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Archive for the month “February, 2012”

UPDATED–Contraceptives & the War on Religion

Do not be fooled! The contraceptives controversy is not really a controversy over contraceptives, or women’s rights, or abortion; it is controversy surrounding freedom of religion & whether that freedom should exist in any meaningful way. (Sorry that so many of these links are to Gene Veith’s blog, but he does such a good job of covering these kinds of issues).

Declaring war on religion.–“Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.”

How our government thinks of religion.–Here’s what the Obama administration apparently thinks: “Whenever a church or house of worship ceases to be simply inward-looking, when it in any way engages or serves the wider public, it becomes subject to much the same sort of government regulation as any secular entity.”–In other words, if your church decides to obey God’s commands & care for the widow, orphaned, & oppressed, you cease to be a church & rather become a secular institution.

Officially re-defining religion. –“It’s basically the same one [definition] used in the former Soviet Union, which provided for “religious freedom” in its constitution, construed as private interior beliefs, while at the same time forbidding evangelism, worship, education, religious child-raising, and any other external expression of religion in actual life.”

Calls for an American dictator.–I think this fits well with the contraceptives controversy: ” we must take care not to jettison our liberties in a panicked  desire for the government to ‘do something.'”

LCMS President’s statement on HHS mandate.-“Again, this is not just a Catholic issue.  All conservative Christian ministries and pro-life organizations are being put in the position of having to pay for abortion pills.”

Your religion mustn’t affect your life!.–SAY WHAT?!!!

Forcing a company to give away a product for free.–“Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?”

Compromise on insurance birth control mandate?.–“Does this really solve the problem? Aren’t all of the expenses of an insurance company ultimately and necessarily passed on to the customers?”

The Church of Obama – Mark Steyn – National Review Online.–” In essence President Obama has embarked on the same usurpation of church authority as Henry VIII[…]” Which is exactly the kind of authority our founding fathers were trying to separate from with the inclusion of the Establishment Clause.

Do 98% of Catholic women use contraceptives?.–This is just despicable!

Media shirk debate on religious liberty » GetReligion.–If you listen to most of mainstream media’s accounts of this debate, you would think this is merely a conservative attempt to limit “women’s rights.”–Well, here’s a not-so-subtle hint for you: It’s not about women’s rights; it’s about RELIGIOUS LIBERTY aka FREEDOM OF RELIGION.

UPDATE:

AlbertMohler.com – What Compromise? This Policy Leaves Religious Liberty in Peril and Planned Parenthood Smiling.–“But, just to state the obvious, a policy goal and an ‘inalienable right’ are not to be ‘balanced.'”

 

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Visual Theology

Tim Challies over at challies.com has been doing these great infographics that he calls “visual theology”. They are very high quality & are even available for purchase as prints if you would so desire.

The Order of Salvation

The Attributes of God

The Books of the Bible

Think On These Things

And, less for theology, more for fun (I think) he also did The Middle-Aged White Guy’s Guide to Christian Rap.

Politics & Religion Miscellany

Christianity & taxes.–Soooooo, according to President Obama the answer to WWJD is “Jesus would have taxed the rich.” Hmmm…–“A person who has received much FROM GOD has much that is required BY GOD.  Not the federal government!   The president here is putting the federal government squarely in the place of God!”

Californians not allowed to vote against gay marriage.–“We have been told both by conservatives and liberals that the question of gay marriage should just be left up to the states.  That way, different values across this great country can find expression.  But here the people of a state are not allowed to have a say in the matter”

Is the U.S. Constitution obsolete?.–Since our Constitution doesn’t conform to the constitutions of other countries, ours must be wrong…

You Think You’re Free? | Pastor Matt.–“It is true that we need government agencies to regulate certain activities that the market does not self-police with efficiency such as toxins in the environment or the safety of public bridges and roadways but unless bureaucracies are severely limited in their scope, you will get the wasteful idiocy of the FDA’s war on Amish milk men!”

A Conflict of Visions: Or, Why Can’t We All Get Along? – Justin Taylor.–Here’s a nice little look at why you consistently see the same people lining up on opposite sides of nearly every political issue.

Entitlement | Challies Dot Com.–Here’s the take away: The current generation generally thinks they are entitled to everything they desire-at someone else’s expense. If we are Christians, it is helpful to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to one thing & one thing only–Hell. “That’s all I deserve, because of my sin. Anything else is grace, an unmerited bonus from the God of all grace. I don’t deserve a breath of life, a crumb of food, a drop of water, a stitch of clothing, a cent in my wallet, or an hour of education. I’m not entitled to one friend, one vacation, one verse of Scripture, or even one sermon. I’m certainly not entitled to salvation and heaven. I’m entitled to damnation and Hell.”

UPDATED: This Black Leader or That Black Leader? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile

This Black Leader or That Black Leader? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile.–I must confess that when considering cooperation within the Church across racial lines (or even when considering racism in general) I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought about what taking a particular stance really means to someone who is African-American. This hasn’t been any kind of intentional racism or anything like that, but I’ve just never been acutely aware of the issues Mr. Anyabwile brings forth.

Take the time to read this; I think this will be edifying to anyone in the Church  to keep in mind–especially when collaborating with our African-American brothers in Christ.

