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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grace and works

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

From Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox

Saturday, November 29, 2008

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 trials. Their experiences and understanding can help you. They want to help you, just as you may want to help others after you have finished going through the healing process. Finding a post-abortion counselor or support group through our list of Post-Abortion Healing Resources may be very helpful to you.

    4. Admit your personal responsibility but also recognize that others, too, were involved. Pray for God's forgiveness for both yourself and everyone else who either encouraged the abortion or failed to help you avoid the abortion.

    5. Forgive yourself. God does not want you to live a lifetime in mourning. Your sin has been forgiven. You have been made new in Christ. Rejoice in the knowledge that one day you will be with your child in the arms of the Lord.

    6. Forgive others. Recognize that they, too, acted out of ignorance, fear, or petty human selfishness. If possible, let them know that you forgive them. Forgive even the abortion providers.

    7. Give your childen over to the care of God, their Heavenly Father, and the true Parent of us all. Know that they are loved, happy, and well cared for. They, too, desire your joy and happiness. They miss you, but they do not resent or condemn you, because they live in the love and mercy of Christ. Do not try to hold onto them by prolonging your grief; hold onto them by sharing their happiness in heaven.

Copyright 1998 Elliot Institute

Elliot Institute, PO Box 7348, Springfield, IL 62791-7348 "Additional material is posted at www.afterabortion.org"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Facts about abortion coercion

It's Thanksgiving. Be thankful your mom kept you alive during your gestation. 


  • 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. 3
  • Coercion takes many forms, including undisclosed, deceptive or false information. 4
  • Even though the majority felt rushed, 67% received no counseling; 79% were not told about alternatives. 1
  • Abortion 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. 5
  • Many who pushed family or friends to abort were also deceived – by experts, authorities, even pastors – about fetal development, alternatives and risks. 4, 6
  • The overall death rate of women rises 3.5 times after an abortion.7 Suicide rates are 6-7 times higher after an abortion. 8
  • 65% report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder they attribute to their abortions.1
  • "We were maiming at least one woman a month." – Carol Everett, former abortion clinic operator 9
It wasn’t safe. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t about “choice.”


Citations

1. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.
2. See the special report, Forced Abortion in America at www.unfairchoice.info/Coerced.htm.
3. I.L. Horton and D. Cheng, “Enhanced Surveillance for Pregnancy-Associated Mortality-Maryland, 1993-1998,” JAMA 285(11): 1455-1459 (2001). See also J. Mcfarlane et. al., "Abuse During Pregnancy and Femicide: Urgent Implications for Women's Health," Obstetrics & Gynecology 100: 27-36 (2002).
4. Melinda Tankard-Reist, Giving Sorrow Words (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2007).
5. Sobie & Reardon, “A Generation at Risk: How Pro-Abortionists Manipulate Vulnerable Teens,” The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan-Mar. 2000.
6. Carol Everett with Jack Shaw, Blood Money (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1992). See also Pamela Zekman and Pamela Warwick, “The Abortion Profiteers,” Chicago Sun Times special reprint, Dec. 3, 1978 (originally published Nov. 12, 1978), p. 2-3, 33.
6. M Gissler et. al., “Pregnancy Associated Deaths in Finland 1987-1994 -- definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 76:651-657, 1997. See also, DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.
7. M. Gissler et. al., “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459‑63, 2005; and M. Gissler, et. al., “Methods for identifying pregnancy-associated deaths: population-based data from Finland 1987-2000,” Paediatric Perinatal Epidemiology 18(6): 44855, Nov. 2004.
8. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.
9. From The Ex-Abortionists: Why They Quit, by Frank Joseph, MD (The Human Life Foundation, 215 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10016).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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 scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom and surgeons in Spain. The surgery occurred in June, there is still no rejection of the new tissue, and she can now walk flights of stairs and go dancing.

Clinical Trial to Treat Heart Failure. The University of Utah is enrolling patients in a new clinical trial that uses their own bone marrow adult stem cells to treat two types of heart failure. The trial is the first of its kind for a condition, cardiomyopathy, which is not susceptible to other forms of treatment besides a heart transplant.

