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Posts Tagged ‘worldviews’

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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The Hunger Games opened in theaters on March 23.  Some Christian parents read the novel and plan to let their children see the movie, but others are asking a lot of questions.  If I get the opportunity, I plan to view the movie for myself.  For now, I’m reading various reviews.  Perhaps the following may be helpful to any parent wondering about this PG-13 movie.

Dr. Brenda Hunter, a psychologist and the co-author of From Santa to Sexting, warns that the movie is really about child sacrifice.  According to Hunter, the adults portrayed in the story are either impotent or voyeuristic and watch as children kill each other.  Parents, she says, should be concerned.

Dr. Hunter writes that kids are being “desensitized to violence” on a regular basis.  “There are over a thousand studies linking media violence to aggressive behavior in some children.”  And once desensitized, she says, the children are no longer afraid or revolted by what they see.  Hunter says “that begins to erode their God-given sense of humanity.”

“There’s a new philosophy that parents and adults seem to have in this culture,” Dr. Hunter explains.  “And it is: Let’s expose kids to everything.  Let’s expose them to sex.  Let’s expose them to violence — and they’ll be the better for it.”

Those of you who know me are well aware that I have grave concerns — have had for a long time — about the goal of getting children “comfortable with their sexuality.”  I’ve just finished writing Faithfulness: One Child at a Time (Q & A on Sex Education vs. Instruction in Purity for Christian Dialogue).  It reveals the roots of what Dr. Hunter is talking about: “Let’s expose kids to everything.”  This concept is not Biblical, but secular.  The concept of “exposing kids to everything” opposes God’s mandate to protect the innocence of children and mentor them away from evil and the darker side of this world.  Sex educators have this theory that if they give kids all knowledge… all information, then they’ll be o.k.  But, an adolescent brain is not like an adult brain.  Adult brains use the PFC (pre-frontal cortex) to think, rationalize, or apply brakes to emotional responses.  The PFC is not fully developed in an adolescent.  In fact, it may not be fully functioning until the mid-twenties.  Is it any wonder that God wants parents to set boundaries for their sons and daughters?  The emotional systems, hormones, and “gut reactions” of an adolescent may be fully functioning, but without the ability to reason or use good judgment, this age-group is extremely vulnerable.

An interview with Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, is instructive.  When asked why she thinks people are enticed by TV reality shows, she replied, “Well, they’re often set up as games and, like sporting events, there’s an interest in seeing who wins . . . sometimes they have very talented people performing.  Then there’s the voyeuristic thrill — watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically — which I find very disturbing.  There’s also the potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should.”

WORLD magazine responds to this statement: “This is a very poignant criticism of our culture, and one that deserves to be taken seriously. But for all the beauty and moral high ground [The Hunger Games] contains, it’s just as true that the world Collins has created is terribly evil.  Teenagers are dispatched throughout the movie by knives, swords, and mutated dogs; adults are either too powerless or corrupt to help; and [heroine] Katniss herself experiences an inward despair that will (in coming installments) lead her to attempt suicide . . . The Hunger Games  may produce the same deadening effect on the conscience that Collins seeks to warn us against.”  (This review to appear in the April 7, 2012, issue of WORLD.)

No wonder Dr. Hunter says that parents need to learn to say no.  Her recommendation: “Don’t let children go see The Hunger Games.”  (OneNewsNow.com 3-23-12)

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Christ says that the devil is the prince of this world (John 14:30; 16:11); and he is a murderer from the beginning and a liar (John 8:44).  If, then, we would live upon earth, we must realize that we are guests and lodge in an inn with a knave as host and with a sign over the door that reads THE HOUSE OF MURDER or THE HOUSE OF LIES.  Satan is a murderer for killing the body, a liar for misleading the soul.  That is the devil’s trade and his work; that is the way he keeps house; that is how business is carried on in this inn.  Whoever belongs to his followers must lend him a helping hand.  But whoever is his guest must expect and risk experiencing rough treatment.  (Martin Luther)   Q: What does this say to you as a Biblical, pro-life Christian?  How do you respond?

The devil, too, can quote Scripture and deceive us with it.  But his use of Scripture is defective.  He does not quote it completely but only so much of it as serves his purpose.  The rest he silently omits.  (Luther)   Q: What does this mean for pro-life Christians and caring pregnancy centers that seek to work with churches, pastors, and youth groups?

