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Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

This week: cohabitation and it’s effects, infanticide in Canada, definitions vs rights in the debate about marriage, and some wisdom on folly of trying to increase taxes on the rich.

What Cohabitation Does for Marriage (by Glenn Stanton, Boundless)

If couples want to dramatically boost their likelihood of divorcing once married, few things so widely practiced will ensure that than cohabiting. This is just the opposite of what most believe.

Thrown Over the Fence — Infanticide, Canadian Style (by Dr. Albert Mohler)

The moral dishonesty of the entire tragedy comes down to the fact that, in legalizing abortion, liberal societies claimed to be making a bargain. We will not protect unborn life, but we will defend all those who make it to birth. Of course, the dividing line was always dishonest. Are we seriously to believe that human personhood is a matter of mere location, inside or outside the womb?

We’re Arguing Definitions, Not Rights (by Amy Hall, STR)

So the question is, which definition should we use? It’s fine for you to argue that your definition of "two people who love each other" is better than my definition of "one man, one woman," or someone else’s definition of "one man, multiple women," but we need to start off by understanding that we’re arguing definitions, not rights.

You Can’t Tax the Rich (by Thomas Sowell, National Review)

In other words, the genuinely rich are likely to be the least harmed by high tax rates in the top brackets. People who are looking for jobs are likely to be the most harmed, because they cannot equally easily transfer themselves overseas to take the jobs that are being created there by American investments that are fleeing high tax rates at home.

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This week: the truth in beauty, a gospel legacy, the war against girls, and the pitfall of perfectionism.

Beauty Never Lies

Beauty Never Lies (by Sarah Clarkson)

I think most of us have these “knowings.” C.S. Lewis called them “joy,” the great gladness that startled him into his faith. L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) called them “the flash.” Tolkien called them “eucatastrophe,” the unexpected grace of a happy ending. But all of them mean the same; the taste, in an instant of beauty, of a joy beyond anything we know in this world. A certainty of some good that dwells beyond the limits of what we can see.

Dad, Thank You for Building a Gospel Legacy (by Steven Sakanashi)

It’s been seven years since we had that conversation and I remember everything you said. God has been so gracious, and I’m trying my best to love and follow him like you did. Sometimes I worry about whether I’ll ever be as good a Christian, husband, and dad like you were, but then I am able to rest in peace because you taught me that the Father loves and accepts us regardless of whether we succeed or fail.

The War Against Girls (by Jonathan V. Last)

It is telling that Ms. Hvistendahl identifies a ban on abortion—and not the killing of tens of millions of unborn girls—as the "worst nightmare" of feminism. Even though 163 million girls have been denied life solely because of their gender, she can’t help seeing the problem through the lens of an American political issue. Yet, while she is not willing to say that something has gone terribly wrong with the pro-abortion movement, she does recognize that two ideas are coming into conflict: "After decades of fighting for a woman’s right to choose the outcome of her own pregnancy, it is difficult to turn around and point out that women are abusing that right."

The Pitfall of Perfectionism (by Tullian Tchividjian)

Perfectionism (or performancism) is a horrible disease. It comes from the pit of hell, smelling like rotting flesh. Someone convinced these folks that they were called to measure up to an unattainable standard. They couldn’t do it and each in his or her own way simply quit trying.

Nobody told them that Jesus was perfect for them, and because of that they didn’t have to be perfect for themselves. They didn’t understand that if Jesus makes you free, you will be free indeed.

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These are a few books that I simply have not had time to devote an entire post to but felt like they were worth calling attention to: Brave New World, Radical, Crazy Love, and Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a profound work of fiction. Published in 1931, Huxley’s work is about the world in the year 2540. It’s a world state of genetic engineering, no more marriage or parents, and complete sterilization of culture apart from sensual pleasure and drugs.

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.

