Abortion is not an option when in doubt

>> Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hello all!

Some of you may recall a post of mine from a while back (relying heavily on an article by E. Christian Brugger) titled “Public Discourse: The Ethics of Fetal Pain”. The most basic premise of my comments and Mr. Brugger’s article could be summed up something like this. “When in doubt don’t kill or torture the fetus, otherwise known as a baby, because there is no justification for abortion in the face of doubt”.

I found another article today, titled “A Chance Worth Fighting For” by Timothy Dalrymple, in which the author cites Erwin Schrödinger’s “Copenhagen" interpretation of quantum mechanics to draw the following conclusion that would affirm mine and Mr. Brugger’s contention:

I present this thought experiment because my most fundamental question concerning abortion is: whether or when abortion is the destruction of a human life? Yet I cannot find a definitive answer to the question of when human life begins in the womb, and I suspect many on both sides, if honest, would confess the same. What do we mean by human and life? What if human life does not begin at any discrete moment, or when is a life sufficiently human to claim special moral value?

I sympathize with the distraught young woman who stands before the trials of motherhood, and it is difficult to contend that she should face them for a six-week-old fertilized embryo. Yet I cannot see the dismembered bodies of late-aborted fetuses, or the videos of fetal activity in the midst of abortion procedures, without feeling as though we have gone horribly wrong. If no leaf changes without the silent knowledge of the tree (Kahlil Gibran), we are all responsible for the least of these.

Yet the "indeterminacy" of the beginning of life works in favor of pro-lifers. The mere chance that abortion is the destruction of human life, or of nascent human life of high moral worth, is enough to stand against it. Why should we accept in the mysterious confines of the human body what we would not allow in front of our eyes?


I won’t lie. I find abortion appalling and believe God does as well. However, I don’t view all people who believe abortion as acceptable and/or that it should be legal in the same light. Some people are honestly convinced that a “fetus” is not human, a view particularly common among products of a thoroughly humanist educational system. I believe this view to be horribly misguided scientifically and logically, and I would do my utmost to persuade them of their error. However, this is a human mistake common in our deceived times, and I would be slow to condemn these people too quickly or too harshly.

There is another category though. This one is comprised of people who are not convinced of the soundness of abortion scientifically, morally or logically, but because society allows it and it is convenient they are willing to support abortion. This group is tragically and reprehensibly confused, beguiled and assuaged by a deadly combination of self indulgence and willful ignorance.

Is there a defense for such individuals?

Ironically, I don’t see why an abortion advocate from the first category mentioned in this post would disagree with my premise.

Advocates of abortion tout “women’s freedom” and “reproductive rights” as grounds for legalized abortion, but this view is justifiable only if you believe an unborn child is simply a “fetus”. If you are not convinced of this, what justification is there for abortion? Are “reproductive rights” in anyway comparable to life itself when the two are weighed against each other?

I believe they most certainly are not which is why, in part, I so strongly believe that the presence of even the slightest doubt concerning whether or not a fetus is a human should take the “option” of abortion completely off the table for a person with a sound moral compass.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Flaws are no cause for rejection

>> Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hello all,

I came across an excellent “common sense” article today by Thomas Kidd titled “The Tea Party, Fundamentalism, and the Founding”. In it, he responses to several attacks on the Tea Party leveled by Jill Lepore in her new book “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History”. It’s an interesting read (and not long) so I recommend that you take a few minutes for reading it.

For the purposes of this post I would like to highlight the final paragraph of Mr. Kidd’s article:

But Lepore wants us to stare the hard facts in the face: the Founders denied the basic rights of citizenship to the majority of Americans, especially slaves. She implies that because the Founders were flawed people, bound by their place and time, we can learn almost nothing from them. "Thank goodness, the eighteenth century is over," Lepore says in her acknowledgements. Surely we all agree that the leaders of our Revolution were products of a culture that was morally faulty, just as our own society is. But entirely dismissing the wisdom of that age throws out the very principles -- especially the notion that "all men are created equal" -- that helped us move past the limitations of the Founding. Thinking that you can learn something from the past does not make you a fundamentalist.”

I think his point is very important. To reject outright the collective and individual wisdom of a world changing generation on the basis that they were immensely flawed human beings is to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. People are always products of their times and need to be evaluated in that light.

Our Founding Fathers were extraordinary people in many respects. They are largely (if not primarily) responsible for changing the world for the better by adopting a new philosophy, theology and worldview of government and social structure. However, they were deeply flawed. They did not live out their own ideas and principles as well as they could have or should have. Nonetheless, they laid a foundation and planted seeds that would effectively move future generations in a direction that would more fully realize the noble principles pioneered by our Founding Fathers and Mothers.

For that, we should honor them, and thank them, but we also must realistically evaluate them in light of their imperfections and times. I for one have no problem saying on one hand “Our Founding Fathers planted the tree of freedom and pioneered an unrivaled political and social philosophy and I honor them for that” and on the other hand proclaiming “Our Founding Fathers unjustly enslaved and stripped of their full due dignity thousands upon thousands of their fellow man”. That is no contradiction; that is realistically acknowledging mans capacity to work great good while also engaging in great evil and differentiating between the two.

History is full of such man and women. I marvel at how much good can be accomplished by flawed human beings and take great comfort in knowing that God can use an imperfect vessel to accomplish His good will.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Theodore Roosevelt: The American Boy

>> Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hello all,

Theodore Roosevelt is a man that has much to teach our culture today, especially when it comes to leadership and "manliness". This is not an endorsement of everything he said or did necessarily, but I do think that the good in his life and beliefs far outweigh the bad or not so good.

The Strenuous Life is Roosevelt's previously well known collection of commentaries (essays) and public addresses on "what is necessary for a vital and healthy political, social and individual life" and is specifically addressed to men and young men.

Today, while doing some research, I had occasion to read Chapter X of The Strenuous Life and found it refreshing and challenging. It's not often we hear so boldly and unabashedly declared masculine virtues. But then, it's not often we have a Teddy Roosevelt in our midst. :-)

I won't post the entire address, but I would like to copy a few of my favorite portions of it and highly recommend that you read the rest. It hardly bears mention I would think, but do keep in mind that some of the words and their meanings were used differently today than Roosevelt's day. Just making sure we're clear there. :-P

THE AMERICAN BOY (by Theodore Roosevelt)
PUBLISHED IN "ST. NICHOLAS," MAY, 1900

OF course what we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now, the chances are strong that he won't be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud.

There are always in life countless tendencies for good and for evil, and each succeeding generation sees some of these tendencies strengthened and some weakened; nor is it by any means always, alas! that the tendencies for evil are weakened and those for good strengthened. But during the last few decades there certainly have been some notable changes for good in boy life. The great growth in the love of athletic sports, for instance, while fraught with danger if it becomes one-sided and unhealthy, has beyond all question had an excellent effect in increased manliness. Forty or fifty years ago the writer on American morals was sure to deplore the effeminacy and luxury of young Americans who were born of rich parents. The boy who was well off then, especially in the big Eastern cities, lived too luxuriously, took to billiards as his chief innocent recreation, and felt small shame in his inability to take part in rough pastimes and field-sports. Nowadays, whatever other faults the son of rich parents may tend to develop, he is at least forced by the opinion of all his associates of his own age to bear himself well in manly exercises and to develop his body—and therefore, to a certain extent, his character—in the rough sports which call for pluck, endurance, and physical address.

