It’s Not Just Cake

The uproar over the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” being passed in Indiana has been pretty ridiculous. It’s crazy that something as seemingly benign as a law that more or less confirms what should already be considered the law of the land (we are after all the self-proclaimed land of the free and home of the brave) could spark so much outrage. However, in this day and age we all know that standing up for any person of faith’s right to exercise this most basic freedom can’t be tolerated if it means that a Christian might discriminate against a Gay person.

When it comes down to it, that’s all anyone getting all worked up over this bill really cares about. Forget that they might find reason some day to want freedom of religion (or perhaps more generically, freedom of morality and conscience) for themselves. What about an adamantly pro-choice T-shirt designer being asked to provide a shipment of T-shirts for a pro-life rally? I suppose she would have no right to refuse such service; since any service that is available to the public cannot be denied to anyone, right? I suppose that a Jewish photographer being asked to take pictures at a Saturday wedding, even though it is the Sabbath, would have no right to refuse such service.

No, nobody really cares about those scenarios; all that anyone seems to care about is that a Christian baker must provide his services to bake a cake for a Gay wedding; he apparently has no choice in the matter. I was having a conversation recently about this very issue and the response was, “I mean, common, it’s just a cake!” I feel that is sentiment shared across social media. The outrage over the perceived “Discrimination Law” (even though the word discrimination never appeared once in it) was filled with a complete lack of understanding why a Christian would not want to provide a service for a Gay wedding. They are shocked, completely shocked, at the prospect that a Christian baker would actually have a crisis of conscience over it. After all, it is only just a cake, isn’t it?

First of all, a wedding cake is by no means just a cake. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you go a buy one this weekend “just because” you want some cake. After you recover from your aneurism over the downright criminal price tag you’ll realize that people wouldn’t pay that kind of money for “just a cake”. No, the wedding cake is symbolic of the union that is taking place at the wedding. At my own wedding the cake was put front-and-center right by the dance floor so that everyone could see it before it was time to cut. It is a very integral part of our culture’s ritual of marriage. It is a key component of the wedding celebration, and the baker who provides the wedding cake really is participating, in a very real way, in the wedding itself.

Still, even if people would acknowledge that, there is still a complete lack of understanding as to why that would be an issue for a Christian. In all of the back and forth, on both sides of the issue, I haven’t seen anyone stand up and actually explain why it is such a big deal for a Christian to participate in a Gay wedding; even if it is “just” providing the wedding cake. Why is it such an offense to the Christian conscience to participate in that act?

Of course no one on the left asks this question because they think they know the answer. Christians hate Gays because their “God” is an intolerant homophobe, and that just can’t be tolerated in this day and age (of tolerance). I mean, common, its 2015 for goodness sake!

The reality though, is so much more complex. Christians do not hate Gays. We are not homophobes (well some may be, but it’s not because of their faith). To really understand why this is a big deal, you need to understand what the Christian, Biblical, view of marriage is. It is so much more than just a man and woman living together for life. Consider the following passage from Ephesians 5:22-32 (NASB):

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

A lot of people, especially feminists, don’t make it past the first statement. They are revolted at the idea of a woman “submitting” to her husband. Never mind that they really don’t understand what this is talking about, that submission is not implying inferiority or indentured servitude. Never mind, that the husband is given the very simple task of being Jesus Christ to his bride (no pressure, really). But if we can look past the controversial opening, the really important part is at the end of this passage, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” This is probably the most significant statement about marriage in the whole of scripture.

God created marriage with a specific purpose:  to be a picture for the relationship between Christ and the Church. It is true that marriage fulfills several purposes, but this is the ultimate one. Since the beginning of creation God has been writing a love story about Him and His creation, which reaches its ultimate fulfillment in the relationship between Christ and the Church.

The bond between Christ and His church is so strong that there is a true union between the two. He is the head, the Lord over His people, and the Church is His body. This union is truly mysterious to us. It is a spiritual truth that can be difficult for us, as mere mortals, to wrap our finite brains around. But, it is such a crucial reality that God wanted us to understand it. So He created the covenant of marriage to paint us a picture of this higher spiritual reality in a way that we can understand.

He created man, the husband, to show us the image of Christ, who loves his wife with such self-sacrifice that he nurtures her, protects her, provides for her, and if need be would die for her. He created woman, the wife, to show us the image of the Church, who submits to her husband’s Godly leadership, respects him, and serves him out of an unreserved love for him.

And it goes so much farther than just two people who love each other. The union between Christ and the Church is so powerful that, with Christ as the head and the Church as the body, though they are two entities, together they become one with each other. This is why God created sex, so that marriage could also mirror this oneness. When a husband and wife consummate their marriage through sex, something marvelous happens. Two separate bodies, that by themselves are incomplete, “become one flesh”, and together they form one complete whole. They share in a oneness that is akin to the oneness shared between Christ and the Church.

This is why marriage and sex to go hand-in-hand. It’s not just because God is a prude, and he wants to stifle our fun by putting unrealistic limitations on sex. Marriage and sex go hand-in-hand because they were both created for the same purpose; so that through each other they can provide humanity with a glimpse of the transcendent union between Christ and His Church, which is the greatest expression of love ever seen in the history of the universe. This is not an exaggeration. God was separated from His creation, His bride, who had sinned against Him. Being fully just He could not simply let the sin go unpunished, but His love for his creation was so great that he actually came in flesh as a man so that he could take the just punishment due to mankind upon himself. He sacrificed himself so that we, His Church, might live. There is no greater act of love in the history of creation; and this ultimate act of love is the greatest expression of God’s character.

Did you catch that? Marriage is fundamentally meant to be a symbolic representation of the relationship which is the ultimate expression of God’s character. That’s why God is adamant when he says that he “Hate’s Divorce” (Malachi 2:16). That’s why adultery is considered such a vile sin; listed in the 10 commandments right next to “Thou shall not kill.” Think about it, if marriage is meant to be an image of the relationship between Christ and the Church, then divorce implies that Christ and His Church can be separated (which they can’t). If a man cheats on his wife it implies that Christ could be unfaithful to His Church (which he won’t). Both of them are a betrayal of the truth about God and His undying love for His people. They are lies; images of the unbreakable being broken. They are an assault on the very essence of God, and that is something that a truly holy God simply cannot tolerate.

So what are we to make of Gay marriage? God makes it painfully clear in the Bible that the act of homosexuality is sinful (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9), and based on what I’ve just described; it’s not really difficult to see why. Sex and marriage was specifically created by God to be expressed between a man and a woman, to symbolize the oneness between Christ and the Church. Homosexuality takes this picture and turns it on its head. What are two men supposed to represent? Two Christ’s with no Church? What are two women supposed to represent? Two Churches with no Christ? Both pictures separate Christ from His Church, which is supposed to be the entire point. The oneness shared between two men in sex, or two women in sex, is no oneness at all. Simple biology can tell you that a man and woman’s bodies are specifically made to join together, and no amount of screaming for “equality” from liberals can change that biological fact.

So why are Christians so adamant that they won’t, or can’t, participate in a Gay wedding? For the same reason they should be opposed to divorce or adultery: because it is a perversion of what is supposed to represent the most ultimate expression of God’s character. It’s not just that we think “Gay sex is gross, I don’t like it!” It’s not that we are simply being “homophobic” and hateful against what we don’t understand. No, we understand it all too well. We can’t participate in it because to participate in it is to insult the very essence of God. It takes His ultimate expression of love towards us, and throws it back in His face with a giant middle finger. No true Christian could stomach doing that to God.

This is definitely not “just cake” to us. To say that is like a man who takes an image of the cross, defecates on in, pours gasoline all over it and then turns to the Christian and asks for a match. Then, when refused, cries, “It’s just a match! You’re discriminating against me because I poop!”

It’s not about the cake, it’s about what you are doing with the cake and what the cake represents. It is a defilement of God’s character, which is everything that a Christian holds sacred.

What is really the greater offense? A couple getting their feelings hurt because their love isn’t being openly applauded, or the man forced to participate in the defilement of that which he holds to be most precious? And who faces the more dire consequences? The couple who has to find another baker to provide their wedding cake, or the man whose lively-hood has been destroyed by a lawsuit because he couldn’t betray His God?

I realize in a democratic society that if the majority want to say that Gay marriage is okay there is little that Christians can do about it, and we will have to accept that. But can you at least respect the fact that we don’t want to be a part of it? You may not believe in God, and you may think that everything I just said above is a bunch of fairy-tale, voodoo nonsense. But can you at least respect the fact that Christians believe this with their whole heart, and that it is a very serious deal to us? We don’t want to hurt feelings, but the sanctity of our God trumps everything.

I know a lot of my words will likely be interpreted as hateful. Please believe me, I’m not speaking with hate against Gays. Jesus was very clear about how we are to love everyone. He was often found in the company of thieves, prostitutes, and tax collectors; but even He lashed out with a righteous anger when he came across the money changers who were defiling God’s Holy Temple. There is no reason why a Christian should not serve a Gay man at their restaurant, convenience store, or even bakery. There is no reason why a Christian should not hang out with, or be friends with Gay people. But if you ask us to approvingly serve a Gay wedding; that we just can’t do. It’s so much more than just cake; it is everything we hold sacred. You don’t have to agree with it, but could you please show a little bit of that tolerance that we’ve been told so much about?