UPDATE: I came across another couple of links that were helpful for me in trying to understand racial issues in America.

Where Does “Blackness” and “Whiteness” Come From? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile.–“Because these ideas [of whiteness & blackness] are formed through interaction, it’s going to take massive levels of interaction to undo the damage that’s been done and to forge a new path.  We won’t escape the quagmire by waving a wand or by fiat.  Nor will we get there by simply decrying the fact that others ‘still think this way.’  We have to roll up our sleeves, reach into our hearts, pull out the old and plant the new.  I pray the Lord will allow us to do this more and more by His word and His Spirit.”

True Woman | Black History Month: Telling the Story of God’s Mighty Power.–“It had never occurred to her that slavery took the brightest, the strongest, and the best of the Africans from their homeland. If they had been left there, Africa would be quite different than it is today . . . and America would be quite different as well.”–>Sadly, nor had this ever occurred to me…

Re: Homosexuality

The first 2 links are from Gene Edward Veith’s blog on the unlikelihood of homosexuality being genetic. Keep in mind (as he points out in the second post) that this does not necessarily mean that homosexuality is merely a “choice”; however, I would submit to you that even if some people have a “natural” inclination toward homosexuality, that does not make it any less of a sin. As a heterosexual male, I have a natural inclination to be attracted to every beautiful woman I see, but that does not make it any less of a sin for me to lust after those women or give into that natural inclination.

Evidence homosexuality is not genetic.

Thoughts on homosexuality not being genetic.

This final link/video is by one of my favorite Christian rappers & speaks to the fact that the Church (at least here in the U.S.) has tended to make homosexuality out to be a worse sin than any other–this is a blatant failure of the Church in America. God loved us when we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8); we should reciprocate that love toward those who are still living in sin-regardless of what for that sin takes.

When It Rains-Welfare Society (Curtis “Voice” Allen & Erin Hill).

Acuffapalooza

I’ve been having trouble keeping up with my Google Reader account recently, but I had a bunch of cancellations & no-shows at work today so I thought I’d use my time productively by trying to get through my Reader backlog (I’m down to less than 200 posts left to read!). Anyway, I came across a few really good posts from Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like, & I commend them to you.

My new problem with rap music. | Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff.

The R-word. | Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff.

Does God want you to be miserable? | Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff.

SCLQ – What we hear. | Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff.

 

My Final (hopefully) Post on the Elephant Room 2 Controversy

This will hopefully be my last post on this issue, & all I really want to do is give you the link below. Justin Taylor has some very good thoughts on public/private conversations & what happened with ER2.

The Elephant Room: What Really Happened, and How Things Could Have Been Different – Justin Taylor. “We should not assume that these discussions are over. Perhaps the public-event conversation—whether it should have happened or not—will lead to private conversations, where theology can be explored, where questions can be asked, and where answers can be given. Let’s pray toward this end. Who knows what God might do?”

 

 

Why Requiring Employers (Insurers) to Cover Contraceptives is Wrong

Nearly 3 weeks ago, I published a post in response to the President’s decision that religious-affiliated employers will be required to cover birth-control pills including abortifacents. I asked (in essence), “how should Christians respond when the government goes too far?” And specifically, I asked, “How do you oppose the President & his policy & still adhere to Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, & 1 Peter 2:13-17?” Well, I got no response, and I’m really no closer to knowing exactly what the right response should be (or even if there is one right response), but here are some links on why this issue is so important (even if you’re not opposed to birth-control), what some Christian leaders are advocating in response, & a couple of other links on abortion & Planned Parenthood.

The FAQs: The Contraceptive-Abortifacient Mandate – The Gospel Coalition Blog. Here is why this controversy is so important: “If the mandate is allowed to stand it will set a precedent that the government can not only force citizens to violate their most deeply held beliefs but that we can be sanctioned for refusing to do so.”

“Please get the federal government out of our consciences”. From the testimony of the President of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

Christian Civil Disobedience against the U. S. Government? – Justin Taylor. Here is what Rick Warren, Chuck Colson, & Timothy George have to say.

On my mind and heart… « A Work in Progress. A passionate plea for Christians not to try to justify (even in part) the supposed good things that Planned Parenthood does.

More bullying from Planned Parenthood. Just one more reason I have no respect whatsoever for Planned Parenthood.

Every knee will bow…

As we sang How Great is Our God at church this evening, I noticed for the first time (or paid attention to) the lyrics “And all will see/How great is our God”. This, in turn, made me think about Philippians 2:10-11. As I considered these things, I thought about how these statements could be viewed by Christians with an air of haughtiness. But while there may be satisfaction in knowing that those who stand opposed to God & deny his existence will one day have to acknowledge Him & give glory to Him, I do not think we should feel pride over this fact.

There are at least 3 things that this knowledge should do:

  1. It should sadden us to realize that there will be many who will not acknowledge God for who He truly is until it is too late.
  2. It should humble us. For but by the grace of God, we would be just like them.
  3. It should encourage us to spread the Gospel even more so that every person has the chance to believe on Jesus & be reconciled to God. Because we do not know who God will save, we should preach the Gospel to all persons.

She Just Might Change Your Mind – YouTube

Here’s why the pro-abortion slogan “Keep Your Hands Off My Body” is a poor choice…

She Just Might Change Your Mind – YouTube.

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