Of course boys who live under such fortunate conditions that they have to do either a good deal of outdoor work or a good deal of what might be called natural outdoor play do not need this athletic development. In the Civil War the soldiers who came from the prairie and the backwoods and the rugged farms where stumps still dotted the clearings, and who had learned to ride in their infancy, to shoot as soon as they could handle a rifle, and to camp out whenever they got the chance, were better fitted for military work than any set of mere school or college athletes could possibly be. Moreover, to mis-estimate athletics is equally bad whether their importance is magnified or minimized. The Greeks were famous athletes, and as long as their athletic training had a normal place in their lives, it was a good thing. But it was a very bad thing when they kept up their athletic games while letting the stern qualities of soldiership and statesmanship sink into disuse. Some of the younger readers of this book will certainly sometime read the famous letters of the younger Pliny, a Roman who wrote, with what seems to us a curiously modern touch, in the first century of the present era. His correspondence with the Emperor Trajan is particularly interesting; and not the least noteworthy thing in it is the tone of contempt with which he speaks of the Greek athletic sports, treating them as the diversions of an unwarlike people which it was safe to encourage in order to keep the Greeks from turning into anything formidable. So at one time the Persian kings had to forbid polo, because soldiers neglected their proper duties for the fascinations of the game. We cannot expect the best work from soldiers who have carried to an unhealthy extreme the sports and pastimes which would be healthy if indulged in with moderation, and have neglected to learn as they should the business of their profession. A soldier needs to know how to shoot and take cover and shift for himself—not to box or play foot-ball. There is, of course, always the risk of thus mistaking means for ends. Fox-hunting is a first-class sport; but one of the most absurd things in real life is to note the bated breath with which certain excellent fox-hunters, otherwise of quite healthy minds, speak of this admirable but not over-important pastime. They tend to make it almost as much of a fetish as, in the last century, the French and German nobles made the chase of the stag, when they carried hunting and game-preserving to a point which was ruinous to the national life. Fox-hunting is very good as a pastime, but it is about as poor a business as can be followed by any man of intelligence. Certain writers about it are fond of quoting the anecdote of a fox-hunter who, in the days of the English civil war, was discovered pursuing his favorite sport just before a great battle between the Cavaliers and the Puritans, and right between their lines as they came together. These writers apparently consider it a merit in this man that when his country was in a death-grapple, instead of taking arms and hurrying to the defense of the cause he believed right, he should placidly have gone about his usual sports. Of course, in reality the chief serious use of fox-hunting is to encourage manliness and vigor, and to keep men hardy, so that at need they can show themselves fit to take part in work or strife for their native land. When a man so far confuses ends and means as to think that fox-hunting, or polo, or foot-ball, or whatever else the sport may be, is to be itself taken as the end, instead of as the mere means of preparation to do work that counts when the time arises, when the occasion calls—why, that man had better abandon sport altogether.

No boy can afford to neglect his work, and with a boy work, as a rule, means study. Of course there are occasionally brilliant successes in life where the man has been worthless as a student when a boy. To take these exceptions as examples would be as unsafe as it would be to advocate blindness because some blind men have won undying honor by triumphing over their physical infirmity and accomplishing great results in the world. I am no advocate of senseless and excessive cramming in studies, but a boy should work, and should work hard, at his lessons—in the first place, for the sake of what he will learn, and in the next place, for the sake of the effect upon his own character of resolutely settling down to learn it. Shiftlessness, slackness, indifference in studying, are almost certain to mean inability to get on in other walks of life. Of course, as a boy grows older it is a good thing if he can shape his studies in the direction toward which he has a natural bent; but whether he can do this or not, he must put his whole heart into them. I do not believe in mischief-doing in school hours, or in the kind of animal spirits that results in making bad scholars; and I believe that those boys who take part in rough, hard play outside of school will not find any need for horse-play in school. While they study they should study just as hard as they play foot-ball in a match game. It is wise to obey the homely old adage, "Work while you work; play while you play."

A boy needs both physical and moral courage. Neither can take the place of the other. When boys become men they will find out that there are some soldiers very brave in the field who have proved timid and worthless as politicians, and some politicians who show an entire readiness to take chances and assume responsibilities in civil affairs, but who lack the fighting edge when opposed to physical danger. In each case, with soldiers and politicians alike, there is but half a virtue. The possession of the courage of the soldier does not excuse the lack of courage in the statesman and, even less does the possession of the courage of the statesman excuse shrinking on the field of battle. Now, this is all just as true of boys. A coward who will take a blow without returning it is a contemptible creature; but, after all, he is hardly as contemptible as the boy who dares not stand up for what he deems right against the sneers of his companions who are themselves wrong. Ridicule is one of the favorite weapons of wickedness, and it is sometimes incomprehensible how good and brave boys will be influenced for evil by the jeers of associates who have no one quality that calls for respect, but who affect to laugh at the very traits which ought to be peculiarly the cause for pride.

There is no need to be a prig. There is no need for a boy to preach about his own good conduct and virtue. If he does he will make himself offensive and ridiculous. But there is urgent need that he should practise decency; that he should be clean and straight, honest and truthful, gentle and tender, as well as brave. If he can once get to a proper understanding of things, he will have a far more hearty contempt for the boy who has begun a course of feeble dissipation, or who is untruthful, or mean, or dishonest, or cruel, than this boy and his fellows can possibly, in return, feel for him. The very fact that the boy should be manly and able to hold his own, that he should be ashamed to submit to bullying without instant retaliation, should, in return, make him abhor any form of bullying, cruelty, or brutality.

There are two delightful books, Thomas Hughes's "Tom Brown at Rugby," and Aldrich's "Story of a Bad Boy," which I hope every boy still reads; and I think American boys will always feel more in sympathy with Aldrich's story, because there is in it none of the fagging, and the bullying which goes with fagging, the account of which, and the acceptance of which, always puzzle an American admirer of Tom Brown.

There is the same contrast between two stories of Kipling's. One, called "Captains Courageous," describes in the liveliest way just what a boy should be and do. The hero is painted in the beginning as the spoiled, over-indulged child of wealthy parents, of a type which we do sometimes unfortunately see, and than which there exist few things more objectionable on the face of the broad earth. This boy is afterward thrown on his own resources, amid wholesome surroundings, and is forced to work hard among boys and men who are real boys and real men doing real work. The effect is invaluable. On the other hand, if one wishes to find types of boys to be avoided with utter dislike, one will find them in another story by Kipling, called "Stalky & Co.," a story which ought never to have been written, for there is hardly a single form of meanness which it does not seem to extol, or of school mismanagement which it does not seem to applaud. Bullies do not make brave men; and boys or men of foul life cannot become good citizens, good Americans, until they change; and even after the change scars will be left on their souls.

The boy can best become a good man by being a good boy—not a goody-goody boy, but just a plain good boy. I do not mean that he must love only the negative virtues; I mean he must love the positive virtues also. "Good," in the largest sense, should include whatever is fine, straightforward, clean, brave, and manly. The best boys I know—the best men I know—are good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrong-doing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless. A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward, and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals. One prime reason for abhorring cowards is because every good boy should have it in him to thrash the objectionable boy as the need arises.

Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, thoroughly straight and upright boy can have upon the companions of his own age, and upon those who are younger, is incalculable. If he is not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect him, and his good qualities will count for but little; while, of course, if he is mean, cruel, or wicked, then his physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much the more objectionable a member of society. He cannot do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice, and fair dealing.

In short, in life, as in a foot-ball game, the principle to follow is:

Hit the line hard; don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard!


