Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy


The Tilt of Freedom Toward Evil

Posted by admin in January 7th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Solzhenitsyn. The name conjures up a few images, like folks who know they should eat their vegetables, “But it’s just so hard to find the time.” Or, “I love him, though I’ve never actually read him.” Most pseudo-intellectuals like myself LOVE the idea of Solzhenitsyn, but just haven’t take the time and hard work of actually digesting him.

As Americans we want to be intellectually astute and many claim to have read Solzy, but in truth, we’ve only read bits and pieces and stuff others have written about him. Hand raised, I’m the guiltiest among us.

Recently, Daryl (who actually read The Gulag Archipelago on vacation a few years back) shared with me a book review written by Polish scholar Ryszard Legutko. Legutko is brilliant. He speaks five languages, authored half a dozen books, is a professor of philosophy, and a member of Poland’s parliament. His English-language writing style is glorious. Basically, he’s a rock star. In January’s issue of First Things Legutko writes a book review on Solzhenitsyn’s Between Two Millstones, Book 1: Sketches of Exile. The book ends with Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard commencement speech. Legutko calls him “The Russian Jeremiah.” And quite frankly, he’s right.

In the Harvard speech Solzhenitsyn wears the mantel of a prophet (though he is a bit Fidel-Castro-like in his appearance). He is a clear, concise voice speaking to a generation of Western elitists warning them of the dangers hidden in a worldview filled with secular, liberal, leftists, democracy-before-God pluralism. I have to say without hesitation, never have Solzhenitsyn’s words been more needed in our country than today. (Here’s a link to the speech. You can listen to it or read via this link: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/alexandersolzhenitsynharvard.htm ).

Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard speech is what Legutko describes as Solzhenitsyn’s views on the West. But I think it is more accurate to say it’s his views on America. Legutko describes the prophetic voice that rang that day, 40 years ago, in the halls of Harvard,

Take, for instance, [Solzhenitsyn’s] expression ‘the tilt of freedom toward evil.’ The defenders of liberalism and liberal society expressed indignation at such an accusation, but Solzhenitsyn was right. The liberal concept of freedom tends to favor immoral conduct and disfavor moral conduct. Liberals always say that we do not have sufficiently strong reasons to ban pornography, vulgarity, blasphemy, abortion, or drugs. All these things are deemed to be the inevitable consequences of liberty: We are told that once we accept freedom, we have to agree to them, partially or completely, even if we find them outrageous.

Legutko goes on to say, “The same liberals are allergic to such concepts as truth, goodness, and morality. Merely invoking [these terms] in public discourse provokes very strong, almost knee-jerk resistance on liberals’ part. Efforts to praise or promote virtue are met with a reduction ad Hitlerum and invocations of the Spanish Inquisition, all of these to the effect that those ideas necessarily engender authoritarianism, oppression, and ideological terror.”

So basically, as we see in public discourse today, if one wants to discuss right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, truth vs. lies, facts vs. feelings, she is confronted with a now-common argument style of name calling and virtue signaling rhetoric. I’m with Sgt. Joe Friday, “Just the facts ma’am.” But too many of the folks I try to discuss important ideas with have an emotional breakdown and revert to anger if I quote a fact they don’t like or they strongly wish didn’t exist. Especially when it comes to the truth about socialism and Obamacare! I’ve been unfriended, verbally abused, cut off from family members–all simply because I questioned the soundness of illegal immigration or defended Israel’s right to exist; simply because I quoted a statistic that more white men die each year in the U.S. from police shootings than black men. Or because I doubted Ford’s testimony based on the facts of her life rather than the words of her mouth (i.e. fear of flying). Big mistake.

Another passionate misconception of liberals (and most college students I know) is that totalitarianism comes from the evil reign of society believing in only one universal truth. Quite the contrary. Totalitarianism is based on the idea that there is no truth, there are no absolutes, and there can be no rule of law. Totalitarianism is based on the whims of leaders and every turn of the ideological winds. Only in a society where truth is honored and sought after, only in a society where truth matters and virtue is pursued can man really live free. Absolutely.

