Emphasis on Justice and City-Transformation is Not Enough

Wednesday is for Thinking

The world needs to be evangelized. It needs the good news of the gospel. It needs Jesus. We can care for the world and still fail to give them what they really need. This post from five years ago is more relevant today than ever.

For more see:
Emphasis on Justice and City-Transformation is Not Enough.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit–Discernment or Rejection?

Holy Spirit 2This is an excellent post by my dear friend Terry Ivy. If you are wondering about the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit, and the wonder of what God could and might do in your life, this isn’t a bad place to start. And then get on your knees and ask God for discernment.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit–Discernment or Rejection?.

The Profoundly Wicked Roots of Planned Parenthood

The following is from Kairos Journal. I have come to believe that Planned Parenthood is one of the most dishonest, greedy, and destructive forces at work in our culture. Under the guise of helping women and families and with lots of warm and caring language, Planned Parenthood exerts a powerful influence toward ungodliness and is the principle voice for the continuation of abortion.

Those who work for Planned Parenthood, or for abortion in our culture must neither be demonized nor hated. They must be loved, prayed for AND fought against. Planned Parenthood must be fought. Part of that fight is knowing its history. Toward ending abortion in our lifetime, here’s part of that battle.

Enabling a “Liberated” Woman

A Planned Parenthood ImageMargaret Sanger was a married woman with three children, but that was nothing to her in the summer of 1913. Adultery with Walter Roberts was on her mind, and he would become her first recorded extramarital lover.1 The setting was Provincetown, Massachusetts, where New York City’s cultural and artistic elite were prone to vacation. Husband Bill Sanger shuttled to and from New York, and Margaret found good occasion to put into practice the perspectives she had chosen back in the city. She and Bill had joined the Socialist Party Local 5 and found themselves in the company of radicals, including anarchist Emma Goldman, famous for “refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc.”2

These “liberated” folks would gather in the lower Fifth Avenue apartment of Mabel Dodge to toss around ideas. Many of those ideas were licentious. Bill Sanger called this Greenwich Village atmosphere a “hellhole of free love, promiscuity and prostitution masquerading under the mantle of revolution,”—“If Revolution means promiscuity, they can call me a conservative and make the most of it.”3

Margaret, though, was quite keen on promiscuity, and her life course was set. Though she was too cunning to campaign under the banner of free love and freedom from the burden of children, that was her heartbeat. She chose contraception as her cause and was heralded for efforts in “family planning,” even though her personal life betrayed her true contempt for the family.4

Margaret was little concerned for the well-being of her own children, Stuart, Grant, Margaret, and Peggy. In a 1911 letter, Bill urged Margaret to seek care for Peggy’s “little limb,” weakened and shortened by polio; even though Peggy was walking with a limp and needed a brace, Margaret was otherwise engaged in Provincetown. Four years later, Margaret, then in Paris, missed the last year of Peggy’s life, the little girl dying of pneumonia in the company of her Aunt Ethel.5

Her true love was the American Birth Control League, which became Planned Parenthood. Like the latter, the ABCL was no stranger to abortion. They simply kept things under wraps, fearing a public relations disaster. Staffers would secretly refer their counselees to doctors (such as a “Dr. Seigal”)6 who would do the dirty work. Eventually, “Christian” ministers joined her in promoting abortion.7

Margaret’s enthusiasm for ridding the world of “undesirables” was also reflected in her interest in eugenics. She was heard to bemoan “the burden of the ‘unfit’ on the productive members of the community,” to tie birth control to the creation of “a race of thoroughbreds,” and to promote a “bonus” or “incentive” program for sterilization directed at couples with “defective heredity.8

Margaret had a penchant for the occult and frequently consulted psychics and astrologers.9 She rejected Christianity,10and late in life, suffering from heart disease, she enrolled in a Rosicrucian mail-order course for “spiritual insight and first-hand spiritual experience.”11 Nevertheless, when she died on September 6, 1966, she received a Christian burial, with pastoral eulogies, first from Rev. George Ferguson of St. Phillips-in-the-Hills Episcopal Church in Tucson12 and then, at a memorial service, from the rector at St. George’s Church on Stuyvesant Square in New York.13

One marvels at clergy who enable the schemes and honor of the legacy of those who, like Margaret Sanger, are clearly anti-Christian. They empty Church ceremony of gospel meaning and send dangerous signals to a world which has lost its way. Only when the Church refuses to be party to such delusion will the culture begin to understand its high calling on behalf of life—life protected, sanctified, abundant, and eternal.

Footnotes

1

Over the next four decades, Roberts would be followed by Lorenzo Portet, Havelock Ellis, Billy Williams, Hugh de Selincourt, Harold Child, H.G. Wells, Noah Slee, Angus McDonald, and Hobson Pittman. These are documented in Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 92, 108, 118, 173, 183, 184, 186, 244, 349, 406.

2

Ibid., 85-86.

3

Ibid., 91-92.

4

Janet de Selincourt, Catherine Wells, and Mary Slee, whose husbands Margaret bedded, could testify to this.

5

Ibid., 93, 133.

6

Ibid., 301.

