Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow

Repentance Made Vile

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

Repentance is a gift that can be given to individuals, but it is not limited to that. When reformation and revival break out, and it the genuine article, it is because that same gift is being given to crowds. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance, and all of Judea turned out to hear him (Matt. 3:5). Jesus was exalted to the highest place in order that repentance might be given to Israel (Acts 5:31). In short, what God does in and for an individual heart is something He is fully capable of doing for an entire generation.Vile

There are two enemies of such repentance. One is the insolence that wants to continue to pursue the wickedness in question, whatever it is. Think Planned Parenthood, NAMBLA, and so on. The other is a disapproval of the open forms of wickedness, a disapproval that wants to manage its way away from the cliff edge by means of reasonable reforms. This is the approach that laments having to choose between Hillary and Trump in the coming election, but it never dawns on such a person to consider that we should repent of being the kind of nation that deserves to be saddled with such a choice.

But true repentance is a root and branch affair, and it is either happening or it isn’t. And when it happens, the “tell” is that the name of Jesus is being preached and exalted. There is no such thing as secular salvation. So for those who long to see true repentance given to our nation, both forms of avoiding it are equally problematic.

An unrepentant America necessarily has to see repentance as the adversary. But in order to see repentance as an adversary, it must be cast as some awful thing, some sort of wicked thing. Repentance itself must be made vile.

What could be more obviously good than repentance? How could it possibly be made vile? Let us not underestimate our adversaries. When lying is your native tongue, the sky appears to be the limit.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is. 5:20).

When a generation has gotten to the point where they are willing to call evil good, they do not back down simply because someone points it out. They double down. They lie. They twist everything completely around and say that you are the one calling evil good. And they will continue to do this unless and until God gives His sovereign, inexorable, unstoppable, tsunami-like gift of repentance. This will happen when God takes up the little burning embers of their lies, has an angelic helicopter pilot fly them a couple hundred miles out over the Pacific Ocean of watery truth, and tells him to drop them all in.

Let me give just two examples of how repentance can be made vile. Obviously many more things could be said about both examples, and might need to be, but the outline of both instances is clear to me.

First, our congregation here in Moscow contains a registered sex offender, for whose sake we have taken a pounding over the years. Maybe you’ve read about it somewhere, and some of what you have read is even true. But the reason we have taken that pounding is because—like every other member of our church—he has professed repentance. All he would need to do to make all the intoleristas lay off him completely is to start wearing a dress and lipstick, denounce Christ Church for its pharisaism, blame his repressive Christian upbringing for his crimes, and announce the formation of a political action organization devoted to opening up Idaho’s bathrooms to every kind of perversion. If he were to do that, there would be a statue to his heroism in Friendship Square, and a gig on the Today show.

Here is another example, this one broader and more cultural. In the experience of mankind, slavery has been a ubiquitous and constant institution, everywhere present—Asia, Africa, Europe, China, everywhere. I am painting with a broad brush here, but that is all right—for I am painting the side of a barn. During the course of the 19th century, one civilization developed a moral revulsion against slavery and eliminated it, all over the world. Sometimes this was done in wisdom, and in other times and places it was not. But it was nevertheless done. That one civilization was Western civilization, the only civilization ever to declare a universal war on slavery as such. The reward for this liberating activity is that Western civilization is now held to be uniquely responsible for slavery, and it is held to be a distinctively white crime.

File this under the heading of “no good deed goes unpunished.”

But such inversions are just temporary. In line with what I outlined above, the contradictory and insane attempts to marginalize repentance as the real wickedness are vanity itself. For repentance is the gift of God, and the gifts of God are irrevocable.
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Jesus the Game Changer – DVD Series now available

We are excited to announce a partnership with Olive Tree Media to bring you Jesus the Game Changera 10 part documentary series on how the life and teaching of Jesus changed the world and why it matters.

Jesus the Game ChangerJesus Christ has made an indelible mark on human history and He continues to do so through His followers. Yet many people do not realise that the values western democracies are built on originate in the life and teaching of Jesus – including:

  • The equality of all
  • Servant leadership
  • Care for the poor and marginalised
  • Dignity of women and children
  • Education
  • And others…

In this small-group DVD series, host Karl Faase travels to the US, UK, Australia, Singapore and India interviewing over 30 authors, speakers and modern-day game changers on these topics and more to examine in depth the impact Jesus has had on western culture.  Guests include top thinkers and cultural commentators; Eric Metaxas, Christine Caine, John Ortberg, Rodney Stark, Rico Tice, Mary Jo Sharp and many others.

WATCH TRAILER

SHINE TV SCREENING

Thinking Matters is proudly sponsoring a screening of this series on Shine TV on Tuesdays at 8pm – starting Tuesday 6th September 2016.

After each week’s episode we will publish a blog post on our site where you can discuss the episode with others.  Visit www.ThinkingMatters.org.nz/GameChanger for the latest post during the screening.

