Christian Men's Breakfast

Presentation by Chuck Esposito

December 6, 2008

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“End of the Christian era?"


Thank you I.T., and good morning gentlemen.

For six years in a row, I found myself at this podium on the first Saturday in April, and occasionally, such as now, at other times of the year. It is my pleasure to be here with you this morning, and God willin’, I’ll be back again next April.

Every time I have addressed you, I have included a prayer for our troops, and that’s how I would like to start today. So if you would, please, bow your heads and join me.

Dear Lord,
Today there are about half a million , American men and women –
stationed in 150 countries around the world.

We pray You keep them safe,
we pray You keep them strong,
we pray You send them safely home ...

Bless those who await their safe return.

And Bless the friends and relatives who mourn the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan: The MIAs, the 33,457 wounded, and the 4,833 Killed In Action . … In Jesus name we ask ... Amen.
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I’m not going to take the time here this morning, but there is one other situation that I would recommend to you for inclusion in your daily prayers.

The US national debt is approaching an incomprehensible eleven trillion dollars … Medicare faces insolvency during my lifetime … and Social Security is expected to follow suit within my son’s lifetime. The economy is in the worst shape it has been in since the great depression, and last month, we selected America’s 44th president, who will be at the helm as we face the first, of what may be many, years, of trillion dollar deficits.

If St Paul the apostle could pray for Nero and the Roman authorities who put him in prison (and eventually executed him), the least we can do is to pray that our elected officials uphold the US Constitution, and that the Lord guide them as they lead our nation in the coming days, months, and years. America, certainly needs that help, and I ask that we all pray for it.

Let me begin by admitting that I did not author the item I am about to share with you. It is an adaptation of a piece by a national figure, whose name I will reveal at the end.* Meanwhile, you might have some fun with yourself, trying to figure out who wrote the original piece.
But first, some church humor for you:

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?"" The mother responded: “Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life."

The child thought about this for a moment then said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"
A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, "Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!"

While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray" Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!"
And the final bit of humor:
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers.
The first boy says, "My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50. " The second boy says, "That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100." The third boy says, "I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes two people to collect all the money!"
And now, here’s the item I want to share with you today:

It is titled, “End of the Christian Era – Question Mark”?

And I want to emphasize that it ends in a question mark, so I ask you to give the author the benefit of the doubt and consider this as if he is asking a question, not making a declaration.

Two thousand years have elapsed since the Birth of Christ in Bethlehem, the event that engendered Western civilization. But for Christianity, the sun has begun to set in the West.

Born in Judea, Christianity spread swiftly across Asia Minor, North Africa and on to Rome, where it was persecuted for 300 years. Then, for the three centuries after Constantine, though riven by heresies, Christianity was the faith of the Roman Empire.
With the death of Muhammad in 632, however, a fighting new faith arose. In a century, Islam had seized Arabia, captured the Holy Land, swept over Africa and conquered Spain.

The armies of Islam were only stopped at Tours in France in 732 by Charles Martel, the Hammer of the Franks, in one of the decisive battles of history.

Europe was saved for Christianity. Islam retreated back over the mountains into Spain, where it retained a foothold until Isabella drove the Moors out in the year she sent an Italian navigator named Columbus to find the western sea route to the Indies.
In 1492, all Western Europe was Christian and responsive to Rome. But with the 1500s came Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII and the Reformation, the sundering of Christendom into a Protestant north and Catholic south. The same division prevailed in the New World. Protestant England colonized the east coast of North America, as Catholic Spain colonized most of South America. Yet, Christians all professed the same God and believed in the same Savior.

With the Enlightenment in the 18th century, however, came a revolution to overthrow Christianity as well as the Church. French priests were among the first butchered in the September Massacres, even before Louis XVI and his queen ascended the scaffold.

In the 19th century, a greater challenge to Christianity arose in the intellectual realm: Darwinism. Among elites, the belief took hold that not only was Christianity a fraud, God did not exist. God is dead, said Nietzsche. And if He is dead, and there is no life after death, one must build the best of all possible worlds here on earth. And if we must sacrifice a few million of the species to build that world, so be it. For the masses have no more worth than the animals we kill for food. Survival of the fittest. Let the Devil take the hindmost.

Marx was among the first to accept the logic and urge men to act on it. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin did. But as Hegel might have predicted, communism called into existence an antithesis, fascism. And the war they fought far eclipsed in savagery all the old religious wars.

But in winning World War II and, later, the Cold War, it was the economic, technological and military power of the United States and the ideas associated with America that men said were decisive. The Americans had delivered on the promise of Marx – without paying the price Marx prescribed, wholesale and bloody revolution.

"I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me," God said to Moses. But since the Reformation in the West, that God has given way to one strange new god after another: The king, the state, the nation, the race and, finally, the self.
Architecture is a mirror of what men worship. The first great buildings in Christendom were cathedrals: St. Peter's in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul's in London. After the Reformation came the palaces, with Versailles the greatest of all, as befit the Sun King.
In the 19th century came the monuments and museums exalting the achievements of nation and race. In the 20th, the American century, the United States built cathedrals to commerce, skyscrapers like the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. An envious Hitler enlisted Albert Speer to erect monuments and public buildings to his 1,000-Year Reich to dwarf anything the West had ever seen.
In the late 20th century, the tallest buildings in the world, the twin towers of the World Trade Center, arose. In the dawn of the 21st century, they were brought crashing down by radical Muslims.

In the West, the God of Christianity has been superseded by the gods of modernity: money, sex, fame, power. These gods give a good life, but they cannot sustain life. As Christianity is a dying faith in every Western nation, every Western nation is dying. Not one has a native-born population that is reproducing itself. At present birth rates, all will be changed utterly or pass away before century's end.

It is in the Third World, where populations are still growing, that Christianity still challenges Islam. Indeed, as the battle for the future is decided in this century, a once-Christian Europe will view the struggle from the windows of its nursing home.

But as He told us, He did not come into our world to make us rich or powerful, but to die to give us the hope of eternal life.
Merry Christmas.
OK. Now I’ll tell you who wrote this – but first, does anyone want to guess?

Let me give you some hints…
- He is an American political commentator, syndicated columnist, politician, and broadcaster. Anybody want to guess his name?
- He was an adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. Anyone?
- He sought the Republican presidential nomination for himself in 1992 and 1996. Anyone?
- In the 2000 presidential election, he ran on the Reform Party ticket. Anyone?
- His initials are PJB
"Pat" Buchanan
Thank for your attention, and God willin’, I’ll be back at this podium next April.

* End of the Christian Era? Patrick J. Buchanan , December 26 2002

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