Gay Christian

gay-wedding-rings-1I’ve wrestled for weeks over whether or not I should write and publish this post. This is such an incredibly sensitive subject. I know a few people out there will appreciate what I write here, but I also know to expect that many, many people will feel offended and attacked and hated by what I write. I can’t emphasize enough that I am not writing from a place of hatred but from a place of love that is deeply concerned with the well-being of the people in my life who deal with this.

I feel it is time I speak out on what I believe about gay marriage within the church. I want to make very clear that this post has absolutely nothing to do with legislation, the legalization of same-sex marriage, or the cultural embrace of homosexuality at large. While I do believe God’s Word speaks very clearly on the issue, and God’s Word is always relevant to everyone because Truth is always true, I also know that I cannot reasonably expect those who do not profess faith in Christ to submit themselves to the authority and teaching of Scripture. Professing Christians, however, are another matter entirely. “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you’” (1 Corinthians 5:12-12).

I will not pretend to have all of (or even most of) the answers. I know that this is a real issue that affects real individual people. I know this isn’t just some political platitude. This is very personal. I know this isn’t just some nebulous issue for “those gay people out there.” This is vitally important for your brother, your daughter, your best friend, you. I get that. I really do. I know what it’s like to want desperately for them to be happy. I know you dread the idea that they may face bullying and depression. These things are profound.

For someone who professes faith in Christ, however, the ramifications of gay marriage are so much more profound than any of these sociological issues.

I’m not going to Bible thump. But I do have to briefly point out that the Bible does teach that homosexuality is sinful in Romans 1. (Yes, I understand that in today’s culture, this statement is on par with saying something like, “I believe white people are superior to black people.” The difference is that the Bible upholds the dignity of all nations, tribes, races, and tongues while it speaks clearly against the immorality of homosexuality.) This passage cannot be explained away as only relevant to the ancient culture, as it is a passage that describes not only specific sinful acts, but the deeper current of the sin nature and the fate of those who suppress the truth of God – even to the point of God giving them up to their sin in judgment. This is a passage that must either be believed or ignored. A choice must be made here. Either God’s Word is truly inerrant and relevant, or this passage is in error and the Bible as a whole cannot be trusted. It is either/or. You cannot have both.

“But,” you may respond, “God made me this way.” I’m very familiar with the “born this way” argument. While I have not yet seen any compelling genetic evidence that a person is born gay, I am willing to concede that this could theoretically be the case. This is irrelevant. The stark reality of the world we live in is the harsh reality of the curse of the Fall. It is a curse that has impacted every corner of creation, which is why the Bible describes all of creation groaning under its weight, awaiting the return of Christ when all things will be made new. In this fallen world, people are born with all kinds of unfortunate circumstances. Some of these are genetic diseases that wreak havoc within the body. Some of these are predispositions to mental illness and sociopathy. Some of these are genetic tendencies toward alcoholism and addiction. And some of these may be oriented to homosexuality even early in life. (Again, I approach this last point only hypothetically.)

I am not insensitive enough to brow-beat you with the word “choice.” I do understand that most LGBT people feel “different” from a very young age and must face a terrifying personal moment of “coming out” and admitting to it at some point, fearing hateful responses and judgmental slurs. I know that I cannot truly imagine what that is like for them.

I do, however, find it curious that we don’t treat alcoholics this way. We don’t laud them as courageous for declaring who they are as alcoholics unless they stand in front of an AA meeting with the purpose of ending their alcoholism and giving up the booze. We don’t march for their right to drink themselves silly. Why don’t we? They were, after all, born that way. It’s not like they chose to be addicts.

“Yes, but alcoholism and addiction are harmful,” you may be thinking. Yes, they are. But why are we so convinced that homosexuality is not? The LGBT community often points out the higher attempted suicide rates among LGBT youth. Moreover, 63% of all new HIV cases are reported by men having sex with men. This does not even include the rest of the LGBT community or the rates of all the other STDs within the LGBT community.

While I know that there is a struggle and a stigma, as well as the cultural pressure to embrace, I have to humbly admit that I do not understand how a person who professes Christ can align himself or herself with and defend something that God speaks clearly against and that statistically is harmful to a large percentage of those who participate in it.

