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Posts Tagged ‘women’

praying womanEzerwoman has sadly neglected her blog this year.  Two years ago, she began a project that had, in reality, been taking shape for twenty years or more.  Ezerwoman prays that the work will soon be completed.  If God so blesses the effort, then Ezerwoman will share the news with you.

An ezer is a helper.  This ezer strives to help and encourage men and women, but also the Church.  Would you please pray that this helper receives the help of the Holy Spirit?  Truly, the Holy Spirit is The Helper, Encourager, and Counselor.

As for all the rest of you ezerwomen — you helpers of husbands, children, parents, siblings, friends and neighbors — may God grant you wisdom, desire for holiness, and strength to shine light into the dark places of this world.  Sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ anticipate His return for us but, while we wait, we affect the culture one life at a time.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (COLOSSIANS 2:8).

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I’ve recently returned from leading another Titus 2 Retreat.  As always, the women are free to make comments on an evaluation sheet after the last session.  Here’s one that I received:

“You helped me think of abortion in a different way when you said it is a symptom of what is wrong.  While abortion is wrong, we need to protect our girls so it does not get to that point.  I thought that was enlightening.”

Enlightening?

Could it be that this faithful Lutheran woman had never thought about the behaviors that must first be chosen before a girl finds herself in a place where she even considers an abortion?  Did her church never explain this?  Did her church call abortion “wrong” and warn “don’t do it,” but fail to dig to the root of abortion and why too many people cling to it as some sort of “salvation?” Was she perhaps in agreement that children should be “more comfortable with their sexuality,” but then surprised when as many Christian as non-Christian girls seek abortions?

It seems so.  And, for that reason, Titus 2 will continue — for life.  It is in the best interests of boys and girls to be mentored in Biblical manhood and womanhood — before they learn about the procreative act of sex.  Their lives — and those of the preborn — are worth it.

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To be sure, men can be foolish, too.  Still, I am intrigued by the fact that the book of Proverbs calls attention to foolish woman.  As a woman, it seems appropriate for me to pick up on this — and ponder.

Light contrasts dark.  Hope contrasts despair.  God’s Word contrasts deception.  In Proverbs, God teaches the way of wisdom by contrasting it to foolishness.  So, I’m pondering the following verses.  And, I’m thinking of the hopeful difference women could make if they responded with wisdom in contrast to foolishness.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones”(12:4).

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (14:1).

. . . [A] wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.  House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (19:13b-14).

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife” (21:9; 25:24; 21:19).

As long as women are deceived by the world, we will remain foolish.  Fretful.  Impatient.  We will fall to the idolatry of self.  Expect others to make us happy.  Blame them when they don’t.  Our houses will become cold.  Unwelcoming.  Without mercy.   But, there is hope.  There is always hope!

The remedy for foolishness is to be in God’s Word (Proverbs 2:1).  (All of His Word, not just the passages we like.)  Jesus Christ is the Word that brings people from darkness to light.  Sets captives free.  A foolish world is overcome by Jesus Christ.  One day, it will pass away and be no more.   For now, He commands the dawn to know its place and takes hold of the skirts of the earth (Job 38:12-13).  Evil, disguised as good, is being shaken and exposed.

If we want to be wise — even in the midst of those who think themselves sophisticated and progressive — we must know Christ.  Not just quote Him, but study Him.  Then seek to follow Him.  Turn away from silly myths.  Tell Satan to jump a cliff.  Be repentant for wrong choices of the past and begin to trust the Creator of our lives.  See the things of this world as Jesus sees them: False.  Puffed up.  Loud.  Arrogant.  Harmful.  Hopeless.

And, so, the wisest of women builds her house.  Her sphere of influence.  She trusts that God will meet her needs in unexpected ways.  Putting herself in His care, she is free.  To leave old ways behind.  Serve husband and children.  Encourage.  Build up.

May I — and all the women in my life — be like the adulterous woman who sat at the feet of Jesus.  Sins exposed and forgiven.  Eyes open.  The foolishness of the temporary exchanged for the wisdom of the eternal.

No longer foolish, may we be a refuge.  Our light burning brightly.  Our homes a welcoming place.

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A friend of mine has been trying to get the attention of her church.   Today, after nearly 14 years, God made it possible for her to speak to a small group of church leaders.  To make her plea.  To provide well-documented evidence giving justified reasons for her concern.  I prayed for listening ears.  Open hearts and minds.

I share my friend’s concern.  Motivation.  Perseverance.  Our experiences are different, but our conclusion the same.  That is:  Christians have been taken captive to the ways of modern sex education.  Nowhere in Scripture does God say to “educate in sex.”  He does tell parents to “instruct” in “purity.”  Guard the innocence of youth.  Mentor Biblical manhood and womanhood.   I want the church to be distinctively different from the world.  As it should be.  But, making this request of the institutional church is costly.  My friend knows.  She and her family have paid a high price.

