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Friday, May 12, 2006

What is a woman’s role in society? What is her role in the Church or the family?

Can, or should, women serve in governmental positions in the Church or the State? Can, or should women serve in leadership positions? Can a woman be the head of a household?

This is the first in a series of posts that I will address such questions.

I have asked these several questions, in different terms, since I was in grade school. I remember pondering why only men were pastors since it seemed like women could preach from the pulpit as good as any man. Growing up, I remember my mother expressing her discontentment with how she felt that men were selected over her not only in the workplace, but also in the church. My mother has always felt slighted, as her dream of playing as a professional bassoon player ended by discovering that all the symphonies were only comprised of men. Instead, my mother became a music teacher, as women make great teachers. The discrimination that my mother always felt looming over her head seemed to me like a figment of her imagination.

Despite my mother’s insistence that gender discrimination was a reality, I never encountered it. I often stood alone in my college courses highlighting the tremendous change in a woman’s position in society over the course of history. I have never seen women as victims of society or men as brutish dominators.(Yes, this is a message I heard often at WU.) I’ve never felt like a victim. And if anything, I’ve received preference because of my gender. So, yes, there is discrimination, but in a woman’s favor.

Dr. Alber Mohler’s recent blog entry More on the Mommy Wars discusses Kay S. Hymowitz’s article reviewing Caitlin Flanagan’s book To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. Hymowitz’s writes, “Flanagan believes that feminism’s doctrine that ‘caring for children and husbands and households constitutes subservience’ is at odds with women’s continued long for domestic satisfactions.”

Society makes it seem as though being a mother isn't enough. Why isn’t motherhood depicted as worthy “occupation”?

My University counselor looked at me with confusion when I said I wanted to be a mom. She said, “Well, it only takes 9 months,” as if being mother is just a couple weeks off from a “real” profession.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Audience, Audience, Audience

I remember very little from what I learned in high school. But if there is one thing I do remember, it is to consider one’s audience when writing. I’m not saying I do it well, I’m saying that I know it is an important if one wants to be an effective communicator.

Since the inception of my blog, I’ve thought about writing a post pondering exactly who my blog's audience is (as part of some intellectual exercise I suppose.) My greatest struggle as a writer has always been to stop writing for myself. The best writing instructor I’ve ever had always emphasized it’s the writer’s duty to help the reader understand not vice versa. Further, if you’re writing is too muddled to understand, don’t expect anyone to read it…or even care.

By definition, we already know what we think, but as writers we must write in a way for others to want to know what we are thinking. So, if I’ve got an opinion, and I want specific audiences to care, I better consider who my audience is carefully.

I also find that I am tempted to use sarcasm or hyperbole frequently when I write. I think its because people respond only when something is offensive verses slightly bothersome...or for that matter, competely agreeable. That explains the Church role in politics for the last 100 years...but that's another entry all together.

Outside of blogland, I never really know what other people think about what I think because I’m to busy talking to listen. I’m the same way when I write, I’m always ready to write what I think, make no apologies, and defend it to absolute absurdity. But that’s not productive, helpful, or appropriate…ever. I'm working on that. (If only I had the patience for myself that God has for me.)

I’ve posted an apology (on the entry) for an outright inappropriate statement in response to a comment a friend made to me about a previous post. (I think there still may be a slight hint of sarcasm in one line, but it is a sincere apology.)

My high school teachers may have been atheists, but they didn’t know something about writing. A lesson I’m still learning. Who is my audience and what are their values…

I’m still wondering who I’m writing to…

Seeing that is late, and I’ve procrastinated long enough, I should finish that paper for Steve.

If there are typos, I'm sorry.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A couple of thoughts today!

Home Again

The CDT (Covenant Discipleship Training) team is back from Gary, Indiana. I’m humbled at how much I have in comparison to those faithful in Gary—and really all over the world. God revealed to me how spoiled I am.

