Friday, December 30, 2011

The Rest of the Ten Most-Read Posts of 2011

  1. Moral Bankruptcy is a post about the boy-girl wrestling controversy and the bankrupt arguments for treating girls just like boys that are to be found at Her.meneutics (Christianity Today's blog for women).
  2. Religious feminists seem Desperate to see a woman in the White House.  The post includes a clip from a Bachmann speech containing an astonishing number of errors in one short segment.  The Congresswoman's star seems to be fading and she may be out of the race in another week or two.
  3. Stolen Identity and True Grit is both a review of the movie and a counter to Carolyn Custis James's feminist reading of it.
  4. Feminism, Consciousness-Raising, art therapy and looking like nothing so much as a Children's Play Group.
  5. Air-brushed Scriptures are the basis for women in ministry - a video clip from N.T. Wright which I had a hard time giving a charitable read.
  6. The Cultural Tsunami disperses was my post on the end of the Oprah! show and the overwrought reactions among Evangelical girl bloggers, as if we all now have a Oprah-shaped void in our souls.
  7. The Question was another post which looked a the Bachmann phenomenon and Byron York's question to her in one of the first debates. I still say York was right to ask the question and the post explains why.
  8. Molech Today's Priestess left me horrified and then angry.  How any publication claiming to be Evangelical and Christian can publish a cold-blooded recitation of a woman's decision to engage in Pre-Implantation Genetic testing and then having the embryos destroyed is still mostly beyond my comprehension.  Thankfully, the CT empire has since severed their contractual relationship with the writer.
  9. In The Herodias Syndrome, I point to an excellent article of that name which tells of the problems with women, contraception and pastoral timidity.

No surprise that the fun, uplifting, positive posts got far fewer reads.  There is something perverse in us to prefer controversy.

The Big Story of 2011: Denver Seminary and Gnostic Feminism

This was a wild-ride of a blogging year for me.  The night before my birthday, a fellow alum dropped a major scandal in my lap begging, me to do something about it.  At least I thought it was a major scandal.  The president of Denver Seminary dismissed it as a bit of  "iGossip".  The school did, however, admit to dereliction of duty in not properly vetting the video promoting the Gnostic women's center run by a fellow alum and classmate of mine.  And, they pulled the video from their website.  A minor skirmish won though Denver Seminary is still wholly captive to the heresies of religious feminism and that battle is lost.

It was by far and away the most read issue on the blog this year. I'm folding together the five posts to take the top spot in the 10 Most Read Posts of the year:

In a melodramatically titled first post, The Death of Denver Seminary, I crack open the embarrassing de facto endorsement of a gnostic women's community center, Pomegranate Place.  I'll readily admit to being in shock when I wrote this post. I kept trying to figure out whether or not it was a hoax.

In the first follow-up post, Denver Seminary's Transformation, I highlight one of the Affiliate Guides of Pomegranate Place.

The Wrap-up post is my report on a meeting I had with the school's VP for Advancement.  The comments also include an enlightening exchange between Vaun Swanson (the foundress of Pomegranate Place) and me.

An Open Letter to Mark Young, President of Denver Seminary is a full explanation of the problems with the school's de facto endorsement of Pomegranate Place and utter failure to exercise discernment, abandoning their position of trust in the Evangelical community.  In this post I detail some of the major philosophical and theological errors promoted by Pomegranate Place.

Finally, my report of a meeting that left my skin crawling.  After a failed bit of game-playing on Vaun's part, she and I finally met to talk about her work with the women's center she had established.  During the meeting she made it clear that, whether or not she realizes it, she is selling a Christ who cannot save.  In short, Vaun Swanson serves a Gnostic Christ.

It was a tough couple of months.  To see my alma mater fail so thoroughly in elementary discernment, to hear a former classmate embrace and teach a sulfurous deception, and to then see no godly men connected with the school stand up and call them out was disheartening . . .

At least it would have been if God hadn't blessed me in the middle of it all with a new friend.  She is a warrior for truth, a woman of discernment with a heart for teaching philosophy and worldview to women.  I encourage you to get to know Sarah Flashing and the Center for Women of Faith in Culture.  Without Sarah's wisdom and her national blogging platform, I doubt Denver Seminary would have paid much attention to one irritating alumna.

*in 2012 what I hope will be my last post on the decline of Denver Seminary will be a report on the first religious feminism conference held there back in ----- 1973.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hey kid! I wish you were dead

Something disturbing has been happening in relation to abortion law.  It's been around for a few years now but I haven't seen any specific, substantial response to the chilling phenomenon of "wrongful life" lawsuits.  In these lawsuits which turn the classic "wrongful death" cases around and seek, among other monetary awards, "punitive damages for having to live with a disabled child".

Can you imagine saying that to your child?  Not in the heat of frustration and anger, but in cold clinical language in a courtroom. These suits are ostensibly filed on behalf of the child, claiming an early death by abortion would have been preferable to a life that is less than perfect.

Tragically, these kinds of lawsuits have become commonplace in Israel where they should be a little bit more leery of a Lebensunwertes Leben legal philosophy.  Read the article by Dr. Denise Hunnell here.

On a related note, Rape Exception is one of those nonsensical devices used by politicians and others who don't have the courage to follow through on the defense of antenatal life.  Sara Johnson asks the question I've been asking for what seems ages, Why Do We Kill Babies Instead of Rapists?

Aren't the sequelae of postmodern thinking grand?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Feminism's sacrament: Abortion

Think about it for a moment.  Just think about feminism's aims and goals for women and what is required for women to reach those goals.

Have you gotten there yet?

Amazingly, many people haven't.  It's not a slippery slope, but it is a logical consequence of feminism.  Ready access to abortion is required for the feminist agenda.  Birth control isn't good enough.  More than 50% of the women walking through the doors of your local "women's health" clinic seeking an abortion were already using  birth control in the month they got pregnant.  And that's according to Planned Parenthood's own reckoning.  Even SCOTUS recognized the societal dependence on the availability of abortion in its decision in the case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

It's really quite simple.  For a woman to have a career equivalent to a man's, she can't behave much like a normally healthy woman.  Controversial, but true. A normally healthy woman gets pregnant when she has sexual intercourse.  It even happens with a certain frequency when she or her partner are using contraception/birth control.  That's what is supposed to happen for a normally healthy woman who has sex.  But a woman pursuing a career like a man can't be taking maternity leave every couple of years.  She has to be on the job like a man, without leave and without time out for sick kids, daycare failures, etc.

So she can't be a normally healthy woman.  If she is, she is patently not equal to a man in terms of career commitment.

In short, abortion is an absolute requirement as a back-up to failed birth control.  We could always pretend career women are celibate.  Uhm, no we can't.  As Frederica Mathewes-Green points out in her Touchstone article, feminism's twin goals were:

  1. Greater access to public life (careers, politics)
  2. Increased sexual freedom
Those are the major tenets of the religion (relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity) of feminism.  It's sacrament is abortion.  Now some will quibble about the language, but one definition of sacrament is:

something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance

It's hard to see how anyone can argue that abortion has anything but a sacred character or mysterious significance when we see organizations such as NOW use efforts to stop the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (which outlaws sex-selection abortions) in their fundraising literature.  Abortion is such an integral part of the feminist agenda that they will not countenance any restriction on access to abortion -- even those abortions which target girls specifically.