Are You Sure It’s Not Worth the Battle?

Hebrews 12: 11 (ESV): “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

A couple days ago I received a text message from my wife saying, “Our little boy is fighting coming down the stairs!” Immediately I thought to myself, “Oh no! It’s happening!”

You see, we went through this same thing with our older boy. He was fully capable of climbing up and down the stairs (with us right there supervising of course) and he fully understood what, “Time to go upstairs” meant. Yet one fateful day he decided that he didn’t want to climb the stairs by himself. Instead he was going to insist that we carry him. My wife was 8 months pregnant with our second son, and we knew, with a little baby soon to arrive, that carrying him up and down the stairs just wasn’t always going to be an option. He was just going to have to “Man up” and go up the stairs without us carrying him (yes, I realize I just said my 13 month old needed to Man up).

And so the battle began.

After nearly a solid hour of crying, time-outs, more crying, angry looks and stern voices followed by more crying; he finally, begrudgingly, shuffled himself up the stairs. Victory for Daddy! While he still wasn’t perfect from that point forward, since that one act of rebellion he really hasn’t given us too hard of time about it. The battle was difficult and stressful, but so worth it.

It wasn’t about breaking his will. It was about teaching him not only to listen to us, but to trust that we really are doing what is best. He didn’t understand that in a few short weeks that there would be a little baby and that we would need to carry the baby up and down the stairs instead of him, but that’s okay, he doesn’t need to understand that. He just needs to trust that when we ask him to do something that it’s for a good reason. While at the time it may seem like a battle of wills, it’s really us as parents teaching him that what we are asking him to do is important enough for us to be unwavering in our resolve to have him do it. Not only did he learn that lesson on the stairs, but it has translated to other areas as well. He comes to us when we call him, he eats the food we give him to eat, he takes a nap when we tell him, and he goes to bed when we tell him. He of course still has his moments of defiance, just like any child, but they are fairly few and far between because he learned the ultimate lesson: that Mommy and Daddy can be trusted.

Now here we are, only a year and half later and his little brother is doing the exact same thing; with my wife 6 months pregnant with baby number 3; talk about Déjà vu! My stellar victory over his older brother a year and half earlier gave me confidence that this too would be difficult, but worth it. Of course I underestimated how much more stubborn this boy is compared to his older brother.

While we always stick to our guns, and ultimately get him to climb up or down the stairs (even if we have to move his little arms and legs ourselves to make him do it); somehow the victory doesn’t seem as sweet as it was the first time around. After three episodes this last week alone it is clear that this boy’s will is definitely stronger.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, is it really worth the battle? I mean, we could spend thirty minutes trying to get him to drag himself up the stairs, or we could just say, “screw it,” pick him up and be done with it in thirty seconds. I’ve heard other parents not wanting to stand up to their kid’s rebelliousness saying, “It’s just not worth the fight!” I sympathize with that sentiment and can’t help but wonder, is this particular fight really worth it?

If it’s just about the stairs; no it’s definitely not worth it, at least not right now. When we have another little baby in the house, and I’m home with the kids by myself and I need to get my little monkeys up the stairs it will probably seem more worth it. It’ll be worth it when I don’t have to try and he-man two toddlers and a baby into my arms all at once (I’m not even sure if that’s physically possible without seriously injuring one of them). But right now; whether we carry him up the stairs or he climbs up himself doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

The more I think about it though; it is so much more than just stairs. It’s about rebelliousness. In that moment my precious little boy isn’t just saying, “I want you to carry me!” He’s saying, “I don’t want to listen to you, I want you to listen to me!” It’s not just stairs; it’s setting a precedent for who’s in charge in this parent-child relationship. Sure, it’s important that he be allowed to make some decisions for himself, that’s part of what helps him learn, but they need to be decisions that he is capable of making. We let him decide if he’d rather watch “Mickey Mouse” or “Little Einsteins”, we let him decide if he wants to color or play with play-doh.  But a two year old can’t be trusted to pick their own diet, that’s how you end up with a kid that eats nothing but fruit loops and cheerios. An 18 month old can’t be trusted to decide when they need a nap, that’s how you end up with a child that’s always cranky and always fights going to sleep.  Sure as he gets older we’ll give him bigger and bigger decisions and more freedom. But when he is this little, we need to have a lot more control for his own good. A little child isn’t capable is discerning what is best for him because “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child” (Proverbs 22:15). When rebellion rears its ugly head over the stair case, either we pick him up, and he has established himself as being the key decision maker, or we hold strong and let him know that Mommy and Daddy are the ones calling the shots. It’s a battle, and it’s not fun, but it’s a battle that must be won.

We must stand our ground now because the stakes will not always be so small. It’s not really about stairs, or the dinner he doesn’t want to eat, or the toy that he just stole from his brother. It’s about letting him know that Mommy and Daddy are to be respected and listened to, no matter what it is we want him to do. Some day we may need him to listen to us about something that is far more important.

I’m not really worried about stairs at age 18 months. I’m more concerned about the future. I’m worried about when he’s five and he starts to run into the street and his life depends on him immediately listening to me telling him to stop. I’m worried about when he is fifteen teaching him to drive, and both our lives hinge on him listening to me telling him to slow down. I’m worried about when he is seventeen being tempted to go too far with his girlfriend and his future marriage depends on him taking my words about the sanctity of sex and marriage seriously. I’m worried about when he is 21 and he is considering driving back to his apartment after having 5 drinks and his future depends on him heeding what I’ve taught him about responsibility. I’m worried about when he stands before God’s judgement throne at the end of his life, and the eternal salvation of his soul depends on how well he followed my teaching of the Gospel. I have to heed the words of God who says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”(Proverbs 22:6)

But to train him the way he should go, he must first listen. Think about it, if we don’t expect him to listen to us when we tell him to climb the stairs; we have just given him the message that what we tell him to do is not important. Why should he take our words seriously, whether about stairs or anything else, if we won’t take them seriously ourselves?

This may be extremely difficult, especially with strong-willed children, but the strong-willed child is the one who needs it the most. He is the one who most likely to rebel, most likely to defy, and most likely to stray.

This is where you might say I’m just being overly dramatic; way to make a mountain out of a mole hill, right? Maybe the consequences aren’t quite as dire as I make them out to be, but at what point does saying that the “battle isn’t worth it”, become a pattern of the “battle is never worth it”? At what point do a few isolated moments of “it’s just not worth it” become a lifestyle of your child never being held accountable? Somewhere in there is a point where “it’s just not worth it” becomes, “absolutely critical” and seeing where that point is can be very difficult. For me personally, I’d rather err on the conservative side, the consequences of me being wrong are a lot less disastrous.

This is also where you might accuse me of having no right to dish out parenting advice. After all, I’ve only been a parent for two and half years and haven’t had to deal with the dreaded “teenage” years. You could say that every child is different and I don’t know anything about your child. You could say that my methods wouldn’t work on them. And you might be totally right. Take my words with the proverbial grain of salt that is intended. I realize there is no “one size fits all” parenting technique, and some things work better for some kids than others. You don’t have to answer to me for your parenting decisions, but at least be honest with yourself. If you don’t fight the battle is it really because you think it’s not important, or because it just seems too difficult?

I can’t guarantee that my discipline philosophy with my children will lead them to being well adjusted, God fearing, productive members of society. I don’t think anyone can guarantee that no matter what their philosophy. For any given way of parenting you could probably find scores of examples of children who turned out great others who didn’t. I get that. But all I can do is make what seems to be the best decision for my children here and now where I am. I can’t guarantee that holding strong over something as benign as climbing up the stairs will help my children to grow up awesome. But I do know that if I don’t expect them to listen to me over the little things, I don’t have a leg to stand on over the big things. And from where I’m sitting right now saying, “The battle just isn’t worth it,” sounds too much like, “My child just isn’t worth it!” My child is worth every bit of it, and then some.


Do Christian Lives Matter?

A little over a week ago tragedy struck. Members of the Islamic terrorist organization, Al-Shabaab, lead a vicious attack on Garissa University in Kenya; killing 147 and injuring 79 more. You may have heard a blurb about it on the radio, seen a few scenes on the evening news, maybe a facebook status or two.

One thing you didn’t see what an eruption of outrage. You didn’t see celebrities posting pictures of themselves, in some self-ingratiating pose, with a cleverly sounding hash-tag. You didn’t see protestors taking to the streets, or any riots ensuing. You probably didn’t see any big name politicians condemning the attack. In fact, you might not have seen anything about it at all.

This is a little surprising given how easily we get outraged. We scream when Chik Fil A dares to stand up for traditional family values. We threaten mass boycotts when Hobby Lobby feels it is not their responsibility to subsidize a woman’s sex life. We go into an uproar because we are worried that a few Gays might be discriminated against in Indiana. We explode with outrage when a doped-up, violent, criminal gets shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Even better, we erupt into riots and looting in the streets when the aforementioned police officer is not strung up from a tree for doing his duty to serve and protect his community. We are arguably the most easily outraged society that the world has ever known.

But when 147 students are ruthlessly murdered in Kenya there is nothing. Why is that?

