Long before the start of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's 2014 (ERLC 2014) conference on marriage, sexuality and homosexuality, the fiery darts were thrown. Cultural and religious analysts and Twitter pundits alike hurled their accusations of hatred and bigotry with the hopes Internet bullying would silence discussions of biblical sexuality. But had critics waited to watch the ERLC 2014 live stream, they might have been surprised by the Southern Baptists' compassionate, almost self-deprecating opening notes.
"When we come to an event like this we have to have our hearts broken, not about their sin but about ours," said Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and ERLC 2014's opening keynote speaker. Mohler even shared, "I repent of denying that sexual orientation was legitimate."
During the first panel discussion moderated by Phillip Bethancourt, topics covered beyond same-sex marriage included divorce and cohabitation. But one of the most compassionate statements made was directed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community when Dr. Russell Moore, President of the ERLC, recognized the LGBTQ youth kicked out of their parents' homes as a human dignity issue and the called on the Church to step in and care for these homeless LGBTQ youth in need. more >>
Defrocked United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer, who defied church law against same sex rites, has been reinstated by a church court on a technicality. See John Lomperis's analysis here.
Ironically, had Schaefer been immediately defrocked, the verdict likely would have stood. But the jury had suspended him for 30 days to allow him the chance to disavow further defiance, and his refusal provoked defrocking. Church appeals courts ruled this penalty punished him for future acts.
Schaefer has already quit Pennsylvania, where of course he left his local church in shambles, and now heads a small ministry in the fast declining and ultra liberal United Methodist region in Southern California. Good luck! more >>
In late summer, the California Department of Managed Health Care sent a chilling letter to all private health care insurers in the state, ordering them to cover all elective abortions - immediately. Naturally, many California churches insure their staff members under these policies.
According to an October complaint filed by Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of several California churches, "the insurers were instructed to…remove any limitations on health coverage for abortions." The insurance companies could not, for any reason, deny coverage to a woman for her abortion.
As the complaint states, "DMHC ordered elective abortion coverage into these churches' health insurance plans." more >>
Corporal punishment is a sensitive subject. It is also becoming more controversial in today's culture. Recent charges brought against a popular NFL running back have surfaced it once again.
Decades ago I authored a book now titled, The Little Handbook of Loving Correction. It was formerly called, God, the Rod, and Your Child's Bod. I changed it out of cultural sensitivity.
This subject is very personal to me because I actually had a family member bring totally false accusations against me regarding this issue! A church I cofounded over 37 years ago was embroiled in a lawsuit dealing with "abuse" and even though I departed the church 23 years ago, my name was "thrown in the hopper." more >>
Houston's lesbian mayor Annise Parker's recent actions exemplify history repeating itself, the necessity for understanding context, and realizing that the simplest solution is found amidst child's play.
Parker and gay agenda supporters immediately bring to mind the children's game, Simon Says, and other themes from children's rhymes. The game's primary rule, "Do what I say, Not what I do," is designed to teach children to observe and differentiate between commands and actions. The same skills are necessary for adults. The definitions of tolerance, equality, morality, or societal and behavioral norms differ depending on who uses them.
For example, regarding Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, nearly triple the number of required signatures were obtained to petition for its repeal. Yet Parker and Houston's city attorney redefined the requirement and rejected the petition. In response, Houstonians sued. Parker countered, by subpoenaing Christian ministers' sermons and emails, then revised it to "speeches and presentations." more >>
In just over a week, the voices of voters around the nation will be heard on a variety of issues and on a sprawling slate of candidates. Voters in seven states will encounter gambling proposals on their ballots: Colorado, Massachusetts, California, South Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Kansas. The proposals take different approaches - in some states, additional lotteries are proposed, in others, gambling at racetracks, and in still others, the erecting of casinos or slot machines.
On each of these proposals, concerned voters should reject the expansion of gambling. While many contend that gambling is an economic boon for a state and that it increases tax revenue - sometimes even supposedly benefitting local school districts - there are much darker issues at play.
The social cost of gambling is simply too high to pay. And it's not one that voters need to bring into their communities, their neighborhoods, or their families. more >>