Saturday, May 31, 2008

Abortion and a woman caught living in man's closet

After living in a man's home for an entire year, a homeless woman was recently detected when the owner started noticing food was missing. Here is the story: woman caught living in man's closet
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This reminded me of something rather strange that I thought might make an interesting blog post.
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In my college ethics class, we read an argument in favor of woman's reproductive rights, which had a somewhat pursuasive effect on some of my classmates. I think it makes for an interesting parallel here, possibly.
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The argument was something like this: If a woman woke up and found herself attached to another person - specifically, the other person was a famous violinist - who had to rely on her as a resource to live - her organs, blood, etc. - for a full nine months, or else he would not survive, would she be 100% morally obligated to all the violinist to remain connected to her body for the full nine months? Or would it be morally permissible for her to say 'no' and have him detached?
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On the surface, to some this ethical argument seems rational, reasonable, and perhaps even irrefutable. And the argument was specifically used to support the Pro-Choice position toward abortion. The argument does not deny what we Pro-Lifers often cling to as our foundational stance: the fact that a fetus is a life. The author completely allows for this.
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Okay, so no one is denying life on either side.
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However, the two things that are ignored or discarded that which must be considered (IMO) are:
1st - personal responsibility involved in the development of the situation.
In the violinist example, the woman who finds herself attached to the violinist is completely surprised and has not acted in anyway to invoke said attachment. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she does have some culpability, unless she was raped. The author of the violinist scenario assumes that a man has 100% culpability in the pregnancy and that the woman is a passive vessel and victim only. 'Right to Life' activists sometimes forget about the man's culpability, and perhaps the feminist author is mostly over-reacting to the tendancy of our culture to pin the blame on the woman only or primarily. Needless to say, a problem ownership issue emerges in this view.
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2nd - the entire notion of parental responsibility.
The author's assumption is that the person or life that has been attached is completely foreign and alien to the woman's body. The author's metaphor assumes that either the violinist or some other force entirely has conspired against the woman's body and thrust this burden upon her for an entire 9 month sentence. In the case of a woman's pregnancy, the opposite is true. The life that is relying on her body is organic to her, it is part of her, it is her. It's DNA and existance has been formed by hers (and the father's). The fetus is a biological family member to her. It did not exist outside of her, but instead is as much or more a part of her actual body than any of her organs, tissues, blood, etc. She becomes a mother and the fetus became her child from inception, not just at the moment of delivery. The father is the father from inception (and you don't hear feminists refuting that, do you?) Neither she or he is just a citizen making a civil decision, as the author would imply.
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So those were at least two of the huge fallacies in the Violinist Argument.
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Now, what does this have to do with the woman living in this man's closet? Well, without the two crucial points described above, Personal Responsibility and Parental Responsibility, a literal and exclusive version of "right to life" could easily be applied to tell this man that he is required to take care of this woman until she is able to live on her own.
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Yes, people. That was exactly the first thing that came to mind when I read this article. I know t
that my mind is weird.
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My point is that while abortion is sometimes fully about the discussion of a fetus's "right to life," it more often about sorting through the issues of accountability, authority, parental responsibity, personal responsibilty, and civil responsibilty. The business of sorting thru action and consequences is for mature law makers who have a worldview that values life, understands the difference between civil duty and parental responsibility, and understands the levity and gravity of its authority.
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Update:
Just to appease my guilt for not having the Gospel tied to this post in some way, here is a link to the article: God Became a Zygote>> (enjoy!)
and a scripture passage that I caught this morning:
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor" (Isa. 61:3).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quest for More video

Video HT: CCEF.org

Quote: "It's a basic human desire to be part of something bigger. I was actually hard-wired for Glory. The danger is Satan is selling something that is way, way less as if it is something that's way, way more. And I think that goes on every day."

Video Link>>>

Is God shrunk down to the size of my own little kingdom?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shocking: Paul Washer on Matthew 7:13-29



A must watch. This could be the post to end all posts from me. Could be.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How precious, electrifying and amazing does God’s grace appear to you?

(ht: Of First Importance)

“The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.”

- Timothy Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: Living in Line with the Truth of the Gospel (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 2.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our God Is A Consuming Fire

Hebrews 12:22 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the
city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they
refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for
our "God is a consuming fire."


Spurgeon: "Made Perfect"

"Made perfect."
- Hebrews 12:23.
Recollect that there are two kinds of perfection which the Christian needs—the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus, and the perfection of sanctification wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. At present, corruption yet remains even in the breasts of the regenerate—experience soon teaches us this. Within us are still lusts and evil imaginations. But I rejoice to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work which He has begun; and He shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ, but perfect through the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. Can it be true that this poor sinful heart of mine is to become holy even as God is holy? Can it be that this spirit, which often cries, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this sin and death?" shall get rid of sin and death—that I shall have no evil things to vex my ears, and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace? Oh, happy hour! may it be hastened! When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment shall I even claim perfection in myself.