What is most disheartening about all of this is that feminism has become so deeply ingrained in our society, that even conservative/orthodox Christian believers cower at the merest possibility that women and men are not equivalent actors in all three spheres of life - home, church and society. It's the reason Complementarians hide behind the "Equal but Different" mantra.  It's also the reason even the supposedly sexist ESV is under near-constant revision (four times in ten years).

The truth is, that if you want to talk about ontological reality, human dignity and worth - yes, there we are equal.  And the Church has always taught this - across all three branches of historic Christianity for two millennia.  But what the church has also recognized is the paradox at the heart of Christian anthropology - that while we are equal, we are also different, made for different purposes, teleologically distinct.  

And therein lies the problem.  As long as the feminists, religious and secular, are allowed to define the terms of discussion, paradox will always be denied.  They will reduce it to contradiction.  And Complementarians will be caught in a defensive, "Yes, but . . ." posture.

I happen to know it is a great privilege to be a woman.  To be numbered among the keepers of society's emotional resources (see Goldberg, Why Men Rule) and to share a tiny bit of something with the Theotokos which no man will ever share.  The saddest realization of all is that feminists reveal their contempt for their own sex when they attempt to compete in a "man's world" for a man's position on men's terms.

Thanks to Denny Burk  for the "heads up" on Frederica's excellent article.

Nigeria's Not-So-Silent Night

Boko Haram (the name means: Western education is sinful) has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in Nigeria claiming the lives of over 30 people so far. The first, and deadliest of the five, occurred at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in a suburb of the capital city of Abuja and resulted in 27 deaths.  Due to fire and extensive damage to the church building, the death toll there is expected to rise. One witness to the St. Theresa's bombing saw a family of five perish in their car which was next to the explosion.  One report has angry Christian youth preventing the removal of bodies, demanding President Goodluck John see the devastation personally first.

Boko Haram  is a violent Islamist group loosely modeled on the Taliban and calls for a strict Islamic state in Nigeria.  They have primarily targeted security forces and state institutions but last year claimed responsibility for a series of Christmas Eve bombings targeting churches.  They regard Christians as well as Muslims who don't follow their brand of Islamic ideology as infidels.  The group claims members have traveled to both Somalia and Chad for training.

BBC coverage

The bombings are a shocking reminder that Mark Steyn's Christmas Eve column, Silent Night, was more than necessary.  As Steyn reminds us, the persecution of Christians is one of the most unreported stories in what used to be known as Christendom.  The practice of silence not only occurs among the media, but Christian leaders as well.  We can't let this be the last word (from Steyn's article):

When Lord Sacks, chief rabbi in England, rose in the House of Lords to speak about the persecution of Christians, he quoted Martin Luther King. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Nearly 17 years go, I was privileged to make a short-term trip to visit with Christians in Ukraine.  Back then we were told that Christians in the areas formerly controlled by the Soviet Union believed we in our material comfort had forgotten them and they were praying for our persecution so that we would be reminded.  Still today, Christians around the world hear our silence almost as loudly as the beatings, the imprisonments and the bomb blasts.

Don't let another silent night, another silent year pass.  Get informed, write letters and donate to the cause of religious liberty. Here are three organizations you can begin supporting today:

Open Doors

Persecution Project

Christian Solidarity

Pray, Act, Give.  Start Today, right now.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekend Round-up, Christmas Edition

The gift that has keeps on taking: The Obama administration's NIH director has approved yet more funding for embryonic stem cell research

In the Tough Girl's Guide to high holiday expectations, The Crescat reminds us that Christmas isn't high school and there are more important things to think about than whether or not you have a date for the "big event".  It is, after all, the celebration of Someone Else's birthday.

Just say "no" to the red kettle, has been my response to the news about the Salvation Army's stance on abortion.  My friend, Leroy Huizenga, offers a more nuanced response and a nudge to proactive action rather than reactive protest.

Turning the tables on rich, white do-gooders who seem to think the poor brown folk inhabiting the, ahem, dark continent are stupid -- a group of African musicians have released a response to Band-Aid's, "Do They Kow It's Christmas?" with proceeds going towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception in British schools. 

Christmas around my house would be incomplete without the St. Olaf Choir's Christmas Festival.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Just is the Denial of a Basic Human Right?

A recent exchange between Tim King of Sojourners and Jonathan Witt of the Acton Institute illustrates the problem with the concept of "Social Justice".  Witt points out in his American Spectator article, that "social" is a modifier that is often used to obscure the essential meaning of a concept - in this case, justice.  The Gospel is already a social message.  It's not a private or solitary concept that must be modified to be properly understood or implemented. And justice is already a clear concept which, while it does often apply first to individuals, is only muddied and endlessly evolving in the hands of the religious left when modified as in the term, "social justice". 

The concept of social justice has a history reaching back nearly two centuries in Catholic use, but it has been co-opted and morphed by the religious left into an ill-defined program of coercive wealth-transfer administered by the government.  The problem is that these federal programs are often inefficiently administered.  In addition, because money is fungible and not all equitably used, bad actors can enhance their position and power (this goes for international aid as well as individual recipients of welfare payments).  Programs administered at a level far from the recipient can also destroy more efficient and effective local solutions - the opposite of distributism*.  When this happens countries that had been exporters become net importers and big daddy government replaces real fathers as the source of income and protection (resulting in what has been called the feminization of poverty).  This top/down model of charity/aid has trapped many a country and many a family in a "vicious cycle of paternalism and dependency" (Witt).

So, while social justice has legitimate roots, the way the term is used by the religious left emphasizes a top-down government-based approached rather than a local community and organization-based approach which includes churches and civic groups. The concept as used by the religious left most notably ignores or dismisses that most basic of human rights - the right to life.  See Sojourners own position on abortion which refuses to take a stand against abortion and in support of the right to life.

For what is justice without life?

For more on distributism, see:  American Chesterton Society

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

At Home and Abroad

Nina Shea is a champion of religious liberty.  We should listen to her when she cautions us against overblown rhetoric about the real dangers to religious liberty at home - real, but we cannot mistake their gravity in comparison to labor camps and death squads.  Shea, in an interview with Kathryn Lopez published in the NCR, urges Christians not to forget the intense persecution endured by believers abroad.  Besides prayer she suggest citizens need to take advantage of their rights to insist the president and members of Congress defend persecuted believers.

A good place to start would be writing the President, Secretary Clinton and your members of Congress urging them to focus attention on the case of Asia Bibi in any interactions with the government of Pakistan.  Bibi is a 45-year-old mother of five who is on death row for defending Christ in a discussion with Muslim her co-workers.  To learn more about Asia Bibi's case, read here.

