Tuesday, January 29, 2008

barbaro and roe vs. wade

because barbaro is back in the media spotlight and last week was the 35th anniversary of roe v. wade, i am re-posting this post that i wrote a year ago ...
[edit:] in case the youtube link at the bottom does not work for you, you can still get a much less gruesome but very much powerful reminder of what is at stake, take a look at this. ]

in case you missed it, barbaro, last year's kentucky derby winner was euthanized yesterday. if you missed it, you're power must have gone out, and your paperboy must have called in sick.i was literally amazed yesterday, when for over the course of several hours there was a continuous "ticker" running at the bottom of the t.v. screen giving the apparently earth shattering news that barbaro was dead.

granted, i live in louisville kentucky, home of the kentucky derby in the land of horse racing. but as i got online, it was on the front page of all of the major news sites. then as i turned on the television is was on *all* of the major networks. today, it was on the cover of national newspapers.in the span of 12 hours i saw two separate "heart wrenching" stories of how the death of barbaro was profoundly impacting the country. fans in tears. endless flowers, and countless over sized cards expressing condolences.

i have nothing against animals. i would even call myself an animal lover (except for snakes).my best friend from my childhood was my black lab, "buffy". i found her when i was seven years old, and we were thick as thieves until she died after my sophomore year in college. we had to have her "euthanized" after she was hit by a car. old age and a bad leg had made her too slow to run from the cars that she was usually scared of. there was no way for her to recover, her body had been crushed, so we had her put to sleep. and i cried. i was over 20 years old and i sobbed.

i say this to make clear that i understand loyalty and devotion to animals. i know what it is like to love an animal.but yet i do not understand how our country can show so much grief and attention to a horse that was by and large unknown to anyone outside of its owners and caregivers a year ago.here are some excerpts written on the death of this horse :

Barbaro's death is not for the sports pages. It goes on page
one and also Editorial. People who haven't been to a horse
race in their lives feel undone by the loss.

Animals get hurt being what they are. Horses run on stilts for legs.
If horses didn't run on ideal conditions on a race track, they would
try to split the wind on a lumpy field on the other side of nowhere.

The loss of Barbaro's life is unsettling for two reasons. One, we got
to know the horse. We saw him blast through the starting gate, then
shake off that violent encounter, and start running as best he was
able again. We saw him fall. We saw him taken from the track by van.

We followed the surgeries and were gladdened by the rehabilitation.
We saw him wobble from a barn with casts on both right-side legs.
We saw the limp. The appetite. The bright eyes. We saw what was left
of the one hoof, it looked like a peg.

Another reason the loss felt so heavy was because we've
had animals. Few animals are cowards. Some are born sneaky.
But not even chickens are chicken.
jay cronley espn.com

So many people felt a stake in Barbaro's recovery. They imagined
his pain, grimaced each time he faltered, took heart as each day
passed and he was still alive, making painfully slow progress.

The 2006 Kentucky Derby winner's fight for survival was their fight,
a symbol of strength, courage and comfort -- and, more than anything
else, a source of inspiration. He was, after all, winner of the world's
most famous race, in a sport desperate for a superstar...

"Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love," co-owner
Gretchen Jackson said. We just reached a point where it was
goingto be difficult for him to go on without pain," Roy Jackson said.

"It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said
all along if there was a situation where it would become more
difficult for him, then it would be time."

When Barbaro broke down... [w]ithin 24 hours fans across the
country seemed to be caught up in a "Barbaro watch." Well-wishers
young and old showed up at the New Bolton Center withcards,
flowers, gifts, goodies and even religious medals, and thousands
of e-mails poured into the hospital's Web site. The biggest gift has
been the $1.2 million raised since early June for the Barbaro Fund,
money to be put toward needed equipment such as an operating room
table and a raft and sling for the same pool recovery Barbaro used
after his surgeries
- associated press

and now... the contrast:

As we soberly mark the 34th anniversary of the judicial atrocity
known as Roe v.Wade, the sheer number of innocent victims of
that act of judicial tyranny overwhelms our everyday experience.
Even under the most conservative of estimates (and we lack
certainty because we do not have a national, uniform mandatory
abortion reporting requirement), somewhere between 40 and
50 million unborn children have died under this nation’s regime
of abortion.

To put that number in some context, the best estimateis that the
total war dead, of all causes, for all of America’s major and minor
wars since 1775 is 1,329,991 or an amount equal to just one year
of Roe’s infernal tally.