Vic and Faith Davis

Vic leads a group of only about 30-40 people. Yet--they have a school serving students pre-K to 6th grade, a Tech center with oh, about 40 computers, and a half-way house for men transitioning from drug rehab or prison. They are also involved with CityBuilders, and are rebuilding Gary literally one block at a time. Some would look at Gary and think there is no way that Gary will ever shine. There is no way that it will ever recover (Gary propsered for years as a steel town) and have Kingdom order. But there are some faithful servants in Gary who God has charged with bring the Kindgom, not because of what they see in the natural, but because of spiritual revelation.

That’s my heart for the Missouri political system—Kingdom order. I pray, Father, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven...

Voting with a Kingdom vision

I often grow weary of those who believe that voting for a candidate that isn’t a Republican or a Democrat is a waste of a vote. If you do not vote for a Christian with a vision of restoration, that is a waste of a vote.

The Minutemen organization, a group taking action to protect our borders by monitoring the southern borders, encourages voters to not vote for a party but for candidates that are tough on illegal aliens. In a past election, Minutemen supported a candidate that was neither Democrat nor Republican, and he got 25% of the vote.

If Christians would just vote consistently with their theology, we could get godly men in office. But some Christians just don’t have the faith, vision, or the patience. :( And on that thought, its probably better Christians didn’t vote their theology...but that’s a whole post in itself.

A mistake

The voter ID bill did have enough votes to make it to the House for further debate.

Sex Education

Why are school teachers showing kids how to put on condoms? A State Rep. from St. Charles County was dismayed when her son participated in such a lesson. Rep. Davis then sponsored a bill not to end Sex Ed in schools...but to limit it. Hmmm. Well you can read about it in the KC Star, STL Post, and Missourian (Columbia).

What do you think a Christian response to Sex Education in public schools should be?? What does the Bible say?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Right or Duty?

How does one determine if his or her rights are being violated by the government? When does the government become a tyrant?

The framers crafted the US Constitution and wrote volumes to address the problems of despotic government, and there was never perfect agreement on where to draw the line is between tyranny and liberty. Federalist James Madison wrote that “[i]n framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” (No. 51). “Brutus,” one voice out of many opposed to a centralized federal government, wrote that “[t]he design of civil government is to protect the rights and promote the happiness of the people….Hence we find, that all the state constitutions, contain either formal bills of rights, which set bounds to the power of the legislature…” (New York Journal, January 17, 1788).

Both Madison and Brutus agreed that the government should be limited; however neither agreed on the definition of “limited” nor on how to achieve such limitations. The same discussion occurs session after session in the Missouri Legislature. Today, the government is a tyrant unless it pays for the privileges that many American citizens consider rights, as specific enumerated rights are confused with our duty as citizens.

Case in point:

Currently, there are two bills in the Senate that have clauses that would require Missouri voters to present a photo ID at the polls before they can vote.

Senate Bill 1014 would not only require voters to have a photo ID, but also states that:

The state of Missouri shall pay all the legally required fees for applicants for non-driver's licenses. Persons residing in convalescent, nursing, and boarding homes shall be issued a non-driver's license through a mobile processing system operated by the department of revenue at no cost.

Ten of thirty-three Senators did not vote for this bill, as those opposed to the measure cited the unintended consequences on the poor and elderly who cannot afford such IDs. The aim of the Senate bill is to reduce voter fraud. It needs one more vote to move to the House.

SB 1250, which includes a section requiring a photo ID for Missouri voters, aims to decrease the ability of illegal aliens to illegally vote.

There is opposition to both bills because of the burden on voters to obtain and pay for a photo ID. Can someone please help me understand how reducing voter fraud makes the government a tyrant? While I must recognize that such a measure isn't convenient for some voters, such an inconvenience—as some have given their lives to protect the reliability of our electoral system--is our duty.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Public vs. Private Schools

What would you think if someone claimed that public schools out performed private schools, specifically Christian private schools? A study performed by the US Dept. of Education through U of I Champagne supports such a claim. What's more, a writer for Washington Monthly claims that Pres. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act was "a long-term plan to erode the public faith in public schools," which would create a legitimate reason for parents to support vouchers or take their children out of school.

Oh, if only President Bush really would devise such a well-thought out plan to put an end to the State's monopoly on education.

