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Archive for February, 2012

On March 24th, it is estimated that thousands will celebrate the faith of atheism at the Washington Mall in D.C.  The event, called “The Reason Rally,” will feature famed atheist, Richard Dawkins.  Among those attending will be Missouri State University’s atheist club known as the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”  

Chuck Colson explains that atheist groups, often filled with young adults who grew up in Christian homes, are increasing on college campuses.  According to the Barna Research Group, three in five “Christian” kids abandon the church after the age of 15.  Eighty-four percent of 18-29 year-olds who call themselves “Christians” admit that they have no idea how the Bible applies to their occupation.  What do you say?  Has the church done a poor job of teaching our young people that reason and faith are not opposites?  Do you think atheism more reasonable than Christianity?  Many young people find themselves at the university completely unequipped to defend the rationality of the Christian faith against the secular worldview so prevalent on college campuses.

A group called Ratio Christi (Latin: “The Reason for Christ”) is doing something about this by starting  student apologetic clubs (apologetics: defense of the faith).  They want to reclaim the intellectual battle ground on campuses.  Questions such as, “Does God really exist?” and “Is Christianity consistent with science?” are discussed.  “Ratio Christi,” said a student at North Carolina State, “has given me a rational and logical defense of my faith.  When I dialogue with atheists, they are shocked that I have a defense. When I run into skeptics, they are overwhelmed by the amount of evidence supporting creation.  When I talk to Christians with questions about this, they find that their belief has a strong, historical foundation that cannot be shaken.” 

I echo Chuck Colson who said, “Folks, this is music to my ears.  A young, bright, college kid who gets it — and who is willing to defend the faith and make the case that Christianity is truly the only reasonable worldview there is.” 

NOTE:  I am indebted to Chuck Colson and his team for the way they keep me informed.  The information above was gleaned from Breakpoint (2/20/2012).  Visit Breakpoint to learn more about Ratio Christi and another group, Veritas.  Also, Colson provides a helpful chart that shows various worldviews.  Go to Breakpoint and, under “Further Reading and Information,” click on the “Worldview Grid” link.  Do not fear the flying spaghetti monster.  It is only the figment of doubting minds.  Ezerwoman

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Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14).  Jesus also said, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:1-2) 

Jesus expressed righteous anger when the disciples were trying to prevent little ones from coming to Jesus.  Jesus knows that infants can believe or trust (Luke 18:15) as shown by the way they long to be held by parents rather than by strangers.  An infant may inherit God’s kingdom (salvation) just as an infant may inherit the parents’ blessing and property.  Children have to trust and receive the care of others, and only in the same way does the kingdom of God come to us. But, what is the world – what are we – doing to prevent children from trusting God?  What are we doing to hinder them or cause them to sin?

Do we hinder a child from coming to Jesus through the act of abortion?  Can a dead child grow in trust and a personal relationship with Christ?  Do we prevent a little one from coming to Jesus through the act of infanticide?  Peter Singer, an ethicist and professor at Princeton University has long proclaimed that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot.  “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time,” he wrote in 1979. “They are not persons;” therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”  Where in Scripture does Jesus say that He wants a relationship only with perfect children?  Where does God say He cannot make a difference in the world through less than perfect children?

Do we cause little children to sin by giving them information they cannot process?  K-12 sex education is mandated in some form throughout U.S. schools.  Such education is built on the premise that more knowledge is good.  (What did God warn man about in Genesis 2:15-17?)  At early ages, boys and girls are put in classrooms together to learn about all things sexual.  The goal is to make children “comfortable with their sexuality.”  A great deal of information, discussions of “safe” sex, and how to use contraceptives are offered in elementary and middle school.  Religious or moral views are not considered “science;” therefore, they are not tolerated in the classroom.  But, purity instruction is scientifically supported.  A child’s brain is not fully developed; therefore, he cannot process all information.  Adult brains use the frontal lobe to think through the facts, rationalize, and put the brakes on emotional responses.  The frontal lobe is not fully developed until the late teens or even early 20s.  It’s not lack of information that puts children at risk; it’s lack of judgment.  This is largely ignored by sex educators, fashions, the media and internet.   Children are tempted with sexual images and suggestions away from what is holy, pure, healthy, and good.  Pharmaceutical companies and Planned Parenthood stand ready to profit from harmful choices.  What do you think?  How does all of this benefit children?  Are children led to Jesus, or away from Him? 

