Same Sex Marriage (Part One – The Social Landscape)

Over the past four months we have watched a cultural landslide as one public leader after another (political and yes even pastoral) has voiced his or her support for same sex marriage.  This sweeping nature of this change has been nothing short of amazing.   I’m partly surprised at the dramatic turn.  On the other hand have we not seen this coming for years, even decades?

landslide

Looking back, this is has been in the works for along time.  Here’s the recipe: begin with a little sexual revolution (’60s-70s), stir in a cup full of no fault divorce (’80s), and sprinkle with media half-truths and jokes about being gay, and season with pride marches and corporate posturing.  Let simmer for 10 years.  Next, pour contents onto a hot skillet called American Civil rights and you have a recipe for social revolution.

Socially, we have reached the “tipping point” (to borrow Malcolm Gladwell’s term) where a magical number of a vocal minority have made everyone else feel as though they are now the new minority.   Suddenly, marriage defined as the union between a man and a woman has gone from cool to kill just in one lifetime.  Like bell-bottoms, neon sweaters or the Swatch Watch, what was once esteemed by your peers has now become ridiculed.

I’ve got a lot on my mind.  Enough to get me back into blogging.

But I bet you do too.  I want to end by giving you a couple of questions and soliciting your comments.   I’d love to hear from you on the following questions:

  • How do you feel about the social change that has transpired in our lifetime?
  • Do you think that that approval of same sex marriage is now inevitable in view of recent developments?  How does that lead you to respond?

Please feel free to leave a comment.  Keep it brief and keep it civil.  I’ll post more in a few days.

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Filed under Same Sex Marriage

A Tale of Two Sugeries

This week both my mom and I are having surgery.

My surgery is for my right thumb which I injured waterskiing. I managed to get an avulsion fracture where the ligament must be reattached to the bone. Ouch! I’m thankful to have a good surgeon for today’s operation.

On Friday my mom is having heart surgery on her aorta. You can follow her posts at daveandmarsha.wordpress.com.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tim

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Preaching on Sunday

Hi everyone,

I was just noticing that I haven’t posted to the blog in a while.  Time sure flies.  If any of you are interested I’ll be preaching at Cornerstone Church in Brighton, MI tomorrow 9:00, 10:30 and 12:00.  The text is Acts 26, and the title is “Sanctified by Faith.”

Acts 26:12-18 12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.  13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.  14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’  15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.  16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.  17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them  18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (NIV)

This will be a sermon about the doctrine of sanctification:

  1. Sanctified by faith
  2. Sanctified by the Spirit
  3. Sanctified in our whole person
  4. Sanctified is not a free ride

Come hear about high school reunions, filling balloons, killing wasps, growing 700 lb. pumpkins, and most of all Jesus!

Tim

I’ll try and post the audio later.

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Filed under about God, Spiritual Formation

Happy Birthday Zach!

A one year update

Very frequently in conversation friends make a point to ask, “So how’s your son doing?”  I’m grateful for how people remember him.  Many people tell me how they have prayed for him too.  It also prompts me to give an update here on the blog since so many of you followed his story last May when we discovered and treated his retinoblastoma.

Today, Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, is Zach’s first birthday.  It’s amazing to think that he’s already one year old.  Time sure flies!  Zach is a happy, joyful boy (believe me, he’s ALL BOY–in a house with six sisters, he’s catching on).  He’s almost always smiling when he interacts with us.  He enjoys exploring the world around him–like on Saturday when we took a two hour letter boxing walk turned hike.  Zach is a wonderful part of our family and we cannot imagine life without him.

As you can see from this photo, his prosthetic eye is a beautiful match to his real eye–this photo shows them both off very well.  Thanks to Emily Alberta of Angel Snap Photography.  Thanks also to Greg Dootz, Zach’s ocularist–see Update #5 and Update #12.

What about the cancer?

We thank God that Zach has a 100% clear report up to the present.  When the surgery first happened to remove his eye, the pathology report confirmed that the cancer (which filled 80% of his eye) was fully contained.  It has not grown beyond the perimeter of the eye or down the optic nerve.

Zach has an exam under anesthesia (EUA) periodically.  Sarah and Zach have now gone back to U of M Hospital for five exams where they put Zach to sleep and examine his good eye up close to scout-out any potential cancer.  So far so good.  There’s no trace of cancer in Zach’s good eye.  Thank God for his powerful protection and mercy!

Next steps

The next steps for Zach are as follows.

  • He will continue to have the EUA’s about every 4 months (this first year it was every 2 months, and now they are spacing out more and more)
  • He will begin wearing glasses soon–he has already been fitted for eye glasses to help protect his one remaining eye from any scratches or injuries.
  • He will grow up like normal kids playing in similar ways and learning to see with his single eye.
  • We’ll keep having a medical exam on his eye from now through the end of childhood in ever decreasing frequency (i.e. once per year once he’s beyond 5 or so).
  • At some point he’ll come to understand how he’s different and we’ll help him to understand the implications for him.

By the way if you’d like to read or see all the posting about Zach from this blog in order, click on the tab on the bar on the upper left labelled ZACH.

Thank you to all of you who have left comments along the way.  I don’t always have the time to reply to each and every one, but I do read every word when I approved the comments.

Thanks for praying for Zach, asking about him, helping our family, or whatever you have done.  Today is a great day to celebrate–Happy Birthday First Birthday!

Tim

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Filed under Parenting, Zach

Will the real St. Valentine please stand up?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What does this day mean to you?  To most it is about declaring your love, chocolate hearts, and dinner out.  For children, they exchange brief cards with cute comments like, “Be mine, Valentine!”

