern. My concern is the strategic goal of obeying God

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in whatever he says. And when he says something about a subject, let's believe that and then work

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our way down. So the strategy, the strategic goal is always, what does God want? And then the

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implementation details can be more or less important. Is it more important for you to be in a church

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where women are not preaching from the pulpit than for you to be in a church where women have

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written one of the hymns? Yes, that's a much bigger problem. It doesn't mean that if one is a problem,

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the other can't be a problem. And so as adults, we have to be able to triage all these things and

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say, well, you gotta draw a line somewhere. And this is a particular struggle that pastors face

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when they go to a new congregation. Maybe the previous pastor had some bad practices that

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are really, maybe some are over his personal lines. Yeah, they're contrary to the teachings

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of that church. And yet this man in isolation was doing it. And so the congregation's used to it.

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When a new pastor comes in, he has to figure that out. What do I do? Where do I draw the line?

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Which things can I teach through? And which things do I have to put my foot down immediately?

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And those are tactics. That's a very crucial tactical decision. And so one of the reasons

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for highlighting this is that there's no flow chart for this stuff. There's no list of, yes,

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these are all the things that you must do and you can do. And then these are all the lists of

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things you can never do. There are some things on each of those lists, but there's also stuff in

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the middle that's a matter of wisdom. And for example, the question of women writing hymns,

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I don't think it's a good idea. I think that it's conceivable. Someone might convince me that it was

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okay. I think that I would ultimately end up on the side that it's not okay. If, however,

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someone comes along, say that we have a church where we've tamped down all the abuses

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and we've decided it's okay to have girls writing hymns. If someone comes along and says,

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why won't you let girls be pastors? They're writing hymns. That's teaching too.

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My response is going to be, okay, you win. We're getting rid of the hymns too,

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because although it was an indifferent matter when we hammered it out and said, well,

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maybe, maybe not. We'll go with it. When someone comes along and tries to use that as license

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for a greater abuse, that makes the thing evil on its face. Even if in isolation, it might be

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questionable. If it's going to bear evil fruit, you got to deal with it. Because if it begins

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bearing evil fruit, it's going to keep doing that. And so that's why a lot of these things are

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matters of wisdom. The blow up in the last couple of weeks about Cory bringing up interracial marriage

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that caused pastors to lose their minds, even if it were permissible on its face when all the

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downstream results are evil, that's a sign that the fruit of the tree proves the tree is bad.

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You don't have to have God saying, you may never do this if all of the outcomes from that thing

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are terrible. That's God telling you, this is not a good idea. And so the hyperactive moral

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concerns about, if this isn't a sin, I'm absolutely permitted to do it,

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I don't think it's the right way of approaching things. If something is good, it's going to bear

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good fruit. And when something does harm, as a matter of wisdom, you just stop doing it because

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it's bad for you. It's the same as talking about diet. If you eat something and it hurts your

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stomach every time you eat it, stop eating it. And if I say that, and someone's like,

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were you saying it's a sin to eat it? No, I'm saying it hurts you. That's stupid. Don't do that.

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And if you get hurt every time you do something, if the result of doing a thing is harm,

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then it's bad. I don't have to find a verse in the Bible that says it's bad. If it's hurting you,

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that's the sign from God that you're doing something you shouldn't do. So a lot of this

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stuff isn't going to be prescriptive from scripture. It's just, what is the best approach

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to this thing? And if we try something in good conscience thinking it's okay, and then it causes

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harm, back off, admit you made a mistake, that's okay. I think it's one of the biggest problems

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we have today, especially as we're generations into people making these intergenerational mistakes

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about living our lives. If you tell someone, hey, don't do that. And their response is, well,

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I know a guy and he did that. Are you saying he's bad? Or my parents did that? Or this is the way

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it's always been done here. None of those are arguments against saying that maybe something's

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not a good idea. Our moral calculus needs to take into account both what God has absolutely revealed

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and also what is just plainly obvious from our lives. If you're doing something that's fine,

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it's obviously not causing harm. That's not a cause for concern if God doesn't say anything about it.

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If, on the other hand, it's up in the air, but it's causing injury and it's causing people to

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spread false doctrine, that's a very clear sign that you have a problem that you need to deal with.

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And so triaging which of those things we deal with in which order, there's no solution that can

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just be written down and handed to someone. We need intelligent, faithful men in various positions

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to always be asking these questions and do not immediately leap to the defense of whatever the

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status quo is. The status quo is frequently bad. It's frequently evil and it's frequently harmful.

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And the fact that maybe we did it with a clean conscience doesn't mean that it's something we

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should keep doing. If the question comes up and the harm is demonstrated, maybe it's time to look

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at rolling some things back until we get back to where our ancestors a few generations ago were

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living because they were living Christian lives and they did pretty well. They got us here. Maybe

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we should take that into account. I think food is a really good example when it comes to

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describing whether or not something is inherently sin versus whether it is sin because of external

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considerations. So for instance, eating cake is not a sin. You are permitted to do that. You are

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allowed to eat sweets, having some sugar every now and then is not even bad for you realistically.

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And I know that some people are going to screech at me for that, but deal with it. Having sugar

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every so often is not bad for you. Eating it all the time is extremely bad for you. That will

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eventually give you diabetes. You will lose your feet. Just because you can do something

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doesn't mean you should do a lot of that thing. And it also doesn't mean that you should do that

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thing all the time. Alternatively, just because someone can do something doesn't mean that everyone

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should do it. So a diabetic should not be eating chocolate cake. Someone who is not diabetic

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who's not overweight can have some chocolate cake. That's totally fine. Right now, the drink that I

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have sitting right here with me, I have cold brew and milk. That would be a recipe for disaster

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for actually the majority of human beings. Because most people are at least mildly lactose

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intolerant. I'm Northern European. I'm not lactose intolerant. I drink two-thirds of a gallon of milk

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a day. Coffee also causes a lot of people to have digestive issues. I can drink this and be totally

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fine. That doesn't mean that everyone else should do it as well. The matters we are discussing

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are matters of wisdom. And that is something that Christians are supposed to have.

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In Scripture, it is very clearly stated that being a fool is not a good thing.

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Christians are not called to be fools. Yes, you are called to be childlike in your faith

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when it comes to faith in God. You are to have a childlike faith. That is correct. That does not

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mean you are supposed to be a fool. In fact, you are supposed to be as wise as a serpent

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when it comes to dealing with the world. And we as Christians have let that fall by the wayside.

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That has been ignored in our modern context. Instead, we have gone all in on the other side

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and attempted to find all of the little lines, all of the edges of the cliffs saying,

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well, I can come right up to this cliff and do whatever I want as long as I don't go over.

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The problem with going right up to the edge of the cliff as long as you don't go over is you're

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probably going to go over. You're going to trip, you're going to fall, you're going to go over.

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Anyone who hikes knows that you don't walk right along the edge of the cliff for a lot of reasons.

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One, it could give out under you. But two, you are significantly increasing the odds of going

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over that cliff. No, you walk back from the cliff. We should be doing the same thing in the

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Christian life. Your goal should not be to find the absolute furthest edge of every one of God's

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rules. Of every place where God has said, you may do this, or conversely, because of course,

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it's the same line, where God has said, you may not do this. Don't try to find the point where

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as soon as you step over that as a violation. That's not what it means to be a Christian. No,

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I'm not taking the rabbinical or the pharistheical approach of saying, well, you can't do this,

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so you shouldn't do anything that even remotely looks like this. No, I'm saying,

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as a Christian, be wise, as a Christian, consider what you are doing. And that ties into what we're

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discussing with the everyday in life, because those things are undertaken pursuant to wisdom.

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You are, when you act in the present, you are planning for the future, at least you should be.

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Not necessarily all the time. I'm not saying that every single thing you do

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has to be planning for the future at all times. No, you are allowed to relax, you're allowed to

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have time off. In fact, God tells you that you are required to do so. The Sabbath is not just

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for hearing the word preach. The Sabbath is also a time of rest. And I know that's a problem for

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Americans who are, by and large, workaholics. You should be resting on Sunday. You should not

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be working on Sunday. That's not your time to catch up with the work you didn't do during the week.

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But in these good works that you're undertaking, in these decisions you're making,

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you should be planning for the future. And we have had a few generations now who have really

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not done that. Instead, they have looked at the present and pursued their own desires in the present.

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And that's why you see old buildings that were perfectly good buildings torn down and replaced

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with something that was new, because it's new. You see people who clear their property of trees

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that were a hundred, two hundred years old, not because they need the property in order to

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farm. They don't need it in order to have farmland or to have fields. No, they just, they wanted a

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lawn. They're just endless examples of this. We see a focus on the present, this high time

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preference that does not work with civilization, that is unbecoming of a Christian. As Christians,

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we should be planning for what we're going to pass on to children and grandchildren

23:37.720 --> 23:44.920
and great-grandchildren. And that ties into something that many men do not want to hear

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these days. Women as well, but we're addressing an audience mostly of men. Yes, we know we have

23:52.040 --> 23:57.960
quite a few female listeners as well. But as men, as human beings,

23:58.680 --> 24:06.920
we right now are somewhat of an interim generation. Those before us made a great

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many errors. We are paying for those errors. No matter how well we pursue our tasks,

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no matter how much work we put in, we will not reap the benefit of most of it.

24:22.040 --> 24:27.240
God will bless us, yes, because God always blesses faithfulness. He even blesses those

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who are not believers if they are faithful in other ways. Mormons are incredibly blessed in

24:33.080 --> 24:39.080
many ways, despite being heretics. They're not Christians, they're pagans. They're still blessed

24:39.080 --> 24:45.240
because they still pursue pro-family, they still have in-group preferences. God still

24:45.240 --> 24:51.480
blesses them because of these things. But just because you do what is right, what is good,

24:52.120 --> 24:57.560
does not mean that your life will suddenly be perfect. The consequences of sin are not

24:57.560 --> 25:02.680
immediately removed when you become a Christian, and that includes intergenerational consequences

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of sin. And so a large part of our goal, what it should be, is making a better world for the

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coming generations. The old proverb, of course, comes to mind that societies grow great when

25:17.800 --> 25:22.520
old men plant trees in the shade of which they know they will never rest. That's absolutely true.

25:23.800 --> 25:28.040
Because some of the things you plant, whether figuratively or literally,

25:28.600 --> 25:33.080
they may not mature for 20, 30, 40, 100 years. It just depends.

25:34.760 --> 25:41.000
You may not benefit personally. If you are a 90-year-old man and you plant a walnut tree,

25:41.000 --> 25:46.680
you will probably never eat walnuts off that tree. However, your grandchildren will.

25:47.400 --> 25:52.200
And that is what we need to be doing as Christians. That is the everyday stuff that

25:52.200 --> 25:58.120
we can do in order to make a better future. Yes, it will also improve the present,

25:58.120 --> 26:03.480
but we have to have that intergenerational mindset. And that is why we keep hammering away at the point

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of family, immediate and extended family, of nation, of groups of people as God designed them

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to interact with each other as opposed to the individual. Because the focus on the individual,

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which is what we have had for decades, has proven conclusively to be incredibly destructive.

