October 31, 2006

House: The Redefining of Genetic Relationships

If you've been reading my most recent blog posts you'll probably discover that I spend Tuesday nights camp ed out in front of the TV. All I can say is, thank you Lord for DVR.

I'm intrigued by the nature of truth on tonite's episode of "House." A young couple learned that the rare illness that almost took both of their lives was genetic condition...that there was "no good reason two unrelated people would get it." Likely having the same father, the doctor informs them that this was nothing to be alarmed about. "You're not really siblings." This doesn't set right with the young woman who shouts "We have the same father!" The doctor responds in what the writers think is probably the most compassionate manner by continuing to distort their reality: "You didn't fight in the backseat on car trips. You didn't change each other's diapers. You guys just met and fell in love."

"House" may be just a tv show, but we understand the persuasive power of ideas and images. Saying something is something other than what it is is the embodiment of self-referrential incoherence. To suggest that two people are not related because they didn't grow up together is to ignore objective biological truth.

Horror Film Frenzy: Is America Becoming a Sick Society?

Fox's Bill O'Reilly asks this question on The Factor tonite. He points out how cannibalism and dismemberment are more and more accepted as entertainment for the whole family. He ponders why this form of dehumanization is so rampant today. The short answer: any society that aims to destroy its most vulnerable members as we do through abortion, ESCR and SCNT, PAS, and euthansia, why should we expect that watching a graphic depiction of death to be anything other than entertaining? A culture of death will always struggle to avoid dehumanizing, but will fail in its attempts. Because of the overwhelming rejection of the inherent dignity of all humans, I don't think we can expect much more.

I took notice of this horror film frenzy, as Bill calls it, when the film Hostel was released this year. I've never seen it, but I found the ads to be extraordinarily frightening. I remember visiting the website for Hostel (research!!!) and couldn't handle it.

America has been so desensitized to graphic violence - that's what this stuff is, not 'horror' - for entertainment purposes. The battle for life is only going to get more difficult.

Is America really interested in relieving suffering? I think America takes joy in it...

Big 'Brother'

The mention of 'big brother' usually causes people to lock their doors, make sure their computer is secure, and join an activist organization that lobbies against big government.

There is another big brother - and he reminds me of...ME!

If you haven't been to Evangelical Perspective yet, I recommend that you check it out. Collin is able to interact with what's happening in our world with thoughtful, unashamed evangelical reflection. I think he might even be Van Tilian!

I wonder if we're adopted.....

One Night With The King – Part I

Last night I went to see One Night With the King at a local movie theater. I musta been living in a cave the last couple of months because until two days ago, I didn’t know this film existed.

In case you and I were sharing that cave. . . this is a movie based loosely on book of Esther – and I mean loosely. Actually it’s based on the novel Hadassah: One Night With the King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen which is based loosely on the book of Esther. I’m sure you can tell where this train is headed - so if you really, really liked/loved the film OR you are still planning on seeing it STOP READING NOW!

One Night With the King is a chick flick with a feisty one-dimensional heroine who relies on a mystical pendant and her reading ability to charm the aforementioned King.

It could have been so much more.

The book of Esther never mentions “God”. But it subtly reveals and celebrates His Divine Hand in the destiny of one Jewess Queen and His chosen people. It is a powerful story that can and has stood the test of time. I’m all for artistic license but editing out many of the Divine Hand’s best moves and giving them to Esther cheapened the storyline and God.

In book of Esther, the king can’t sleep so he is read to from the daily chronicles – which doesn’t take a biblical scholar to tell us that boredom was and is a time-tested cure for insomnia. In a true "truth is stranger than fiction" - the king happens to hear the account of Mordecai’s foiling of an assassination attempt on his royal personage and realizes that Mordecai was never rewarded for this act. Coincidence, I think not. Nor does it stop there, in a brilliant bit of divine timing, the king asks Hamaan (the bad guy) what he would suggest done to honor the person who has saved the life of the king at the same moment that Hamaan is fixin’ to ask the King’s permission to hang Mordecai. The king goes first and Mordecai is honored by the man who plans to kill him. Wow!

In the film, Esther is the one who shoves the papyrus at the king telling him that Mordecai the Jew saved his life and was never honored for it. Less than wow. . .

Why did the filmmakers feel the need to re-write???
Why did the filmmakers feel like Esther needed a short introduction to the king before her actual ONE NIGHT with him????? (Which leads me to the question – Why did you name this One Night With the King when you had Esther meeting him through the Eunuch’s manipulations months, weeks, days before her big debut?)
Why did Esther's big risk scene have to be shot with her soaking wet?
(She's risking her life in a wet t-shirt, oops, a wet gown. . . )
And what’s up with the pendant, huh?

Ok, biggest question. . . WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS FILM??
I’m just asking.

October 30, 2006

Women's Ministry & Apologetics

I continue to encounter women who, like myself, wonder why church women's ministries do not make efforts to train women in apologetics. I'm confident the problem runs deeper, most churches don't teach apologetics. In fact, most churches don't teach theology-proper, to expect that they'd teach a subset of theology is probably to expect too much.

But there are many churches doing a solid job in Christian education, yet women's ministries continue to flounder in the excesses of entertainment disguised as fellowship. There exists a misnomer that women don't need to do the heavy lifting of of concepts and ideas, that that's men's work.

In a world where women have careers, are waiting til later in life to marry and have children, and for those then who do have children, isn't a solid theological foundation important to pass on to the next generation? I say it is, and this would include apologetics. The role of women in church and culture continues to be considered of little importance by compartmentalizing isolationists. Women are in the world, in culture, and have a tremendous influence on the present and future. Theology and apologetics are necessary, not only to answer objections and give an answer for the faith (1 Peter 3:15) but if we are to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and seek to liberate Christianity from it's cultural captivity (thank you, Nancy Pearcey) then we must be training women in apologetics, in Christian worldview.

Ok, so you're unsure about curriculum? Here are some books that are phenomenal for classes curriculum and book discussion groups. Invite speakers who know something about theology and apologetics. Check out one of these books today:

Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
Every Thought Captive by Richard Pratt
Christian Apologetics by Cornelius Van Til
The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer

Culture Watch: Save the Cheerleader. Save the World.

If you haven't watched "Heroes" yet this fall, it's worth checking out. Though I've watched most of the episodes thus far, I admit it hasn't been without distraction. But this is what I do know. There are a bunch of people who have discovered that they have superhuman powers. A guy, a politician I think, can fly. One guy can stop time, something he enjoyed trying out in a Vegas casino so that he could rig the games to win. Another guy is able to paint the future - it's kind of cool. The most interesting character seems to be the cheerleader. Her father is involved in some dastardly plot to kill or kidnap the politician that can fly. But back to the cheerleader....apparently she gets raped and killed and miraculously wills herself to be healed as she lays on the autopsy table, chest wide open. Is there anything worse than an angry cheerleader? She finds her way home, school, and back in the life of the young man who killed her. Knowing, of course, that she has the power to regenerate, she tries to kill him in a head-on car collision with a building. She, or course, cannot die.