This week, International Christian Concern brings us the story of Farrin whose mother was  drug addict, her father a drug dealer who spent time in prison.  Enduring abuse from her father and brother, she escaped three times.  Finally at the third attempt she managed to get away and stay away.  But with no means of support, she fell victim to men who used her.  This resulted in her becoming a prostitute and turning to alcohol in order to numb the physical and emotional pain. Read the rest of her story here.

Whether at home or abroad, and whether we are defending conscience rights of health care workers in our local hospital or writing the State Department about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani or Asia Bibi, the team at Breakpoint reminds us that we are all missionaries.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My new hero: Christian Bale

Actor Christian Bale is my new hero.  While in China to promote his film, The Flowers of War, Bale decided to make a side trip.  A mere 8-hour car ride later, he was assaulted by plain-clothes security officers who refused to identify themselves (photo above).  His crime was trying to visit pro-life activist, Chen Guancheng.  Unfortunately for the Chinese government, Bale was accompanied by a CNN crew.  After the guards slugged, shoved and pushed, they gave chase in a grey minivan for more than half an hour. The publicity will not help Beijing which has set Bale's film as its entry for the Oscars.

Chen, who is blind, was arrested in 2006 for his work exposing the government's use of coercive family planning and violent force in efforts to enforce the "one child" policy.  Today, Chen remains under strict house arrest and there are serious concerns about his health.  No on is allowed to see him and his case has been raised at the highest levels, including by Secretary Clinton. 

In video shot in the vehicle on the way back to Beijing, Bale looks ill at ease.  He said on camera, "This doesn't come naturally to me.  But this was just a situation (pause) I couldn't look the other way."  "What I really wanted was to shake the man's hand and say, Thank you, and tell him what an inspiration he is."  Further in the video Bale says, "I'm not being brave, doing this.  The local people who are standing up to the authorities and insisting on going to visit Chen and his family, and going and getting  beaten up for it ... I want to support what they are doing."  As Bale also observes, China seem to be terrified of this blind man, which shows an intrinsic weakness in the fabric of the country. 

Shandong province, where Chen lives, appears to be particularly brutal in its pursuit of population control.  Villagers have been known to sleep in the fields to avoid family planning officials.  Recent reports have them stabbing a man to death and forcing two family members to beat each other.  A woman died during a forced abortion at six months of pregnancy.  They have also detained, fined and tortured extended family members of suspected policy violators.

Thanks to the tireless work of other heroes like Reggie Littlejohn and Steven Mosher, the spotlight on China's repressive and murderous government will not dim soon.  Actions like Bale's help intensify public attention on the human rights abuses of the Beijing regime.  So go see the new Batman movie as well as Flowers of War, to support Bale.  And please follow the work of Population Research Institute and Women's Rights Without Frontiers to keep yourself informed.

For further information:

Story and video here:  The Blaze

From Women's Rights Without Frontiers: The Chen Guancheng Report

Weekend Round-Up

In a remarkable feat of Newspeak, Diana Thomas and her World Egg Bank pretend to help solve  women's infertility with the wonders of frozen eggs.  The World Egg Bank has recently expanded into the UK and is working on agreements to include Canada and Australia.  The problem is that these women are still themselves infertile.  They have taken advantage of women who are often mis-informed about the risks of egg donation, sometimes thinking it is nothing more risky than a simple medical procedure.  All for the sake of creating the illusion that they are mothers in a way adoptive mothers are not. 

And what do these children do when they find out later in life that their social dad is not their biological father?  For that story, see the newly released, Anonymous Father's Day .

This week, many activists and supporters of religious liberty were biting their fingernails until Congress did the right thing and re-authorized the USCIRF.  The 11th-hour reprieve, however, shows that neither the Democratic leadership in the Senate or President Obama are entirely serious about supporting the work of the Commission (it had been set to pass by unanimous consent until it was held up by the 2nd highest ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of IL).  Add to this the State Department's new directive to elevate LGBT rights as a foreign policy priority, it will increasingly fall to NGOs and citizens to keep the spotlight on religious persecution around the world.

Here the work of Open Doors becomes even more important. On January 4, 2012 they will release their annual Watch List in which countries are ranked according to the intensity of persecution within their borders. North Korea, the often forgotten closed and brutally repressive regime, has topped the list for the last ten years.  Iran and Afghanistan are near the top as well.  In the past year, there have been 300 confirmed martyrs in Nigeria alone.  The figures for North Korea are likely worse but are not known with any accuracy because of the tight restrictions on information flowing in and out of the country. 

International Justice Mission has a number of job openings.

Alex Perottet at Crisis Magazine talks Nunsense about the Pill.  Well, he doesn't write nonsense.  Instead he illustrates the false claims being made in an effort to make birth control truly universal.

The Heritage Foundation has a nifty resource for candidates in its Candidate's Briefing Book.  It covers a wide range of topics with suggestions for policy initiatives and resources for additional information.  One glaring omission, however, is the issue of abortion.  With a presidential contest where Republican candidates are seeking to oust the most actively pro-abortion President in history, a glance through the sections on "Family & Religion"' and "Healthcare" plus a search using two different page formats turned up not one single mention of abortion.  With that noted, it looks to be an excellent resource for both candidates and voters.

With so much seriousness around us here, I want to end on a happier note.  I mentioned this gift from God in last week's round-up but included a photo of a different child with Down's syndrome.  Last week's photo was a reminder about how many babies don't survive long after prenatal testing comes back with a diagnosis of Trisomy 21.  Their lives end in abortion.  We have lost an untold number of treasures because of something that can only justly be described as the practice of eugenics.  But little Taya Kennedy was blessed with a mom who treasured her.  And now she is the darling baby supermodel taking the modeling world by storm.  In closing this week, I give you model extraordinaire, Taya:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Round-up

Sigh . . . . . . . . .

As I begin this post, yet anouuuuuuther Republican presidential debate is on.  Whoopie.  Do we expect any big surprises at this point?  There is only one surprise I am hoping for.  If you follow me on Twitter, you likely already know what it is.  If you don't, well, it doesn't involved either front runner.  In a few weeks we'll know if the grassroots-groundswell that appears to be building is real.  If a certain back-in-the-pack candidate doesn't place at least a strong second in the Iowa caucuses come next month, then I won't be watching any more debates, I'll be contemplating whether I can stomach voting for the Republican nominee or casting about for a third party candidate.  The one thing I will not do is ever, ever again cast a vote for any candidate running under the flag of Deathocrats.

The National Catholic Register and First Things are both pondering the fight for religious liberty/rights of conscience in this country and why Catholics so often feel alone.  Are Evangelicals AWOL?  Yes and No.  The problem, as ever with the continually fragmenting Evangelicalism, is that there is no unified voice.  No Evangelical/Protestant equivalent of the USCCB.  So the question is, can we unite behind Chuck Colson or do we need to get behind the already ecumenical Manhattan Declaration group?  I don't know.  But I know we have to take the question seriously.

Ed Driscoll has an interesting piece on, The Closing of the Barackian Mind

Jody Bottum contemplates the End of Canterbury ?  I hate to tell him, but it ended back in 1976 when TEC authorized women's "ordination".  What we are watching now are merely the death-throws which are likely to be accelerated by the early exit of the Druid of Canterbury.

