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Posts Tagged ‘human life’

Denethor Lord of the Rings

Over lunch and a glass of Merlot, Dr. Deborah Nucatola detailed the harvesting of body parts from partially aborted babies. She explained the “crushing” procedure of the unwanted parts of the baby, including the child’s head, followed by the gentle extraction of valuable organs. She quoted the price per heart, liver, and kidney while swirling wine in a goblet and dining on an elegantly served meal.

You can watch Dr. Nucatola, Abortionist and Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, and listen to her explain the business of abortion in this edited, eight minute video clip. If you can stomach it, you’ll find the three hour video entitled “Planned Parenthood in the Business of Selling Baby Parts FULL FOOTAGE” on YouTube.

My daughter-in-law, Alison, watched the video. Gut wrenched and with heavy heart for the children, she began to pray. But, Alison told me that her prayer was interrupted by an image from Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King. After you have watched Dr. Nucatola casually explain the purposeful killing of children (for a profit), Alison would like you to watch this movie clip.

“Please watch carefully,” says Alison. “Listen to the words of Pippin’s ballad. (You can read the lyrics on the screen.) Ponder the meaning. Then focus on the character Denethor, the greasy man with food dripping down his chin while death is all around.”

Alison asks, “Do you see light and darkness, good and evil?” If you are familiar with J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King, then you, like Alison, might have wondered, “How dead on the inside does someone have to be to have such a voracious appetite at a time like this? He eats with not a care in the world, yet there is blood on Denethor’s hands.”

Dr. Nucatola, is younger and much more attractive. But, Alison wonders, what about her appetite? What about her soul? How can she so casually detail the slaughter and sale of innocent human life while enjoying her fine feast?

“I pity her,” Alison told me. “What has been stripped away from her heart and mind to leave her in such an icy state of callousness? Is her conscience so dulled or deadened that she can discuss the price of a human child’s body parts and the crushing of that child’s skull in much the same manner as she might discuss the price of furniture or office supplies?”

Tolkien probably never imagined that his work “would be tied to abortion or the profit motivations of the human tissue industry,” Alison said. “But, while I was praying, the comparison between Dr. Nucatola and Denethor came so clearly to my mind that I cannot be silent.”

Alison believes that Jesus forgives women who repent of their abortions. He forgives the repentant boyfriends, husbands, or parents who insisted on abortions. He forgives the doctors who repent of doing abortions. Upon forgiveness, the Lord Jesus wipes the sinner’s slate clean so that he or she is as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). With true repentance and sorrow, the Lord Jesus freely gives His mercy and the gift of salvation to all, no matter the offense (Psalm 86:5).  Then, He says, “Go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

But, she asks, what of those who do not repent? What of those who not only do evil but defend evil? What of those who call themselves Christian but support Planned Parenthood or refuse to acknowledge what happens on the surgical table in a Planned Parenthood facility?

Alison is concerned about the spiritual health and salvation of people that you and I know—people in our families, our congregations, our neighborhoods who continue to insist that abortion is a “woman’s choice.” She wonders: If a person defends Planned Parenthood while forsaking the “little children whom Jesus wants to come to Him” (Matthew 19:14); if a person champions the death of their littlest neighbor—the babe in the womb, then does God turn His face away?

Alison is right to be concerned.  There is a spiritual battle that rages for our very souls. During prayer, Alison was moved to compare the callousness of a Planned Parenthood abortionist with that of Tolkien’s lord of death. The powerful imagery brought to Alison’s mind should leave you and me as gut wrenched and soul sickened as it did her. “There is a burden on my heart,” Alison told me. “This burden causes me to ask a hard question to all who call themselves Christians: Will God forgive any of us—whether we have sinned by defending abortion or by keeping silent—if we have not confessed sorrow and repentance of that sin?”

Alison knows that “choice” is the word used by those who seek self-gratification and lordship of their own lives. But “choice,” she points out, is something we all really do have. We can choose evil… or good. We can choose to serve ourselves and the world… or God. To the Israelites, freed from captivity, Joshua said,

Fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

Alison asks, “Will we, the people who proclaim Jesus Christ, ignore Dr. Nucatola, Planned Parenthood and the imagery of Tolkien’s Denethor? Or will we say, ‘No more! My eyes are open! I will speak!  I will speak for my littlest neighbors, the ones Jesus calls by name.”

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woman soldier with gunDeborah was a judge and prophetess.  To this, many of my gender quickly add, “Deborah was also a courageous military leader in battle.”  But, what does God’s Word tell us?