Nikolas T. Nikas ,president and general counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund,
a public interest law firm that advocates for life-affirming policies regarding abortion,
human cloning and embryo research, and end-of-life issues.

i understand loving an animal. i understand people reacting to it. i understand the public display of sadness.what i do not understand, is with as much outcry against the war in iraq, the rising death toll of our troops, and the demands to get out to save lives...i do not understand the relative silence where there should be outrage, grief, and action.

the following is not for the weak or faint of heart. i debated whether or not to even link to it.
but i do so with hopes that these images will spread and help stop the killing of human beings... babies, whose worth is not determined by success on a race track, but by being an image bearer of god.

i cannot stress enough the sensitive nature of this video. it is graphic. it shows aborted children. the only reason i link to it is for the purpose of showing it to those you know who hear abortion and think "woman's choice" with no thought of the death of a human. i am repulsed by the images. but i am more repulsed that what is shown in these images is legal.i strongly advise expectant parents not to watch.a graphic video of the horror and violence of abortion. viewer discretion is advised.

HT: justin taylor

2 former presidents and a novelist = new baptist identity?

former presidents jimmy carter, bill clinton, and crime novelist john grisham will be among those in atlanta this week to discuss unity among baptists.

Carter said he had been praying for a new willingness
among Baptists to come together and even set an
example for other denominations that are on the
brink of dividing over conflicting issues such as the
ordination of gays.

read the full story here

im not sure if the national media will pick up on this or ignore it, but it should be interesting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

stop with the forwards!! -email integrity

i have recently been receiving a ton of email forwards about how america should rally together and stand against a muslim being president, yet another reason not to vote for barack obama.

let me set the record straight...

barack obama is not muslim. in fact...(from CTV)

"I've been to the same church -- the same Christian
church -- for almost 20 years," Obama said, stressing
the word Christian and drawing cheers from the faithful
in reply. "I was sworn in with my hand on the
family Bible.
Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance
to the flag of the United States of America. So if you get some
silly email ... send it back to whoever sent it and tell them this
is all crazy. Educate."

Obama is referring to a debunked chain email circulating
widely on the Internet that suggests he is hiding his Islamic
roots and may be a terrorist in disguise. It says he was sworn
into the Senate on the Quran and turns his back on the flag
during the pledge.

There are some truths in the email's details. Obama's middle
name is Hussein. His father and stepfather were Muslim. And
he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim
country. But he attended secular and Catholic schools, not a
radical madrassa.

though it could be debated whether or not the "christian church"
obama attends is what most people think of when they hear
"christian church" - it is not a muslim organization.
the chicago sun-times reports
Presidential hopeful Barack Obama belongs to the United
Church of Christ, one of the country's most racially diverse
and liberal Protestant denominations -- the first to ordain
an openly gay minister and to call for equal marriage rights
for all people, regardless of gender.

The UCC prides itself as being "out front" on social justice
issues, battling civil rights, women's rights and gay rights ahead of
the mainstream. One Sunday hymnal equally celebrates male and
female images of God.

The UCC was formed in 1957 by a merger of churches
from Congregational, Christian, Evangelical and Reformed
traditions. The denomination traces its roots to Christians
who ordained the first African-American minister (1785)
and the first woman minister (1853).
It's also home to the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, the world's
largest gay and lesbian church. Obama and his wife, Michelle,
are members of Trinity United Church of Christ,
a South Side [chicago] church led by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr...

so obama is not the picture of conservative evangelical christianity, but he is not a muslim.
so now that we are informed, it would be irresponsible,slanderous, and lying if we continue to perpetuate these false facts via conversational gossip at the water cooler,church, or by email.

we don't have to like obama, and we don't have to vote for him. but if we are christians, we are obligated to tell the truth when confronted with error-not pass it on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

getting past the credentials...

any commentary on candidates for the 2008 presidential election should not be considered an endorsement or otherwise.. this is simply an exercise in promoting informed decision making.

mike huckabee, a favorite of many evangelicals for u.s. president, was a former baptist pastor before he was the governor of arkansas. because huckabee has "baptist minister" in his credentials, many evangelicals have hitched their wagon to his campaign. but does simply having held a position mean what we assume it means?

a friend passed along this article [baptists not on board]on candidate mike huckabee and after reading it, i came across this one [the false conservative]. both of them raised my eyebrows because i had never heard much of this information. and i wonder if many of huckabee's supporters have heard it either.

granted, the tone of the articles will be colored by the agenda of the author, but at the most basic level, facts are facts and certain actions of the past do not seem to line up with what assumes from a "conservative" nominee.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the lower case - capitalized...