George Clooney keeps on doing the job President Obama and Secretary Clinton should be doing.  This week, he's highlighting Starvation as a weapon of war.  When will the United States, under Clinton and Obama, take effective action against Bashir and his criminal regime in Khartoum?  Don't hold your breath.

This week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unexpectedly did the right thing in blocking the FDAs plan to make "Plan B" available over-the-counter without a prescription to minors. Yeah, like pimps and sex traffickers were cheering that move.

With the recent news about a less invasive and more accurate prenatal screening test for Down's Syndrome (a mere blood test which is 98% accurate), the threat to the most vulnerable among us, those deemed as "life unworthy of life" is more serious than ever. Would we have missed this treasure?

Speaking of percentages and those with Down's Syndrome:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I no longer follow you on Twitter

I spent 25 years in health care.  I read a ton of alternatives AIDS theory literature, I am an advocate against sex trafficking, I am against abortion, I am Whole Life, I am an Uber Anti-Feminist.  In short there is little that disgusts me or frightens me.

Except snakes. 

And one is not fond of the number of I's in that first paragraph but there it is.

There are also very few things I won't tolerate or block out simply because I find them unpleasant.  But one thing is unnecessary and serves to coarsen out society.  You don't need to re-tweet some liberal idiot's name-calling and profanity to prove what a great and important person you are.  So if you do, you'll find one less follower in your twitter ranks.

Dead Aid: Quick Take Review

Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo

Moyo is an economist who has previously held positions at Goldman Sachs and the World Bank.  She knows her stuff.  She is also a native of Zambia.

The book is both an indictment of Western paternalism and an optimistic look towards real solutions to the problem of Africa.  The first part of the book reviews the history of aid to Africa and why it (largely) has done more harm than good.  The second part takes a look at several ways in which not only African countries can help themselves, but how the developed world can help them do it.

The single best action is to stop the aid pipeline.  Moyo shows what many of us have long realized - that the way we help Africa more often lines the pockets of corrupt rulers and their families than it does lift the average African out of poverty.  Giving African countries a deadline for their loss of aid is the first step.

The second step is African countries getting up on their own feet through tools like innovative uses of microfinance, accessing global capital markets, foreign direct investment, incentives for changed behaviour and reframing trading agreements and tariffs.  It won't be easy.  Some African rulers have found the aid game a bit too lucrative to want to let it go.  And western do-gooders will take some convincing to stop handing out the dosh like candy on Halloween.  But, unless we really are racist and think Africans cannot learn a great degree of aid-independence, we must move in the direction Dambiso Moyo points us.

She's not the only voice out there telling this story.  She is, however, one with the wisdom of both worlds.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let the UnCelebration Begin!

According to my Twitter feed, Ms. Magazine is gearing up to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Now, I'll be honest and admit that I think I have purchased and read all of one issue of the rag in those forty years.  I didn't think I needed to know anything more than its name and that of it's foundress, Gloria Steinhem.  I still think that's all anyone needs to know about whether or not to subscribe or celebrate its forty years of existence.

So I am engaging in an UnCelebration and inviting you to join with me.  The goal is to give $40 (or more) to an organization opposing the the agenda of feminism and Ms. Magazine.  Instead of celebrating 40 years of an anti-woman agenda, I want to celebrate and encourage organizations and individuals that celebrate, support and act as advocates on behalf of women's real equality, rights and protection.  To that end, the first organization I am making a donation to is:


Concerned Women for America is the largest public policy women's organization in the country.   Founded thirty years ago by Dr. Beverly LaHaye, CWforA arms women for the cultural battle raging across our land, with the reminder that we protect godly values through prayer and action.  Focusing on six key areas:  the family, the sanctity of human life, religious liberty, education, pornography and national sovereignty, CWforA equips women for prayer and action through local chapters and the work of policy experts in the national offices.  An important part of their work is the Beverly LaHaye Institute, their think tank where my friend, Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, serves as Senior Fellow.

I am UnCelebrating Ms. Magazine by making a donation to CWforA because godly women know prayer precedes action.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Round up

Once known as the breadbasket of a greater Russia, Ukraine is fast returning to the position, this time as the breadbasket of Europe.  Home to a large percentage of the world's richest type of soil, Ukraine's potential for agricultural expansion is promising.  But that won't happen if its current political problems, as explained here by George Weigel, aren't dealt with.  That is a distant hope because Ukraine has had its troubles since the collapse of the Soviet Union where it was one of the last places to find statues of Lenin untumbled.

Courtesy of the Art of Manliness, instruction on the perfectly prepared egg.  According to the fictional gourmand, Nero Wolfe, low and slow is the only way to make scrambled eggs.  He is right, of course, but better an imperfect egg than no egg at all, I say.

Ancient Faith Radio hosts podcasts from Frederica Mathewes-Green, everyone's favorite khouria.

Kathryn Jean Lopez gives us a reminder that there is something worth occupying, The Good Life.

Jim Tonkowich on Recovering the Lost Meaning of Marriage.

Ryan Anderson on the insufficiency of social justice theories that ignore Human Flourishing.

As the world anticipates the arrival of the 7 billionth one of us, an article from Reuters reminds us of the very real and dark prospects of depopulation and an Empty Planet.

Picture of the week, the start of my future legendary status:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekly Round-up

In an article that really hit a nerve with its subject, Sarah Flashing tells us What Biblical Womanhood is Not.  Then, in the latest interview, Evans is demoted from religion to entertainment.  But then, it is sometimes hard to tell what the difference is when it comes to the newly ended project.
 - filed under, THAT hit my last good nerve!

In God & the Genesis of Gender, Folke Olofsson gives us the trustworthy biblical design for man and woman.  You should read it and be blessed by these words of wisdom from a man who has lost more than most of us can know, and for simply holding fast against Swedish, ahem, progress.  You know, the kind of enlightened progress which forcibly removes a child from his parents and then prevents them from seeing him, all for the unforgivable crime of homeschooling him.
 - filed under, Intolerance, what intolerance?!

At turns funny and bittersweet, Jennifer Fulwiler reminds us of the things we are losing when we Redefine Marriage.  You might be surprised at the shared culture and wisdom we are losing.  Fulwiler is my favorite new (to me) blogger.
 - filed under, You used to do what?

SAHM Simcha Fischer cleans up after Amanda Marcotte's exploding head.
 - filed under, And you think MY brain has turned to mush?

And yes, Jennifer Fulwiler is a treasure you should become acquainted with.  The reason the Apron is the ultimate symbol of a culture of life is because the, "work of serving other is messy. Life is messy."
- filed under, I think it's time to expand my collection

Picture of the week (it really does explain quite a lot):

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Focus: Church Alliance for a new Sudan

It seems Sudan is never far from the headlines.  Darfur is probably the most well-known of the regions and most heartrending crisis in the American imagination.  For as long as I've known Faith McDonnell one region or another of Sudan seems to have been in the news.  The majority of these conflicts have been some variation of the Arab/Islamist rulers in Khartoum (or their proxies, such as the Ugandan LRA) waging war on Black Africans (who are primarily Christian or Animist). 