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And so we need to have a larger focus. We need to have a focus on the bigger picture while still

26:31.000 --> 26:38.120
acting in the everyday small things. Because when you plant an apple tree, you are looking to the

26:38.120 --> 26:44.600
future. You are looking at the bigger picture, but you are taking an immediate action then and

26:44.600 --> 26:50.680
there. It seems like a small action. You're planting a tree, but it really does have an effect

26:50.680 --> 26:58.360
long term. One of the questions that we get asked some, and we certainly see a lot of people talking

26:58.360 --> 27:05.800
about all over the place in the last few years, is one of relocation. Where should I live? Where

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can I be safe? Where can I find a good church? Where can I find a job? All these basic human

27:12.280 --> 27:19.880
questions that are nothing new to our era, but they've absolutely changed in how they're manifest

27:19.880 --> 27:27.560
in the last few generations. Really since the automobile, where social mobility means that now

27:28.600 --> 27:35.400
you can pretty much live anywhere you want. You can uproot overnight. You can have

27:36.040 --> 27:40.680
your ancestors can have been in one place for centuries, and one day you just say,

27:40.680 --> 27:46.200
I'm out of here. You run a U-Haul or whatever, and you can be thousands of miles away the next week.

27:47.720 --> 27:52.200
No one would think that's particularly weird anymore. It used to be that only the

27:52.200 --> 27:59.160
black sheep of families would do that sort of stuff. Now in the post-college world, where it's

27:59.160 --> 28:03.720
sort of assumed that if you have a kid that's even remotely bright, you want to send them off to

28:03.720 --> 28:09.880
college, whether it's a boy or a girl. Now it's perfectly normal for us to just scatter our

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children like seeds on the wind. There's no expectation that they would ever come home

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when they're done. It's not even a room spring out where there's a notion that they're going to go

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sow their oats and then they're going to return home. You're basically sending them off into the

28:26.040 --> 28:33.320
world in hopes of finding something better than where they came from. That's taken as

28:33.320 --> 28:39.880
folkwism today. That's just normal. One of the things that we want to talk about in this episode

28:39.880 --> 28:46.840
is the fact that that's actually profoundly perverse. The idea that you would uproot from a

28:46.840 --> 28:52.600
place where your people have been from wherever it is. I don't care where it is. Like we said in

28:52.600 --> 28:59.400
the episodes on race, if you're African, God bless you. I hope you're the best African you can possibly

28:59.400 --> 29:07.720
be. If you're from a place, be the best you can be in that place. What we have happening today is

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that people think that the only way to be a better version of themselves is to leave everything that

29:12.920 --> 29:19.640
they've ever known behind, everything their ancestors have known behind. A few years ago,

29:19.640 --> 29:27.080
I started doing genealogy on myself and just out of curiosity. One of the things that I discovered

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was that the town that I was born in was founded by my family over two centuries ago. Virtually

29:34.600 --> 29:42.280
all of my ancestors on that side of my family had lived there for over 200 years. What did I do?

29:42.280 --> 29:50.600
Well, my family moved away. In my case, I am completely rootless. I am the most terrible

29:50.600 --> 29:56.120
example of the rootless cosmopolitan today. By the time I was 18, I had lived in seven different

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addresses in three different states. I'm now up to 15 addresses in six states. I have no notion

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of place at all, just none. Part of the reason that I settled where I am now was that it's the

30:11.240 --> 30:15.800
only place I've ever been. I've visited most of the states. I've spent a decent amount of time

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in a number of them. Where I am now is the only place that ever felt like home, even though

30:20.360 --> 30:24.840
it wasn't where I was from. What I found out when I did genealogy was that

30:25.560 --> 30:31.560
19 of my ancestors actually lived right around where I live today. They all moved to where I

30:31.560 --> 30:39.000
was born over 200 years ago. They all moved and founded the place where I came from. My family

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is from a place that I was uprooted from by my own family when I was a minor. It didn't seem abnormal.

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It just was like, that's what people do. You move and you move and you move.

30:50.280 --> 30:56.520
In my case, I haven't unpacked since 2011. I've moved several times since then. I unpack some

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stuff, but I don't even bother finishing moving into a place. I'll probably never leave where I

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am now. I hope not to. I hope this is the last house I ever live in. Yet I still have zero notion

31:10.200 --> 31:17.320
of making this my own. That part of what should be in every person has been completely burned out of

31:17.320 --> 31:23.320
me. I'm not saying this is something I want to fix in myself. It's not a confession. It's just

31:23.320 --> 31:29.160
dead. That thing that a man should feel to be in a place and say, he's going to make it his own,

31:29.800 --> 31:35.080
I don't have that. I don't have that because of my upbringing and because of my conduct

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after that. Once I was an adult, I kept doing the same thing, kept moving around like crazy.

31:40.280 --> 31:45.080
I moved around a lot less as an adult than I did as a kid, but it really burned into me that

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there's no notion of permanence. The reason I'm mentioning this is not to talk about myself,

31:50.680 --> 31:58.120
but to say, if you are trying to decide whether you should stay where you are or if you're going

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to move somewhere else, I would hope that for most people, the first barrier to get past is,

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am I leaving my family? Am I leaving behind my roots, my actual family members who live in a

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place? If you have extended family somewhere, by default, you probably shouldn't leave that.

32:19.400 --> 32:24.600
As a Christian matter, you should probably stay where your family is. There are obviously reasons

32:24.600 --> 32:30.680
why you may have to move. If you're a Christian, if you're listening to this, you almost certainly are.

32:31.640 --> 32:37.160
You may have to move away in part because your family is completely pagan, and if you're raising

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kids, maybe your pagan family is actually harming your own children. It may be that in spite of

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those familial connections, you have to make a clean break for the sake of your children.

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Again, we said earlier on, this is not a matter of a flowchart. There's not a yes, this, no, that.

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All these things are matters of wisdom. If you have family, you should probably try to stay there.

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If you're not able to stay there, or if there are overarching reasons why

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everybody needs to leave, that's another matter. But I mentioned my own past just to say,

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if you have to uproot your kids, if you have to move them somewhere else,

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don't make them feel like that's normal. It's one thing to move in different houses in the same

33:21.240 --> 33:28.120
area. When you're bouncing around between entire regions, it's fundamentally destructive. I'm not

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talking about a terrible childhood. My childhood was fine. I had no idea. I didn't realize how

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messed up that was until this decade as I started looking at that and I added up how many places

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I lived. That screwed up. No one should have to live that way. I never thought it was wrong,

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and that's the reason for mentioning that. There's so much of our lives that we're like,

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oh, that's fine. That's normal. That's what everyone does. It shouldn't be normal. It's not normal for

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humans to have 15 addresses. It screws you up permanently. I am screwed up by that. I have

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part of me that's damaged, that's just never going to regrow. It's not something I can fix. I'm not

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worried about it. It doesn't stress me out. It's just the thing that I should have for a place.

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I enjoy the environment here. I like being here. I like seeing the trees and I like the

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weather, and I don't want to go anywhere. But at the same time, I don't feel like I belong here.

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This is just kind of where I am. I wouldn't want that for anyone else. If you have kids and you

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have to uproot them, I would hope that you would try to make sure that if you have to uproot your

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family from where they are, there are good reasons for that. Make sure that you're planting new roots

34:37.800 --> 34:44.200
in a new place as a conscious matter, that it's not just something you assume will happen. You

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should take conscious affirmative steps to plant those roots and to tell your kids that's what you're

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doing. To say we're leaving something behind, we're going to make something new, and I'm doing

34:55.400 --> 35:01.080
this so that you and your kids will have something and have a permanence that we're not able to have

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right in this moment. Of course, there is the caveat, and we'll go ahead and bluntly state it.

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If you happen to live somewhere like California or New York, you should move. That is the simple

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reality of the time in which we live. If you are living in one of those states, one of those areas,

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it is dangerous to your children and dangerous to yourself to remain there. Not just because of

35:30.600 --> 35:38.520
crime rates and things like that, but the sheer wickedness of certain parts of the country should

35:38.520 --> 35:45.400
be avoided. Not least of all, because if you have children, there's a very real risk they will take

35:45.400 --> 35:52.760
your children away from you for simply teaching them Christian truth. And so if you live in one of

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those places, yes, you need to move. You should have moved already, but you should most certainly

35:58.840 --> 36:07.400
move soon. I did. I am from California. I lived in California most of my life with the exception

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of the time that I spent in undergrad and then abroad for a little while to get another degree.

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Incidentally, I did move back to where my family lived and, in both cases, because I moved back

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from abroad to California and then I moved from California to Tennessee. And my family has long

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roots here. I've had family in this part of the country for centuries, maybe 300 years, give or

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take. Whenever Europeans started moving to the area, basically. But I left California because

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California is no longer a suitable place for a Christian to live. Now that's unfortunate. I like

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California. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. I've been a lot of places in this

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country. California has most of the different environments, most of the different experiences

36:59.160 --> 37:05.400
you can have. It is a beautiful state and I hate that I had to move. I'm not saying I hate where

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I live now. It's a little warm this time of year, but other than that. But as a Christian,

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I could not live there any longer. I didn't move just for political reasons. Obviously,

37:17.240 --> 37:25.240
yes, that plays into it. But as a Christian, it is not a safe place to be. Particularly,

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not a safe place for anyone who has children, whether they are your children or children of a

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sibling or a cousin, what have you. There are real considerations like that. But outside those

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considerations, outside basically having to flee, become a refugee, because that's really what you're

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doing if you're fleeing one of these areas. But outside that, you should remain where your family

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lives, where your family has lived, because human beings are meant to be able to put down deep roots,

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to live somewhere over a course of generations, a course of centuries. You should be able to go

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to the local graveyard and find the tombstone for your great-great-grandparents and your great-great-

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great-grandparents back however many generations. That is how human beings are intended to live.

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That is what God, in the post-fall world in which death is a thing, that is how God intends for us

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to live. You are supposed to have a connection to not just your family, not just the members of your

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community, but the soil where that community is located. Man was taken from the dust, and yes,

38:41.320 --> 38:46.040
of course, we will return to the dust, but man is of the earth in a very real sense.

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And part of that is having a deep connection to a certain physical part of the world.

38:53.320 --> 38:59.320
There is no such thing as a world citizen. If you are a citizen of everywhere, you are a citizen of

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nowhere. And so, the rootless cosmopolitan is not the Christian goal. The Christian goal is someone

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who can go outside and look out at the land that his grandfather looked at, and his great-grandfather.

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And like I said, go down to the local graveyard and see the graves of his ancestors,

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and want the same thing for his children. That is the Christian outlook, and that is

39:26.040 --> 39:35.560
what we are encouraging listeners and others to do. Do the things that make for your legacy

39:35.560 --> 39:42.280
where you live. So, yes, you are going to plant the apple tree. You are going to build the house.

39:42.280 --> 39:47.000
You are going to renovate things. You are going, all these little things that add up to connecting

39:47.000 --> 39:53.160
yourself to a specific place, to anchoring yourself and your family to this particular land.