Do we cause children to sin by letting them believe that marriage between two men or two women is perfectly acceptable?  Homosexual groups are pressuring schools to teach children that they can choose whichever they want to be: boy or girl.  That homo, bi, or transsexual are “diverse” and “normal.”  Does such teaching lead children to Jesus Christ, The Word – or away from Him?

There is hope!  There is always hope for children when parents trust God’s creation and design.  Guard innocence.  Resist evil. 

Please visit Dr. Miriam Grossman, then contrast her scientific study with PP’s TeenWire

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There is a stage being set.  I see male and female players, but focus on those of my own gender.  Why?  Because the way we women choose to play our role determines much for men and children.  Our character matters.   Each woman being called on stage is a daughter of Eve.  Each one is prompted with one question.  “Did God really say . . . ?”  So far in my lifetime, I have heard many responses.

“We are not created, but self-evolved!” proclaim deceived women.  “We are unbound sexual beings with the right to express our sensuality and seek pleasure.  Our daughters must be made comfortable with their sexuality.  Give them all knowledge and they will choose well.”

“We are no different from men,” proclaim foolish women, “and entitled to an equal playing field.  Men do not have to bear children, nor should we.”

“We have the right,” proclaim restless women, “to unlimited access to birth control and abortion.”

Deceived, foolish, and restless women have difficulty holding men accountable as faithful husbands.  Devoted fathers of their children.  Laborers who work for honest pay.   Builders of vibrant community.

When the act of sex is disconnected from procreation, an entire culture pays the price.  Everything – from the family to the economy, from ethics to health care – is affected.

Choosing to follow after the sensual lifestyle because “it’s who I am” comes with tremendous cost to society.  There are pills before sex and after sex.  Pills to fight infection.  Pills to fertilize life or abort life.  Fearing they may lose their “sexual freedom,” women cry out, “Do not come between me and my right to health care.”  In fact, “whether the conscience of my neighbor is good with my lifestyle or not, they must help fund my pills and procedures.”

The stage is set for Election Day.  Do you see the lines forming?  “Stand here, if you’re in favor of women’s health!”  “Over there, if you don’t give a wit.”  Backstage are powers and principalities busy pitting women against men, parents against children, a people against God.

Well, I give a wit.  But, my conscience can’t embrace the funding of Planned Parenthood or health care that mandates religious institutions to cover abortion-causing drugs.  Nor can my conscience turn away from deceived and restless women.  They may speak in one trained voice: “My body, my choice.”  They may be loud.  Bold.  Impassioned.  But, loud, bold, and impassioned voices can be a cover for unhappiness.  Fear.  Discontent.

Knowing this, I am compelled – mercifully compelled – to take a stand for women.  Not for our foolish and hurtful choices, but for women of character who are needed by men.  Children.  A nation.

Because God really did say there is a way that is right.  A way with blessings.  A future.  Hope.

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Tom lives in the neighborhood.  Most of us see him as a quiet, non-troublesome kind of guy.   He “minds his own business.”  But, those of us who live a little closer to Tom see him making some choices that, while seemingly private, are affecting his neighbors.   It isn’t my right to tell Tom what to do in his own home, or to tell him who he should invite into his home.  But, when how he chooses to live his life encroaches on my life in a less than helpful way, then should I voice concern?

Conversations of the past have revealed that Tom and I don’t share the same faith or character.  We have built our lives on very different foundations; therefore, we not only see the world differently, we respond to the things of this world differently.   I’ll be honest.  I’m concerned about my neighbor.  I’m concerned for Tom’s sake, but also for the sake of other neighbors whom he influences. 

I don’t believe I should question my neighbor’s faith and character.  I do believe, however, that I can ask questions about his perspective on life.  His worldview.  Every caring neighbor should ask another neighbor questions about their worldview.  If we don’t ask our neighbor why he does what he does, says what he says, or lives the way he lives, then what kind of neighbor are we?  What kind of neighborhood will we jointly build up…or tear down?