Knee Repairs for Ruggers. British scientists have used adult stem cells to develop the equivalent of a "living bandage" that can be applied to difficult-to-treat knee injuries caused by a torn meniscus. This ligament in the knee often suffers damage from sharp twisting motions such as those incurred in rugby and other sports. The adult stem cells are applied to a spongy collagen material and have proven capable of pulling together torn pieces of meniscal tissue.

Heart Valve Construction. German researchers have enjoyed success (not yet used in human trials) in building heart valves using the "scaffolding concept" and adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. The scientist in charge of the research noted that the valves might be used to replace defective ones in children, perhaps even growing along with them and allowing them to avoid the multiple surgeries required by traditional valve replacement.

There are over 2,000 FDA-approved clinical trials underway in the U.S. deploying stem cells. All are using adult sources of these tissues. None involve the killing of embryos. Additionally, there are no FDA approved trials for stem cells derived from embryos.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. After the moment of fertilization nothing is added to the human embryo except nutrition and oxygen. 3
  4. The percentage of women who have abortions because of rape is 1%. 4
  5. The percentage of women who have abortions because of incest is less than 0.5%. 5
  6. At 21 days after fertilization a baby's heart begins to beat. 6
  7. 24% of pregnancies end in abortions. That means 1 out of every 4 babies is aborted. 7
  8. By the time the baby is 6 weeks old, his or her brain waves can be detected by electroencephalogram. 8
  9. Eugenic abortion is becoming increasingly popular. Medical researchers estimate that 80 percent or more of babies now prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. 9


1. Guttmacher Institute. “In Brief – Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.” July 2008. 
2. www.nbccongress.org/features/abortion_silent_no_more_01.asp
3. "The Drama of Fetal Development." American Baby. (January 1989). p45.
4. Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005, 37(3):110-118.
5. Ibid.
6. Moore and Persaud. The Developing Human. p310.
7. Finer LB and Henshaw SK, Estimates of U.S. Abortion Incidence in 2001 and 2002, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005, www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2005/05/18/ab_incidence.pdf accessed May 17, 2005.
8. Hannibal, Hamlin M.D. "Life or Death by EEG." Jour. Of the AMA (Oct. 12, 1964). p113.
9. Neumayr, George. "The New Eugenics." The American Spectator. July 13, 2005. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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 very Christian thing to do on both their parts.”

It is these stories based on meticulous research that impressed Peg Price of Voluntown, who purchased the book after hearing a talk by Cheney, then ordered additional copies for her family as Thanksgiving gifts.

“You get past the myth to reality, which is no less wonderful in its own way; there’s certainly much more to the story than you learned in grade school,” Price said.


HT: Newspaper Rock where more information on debunked Thanksgiving myths can be found.

Monday, November 24, 2008

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 gave themselves over to alcohol. Civil and economic disruption may have caused as much death as the disease itself...in 1617, just before the Pilgrims landed, the process started in southern New England. A plague struck that made the Black Death pale by comparison.

Everyone knew all about the plague in colonial America. Even before the Mayflower sailed, King James of England gave thanks to "Almighty God in his great goodness and bounty towards us," for sending "this wonderful plague among the savages."


With minimal natural resistance to the diseases of Europe and Africa, Indians were no longer an "obstacle" to the European expansion.

Today we think it was the bubonic plague, although pox and influenza are also candidates. British fishermen had been fishing off Massachusetts for decades before the Pilgrims landed. After filling their hulls with cod, they would set forth on land to get firewood and fresh water and perhaps capture a few Indians to sell into slavery in Europe. On one of these expeditions they probably transmitted the illness to the people they met. Whatever it was, within three years this plague wiped out between 90 percent and 96 percent of the inhabitants of southern New England. The Indian societies lay devastated. Only "the twentieth person is scarce left alive," wrote British eyewitness Robert Cushman, describing a death rate unknown in all previous human experience. Unable to cope with so many corpses, survivors fled to the next tribe, carrying the infestation with them, so that Indians died who had never seen a white person. Simpson tells what the Pilgrims saw:

The summer after the Pilgrims landed, they sent two envoys on a diplomatic mission to treat with Massasoit, a famous chief encamped some 40 miles away at what is now Warren, Rhode Island. The envoys discovered and described a scene of absolute havoc. Villages lay in ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died and none was left to bury them.


