Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Abortion

Normally before I post I think about the wording I am going to use, scripture I am going to reference, a title, the various objections that could be raised, etc. I write thinking about litery deviced and try to edit carefully. Right now I am doing none of that. I can barely see through my tears to type.I just read this article here http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050824/ap_on_he_me/fetal_pain It almost made me throw up. Maybe it's because I am pregnant, but my heat is breaking. Basic summary of the article is that this new team of researchers say that babies can't feel pain until they are at least seven months gestationally. Up until this point the research has suggested 20 months but no real consensus has ever been reached. But what got to me wasn't the constitent use of "fetus" or the obviously biased headline or that obvious bias of the writer....it was the abortions after 20 weeks the baby is given anestestia. Let that sink in for a moment. It is necessary to give this little baby pain killer because of what is about to happen to it. It is going to experience a painful death. These doctors are administering something that is normally given to a patient to make everything easier for them and then they kill the baby. Babies at 20 wks can often survive outside the womb. These are little ones that could make it. Babies that could be adopted by parents that desperately want kids. But they're killed.I have to stop writing. I'm shaking and my heart rate it up and I need to go lay now. This is wrong, this is so very wrong.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Christian Blogosphere

Before coming to our new town I had never read a blog. Ever. I knew someone who one time said to me "yeah, so I have a blog now" and I had to ask her what it was. But since that time I have become well acquainted with the Blogosphere. And more specifically, the Christian corner of it. I read mostly blogs of the discussion type: ie blogs that aren't of a personal update nature, but rather want to discuss things pertaining to the universal Christian walk or things going on in Christendom. Most of the blogs I read are of the Reformed circle, but not all. And I do read some blogs that are designed more of an update variety. (Carrie, if you're reading this-blog more! :) )

On the more discussion bent blogs which actually get traffic (so, mine isn't factored into this) there seem to be a few basic categories of posting.
1. Joel Osteen
2. Rick Warren and PDL
3. The Emergent Church movement
4. Current controversial topic "X"
5. What our role should be in the church and home
6. Personal experiences of growth
7. Book reviews to help ones walk
8. Some post of encouragement

It struck me the other day while discussing a blog post with my husband that those last 5 topics are posted on a fair bit but don't generate a lot of discussion amongst the saints in the internet. However, you post something on topics 1-3 or some other thing which can really be debated and a highly visited site could get 100 comments. Why is that? Why do we want to talk more about the evils of PDL or if yoga is ok to have at a church retreat than we want to talk about how to be a benefit to the body and share in what somebody is being taught?

When we get together for face to face Christian fellowship I think all of the topics listed up there are often covered. But I haven't noticed the vast unbalance like is in the Christian blogosphere. I'm not suggesting that addressing the topic of Lakewood is a bad idea, not a bad idea at all. In fact, it seems like a very good thing to discuss. I just don't quite get why we don't go at the core of the Christian life with the same gusto.

Well, then again, maybe I do....after all debating is fun. And it is fun to be right. And in topics 5-8 there really isn't anything to debate, it just is what it is. Many don't take as much pleasure in a bunch of people sitting around agreeing with each other. But what is really of more profit to us? To all debate Osteen or Warren till we're blue in the face or to exhort one another to serve the saints, love your spouse, care for your children, know God. If someone you know wants to base their ministry around "your best life know" it may very well be time for a good hard discussion. But for the most part we all just need to work on loving the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourself.

So what's the solution? Well, I think the problem lies in the commenters, not the blogs for the most part so the solution starts there. Let those whose blogs you read know the impact that their encouraging post had on you (thanks Bill and Shannon!!!) and even share a story about how it helped or how it was similar to something you went through last summer. Ask questions when things are unclear. Ask for additional info if there seems to be something missing. When someone reviews a book, add your thoughts if you read it and maybe other similar books that could be of use. If no one comments on the more mundane posts I think bloggers are more inclined to post on the more controversial topics, so comment on the good stuff as well as the other. Also, blog owners could shut down comments after the first 50 have said nothing new and are just serving as a means to get the body mad at each other, just a thought. Things for myself to remember if I ever get a real blog. It may happen someday.

