Monday, November 24, 2008

eHarmony to Precipitate Same-Sex Relationships
I had read the comment here as well as the previous thread on the subject. Varying takes on it, but essentially the comment is “This is a business, so what Dr. NCW did was business-related.” There are varying levels and takes on that, but that’s the gist. That’s a very disheartening view. This isn’t simply a professing Christian who provides a product (service, company, etc.) that another person is then using to purposefully sin*. This is someone now providing a service to promote that sin. It’s the equivalent of a Christian movie distributor settling and agreeing to distribute pornographic films. I can’t help but think of Daniel putting his job with Darius on the line (oh, and his life, too) in a similar situation.

Actually, it never is strictly a business decision. God is always involved and at the center.

* - To that end, if it were, the person would have to at least take measure of what they were doing. That wouldn’t be so cut and dry.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Ted Slater on Biblical Divorce

Thanks for posting this. The singles pastor at my church covered Matthew 5 (on divorce) and, of course, expanded it to include Paul’s letter. I am divorced myself and thought he spoke very well on it, but it occurred to me how different we can all be affected by this issue. When he and I were meeting, he made a mention about a divorced person coming up to him afterward and saying how relieved the person was. Until then that individual truly felt there was a scarlet “D” on them. The pastor was very firm on the exact points you make in this short response. He was very clear. I was surprised to hear that response (from that person). That individual was very clearly a part of that allowance and yet still felt stigmatized. It was heart wrenching to hear. I suppose I had been counseled all along (differently, perhaps?) and just hadn’t been exposed to that.

The difficulties are many when dealing with divorce. They are tragic. And after witnessing life overall, it surprises me how flippantly divorce is treated by professing Christians. It’s a core travesty in the fabric of America and yet it’s all too often simply accepted without thinking. All that said, it saddens me how uncompassionate folks can be.

Great response!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr. Burk on A Resolution on Protecting Human Life
Nathan (or anyone else):

How do you think this will drive a wedge (sorry I paraphrased)? I guess I'm coming from a church that's not within a denomination. I think it similar to how the ECUSA is fracturing (with the biblically more prone to schism to the African Cone), right? I suppose the question is essentially what kind of teeth (other than pure, stand alone merit) would this have?

I like the statement and think it makes just that, an impactful statement.

I dig the new site. I am now not just "leaving a comment", but I'm going to "join the discussion"!

BTW, John, don’t you think that reducing abortion to simply a political issue is amiss?

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John H: Just a quick note of correction. You did not say (in post 3) that abortion was simply a political issue. I meant to post this earlier but just didn’t. Sorry for misrepresenting what you said.

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Perhaps I’m being naïve here, but how does this issue differ from slavery? There were many Christians during that time saying that we should just give up, after all slavery is (was) already legal and there’s the Dred Scott decision. I bet the laundry list was longer for slavery than it was for abortion.

Or, juxtapositioned (sic) another argument championed by some Christians (and to quote Scott Klusendorf):

“Imagine a candidate who said he was personally opposed to spousal abuse while he had a 100% voting record in favor of men having a right to beat their wives. Suppose he told the public the underlying cause of spousal abuse is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, the solution is to provide federally funded counseling for men.”

Or worse, what if a tenet of that federally funded counseling was to tell men that beating their wives was OK and here’s a smaller, safer belt with which you can beat.

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One more and I’ll stop discussing. I think the quotes thing (not parentheses) is a silly argument, personally. And it winds up being an easy distraction. Two things disturb me (three that are puzzling ;-). First is that Dr. Burk is rebuked for his (quotes needed here) “particular political ideology”. But I think part of it is the simple fact that abortion is above political affiliation. It is stated as though it’s an excuse for voting republican. But the consistency is that abortion is the view, not a political affiliation (if you think otherwise, see comments on Giuliani). What I think would be delicious to see is a democratic representative that is for making abortion illegal (running against a Giuliani). If Christian leaders such as Dr. Mohler, et al decried that candidate, then the political ideology argument would hold water. Until then, it’s simply a diversionary tactic. And, BTW, I will boldly (emphatically?) state that Dr. Mohler, Dr. Burk, Dr. Moore, etc. would have the same vehemence for that pro-life candidate.

Second is abortion as a policy issue. This is not a policy issue, it is a moral issue. When I hear the argument that abortion should be reduced by this program or that program, suddenly it becomes a policy issue. Just something more that can be debated. Something that we should just accept that it will be around.