a while back i was asked by the editor of collegiate magazine, a publiczation of life way christian resources, to write an article for their magazine on blogging.
i just received the latest issue in the mail and saw that it was included. (yes.. they made me capitalize appropriately... but what can you do?)
to read the article, check with your local church student ministry or bsu/bcm to see if they have a subscription to collegiate magazine.
if you or someone you know would benefit from a magazine written for christian college students that includes daily bible studies and articles on missions, culture, and other things, visit here .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

love/ hate relationships...

this past sunday i preached from john 15. in verses 18 - 20a jesus says:

"If the world hates you,
know that it has hated mebefore it hated you.
If you were of the world, theworld would love
you as its own; but because youare not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world,therefore the world
hates you. Remember the word thatI said to you:'A servant
is not greater than his master.'If they persecuted me,
they will also persecute you"

in a time when our churches are scrambling to find the best way to
reach out to our culture,these words from jesus serve as a sharp
reminder that as we seek the lost we need not revert to becoming l
ike the world to do so.

jesus doesnt say that we seek to be hated, but rather if we are living
the life of a follower of christ, the differences will be noticed. and
where we refuse to compromise there will be division and dissention.

we would do well as individuals and as churches to frequently
self-examine ourselves.
do i look so much like the world that they do not notice a difference?
am i trying harder to be loved and accepted by the world than i am to be fully devoted to christ?

this applies in regards to how we *do* church as well. do we seek to be culturally relevant at the expense of fidelity to our message?

this quote from the great (some say greatest) baptist preacher, charles spurgeon rings true:

"I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment
has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much
influence over the church."

if the only difference the world sees between themselves and believers is our sunday schedules then we will have little headway in convincing them of their need for the gospel.

may the lord grant us hearts that burn to love and serve him in a way that does not leave to us the option to seek the love (or approval) of the world at the gospels expense.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

the most pro-abortion canidate ever?

is barack obama the most pro-abortion canidate ever?
read terrence jeffrey's answer at townhall.com here

HT: justin taylor

it is not the purpose of this website to endorse any candidate for president.

i do feel that before voting, one should be informed of the positions held by

those running. for that reason i will from time to time comment on positions
held by various candidates for the purpose of promoting "informed voting".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

what is your church/life known for?

i recently finished a book for pastors on simplifying the way your church does things. based on research and polls over a broad range of churches, the authors found the the most vibrant and biblically healthy churches were those that simplified the way they do things. i gleaned a lot of good information from it.

one of the things the book pointed out was the need for clarity in the church's purpose. it examined different purpose or mission statements of different churches and then asked the churches themselves how clearly that vision or purpose was being lived out and how all of the ministries and programs contribute to meeting that purpose.

at the church i pastor, our purpose statement is:
"pursuing the glory of god through the gospel of jesus christ".

in that we hope to communicate that everything we do is for the glory of god, and that thing through which we channel everything- worship, bible study, and evangelism, flows through the gospel.

after reading this book, i have been more aware of church purpose statements and slogans. not that my church's is the model or perfect, but i find myself when hearing a new mission statement "what does that *mean* ?"

one church's slogan that i hear everyday on the radio is " [so and so church]: where diversity is central".

when i first heard it, i thought it was odd. and as i continued thinking about it, it became more odd. on a secular radio station, you have one small radio spot to tell people what your church is about, and the message is "diversity is central". no mention of god, jesus, or even the bible.

i visited the website and my suspicions were confirmed. the site goes out of its way to make clear that it does not judge (or even think wrongly about) things that the bible speaks clearly about. if you have read this blog long at all, you should no that i do not hate gay or lesbian people. in fact, i have had and do have many friends that i care a lot about who are practicing homosexuals. i would never tell them that they could not come to my church. i would love it if they would attend in hopes that they would obtain the freedom from the bondage of a sinful lifestyle. but i would make clear that to be a church member, certain things are not acceptable, such as living openly in sin without remorse. the same is true whether it be homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness, etc.

we have got to get past the notion that speaking the truth, when it speaks contrary to some one's lifestyle is "mean" or closed-minded. why bother being a "christian church" if we are willing to change the teachings of christianity in order to be culturally relevant?

yes, jesus ate and spent time with sinners. i am thankful for that, because i am a sinner! but when jesus did spend time with those living a sinful lifestyle, his message was not "i'm ok/you're ok, we are just different". it was "go and sin no more". he offered true peace and joy that comes only through a relationship with god, not being accepting of the fleeting impulses of satisfaction that come from sin.

so as christian churches and individual believers, what is our message? though we are fallible and make mistakes, does our overall message invite people to hear, know, and love the gospel, or do we make it easier for people to be comfortable in their sin?