Love to all my readers (what....4 of you?) and to all the blogs I read. It is amazing this global online Christian community we all have the opportunity to get to know. Let's use it for the building up of the body and exhorting each other towards Godliness.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Joy and Thanksgiving

So, the follow up post to what I posted last week. I promised reflections about the nature of joy and thankfulness, so here they are.

I don't think joy is simply an emotion any more than love is simply an emotion, but rather a fruit of the spirit. Gal 5:22 As such I don't think it is an option for Christians. It seems to me that the Bible is pretty clear that if we are Christ's then we have the spirit and if we have the spirit we have the fruit of the spirit. That to act in a way which is contrary to the fruit of the spirit seems to be sin. That we are either living in the spirit or living in the flesh and that for a Christian to be living in the flesh is sin. So I don't think we can afford to view joy in all things and thankfulness for all things as simply perks of the deeper walk club. That somehow those things don't apply to us because we're having a bad day or week or that it is only the nuns who can have a smile on their face all the time and actually mean it. The Bible has much to say on the matter of joy, and often the context is that of joy amidst sorrow or persecution or repentance.

Psalm 32:11
Psalm 51:8
Acts 13:52
Rom 14:17
Phil 3:1
Phil 4:4
Col 1:24
Thes 5:16
1Pet 4:13

As well as much to say on the nature of giving thanks.
Psalm 105:1
Psalm 106:1
Psalm 107"1
Eph 5:20
Col 3:17
Thes 5:18

Not to say that there isn't a time for Godly sorrow and mourning. But just that Godly sorrow doesn't vanquish Godly joy. That there are things which make God sorrowful as well as that of His people, but it won't destroy the work of the Spirit in us.
Rom 12:15
2Cor 7:9

I've read many good things written on the subject of joy and thankfulness. I know the most recent Piper book on the subject come highly recommended (although I haven't read it) and Doug Wilson has one called "Joy at the End of the Tether" (it's a study in Ecclesiastes) that my husband recommends. However, the thing I've read that had the biggest impact on me was a little pamphlet entitled "How to be Free from Bitterness" by Jim Wilson. The basic premise is that joy is a natural outpouring of a Christian and what gets in the way most often of our joy is sin. And one of the most rampant, cancer like sins in the body is unconfessed bitterness. Now, I don't want to get into that whole subject in this post, but put forth that although joy is what we should have sin gets in the way of that joy. So one of the first things to look at if you aren't joyful is unconfessed sin. It could be simply not giving thanks for the situation and thus a bad attitude about it has crept in and stolen your joy. But whatever it is, I believe the Bible is very clear that we are to immediately confess sin, that we are to be joyful, and we are to give thanks for all things.

Now, I shared in the previous post on what I went through in coming to a realization of the relation of this physical life to our relationship with God. I still remember being at a Bible study one time when I was really sick. It had been one of the first times I had been out of the house in weeks and it was great to see other people. I really hadn't expected to have my world changed. The leader prayed for me at the end of the study. Of course he prayed that I might be strengthened and healed and the my husband would be able to do all that was needed to pick up the slack, but the first thing out of his mouth was "Lord, we thank you for this." It wasn't a secret hidden sermon in prayer or anything like that, but just the natural outpouring of a heart that loved God and understood what He asked of us. My initial response in my head was "who is he to be thanking God, he doesn't have to live through this, he doesn't know what is it like" but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. He was doing what I should have been doing all along. I needed to be thankful to God in all things-not just the things I desired. It didn't matter one iota that the man wasn't sick, he knew what was asked of us and did it. And I will never, ever forget it.

While I am thankful that I can share a difficult experience from my life where God taught me many things, I want to stress that I don't think it is required to teach truth. You can become a Christian at age four, follow God joyfully all your life, have great health, a good marriage, happy kids, a roof over your head and food on the table in abundance and still share truth. That's definitely something I took away from the Bible study that night. That I don't need someone who is in my exact position of life and going through the exact same things I am to speak truth into it. If anything, a fresh outside perspective can be a blessed thing.

So in conclusion: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Give thanks to God in all things, for all things. Confess your sin to God and one another that you might be healed. Speaking the truth in love, encourage each other towards righteousness. In the name of Christ, Amen.