PURCHASE NOW

We are selling copies of the full series on DVD on our online store.  Click here to purchase.

Note stock will be arriving on the 6th September when the Shine TV screening starts – so your order will not be shipped until then.

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Daily Devotional

The Message of Creation

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:22–23)

John Piper

It would be a great folly and a great tragedy if a man loved his wedding band more than he loved his bride. But that is what this passage says has happened.

Human beings have fallen in love with the echo of God’s excellency in creation and lost the ability to hear the incomparable, original shout of love.

The message of creation is this:

There is a great God of glory and power and generosity behind all this awesome universe; you belong to him; he is patient with you in sustaining your rebellious life; turn and bank your hope on him and delight yourself in him, not his handiwork.

Day pours forth the “speech” of that message to all who will listen in the day, speaking with blindingly bright sun and blue sky and clouds and untold shapes and colors of all things visible. Night pours forth the “knowledge” of the same message to all who will listen at night, speaking with great dark voids and summer moons and countless stars and strange sounds and cool breezes and northern lights (Psalm 19:1–2).

Day and night are saying one thing: God is glorious! God is glorious! God is glorious!
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On-Line Schools

Empowering Parents A Little Bit

The New Zealand government has thrown a monkey wrench into the vast state school engine.  At the drop of a hat, out of left field, the Ministry of Education has incorporated on-line schooling into the system.  If the media’s reporting on this move reflects accurately the response of the educational establishment, it has been condemned swiftly, unequivocally, and universally.

Basically, it will involve education providers being allowed to instruct and teach kids via on-line media.  The providers will need to be registered with the State and doubtless their educational offering, processes, and disciplines will be subject to the Education Review Office–which currently inspects all registered schools.

The Minister of Education, Hekia Parata had this to say:

“This innovative way of delivering education offers a digital option to engage students, grow their digital fluency, and connect them even more to 21st century opportunities.  “There will be a rigorous accreditation process alongside ongoing monitoring to ensure quality education is being provided.” [NZ Herald]

But it turns out that on-line learning is a very, very bad idea. It takes pupils away from the institution of the physical bricks and mortar school.  That, apparently, is terrible.

NZEI (union) president Louise Green said the experience of online schooling in the US was “woeful”.  “All the evidence is clear that high-quality teaching is the single biggest influence in-school on children’s achievement.  Education is also about learning to work and play with other children and to experience both growing independence and a range of activities outside the home.

It is ironic that when government schools are failing, the teacher unions blame anything and everything apart from the quality of teaching delivered by their members.  The problems are anything but the quality of the teaching.  Rather, the causes of substandard performance and results lie with the system, the curriculum, the hapless NCEA mess, the size of class rooms, and not enough government money (always, not enough money).  The poor quality of teachers and teaching is never mentioned as a reason why pupils are not being taught to read, write, and do maths.

But, overnight the unions have apparently had a major change of heart.  Suddenly high quality teaching is the most important aspect of all.   But their suppressed assumption, however, is that high quality teaching cannot take place in a distance education model over Skype or some other technology.

Angela Roberts, another union leader, doesn’t even get that far.  She dismisses the whole on-line school iniiative by trotting out doctrinaire Marxist drivel:

Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) president Angela Roberts said the change would only benefit private business.  “Our students are not a commodity to be traded on the open market…there is no new opportunity created by this. The only advantage is to business to dip their hand in to the public purse.”

Crass ideology has turned Roberts into the most myopic and predictable of automatons.

In the meantime, home schooling has been remarkably successful in terms of its educational outputs. Clearly there are more educationally successful models than the traditional institutional school. Oftentimes home schooling families combine together for social activities to compensate for the relative social isolation.  In addition, the State run national correspondence school has been in existence for decades.  The chairwoman of its Board, Dame Karen Sewell had this to say:

“They will give young people and their whanau the right to choose the education that best suits their needs. Students could choose to learn online or face-to-face, or a mix of both, and have access to a much broader range of subjects regardless of the size and type of school they are attending.

“Many of these young people are referred to Te Kura after long periods of disengagement from education and when all other options have been exhausted,” said Dame Karen.  “Under the proposed changes students, with the support of their whanau or school, could choose to come to Te Kura – or to another COOL (Community of Online Learning) – and continue with their learning programme in an environment which may be better suited to them.”

For our part, we believe in the strong, abiding influence of a learning community.  The ancient proverb says thus: “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another”.  [Proverbs 27:17].  The sharpening of the mind takes place in the exchange between teacher and pupils; but it also takes place in the exchange between one pupil and another.  But, at the same time, this can be a negative influence when it comes to learning.  Iron can also blunt iron.  School communities can be environments which are inimical to effective learning and study.  In such cases–and they are not infrequent nor isolated–COOL schools might offer parents a way ahead.

One of the more hapless responses came from a politician:

 NZ First education spokeswoman Tracey Martin said the changes amounted to a “social experiment”.