39:54.120 --> 39:59.800
Do those things. Yes, they seem like small things. Planting an apple tree, which is an

39:59.800 --> 40:04.680
example I will continue to use. Planning an apple tree is a small thing. Raising chickens is a

40:04.680 --> 40:09.080
small thing. Building a barn is a relatively small thing. Smaller if you have a lot of neighbors

40:09.080 --> 40:16.200
who are willing to help. But all of it adds up. And all of these are the things that build up

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to something greater. And that is what we need to be doing as Christians. We are seeking to undo

40:24.280 --> 40:30.520
the harm caused by the last handful of generations who ripped up roots everywhere, tore down

40:31.080 --> 40:37.880
history, and basically turned everyone into a rootless individual. That is not a Christian life.

40:38.680 --> 40:43.720
A Christian life is a life that is connected to community, connected to family, connected

40:43.720 --> 40:50.840
to the land. And that is the life we want people to start building again. And like I said,

40:52.040 --> 40:57.560
you may not succeed in having that life for yourself, you will to some degree, because your

40:57.560 --> 41:05.000
efforts will be rewarded as you work. However, these things take time. And so you are building a

41:05.000 --> 41:10.360
better future for your children and your grandchildren and generations you will never meet.

41:11.080 --> 41:16.760
Because the things that you do here today may very well benefit someone who lives 200 years

41:16.760 --> 41:23.960
from now. You may meet him if you have trained up your children in the right way. You may meet that

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progeny so far away from you in time, in paradise, but you will not meet him in this life.

41:32.360 --> 41:36.920
But that's fine. That is the way things are in this life. That is the way things are supposed

41:37.800 --> 41:42.840
to be. You work to benefit those who will come after you even if you will never meet them.

41:43.800 --> 41:52.040
Because the goal is not to benefit oneself. Yes, you will benefit yourself if you do these

41:52.040 --> 42:00.200
things, because of course God does reward you for the good you do. However, much of that will accrue

42:00.200 --> 42:06.440
to future generations, just the same as the errors of previous generations have accrued to us.

42:07.720 --> 42:12.440
A few years ago, I went back to where I was born and spent some time with my grandma.

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We rode around town, the town that my family had built over two centuries ago, and it continued

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building up to that day. As we were riding around, she was in the passenger seat. We just rolled down

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a random street and she would point to house after house and tell me the names of everyone who had

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lived there, and their family histories, and what they did. She knew everyone and she knew

42:38.360 --> 42:45.000
everything. It was an incredible repository of a community that to me was just completely alien,

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like they said, until I did my genealogy after maybe when I'd visit her. I had no notion of that

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place meaning anything. No place has ever meant anything to me. The reason that we're mentioning

42:59.480 --> 43:05.640
this is that that's messed up. That's not how humans have lived in the past, and the fact that

43:05.640 --> 43:10.680
it's so normal. Like most of you, some of you listening, maybe have had more than 15 addresses

43:10.680 --> 43:16.840
in more than six states, so you think that's just normal. I agree that it is normal today. It is not

43:16.840 --> 43:23.080
normal for the human condition. It's bad for us. I'm not saying, oh, you did that. You're evil.

43:23.640 --> 43:29.240
It was stupid. I shouldn't have done it. My parents did it to me first. I was just

43:29.240 --> 43:37.480
along for the ride and I kept up the momentum. Our thing that gets back to a point I made earlier,

43:38.520 --> 43:43.480
when we talk about these things, everyone wants to say, oh, you're saying there's a sin.

43:44.680 --> 43:49.160
At some point, you just have to say, who cares? You look at the thing and it was

43:49.240 --> 43:55.800
harmful. I don't have to find a Bible verse to tell me that moving 15 times has hurt me as a person,

43:56.440 --> 44:02.760
and I did it mostly to myself. It wasn't a self-inflicted injury because I didn't know I was

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doing harm, but just the further and further away I got from where I came from, the less it

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meant to me for anyone to be from anywhere. That is not our inheritance from our ancestors

44:16.600 --> 44:23.560
beyond the past couple generations. Like Corey said, really, you go back to before the automobile,

44:24.200 --> 44:29.800
nobody did this. Almost no one did this. You'd have exceptions where someone may uproot from

44:30.920 --> 44:37.400
the old country to the new country. That would happen in times where there was nothing. Most

44:37.400 --> 44:43.080
of North America was empty. When there were waves of people coming from Northwestern Europe,

44:44.040 --> 44:48.360
they came here and they moved to places where sometimes there was just nobody,

44:48.360 --> 44:53.320
and so they were basically starting from scratch. The difference between the Germans moving to the

44:53.320 --> 44:58.360
Midwest and starting from scratch and the English moving to New England and starting from scratch

44:58.360 --> 45:02.520
is that the Germans had the army clearing everything out for them, so they had it easy.

45:03.080 --> 45:08.520
It was the people who tamed the frontier that had a harder time of doing stuff, but still,

45:08.600 --> 45:14.600
they were going someplace and building something from nothing. That's been a part of human history,

45:14.600 --> 45:18.920
too, and neither one of us thinks that it's bad for people to move from one place to another

45:19.480 --> 45:26.280
inherently. When Corey's ancestors and my ancestors left Europe four centuries ago,

45:27.320 --> 45:32.600
they were fleeing something, and they came someplace seeking refuge from what they were fleeing.

45:32.600 --> 45:37.720
They carved something from nothing in a new place and built it and handed it to us. One of the

45:37.720 --> 45:43.880
reasons we're talking about the notion of place is that we now just fundamentally disregard

45:44.440 --> 45:50.600
our inheritance, having lived somewhere for centuries and then just thinking absolutely

45:50.600 --> 45:55.800
nothing of it, not caring in the slightest. I'd rather go off to college and make more money

45:55.800 --> 46:00.520
and forget I ever came from this place. That's normal today. That's how most people behave.

46:01.480 --> 46:07.480
That's not good. It's not healthy. It's not natural. It leads to an alienation from your

46:07.480 --> 46:14.440
own people, and it sets a pattern for future life that's going to be even worse. Like we

46:14.440 --> 46:19.480
said, this isn't a Bible study episode. We're going to give you Bible verses to prove this versus

46:19.480 --> 46:25.400
that. You can just tell by looking that some of this stuff is dumb and bad. God built us for that,

46:25.400 --> 46:31.080
too. When it hurts your hand to touch the stove, you know not to touch the stove. You don't need

46:31.080 --> 46:35.960
a Bible verse to tell you not to touch the stove. This stuff is less obvious. Like I said, I didn't

46:35.960 --> 46:41.640
realize until a couple of years ago how messed up it was, but once I realized it, I realized that

46:41.640 --> 46:46.360
I would never wish that on anyone. To get back to the question that we're discussing here,

46:47.400 --> 46:54.440
if you're confronted with, I need to relocate because my state has gone down the tubes because

46:55.160 --> 47:00.040
I live near a city and I know it's going to burn down soon. I don't want to be anywhere near it

47:00.040 --> 47:04.840
when that happens. Maybe you want to reconnect with your roots. Maybe you have moved far away.

47:04.840 --> 47:09.160
Your parents moved far away. Maybe you want to go back to where your family has always been.

47:09.160 --> 47:14.040
I'm not saying that's necessarily the right choice, but if that is your choice for either yourself,

47:14.040 --> 47:18.680
as a single man, or if you're relocating your family because they've been uprooted and you've

47:18.680 --> 47:25.960
been doing the same sort of thing, it's okay to do that. But as Corey said, we're in some ways an

47:25.960 --> 47:32.200
intermediate generation. We're in between a mess and trying to build something stable again.

47:32.840 --> 47:39.240
Part of trying to build something stable again may mean some more instability. It may mean that you

47:39.240 --> 47:44.680
need to move. Until you're kids, I hope you'll never move again. I'm trying to build something here

47:44.680 --> 47:49.160
so that you won't have to do what we're doing now, so that your kids will never have to pack everything

47:49.160 --> 47:56.040
up and move over and over again. That's why it's important to look at these things,

47:56.040 --> 48:01.080
not only as black and white moral matters, but as matters of wisdom, because maybe the

48:01.080 --> 48:07.720
wise thing for you to do is to move and then to tell your own children whom you are moving,

48:07.720 --> 48:12.760
don't move. That's why it's important to say, it's not that I'm sinning my moving,

48:12.760 --> 48:17.720
it's sin to move, it's not sin not to move. That's not the question. The question is,

48:17.720 --> 48:23.240
what's the best thing for your family? If it's staying put, stay put. One of the factors that

48:23.240 --> 48:28.440
goes into a lot of this is, is there going to be a good church home for you? It's really hard to find

48:28.440 --> 48:34.920
a good church. It's been suggested to me personally that maybe I should move somewhere

48:35.480 --> 48:40.280
where there would be a church that was more welcoming. I think one of the things that,

48:40.920 --> 48:44.680
you know, for Lutherans, we need to particularly deal with is the fact that

48:44.680 --> 48:50.920
our pastors have this same lifestyle. Pastors bounce around. It's normal for pastors to take

48:50.920 --> 48:57.560
calls over and over again to all different parts of the country. So why would an individual move

48:57.560 --> 49:01.480
someplace for a good church? If there's no guarantee, it's going to be a good church in

49:01.480 --> 49:07.400
five years. And unless the pastor can tell you, before God, he's never leaving that place,

49:08.040 --> 49:12.280
personally, I don't think you should even consider it because you shouldn't uproot your

49:12.280 --> 49:17.880
family for a church if you have no idea if it's going to be there in a few years. Now,

49:17.880 --> 49:21.480
the advantage of going someplace where there is a good church is that by joining it,

49:21.480 --> 49:27.320
you can help to perpetuate it. So it's not like it's completely helpless in these situations. But

49:29.480 --> 49:33.480
these are all factors. I don't think you should leave the state that you're in just to find a

49:33.480 --> 49:37.720
better church. I don't think that you should stay in the state that you're in just because you

49:37.720 --> 49:42.200
have family there. I think all these things are factors. They need to be weighed. There's not

49:42.760 --> 49:48.600
a yes, no Bible answer to any of this. It's wisdom. And it's also wisdom to acknowledge

49:49.880 --> 49:56.200
the choice for you may well be, this isn't going to be great. This isn't ideal. We're going someplace

49:56.200 --> 50:00.440
and we're going to build for the future so that my grandkids will never know any of this.

50:01.320 --> 50:08.440
I think that's where we all have to be to forget about worrying, did I sin by doing this? Not that

50:09.320 --> 50:15.320
sins in the past aren't important. If you realize you've sinned, confess, repent. But the important

50:15.320 --> 50:22.600
thing is that we build a world where future generations don't have the problems we face today

50:22.600 --> 50:27.480
because as Corey said, all of this that we built up to, all this rootlessness and the stupidity

50:27.480 --> 50:33.800
about how we live our lives is what we inherited. I moved because my parents moved. I thought it

50:33.800 --> 50:38.680
was fine. I thought it was normal. Now that I realized that that was screwed up, I would

50:39.640 --> 50:46.280
tell others, don't do it unless you really have to. Don't move away from home. Don't go to college,

50:46.280 --> 50:51.800
frankly. I think most people should be going to college. And one of the main reasons is you're

50:51.800 --> 50:57.000
moving away from your family. You're moving away from your roots. Now it's perhaps a different

50:57.000 --> 51:01.960
factor, a different matter if there's a local college that's not destructive to your soul,

51:01.960 --> 51:05.160
where you can keep going to the same church and you have those family bonds.