During the next fifteen years, additional epidemics, most of which we know to have been smallpox, struck repeatedly. Europeans caught smallpox and the other maladies, to be sure, but most recovered, including, in a later century, the "heavily pockmarked George Washington." Indians usually died. Therefore, almost as profound as their effect on Indian demographics was the impact of the epidemics on the two cultures, European and Indian. The English Separatists, already seeing their lives as part of a divinely inspired morality play, inferred that they had God on their side. John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague "miraculous." To a friend in England in 1634, he wrote:

But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the small pox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not fifty, have put themselves under our protect....


Many Indians likewise inferred that their God had abandoned them. Cushman, our British eyewitness, reported that "those that are left, have their courage much abated, and their countenance is dejected, and they seem as a people affrighted." After all, neither they nor the Pilgrims had access to the germ theory of disease. Indian healers offered no cure, their religion no explanation. That of the whites did. Like the Europeans three centuries before them, many Indians surrendered to alcohol or began to listen to Christianity.


There is irony not to be missed here. Please review the first quote above.

These epidemics constituted perhaps the most important single geopolitical event of the first third of the 1600s, anywhere on the planet. They meant that the British would face no real Indian challenge for their first fifty years in America. Indeed, the plague helped cause the legendary warm reception Plymouth enjoyed in its first formative years from the Wampanoags. Massasoit needed to ally with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages that he feared the Narragansetts to the west...


I've written about this before. The book Mayflower by Nathanael Philbrick, which I reviewed previously was very helpful on this front.

Inadvertent Indian assistance started on the Pilgrims' second full day in Massachusetts. A colonist's journal tells us:

We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was with God's help that we found this corn, for how else could we have done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. ...The next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up. We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow...We also found bowls , trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again...


Yes, they were graverobbers. They did this in many places. But hunger overcomes conventions.

An early Massachusetts colonist, Colonel Thomas Aspinwall, advises us not to settle for this whitewash of feel - good - history.

"It is painful to advert to these things. But our forefathers, though wise, pious, and sincere, were nevertheless, in respect to Christian charity, under a cloud; and, in history, truth should be held sacred, at whatever cost."

Thanksgiving is full of embarrassing facts. The Pilgrims did not introduce the Native Americans to the tradition; Eastern Indians had observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Our modern celebrations date back only to 1863; not until the 1890s did the Pilgrims get included in the tradition; no one even called them "Pilgrims" until the 1870s. Plymouth Rock achieved ichnographic status only in the nineteenth century, when some enterprising residents of the town moved it down to the water so its significance as the "holy soil" the Pilgrims first touched might seem more plausible...
The Israelites also celebrated harvest feasts. It's common worldwide and in world history. We are not unique. We are all thankful for how God has provided for us. Let's not elevate white history at the expense of non-white history though.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