Well, if what some of the sentiment I’ve been hearing is correct it’s because Kenya is in Africa, and the western world doesn’t care about Africa. There may be a little bit of truth to that. A lot of things in Africa really aren’t on most American’s radar, and that isn’t entirely their fault. Africa is pretty far away. I personally have a better feel for what happens on the African continent simply because I grew up there. When tragedy strikes Africa it touches me in a personal way. However, I haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on in Tibet right now. I am completely ignorant of that part of the world. An even worse atrocity may also have happened there, and I know nothing about it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people in Tibet. It just means it is beyond my normal plane of existence. So I think a lot of criticisms about the Western World not always bursting into outrage when injustice strikes in the heart of Africa are a little unfair. It is human nature to be more focused on what is happening closer to you.

That being said, I don’t think the fact this incident was in Africa is entirely the reason why you haven’t heard much about this. If that were true you probably would never have heard of Boko Haram and his abduction of girls in Africa, but you have. I’m sure you remember last year’s #BringBackOurGirls bandwagon that countless celebrities and politicians jumped on. That was in Africa, and yet it still made its way into the mainstream of American culture, for at least a little while.

So why has this incident in Garissa produced almost no response? Could it have anything to do with the fact most of the 147 dead were Christian, and the attackers were Muslim. Right now about the only thing more popular than sticking up for the Gay’s right to trample on a Christian’s freedom is to pretend that the recent epidemic of Islamic violence against Christians doesn’t exist.

Sure, we have all heard about the storm of violence and bloodshed raging through Iraq and Syria as ISIS declares all-out war against Christianity. Sure we all heard about the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France, made in the name of Islam. But no sooner do either of those atrocities come to our attention, are our ever courageous leaders standing up to remind us that, while these acts are horrific and are to be condemned, Islam is really a “peaceful religion”.

Apparently we are supposed to forget the history books. Forget that the only reason that Islam is wide spread today is because it was spread by the tip of a jihadist’s sword. Forget the horrific attacks made by Al Qaeda over the last several decades (Nairobi and Dar Es Salam in 1998, the Pentagon and World Trade center on 9/11, just to name a couple). Forget about Islamic Sharia Law, which is an abomination against basic human rights, especially against women. No, we must forget all that and remember that this religion is “peaceful”.

According to our society, the fact the attackers in Garissa were attacking in the name of Islam is already reason to try and ignore it and brush it under the rug. It is just another reminder of the Islamic violence that we are supposed to pretend doesn’t exist. However, even more reason to ignore it is because the victims were, by-and-large, Christians. After all, Christians are a bunch of bigots and homophobes, right? Why should we get in an uproar when a few of them are ruthlessly slaughtered? One black criminal dies in Ferguson and the World Wide Web explodes with #blacklivesmatter. What about Christian lives? Do they not matter?

We as Christians should open our eyes more to what’s going on. It’s becoming painfully clear that our society is moving further and further in the direction of outlawing religion, especially Christianity. Sure right now they are only attacking a business owner’s religious freedom, but it probably won’t stop there. Our society is becoming increasingly intolerant of conservative Christianity, attacking it any chance they get. And 147 dead in Garissa going unnoticed demonstrates a complete apathy for the suffering of the Christian abroad. Intolerance and apathy are but a few short steps ahead of outright condemnation.

What are we, as Christians, to do? Should we erupt in an outrage of our own, demanding justice for the victims of ISIS and Al-Shabaab?

We Christians should open our eyes, but outrage is not the answer. We should not be surprised when the world turns against us, in fact, we should expect it. Right now in America we live a pretty cushy life, and few of us have had to make any real sacrifices for our faith, but we should not forget that Jesus told us to expect to suffer in his name.

You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

And not only should we expect it, but we should rejoice in it:

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:13-14)

So let us not lose hope that our faith is becoming less and less popular. Let us not be afraid that we may have to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ. If such trials and tribulations come our way it should only serve to confirm our faith and strengthen our resolve.

Do the Christian lives lost in Garissa matter? Absolutely, even if there is no outpouring of #GarissaMatters. Even if the world ignores them, their Father in heaven will not ignore them. The faithful in Garissa have given the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ. They shared in Christ’s suffering and death, and they shall share in the Glory of Christ’s resurrection. We should rejoice for them. They are now at peace with our Heavenly Father, feeling the infinite joy of His presence. Yes, it is a tragedy that their lives on this earth have been cut short. Their loved ones will undoubtedly mourn their loss, as they should and so should we with them. But they should also take heart knowing that their reward in heaven will be the greatest of all because of their sacrifice. God will honor them among the saints for what they have done, and what they have given, for His sake.

Most of all; the lives of the dead Christians in Garissa matter because their death served a purpose. The Islamic terrorist thought they were achieving victory over the Christians, but their victory will be short lived. Ours is an eternal victory in heaven, while theirs is a fleeting breath in the wind. For the world will see the courage and faith of these people and will see the light of Christ. God will take this horrible evil act and use it to bring others to salvation. Their death has the greatest meaning it could possibly have. They died bringing Glory to God. May the same be said some day for us.

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Actually, I Can Be Perfect

A few weeks ago we were at Church and we heard a sermon given on the last portion of the infamous Lord’s Prayer: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.Overall, I was pleased with the sermon. The preacher did an excellent job of unpacking this and delving into the nature of temptation and evil in our world and how God protects us from it.

But one thing that he said stuck with me, and as much as I pondered it, I couldn’t help but feel it was unbiblical. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “When you are faced with temptations, as we all are, inevitably you will fail. But that’s okay, because we do not rely on our own righteousness, but on the righteousness of Christ!” He not only said this once, but multiple times emphasized the virtual certainty of our eventual failure in the face of temptation.

I appreciate what he was trying to say. He thought he was giving encouragement to those that have been battling temptation, and though they may have 100 victories, are completely shattered when they have one failure. But I couldn’t help but think that his message, which was intended as a message of comfort, was really at its core a message of hopelessness.

What is the man battling a pornography addition supposed to think when he is told that as much as he tries, it is inevitable that he will succumb to his temptation? What is the woman battling alcoholism supposed to think when she is told that though she may be 6 months sober that it is only a matter of time before the temptation to take a drink will just become too strong? What am I supposed to think, as man who struggles with a short temper and routinely feels like a failure as a father and a husband for lashing out at my wife or children? Am I supposed to give up hope of ever overcoming this temper? Is my family doomed to forever live with a father who will always lose his temper?

What kind of depressing, hopeless message is that?

I wouldn’t think too much of this, except that I don’t believe this specific preacher is alone in his perspective. In fact I get the impression that this view that everyone will inevitably succumb to their sinful human nature. It doesn’t matter who they are, or how strong their faith in Jesus Christ is, sin just can’t be avoided. It is a pervasive idea through-out the church, in just about all denominations. Our culture even has an oft repeated slogan that, “Nobody’s Perfect!”

But what am I to think about this:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)

Or what about this?

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (1 John 1:5-6)

Or this?

Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

It is clear that God has set a pretty high standard for us. The standard is nothing less than sinless perfection. God intends us to live without sin. Are we to believe that God has set a standard for us to meet and has provided no means by with we are to meet it? How cruel is that?

Sure, you may point out that:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Or perhaps that:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

You may point to countless other passages that reveal the utter depravity of mankind, and how we all are sinners. And you are right. We are all sinners, or rather, we were all sinners, before Christ. But I thought that when someone accepted Christ that:

… he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You see, all those passages talking about how all have sinned are talking about life before Christ. Without Christ we are hopelessly bound by our sinful nature to rebel against God’s Holiness and fall into sin. So yes, all have sinned. No one is free from guilt. Anyone who claims to have never sinned is a liar. We are all in desperate need of salvation that is only found in the blood of Jesus Christ.

But when you accept Christ, something truly miraculous happens.

Our sinful and depraved nature gives way to the righteousness of Christ. Through Christ we are transformed from hopeless sinners, into victors, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The transformation is so spectacular, that it is as if our old sinful self no longer exists, and an entirely new creature is left in its place.

So we are no longer bound by the limitations of our flawed nature. We now have a power that is above our own that will fight for us. And we have an Almighty God who protects us such that:

He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

When I read scripture, I see a very different message than, “You will inevitably fail!” I see a message that says, “I have given you the power to succeed!”

Of course absolute perfection is not achieved instantly. What I’m saying here should not be viewed as a condemnation of those who are not living a perfectly sinless life. If you do still sin, even after accepting Christ, He will not turn His back on you:

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)

I’m not saying that I am perfect; far from it. I still have countless issues that I’m working on. But the point is, I’m working on it. And while I’m not perfect yet, I know that I can be. I know it because God tells me that I can be, and that he has given me to power to achieve it.

I don’t know why the church is steeped in the lie that no-one can actually achieve a sinless existence in this life-time. Perhaps it is humility; that no one wants to stand up and declare themselves perfect. Perhaps it is because so many of us know we have a lot to work on and it somehow relieves our conscience to convince ourselves that we can’t help it. I don’t know the answer. But whatever comfort we may take from the message that “Nobody is Perfect” is overshadowed by the hopelessness that our striving for holiness is in vain.

It is not in vain. Following Christ is never in vain.