The government secular education system has been one vast and relentless social experiment conducted over one hundred and forty years.  It is largely a story of progressive failure.  If Martin were self-aware she would have realised that to criticise on-line schools as a social experiment amounts to an oxymoron.  Everyone else in the educational establishment thinks social experimentation via the education system is what sophisticated education is all about.

The jury is out over on-line schools.  Doubtless there will be failures and successes.  But they have one virtue–on-line schools offer parents some options and choices, whereas at present they have very few.  For the first time, in well over a century, parents will be able to vote on the quality of their local schools with their feet.  That has to be a step forward.
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in case of poverty

marmsky devotions pics August 2016 (27)

Leviticus 14:21-32

Lev 14:21 “But if he is poor and cannot afford so much, then he will take one male lamb for a reparation offering to be waved, to provide reconciliation for him, and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a tribute offering, and a log of oil;
Lev 14:22 also two turtledoves or two pigeons, whichever he can afford. The one will be a mistake offering and the other an ascending offering.
Lev 14:23 And on the eighth day he will bring them for his cleansing to the priest, to the entrance of the conference tent, in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:24 And the priest will take the lamb of the reparation offering and the log of oil, and the priest will wave them for a wave offering in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:25 And he will kill the lamb of the reparation offering. And the priest will take some of the blood of the reparation offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.
Lev 14:26 And the priest will pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand,
Lev 14:27 and will spritz with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:28 And the priest will put some of the oil that is in his hand on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, in the place where the blood of the reparation offering was put.
Lev 14:29 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he will put on the head of him who is to be cleansed, to provide reconciliation for him in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:30 And he will offer, of the turtledoves or pigeons, whichever he can afford,
Lev 14:31 one for a mistake offering and the other for an ascending offering along with a tribute offering. And the priest will provide reconciliation in Yahveh’s sight for him who is being cleansed.
Lev 14:32 This is the law for him in whom is a case of leprous disease, who cannot afford the offerings for his cleansing.”

in case of poverty

This alternative to the former prescribed set of rituals and sacrifices was designed to accomplish the same thing without the high cost. Just like the former rituals, these speak of God’s love for the victim, and Christ’s sacrifice which will provide cleansing and restoration for him and all other victims covered in his atonement.

But this case manifests the fact that God is not so much concerned about his religious ritual as what it signifies. Neither of the sacrifices was a true reflection of the value of Christ’s death on the cross. There is no sacrifice that can truly compare to that. The poor victim was allowed to pay a lesser price for his restoration to the community, but each sacrifice was merely a reflection on the ultimate price — a price no one could afford but God himself.

LORD, thank you for the cross.

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Just the Facts, Ma’am

Reject The Priestcraft Peddled by the Government

How a Formerly Pro-Choice Nursing Instructor Discusses Abortion with her Students

The Torch
Cynthia Isabell

I have been a labor and delivery nurse since 1980.  During my thirty-six year nursing career, I have also worked in medical units and for hospice. Being a nurse has allowed me to be present with people through their early beginnings of intrauterine life, and with others through their last breaths.  It has been an amazing and rewarding journey. Life is precious and life is fleeting, and life should be respected. I am pro-life.

I am also a nursing instructor and have taught obstetrics to hundreds of young men and women, our future nurses.  My students often ask me what my opinion is regarding abortion.  “Are you pro-life or pro-choice?” they ask me.  I do not ask them the same, as I don’t want them to fear that their position might affect how I grade them.

When I answer that I am pro-life, the students often assume that my position is based on my religious beliefs, and so they respond that “you can’t force your religious beliefs on everyone else.” I explain that my argument against abortion is based on the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, and on logical reasoning.

I was not always pro-life.  In the past I considered myself pro-choice.
 During my career I have even assisted with abortions which were considered to be therapeutic, done through inducing labor, and frequently done for Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome.  It is my understanding of human biology and embryology as well as my own experiences with abortion and thousands of pregnant patients which have shaped my current position on abortion.

Without fail, my students ask me the questions that they hear argued in the media. My students ask these questions even though they, having studied biology, human anatomy, and physiology, already know the answers.

They ask, “When does life begin?”  I respond with, “You know the answer to this question.  How do you tell if something, such as a cell, is alive or not?”  The students answer correctly that “living cells grow and multiply.”  And so of course I must remind them of what they already know: that growth and multiplication is exactly what is happening after the egg and the sperm join to form the zygote. Within twenty-four hours of conception the zygote is dividing rapidly into many cells which will differentiate to form different parts of the human body.

Dead things do not do this.  Dead cells do not replicate their DNA and multiply into more cells.  They do not differentiate to become a brain, a heart, the liver, the skin, muscle and bone.  Life begins at conception, when the fertilized egg begins to grow.