John Stossel criticized the public schools' performance in January on 20/20 in a episode called "Stupid in America." Stossel's piece focused on how a lack of competition allows schools to perform poorly without consequence. Lee Duigon of Chalcedon has started a series of essays on the public schools' effort to remain America's premier education resource. He points out what Stossel leaves out: the cultural and political agendas transferred from the teachers to the students.

What do you think: can state schools be improved? Can the state provide a "neutral" education? Do parents have a right to choose between public and private schools for their children since it is their tax money?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Gary, Indiana!

CDT is visiting the congregation led by Vic Davis up in Gary, Indiana to do some service and evangelism for a couple of days. We walked in the meeting room last night to see a banner hanging over the stage declaring: “Ask…for the nations Ps. 2”. We then participated in a prayer meeting where we asked God to stir the Church to action and to rise up righteous leaders in our society and all over the world. Oh! It was a good time of fellowship.

My host family is probably typical of Gary, Indiana. God’s made them a new creation, but they live amidst the consequences of not only their sin, but of the sin of their community. Gary is comparable to East St. Louis; it lacks economic development and is full of poverty. I’m only reminded of the miraculous work God accomplishes in making us new, but of how blessed and spoiled I am. I have it all! I have the love of God and he provides for all my needs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigration Legislation in Missouri

I sat in a MO Senate Judiciary committee last night that reviewed SB 1250 sponsored by Bill Alter from the St. Louis County area. The bill is a move in the right direction by Missouri lawmakers in state that is not along the border, but none the less affected by illegal aliens. (I cannot help but use this term, as the terms keep shifting in the media: illegal alien to illegal immigrant to undocumented worker.)

The bill has 3 sections. The first section would give Missouri police officers the authority to take custody of illegal aliens and begin investigations. Currently only Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents have that authority. This measure would give (some or all) Missouri officers the ability to get around all the bureaucracy.

The second section makes Missouri law compliant with Federal law, as it prohibits illegal aliens from receiving state welfare benefits, in-state tuition at state universities, and other state benefits. The third section requires photo identification at the polls to prohibit illegal from voting. Interestingly enough, the AARP, the League of Women’s Voters, the Secretary of States office, the Whole Person (a group representing people with physical disabilities), and the ACLU all had representatives present to testify against the 3rd section because it would make it hard for the elderly and the disabled to vote because they often do not have photo ids.

A Hispanic American, who works as a hospital interpreter, testified in favor of the bill. He commented after the hearing that to vote in Mexico you need a photo id that has personal info on the front, and a thumb print and magnetic id chip on the back. He also commented that the 2000 that participated in the protests in Kansas City on Sunday was poor turnout for a city with thousands of illegal aliens.

The Kansas City Star reported on the KC protest and concluded with some comments from a tax-preparer who participated in the protest. She stated“We are not criminals” and “We just come here to work like every group that comes here for the American dream.”

The US is a country that is ruled by law. While I do not agree with every US law, that does not mean I break those that I feel deprive me of the “American Dream.” I have compassion on those who are just trying to survive, but steeling from the “rich” to give to the “poor” is not legitimate option. If US lawmakers let millions of people break the law, what keeps the rest of the citizens from doing the same?

Friday, April 07, 2006

What are “guest workers”?

Thomas Sowell articulates a rare and refreshing perspective on immigration reform in his article Guests or Gate Crashers?” Sowell asks, “What is a guest?” Well, a guest is “someone you have invited.” He continues by stating that “[p]eople who force their way into your home without your permission” are anything but guests.

Sowell also points out the weak arguments given to justify ignoring that millions of people have broken the law with apparently no recourse from our government. It makes me wonder, are we nation founded on the rule of law or the whims of popular opinion? Why are politicians courting people who are ready to ignore the existing immigration laws?

Christ Simcox, co-founder of the Minutemen, comments: “[o]ur Homeland Security is a farce now. They do noting to secure our borders. They say they are fighting a war on terror, but they are leaving our country’s back doors wide open.” Minutemen is a organization, similar to a neighborhood watch group, that is comprised of about 4200 volunteers. They watch the borders and call the border patrol when they spot people attempting crossing the border.

What would you propose to as a solution to the growing illegal immigrant population in the US?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Say What?

