Monday, March 27, 2006

Why are Liberals Sweating?

Even though global warming seems to garner almost unending press coverage, that’s not what makes social liberals sweat.  What is making them sweat with worry?  Two events took place last week that could make liberals afraid, very afraid.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 25,000 evangelical youth gathered in San Francisco for a rally to resist popular culture. Battle Cry for a Generation is led by 44 year old Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania, a Christian Student Ministry.  Luce wants the Bible to guide young people away from the corrupting influence of popular culture. With very little national media attention, the group was met by protesters dressed in drag, demanding that the group leave the city. In an unprecedented move, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the teen gathering as an "act of provocation" by what it termed "anti-gay, anti-choice" organizations that aimed to "negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city."  Stop the press!  Did you catch that?  “... the most tolerant city in America?“  They are tolerant of every form of perversion, but not tolerant of a group of teenagers in love with Jesus.  The young people were met by protesters at a City Hall rally earlier last week.  The two groups were separated by barricades and six feet of neutral sidewalk in front of the City Hall that was the backdrop of gay marriages a year earlier.  On one side of the barricade was girl carrying a sign that said, "Instead of porn, show us Godly relationships." On the other, a woman held a sign that said, "I moved here to get away from people like you."

The second sign that liberals may be sweating like Richard Nixon's upper lip also took place in San Francisco.  Famed film producer George Lucas was in town to receive the "Global Vision Award" by the World Affairs Council.  In his acceptance speech, Lucas called for a "more worldly Hollywood."  (You've got to be kidding!)  Lucas was encouraging a new generation of film makers to produce films that reflect world values more than America's "provincial" values.   Lucas said: "An onus is on film makers to be careful with the messages they send, because they speak "with a very loud voice."   George is right.  The onus is on film makers to understand the power of film in influencing entire generations and cultures.

We need filmmakers to make movies that bring a compelling message of hope to their generation.  We need young people to take a stand and show the world that they will not tolerate the sick and perverted tactics of the proceeding generation.   We need people who will fight for their generation in order to save themselves from the self-serving clutch of their predecessors.  We need more than 25,000 Christian teen, but it’s a good start.

While these stories may have escaped mainstream media attention, I think they have not escaped the liberals. The response of the Board of Supervisors and Lucas may indicate the first signs of liberal perspiration.  They may have miscalculated a new generation of Americans and their willingness to resist popular culture.  Rise up, youth, and fight for your generation!  Do not be shouted down by those who see themselves as the most progressive and tolerant people in America.  They are neither and in their hypocrisy, they know it.

Ed Litton

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Whose Party Is It?

It has to be one of the most compelling stories ever told. It is often called the story of the “Prodigal Son,” but Jesus never called it that. In its context, it is much more than a story about a lost boy who finds his way back home. Jesus told this story in response to a group of Pharisees and religious leaders who were murmuring about the fact that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. The religious leaders loved having control over the dinner invitation list. They were very picky about those with whom they ate and had fellowship.

You know the story; it’s pretty familiar to all of us. At its conclusion, Jesus told how the Father hired a band and killed the fatted calf in celebration of the return of his younger son. The older son returned from working in the fields, heard the celebration and smelled the barbecue. He soon learned that his sinful brother had not only returned, but was restored by the father. The party was in celebration of this fact. He was indignant and refused to go in. To some, grace is not amazing, it's irritating.

The Father went to the angry son and pleaded with him, but he refused to join the celebration. The older son then offered the Father a detailed laundry list of all of the younger son’s misdeed, and indicted the father for throwing a party to celebrate the sinful lifestyle and easy return of the son. He was wrong. The celebration was not for the lost son; not for the wasted years of his life. The celebration was the fathers. Luke 15:32 says: "But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' " The party was the father's party.

In the two earlier portions of this one parable, the Bible tells us that, like a lost sheep, when one sinner is found there is great rejoicing in heaven. When a woman found a lost coin, it says that there was great rejoicing in the presence of the angels. The party is God's party. He does not celebrate the failures of our lives, but instead celebrates the repentance of our lives. He celebrates when one sinner has his fill of “the pods that the pigs eat” and comes to himself. Heaven is full of rejoicing, but the “religious” seldom know such celebration.

Oddly enough, Jesus ended the story without a conclusion, as if to say, “If you want to know how the story ends, then write your own conclusion.” Will you be like the “religious”, who refuse to celebrate the repentance of sinners? Will you be like the Father who is compelled to celebrate. God celebrates when one comes to Christ.

My burden is that the latest statistics indicate that it takes 411 Southern Baptists per year to win one person to faith in Christ. That seems to be a high number of people standing outside with their arms crossed. Nothing, and I mean nothing invigorates your spiritual life like winning someone to faith in Christ. Maybe we have made the same mistake that the older brother made, and we started thinking that the celebration was about us. In fact it is the Father's celebration and we are invited! Come on in. It’s a blast!