I think the above thoughts are very thought provoking. Our culture has come far since the times of Roosevelt, sometimes progressing for the better and often regressing for the worse, but young men are still basically the same.

Our culture would do well to reconsider how we raise our boys, specifically the sort of "strenuous life" we commend to them. We need to encourage and nurture our young men to do hard things and live a Rebelutionary lifestyle.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Public Discourse: The Ethics of Fetal Pain

>> Monday, November 8, 2010

Hello all,

As anybody who reads this blog knows, I am strongly pro-life and believe the abortion issues is far and away the single biggest moral and cultural crisis this country is currently facing.

One of the aspects of the abortion debate that doesn't get a whole lot of attention in the large media outlets but does get a good deal of attention in the front lines of the battle, where the rubber meets the road, is the issue of fetal pain. Specifically, whether or not, and when, fetuses feel the pain of the abortion process.

This is an important question for two relatively obvious reasons. 1) If the fetus feels pain it must be a life, and since it is comprised of distinctly human DNA, it would then be a human life and abortion would be murder. 2) If the fetus feels pain then the cruelty and injustice of abortion would be greatly exemplified and amplified by that pain.

A friend on Facebook linked an article today by E. Christian Brugger about the fetal pain issue. It is posted on Public Discourse, titled "The Ethics of Fetal Pain" and I believe it really cuts to the core of the matter. The author’s main/basic premise is that abortion should be unthinkable in the face of uncertainty. He argues that, regardless of where you stand on the issue, the fact that there is scientific uncertainty should dissuade us from condoning and/or allowing abortion.

The following is the portion of the article that is best sums up his larger point[s].

"Let us say for the sake of argument that rigorous data is inconclusive. I am then left with a doubt as to whether or not levonorgestrel might render the uterine lining inhospitable. According to my practical knowledge, informed, let’s say for the sake of argument, by the best available evidence, I might kill an embryo if I use this drug in such and such a way. The possibility that my action will cause a death gives rise to the duty, stemming from the requisites of fairness, to refrain from that action. I would need to be reasonably certain that it will not cause death before purposeful action is justifiable. This reasonable certitude can also be called moral certitude. And reasonable doubt and moral certitude about the same fact are mutually excluding.

Let me propose one more example. If reasonable doubt existed as to whether the new device known as the “Mosquito,” which emits a high-pitched noise to disperse loiterers, not only caused minor auditory discomfort but severe pain, the burden of proof would fall upon the manufacturer to give evidence that it does not before the device should be approved for general use. Proof, of course, would be simple to arrive at: ask those exposed to the “Mosquito.” Since fetuses cannot yet provide self-report in language we cannot simply ask them whether they feel pain.

Yet I think the principle still stands: the burden of proof would fall upon defenders of the “Mosquito” to rule out a reasonable doubt that the device causes severe pain before its common use was approved, or to take action to assure that this possibility is mitigated.

The burden falls on the one who might be doing wrongful harm to rule out reasonable doubt that they are. If you were hunting in the woods and saw something moving in the distance, but were unsure of whether it was a deer or another hunter, you would be bound not to shoot until reasonable doubt was dispelled that what was stirring in the distance was not another hunter. When a doubt of fact bears on settling whether an alternative under consideration is immoral (e.g., it would be immoral to shoot in the face of reasonable doubt), one should withhold choosing till the fact has been settled.

So the question to be settled is whether or not reasonable doubt exists concerning a fetus’s capacity to experience pain. Since empirical certitude is not available, I propose, in light of what I said above, the following principle: that the judgment that fetuses do feel pain need only be a reasonable explanatory hypothesis in light of the settled evidence. Whereas the judgment that they do not requires moral certitude before providing a speculative ground for normative judgments about how to act.
"


I think the author hits the nail on the head and would encourage my readers to read the rest of the article. Pro-choice advocates would be hard pressed to overcome that reasoning. It's actually very much in line with legal thinking/reasoning concerning standards/burdens of proof.

Hopefully this post was informative for you. Pro-life advocates need to give close attention to these questions of ethics and values. These are the issues that are contested in the trenches and upon which this battle will be decided.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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(Book Recommendation) Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative

>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hello all,

I just finished reading Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative and though I don't have time to write a thorough book review, I would like to recommend it to you and include some information and commentary that might pique your interest in reading it.

When I first read about this book, the one word most consistently used to describe it was "provocative". Initially, this description discouraged my interest in reading Republocrat as I have a low estimation of most "provocative" books, articles and essays. In the culture of today, what is passed off and described as provocative more often than not would be better described as poorly reasoned, hyperbolic, leering opinion splats. But reading descriptions of the content and subject of Republocrat piqued my interest in the book and overcame my word association.

I am glad it did. In Republocrat, author Carl Trueman sets out to challenge the thinking of political establishment conservatives, offering pointed insights and critiques of their party, institution, thinking, working and behavior.

Republocrat is indeed pointed and provocative, but it is constructively pointed and genuinely and thoughtfully provocative. This is not to say that it is perfect, not by a long shot. There are several instances in which I believe the author fails his own standard of logic and reasoning. For instance, Trueman's criticisms of Fox News and Bill O'Reilly (his critique of Glenn Beck I agreed with almost entirely) are largely legitimate but often seem disproportionate. All major news networks are a mixed bag, a fact the author acknowledges later in the book but seems to have forgotten when addressing Fox. His critique of what I term "institutional" conservative views and understandings of Marxism, Totalitarianism and Socialism often ignore what shapes their view and instead focuses on the technical incorrectness of common terminology. He views Marxism primarily in socio/economic/contextual terms and his sharp criticisms of institutional conservative views of Marxism seem to miss the fact that conservatives view Marxism in primarily religious/philosophical/productive terms. The point is not to say either view is right or wrong, only to highlight one of my disagreements with the author.

There are other areas and instances where I disagree with the author, but the book is nonetheless worthwhile, and being a relatively short book, would not take much of your while.

I particularly appreciated and agreed with his thoughts on the secularization of America (covered in Chapter 2: "The Slipperiness of Secularization") and his critique of the state of political discourse and communication (covered in Chapter 5: "Rulers of the Queen's Navee").

Peter Lillback, President of the Providence Forum, has this to say of the book and its author:

"What we really have here is a lonely thinker who longs for the truth of a better city that he cannot find on either side of the Atlantic. He lampoons the cherished political idols that dominate our political landscape. I couldn’t suppress chortles of laughter, alongside shocks of disdain and disagreement, all the while admiring Trueman’s unmasking of the well-camouflaged foolishness on all points of the political spectrum. This historian-turned-pundit, with all the force of a prizefighter’s left jab and right hook, leaves the left, right, and center (or centre) reeling on the ropes. Therefore, I heartily recommend that you read this book, but you do so at your own peril. Its intensity, as well as its pointed, provocative, and persuasive prose, will force you to look at the Vanity Fair of politics from a pilgrim’s perspective. It’s just possible that you, too, will begin to yearn for a better city.”

Additional reviews can be found on Republocrat's Amazon page.

Overall, this is a book I highly recommend, especially to my conservative and evangelical friends. :-)

For those interested, here is an interview of Carl Trueman. For those particularly interested in knowing Mr. Trueman's views on abortion, they are explained in the imbedded video at about the 9 minute mark.



God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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(via The Population Research Institute) ObamaCare: The Facts on Abortion

>> Monday, November 1, 2010

I know this debate is supposed to be settled...but it's not and this is far too an important an issue to be silent on.