So, liberals bow to worship the law and declare the law as the ruling supreme guide, the plumb line by which we all must live. And as Solzhenitsyn pointed out in his Harvard address, there must be a distinction between law and morality. Even the Bible says “all things are legal, but not all things are profitable” (I Cor. 10:23). Forty years since the Harvard speech and we can see the harm that an amoral legal system can do to a nation’s moral fiber – legalized abortion, legalized same-sex marriage, legalized euthanasia, redefining family, redefining gender, redefining truth—-all in the name of legality.

The problem with replacing legality for morality is that laws can be changed by human beings who are flawed. Morality—true, authentic, eternal morality–does not change as it is rooted in the Truth of God’s Word. Our nation doesn’t need more laws, it needs more morality. We’ve lost our moral compass in the name of legality.

Critics of Solzhenitsyn’s ideas about Western society need to take a second look at that Harvard speech. The Russian Jeremiah nails us to the wall with his sharp criticism of Americans’ worship and elevation of our legal system and rule by law. He effectively criticizes journalists and intellectuals in America who have, “…fallen into a slumber by their own monotonous rhetoric of pluralism, fails to see that it has been spawning generally accepted patterns of judgments, wheedling herd instincts, and encouraging not competition, as it claims, but monotonous homogeneity in the name of unity.” We hear the far-left crying out, “Think like we think or be damned.”

You see, Solzhenitsyn being born and raised under Soviet communism gave him insights into authoritarianism and oppression that few of us have ever experienced here in the free West. Absolute truth and morality based on guiding eternal principles are never bondage or restrictive, but just the opposite. It is only through these things that humankind can find real and lasting freedom. Peace.

I Shall Not Be Moved

Posted by admin in October 24th, 2018 | 6 comments 
Published in faith, Worship, Worship

This week our dysfunctional HOA board had four beautiful, healthy, 20-year-old Linden trees cut down. Their root systems were not a disturbance; they were not interfering with power lines. Without notifying the residents or even putting it up to a vote, the board made the decision to cut these amazing trees down. As it was happening, I was trying to contact the board, and no one would respond. So, I posted my protest on a popular social website “Nextdoor” and one of the members responded, “The leaves were getting in the pool.” (Which has been closed since Sept. 1). There is so much untrue about his statement and I don’t want to explain it all here, but this is what I have discovered in life: If something doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t add up, usually corruption is involved. Our HOA has cut most of our services and even stopped watering the common areas in order to “save money” and yet each of these healthy trees cost about $600 to remove. Four beautiful, joy-giving trees. I have never awakened in my house and not seen those trees. They have always been there to greet me each morning when I open […] Continue Reading…

Cliff’s Notes: Practical Tips on Teaching

Posted by admin in September 12th, 2018 | 4 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

The small wiry Chinese university president pulled me to the side and whispered, “Hou Chi, Dr. Cliff look really, really stupid, but in fact, he really, really smart. When he open mouth much wisdom come out. Surprising.”

Don’t worry, I told Cliff about the conversation and he cracked up laughing. The fact of the matter is, Cliff knew he was the Columbo (Peter Falk’s TV detective) of education. He always caught people off guard. He always stunned them with pure genius from a much unexpected source. I sat anonymously among crowds that snickered as he approached the pulpit or lectern and watched those same crowds come to their feet cheering and applauding when he had finished. I have seen hardened teenagers with folded arms and chins stuck out melt under the anointing as he spoke; I’ve seen them wipe tears from their eyes and bow their knees. He moved people with his authenticity and his powerhouse knowledge. He was awesome.

Dr. Cliff Schimmels was a professor of education at Wheaton College for over 17 years. He was also a football coach there. He wrote over 30 books, won the Mark Twain International Award for fiction three times, spoke often […] Continue Reading…

Jesus the Model Teacher

Posted by admin in September 4th, 2018 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

How Would Jesus Teach?