I, too, recognize the cost.  Involvement.  Thirty years of researching, serving on boards and committees, writing, traveling the country, meeting with young and old,  listening to people suffering a wrong choice, and being a voice of hope.  Those who didn’t understand thought me odd.  Well-meaning folk suggested I “lighten up.”  But, the more I contrasted the world with God’s Word, the more convicted I became.  I couldn’t “lighten up.”  Not when boys and girls have their innocence stripped from them.   Not when educators try to wrap Jesus around Kinsey.  Not when parents or grandparents who’ve suffered the consequences of worldly ideology ask for my help in warning a younger generation.  But, pointing out an error in teaching troubles the teacher.   No one wants to hear that wrong teaching, no matter how well-intentioned or Gospel-wrapped, hurts children.  Makes them more vulnerable.   The whistle-blower risks being called a fool.  A simpleton.  Out of step.  There is much resistance.

Why?  Perhaps the greatest reason is pride.  Years ago, while serving on a sanctity of life task force, I was given opportunity to meet with men of influence.  I expressed concern that legalized abortion had greased the slope to euthanasia and offered documentation of the growing acceptance among Christians of “mercy killing” and “assisted suicide.”  I was silenced by a kindly church leader who told me not to concern myself.  His words were like a pat on the knee.  “You’re just a homemaker,” he said.  “You let us take care of this.”

Pride.  The pride of education.  Position.  Initials before or behind one’s name.  But, the saying is true: Pride goes before the fall.  It certainly did in the Garden of Eden.

The day came when I was confronted by a church “expert” on all things pertaining to sex.  He stood with arms crossed.  Feet planted.  Taller than me.  “So,” he said.  “I understand you have concerns about my work.”  Who was I to respond to him?  Would he, a driving force behind Christian sex education, listen to a homemaker?  A mom?  A lay-person?  His stature was intimidating, but I managed one small request.  “Please.” I said, “Guard the boundaries of modesty.  Teach what it means to be a boy or a girl first… before educating in sex.”

Pride puts well-meaning people on the defense.  Even after a “good” person has been deceived, pride says, “Hey!  I know what I’m doing here.  And, because I’m a Christian, I will do right.”  Well, that’s what Chuck Colson said before he was neck-deep in Watergate.  In his new DVD series, Doing the Right Thing, Colson admits to thinking that because he was a Christian, he couldn’t be deceived.  Couldn’t fall to wrong choices.  That’s a different sort of pride, isn’t it?  Is this also true for Christians who associate with the theory of sex education?

It isn’t that that Christian leaders want to do wrong.  They simply do what they should not and don’t do what they should.  (Sound familiar?)  Perhaps these leaders believe themselves Christian enough to stand strong.  To sort the good from the bad.   But, the deceiver is always at work.  Deception comes at the university, in study groups, on the internet, at the coffee-house,  and in animated discussion with intelligent but secular friends.   Well-intentioned Christians can actually be duped into wrapping Jesus around worldly ideology.  Sophistication.  Progressivism.  But, the Word doesn’t wrap around the world.  Jesus doesn’t… won’t… can’t wrap Himself around the world.  Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  He is Light upon the world’s darkness.

A “good” Christian leader knows this.  But, pride is an ugly monster.  As pride swells, we dig in.  We go on the defense even as we begin to feel the prick of conscience.  There is guilt when one realizes that something intended to be straight was built on a crooked foundation.  When wrong teaching or practice has coursed its way through curricula, workshops, conferences, sermons, counseling sessions, books, and media.

But, most amazingly, there is hope.  There is always hope, even in the midst of error and sin.  In humility we are strengthened by the Spirit of God who lives in us.  We can allow the alarm to sound.  We can express shame and regret.  We can apologize for wrong teaching.  We can ask for and receive forgiveness.

We can squelch pride and return to the Word.

For related topics, see “Jesus Doesn’t Wrap “Silly Myths”  (10-1-10), “1988” (1-22-11), “The Body is Our House” (1-24-11), “Damage Control,” (1-26-11), “Choices Affect Our Attitude Toward God” (2-9-11), “Too Long at the Animal Circus” (3-23-11), “Unhooked and Set Free” (5-17-11), “Unhooked: Part II” (5-18-11), “Men and the Monogamy Molecule” (5-18-11), and “Were Moms Hooked, Too?” (5-18-11)

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On Sunday, June 26, CNN aired a report about “Nepal’s Stolen Children.”  The documentary, narrated by actress Demi Moore, explained how Nepalese girls are sold into slavery and turned into prostitutes in neighboring India.  I’m sorry I missed it.  But Chuck Colson, a gentleman who shares my worldview, did not.