I found the following video, produced by The Population Research, Joe Carter's First Thoughts blog. I've posted material before briefly detailing how ObamaCare can/would be used to fund abortion, but this video is the best I've seen in that category, thus, my posting it.



May we never rest while there are still helpless and precious lives to defend!

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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The Purpose of Suffering

>> Sunday, October 24, 2010

Charlie Albright has posted (or re-posted...not sure which) an excellent fundamental examination of the purpose of suffering. I would like to post some of that article with preliminary thoughts and comments prompted in my mind by Charlie's post.

When approaching the issue of suffering, if we are to benefit from suffering, we need to first think about what suffering actually is. I don't pretend or aim to have a full answer to that question, but I would suggest that there are two basic types of suffering: the physical and the spiritual, and that both these kinds of suffering are designed to accomplish common goals in our life (dealt with later in this post). Physical suffering is usually pretty obvious. It can be sickness, injury, disease, pain, persecution and other such things. Then there is spiritual suffering, or "affliction". This can include depression, doubts, unrest, sorrow, etc.

One article on suffering I read described it in a way I found thought provoking and insightful: "It is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives in a way that would never occur without the trial or irritation."

I personally like that definition and believe it is very much in line with Biblical teachings on suffering.

Suffering can be for disciplinary purposes. We know that God chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:4-7) to purify them (Zechariah 13:8-9) and to bring them back to Him. We also know that what we sow will be reaped (Galatians 6:7-8). I make these points because as young Christians it's important that we understand this truth so we will know to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13) in the face of suffering and not assume that our suffering is unrelated to our sin.

Suffering can also happen for reasons we cannot see or understand. This is where Christians can (and frequently do) become easily discouraged and disheartened. Just ask Job. He suffered more than I can imagine for reasons he never fully understood. Yet, the fruit of his suffering was clearly evident. Thank God we can always be assured by the truth of Romans 5:3-5 but must understand that we don't always know why we suffer.

Because we can't know why we suffer, it is imperative that we understand and cling to the promises of what is accomplished through suffering. That is why posts such as Charlie's are important and why we are posting it here. So, without further ado, here is an abridged version of Charlie’s post. If you would like to read the rest (and I would encourage you to) please hop over to Renewing Thoughts and read it there.

The Purpose of Suffering

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

The suffering Paul and his companions were experiencing at this time felt like a death sentence. The burden of their suffering had driven them to the point that they had believed the time had come for them to lose their lives.

In the midst of the despair and sorrow that surround Paul and his companions the God of all comfort came to them. The experience does not end in despair. Though, it does not end in immediate physical deliverance either. Comfort comes by the means of truth. There is a truth attained by the experience which Paul explains in the last sentence, “to make us;” This tremendous burden of suffering had a purpose. There was an aim, a goal that it was set out to accomplish. No suffering is purposeless. Far be it from that! Instead the very creator and sustainer of ever molecule has a purpose in every affliction in our lives. What is that purpose?

It is theological in giving us a correct vision of God

to make us rely not on ourselves;” The first aspect of this correction is in making us see that we are not God. We are not lords over our lives. We like to think that we are. We like to think that we are in control of each and every day. But suffering is the clearest demonstration that this is not the case. We are not in control.

but on God;” When suffering removes our reliance from ourselves the only place that is a sufficient rock is none other than God. Suffering brings us to the place where the only stable and sure foundation is the Lord of the universe. This is why God brings suffering, that it might drives us to Him!

who raises the dead.” It is not: rarely, maybe, sometimes. Our Lord always moves and works for His children. Our God is one who does mighty deeds and glorious works for His children. He never leaves them behind, but always fulfills the plan which he set out to do for them. Now, His plans are not our plans. Faith is holding on to this truth while waiting for the glorious plan of God to come to fruition.

Suffering is hard and painful, yet by faith we can hold to the truth that the purpose is more glorious than a life of ease. Let suffering drive us to Christ and His love!

To those words of wisdom I heartily say amen!

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It.

>> Friday, October 22, 2010

No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It.: "No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It. from the Desiring God blog."

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You "want" to help, but are you looking to help?

>> Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hello all,

Good intentions are wonderful. I think we can all agree with that. However, good intentions are not enough unless they translate into action. The Bible clearly teaches in Matthew 7 that the measure of a person’s intentions and heart is no less than their actions.

   
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20, New King James Version)

I was really blessed and challenged this week by a story I ran across on lifesitenews.com about a man who exemplified the union of "intent" and action. The story begins with the following:

"They call retired salesman Don Ritchie "the watchman." Each day, as he sits in his favorite chair at his cliffside home, he looks up and scans the precipice that takes the lives of approximately 50 suicide jumpers each year, trying to discern the intentions of visitors.

When somebody seems to be lingering too long at the cliff, he walks out to talk to him.

"You can't just sit there and watch them," Ritchie told the AP in a recent interview. "You gotta try and save them. It's pretty simple.
""

Later in the story:

"According to official estimates, Ritchie and his wife Moya have saved 160 lives during the 45 years they have lived near the Gap Park, a famous cliff frequented by sightseers that affords a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbor. However, the unofficial tally is closer to 400, according to the Sydney Morning Herald."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Cliff 'Watchman' Saves Hundreds From Suicide with Kindness and a Smile

When reading the story, the question posted in the post title came to my mind. I wondered, "Do I really believe the things I espouse?" You see, it's one thing to "believe" and another thing to do. For instance, many people think that to be a Christian you must only believe in God and believe in the Bible. But, even Satan and his demons believe.

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[a] (James 2:19-20, New King James Version)
Footnotes:
  1. James 2:20 NU-Text reads useless.

Don Ritchie didn't have to talk to these people that most assume to be beyond help (or worse, unworthy of help). But he believes that life is precious and had a sincere love for these desperate people. When he could have sat in his house and just prayed he voluntarily gave time and effort he was under no obligation to give.

Most of us don't live on a cliff popular with suicide jumpers. But, if we care to look, all of us can and will find something we can do to live out our faith; to unify our intentions and actions into a God honoring and glorifying testimony of loving action. It could be giving a smile to a person in the store that has a downcast look (which requires actually noticing other people and thinking about them), it could be stopping to give a meal to a person obviously in need of a meal or it could be sending baby dolls to Mexico for little girls that wouldn't otherwise have them. Maybe it could be volunteering at your local Crisis Pregnancy Center or be-friending the unpopular kid at school who needs a loving friend. It could be any one of these or a million other things. The point is that belief and desires translates into action and action is inherently pro-active. You need to be looking for opportunities to minister. If you just wait for them to come to you innumerable opportunities will be missed.

As I have been challenged recently to test my own beliefs in light of what I do so I also challenge you to test your intents and desires by your deeds and fruit. Ask yourself the question, "Am I really searching for a way to live out my convictions?" And, "If I'm honest with myself...what does my inaction say about my faith?"

May God give us grace and strength to obediently and faithfully follow the path He has set before.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!



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Changing focus a little bit

>> Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey all,

Not surprisingly, I've neglected my blog of late. It's not so much that I've forgotten about it, it's mostly that I want to write longer and more thorough blog posts that are more in line with my personality as opposed to more standard and shorter posts. I still hope to be able to put out long thoughtful posts, but in the meantime I'm just not able to write anything more than short posts and since I don't want to let my blog voice go silent I'm just going to start putting out short posts. That's really what I've been doing anyway, thanks to time constraints, so hopefully changing focus will help me to put out better short posts.

