Money and Happiness, Trust of Pastors, and Profanity (01.28.21)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Last week, one of the stories we discussed was a major news event. This week we have three stories that will be far less likely to be discussed on the network and cable news. But we have three interesting stories about money, pastors, and profanity.

STORY #1 – A New Study Says Making More Money Makes People Happier

“Money improves happiness because it gives people more choices – [Matthew Killingsworth from Penn’s Wharton School] finds one of the main links between money and increasing happiness is the flexibility a higher income gives people. ‘When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life. You can likely see this in the pandemic. People living paycheck to paycheck who lose their job might need to take the first available job to stay afloat, even if it’s one they dislike. People with a financial cushion can wait for one that’s a better fit. Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy.’” (StudyFinds.org)

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STORY #2 – Americans’ Trust of Pastors Hovers Near All-Time Low

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more likely to trust medical professionals, while few believe pastors are completely honest. […] Americans’ opinion of clergy’s honesty falls between judges and nursing home operators. Around 2 in 5 (39%) say pastors have at least high ethical standards, including 10% who say their honesty is very high. For 41% of the public, the honesty and ethical standards of clergy are average, while 11% rate it as low and 4% as very low. Another 4% say they have no opinion of pastors’ honesty, the highest of any profession. […] This marks the second time since Gallup began surveying Americans about their trust of various occupations that fewer than 2 in 5 gave clergy the highest ratings.” (Lifeway Research)

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STORY #3 – Profanity Is Performative

“In 1934, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd spent almost five months living entirely alone in a tiny shack buried under the ice of Antarctica’s interior. […] The longer Byrd spent in isolation, the more he noticed the trappings of his old life fall away. He grew his hair out. Dropped his table manners. And, interestingly, stopped swearing. “Although at first I was quick to open fire at everything that tried my patience,” he observed, “Now I seldom cuss.” Byrd realized that profanity is essentially performative — done for the sake of others. To shock. To evince toughness. To add emphasis. Even a swear uttered when alone is born of the societal habit — the hope of attracting attention, and, if the curse was evoked from pain or fear, eliciting help.” (Art of Manliness)

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The First “Abortion-Free” State, the Most Dangerous Countries for Christians, and the Presidential Inauguration (01.21.21)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The big news in our country this week was the inauguration of a new President. Transitions like this remind us of the need to pray for those in authority. In this episode we’ll also discuss the first “abortion-free” state and the increase of persecution against Christians around the world.

STORY #1 – Missouri Is the First “Abortion-Free” State

“Missouri has become America’s first ‘abortion-free state,’ after all 45 abortion facilities in the state have closed or ceased performing abortions, according to a report from pro-life organization Operation Rescue: ‘Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the last abortion facility in Missouri,’ the report said. ‘It remains open, but Operation Rescue has confirmed that no abortion appointments have been available there for months, and none are available anytime in the foreseeable future. All abortion appointments are now being referred to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.’” (Disrn)

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STORY #2 – List of the Most Dangerous Countries to Be a Follower of Jesus

“The watchdog organization Open Doors USA says levels of Christian persecution are at a record high around the world. Open Doors reports that levels of Christian persecution are at a record high, revealing that the number of Christians murdered for their faith rose 60 percent in 2020. […] Their latest data indicates one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. […] The top 10 countries on the World Watch List include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and India. Reasons for persecution range from communist oppression to Islamic oppression and Hindu nationalism. […] ‘The big surprise on the World Watch List 2021 is that extremists and governments are using COVID-19 as a justification to increase persecution against Christians and we see this in several places,’ [Open Doors USA’s CEO David Curry] told CBN News.” (CBN News)

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STORY #3 – The Inauguration of a New President

“Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday… Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.” (Newsmax)

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Twitter Bans, Digital Communication, and Herod’s Dance Floor (01.14.21)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This week has seen a lot of news regarding social media that can potentially impact all of us. We’ll be considering a couple of major developments and, for a change of pace, a recent archaeological discovery that could have a connection to John the Baptist.

STORY #1 – Twitter Announced a Permanent Suspension of the President’s Account

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” (Twitter)

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STORY #2 – Amazon Suspends Social Media Site Parler from its Cloud Hosting Services

“Social media platform Parler — often used by Republicans and conservatives as an alternative to Twitter — went dark early Monday after Amazon Web Services suspended the site’s cloud hosting service. The suspension followed riots Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol building.” (Disrn)

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STORY #3 – Herod’s Dance Floor Where John the Baptist Was Condemned to Death May Have Been Discovered

“Archaeologists claim that they have identified the deadly dance floor where John the Baptist — a preacher who foretold the coming of Jesus — was sentenced to death around A.D. 29.” (Live Science)

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Abortion Deaths, Bible Sales, and a Revamped PBT Podcast (01.07.21)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Today’s episode of the Plain Bible Teaching Podcast marks another “relaunch.” Though this was not previously announced, it has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite some time. The podcast will now focus on discussing current events from a Biblical perspective. Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the new format.

STORY #1 – Abortion Is the Leading Cause of Death in 2020

“Data provided by Worldmeter revealed that as of December 31, there were 42.7 million unborn babies killed by abortion in 2020. […] Worldwide, abortion caused more deaths than cancer, smoking, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, malaria, automobile accidents, and COVID-19 combined.” (Disrn)

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STORY #2 – Bible Purchases Increase Significantly Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“Despite the coronavirus outbreak, according to Lifeway Christian Resources, Bible sales increased across the globe this year. Lifeway Christian Resources…noted in a new report that Bible sales between April and June increased significantly.” (Christian Headlines)

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What Are Our Priorities? (Sermon #45)

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What Are Our Priorities? (Sermon #45)

We’re taking a break this month from our regular episodes. During this break, we’ll be posting audio sermons instead. The sermon for today is titled, What Are Our Priorities?, and was preached on December 29, 2019 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

Read the article: What Are Our Priorities?

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The Christian and Minimalism (Sermon #44)

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The Christian and Minimalism (Sermon #44)

We’re taking a break this month from our regular episodes. During this break, we’ll be posting audio sermons instead. The sermon for today is titled, The Christian and Minimalism, and was preached on September 27, 2020 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

Read the article: The Christian and Minimalism

If you have a question you would like to hear addressed in a podcast episode, please fill out the form at the following link:

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How Can We Give Thanks During a Pandemic? (Episode 19)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode is this:

How can we give thanks during a pandemic?

While we should give thanks to God at ALL times, there is a particular emphasis on gratitude during the Thanksgiving season. Therefore, it is good to use it as a reminder of our need to be thankful. However, this has been a difficult year for a lot of people – health concerns, deaths of loved ones, job losses, isolation, strained relationships, and uncertainty about the future. Who knows when things will ever get “back to normal”? It is easy to let ourselves be distracted by these things – yet we can and should continue to give thanks to God. That’s what we’ll talk about in this episode.

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