This is a must read book. You could very easily make the argument that this is not the future but now. Think about the pervasiveness of abortion, pornography, and the numbness of America. Think about the dominance of comfort and the slow dissolving of marriage. Huxley even wrote a nonfiction follow up in 1952 expressing his fear that “Brave New World” was becoming a reality much more quickly than he thought. I ache for Huxley and the despair of his atheistic worldview but also for how a key flaw of Brave New World is his lack of understanding of the gospel. Huxley ultimately sees Christianity as ascetism and God as a killjoy even when acknowledging the numbness he has to settle for. One of the promises of the gospel is God showing us the riches of his grace in his kindness for all of eternity. That doesn’t sound like asceticism to me.

Radical by David Platt

Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past!… Should such men as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God,… and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts.

This is a solid book worth reading if your struggle in the Christian life is not guilt or having a “should” mentality. Platt can very subtly slide into a “radical = justification” worldview that I trust is not his full motivation but is too assumed in his writings here. I agree with 99% of what he says, my fear is the motivation this book can slide to. Our justification is in Jesus not in what our lives amount to. We can be worried about the ramifications of that kind of grace but Jesus wasn’t. People who seem to “waste” their lives for him are praised and shown to have the kind of love that Jesus desires and gives. However, again I say, Platt is very solid. The last 2 chapters are worth the cost of the book.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love is actually similar to Radical except that it is much more injected with Chan simply spilling his guts and appealing to you by the love of God to understand the life that Jesus has for you and has called you to. Chan, like Platt, hammers Jesus’ words but is very careful to not simply give you a recipe. What strikes me about both Crazy Love and Radical is their similar appeals to not forget the poor. These men are broken over the neglected poor and needy and it shakes me a bit in a good way.

But the fact is that nothing should concern us more than our relationship with God; it’s about eternity, and nothing compares with that. God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives.

Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema by Tony Watkins

Reading this book was practically a guilty pleasure for me. Watkins basically makes arguments for a number of reasons that I write about movies, media, and culture.

Nevertheless, underpinning them [Films] all is this deeply instinctive longing for shalom. We need to recognize how echoes of this yearning crop up in films, and to help others come to a fuller understanding of what the human heart needs above all.

When it comes to the gospel, I think Watkins gets it. But he also understands what inherent to the art of film and works to help you see how it all comes together – valuing the creativity and beauty but not missing the worldview and the need for Jesus. Watkins’ writing is very accessible. If watching movies is a part of your regular weekly media regimen, add this book to your reading list.

If I had to pick one…

Out of these four books, Brave New World probably impacted me the most. I love fiction. Beauty illustrates core truth and gets to the heart quicker than a mere direction or instruction. That’s what good writing does. Brave New World illuminated our culture a bit more for me, helped me understand the offer of the Gospel and suffering better, and convicts me of how much I can seek numbness and not Jesus. I doubt that is what the atheist Huxley had in mind when he wrote it!

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This week: The gospel and accountability, man versus machine, abortion and the dilemma pro-abortion activists might have to face, and a some great thoughts on the birth of Samuel and who we tend to rebuke. The article at the top of the list by Tchividjian is an absolute must read.

Reminders are More Effective than Rebukes (by Tulian Tchividjian)

Christianity is not first about our getting better, our obedience, our behavior, and our daily victory over remaining sin–as important as all these are. It’s first about Jesus! It’s about his person and substitutionary work–his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, session, and promised return. We are justified–and sanctified–by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. So that even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.”

What a Marvel is Man (by Kevin DeYoung)

Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter have roughly 3 pounds of gray matter (pink really), enough to fill the palm of your hand. Watson is too big to fit on stage. What you see on t.v. is a monitor, some sort of avatar. The real Watson is comprised of 90 IBM servers enclosed in ten racks. Score one for the humans for being more compact and mobile.

Abortion, Philadelphia Law, and the Supreme Court (by Justin Taylor)

And if he does charge Dr. Gosnell with illegal abortions as well as murder, abortion-rights advocates such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have a choice. Do they continue to agitate for the regime of abortion on demand that they’ve been defending for 38 years? Do they fold this particular hand, and concede that some abortions occur too late to be permitted at all? There is danger for them in this. If a viable unborn child has a right to life, what about the one just a week or a day shy of viability? And the one just a bit younger than that?

