Archives For So That the World May Believe

“The Christian life, properly understood, cannot be merely a set of propositions agreed to, but must also be a way of life. And that requires a culture, which is to say, the realization in a material way–in deeds, in language, in song, in drama, in practices, etc.–of the propositions taught by Christianity. To be perfectly clear, at the core of all this is a living spiritual relationship with God, one that cannot be reduced to words, deeds, or beliefs,” Rod Dreher (emphasis his).

With little fanfare from the mainstream media, the Washington Supreme Court last week unanimously sided against Barronelle Stutzman, a 71-year-old florist who refused to provide flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

Stutzman has been battling the legal challenge, which threatens to relieve her of her life’s work and earnings.

She is appealing to the US Supreme Court. A ruling favorable to religious freedom seems unlikely since the court has already refused to hear an appeal from a New Mexico photographer, also sued for refusing service for a same-sex wedding. These cases are a harbinger of things to come.  Continue Reading…

For five children and me, times were dark. Then one of them lit a candle. You can light up a dark room, you know, with just a bit of humor.

A mere two months after their father left, my ten-year-old daughter told a story to her friends on the school playground. And because of our family history, they believed her.

That evening, my phone rang.

As I said, “hello,” my friend cried out, “Is it true?”

“What?”

“Are you having another baby?”

“What!?”

My daughter had told my friend’s daughter that the number of siblings in our tribe would increase. My friend and I pondered a moment.

Then we understood.

It was April 1.

Grace under fire. A child showed me what those words meant.

Thirteen years later, my phone rang once more. I knew at hello this call had joy in it. This same daughter had a wonderful lilt in her voice as she told me she and her husband were expecting their second child.

But a few months later, my phone rang again. A blood test had come back positive. Perhaps the child would have Down Syndrome. Doctors wanted to do a more invasive test.

“Come over for dinner tonight,” I said. “We can talk about it.” I knew that the test was not without risk. And the risk could be greater than the value of the information gained.

But when they got there, there was little to discuss. They wanted no part in an invasive test. They would welcome whoever was coming in whatever condition he would come.

“I would rather have a Down baby than no baby at all,” she said.

A few months later my phone rang once more. This time in the middle of the night.

It was time.

At the hospital, her labor seemed stuck. We walked around the hallway once. Then things began to happen quickly. So quickly that an emergency room physician rode up in the elevator just in time to attend the delivery.

A beautiful boy emerged. Perfect in every way.

What had the false test recognized? Not an extra chromosome. Perhaps an extra dose of talent and wit?

But the gift he is today would not be less if he had one more chromosome. It would only be different.

We are no less perfect in each of our imperfections.

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We are missing the underlying question. Treating the symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

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Snow Day

February 9, 2017 — 1 Comment

Time moves. Seasons repeat. But each new one is never the same as another.

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Doing a Hard Thing

February 7, 2017 — 1 Comment

An older woman invited him to her book club. It was a club of readers and he had become a reader. Nevermind that everyone else in the group was an over forty woman. Malcolm joined anyway.

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He was helping me carry my packages to my car. I was buying some items for a church group donation. We were collecting for a men’s group home in a nearby town. Most of the men there are homeless veterans making their way back into their communities.

This man was a veteran from Iran. That caught my ear. I’d never met a veteran of Iran before. Continue Reading…

We are called to be the voice of peace and reason. To bring our peace to the chaos. To bring Him to the lost and shouting.

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“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.” ― Mother Teresa.

Forty-four years after Roe v. Wade and  America finds that the issue will just not go away. There was an expectation that a generation or two growing up with this “right” would not be able to find its way back. The issue would dissolve into acceptance. The procedures would be legal, safe, and rare.

Many did not walk down that road of thought.

But rare it is becoming. We have looked through the window of the womb and many of us have found ourselves.

The shift in thinking today seems to spring from a scientific view–not a religious one. An accusation in the early days of the argument was that those who opposed abortion sought to impose a religious view on the non-religious. Continue Reading…

America is forty-four years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion for any reason and at any time during pregnancy (provided you could find a doctor to do it–and many have). But the tide is turning.

Or perhaps has turned.

The Guttmacher Institute–which supports abortion and tracks its numbers–says abortions are happening at half the rate of the peak years of the 1980s.

The institute’s report says, “it is unclear whether the most recent decline in abortion is due to fewer women’s having unintended pregnancies, more women being unable to access abortion services or some combination of these dynamics.”

Which seems to eliminate other possibilities. Even so, the report acknowledges that, even in some places where access to abortion increased, rates came down.

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In When Breath Becomes Air, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi tells the story of a patient who insisted on having a brain tumor removed against the advice of his surgeons.

The tumor was situated in a critical speech center in the brain. Excising it was likely to render the patient speechless for life.

Kalanithi was about to ask the attending physician why the surgery was proceeding when he received his answer. He met the patient.

The man dished out a “litany of profanity and exhortation” demanding that the doctors get “this thing out of my [expletive deleted] brain” (111).

At the operation’s conclusion, Kalanithi had a new question:”How was he still talking?”

He surmised that profanity “supposedly ran on a slightly different circuit from the rest of language. Perhaps the tumor had caused his brain to rewire somehow” (112). Continue Reading…