I dare not attach an “evil” tag to anyone who voted for Obama. When I talk to my mom and dad (die-hard democrats), in fact, they are far from giving their views lip-service (they state they vote the way they do b/c of policies for helping the downtrodden). But it just seems that because we can’t hear the silent screams of the unborn we can more easily sink into a comfort of voting on other things. Again, I don’t think the other reasons that people vote one way or another are bad or even unimportant (in fact, they are quite noble). But many of them are not the equivalent of the equivalent of an entire generation of people. I think that collectively, Christians had an opportunity to say that abortion really means this much. Ignoring the protection of the most innocent means this much. And it was shunned (in a grand, outspoken, obvious manner).

In the end, our Christian tenets should hold form. We should not expect our thinking our ideologies to be carried out by government. While at the same time our ability to impact the nation around us should be informed by those same tenets. That is why our concerns today are the same as they were November 3rd, they are the same as they will be November of next year, etc.

PS: Darius, thanks for the highlight, that was the crux of that discussion post.

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1) I don’t know how voting Nader is a pro-life vote (I think he’s pro-abortion, isn’t he?).
2) Darius already said it, but I'm sure there were many Christians who said the same thing after Dred Scott.
3) 2 and 2a should have nothing to do with this aspect. Shouldn’t affecting abortion in any way (including how we vote) be and in addition to? I would have put quotes around that, but I got confused.
4) I can’t help but think that stating “You cannot be serious if you expect me to vote for someone that I watched gut my industry” is exactly that to which Dr. Mohler, Dr. Burk, et al pointed. The way you said that is that the right for a fetus to live doesn’t trump the comfort I would have gotten or would have been denied (given deregulation, which, perhaps was not right). This seems to be the shining example of how people weighed this election. Of course I could be completely wrong.

Paul is spot on that we need to “get our hands dirty”. But the fact is that we should do all we can for this. Voting was one way of doing it and, obviously (and as Darius stated), many millions opted not to do this. The election is hind sight. Nothing we can do about the election. I’m still dumbfounded, though at the chest thumping of Christians who say they voted Obama. And no, this doesn’t change the way I pray for the president. Although what I pray will be to let FOCA and crisis pregnancy center funding be among the promises that Obama doesn’t keep (that’s a reflection that all politicians fail on some promises, not an indication that Obama would be unique in that aspect!)

Sorry for the liberal use of quotation marks. That doesn’t make me liberal does it?

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How is abortion not like slavery (other than the fact that we can’t hear the unborn children)? Or how would Scott Klusendorf’s example not be the same?

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If you are saying one is based on one attribute (skin color), the other is based on another (walking and talking), then, yes, they are different as they discriminate based on different inherent attributes. But both are a denial of rights based on attributes inherent to that person (that they are unable to change). Abortions are because the child in the womb is seen as inferior and has no rights (or else the child might speak for himself). They are denied a right to even exist (and aren’t even viewed as 3/5’s human). If you’re going to support abortion 0 to 9 months, then yes, ALL babies lacking the attribute of functioning outside of the mother’s womb are then seen as inferior (actually less since they are not even acknowledged as humans).

I don’t see your connection in the next part. Abortion is an evil that we ignore. The comparison is very applicable in that those who support a candidate who promotes (not simply turns a blind eye to) providing abortion would never think the same in the analogous situation (of slavery). The point I was making was not one of why abortion is or isn’t an evil. It clearly is. The argument some were taking was that though abortion is evil, it takes an equal (or secondary) place to protecting the environment, feeding the poor, etc. Or, in other cases, an argument that we may as well give up as look at the decisions against the pro-life movement.

BTW, adorable kiddo.

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I agree in particular with one item you mention (I do agree with others and disagree with some still, but I really don’t want to belabor a point any further than it should be). Slavery was about power and abortion is about life and death. And yet folks will still support someone who doesn’t merely support, but seeks to expand the ability, reduce funding against while providing more funds for killing the unborn. The parallel is that the same people would never consider supporting someone who supported slavery. And as you rightly say, slavery was about power, abortion about life and death, yet the latter is downplayed in favor of health care, environment or other not-quite-as-important issues.

And regarding the last part, yes, I’m sure he is a gift. My little one stood a shot at having curls like that, alas my straight hair was the dominant gene there.