So I ask, does this girl need saved by someone else? I suspect that saving the cheerleader has more philosophical implications. Could it be that saving her means finding a way for her to lose her power of regeneration? Or is this some sort of Hollywood parallel to God - that somehow God needs saved. I guess we'll find out.

Inspirational, Spiritual.......Christian?

A blogpost by Cari Johnson expresses concern about the public witness of faith by the Women of Faith speakers that recently appeared on Dr. Phil. I have not seen this episode but would like to.

Cari expressed about the program,
The show had NOTHING to do with spreading the Word, NOTHING to do with Christianity, and NOTHING to do with the Women of Faith. They barely even referred to the WOF as such. Mostly they called them inspirational speakers who speak at inspirational women’s conferences. It was completely a marketing ploy.
Inspirational is a "safe" word, sort of like spirituality. But both can exist without a robust or even casual mention of Christ.

October 29, 2006

Magazine with a Mission

"Blasting holes in scientific naturalism...promoting life in a culture of death...countering destructive ideologies...Debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity...Recovering the one worldview that actually works.
These are only a few goals of Salvo magazine's mission statement. But this shouldn't be the mission statement of only Salvo, but should belong to each of us who call themselves Christ followers. This is basically the mission of Flash Point and Women of Faith in Culture. Man or woman, it should also be yours.

October 27, 2006

If you want to take back the culture – put your money where your mouth is. . .

There is an “idea factory” over at The Fellowship of St. James called The Crux Project. In the interest of taking back culture with plans to “launch a full-scale multimedia assault on all of the tastemakers, artists, scholars and pundits who have us live only for today and our own selfish desires” they have a new publication out –and it is worth a look!

They have developed Salvo – more than a magazine, it’s an incredibly well done piece of journalism aimed at the ever-widening chasm between faith and science. It’s also aimed at our techno savvy, spiritually questioning, university crowd. You know, the kids that have grown up basically being told that faith is the crutch of the intellectually stunted. Science has the answers that shape, inspire, and give hope to the world.

Today’s students have packed away their “religion” with their high school year books and prom pictures. There is no room for the mystery of God nor the power of the Gospel. There is only the hard, stone-cold facts of science demanding an allegiance that leaves no room for Judeo-Christian Ethics, let alone the Bible.

So what to do about this. . . well, how about dreaming big? How about subscribing to Salvo, if not for yourself, for your favorite college kid. Call him/her up with the offer of Starbucks on you anytime to discuss, debate, dispute, or deliberate what’s in the newest issue. If that is not your cup of joe – pay for a subscription for your alma mater, your church’s college group, your hometown library, or your doctor’s office. You would be investing in what we are all praying is a cultural revival.

The kids today are our future doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, novelists, journalists, moms, dads, and caretakers of their own parents – yeah, that’s us. Quit complaining about this younger generation.

What have you done for them lately???

October 26, 2006

The Evolution of Beauty

Many years ago I caught a article BURIED in a boring magazine about the technical aspects of creating a cover shot for one of the big fashion mags. I was horrified and relieved. Horrified that so much was done to the photograph to make it "perfect" that the integrity of the shot was called into question. Relieved to realize that I had been pursuing a beauty standard that didn't and doesn't exist.

Why even bother starting with a model if the picture is going to be "touched up" so stinkin much?

I shared this with the group of high school girls in our youth group. They didn't believe me. Nor did they believe the other article I shared about the average American woman being a size 12. They were struggling with sizes 0 - 5 and thinking they were humongously fat. How incredibly sad.

I strongly encouraged them to stop looking at fashion mags. It fell on deaf ears.

I was sent this link today. There are a few comments and then a short video.The video says it all - The Evolution of Beauty

Trading Spouses/Wife Swap - What Christians can learn from Television

Ok, I don’t watch that much tv. And the one thing I stay away from is reality tv except for the shows where one family gives up their mom for a week or two and gets some other family’s mom for a week or two. I am addicted. Why? I’m glad you asked.

First of all, the producers of Trading Spouses and Wife Swap do their best to pick polar opposite moms/families. You can end up with a home schooled, free-wheelin’, hygienically relaxed, “us four, no more, close the door” home against a public schooled, overly scheduled, antiseptically clean, family boot camp.

Second of all, these homes tend to be extremist families - every week I wonder where in the heck did they find these people? Oh, yeah, they apply.

You couldn’t write stranger fiction than the family of modern day pirates, or the religious mom who wigged out at the pagan house seeing Satan everywhere, or the medieval family who didn’t have a home phone, or the beauty pageant mom sent to the antithesis of pagentry family, or even the mom who smoked and slept her way through the stress of the adventure.

But lastly and most importantly – you realize that each family can and should learn something from the other. Because they are polar opposites and extremists (read weirder than my family or yours) they can both afford to come towards the middle ground. And most of the time they do – which is where we as Christians can learn something.

It isn’t about compromise – it’s about growth - being mature enough to realize that sometimes we can actually learn something from someone who lives his/her life a little differently than us.

Dead Baby Found in Trash Can

The Chicago Tribune reported that a dead baby was found in a trash can outside her home this morning.

It is unknown whether the baby was dead before being put in the trash can.

Are we surprized?

Random Acts of Rudeness

Everyone has heard about Random Acts of Kindness – you know, paying for the car behind you at the tollbooth, letting people with fewer items than you cut in front at the grocery store, leaving the quarter in the shopping cart at Aldi’s for the next shopper. You know - those little things that people do that surprise you and make you smile.

I have been a big proponent of Random Acts for a good many years. There seemed to be a big push for it back in the early 90’s. I started off with the tollbooth – being egged on by a group of rowdy high school students traveling with me to a youth convention. They polled their change and proudly presented it to me before we left. They carefully watched as we drove away from each tollbooth and the toll collector explained to the driver of the next car that his/her way had just been paid. They were ecstatic when a car would catch up to us - beeping, waving, smiling, and mouthing the words “thank you.” That was a big return on a forty cent investment!

Then a Hollywood film came out – “Pay It Forward” and I swear people fell back into the easier Random Acts of Rudeness. Gosh, what did we expect? The pay-it-forward acts were huge – starting with the gift of a car. Ok, a little out of my league and no one would really appreciate the ’92 Buick Roadmaster barge of a car we drive. And then the kid dies – once again proving that no good deed goes unpunished. That right there is enough to scare you into keeping your spare change in the car’s ashtray forever.

Well, whatever the reason for the rudeness relapse. . . it’s time we all started back on the kindess trail. I had been trying to do two act of kindness for every act of rudeness that crossed my path. Now I’m down to one for one. That two for one almost became a part-time job.

