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Posts Tagged ‘PC’

Every two weeks or so, I compile a two-page bulletin insert entitled “Christian Citizenship.”  The purpose is to help members of our congregation become aware of human care issues that beg a response from Christian citizens.  I’m very disappointed to hear that the insert is upsetting to some.  “We shouldn’t be putting this in our bulletin,” said one.  “We can’t talk about these things,” said another.

What things?  The topics highlighted in “Christian Citizenship” include abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, creation/evolution, health care insofar as funding abortion or Planned Parenthood is concerned, marriage and family, same sex “marriage,” homosexuality, and persecution of Christians.  I take special care to focus only on those issues where God’s Word speaks.  And, to make sure I stay on track, I submit every edition to my pastor for his approval or suggested changes.

I’m disappointed that some Christians are upset, but I’m not surprised.  Years of experience in Lutherans For Life have taught me that too many Lutherans specifically and Christians in general consider abortion, for example, as a “political issue.”  Abortion is not a political issue.  It’s a moral issue.  And God speaks to it: “Thou shalt not kill.”   A younger generation, more pro-life than their parents, acknowledges that abortion ends the life of a baby.  They’ve seen the ultrasound images.  They know that a baby’s heart begins beating 18-24 days after conception and brain waves are present at 43 days.  Lutheran students learn in confirmation classes that God “knits [us] together in [our] mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13b).  Roe vs. Wade may have legalized abortion and the media may try to politicize it, but only God can create life; therefore, only God can take that life.  Abortion is a moral issue and because God speaks about protecting the human life He has made, we must, too.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:13-15).  The Christian is called to be “salt and light” in this world where many wrong things — like abortion — are called right.

If discussions of morality, i.e. abortion or same-sex “marriage,” can’t be had in the church, does it follow that we can’t talk about issues of faith outside the church?

To be continued in another “post”… on the journey.

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This nation is slipping.  Morally.  Ethically.  Spiritually.  Silent Christians have a lot to do with it.  But, so do Christians who are mingling with the world.

Andree Seu, writing in WORLD (11-6-10), paraphrases comments made to her by Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf.  With both hands about shoulder-level, roughly 12-inches apart, Rep Wolf explained to Seu that we have “the church” here and “the other world” here.  He posited that this is always a constant distance of separation.  Seu writes,

“Where the thing gets scary, explained Wolf, is that as the world moves toward greater immorality, the church continues to keep the same distance from it.  That is to say, the church is sliding into debauchery along with the world, just at a slower rate.  What is important to note is that this slippage from God is not so easily detected because the gap between church and world remains the same, and so we seem, to ourselves, to be doing OK.”

In the first session of my Titus 2 Retreat, “We Are Vulnerable,” I ask the group to give examples of “silly myths” that lead to “social experiments.”  Believing “silly myths” (i.e. abortion is a woman’s right or two women who love each other should be able to marry) inevitably leads to social experimentation.  Such experimentation is actually tampering with God’s design.  This is never good for a people who want to imagine beyond themselves to new generations.  God’s design brings order and new life.  Experimenting with His design brings chaos and death.

We are vulnerable, I explain during a Titus 2 Retreat, when we profess Jesus Christ as our Lord but wrap Him around silly myths and social experiments.   There is a saying: “We become like the company we keep.”  We become like the world — even though we think we’re keeping a distance — when we begin to mingle (just a little here or a little there).  When we let worldly ideas of spirituality, worship, the roles of men and women, marriage, family, and children weave into Christianity, we’re in trouble.  Truth does not embrace or wrap around worldly ideas.  Truth and the world are opposites.  A lesson from history gives some clarity.

In the Old Testament book of Ezra, we learn that the king of Persia was going to allow the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem.  They had been exiles and captives for a long time.  It’s important to note that only a small number of Jewish exiles wanted to return to their homeland.  Most were unwilling to give up their Babylonian property or lifestyle to go back to their old ways.  So, because there was such a small group of workers, the rebuilding of Jerusalem became more difficult.  There were people in the area who offered their help.  Those people didn’t believe in God and held to a blend of mixed religious beliefs.  It goes without saying that they had motives of their own.  The Jewish people refused the offer of help with their building project.  Why?  1) The task was given exclusively to God’s people; 2) accepting help from non-believers would obligate God’s people to pagan ways; and 3) the potential for corruption in worship was too great if God’s people became aligned with non-believers.  (Ezra 4:3)

A Christian, wanting to be progressive, might think: If I embrace the best parts of a worldly idea, I will be able to move forward the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a modern way.  But, too often, moral-influence flows the opposite direction.  God knows that.  Therefore, He says: Don’t mingle; dig in.  Dig in to the One Who is not of this world (John 18:36).  Jesus says, “I am the Light.” The world is dark (John 1:4-5).  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  The world is deceptive and leads to death (John 10:10).  “My peace I give you.” The world offers no such peace.  (John 14:27)  For this reason, St. Paul was inspired to write in Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Don’t mingle.  Dig in.

To mingle with the world is to walk on shifting sand.  For awhile, public opinion might lean one way; then, depending upon anything from the economy to a national crisis, public opinion can suddenly shift the opposite direction.  Andree Seu explains that there is “a little thing called the ‘Overton Window.’  It is the term for an insight by a Joseph P. Overton that at any given point in the stream of a population’s public life there is a ‘window’ that contains or frames a range of opinion that is currently acceptable.  Outside that window lie the ideas considered wacko.  The intriguing thing is that what is ‘acceptable’ and what is ‘wacko’ can (and does) shift.  The window itself moves — and clever and diabolical forces have an interest in moving it.”