The world community pays little attention to these conflicts until a celebrity like Bono of U2 takes up the cause.  But those of us who are acquainted with Faith know that she is always on top of it, rarely misses a protest outside of the Sudanese Embassy in WDC and is tireless in her efforts to mobilize churches and their members to press Congress, the President and the State Department to formulate a coherent foreign policy response to Sudan.  This policy must include genocide prevention measures as well as strong support for the new government in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains.

The Church Alliance for a New Sudan, a program of the IRD, has partnered with the Sudanese Church since 1994.  Working with key leaders in Sudan and the United States, CANS assists these leaders with research, draft resolutions and testimony for asylum hearing of Sudanese refugees as well as working to educate members of Congress and the general public about Khartoum's plans to eradicate or convert the nonMuslim peoples of Sudan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekly Writing Reminder

P.D. James lives in the pantheon of the great writers of crime fiction. She is most famous for the creation of Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, who appears in over a dozen novels. One can read her books for both their diabolically clever plots and their cunning insights into human nature. And she possesses a literary finesse rare among genre writers.

5 Bits of Writing Advice
  1. Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.
  2. Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.
  3. Don't just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.
  4. Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.
  5. Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer—however happy, however tragic—is ever wasted.

Baroness James's delightful book, Talking About Detective Fiction, is the best thing I've read on the subject.

Thanks to Gotham Writer's Workshop for the great collection of advice from which this series is drawn.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A conversation? Not so much.

Dear Rachel Held Evans,

I'm a bit confused.  This week on one of your blog posts, you asked the following two questions:

Ever experience blogging fatigue?

What keeps you centered and patient and kind in a culture that seems to reward the most reactive?

These questions seemed to be sparked by criticisms of your Biblical Womanhood project, which criticisms appear to be more prevalent of late.  You also seem to be getting quite a bit of good exposure which should help your eventual book sales - interviews on NPR and the BBC are nothing to sneeze at, as we all know.  So, perhaps your sense of blogging fatigue is simply due to the recent flurry of activity and attention, which has been both positive and negative?

Nevertheless, you frequently express the wish to have a conversation.  Even a better conversation. So I responded to those questions with a bit of past and thoroughly unpleasant history of mine.  I couldn't help thinking there is probably more negative feedback than things like this which we've seen on the Internet.  All the same, I seriously doubt that you have had someone try to get you fired from your one job and only source of income, as has happened to me.  I also doubt that you have been threatened with physical violence of a particular sort, as you now know I have.

I hope then, that you will forgive me for being confused given the above, as to why you would not only delete my comment but then prevent me from making any further comments on your blog.  You, and everyone who knows me, already know that I stand immovable against the feminism you promote in the church.  But why should that prevent us from having an honest and frank conversation?  Pushback and tough questions build strength and assurance.  This is something to which I have deliberately subjected myself because I know the surety and deep strength that result from not just asking questions myself, but from being challenged by the tough answers and sometimes tougher questions that come in return.

Questions and conversations can be the way to true faith.  But with St. Augustine, we must recognize that we cannot seek to understand in order to believe.  On the contrary, we believe in order to understand.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the Mad Genuis of Mirth: Princess Bride Reunion

This was worth watching George Stephanopolous:

Monday Merriment

Since it's past midnight over on the Atlantic coast and I was hoping to get some reading done before bedtime arrives - and - since Friday Focus was late, I figure it's appropriate that Monday Merriment comes a bit early this week.

This little ditty has a classic in the making "Who's on First" feeling, but needs a few more responses to make it really zing.  ht: Silouan

Friday Focus: The Vice President Understands 15,000,00 Pigs in the Slaughterhouse?

Several weeks ago the Vice-Gaffer said he "fully" understood China's One-child policy.  Horrible and stupid and ignorant and just plain evil as that was, I couldn't gin up the excitement to say much about it at the time.  When it comes to abortion we already know Mr. Biden is a moral troglodyte.  Is this what Biden understands?:

"About one hour later, the van stopped in the hospital. As soon as I was drug out of the van, I saw hundreds of pregnant moms there — all of them just like pigs in the slaughterhouse. Immediately I was drug into a special room, and without any preliminary medical examination, one nurse did an oxytocin injection intravenously. Then I was put into a room with several other moms."

Or this?:

"I could hear the sound of the scissors cutting the body of my baby in my womb. … I preferred to die together with my baby at that moment. …"

Those quotes are from the testimony of "Wuijan", who spoke before the Tom Lantos Human rights Commission of the House of Representatives in late 2009.  During her stay in the hospital for the abortion, which took well over 24 hours, Wuijan was told there were over 10,000 forced abortions in her county, not the country, but just her county alone.  If her county is typical, that means 15,000,000 forced abortions in China a year (there are 1,464 counties in mainland China). 

Wuijan's crime was not becoming pregnant with her 2nd, 3rd or 4th child.  No.  Her "crime" was failing to possess the required "permit for pregnancy"!

One child?  Not without a permit.

Weekly Round-Up

National Review reports on a study published in The Lancet which found that a form of birth control in common use in Africa DOUBLES the risk of HIV infection. (registration required to read The Lancet article)
 - file this under: Ideology trumps science (again)
 - crossfiled under: Could it possibly be more obvious that birth control is bad for women?

In The Pink Ribbon's Dark Side, Matthew Hanley notes that, "Indefensibly, however, most awareness efforts fail to feature some factors known to reduce breast cancer risk: having children, avoiding induced abortions, and refraining from oral contraceptives (OC)." 
 - filed under: Rubicon, what Rubicon?

Discovery of the week: Alfred the Great Society (ht: Fr. Bill) which takes note of the real problem with the Slutwalk , (the negation of female sexuality). And while I disagree with the police officer who told women not to wear short skirts because it made them easy targets - I am equally in disagreement with my blogging sisters who find no connection between the two.  Whatever else it accomplishes, the objectification of women and the general coarsening of society are certain not conducive to reducing the possibility of rape.
 - filed under: Cheap tarts do not a good society make

In a rather unexpected but spot on use of a whovianism, Rev. Richard Umbers makes the connection between Euthenasia, Utilitarians and, yes, Daleks
 - filed under: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Picture of the week (ht: Greg Kandra, the Deacon's Bench):

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Year of the Farce

Today is October 1.  In my cruise around the internet this morning, I realized it is the day Rachel Held Evans gets her hair cut and that the curtain has come down on the farce that was her "biblical womanhood" project.

In the meantime, in homes all over this country -- thankfully, homes that are far, far too numerous to name -- women who will never get the recognition that Mrs. Evans is getting, women who will never be interviewed on BBC, NPR or mentioned on Oprah's blog, women who will ever get an advanced book contract or be featured as the "New Voice" at a Soularize conference, women that you will never hear about from a blog post or a tweet, are wiping poopy bottoms and washing diapers, cleaning spit-up from their Sunday best, making dinner for nine (and that's just her own household) and doing the fifteenth load of laundry for the week while also ironing their husband's work shirts and creating a home for him to come home to that is more than a house and much more than a place where they all lay their heads down at night.

