Sanctity of Life

Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent.” Jonathan Swift.

From the time that I’ve been old enough to understand the subject matter, I have always considered myself pro-life. I believe that a baby has a pulse and a life ahead of them from the moment of conception and that God has plans for that child—even if the child was unplanned by the baby’s parents.

Thus, most pastors, politicians, and individuals, would define my stance as “pro-life”, believing in the sanctity of the life of an unborn baby.

But, is that all there is to being ‘pro-life?’ 

To me, being pro-life is about much more than that. It’s about standing up for the dignity of each and every person that God created in His image. It’s about taking a stance for the marginalized of society. It’s about bringing hope to the places that seem the most hopeless.

It’s about much more than a political statement on a singular issue. According to Huffington Post, more than forty-five billion people are living below the poverty line—just in America. Furthermore, according to the Christian scholar Ron J. Sider (Just Politics, pg. 124), 438,000 people die every year from smoking. These people are affected in a drastically different way, yet both instances above are clearly issues related the sanctity of human life.

If we’re going to truly call ourselves pro-life, we must care about every life. 

Though this line of thinking has historically been championed by the Roman Catholic church, there is a growing emergence of evangelical protestants in this movement. Even well-known magazines, such as Christianity Today and RELEVANT have begun speaking about issues related to a consistent life ethic. While the two major political parties continue to remain polarized and stuck in less-than-consistent-policies, individuals are challenging the status quo and presenting new ways to go about being “pro-life” in a world rampant with death and suffering. 

Essentially, if we’re going to live out our faith, we must remain consistent. Black lives matter just as much as babies’ lives matter. Those on death row are just as precious to God as those in a church pew, for ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Helping people stay alive while they’re here, through charities and food programs is just as important as advocating for those yet-to-be-born.

Sometimes, being pro-life comes at a cost. It may cost us our time, as we help a struggling mother care for her children. Other times, it may come at a financial cost, as we assure that people are fed and healthy. Yet other times, it may simply cost bearing the burden of another, as we listen and love an unwed mother, a refugee fleeing persecution, or a young person dealing with their parents’ divorce.

Being consistently pro-life comes at a cost—but in the end, we have so much more to gain.

A friend.

A testimony.

A new member of the family of believers. 

In the end, we become courageous—and a little more like Jesus in the process.

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan

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Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Thirteen/ #MLKDAY Post

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Hey guys, it’s day thirteen of the blogging challenge! It’s also Martin Luther King Jr. Day—and because today’s topic is “Someone who fascinates you and why” I decided to make this  post a dedication to the civil rights activist whom this day honors. 

As you can probably guess by the name of my blog, I was born long after his death. Nonetheless, even as a girl who’s skin fries after an hour in the sun, I’ve been impacted by this man’s legacy. Few people can take claim to an annual holiday, or have made such a huge impact on the world that we live and breathe in today. Few people have had the courage to follow a dream in the face of nationwide opposition. Few people have had the courage to risk death for their ideals. 

I also find it interesting to know that he was a Christian—a minister, in fact. In addition to doing world-changing work in the area of racial equality, he was consistent about speaking out about his faith. I would imagine that he’d be an outstanding pastor to listen to, with memorable quotes such as the one below.

“We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The things he fought for were integral to to the message of the Gospel—absolute unity in Christ, as God’s beautiful creations. God never meant for us to be divided by things like race or gender. God’s dream for humanity is unity—something that Dr. King fought for until the day he died. If it weren’t for his legacy, we may never have met close friends, family members, and neighbors who were previously kept separate simply because of their outward appearance. It is very improbable that without his legacy, and the legacies of those like him, that we would ever have friends of a difference race or ethnicity.

God has a dream for each one of us. Martin Luther King found his in bringing greater racial reconciliation to America. Ours may be in any number of vocations—from ministry, to advocacy, to teaching, to raising a family. It’s very likely that God has plans for us in a number of different ways, as He uses His children a little bit closer to Himself and to each other.

Today, let’s continue to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and live fully into God’s plan for our lives.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

 

Consolidation In A Time Of Chaos

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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Two days ago, we had our official 2016 election. One day later, the internet exploded with a mix of extreme joy and extreme sorrow. Those who supported our new president celebrated. Those who did not support him mourned—some even going so far as to protest in the streets.

Typically, I try to avoid the topic of politics on my blog. Typically, my articles focus on how we can be more united as the body of Christ in the midst of a changing world. Politics on the other hand, tends to divide. I believe that a person can be a good and faithful Christian from either side of the political spectrum, and that in the big scheme of things, there are way more important things to worry about than who’s in the White House.