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 pregnant. Desperate, she initially considered having an abortion, even though it was illegal. A close friend advised her to go to Mexico, where the procedure was performed. The friend even offered to accompany her, but Ezell could not end the life of her unborn child. Lacking support at home, her choices were few. After carrying her baby to term, she placed her newborn daughter in an adoptive family. Today, happily reunited... Together Makimaa and Ezell tell their story and offer emotional support to other women who are faced with similar circumstances.
But is abortion the best response to conception from rape?
Most people find it hard to understand why a woman would choose to carry a child conceived in rape. They assume that the pregnancy would serve as a traumatic reminder of the attack. However, Kay Zibolsky, founder and president of Life After Assault League, a support group for women impregnated through assault and children conceived in assault, says, “Somehow people believe these children are not worth saving, but [the manner of] conception doesn’t determine worth.” ...Zibolsky compares abortion to a second rape, another violation of her body and soul. Moreover, the shame a woman usually feels after an assault only intensifies after the abortion experience, so that she is then faced with two crises rather than one. “[A]bortion does not ‘unrape’ a woman or remove the violence that has been perpetrated against her,” wrote Patricia Casey, M.D. in Swimming Against the Tide: Feminist Dissent on the Issue of Abortion. In the aftermath of these traumatic events, the woman finds herself unequipped to cope with either experience.
The abortion does not solve anything, except preserve woman's live.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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? "Oh, no. Your uterus is a muscle. It's a cramp to open it: a cramp to close it; it's a slight cramping sensation. Everybody's had cramps - every woman in the world."

Then they ask: Is it a baby? "No, it's product of conception; it's a blood clot; it's a piece of tissue."

When the girl goes in for the abortion she pays up front then goes into a room for counseling. They give her a 6 to 12 page form. This form is written by an abortion attorney to confuse the girl to death. It works and she doesn't ask any questions. She goes back to the two questions: Does it hurt? Is it a baby?

I cannot tell you one thing that happens in an abortion clinic that is not a lie.
It's not about women's rights.

Friday, November 21, 2008

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 abortion rate in Europe, yet it's legal restrictions might not be attractive to the writers of the Feministe blog. I would welcome the restrictions the Netherlands has in our own country. Regarding improved social services in our own country, we tried that for 40 years, it was called welfare. Ironically, it was Bill Clinton who eliminated welfare as we knew it in the 90's yet still claims abortion rates fell under his administration. They fell under Bush's as well. So bringing back welfare as we knew it then might not be the answer to the problems.

In the meantime, we still feel that babies in the womb should have the same human rights the out of womb babies have and their mothers, which is why, there is little satisfaction on our side until those babies have those rights.

Update: a response in USA Today

There is no evidence that increasing social programs — such as low-cost health care and day care, college grants and maternity homes — will impact a woman's abortion decision. It is rare in our experience to find a woman who says the reason she is choosing abortion is that she doesn't have day care, or that she'd rather go to college.

Those of us who have spent years outside abortion clinics, talking with abortion-bound women, are keenly aware of what leads women there. Often, the woman feels she has no choice because someone important in her life refuses to support a decision to keep the baby.

More than 3,000 pregnancy centers in the U.S. are ready to help a woman with material needs, emotional support, counseling and medical care. Anyone who wants to stop abortion should promote these centers.

I challenge anyone who wants to help pregnant women to actually go to an abortion clinic. You'll see the young girl who doesn't want an abortion, but whose family doesn't want to be "burdened" with a baby. She's not making her own choice. She is making someone else's choice. Or the young mother whose husband doesn't want their child. Whose choice is she making?

HT: Suzy B blog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

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 some of us like Ethiopian or Greek or vegetarian or pizza, so some of us have a multi-dimensional niche that God has led someone else to pastor. Embrace the diversity of our churches, just stay away from the junk food places and the poisonous places.

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.
Sigh.
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 or rhyme. One example of odd rhyme is “And the Moon sees the kids in Mexico/….//And God bless the Toucan and her funny nose.” That one hurts.

The flow of the story is stilted. It seems to go from children in foreign countries, to animals in Australia, to Christmas, to the sea. I didn’t see a progression. Perhaps there was a reason Ms. Brown "lost" the manuscript.

The pictures are nice, and I’m sure a small child would enjoy pointing at the creatures and people in the pictures, but the parent who has to read the same story over and over again will make sure this book finds an out of reach spot on the bookshelf.

I have one offense with this book. The rhyme reads “And all the children in every country— / In Australia, Norway, and Italy,/ Africa,….” Africa is a continent, not a country. We don’t want our children someday to be accused of not knowing that important fact.