Ed Litton

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Two-Man Nuclear Submarine

Life's lessons in finance and disappointment all came at the same time for me.  When I was a child, my brother and I were always looking for opportunities to have an adventure.  We played in our barn, swinging like Tarzan, and, unbeknownst to our parents, actually dabbled in several attempts at manned flight.  In between school and bedtime, most of our childhood was spent barefoot, running the green hills of East Tennessee.  When BB guns were introduced to us, we caused much trouble.   (We are still a little hesitant to share all of our adventures with our guns, because we're a little fuzzy about the Statute of Limitations in various states.)

With that background, you can understand why an advertisement on the back page of a comic book caught our attention. The page that usually showed the prizes one could win by selling Grit Magazine had a new display that was big, beautiful and inviting.    It wasn't some phony-baloney "Sea Monkey" or "Ant Farm" - this was real!  It was a true-to-life, two-man, Polaris Nuclear Submarine.  It was, it seemed, our destiny.  Our fertile minds, full of imagination, could see ourselves exploring the depths of the pond on our farm.  We could see ourselves negotiating rivers and hunting for lost treasure in our very own, two-man submarine.

Now, I have heard that in the development process of boys, there are certain portions of the brain that develop later than girls.  If that is true, then our frontal lobes were the size of half a peanut.  Here we were, living on a farm in East Tennessee, hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, believing that a truck would unload a two-man, mini submarine.  We didn't bother to tell our parents about our plans as we filled out the form and placed it carefully in an envelope, stuffed with $6.98, plus shipping in small, negotiable notes and coinage. We mailed it to the ACME "Fraud" Company of Lynbrook, New York.

At what point does a boy start to connect the dots of logic and reason?  We may never know the answer to some of life's great mysteries.  However, imagine the surprise on our faces when the package arrived with the full and complete contents of our two-man submarine. Although the package was fairly long, it was definitely too thin to contain what the picture on the advertisement had promised.  In such states of shock and awe, a person may tend to reason their way around the obvious disappointment.  "Maybe this small, thin box is just the nuclear guidance system,"  we reasoned.   Right!  We were still
cautious believers as we tore into the box.  It was only then that we discovered that not only did that cardboard box contain the entire two-man submarine, it was, in fact, a vital part of the vessel.  You see, to our grave disappointment we had purchased a cardboard, two-man submarine.

I make wiser choices in my financial life than I did forty years ago.  Life can be filled with serious disappointments, and in the financial world, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure, risk and danger.  Yet, one sure thing I have found is tithing.  When I give the tithe to the storehouse of my local church, I am investing in something far sturdier than a cardboard submarine.  I am, in a real way, participating in something that will last for eternity.  I can promise that you will make a huge difference in someone's life who needs Jesus.  Your giving now will make room for others in the future.  Your giving may help little boys and girls not only come to know Christ, but learn how to make wise choices.

Anchors Away,
Ed Litton

Monday, March 13, 2006

What Did We Expect?

One of the epic moments in American history occurred and passed like the tremor of an earthquake. I felt it watching the nightly news with my father. There were more aftershocks as I rode the school bus to my seventh grade class the next day. The really odd thing was that no one else seemed to feel them. My friends shrugged their 13 year old shoulders as if to say, “so what?” My pastor at church said nothing about it. My teachers dismissed my uncomfortable questions, and drew the attention of the students back to the chalkboard. I noticed that most other dads in our circle of friends along with fellow church members were not nearly as concerned as my father.

A moral earthquake hit the whole country in January 1973, and my father knew it right away. It was as if my father had his own seismic-sensing devise that alerted him to danger. The moral earthquake was the Supreme Courts decision known as Roe v. Wade. We are all now fully aware, or so we think, of the ever-widening implications of this judicial event.
I grew up in a home in which my father insisted that we talk about the most gut-wrenching issues of our times over dinner. This practice could seriously challenge one’s ability to digest properly. I have, more than once, been stopped “mid-chew” with a piece of very unappetizing information. It was at one of those meals that my father explained the possible impact of this decision upon future generations. He ended the conversation the way he often did by looking at his two sons and saying, “Boys, I fear for your future.” Thirty years later, his instinct seems prophetic.

One somewhat unexpected consequence of “Roe” is the impact on the American father. It left him with a drifting and aimless sense of “manhood.” Syndicated columnist Mona Charen points out that Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Michigan, was ordered to pay $500 per month in child support for a daughter he admits to fathering with his ex-girlfriend. He is now fighting the judgment in court arguing that it is unconstitutional to force parenthood upon him in a way that the courts cannot and would not force upon a woman. Those who survive Roe and make through gestation to birth now grow up to face a world where their self-centered sexuality is a “right.” Women become the sole-arbiters over the life and death of the next generation (often as a matter of convenience) and men bear little more than forced responsibility. Now Mr. Dubay and those who plead his case argue that this is “constitutionally unfair.”