While I was at the capitol building in Jefferson City yesterday, I just happened to sit next to a school counselor from a middle school in Wellston, a city in the St. Louis City area. She was there with about 40 students from her school. She had a bright blue sticker that said “Responsible” and “Protection” on her shirt. After a brief conversation with her and the young lady who coordinated the day for Planned Parenthood, I learned that the students were student mentors, basically 8th graders talking to 6th graders about “safe” sex and how to use “protection.” These students received permission to leave school on Planned Parenthood sponsored buses justified as social studies in action by taking a trip to the capitol.

The students, as well as others including a group called “Clergy for Contraception,” were at the capitol to rally against HB 1075, a bill sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis. The Planned Parenthood coordinator misrepresented the bill by stating that it would prohibit sex ed instructors from discussing STDs. However, that is not in the wording or in the intent of the bill. HB 1075 bans outside groups such as Planned Parenthood, or any group that provides abortions, from teaching or providing materials for sex ed courses in Missouri schools. When I caught her on this, she brushed it off.

Peter writes about the false prophets and teachers that arose before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. He writes that they “bring in destructive heresies,” have “eyes for adultery, insatiable for sin” and “entice unsteady souls” (2 Pet. 2:1,14). Likewise, today there are false prophets and teachers who blindly teach what they do not understand. They react to a fallen world without any hope or guidance. And they visit Jefferson City everyday.

Psalm 1:1-2
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Six Tips for Happiness

Currently Harvard University offers a course that focuses on how to be happy called Positive Psychology . The course is described NPR’s by Toiva Smith as a practical mix of self-help and science. Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar bases some his conclusions on studies that show how “counting your blessing daily make you happy” in a way that adding up stock market successes never will. In one class, he plays quotes from an Ellen Degeneres episode where Ellen expresses her frustration with life’s business: “we are so busy that we miss out on life.” Tal Ben-Shahar asserts that it is “not natural to be in the rat race” and that Americans need to slow down and enjoy life. He focuses on the power of positive thinking and the need to “simplify.”

One student thinks it is a silly topic for a semester long class. Another says that it challenging because of the “personal transformation” not the reading schedule.

To me it sounds like James’ suggestion to “consider it all joy” to endure trials, or Paul’s secret to contentment: be content in all circumstances. As for the need to simplify, Paul suggests that whether we eat or drink we should glorify God.

In the end, the course exemplifies that even the elites at Harvard are looking for happiness over and above earthly successes. Dismissing faith as unreasonable and perusing the self-help aisles at Borders for answers, students in Tal Ben-Shahar’s course have received validation—in the name of Science—an answer that ultimately will never satisfy the soul.

What do you think of positive thinking? Does it work? Is it biblical?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

While reading various pages on the web, I found the following quote. It ties into the my last post, and thought I would share it.

Gary North has said, "All long-term social change comes from the successful efforts of one or another struggling organizations to capture the minds of a hard core of future leaders."

Do you agree or disagree and why?

If you agree, how does it apply to you personally?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Power of Ideas

At the beginning of my first semester of CDT, the class was assigned the book “Seven Men Who Ruled the World from the Grave” by Dave Breese. We then were instructed to write a short essay on why we were assigned the book. The book didn’t impress me; it lacked style and footnotes. My essay reflected my disappointment with Breese’s underlying biases. Writing from a Fundamentalist perspective, Breese shaped how his readers would act and respond to the facts he presents in the book that bothered me. My essay missed the mark because I failed to over look Breese's agenda and see his point: Ideas rule the world, not men.

John Maynard Keynes understood the power of ideas. In the final paragraph in his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, he wrote:

...the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influence by new theories after they are twenty five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

What makes an idea dangerous? Can an idea be dangerous for the good?

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Righteousness of God

"Now it will come about that in the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills; and the all the nations will stream to it and the peoples will come and say, 'Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the House of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.' For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Is. 2:2-3

“See, I have taught you statues and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the people who will hear all these statues and say, 'Surely this great nation is wise and understanding people.' 'For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?' 'Or what great nation is there that has statues and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?' ”

Deut. 4:5-8

"When the righteous rule, the people rejoice;
When the wicked rule, the people groan.”

Proverbs 29:2

Do you see any common themes? How should Christians respond to these Scriptures today?