The next question they ask is “When can it be considered a human?”  I answer, “What determines whether we are a human, rather than a bird or a zucchini?”  The answer to this is simple and they correctly reply that it is “our genetics, our DNA.”  When the egg and the sperm join, this is the beginning of a new human, with its own set of DNA which also includes hair color, eye color, skin tone, fingerprints, and a multitude of other individual characteristics.  The baby is genetically different from the mother, having only half of the DNA coming from her, and half from the father; a distinct human being.

“So now we all can agree that we have established that abortion is killing a living human.”

Of course, the conversation is not complete without “Why shouldn’t a woman be able to do what she wants with her body?”

“The woman has every right to be in control of and responsible for her body,” I answer.  She has the right and responsibility to use methods to prevent conception if she does not want to become pregnant.  Being in control also would include not engaging in activity which is known to lead to pregnancy, which is sexual intercourse. There are a variety of other, easily accessible methods which can be used to prevent conception from occurring.

“However, once a pregnancy occurs, it is no longer only the woman’s body that is in question, as the baby is not a part of her body,” I explain.  “Tell me how we know that the baby is not a part of the woman’s body.”

The students then explain to me that the placenta and the umbilical cord are what separate the baby from the mother.  This is important, as most people would view the placenta and the umbilical cord as a means by which the baby is connected to its mother and so make the fetus “part of her body.”  While it is true on the surface, a better and more truthful understanding is that it’s the placenta and umbilical cord which separate the mother from the baby and prove that the fetus was never part of its mother’s body.  This is because the placenta and umbilical cord exist precisely because the baby has a different and separate circulatory system from the mother and their blood must not intermingle.  If something happens, such as a traumatic injury, that causes their blood to mix, it can cause serious complications.

If the fetus were not a separate human being but were only another part of its mother’s body, it would not need a placenta and umbilical cord to separate them.  It could simply grow inside one of her body cavities like a tumor without any barriers between the two to protect each of them.

“Now you have established that even though the baby and the placenta are in the uterus, they are not a part of the woman’s body.  And even though the placenta is attached to the uterus, it is no more a part of her body than an earring or a watch is when you wear them.  So now we have determined that the baby is a genetically distinct human, not a part of the woman’s body, and that it is alive, growing, and developing.”

“What about cases of pregnancy that result from rape?” my students then ask.

According to research, 75-80% of women who become pregnant after rape choose to keep their babies rather than having an abortion.  Abortion is not an easy, consequence-free escape hatch.  It is not a delete button or reset switch.  It is an action all its own, with its own implications and consequences.  As such, it cannot undo a rape and erase the pain and trauma for the rape victim.  Abortion is the ending of a human life, a life which is as much the child of its mother as it is of its father.  It is an additional trauma for the woman, and so it compounds rather than ameliorates the trauma of rape.

Women who are pregnant from rape often choose to carry the pregnancy because they recognize that the baby is still their baby despite the circumstances of its conception.  They also feel that having an abortion would be undoing the only positive thing (the baby) that resulted from the rape, as it cannot “undo” the rape.  While abortion exacerbates the pain of the rape victim, many find that having the child is a source of healing for them.

Additionally, many rape victims state that they do not want to punish an innocent baby because of the crime of the rapist.  If they were to do that, they would feel like they were as bad as the rapist.  Victims of rape already suffer from feelings of guilt and shame over what happened to them, and part of the healing process involves releasing those feelings and recognizing that they are not responsible for what someone else did to them.  However, if they become pregnant from the rape and have an abortion, they are now burdened with actual rather than imagined guilt – actual guilt for having committed a crime against an innocent victim – which makes healing tremendously more difficult.  Women who have had abortions report suffering from immense guilt afterwards, and they become more burdened by the abortion than by the rape itself because they now feel like a perpetrator and a worse criminal than even the rapist.

My students also ask, “What about abortion in cases to save the mother’s life?” There are statistics reported that less than 1% of abortions are performed to save the life or reduce health risks of the mother.  This statistic is unreliable because it includes ectopic pregnancies which would not survive regardless because of where the placenta is implanted.  The definition of an abortion is the termination of a human pregnancy to cause the death of a fetus, which is another reason why the removal of an ectopic pregnancy cannot be considered the same as an abortion.  It is not performed for the sole purpose of ending the life of the fetus. This statistic also includes abortions done for the mother’s mental health, because she allegedly cannot handle the stress of a baby born with a genetic abnormality such as Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).  Subtracting “abortions” to remove ectopic pregnancies and those which are performed for preserving a woman’s mental health, we find that statistic dwindle down to zero.  As the Association of Pro-Life Physicians states, an abortion is never needed to save the life of a mother and this argument should not be used as a support for abortion.

The argument that all abortions should be legal anytime for any reason because sometimes it is performed to save a mother’s life does not hold up under further scrutiny.  If you say that sometimes shooting a person can save the life of another, as in self-defense, can you then conclude that it should be okay to shoot people anytime, for any reason?