They might even be interesting. :-P

Comments are always welcome! I love to interact with my readers and especially love to field and read differing views on issues.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Sen. McCaskill: Conway "reasonable" moderate

Hello all,
Imbedded is a clip from Morning Joe containing an interesting round table discussion of the Kentucky Senate race between Rand Paul and Jack Conway. I post it not because I am paying close attention to the race itself, but because it touches more broadly on political discourse and how candidates should conduct themselves.

The portion in question extends to about the 7:00 minute mark. I tried to imbed the video but for some reason the "imbed" link wasn't working so I'm just going to link it the old fashioned way.

Click here to see video

I don’t agree with McCaskill (who btw, I like from what I've seen of her) about shaking opponents’ hands and the respect issue. Yes, there are circumstances in which an opponent can cross the line in attacking you or your family to such a degree that they have lost the privilege of being shown respect and Conway flirted with that line if he didn’t cross it entirely. What was implied in the ad - the innuendos in it - are pretty startling and Paul has a right to be upset about them (unless of course he’s just guilty as charged). Smarmy (or unctuous) is a word that comes to mind as accurately describing that sort of ad. Maybe that’s a bit too extreme on my part though.

Speaking to what McCaskill said regarding Conway being a moderate - while I haven’t followed the Paul/Conway race closely - Conway does appear to have some major inconsistencies in his record past and present (flip flops) that perhaps show Conway to be more politically motivated than “reasonable”.

Irrespective of how true the claims made by the Conway campaign are, the ad in question was an extreme ad making extreme accusations. Hardly something a “reasonable” moderate would put out if they were not thoroughly substantiated.

To the best of my knowledge they aren’t.

McCaskill needs to call out people like Conway even if they are in her party if she wants to have credibility when she speaks of being “reasonable” and of cross aisle collaboration and cooperation. By the same token, Republicans should do the same. This doesn’t mean people pounce on everybody who goes too far (Meghan McCain?) but you have to apply to you and your part the same standard that you apply to the other party.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Gianna Jessen - Abortion Survivor in Australia

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Greetings all!

A friend shared the following video[s] with me on Facebook and they blessed and challenged me so much that I had to post them here.

They really need no introduction. Jessen speaks with such power and conviction seasoned liberally with the grace of the Gospel, God has truly given her and ministry and blessed her with the tools to faithfully minister it.

Part 1



Part 2



I especially appreciate her "challenge" to the men. The abortion debate has become so twisted over time that we have largely forgetten the role of men in the matter, and bringing the focus back to it's proper place on the men is, I believe, a crucial element in winning the abortion war. If men would be men and support their ladies imagine how many young, precious lives could be saved!

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Psalm 148

>> Friday, September 17, 2010

Hello all,

I spent the greater part of yesterday hiking in the Redwood Canyon section of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. The whole park is positively stunning and throughout the hike several scriptures kept coming to mind, one of which was Psalm 148. While I don't have anything profound to add to the Psalm in the way of commentary, I would like to post it here (along with a few of the many pictures I took while hiking) in the hopes that it will be a blessing to some of you.


 1 Praise the LORD!
         
         Praise the LORD from the heavens;
         Praise Him in the heights!
 2 Praise Him, all His angels;
         Praise Him, all His hosts!
 3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
         Praise Him, all you stars of light!
 4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
         And you waters above the heavens!
          (Psalm 148:1-4, New King James Version)





 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
         For He commanded and they were created.
 6 He also established them forever and ever;
         He made a decree which shall not pass away.
          (Psalm 148:5-6, New King James Version)





 7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
         You great sea creatures and all the depths;
 8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
         Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
 9 Mountains and all hills;
         Fruitful trees and all cedars;
 10 Beasts and all cattle;
         Creeping things and flying fowl; (Psalm 148:7-10, New King James Version)





 11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
         Princes and all judges of the earth;
 12 Both young men and maidens;
         Old men and children.
          (Psalm 148:11-12, New King James Version)





 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
         For His name alone is exalted;
         His glory is above the earth and heaven.
 14 And He has exalted the horn of His people,
         The praise of all His saints—
         Of the children of Israel,
         A people near to Him.
         
         Praise the LORD! (Psalm 148:13-14, New King James Version)




Amen! May we never cease to marvel at the totality of His creation!

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Tony Reinke - On Burning Religious Books

>> Wednesday, September 8, 2010

After my last post I continued to think about and to keep an eye out for Gospel oriented views on the well publicized Quran burning scheduled for this September 11th by Pastor Terry Jones and the 50 member strong Dove World Outreach Center. But since I was distracted by crazy events this evening and being unsatisfied with my own reasons and articulation for why this Quran burning is not God honoring, I was fortunate to come across this post by Tony Reinke thanks to Justin Taylor.

Mr. Reinke makes 6 basic points that I will share here with his most relevant comments (to the 6 points). If you would like to read his post in its entirety, which I would encourage you to do, please follow this link.

The Bible, as far as I can tell, mentions one account where religious texts are thrown to the flames (Acts 19:11-20). On the heels of the great work of God in Ephesus, the people had come to fear God and to trust in the Savior. As a result, “a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver” (v. 19). In modern terms they ignited a bonfire using very expensive magic books.

What were these books? According to Eckhard Schnabel, they were occultist documents that described how to make amulets to protect against demons and how to make love charms (Early Christian Mission, 1221). The books gave directions for casting spells on others, either for good or ill, and they would have been quite expensive, which highlights the effect of the gospel upon the wealthy inhabitants of Ephesus. That Paul went toe-to-toe with the owners of documents, which later led to a book burning, tells me they qualify as religious texts, and probubly comprised the pop religion of the day.

From this account here are six points to ponder:

1. The Ephesian people burned their own books. These new believers renounced their past. This was not an act of Christians barging into homes to ransack libraries for kindling, or weeding out the public library, or buying up all available copies from the local bookshop. They gathered the valuable books from their own houses.

2. No Christian leader encouraged the book burning. At least the text doesn’t say it. Or would have been better for the books to be sold and the money given to the Apostolic ministry? Perish the thought. There there is no indication that Paul advised the people to burn (or sell) their occultist books.

3. The books posed no threat to the gospel. The gospel overcame the magic power of the books. The gospel is like a hurricane and nothing will stop its wind, certainly not a book of demonic spells.

4. God’s display of power convinced the people that their books were worthless. There was no need to address the value of the magic books directly. Once God’s power and his gospel were seen in the city, the matter was settled.

5. The book burning was a display of godly sorrow. The recently converted Christians wanted to confess their sin before “all.” The high value of the books (50,000 days wages worth!) made a strong statement. It was an act of personal sorrow for their own sin.

6. The burning illustrated the victory of the gospel. The magic books were burned because the gospel was spreading like wildfire: “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily” (v. 20).

These six points should make us very hesitant about burning other people’s religious books.


I concur with Mr. Reinke's thoughts and believe Pastor Jones would do well to give them careful consideration as well. As Christians, we must always do our best to ensure that God is glorified by and through our actions. I have no reason to believe that Pastor Jones doesn't think what he is doing somehow honors God, but I believe he is very mistaken and would encourage him to reconsider his and his congregants scheduled burning.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Burn Couches, Not the Quran

Hello all,

I happened across this article by Andrew Lisi and wanted to pass it on to you because I believe he is thinking along the right lines. I believe the burning to be deeply misguided, but as Mr. Lisi points out, a Christian shouldn't respond in a purely reactionary manner. Rather, grace is needed all around for a positive and Christ like impact to be made.

