Showing posts from November, 2008

Grace and works

“In the New Testament, religion is grace and ethics is gratitude.” - Thomas Erskine

From Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox

Healing steps for moms who had an abortion

After an Abortion: Steps Toward Healing from a helpful website called afterabortion.
1. Recognize that the road to full recovery can take time and effort. While God is always near to you, sorting out your life and your feelings, overcoming the ever-present temptation to give in again to despair and doubt--these take time. 2. Recognize that it is normal and good to mourn the loss of a loved one. Just as mourning the loss of a parent or spouse takes time, so does mourning the loss of an aborted child. In the case of abortion, the mourning process is often cut short and never completed because of denial or feelings of guilt which block the mourning process. You must courageously allow the mourning process to get back on track. Accept your grief as normal rather than something which must covered up or pushed away. Recognize that the pain of your loss will fade as your healing progresses. 3. Recognize that you are not alone. Others have been through the same experience and the same t…

Facts about abortion coercion

It's Thanksgiving. Be thankful your mom kept you alive during your gestation. 
Facts from the unChoice; unwanted, unsafe, unfair.
The rhetoric of choice hides the reality of coercion.64% of American women who have had abortions felt pressured by others. 1  Her “choices” may involve losing her shelter, her family, her income or even her life. Coercion can escalate to violence. 2  Homicide is the leading killer of pregnant women. 3Coercion takes many forms, including undisclosed, deceptive or false information. 4Even though the majority felt rushed, 67% received no counseling; 79% were not told about alternatives. 1Abortion is often a woman’s last choice, but her abuser's first choice.2 America's teens are also at risk for coercion, health injury and suicide. 5Many who pushed family or friends to abort were also deceived – by experts, authorities, even pastors – about fetal development, alternatives and risks. 4, 6The overall death rate of women rises 3.5 times after an aborti…

Thanks for medical technology

One technology that has been successful with little press is adult stem cell therapy, not destructive embryonic stem cell therapy. Here are some things to be thankful for, none of which involved the execution of tiny humans...Liver Repair. Doctors at Imperial College, London, have shown treatment benefits from using adult stem cells collected from the patients' own blood to treat cirrhosis of the liver. Three of the nine patients treated showed almost complete repair after 12 weeks.

Cerebral Palsy. Duke University scientists have treated a young girl for cerebral palsy using her umbilical cord blood, which the parents had saved. Two months after receiving her own stem cells, the girl is reported to have made a 50 percent recovery.

Windpipe Reconstruction. A Colombian woman whose windpipe was destroyed by tuberculosis received a transplant using donated tissue and her own adult stem cells to form the replacement organ. The international team that conducted the work included scientist…

Thanksgiving break 2008

I'm planning on being computer free for the holiday break. I have some posts scheduled, but if you leave a comment it probably won't show up until I get back to approve it. I had to go back to moderating comments after the pornographers showed up. I don't want any pornography here, but I will take people who stumble here looking for pornography, as I want them to be convicted of their sin. For those looking for porn I recommend the XXX Church.

For the rest of my readers, Happy Thanksgiving.

the Hitler meme re-made for the Emergent Village

I've seen probably a half-dozen of these now. The ones during the presidential primaries were a riot. Andrew Jones linked to this one today. It's funnier if you watch a few of these and if you know the names and current history. I love when Hitler calls Tony and Andrew "brothers."

Human Life Alliance

Facts from the Human Life Alliance

Since 1973, over 50 million surgical abortions have been performed in the United States. The death toll from abortion is more than all the casualties put together from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq War. 1
The leading cause of death in the black community since 1973 is abortion. It has taken over 13 million black lives (1/3 of the population) in the last 30 years. Although African Americans represent only 12% of the population of the United States, they account for 35% of the abortions performed in this country. 2
After the moment of fertilization nothing is added to the human embryo except nutrition and oxygen. 3
The percentage of women who have abortions because of rape is 1%. 4
The percentage of women who have abortions because of incest is less than 0.5%. 5
At 21 days after fertilization a baby's heart begins to beat. 6
24% of pregnancies end in abortions. That means 1 out of every 4 ba…

Pilgrims and the others

A new book by an author in my area, "In his book “Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America,” Hanover author Glenn Cheney describes Thanksgiving as it surely was in that rough beginning of America."