I would love to hear what anyone has to say.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

My heritage is beautiful to me!

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.”

As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.

For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will you allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand are pleasures forever.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Muta Marriages

As I was listening to NPR’s Morning Addition, I caught an interesting piece about the Shia tradition that allows a man, married or single, to marry woman for as little as a few minutes or for years at a time. These short-term marriages are called “muta marriages.” Why would a woman accept such an arrangement? The man, often from the upper strata of society, offers some type of monetary support to the woman, who most likely lives in poverty. There are even muta marriage brokers to help match women with men.

Formally outlawed under Suddam Hussein and not allowed under Sunni Islamic law, the Shia Islamic custom is becoming more popular as Iraqis are gaining more freedom. Woman’s Rights Groups in Iraq are appalled that so many women are being taken advantage of in these short-term agreements. They call it as legally sanctioned prostitution.

Two points strike me.

First, is America really helping the Iraqis gain freedom? And if so, what kind?

Secondly, I have heard more than a few of my college classmates argue that prostitution just reflects a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. Why do Iraq feminists differ from American feminists in this way?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My letter was published!!

Check out my letter in the recent West Newsmagazine. The link goes to the recent letters only; therefore, I don’t know it my letter will still be there after about a week.

I’ve decide that if I’m going to sow seeds, I’ve got to get out into the field. So, I’m going to start sending letters to the editors of the local papers, calling my legislators, and getting people I know to do the same.

That’s my plan anyway. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Politics in the Pulpit

Do politics and religion mix? They already have.

On numerous occasions, Sen. Danforth has expressed concern that the “Republican Party has been taken over by something that it’s not” . Who does Danforth suggest has taken over? Bible believing Christians. But Danforth wagers that the alliance between Christians and “traditional” Republicans will not last: “The more people think about it, the more people will resist it. People do not want a sectarian political party…” Danforth feels comfortable preaching his religious view—that Christianity is not tolerant enough to guide public policy—but has plenty of faith in his own “traditional” ideals.

History itself consists of moral agendas contending for the hearts and minds of the people. One such example is the many abolitionists who were unwilling to compromise the rights of slaves. With Christian convictions, these heroes advocated a moral agenda unaccepted by many. But Danforth is not suggesting that people with conviction do not promote their beliefs, he is suggesting he does not want to belong to a party that promotes Christian ideals when they conflict with his agenda. Danforth worked with Christians during his ambassadorship to Sudan and the fight to get Clarence Thomas confirmed to the Supreme Court. He knows that politics and religion mix, because in the past Christians have gone the extra mile for Republican candidates. What Danforth does not want is Christian ethics to mixing with a vaguely defined, middle-of-the-road politics as usual position if produces less fundraising dollars, less party seats, less raw political power in the hands of the political elites.

The notion that politics and religion should not mix results in legal positivism. Talent’s decision to support the use of human life for research is an example of legal positivism. Legal positivism is a philosophy of law in which there is no connection between law and justice; a law is just because the public supports it. Both Gov. Blunt and Sen. Talent have come out in favor embryonic stem cell research for fear of losing the cherished “moderate” voters and special interest groups support. Talent's decision to remove his support for a Federal ban on human cloning should make us ponder not whether a Christian ethic should guide public policy, but why Missouri lawmakers are compromising the moral convictions of Missourians.

It is not a question of whether politics and religion should mix, but which religious ideals should and are being promoted. A Christian definition of life is that life begins at fertilization. The protection of life is not a sectarian ideal; it is in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Those who define life based upon convenience or profitability of research and patents are mixing their own personal beliefs with politics as much as anyone. Danforth wants Christian values out of the Republican party. I'm just wondering if Christians will put up a fight, give in and vote Republican anyway, or find candidates that truely represent biblical values across the board--even if those ideals fail to represent the majority.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My “Personal” Salvation

Can I receive salvation apart from other people? I often find myself caught up in my own spiritual wellbeing without a great effort to aid or real concern for others' spiritual wellbeing.

Often the notion of our one-on-one relationship with Christ over shadows the greater purpose of God’s communion with us. Christ is taking his people somewhere, and we can’t get there by ourselves.