In the past when I have assisted with abortions, I believed that it was acceptable because I was not actually performing the abortion and I was only taking care of the mother while the physician performed the abortion.  One day, I witnessed a saline abortion.  I watched the baby through the ultrasound as the doctor injected saline solution into the uterus.  Immediately the baby recoiled in pain as the saline started burning its skin.  I started crying and had to leave the room.  Later, when the doctor reprimanded me for my reaction, I told her that the abortion was barbaric and that I would never help with one again.

I continued to care for the women who were having medical, “therapeutic” abortions. With these abortions, the labor is induced and the woman delivers an intact baby which will then slowly die by suffocation.  We wrap the baby in a blanket and the parents often want to hold the baby they are killing and bond with it while it slowly suffocates, believing the lie they were told that the baby is not suffering. There was one that was performed for what were dubious reasons, but the patient and her family were adamant that it needed to be done. I arrived to work after the baby had already been born and had died. I was supposed to take the baby to wrap it to go to the morgue, but I took the baby to another room and held it while I cried.  I never helped with another abortion after that.

When I tell my students this story, it is always with great difficulty and they can tell that it still upsets me to this day.  I can still see that sweet little face of the dead baby.  I am crying while I am writing this, because I helped kill babies.

Although I was personally against abortion and believed that it is murder, I also felt that I could not impose my opinion on others.  I eventually realized that this makes no logical sense.  If I truly believe that abortion is wrong, that it kills an innocent person, and if I understand the facts of science that prove it is murder, then how can I say that it is ever okay for anyone to have the right to make that decision?  That is like saying that I think it is wrong to shoot the guy at the gas station, and I would not do it, but I cannot impose those beliefs on anyone else.  It’s like saying that even though I think it would be wrong to hold a pillow over the face of the stroke patient in the acute care facility, I shouldn’t impose my beliefs on anyone else.

Who do we think we are that we can decide that the preborn baby matters less than any other living human?  Is it okay to kill a person for convenience?  Is this really the kind of society in which we want to live?

I once attended a town hall meeting held by an elected state representative who was strongly pro-choice.  During the meeting she brought up the abortion issue and declared how proud she was of her support for women to have control of their own bodies and reproductive rights.  I thanked her for bringing up the topic and proceeded to explain to her the information I have discussed with my nursing students.  Many in attendance voiced agreement with my statements, and many also indicated they were not aware that the mother’s and baby’s blood do not mix and that the baby really is never a part of the woman’s body.

At this point, the representative told me that not everyone is a Christian and agrees with my opinion and that there is separation of church and state.  I told her that I am a nurse who values human life, and my views are based in biology, human anatomy and physiology, and not a particular religion.  The representative, now entirely frustrated, abruptly ended the meeting.  Afterwards, several people approached me simply to tell me that they had learned a lot and consequently had changed their minds about being pro-choice.

I have come to the realization that Roe v. Wade of 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey of 1992 will likely never be overturned. Abortion is a surgery, it has risks. At the hospitals where I have worked there have been many patients who come to the ER, hemorrhaging and infected after having abortions in clinics. It is obvious from the ruling of the Supreme Court, which undermined the efforts in Texas to improve patient safety by requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as an outpatient surgical center, that the real motivation behind the legalization of abortion is not to protect women from bad doctors and unsafe conditions. Kermit Gosnell, after all, still had plenty of patients.  Neither is the motivation genuinely “for reproductive rights,” as the Left proclaims.  Rather it is, above all, a money making venture.

So what is a pro-life person to do to try to protect the pre-born child from being murdered by its own mother when abortion is legal, easily accessible, and actually applauded as it was at the Democratic National Convention?  I believe we need to become advocates of the preborn through educating people, even if it is one at a time. Every time you can educate one person, hopefully they in turn will educate another about the realities of what abortion is.

From my experiences at the town hall meeting and from teaching my students, I have realized that the majority of people who are pro-choice have taken that position because society has told them that it’s the reasonable, civilized position.  It tells them that there is no logical conflict between being personally against abortion and not willing to “impose” your feelings on anyone else. Their positions have not been well thought-out or researched.  Their positions are based on ignorance at the personal level and trust in a system which they believe to be morally upright and scientifically objective.  However, once people become educated in the facts of biology and fetal development and they think about them rationally, they will more often than not come to change their attitudes towards abortion.

I have had numerous students tell me that they were very comfortable being pro-choice even though they were personally opposed to abortion. They say that after our conversation they realize how illogical that is, and that they are now pro-life. Other students were involved in school debates in which they were told they had to represent the pro-choice side of the abortion argument. This was their motivation for asking me what my position is. They said they were no longer pro-choice and could not argue for pro-choice because now they recognized that it is wrong.

What I’d like you to learn from this if you are pro-life is that you need not be afraid of speaking about abortion and your pro-life position with those who are pro-choice.  The internet is full of vocal and volatile abortion advocates who want to intimidate you into silencing your voice, but do not be deceived into thinking that the majority of pro-choice people will be verbally abusive and hostile toward you.  Most of them are actually reasonable people who can be reached and persuaded by the facts, but you have to be willing to present them with your well-reasoned arguments.