So the challenge for you today is ONE SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS. Be creative. Be intentional. Don’t be afraid of sharing the reason behind the act.

Be prepared to be surprised! Those little investments of time and pocket change can bring big returns!

Michael J. Fox, Ultrasound, & Liberal Hypocrisy

When crisis pregnancy centers set up in locations that were once abortion providers, or when they locate near one, they have a great opportunity to provide ultrasounds to women considering abortion. From the ultrasound, women are able to see the truth - that there is a small, vulnerable, and beautiful human being within them, and many times, these women change their minds about proceeding with an abortion.

Liberals hate crisis pregnancy centers because they stop abortion. Performing these ultrasounds appeals to maternal sensabilities, though advocates of abortion rights believe that the emotional punch that accompanies them is unfair and infringes on women's reproductive freedom. On that, get a clue - legalized abortion does not mean prolife persuasion has been criminalized.

But what is fascinating about the liberals' hatred toward crisis pregnancy centers' use of ultrasound is that they are making a similar appeal when they exploit Michael J. Fox. Of course, he's a willing accomplice. The similarity in strategy is blatantly obvious, though misguided in the latter sense in that embryo-destructive research is the final goal. But we can all resonate with the desire to want to find cures for those who suffer, so Michael J. Fox and liberal spin have become the ultrasound machine of the Left.

October 25, 2006

Part V: The legacy of the hospital that admitted to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator

The legacy that my generation leaves the younger generations is one that is both inhuman and arrogant. We have shown today's children the hypocrisy of humanity that is able to argue for life and death in the same breath. . . a human being is only deemed human when science says so, when there is worth attributed to letting that baby take its first breath.

What do you think this teaches our children about the value of grandma and grandpa? If we don't value new life and end up cannabalizing it in attempt to benefit those already breathing on their own - do you really think future generations will treat their elders any different - when it is our turn to share in the vulnerability of the elderly and the infirm?

God help us all!

I can only hope and pray that this is one lesson we don't have learn the hard way. . .

NYTimes on Stem Cells: Bias Reporting Seeks to Out "Fox" Voters

Addressing the recent claims that Michael J. Fox may have avoided taking his medication in order to gain sympathy toward Dems running for office, ALESSANDRA STANLEY of the NYTimes writes in an article today,
If Mr. Fox did forgo medication for the advertisement as Mr. Limbaugh suggested, it could hardly be considered fraudulent: if anything, masking the extent of the disease’s ravages is the deception, not revealing them. (A spokesman for Mr. Fox said his tremors were caused by his medication.) It was certainly the most dramatic way Mr. Fox has to personalize the issue; he used his infirmity much the way the late Christopher Reeve did when he lobbied for stem cell research to seek a cure for spinal injuries.
Once again the NYTimes isn't reporting the news, but trying to make it themselves.When did it become ethical for reporters to make excuses for the object of their work? They need to adopt the slogan of the other Fox they adore so much. Anyway, this particular article goes on to say,
Republicans cobbled together a response ad that did not mention Mr. Fox but attacked the ethics of embryonic stem cell research. It included testimonials by the actress Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and James Caviezel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” At least in the advance version shown on YouTube last night, Mr. Caviezel’s introduction seemed either garbled or to be in Aramaic.
It has GOT to be clear to everyone that liberal Dems have their own ideology (worldview) even while they claim not to have one (sorry Duckworth). The NYTimes is so obviously seduced by the anti-Christian liberal platform...YES, PLATFORM. Poking fun at Caviezel only makes it more obvious.

Designer Adoptions. . .

Today’s world is not without a good number of morons. Oops, oxymorons, I really meant oxymorons. (It musta been a Freudian slip.) One of the biggest of these is the Hollywood Family.

Over the last several years I have become more and more skeptical that “film people” have what it takes to make a home. Yes, I know they can buy a house 38.5 times larger than mine and furnish it with tables, sofas, and bedroom sets from stores I didn’t even know existed or have enough money for a quick peek at their catalogues. (For all I know, upper high end stores may not even be called upper high end stores or have catalogues. . .) But alas, a home is more than house and the furnishings. It is family. (Ok, yes, I do believe that singles and marrieds with no kids also make nice homes - but that is not the point of this post.)

It starts with a marriage. It needs a willingness to grow and adapt with each other. It takes commitment and hands-on parenting. I say hands-on not because I’m against nannies. It’s just that I’m for parents who parent – who raise their children while the children raise them. I guess that’s why I think it’s important to keep that role of mommy or daddy for yourself and not farm it out – kids help to raise their parents. (Ask me about this sometime, I’ll blog on it come the new year.)

Now on one hand I applaud the celebrities that have seen the plight of children in third world countries and have reached out and adopted them, or are trying to adopt them. That in itself is commendable. But is it right?

Why do I feel like these children are the newest designer fad. That instead of the really “cute” dog with master/pet matching outfits, gourmet dog food, and a really dumb moniker, Hollywood is sporting adopted children from poverty and disease stricken third world countries – the more third world, the better.

Can we do more than take their children?

October 24, 2006

Wildlife in Wheaton: Fox and Duckworth Hunting for Votes

Today, Illinois 6th District Congressional candidate, Tammy Duckworth, and cohort celebrity friend Michael J. Fox appeared in Wheaton, IL to win people's minds over to ESCR by means of exploiting their own physical conditions, appeals to super-power status, and of course, a claim of ideological neutrality for their side. As a resident of Illinois' 6th district, I can only say, "yeah, right."

Michael J. Fox:
We have the researchers, we have the scientists, we have the technology, we have the know-how, we have the spirit...If America doesn’t do this who’s going to do it?
So according to Fox, if we can do something, then we are morally obligated to do that thing. If we continue with this belief that an "is" equals an "ought," then soon we will be harvesting organs from PVS patients. Oh yes, I think that was written about this week as well...

And what is with this twisted desire for America to be the biotech superpower? Any other time, the liberal progressives want to deplete America of any super-power status.

Tammy Duckworth:
Many politicians today see the stem cell issue as a battle ground of ideology instead of a all out fight to save lives (emphasis hers)
Frankly, she wasn't very convincing. I'm bored by these ideology arguments, these liberals know that they also their own ideology - they just hope you don't know. This isn't a real attempt at neutrality, it's merely a smoke screen. If she really cared about saving lives, she might also be coming out strong for adult stem cell research.

Part IV: Hospital admits to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator

"She said rubbish was not disposed of at the same time as foetal tissue and the incinerator was booked in advance.

A white sheet is placed over the front of the furnace and the process is witnessed by two members of staff working in bereavement care.

In a statement, the hospital added: 'The arrangements Addenbrooke's has in place to dispose of unwanted foetal tissue comply with the recommendations of the Retained Organs Commission (ROC).

'Following the termination of unwanted pregnancy, foetal tissue is disposed of within the hospital incinerator in a sensitive and respectful manner.