The fable is told that when God made man out of a clod of earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life so that man became a living soul, the devil wanted to imitate God and also took a clod of earth in order to make a man of it; but it turned out to be a toad.  (Luther)   Q: What does this say to you?  (Now, sing a hymn of praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — out loud!  Our evil foe cannot endure the Word in music!) 

At all hours the devil is seeking to kill us all.  After you have been baptized, he will not let you have any rest.  If he could kill you in your mother’s body, he would do it.  (Luther)  The devil does not despise God so much as he despises the humans that God so dearly loves.  For it is to us that God gives dominion over Satan.    Q: What does this tell us about the intensity of the pro-life/pro-abortion debate?  Do you think most Christians recognize legalized abortion as spiritual warfare?

All sadness is of the devil, for he is the lord of death.  But, God does not sadden, or terrify, or kill.  He is the God of the living.  This is why He also sent His only-begotten Son, not to terrify but to console.  Christ also died in order to be Lord of death and to give us life and destroy death.  “Rejoice, be confident, be glad.  I have overcome the world and death” (Jesus in John 16:33).   The devil gives heaven before sins have been committed and despair afterwards; Christ does the opposite and gives heaven after the sins.  (Luther)   Q: How does this Truth set caring pregnancy centers and post-abortion ministry apart from Planned Parenthood?

I have read that a man who could have no peace because of the devil made the sign of the cross on his chest and said, “The Word was made flesh,” or, what amounts to the same thing: I am a Christian.  Then, the devil was defeated and chased away, and the man had peace . . . One does not gain much ground against the devil with a lengthy disputation but with brief words and replies, such as: I am a Christian, of the same flesh and blood as is my Lord Christ, the Son of God.  Settle your account with Him.  (Then the devil does not stay long.)  (Luther)   Q: What does this say to you as a Christian living in this world?

When the devil comes during the night to plague me, I give him this answer: Devil, I must sleep now; for this is God’s command: Work during the day, sleep at night.  If the devil persists, and now accuses me of more sins, I reply: Satan, I have heard the record, but I have committed still more sins which don’t even stand in your record.  Put them down, too.  (Luther)  Also, say to the devil: Just by reminding me that I am a poor, miserable sinner, you are placing a sword and weapon into my hand with which I can decisively overcome you  . . . if you tell me I am a sinner, I can tell you that Christ died for sinners.  To Him I direct you.”  (Luther)   Q: How does this affect the way you parent, mentor, witness, teach, serve others, and stand “for life” in this world  — Satan’s “house of murder and lies”? 

With appreciation to What Luther Says,
Concordia Publishing House, 1959 

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Yesterday was Reformation Day.  It is the Sunday that Lutherans worldwide reflect not so much on a man, but on the request made by that man of his church.

Martin Luther saw some abuses in the church.  Worldy ideas and opinions had crept into the church and affected both teaching and practice.  Luther was greatly concerned by what he saw.  As one called to speak truth and lead away from danger, Luther warned the people not to put too much trust in one particular practice.  Those in authority over Luther were angered by his boldness.   He was told to stop speaking.  To mind his manners and know his place.  But, Luther grieved for the people who were affected by the abuses of wrong teaching and practice.

Luther’s conscience found no peace in silence.  So, he brought his concerns to the attention of the church by inviting his fellow professors to a debate.  His thoughts were carefully composed into 95 Theses (or ideas), printed and, with a few blows of a hammer, nailed for all to see on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church.  There was nothing unusual in this action.  It was the customary way to announce a debate.  Luther was now public with his criticisms of Rome and concerns for the people.

Rome heard the blows of Luther’s hammer.  “We are the church!  Who is this man?” spoke the pride of authority.

“Behold!  This is a work of Satan to stir up division within the church!” spoke well-meaning but frightened leaders.

“This is an attack!  An apology must be written, or else!”  spoke angry voices in well-established positions.

But, what did Luther request?  And why did his request anger certain people in the church?  Anyone reading Luther’s written concerns today would recognize that he was a loyal son of the church.  He spoke and wrote with respect for the church, but also caring concern for those under the influence of the church.  Luther was not guilty of questioning the Word of God, but of questioning the church’s interpretation and application of that Word.  A practice, indeed, built on human and flawed assumptions.

Luther was heard and understood by many of his peers.  After all, he was not the first to speak up.  Others had recognized certain church practices to be more faithful to human opinion than the Word of God.  Pointing out errors in scholastic theology had already cost some believers their lives.  Luther, who by the mercy of Christ had experienced his own reformation, was motivated to ask important questions of the church.  His concerns were faithful to The Good Shepherd and sensitive to the sheep.  But, Luther’s public posting drew fire.  It caused some to move into a defensive posture.  Ears were ringing from the hammer blows on the church door.