Many professions or vocations today lack an exact model of how Jesus would work in specific fields. We can see in Scripture that Jesus prepared breakfast for his disciples. However, we don’t know his recipe, if he used marinade, what his filleting technique was, or much about his presentation. (But I bet it was delish). We know that Jesus was a carpenter, but the Bible doesn’t give us a detailed explanation of how he actually built things. Interesting though, Os Guinness reports that a plow bearing Jesus’s and Joseph’s trademark was found still being used near the Sea of Galilee over a hundred years after Jesus’s death. Wow. That’s some good workmanship! But what else would you expect from the Creator of the universe?

But teachers take heart! In the Gospels, Jesus is addressed as “Teacher” more than any other title (Friedeman, 1990). He is considered by a wide-range of people from diverse cultures, political thought and world religions as an excellent teacher. For those of us who are his followers, he is THE Teacher.

Scripture has a lot to say about Jesus as a teacher. Matt Friedeman (check out the book reference at the end […] Continue Reading…

Teaching Well Is Teaching Good

Posted by admin in September 3rd, 2018 | 2 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

It’s back to school time! Swoosh…summer’s gone. Unbelievable. We are now looking at the 2018-2019 academic year. Exciting stuff.

Some folks who read this old blog of mine are teachers, college professors, university instructors, and even homeschoolers. To celebrate this back-to-school season, I want to share a four part series with you on teaching like Jesus, which is actually an excerpt from Mike’s and my book. Hope you enjoy. Hope it encourages all the teachers out there. Here’s part one.

In 1991, Dr. Cliff and Mary Schimmels left the US to go and teach at Kiev State Pedagogical University in Ukraine. Communism had just collapsed and living in the former Soviet state wasn’t all that easy. Cliff and Mary knew times were tough, but they believed God had called them to teach, work alongside colleagues and do all that they could to encourage both administrators and students in Kiev.

Within the first few weeks of living in their new home, the Schimmels made friends with their students, colleagues and neighbors. They were like that. Friendly. Warm. Nice to be around. They even had a few occasions to share their faith and love for Christ with people, but they were never preachy or […] Continue Reading…

When Salt Loses Its Saltiness

Posted by admin in May 21st, 2018 | 10 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Every Tuesday night I have a Bible study in my home for two high school girls. As soon as they walk through the front door I feed them a homemade meal. Around the kitchen table we talk about whatever is happening in our lives and fill each other in on what has happened from the week before. When we are done eating we move over to the sofas and study the Word of God. Right now, we are “just reading the red.” We are taking on the Gospels for the sole purpose of reading the recorded words of Jesus. If you want to get to know a person better, spend time with him and listen to what he says. That’s our guiding principle.

Last week we were reading Matthew 5 where Jesus is telling His disciples to do the opposite of everything that comes to them instinctively through human nature. Jesus’ words were revolutionary for that time, and for our time as well. Someone hits you in the face, be sure and offer them both sides; someone wants to borrow something, give ‘em more than they ask for; if a creepy Roman soldier asks you to carry his military equipment […] Continue Reading…

Part IV – A Shocking Solution

Posted by admin in March 28th, 2018 | 6 comments 
Published in immigration, prayer, Revival

Hard to believe I’ve been writing this blog for ten years. Quite honestly, today’s post is a tough one to write. Dealing with immigration issues is hard. I think this is one of the reasons people try to avoid the topic. But should we? Should we as followers of Jesus avoid difficult issues? Probably not.

Long before March 7, and my first post about the World Relief video, I’d been struggling, wrestling, praying, debating with myself over the topic of immigration–not just illegals, but poorly vetted refugees, and random lottery visa winners. I’m not going over the stats and specifics on these matters again. Please read the three previous posts – they are filled with facts, figures, and information on immigration. In this final post on the topic, I want to think about the heart of the matter.

What does it mean for those of us who are Christians, as one author puts it, to “live a truthful, meaningful, and responsible life” in a world filled with landmine issues and topics too hot to handle? Let me answer this in a roundabout way…

Back in 2002, Daryl and I went to Scotland to meet with Christians who had experienced the Great Hebrides […] Continue Reading…

Part III – The Truth About Illegals in Our Nation

Posted by admin in March 14th, 2018 | 4 comments 
Published in immigration

Have immigrants done harm to anyone here in the US? Aren’t they just here to live out the American Dream? Aren’t they just Dreamers? Unfortunately, as one reporter put it, “Not everyone has melted.” Assimilation is vitally important to a nation of immigrants. That’s why the USA has been referred to as a Melting Pot. Adaption to language, cultural norms, and standards of law are vitally important for a nation of immigrants to succeed.