51:06.120 --> 51:13.160
But that's rare. Most people don't have that luxury. So as matters of wisdom, we need to

51:13.160 --> 51:19.480
recalibrate how we decide from the word go what we do with our lives because a lot of the decisions

51:19.560 --> 51:24.200
that everyone just thought was normal a few years ago, turns out they've been really bad for us for

51:24.200 --> 51:30.200
a long time. And it's okay to say that. It's okay to say that what my parents or my grandparents did

51:30.200 --> 51:35.960
isn't the ideal thing. I think that we can do better. That's not dishonoring them. I'm not

51:35.960 --> 51:40.520
bad-mouthing my parents. They were doing the best they could, and they had reasons for it. And I

51:40.520 --> 51:45.560
don't second-guess those. And I'm glad for how God formed me through even those experiences

51:45.560 --> 51:51.720
that were in retrospect painful. Like you said, I didn't feel anything at the time,

51:51.720 --> 51:57.000
but looking back, I was being harmed. And yet it shaped me in a way that I can now say, hey,

51:57.960 --> 52:03.480
don't let your kids turn out like me. I think it's okay for us to be a negative lesson to

52:03.480 --> 52:08.280
other people. If more people would be honest about, I screwed up. I did something stupid.

52:08.280 --> 52:12.600
This was a bad idea. Let me tell you about it. Not as a motivational speaker,

52:12.600 --> 52:18.440
just speaking frankly about doing good things or doing bad things. When you can learn from someone

52:18.440 --> 52:23.640
else's painful experience, maybe you can save the hassle. And that's what every parent wants for

52:23.640 --> 52:28.680
their kids. And I think as Christians, it's what we should want for each other, rather than going

52:28.680 --> 52:33.320
around saying, oh, we're all free from sin. We can do whatever we want in Christ. Maybe say, no,

52:33.320 --> 52:36.680
here's a whole bunch of stuff you shouldn't do. I thought it was a good idea. Turns out it was a

52:36.680 --> 52:43.080
terrible idea. That's Christian too. It's a good thing to warn people not to be an idiot like you

52:43.080 --> 52:47.560
were. That's one of the reasons that Corey and I are here. We can tell you things that we have done

52:47.560 --> 52:53.240
that we shouldn't have done. You shouldn't do them. They're not good for you. So think about these

52:53.240 --> 52:57.880
things and don't look to someone to be able to give you a bad answer because there's no

52:57.880 --> 53:03.800
bad answer. There's no flow chart for this. No one can tell you, yes, move, don't, no, don't move.

53:03.800 --> 53:08.440
You should pray. You should spend some time in prayer and thinking. You should make any decision

53:08.440 --> 53:13.560
hastily. But you should consider all of these things. Don't just consider, where can I maximize

53:13.560 --> 53:20.040
my income? Where can I go to the most prestigious school? Think about all these other things and

53:20.040 --> 53:24.840
weigh them independently and then make a decision. Maybe you'll still decide to move away. Maybe

53:24.840 --> 53:30.840
that's the right choice. But we're just saying, don't make these decisions in a vacuum where

53:30.840 --> 53:36.520
you only consider one variable because that sort of self-interest is the reason we got into this

53:36.520 --> 53:43.160
mess in the first place. I think I'll echo the comment that most people should probably not

53:43.160 --> 53:51.960
attend university for two reasons. One, we have pushed too many people to go to university. University

53:51.960 --> 53:59.000
used to be something that a tiny percentage of the population attended for very specific reasons

53:59.080 --> 54:03.480
because there were certain tasks that required a lot of education in order to do them.

54:04.040 --> 54:10.200
And that's fine. That's necessary for society. We started to push too many people to go to

54:10.200 --> 54:16.440
university and really it just puts people in horrendous death, disconnects them from their

54:16.440 --> 54:21.640
roots and causes a lot more problems in the case of female students most certainly.

54:22.120 --> 54:29.960
But then second would just be, I sort of listed the second reason. They're the first being

54:30.760 --> 54:34.760
really too many people are pushed to do it. The second is the consequences and I listed

54:34.760 --> 54:44.360
some of those consequences. And university has been used in the last maybe 30 years as one of

54:44.360 --> 54:51.400
the wedges that has destroyed the family. And in destroying the family it has managed to destroy

54:52.040 --> 54:58.680
civilization, our society. Because when you have young men go off to university

54:59.880 --> 55:04.600
and then they are encouraged after university to go take a high paying job wherever the job

55:04.600 --> 55:11.480
happens to be, they disconnect from their family, from the region whence they came.

55:12.440 --> 55:19.560
They lose those roots. And once they've lived for a period of time without that connection

55:19.560 --> 55:26.440
it becomes normal. And then well another job opens up that pays more so they move 6,000 miles

55:26.440 --> 55:30.760
or a thousand miles or whatever it happens to be. They move across the country or across the

55:30.760 --> 55:38.120
world for the higher paying job. And so they become a rootless cosmopolitan. And that's not

55:38.200 --> 55:43.080
what it means to be a man. That's not what it means to be a human being. That's what it means

55:43.080 --> 55:52.520
to be a cog and a machine. And we want something better for our fellow man, most certainly for

55:52.520 --> 56:00.680
Christians. And part of that is not buying into the lie that life is a matter of how many degrees

56:00.680 --> 56:07.800
you collect and how much money they allow you to earn. I'm not saying that no one should attend

56:07.880 --> 56:14.920
university because of course there are those men whom God has gifted with exceptional talent

56:14.920 --> 56:19.480
who should have the opportunity to develop that talent. Now whether or not there are any

56:19.480 --> 56:25.720
universities that are good enough left at this point for developing that sort of talent that

56:25.720 --> 56:32.520
could be debated there are some I would say but not a great many. But at the other end of things

56:33.480 --> 56:37.960
you have as I said some who probably shouldn't have gone to university and just get saddled

56:37.960 --> 56:43.800
with a ton of debt and other problems. But you also have all of the issues that came from

56:43.800 --> 56:48.680
opening the university up to women. Now I'm not saying women shouldn't be educated. I know that's

56:48.680 --> 56:56.840
the caricaturization that people will often use against me. And that's not true. I do believe

56:56.840 --> 57:01.160
women should be educated. Should women attend university? No, I'm going to go ahead and just

57:01.320 --> 57:10.200
give a blunt negative answer to that for a number of reasons. One, university typically begins at

57:10.200 --> 57:17.320
the age of about 18 in the system we have now. Around that age I'm not saying at 18 it should

57:17.320 --> 57:24.040
be a little later in early 20s but around that age is when women start looking to get married.

57:24.440 --> 57:31.400
If you have young women who are going to university instead you are removing the pool

57:32.200 --> 57:38.520
of marriage age women from a region and then concentrating them at the university. Well that

57:38.520 --> 57:44.200
causes problem for the region that now lacks women of a marriageable age and you've also

57:44.200 --> 57:50.440
concentrated them at the university. And we all know what happens with people in their late teens,

57:50.440 --> 57:59.080
early 20s who are unsupervised in a co-ed environment. It is not conducive to proper

57:59.080 --> 58:05.480
long-term marriages. The short-term ones are very common but that is not how a Christian is supposed

58:05.480 --> 58:13.640
to live. And so if you have women who go off to university and sleep around to be blunt because

58:13.640 --> 58:19.480
that is what happens at universities today and I'm sure it's even worse than when I was at university

58:20.280 --> 58:28.600
some years ago. When that happens you wind up with women who are not fit to become wives

58:29.640 --> 58:34.200
because there are very real consequences of promiscuity particularly for women.

58:34.920 --> 58:41.080
They lose the ability to pair bond and divorce skyrockets. You have all sorts of problems and

58:41.080 --> 58:48.840
of course if you are having casual sex you're going to wind up in an environment where birth

58:48.840 --> 58:56.680
control so-called is also a thing. And hormonal birth control has an entire slew of problems that

58:56.680 --> 59:00.120
come along with it. This is not really the point of the episode. I've got off in the weeds a little

59:00.120 --> 59:05.800
bit but it's worth mentioning these things. Hormonal birth control is a cancer risk for women.

59:06.680 --> 59:12.760
It disrupts the woman's cycle in such a way that she is going to be less fertile when she goes off

59:12.760 --> 59:18.360
of it. Not to mention the psychological side effects which are immense as anyone who has dealt

59:18.360 --> 59:23.000
with women who were on birth control is well aware and women who have been on birth control

59:23.000 --> 59:29.960
often can sense this in themselves as well. But you have this cluster, this cloud of negative

59:29.960 --> 59:39.080
consequences that attend the modern university system and so my general recommendation the

59:39.080 --> 59:46.520
I guess the long and the short of it is don't go to university. Instead attend a trade school,

59:47.320 --> 59:55.800
develop a trade, an actual real-life tangible skill. Now I'm not insulting the liberal arts,

59:55.800 --> 01:00:02.440
far be it from me to do that. All of my degrees are liberal arts degrees. I have not, I actually

01:00:02.440 --> 01:00:07.080
took a fair number of hard science classes but that was not my area of expertise neither were the

01:00:07.080 --> 01:00:16.120
trades. However, with the way that things are trending in the country today having a

01:00:16.120 --> 01:00:26.840
practical skill, having a trade so woodworking or really anything that involves using your hands

01:00:26.840 --> 01:00:35.720
is going to be massively beneficial in the years to come. If the worst comes about and our society

01:00:35.720 --> 01:00:41.480
collapses, I'm not going to say what percentage odds I would put on that. I'm not in the doom

01:00:41.480 --> 01:00:49.480
and gloom camp incidentally but if that happens, if you are a carpenter, if you are a stone mason,

01:00:50.120 --> 01:00:55.400
if you happen to be really good at figuring out irrigation systems, your skills will still be

01:00:55.400 --> 01:01:05.320
useful. I'm an attorney. My degree is going to be useless if that happens because I would hope

01:01:05.320 --> 01:01:11.000
that most people realize that when a society, when a civilization collapses, you no longer have courts

01:01:11.000 --> 01:01:16.200
resolving disputes and so you don't have attorneys. That is the same for most of those who have gone

01:01:16.200 --> 01:01:25.560
into the liberal arts. The liberal arts are a luxury that a functional stable society can afford.

01:01:26.840 --> 01:01:36.200
The trades are a practical matter that human life requires and so if you're just banking on the odds

01:01:36.440 --> 01:01:44.920
today, it is probably safer to go into the trades because even if things go really well,

01:01:44.920 --> 01:01:53.000
even if we turn things around and our society becomes stable again, the trades are still necessary.

