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Archive for April, 2012

Today, April 21, the man who taught me much about worldviews in conflict was called home.  I never had the privilege of meeting Chuck Colson, but I mourn his death as if he were a best friend.  I signed the Manhattan Declaration because I trusted Chuck’s perspective on this culture.  An entire shelf or more in my library holds books and Bible studies authored by Chuck.  I quoted Chuck regularly in a human care publication I write called Christian Citizenship. How blessed the people who worked beside Chuck must have been.

After being humbled by his own failings in political leadership, Chuck was “born again” in Christ in 1973.  I remember that year.  It was the year that Roe vs. Wade handed down a death sentence to any inconvenient boy or girl in the womb.  As a believer, Chuck became an ardent supporter of the sanctity of human life.  1973 was also the year I became engaged to my husband.  We married in 1974.  I gave little thought to Chuck at that time, knowing him only as someone sent to prison for his part in the Watergate scandal.  But, growing in my own faith as a wife, mother, and involved pro-life and family advocate, I began reading Chuck’s books.  I often carried one or two with me when speaking around the country, offering them as resources for men and women who wanted to make their faith real in action.

I became a modest supporter of Prison Fellowship, the ministry founded by Chuck.  He had promised to remember the incarcerated and share the transforming love of Jesus with them and their families.  He kept his promise.  “I could never, ever have left prison and accomplished what has been accomplished but for God doing it through me,” Chuck said.

In 1991, Chuck began broadcasting BreakPoint Radio, educating Christians not only to grow in faith but live it in the public square.  I’m not sure how many reams of paper I’ve used to print Chuck’s BreakPoint articles.  For a number of years, I kept Chuck’s articles in a three-ring binder.  One binder, two binders, three… .  Oh, the weight of Chuck’s words!  This saint and sinner helped me see that two worldviews — perspectives on life — are daily at odds.  There are only two: God’s and all others.

Chuck Colson was the set of working clothes the Spirit chose to wear for nearly 40 years.  He is proof that, no matter the circumstances and failures of life, God is faithful.

Robert P. George and Timothy George, co-authors with Chuck of the Manhattan Declaration, wrote, “The two of us are committed to devoting our lives to carrying forth the vision and advancing the cause to which Chuck gave himself with unstinted vigor.  His life stands as a testimony to God’s power to transform culture and make a difference.”

Together with literally millions of others, I celebrate the life of Chuck Colson — a man of true faith, integrity, and humble service.  Even as Chuck rejoices in the presence of God, I will continue to be encouraged by this man’s refusal to be silent.  To defend the rights of conscience.  To obey God rather than men.

Won’t you sign the Manhattan Declaration, in honor of God’s servant Chuck?

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Alexander Tsiaras gives us opportunity to marvel at the miracle of human life.  I’ve shared his video with you before, but I encourage you to look again…

…and share with everyone you know 🙂

http://youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70

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Jesus Christ never asks for or demands the sacrifice of children.   Instead, Jesus wants us to teach children about Him so that they might love and trust Him.  He tells us to never put anyone — father, mother, or child — in harm’s way.

It is for this reason that people who defend mother and child gather for 40 Days of Prayer in front of abortion clinics across the country.  Many working inside the clinics are already struggling with their conscience.  They’ve grown weary of hopelessness and death.  They have felt the movement of a yet to be born child, seen the look of fear and sorrow on the mother’s face, and tried to find some peace in what they’re doing.  But, peace alludes them.  That’s because abortion is unnatural.  Ripping new life from the womb puts the physician at odds with his profession and the mother at odds with her child and her soul.   It is an act of desperation.

Christ, seeing us all caught in sin’s desperation, offered Himself as the only sacrifice necessary.  He suffered persecution and death so that all of us — born and unborn — might have eternal life.  Yet, mocking the Giver and Savior of life, Planned Parenthood (PP) has put out a pro-abortion prayer guide called “40 Days of Prayer Supporting Women Everywhere.”

