Finding The Way

He stops me in the hallway at work–my former teacher, now a colleague. He’s been studying Greek, because, he says, teachers should always remember how hard it is to learn something difficult.
“Where in the Bible does Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”?
“John 14, I think.”
He is especially interested in the word way, not sure if the English translation comes from methodos or hodos. The conversation sparks my own investigation. I’m glad the terms I look up are easy to understand (always a plus when dealing with Greek). Continue reading “Finding The Way”

Seeds of Memory, Desire, Hope

T.S. Eliot called April the “cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.
In Pennsylvania, rain and freezing temperatures dulled white tree blossoms and yellow forsythia early in April, but the lilacs had yet to emerge. Winter’s extension postponed my favorite blossoms. But it was a kindness, not a cruelty of April.
Every year I await their arrival.
When I was a child, my father planted a wall of purple lilacs to line the edge of our back yard. For a few weeks in April, when we opened the back door, the aroma of lilacs permeated our kitchen. Continue reading “Seeds of Memory, Desire, Hope”

HEADlines–Planned Parenthood, Porn, and Bathroom War Updates

Here are some updates on recent blog topics. “Sale of Baby Body Parts Hearing–Our Humanity Should Be Repulsed.”
A House committee is investigating whether abortion clinics are illegally selling body parts of unborn children for profit.
“For crying out loud, this is the of baby body parts,” Rep. Joe Pitts, R-PA, commented. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, charged that the hearings were designed to “restrict women’s healthcare.”
Killing babies isn’t healthcare. Making this allegation is a red herring–designed to get us to look away from the topic at hand–the babies. Continue reading “HEADlines–Planned Parenthood, Porn, and Bathroom War Updates”

The American Church of the Future

“I think that the way the world is going, the way the US is going, I think there’s going to come a time, and it’s probably going to be sooner rather than later, when what I do in a public forum [preaching the Gospel] is going to be labeled a hate crime.” Francis Chan
As I drive around my city, I see many buildings that used to be churches, now empty and decaying or converted to dance schools or office buildings.
Christianity has ebbed in flowed in America since the pilgrims landed. There was ebb; then Awakening. Another ebb, another Awakening. In that second waking time, America freed slaves, prohibited abortion, introduced mandatory education, and enacted child labor laws. We regulated medical care to protect people from untrained quacks. We required employers to take steps, steps that often involved losing money, to protect employees.
We weren’t perfect. But we were better than we had been. Continue reading “The American Church of the Future”

What Happens When the Incomprehensible Happens

In Elie Wiesel’s Night, a supposed madman comes to a Jewish community and tells the people that the Nazis are systematically killing Jews. The people’s reaction? Denial. Disbelief. Utter disbelief.
It is not until they arrive at Auschwitz that they understand that the “madman” spoke only truth. They hadn’t believed him because what was happening was incomprehensible.
It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around what happened in the Holocaust. It’s also hard to wrap our minds around child sex abuse. Continue reading “What Happens When the Incomprehensible Happens”

The Bathroom Wars: Part II

It remains to be seen whether the North Carolina Legislature has dug its state’s economic grave with the shovel of bigotry and hatred for transgender individuals–or whether they are seeking to avoid a trap others have stumbled into.
The controversial law prohibits transgender people from using the bathrooms designated for the gender they identify with. Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina have laws that prevent local municipalities from passing nondiscrimination legislation. (The bill in North Carolina came in response to a local ordinance in the city of Charlotte.) Twenty other states and the District of Colombia have employment protection laws in place regarding “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
We as a nation are at odds with each other.
A social media conversation about my previous blog on the issue got me thinking about the issue in a new light. How enforceable are bathroom regulation laws? How enforceable is the law that gives transgender people access to the bathroom of their choice? How enforceable is the law intended to keep them out? Continue reading “The Bathroom Wars: Part II”

Toilets: A New Frontier for Freedom

North Carolina is a front in a new Civil War. The state legislature just passed a law, and the governor signed it, that designates rest rooms for those whose sex matches that of their birth certificates.
Passing a law that says men should use the men’s room and women should use the women’s room has caused an outcry of monumental proportions.
The New York Times calls North Carolina a “Pioneer in Bigotry.”
Up in arms is not only the Times, but also PayPal, cutting back plans to expand its business and add 400 jobs in NC (even as it plans to expand its business in Cuba). And several states and cities, so far, are banning travel to North Carolina because of the law.
Even Charles Barkley has weighed in–decrying the new law. Continue reading “Toilets: A New Frontier for Freedom”

The Unsettled Nature of Settled Thoughts

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you,” Matthew 17:20b.
It was a chance meeting at the grocery store. A friend I know from pro-life activities.
We first met on the bus for the March for Life in 1979. I don’t remember the date of our grocery encounter. But what she said that day would change how I would see my own efforts for life ever since.
“Abortion will become like smoking. When we were kids, everyone smoked. Even if you didn’t, you had ashtrays for anyone who did. It’s not like that any more.”
Smoking rates are down from more than 42 percent in 1965 to 12 percent in 2014. What changed? The hearts and minds of Americans.
Our experience regarding tobacco taught us it is bad. We can avoid it. We can live without it.
The “choice” perspective regarding abortion is divided between three audiences. One group regrets the experience. Another group reluctantly embraces it. A third group celebrates it.  Continue reading “The Unsettled Nature of Settled Thoughts”

Pushing Back Against Pornography

“A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents. Their generation has consumed explicit content in quantities and varieties never before possible, on devices designed to deliver content swiftly and privately, all at an age when their brains were more plastic–more prone to permanent change–than in later life.” TIME
Two interesting discussions of the effects of pornography appeared this week. One is an article in TIME magazine (discretion advised). The other is in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. One gives reason to celebrate. The other one warns of a serious problem bigger than we ever dreamed possible–even within the Church itself.
The TIME article tells the story of Alexander Rhodes who got started on porn as an 11-year-old. As he grew older, he realized the damage porn had on his ability to connect sexually with a woman. He currently runs two websites that offer support and counseling to those hoping to overcome addiction to pornography. His sites have 200,000 members.
But seeking help isn’t always easy. Continue reading “Pushing Back Against Pornography”