You can find similar opportunities to teach people as I do. Be prepared to answer questions with facts, and be polite and calm.  You, too, can attend town hall meetings held by elected representatives.  Regardless of what party the elected official belongs to, she is there to represent everyone, not just the members of the same party.

Pro-life advocates have been too focused on the legality of abortion – on the supply – and not focused enough on the demand.  I have had patients, who had been planning on having abortions, but developed cramping and bleeding at 16 or 20 weeks and went to the emergency department. They are sent to labor and delivery where we treat them as we do all of our patients, with efforts to preserve the pregnancy. Part of the care includes a lot of teaching about what is going on, listening to the heart beat, and doing ultrasounds.  We talk about their baby and what we are doing to make sure the baby is okay. These women will confide that they had been planning on getting an abortion but now that they have seen and heard their baby and see how much we cared about them and their baby, and treated the pregnancy as being important and special, they no longer want to get an abortion.

We can combat the abortion industry through education, through conversation with our friends and coworkers.  It will not matter that abortion is legal if there is a dwindling demand, if the people have decided that they do not want what their progressive government is peddling.  Our friends and family members and coworkers are listening, so it’s time we start offering a different message than the one that the media bombards them with.

Cynthia, DNP, ACNS-BC, is a registered nurse with twenty-eight years experience working in low and high risk obstetrics, and eight years working medical surgical and hospice nursing. Cynthia has also been a nursing instructor for seventeen years. She holds a masters degree in adult health nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice with a certificate in nursing education.
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Daily Devotional

Make Us Peacemakers

“If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.”  Exodus 22:6

Charles H. Spurgeon

But what restitution can he make who casts abroad the fire-brands of error, or the coals of lasciviousness, and sets men’s souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If such an offender be forgiven, what grief it will cause him in the retrospect, since he cannot undo the mischief which he has done! An ill example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how far we may have been guilty in the past, and to enquire whether, even in the present, there may not be evil in us which has a tendency to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbours.

The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church. Where converts were multiplied, and God was glorified, jealousy and envy do the devil’s work most effectually. Where the golden grain was being housed, to reward the toil of the great Boaz, the fire of enmity comes in and leaves little else but smoke and a heap of blackness. Woe unto those by whom offences come. May they never come through us, for although we cannot make restitution, we shall certainly be the chief sufferers if we are the chief offenders. Those who feed the fire deserve just censure, but he who first kindles it is most to blame.

Discord usually takes first hold upon the thorns; it is nurtured among the hypocrites and base professors in the church, and away it goes among the righteous, blown by the winds of hell, and no one knows where it may end. O thou Lord and giver of peace, make us peacemakers, and never let us aid and abet the men of strife, or even unintentionally cause the least division among thy people.
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The Quickening Vortex

It Was Meant to Be

Angelo Codevilla’s book, The Character of Nations is an insightful volume.  He explores the relationship between the character of citizens, or the ruled, and the character of the regime, and the interaction between the two.

The changing character of people, society, and regimes throughout the West is well known, particularly by Christians, but it remains a staggering event, nonetheless.  The speed at which the character of nations and regimes have changed within one generation has left many people wondering, along with Theoden of Rohan, “How has it come to this?”  What on earth has enabled and facilitated such a rapid change?

Codevilla provides a description of the magnitude of the change–in this case in the United States.  There is little new in his account–but it serves to remind us once more how profoundly the character of Western societies and regimes has changed.

Consider a snapshot of life in New York City.  In July 1994, after lengthy deliberation, the city government decided that a person riding the subway stark naked could be arrested–but only if the individual was smoking.  Whereas an earlier generation of city officials would not have hesitated to protect the community against “indecent exposure”, by 1994 it was difficult to find an official who would explain that concept.  But there was broad agreement among officials that subway riders should be protected against second hand smoke, something unknown to these officials’ parents.  The change from intolerance of public nudity to intolerance of public smoking is just a whiff of what amounts to a revolution in American public life.  [The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prospertiy, Family, and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 2.]

Codevilla’s book was published at the end of the twentieth century, just a few short years ago.
 The changes he described in the nineties have since been surpassed by changes far more extreme and rapid–“homosexual marriage”, transgenderism, terrorism, along with people losing their livelihoods for not consenting to participate in the celebration of homosexual “weddings”, and universities setting up “safe zones” where speech is suppressed to protect students from being exposed to contrary beliefs and ideas, to name but a few.

It is tempting (for the sake of personal comfort) to think of these changes as subject to “the pendulum”.  In this view, change is largely self-correcting.  The societal compass swings one way, then a societal reaction results in the needle swinging back more to align north.    But not in this case.  The changes are far too extreme, far too destructive of human society, far too “root and branch” to accommodate superficial correctives.