7

“Between 1967 and 1970, in the final years before New York’s restrictive abortion law was repealed, the clinic would cooperate with the New York Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, founded at the nearby Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Greenwich Village.” Ibid., 302.

8

Ibid., 216, 417.

9

Ibid., 221.

10

“I have outgrown the need of church by my interest in philosophy, psychology & humanity. Very often I find the church narrows & limits the mental horizon of a person when in reality it should broaden and deepen . . .” Ibid., 252-53.

11

Chesler, 418.

12

“[H]e did not ignore Margaret’s achievements on behalf of humanity but remembered her more for the marvelous sense of fun she brought to Tucson . . . with her lively interests, festive parties, and essential joy in living.” Ibid., 467.

13

Ibid.

See also: Architects of Evil #1: Margaret Sanger

Godly Grief? When Tears are the Way Forward

Tuesday is for Reflection

grief - the voice of grief (Jeremiah Simmons)8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

—2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (ESV)

There is a longing in my heart for grief.

I’m not a masochist. I dislike pain and sorrow as much as anyone else. I have no desire for a grief that leads down to  despair and hopelessness. But how I long for a grieving that leads to a repenting. I long for a grieving that propels me forward to holiness. 

  • a grieving that turns from sin
  • that yearns for Him who died and rose
  • that creates a passion for the will of God to be done on earth
  • that finds joy in desperate cries for daily bread
  • that leaps to forgive others before they even know that there has been a hurt
  • that remembers the price of my purchase and glories in grace received.

I long to be a better man, husband, leader, teacher, pastor, friend, brother, neighbor and I am deeply suspicious that my heart doesn’t long for any of these things with a passion equal to the task before me.

And that is why I need the body of Christ.  That is why all of us who claim Christ as our Savior need to be connected to the body of which he is the head.  We need one another like fire needs oxygen to burn. We need to pray for one another and care for one another in ways that none of us are always comfortable with but for which all of us have a desperate need. We need one another to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2b) so that we can all help one another stumble toward the cross.  

Let’s do that for one another today, and when tomorrow comes, let’s do it again, and the next day, let’s do it again and again and again so that Jesus becomes more and more of what we reflect to the world and less and less of ourselves.  Inevitably, that will include a bit of grieving along the way. But it is the way forward to Christ.

Sometimes unintended sin is worse

distraught man on a benchSometimes people don’t try to hurt each other, they just do. In fact, they may be passionate in their pursuit of God, faithful to deal with known sin in their lives, willing to repent of wrong behavior, genuinely desirous of being kind and useful to their friends, and yet blind to character flaws in themselves that sabotage every interaction with those they love. …

For more see:  Sometimes unintended sin is worse.

 

Three Obstacles to Pastoral Care (and suggested paths to overcome them)

Three Obstacles to Pastoring and Caring for the Flock[1]

1. The Individualistic Nature of the Culture.

Example:          An attitude that basically says, “It’s none of your business,” or “It’s my problem and I’ll deal with it may way.”

Analysis:           The result is that people are islands of festering wounds.  They are isolated, diseased, and malnourished. Thus, most pastoral care is crisis oriented. Pastors and elders are not called in to help (or do not engage [too passive]) until the crisis is well developed

Solutions:         

    1. Get off the crisis/counseling treadmill.
    2. Preventative Counseling: 6 months check ups.
    3. Spiritual Inventory tool.

2. Cultural Egalitarianism

Example:          “Nobody can tell me.”      

Analysis:           The self as the sovereign over the universe.  This can be in the form of unresponsiveness to counsel from any source; the young not wanting to receive counsel from the old, old not wanting to receive counsel from the young, experience to inexperienced.  “I will be sovereign,” mindset.

 Solutions:         

    1. Pray for their humiliation.
    2. Patient instruction (2 Tim. 4:2b).
    3. Consistent loving confrontation.

3. Our Therapeutic Culture

Examples:         “My therapist says;” or “Doctor Dobson says”; “Minereth/Meyer says”; or “Steve Arterburn, says” or “Promise Keeper’s” or “codependency theory says” or “My AA sponsor says” or “The Big Book says” or “Henry says I need to set up Boundaries in my life,” or “pastor so and so (their favorite radio or TV preacher) says” etc.

Analysis:           People who are bound up in this problem are living from within a worldview and language that seems plausible to them but is rarely grounded thoroughly in the word of God.  They use a kind of code language that justifies bad behavior in light of their past, their experience, their pain, their genes, their parents, etc.

Solutions:         

    1. Pray for seeing eyes and trusting hearts.
    2. A theology of suffering.
    3. Patience.

__________________________

  • ‚ Remember, all their lives people have been told by their culture, their schools and their own sinful hearts that “the problem” is “out there” rather than within their own hearts.  This has led them to the mistaken notion that a change of situation or association is going to solve their problem.  They are quick to run. (This is not to deny that all of those things, [culture, bullies, abusers, family, sins against them by others] play their part in effecting behavior and thought but to put them all in a more balanced place.)
  •  The reality is that, “Not every problem admits to an engineering solution.” (Ken Meyers)

[1] Stimulated by the 2000 and 2001 Bethlehem Conferences for Pastors.