PP has set its altar in place.  It is at the foot of Molech.  PP’s Prayer of “Thanks for Abortion Providers” and their “Sacred Care,” reads like this:  “Today we pray for all the staff at abortion clinics around the nation.  May they be daily confirmed in the sacred care that they offer women.”

PP’s 40 days of prayer began March 18 and continues through April 27.  Here are a few more of their prayers:

“We pray for elected officials, that they may always support a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions [i.e. abortion].”

“We pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power [of choice, i.e. abortion] by their religion.  May they learn to reject fear and live bravely.”

“We pray for a cloud of gentleness to surround every abortion facility.”

“We give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal.”

But, abortion is not safe.  The grim procedure kills a human child already named by God and places the mother’s life at risk physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  The only cloud of gentleness is outside the abortion clinic where those willing to help women in times of difficulty lift their voices in prayer not to Molech, but to Jesus Christ.

PP has partnered with a group called Faith Aloud to write these pro-abortion prayers.  Perhaps you should visit the web site of Faith Aloud.  Contrast their worldview with that of God.  If our choices and behavior are to be blessed because they are right in our own eyes, they why do we need Jesus Christ?  If taking the life of another human being — no matter how small or seemingly inconvenient — is not evil, then what is?  Why did Jesus, when tempted by evil, say, “Be gone, Satan!”  Of what evil does Jesus ask us to be delivered in the prayer He taught us to pray?  And why did Jesus give His life on the cross and rise again to victory over evil?  Calling abortion a “good” thing is giving in to evil.  It is bowing at the altar of idols.  Those idols are more than the stone god Molech.  They are our own fear, selfish desire, and uninhibited sexuality.

I know of a woman who called abortion “the sacrifice she had to make for herself.”  But, not once — not in all of His Word — does the Triune God ask for such a sacrifice.  Recently, the woman president of the Episcopal Divinity School attempted to get her audience to join her in a chant: “Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.  Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.”  But, not once — in all of His Word — does the Triune God ask us to choose death.  Instead, He says,

. . . I set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days . . .  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

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Laura was raped by her alcoholic father.  She remembers the shock when the doctor told her she was pregnant.  “He told me that my only choice in a situation like this was to have an abortion.  He was very kind.  He held my hand and comforted me.”  After the abortion, Laura cried nearly every night.  “I could find no peace.”

Encouraging a woman who has become pregnant through incest or rape to have an abortion may seem the compassionate thing to do.  But, is it?

Some have observed that abortion is the solution for the people we don’t want.  Or, in the case of rape or incest, the people we can’t bear to love.  You would think that God could not bear to love tainted and sinful people like me.  Or anyone else in the whole human race.  “I am a Holy God who cannot abide the unholy.  I will abort you all!”  That’s what God could have said.  But, He didn’t.  He chose, instead, to sacrifice more of Himself.  The Holy came to live among the unholy.  To love the unloveable.

Only God in Christ Jesus can look full in the face of ugliness and despair to bring healing and hope.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Jesus in Matthew 11:28-29).

Dr. Sandra Mahkorn, author of Pregnancy and Sexual Assault: The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, alerted me to the fact that abortion is an additional trauma for the girl or woman who has first been victimized and is then encouraged to victimize her unborn child.  Consider the symptoms of rape.  The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful or hateful of men.  Now consider the symptoms of abortion.  The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful or hateful of men.  Instead of curing the problem, all the same symptoms are intensified.  Martin Luther once said, “Even the heathen say it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.”

In a 1979 study, Dr. Mahkorn identified 37 pregnant rape victims.  Of these, only five chose to have an abortion.  The other 32 victims gave several reasons for not aborting.  Some felt that abortion was another act of violence.  Some saw an intrinsic meaning or purpose for the life of the child.  Some even believed that if they could get through the pregnancy they would have conquered the rape.  For them the selfless act of giving birth helped them to reclaim their self-respect.