Gay marriage takes this one step farther. Here, we need to back up and ask the question: What is Christian marriage? And I don’t mean the pat answer of “a life-long commitment between one man and one woman.” I think that is an important aspect of Christian marriage, but that’s not what marriage is.

Put simply, Christian marriage is a human relationship through which God visibly and tangibly displays the gospel to the world. Christian marriage is a picture of the relationship Jesus Christ has with His bride, the church. Ephesians 5 explains this very well. It is not a passage about how a man can be a dictator in the home and a poor woman should submit while he walks all over her. This is a gross misunderstanding. It is a beautiful description of how a husband is to be a picture of Christ to the world as he loves his wife and raises his children in sacrificial love. It is a tangible illustration through the wife of how the church respects and honors Christ and submits willingly and lovingly to His rightful and good lordship. Paul ties it all together in verse 32: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

Christian marriage, whatever else it may include, is at its core a picture of how God – who is altogether unlike us – is unified perfectly and intimately with us in the divine marriage of Jesus and the church for all eternity.

When someone who professes faith in Christ embraces homosexuality or makes vows in a same-sex marriage, they make a mockery of this gospel. They make unbiblical vows to commit themselves and their lives to something that grieves God. They are declaring to the world that God is all-together like us and that His primary concern is with our finite and foolish ideas about what we think will make us happy right now. Their entire life becomes a false gospel. I believe John is clear that this calls into question whether their profession of faith is credible, as one who keeps on sinning does not know Christ (1 John 3:6).

I’ve heard homosexuals who profess Christ describe themselves as a “paradox.” This cannot be the case. A paradox is something that seems contradictory but is actually true. (The example in my dictionary is, “The paradox of war is that you have to kill people in order to stop people from killing people.”) Rather, an unrepentant homosexual cannot also credibly profess to actually biblically follow Christ, who commanded the sexually immoral woman to sin no more.

You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s harsh! Be a little more sensitive to people’s feelings!” Yes. This is an issue that demands the utmost compassion. But it is also an issue that requires the truth spoken in love. God declares that this is harmful and deeply inappropriate; that continuing unrepentant in a life of immorality brings His judgment, and that a person within the body who continues in this sin must be cut off from the body until they come to repentance (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). The loving and kind thing to do is to warn a person of coming harm. It would be hateful of me not to speak out.

Honestly, this is where I lack answers. I have no idea what it looks like to wisely counsel someone struggling with same-sex attraction within the church. I believe the church has not handled this well and has even made some tragically bad decisions about how to speak to this issue.

What I do know is that Scripture calls us all to repentance – not only homosexuals, but also heterosexuals who give approval to them (Romans 1:32), heterosexuals who are promiscuous and sexually immoral in other ways, anyone who has looked with lust upon someone who was not their spouse, anyone who is consumed by narcissistic pride, alcoholics and addicts, meddlers and gossips, liars and cheaters, thieves and murderers, those consumed with rage and selfish indignation, those who are impure in their speech, those who disrespect and defy God-given authority. In a word – fallen humanity, of which I am also included in the fullest sense.

Yes, I do want you to be happy. But, despite the American ideal, happiness is really beside the point. For those of us rescued by Christ, God is primarily concerned with our holiness in His Son. Happiness is merely a by-product, and happiness derived from something that grieves God is not truly happiness. It will not fulfill. It can only ultimately empty and destroy.

Repentance is marked by godly grief over our sin, not defensiveness. The sin in our lives should drive us to the cross of Jesus Christ, because the only solution for any of it is His sacrifice, His righteousness, His justification. It is by His stripes we are healed.

As always, I welcome thoughtful and considerate comments from all points of view. However, I do reserve the right to moderate antagonistic comments.

A Letter to Jehovah’s Witnesses

As I am sure many of you have, we had Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on our door recently. We had several discussions with them over a few weeks, developing a friendship but reaching an impasse in our conversation. I felt a burden to write them a letter, and also to share it here. I’ve removed any specific or personal information to protect their privacy.

If you are Christian, please pray for these people. If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read and carefully consider this, I beg you. All others, I also ask you to read and consider.

