Sunday, January 22, 2006

33 years later, I've learned my lesson

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion in Roe vs. Wade. Back in my high school days (an unbelievable 13 years ago) I was an avid arguer against abortion. As most of my good friends were liberals -- some of them flaming liberals! -- our arguments could get fierce from time to time. Then I went to Bible college, where everyone believed the same things for the most part, and so most of my pro-life/anti-abortion arguing passed away.

Now, this post from TPMCafe, has brought me wisdom and convinced me never to argue against abortion again. The reason? It's not about abortion -- and maybe it never was. The post states:
But it's important to remember that reproductive rights are economic rights. The real question is this: should a woman be free to have an active sexual life and also have some economic independence? Without the ability to prevent or end accidental pregnancies, a heterosexual woman must either be celibate or spend her life absolutely dependent on male support. This is why reproductive rights are an absolutely essential part of a progressive agenda: without them, women are not full and independent citizens.

Couple this with an article I read recently that spoke of "a woman's federal right to reproductive choice," and I've realized that I was fabulously naive to think the argument was about the life of the child. To read these writers, it's obvious the whole debate is about whether or not a woman should have to deal with the consequences of her sexual life. If she must do so, then she cannot be a "full and independent" citizen.

I'm glad I'm not arguing anymore. I'm open to discussing with any woman her reasons for having gotten, or wanting to get, an abortion. But I have no room to converse with the political and media elite who seek to make arguments like those quoted above. That kind of selfish, arrogant mindset is not worth arguing against.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Funny if it weren't true

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be a born-again Christian. It’s pretty simple, really. You just bow your head, say a simple prayer, and when you open your eyes you’re a registered Republican with a firearm.
-comedian Thor Ramsey, quoted by John Fischer in Finding God Where You Least Expect Him

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Being theology

In truth, the idea that any element of God's creation - be it music or a tree - has to do something in order to justify its existence is an idea more connected to capitalism, consumerism, and marketing
than the doctrine of creation. (Charlie Peacock in At the Crossroads, pg. 102)

Why is it that Christian believers are so intent on making everything accomplish something. I haven't read statistics, but I would be willing to bet that there are many fewer Christians who regularly attend the symphony, or Broadway presentations, or art museums, or book readings. It's as if somewhere we attached ourselves to the idea that Peacock refers to, namely that everything needs to blatantly profess Christian doctrine or the name of God in order to be acceptable to Christians.

That's preposterous. Existence, in and of itself, is glory to God, since we are here by His breath. The psalmist sang, "Creation declares your glory, and the universe your majesty." G-O-D is not legibly written on creation or on the universe, but God is certainly manifest in them. Isn't that enough?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Enter a new conversation

My friend, John Carney, who is the city editor at the Shelbyville Times-Gazette in Shelbyville, Tenn., has started a new blog which intends to be an avenue for (civil) conversation of Christianity -- the body of Christ, not the institution of man -- in a culture which increasingly embraces universalism. The blog also will look at the effects of culture on Christians, especially in how believers respond, or fail to respond, to cultural beliefs, values, and arguments.

Even cooler, he's given me author privileges to post to the blog. Check it out at Neuron's Cove.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jesus clearly

Can the pendulum be at both edges at the same time?

It's interesting to note the paradox that exists in the world and in the church today. On one hand, it seems many believers are getting more and more focused on Jesus Christ -- on his life, his teachings, his vision, his works, and his calling. On the other hand, there are many in the world, and also in the church, who are shying away from Jesus Christ, apparently on the grounds that it is he who is offensive to other religions and other cultures.

The more I look into Scripture, the more I realize that we err if we do anything other than direct everything about our lives toward Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God fully and finally revealed himself to mankind, and it's in Jesus, Paul said, that we "live and move and have our being." To paraphrase Dallas Willard, true disciples must believe above all else that the life Jesus lived exemplified the ultimate life any human being can live.

The question begs asking: Why are some so afraid of Jesus? Looking into the gospels, the ones who were most afraid of Jesus were those in religious positions of authority who felt they had something to lose if they chose to follow him. Those who truly needed him were drawn to him and often found themselves completely comfortable in his presence.

So the roads are clearly marked: take Jesus as the ultimate example of how I should live my life, or take offense at him for so clearly marking the roads.