Some ears are ringing today from the blow of another hammer on a church door.  For a long time, some parents have seen certain abuses in the church.   They have been “speaking up” with valid concerns about the teaching and practice of sex education.  Sex education is a concern for Christians in particular because it is founded on human and flawed assumptions.  Alfred Kinsey, often called the “father of modern sex education,” did not seek Wisdom (Jesus Christ); therefore, his perspectives on male, female, modesty, patience, purity, marriage, children, and society are directly opposed to the Creator and Redeemer of life.

So, when a concerned Christian parent does not see that the church’s teaching and practice of sex education is distinctively different from the world’s, she feels compelled to speak.  She writes a kind of request, asking that the church wake up.  Listen.  Think.  Dialogue on the issue.  When he posted the 95 Theses, Luther did not attack the pope. Neither does a discerning and concerned parent attack a particular person.  Instead, she relies on the fact that she has a duty to request that pastors and all church leaders be faithful to The Word and consider the source of every teaching and practice.

With the best of intentions, the church may want to equip parents to better teach their children about male and female, relationships and love, marriage and procreation.  Unfortunately, a weakness of sinful Christians is to believe we can sort through worldly models and make proper use of the “good stuff” in our teaching.  There is wisdom in a lesson from history.  The Israelites, returning from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem, were overwhelmed by the responsibility given to them.  They were tempted to accept the help of unbelieving neighbors in the land.  But, God warned them not to accept such help.  To do so would be to compromise faith and practice.

Luther posted 95 Theses in a public place because faithfulness to the Word — Jesus Christ — would not allow him to be silent.  His compassion for people would not let him be silent.  Once he saw abuses and the consequences that followed, he could not un-see.  It was long past time to dialogue.  To correct error.  Even though he was told not to do anything that might disturb the church, Luther would not — could not — recant.

A Christian parent posts a thought in a public place because faithfulness to the Word — Jesus Christ — will not allow her to be silent.  Her compassion for people, especially children, will not let her be silent.  Once she sees abuses and the consequences that follow, she cannot un-see.  It is long past time to dialogue.  To correct error.  Even though she is told that her concern is inappropriate and might disturb the church, this parent will not — cannot — recant.

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A woman named Melissa responded to “Planned Parenthood on 9/11,” my post of April 13.  Three times she commented.  Four times I attempted responses of my own.  Back and forth we went… until it became clear that Melissa and I don’t share a belief in the same God.

“Melissa’s” are in our neighborhoods, families, and even congregations.  Perhaps, if you have a spare moment or two, you might skim her commentaries.  Does she think like anyone you know?   What happens when worldviews seemingly share no common ground?  What does God ask us to do?

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“Not a Scientist” has offered ezerwoman the opportunity to hear from someone of a contrasting worldview.  I don’t know “Not a Scientist,” but I am grateful that he’s interested in dialogue.  This society needs more of that.

Twice, “Not a Scientist” has commented on my post, “Questions to Help Us Think (4-4-11).  My pastor and son have also joined in the discussion.  This is a good thing.  That’s part of the reason why I’ve put myself out here — in blog world.  Some say, “Linda!  You’re a target.”  There is no fear in that.  Not if I’m a target for well-thought out words that may — or may not — agree with my worldview.  We should be doing more talking.  Explaining.  Researching.  Challenging.  We should practice building our lives upon what we think and know to be true rather than upon fickle feelings and emotions. 

To “Not a Scientist” I offer the following:

You and I see the world through very different glasses.  Our worldviews boldly contrast.  