The letter:

Dear [Neighbors],

We want you to know that we greatly appreciate that you took the time to know us, to spend time with us, and care enough to share with us what you feel is of highest importance in this life. I hope you know that we love Yahweh and we love His Word. We have deep and profound respect for the Word of God and are bound by what God has told us in the Bible. We seek to study and know the Bible – not just to say we can quote it or throw pieces of it out during an argument, but because it is the very mind and heart of the God we serve revealed to us. We search and learn the scriptures so that we can know Him more intimately and worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

Having said that, we take very seriously challenges to our beliefs. When we are confronted with teaching from the Scriptures that differ from what we hold to be true, we are careful not to simply dismiss it out of hand, but to carefully and prayerfully measure it up against God’s Word, to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are loyal first and foremost to God and His truth. We believe what we believe because we believe it is biblical, but we are not loyal to our beliefs simply because it is what our parents have taught us, or our church, or our denominational creeds. We are loyal to these things only insofar as they are true to the Scriptures. Moreover, we are bound so closely to the Word of God that if we can be shown from the Bible error in our personal belief, we will change our belief and submit to the true teaching of the Scriptures. We have both experienced this humbling correction in our lives before. God’s Word truly is useful for “correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

As we examine the Scriptures and measure teachings and doctrines against it, we are also careful to consider the whole counsel of God, and not to pick and choose verses and phrases out of context simply to make a point. How and where and when and why and by whom something is said is just as important as what is said. The classic out-of-context example of reading Scripture is “Judas… hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5), “Go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). We absolutely do not want to be guilty of this kind of mishandling of the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

So when you came to our door, though we had heard rumors of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses before, we sought to give a fair investigation to the claims of your church. We hope you felt respected by us as you shared your hearts. The questions we asked and the challenges we raised were truly to seek better understanding, to ensure that we heard what you were actually saying rather than jumping to a conclusion or making an assumption. Rightly so, we approach any new teaching presented to us with a wise amount of biblically concerned caution, but it was a caution that aimed to give grace and the benefit of the doubt.

We have read through the tracts you left for us, as well as investigated your church’s website. We sought to consider what you said from your point of view, not just from the point of view of disgruntled ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses online. We reasoned that if the claims your church makes are true, then they will be able to stand up to all criticism. All truth is God’s truth, and the truth sets us free (John 8:32).

As we studied and researched, we grew uneasy. And that unease grew into full-blown concern and fear for you. It became increasingly evident to us that your church’s organization is characterized by half-truths and deliberate deceptions, manipulations of the Word of truth that lead to false hopes and empty promises.

We have utmost respect for you as sincere people and do not want to belabor the point. But with such a bold claim, we feel we must offer at least a couple of examples. Please, we beg of you, investigate these things for yourself. Please, we implore you, return the favor and do not dismiss us out of hand but give this a fair investigation. Your very eternal lives are at stake.

We did read and consider the tract you left, “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” This tract – more than anything else we have studied, read, or heard – made us incredibly fearful for you. We learned something incredibly important about the Watch Tower Society while reading this pamphlet: that the Watch Tower is accustomed to blatant misrepresentation of sources and intentionally deceptive misquotations. If we had read nothing else, knew nothing else, and had heard nothing else about Jehovah’s Witnesses, this tract alone would engender in us a deep and profound distrust toward your church.

We could write pages and pages in response to this single tract, but instead we will offer just one example and strongly encourage you to follow up by looking up the various resources and “scholars” quoted within the tract. “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” uses as one of its main evidences a book by Arthur Weigall entitled The Paganism in Our Christianity to support the Watch Tower claim that the concept of the trinity is fundamentally a pagan concept that has corrupted true biblical teaching on the nature and essence of Yahweh.

Please do a google search of Mr. Weigall. If you can, get your hands on a copy of his book and peruse his argument for yourself.

In a matter of just a few minutes you will discover two things:

First, Arthur Weigall was not a biblical scholar, a theologian, learned in Biblical languages, or even Christian in his own personal philosophy. He was an Egyptologist by training and trade. He did not believe in any of the Bible as the Word of God and did not claim any sort of Christian faith for himself.

Second, his book claims that many other doctrines were also of pagan origin. He outright rejects the writings of Paul as canonical Scripture and claims foundational biblical teachings like the existence of angelic beings, the concept of the devil/Satan, the virgin birth, and many aspects of the life of Jesus are pagan in origin.