Nonetheless, due to the unusual nature of this particular election, I feel led to address it in a way that will hopefully bring more unity than division.

I’m not writing this to endorse Donald Trump. I’m also not writing this to endorse Hilary Clinton. In fact, my first-ever vote went to a third party candidate. But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about unity, and how we can better understand and empathize with each other as a nation. If you are reading this from another country, I encourage you to keep reading. The things that I’m about to write apply to humans in nearly every context of the world.

First off, I don’t believe that the fear some people are dealing with is about this election alone. Many pre-existing wounds of our country have been brought to light in this election, which I believe has created a general atmosphere of fear and distrust. Racially, it seems we’ve hit an all time low that we haven’t seen in decades. Every day that I go to my college classes, I see racial segregation in a way that is both shocking and disheartening. I hear racist comments on a regular basis—people who are literally putting another person down based on the color of their skin. There seems to be a growing insensitively to the feelings and humanity of others, in race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, etc. etc. etc.

Second, I believe that we need to do a better job at listening as a countryStemming off of our general problem of division, we also are not listening to the concerns of others as a population. The Right is catering to concerns about religious freedom and the sanctity of life. The Left is catering to concerns about racial and gender equality. I believe we need all of these things in order to flourish as a society and human race. But, rather than listening to the concerns and fears of people with different concerns than our own, we often villainize them. As a whole, people generally resort to stereotypes rather than risk hearing a real person and their stories and scars. If we’re going to move forward as a country and/or human race, we need to do a better job at listening and caring about the concerns of others—even if they do not directly affect us. 

Thirdly, it is up to us as Christians to continue to be a light. Let’s face it, Christians seem to be put in a worse light every day. I believe this is partly the result of living in a corrupt world, but in some cases, we have been to blame, and we must try to do better. As God’s representatives here on earth, it’s our job to show people what God’s love looks like. How can we live out God’s command to “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Lord“? I believe it starts with looking to God and the Bible for guidance. Elections happen once a year, and soon this chaos will be over, but we have a year-long job to show people Jesus’ love. We need to be intentional about encouraging justice.

In order to be Biblical and consistent, we must stand for the lives of the unborn and for the lives of those affected by police brutality.

We must stand for God in the public square and stand up for the rights of those who have been affected by sexual harassment.

We must stand for Biblical ethics and stand for the poor and the homeless.

Just as we have representation in America, we are the representation for something much bigger. We are the representations of God almighty, called to be a light and shine for truth, justice, and mercy. 

How we will we live out that representation? 

How will we, as Christians in the 21st century, be remembered? 

 

The Future Of Our Faith: By Ron J. Sider and Ben Lowe

Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t posted in a while! I promise to get better about that moving forward! 

A couple of months back, I read a book called The Future of Our Faith by Ron J. Sider. and Ben Lowe. This book is an “intergenerational conversation on critical issues facing the church“, and throughout this book, we see commentary on important social issues through the eyes of a baby-boomer and a millennial.

Ron J. Sider is seventy-six years old, a professor at Palmer Theological Seminary, and the author of over ten books, including Living Like Jesus, Just Politics: a Guide for Christian Engagement, Churches That Make A Difference, etc. He is passionate about social justice and has been working within the Christian community for years to help Christians better engage with the world around them.

Ben Lowe is a Christian author (Green Revolution, Doing Good Without Giving Up, and The Future of Our Faith) and Senior Advisor with Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. He has worked in the Christian community to try to raise more awareness for Biblical environmentalism and once ran for congress in 2010.

Reading this book, it’s clear that both authors have done a lot of research on trends and problems facing the modern day church. Deeply frustrated with our current dysfunctional patterns, they strive to pave a new way forward in our approaches to topics like race, wealth, homosexuality, politics, gender equality, the environment, social sin vs. personal sin, divorce, etc.

The chapters are broken up into nine chapters, each addressing a separate topic. They’re both well-researched in different stances on important issues and strive to present their views with sensitivity and grace—especially on some of the more controversial topics. They don’t always stick with popular opinion and are quick to call out dysfunction when needed, but they always remain Biblical and stick to God’s Word as their number-one-source.

The Future of Our Faith remains relevant throughout, and addresses some of the very questions that we’re asking as a Christian society right now in a very nonpartisan way—avoiding siding completely with either political party. It avoids focusing on legislation and is more concerned with how we, as the Body of Christ, operate in the world around us. I appreciated this, as I believe that the current hyper-political atmosphere of the church is damaging our witnessing and making the us look bad.