Thanks so much for the exchange!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Dr. Burk on Change That Pro-Life People Can’t Believe In
1) I found it extremely ironic that when I visited the page, the sponsor in the corner was Shell (one of the other thrusts of the article was the California carbon emissions regulation.) Funny.
2) Yes, John, God is fully in control. But don’t confuse that as a justification for lethargy or indifference. He will use all to work for His good. But we haven’t a clue what His will is. We strive for kingdom values. I think Dr. Burk’s point is that with one stroke of the pen, the new president will specifically contradict that (rescinding the embryonic stem cell research). The President-elect also continues to hold FOCA as a high value to his platform.
3) I find it amusing that the carbon regulation is supposed to “stoke innovation”. I agree that necessity is the mother of invention. But carbon emission regulation will be detrimental and wind up focusing on trapping. The mpg increase initiative is what should be the thrust. Regulating our .0001% contribution to global carbon seems utterly silly (and expensive to boot).
4) From that, the article points out two anti-life issues along with regulating carbon emissions (can’t we just breathe less? ;-). I think this will be a tone for the first part of his presidency. Over time, though, as policies are defined, even Obama supporters see the need for accountability.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Dr. Burk on Mohler’s Remarks about the Election on ABC News
I think that the other life-protection bills not passing in other states is directly a result of the continued willful rejection of seeing a fetus as a human. With RvW, people have a crutch to say it won’t matter. Many use it as a definition (meaning, RvW defines it and it means that life is defined as at least not some time in the womb). It’s too easy for opposition to promote the idea that with a federal case on the books, props such as the SD ban or California’s notification law would just get struck down by a higher court (well, there’s really only one higher than the state constitutions, right?). It’s simply a continuation of the ease of sliding it out of our minds. The specific outworking on this was the OK law recently. Out of sight, out of mind.

But when it comes down to it, I think what we see is just what Dr. Mohler, et al have been saying. Abortion is being minimized. It’s tossed into a bucket of “concerns” and it’s far easier to just not care as much. And that’s reflected in voting. SD saw the restrictions as too much. It’s a fundamental shift that life no longer begins in the womb. We vote the way our consciences allow us. And it’s not popular enough to see this as a transcendent value. It’s not cool to be a one-issue voter*. And if they don’t care, why should I?

Paul is right about acting. We should act out our convictions. But that doesn’t mean a new game plan. It has never been vote this way or work at a crisis prengnancy center. That’s an unfair caricature (and if it’s what you’ve witnessed, then shame on those around you). Justin Taylor had an interview with Scott Klusendorf. I think it speaks well to the issue overall. Plus there are a couple of other really good guest blog posts on there about the election. Worth checking it out!

* - See the recent boundless article on Cool Compassion

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Just to beat the proverbial dead horse, I liked this thought out of Klusendorf’s interview:

The moral logic in play here is baffling. First, if abortion does not unjustly kill an innocent human being, why is Obama worried about reducing it? But if it does unjustly kill a human being, isn’t that good reason to legislate against it? Second, laws which allow—indeed, promote—the killing of unborn human beings are unjust even if no one has abortions. Imagine a candidate who said he was personally opposed to spousal abuse while he had a 100% voting record in favor of men having a right to beat their wives. Suppose he told the public the underlying cause of spousal abuse is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, the solution is to provide federally funded counseling for men.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seth McBee: A Christian Response to Obama's Presidency: Trust, Pray, Submit

That would be funny.

Yes, that would be!

I had wanted to chime in on the vote/not vote, but I felt I didn't "catch it" in time. I'm glad you issued the question again (as an aside, I appreciate that you are very open and communicative with your comments, too!). I think something that Erik Redmond stated one aspect well:

Second, even if one is seeking to be consistent in humility and holiness individually, to abstain from voting on any matter is to allow the majority to speak for you. That same majority, with a victory, might make trouble for the greater populous by means of the evil(s) of which you sought to distance yourself by abstaining from voting.

Of course I don’t get past the first sub-topic you cite (killing babies v. innocents). The most succinctly I would say this is that McCain’s policy was not to expand war (it was not a tenet of his platform) but to exit Iraq after reasonable stability. Obama’s policy, though, is to expand abortion (as you understand, I’m sure, FOCA being the center of that in addition to elimination of funding for crisis pregnancy centers. Expansion is a tenet of Obama’s platform). I’m sure you’ve read the boundless article on it, but it gives a good comparison.