In the matter of the first point, Weigall cannot be quoted as an “authority” on the subject either academically or theologically. He cannot be quoted as accurate “representative” of either the Christian perspective or the Watch Tower perspective. His opinions on the subject are just that, subjective opinions that hold no credibility in the discussion of the origins of the concept of the trinity.

In the matter of the second point, it is irresponsible and inconsistent to use Weigall’s work to defend one single pet point and reject the rest of his work. If the Watch Tower agrees with Weigall’s assessment that the trinity is pagan, that is great. However, to be consistent and credible, they also must agree with his assessment that other beliefs of theirs are pagan as well. From what I know of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they do not. We cannot take seriously an argument made which loyally quotes part of a source and disagrees wholesale with the rest of it.

This is either irresponsible and misguided scholarship at best or direct and deliberate deception at worst. In the first case, we can give the benefit of the doubt to the Watch Tower Society as an organization that means well but we still refuse to trust it because it misses the mark. In the second case, we absolutely cannot trust the Watch Tower Society and must speak out actively against its lies. If the Watch Tower handles extra-biblical sources this way, can we remotely trust how it handles the Scriptures?

Unfortunately, as we’ve read more about the teaching and claims of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have seen this tendency and pattern. Over and over we have seen deliberate or irresponsible misquotations and out-of-context references that have been manipulated to give support for what the original author never meant to support. While investigating the scholarly “support” for the New World Translation given on jw.org, it became clear that every single scholar given was grossly misquoted and misrepresented. We would strongly encourage you to begin researching the sources your Watch Tower uses and evaluate whether they are trustworthy. Please do not just take the quotations at face value. To do so insults not only the men and women who are misquoted, but insults Yahweh himself by refusing to evaluate the claims made about Him.

“By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:16), as you emphasized repeatedly to us. You are correct. “Fruit” is not simply door-to-door evangelism. If that were the case, your church is not the only one bearing this fruit. The Mormons are well-known for their door-to-door mission work. We, as protestant Christians, have also been involved with door-to-door evangelism. The fruit we have seen of the Watch Tower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses has been the fruit of deliberate deception and disregard for accurate and responsible handling of the Word of truth. This is especially alarming considering the context of the passage above, “Beware of false prophets,” Jesus says, explaining these false prophets will on the final day “say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:15-23).

What fruit should we look for then? The fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:13). We wish we could say we have seen Jehovah’s Witnesses bearing this fruit. We have not.

This is of utmost importance for you. Scripture has some very strong warnings for false teachers and those who bring a false gospel. “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9).

What is the gospel we received?

Yahweh created by His Word a beautiful, perfect, good world (Genesis 1:10, 18, 25, 31; John 1:1-2). In this world, He placed His image-bearers, Adam and Eve, and breathed His very own Spirit into them to give them life (Genesis 1:27; 2:7).

They rebelled. They directly disobeyed God’s instruction and offended Him deeply, bringing upon themselves the curse of death (Genesis 3:16-19) and subjecting all of creation to the curse brought by their sin (Romans 8:20-21). In the sin of Adam, we all sinned (Romans 2:12; 3:23; especially 5:12-14), and because of Adam’s sin, we all – as sinners – are objects of God’s holy and good and righteous and just wrath (John 3:36; Romans 1:18; 5:9; 9:22; Ephesians 2:3; Revelation 14:19). Yes, wrath. The Scriptures speak not only of the “grave” (Sheol and Hades), but also of “hell” (Gehenna/The Valley of Hinnom and the “lake of fire” – cf. Revelation 20:14-15; Jeremiah 19:2-6; Luke 12:5). Those who refuse to repent not only die but also experience the “second death” (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8) in which God rightly and justly punishes them for the depth and profundity of their crimes against Him. This is not cruel or unjust of God and in no way compromises His grace and love and mercy. This displays His holiness and righteousness and justice (Romans 3:5; 9:22-24) as well as demonstrating the seriousness of our sin against Him (Genesis 3:3; Numbers 18:22; 32:23; Ezekiel 3:19). We all deserve this (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:12, 23; 6:23; Revelation 21:8), and God would be completely justified if He saved none of us from this.