Then my spirit shall have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit's fire. Methinks I long to die to receive that last and final purification which shall usher me into heaven. Not an angel more pure than I shall be, for I shall be able to say, in a double sense, "I am clean," through Jesus' blood, and through the Spirit's work. Oh, how should we extol the power of the Holy Ghost in thus making us fit to stand before our Father in heaven! Yet let not the hope of perfection hereafter make us content with imperfection now. If it does this, our hope cannot be genuine; for a good hope is a purifying thing, even now. The work of grace must be abiding in us now or it cannot be perfected then. Let us pray to "be filled with the Spirit," that we may bring forth increasingly the fruits of righteousness.

- From "Morning and Evening: Evening Devotional" by C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, May 12, 2008

From "The Grace of Wrath" (at CT)

"Our sin is rooted not only in a lack of reverence for God's holiness, but also in a profoundly insufficient understanding of his love. God is love, SO God hates sin. We are loved with a holy love that cries "No!" again and again to the things that destroy us. We are part of an epic love story, and what we all need desperately is to know the Author better."

by Carolyn Arends
at Christianity Today

The Grace of Wrath

Is there any story about God that isn't a love story?

Read the article>>>

Pentecost, in hindsight

An amazing paper by Richard B.Gaffin, Jr., Westminster Theological Seminary:
Pentecost: Before and After

When one of my co-workers mentioned that her church celebrated Pentecost this past Sunday, I felt that I had really missed something by not celebrating it or be reminded of its significance. With that being said, I decided to do a little searching and found the aforementioned article thru Monergism.com at "The Online Journal of Biblical Theology."

Here is a quote from his conclusion:
"The blessings of salvation that the New Testament believer enjoys—regeneration, justification and all the rest—flow from and are tied to union with the exalted Christ. That cannot be said of Abraham and the rest of the remnant according to grace during their pilgrimage on earth. Our union-privilege, I take it, is at the heart of the "something better" planned by God for old as well as new covenant believers, "so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Heb. 11:40)."

Preaching the Gospel to all sorts of voices

Quote of the day, from Sean Michael Lucas:

"At the end of it all, the Spirit must use his word of gospel grace every day to
confront my heart, to kill this sin of pride that manifests itself as self-pity
and boasting, and to silence the voices. Only then, only then, will I hear the
sweet voice of the Spirit say, "You are not a deserving servant; you are a
beloved son. Rest in that and find in me the satisfaction, security, and
significance for which your heart longs."


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So much for the theory of a "Simple Cell"

This is absolutely fascinating. Interestingly, I've read that Darwin once wrote that his whole theory hinged upon the assumption that life originated from a "Simple Cell." Molecular biology shows that there has never been such a thing as "simple" cell. Watch this video. It's awesome.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Guess I'll be watching the Ravens this year...

Our guy Joe Flacco was picked in first round by the Baltimore Ravens

Some pundits think that Joe Flacco went a little high in the draft at #18, 1st Rnd. However, I think the Ravens are being a bit strategic here. Lots of football Fans in the NE MD, N DE, S PA region were hard-core Colts fans back when they were based in Baltimore. I don't think the Ravens have ever been able to quite garner the kind of loyal fan base that the old Colts had here. Maybe, just maybe, if Joe can make an impact in Baltimore, the Ravens might get a plus-up on their fan base. I'd love to see Flacco fill the shoes of little old UofD's past NFL QB star, Rich Gannon. We will see...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Since I've been on the topic of apologetics....

...Here is the video of Tim Keller's talk at UC Berkely Veritas Forum:


"Belief in an Age of Skepticism?"
March 4, 2008, at The University of California, Berkeley

Noted pastor and author Dr. Tim Keller discusses the place of exclusive truth in a pluralistic society in Wheeler Auditorium, followed by a Q&A session.

Provided by Veritas Forum recordings, visit: http://www.veritas.org/media

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The God Delusion Debate

Although this debate took place a few months ago on Oct 15th, 2007, I just had to share it for anyone who hasn't had a chance to listen to it yet. I LOVE Dr. John Lennox. He was also interviewed in Expelled and, as usual, shared some of the most insightful thoughts. One of the things that I keep seeing in all of these interviews and debates with Dawkins is that he seems like Saul. Not OT Saul. NT Saul. I'm praying for Dawkins, 'cause I think God's going to save him!!!

(Love their British accents too). Enjoy!
Richard Dawkins vs. John Lennox
Oxford biologist and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins debates Oxford mathematician and Christian apologist John Lennox on the existence of God.




UPDATE: I totally posted this before I read the blog over at Between Two Worlds. Apparently, Lennox recently did a new talk on God and Richard Dawkins that JT just posted. Totally co-incidence. Here is the link to Lennox: God and Richard Dawkins>>> I haven't watched it yet, so I will probably come back here and comment.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Really Awesome Free Stuff!