Burn Couches, Not the Quran

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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A pro-life perspective on ELLA

>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello friends, family, and random internet readers!

As promised in a previous post, I am back to post with some information and thoughts on the “ELLA” drug recently approved by the FDA. In my previous post I shared a video clip in which Randy Alcorn and Mark Driscoll discuss the dangers common contraceptives pose from a pro-life perspective, which I am sure includes the ELLA drug. I have similar concerns about ELLA.

So first, what is ELLA?

According to the Wall Street Journal, ELLA is “a new drug that is supposed to block pregnancy up to five days after sex, two days longer than the currently available emergency contraceptive Plan B.In the words of the FDA, “ella is a progesterone agonist/antagonist whose likely main effect is to inhibit or delay ovulation. Since May 2009, the prescription product has been available in Europe under the brand name ellaOne.” According to the pro-life organization Americans United for Life (AUL), “Ella is being marketed as an “emergency contraceptive,” but it is the “next generation” of the abortion drug, RU-486.”

The possible dangers and ethical questions raised by ELLA are not as clear as most people would prefer. Still, from a pro-life perspective, I believe a solid answer can be reached.

What are the dangers of ELLA?

First, does ELLA interfere with or kill a developing embryo? That depends on when you believe life to begin. Basically, forgoing the technical and scientific terms that I find it difficult to keep straight sometimes…ELLA’s primary function/purpose is to inhibit or interfere with ovulation. But, if it is unable to do that, its next function is to keep that fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Turning again to AUL for input, “Ella, like RU-486, is a selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM). As a progesterone blocker, an SPRM works to interfere with the developing human embryo, causing it to die by either interfering with the uterine lining and preventing implantation, or by starving an implanted embryo.” AUL further states in a letter to Margaret Hamburg (Commissioner, US Food and Drug Administration) urging that ELLA not be approvedUlipristal Acetate and the abortion drug Mifepristone (RU-486) are both selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRM). SPRMs block progesterone, which is necessary to maintain pregnancyithus starving an unborn baby of the nutrients it needs to continue life.

Given ella’s similar chemical makeup to RU-486, women deserve to see evidence demonstrating that ella will not destroy or harm an unborn child and that ella’s modes of action do not include abortion, especially in light of studies that show ella causes abortions in animal studies. FDA materials admit that data is “too limited to draw any definitive conclusions regarding the effect of ulipristal on an established pregnancy or fetal development.


So the answer to the question of whether ELLA interferes with or kills a life (and thus constitutes an abortion) depends on when you define life to begin and whether ELLA is successful in its primary function of preventing ovulation. If you believe life begins at the moment an egg is fertilized, then yes, ELLA absolutely interferes with and/or kills a human life when it fails in its primary purpose (which it must be assumed will happen with fair regularity due to lack of precision in administration). According to studies, only 2% of women taking ELLA up to 120 hours after intercourse become pregnant. 2% sounds small but when thousands upon thousands of women take ELLA 2% quickly becomes a large number. But, if you believe life begins at the moment of implantation or when the egg is attached to the uterus, then it is not clear to what extent ELLA interferes with the embryo. I say “not clear” deliberately because that leads to my next concern with ELLA.

Is ELLA safe and thoroughly studied enough?

As with virtually all prescription pills or drugs, there are possible side effects of ELLA. Not new news. But, there are concerns that ELLA has not been sufficiently studied to determine its effects on women and embryos it does not prevent from being fertilized and implanted. On this count, AUL has this to say: “While the FDA made specific assurances that Plan B would not affect an embryo after implantation, it contraindicates ella for “known or suspected” pregnancy. The FDA admits, “There are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women.” It cites studies in animals with high rates of pregnancy loss, and it acknowledges that the effects on a fetus that survives ella are unknown.

Exactly what weight these concerns about safety hold, I just can’t say with authority, due to my lack of familiarity with the process of approving prescription pills. Neither a human life or the health of a mother are worth the chance of an insufficiently researched product; so I believe it behooves the FDA to further examine the affect ELLA would have both on the health of the mother and the child, in the event that ELLA does not keep an egg from implanting or is taken too late.

In summary: the bottom line from a consistently pro-life perspective is that ELLA is sure to interfere with and end many human lives in their earliest stage of life. For this reason alone I believe ELLA should not be used by pro-life individuals but the unanswered questions concerning the safety of ELLA are also a significant concern.

There is no good reason for not examining more thoroughly safety questions, especially when a fetus could be harmed for life. The FDA’s failure to do so raises questions about the impact of political and industrial involvement in the approval process. The answer to those questions is of secondary importance though as the FDA cannot make individuals use ELLA.

The choice is the individuals. How will they decide and what will the pro-life community do to stand up for the unborn and protect the sanctity of life?

God bless and veritas supra omnis!



Related Articles:

AUL's "Letter to the Commissioner" http://ellacausesabortions.com/ellapetition/Media_Center_files/Ella%20Group%20Letter.pdf

"Is Ella Birth Control or Abortion?" on Slate.com
http://www.slate.com/id/2264108/

WaPo "FDA approves ella as 5-day-after emergency contraceptive"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/13/AR2010081305098.html

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Birth Control and Abortion

>> Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hello all!

Anybody who reads my blog regularly knows that I'm ardently pro-life. I believe our country is facing many challenges and questions of a distinctly and inherently moral and "worldview" nature and that for all its many virtues our country has frequently fallen short of what I believe it can and should be in many, many ways. But, to me, the single greatest failing of our country from a values perspective is abortion…specifically that we allow and encourage it.

The purpose of this post is not to expound on why I believe abortion to be fundamentally wrong and even evil. As always, I believe when one is seeking to advocate a certain value, view or position, the people you should first try to convince are those that share some measure of common ground with you. So, in keeping with that principle, the purpose of this post is to highlight an avenue through which people unwittingly risk aborting a baby and perhaps to help sway those why may differ with my views.

As is common on this blog, I'm going to share someone else's work on the matter instead of writing up my own. I never hesitate to highlight others work when it exceeds mine in quality and expertise. :-)

The question I would like to raise is "does "birth control and specifically "the pill" contribute to abortion?"

Randy Alcorn offers keen insight into the matter. Please watch the linked video and pass it on to friends and family you believe would be benefited by it. It's on 7 minutes and 2 seconds long. :-)

Is There a Connection Between Birth Control & Abortion?

Please note that this post is not arguing against all methods of birth control, only certain kinds. I have a more detailed article on the "the pill" and the new "ELLA" pill that I would like to post in the next several days. I'm keeping things bite-sized though. :-)

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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New study: 85% of Big Pharma's new drugs are "lemons" and pose health risks to users

>> Friday, August 20, 2010

Hello all!

I debated whether to post the article linked below for awhile but obviously decided to go with it in the end. My hesitation had mostly to do with the fact that articles such as this one are very frequently dismissed as "wacko" and not given reasonable consideration or attention. Unfortunately, the "wacko" designation is often prescribed to those that recommend material and not just the material and its author. However, I think this is important enough an issue that it needs to be discussed and examined even if I might be dismissed as a wacko for posting it. :-P

New study: 85% of Big Pharma's new drugs are "lemons" and pose health risks to users

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Kathy Ireland on Abortion

>> Thursday, August 12, 2010

So much for models supposedly being dumb. Kathy Ireland makes as good a case for being pro-life as I've heard a public figure make in a long time. It's definitely worthy listening to if for no other reason than that the way she presents her message is to the point and short while being full of grace.