All of that aside, though, Seth, you hit the nail on the head (Pray, Submit, Trust). The presidency, senate, house, supreme court nominations, etc., etc., should not affect the outworking of our Christian lives one iota.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dr. Burk on Post-Election Columns to Read

Interesting. I think you hit upon the core issue

legally binding contract

As Christians we should fight every step of the way to keep the view of marriage from becoming exactly that.

If the concept is legally binding, then that should be the route taken (i.e. push for state reform that allows people to put whomever they want in their wills/insurance). Take the word marriage out of it. But that isn’t the agenda, is it? Just a convenient topic to which one can point to stir emotions. It’s something about which people can get others shouting and yelling.

I would point to a significant amount of government that is not the spirit you mention, but that would take more space than I should ever take here.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Dr. Burk on final election words....

My Closing Argument for Life on Election Eve by Dr. Burk

The issue that I would voice is that you never get to care for the poor. Sen. Obama’s record is not one of passivity (which, at worst, McCain would be). His is one of aggressively expanding and denying rights to those whom we hold very dear. They are never cared for and are denied a right to even exist. Given the details of FOCA (a central plank in Obama’s platform), the little that has been accomplished will be utterly nullified as well.

So you say that When the Republicans nominate someone who is pro-life, anti-war, opposed to the death penalty, against embryonic stem cell research, and for the poor, I will vote for him or her.

Abortion: Obama is Pro-Abortion (and make no mistake, it’s not choice, it’s not choice, it’s federal funding to have abortions among other expansions, see FOCA and his desire to eliminate funding for crisis pregnancy centers)
Death Penalty: Both candidates are pro-Death penalty
Stem Cell research: Obama is pro stem cell research (in fact, he even wants to begin creating new embryos for the sole purpose of destruction. McCain (despite thoughts otherwise) does not oppose stem cell research using embryos slated for destruction. I find that to be at odds with my belief that we should allow embryonic stem cell research.
For the poor: Obama, I’ll say, is pro-poverty (that is, that he envisions an ability to eradicate it). However, there have been several studies shown that aggressive government distribution programs don’t work. So I would not tend to say that any of his policies will do anything but expend a sense of entitlement (but that is an entirely different discussion). I suppose a question I would ask is what policy do you oppose of McCain’s? Or, rather, what policy of Obama’s is radically superior to McCain’s?
Anti-war: Both are for the removal of troops from Iraq. McCain outright states that political stability must come prior to a reduction of troops. Obama says the same thing, only first says we must reduce troops then follows with we must ensure political stability (but also appears to favor increased troops in Afghanistan while saying troop reduction). As with so many other issues, Obama has stated opposition, changed his position (to where at one point he said that he and Bush were on the same page) and now back to opposition. I still think McCain

I can understand the feeling of wanting to change the “old guard” so to speak. I think that is the tide that Obama has ridden thus far. And I don’t think that anyone will convince you to vote otherwise. I also think that there are plenty of folks digging in their heels to vote for Obama based on fuzzy notions of “care for the poor” or “environment”. The crux, though, is that on life in the womb, the candidates are polar opposite. On nearly all other issues, they are not opposite, but view different ways achieving the same goal (policy). And while you don’t agree that it’s a moral versus policy comparison, you are showing a predefined priority. Or, rather, that pro-life just sits amongst the other issues you regard.

You are correct, we are of another kingdom. Regardless of who is elected, we should continue to support/expand crisis pregnancy centers (did you remember that Obama is for cutting off federal funding?), woman-to-woman resources and on and on. We should work tirelessly in our communities. We have an opportunity to demonstrate that we value life above all other things. Instead, though, we are relegating it to just another factor in my giant equation. And it is disheartening.

If you’re interested, do a quick search on abortion. Or visit (most have links to other sites and furthers the discussion):
or 2688 (especially concerning your “kingdom” reference)
or 2647 (I think this answers your comment from the next one….)
or 2645 (I think you commented on this one, answered above)
or 2633

And on and on. Plus, if you have a minute, take a look at the site as well (especially Cool Compassion).

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Dr. Mohler has a great prayer on his blog. I think, especially given the news about Obama's grandmother, that #6 really rang true:

Sixth, we should pray that God will protect these candidates and their families. They have been through an arduous ordeal and now face the deadline of the vote. They are physically exhausted and now face the judgment of the people. They are public figures, but they are also flesh and blood human beings, who are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters. Their families have withstood much. We should pray for their marriages and their children. May God protect them.

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