I'm interested in this account of how their Christian beliefs affected their relations with the Wampanoags.

And while the common assumption is the brave Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom, only 40 of the 140 passengers were actual separatists. The rest were there to try their hand at fortune, their passage paid for by investors.

Christianity, Cheney said, seemed to have a role in the Pilgrims’ ultimate acceptance by the American Indians because during one tense moment that followed an earlier skirmish, they put down their guns and met the Indians, who had the advantage of being on top of a hill, armed.

“They turned the other cheek, giving these savages a chance, and the savages did the same; they put down their bow and arrows and met them,” he said. “It was a …

Thanksgiving history

We have much to be thankful for. When our world crumbles around us, we still have things to be thankful for. The Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts in the winter. They were aided by the Wampanoag tribe members. But they weren't the most pleasant guests. The resident Indians were recovering from the the devastation of the plague. Squanto was the last surviving member of his tribe. The Pilgrims survived on corn buried by the recently killed tribes. The plague changed everything. I highly recommend this link. I am quoting liberally from it but there is more to be had there by James W. Loewen. The Black Plague does provide a useful introduction, however. Black (or bubonic) Plague "was undoubtedly the worst disaster that has ever befallen mankind." In three years it killed 30 percent of the population of Europe. Catastrophic as it was, the disease itself comprised only part of the horror. Thinking the day of judgment was imminent, farmers failed to plant crops. Many people gav…

Rape and Pro-life Feminists

Feminists for Life have (had?) a magazine called the American Feminist. They tackled the issue of rape and feminism in a 1998 issue. It's a PDF and I wanted to pull a few important quotes. They recognize the issue's severity. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there are 310,000 rapes or attempted rapes each year. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that approximately 1 percent of the 1.4 million children aborted annually — 14,000 children — are conceived in rape. Since many rapes go unreported and many women who have abortions do not admit to being raped, it is impossible to verify these statistics. Hence, this issue most likely affects a greater percentage of the population than is currently recognized. But there are stories of good coming out of tragedy. Lee Ezell was raped by a man at work more than 30 years ago. She was just 18, and had never had intercourse. Several weeks later, she was shocked and frightened to learn that she was pre…

The view of a former abortion provider

Carol Everett owned several abortion clinics at one time and made plenty of money. Then she repented. She is not alone. There are other stories from repentant abortion providers. I'm sure you've seen those numbers advertised that say "Problem Pregnancy," "Abortion Information," or "Pregnant?". When a young girl finds out she is pregnant, she may not want an abortion, she may just want information.

But when she calls that number that's paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think she is going to get? Remember, they sell abortions. They don't sell keeping the baby. They don't sell giving the baby up. They don't sell delivering the baby in any form. They only sell abortions.

The counselor that the girl speaks to on the telephone is paid to be her friend. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion.

There are usually two questions the girls ask. The first is: Does it hurt? "O…

updated: A pro-life response to the Feministe blog

A friend on Facebook linked to this article at Feministe, with the provocative title,
“Pro-Lifers” Oppose Measures That Decrease the Abortion Rate. So I responded. Be warned, the conversation is pretty rough. Here is what I wrote.
I looked at the National Right to Life link. They list the 23% category as "feels" unable to afford a baby. Pro-life clinics usually are able to show or find or produce the essentials to afford a baby. CareNet is one group I am familiar with. Charities are often helpful as well as WIC. Adoption is another method to address concerns of affordability. Since the mother considering abortion does not want the child anyway, perhaps adoption will not be difficult. When the baby is handed over, affordability as an issue goes away.

The Catholics in Alliance study has questionable conclusions from their data. One critical response can be found by Michael New, PhD, at Public discourse.

According the the Guttmacher Institute, the Netherlands has the lowest abortio…

Church diversity: good or bad?