So to those who are fighting addictions, to the teenager who feels that purity called for in scripture is just too much, to the woman who can’t stop overeating and feels trapped in a body that is overweight and unhealthy, to the man who battles with anger and rage from a short temper, to anyone who battles any kind of sin that just seems insurmountable: my message to you is a message of hope. God has not forgotten you or turned against you. Your past failures are not a certainty of future failures. Your fall back into sin is not inevitable. It can be overcome. Don’t let the mantra that “Nobody is perfect” steal you of the hope that you might one day be victorious over your sin.

I’m not perfect, but the day that I believe that I can’t be; is the day that I might as well give up all hope.


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Be OK with the Mess

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

If you were to walk into our house at any given moment, you would most likely be met by tufts of dog hair blowing across the floor, toys of all sizes scattered everywhere, random pieces of toddler clothing tucked away in the corners, and a kitchen sink that is overflowing with dirty dishes. To put it simply, you’d find a mess.

We aren’t complete heathens; we do clean up, quite frequently actually. We do the dishes, pick up the toys, vacuum the carpets, and mop the floors. We try to stay on top of our laundry and even fold it and put it away as often as we can. If you’ve been a guest at our house you probably thought we were generally clean people (though admittedly we have grown quite adept at the art of quickly shuffling clutter into our “office”, also called the junk room, to make our house “presentable” when we have company). We may not do all this cleaning as often, or to the extent that some people feel we ought, but in general, we do try to keep a tidy house.

And yet, despite our efforts, our two little boys manage to create complete chaos in our home. As much as we try our house always seems to be in a perpetual stay of disarray.

So we are left with two options, either work ourselves ragged trying to keep our house in pristine condition, or accept the fact that our house is going to be messy, and enjoy life.

A lot of people unwittingly choose the first option. Women especially (though men can certainly be this way too) often feel that it is their responsibility to their family to keep the house as clean and tidy as possible. It’s as if they think they are failing as a wife or a mother if the home isn’t free of dirt, grime, dust and clutter.

Don’t get me wrong, it is very admirable for a wife (or husband) to want to serve their family in that way. It is certainly a good thing to want the best home for your family to live in. Such an act of love is never to be condemned or sneered at.

But at what point does love and service, become an obsession with an unattainable perfection?

How many mothers miss their child’s first steps because they were busy scrubbing the toilet? How many wives don’t have energy to truly engage with their husbands because they spent all day vacuuming the entire house? How many parents don’t have the capacity to enjoy their fleeting precious minutes with their children because they were up until midnight the night before washing dishes?

How many marriages suffer because one spouse doesn’t feel the other is pulling their weight with the housework? How many fights have broken out because the laundry still hasn’t been folded and put away? How many arguments have been had about the socks in the middle of the bedroom floor? How much unspoken tension has been embroiled over the coke can left on the coffee table, instead of being thrown into the recycling bin?

You might say that I’m being overly dramatic, but something as seemingly simple as housework has broken many families. Dividing the house chores is probably second only to finances as the biggest instigator of marital conflict. It is a serious thing.

When faced with these questions I can’t help but think of the classic Biblical tale of Martha and Mary entertaining Jesus in their house. It’s a well-known story, and most everyone understands the moral: focus on Jesus first. We all understand that, and we judgmentally condemn Martha. I mean, common, how can she be so busy, working, working, working, when she has the actual flesh and blood Jesus in her home. Common Martha! Get your priorities in order!

But how many of us are Martha’s?

The point of the story is that they only had Jesus with them in the flesh for a limited amount of time. It wouldn’t be too long before He would be crucified, raised from the dead, and the lifted up to heaven, and while He would send His Holy Spirit, he would no longer be there in person. Mary realized that she was given a gift that so few people in the history of the world were ever given: to be in the actual physical presence of Christ, and she was not going to let that moment slip by.

What about us? I think about me personally, with my wife and children. I have been given a truly unbelievable gift. I have the most incredible woman to go with me through this journey of life, but I don’t know how long we have together. She or I could be taken away to be with the Lord at any moment. Together we were both blessed with the most precious gifts we could imagine: our children. They won’t be children forever. We have but a few moments while they are still little, and God help me, I will not let those moments slip by because I’m too busy sorting through laundry.

I understand that some people have it ingrained into their nature to want to live in cleanliness. Being around clutter stresses them out. They can’t go to sleep with a dirty dish still sitting in the sink. The idea of pulling a wrinkled shirt from the laundry basket is completely absurd. I’m not wired that way, but I get that some people are.

But let me ask that person, is it worth it?

Is it worth all the time that you spend making sure that there is a place for everything and that everything is in its place? Is it worth having floors that always sparkle and shine? Is it worth having perfectly ironed underwear that is neatly folded in your dresser drawer?

Yes, I’m sure all those things are nice and they make you feel more comfortable, but are they worth the cost? Are they worth a marriage that is on the rocks because your spouse feels they can’t let their hair down when they are at home? Are they worth children who feel like they can’t be kids because they are afraid of throwing off your Feng Shui? Are they worth the arguments because your spouse doesn’t live up to your expectations for how much they should be contributing to the work?

I know you feel completely justified in your feelings. I know you wonder, what kind of animal would want to live in such filth? Why don’t they understand that it’s important to keep everything in order? Why can’t they just get off the couch every once in a while and help you sweep and mop?

Martha felt completely justified too.

To be fair, Martha’s point of view isn’t completely crazy. She knew she had someone of real import in her home, and she had to make sure that it was all just right for Him. Her motives were pure. She wasn’t being selfish, she was pouring herself in service to Jesus, doing what she felt she was supposed to do.

But as pure as her motives were, the stress of all that she was trying to do caught up with her. Before she knew it her pure motives gave way to contempt and anger toward her sister. She was so clouded by her busyness that she missed the point. She missed the fact that Jesus was right there in her home and being with Him was so much more valuable than simply serving Him.

Serving Jesus is good, but relationship with Jesus is better.

When Jesus softly chastises Martha, He wasn’t saying that what Martha was doing was bad. He was saying that what Mary was doing was better.

It’s not bad for you to want to have a clean house. It’s not bad that you want to serve your family by working hard to keep the house in order. In fact, doing those things is important and necessary. I’m not suggesting that we all just give up on cleaning, and general house work. Our homes would quickly devolve into something completely unlivable.

But when dinner is over and my two and half year old son is calling for me to come play “Lions” with him, I realize that those dishes can wait. When the kids are in bed and my wife needs me to cuddle with her on the couch so that she can feel close to me, I realize those toys can be picked up tomorrow. When my son is begging for me to give him a ride on my back around the house, I realize that having that laundry folded and put away is an unnecessary luxury. It’s not worth it for me or my wife to stay up until all hours of the night getting the house in order if we don’t have energy to enjoy our children the next day. Yes, that means that a lot of the time our house looks like a complete mess. I’m OK with the mess. If it means that I keep my sanity and I don’t collapse into a heap of exhaustion at the end of every day, then it is worth every bit of dirt, clutter and chaos.

So to those that are struggling to cope with the chaos and craziness and the long “To-do” lists with not enough hours in the day, my advice is this: Be OK with the mess. Don’t be worried or upset about many things, when only a few things are needed. Having a clean house is good, but having a happy family is better.

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Why does Everyone Hate Bruce Jenner?

I don’t know too much about Bruce Jenner. I know he was pretty big in the Olympics way back before anyone can really remember (in our society pretty much anything older than five minutes is foggy). I know he was Stepfather to the Kardashian girls, who are famous for reasons I still don’t fully understand (somehow OJ Simpson’s lawyer is involved, though why OJ Simpson would make it so that millions of people would watch a TV show where a bunch of self-absorbed girls argue about their vaginas doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me). Sufficed to say I am no expert on Bruce Jenner, who he is, or anything about his life.

But apparently, he is a woman.

In his very recent infamous interview on ABC with Diane Sawyer, Bruce came out saying that “For all intents and purposes he is a woman.” Not that he feels like a woman, or that he wishes he was a woman, or that he aspires to become a woman, he says that he IS a woman. Even though he readily admits that he still has all his “Man Parts” he is still, according to him, a woman.

I haven’t really been paying too much attention to all this hubbab. As a general policy I try to keep whatever drama is going on in the lives of the Kardashians out of my every day existence. Yet somehow Bruce’s transgenderism keeps showing up on my radar, either through social media, TV commercials, or when I walk in on my wife and catch her indulging her vice for entertainment television. Just last night I couldn’t help but see a few minutes of the media’s response to this interview. You’ll never believe it, but everyone talking about the interview couldn’t stop showering Bruce with praise.

Shocking, I know!

Every person who spoke was gushing about how courageous he is, how they sympathize with his struggle, and shouting their verbal applause for him finally being true to who he is. They were practically worshiping Bruce Jenner.

If only they realized that they were actually the ones spewing hatred at Bruce.

Of course they don’t realize it; they think they actually love Bruce. Our society holds to the warped idea that to love someone means to accept them, and that you must approve of what they do.

That is not love.

There is a lot that can be said about love, but the best definition of love that I’ve ever heard is this: to desire and seek the very best for another person. It can manifest itself in many ways, but it all comes down to that. If you truly love someone then you will want the very best for them.