This is the bad news of the gospel. God has displayed this truth through His creation, leaving all men “without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

The good news is that this is not the end of the gospel. God in His grace and love chose to deal with our sin. He could not just turn a blind eye and pardon it without compromising His holiness and purity and righteousness. In His love and grace, He decided to dole out the full measure of His wrath for our sin on Jesus, the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). So who is this Jesus? He is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3); He is the Word of God, through whom all was created (John 1:1); He is the Son of God, exalted by the Father and given the Name that is above all Names (Matthew 14:33; 27:54; John 1:34; 10:36; 19:7); He is worthy to receive our worship (Matthew 14:33; 28:9-10; Luke 24:50-53; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:13-14); He is Yahweh God (John 1:1; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 1:17-18; cf. Isaiah 44:6). Being fully and equally God, He emptied Himself of His claim to heavenly rights and became fully human like us (Philippians 2:5-11), our perfect representative and the second Adam (Romans 5:15). He never once sinned but lived a life in perfect submission to the entire law of God – an accomplishment that we sinful humans could never hope to attain (Hebrews 4:14-15). And despite His blemish-free perfection, He submitted to death and the pouring out of God’s wrath against our sin, satisfying the demands of divine justice on our behalf and bearing the curse of the Fall (Deuteronomy 21:23; John 19:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).

And then Jesus was physically raised from the dead (Matthew 28:5-10; Mark 16:6; especially Luke 24:39-43; John 20:27-29; 21:13-14; Acts 1:3). His death was bodily (Matthew 27:50, 59; Mark 15:37, 45; Luke 23:46; John 19:32-37). If He did not rise in body, then He did not rise. If Christ was not raised, our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17) and we are most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). In His physical resurrection, Jesus conquered death for us, removing its power and sting (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) and promised our own bodily resurrection when He returns (1 Corinthians 15:49; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

He removed our sins from us, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12; Colossians 2:14), so there is no more wrath or judgment left for those who are in Christ (Romans 5:6-9; 8:1). But even more than this. We are not simply declared “sin free,” we are declared “justified” and “righteous.” The perfect righteousness of Christ was given to us (Romans 3:26; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Philippians 3:9). Christ’s blood covers us (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:11-14). This means God sees that our sin has been paid for in His blood and that we wear the perfect righteousness of Jesus (Hebrews 10:14). This is so much more than mere “unmerited kindness.” This is grace. We have been saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) – the completely and profoundly undeserved gift of love and favor from the God we deeply offended who chose to pour out His just punishment on His own perfectly innocent Son instead of on us. We cannot add anything at all to this, and if we try to add our own merit to the finished work of Christ (John 19:30), we nullify His sacrifice and bring ourselves back under the curse of the broken law (Galatians 2:20-21; 3:10; 5:2-4).

It is God who calls us to repentance (Revelation 2:5, 16). It is God who justifies us in Christ (Romans 3:26, 30; Galatians 3:8). It is the righteousness of Jesus that we place our hope in (Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:13). It is God who makes us alive (Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 2:5). Our good works add nothing to this, they are merely evidence of this (John 14:15; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14; James 2:26).

This is the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). We look forward with confident hope for the return of Christ, at which every knee will bow and tongue proclaim Him as Lord to the glory of the Father (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10). We look forward to the day when all the saints in the New Heavens and the New Earth will worship the Lamb and proclaim His glory (Revelation 5:12-14; 7:10).

Dear friends, we long for the day you bow before Jesus with us. We pray for the salvation of your souls. With Jesus and John we urge you to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17), a Kingdom that does not consist in talk but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20)!

If you accept this, it is life to you. If you refuse this, it is death to you (2 Corinthians 2:16-17). By the grace of God, we implore you, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Love,
The Brummers

As always, I welcome comments, responses, considerations, challenges, and questions. One again, however, I remind you that I reserve the right to delete and moderate distasteful remarks. Please season your responses with grace, truth, and love. If you believe I am in error, I welcome biblical correction with open arms.

The Morning After

As you may know, I watched the election returns last night until the president-elect was announced as Obama. Then I went to bed. I captured some of my momentary, initial reactions in a brief blog post previous to this one. I would like to expand on some of my thoughts today.

Surprise

One of my biggest emotional responses last night right around 9:30 was surprise. It all happened so fast. I actually took a nap earlier in the evening, expecting to be up until 1 or 2 in the morning watching the returns. Hardly an hour after I awoke, it was all over.