I expect better from Philip Yancey. He disappointed me in today's CT essay Denominational Diagnostics. He writes, In his great prayer in John 17, Jesus stressed one request above all others: "that they may be one." The existence of 38,000 denominations worldwide demonstrates how poorly we have fulfilled Jesus' request. If he really believed this then he would repent and join an Orthodox Church or a Coptic Church, since they are the closest to pre-division era churches. But there are reasons churches have calved off from earlier versions. It's usually because the parent church has calcified or drifted from truth or affiliated itself to closely to the world or its ways. The calving often will bring reform to the parent church.

I think we are blessed to have a diversity of churches in our towns. A monopoly is never healthy. Diversity is healthy. In fact, he claims that it is important for him to belong to a diverse church. Just like some of us like McDonald's and…

book report: The Moon Shines Down

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my favorite books to read to small children, especially at bedtime. My youngest just turned nine so those days are long gone in my household.
I enjoyed so much the rhythm, cadence, and meter of that book. It just rolled off the tongue. I recently received a “lost” book of Ms. Brown’s for review, titled The Moon Shines Down. The introduction states that this book is based on the New England sampler prayer,

I see the moon
and the moon sees me
The moon sees the somebody I'd like to see.
God bless the moon
and God bless me
God bless the somebody I'd like to see!

Unfortunately, the publisher felt the manuscript was “too short for a standard size picture book,” so they asked a fan of Ms. Brown’s to fill it out. The introduction continues that the supplemental author, Laura Minchew, was able to capture “Brown’s unique rhythms and rhyme schemes.” “Unique” is an adequate euphemism, because the rhythms and schemes are wooden and out of sync …

winter biking in November

Connecticut is having a bit of a cold snap, a global-warming-denying cold snap, to put a finer point on it. I don't expect 23F morning rides until February. Yet this morning it was that cold and it may still be below freezing when I ride home. I'm not as dedicated as Jill in Alaska who can ride cold and wet, or the Iditarod race by bike, but I can ride cold. I thought I'd list my gear for these rides.

Cotton/poly t-shirt
2 layer poly long sleeve shirt
zip up fleece
anorak wind breaker

leg tights- spandex
cotton sweat pants

two pair of socks

double layer gloves

thin balaclava
thin knit cap
ski goggles

neck sock

Actionbent Recumbent us Jet Stream 2. All the cables on my bike were frozen. Both gear shifters and both brakes needed loosening. In fact, the front shifter refroze towards the end of the ride. On the other hand, I sweat in all these layers. The layers are good for the strong north wind and times when I'm at a standstill. When I'm climbing hills, I'll st…

complementarianism and spouse abuse

Dan Wallace, who is also a reluctant complementarian, writes,A friend wrote to me recently, asking why I haven’t written anything about wife abuse on Parchment & Pen. She urged me to do it because, according to her, complementarianism is rich soil in which to grow this kind of wickedness (she’s an egalitarian).

His words are good for any husband, regardless of his theology.

a right to life petition to sign for the United Nations

This petition is certainly worthy of signing. They are seeking 100,000 signatures for acceptance in the UN.
International Call for the Rights and Dignity of the Human Person and the Family
We, the citizens of UN member states, in this year of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948,
Recalling that: The Universal Declaration is a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all Nations, Bearing in mind that:
Human rights, dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity and justice constitute the spiritual and moral patrimony on which the union of Nations is based,
Stress that: Proper consideration must be given to
1. The right to life of every human being, from conception to natural death, each child having the right to be conceived, born and educated within the family, based on marriage between a woman and a man, the family being the natural and fundamental grou…

Top 10 diet myths

WebMD has a new article on recent findings presented at the American Dietetic Association this week. Here are the myths, but you'll need to read the article for the explanation.

Myth: Eating at night makes you fat.
Reality: Calories count, whenever you eat them.
Umblogger: Great, I enjoy a snack after the kids retire for the evening.

Myth: Avoid foods with a high glycemic index.
Reality: You could use the glycemic index to adjust your food choices, but don't make it your sole strategy for losing weight or controlling blood sugar, Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: I avoid those sugary foods unless they are laying around the hallway at work, then all bets are off on my self-control.