Does accepting someone, or approving of someone, provide the very best for them? You can accept or approve of a workaholic. You can tell them that their wife is being too demanding when she says that she wants him home most nights for dinner. You can say that she is overacting when she is upset that he missed yet another baseball game or piano recital. You can tell him that his job is demanding and that he is doing the right thing by working 120 hours a week. You may think you are being supportive; he is under a lot of stress after all. But really all you’ve done is pushed him towards divorce, children who are alienated from him, and complete loneliness and emptiness at home. Is that love?

Love has nothing to do with acceptance or approval. If you love the workaholic you will do everything you can to show them the foolishness of always putting work above family. You will plead with him to find a better balance, beg him think about his children, scare him with the prospect of outrageous alimony payments, literally anything that will make him turn away from his ultimate demise. If you love him you won’t lie about your disapproval. For his own good you have to stand up and tell him that he is a making terrible mistake that will destroy his life.

If love is seeking the very best for someone, then hate must be the opposite. Hate must be seeking the very worst for someone. So when you think about it, if you feed the workaholic with acceptance and approval you are only pushing him further down the road to his family’s destruction. How much more could you be seeking the worst thing for him? That couldn’t be any more hateful. Sure for a little while he will feel better about himself, and you’ll spare him a few hurt feelings, but in the end you’ll have been part of his painful downfall.

What about all these people that are being so accepting and approving of Bruce? Do they really love him?

Bruce thinks that he is a woman, when he is most certainly not a woman.

I know, how dare I say that he is not a woman when he is so emphatic that he is a woman! Who am I to tell him how to feel about himself? How could I be such a Bigot?

This is not bigotry, not by any definition of the word. Someone who thinks a black man is inferior because of his skin color: that is bigot. Someone who doesn’t trust a person because they are Jewish: that is a bigot. Me saying that a man, who by his own admission has “Man Parts”, is in fact a man: that is not bigotry. That is just a statement of biological fact. The presence of “Man Parts” is the very definition of the male gender, while the presence of “Woman Parts” is the very definition of the female gender. If those aren’t the definitions then Urologists and Gynecologists need to relearn everything they know.

Gender is not a feeling. It is a scientific, biological reality that has nothing to do with our feelings. Bruce saying that he is a woman, even though he still has “Man Parts”, is like me saying my car is a Ferrari, even though it still has all its Hyundai parts. I can say it all I want, I can believe it all I want, I can feel it all I want, but it doesn’t change the reality that my car is in fact a Hyundai.

Bruce seems to legitimately believe that he is something that he most certainly is not. That is the very definition of delusional. I’m not trying to be mean or “hateful”, I’m being honest. He is a sick man. He has a real psychological and, more importantly, spiritual illness. And when someone is sick, they don’t need people convince them they aren’t sick, they need a doctor.

If a good friend of mine came to me and wanted to introduce me to his new buddy, only to point to someone that wasn’t there, should I just accept that? Should I placate him, and try to have a conversation with this person that exists only in his head? Should I praise him for his great taste in friends? No! That is the worst thing I could do. I would just be pushing him further into his delusion, making it that much harder for him to find his way out of it. No, I would tell him, in as loving a way as I can, that I think he might be schizophrenic and need serious, professional help. Not because I hate him, or because am bigoted against schizophrenics; but because I love him too much to push any farther towards a complete mental breakdown. Will he listen to me? Maybe. Maybe not. Will his feeling be hurt? Quite possibly. But that doesn’t change the fact that if I really love him, and really want the very best for him, I have to tell him the truth, even if it is a truth that he doesn’t want to hear.

So all you people that are encouraging Bruce, all of you calling him courageous, all of you applauding him; you may think you are loving on Bruce, but you are really hating him. I realize that you don’t have any feelings of ill will towards him, the exact opposite really, but you are feeding his delusion. You are pushing him farther into the abyss of his psychosis. You are only confusing him even more. If left to walk down this road he will find only emptiness and despair. He may even choose to try and surgically turn himself into a woman. Only he still won’t be a woman. He’ll be a mutilated man who has had his manhood ripped away. There will be no satisfaction at the end of that road; only more confusion, despair, and pain. And you are leading him down that road. So how you feel about him doesn’t matter, you have sought the very worst for him, and that is hate.

I can’t do that my fellow man. So Bruce, here is my message to you:

I love you man. I genuinely love you with a Godly love, and I want the very best for you. I know you have felt lost and confused for a long time. I won’t pretend to understand your thoughts, your feelings, or your confusion. I know you don’t want to hear this, but I have to tell you the truth. The truth is; you are not a woman. You are a man. That is how God made you. He did not make a mistake with you. It is true that when he made you he left an empty void in your soul, but that was not a mistake. You see God loves you more than any human being possibly could, and he also wants the very best for you. And God knows that the very best thing for you, is God. That’s why he created a void in your soul specifically for God himself to fill. But you, like every other human being has at one time or another, have turned you back on God, and you’ve been trying to fill that void your whole life with other things. They haven’t worked. I know you can feel the void. That feeling that you think is telling you that you are trapped in the wrong body, is really your soul crying out for what it desperately craves. I know you think that turning yourself into a woman will satisfy the longing in your soul, but it won’t, it will only leave you even more lost and confused, and farther from the one thing that can actually bring you true satisfaction. You need Jesus. Don’t listen to the droves of people throwing their support behind you. They think they love you, and they do genuinely admire you, but they are the ones pushing you down the path of destruction. I’m praying for you, and trust me; I really want the very best for you.

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Today We Stand on the Precipice of Sodom and Gomorrah

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:24-27)

Right now arguments are underway at the Supreme Court to decide whether Gay marriage will become a requirement for all States to adopt. Not whether or not it is acceptable for States to adopt, but that they MUST adopt it. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Gay marriage the States will not have any right to protest. They will have ruled that same sex marriage is a constitutionally protected right.

The fact that the Constitution says nothing that even comes close to relating toward marriage in any way, shape, or form will not matter. If the Supreme Court says it is in the Constitution, we apparently must all bow our heads and accept that. To see that the Supreme Court can make up something that isn’t in the Constitution, and declare it as “Constitutional”, all you have to do is look at the infamous “Roe vs Wade” that declared abortion a constitutionally protected right. Over 54 Million babies have been slaughtered, and denied the right to exist, because a few select politicians decided to make up a Constitutional Right that doesn’t exist (Democracy at its finest). Why should we think they would actually care about what the Constitution actually says (or doesn’t say) when it comes to marriage?

We as Christians should be very concerned for the state of our country. Not just because Gay marriage is a perversion of true Godly marriage. Not just because it is an insult to the very essence of God’s character (checkout my earlier blog post: It’s Not Just Cake). Not just because God emphatically declared homosexuality an abomination (Leviticus 20:13). Those are all good reasons to be concerned. But we should be very concerned about what God will do as a result of it.

If same sex marriage becomes the law of the land, then it means that we as a society are not just accepting sexuality immorality in our midst, but it means we are legitimizing it. We won’t just be turning a blind eye to it, but we will be applauding it. If Gay marriage is put on the same equal footing with true marriage, anyone who stands against it will not only be up against the might of the liberal media (a powerful force to be sure) but will also be up against the might of the US Government. How long will it be before all opposition is completely silenced?

And if we as a society are so intent on pursuing sin, God will not stand in our way. We too shall be given up to the lusts of our hearts to impurity, to the dishonor of our bodies. We will exchange truth of God for a lie, and God will forsake us to burn in our passions to our own ultimate destruction. God has done it in the past. He did it with Sodom and Gomorrah, and they fell so deep into their wickedness that not one was found righteous among them (save for Lot and his family) and God rained fire and brimstone upon them. I think it is not a coincidence that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are often linked to homosexuality. While it was certainly not their only sin, it was clearly one of their more prominent ones:

Before bedtime, men both young and old and from every part of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house. They called to Lot, “Where are the two men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sexual relations with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5)

The wickedness of those in Sodom was so great that they bore no shame in demanding Lot offer up his guests so that they could gang rape them. Having been given over to their depraved nature they had literally lost all sense of what was right and good. While the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans does not explicitly refer to Sodom and Gomorrah, the connection is clear. When man completely abandons God, he will give them what they want: complete and utter Godlessness. And Sodom and Gomorrah are prime examples of what happens when Godlessness reigns.

And we are rapidly following their example.

God has shown us tremendous patience and mercy. The fact that we have not been incinerated off the face of the earth yet is a testament to His desire to see us saved. But even God has a limit to his patience. He will not stand idly by forever while he is mocked. Eventually he will give us precisely what we want. Eventually he will hand us over to the evil we so strongly desire, and he will not stand in the way of our path to utter ruin.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I am not afraid that Gays will start gang raping people in the streets. This is not about homophobia. This is not about being afraid of homosexuals. But I am afraid of what will happen when we as an entire society turns our back on God, and then God ultimately turns His back on us. It certainly won’t happen overnight. It has taken several decades for our society to slowly turn from one that abhors homosexuality to one that celebrates it. And it may take several more before we turn into a society that is entirely consumed with it. But the way things are going, we will eventually get there.