01:01:53.000 --> 01:02:01.000
They are still good. They will still allow you to build a decent life and so as a purely practical

01:02:01.560 --> 01:02:07.880
recommendation, for most men, probably consider these more practical courses in life.

01:02:09.160 --> 01:02:15.720
Those who are going to pursue the liberal arts, you know who you are. I don't have to tell you

01:02:15.720 --> 01:02:22.120
you're an exception. You know it and so this is one of those issues that is a matter of wisdom.

01:02:23.880 --> 01:02:29.160
Which path you pick in life is not something for which we can give you a flow chart. We're not

01:02:29.160 --> 01:02:38.920
going to say start here if you have x i q go left, if it's y go right and then follow the flow chart

01:02:38.920 --> 01:02:44.360
and it tells you exactly what you're supposed to do. That's not how life works. Life is never that

01:02:44.360 --> 01:02:50.360
neat and clean and so we are not going to give you a flow chart for any of this in this episode or

01:02:50.360 --> 01:02:56.600
really any other when it comes to these sorts of issues and yes, some listeners, some men are going

01:02:56.600 --> 01:03:04.200
to very strongly dislike that. But life is messy. There are things that are unpredictable.

01:03:05.160 --> 01:03:08.680
There are questions that don't have an absolutely certain answer.

01:03:10.280 --> 01:03:16.600
These things are left up to human wisdom and that ties into the issue that Woe has touched

01:03:16.600 --> 01:03:22.920
on a number of times so far. There will not always be a verse in scripture that directly

01:03:22.920 --> 01:03:29.080
addresses the problem you are having because that's not the purpose of scripture. The purpose

01:03:29.080 --> 01:03:38.040
of scripture is to tell you God's will generally for your life, for humanity, to tell you his law

01:03:38.040 --> 01:03:43.960
and to tell you the gospel. That's the purpose of scripture. Yes, you can draw a lot of lessons

01:03:43.960 --> 01:03:50.040
out of scripture by reading it, by understanding the context of scripture, by getting the overall

01:03:50.040 --> 01:03:56.920
theme, the story. There are things you can draw out that aren't there word for word. Absolutely.

01:03:56.920 --> 01:04:02.200
But there are a great many things that are not in scripture that are nevertheless true

01:04:03.240 --> 01:04:07.800
because God has revealed himself not only in his word, but also in his creation.

01:04:08.920 --> 01:04:13.800
And when we are talking about wisdom for things like this, we are largely talking about

01:04:14.440 --> 01:04:19.720
what is revealed in creation. Yes, there is still that wisdom in scripture,

01:04:19.720 --> 01:04:25.480
particularly in the aptly named wisdom books. You should read those. Go read Proverbs. I guess

01:04:25.480 --> 01:04:31.320
that's the assignment for this week. Last week it was Job. This week it's Proverbs. But just because

01:04:31.320 --> 01:04:39.960
something is not specifically word for word addressed in scripture does not mean it is totally free.

01:04:40.920 --> 01:04:44.920
Does not mean it is something where Christians can just decide whatever they want, believe

01:04:44.920 --> 01:04:50.680
whatever they want. No, there is still such a thing as natural revelation, natural wisdom.

01:04:52.360 --> 01:04:57.640
God didn't just give you the Bible. He didn't just give you scripture. He also gave you a mind.

01:04:58.280 --> 01:05:03.560
He also gave you other men with whom you can discuss these ideas. Iron sharpens iron,

01:05:03.560 --> 01:05:08.200
not just with regard to scripture, but also with regard to natural revelation,

01:05:08.920 --> 01:05:16.920
to the greater world, to creation. And so as Christians, yes, we need to spend time

01:05:16.920 --> 01:05:20.920
in the scriptures. We need to spend more time in the scriptures than we do on average, most

01:05:20.920 --> 01:05:25.960
certainly. But we also need to spend time thinking about these other issues, discussing them with

01:05:25.960 --> 01:05:32.040
other men and pursuing the path of wisdom with regard to our lives as well as our faith.

01:05:32.280 --> 01:05:41.000
Because we have so many today, particularly pastors who, well, the adversary pastors anyway,

01:05:41.720 --> 01:05:48.840
who will argue that, well, that's not in scripture. Okay, that's not an argument. If you say

01:05:49.640 --> 01:05:54.840
that something that is not in scripture is absolutely categorically prohibited by God,

01:05:54.840 --> 01:06:00.040
you better be able to mount a very strong argument. But if you say that something that

01:06:00.040 --> 01:06:06.600
is not in scripture is unwise, that's a different matter. That's a different burden of proof.

01:06:07.160 --> 01:06:11.240
Yes, you should still be able to defend the position, but it's not something where you have

01:06:11.240 --> 01:06:17.000
to say, look, this is a categorical prohibition. No, because the argument that is being advanced

01:06:17.000 --> 01:06:23.800
is that this thing is unwise. So to give an example that is perhaps silly, but probably one,

01:06:23.800 --> 01:06:26.920
that at least one person listening right now has learned the hard way.

01:06:27.320 --> 01:06:32.040
Scripture does not say, do not eat an entire jar of pickles.

01:06:34.040 --> 01:06:40.200
Anyone who has eaten an entire jar of pickles can tell you that eating an entire jar of pickles

01:06:40.200 --> 01:06:47.400
is a deeply unwise thing to do. You will probably regret it for several hours. Don't do that.

01:06:48.440 --> 01:06:53.880
Scripture doesn't tell you not to do it. It's arguably not a sin to do it. It's deeply stupid.

01:06:54.200 --> 01:07:02.040
It is a matter of wisdom. And so there are matters of wisdom that are outside what is

01:07:02.040 --> 01:07:09.800
contained explicitly in Scripture. As Christians, we are called upon to act wise,

01:07:09.800 --> 01:07:15.320
both with regard to our faith, the kingdom of the right hand, and with regard to the world,

01:07:15.320 --> 01:07:21.320
the kingdom of the left hand. On the subject of flowcharts, I think the reason that

01:07:21.720 --> 01:07:29.800
questions of, you know, for a young man who's looking at going off to college or entering the

01:07:29.800 --> 01:07:34.840
workforce or he's at that point in his life, we have to figure out what's next. I think part

01:07:34.840 --> 01:07:40.840
of the reason that that seems like such an open-ended question is that we've lost the family

01:07:40.840 --> 01:07:47.320
and community ties to make a lot of those outcomes more obvious. So how many of your churches have

01:07:47.320 --> 01:07:54.840
a job board up where people can advertise whatever positions are open for people who work in the

01:07:54.840 --> 01:07:59.240
congregation who have employment opportunities, even they're either in their own businesses or

01:07:59.240 --> 01:08:04.920
places where they work? My guess is probably virtually none of them. Now, the thing about why

01:08:04.920 --> 01:08:10.600
that is, isn't that the easiest thing in the world? I mean, what better place for an employer

01:08:10.600 --> 01:08:17.080
to find prospective employees than their own church or even just a neighboring church?

01:08:17.720 --> 01:08:23.320
If someone is regularly attending church, if they're a faithful Christian, they're probably

01:08:23.320 --> 01:08:29.400
more likely to not steal. They're probably more likely to show up on time. They're all manner

01:08:29.400 --> 01:08:36.920
of things that employers naturally want in their employees that tend to be fulfilled simply by

01:08:36.920 --> 01:08:43.560
virtue of someone being a church attending Christian. And yet, in almost none of our churches,

01:08:43.560 --> 01:08:50.200
do I think most of us even know what the other people do. You may know some, but I'm sure that

01:08:50.200 --> 01:08:55.400
there are people in your congregations who are employers. They should be hiring from in the

01:08:55.400 --> 01:09:01.800
congregation first. That is their community. That's your community. So on the question of,

01:09:01.880 --> 01:09:07.800
oh, I'm 17. I don't know what I'm going to do. Well, if your church was a community where

01:09:08.920 --> 01:09:15.000
it was just open knowledge that this guy has a warehouse, this person has a factory,

01:09:15.000 --> 01:09:20.280
this person has an office, they're always going to be hiring. They're always going to need good

01:09:20.280 --> 01:09:24.760
people. They're going to need new people, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently. There should be

01:09:24.760 --> 01:09:33.320
a natural pipeline from your church life to your real life. Now, saying that doesn't turn your church

01:09:33.320 --> 01:09:38.840
into some sort of den of iniquity. It's not turning it into a place for the money changers. We're not

01:09:38.840 --> 01:09:45.800
talking about corrupting the divine service. We're just saying, hey, the other 160 odd hours that these

01:09:45.800 --> 01:09:51.640
people are living the rest of their lives, maybe we should be a part of those too. And the fact that

01:09:52.360 --> 01:09:58.040
our uprootedness and our isolation has extended to the point that by and large, we don't even know

01:09:58.040 --> 01:10:05.160
what the other people in our churches do is bizarre. It's stupid. And yet it's one of the

01:10:05.160 --> 01:10:14.520
easiest problems in the world to solve. And so I raised the question just to suggest if your

01:10:14.520 --> 01:10:19.480
church doesn't have a job board, if it's something that the elders or the pastor and others would

01:10:19.480 --> 01:10:27.000
support, go for it. Just make it something that just in a small way, maybe your congregation can

01:10:27.000 --> 01:10:33.160
be more than just a place for worship and potlucks because there's more to the Christian life than

01:10:33.160 --> 01:10:39.240
being at church and even just socializing. We have to work. Another question is, how many of the

01:10:39.240 --> 01:10:47.880
businesses that your church members own or work at do you patronize? They have goods and services.

01:10:47.880 --> 01:10:54.360
Do you buy them? When you're doing that sort of thing, you're keeping your money in the family.

01:10:55.240 --> 01:10:59.240
You're giving it to other Christians that you know are going to spend it on things that is

01:10:59.880 --> 01:11:05.400
in alignment with your morality. It's helping them. It's helping your neighbor and it's helping your

01:11:05.400 --> 01:11:11.720
brother in Christ. That's just a naturally good thing that you can do for free. This is something

01:11:11.720 --> 01:11:17.320
that cost you nothing. It's something that doesn't require a lifestyle change. We're not talking about

01:11:17.320 --> 01:11:22.200
having to move across the country. Literally just find out what the other people at church are doing

01:11:22.760 --> 01:11:32.920
and offer to pitch in, offer to hire someone at church. The only possible downsides are that you

01:11:32.920 --> 01:11:39.880
could realize that somebody maybe has some problems spiritually. They attend church, but

01:11:39.880 --> 01:11:44.200
maybe it turns out they have a drug problem or something. As an employer, maybe you'd be concerned

01:11:44.200 --> 01:11:50.120
to say, that's bad. I don't want drug abusers. As a Christian, you should think, thank God,

01:11:50.120 --> 01:11:55.960
I may be able to help intervene in this brother's life in a way that can push him in the right direction.