'The incinerator is cleared of all other material, and no other waste is dealt with at the same time as the foetal tissue.

'The process is organised and witnessed by two members of staff who are specialists in bereavement care'."

Why are there specialists in bereavement care having to organize and witness the incineration of fetal tissue????

James Slack continues writing that "One local woman, who asked not to be named, said after the heartache of deciding to have an abortion she was mortified to find the hospital had used the same furnace they burn rubbish in to incinerate her terminated baby.

She said: "I am furious and very hurt. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my baby was incinerated in the same furnace as the hospital rubbish."

Talk about misdirected grief - obviously she didn't read the memo about babies who are aborted are classified as tissue. . .

This insane use of "careful and politically correct" language to camouflage murder is ridiculous!

My heart goes to that mother - but only so far - she has to take responsibility that her baby, (yes, she said HER BABY) was killed and THEN incinerated.

Part III: Hospital admits to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator

"The RCN's(Royal College of Nursing)guide, Sensitive Disposal of all Foetal Remains, says disposal alongside clinical waste is 'completely unacceptable'.

It adds: 'It is acknowledged that sometimes parents don't recognise their loss at the time, but may return months or even years later to enquire about the disposal arrangements.

'Therefore, it is important to respect the wishes of parents who may not want to be involved, but to ensure also that sensitive and dignified disposal is carried out.'

When my oral surgeon removed my wisdom teeth, "oral tissue", they was diposed of with no sensitivity and dignity. His office threw them out. I have never given thought until now, about the disposal arrangements.

I have however, listened to many women who have thought about and mourned the removal of their fetal tissue.

Part II: Congratulations to the hospital that admits to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator

Flash Point has decided to award Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge our first ever
WWW Award.

The Weekly Worldview Wienie Award is presented to Addenbrooke's for consistency in the face of public outcry.

For many years humanity has been told that fetal tissue is just that - fetal tissue. Say this with me, (yes outloud!) "It's not a baby." We've been led to believe that if we say this loud enough and often enough, all of us with discernable itelligence quotients will come to see that what is begun in the womb at the time of conception is not entitled to "baby" status until WE SAY it's entitled to "baby" status.

Addenbrooke practice of disposing of fetal tissue in the furnace is consistent with the world view that embraces the culture of death.

Congratulations to Addenbrooke for a job well done.

Part I: Hospital admits to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator

An article by James Slack at the UK's The Daily Mail writes "One of the country's leading hospitals is throwing aborted babies into the same incinerator used for rubbish to save only £18.50 each time, it has emerged.

Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, said it was no longer able to afford the dignified disposal at a local crematorium of foetuses from unwanted pregnancies.

Instead, they are being burnt in the hospital's main incinerator - which is normally used for rubbish and clinical waste.

The revelation sparked anger and distress among church leaders and pro-life groups, as well as women whose pregnancies were terminated at the hospital."

Well, I'm confused. If the babies weren't "babies" to begin with, why are the women whose pregnancies were terminated at the hospital upset?????

Notice the author of the article didn't say pregnant women who chose to have their babies aborted.

These are women who have made the decision to terminate their pregnancies on at least some level that what is being destroyed is just tissue. Tissue that they themselves have chosen someone to remove and dispose.

October 23, 2006

My Quest to Understand the Meaning of 'Relevant'

I thought I knew what it meant - and maybe I really do know what relevance means and I'm just over-analyzing it now. Webster's online defines it as:

Main Entry: rel·e·vant
Pronunciation: 're-l&-v&nt
Function: adjective
1 : tending logically to prove or disprove a fact of consequence or to make the fact more or less probable and thereby aiding the trier of fact in making a decision ; also : having a bearing on or reasonably calculated to lead to a matter that bears on any issue in a case for purposes of pretrial discovery
2 : having significant and demonstrable bearing on facts or issues

The second part of the definition is helpful in asking of women's ministries, are you having a significant and demonstrable impact on the women in your ministry? You probably are in many respects, but in other ways, reassessment is in order.

What women aren't attending your studies and conferences? What opportunities are you making available for different kinds of women to attend? What are you discussing?

Women are being faced with a wide variety of complicated issues in our culture today. It is interesting to me that organizations like NOW are able to draw the attention of women on issues that the evangelical church spends little time talking with their own about - reproductive "rights."

Keep asking yourself where the young women are, why they aren't involved in your church women's groups. Keep asking yourself where the working women are, why they aren't at your Wednesday morning Bible studies. Keep asking yourself where the divorced women and women who have had abortions are. Keep asking yourself why everyone at that table in your women's groups looks the same - inside and out.

And then ask yourself if you are truly relevant to today's woman.

October 22, 2006

Worship 101 and the Seven Elevens

We live in a media rich environment. Any one of us can listen to any kind of music imaginable with the click of a mouse. We can worship to whatever style of music we dig. Even hymns that used to be piano, organ, or ochestrated are now celtic, classical guitar, or hard rock. It is amazing - new music written and old music re-styled - what more could we ask for???

Ok, unity in our churches on Sunday morning is what I'm asking for. . . and some days that's like asking for world peace - highly desirable but improbable as long as we humans are in charge.

Because we can worship all week long to whatever we worship best with - we come to church expecting the worship leader to cater to our particular taste. We forget about the call to corporate worship, the call to harmony and unity in the body, and instead whine and complain OR start attending other church services whose styles are more toward our liking - sometimes in addition to the church we are already attending. And we completely miss the boat.

I have been on both ends of the worship spectrum - the high holy chant and the holy seven elevens (you know, the same seven words sang eleven times) and I have seen the people worship. All I know is that ecclesiastical bodylife is supposed to be a representation of God's love for us demonstrated to each other - you know - our calling card - "they'll know we are Christians by our love" - loving each other as an act of worship. . . hmmmmmm, that sounds a lot like Worship 101 to me.

October 21, 2006

Planned Parenthood's Birthday: The Ultimate Oxymoron

Well, I missed it. I think their 90th was celebrated October 16th. I generally miss most birthdays other than those of my husband, kids, and of course, Jesus' birthday. (This can serve as a public apology to my parents, brothers, and friends who never get cards from me...I'm just not good at keeping up with this stuff!)

Likewise, I missed the birthday of Planned Parenthood. Do you know how hard it is to type "birthday" and "Planned Parenthood" in the same sentence? Well, no apologies...I don't feel bad for not sending a card. Millions of children will never have birthdays because of Planned Parenthood's work in the provision of abortion services.

A few celebrities thought of PP on their birthday:

Celebrities wish Planned Parenthood a Happy 90th Birthday.