These anonymous women are doing kingdom-building work.  These are the mothers whose children will rise up and call her blessed.  These are the wives whose husbands will praise them, saying they surpass all other women.

The childless Evans has no one who will rise up and call her blessed. Even as a "mother in Israel" or a spiritual mother, she has led those who follow her into rebellion and not repentance.

Here endeth the year of the farce.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yes, I do think there is an Elephant in this room

This explanation of his explanation from James McDonald is nothing short of shameful.  The Elephant Room guys want so very badly to have a conversation with TD Jakes that they want you to pay $99 to watch remotely, that they simply can't bring themselves to admit there is another elephant in the room with them.

As their revised purpose statement has it, the idea of the Elephant Room is that, "the best way forward for the followers of Jesus lies not in crouching behind walls of disagreement but in conversation". 

Teensy problem here.  If TD Jakes is a"follower of Jesus" at all, he is a secret follower who disagrees with his own public teaching.  The problem is not just that Jakes uses what some want to dismiss as merely a poor word choice in his church's theology statement.  He uses classic modalist language.  The members of the Trinity are not merely manifestations (the word Jakes uses), they are separate persons.  There is no getting around Jakes's heresy and for McDonald to attempt to do so by saying he does, "not believe [modalism] represents Bishop T.D. Jakes’ current thinking" is to admit he either lacks basic theological discernment skills or he has had his head in the sand for the last decade and a half.

In brief, Jakes holds his ordination from Higher Grace Always Abounding, a Oneness Pentecostal/Modalist group.  Over the years he has been given repeated opportunities and public platforms to repudiate the heresies of his ordaining body - or - to embrace orthodox trinitarian language.  He has steadfastly refused to do either.  When he responds at all, it is with further obfuscation.

In addition, Jakes has acted as a shill for the execrable TBN, heavily promoted Paula White and is also a dyed-in-the-wool "Word of Faith" proponent.  Given such a stew, there is little hope that he regularly encounters orthodox language, teaching or practice and no reason whatsoever to presume "his current thinking" has changed since his ordination.

Over ten years ago, when Jakes was featured as a headline speaker with Promise Keepers one year, a simple phone call was made to one of their board members apprising him of Jakes' heresy.  I don't know if they heard from more than one person on the concerns about Jakes.  I do know that, squidgy as they could be on doctrinal matters, they had the sense not to invite him back in the following years.

For more on the history of Jake's and the modalist heresy see here and here as well as here and here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joshua 24:15b, Egalitarian Eisegesis Expanded version

But as for me and my house . . wait, family meeting in progress:

Joshua: Matilda, as my co-equal and mutually submitting spouse, I must ask you who we should serve?

Mrs. Joshua: Joshua, don't be silly.  It's the white sale tomorrow morning and I must get in line for the best sheets.

Joshua: Children, I will consult you as well.  Who do you say we should serve?

Akin: Dad, I want to go to that place where they serve your hamburger to you at the chariot window.

Brakin: Do I have to serve?  I'm playing Donkey-pong!

Hartt:  Whatever!

Joshua here again, you Israelites.  I'm afraid our family meeting is in recess.  We simply can't come to a consensus after I have consulted each member of my household.  Since I have consulted them and there is no consensus, I cannot speak for who we will serve.  Sorry, folks.

EEEv commentary on this verse:

Do you really think that Joshua could speak for others in his house on this matter of faith without discussing it with them beforehand? Each person’s faith is a matter between themselves and God, at least according to the Bible.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Herodias Syndrome: Women, Contraception and Priestly Timidity

Herodias knew the kind of carnal shame that is intuitive for women, one to which men may well be oblivious.  Like Lady Macbeth, she resorted to violence to force her husband to see her shame.  In the 80 years since the first Christian church body allowed the use of contraception for married couples (Lambeth, 1930), we have seen study after study about the ill effects of birth control on everything from a woman's long term health, to her choice of marital (or not) partners -- extending even to widespread effects on the natural environment because of the flood of hormones being flushed down our toilets on a continual basis.

In the face of this unnatural practice, women are resorting to violence (abortion, unilateral divorce) to place their shame before the face of their husbands and paramours.  And yet our pastors rarely preach on this, our elders rarely teach us about the evils of contraception.  Is it ever mentioned in marital counseling?  Ever counseled against in marriage preparation classes?

Our pastors and elders must not shy away from excising the shame -- for only then can repentance and true reconciliation be effected.

read the original article here.

Evangelicalism: Roy Rogers style (or, Reason #697 for Why I Am Not an Evangelical)

I am sure you will realize which song, popularized by Roy Rogers, I have in mind when you read the following snippets from Rachel Held Evans's blog.  They come from the two-part reflection on her week of silence.  The week was part of her "year of biblical womanhood" project.

RHE, on visiting a Benedictine monastery:

My inner voice was right. Sure I tell the news media I’m an evangelical, but the truth is, I don’t know what I am. I’m a religious misfit. I don’t have a home.


At lunch I confessed to one of the monks, Brother Brenden, “I know it doesn’t work this way, but I wish I could take the pieces I love from each tradition—Catholic, Orthodox, Mennonite, Methodist, Evangelical, Anglican—and cobble them together into a home church.” He smiled sympathetically, but in a way that said, “Yeah,it doesn’t work that way.” 

Kacie wrote, in response:

 I'm cobbling together bits and pieces from here and there. And you know where I end up? As an evangelical. Because an evangelical is undefined. Whereas in all the other corners you clearly know when you're in and out and I'm out because I don't totally agree.... I feel like Evangelical is sort of a Christian who doesn't fit any other boxes. We're the misfits. We don't always like each other because we've all cobbled together our faith differently and we don't fit. Evangelicalism is undefined. I think we sometimes fall into it because no one else takes us.

RHE, part 2 on a Quaker meeting:

As we sat in silence together, I remembered something William James said: “Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest, which co-mingle their roots in the darkness underground. Just so, there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a other sea or reservoir.”

It occurred to me that the distinctions between Catholics at Quakers that seem so pronounced on the outside are but accidental fences in the endless continuum of God’s grace. Perhaps my frantic search for a denominational “home” was an attempt to build fences where there needn’t be any.


I think that ever since our church plant failed, I’ve been trying to recapture the sense of belonging…no, control… I had when I was such an integral part of creating our community’s identity. Now, when I visit other churches, all I can see are the fences—the doctrines, traditions, and idiosyncrasies that rub me the wrong way and make me feel isolated from my fellow Christians.

But the truth of the matter is, I can’t make my own tradition in my own image. I tried that, and it didn’t work. However, I can connect to the Holy Spirit and to the people with whom the Holy Spirit resides at every wayside shrine I encounter along the way. And I can cobble together an eclectic assemblage of favorite hymns, rituals, images, service efforts, and theology to adorn the little sanctuary in my soul.

The point of the Church has never been uniformity, but unity.

Respondent Dustin comes closest to the problem with RHEs imaginary fences:

Yes. In fact, I think that's true for most of us. What do you think is the key to moving past these imaginary fences? And, on another note, how do you tell the difference between an imaginary fence and a REAL fence?     