I don't necessarily agree with her on the life of the mother issue, but I don't discount the rest of what she says because of that.



By the way, I never had thought models were dumb, just so there is no confusion on that point. ;-)

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Congressional Research Service: Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Permitted under Health Care Reform Law

>> Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hello all!

Many of the American public, perhaps the majority, are not aware that the so called "ObamaCare" healthcare legislation is not settled law at this point, but such is definitely the case, as illustrated by the recent and significant developments in the state of Virginia's suit against the Federal Government. For this reason, it's important that all people who care about our country's future, irrespective of their political inclinations, remain involved in and aware of the ongoing debate over healthcare and the evolution of the political battle. To this end, I would like to recommend the following article from the American's United for Life (AUL) blog:

Congressional Research Service: Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Permitted under Health Care Reform Law

I've posted information from Charlene Yoest (President and CEO of AUL) before (read it here) and continue to recommend AUL's work to those seeking to keep abreast of the situation.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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For this purpose the Gospel has been preached

>> Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello all!

I was on a mission’s team that went down to Mexico in early January to serve for a week alongside eight others. One of my team mates, Daniel, is sharing at his church about the trip and asked if I would write down some of my thoughts concerning the trip and in retrospect. After writing it I thought that I would post it here for y’all so you could hear a portion of what the Lord has been teaching me lately. The below is by no means the full extent of what I learned and have been learning from the Mexico trip. It is only a small part, but it’s deeply impacted my life and I hope you will receive some blessing from it.


I could literally talk all day and into the night about the lessons I learned and things I experienced on what was my first short term missions trip. I’ll just stick to one theme though and hope that I can communicate clearly.

I think it’s really easy for people (Christians in particular) to separate their life and actions into different categories, the two most basic categories being the “holy” where all the actions are “Christian” (going to church, visiting the nursing home, writing your Grandmother, etc) and the normal category (school, housework, etc). But, for Christians, all things we do are to be done for the glory of God. I have to confess that I’m guilty of separating my life into different categories.

The trip to Mexico was an amazing experience for me in too many ways to mention here or now. Suffice it to say that I felt God’s presence powerfully virtually every minute of the trip, even when encountering sobering situations I had never encountered before. I felt that everything I did was positively confirmed by the Holy Spirit and the richness of that confirmation was truly incredible to feel. I knew then that when I returned home it would be difficult to maintain the spiritual “mountain top” I felt on the trip but by God’s grace I hoped to at least not crash and burn.

Thankfully, His grace has as always been sufficient to meet my needs and I can truthfully say that He has continued to evidence Himself to me in powerful and confirming ways. But, it would not be truthful of me to say that I usually feel the same level of confirmation in the daily and mundane tasks of life. I’ve thought much about this in trying to understand the heart of the matter - both the problem and the solution - in a way that cuts past the clichés and gives true understanding of my human condition.

As I’ve wrestled with the issue it has become abundantly clear that the answer is extremely simple. My actions and daily life are not confirmed because they are not dedicated. Because I am not doing things for the glory of God He is not confirming them through the Spirit. Shocking, no? Not really. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Likewise Colossians 3:17…“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Clearly, as Christians each of us is called to do all things for the glory of God, which, on a side note, should eliminate doing anything that clearly is dishonoring to God. But there is more to it than the simple command to do all things to His glory. I Peter 4:6 says, “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Doing things to God’s glory isn’t just about doing good things. It isn’t about not doing bad things. The Gospel transforms and renews our minds and hearts so that we “may live in the spirit according to the will of God.” All of our actions have Gospel significance even if we don’t always realize it and nothing less than the very purpose and glory of the Gospel hangs in the balance.

So, I guess if I could sum up the trip and the following lessons I learned from it into one focused lesson, I would say that I have a more mature understanding of the Gospel significance of all my actions great and small. Simply put, during the trip to Mexico, because I was there “for missions” my focus was on living out the Gospel, and God blessed that focus. The challenge for me is to keep that Gospel focus at all times throughout the day every day.

By God’s grace I pray I will be able to build on the lessons I was shown during the trip to Mexico and live my life to God’s glory so that He will confirm my life and actions for His glory and honor.




God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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How trustworthy are scientists anyway?

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Great post from Mr. Dreher!

How trustworthy are scientists anyway?

God bless and veritas supra omnis

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Lukewarm and Loving It! - Francis Chan

>> Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hey all!

I was tremendously challenged by a straight shooting message from Francis Chan called "Lukewarm and Living It!” It's just less than 40 minutes long and I watched most of it while folding clothes and tending to a few other items that didn't require much attention. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you make the time for it. :-)





God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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God and how architecture helped music evolve (David Byrne)

>> Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello all!

David Byrne has a neat presentation/lecture on "How architecture helped music evolve". Ultimately, Mr. Byrne seems to be an evolutionist and isn't seeking to make a statement on origins, but listening to him from a Christian creationist’s perspective I thought he made some neat and relevant connections between creation, man, technology and even politics. His thoughts on environments connection to music also have implications on the theology of songs and their emphasis within a theological context.

I think it's worth a watch. :-)





God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Malachi Dads: Angola Prison

>> Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hey all!

This video was shared with me and I found it extremely touching, edifying and thought provoking, so naturally I would like to share it with my readers. :-)






God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Albert Mohler: After IVF, Abortion?

>> Monday, June 14, 2010

Hello all!

Sadly for me, it's been awhile since I've posted due to more than a little busyness with school, work, family, and such. I don't have time now for a proper post either, but I wanted to pass along an article by Al Mohler that I believe is well worth reading concerning shocking revelations of abortions terminating IVF pregnancies. It certainly provokes thought. This passage in particular jumps out at me:

"... — on average, 80 British women each year abort their babies after having conceived them through the ordeal of IVF treatments. The British government, along with the British public, seems to be outraged at this discovery, made possible through the nation’s freedom of information rules. But, what is the basis of the outrage?

The Times [London] reported on June 6, 2010 that the discovery has shocked many in the medical community, but not all who are abortion providers. Professor Bill Ledger, a member of Britain’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, pointed to the obvious: “These women can’t be surprised to be pregnant; you can’t have an IVF pregnancy by accident.”"


When we hold life to be anything less than sacred and believe that morality is a matter of relativity, or if we as a society compromise on our most fundamental moral beliefs so as not to offend others or "impose" our beliefs on them, the floodgates are opened for just such travesties and gross injustices as are inherent to all the many "types" of abortion. When we hold one person to be of less value or humanity than another it is only natural that the stronger will infringe on the most fundamental rights of the weaker, often with deadly results.

Please read the rest of the article here.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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The Glory of Plodding by Kevin DeYoung

>> Friday, May 21, 2010

Hello all!

Kevin DeYoung and Ligonier Ministries have published an excellent article titled "The Glory of Plodding". In it, author Kevin DeYoung has wise words for "revolutionary" Christians regarding the necessity of a willingness to be "usual" and "plodding".