"For 90 years, Planned Parenthood has been serving humanity in the face of adversity. And now, with changes at the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal abortion ban trials on the horizon, a state ban on abortions in South Dakota, pharmacy refusals, and dangerous abstinence-only programs across the country, we need Planned Parenthood for the next 90 years and beyond."
— Kathleen Turner

"It's hard to imagine where we'd be in this country had Margaret Sanger not founded that first clinic here in New York, 90 years ago. Luckily, we don't have to. Happy birthday, Planned Parenthood!"
— Dana Delany

"What do you get an organization like Planned Parenthood for its 90th birthday? If I could buy a seat on the Supreme Court, I would. Short of that, I send my undying support for your mission, and urge others to do the same."
— David Eigenberg

"Happy birthday, Planned Parenthood! A year older, a year wiser ... (I can relate). Thanks for looking out for us all these years."
— Wendie Malick

"Planned Parenthood, you are a saving grace for so many people in this world. Happy birthday — and here's to many more."
— Heather Tom

"My birthday wish for Planned Parenthood is simple — may you keep up the vital work you do every day for millions of American women, men and teens."
— Julianne Moore

Planned Parenthood's cake may have had 90 candles, but each of those flames represent the millions of lives that have been snuffed out by the self-focused/centered image they've been propogating all of these years.

October 18, 2006

NOW Opposes Free Speech and Common Sense

"No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother," Sanger once said.

Sadly, freedom is not what today's "wrong"-wingers have in mind for women in this country. Due to their efforts, it's no longer police who bar women from access to birth control and other reproductive healthcare, but preachers and picketers, physicians and pharmacists, emergency rooms and billboards that are determined to direct women's reproductive lives with little regard for their health or economic well-being. Many legislators and misogynists are actively working to undermine women's integrity and to deny women the freedom to trust their own consciences in the making of life-altering health and family formation decisions.

In celebrating the 90 year "legacy" of Margaret Sanger, the National Organization for Women has made clear their one-sided respect for free speech. But the correlation made between what police might have done in the early years of the movement and the contemporary exercise of free speech to communicate a view that opposes NOW is simply ludicrious. This fallacious method of communication reveals an insecurity that leads to a lack of integrity.

The problem I have with NOW's quote of Sanger could be left unsaid...but there are still plenty who need to learn the truth. Women do not lack the freedom Sanger speaks of in this quote. Abortion and reproductive rights do not serve to enable or enhance the freedom to choose to be mothers, but rather serve as loopholes for the women who abused their procreative freedom. Victims of rape and incest have had their freedom stolen from them at some point, but the legislatures are not the criminals in these cases.

Women are not denied the right to make procreative decisions, but these extreme feminists would rather live in a world where there is no responsibility for actions or the children who result.

Read the article here.

October 16, 2006

Prolife at Rochester Institute of Technology

Last Friday evening I had the opportunity to speak at an Intervarsity event at Rochester Institute of Technology (New York). I can't even begin to express how impressed I am with the outward expression of faith and the bold embrace of the prolife position among the 200 or so students present in the auditorium.

My absolute favorite comment came from a young man during the question/answer period. His name was Vincent (and I hope Vincent manages to stay in touch!) In our group deliberation about times when it might be appropriate for a woman to have an abortion (in my worldview, those times don't exist), some questioned whether rape or incest might be appropriate times. Vincent's response to that was very much in line with our current administration - a preemptive strike! As he pondered out loud how we might educate men on how to treat and respect women, he very eloquently blurted out, "Men shouldn't be raping women!"

I was pleased to see this very informed, young, and introspective Christian community existing at RIT. For any of you who stumble upon this blog, my prayers are with you as you grow in wisdom and knowledge and move into the next phase of your lives.

October 14, 2006

Bear Meat is Good for the Soul

Well, yesterday I had the priviledge of eating bear meat. The missionary couple we are staying with served up a delicious roast of bear with mushroom gravy and all the trimmings. Howard had taken the bear last season along with deer and well, God knows what else is in their freezer.

I was humbled by their hospitality. That roast represented a lot of time, effort, and prayer. I don't remember the last time I went to the grocery store praying there would be meat on the shelf for me to buy, yet hunting seems to involve a lot of skill and supplication. (I saw this first-hand yesterday when Howard took a deer - but that is another post.) That roast could have been used in so many ways here with the people they serve, yet they shared it with us.

Each month their support is passed along to them by their mission. This last month their "paycheck" was 40% less than expected/needed. I don't know about you - but that would have serious repercussions in the Corlew household if for just one month -unexpectedly - we recieved 40% less pay for the same amount of work done. I had just assumed that their monthly amount was the same year round. Not so. Whatever support comes in is sent - if people forget, can't afford to the send their check, or the mail is slow - Jannie and Howard make do. They shared that they have had more than one lean Christmas - where even postage had to be considered when and if sending small gifts to their grandchildren.

The missionaries only shared that because yesterday they received word that a church had unexpectedly sent a large check for them. They were were so grateful and went on about how generous God has been, continually showing His care and concern for them and the ministry here.

It was obvious - our friends live life in the trenches, relying on God for so much more than I do.

If your Christian life is a little stale at the moment - how about getting in touch with your missionaries with an email or a phone call? Ask them how they are, what God is doing in their lives and ministry, how you can pray for them, what current need they might have. Then pray about how you can help them. Consider becoming more of a partner to them instead of a nameless contributor to their support.

Trust me - Bear Meat is Good for the Soul

October 13, 2006

Pregnancy = LIFE

The BBC reported today that a Vietnamese woman who had received a death sentence for drug trafficking has become pregnant. Because of the pregnancy, Vietnam law requires her death sentence to be converted to a life sentence.

Vietnam is not a name synanomous with stellar human rights policy. But they recognise that a second life is involved - an innocent second life at that - at ELEVEN weeks gestation.

We in America have some "splaining" to do. . .

October 12, 2006

"It's part of being a decent human. . . "

Gosh, there are so many ways to finish that sentence - like, donating blood, reading to invalids, supporting Katrina relief victims, calling
9-1-1 for someone in need, providing food, water, shelter for homeless families, investing in a tutoring program for children. . . the list could go on and on.

Scarlett Johansson was quoted in The Seattle Times on Wednesday as saying "I get tested for HIV twice a year. . . It's part of being a decent human, to be tested for STDs."


She said "These does seem to be a mistaken belief out there that I am sexually available somehow - which is not to say that I'm not open-minded about sex. . . I do think on some basic level we are animals, and by instinct we kind of breed accordingly. . . But as much as I believe that, I work really hard when I'm in a relationship to make it work in a monogamous way."

I don't know. . . call me old fashioned. . . I kinda of believe in the gift of sex and monogamy - like in matrimony - a human institution. I think not having any reason to be tested for STDs is the better part of being a decent human. The kind of decent human who isn't breeding according to animal instincts.

On the Mission Field

My husband and I are visiting good friends in British Columbia this week. We met them 20 years ago when our families were being over-run by diapers, binks, and babies. Ministry and family did not always allow us adequate time together over the years. But we all tried to keep in touch - especially when Howard left law enforcement and he and Jannie moved to Canada as (gasp!) missionaries with NAIM.