At the beginning of my nap, I felt incredibly confident. Mitt had a solid and steady, though close, lead in both the popular vote and the electoral college. When I woke up, it had all changed, and changed quickly and drastically. We superstitiously joked at work this morning that I should not have taken that nap!

I really thought Mitt had it. All the polls I had followed for the past few weeks indicated he had an edge in the states that mattered. I was floored that our country voted O back in for four more years. It didn’t make sense. Majorities against his healthcare plan, disapproval ratings higher than Bush four years ago, a majority sentiment that our country is heading the wrong direction… it just didn’t make sense to me. Some of those numbers are here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/07/fox-news-exit-poll-summary/

It’s easy for me to blame fraud. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that the election was thrown, that judges cheated, that the Democrats bought out someone to tamper with the results. That may have happened, but I also realize I don’t have the evidence, so I can’t cling to that theory.

Deep Disappointment

My stomach sunk last night, and that sick feeling has lingered throughout the day. I still firmly believe that O is not the right choice for our country. I still strongly disagree with his policy, stance on social issues, foreign policy, economics, and leadership style.

I felt justified in my disapproval today when the DOW dropped over 300 points as a run on the stock market took place. Investors are pulling out their money and they are pulling a lot out very quickly in all areas of commerce except health (think: Obamacare). Here is a CNN article (of all sources) that explains some of the numbers: http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/07/investing/stocks-markets/index.html?hpt=hp_t2_7

Couple this with the fact that he will probably get to appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice during his next term, and a culture that legalized recreational marijuana in my own state (CO) as well as the first approval of same-sex marriage by a popular vote in our nation’s history (in Maine), I worry about the world we will eventually, hopefully, bring children into.

Sadness

I feel sad for our country. And even though, as you know, I am not a supporter of O, my sadness is not over his winning the election. It is over the response of Americans to this. Our nation is so incredibly polarized, I do not see how we will ever get anything worthwhile done. Somehow, after billions of dollars spent, untold campaign hours, deliberations, polls, and elections, we are almost exactly where we started two days ago. We have the same President and Vice. We still have a Republican led House and a Democratic led Senate. Nothing has changed. It’s still a gridlock.

I am stunned by some of the incredibly disgusting and hateful comments made by Democrats in victory. For example, http://twitchy.com/2012/11/07/sarah-palin-dont-lose-heart-conservatives-press-on-left-spews-hate/ Disclaimer, read this cautiously. This blog site pulls tweets from twitter and groups them in trends in response to an issue or incident. These quotes are uncensored, and rather vulgar.  I’m also saddened by the emotional backlash of many “conservatives” in defeat. I don’t have a site like Twitchy with equally disgusting comments from the Right, but I’ve seen vengeful comments on Facebook and Twitter come from the Right as well.  I’m not one to preach “love, love, love” without “Christ, Christ, Christ.” But I’m certainly one to call “foul” on such unbridled hate and loathing.

Looking Forward

What next? I pray I am dead wrong and that I eat my words. I want God to bless America. I hope Obama’s eloquent teleprompter promises for economic growth and better life come true. Yet, I remain skeptical.

How do I respond to this within myself, in faith? I know that God is sovereign and I know that He is good. I know He is jealous for the glory of His name, and He delights in providing for His children. I know He has installed evil tyrants, even over his own people, as well as providing peaceful leaders for times of prosperity. I pray He has mercy on our nation, but I also know the sins of our nation and understand His holy intolerance of our selfish immorality.

I am not one to judge the depths of Obama’s heart, but based on his fruit I doubt he is a Christian. Even so, God has allowed this man to be our President again, and He has His reasons. I need to put my hand over my mouth, be still, and trust in the God I claim to follow.

Even if the worst should happen – if the economy collapses, Christians are marginalized and persecuted, food and power and fuel run short, or our country is invaded or falls – still God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who came as Jesus, is my God.

And this God has commanded that I pray for my enemies and honor my leaders. I pray for Obama’s soul. I pray that God frustrates any of his plans that make a mockery of His law. I pray that God reshapes the man and brings good to His people through him.

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever
Amen.

More Thoughts on “Sick”

The subject of abortion has really been on my mind lately. You may or may not have read my post Sick from a few days ago. Clearly, it has upset me quite a bit. If you remember, I was fairly direct and blunt. I have to admit that I was writing with the emotions from reading the article still fresh and strong.