Rick Santorum was recently understood to have questioned President Obama’s faith.  When criticized for his remarks, Santorum explained that he was questioning the president’s “radical” environmentalist view that “elevates the Earth above man.”  Santorum explained that he wasn’t questioning that President Obama is a Christian, but that his worldview on natural resources and how they can’t be tapped because to do so will harm the Earth is a “phony ideal.”  Santorum has also questioned the president’s worldview on the issue of abortion; most recently, in the area of insurance coverage for prenatal tests that can identify problems in unborn children.  Santorum knows for a fact that doctors “more often than not” recommend abortion when problems are discovered.

I believe that any presidential candidate – or American citizen — should be able to ask questions about their neighbor’s worldview.  In kindly doing so, he or she is simply and fairly asking: Why do you believe what you believe?  What is the source of your belief?  How does your belief serve other people?  How does your belief help us all build a better society?  After asking such questions, it is fair to say:  Here’s what I believe and why.  Here is the source of my belief.  Here is how I try to live my belief.  Now, please feel free to question me about my worldview.  Why I say what I say and do what I do.

Too many of us seem unwilling to dialogue about worldviews and how those worldviews affect neighborhoods and society as a whole.  When a person is concerned enough to speak up about health care, marriage, sexual behaviors, abortion, euthanasia, or ethics of any kind, they are quickly labeled as “judgmental.”  Care and concern are not judgmental.  Contrasting one worldview with another is not “judgmental.”  Laying something counterfeit next to the real thing is not “judgmental.”  And, you know what?  Calling something harmful or dangerous is not “judgmental.”  If it is, then every “bridge out” or “stop ahead” or “wear your seatbelt” sign should be torn down.

I’m not sure that I’ll be given the opportunity to dialogue with Tom about important matters of life.  But, if I am, I promise to take care.  To not question his faith (or lack of it) or demean his character.  Instead, I will try to ask questions.  Questions that show my interest in him as a person.  But, also questions that help Tom think about being a good neighbor.

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Do you have a moment?  Please listen to what Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, has to say about the recent mandate of President Obama and Health and Human Services (HHS).   Lutherans — and all people of the Christian faith — should care about the HHS Birth Control Mandate. 

http://youtu.be/X5au8yj2msQ

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Dear Planned Parenthood,

You say you care about women’s health.  That being the case, do you educate girls and young women about their sensitive ecosystem?  Do you tell them that their bodies, quite different from men’s, are more at risk for infections?  Do you explain that the cervix, for example, is an area of the female body that more easily allows bacteria and viruses to grow?  That being on the birth control pill may actually increase the risk of infection?  (Dr. Miriam Grossmen, Unprotected, p. 27)

You say you have the best interests of young women at heart.  So, how do you protect them from themselves?  “An adolescent is like a fully mature car that’s turbo-charged, but its driver is unskilled, and his navigational abilities are not yet fully in place.” (Dr. Ronald Dahl, quoted in You’re Teaching My Child What? by Miriam Grossman, M.D., p. 75)  You insist on providing teens with all information so that they can make informed decisions, but how can you produce a sexually responsible girl if her wiring isn’t finished?  Circuits aren’t complete?  If the “feeling” part of her brain is functioning, but the “thinking” part of her brain is not yet fully developed?

You say you want to help women make informed decisions.  Then why do you resist showing expectant moms a sonogram of their baby?  Why, if there is any possible link at all between abortion and breast cancer, don’t you mention this?  What do you say about the risk of cervical cancer that can be caused by the human papilloma virus possibly passed on during the act of sex?

You say you want to prevent abortions.  Once again: Why do you resist showing expectant moms a sonogram of their baby?  Why do you insist on telemed abortions which are not only unsafe for the women and kill more babies, but increase your annual revenue?  According to your own 2009-10 annual report, PP performed more than 329,000 abortions.  Conservatively estimating that each abortion is $450, abortion services brought in $148 million of PP’s overall $320 million in clinic revenue, representing 46% of your budget.  Why do you insist that each of your affiliates must have at least one clinic offering abortion services by 2013?  Why do you have “abortion quotas” that your clinics are to reach every month?   