Since arriving here, I have found myself praying more and reading the Bible more. Part of this is the schedule that our friends have of reading scripture after every meal - wonderful idea. Part of this is the culture they are now a part of that holds its people in great spiritual bondage, let alone poverty and discrimination. Part of this is also the fact that Jannie just got word that her mother has suffered a heart attack and is in the hospital in Holland.

I am humbled by their faith, its strength and its simplicity. I am humbled by their gratefulness and thankfulness to God. I am humbled that they live life as testimony that God is truly God and Lord of their lives.

Sometimes I forget that missionaries are real people with families who find themselves in crisis like the rest of us. Sometimes I forget what they glady sacrifice on a personal level to reach others with the Good News of the Gospel. Sometimes I forget that I am called to the same life of evangelism to my mission field at work, on the train, in the grocery store, or among my neighbors.

How different it would be if we all lived like we were on "the mission field". . .

October 11, 2006

Lost Women of the Bible: Book Review

A Review of Lost Women of the Bible
(by Carolyn Custis James; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005; 239 pages)

To what extent are the ideas of women’s roles steeped in the humanly conceived traditions of the Christian subculture? This is the essential question being considered in Carolyn Custis James’ (CCJ) latest work, Lost Women of the Bible. In ten chapters, CCJ examines the life roles of women in the Bible, beginning with Eve and concluding with the Women of Philippi. CCJ encourages the reader to reflect on how women's roles today may be defined by the traditions of the current Christian subculture and not by scriptural mandate as she shows was often the case for the women of Scripture.

I especially admire CCJ's treatment of the biblical narratives of Sarah and Hagar. This accounting is helpful in establishing that, not only was the culture of that time partly responsible for Sarah's sense of urgency to give Abraham a son, but that succumbing to the pressure to fulfill that role was to the detriment of the human dignity of other persons – namely, Hagar and her son.

Instead of drawing her identity and purpose from God, Sarah fell into the same trap that catches the rest of us. She listened to the voices of her culture, her circumstances, and the people around her who were telling her who she was, what would make her life fulfilling, and how she could contribute. (p.80)

The story of Hannah is yet another biblical story that does anything but resonate with contemporary concepts of womanhood. Imagine spending years going through infertility treatment, wanting to desperately to have a child to love and adore, finally conceiving only to give that child to another couple to adopt as a pure act of service. This isn't exactly what happened to Hannah, but its close. CCJ notes that what was on Hannah's heart and mind was not merely the need to fulfill her own desire to be a mother, but rather to serve God by giving back to God what was given to her—her son, Samuel. Of course, it’s true that all things belong to God, including our children, and that there is a distinct principle that we can draw from Hannah’s life about how what we believe about God correlates directly with how we live our lives. From the time she conceives through the period in which she gives up her son, we see a woman who seeks God and unremittingly worships him.

Lost Women of the Bible clearly articulates the nature of the cultural mandate – that from the beginning both men and women were both created in the image of God to “rule and subdue together” (p. 159). For women who are lost in the Church, perhaps not fulfilling the expected role of wife and mother because they are single and career-oriented or even pursuing education, this is a breath of fresh air. The examples of Tamar and Esther make perfectly clear that the call to action from God is sometimes without a male counterpart taking the lead, but ultimately dependent upon her obedience to step out in faith. This is a must-read for all of us who hear the call, for such a time is this…

October 9, 2006

Tips for Women's Ministry Leaders

1. Changing lives means changing minds.
Christianity is a set of beliefs lived out each day. We can only live what it is that we truly understand. When a conversion to faith occurs, we cannot assume an automatic ability to think in a way that cooresponds to scripture.

2. Understand What Impacts the Mind
What's going on in our world that is shaping the way women think? What experiences or other influences have had an effect on women today? Christianity doesn't have an immediate, neutralizing effect on the mind. Our job is to address the issues that have shaped the person as we walk along side them in discipleship.

3. Be ready to get dirty.
Discipleship is more than teaching women to memorize a few verses during their devotions. Confronting "demons" is a reality and we need to be willing, not just ready, to invest ourselves in their faith journey -- with all of its detours.

Community, Church and the Closet. . .

I was reading evangelicaloutpost's October 3rd comments on an interesting post from Andrew Sullivan dealing with Mark Foley’s fall. Mr. Sullivan wrote that “We are all human, and my own life has its own share of emotional and sexual mistakes. Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don't know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people - the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds - is brutal. What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I've read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty.”

I would like to add to Andrew Sullivan’s remarks that any behavior having to be kept secret takes a lot of energy and lies to stay secret. Living with that kind of pressure is going to have those kind of results. How much healthier it would be for all of us if the church was to be the open arm community it is to be, instead of the accountability Gestapo it has become.

Of all the issues facing the church today, the lack of community (NOT accountability) is the one that seems to be sucking the life-force out of the body. Accountability should infer communion with one another, support and encouragement for one another. But I have been a part of groups where LOVE of the unconditional and tough kind, was nowhere to be found. Maybe I have just been unfortunate in my choice of sucky accountability groups, but I don’t think so.

Most of us are not good at being wholly transparent – usually we only choose to share those things that we consider safe to our reputations. Of course, the longer the group is together, the more comfortable we should feel and the more we should share. But. . . that takes time and commitment.

I want to backtrack here – the church should be the safest place to share our hurts and struggles. Should be, but it’s not. . . because we are all caught up in coming together with our masks still in place.

You know Jesus loved people. He called them out but He loved them.

We are good at calling people out, but we fail miserably when it comes to loving them.

Confused Feminist Blogger Seeking Abortion

Today, La Shawn Barber alerted us to a post by a feminist blogger who is apparently proceeding to have an abortion. On the child she is carrying, she states,
around every corner I am faced with people who believe that the life of this fetus is worth more than MY life, or the lives of my children.
Well, I don't think it is accurate to suggest that the prolife view believes that the unborn child is worth MORE than the life of the mother, siblings, or any other human being. The issue is that life of the unborn child is not worth any less than the life of any other human.

If you go to this feminist's blog, please beware of the language. And I'd also like to apologize to her if any of the quotes she listed in her post actually were said to her by prolifers. No one should ever be spoken to in such a manner.

October 8, 2006

Why Do Christians Oppose a Woman's Right to Choose?

I suppose the title of this post conjures up a great deal of questions. Evangelicals aren't opposed to women's rights - I'm a woman, I should know - but we are opposed to abortion or any other technology that threatens the sanctity of life and human dignity of any individual at any age or stage. So this may not be the best way to begin the discussion, but this is the title of a talk I'm presenting this Friday, October 13, at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.