01:11:57.320 --> 01:12:04.440
Even the negative downsides that might occur from having business relations with your church family,

01:12:05.400 --> 01:12:11.400
I think if you're approaching them as a Christian, those downsides can very easily become the upside

01:12:11.480 --> 01:12:17.080
of you being a positive Christian influence in their lives or them in your lives. Maybe you're

01:12:17.080 --> 01:12:22.840
the employer and it turns out you're not a very good employer. If you hired someone from church who

01:12:22.840 --> 01:12:28.120
knew that you went to the same church and you're at the same communion rail every week, maybe that

01:12:28.120 --> 01:12:34.120
would be your incentive as the employer to be a better employer. These upsides accrue naturally to

01:12:34.120 --> 01:12:40.520
us living as a community together. That's why I began at the beginning of this episode about

01:12:40.520 --> 01:12:45.800
talking about, not everything needs to be big ticket. Not everything needs to be pie in the

01:12:45.800 --> 01:12:53.000
sky, huge theological weighty issues or these massive macro things that require big brains to

01:12:53.000 --> 01:12:58.200
talk about it. Maybe it's as simple as a job board. The other part of the intro is that

01:12:58.200 --> 01:13:05.240
is a job board going to fix our problems? No. This country has profound problems that go far beyond

01:13:05.320 --> 01:13:12.120
any single thing. That's why I think the kitchen analogy is apt, is a job board at your church,

01:13:13.000 --> 01:13:20.520
the roof over the house, no, but it's a working refrigerator. It's something that should be there

01:13:20.520 --> 01:13:26.440
that when it's missing, you're hurting. Big or small, all these pieces can be part of the

01:13:27.000 --> 01:13:32.040
a normal Christian life that's always existed. In the past, we didn't have to have job boards

01:13:32.040 --> 01:13:39.800
because that was just the abstraction of the employer. The abstraction of employer-employee

01:13:39.800 --> 01:13:46.840
hadn't been invented yet. That's a fairly new notion. You had someone who owned a factory or

01:13:46.840 --> 01:13:54.200
owned a field and you worked in the field. You're a hand for that person. Those natural

01:13:54.200 --> 01:14:00.200
relationships that flowed from society and from civilization also manifested in the church.

01:14:02.760 --> 01:14:08.040
While the church maybe doesn't natural nexus for this sort of thing, when we're talking about

01:14:08.040 --> 01:14:13.160
bootstrapping a Christian civilization in a lot of ways, it's a good place to start. It's not

01:14:13.160 --> 01:14:19.480
necessarily the only place. If you're an employer, you should have something at your place of employment

01:14:19.480 --> 01:14:24.680
pointing back to your church. That's a good thing too. If that's illegal in your state,

01:14:24.680 --> 01:14:29.000
maybe that's an indication that you should look at changing the laws and perhaps you should

01:14:29.720 --> 01:14:36.360
be in a different state. See, all these things individually might not change the world,

01:14:36.360 --> 01:14:41.240
but they can make your life a little bit better and they're cheap and easy to do. Once you realize

01:14:41.240 --> 01:14:47.000
them, it's like, well, that's obvious. Why wouldn't I be hiring Christians in my own congregation or

01:14:47.000 --> 01:14:52.760
for neighboring congregation? Make it a network. If you've got a dozen churches within 20 miles,

01:14:52.760 --> 01:15:00.280
have a network of job postings or whatever else. Make those connections within your faith community

01:15:00.280 --> 01:15:06.280
or just neighboring Christian churches. To say this isn't to say we want to corrupt the church

01:15:06.280 --> 01:15:10.680
and turn it into something secular or something about money. That's not the point at all. The

01:15:10.680 --> 01:15:15.640
point is that we're Christians living in the world. We've got to do these things anyway. You need a

01:15:15.640 --> 01:15:19.320
roof over your head. You need someone to come work on your stuff when there's something that

01:15:19.320 --> 01:15:25.480
breaks you can't fix. You need to buy things. You need to sell things. There's nothing wrong with

01:15:25.480 --> 01:15:31.720
preferring to do that with your own Christian brothers. That's a good and normal thing. The

01:15:31.720 --> 01:15:37.720
more desirable that sort of community becomes, the greater the reason there is for someone to be a

01:15:37.720 --> 01:15:42.440
part of it, even if they don't understand that the ultimate value proposition of church has

01:15:42.440 --> 01:15:47.880
nothing to do with your belly. It has to do with your soul. There are all different reasons why

01:15:47.880 --> 01:15:54.600
people will come into a community. The faith of the Christian is ultimately rooted in Christ's

01:15:54.600 --> 01:15:59.800
sacrifice. We're not taking anything away from that, but there are other things that are beneficial

01:15:59.800 --> 01:16:04.600
in the Christian life. We should embrace them and we should be proud of them and we should share them

01:16:04.600 --> 01:16:11.080
with each other. Job boards and things like that is a very small thing, but not doing it

01:16:11.880 --> 01:16:18.440
seems foolish and doing it seems cheap and easy. The upsides are so great that I think that if

01:16:18.440 --> 01:16:25.320
these small things were to start happening more broadly, they would just naturally accumulate

01:16:25.320 --> 01:16:32.440
inertia. We would gain momentum from just doing small decent things for our neighbors and for

01:16:32.440 --> 01:16:39.320
our brothers in Christ. That should be the goal of every Christian every day. We're mentioning

01:16:39.320 --> 01:16:43.560
some of these things just to get people to break out of the rut of the bad habits of not

01:16:43.560 --> 01:16:47.960
hiring people at church or not talking about, hey, there's a job opening. I think you might be good

01:16:47.960 --> 01:16:55.960
for it. It's as simple as that. Before we started recording today, while we were trying to isolate

01:16:55.960 --> 01:17:03.640
an audio gremlin, we were discussing that really a lot of this is a feedback loop and in a very real

01:17:03.640 --> 01:17:12.280
way, trying to use the church in order to build a Christian society is a very difficult proposition

01:17:13.880 --> 01:17:19.800
because under proper conditions, how these things work is you have Christian families

01:17:20.360 --> 01:17:26.760
serving as the basis of a Christian community that then sets up a Christian church and it's

01:17:26.760 --> 01:17:33.560
a feedback loop. And that's how things are supposed to work. But that's not what we have today.

01:17:34.200 --> 01:17:40.120
Today, we are living as Christians in a pagan country. The United States is pagan.

01:17:42.120 --> 01:17:45.640
Realistically, at this point, there isn't a Christian country left on earth. They're all pagan.

01:17:46.760 --> 01:17:52.280
Some are better than others. Some are significantly worse than others. The US is not the worst one,

01:17:52.360 --> 01:17:58.600
yet it is trending that way. But we are living as Christians in a pagan community. And so in a

01:17:58.600 --> 01:18:06.440
very real way, we have to set up a parallel society, a parallel community where we can help

01:18:06.440 --> 01:18:12.520
our fellow Christians and start building up these institutions, start building up the community

01:18:12.520 --> 01:18:19.640
that we need to support each other. Over time, that can influence the wider culture in a positive

01:18:19.640 --> 01:18:25.320
way. Or if things go sideways, it can serve as a basis for surviving what comes after that.

01:18:26.760 --> 01:18:35.320
But how many hours a week are you really at church? If you go to one service and the Bible study,

01:18:35.320 --> 01:18:39.000
and you should go to the Bible study, and if your pastor doesn't have a Bible study,

01:18:39.000 --> 01:18:42.680
pester him, he should have a Bible study. But if you do both of those things,

01:18:42.680 --> 01:18:44.760
you're at church for maybe three, three and a half hours.

01:18:45.320 --> 01:18:53.080
If you have a longer service, maybe four. Okay. There are 168 hours in the week.

01:18:54.360 --> 01:18:57.960
What are you doing with the rest of your time? Yes, a lot of that is spent sleeping and eating.

01:18:58.760 --> 01:19:01.640
But that's still a lot of hours when you're awake and not at church.

01:19:02.760 --> 01:19:08.120
There is more to life than just church. As a Christian, your entire life is supposed to be

01:19:08.120 --> 01:19:13.640
Christian. Part of that is going to be how you interact with others in your daily life.

01:19:14.360 --> 01:19:19.800
If you are interacting with other Christians in your daily life, it is going to be easier

01:19:19.800 --> 01:19:25.240
for you and for those other Christians to behave as a Christian in your daily life.

01:19:26.920 --> 01:19:32.200
It is, in fact, easier to be a Christian in interactions with another Christian

01:19:32.200 --> 01:19:38.040
than it is to be a Christian in interactions with a potentially hostile in our environment pagan.

01:19:38.760 --> 01:19:45.480
And you should be helping your fellow Christians. As was mentioned, you should patronize

01:19:45.480 --> 01:19:50.120
Christian businesses. I'm not saying patronize some large corporation that vaguely claims to

01:19:50.120 --> 01:19:54.200
be Christian and almost certainly isn't. If you look closely, I'm saying the mom and

01:19:54.200 --> 01:20:00.040
pop shop down the street run by people you know at church or from the next church over,

01:20:01.240 --> 01:20:06.840
maybe shop there. You know what? Sometimes it will cost you a little more because of economies of

01:20:06.840 --> 01:20:15.000
scale. But if you pay 5, 10, 15 percent more even, you are benefiting other Christians.

01:20:15.000 --> 01:20:20.360
You are keeping that within your community. It will benefit everyone in your Christian community.

01:20:21.320 --> 01:20:27.320
If you go and patronize instead the alternative giant big box store, whatever it happens to be,

01:20:28.920 --> 01:20:33.240
you're sending that money out of your community. You are not benefiting your fellow Christian.

01:20:34.200 --> 01:20:38.120
And quite frankly, you're probably not doing your Christian duty to behave as a Christian

01:20:38.120 --> 01:20:44.840
in your daily life. I'm not saying there are always or that there are never cases where you

01:20:44.840 --> 01:20:49.400
can't go to the big box store because, of course, there are going to be things that are carried

01:20:49.400 --> 01:20:56.520
there that are not carried to mom and pop shop. That's just the reality. But when you have the

01:20:56.600 --> 01:21:05.000
option to aid a fellow Christian, to patronize his business, to hire his son, to have your son

01:21:05.000 --> 01:21:09.560
work for him, whatever it happens to be, you should be doing that as a Christian that is part

01:21:09.560 --> 01:21:15.640
of building up a Christian community, part of building up those relationships. And those

01:21:15.640 --> 01:21:22.040
relationships are extremely important in life. And it will be more than just business relationships

01:21:22.120 --> 01:21:28.440
because it may be that you patronize this store for 10 years. And then when your son is looking

01:21:28.440 --> 01:21:34.920
for a wife, well, it just so happens, the owners of that store have a daughter. That is how human

01:21:34.920 --> 01:21:38.920
life is supposed to work. That is how these relationships are formed and maintained, how

01:21:38.920 --> 01:21:45.080
they are built up over generations over time. This is how you build a community. These are all

01:21:45.080 --> 01:21:50.920
very practical things that you can do in your everyday life. But they matter almost more than

01:21:50.920 --> 01:21:59.240
anything else because it is the sum of these interactions that builds an actual life that

01:21:59.240 --> 01:22:05.480
is worth living. We're not saying that these things are more important than the gospel.