Hebrews 11

“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provide something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (11:40).

Who are “all these”?

They are the men and women of faith: “By faith Abel...By faith Abraham….By faith Sarah…” and others (11:4,8,11).

Who is God providing something better for? The Church, which of course includes me, but certainly not only me.

Can those who are recognized as great men and women of faith recieve the fullness of God's promises without believers living today and in the future? No.

Abraham’s obedience was credited to him as righteousness. He obeyed God and left his home “looking forward to the city” that God was building (11:10). Today, those who have faith Jesus, forsake the rules of the world, and become foreigners to postmodern culture and strangers to commercialism like Abraham became an exile in his own land. Believers “make it clear that they are seeking a homeland” (11:14). But like Abraham, we must not look back at our former way of living: "[i]f they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return” (11:15).

Why is it they didn’t look back? “But as it is, they desire a better country that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (11:15-16) .

In Hebrews 13, we get another glimpse of the City. Jesus was crucified outside of the city of Jerusalem. Why? The Jewish leaders emphasized their rejection of Christ by crucifying him “outside the camp” (11:11). Also, by tradition, the high priest preformed the atonement sacrifices outside of the camp, and since Jesus is our atoning sacrifice, he was crucified outside of the city. “Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (11:13-14).

WE, all believers, live in a city, but we also seeking a city that is to come, who’s builder and designer is God. And that city cannot—by definition—be just God and one person.

Our faith, like that of our forefathers, is shaped by those who came before and are around us now. We have an individual responsibility to seek God, but love for God, includes loving all those in communion with him. A lesson I’m still learning.

(These thoughts came from prompts and a class discussion led by Doug Hon.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Love for Doctrine

Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue, but of the life; it is not apprehended by the intellect and memory merely, like other branches of learning; but it is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds its seat and habitation in the inmost recess of the heart.

~ John Calvin

In today's culture, Calvin's statement is quite relevant. Not because of intellectualism in the Church, but because of a lack of doctrine itself. Calvin underscores doctrines true function, but as I look around, I see little doctrine being taught at all. Sometimes, I even detect a negative conotation attached to word "doctrine." Osmosis of biblical doctrine into the uttermost regions of the spirit will only occur when there is doctrine to absorb.

Oh, there is much work for the Chruch ahead. God is sovreign, and I am excited to see how God will use America for his purposes. It is times like these that we see God's power and strength.

I pray that Christians today would fall in love with God’s Word, that they would seek the Word when they arise and when they retire at night. I pray that more books on God’s Word than personal growth and personal success will be published in 2006. Lord God, put your law on our hearts and our minds. Raise up leaders that will warn the nation that You are serious about your law.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Hosea 4:6

Friday, February 17, 2006

Stem Cell Research and the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures Petition

Too Many Fine Lines

There are several pints that seem to be fading into the background as various groups and leaders draw fine lines between acceptable and unacceptable types of stem cell research.

First, there is clear difference between adult and embryonic stem cell research. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures ballot initiative makes no distinction between different types of stem cell research. Thus accepting initiative would forever seal in the Missouri Constitution a shelter for any type of stem cell research regardless of the ethical differences.

Second, SCNT is human cloning; it does not matter whether sperm is involved if the result is human. Dr. James Thompson, the first researcher to cultivate human embryonic cells, states that it is “disingenuous” to define away that SCNT results in a human embryo. The MCLC’s initiative does not help Missourians understand the connection between SCNT and human cloning.

Thirdly, the ability of the scientist to genetically alter embryos to make it impossible for the embryo to implant in a uterus for further development does not make the embryo less human or less alive—just disabled.

Most importantly, the major evidence backing the impetuousness for embryonic stem cell research is speculative. What has been confirmed is the constant tendency for embryonic stem cells to form tumors and to display chromosomal abnormalities. The alleged great advance by South Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk’s study is fraudulent.

The amalgamation of fine nuances of these complex scientific research techniques and ethical concerns should stir Missourians to do some crucial research of their own before they sign the MCLC’s petition. A constitutional amendment will end a debate that few Missourians thoroughly understand. All sides agree lives are at stake. Don’t’ sign the petition!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006