At the end of each chapter, each author comments on the other’s points, and despite the extremely wide age gap, they tend to wholeheartedly agree with each other’s perspective. It was clear that they each valued the other’s opinions and appreciated the unique perspectives of their counterpart.

Personally, I believe that every Christian should read this, as the choices that we make at this point of history have the potential to shape the “future of our faith” (No pun intended). The authors have an excellent and consistent worldview and present a positive framework for how we can move forward in a changing world. It was easily one of the most insightful books that I’ve read in a long time.

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To conclude, I would easily give this book a five-out-of-five stars and I’d highly recommend it to any Christian interested in engaging Biblically with the world around them. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Colorblind

Hey everyone, I recently stumbled across this post on my friend Mfon’s blog. I have wanted to address this topic for a while, but have been unsure of where to start. I’ve heard stories from friends who have been personally affected by prejudice and it makes me sad that so many judge on the basis of race/ethnicity. We’re all created in God’s image and all deserve to be treated that way. I love the message of this post and I hope you’re as moved by this post as I was when I read it.

Out Loud

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.“~ John 13:34 (NKJV)

When my son, Eric, was 12 years old, he fell in love (for the second time.)  Her name was Jasmyn.  I will never forget the day he came home from school and began to tell me all about this beautiful girl that he met.  She was smart…and pretty…and funny… and kind… He went on and on about her that day and for many days to come.

At one point, Eric invited Jasmyn to the house to play video games and I offered to pick her up.  We pulled in front of her home and out came this beautiful young lady, just as pretty as Eric had described.  The thing that I found most interesting is that at no time in any of…

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So What About Feminism? (Part Three)

Warning: Extremely long post. Grab a cup of tea, put on some good music and make yourself comfortable if you dare to read all of this. 

I’ll be honest, I enjoy a good love story. Though I come across fairly ‘tomboyish’ to most who know me, I have a weakness for chick-flicks and Hallmark movies (The secret’s out y’all!). I love books by Karen Kingsbury, pretty much any movie with Reese Witherspoon.

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Furthermore, since marriage and family is likely to be a huge part of the lives of many Christians, I feel that it is very important topic to address within this series.

Admittedly, as a girl who has been single since birth, I’m coming at this from an “outside looking in” perspective. Nonetheless, I do not live in a bubble and I’ve had the opportunity to witness relationship dynamics in both real life and the movies. Plus, like many millennial girls, I have a fair amount of old Taylor Swift songs on my iTunes account. 😉

Joking aside, I have taken the time to research this topic and have read passages in the Bible that relate to marriage. I’ve also searched reputable, outside-sources by people who know God’s word and have studied this topic much longer than I have.

I believe that our best starting place in studying this topic is asking what God intends marriage to look like. Because humans are fallen, we’ve likely witnessed, or even been in, an unhealthy relationship before. Look no further than television to find dysfunctional relationships abroad. Many TV shows portray blatant disrespect, borderline emotional-abuse, and lust as commonplace, something to be expected in dating or marital relationships. This should not be so. God takes this covenant so seriously that He uses the metaphor of marriage to describe Christ’s relationship with the church. Clearly, God has high standards for marriage.

God calls for love and respect on both ends of the relationship. Some people have tried to create a power imbalance between the husband and wife by misusing the word ‘submit’, but I do not believe that hierarchy in marriage is God’s intent. In the Garden of Eden, God gives Adam and Eve equal dominion over the earth, as co-stewards of creation (Genesis 1:28).

Furthermore, in the original Greek language, submit means to ‘voluntary yield in love‘. The word used to refer to husbands and wives is different than the word used for parent-child relationships. The wife is not called to absolute obedience, but rather to love and respect her husband, just as her husband is called to love and respect her. To quote an article from godswordtowomen.org Absolute obedience belongs to God alone (www.godswordtowomen.org/patriarchyriss.htm).

So what does it mean for both partners to love and respect each other? It would seem that the first step is to treat each other kindly. Colossians 3:19 instructs husbands not to be harsh to their wife and Proverbs 21:19 warns against wives being quarralsum with their husband. In short, it seems that the Golden Rule applies to both partners in marriage, Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). 

A second thing that I believe is highly important in a marriage is for both partners to encourage one and other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I believe that both partners should do their best to encourage each other’s dreams, goals, careers, and callings. God has a unique plan for each person’s life, and it’s important that both the husband and the wife encourage each other to become all that God intended them to be.