I still have those emotions but they have ebbed back to the normal levels, and I’ve spent the last few days more in mulling over my thoughts about it than in fuming over them. I want to add these quieter thoughts.

I’ve had many conversations with women whose lives have been directly affected by abortion. Many of them freely chose to have an abortion the first time they found out they were pregnant. They were formerly of the pro-choice viewpoint. Or they felt themselves panic at their situation and compromised their convictions for the sake of their one specific circumstance. Some of the women I’ve talked with were coerced into making a decision they didn’t want to make by a parent or boyfriend or spouse who felt more shame and panic than they themselves did. Many of the women I talked to were women who march in the very front of the “March for Life” every year in D.C. These are women who have had abortions, and are now fervently active in seeking ways to end the practice.

There is one thing they all have in common, regardless of their previous convictions. They all say, in so many words, that what they did was wrong. They know and assent to what I wrote about abortion in “Sick.” I have yet to meet a woman who was proud of her abortion, who told me she would do it again, who still defends the “right” for other women to do the same. Are there women like this out there? I’m sure there are a few, but I don’t think they are the norm.

Having said that, I want to clarify what I mean by taking action. By not just sitting by and ignoring this while it’s happening here. I did address that a little in one of the comments, but I want to expound upon that a little here. There are two parts to this.

1. Prayer

Yes. Prayer. I do believe prayer is active and effective. I won’t get into my whole theology of that here and now; I might save that for a later post. But I think this prayer needs to happen on many levels.

Prayer for leaders in our states and nation who make decisions about this. There is a lot going on in our country right now. Decisions about the national budget, healthcare, birth control options. There are controversies over charities that are supporting or not supporting other charities (I’m thinking specifically of the kafuffle that happened with Komen and Planned Parenthood). I don’t think the most effective way to influence these decisions is pickets and marches and petitions. Do they have influence? They can. But in a country where there has been a consistent pro-choice majority (although that did change in 2009 even though the vast majority still agree that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances), the reality of having pro-life legislation passed is unlikely. Yet, these decisions do come down to the individuals who make them, and we should keep those individuals in prayer. Pray for our president and vice president (whether you like them or not). Pray for the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Pray for the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Pray for our Senate Leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. And pray for our Supreme Court Justices. Also pray for local leaders, like your house representative, governor, and state senates. Pray that these men and women will have wisdom as they lead. Pray that you will trust God as he raises up leaders and works his will through them in our nation.

Next, pray for the men and women whose lives have been affected by abortion. I know some by name. You may not realize that you do. (Statistically, it is very likely that you know several women who have had abortions and have never spoken of it.) These are men and women whose lives are hurting because of a very traumatic experience. They may struggle with guilt or shame. They may face huge regrets. The women who have had the procedure may have serious and long-term physical effects like chemical depression, damage to their reproductive system causing infertility, infection. Pray for their physical, mental, and emotional healing. Pray for their restoration spiritually. Is abortion awful? Yes. Is it forgivable? Absolutely.

Pray for those tied up in the industry. For those who are supporting the pro-choice agenda, pray that God will open their eyes to see what is really going on. Pray for their conviction and that they would then have a desire to make things right. Pray for the doctors and clinics that perform these procedures. Again, pray for conviction. Pray that they will act ethically and honestly in matters like offering to let mothers see their ultrasounds.

Pray for people contemplating abortion. Unplanned pregnancy can be traumatic and stressful (regardless of whether it was an accident or the consequence of something far worse like rape), and for many people the only way out that they can see is termination of the baby. Pray that they will be comforted and encouraged in the midst of their panic. That there will be people who can give them wise counsel about their other options. That they will have people in their lives whose primary motive in helping them will not be an “agenda,” but loving them and desiring their well-being.

I know this is a lot. But there’s one other action I want to suggest as well.

2. Listen, and then Talk

Please hear what I’m NOT say here. I’m not saying to preach from a soap-box on a street corner. I’m not saying to shoot condemning looks at a woman walking into a clinic that you’re picketing. What I am saying is take the time to get to know people who have a different view point. Honestly listen to what they have to say. Gently and humbly share your point of view. Again, make your primary, genuine motive be loving and caring for the well-being of the other person, not “winning them over.” This is not a battle that will be won by marching in the conquering troops and subjecting the opposition by force. The problem is not the socio-economic pressures and trends. They are merely a symptom of the brokenness of the human heart.