As Christians, how are we to respond to the questions about illegal immigration? It’s really difficult to pilfer through the definitions, clarifying terms, and crazy statistics all related to illegal aliens, undocumented workers, DACA Dreamers, and refugees. UGH – sometimes it gets to be just too much!

World Relief’s “Welcome the Stranger” video released last month is directed by Jenny Yang. Yang is a staff member at World Relief in charge of their political arm. World Relief lost their way a long time ago and sadly, church organizations around the nation (including SBC), jumped on the WR bandwagon and bought whatever they were selling. Jenny Yang is their hawker of wares for everything immigration. And BIG surprise!! Jenny Yang is a Democrat who supports […] Continue Reading…

Part II – Was Jesus A Refugee?

Posted by admin in March 12th, 2018 | 2 comments 
Published in immigration

“JESUS was a refugee. If He came to earth today, He’d be cast out by anti-refugee policies! As a Christian, are you okay with that?”

This is a myth. Jesus was NOT a refugee. Ever. He also was not an illegal immigrant. Unfortunately, someone picked up on this untrue story a while back and started blasting it throughout Christendom. In fact, one family I know wanted to celebrate Christmas Eve last year at their church. Instead of celebrating the wonderful birth of Jesus, their pastor showed a rather lengthy film (pro-Palestinian) on how unwelcoming “Jesus the Refugee” would find Israel today. “Nothing but a wall would welcome him.” Hmmm…. that and the fact that Palestinian-occupied Bethlehem doesn’t allow Jews inside the city. Israel gave Bethlehem to the Palestinians in 1995.

If Jesus wasn’t a refugee, what was He? What really happened? Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. Nazareth is a city in Israel. The Roman Caesar, whose armies occupied and controlled Israel, called a census and required all Israeli citizens to return to their home city for a head count. Registering citizenship – wow! That’s a good idea.

Joseph and Mary (pregnant with Jesus) OBEYED the law […] Continue Reading…

World Relief and the Strange Video

Posted by admin in March 7th, 2018 | 8 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Am I the only person who has been frustrated by the use of Matthew 25 by pro-DACA groups to bludgeon American Evangelicals over the head? Jenny Yang and her World Relief video “Welcome the Stranger” sent me over the edge. Watching it, my heart grieved as well-meaning, but ill-informed women leaders with condemnatory tones and moral superiority read the words of Jesus. As I watched women that I’ve admired such as Kay Warren and Joni Eareckson Tada, speak these words into the camera, I just kept thinking, “Do they know what they are doing? Have they been tricked? What bill of goods has Jenny Yang sold them?” Misguided at best; theologically off at worst, where are their accountability partners and wise counselors?

It is difficult for me to put into words how I feel when men and women, everyone from World Relief to Christianity Today, misuse Jesus’ words from this important passage in Matthew 25. It is an attempt by these left-leaning people to make a case for illegal, undocumented immigrants to stay in the US. It is their belief that we should coddle, protect, and defend (as followers of Jesus) all DACA and illegal border crossers. […] Continue Reading…

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  • The Tilt of Freedom Toward Evil
  • Solzhenitsyn. The name conjures up a few images, like folks who know they should eat their vegetables, “But it’s just...
  • I Shall Not Be Moved
  • This week our dysfunctional HOA board had four beautiful, healthy, 20-year-old Linden trees cut down. Their root systems were not...
  • Cliff’s Notes: Practical Tips on Teaching
  • The small wiry Chinese university president pulled me to the side and whispered, “Hou Chi, Dr. Cliff look really, really...
  • Jesus the Model Teacher
  • How Would Jesus Teach? Many professions or vocations today lack an exact model of how Jesus would work in specific fields....
  • Teaching Well Is Teaching Good
  • It’s back to school time! Swoosh…summer’s gone. Unbelievable. We are now looking at the 2018-2019 academic year. Exciting stuff. Some folks...

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