You say you want to provide services for poor women of every ethnicity.  What kind of services?  78% of PP clinics are set up in minority communities.  African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, but 35% of U.S. abortions.  PP founder Margaret Sanger created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed “undesirable.”  Sanger said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.”  (Source: Black Genocide

You say you want to help this country help its families.  Does single parenthood ever bother you?  Why do you force your way into schools with your “services” and clinics but resist parental consent for minors?  How do you build generational relationships between sons or daughters and their moms and dads?

You call yourself “Planned Parenthood.”  Why don’t you just admit that you’re not very fond of parenthood at all.  In fact, looking at your TeenWire web site (X-rated), I see that you encourage the practice of homosexuality as a way to avoid parenthood altogether. 

You insist that the U.S. government force religious  institutions to pay for insurance plans offering “free” contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization.  You say that churches have no right to deprive women of access to free “birth control.”  But, have you ever stopped to consider the ethics of The Pill, abortion pills (RU-486 or mifepristone, the “morning after pill,” or telemed/pill-in-a-drawer), and sterilizations on ethical or medical grounds?  Fact is, you and people from all walks of life — pastors, physicians, psychologists, and social workers — have agreed  that The Pill has been responsible for massive social changes which have crippled the economy; increased promiscuity, STDs, and teen pregnancies; decreased marriage rates; and lowered birth rates to barely replaceable levels.

You say you exist simply to offer a choice.  Then why do you resort to “gangster tactics” when that choice is questioned and funds are stopped? (Sheila Liaugminas in Mercatornet)

In what way, Planned Parenthood, are you helping to build a vibrant and hopeful civilization?

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Dear friends and fellow people of faith,

Now is not the time for foolishness. 

Please, don’t look at your watch on Sunday morning and complain if Divine Service expands beyond your allotted hour.  Instead, thank God that He is serving you and filling you with Word and Sacrament so that you are energized for your vocations of parenting, teaching, working, learning, building, and neighboring.

Please, put away your pride and curb your sensitivity if your pastor seems to speak directly to you and your particular weakness or sin.  Be grateful that God is using His servant to stir your conscience and lead you away from harm.

Please, don’t close your ears and plant your feet stubbornly if you hear your pastor speak about sins including abortion, homosexuality, living together outside of marriage, so-called gay “marriage,” euthanasia, and so on.  You may feel loyal to a particular political party.  You may believe that the church should stay silent where the government has spoken.  But, a pastor that speaks where God speaks is a pastor who is faithful to his call.  Instead of resisting that pastor or telling him to keep quiet, please pray for him.  Pray that he speak the Truth of Christ with the attitude of Christ.

Please, don’t be distracted by hymns with melodies you don’t like; or vestments that seem too priestly; or the weekly Lord’s Supper that stretches “church” even longer; or an organ that sounds, well, too much like a church organ; or a choir that doesn’t entertain.  Instead, be thankful that you can congregate with fellow believers in a public place of worship.

This, dear friends and fellow people of faith, is no time for foolishness.  Why?  Because we are living in a country that has legalized the killing of children in the womb whose hearts beat as vibrantly as the hearts of their mothers.  (Those 53+ million babies would have invigorated our economy and supported an aging 76 million baby boomers.) 

We are living in a country where three states have legalized euthanasia and six states plus the District of Columbia have legalized so-called same-sex “marriage.”   

We are living in a country where voters – many of them Christian – elected Barak Obama.  Under this president and his administration, freedom of worship (personal faith kept to oneself) has replaced freedom of religion (personal faith shared and practiced in public). 

Under this president, freedom of sexual expression (hetero, homo, bi or trans) is the right above all other rights. 

Under this president, the government partners with Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest provider of abortions) and we, the taxpayers, fund deceitful cover of rape and under-age prostitution, separation of minors from their parents, and drugs and procedures that place girls and young women at risk physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Under this president, people of faith – people like you and me – are being stripped of their right to conscience; in other words, their right to resist evil and do good.  With “Obamacare,” for example, church bodies are being told that they must obey Caesar rather than God. 

So please, dear friends and people of faith –

This is not the time to foolishly complain about the length of Divine Service, or liturgy, or sermons that make you squirm.  This is the time to thank God that you can still gather in His name and in a public place.  This is the time to grow more familiar with The Word, partake in the Sacrament, and encourage one another to resist evil and mentor a new generation for Christ.

Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

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