The problem Evans is unable to recognize is that the fences are real.  Does she imagine the fences around her marriage are imaginary?  Unnecessary?  When was the last time she encouraged Dan to sleep with another woman to explore the unity between people prevented by the imaginary fence of marital monogamy?

I'll eat my socks if that has ever happened.  Why does she imagine God is any less jealous of His church than she is of her marriage?  In fact, marriage is the overriding biblical image of God's relationship with us.  His pursuit of us is woven throughout the Bible:  from his calling Abram to Hosea's marriage to the unfaithful Gomer.  And then there is our establishment as Christ's body, His Bride, and refinement during the Church Age -- at the end of which we will celebrate a wedding feast. 

As Chesterton has reminded us, we ought not go about tearing fences down until we know why they were put up in the first place - nor should we pretend they are imaginary.  Quakers deny the sacraments, Roman Catholics hold a high view of them and the fences between the two groups are very real and proper.  Evangelical churches have a lower view of the sacraments, but even there the communion table is fenced against Buddhists and Zoroastrians.  The fences exist to define what is before us, and instruct us about its significance.

The fences of Christianity are the fences of a playground.  Without them, we run the risk of running into road traffic in our enthusiasm for play. 

**emphasis as in original in quotes from RHEs blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Perhaps it was the Hound of Heaven instead?

Ellen Painter Dollar has been fired from CT

I just have one question:  Who does she think is rejoicing? 

I am certainly thankful that she has one less platform from which to lead innocent souls astray.  But really, if she thinks her firing is a matter for rejoicing, she truly doesn't understand what is at stake here.  Nor does she understand her opponents.

Please Pray for her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weekly Writing Reminder

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Now taking donations!

7    12    9
Gorgeous home in Stillwater, MN is for sale - owned by the founder of Loome Booksellers. 

I wouldn't mind having one of those bathtubs, either!

If it was on the river, I'd be suffering serious envy for the new buyer -- whoever that turns out to be.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

And ZING! right past the point.

Periodically I let the insanity of discussion among "egals" get the better of me and point out that no one, but no one, ever complains that their church prohibits them from scrubbing the toilets, or polishing the pews on church cleaning day or a dozen other menial tasks that don't come with fancy titles, cushy discretionary funds and comfy offices.

I did that this week, only to receive this response:

"I've never heard of a church denying someone the "right" to scrub the toilets. In fact they usually beg for someone to do it and I'm sure they would accept volunteers of any gender."


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Re-Focus: What happened to the prisoners?

"The Soviet regime was persecuting dissidents, but did not destroy them to the end because its leaders were afraid of Western public opinion. But now, Putin is not afraid of Western opinion at all. On the contrary, the West itself is fawning upon Putin’s Russia.

Could a new Elena Bonner appear in Russia now? No. Now she would be shot down like Anna Politkovskaya and many other real dissidents, not supported by the FSB. And there is one more difference: today’s Elena Bonner would never enjoy support from the West."

From the symposium, Russia After Elena Bonner,  read it all at Front Page Magazine. 

ht: Faith McDonnell

Gargantua the Cabbagge was soooo big!

How big was he?

He was so big even the large bowl on my professional Cuisinart required two batches.

Simple Coleslaw Recipe

Weigh your cabbage at the store (easiest)
Chop or slice the cabbage the way you prefer it for Coleslaw
For every 8 ounces of cabbage, add:

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (pref. Bragg's with the "mother")
2 oz raw sliced -or- toasted and chopped almonds
1 T finely diced green onion

Toss, add salt to taste.  It will be better if refrigerated for 2-4 hours but is fine freshly made as well.

On taking the wrong philosophy as your guiding principle

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.  (Robert A Heinlein)

Now I doubt many of our religious feminist friends actually read Heinlein and have consciously taken him as their prophet, but it's hard to deny they have a great affinity for this same philosophy.  Even the gentlest answer, which a wise man once told us would turn away wrath, elicits cries of "Tyranny!" from the feminist faction, as CBMWs new President learned this week.  Goodness, even a simply statement regarding normal human physiology is seen as the marginalization and illegitimate labeling of others.

The wise man also told us not to answer a fool according to his folly.  Chapter 26 of Proverbs is a series of short instructions on choosing the correct weapon.  You do not answer a fool according to his folly any more than you use a horse bridle on a pig.  And while religious feminists may store up a good deal of wrath, the wrath isn't the problem.  Their wrath is only the catalyst that speeds up the rebellion/reaction.  It starts out calmly and rationally, and for those who are not affirmed in their rebellion against he Word, anger, wrath, even rage enter the picture to act as catalysts -- ensuring the rebellion continues.

But for those for whom the catalyst is removed, with God's help, the reaction slows and even ends.  When that happens, the distortions caused by the accelerating reaction disappear and things can be seen more clearly.  What had been seen as oppression and tyranny becomes known as protection, the blessing and discipline of pastoral care that frees one to play on the plateau of Christian orthodoxy without cowering in the middle because you fear the cliff edge. 

Fences turn out to be not so "oppressive" after all.

Friday Focus: Remember the Prisoners

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves are also in the body.  (Hebrews 13:3, NASB)

I still remember a day in January of 1995 when I was standing on the little balcony of the apartment where I was staying in Donetsk, Ukraine.  It was one of the rare moments that week when sunshine broke through the grey clouds.  In the distance to the left, was a veritable forest of those large, ugly apartment blocks built in the soviet era which would depress even the sunniest of personalities.  Ahead and to the right was a forest of deciduous trees, most likely ash, which added an atmospheric coldness to the physical coldness of the day.  Across the road from the campus was a large brewery which was defended by an 8-foot high stone wall topped by rolled razor-wire and "guarded" at intervals by large and fierce-looking black crows.  The windows of the main brewery building were darkened and announcements in Russian were periodically barked out of external loudspeakers.

In all, the physical surroundings of the campus provided an atmospheric reminder that only a few years before, there was no Christian oasis in the area and the campus itself was the home of a Komsomol (Soviet Youth Organization) Camp.  Such atmosphere wasn't the only thing working to remind us how privileged are even the poorer folks in the West.  We had also been reminded of the stark reality some Christians had faced in the former Soviet Union when we visited a church in Donetsk that met in the building that was formerly the local KGB headquarters.  What had been an interrogation room had become a room filled with clothing donated by German Christians.  An office had been converted to a small radio broadcasting operation and the main hall was now a sanctuary for Christian worship which, even on that cold and grey January Sunday morning, was so full that some worshippers stood out in the hallway for a 2 1/2 hour service.

But the most saddening reminder of how materially privileged we are in the West came in the form of a warning:

We are praying for your persecution

The reason some Christians who have suffered persecution under the thumb of repressive governments, and the brothers and sisters who are even now so suffering is that they fear we have forgotten them.  We don't write to them, don't give nearly enough and, I suspect, they can sense that we are not praying for them.  We have forgotten that we are a Body, adopted into Christ.  We have forgotten the Christians like them who are hidden from our view much like we forget about the existence of our gallbladder, tucked up under our equally forgotten liver, until it causes us discomfort.