Already even today we hear stories of bakers who are fined into bankruptcy when they refuse to provide a cake for Gay weddings. We hear stories of army chaplains who are forbidden from expressing their convictions of the immorality of homosexuality. We hear stories about ministers who might face jail time because they won’t perform Gay weddings. We hear threats of Christian Universities losing their non-profit status, a status they rely upon to stay financially viable, if they don’t compromise on their biblical principles. And this is all happening before the Supreme Court actually declares Gay marriage to be required law across the nation. How long will it be before the Christian voice is silenced all together? How long will it be before Christianity itself is effectively outlawed along with Judaism, Islam, or any other faith that is opposed to homosexuality? How long will it be before God is outlawed? And once God is outlawed, how long will it take before the United States becomes another Sodom, or another Gomorrah?

I’m not speaking with such concern because I’m afraid of Christian persecution. As a citizen of the United States I’m certainly concerned about freedom, and I will certainly speak out against anything that will destroy freedom in this country. But as Christians we should expect persecution. We should count it a privilege, and even a joy to suffer for the sake of Christ. We know that whatever we must suffer here in this life is but a breath in the wind compared to the eternal reward we will have in Christ. No, I do not worry for us, we will be just fine.

I’m worried for the souls that are lost.

I’m worried for the souls of those who celebrate same sex marriage, those who revel in that which is so detestable to God, those who turn their backs on their one and only hope for salvation. They have been deceived into thinking that they are on the right side of history. They compare themselves to the heroes of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. They believe they are standing for a righteous cause, but they are really bringing about their own destruction.

My soul weeps for them.

My soul weeps because I see the words from Romans becoming an ever present reality. I see our country being plagued by “dishonorable passions”, of which homosexuality is but one. Fornication, Pornography, abortion, transgenderism, Sadomasochism, and more; these are all passions which once would have been considered shameful, but are now being celebrated. The process has already started and eventually these poor souls will receive in themselves the due penalty for their error.

But there is still hope.

God’s patience may be limited, but his love is boundless. He may eventually turn his back on the wicked and deliver them over to their own destruction, but he will never abandon those who love Him. And as long as we still have breath, we can still preach the glorious grace of the Gospel. There is no one still living that is not still able to be saved. If we love them, we have to speak out.

So to my fellow Christians, if you have been silently waiting until the time to stand up and raise your voice, the time is now. Please stand up and proclaim the Good News of Christ. Proclaim Christ crucified and resurrected. Proclaim the love of God to all, saint and sinner alike. Speak out against evil, in all its forms. Speak out against same sex marriage, not out of bigotry, or homophobia; but out of love for those that are being sucked into their sinful passions. Speak out to save those people, remembering that but for the grace of God there you would also go. Speak out, not out of hatred for those who commit evil, but out of a loving desire to deliver them from evil. Stand up for true, biblical marriage, not because we demand everyone be like us, but because we know that that is where God can be found. If you are a Christian who understands the dangers that same sex marriage brings, not to us, but to those who partake in it, then please for the love of God, speak up. Share this post. Share any post. Write your own post. Flood the media with so much truth, and love, that it can no longer be ignored. You will probably be hated for it. You will likely experience backlash. You will be called a hater, a homophobe, a bigot. Don’t let it deter you. If you love your fellow man, please speak out.

Today we stand on the precipice of Sodom and Gomorrah. The time for silence has passed. It is time to speak out, and maybe we can save our nation from self-destruction.

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Those of You Stomping on the American Flag are Complete Fools

You may recall last year the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” that completely took over social media in which just about everyone from your neighbor next door, to your favorite pop singer, to former heads of state dumped buckets of ice on themselves to encourage awareness and contribution to ALS research. There was some controversy to this brief social media frenzy among pro-life advocates who pointed out the research group which was being highlighted conducted embryonic research, but in general it could be said that whoever participated in that challenge were most likely doing it for pure motives. They wanted to help people, and that is certainly noble.

You may or may not have heard about a more recent social media “challenge” that has been making its way across Twitter and Facebook. You may not have heard of it since it thus far has not been getting nearly as much attention as previous challenges, which is certainly a good thing. Unfortunately I have not been able to escape it showing up in my news feeds.

I am referring to the “Eric Sheppard Challenge,” which is where people, especially blacks, are encouraged to photograph themselves stomping on the American Flag and post it in solidarity for a black college student Eric Sheppard, who is a New Black Panther member, white-hater, self-proclaimed terrorist, and currently a fugitive from the law after allegedly bringing an illegal firearm onto the campus of Valdosta State in Georgia at an anti-flag protest. If you want to know more about this fine and upstanding member of the community check out the following news reports:

This young man is apparently so angry at the white man, and therefore protests the American Flag, a symbol of white oppression. And apparently when a person is vocal about their hatred for whites, calls themselves a terrorist, and unlawfully brings a weapon to an event whose explicit purpose is to defame the symbol of America itself, it is unjust for law enforcement to take issue with that. They are just profiling him, apparently, because he is black. And as a result numerous people are taking to stomping on the American flag to show solidarity for this would be terrorist.

This is all of course coming right on the heels of the Baltimore riots where the city was set ablaze by a group of supposed “protestors” who really just wanted to throw a childish temper tantrum and destroy half of their own city in the process. And all of this is also happening in the shadow of the Ferguson Missouri protests and riots when the nation was all in an uproar because a violent criminal who was assaulting a police officer was shot and killed. Racial tensions are high, and mistrust of the police and the state are growing greater every day. And just when you think it can’t get any worse we see the “Eric Sheppard Challenge” gaining momentum in the black community.

I could have a lot of reactions to all of this.

I could be bewildered. Confused that not only someone like Eric Sheppard actually exists, but that there is apparently a following of people actually desecrating the American flag to show solidarity for him. These people live in a country that actually tolerates them stomping (literally) on the very freedom that allows them to behave in such a manner. They are actually stupid enough to not realize the very fact that they are doing so, without fear of legal reprisal, only serves to disprove the point that they are trying to make: that the law is out to get them.

I could be furious. I could be outraged that these supposed citizens of this proud country would so brazenly spit on the very image of our national pride. I could be disgusted by the manner in which they completely insult all those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we have in this country. Throughout this country’s two and half century of history countless men and women of all races, creeds, and beliefs have bled, been maimed, and died to preserve this nation and what it stands for. And these heathens spit on every drop of sweat, blood and tear ever shed to make them more free than just about anyone has been before in the history of the world.

I could be sad. I feel deeply for the sorry state of our society that rather than celebrating this nation for what it is and also persistently working to make it even better, these people would rather just completely destroy it. Is our nation perfect? No, it has always had flaws, and still does. But if you look at our history I can tell that we have been making progress. But apparently the progress just isn’t good enough.

I could tell these people that if they have that much disdain for this country then they should feel free to leave. It’s a big world and I’m sure they could find a nice home for themselves somewhere free from the oppression of the white man here in the United States (I hear that Siberia is nice, or perhaps North Korea, that is a clear bastion tolerance and equality).

I could suggest that if they have so much hatred for the flag, and the country that it represents, then they no longer need to participate. We could revoke their citizenship and they no longer need the right to vote.

I could feel or say all those things, but I won’t.

I won’t partially because they are out of anger, and won’t really be very productive anyway. But mainly I won’t because they won’t care. They probably won’t care about what I have to say because I’m a white man, and I’m apparently part of the problem. But they also won’t listen to me because they don’t care about what I’m saying. They don’t care about those that have sacrificed to make this country what it is. They won’t care about huge strides that this country has made over its history towards freedom and equality.

So maybe I can point out something that they will care about.

All of you who are stomping on the flag, you are fools. Not because you are insulting a nation of white men, but because you are defecating on the memory of your own ancestors.

It is true that when this country was founded it promised liberty and justice for all, but failed to deliver it. Slavery was a dark stain on this nation from its beginning, and the sin of slavery still had horrible consequences well through the twentieth century, and even does still have some remnants of its effects present today.

But when revolution broke out against Britain and our nation was fighting for freedom it was not only white men who fought, but the black man fought right there with them. Those black patriots were not stupid; they had to have known that the issue of slavery and racial inequality would not be quickly resolved. But rather than refuse to fight out of principle they proved their true character by fighting for freedom. They stood next to their white brothers in arms and proved their worth as soldiers and as men. They did not win freedom for all of their black brothers and sisters, but they helped build a nation founded on the idea of freedom. They may not have been able to get all the way there, but they fought and sacrificed to get one step closer.

Nearly a century later, civil war broke out, and the black man’s freedom was on the line. The black man did not just sit back idly and let the white man fight it out. No, black men signed up to fight for freedom. They could have been angry that they were segregated into entirely black companies. They could have been infuriated that they were not paid as much as their white counterparts and refused to fight out of principle. But once again they proved that they were above such spiteful behavior. They fought hard with all their might, they persevered, they bled, and some of them died. Once again they proved their worth as soldiers, and as men. And with their sweat and blood they helped defeat slavery, and won freedom for them and their black brothers and sisters. They may not have rid the country of racism, and they were certainly not in for an easy road, but they fought and sacrificed to get yet one more huge step closer.