This is a huge, culture-wide issue. It will take lots of time and prayer. It will take the innocence of doves and the shrewdness of serpents. It will take small amounts of salt scattered in strategic places. It will take the time and effort of building true friendships one person at a time. And it will take an unyielding hope and trust in the good God directing it all.

Sick

I was wide awake and feeling well-rested at 7:00 this morning, which is incredibly unusual for someone who struggles to pull herself out of bed at 9 most days. So as I ate breakfast, I perused facebook and found a link to this article. I recommend you read it before you continue. Don’t worry, it’s not too long.

After-Birth Abortion

Are you disgusted? Because I am. Five hours after reading this article, I’m still fuming about it as I go about my housework today. This has really ruffled my feathers and just plain ticked me off.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a firm believer that life begins at conception. That is, when the sperm breaks through the wall of the egg, the united cell is a legitimate human life. That human life has its own DNA sequence, its own soul, and is separate and distinct in being from the body of its mother. Throughout pregnancy, that child develops its own lungs, its own blood type, its own fingernails and eye color, and even the basic elements of its overall personality that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

You may disagree with me. I understand that. There are many people who advocate that a fetus is just a piece of tissue growing in connection with the mother’s body, and that such a tissue is not recognizably human. I challenge you to look for pictures like this one: a human embryo at just 6 weeks, with eyes, arms, legs, ears, and the beginnings of little fingers.

All of this to say, I am incredibly disgusted by the practice of abortion. To sound extreme and radical, but true: it is the cold-blooded murder of human life. Life created in the image of God. When we kill these children, we spit in his face.

But a friend of mine pointed out how desensitized we are as a culture to this mass infanticide happening in our backyard. It has become a part of “the way things are.” And that, in and of itself, is quite disturbing.

Enter this article. You may or may not have heard of Peter Singer. He is a well-known, and rather infamous, philosophy professor at Princeton who has become known for defending the “abortion” of infants up to 18 weeks after their birth. Yes, you read that right. These are 4 1/2 month old babies we are talking about. (But is this surprising coming from a man who wants to euthanize his own Alzheimer’s suffering mother?) Yet, even Peter Singer has drawn a line. He only advocates this method of abortion when it is in the interest of the quality of life for the child. For example, a child born with Down’s Syndrome that was not diagnosed with a test of the amniotic fluid during pregnancy can be put out of its misery, so to speak. I think this is an evil man clinging to the disgusting, but logical, conclusions of his system of “ethics.” But at least the man has drawn a line.*

But not these two. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have erased all lines. All bets are off. Now, following the pro-choice mindset to its logical conclusion, it is perfectly acceptable and to be encouraged to murder a child for really any reason at all. They are not really human, but only “potential humans” (whatever that means… but remember, I think they are fully human at the moment of conception) and as such won’t really care or even experience their own termination. No harm, no foul.

And in their minds, this is just as acceptable in the case of fully healthy human children with no foreseeable quality of life issues! The only necessary reason for this “abortion” to take place? The convenience of the mother or father. They don’t feel like having a child. They can’t afford a child. Let’s kill it. After all, giving a child up for adoption is so emotionally distressing.

Are you kidding me?

This should sicken you. Not only should it sicken you that human life in the womb is being brutally murdered, not only should it sicken you that human life up to 18 weeks is being murdered in cold-blood, but it should sicken you because the more acceptable this becomes, the cheaper all of human life becomes. Next we’ll be euthanizing 10-year-olds who can’t pass fifth grade, athletes with sports injuries, adults who have been fired from their jobs, the poor and old and infirm. After all, aren’t these, too, people who aren’t living up to their “potential” as human beings?

We desperately need to pray for our culture. We need to cry out to God about this injustice. But we certainly cannot just sit by and ignore this while it happens.

Grace and peace,
-meg

*Ironically, Peter Singer is a vegan because he thinks “Western-style meat production [is] cruel, unhealthy and damaging to the ecosystem.” (Wikipedia paraphrase, Singer’s original article here.) Whether or not he would say it in so many words, Peter pragmatically views the life of a chicken as more valuable than the life of a human child.