Unfortunately, I have to give this book a thumbs down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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
merrells

double layer gloves

thin balaclava
thin knit cap
helmet
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 start to overheat and I'll unzip a little.

Monday, November 17, 2008

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.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

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 group unit of society,

2. The right of every child to be educated by his or her parents, who have a prior and fundamental right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.


Therefore, we call upon:

All governments to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights properly such that:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (Article 3)

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family (Article 16).

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State (Article 16).

Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance (Article 25).

Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children (Article 26).

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 enjoy 100% juices more than juice cocktails, because I think they taste better.

Myth: Caffeine is unhealthy.
Reality: Rosenbloom says there is some evidence that caffeine may have a positive effect on some diseases, including gout and Parkinson's disease , besides caffeine's famous alertness buzz.
Umblogger: I'm a decaf guy because when I'm hooked, I get bad headaches if I miss a day or two.

Myth: The less fat you eat, the better.
Reality: "For some people, counting fat grams can work for weight control, but it isn't the be-all end-all for people," Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: I don't eat land animals most of the time. So I feel free to indulge in eggs, butter, cheese, and recently raw milk.

Myth: To eat less sodium, avoid salty-tasting foods and use sea salt in place of table salt.
Reality: Your sense of taste doesn't always notice sodium, and sea salt or other gourmet salts aren't healthier than table salt.
Umblogger: We aren't big fans of canned soup because the saltiness is so bad. The Smart Mom makes great chicken and vegetable soups.

Myth: Drinking more water daily will help you lose weight.
Reality: There's no evidence that water peels off pounds.
Umblogger: I had a trainer insist on me drinking a gallon of water a day based on another myth. All it did for me was increase the frequency my trips to the restroom.

Myth: Whole grains are always healthier than refined grains.
Reality: Whole grains are a healthy choice, but you needn't ditch refined grains. "You can have some of each," Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: We make our own oatmeal bread almost daily in our home. We are not white bread folks. We even add wheat flour to our cookies.

Myth: Sugar causes behavioral problems in kids.
Reality: You might want to check your expectations about sugar and children's behavior.
Umblogger: But we will see them have a sugar crash.

Myth: Protein is the most important nutrient for athletes.
Reality: "It is true that athletes need more protein than sedentary people. They just don't need as much as they think. And they probably don't need it from supplements; they're probably getting plenty in their food," Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: Most Asian nations prove this point. You can live mostly on rice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

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.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

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
jpu

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

free blog psychoanalysis

According to Typealyzer, the Umblog belongs to an

INTP - The Thinkers

The 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.

Monday, November 10, 2008

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 reluctant Complementarian, because I want to get out of the boundaries set in 1 Timothy 2 but I can't with peace, so I won't.

That's the background. Pyne's observation also bothers me. His solution, as is many of those who consider themselves hermenuetically in-bounds egalitarians, uses a trajectory hermenuetic, that asks where is God going with the progressive revelation of the Bible? It's also called a "redemptive-movement hermeneutic." It's used to affirm that outright condemnation of slavery, though lacking in the Bible, is implied as a goal. I would counter that it is actually affirmed in the Old Testament slave laws, where they were indentured servants who had to be released after seven years, Deuteronomy 15:12. That would mean I fall into the camp which believes everything we need to know about the Christian life is already in the Bible, from topics as diverse as human rights to marriage to church polity to gender based roles. But how does anyone find comfort in this rape law, no matter how they understand gender roles in the church?
Deuteronomy 22:28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and overpowers and rapes her and they are discovered. 22:29 The man who has raped her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife because he has violated her; he may never divorce her as long as he lives.
That is an unacceptable response in modern thinking. The typical response by Bible defenders is that laws in surrounding cultures were so much worse, including executing the woman who was victimized, which happens today as well. Some further research, though, does not bear this out fully or cleanly. Furthermore, so what? How is this of any comfort? God is making the laws to live by for his people. Why this law?

