Even as an adult, I love fireworks — the small ones fascinate me, too. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take in the moving and heart-stirring fireworks display in Washington, D.C. Our nation's capital seems to be the most fitting place for fireworks and all they represent: rocket's red glare, bombs bursting in air, freedom, honor, sacrifice, drama, wonder and celebration. I let my mind drift back to the courageous days of our forefathers. Lights, colors and sounds on the outside and feeling and emotion on the inside.
Throughout America this week, we celebrate our country's birthday and commemorate winning our freedom from England. Freedom is a wonderful feeling, a state (literally and figuratively) of mind and a privilege. I taught overseas in Kenya after the bombing of the U.S. Embassy, in Uganda while a civil war was raging, and in Iraq during the war and U.S. occupation in 2007. Until I visited and lived with people in these oppressed and persecuted areas, I really didn't understand the magnitude and insidious ramifications of persecution or the powerful meaning of freedom.
Freedom has a different meaning for each person, but the universal definition centers on messages such as; "I have no master." "I get to call the shots." "I am in control of my own destiny." Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. If we look deep in our hearts, we are already aware of this sobering reality—we aren't really free. It's just a trick. We will always serve a master. God designed us—and wired into our DNA—the desire and need to worship Him. Satan knows how God wired us and takes advantage of this ingrained characteristic by putting many inadequate options in front of us. The first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," is God's warning and instruction regarding Satan's insurgent attack on our hearts and minds. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a group suing California for its recently passed state ban on sexual orientation change therapy for youth struggling with same-sex attraction.
America's highest court decided Monday to not review an appeal by a non-profit legal group, letting stand a lower court decision upholding the California law, known as Senate Bill 1172.
The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling today in the rather controversial Hobby Lobby religious liberty case. It was extremely significant in that it ultimately upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and made it clear that closely held corporations cannot be separated from the individual identities of their owners. I, along with many other Christians, are elated that the decision went the way it did. It will be used to uphold religious freedom for individuals (acting as individuals and on behalf of their business entities) for decades to come.
As I've read comments and heard the opinions of "progressive" Christians, I think there exists a lack of knowledge about why so many religious people (I think evangelicals, Catholics, and many religious Jews as well have seen the merits of this decision) see this decision as a "big win." While you are more than welcome to disagree, and I hope to write my own opinion in a respectful tone, I wanted to share from the heart of one Pastor why I'm excited by today's decision.
First, you should know that I'm a Baptist who identifies strongly with ancient Anabaptists on issues of religious liberty and the separation of church and state, a phrase you would never have heard of had it not been for Thomas Jefferson's conversation with a Baptist congregation. (The phrase is a comment on the First Amendment but is not found in any official government document.) more >>
"I'm so glad you are doing this, Jenny. But I cannot write about my experience. It is still too painful."
"This" refers to the Ruth Institute's Kids Divorce Stories initiative. This completely free and open feature gives people a chance to talk about their childhood experiences, going through their parents' divorces. People talk about what it was like for them when they watched their father walk away for the last time. They write about feeling like second-class citizens within the new reconstituted families. They write about having only one or two photos of themselves with both of their parents, or about watching their mom cut all the photos of their dad out of the family photo album.
"The kids will be fine as long as their parents are happy." "Kids are resilient. They will get over it." These cultural lies are designed to console adults who have decided to leave a low-conflict marriage, or to exonerate adults who have decided to leave their spouses for a new love interest. more >>
For the last few decades, there have been gay-affirming Christians who reject the full authority of the Bible and who have no problem saying that Moses or Paul were wrong on certain subjects. But it is only in the last few years that there has been a rise in gay-affirming Christians who claim to be orthodox believers in the full inspiration of the Scriptures.
The simple fact is that is impossible to fully affirm the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, which includes a full affirmation of the deity of Jesus, while at the same time claiming that God approves of committed homosexual relationships.
For example, gay-affirming Christians commonly claim that while the Bible's prohibition of homosexual practice is categorical, it is not talking about homosexuality as we know it today. Instead, we are told that the biblical authors were speaking against abusive homosexual relationships involving pederasty or prostitution or rape or excessive lust. (Another argument would be that they were denouncing homosexual practices involved in idolatrous rites.) more >>
It's hard to determine where the tragedy begins and the travesty ends. It's a story that has gripped and enraged a nation. It's a sordid tale of governmental tyranny, child imprisonment and endangerment, harmful and unethical medical experimentation, as well as a number of gross conflicts of interest.
This is the story of a child, Justina Pelletier, who faced 16 long months of child abuse and incarceration at the hands of both Massachusetts's government officials and callous medical personnel at Boston Children's Hospital.
Thankfully, due to the actions of Liberty Counsel, a Christian civil rights law firm, powerful media voices like Glenn Beck and tens of thousands of outraged and outspoken Americans, 16-year-old Justina is now home. more >>