During the presentation, I will address the nature of the question, discuss the concept of women's rights as it pertains to abortion, but I will be spending the bulk of my time on the moral status of the unborn in light of Scripture. Much time will also be spent on worldviews and the fact that everyone has presuppositions, a framework of belief -- there is no neutrality. This is where the evangelical bioethics and prolife work meet Christian apologetics. For women in ministry, this is also important as we seek out relationships with young women faced with the decision of abortion. We must be able to defend life, but this begins with defending the faith. Christian apologetics belongs in women's ministry - like it, or not.

More information on the event can be found at the Rochester Institute of Technology Intervarsity homepage.

Friday, October 13th, 7:00 pm: Large Group
Topic: "Why Do Christians Oppose a Woman's Right to Choose?"
Speaker: Sarah Flashing
Location: Rochester Institute of Technology
Webb Auditorium (7A-1350)
Rochester, NY

October 7, 2006

Answers for Reproductive Rights Advocates

The Reproductive Rights blog wonders...
I don't understand how you could be too immature to make a decision about abortion but mature enough to have a child, but that's my personal confusion.

Let's clear this up. Mature or not, abortion is never acceptable. But as it pertains to young women, they may be more likely to make rash, irreversable decisions because they often lack the wisdom and knowledge that comes from experiencing life. I would never say that a teen is mature enough to have a child, but they are definitely in a place to learn from their mistakes. 20 years from giving birth, they can at least live without the guilt of killing their offspring, and perhaps without the physical repercussions of having had an abortion.

Pregnancy is an irreversible situation, but abortion isn't a corrective. It doesn't change the fact that the pregnancy occurred, it only kills the child. Abortion isn't a mistake we want to encourage young women to make, it's a decision only they have to live with.

Time: On Apes, Mice, & Men

The cover story of the October 9 issue of Time is more fodder from the evolutionary apologist's handbook. "What Makes Us Different" attempts to show how close the relationship is between humans and chimps, our "nearest evolutionary cousins." The article cites that chimps roughly 98%-99% genetically identitical to human beings.

The article ends by stating,
As scientists keep reminding us, evolution is a random process in which haphazard genetic changes interact with random envioronmental conditions to produce an organism somehow fitter that its fellows. After 3.5 billion years of such randomness, a creature emerged that could ponder its own origins-and revel in a Mozart adagio. Within a few short years, we may finally understand precisely when and how that happened.

On the same page that article concludes, another article, The Brains of Mice and Men, declares that mice and men share 90% of their genes.

What makes is different is much more significant than the 2-10% differential in these articles.

October 5, 2006

Whatever Happened to the Human Face?

Francis Schaeffer asked “Whatever happened to the human race?” back in the late 70’s when it seemed like we had lost sight of our spiritual, intellectual, and moral uniqueness as God’s creations. I have a feeling that he would have a lot to say about today’s quest to re-create ourselves. In essence, if we don’t like the way we look and have the cash, we can literally become someone else. Even if we don’t have the cash, we can always use plastic to buy plastic – and become someone else. Plastic surgery is fast becoming the new wearable status symbol.

Recently, I was literally caught in between two women having a conversation on the train about their recent surgeries. I was amazed to hear each surgery named after a celebrity. Angelina Jolie’s lips, Jennifer Aniston’s nose, John Travolta’s dimple, Pamela Anderson’s bosom – ok, they didn’t have all of the above surgeries themselves. . . but they seemed to know people who did.

All I could think of was the reality TV show “The Swan” – did anyone besides me catch a couple of episodes of this ugly duckling to startling swan transformation soap? After three episodes I realized the show was creating the same “type” over and over. The winners looked like they could be cousins, let alone sisters.

When there are thousand of children and adults needing, yes NEEDING plastic surgery to repair cleft palates, graft new skin over what was horribly burned, and remove grossly deforming tumors, we in America are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy someone else’s look and I think, in the hope of living someone else’s life. Yikes!

Can you tell me there was a more beautiful woman than Mother Teresa?

Ongoing commentary on “Stem cell Wars: Inside Stories from the Frontlines”

Embryonic stem cell research would not exist today if it weren't for the groundwork laid by the science of in-vitro fertilization...There were cries that the new in-vitro fertilization technique would spell the end of the nuclear family because it ripped conception away from the sanctity of the marriage relationship...there were many cries that science was on a slippery slope to cloning and the creation of "designer babies." (p. 31)

These are interesting comments by Herold, not all entirely wrong either -- though I don't think she was looking for my agreement. If not for IVF, the 400,00+ embryos would likely not exist as the great temptation to ESCR scientists as they are. And while altruistic motives may undergird the practice of IVF, it's also true that it's birthed a greater sense of autonomy in many respects. Is it merely coincidence that another hot political topic today is the definition of marriage and the family?

The existence of these tiny frozen dots has become a contentious political issue...Their biological parents have already had all the children they want, and it is up to these parents to decide what they would like to happen with their unused embryos. (p. 35-36)

This statement would be almost amusing if a proper understanding of human dignity was not at stake. How is it that dots can have parents? I appreciate that Herold concedes to the relationship between the embryo and the parents, but her casual view of human life -- dots -- threatens the future of humanity and trivializes its origins. The other piece to this is that it is crucial, especially today, for biological parents to understand that parenting really begins at conception, not in the delivery room.

Oddly enough, in today's strange political climate, no one is objecting to those embryos being thrown away, but to fight to keep them from being used to find cures for disease is ferocious. (p. 37)

Of course there is objection! Snowflakes is one helpful approach in seeking to right a wrong.

October 4, 2006

Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community and “Rent” have a lot in common. . .

Rick Warren’s 40 days of community, a bible study for the body of Christ has some things in common with “Rent” the broadway hit by Jonathan Larson.

This year’s 40 day spiritual adventure is set in I Corinthians 13 – in what is commonly known as the “love chapter.” It is a six week study on love and community.

It is true that “Rent” is on one level a musical about friends who are having trouble coming up with their rent. But the title also explores issues of community, friendship and the rent in society that hiv, drug abuse, and poverty have only made more painfully obvious. On many levels “Rent” is uplifting and depressing at the same time whilst credibly earning its PG-13 rating. It is a human film about humans struggling to find meaning and purpose in mortality’s shadow.

Mr. Larson wrote “Seasons of Love” – the show’s powerful anthem that could/should be used on Sunday mornings. . .

Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand, Six Hundred minutes. . .
Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand moments so dear.
Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand, Six Hundred minutes. . .
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand, Six Hundred minutes. . .
How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love.

How do we measure?

Well, if “they’ll know we are Christians by our love” is more than a church campfire song from the 70’s - I think we all need the 40 days of community.

Parenting Begins at Conception

As I was surfing some blogs today, I stumbled upon this statement left by someone at feministing.com.

I've had two abortions, and I have never regretted my choice. In fact, I usually take a moment from each day (sometimes two, when I'm around screaming, snotty children) to be thankful that I had the opportunity to have a safe abortion, because my urge to NOT procreate is so strong that I would have used any means necessary to get unwelcome visitors out of my body. I would gladly risk death rather than be forced to have a baby - I felt that way then, I feel that way now.