I think the key to this is that all of the Scriptures proclaim Jesus. I have screwed up eye sight though, so I see Jesus in places conservative Bible believing friends tell me I can't see him. In Song of Solomon, see my series, I recognized Jesus in Beloved, frequently. That irritates my friends, because seeing Jesus in a woman rocks their world way too much. Seeing him in a wife wrecks the consistent New Testament picture of Jesus as groom and the church as his bride. Obviously, I think the rule is not hard and fast. God compares himself to a mother hen, a lamb, a rock, a tower, and on and on. Jesus is definitely portrayed as a suffering servant, Isaiah 53:11. When I see someone treated unjustly and immorally in the Old Testament yet responding with grace and love, I think of Jesus.

So when I get past my offense of this rape law, I want to know, where is Jesus? My answer is that Jesus is portrayed in that raped woman.

Yet God wants them united. It's a picture of my interaction with Jesus. He gives me grace. I give him sin. He gives and I take. I lashed him with the whips. I pushed those thorns down on his brow. I hammered those nails into his arms and legs. I ripped off his clothes and gambled for them. His response? Father forgive them. I violated him with my sinful ways and he responded by saving me, making me part of his bride. He made me his partner.

In response to Mr. Pyne, who prompted me this morning, that law was not a half way measure. It was an intentional picture by God about Jesus. It only applied to that people and that culture which was supposed to convey all these pictures of Jesus before his arrival. Now that he has come, we have no need for this picture. We have the real thing. I do believe that God worked miraculously in any of those marriages that were made from rape, because he works miraculously in the hearts of all of us sinners whom he has showered his grace on with salvation. The picture would be incomplete without the change of heart.

Believe it or not, Jesus loves rapists. They are not excluded from the offer of eternal life, otherwise they will receive eternal judgment. Which is true for everyone on this planet.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

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 is unjust, at the least. But I wonder if the scale is so immense that it shuts down pro-choice brain circuits.

Then I thought about honor killings, something that is relatively new to our country and our newspapers as immigration patterns have changed. Most of my fellow citizens are repulsed by the violation of family bonds, to the degree it is violated, and the disproportionate response to the "offense." Our country tends to think of those who practice honor killings are moral midgets, yet ignore our own honor killings. What honor does abortion protect?
Are these in proportion to murder? Are these just reasons for parental abandonment?

If I could re-frame the analogy. Would you vote for the honor-killing-rights candidate? Or would you choose the one who believes there is no right to honor killings? Would his economic policies effect your vote despite his immoral position? Meet a one-issue voter, me.

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 recent atrocities and an open letter to President Bush from national religious leaders.

The Honorable George W. Bush
President
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 group claimed responsibility for the killings, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) blamed the deaths on the Indian Christian community. Using the instability created by the violence, Hindu extremist groups fostered civil unrest, initially attacking poor Christians in India's eastern state of Orissa as well as Christian agencies who serve the poor and the needy from diverse religious backgrounds in that state.

For some time, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its allies regularly have alleged that Christians use force and material benefits to lure Hindus into "forced conversions," charges for which no proof has been produced and that local Christian leaders steadfastly deny.

Indian Christian leaders from various denominations have expressed in writing their deep shock at the magnitude of the human rights violations launched by Hindu extremists against the mostly poor Christians in the state of Orissa. They have also criticized the government for its subsequent handling of the incident as well as for not providing civil protection to these Indian citizens.

During his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Benedict has called the killing of the Hindu leader "deplorable" and also expressed his sadness at violence against Christians.

The failure of the Indian government at the federal and state levels to act has led to the spread of the violence from Orissa into six other states — Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

To date, Christians in these states have become the targets of the extremists' hatred. More than 60 people have been killed; some 50,000 people have been left homeless; and some still remain in hiding. Churches and Christian-run institutions serving mostly poor communities have been utterly destroyed. Other minorities have also been attacked.

Modern India's founding father, Mohandas Gandhi, said, "My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. This can never happen except through non-violence."

What has happened recently in India, and has been happening over the past few years, is tantamount to "religious cleansing" of Christians and other minorities by extremists. This in the world's largest democracy that is a nuclear power and recently sent a mission to the moon.