It is also import for both spouses to provide emotional support when their partner is going through a difficult time. Oftentimes, people place the emphasis on financial support, but  many gals believe emotional support is just as important. There is much more to marriage than “putting food on the table”. Taking the time to listen and understand your spouse is something that will likely stay in their mind much longer than a number on a paycheck.

Last but far from least, marry someone who shares your faith and values. I cannot stress this point enough. I have seen people marry someone from a drastically different faith background, or no faith at all, and it always causes a truckload of problems. Complications come in with raising children and the couple misses out on the bond of a common faith. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” This is not saying that unbelievers are bad people. All of us were unbelievers at one point (After all, even if we were raised in church, we weren’t born Christian). What it is saying, is that it’s important for our close friends, and especially our spouse, to share our faith and convictions.

. . . .

This post concludes my three-part series on Biblical gender-equality.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have received a lot of positive feedback and have been challenged in a very positive way as I’ve searched the Bible for answers to hard questions. If you pull nothing else away from this series, I want to leave you with one thing to think about; God loves us and wants to use us in the midst of countless of differences. 

We’re all in slightly different pockets of life and come from a variety of backgrounds, but through Christ’s blood on the cross, we are one giant, amazing, beautiful, diverse family.

Called to emulate, follow, and share the love of our Savior, and shine as a light to a broken and dark world. ❤️

 

So What About Feminism? (Part Two)

Perhaps one of the most volatile discussions surrounding Christian feminism is “Should Christian women be allowed to teach in the church?” There are faithful, goodhearted Christians on both ends who strive to uphold Biblical doctrine.

Most people have good reasons and intent in their beliefs, but a conversation that determines the fate of women who feel called to ministry is bound to get messy. As previously stated, I hold an egalitarian view of scripture, and thus, support the notion of women in ministry. I have done extensive research on this topic and believe that scriptures support women in ministry. In this blog post, I’m going to lay out my case for women teaching in the church, and give passages to support my stance.

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  1. The Greek words used are gender inclusive. To quote Charisma magazine “1 Corinthians 14:26 gives a list of things that everyone is expected to participate in.When you come together, every one of you has…” The Greek word for every one, hekastos, is a word that encompasses both genders. This list includes teaching. Several times in chapter 14, the word “all” is used. Verses 24 and 31 both say that all may prophesy, and we know from Paul’s teaching in chapter 11 that this includes women.”
  1. We need to understand the context of Biblical passages. Most often, knowing why the Bible says something is as important as knowing what is says. For instance, we know that the Bible talks about slavery, but we should by no means believe that it supports the unbiblical practice of owning slaves. In fact, I believe that the Bible set the very framework for abolishing slavery, particularly in the book of Philemon, where Paul urges Philemon to think of his former slave as a brother. Similarly, many understand passages like 1 Timothy 2:12 to be a command to a particular context, rather than one that should be applied universally. An article in Christianity Today says “Because women in Ephesus at this time were uneducated and secluded, Paul was warning that they could be misled by the false teachers trying to lure new Christians away from the church Paul wanted to establish.” Paul’s job, first and foremost, was to protect Biblical doctrine so that all might be saved. If the women in this particular church did not have a stable foundation for their faith, it would have been necessary to forbid them from teaching for the greater good. This does not mean that he was forbidding every women in every context from teaching.
  2. If women were not allowed to teach, it would literally handicap the body of Christ. More and more each day, Bible-believing Christians are becoming a minority in society. It is estimated, according to Washington Times in 2012, that thirty-two-percent of people in the world are Christians. This is literally less than half of the world’s population. Numbers are bound to be lower if we exclude women (Half of the world’s population) from the percentile. There are thousands of people out there who don’t know Christ, and by limiting women from leadership, we’re making it harder for people to hear the Gospel. I do not believe this is what God wants for His children, especially in light of The Great Commission, which instructs every believer to “go and make disciples of every nation.”

To conclude, I believe that God is calling both genders to work in His kingdom. We are all His creation and though there are some obvious differences in men and women, both genders are equally loved by our Lord and Savior. He died for both men and women and I believe that He is calling both genders to spread the news of His glorious resurrection. I believe that equality in leadership is one of many ways that He is using His people to be a light, redeem the world, and spread the awesome love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”* Galatians 3:28 

*This verse in context is referring to salvation, but I believe that it can also be applied to ministry and leadership.