“So and so has an agenda.” I am confidence you have heard that expression before. I am certain there have been times you can remember using that very expression. It is ubiquitous in our culture. Typically, it is used in a perjoative (negative) sense. We attribute nefarious motives to the person in question. Yet, when we actually understand the actual meaning of the word it is a perfectly neutral word with no inherent malice attached.
For example, when I am teaching a subject, no matter if the context is secular or spiritual in nature, I surely have an agenda. I enter into that teaching context with a thesis to advocate and I am consciously attempting to persuade the audience of my argument’s cogency and irrefutable logic. If I did not possess an agenda there would be no goal or objective for the enterprise.
It is interesting how the meaning of a word or a phrase morphs over time in our culture. Aside from the sense of organization many of us might be familiar with when we think of the word agenda there are alternative definitions.
Typical definition when thinking of organizations:
1. a list of matters to be discussed at a meeting
The other meanings from Webster Dictionary are
2. a list of aims or possible future achievements:
3. a secret aim or reason for doing something:
Please note the definition in number 2. That is the sense I mean and want to be the focus of my blog. I have a definite agenda as I type the words for this post. Think of the one of the synoynms of agenda : “purpose.” When we substitute purpose for agenda the sentence loses its negative force. Instead of the suspicous “Ricky has an agenda” it becomes neutral”Ricky has a purpose” or have about “Ricky has a list of aim or possible future achievements.”
Hopefully one can see the rationale and cogency of my line of argument. Each time we set out to perform some act there is an agenda behind that act. It can be negative but it does not necessarily need to be negative unless the context demands it.
Hopefully that diatribe was helpful. Evangelicals should be the chief proponents of accuracy and precision when we communicate. Words have meaning and can not become “waxed noses.” When that happens, and it happens far too often, we can use the same words but retain very different meaning behind the same exact word. The word “Evangelical” is a perfect illustration. When I use the word I do so with the tradional understanding.
The NAE/LifeWay Research method includes four statements to which respondents must strongly agree to be categorized as evangelical:
- The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
- It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
- Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation
Liberal denominations who classify themselves as “Evangelicals” would describe their worldview with other language. Just yesterday I posted an article on Facebook about Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary. She does not believe in Heaven, Miracles or Christ’s Resurrection yet she would claim the title of “Evangelical.” The majority of people who teach or study at Union Theological Seminary would take offense if you did not regard them as fellow Evangelicals.
Having said all of that about agendas and the important caveats about agendas not being inherently negative let me bring your attention to a recent development at PBS.
PBS made news by deciding to use a cartoon specifically designed for children to have two of their male characters enter into holy matrimony. The show, Arthur, has been on for 22 years. Make no mistake by airing this episode PBS is clearly setting for an agenda.
That this was by designed is confirmed by a Maria Venezuela, PBS executive in charge of children programming, who stated PBS wanted to have characters “who are designed to reflect the diversity of community across the nations. We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”
Why would a cartoon show venture into the socially charged issue of marriage specifically and the sexual revolution in general. They do so because of what is termed “virtue signaling.”
PBS is “signaling” to the culture they are fully on board with the redefinition of marriage without apology. They want their consumers (also tax paying Americans) to know they agree with the cultural tide that says they are on the right side of history. They will not be left behind and rendered irrelevant.
Here is their playbook: “Gradually, the unthinkable becomes tolerable then acceptable then legal then praised!” I wish I could take credit for this quote but I found it posted on FB by some church. Thank God He will always a remnant upon Planet Earth no matter how low society falls into the abyss.
It is done time and time again. Jesse Jackson was an once a staunch opponent of abortion, now he is a card-carrying member of the pro-abortion (they hate that term and prefer “pro-choice) movement. William Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act but soon capitulated. Barack Obama was for traditional marriage until he wasn’t”.
What was the common denominator in all of their change? They read the tea leaves and saw the culture change. So they changed.
PBS is not your father’s Oldsmobile anymore. But remember the first word of the playbook. It was “Gradually”. Change of this significance cannot take place over night. It will initially always be met with resistance, especially older adults. You know the adage, “You cannot trick an old dog new tricks.”
So to change the culture you target the youth (the younger the better). These young people grow up becoming comfortable with this new way of thinking and they become the future decision makers and policy makers.
So PBS uses a cartoon series to woo and mold the minds of those they want to indoctrinate into embracing the sexual revolution.
Evangelicals, you better wake up and realize the war started a long time ago. It is not a conventional war with clearly delineated enemy combatants . One minute your child is enjoying Bert and Ernie on PBS but the very next hour they are watching two characters from a popular cartoon delight in marital bless as two same-sex individuals.
PBS certainly has an agenda in mind. Our only comfort is that God has an altogether different agenda in mind. The only question before us is whose agenda will we take delight in and endeavor to send our remaining days proclaiming the Gospel to a fallen world that needs Jesus Christ.
Evangelicals understand when cartoons becomes more than just a cartoon.
My agenda is to speak for God in the best manner I know how. I would be interested in your feedback.
Keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One!