Let’s Think About It

Q: Deborah was a prophetess.  A prophet or prophetess speaks on behalf of another but, as far as I can determine, not as a public speaker for God during a congregational gathering.  A prophetess might give counsel, settle disputes, or offer thankfulness and praise to God.  Deborah was also a judge.  What was the condition of Israel in the years prior to her leadership (Judges 2:13, 16-17; 3:7, 13; 4:1-4)?

A: Martin Luther took note of the service of Deborah and other women as rulers.  He said that they “have been very good at management.”  He suggested that women’s leadership in other areas of life might motivate men to properly fulfill their responsibility.  It is important to note that Deborah became a judge after the people of Israel repeatedly “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Evil, in every way, opposes God’s created order for men, women, and the benefit of a thriving society.

Q: We may think that Deborah was sent by God into combat against Israel’s enemy.  But, is this the case? 

A: A careful read of Judges 4:4-15 reveals that God did not ask Deborah to carry the sword in combat.  He asked Barak through Deborah.  Victory was promised to Barak if only he would obey, but he chose not to.  Barak said he would do the Lord’s bidding only if Deborah went with him into battle.  Deborah told Barak that the glory in battle would not be his because the enemy Sisera would be delivered “into the hand of a woman” (v. 9).  The woman Deborah refers to in this verse is not herself, but Jael.  Dr. Vogel explains: “Deborah accompanied Barak to Mount Tabor, but no further.  Consistent with Deuteronomy, she donned no battle gear nor engaged in the conflict.   Barak (unaccompanied by Deborah) led 10,000 men into the valley to a resounding victory. The rebuke for Barak’s recalcitrance was rendered when a heroic woman, Jael, was given the opportunity to slay the fleeing enemy commander, Sisera.  She did this in her own tent, with household equipment [a tent peg], not as a warrior on a battlefield.”  (“Women in Combat: Two Views,” The Lutheran Witness, May 2003, p. 16-20)

Q: Deborah served as a judge and prophetess.  She counseled Barak as the leader of Israel’s troops.  Yet, how did she sum up her role in Judges 5:7?

A:  Deborah was praised for her leadership, yet she does not sing about being raised up as a warrior.  She sings of being a “mother in Israel.”  Though no biological children of Deborah are mentioned, she is an encourager and helper for her people.  Scripture, like much of human culture, consistently distinguishes the roles of men and women.

Q: Specialist Hollie Vallence, quoted in Part 1 of this series, was asked by her country to sacrifice home and family.  In doing so, she explained that she had to build an “ice wall around her heart.”  Is this consistent with God’s design?  What are the consequences for women, men, and children if a mother hardens her heart?

A: Luther noted that a woman is merciful by nature because she is born to show mercy and to cherish just as a man is born to protect.  This is why, Luther says, no living creature has more mercy than a woman, particularly in respect for her infant.  Men are known to focus on one project, putting all others aside, until it is finished.  In times of war, this allows them to leave their home and family for periods of time in order to “do their duty.”  It is not that they always feel brave and fearless, but perhaps their vocation of steward and protector allows them to do what they need to do for wives, sons and daughters; indeed, for future generations.  They are free to accomplish what is necessary, knowing that their children are in the capable and loving care of mothers.  Here, then, is the woman partnering with her husband and serving her country by guarding hearth and home while he is doing battle with the enemy of that home.  In war, as in work, men understand other men.  When a country is serious about winning victory over its enemy, it brings well-trained men together, with no distractions, to focus on the job at hand.  These men may return home “changed,” but most can resume life as usual.  Mothers, as explained by Hollie Vallence, are not programmed to put distance between themselves and young children.  Dr. Vogel offers wisdom: “If God is indifferent to the woman-warrior concept and a woman chooses to serve in a noncombatant role, God is not offended.  If, however, God is not indifferent to the woman warrior concept, and a woman seeks service as a combatant, does she not become a victim of her own will and disobedient to that of God?”  Is there a problem with women in the military?  No, but as in any workplace, there will certainly be a changed environment and cautions to heed.

Q: Will God bless a people or a nation whose men send women to the front lines of battle?  Will He bless the men (defenders of life) who send women (bearers of life) to meet the enemy?  To be shot at, brutalized, or sacrificed in the name of “equality” or “rights?”

A: God was not pleased with the man who used Deborah as a kind of “human shield.”  That is because the Groom of the Church does not stand behind his Bride.  He stands in front of her.  Small tribes and great countries who honor the human rule of chivalry understand that great sacrifice may be necessary in order to protect mothers of children for they are a people’s future.