01:22:05.480 --> 01:22:09.720
That's not the point. We'll get accused of it anyway, even if we explicitly say that's not

01:22:09.720 --> 01:22:16.120
what we're saying. We are discussing the and then what because that's always what we're

01:22:16.120 --> 01:22:20.840
discussing on this podcast. Yes, sometimes we touch on the core of the Christian faith,

01:22:20.840 --> 01:22:24.280
the core theology, and undoubtedly we'll do more episodes on that in the future.

01:22:25.720 --> 01:22:31.160
But in so many of these episodes, we are touching on what you are supposed to do as a Christian,

01:22:32.760 --> 01:22:38.280
not what you are supposed to do to become a Christian, not what it means to be in the

01:22:38.280 --> 01:22:43.880
instant that you convert a Christian. That's not what we're saying. We are saying you're a Christian,

01:22:44.440 --> 01:22:51.960
great, now live like one. What does it mean to live like a Christian? And that is why those who,

01:22:51.960 --> 01:22:56.520
to go into some actual theology for a minute here, and that is why those who read James or

01:22:56.520 --> 01:23:02.280
anywhere in Scripture where it starts to talk about works tend to get things entirely wrong

01:23:02.280 --> 01:23:09.240
when they don't understand the framing. When Scripture tells you that you must have works,

01:23:09.240 --> 01:23:12.920
when Scripture tells you that Christians will have good works, that a real faith

01:23:13.000 --> 01:23:16.760
is a living faith that produces good works because, of course, faith is often compared

01:23:16.760 --> 01:23:23.720
to a tree that produces fruit. And so a living and healthy tree will produce fruit. A sickly tree,

01:23:23.720 --> 01:23:31.560
a dead tree, does not produce fruit. But those parts of Scripture are written for Christians.

01:23:33.000 --> 01:23:38.200
They are not written for those who are not Christian. You are not saved by your works.

01:23:39.160 --> 01:23:48.520
Works are not part of justification. Justification is by grace through faith, period. Your works

01:23:48.520 --> 01:23:57.880
contribute nothing. But as a Christian, you must have those works. As a Christian, those works

01:23:57.880 --> 01:24:03.640
will flow from your faith if you have a living faith. And that is what we are discussing in these

01:24:03.720 --> 01:24:09.320
episodes. In the episodes where we touch on Christian wisdom, where we touch on the world,

01:24:09.320 --> 01:24:12.920
how Christians are to interact with the world, how you are to live your life.

01:24:14.040 --> 01:24:21.080
Because as a Christian, as a healthy tree, you should be producing these fruits, these good

01:24:21.080 --> 01:24:26.680
works. You should be doing certain things, conducting your life in a certain way. Again,

01:24:27.400 --> 01:24:36.360
your works will not save you. But your faith, as a living faith, will produce these works,

01:24:36.360 --> 01:24:42.280
and your neighbor does need them. And your neighbor will also notice that you are doing

01:24:42.280 --> 01:24:47.880
these things, maybe not at first, maybe not always. But imagine the impact on a local business,

01:24:47.880 --> 01:24:53.480
a small business. If everyone at church at your congregation decided that they were going to

01:24:53.480 --> 01:24:57.240
deliberately focus on patronizing them. I'm not saying this is necessarily a realistic thing,

01:24:57.240 --> 01:25:03.000
but just think about the impact. If suddenly all the members of your congregation started buying

01:25:03.000 --> 01:25:08.840
at the one hardware store, maybe it's a hardware store where the guy didn't have a church home,

01:25:08.840 --> 01:25:13.000
and suddenly he got a bunch of regular customers who were all very nice and very honest, and

01:25:14.200 --> 01:25:19.160
intelligent people knew what they were doing, and they were in there all the time talking to him,

01:25:20.120 --> 01:25:24.920
you're going to not only be a more visible aspect of the community as a congregation,

01:25:25.560 --> 01:25:31.800
but it's going to be easier for you to share the gospel with that person at some point.

01:25:34.920 --> 01:25:40.280
When we're Christians in the world, it doesn't mean wearing team colors out in public,

01:25:40.280 --> 01:25:46.200
but your conduct and your demeanor does come across, and people will notice. There are people

01:25:46.280 --> 01:25:51.880
who will notice that there's something different about someone. If they say something, maybe that's

01:25:51.880 --> 01:25:57.880
your opening to say, oh, you think I'm weird? Let me tell you why. Let me tell you about Jesus.

01:25:58.600 --> 01:26:05.560
He's who made me weird. You don't know what doors God is going to open for you, but by being

01:26:05.560 --> 01:26:12.840
visible present members in your own community, by working with each other, it's something on

01:26:12.840 --> 01:26:17.560
gab that Andrew Torbos talked about a lot with the parallel economy. He's basically talking in

01:26:17.560 --> 01:26:23.080
large part about the same sort of thing, not only of keeping it in the family, but of making a

01:26:23.080 --> 01:26:30.520
visible aspect of your witness that you are a Christian and that you exist outside of church,

01:26:30.520 --> 01:26:35.720
that you do other stuff, you have a business, and to hang your shingle out and say to other

01:26:35.720 --> 01:26:40.680
Christians, hey, we're here. If you'd like to patronize us, we'd love to have you.

01:26:42.840 --> 01:26:51.240
It's not a primary evangelistic tool. If you are an honest tradesperson and you are Christian about

01:26:51.240 --> 01:26:57.000
it, that is a witness for Christ. Even if you never say anything about the gospel per se,

01:26:57.640 --> 01:27:03.160
simply by living a virtuous life and saying you're a Christian, it tells the people around you that

01:27:03.160 --> 01:27:10.920
there's something to that, and you will absolutely be asked questions as a result. This isn't just

01:27:11.000 --> 01:27:16.600
about material gain, and it's not about some particular rote set of things that's going to

01:27:16.600 --> 01:27:23.000
revolutionize the world. It's just these easy things that we can do benefit us. They benefit

01:27:23.000 --> 01:27:30.120
our neighbors and our brothers in Christ in the immediate community and further out. There's no

01:27:30.120 --> 01:27:35.400
downside apart from someone knowing you're Christian and not liking you for it. Frankly,

01:27:35.640 --> 01:27:42.920
we're to the point where if there's no evidence that you're a Christian and it becomes illegal,

01:27:42.920 --> 01:27:50.200
that's probably a bad thing. Maybe if being a Christian is so undesirable and socially unacceptable,

01:27:50.200 --> 01:27:54.600
if you're skating by and you're not being reviled, at some point, that's going to be a sign that

01:27:54.600 --> 01:27:59.320
there's actually something wrong with your faith. We may not be to that point yet, but we're awfully

01:27:59.320 --> 01:28:10.120
close. There's a lot in our lives that we can do in small ways to simply be faithful stewards of

01:28:10.120 --> 01:28:15.640
the gifts that God has given us. We're stewards of the money that we have, of the property that we

01:28:15.640 --> 01:28:22.200
have, of the skills and talents that we have, and as we use each of those in our local communities,

01:28:22.760 --> 01:28:28.440
it's a testimony to everyone around of the sort of person that you are. If there's any public

01:28:28.440 --> 01:28:35.400
connection of you as that person to your church, that can only be a good thing. These are hard

01:28:35.400 --> 01:28:41.480
things. As I say them, I'm certainly a hypocrite in my own life. I'm not talking about, oh, I've

01:28:41.480 --> 01:28:50.040
got this nailed. I'm doing a really good job. I fail at most of these things. This is not a

01:28:50.760 --> 01:28:56.920
show and tell. It's just saying to myself as much as to anyone else, let's do a better job about

01:28:56.920 --> 01:29:03.560
these things because it's important. It's not as important as salvation, but how is someone who

01:29:03.560 --> 01:29:11.640
has no reason to talk to you or to listen to you going to have their heart opened by you being

01:29:11.640 --> 01:29:16.840
present and maybe you just make an offhand comment, not even realizing it, the reveals that you're a

01:29:16.840 --> 01:29:22.760
Christian and they start asking questions because they've been judging you all along based on your

01:29:22.760 --> 01:29:27.400
conduct. I think that's one of the things that Christians don't appreciate fully is that

01:29:28.680 --> 01:29:34.040
we always bear silent witness and people will make judgments without saying anything.

01:29:34.600 --> 01:29:38.600
And then one day they may come to you and say, I've been watching. I've been listening. I've

01:29:38.600 --> 01:29:42.760
been thinking about this. I want to talk to you more about it. And to you, it's completely out of

01:29:42.760 --> 01:29:48.120
the blue. But to them, it's been something that they've been pondering for a while. And so all

01:29:48.120 --> 01:29:54.200
the moments where you don't think you're doing anything for Jesus, you are for better or worse

01:29:54.200 --> 01:30:01.320
if you're publicly a Christian. If you do things that are not obviously Christian,

01:30:01.960 --> 01:30:06.600
that testifies to them too. And they may never ask you any questions because they look at you and

01:30:06.600 --> 01:30:12.360
say, that guy's clearly a hypocrite. I'm not going to take what he says about something seriously

01:30:12.360 --> 01:30:18.600
when I'm not sure what I think about it. But if you do live your life in a manner that reflects

01:30:18.600 --> 01:30:24.440
well on the church, they will come to you someday and ask you something. And that's the opportunity

01:30:24.440 --> 01:30:30.040
for you to use the words that God will give you and has already given you to bear witness to him.

01:30:30.040 --> 01:30:35.000
It doesn't have to be fancy. Maybe it's as simple as come to church with me and learn where I learn

01:30:35.000 --> 01:30:41.880
this stuff. It can be that easy. And that may be all it takes. But we only get there by doing all

01:30:41.880 --> 01:30:46.760
the hard work before. When we didn't even know it was hard work, we were just living our lives.

01:30:46.760 --> 01:30:53.080
But living it in a way that is Christian and in a way that people can recognize as Christian.

01:30:54.120 --> 01:31:00.200
Once you get that down, it's a habit. You're going to form habits no matter what, whether it's a

01:31:00.200 --> 01:31:08.040
good habit or a bad habit. If you form the habit of being open about your faith, where it makes

01:31:08.040 --> 01:31:14.680
sense, where it seems plausible to do it, you open doors. God opens doors and God will use those

01:31:14.680 --> 01:31:21.240
things. And frankly, if being openly Christian means that you're persecuted, maybe that's what

01:31:21.240 --> 01:31:26.200
your faith needs. Maybe that's what someone else needs to witness. Maybe they need to see you

01:31:26.920 --> 01:31:34.280
say, I'm a Christian in the most meek way possible and get beaten up for it verbally or otherwise.

01:31:35.240 --> 01:31:42.440
And how you bear witness through your receiving that hatred, maybe the testimony of your faith

01:31:42.440 --> 01:31:46.280
that someone else who's watching, they would have never taken it seriously until you

01:31:47.240 --> 01:31:51.240
had something bad happen to you. And when they see it and then see how you respond,

01:31:51.800 --> 01:31:56.520
some people might be scared off, but others would be intrigued. We know that from the martyrs,

01:31:56.520 --> 01:32:02.520
that when they went to their martyrdom joyfully, that was a testimony to those witnesses to say,

01:32:03.080 --> 01:32:08.120
there's something going on here. This isn't just a crowd not liking this group of outcasts.