  • My worldview is built on God’s Word.  Yours is not. 
  • My worldview does not blow with the wind or shift like sand.  I believe yours blows and shifts a great deal depending upon circumstances.
  • My worldview is built on the created order; thus, I know who I am, from where I come, how I’m to live, and where I’m going when I die.  You don’t appear to believe in any created order but, rather, evolving chaos. 
  • My worldview tells me how God wants men and women to live and relate to one another.  Yours, well, how are men and women supposed to live and relate to one another?  Why? 
  • My worldview offers a future of generational hope built on the backs of fathers, mothers, and grandparents who faithfully teach their sons, daughters, and grandchildren what God says about morality, ethics, marriage and family, “loving our neighbor as ourselves, and serving “the least of these.”  It appears you can entertain your fanciful and humanistic ideas only because fathers, mothers, and grandparents faithfully wove the strong fabric of this nation which you don’t seem to appreciate but certainly enjoy wearing.  
  • My worldview explains that the problems and challenges of relationships, marriages, families, and the whole of society are because of sin which opposes God’s good and perfect design.  I’d be interested to know why you think life is so difficult.
  • My worldview explains that everything — good or bad — has a consequence (you know, like gravity).  Do you acknowledge consequences and can you explain why they exist?
  • My worldview explains why I daily battle with myself and that I’ll never be good enough to save myself.  Do you sense an inner struggle between right and wrong, good and evil?  Even though you say you don’t believe in souls, what if you’re wrong and you really have one?  Where will your body and soul be after you die?
  • I can’t seem to do the good I know I should but, instead, I do the bad I don’t want to do.  This quandary could leave me in desperation.  In desperation, I might be tempted to sacrifice something in order to save myself.  But, I don’t have to.  My worldview assures me that the one and only necessary sacrifice to make me right with the Holy God was made by Jesus Christ on the Cross.   At the Cross, I can lay down my burdens, sorrows, disappointments, and failures.  Jesus forgives me.  Now, He only asks that I use His Word for life that changes lives.  Every day for me is new and filled with hope.  Mr. “Not a Scientist,” how do you start your days?  To what do you look forward?  What hope do you have?  What hope do you offer others?  (I can tell you: You have the same hope I do because Jesus died for you, too.  Can you believe it?)

You have fanciful ideas, Mr. “Not a Scientist.”  But, they are dangerous.  When I expressed concern for the two young men now “joined” in “marriage,” I did so because I am positive they have souls.  Souls that will live forever — with God or not.  I am positive because God’s Word tells me so.  If I’m wrong, there is no loss.  If I’m right, and those created and precious souls are separated from God because of sinful choices, then there is huge loss.  Soulful loss. 

Fanciful ideas, like free-falling without a parachute, are exciting — for awhile.

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The Christian proclaims that Jesus Christ has won the victory.

Victory?  Doesn’t that imply involvement in some sort of competition, skirmish, or battle?

The Christian proclaims that Jesus Christ won the victory over sin, death, and the grip of satan.  Yet, because I am still earthbound, I struggle against the enemy of my life who prowls about seeking to deceive and devour me.

Both God and satan want me, but what they will do after they have me is as different as heaven and hell.

So here I am, in the midst of battle.  Daily warfare.  Satan, the world and my own flesh are fighting against me.  There is no truce, no compromise.  Some attacks are bold, others sly and subtle.   The goal for my enemy remains the same: stir up doubt.  Then remove all hope.

The tempter of my soul has but one question: “Did God really say . . . ?”  And, in my moment of doubt, my own feelings betray me.  My focus is distracted from God’s Word and Promise.  I detour into dangerous territory: the land of Me.  Attitude, choices, and behavior are affected.  So are the people in relationship with me.

In the battle, I need all the help I can get.  I need Sunday mornings where God divinely serves me.  Where I’m reminded of what He’s done and is doing for me more than what I can do for Him.   Admittedly, I’m not fond of old German tunes.  “Did God really say . . . you must sing such awkward melodies with notes too high?”  But, I must confess.  Once the Spirit adjusts my attitude, I am emptied out to be filled with the power of God’s Word captured in the lyrics.  Once my attitude is adjusted, I can better visualize soldiers all around me.  The company of saints. Warriors victorious before me.  Now in glory.

If I knew that tomorrow the men of my family were going to war, I would be left weepy, weak and vulnerable singing a contemporary praise song led by an entertaining band.   I need holiness — whether my men are going to war against an enemy we can see or I am engaged in battle against an enemy I can’t see.  I don’t need a flurry of sight and sound that will momentarily lift my mood.  I need Christ the Cornerstone.  I don’t need distractions of stage and screen.  I need Divine Order.  Divine Holiness.  Divine Service.  I need to get out of myself and be unstrapped from my feelings to trust the Commander-in-Chief.

Victory?  Jesus won the victory that gives me eternal life.  But, while I’m earthbound, I’m engaged in a war between ideas.  Between good and evil.  Between Truth and deception.  Between God and self.  In this present darkness, my enemy schemes against me.

So, God help me stand firm.  Do not let me slip into the attire of frivolity but strap on the armor of battle.  Whether I am at home, in the community, or in worship, bind me with the belt of truth.  Cover me with the breastplate of righteousness and shield of faith so no flaming darts will pierce my soul.   In my hand, secure the Sword of the Spirit.

Keep me alert.  Help me persevere — to victory.

(Ephesians 6:10-18)

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