One reason for this dire view is the deconstruction of the family.  When the family as an institution breaks down, the state cannot put it back together again, even if it wanted to (which is doesn’t). When the family becomes a broken institutino, human society deconstructs irretrievably, until the society eventually repents and becomes re-Christianised.  Codevilla documents the change in marriage and families–which is now so ordinary and commonplace that no-one gives it a shrug, or a second thought–unless they be servants of Christ.

Or think about this: Very occasionally, a teenage couple would generate a pregnancy, typically followed by a shotgun wedding–a lesson to one and all that, as people sang then, “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.”  Nowadays, the horse and carriage of sex (not to mention love) and marriage are increasingly uncoupled.

Two thirds of black children and one-fifth of whites are born out of wedlock.  If the young man causing the pregnancy is lower class and if he sticks around, he may share in the girl’s welfare payment.  If he is above that, he normally joins in pressuring her to have an abortion, regarding the baby as an intrusion on bigger agendas.  The very term “shotgun wedding” is hardly understood, and the compulsion to marital responsibility that underlay it is generally abhorred.  [Ibid.]

We Christians (and Christian sympathisers–whom Luke would call Godfearers) are not cast down by being called to live in such times.  It is God’s overarching providential government that has appointed us to live in these days of rapid rebellion against Him–and to be faithful to Him.  We wrestle against the Satan and his servants knowing that he has already been cast down and, though it might appear the forces arrayed against the Christ are legion, they are already defeated and in denial.  As Mao would have said, were he a Christian, the forces against us are “paper tigers”.  Christ has already defeated them.

Therefore, though we Christians are realists about the circumstances we face, we are not cast down.  In fact, we are ready to be thrown into prison, or even die for Him if need be.  We remain resolute to play the part and perform the duties required of us in what is a time of widespread rebellion throughout the West against the Lord of the earth.

Our presence on the earth in such days is not an accident.  We have been appointed to live–faithfully–in such times by the King, and He does not make mistakes.  It was meant to be, as Gandalf said to Frodo, and that indeed is an encouraging thought.

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the rest of the healing

marmsky devotions pics August 2016 (26)

Leviticus 14:10-20

Lev 14:10 “And on the eighth day he will take two male perfect lambs, and one perfect ewe lamb a year old, and a tribute offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and one log of oil.
Lev 14:11 And the priest who cleanses him will set the man who is to be cleansed and these things in Yahveh’s sight, at the entrance of the conference tent.
Lev 14:12 And the priest will take one of the male lambs and offer it for a reparation offering, along with the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:13 And he will kill the lamb in the place where they kill the mistake offering and the ascending offering in the place of the sanctuary. For the reparation offering, like the mistake offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy.
Lev 14:14 The priest will take some of the blood of the reparation offering, and the priest will put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.
Lev 14:15 Then the priest will take some of the log of oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand
Lev 14:16 and dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand and spritz some oil with his finger seven times in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:17 And some of the oil that remains in his hand the priest will put on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the blood of the reparation offering.
Lev 14:18 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he will put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. Then the priest will provide reconciliation for him in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 14:19 The priest will offer the mistake offering, to provide reconciliation for him who is to be cleansed from his contamination. And afterward he will kill the ascending offering.
Lev 14:20 And the priest will offer the ascending offering and the tribute offering on the altar. Thus the priest will provide reconciliation for him, and he will be clean.

the rest of the healing

Let’s think this one through. The victim of leprosy has just been found to be healed. His healing has been declared via the sacrifice prescribed, and he has shaved himself, so that all those around him now know that he has been set free from the bondage and shame of the disease. But, now, he must go through a second set of rituals, involving other sacrifices, and a ceremony where the priest anoints him with oil to “provide reconciliation for him in Yahveh’s sight”? This brings up many questions: Why the second set of rituals, if the victim is already free. In fact, why should a victim of a disease have to offer a mistake offering at all, since the disease is not a sin? Why does he need a reparation offering if the damage is already repaired?

Two realities help me to sort this all out. First, all of the sacrifices point to Christ, speaking of what he did for us on the cross. While it is true that the individual worshipper did not catch leprosy intentionally, so there is no culpable sin, it is also true that leprosy and all other diseases and problems are covered by the cross. The leprosy restoration rituals speak to the fact that all sin and shame will be eliminated by virtue of the cross. One day all sin and shame and sickness and sorrow will be eliminated, not because of humanity’s progress, but because of God’s love manifested on the cross, and the power of the resurrected and returning Christ.

The second reality has to do with the former leper. He has been healed, yes. But now he has to return to a society that has shunned him, isolated him because of a disease so repugnant it represented sin itself. The rest of his healing must now take place. He has to be restored to the status of full participant in the covenant community, and this elaborate ritual is designed to help him do that.

Both of these realities are rooted in divine love.

LORD, thank you for loving us so much that you will not only heal us, but you will show us complete and ultimate restoration.