There is actually a very heroic story behind Valentine’s day and it doesn’t involve Cupid, Arrow or Chocolate.  Valentine’s Day is named in honor of Saint Valentinus a 3rd century minister of the early church.  (He died about AD 270 and is to be differentiated from the heretic Valentinus (c. AD 140) who was a leading Gnostic advocate.)  St. Valentine was a noble advocate of marriage in a time in which is was forbidden.

This morning I read to my daughters an account of St. Valentinus, a man who resisted the Roman Emporer Claudius II who forbade marriage.  Apparently, Claudius outlawed marriage to be able to conscript more young men into his army to fight off the barbarians who were threatening Rome.  Against the law of the land, Valentinus (himself a minister) performed wedding ceremonies for young couples in secret–how romantic!

St. Valentine was placed in jail, but while there led a guard to faith in Jesus.  According to the story, Valentine prayed for the guard’s blind daughter who received the miracle of having her sight restored.

Valentinus was martyred on the 14th of February around AD 270 (on a Roman Holiday named Lupercalia).  He knew that marriage was ordained by God and when forced with a conflict between the laws of man and the laws of God sided with God.  He was willing to resist and unjust law–even if it costs him his life.

This valentine’s day, I’m praying that my daughters will someday enjoy marriage to godly men, praying for my son that he’ll be a godly husband.  And I’m taking my wife out to celebrate our marriage–a gift to us from God

Thank you Valentinus for taking a stand for God’s first institution among men–marriage.

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Filed under Marriage

HHS Mandate and Civil Liberties

Obama’s HHS Mandate

On January 20th, 2012, President Obama and the Department of  Health and Human Services (HHS) informed the Roman Catholic church that they would be forced to provide sterilization, contraception, and various abortifacient drugs as part of their state-mandated insurance to their employees (Obamacare).  The problem is that this requires a religious institution (the church) to violate it’s conscience thus ceasing the religious liberties it is granted by God.

The Catholic church’s response was clear and firm.  They will not cave in and act contrary to their own conscience.  The response of Bishops has been rapid and well organized.  As as of Saturday morning https://www.stophhs.com/ has already garnered 41,000 petitions to send to the President.

An Inadequate Response

Under the pressure from the public outcry of concerned citizens, faithful believers and even Republican candidates President Obama attempted to quell the fury by holding a press conference on Friday.  There he announced that he has found a solution whereby the employees of the church could be guaranteed health care that includes sterilization, contraception and abortifacient drugs and church based employers would be off the hook.  In his words, “religious liberty will be protected, and a law that requires free preventive care will not discriminate against women.”

Well, Mr. President not exactly.  This still has many problems and complexities that cannot be removed with pleasant platitudes.  A few points should be considered.

As Al Kresta writes, “It is important to remember that a press conference is not a policy. The best that we can say is that the President is now reopening the discussion and he seems to show a willingness to make some accommodations. Nevertheless, again, a press conference is not policy. He shows no awareness of the conscience problems faced by Catholic businessmen, religious organizations that self-insure, or American citizens who, for reasons of conscience, do not want to participate in insurance plans that offer contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.”

Jesus said “wisdom is proved right by her actions” (Matthew 11:19). Consider the fact that President Obama at his speech at Notre Dame said, “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion and draft a sensible conscience clause.” – Barack Obama May 17, 2009.  He has not kept his word at a public address in 2009, we should only believe it when enacted with real policy change.

Civil Liberties and Civil Disobedience

This is more than partisan warfare, what we are upset about is that this is undermining civil liberties.  America was founded on the self-evident principles that “all men are endowned by their creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That a religious institution should receive a mandate from the state is not just an over-reach of public policy it is contrary to religious liberty entirely.  The view of the church is that the church is an institution ordained by God through Christ who does not answer to the state but to the only head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Al Kresta emphasizes,

“The most distressing aspect of this debate is that we are having it at all. Religious liberty is not a gift of the state that is graciously bestowed on us by our political leaders. Religious liberty is what we posses by virtue of our creation in the image and likeness of God.  We will persevere in this fight until everybody’s freedom of conscience is protected.”

Chuck Colson agrees.  His Two-Minute warning this week is worth viewing in totality.  He says that when he and other Christians penned the Manhattan Declaration, he thought that Civil Disobedience was a possible reality on the distant horizon.  Amazingly, through the HHS Mandate, such statist over-reach into the church is already upon our doorstep.  There may be a time (sooner that expected) where Christians must obey God rather than men.  A threat to liberty anywhere is a threat to liberty everywhere.  You should be prepared by having a biblical view of church and state (e.g. Kuyper’s Sphere Sovereignty) and clear convictions ready to speak the truth in love to others and even disobey man if obedience to God requires.

Hypocrites and Hippocrates

Dr. Nigel Cameron, author of The New Medicine, demonstrates that the original creed of medicine, the Hippocratic Oath included the very important phrases,

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

Our modern medicine would do well to return to the principles of Hippocrates.  DO NO HARM!  We have not advanced beyond pagan fore-fathers of medicine.  Unfortunately we have regressed.

You can take action by learning more from the links in this blog post and by signing a petition at

www.stophhs.com or

http://manhattandeclaration.org/

God bless you for learning, taking action, and for praying for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Tim

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Filed under Christ and Culture, Current Events, Limited Government, Take action in politics

The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson

The issue of “tolerance” is a key term in our society today.  It is used to reframe the debate in countless areas.  Somehow, claiming that some one is intolerant has become the unpardonable sin of any conversation or issue.

Dr. D.A. Carson’s new book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, evaluates the inconsistency and incoherence of this view.

This short 5 minute excerpt of of audio on YouTube is worth your undivided attention if you would like to be relevant in dialogue in our society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9PVJlnvVeSM

Also, Monergism is having a sale on this hardcover book that is a terrific deal.  Click here to check it out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue.  Listen to the audio first and then add your comments.

Tim

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Filed under Christ and Culture