So it seems that procreation is a verb to describe the process of giving birth. More commonly understood as "to beget" or "to conceive," to equate procreation with childbirth is simply ignorant.

This post also demonstrates the entitlement mentality of liberals. No child that is conceived asked for life. They just are. To describe the unborn as "unwelcome visitors" and express a desire to die rather than give birth is the height of arrogance.

Often reported are the latest studies in prenatal healthcare, and how the activities of the mother can have a positive, nurturing effect on the unborn child. So many women read stories, listen to classical music, and maintain a positive environment for themselves and their child -- all for the overall health of the child. Do feminists suggest that these practices are meaningless and have no effect on the unborn? Or do they agree that these are helpful to the unborn child? And if they agree, how does this correspond to their reality?

Can Today's World Afford to Lose Harry Potter?

The Associated Press carried an interesting bit of news this morning. In the wake of all the evil that has stepped foot on American school grounds this last month, a Georgia mother is asking her Board of Education to ban Harry Potter from its schools.

Of all the things to ban in the world, Harry Potter shouldn’t be one of them. He has gotten a bad rap by Christians who many times have criticized the books without even reading them because of the reference to witchcraft and wizardry. Wow, how many of our beloved children’s tales would find themselves in the burning flames of the banned if we were to follow this line of (un-)reasoning? We would lose C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien for sure.

And can today’s world afford to lose classic stories of good prevailing over evil?

I’m sorry, but parenting isn’t always about shielding your child from evil. It’s also about teaching discernment. How about reading the Potter books with your children? You’d be amazed at the discussions and teaching moments that might pop up. I started reading Harry Potter with my son. It was one of the few books that had a boy as the main character. A boy with lots of choices to make, the kind of choices most kids face at school today that involve peer pressure and doing what’s right. I started reading Harry Potter for my son but I continue to read for myself.

And yes, I eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast.

Ongoing commentary on “Stem cell Wars: Inside Stories from the Frontlines”

Opponents of stem cell research have managed to carry on a massive campaign of misinformation, to the extent that millions of Americans are either deeply confused about what the research entails or actually believe that mainstream scientists routinely dismember and kill human babies for research. These extremists create fictions that are stunning in their outrageousness, yet these tactics have gotten them so far that they’ve managed to hamstring the nation’s universities, the National Institutes of health…and most of the scientific community from conducting what many believe to be the most promising research of our time. For what these anti-research extremists lack in truthfulness and intellectual rigor, they make up for in spit and vinegar. (p. 17)

When the opportunity exists to educate people on ESCR, they don’t seem to be confused at all. They understand that embryo-destructive research ends the life of a human at the earliest stage. Size does not matter, despite what ESCR proponents would have us believe. All humans have value no matter the age or stage - but what Herold is attempting here is a strawman. For Herold to suggest that our position constitutes promoting to our constituency images of dismemberment of later stage fetuses is to completely misunderstand our position or is intended to intentionally deceive.

October 3, 2006

And another thing....

Pun of the day: Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

So Heavenly Minded. . .

The word community is not just a “church” word. It is used in secular circles as well – and for basically the same reasons. It speaks of togetherness, a common goal, a sense of the familial without the family baggage. It should evoke a sense of responsibility – that we see those of us who can, taking care of those of us who can’t. Knowing that we belong to each other and joy and hurt should be equally shared.

Not-so-many years ago a small Midwestern town was hit by a not-so-small Midwestern tornado. This tornado took out houses, schools, and churches. It also took out most of an apartment complex. When it was all said and done more than 20 people were dead, more than 300 injured, and the devastation would leave a scar on the landscape that is just now beginning to fade.

There were many stories of heroism – ordinary people who risked their own lives to find and rescue victims because they needed finding and rescuing. Doctors and nurses who served tirelessly along side city emergency crews. Policemen and Firemen and Paramedics who came back to help or stayed to help because that is what they do - help those who need helping.

But there was one story of the un-heroic kind that most people have never heard.

There was a church not more than a quarter of a mile from the apartment complex that took a direct hit. There were families at home that day – families that the winds tore apart and scattered.

The church was contacted and asked if it could be used as a refuge for the children, a place where the families could come to hopefully be reunited. The church leadership said no.

Unbelievably, they said no. After praying for God to bring in new people to their congregation. After praying that God would use them as a light to their community. After spending time thinking and planning for ways to reach their neighborhood thru kid’s clubs and door-to-door visitation. They said no.

How many times have we prayed those same prayers and then passed by the homeless man on the street with nothing but thoughts of disgust? How many times have we prayed that an end would come to abortion-on-demand only to do nothing to help the girl/woman who has chosen to keep her baby? How many times have we prayed for our schools, our community, our government, our servicemen and women, our (fill in the blank) without actually getting our hands dirty or our feet wet?

Sometimes we’re so heavenly minded we are no earthly good. . .

October 2, 2006

Ongoing commentary on “Stem cell Wars: Inside Stories from the Frontlines”

by Eve Herold, Hardcover: 256 pages, Palgrave Macmillan, September 19, 2006
I do not find the arguments defending the rights of embryos compelling enough to warrant prohibitions or even signifcant restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Over the last decade I have found myself devoting countless hours to justifying stem cell biology, at the expense of progress in my own research. I rationalize these diversions because a scientist must also be an educator.

A scientist needs to be an ethicist before he can be an educator.
Opinion polls have reflected…the prevailing public sentiment…most people’s moral intuition…

Truth by headcount? What happened to science and ethical reflection?
It is hard to consider the early embryo a person if it is divisible, because individuality and uniqueness of spirit are intimately tied to our notions of personhood.

It seems that the problem for Daley is not whether the embryo is a person, but whether it is more than one person. How is the “special status” of the embryo in question if it is at least one person?

From the Foreword, pages xvi, xvii, by George Q. Daley

also posted at bioethics.com

CT: What Married Women Want

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, Stan Guthrie interviewed the presenters of a recent study, sociologists Brad Wilcox and Steven L. Nock. What's Love Got to Do with It? Equality, Equity, Commitment, and Women's Marital Quality, reveals some interesting statistics about what married women say they want today:

1. "Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They are more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning adn women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life."

2. Around 35% of women in the population still hold to these traditional views.

3. "Spouses who share weekly [church] attendance had happier wives. Spouses who share a strong, normative commitment to marriage-that is, who are opposed to easy divorce...hae wives who are markedly happier."

4. "Women want things to be fair in their homes, but they don't equate fairness with equality."

As a married, Christian woman whose husband lacks the desire to have the "head ouf household" title and lacks the passion or desire to be the "primary bread-winner," I don't find myself desiring that he change. Hmmm. I'm not saying anything particularly negative or positive about this study...but perhaps there is just something odd about me -- or not.