The feminists may scream, but who will listen? They and their political policy-making partners have been codifying the rejection of responsibility for decades. As Mona Charen states: “It should come as no surprise that men are inclined to do the same.”

My dad did not have the privilege of a high school diploma because World War II came at an inconvenient time. Nevertheless, he had a biblical worldview. The Bible demands responsibility and promises ultimate consequences for those seeking to shirk it. Today, some would call that kind of document antiquated.

It is time for people to listen to those fathers who sit at those kitchen tables and bear a burden for their children’s future. The father must teach his children that there are severe and lasting consequences to every human action, especially those which violate what scripture holds sacred.

Ed Litton

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Have you seen the latest cable television show called Survivorman? It is a gritty reality show about a man named Les Stroud. Les goes into extreme situations with no food, no shelter, no water or tools and survives for seven days. Oh yeah, he is also a one-man camera crew. He lugs over fifty pounds of camera equipment, which means it takes him twice as long to walk out of harm’s way. He has survived swamps, rainforests, deserts, open seas and the frozen tundra of Canada. It is fascinating to watch him find drinking water, eat scorpions, escape from bears and peel a snake before eating it. You can learn a lot about survival watching Survivorman.

The natural question then arises, where do you go to learn about other kinds of male survival. What techniques will help the survival of several endangered species such as “Faithful Fatherman”, “Masculine Role-Modelman”, and ”Honest Man”? Can these survive? The answer is “yes.”

The ultimate survivorman to watch is Jesus Christ. Jesus does not show us how to just survive, but how to thrive. Les Stroud has immediate credibility with guys because he always “goes it alone.” It seems to be a pretty common daydream for men to see themselves in some dire situation beating the odds. While this may make for interesting television, it’s not the way of the Lord. Jesus refuses to let you go it alone. He is the ultimate model of manhood. He fulfilled God’s purpose, lived for his bride (the Church) and gave Himself away serving others.

Sure, it is impressive to watch Les eat an entire rabbit or grub for insects to survive. It is more inspiring to watch a man face down a thirty-year mortgage, explain sex to a thirteen year old without a hint of impurity, endure the trials of office politics, or hold the line of truth for a teenager who is testing the very material of that cord. Watching a man fight for his marriage, raise a family, or apologize to an offended friend is every bit as impressive as watching Survivorman. Hats off to the real survivorman that lives next door and never fails to load up a family on Sunday to go to church. He is the real survivorman.

If you know a man like this, tell him what you respect about him and encourage him to keep striving. The survival of many depends upon him.

Ed Litton

Thursday, March 02, 2006

America Needs This Kind of Miracle

What we need is nothing short of a miracle.  The current condition of the American family is dire.  The culture is a verifiable mess.  The hope for our future diminishes daily.  Yet, the prospect for change, real change, is here.  I refuse to give up hope for a reformation of the American family and father.  Why?  Because of what happened in the lives of my parents, Harry and Sue Litton.

They were married in 1956, and it did not take long for them to realize that their marriage was in trouble, primarily due to my father’s alcoholism.  Two boys and a mortgage simply added pressure to the inevitable explosion that took place ten years later.  Their marriage was on the rocks, my father’s drinking was out of control and the Litton family was soon to become a statistic. 

My father had been on an extended drinking binge.  My mother escaped
with my brother and I in tow.  Armed with a new perspective, she planned
to leave my father and start a new life.  We went home to get our
things and the plan was to leave him and head for California.  We found my father lying beneath a bed in our guest room.  He had been on a drinking binge that had lasted several weeks and was close to death.  He whispered a simple request for us to take him to  a man who offered him hope in Jesus Christ.  The man's name was Charlie Jones, the pastor of Kempsville Baptist Church in Virginia Beach.  In that pastor's office we watched a man slowly get on his knees and invite Jesus Christ into his heart.  He stood up sober, new and changed.  The dramatic change became increasingly  apparent as each new day dawned.  He was a new man.

As a pastor I am cautious not to build up false hope in hurting people.
However, I must tell you that what happened to us was neither simple nor easy, but it was revolutionary and it saved us.  Not every person who struggles with substance abuse has the same experience, but Harry Litton certainly did.  God changed his heart, his desires and his mind.  His appetite for God's Word was ravenous.  He grew and became a father to his sons.

This week we celebrated the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my father and mother.  In the presence of good friends, we took time to thank
God for saving the Litton family.  We also thanked Him for the years of
ministry my parents have had loving and leading people to Jesus.  The
salvation of one solitary man has had a tremendous impact on our
family, as well as countless other lives touched by my father and
mother.  I am grateful for the change that God made in one man's life.
I am also grateful for the hope that if one man changes, a family can
be saved and a community can be transformed and a nation can be
revived.  It happens one man at a time.

Ed Litton