That was fifteen years ago, and depending upon your vantage point, it doesn't look like much has changed.  September 11, 2001 has proven to be little more than a blip on the radar.  It may have been a wake up call that some still look back to but we appear to have hit the snooze button.  More than once.

So this is a teeny little reminder that the hidden parts of the body need attention even when we don't receive constant reminders of their existence.  Isn't it funny that even when we receive national reminders to pray in splashy events such as the National Prayer Breakfast and the National Day of Prayer, we make more fuss over the high school student who was told not to pray when he gave his graduation speech than we do over the abortuary across town where our next generation is routinely executed?  And when have you ever heard someone at a National Day of Prayer Rally remind us to pray for our brothers and sisters in chains as if we were in chains as well?

I sometimes think material comfort is the greatest enemy of body life.  Our wealth has created chains that are harder to break than the strongest prison chains made by a jailer. 

The Scripture at the top of this post is linked to the website for IDOP, International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  You'll learn about the organization and how to pray for the persecuted, you'll read testimonies and learn about the resources available to you.  If you would like to get your church involved, be sure to visit their resources page.

But most of all, don't allow yourself to think it is a special day celebrated on the second Sunday in November.  The privilege of praying for our brothers and sisters in chains, praying as if we were chained up alongside them is something we celebrate every day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trailing Chum and why some men still won't hit a girl

"The interview with Dr. Moore was worthwhile. At least he presented a better, kinder, gentler complementarianism. The problem is that there is still no bend to the position; it is as legalistic and hidebound as Phariseeism, if more kindly put."

When Dr. Russell Moore's interview with the palterers* of Molech Today's womyn's blog  was published on the very same day he was elected president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I was a bit worried. When I read the interview, I was even more worried. I posted a link to the interview to my email group, using the following question as a subject line:

Why does CBMW bother?

I was taken to task by several, including a friend of Russ Moore's, for being unfair and too harsh. Referring to my experience on both sides of this battle - and as far as I have been able to determine my experience is utterly unique - I said I didn't think I was being harsh at all. In fact, men previously associate with CBMW had resigned their association with the group over what is seen as kidd glove treatment of their feminist opponents. In a response to one of those gentlemen in the email group, I wrote the following (edited for typos):

I don't know how Moore can even think that they are not about destroying Scripture when CBE publishes bloggers that deny the Trinity, slander CBMW-ers on a regular basis (claiming they support, enable and encourage wife-beating), and profess to worship "godde". I've watched seminaries, parachurch ministries, denominations and the publishing industry fall like dominoes over this. Then there is also CBMW's inexcusably glowing obituary for Cathie Kroeger - a woman who had dedicated the last decades of her life to destroying Scripture and who giggled about her scholarly shenanigans as well!

The Egalitarians will smell blood and go in for the kill. I know I would have. And God knows what will or will not be gained, though I may never know.  . . .

But Dr. Moore is a gentleman, even a Southern gentleman, and knows better than to hit a lady.  I do rather hope he never forgets that, but I wish he would also grant that there may be a time to take that same lady (read: religious feminist) by the shoulders, sit her down and impart a few home truths about what she is doing to Holy Scripture.  Because it only took a few days to show I was right in my assessment that the feminists would see this interview as a moment of weakness.  You can't win by gentlemanly discourse, and you can't show weakness in the face of an opponent who seeks your death - just ask the State of  Israel what those "land for peace" deals have gained them.

The quote at the top is from the discussion thread following Moore's interview, written by a feminist pastor.  As Irenic as Dr. Moore was in that interview, he is still seen as a legalist and a pharisee.

So, I'll ask it one more time:

Why does CBMW bother?

*look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's

Her.story, a fuller response

My friend, Sarah Flashing, has published her article on narrative ethics and its use over at Molech Today's women's blog:

The Moral of the Story , , ,Is there One?

She explains narrative ethics and shows how particular proponents of that philosophy have influenced Ellen Painter Dollar.  It's a good primer on an increasingly influential philosophy.  So go read it.

I'll tease you with the conclusion:

While God sent his son to pay the debt for our own sin, each of us entered into his story of redemption. But even within the story, God has provided moral guard rails, principles, that help us to become more like him and even protect us from the every day consequences of sin. The narrative ethics of Ellen Painter Dollar appear to be more interested in the experience of the story rather than the moral of the story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aww, look at the cute little goats playing!

The Monday Merriment feature is on hold this week.  I don't want to laugh.  I want to cry, to weep for the judgment that has befallen us.  Honestly, what I'd rather do is find a place with a nice quiet covered patio, a view, a rocking chair and a bottle of 25-year-old single malt (small bottle since I want to be alone for this) so I can forget about the evil in the world, just for a few minutes.

As a friend reminded me tonight, when we reject God's law, judgment falls and people offer their children on Molech's altar.  Under the guise of listening to people's stories and a new system of ethics called, "narrative ethics", we have tossed out God's moral law and substituted our own judgment.  The goats are in among the sheep, pretending to be so nice and kind and such very good listeners. And we are offering our children on the altar of Molech - only today Molech wears a white robe and performs the sacrifice in a sterile environment, hiding the blood from all.

Weep with me, will you?

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.  (Matthew 25:31-33, NASB)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Too horrified to weep: Molech Today's Priestess

The gals over at Her.whatever have been discussing "narrative ethics"  which turns out to be an odd sort of amalgamation of situation ethics and post-modern "what's true for you may not be true for me"ism.  The trouble with such folks as the blogger is that the more they clarify and engage the discussion, the deeper the hole they dig for themselves.  Ellen Painter Dollar should have been banned from the electronic pages of CTs website a year ago when she wrote this dispassionate re-telling of how she directed the medical murder of three of her children:

PGD is in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with the added step of genetic screening. Only one of four embryos tested negative for OI[a genetic disease she carries] and was implanted, but I did not get pregnant. (We eventually conceived both our second and third children naturally; neither of them inherited OI.) We had the other three embryos destroyed.

The sub-title of the article is, "Christians need much better resources for ethical and theological reflection."  The problem is, Mrs. Dollar (in her latest her.whatever blog post), wants to turn to a bastardized sort of situation ethics in which we may choose to give, "some moral value" "greater weight than an individual's story."  Which means that the more emotionally wrenching the story, the more manipulative its telling, the more likely it is that eternal moral prescriptions will be tossed out like a week old piece of flounder. 

Oh, it is certain that Dollar will object to this characterization, as she already has in the comments on the blog post.  But her closing response in the comment thread puts the lie to that objection.  You see, she doesn't believe holding to eternal moral principles provides a safe space for our story telling.  If that story telling includes her deliberate omission of the moral status of the embryo because, "the moral status of embryos is, for me, not the central issue with reproductive technology", there is little doubt she would think a conversation bounded by eternal moral principles a remarkably unsafe place to tell her story.

On the contrary, such a place bounded by the unchanging word of God provided in Holy Scripture, the moral precepts the church has given us and held to for 2000 years, the weight of that tradition -- is the only safe place.  It is the only place that will prevent Ellen Painter Dollar, you, I and everyone else from careening into the abyss while telling our stories.