As they moved on into the twentieth century, several wars would come and go: World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. For a while they would still be segregated into black companies. They would still not be given the respect they deserved. They could have become indignant that after over a century and a half of proving themselves they still were not afforded equality with the white man. But once again they refused to sit it out. They continued to step up to serve a country that despised them. They proved their worth once again on the battle fields, showing that they could fight just as hard and just as strong as the white soldier. They refused to let themselves give in to indignity, and they slowly brought the nation to realize their worth. Every drop of sweat, blood and tears made the nation ripe for the Civil Rights movement when they would finally be treated as equals under the law. They may not have won every heart overnight, there would still be a battle against racism over the decades to follow, but they fought and sacrificed and managed to achieve that which would have been unthinkable to their fathers.

So if you don’t care about anything else, care about them. Care about your fathers, your grandfathers, your great-grand fathers. When you stomp on the flag you stomp on the blood of black men who gave their all so that you could live in a country defined by freedom. When you stomp on the flag you stomp on the sweat of black men who fought so that you wouldn’t be a slave on a plantation. When you stomp on the flag you stomp on the tears of the black woman who stood firm in the face of brutal racial hatred so that you could walk into a restaurant and be served with dignity and respect. When you stomp on the flag you stomp on every black man, woman, and child who came before you and gave everything they had to provide you with a country with more freedom, more equality, and more acceptance than any country they could have ever dreamed.

The flag is not just a white man’s symbol. It is an American’s symbol. Yes, it comes along with it a tainted past, the sins of slavery and Jim Crow racism. But it also symbol of those who persevered under that oppression, rose above it, and overcame it.

Of course I’m not talking to all blacks. I know there are plenty in the black community who are fine, upstanding citizens, productive members of society who are likely equally appalled by the image of anyone defaming the American Flag. My message is not to these people.

But to those of you who think that you are standing up for some righteous cause by stomping on the American Flag, you are fools. Complete and utter fools.


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Should I Feel Guilty for Not Going to War?

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. (1 Kings 2:1-3)

This Memorial Day, like I do any Memorial and Veteran’s Day, I take time to think and reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made over the two and a half centuries our nation has existed. I think about the freedoms and the luxuries that I, and my family, now enjoy because of what those brave men and women have done, and still continue to do, and I am very humbled.

I am humbled to be in a nation of such brave heroes. I am humbled to have such heroes in my family, both in generations past, as well as in my own generation with two cousins and a brother-in-law that have honorably served in the armed forces. But mostly I am humbled because I myself have not had to give or sacrifice nearly so much for the freedom that I enjoy.

Inevitably my admiration for those that have served our country turns into personal guilt. I feel guilty because I haven’t even lifted a finger to serve my country (I did recently answer the call of Jury duty, but I guess that’s not exactly the same thing).

I have never stood across an open field of battle staring down the barrels of the Red Coats. I have never suffered through the bitter cold of Valley Forge. I have never bravely fought amid a hail of bullets in Gettysburg. I have never huddled in the muck of the trenches, waiting for the order to go over the top to almost certain death. I have never stood in the landing craft on stormy waters, bomb shells exploding over me, waiting for the ramp to go down, to storm onto Omaha Beach. I have never jumped out of the helicopter into the jungles of Vietnam, knowing the enemy waiting in the brush outnumbers us 10 to 1. I have never had to endure the insufferable heat of Iraq or Afghanistan knowing that any moment an enemy sniper could take me out. I have never once put my life on the line for the sake of my family, or my country.

Having not done anything like that, when there are so many who have, can I even call myself a man?

There was a time that I thought about going into the military. In high school I toyed with the notion of going to the US Air Force Academy with the goal of becoming a fighter pilot. I eventually gave up that idea, for three reasons: (1) I was pretty sure my 6 foot 5 inches physique exceeded the maximum height limit for fighter pilots (2) Residing overseas as a missionary kid, and not being a resident of any particular state, made the likelihood of getting the necessary Congressional nominations to gain admittance to the Academy seemed slim (3) I completely despised running, as well as most other forms of physical exertion, which I had a pretty strong feeling would be a big part of training in just about any branch of the armed forces. While that last reason may sound kind of lame and wimpy, to be fair I’m pretty sure that if my chances of getting into the pilot seat of an F-22 were not seriously hampered by the first two reasons, I probably would have been willing to suck it up and get myself in better physical shape.

But even if things had worked out for me to become an Air Force fighter pilot, my primary reason for doing so would have been more for the sex appeal of flying a machine that is 500% pure power at 2 times the speed of sound while wearing really awesome looking gear. Not exactly a prime example of selflessness and sacrifice.

Should I feel guilty that I did not sign up for the ultimate sacrifice? Does it mean that I don’t love my country? Do I bring shame and dishonor to those that have given everything for the sake of liberty?

Maybe it is incredibly self-centered of me to take a day like Memorial Day, a day to remember the brave and the fallen, and to turn in back in on myself. Maybe I’m the only civilian man who even thinks about these things.

But I have two little boys who are going to look to me as their prime example of what it means to be a man. I am about to have a little girl who will look to me as her prime example of what she should be looking for in the man that she marries. I am under no small amount of pressure here to do my absolute best to get this “man” thing right.

Do I have to go to war to call myself a man? Am I a coward if I haven’t gone to war?

Perhaps I could give myself a pass because right now our nation is not desperate for soldiers. Yes, we are at war, but the war is not at such a scale that they desperately need more men to take up arms. We are certainly not in the same boat we were in World War II, when literally every abled bodied man was needed to stand up to the might of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. I’d like to think that if our nation ever were in such dire need of soldiers to fight for the cause of freedom, then I would be willing to stand up and do what needed to be done. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t be a coward. But given that we are not in that situation, I can’t help but feel that my specific gifts and abilities are better used off the battle field.

I also think about my family. Had I signed up to go to war, my life would have turned out very different. I only have my family today because I went to a certain college, that got me just the right internship, that got me just the right job, in just the right town, at just the right time for me to meet my wife. If any one of those pieces did not happen in just the right way I probably wouldn’t have my beautiful wife. We probably wouldn’t have our two (soon to be three) beautiful children. Had I signed up for the military right out of High School chances are I would have ended up in Iraq. If I had even survived it I never would have followed the path outlined above, and my family as it exists today likely never would have existed. Could it be possible that God didn’t want me to go to war? Could it be possible that I was meant to be here to raise this family? Could it be possible that God wants me right here, where I am, so that I can shine the light of Jesus Christ where I am?

Maybe it is just me trying to rationalize my life choices, and alleviate my feelings of guilt, but I can’t help but feel the answer is yes.

As I look back over my life the last decade, since I graduated high school, I see what I can’t help but believe is a series of God moments. While at each of those moments I was too distracted to see it happening, in hindsight I see that God has been guiding me each step of the way leading me to where I am right now. I don’t think I’ve reached my final destination yet, but I think I’m right where God wants me to be. For whatever reason, I don’t think God wants me on a foreign battle field. Not that God doesn’t call some for such a noble purpose, but he just hasn’t called me, and that’s okay, isn’t it?

I guess my guilt stems from one question, what does it mean to be a man? Must a man walk through the muck and the blood and the sweat of war to truly call himself a man? Must a man have to lay his life on the line to call himself a true man?

I believe a true man is capable of all those things, but that is not what makes him a man. Courage on the battlefield proves his metal as a man, but it is not what makes him a man. His manhood is not about what he has done, but about who he is in his heart. King David, a man whom God Himself called a “Man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) tells his son what being a man of God is truly about: “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands.

A true man is a man who is obedient to God. God calls everyone to something. Some he calls to be soldiers, and that should most certainly be revered and respected. But some He calls to be pastors, doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, small business owners, and so much more. Me personally, he’s called me to be a husband, a father, and an engineer. But no matter what he calls us to do specifically, we are all called to do it to the Glory of God. We are called to live for Christ, whether that is in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Ohio.

Of course this revelation may alleviate some of my guilt for not signing up to serve in the military, but it doesn’t exactly give me a free pass. The bar for true Godly manhood is set pretty high. All one has to do is walk in obedience to God, that sounds pretty simple right? But what sounds simple in principle, is almost always more difficult in practice. Why else would Jesus say that “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14) Every day I find myself facing the conviction of elements of my life that are not in complete obedience to God, and what I do about that is what proves my true metal as a man. I may not be on a battlefield of earthly war, but I am definitely on a battlefield of spiritual war, and I pray that Christ will give me the strength to be victorious.

So this Memorial Day I’ll try to not feel guilty for not going to war. Instead I will try to do my best to honor those that have by being the best man that I can be. I will take the freedom that they have sacrificed so much for my sake and use it to embody what it means to be a true man. I will resolve to follow God in complete obedience to Him. I will resolve to be the most devoted and loving husband I can possibly be. I will resolve to be the best father that I can be to my children. I will resolve to live for Christ in all that I say and do. I will resolve to do all that I do for the Glory of God, and to honor the memory of those that have served, and died, so that I could.

To those of you that have served, or continue to serve, I salute you, for whatever worth a salute from a civilian man is. I may not have walked the road you walked, or made the sacrifices you made, but know that I am grateful for all that you have done for me, and for our country, and I will do the very best that I can to be worthy of such noble sacrifice.


