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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Jesus sittingJesus has risen! He is risen indeed!

But wait. Has He really? Is what He has said about Himself true? Is what He says about us true? Is anything He says true?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-5, 14).

Doubting this, I am left to struggle with feelings, opinions, and the influence of every power and principality that despises the God of created order. Doubting what Jesus says about Himself, I also doubt what He says about me and my neighbor, sin and salvation, what is good and what is not.

Believing this, I understand that Jesus is God. He is the entire Word—Old and New Testaments— and not just the words printed in red. Jesus Christ is the Word on marriage, sex, family, law (biblical, not Shariah), ethics, character, morality, and love.

“Amen!”  It is so!  With all believers in the Word made flesh I sing:

If Christ had not been raised from death Our faith would be in vain,
Our preaching but a waste of breath, Our sin and guilt remain.
But now the Lord is risen indeed; He rules in earth and heaven:
His Gospel meets a world of need—In Christ we are forgiven.

If Christ had not been truly raised His Church would live a lie;
His name should nevermore be praised, His words deserve to die.
But now our great Redeemer lives; Through Him we are restored.
His Word endures, His Church revives in Christ, our risen Lord.

(Lutheran Service Book,
CPH, St. Louis, MO., p. 486;
Text: Christopher M. Idle)

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pontius pilate & jesusIt is Good Friday.  I am thinking about courts of law… and truth.

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Pilate asked,

What is truth?”

There are Pilates everywhere.  They say that truth is “whatever you want it to be.”  There is “my truth” and “your truth.”

So, on this Good Friday I have the answer to Pilate’s question.  It is the only answer that will serve the good of self and others.  It is the answer for ethics, relationships, and courts of law.   What is truth?

Jesus Christ is Truth.

A truth by any other name is shifting sand.

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It happened several times while I was on my recent road trip.  A decision needed to be made.  Take the interstate and make time, or meander the backcountry road and enjoy the scenery.  Stop two hours earlier and “wind down,” or press on to a further destination.  Stay with a friend or relative another night, or reserve a motel room and get some work done on the laptop.   Relying on my feelings left me hanging in mid-air.  One minute, I felt like exploring the aspen groves and kicking my shoes off by a mountain stream.  But, maybe less than an hour later, I felt like I just wanted to be home.

My feelings changed with my moods.  Refreshed and starting a new day with beauty all around me, I felt adventuresome.  Undaunted.  But, as the sun lost its brilliance and slipped beneath the horizon, I felt like settling some place safe and making my “nest.”  Plans for the day made, I felt like engaging.  Plans changed or unsure, I felt like disengaging.

Feelings are fickle.  They cannot be trusted.

Yet, for a long, long time, I’ve been watching a younger generation make life-altering decisions based wholly on feelings.  The sixteen-year-old knocks at the door of our caring pregnancy center.  “He told me he loved me.  Do you think I’m pregnant?”  The phone rings late at night.  “I felt like moving in with him would secure our relationship, but tonight when I shared my concerns with him, he kicked me out.  Will you come get me?”  Years of separation from God haunt the woman.  “In that moment of despair, I felt like an abortion would make things right again.  But, I never again felt good about myself.  Can God ever forgive me?”  The young man’s shoulders slump under the orange prison garb.  “Pride pumped my ego.   Boundaries were for lesser men.   I felt in control, exhilarated by the risk, and confident in the adulation of others… until they slapped on the cuffs.  Now, my family is paying the price.”

What kind of people do we become and what kind of culture do we build when we are ignorant of “right” and “wrong?”  When we are “self”-guided by feelings?

Some time ago, a sociologist from Notre Dame interviewed 230 young people across the U.S.  The sociologist, Christian Smith, asked questions pertaining to morality.  Smith summarized in his book, Lost in Transition, that the results were “disheartening.”   It isn’t that the behavior of young people today is better or worse than my generation.  The problem is a lack of moral reasoning.  When asked about the “moral dilemmas and the meaning of life,” the young people offered Smith “rambling” replies which testified that “they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary” to even engage in moral reflection.  “I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” said one young person.  For these 18-23-year-olds, right and wrong is judged by how a particular action made them feel.  As one put it, “I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.”

But, asks Chuck Colson, what happens when doing the right thing requires ignoring how you “feel” and, instead, determining actions by an external standard?  In what ways are parents — with the support of the Church — helping the younger generation to think rather than just feel?  There are those who predict that these young people will grow more reflective with age.  But, reflection requires that we have principles and ideals on which to base our reflections.  Young people who are bombarded by messages from the world, deceived by Satan, and influenced by their own fickle feelings and changing opinions will be ill-equipped for ethical decision-making.  Marriage.  Parenting.  Being a good neighbor.

So, what can we do?  There is a practical tool for congregations to use with parents, college students, teachers, and a concerned community.  It’s a DVD series titled Doing the Right Thing featuring a panel of morally academic “thinkers” interacting with an assembly of students.  Panelists include Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, and other astute and principled men.  The series is moderated by Brit Hume.  Our son, Jon, purchased the series and our family has viewed it.  We highly recommend it and hope to make use of it in our own congregation and community.  Why don’t you, too?  Doing the Right Thing is available from The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Fickle feelings can’t be trusted.  But, doing the right thing — based on a standard outside of ourselves — can.

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“All the people care about is the economy.”

“The people aren’t interested in ‘social issues’ like abortion, homosexuality or gay marriage.”

“There they go again,” reports MSNBC and others.  “The ‘radical right’ is working abortion and marriage into the conversation.”

Rightly so.  Social issues, as they are called, are moral issues.  The legalized killing of preborn human children is a moral issue.  Re-defining marriage is a moral issue.  Teaching our children that homosexuality is just a choice on the “sexual menu” is a moral issue.

Everything has a moral component.  The government has a moral obligation to protect “life and liberty,” to maintain a strong military, and to live within its means.  It should encourage responsible, orderly behavior and a good work ethic.  It should protect families from drug cartels, terrorists, and enemies from within and without.

Anyone running for office should have moral integrity.  Moral character.  Moral and ethical fiber.  It’s not just my opinion, but God’s mandate that people who rule a nation should respect the life that He creates.  Anyone who compromises on issues such as abortion, infanticide, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia has lost (or never had) a moral compass.

Those who seek to experiment with marriage and family float rumors.  They say that Americans don’t really care about same-sex “marriage.”  They add: If someone is against gay “marriage,” then they must be against homosexuals.  Not true.  People who believe they are homosexual are persons, too.  They are  people loved by God.  But, God is the Creator of marriage and, therefore, He alone defines it.  God created marriage for one man and one woman because it’s the best environment for children, it connects children to their biological origins, and it brings two opposites — male and female — together to mentor boys and girls in the way God intends for them to go.

Moral integrity is practiced — or not practiced — on Wall Street and in every business.  In education.  In health care.  In courts of law.  In the military.  In homes.  And during election cycles.

My eyes have seen that men and women who defend the sanctity of human life generally have a moral compass not only in place but in operation.  Leaders — in the home, community, church, and government — who value the life that God creates and redeems in Jesus Christ are imperfect leaders to be sure, but they are accountable to someone other than themselves.  Their God determines right and wrong.  Their neighbors matter.  Their choices reflect hope for a new generation.

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The animal rights group Mercy For Animals hired a hog confinement site employee to go undercover.  Photos were taken of some unethical behavior.

Mercy…  please!   Animals will never be able to thank you.  But, if you would put your passion into protesting the cruelty that happens daily inside abortion clinics, I’m sure some children and their children will thank you.

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