Earlier this summer you affixed your signature to legislation that enacted a US-India nuclear trade agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the time you stated, "This agreement sends a signal to the world — nations that follow the path to democracy and responsible behavior will find a friend in the United States."

We urge you, therefore, to hold the Indian government accountable to its own constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion and religious expression for all its citizens. As the world's largest democracy, India must demonstrate its responsibility and ability to uphold that constitution. We ask that you express to Prime Minister Singh the U.S. government's abhorrence of the continued violence against Christians and other minorities within India's borders. You should insist, in the strongest terms, that these reprehensible groups and the assenting local government agencies be brought into conformity with India's rule of law. Only if India agrees and acts with goodwill toward all its citizens will it continue to be viewed as a responsible global partner worthy of a place on the world stage with other democratic nations.

Respectfully,

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Archbishop

Armenian Orthodox Church

Dr. Ken Bensen, CEO

Habitat for Humanity of Michigan

Jeff Farmer, President

Open Bible Churches

Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary

Reformed Church in America

John Graz, Secretary General

International Religious Liberty Association

Dr. Richard L. "Dick" Hamm, Executive Administrator

Christian Churches Together

Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim, Archbishop

Archdioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern USA

Bishop James Leggett , Presiding Bishop

International Pentecostal Holiness Church

Rev. Michael E. Livingston, Executive Director

International Council of Community Churches, and Immediate Past President,
National Council of Churches, USA

Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent

The Wesleyan Church

Dr. Carl A. Moeller, President/CEO

Open Doors USA

David Neff, Editor in Chief

Christianity Today magazine

Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Bishop Serapion, Bishop of Los Angeles

Coptic Orthodox Church

Dr. William Shaw, President

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

James M. Shea, S.J., Provincial

Maryland Province Jesuits

Ronald J. Sider, President

Evangelicals for Social Action

Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President

United Church of Christ

Bishop Matthew A. Thomas, Bishop

Free Methodist Church of North America

Dr. Daniel Vestal, President

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Berten A. Waggoner, National Director

Vineyard USA

Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Chairman

Committee on International Justice and Peace

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Dr. Tom White, Executive Director

The Voice of the Martyrs

Thursday, November 06, 2008

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 lives with nagging guilt and shame for the rest of their lives, resulting for some in post-traumatic stress syndrome. My local CareNet runs recovery groups for these women.

These children are not unwanted. If adoption didn't cost over 20 grand in the U.S. there would be enough families to adopt 1 million children a year. What Carenet finds, though, is that many of these mothers decide they want to keep their child. If abortion were de-legalized, don't worry, there wouldn't be a need for multiple orphanages around the country.

I'm surprised by your assertion that I probably believe a torture life is better than death. Indeed, I do believe a tortured life is better than death. You just had a friend commit suicide. Do you really believe he made the better choice? This world is full of tortured lives. Is your solution for them suicide? Do you think a kid should kill himself if he gets put in the foster system? Perhaps you should talk to foster kids and their parents before you make assertions on their behalf. You will find they strongly disagree with you.

A woman makes her choice when she decides to have sex outside of marriage. The government is not telling her who to sleep with or when. It's her choice. But consequences always follow our choices. The government already provides for poor women and children. We as Christians are commanded as well. James writes, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." chapter 1, verse 27. In Roman times, orphans and widows were unwanted. Their options were usually slavery or prostitution. They could do nothing else in exchange for society. They were utterly dependent. Just like unwanted babies.

Jesus knows that mistakes and poor choices and accidents happen. He knows that moms and kids are left without husbands and fathers and he tells his people to do something about it. Why? Because he loves them. He created them. He creates those babies that are killed in their mother's womb. He loves those babies. He loves their moms. He loves their dads, even if those dads are rapists. But he will also bring justice, see 2 Thessalonians 1:6. So I'm doing something about these unwanted. My church is doing this. I give a percentage of the money God gives me back to organizations like Carenet for local needs, but also to orphanages outside our country. Those orphanages are not ideal, but they are better than a life without parents or an orphanage. Are those children unwanted? They may not be useful to society, but is usefulness a criteria to determine value of a life? God wants those children, that's why he created them. And he asks us to take care of them. Killing them is not God's way of caring for the unwanted.