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My Children Are Not Worthless, and Neither Are Yours

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy …” (Luke 1:39-44)

The other night my wife and I were in bed talking, and she stopped me mid-sentence to point to her stomach. This would seem a little odd except for the fact that my wife is 6 months pregnant with our third child, a precious little girl. And she was pointing to her baby bump, exclaiming that she could see the baby moving. I stopped talking and we both stared eagerly at her belly and waited. A few seconds later I saw it, a little bump protruded from her belly and moved around. I reached out and put my hand on it, and I felt her. I felt my little daughter moving. I pushed in on her, and she pushed right back out at me; my first back and forth interaction with my little girl. I spoke to her and she kicked back again in response.

It was one of those moments when time seemed to stand still.

This is the third time we’ve been through this whole pregnancy thing, and yet it never seems any less miraculous. There is a life growing in my wife’s womb. A life that is more precious than all the gold and jewels in the entire world, a life with unfathomable potential, a life that has never existed before, and will never exist again.

And yet according to our society, she is worthless.

Ever since the infamous “Roe vs Wade” ruling by the US Supreme Court in 1973, our Government has held that an abortion is a constitutionally protected right for women. Since then there have been over 56 million abortions in the United States.

56 Million.

That equates to 2-3 lives destroyed every minute, round the clock, 365 days a year, for 43 years.

That is over 9 times as many lives destroyed as the Nazi Holocaust.

These were all babies that could have lived long, joyful, fruitful lives. And they were extinguished because they did not come at a convenient time for the parents.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of the unexpected mother. I understand that having a child is an enormous responsibility and undertaking, I have two of them myself already, soon to be a third. I recognize that a lot of these would be mothers are in very complicated, and less than ideal situations. I also realize that in many cases the mother is not entirely to blame. The father may be a complete deadbeat and walk out on her, leaving her feeling like she just can’t do it on her own. In many cases the mother may feel a great deal of pressure from their families, boyfriends, fiancés or husbands to go through with the abortion. Many of them may feel like they have no choice. But none of that changes the fact that a life was destroyed.

Christian Apologist, Gregory Koukl said it best when he said, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”

I don’t think anyone with any sense of human decency, whether liberal or conservative, could argue with that statement. The debate is not about women’s rights, or bodily autonomy, or personal choice. The debate is about the nature of life. When does human life begin? It doesn’t matter what situation the mother-to-be is in, if the child growing inside of her is a human being than nothing can justify the destruction of that life. It is murder plain and simple.

So when does life begin?

The pro-choicer would immediately say that life begins at birth (though some might not even say that as we continue to hear horror stories of botched abortions where the baby is still alive outside of the womb and is still mercilessly slaughtered). Before birth there is no baby, they say. It is only a “fetus”, and that it is no more a human being than the residual bodily tissue residing in fecal matter.

I don’t believe that for one second.

It is completely ludicrous to think that a baby in utero is nothing more than a clump of cells. Any woman who has had a child inside of her can attest to the feeling of life growing inside of her. That is why countless women who have become mothers find the concept of abortion to be so detestable. That is why so many women after having abortions suffer from extreme guilt and depression. They know in the pit of their stomachs that they had a life growing inside of them, their child. And they know that they squashed that life out of existence, never to be seen again.

Life starts long before birth.

In the Gospel of Luke we are told of Mary, recently found to be with child by the Holy Spirit, carrying in her womb Jesus Christ, God Himself. She is visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, who is also miraculously pregnant in her old age after a lifetime of barrenness, with non-other than John the Baptist. We are told that when Mary, carrying the unborn Christ, approaches Elizabeth, the unborn John leaps for Joy. The presence of the unborn Jesus Christ could be felt by the unborn John the Baptist.

What could be better evidence of the life of the unborn child, than an expression of Joy in the presence of God?

But we don’t have to rely solely on Scriptures to tell us about the sanctity of the unborn life. By any scientific standard the unborn child is as much a human being as any other human being. It has its own DNA. It has its own blood type (that may or may not be the same as its mothers). It has a heartbeat as early as 6 weeks (which is a mere 4 weeks after conception depending on the mother’s cycle). If we declare death to be when the heart stops beating, why would not at least declare life to begin when the heart starts beating?

By week 16 the unborn child can start to hear, and by 24 weeks shows clear signs of responding to noises. By 20 weeks the unborn child shows signs of being able to feel pain. These are not lifeless lumps of clay floating around in amniotic goop. These babies can hear and feel, and kick and push and roll. Ask my wife about our second child; he was a non-stop ninja inside of her, constantly kicking and punching at every little thing.

Recently the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation specifically because of the science indicating unborn babies that age are capable of feeling pain. Liberals may say the science is hogwash, but in reality, exactly when an unborn child is capable of feeling pain really doesn’t matter. Feeling pain is not an essential quality that defines the essence of a human being. When a person is anesthetized they do not cease being human. There are people with neurological conditions that prevent them from feeling pan, that doesn’t mean they aren’t human. Whether or not the baby can feel pain is not a definitive character of its humanity.

While I would agree that a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks is a step in the right direction, I have a serious issue with it because it spreads a lie that a child’s humanity can be defined by a relatively arbitrary point in time.

Never mind that there are a lot of unknowns that go into defining gestation age. Doctors define it simply based on when the woman thinks her last period started, and assume that conception took place at a specific time during her cycle. What if she was off by a day or two on her last period? What if she didn’t ovulate exactly on day 14 of her cycle? And what about some babies developing slightly faster, or slightly slower than other babies? How can you say abortion on 19 weeks 6 days is okay, but 20 weeks 1 day is not? It is so arbitrary and shrouded in uncertainty. Do you really want to leave something as important as life and death up to something so arbitrary?

Really when you think about it, if you put a restriction on when an abortion is acceptable, no matter when that time is, you must argue that at that moment the very nature and essence of the child has changed in some clear and obvious way. You must have some reason to believe that before that moment they are not human beings, and yet after that moment they are. When dealing with a matter such as this, that is literally a matter of life or death, you can’t be arbitrary. It must be definitive; otherwise you might very well be committing murder.

So at what point in its development, at what specific moment, does the very nature and essence of a child change? Not at birth. All that changes at birth is the baby’s location, and the means by which it receives oxygen and nutrition. Its mind does not suddenly change. Its heart does not suddenly change. Its arms and legs, and ears, and nose and eyes do not suddenly change. Everything about the baby itself is no different outside the womb than inside the womb. Just because it eats with its mouth versus through an umbilical cord doesn’t change the essence of what it is.

And even if you continue to go back throughout the baby’s development, if you pick any specific moment and look at it a few moments earlier, or a few moments later, you could never say that the essence of its existence is suddenly different. Sure, if you compare 3 weeks gestation to 38 weeks you will see something that looks dramatically different. But it is impossible to identify any specific moment between those two stages where there is a definitive change in its nature. The growth and development is just too slow, there are no sudden leaps. How could you possibly say, with any confidence, that there is a specific moment where humanity is suddenly bestowed on the developing child?

There is only one moment in a baby’s existence where the nature of its existence shows a radical change: the moment of conception.

Before conception you have a sperm and an egg, two entirely separate entities, completely independent of each other, each only containing half of the genetic code that it takes to make a human being. Neither of them by themselves is a person, nor do they have the potential to be a person.

But after conception you have a single cell that is not the same as either the sperm or the egg, and by itself it contains all of the genetic material that defines a singularly unique human being.

The before and after are dramatically different. It is obvious. It is not arbitrary.

Why would we accept arbitrary definitions of when human life begins, be it at 10 weeks, or 20 weeks, or even birth, when we don’t have to? Especially in our country today when there are so many programs that could help save the child. There are programs to help single and scared mothers deal with pregnancy and child caring. We have a welfare system that will help them bear the financial burden. Even if none of those will work there are adoption waiting lists that are miles long filled with people who would love nothing more than to open their homes to a new life. Instead of funding abortion programs, couldn’t we fund those programs?

Or is the life of a child not worth the inconvenience? Is the life of the child not worth the stress? Is the life of the child not worth the cost?

I’m told that I should just mind my own business. If I don’t have a uterus then I am not entitled to an opinion on this matter. And even if I did have a uterus, my opinion would probably only matter if I were pro-choice; it’s not like pro-choice advocates are any more willing to listen to a pro-life woman. There really is no debate on the issue, they just scream that it is a woman’s choice, even though like I already said many of these women are just alone and scared and feel like they have no choice. They scream that no one, man, woman, or child has the right to tell these mothers otherwise, even though what most of them desperately need is someone to tell them they are not alone and help them through their extremely hard situation.

I do have a right to my opinion, because I have children. And if I am to believe that all human beings are created equal, then I have to believe that every child is as precious as my own. And if every child is as precious as my own then they all are to be loved as my own. And if they are all to be loved as my own then they should be protected from anyone would destroy them, even their mothers, because they can’t protect themselves.

It is every bit my business, because if you want to say that some unborn children are worthless, to the point that it is okay to destroy them, then you are saying that all unborn children are worthless. And if you are saying that all unborn children are worthless, then you are saying that my unborn little girl is worthless. You are saying that my two little boys were worthless. And I can’t just sit back and let you say that.

My children are not worthless, and neither are yours.