R.C. Sproul, "Precious Blood," 2008 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, Sunday Morning Service Sermon. ***

Download a free MP3 of the song "I Have a Shelter" by Steve & Vikki Cook and Bob Kauflin from Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Download Martin Luther: In His Own Words for free at http://christianaudio.com/ (code MAY2008)

Includes:
The Small Catechism
95 Theses
On Faith and Coming to Christ
On Confession and the Lord's Supper
Of the Office of Preaching
Excerpt from Luther's Tower Experience
The Last Written Words of Luther


Excellent Series on Peace with Others and Peace Within

1 The Cause of Interpersonal Conflict
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 55 min.James 4:1-6
Play! MP3

2 Curing the Idolatrous Heart
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 49 min.James 4:6-10
Play! MP3

3 The Practice of Humility - Part 1
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 48 min.James 4:11-12
Play! MP3
4
The Practice of Humility - Part 2
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 59 min.James 4:13-17
Play! MP3


1 The Untamable Tongue
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 56 min.James 3:1-12
Play! MP3

2 True Wisdom
Dr. Greg Mazak • James Series • 54 min.James 3:13-18
Play! MP3

Gossip and Lies; Power and Righteousness

On two occasions this week I was highly tempted to engage in some pretty scandalous gossip. One was a work situation, the other was with a friend from church.

Thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit rushed in to the rescue and redirected my thoughts and heart to God's Word and to obedience. Which, in retrospect, prompts me to ask about my tempation to gossip: "What lie was I believing instead of God's Truth?"

Well, first off, in the situation where my friend from church was involved, this was clearly my Joan of Arc Complex at work. What, you might ask, is a "Joan of Arc Complex?" Well, I'm not entirely sure that it's an official complex. In fact, I've never heard anyone else use the term besides me. But here's the gist: A compulsion to want to right wrongs, to rescue the oppressed, to avenge injustice. You know, all that heroic stuff. On the surface it actually sounds a lot better than sin, doesn't it? Even possibly the right thing to do. But the subtly of it is that it's a dark sin, in the form of self-righteous indignation.

So, just this week, as I felt my Joan of Arc heart rising up inside me, ready to react, over a particular incident that was being shared with me, the Holy Spirit immediately brought to mind Romans 12:14, 17-21, which I also immediately read to her:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In my experience, this is one of the very hardest things that we as Christians are commanded to do, and as I shared with someone else, it is also the one thing that makes Christians completely unique over every other type of person in the world. Outside of our redemption in Christ, this is impossible and unthinkable.


In the second case, I experienced another temptation. It was on the opposite end of the first temptation of self-righteous indignation. I believe sometimes people resort to using their tongue as a weapon, because they feel powerless over their circumstances. Instead of believing God's Word on how to respond to evil, we try to gain power by using our tongue to control the situation. As we know from James Chapter 3, the tongue can be destructively powerful:
“it is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

After all, Satan’s name means “accuser of the brethren,” so there’s really no surprise that he would use gossip as much as he does to create disunity and discord within Christ’s body.

Again, gossip is a form of attack often used by those who are not in power positions, in response to others who have authority. So my question is: why is it that I feel compelled to fulfil my desires by attack instead of obedience? Because I’m not getting what I want and what I want is more important to me in that moment than what God wants. Because I have fear of man instead of fear of God. Because I want to preserve my reputation (LOL! That sounds ridiculous just to write!). Because I think more highly of myself than I ought (Rom 12:3). Because of selfish ambition and vain conceit, etc… (Phil 2:3). On and on.

Gossip is a symptom/manifestation of a lot of idolatrous heart issues.

This week, however, when I denied my temptation and decided to believe and obey God and His Word instead in those two real instances, it had a profound impact in my life, on those around me, and on others involved in the conflict.

Bottom line: I have to trust God’s Word and His Promises more than I trust my desires or the lies that reside beneath my sin. Praise God that His grace super-abounds over our sin, but may the Holy Spirit continue to compel me to trust His Word before I’m tempted to give in to sin and nasty gossip!

Food stuff, for what it's worth!

“Nothing would be more tedious than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” -Voltaire

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." - Michael Pollan, "In Defense of Food," page 1.

I belong to an accountability group at work where we have certain eating/weight goals and one of my constant challenges is to keep good, fresh food on hand - at home in the refrigerator or as snacks throughout the work day. There are soooo many GOOD food choices, that (IMO) it is not really necessary to have to eat the "not so good" choices (like high-fat, high-carb ice cream or french fries, etc.) I do love those "not so good" choices, but it's usually pretty easy to avoid them for the better "real" food choices, IF I have the fridge stocked. But if I'm relying on convenience, I'm in trouble. 'Cause there's not much of chance for me to NOT order the side of fries with my burger at the drive thru, even if there are apples or some better choice on the menu. My willpower just ain't that good. (pardon my slang). So, today I'm celebrating my stocked fridge with lots of heathy baby spinach for salads, strawberries, blueberries from Chile, yogurt, asparagus, and other great tasting, healthy things.

Also, I'm anxiously and hopefully watching my huge garden as all of the great fruits and veggies start to spring up!!!

And finally I'm thankful for my great friends who fixed a nice healthy dinner last night and invited me to join them for some incredible fellowship! I'm so blessed and grateful.