How are you practicing this acceptable, "pure and faultless" religion? How does your support of legalized abortion care for the "unwanted" children?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

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 hearts of our friends, neighbors, and political representatives. Without a filibuster-proof Senate, we can hope that FOCA will not be presented to President Obama. Nevertheless, we can try to persuade all of our legislators not to pass it. We have no political effect on the current Justices, but God can soften their hearts as well, as Justice Ginsburg might be demonstrating. I hope my pro-life, pro-Obama friends will continue to pray and persuade with me, and seek to work within the Democratic party to elevate the efforts of groups like Democrats for Life.

Honestly, if McCain won, I would still feel bittersweet. Sweet for the pro-life movement, but unhappy with his positions and plans. But God is on the throne, and my feelings really don't matter, because the Lord decides who will lead. I did see several bitter postings by Christians over this election. Why? If a Christian considers Obama an enemy then Christs commands us to pray for them and bless them, not to curse them. Judgement and cursing are the Lord's not ours.

Rejoice! This is the day that the Lord has made!

Thank you Lord for placing us in a nation that let's its people choose a leader. Thank you for the privilege to partake in this privilege that so many people in the world do not have. Thank you for peace after this election. Protect Mr. Obama from angry, homocidal, would-be assassins. Give him vision and wisdom. Turn his heart to your reighteous ways. Surround him with good counselors. Give him a peaceful season. Heal our country. Heal our land. Re-unite your church. Be glorified.

Monday, November 03, 2008

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, and filled it with new pine shavings and fresh straw. Then I put bagged leaves on the sides and the back to provide some winter insulation, which may be unnecessary with the down God gave them. I had to shore up their fencing where it sagged between posts and on the ground where some critter had started to dig under. I was making quite a ruckus in their pen.

Those poor ducks were terrified. They went to the farthest corner and huddled together, waiting for the big scary monster to finish messing up their nest. They are so funny in their flock mentality. They imitate each other. They follow each other. Not one of them seems to get like my three children and stomp off for some privacy. So they huddled together, for 20 minutes, pushing the fence again and again to see if there was any escape. They can fly some, but not very well.

When I finished and left their little pen, they felt safe to explore the damage. Their home is now a little higher off the ground so I used bricks as steps up for them. There is a gap between their house and the first step, which they are still getting used to. So they fall into it and act like their goofy selves. We even sit around the pen and watch them for entertainment. I know, life is tough without cable, but they are very amusing in their cluelessness.

I sometimes think, in anxious days like these, God enjoys watching me too. He's doing a lot of banging around, and things are unstable, and I'm worried, but he's still in control. Whoever becomes our next president, will not get there without God's decision. I'm consigned to the pro-abortion candidate winning it and screwing up the Supreme Court and keeping the abortion industry alive and well. That scares me. It depresses me. But it's the Lord who is running the show. He's the one who put Bush and Clinton in the office.

My hope is in a true Sovereign. One who constrains and releases. If the pro-abortion candidate wins, I won't cower in the corner with my fellow worried ducks. I will trust my master and do what he told me to do. Pray for him. I need to pray for those justices, too, and my federal and state legislators. I need to pray for their conversions. I need to pray for their faith. I need to pray for their virtue. Who knows, perhaps there will be revival in Washington, D.C. Only God knows. But I've been lax and need to repent of not praying for the leaders God has placed over me. Forgive me Lord. I know you love me. That's why there is always daily bread for us. I'm like a crazy duck sometimes. I like to dirty up the water He provides for us. I'm a mess, but I'm glad He bought me. I will trust Him as he rearranges the pen we're in.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

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, the abortion-rights advocate avoids the point under question...there is a fundamental difference between "eliminating a problem" and "finding a solution." p.16