Colson, in his Breakpoint commentary of July 8, noted that Moore became emotional during the broadcast.  Understandably so.  Slavery and bondage as a prostitute should never happen.  But the problem, Colson believes, is that we are ignoring the driving force of this “inhumane traffic in innocence.”

The New York Times ran an article following the CNN documentary titled “160 Million and Counting.”  It referred to the number of “missing” women in the world.  Colson points out “missing” as in “disappeared,” rather, as in “never born in the first place.”

Ross Douthat, author of the Times article, reminded readers that 26 years ago the number of “missing” women was estimated by experts to be 100 million.  These experts concluded, after examining skewed sex ratios in China and India, “that something terrible was happening.”  Twenty year later, the estimate has grown by 60%.  But those concerned about this terrible thing, Douthat notes, remain reluctant to name the cause: abortion.

Colson writes, “Citing the work of social scientist Mara Hvistendahl, Douthat points out an uncomfortable truth: what Times readers would no doubt see as ‘female empowerment’ lies behind the missing women.  According to Hvistendahl, in places like India, ‘women use their increased autonomy’ to abort their daughters and ‘select for sons,’ who enhance their social status.”

Sex-selection abortion may have originated among the “affluent,” but now all women can select — or reject — their preborn child based on sexual preference.

What is the impact?  Colson notes a 2008 article by two Loyola Law School professors who found that by “reducing the number of potential brides, selective abortion in India increased the demand for sex workers.”  And, Colson continues, “one way that ‘demand’ is being filled is through the Nepalese girls featured in the CNN documentary.  The ‘lucky’ ones are ‘smuggled and purchased from poor countries like Nepal and Bhutan to be brides for Indian men.’   The more unfortunate are sold into the Indian sex trade.”

India and China have outlawed the practice of sex-selection abortion because of the social ills and suffering.  But the practice continues because, says Colson, “cultural norms are hard to overcome.”

Douthat notes that sex-selection abortion puts Western liberals “in a distinctly uncomfortable position.”  Colson explains why.  “They can’t deny the reality of the practice but, at the same time, their own worldview leaves them hanging in mid-air.”

“After all, they insist ‘that the unborn aren’t human beings yet, and that the right to an abortion is nearly absolute.’ ” But, continues Colson, “160 million missing women and the suffering it radiates in all directions tells you where that kind of thinking inevitably leads.”

Colson concludes, “It’s hard to imagine a better example of the poverty of modern thinking: faced with a great evil and unable to address the answer.”

Slavery and prostitution are great evils.  But, the Christian worldview addresses the answer.  When we value human life in the womb, we will better value and protect all human life.  Including Nepalese girls.

__________

Breakpoint is published by Prison Fellowship ministries.
For further reading: “Gender Discrimination Fuels Sex Selective Abortions” (Lemoine & Tanagho, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, 2-23-08); “160 Million and Counting” (Douthat, New York Times, 6-26-11); “It’s Raining Men” (Kim Moreland, Breakpoint blog, 5-24-11)

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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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Thomas J. Vilsack is the former governor of Iowa.  My governor.  He drifted away from Iowa in a bubble of political correctness to land in the chair of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Vilsack, apparently still in the bubble, is pushing for an intense brand of homosexual sensitivity training.  The Washington Times (6-19-2011) reports that this training would include a discussion that compares “heterosexism” to racism.  People who view marriage as being between only one man and one woman are guilty of “heterosexism.”

The “push for the training” is coming from Vilsack.  Why?  Does he have too much time on his hands?  Is there not enough work to be done with farm service agencies?  Food and nutrition?  The forest service?  Rural development?  Food safety and inspection?   What does agriculture have to do with homosexual sensitivity training?

Vilsack has launched a department-wide “cultural transformation” that includes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Special Emphasis Program.  It appears that this program goes far beyond any training now being done by the Pentagon.  The USDA’s program is called “groundbreaking [and a] model for other agencies.”  It “delves more into gay issues and terminology.  It also justifies pro-homosexual political positions.”

Rowan Scarborough, writing for The Washington Times, explains that if the Obama administration accepts this kind of homosexual sensitivity training “it could mean more sessions for military service members already undergoing gay-sensitivity indoctrination.  Critics fear additional gay-oriented training would add an unnecessary burden for combat troops and encourage some to leave.”

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, has long opposed the repeal of the military’s ban on acknowledged gays.  She told the Washington Times, “There are disturbing implications for national defense in the USDA’s development of  a ‘groundbreaking’ training program that is to become a model for other federal agencies.”  She notes that “thousands of experienced troops, starting with chaplains and people of faith who do not support LGBT ideology and activism” would be driven out of the military.

Vilsack’s bubble of political correctness will burst.  Of that I am sure.  But, before that happens, I wonder.  How many people and institutions — including the family — will his “cultural transformation” affect?

Why is it more important for the USDA to be a leader in gender-identity diversity training than growing food to feed the world?

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