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Letter From the UK (About Self-Righteous Patricians Sneering at the Plebs)

Betraying Brexit

The Revolt of the Elites Against the People

Brendan O’Neill
The Spectator

Why is everyone so chilled out about the threats to Brexit? Why isn’t there more public fury over the plotting of lords and academics and experts to stymie Brexit and thwart the will of 17.4m people? In all the years I’ve been writing about politics, I cannot remember a time when democracy has been treated with as much disgust, with as much naked, Victorian-era elitism, as it is being today. And yet we’re all bizarrely mellow. We’re going about our business as if everything is normal, as if the elites aren’t right now, this very minute, in revolt against the people. We need to wake up.

Every day brings fresh news of the revolt of the elite, of the march of the neo-reactionaries against the mandate of the masses.
At the weekend it was revealed that Brexit might not happen until 2019, because David Davis and Liam Fox can’t get their departments in order, the amateurs. The lovers of the EU and loathers of the blob could barely contain their glee. March for Europe, a celeb-backed, media-cheered chattering-class outfit agitated by the throng and the dumb decision it made on 23 June, spied an opportunity to do over Brexit entirely. ‘[W]e can help delay Brexit further and ultimately defeat it altogether,’ it said yesterday. ‘We can win this.’

‘We can win this.’ The ‘we’ they’re talking about is a minority view, backed by the likes of Bob Geldof, Owen Jones and Jarvis Cocker, yes, but by only 10,000 people on Facebook. And the thing they think they can win is the overthrow of the largest democratic mandate in British history. Can we ditch the euphemisms, please? Can we stop referring to these pro-EU groups and sad-eyed marchers for Brussels as progressives simply trying to keep Britain open and cosmo? Because in reality this is a nasty, elitist political strain, driven by an urge to silence the ignorant people.

At the same time, a gang of peers is plotting to hold up Brexit. Led by Patience Wheatcroft (if you do titles, which I don’t, she is Baroness Wheatcroft of Blackheath, though of course not one soul in Blackheath ever voted for her), these ‘several dozen’ peers want to delay the enactment of Brexit, or what some of us call the people’s will, in the hope of bringing about a second referendum. A chance for us ignorant plebs to redeem ourselves and give the right answer. One of these peers, former Labour MP Oona King, now Baroness King of Bow (‘What?’, asks everyone in Bow), says she wants to ‘scrutinise’ the decision made by ‘the British people’ and ‘bring more facts to their attention’. Turns out the neo-aristocrats are a lot like the old aristocrats, fancying themselves as better placed than the little people to decide the fate of the nation.

Professors are joining the revolt of the elite, too. AC Grayling, the bouffanted atheist, has called on MPs not to support triggering Article 50 because Brexit was a ‘decision by crowd acclamation’ and ‘rule by crowd acclamation is a very poor method of government’. Dumb crowds. Other academics are threatening to quit Britain if something isn’t done about Brexit / the people. As one report puts it, ‘A rising tide of xenophobia [where?] and anti-intellectualism [ie. we’re stupid] following the Brexit vote is making academics think of leaving the country and discouraging others from applying for jobs here.’ What a temper tantrum. The people voted for something we don’t like, so we’re off! And they accuse the electorate of behaving like children.

Then there’s the business class. Sections of it are pumping money into the revolt of the elite. Richard Branson wants a second referendum. The law firm Mishcon de Reya is representing various ‘business interests’ — ie. very rich people — who want to prevent the triggering of Article 50. One of those business interests — Gina Miller, an investment manager — says the people ‘have been fooled’ and now we need ‘better-informed debate’ and another vote. Normally the left would be up in arms at the sight of wealthy folks using their clout to slow down democratic sentiment. Not this time, though, because most of what now passes for the left — from the Guardian to the supposedly liberal expert set — is totally on board with the revolt of the elite, with this polite putsch, with this open war on what the people want.

Among the political class, both Tim Farron and Owen Smith – leader and aspiring leader of oppositional parties – say they will prevent Brexit or call a second referendum. Seeking electoral support by promising to stifle the electorate’s loud, democratic cry of just two months ago? It’s an interesting approach, I’ll give them that. It’s also deeply, irritatingly anti-democratic.

It has to stop. We’re witnessing an explicit use of power and influence to overthrow, or at least water down, the say of the people. It is an outrage. And it’s being made worse by the uselessness of Theresa May’s cabinet, whose constant pushing back of triggering Article 50 gives the impression that it’s a scary, difficult thing to do (which it isn’t) and in the process inflames the anti-democratic ambitions of the new elites. We need to get real, and fast. Not only is Brexit at stake — so is democracy itself. Earlier generations took to the streets to roar against less ugly elitist campaigns than the one we’re currently living through. So why aren’t we on the streets protesting? I’m serious. They might have money and titles and newspaper columns, but we have the masses on our side. Let’s remind them of that.
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