In studies of incest victims, the vast majority choose to carry the pregnancy to term.  Those in the minority who have an abortion appear to do so only under pressure from their parents to conceal the incestuous relationship.

For some incest victims, carrying their pregnancy to term is a way to break out of an incestuous relationship with their fathers, whom they may still love despite their confusion and resentment about the way they have been used as sexual objects.  Since they still love their fathers, having the child not only exposes the incestuous relationship, but also gives hope of beginning a truly loving relationship.

Reason holds that if God has a watchful eye on us and loves us, He will prevent all evil and let us suffer nothing.  Luther reminds us to look to the Word, not reason.  When a mother acts as though she is about to drop her child, the little one throws its arms about her neck and holds on all the tighter.  Similarly in times of trouble and desperation, God wants us to cling to Him and trust His Words and promises to us.

“I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.  The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:5-6).

The Lord is the song of salvation for all of us who have been wronged.  And for all of us who have wronged others.

His compassion is true.  It is new every morning.  Great is His faithfulness.

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Tara had been raped.  She had been violated by a man who had no respect for her personhood.  For her physical or emotional well-being.  She felt dirty.  Degraded and filthy.  A sense of uncleanness rose up from the very core of her being.

Was she to blame?  No.  The man who assaulted and raped her was to blame.  He, and he alone, was responsible for his behavior.

Tara took care with her dress and behavior.  She didn’t allow herself to be in places she knew were unsafe.  Yet, one night, on her way home from the house of a friend, a man appeared from nowhere.  He had evil on his mind.  The deed was done.  And she was left to grieve the loss the loss of something she considered of great value.  The pureness of her identity was stolen away.

Or, was it?  Purity is not something that can be stolen.  We, ourselves, can determine to give up our purity or consciously turn from a life of purity, but no one can steal this virtue from us.  Purity, it has been said, is not so much of the body but of the soul.  In Tara’s eyes, much had been lost.  But, in the eyes of God, Tara – who had not compromised her virtue – was still pure.

On Good Friday, Tara attended church with her family but she did not go home with them.  Instead, she lingered in the quiet sanctuary.  There, she asked: “Why, God?  Why did this have to happen?  Will my future husband consider me spoiled?  Will there be a wedding for one so shamed?”  Tara wept.  Tears of sorrow quickly became tears of anger.  Then fear.  Had evil ruined her life?  Thoughts began to swirl in her head.  Strangely, Tara remembered a day in the kitchen with her grandmother.  It was the place where lessons in cooking often turned to lessons for life.  More clear than the image of her grandma’s face were the words she often spoke:  “Dear one, when you are in doubt, look to God’s Word.  It will not fail you.”

Tara sighed.  Looked around.  There was a Bible in the pew.  She flipped through the pages with fumbling fingers, embarrassed that she felt so awkward with the book her grandma knew so well.  Her eyes came to rest upon Psalm 25:20.  “Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!  Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You.  May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on You.”

Tara looked up to the Cross over the altar.  Again, she heard her grandmother’s voice.  “Tara, when you cannot find the words, God’s Spirit speaks them for you.”  Now, more confident, Tara turned the pages to Psalm 56.  “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.  This I know, that God is for me.  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me” (8-11)?

Later, at home, Tara wrote in her journal: Today, I am thankful for my Grandma who, years ago, reminded me that I can trust God with my life.  I am angry with the man who hurt me.  I will never forget what he did.  But, I don’t have to let this evil thing define me.  The man did wrong.  I did not.  The man sinned against God.  I choose not to sin against God by turning away from Him.  Dear Jesus.  Hold me close.  Move me forward… out of darkness into Your light.”

A question remains.  It is for the grandmothers of young women like Tara.  Are we reminding our granddaughters that their identity is not shaped by what happens to them, but by the Lord Jesus who died for them?

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