Birth and Dedication of Samuel (by Douglas Wilson)

One of the reasons why things get this way is not because people are not rebuked. No, they are. But it is usually the wrong ones. Hannah is rebuked by Eli, even though his sons (who were far worse) were not. Elkanah comforts Hannah, but does not restrain his wife Peninnah. Often we rebuke, not the one who needs it, but rather the one who will take it.

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Ghosts in Arizona Tragedy (by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, GetReligion.org)

I have to note how weird it was to keep hearing the broadcasters say “There is no indication this is a terrorist attack.” Really? When you attempt to kill a politician and take out dozens of innocent bystanders, that’s not a terrorist attack? It seems to me that what the journalists meant was “There is no indication that this man is motivated by Muslim extremism.” It’s a good reminder of why it’s important to not use “terrorist” as a euphemism or otherwise confuse the issues or downplay when religion plays a role in a given terror attack.

39 Percent Of NYC Pregnancies Result In Abortion (from CBS New York)

In 2009, there were 225,667 pregnancies in the City with 126,774 resulting in live births and 87,273 resulting in abortions. In addition to those abortion numbers, there were 11,620 spontaneous terminations.

Sheep: “This time it’s personal” (by David Murray)

Have you ever tried to move a sheep? It’s like trying to move an elephant. Ever watched a shepherd try to maneuver a sheep into a fold or a dip-tank. It’s like trying to wrestle with a devil. Half a dozen sheep invaded my garden once. I thought it would be easy to hustle them out the wide gate again. But it was as if an electric shield (visible only to sheep) stretched across the gap. I could get them to go anywhere and everywhere, but through that gate.

5 New Paradigms for a Socially Engaged Company (by Soren Gordhamer, Mashable)

Companies are realizing that it is not enough to get people to show up to work; the real challenge is creating cultures that enhance creativity and innovation. Below you’ll find what leaders in the field had to say about this new age of innovation and engagement.

The Liking-Wanting Distinction and Self-Esteem Addiction (from the Mockingbird blog)

As it’s wisely been pointed out, the self-esteem movement is a losing game, regardless of how it’s played – human need is a bottomless pit. To paraphrase Gerhard Forde, who was paraphrasing Martin Luther, the thirst for glory needs to be extinguished rather than sated.

How Do You Read a Book? (by Ray Pennoyer)

No matter how young you are, or how long you live, if you love books you will never be able to get to the bottom of your “want to read” list. To top it off I am a relatively slow reader, which is an additional handicap for me. However, when I get discouraged I remember the advice I received in one of my seminary classes – it may go back to one of the Reformers or possibly Erasmus. He said that true learning comes not from the quantity of books, but in “knowing a few great books well.”

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The question so much of the time for me is: Does it really need to be this hard? Why does life have to be such a battle? Why can’t life be easier? I love Jesus and my joy has grown immensely since I met Him over 15 years ago, but still, life is hard. I deserve better! I deserve more good than struggle! My life is very blessed and yet I can battle these questions watching others deal with immensely difficult external and internal evil and pain. I have also grieved and felt the sting of death. But I can still feel like I deserve an easier and less painful life, or at least desire it so much so for others. Am I being too honest here? A major idol for me is comfort. Why can’t my life be all leisure and as much reading time and film viewing and nice slow meals with my wife and play time with my kids without feeling tired? This is so what my flesh screams for and thinks I deserve above anything and anyone else. Many of my struggles in my home flow out of this. But the other night, I saw the below video clip and it crushed me. Apart from Jesus, what do I deserve? Hell. Our depravity is deeper than we can imagine. Simply ignoring and watering it down and being passive and calling it someone else’s problem makes me feel like I deserve to be utterly crushed and obliterated by God. How can this be happening? How? Be aware, the video below is extremely graphic.

Don’t waste my time with arguments that this is fake. Take it up with them. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s been happening for a long time now. How do I deal with this? What is a proper response? How do you think God feels about this? He doesn’t see some short 3 minute clip, He sees it all and has seen it all. As my wife told me after watching this, how does God restrain Himself from stepping in and giving us all what we deserve? His restraint towards me is truly amazing.

None is righteous, no, not one;    no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

Only by the Blood of Jesus.

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