What was “radical” yesterday is “acceptable” today.  The unthinkable, notes Andree Seu, can go from “popular” to “policy.”  Remember.  Ideas like abortion, homosexual “marriage,” and euthanasia used to lurk in the shadows of the American landscape.  Not anymore.

I’m an ezer woman who lives in a culture where “evil” is called “good.”  For this reason, I’m compelled to dig heels into the foundation of God’s Word but, at the same time, push forward with weapons of truth.  As ideas and behaviors spiral downward, the one who follows Jesus is called to be intentionally polite.  Kind.  Pure.  This will irritate some and be seen as naive by others.  But, for a neighbor caught momentarily in darkness, the light may shine more brightly.  The Word of Truth, kindly spoken, pulls from shifting sand to solid ground.

There is a model for those who no longer want to mingle but, instead, dig in.  Curious?  I invite you to explore Titus 2 for Life.

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Sorting through a box of photos, I came upon a few that I thought someone close to me might appreciate.   One was a photo of her dad in uniform.  He and I have spoken of the high price paid for freedom in this country.  He has expressed his disappointment that our nation seems to have forgotten that price of freedom.  Before sealing up the envelope with photos, I inserted a brief note to this daughter of an American hero.  My note read something like: I am sad that after all your dad endured for his country, he now sees this nation slipping.

Within a few days, she wrote back.  I was delighted with the quick response… then stunned by her words.  Her note to me read:

In response to your comment about my dad having fought for a nation that is now “slipping,” I find that we have very different political views.  My thoughts, beliefs and convictions are strong, as I know yours are for you.  For that reason, I am asking that we not engage in any kind of political discussion and refrain from making comments to each other so as not to create discord in our family.

In what way is the word “slipping” divisive?  In what way is it “political”?  Forget politics.  We are morally and ethically “slipping.”

I see it personally — every day.  In my vocation of “helper,” I work with people — young and old — who are suffering the consequences of choices that set them on a destructive and painful course.   A long time ago I became aware of something so wrong that it could never be called right.  52 million babies — human lives created and redeemed by God — have been aborted in the U.S. alone since the practice was legalized in 1973.  How could a nation that kills its own children not slip into a deep abyss?

My conscience would not rest.  I was compelled by God’s Word to become involved in Lutherans For Life.  I traveled the country, speaking in schools, congregations, and communities.   Never intending to do so, I became an advocate for those caught in the muck and mire of a “slipping” society: boys and girls stripped of their innocence, mothers grieving aborted children, and fathers regretful of their passivity or angry because they were unable to lead out of harm’s way.   People in other parts of the country weren’t the only ones “slipping.”  People here at home were “slipping,” too.  For this reason, two other moms and I founded the local caring pregnancy center in our community so that we might help warn against danger, equip for healthy choices, and encourage on the difficult journey of life.

I long for a soul-to-soul visit with this special person in my life who was offended by the word “slipping.”   Why?  Because dozens of men and women have shared with me their painful stories of “slipping” away from God into unhealthy relationships, false love, and grief.  At last count, 24 of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances have told me about their abortions.  Most of these women have asked me to “speak up” and to warn others not to “slip” away from God’s good plan into the quicksand of doubt.  I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit used those women to nudge me in a direction never before imagined (by me, anyway).  In 2002, I started a little mentoring ministry called Titus 2 for Life.

So, I would like very much to explain to this dear person in my life what the word “slipping” means to me.  I drafted three letters to her, but my husband cautioned me against sending them.  Although I long for a “soul-to-soul” visit with this woman, I hear the wisdom of my husband’s advice.  For now, this blog will have to suffice.

Reality tells me that this special person in my life represents so many others — in families and congregations — who don’t want to talk or “engage in any kind of . . . discussion” that would cause “discord.”  Oh my!  While people are “slipping” away from all that God desires for them, am I to chat about weather and fashions?

Yes, I am stunned.  But, not so much that I can’t recognize a teachable moment.  God’s Word is divisive.  It divides loved ones and strangers.  His Word divides because it opposes our sinful nature.  His Word opposes worldly opinion.  But, faith in God’s Word compels me to use It in every relationship and all circumstances.  It’s the only thing I can trust because while I am “slipping,” It cannot.

God came to this troubled earth as the Man, Jesus Christ, because we are all “slipping.”  My ancestors, Adam and Eve, chose poorly and, ever since, all human beings have been conceived right onto a slippery slope of sin.  The institutions of marriage, church, and state — designed for our protection — are all “slipping” into chaos.  The God of order does not want us to live in chaos.  And so He offers His Word to us today just as He has to every generation before us.  A divisive Word, yes.  But, also a healing and hope-filled Word.

I pray that this special person in my life and I will one day speak of these things.  But, even if that day never comes, I cannot be stunned into paralysis.   On every day that passes until Jesus comes again, people will be “slipping.”  This isn’t my opinion.  It’s not my politics.  It is, rather, a cold, hard fact.

In the face of this cold, hard fact stands a warm and welcoming Savior.   He’s the One who stretches out His arms to prevent us from slipping and, when we go ahead and slip, He encircles His arms around us to bring us back onto our feet.  He’s the one I really want to talk about with my loved one.   He’s the One she and I — and all of us — need in this battle for hearts and minds and souls.

So please, dear God.  Protect the heart and mind and soul of this special one in my life.  I may be stunned by her words, but she still matters to me.  More importantly, she matters to You.

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