Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thoughts on Inaugural Day:

This is posted over at STTA, but I thought it fits here as well, so I'm double-posting it.

Two words of warning:
  1. This STTA is long.
  2. It is much more political than STTA generally is.
If you walk out now, you won't offend.

I am watching the Second Inaugural Ceremony of President Barrack Obama. Like Senator Lamar Alexander all Americans ought to be very thankful for the peaceful transition of power that once again takes place in our nation. Those who worked hard for the President's reelection can properly take satisfaction in the fact that their candidate won a hard fought election. All of us who acknowledge the Supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ ought to renew our commitment to "render honor" to our President as well as other governmental leaders. We should pray "for [our President] and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."
The reach back a century-and-half to the second inaugural of Abraham Lincoln is obvious. For the first Chief-executive of the United States self-identified as African-American to reference that historic occasion is entirely appropriate. I am proud that we, as a nation have come to this place in our long, and yet unfinished attempt to deal, in a just and honorable way, with the racial divisions and conflicts that have come as a result of history. To read my personal thoughts about how close the past is to the present read here.
There is much about what is going on today for which I can be proud and thankful, and I am.  Having said that, however, I am concerned that while our President proclaims an allegiance to liberty, and appropriate personal freedoms there are words that he speaks and actions that he is taking that cause me concern.
I am prepared to extend a bit of rhetorical license to any public speaker, but when a well-educated and articulate man--and our President is both--gives a speech that has been vetted as thoroughly as this inaugural address has been, one must assume that what the President says, he means. The President clearly stated that same-sex attraction is a matter of birth. I do not doubt the President's sincerity, and I join him in a commitment to treat all people with fairness and kindness. The point he makes, though, is one that is properly open to debate. The President falls into the pattern of many in the early Twenty-first Century--if enough people, especially people with cultural capital, say something often enough it is true. Just as past presidents have been wrong, sometimes tragically so, this one can be as well. His path from his view of the origin of sexual attraction, to his endorsement of the redefinition of marriage, that his speech contained, is not nearly as smooth or clear as his rhetoric. To imply that it is, does us all a great disservice.
While our President eloquently spoke of personal liberty, the wheels of his administration are busily grinding others into the dust of liberty lost. The President is promoting policies, and pushing forward a program that requires people to pay for healthcare procedures, so called, that clearly violate their conscience, and require them to deny the doctrine of their church, and, I would maintain, clear Christian, Biblical teaching. The provisions of what is popularly called "Obamacare" requires employers, like Hobby Lobby, and even some detentions of churches (here) to provide coverage for what I would regard as the wrongful taking of human life. This is wrong. (See here to read how one state, my own, is seeking to address this.) The rationale behind this requirement of Obamacare is even more scientifically suspect than his statement about homosexuality. The idea that human life begins at the time of implantation is as arbitrary as the old primitive notion that life begins at birth, or quickening. The scientific foundation of the prolife movement is that life begins at conception.  At the least, that is a credible conclusion.  It ought not be arbitrarily, and bureaucratically put aside.  Objections to the requirements of Obamacare requiring employers to make provision for post-conception, termination of pregnancy, a part of the "health-care" provided to employees ought to be respected. While I do not share the the view of many (the Roman Catholic Church being a notable example) that all artificial contraception is wrong, I do uphold their right to hold those views. People who hold such views should not be forced to violate their consciences in this regard.

On this historic national day, I renew my commitment to pray for my President. Part of my prayer will be for greater clarity of thinking on his part, and for the defeat of some policies that he is pushing forward. I commit myself to do so with as much grace and kindness as I can muster.
There is much more, but for now it's


Friday, January 18, 2013

Using my stuff well:

These are some thoughts I put together for a devotional program our church is following:

“It is good to work and have. It is better to work and have in order to give…The health, wealth, and prosperity ‘gospel’ swallows up the beauty of Christ in the beauty of  his gifts and turns the gifts into idols. The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ’s sake and count it gain.”
       p. 72, “Don’t Waste Your Life“, John Piper

Here are some questions I put together a while back to help us interact with the truth in 1 Timothy 6:
Can I say that I am content with such things as I have because I
know God will never forsake me?  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Is the focus of my life reflective of the Lord’s words, “Seek first 
the Kingdom of God . . . ?”

Is my Confidence placed the same place as the rich fool in Luke 12?  Do I know to whom this stuff will belong tomorrow?

What should I do with what I have?  Does the way I use my stuff reflect a life of selfishness or worship?
I am to use what God has given me not only for my enjoyment, but to be rich in good works.  That leads to true contentment

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'd be glad to buy Lou Giglio a cup of coffee:

I haven't heard Pastor Giglio's nearly 20 year old message on homosexuality, so I can't say whether I agree with it or not.  Based on what I know about him, I figure he and I are in general agreement.
Because of his leadership and advocacy to eliminate human trafficking, and no doubt other achievements, the Pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta had been invited to deliver the benediction at the upcoming Presidential Inaugural. After the inaugural committee discovered the sermon online, Giglio withdrew from participation. Here is a portion of his statement: "Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration,"
What took place behind the scenes is, at least from my perspective, still behind the scenes.  It would appear, however, that those of us who hold to the Biblical sexual ethic that sex is to be between a married man and woman need not apply.

You can read more here:

As I said I haven't heard Giglio's message, but as one who is struggling to maintain a Biblical Ethic I commend him for his refusal to compromise, and the gracious way in which he has withdrawn.  I find it unfortunate that those who preach tolerance are not willing to celebrate the obvious good works of a man, but choose to use a decades old message as the sole measure of his worthiness to participate in the civic arena.  See here for an example.  For the record the IC should probably cross my name off the list.