Myth: High fructose corn syrup causes weight gain.
Reality: "There's probably nothing particularly evil about high fructose corn syrup, compared to regular old sugar," Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: As I've told some friends, fructose is fructose, which is natural. HFS is concentrated. However, I enj…

Algonkian Church History

A new blog right up my alley has started this month during National American Indian Heritage Month. I am looking forward to many posts in the future from Jeff Siemers at Algonkian Church History.

Write to Obama

President-elect Obama has a form on his transition website where we can tell him what our vision for the country is. I wrote A country that respects the 14th amendment that prohibits the deprivation of life without due process of law. This right needs to be respected for children in the womb.
God is good

I'm also talking to my Father about softening Mr. Obama's heart to the children.

The Advent Conspiracy

What would Christmas look like if we did it like Jesus did and gave ourselves to those who won't appreciate it, won't thank you for it, and won't reciprocate for it? And I'm not talking about your mean uncle. Consider the gift of clean water.

HT: Justin McRoberts

November is national adoption month

James tell us that pure and undefiled religion that is acceptable to God cares for widows and orphans. One way to care for orphans is by adopting them. November is National Adoption Month.The issue, of course, occurs worldwide. Please also see the Cry of the Orphan.

free blog psychoanalysis

According to Typealyzer, the Umblog belongs to an
INTP - The ThinkersThe logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Politics,common ground and the common good

“In working for the common good of our society, racial justice is one pillar of our social doctrine,” said George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, during his address to the organization’s meeting in Baltimore. “Economic justice, especially for the poor both here and abroad, is another. But . . . the common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice.”

“If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African-Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president of the United States,” George said. “Today, as was the case 150 years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.”

My emphasis. Hat tip: Get Religion

Folded Homes

Haven't come across new yurt designs in awhile, until today. Folded Homes offers small single or double walled plastic yurts with windows and doors. Their answer to space needs are connect another yurt. At $1200 a yurt, its not the cheapest solution, but I like these as a way to occupy a remote piece of land. It's lightweight and easy to assemble. The double wall, which the owner fills with whatever insulation material at hand, addresses the noise concerns I have about yurts.

Update: See comment from company representative in the comments section...

Thank you Veterans

As I rode my bike in this morning, I observed the traffic was really light. Then I realized, today is a national holiday, Veteran's Day. Thank you veterans for your voluntary service. Thank you veteran families for sharing your dear ones with the nation. Thank you veterans for standing in harm's way. Thank you.

Jesus and Old Testament rape law

How's that for a title?

I promise that I will connect the dots by the end of this post. My thoughts started when I read this before church today. One friend reminded me that for almost 20 centuries of church history, Christian theologians regarded women as inherently inferior to men, prone to deception and perhaps not fully sharing in the image of God. Be patriarchal if you want, she said, but do not bother trying to soften the blow by calling it equality. Those conversations opened my eyes. I had downplayed the Old Testament passages that treated women as property, spoils of war, or trophies for victorious men. I had not noticed that Deuteronomy 22 orders rapists to be fined and then given their victims in marriage. It's by a seminary professor, Bob Pyne, who describes his switch from believing in gender roles in church office (complementarianism) to gender equality in all church roles (egalitarianism). I can say I've waffled on this over the years. I'm currently a re…

Acceptable Honor Killing in America - Abortion

Last night I engaged an Obama/abortion post by a reformed black pastor at the Blaque Tulip, which I've read for a long time, but never commented at before. I've been mulling over my last paragraph, in which I wrote, "The big difference is Obama thinks it is a right to kill babies and McCain didn't. If you replace "babies" with any other part of the population, you'd see why I can't ever vote for someone who is pro-abortion, especially to the degree Obama claims."