My favorite portion of the article is probably the following:

My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without followthrough. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. We haven’t held a steady job or raised godly kids or done our time in VBS or, in some cases, even moved off the parental dole. We want global change and expect a few more dollars to the ONE campaign or Habitat for Humanity chapter to just about wrap things up. What the church and the world needs, we imagine, is for us to be another Bono — Christian, but more spiritual than religious and more into social justice than the church. As great as it is that Bono is using his fame for some noble purpose, I just don’t believe that the happy future of the church, or the world for that matter, rests on our ability to raise up a million more Bonos (as at least one author suggests). With all due respect, what’s harder: to be an idolized rock star who travels around the world touting good causes and chiding governments for their lack of foreign aid, or to be a line worker at GM with four kids and a mortgage, who tithes to his church, sings in the choir every week, serves on the school board, and supports a Christian relief agency and a few missionaries from his disposable income?


I'd encourage you to read the rest of the article here. I'm sure you'll be edified by it. :-)

If we as Christians want to be effective ministers of the Gospel we must learn to be faithful in little things if we are to "enter into the joy" of our Master (Matthew 25:23) and that God rewards the faithful, not the rich or famous (Matthew 19:27-30).

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Seven Ways We Can Guard and Repair Our Relationships (Ray Ortlund)

>> Monday, May 17, 2010

Ray Ortlund has some excellent words regarding relationships. They are simple insights, but very true and powerful, I believe. :-)

Sevan Ways We Can Guard and Repair Our Relationships

1. We can rejoice in one another, because the Lord rejoices in us.

Psalm 16:3 sets the tone: “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” There is excellence to admire in every Christian.

2. We can create an environment of trust rather than negative scrutiny.

1 Corinthians 4:5 says, “Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” Human eyes are not competent to judge human hearts.

3. We can judge ourselves, even as we give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Matthew 7:5 says, “First take the log out of your own eye.”

4. If a problem must be addressed, we can talk to, not about. Gossip destroys.

Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” James 1:26 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

5. If a problem must be addressed, we can avoid blanket statements but identify factual specifics, offer a positive path forward and preserve everyone’s dignity.

“You are ___________” is too absolute to be fair. It leaves a person with no freedom to improve. Better to say, “In this situation, when you _____________, that set us back. It would be helpful if, in the future, you would ______________. What do you think? And is there anything I can do that might help?”

6. We can always extend kindness.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another.” The word “kind” is used in Matthew 11:30when Jesus says, “My yoke is easy.” Kindness asks, “How can I make this situation as easy for the other person as possible? How can I avoid embarrassing this person? How can I make a positive response as easy as it can be?”

7. When we do wrong one another, we can say to the person harmed, “I was wrong. I am sorry. It won’t happen again. Is there anything I could do now that might make a positive difference?”

Where a wrong has been done, as the Bible defines wrong, an apology heals and helps.

“Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” Genesis 33:4


I hope you gained some insight from that. :-)

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Jane Roe's Pro-Life Commercial

If you haven't seen this before then it's worth watching, if for no other reason than to see evidence of the dramatic change in perspective "Jane Roe" has gone through. It's amazing what a difference God and time can make in a person’s life.



God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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RELEVANT Magazine - The Dangers of Emotional Pornography

>> Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey all!

I ran across a very thought provoking article from RELEVANT Magazine that I would like to pass on to you. Instead of commenting on it myself I'll just let the article do the talking as I don't have anything to add on top of it. I would like to clarify that I view the article as "food for thought" as much as anything else and by sharing it I'm not saying I agree with it on all points. I think it is asking the right questions, though, thus my reason for passing it on.

RELEVANT Magazine - The Dangers of Emotional Pornography

Of course, if any readers have a comment to make or a thought to share I'd be more than happy to hear it. :-)

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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Largest Abortion Center Opens Today

>> Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hey all,

It is with deep sadness that I ask you to pray for the protection of the unborn in our country, particularly now that the largest abortion clinic in the western hemisphere opened today in Houston Texas.

The Clinic is a "78,000 square foot facility that will include a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions. It’s an abortion super center,” Lou Engle, founder of the pro-life group The Call to Conscience, which is organizing the rally, told CNSNews.com.

In a public statement from Planned Parenthood: "There is an increasing need for affordable health care in Houston and Harris County because we have more uninsured residents than any other area in the nation," Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Inc., said in a statement."

According to this article from cbn.com: "In public statements, Planned Parenthood downplayed its abortion services at the new center. It's a common theme, one that was revealed in a CBN News interview last year with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

"At Planned Parenthood, we see 3 million patients a year," Richards said. "Ninety-seven percent of the health care is preventative."

However, the money trail shows that abortion, while comprising a small 3 percent of overall services, provides a big chunk of revenue. Jim Sedlak of the American Life League analyzed a recent Planned Parenthood annual report. He found abortions made up 37 percent of clinic income.

"It is the highest-priced item they sell," Sedlak noted
."

According former Planned Parenthood Director, Abby Johnson, "They are going to be charging anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per abortion procedure," she explained. "So it's a very, very lucrative part of their business and that's really what keeps them afloat."

It's difficult to estimate how much increase in abortion a clinic of this sort would lead to, but I think it's safe to say the increase will be significant. Please pray that God would protect the unborn, that the church in America would step up and step out to support and love mothers who need support and love, and that this new clinic would wither and die a speedy death.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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The Case for Christ on Hulu

>> Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hello all!

I just happened to discover that hulu.com has added the video version of "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel to their selection and would like to pass that along to all of you.

I thought about imbedding the video in my blog, but then thought it was probably better to just link it. :-)

The Case for Christ

If you aren't familiar with The Case for Christ then you might be interested in clicking on this link to read a little about it here.

More detailed reviews of the book are readily available through a simply Google search. I highly recommend both the book and the video. The book has more detail in it, but the video might be a better introduction to apologetics than the book.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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The Unmerciful Servant

>> Friday, April 2, 2010

Hello all!

I “randomly” ran across the following passage of scripture (while looking for a different passage for school) and wanted to share it with y’all.  This passage is Ecclesiastes 7:20-22.  It says:

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you.  For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.” (NASB)

I find this passage astonishing in an “aha!” sort of way; not because it is astonishing in and of itself.  This passage is in fact remarkable (to me at least) and above all plain common sense to my way of thinking.   It jumped off the page at me anyway, but maybe I’ll not find it so startling after I’ve had a bit to think of it.  All that aside, I believe this passage contains essential truth for our everyday life for two reasons.

First, big surprise here, people are not perfect, and because they are not perfect, we should show them grace.   Grace is shown to us by God precisely because we have great need of it; not because we have no need.  Why then, if we are to imitate Christ, should we show less grace when it is most needed?   It’s just not logical. :-)  

Second, none of us are in any way superior to our fellow human beings.   Though grace may have more evidently worked to build Godly character and Christ-likeness in certain persons, we have all started from the same basic state of depravity, all have fallen short of the goal, all are equally helpless to save themselves, and all are equally in need of the abundant love and grace of our Lord and Savior. 

If God has shown us grace, how can we not likewise show grace to others?  The best illustration of this point is found in Matthew 18: 21-35 (the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant):
21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

 23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

 24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

 25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

 26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'

 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

 28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'

 29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'

 30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

 31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

 33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

 34"And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

 35" My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

We are forgiven of so much by our Father, how can we and why should we not forgive our brethren of very little sins towards us…sins almost immeasurable  in comparison to our own sins already atoned for by our Father? 

Lastly, as illustrated in the parable above, the refusal to forgive a fellow debtor could actually be worse than their debt to us.  God is offended that we would take His Grace to us and use it for selfish purposes, for it is indeed selfish and foolish to want or think we can on the one hand benefit from God’s grace to us and on the other refuse to extend that same grace to our fellows. 

May that not be a description of our lives!

God bless and Veritas Supra Omnis!

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