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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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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️