01:32:09.000 --> 01:32:12.680
So you never know how God's going to use what you're doing in your life,

01:32:12.680 --> 01:32:17.640
which is why it's important just try to keep things straight, keep things simple,

01:32:18.440 --> 01:32:25.080
keep things focused on godly things, on living a godly life in a way that's conspicuously not

01:32:25.080 --> 01:32:32.280
of this world. As this world gets worse and worse, just being a mediocre Christian is going to stand

01:32:32.280 --> 01:32:37.960
out more and more. So if you're trying to skate by, by hiding your light under a bushel and by not

01:32:38.760 --> 01:32:45.800
making it obvious that you are one of those god fearers, it's not going to matter pretty soon,

01:32:45.800 --> 01:32:52.200
because if you're not on hormone blockers and you don't have brightly colored hair and any one of

01:32:52.200 --> 01:32:56.040
these other markers, you're going to stand out and people are going to say, what's wrong with that

01:32:56.040 --> 01:33:01.880
guy? So there's no hiding on the timescale we're talking about here. You may as well get in the

01:33:01.880 --> 01:33:07.640
habit of now and just being comfortable in your skin as a Christian in all the hours that you're

01:33:07.640 --> 01:33:12.920
given every week. And then when the opportunity comes to testify, you know, as God would want you

01:33:12.920 --> 01:33:18.360
to about what he's given you, it'll be easy and God will open those doors and he'll give you the

01:33:18.360 --> 01:33:23.800
words. And so you don't need to worry about whether it works. And that's the point where

01:33:24.600 --> 01:33:29.960
this is not stuff that either works or doesn't work. It's just, it's a good thing to do and it

01:33:29.960 --> 01:33:35.240
will bear fruit where God chooses. That's all we have to worry about, just doing what God says

01:33:35.240 --> 01:33:40.600
and the good stuff will come according to His gracious will. It's not something we produce,

01:33:40.600 --> 01:33:48.040
it's just what is produced through us. And so I think we'll end this episode with a quick note

01:33:48.040 --> 01:33:54.440
that I think, and perhaps it'll be ironic it may go longer than quick, but I think this is something

01:33:54.440 --> 01:33:58.440
that many men need to hear and women need to hear it as well, but in a slightly different way. So I

01:33:58.440 --> 01:34:04.360
am deliberately, intentionally addressing the men in the audience with this specific point.

01:34:06.520 --> 01:34:14.120
And I would turn your attention back to the curse in Genesis. We are told that by the sweat of your

01:34:14.120 --> 01:34:18.680
brow you will eat bread and that the earth will bring forth thorns and thistles that will no

01:34:18.680 --> 01:34:25.560
longer be easy. And so part of life is going to be suffering. It is going to be struggle,

01:34:25.640 --> 01:34:33.240
it is going to be challenge. Most of the things in life that are worth doing are not going to be easy.

01:34:35.320 --> 01:34:41.320
Now there are some things that are worth doing that are easy. Laying on the beach in the sun,

01:34:41.320 --> 01:34:47.720
worth doing from time to time, fairly easy to do. However, you had to work to get into a position

01:34:47.720 --> 01:34:53.960
to be able to do that and that was probably not easy. But most of the other things in life are

01:34:53.960 --> 01:35:01.800
not going to be easy. Raising children is very hard. Building a marriage and a marriage like a

01:35:01.800 --> 01:35:08.200
house is built piece by piece over a long period of time. Building a marriage is hard work

01:35:09.400 --> 01:35:12.760
because building any human relationship is going to be hard work.

01:35:15.160 --> 01:35:20.520
And this is related to a concept that military philosophers have called friction,

01:35:20.600 --> 01:35:28.760
Klauswitz for instance, used that. And really it's the idea that things on paper or in your head

01:35:30.280 --> 01:35:34.200
are always going to seem easier than they end up being in reality.

01:35:36.360 --> 01:35:41.880
An example of this, a famous quote, I don't think we even know who was the first man to speak it.

01:35:41.880 --> 01:35:48.920
No plan survives contact with the enemy or the perhaps less eloquent version of which

01:35:48.920 --> 01:35:55.480
many Marines are fond embrace the suck. And that is part of what we have to do,

01:35:55.480 --> 01:36:00.280
particularly as an interim generation, but also just as men more generally.

01:36:01.320 --> 01:36:05.560
Life is going to have a great many challenges. Many of the things that are worth doing

01:36:06.680 --> 01:36:14.920
are going to involve suffering, pain, a great deal of effort, and sometimes seemingly not a great

01:36:15.000 --> 01:36:22.840
reward. Now God is watching. Just like when you give to charity, if you do it and no one sees,

01:36:22.840 --> 01:36:28.440
your father in heaven still sees the same thing is true when you put in those extra hours when you

01:36:28.440 --> 01:36:34.840
put in the hard work, even if no one else seems to know what you did. And that is part of what it

01:36:34.840 --> 01:36:41.480
means to be a man. You are going to need to put in that hard work. You are going to need to endure

01:36:41.480 --> 01:36:50.280
that suffering, that struggle. Because that is your duty. And so you don't have a choice. I mean,

01:36:50.280 --> 01:36:55.160
of course you do, because there's always the option to be derelict in your duty to neglect

01:36:55.160 --> 01:37:02.520
what you need to do. One of the great examples of this is physical fitness. As a man, you should

01:37:02.520 --> 01:37:07.240
be working out women should as well, of course, wives should stay fit for their husbands.

01:37:07.560 --> 01:37:11.000
And for their own health and so they can take care of their children. But men,

01:37:11.000 --> 01:37:18.600
one of the things you need to be doing is exercise. And of course that's going to involve

01:37:19.400 --> 01:37:25.640
effort, sweat, pain, suffering. And it should, that's a good thing. Part of what it means to be a man.

01:37:26.200 --> 01:37:34.360
But the alternative is just as much suffering and pain being obese is not going to be a good life.

01:37:35.320 --> 01:37:40.680
You're going to suffer one way or the other. Whether you want it to be in the gym or sitting on

01:37:40.680 --> 01:37:46.600
the couch as your gut slowly expands, that's up to you. But as a man, you should choose the former.

01:37:49.400 --> 01:37:56.840
And so that is the message I want the listeners to take to heart. Many of the things you are

01:37:56.840 --> 01:38:03.960
going to need to do in life are going to be hard. They are going to involve suffering.

01:38:04.920 --> 01:38:13.480
But you need to push through. That is particularly true for our generation in the grander sense,

01:38:13.480 --> 01:38:21.400
not dividing it into the little cohorts. Our generation that has to rebuild the infrastructure,

01:38:21.480 --> 01:38:26.120
the foundation, everything that has been torn down by preceding generations.

01:38:27.000 --> 01:38:33.800
There is going to be a lot of work and relatively little reward in some cases. But again,

01:38:35.320 --> 01:38:41.560
God sees everything we do. He sees when you get up and go to the gym and work out.

01:38:42.200 --> 01:38:46.040
He also sees when you sit on the couch and do nothing and eat an entire bag of potato chips.

01:38:47.000 --> 01:38:53.880
God sees everything. He is going to see the time and the effort and the suffering that you put in

01:38:53.880 --> 01:38:58.120
to build a better world for the next generation and the generation after that.

01:38:59.400 --> 01:39:05.800
And he's going to see if you don't do those things. And so as Christian men, it is our duty

01:39:06.840 --> 01:39:12.840
to do what God has given us that needs to be done. We don't have to be perfect.

01:39:13.720 --> 01:39:19.560
We don't even have to succeed in everything we try. We may very well not win,

01:39:20.200 --> 01:39:25.560
ultimately. I personally think that we will. But that is not guaranteed.

01:39:26.920 --> 01:39:32.200
But the good news is that is not what God requires of us. What God requires of us

01:39:32.760 --> 01:39:38.520
is to do what we can with what He has given us in the time that He has given us to do it.

01:39:39.400 --> 01:39:46.920
And so as men, we need to get out there and do the work. Do what needs to be done,

01:39:47.720 --> 01:39:54.280
whether it's planting an apple tree, raising some chickens, building a barn, teaching a child how

01:39:54.280 --> 01:39:58.920
to use a bow and arrow, whatever it happens to be, all of these things that men are supposed

01:39:58.920 --> 01:40:07.880
to do in their lives. Do them. Get off the couch. Get up and go and do the things that God has enabled

01:40:07.880 --> 01:40:18.600
you to do in this life. Ultimately, it is not a matter of succeeding in everything we do. It is

01:40:18.600 --> 01:40:30.760
mounting the attempt. When it comes to the smaller things in life, teaching a child to shoot a gun,

01:40:30.760 --> 01:40:35.080
perhaps, teaching a child to use a bow and arrow, teaching a child a language,

01:40:35.240 --> 01:40:43.000
to a very real degree, we do have some control, a great deal of control, really, over the outcome.

01:40:43.000 --> 01:40:48.680
If we put in sufficient effort in a sufficiently skilled and effective way,

01:40:49.480 --> 01:40:55.720
the outcome more or less follows. When it comes to the grander things, the outcome is out of our

01:40:55.720 --> 01:41:02.520
hands. Whether or not the United States, perhaps not as the United States, but as a political

01:41:02.520 --> 01:41:08.040
entity, whether or not it exists in a hundred years, is not in our hands. It's in God's hands.

01:41:08.840 --> 01:41:15.480
That's the division we have in mind throughout this entire episode. So if you need to go and

01:41:15.480 --> 01:41:22.040
listen again or think back on what we've discussed, we are talking about those everyday things,

01:41:22.920 --> 01:41:29.800
where the outcome really is in your hands. If you set about to plant a bunch of apple trees,

01:41:30.680 --> 01:41:34.840
you will end up with apples. God will give the rain. He has promised to do that.

01:41:36.120 --> 01:41:41.240
So you will get the result if you put in the work. At the other end,

01:41:43.160 --> 01:41:48.680
there are great many political problems. There are great many grand problems that we face.

01:41:49.960 --> 01:41:55.880
There are no guarantees for the outcome. God will see to that. We will have to put an effort

01:41:55.960 --> 01:42:01.320
toward those things, of course, but God will see to the outcome what we need to do,

01:42:01.320 --> 01:42:06.760
where we need to focus in our daily lives. These day to day tasks are the smaller things

01:42:06.760 --> 01:42:12.760
over which we actually do have a great deal of control. You can choose where you shop.

01:42:13.640 --> 01:42:18.040
You can choose how you spend your time. You can choose if you exercise or sit on the couch.

01:42:18.040 --> 01:42:22.920
You can choose if you plant trees or uproot trees. These are things within your control.

01:42:22.920 --> 01:42:30.840
So do what you can with what you have been given in the time God has given you to do them.