As in my debates with other pro-choice friends, it's hard to get them to see abortion as analogous to anything else in life. There are three parts to the analogy; scale, segment, and justice. As pro-lifers, we point out the scale that never have so many humans been killed daily. We also point toward the collective outrage when a segment of humanity is systematically destroyed, like the Holocaust. We also argue that no one should be killed purely for another's satisfaction which i…

Persecuted Church in India

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. I have a special concern for the church in India, which is experiencing "religious cleansing" in some of its states. Here are links to some stories of recentatrocities and an open letter to President Bush from national religious leaders.

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

For more than two months, Christians in seven of India's states have borne the brunt of repeated waves of violent and deadly attacks that have left scores of people murdered, communities and churches destroyed, and tens of thousands of people homeless. The situation demands a strong and urgent American response to a strategic democratic global partner such as India. As has been well documented, the violence erupted following the tragic attack on a charismatic Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others, which led to their deaths on August 23. Although a radical Maoist …

letter to a pro-choice sister

Victims of rape and incest already have rights. So I admit I'm a little lost about "addressing their rights." Interestingly, Planned Parenthood has been snagged repeatedly for covering up these issues when young women come in for abortions. There are laws put in place to protect these women and PP cannot be relied on to do that. It is absolutely tragic. I hope you agree.

There are adults who are glad their mothers didn't kill them after the rape. Here is one story. Here's another. The first link points out that perhaps less than 2% of abortions are due to rape or incest. I'd gladly live with that injustice if the other 1.1 million babies would be able to survive their gestation.

I think you know that single mothers made a choice to have sex outside of the safety net of marriage/wed-lock. That may be a mistake, but mistakes have consequences. Compounding it with another mistake of even greater magnitude is foolishness. The mother escapes the pregnancy but live…

Congratulations Nation!

One great accomplishment of this election is another example of MLK Jr.'s dream for a person to be evaluated on his character and ideas instead of his skin color. It's taken over 143 years since the end of the Civil War and 40 years since the Civil Rights era for an African-American man to be elevated to the highest political office in our land. It's taken too long, but now that it has happened, I am glad for our country. We may still have racist citizens in our country, but our country is not a racist country. I am actually really happy for our country. Racism is not now magically erased from nation's actions and psyche, but it's in retreat. Hurrah!

Yet, as you might expect, my feelings are also bittersweet. The pro-life movement has a new hurdle before it. Yet our methods remain the same, prayer and persuasion. We will continue to ask God for mercy and the grace for softened hearts among our fellow citizens. We will continue to try, by persuasion, to soften the he…

Crazy ducks!

Here are our three Indian Runner ducks. This is their abode and pen. They live behind chicken wire, in a dog house filled with straw, and, at night, behind a board held against the opening with cinder blocks to keep the coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons out. We feed them in the morning and afternoon and we keep their water bowls full, but not clean. I think they like it dirty. We bought them as big handfuls a few months ago, hoping we'd get all girls. No one is laying yet, still too early, but the big duck has a curled feather at his tail, which usually indicates a non-egg layer. These ducks belong to my children, one for each, but I end up doing alot of their pen and house maintenance.

I must admit I enjoy it.

My grandfather came east from an Iowa farm, and I must be feeling my heritage when I'm slinging a little bit of hay around. The beautiful weekend past enabled me to get them in better shape for winter. I dumped out the dirty hay. I put a pallet underneath their house, a…

McCain and Fey on SNL

Gotta give them credit for embracing SNL.

Can we agree abortion is a problem?

Can we agree abortion is something wrong even if I can't answer every tangent related to it? I have a friend who keeps pointing to the "awful" foster care system as a reason for keeping abortion legal. Francis Beckwith in Politically Correct Death addresses the issue of tangents. For I believe that the question of whether or not abortion is immoral is entirely independent of whether or not one can solve the problems for which abortion is ordinarily employed to eliminate...Think of all the unusual precepts that would result: unless I am willing to marry my neighbor's wife, I cannot prevent her husband from beating her; unless I am willing to adopt my neighbor's daughter, I cannot prevent her mother from abusing her; unless I am willing to hire ex-slaves for my business, I cannot say that the slave owner should not own slaves. By illegitimately shifting the discussion from the morality of abortion to whether one has a "solution" to certain social problems…