Conclusion

It is not that God wants men to die, but that He entrusts to them the noble role of protector and defender.  As the Man of Sacrifice, Jesus led the way into battle.  He did not send others.  Jesus faced the greatest weapon of mass destruction – the anger of God upon sinful people.  He did not stand behind “human shields,” letting you and me die so that He might avoid pain and death.  In the battle for the life of His Bride, Jesus “took the bullet.”  He died so that we might live.

Jesus is both a model and Savior for men and women.  He wants us to follow Him and imitate His behavior.  Sinful as we are, we will want to test the boundaries.  We will put ourselves in God’s place, but such pride can put others at risk.  Is all hopeless?  No!  The One who faced our enemy – and won the eternal victory – reaches to us with nail-pierced hands, saying: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6).

“Bearers and Defenders of Life” is Lesson 11 of
Men, Women, and Relationships, first published in 1999 and revised in 2004.
(Lutherans For Life, Concordia Publishing House)

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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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Below are excerpts from a statement issued by Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of my church body, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), in response to a recent HHS decision which affects religious freedom.   

We are deeply distressed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) recent decision to require nearly all private health plans, including those offered by religious employers, to cover contraceptives.  This will include controversial birth-control products such as “Ella” and the “morning after pill,” even though the FDA warns that such drugs can cause the death of a baby developing in the womb.  The LCMS objects to the use of drugs and procedures that are used to take the lives of unborn children, who are persons in the sign of God from the time of conception, and we are opposed to the HHS’ decision mandating the coverage of such contraceptives.

This HHS action relates to a provision in the “health care reform” legislation (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) signed into law in 2010 . . . The Concordia Health Plan (CHP), the LCMS church workers’ health plan, has been maintained as a “grandfathered” plan.  As such, employers and workers participating in CHP would not be subjected to the mandate.  However, many religious organizations do not have grandfathered plans and cannot avail themselves of the extremely narrow religious-employer exemption, which only is applicable to religious employers that primarily serve and employ members of their faith.

For centuries, Lutherans have joyfully delivered Christ’s mercy to others and embraced His call to care for the needy within our communities and around the world.  In a nation that has allowed more than 54 million legal abortions since 1973, we must consider the marginalization of unborn babies and object to this mandate.

In addition, I encourage the members of the LCMS to join with me in supporting efforts to preserve our essential right to exercise our religious beliefs.  This action by HHS will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets.  We add our voice to the long list of those championing for the continued ability to act according to the dictates of their faith, and provide compassionate care and clear Christian witness to society’s most vulnerable, without being discriminated against by government.

The LCMS, a church body of sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus, has affected the lives of millions of people with care, aid, housing, health care, spiritual care and much more.  We have been a force for good in this nation, promoting education, marriage and giving people the tools and assistance to be good citizens.  We live and breathe Roman 13:3-7.  The governing authorities are “God’s servant for good.”  We pray for our President and those in authority . . . 

Increasingly we are suffering overzealous government intrusions into what is the realm of traditional and biblical Christian conscience.  We believe this is a violation of our First Amendment rights.  We will stand, to the best of our ability, with all religious and other concerned citizens, against this erosion of our civil liberty.  Come what may, we shall do everything we can, by God’s grace, to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  (February 3, 2012)

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How does the world turn?  By chance, proclaims the secular naturalist.

By the hand of God, proclaims the Biblical Christian.

During a Titus 2 Retreat, the answers to a number of simple questions are followed to their natural conclusion.

  1. Who am I and why am I here?
  2. From where did I come?
  3. Why do things go bad?
  4. Is there hope?
  5. Where will I go when I die?

If I evolved by chance from primordial soup; if my only purpose in life is self-fulfillment; if I’m not responsible for my own messes; if I rely on myself or science to perfect the world; and when I die, well, that’s all there is… how do you think I will live my life?  What will the consequences be?

On the other hand, if I was created by God to be a woman quite different from man, and certainly not an animal; if my purpose is to be in a relationship with God and glorify Him with my behavior; if the world and every person in it is sinful because Adam and Eve disobeyed God; if I am responsible for my own messes; if I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose victorious over evil; and when I die, I will not stay dead but be raised to stand before God… how do you think I will try to live my life?  What will the consequences be?

It all seems reasonable and quite simple.  Follow secular naturalism to it’s logical conclusion and we find devaluation of human life by abortion, “mercy killing,” and school shootings; broken relationships; abuse; tyranny and terrorism; racism and hopeless, human misery.

But, follow Biblical Christianity to it’s logical conclusion and we find value in every human life; restored relationships; kindness and mercy; forgiveness; and hope for the human family.

That’s how my world turns.

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