More On Homosexuality And So-Called “Same-Sex Marriage”

This past Sunday I promised I would write at least three additional articles on these issues, continuing to think them through. Wednesday’s Between Sundays was the first of those articles.

Unfortunately, due to other pressing concerns this week, I have run out of time to commit to writing the other two articles well. So, rather than provide second-rate writing (and thinking), I am going to point you to five articles I read as I prepared for the sermon, to keep your thinking and conversating going.

Jonathan Parnell writes about the shifting definition of tolerance, which fundamentally alters the way these issues are discussed in the public square. In part:

Old tolerance — that is, before the onslaught of postmodernism — defines the concept as to “accept the existence of different views.” New tolerance, however, defines tolerance as to “accept different views.” More than just accepting a view’s existence, new tolerance adds that you’d better not say it’s wrong either. New tolerance demands that we consider every opinion to be equally valid. The only wrong is to say that everything’s not right. Just wait, it gets more complicated…..Continue Reading

I argued Sunday that we must move into conversations about these issues in love. But that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice truth, firmness, and boldness. For the end-game in our culture is not merely a re-definition of marriage, it is that all people must approve of the re-definition, or suffer the consequences. Pastor John Piper writes that “There Is No Demilitarized Zone In The Issue Of Homosexuality.”

I am sure many of us have read, with great interest, the storm surrounding the comments of Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy. Trevin Wax winsomely explains “Why the Chick-fil-A Boycott is Really about Jesus”:

Though I’m weary of our culture’s tendency to politicize everything, I believe this Chick-fil-A boycott has revealed some fault lines in our culture that will lead to increasing pressure upon Christians who uphold the sexual ethic described in the New Testament. Furthermore, in listening to the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, it’s clear to me that – political posturing aside – this discussion may not be about the alleged homophobia of Chick-fil-A’s president but the actual Christophobia of the leaders of the cultural elite….Continue Reading..

One of the temptations in fighting, winsomely and lovingly, for truth is to give up and give in; to opt out, because such labors make us weary. In an excellent essay from Denny Burke, he exhorts us: Don’t opt out and hide in the basement during the debate!…Continue Reading..

And finally, what of the freedoms promised in the Bill of Rights? Remember that one the authors called “the free exercise” of religion? Ross Douthat, a writer for The New York Times, writes:

…there seems to be a great deal of confusion about this point in the Western leadership class today.

You can see this confusion at work in the Obama White House’s own Department of Health and Human Services, which created a religious exemption to its mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception, sterilization and the days-after pill that covers only churches, and treats religious hospitals, schools and charities as purely secular operations. The defenders of the H.H.S. mandate note that it protects freedom of worship, which indeed it does. But a genuine free exercise of religion, not so much….

Now we have the great Chick-fil-A imbroglio, in which mayors and an alderman in several American cities threatened to prevent the delicious chicken chain from opening new outlets because its Christian president told an interviewer that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Their conceit seemed to be that the religious liberties afforded to congregations (no official, to my knowledge, has threatened to close down any Chicago churches) do not extend to religious businessmen. Or alternatively, it was that while a businessman may have the right to his private beliefs, the local zoning committee has veto power over how those beliefs are exercised and expressed…..Continue Reading..

I invite you to continue the discussion this Sunday after our worship service at Calvary Community Church. And, lunch will be on us.

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How Can We Help Those Suffering From A Homosexual Orientation?

The sermon from Sunday, August 26, at Calvary Community Church:

Sermon Summary:

“We are facing one of the largest cultural shifts in the history of civilization, effecting nearly every aspect of our culture. Which raises a critical question: What is the biblical response to those suffering from a homosexual orientation?”

Click For Sermon Manuscript

Are You Mom Enough?

Tony Reinke introduces a helpful, insightful, and winsome 3 minute video from missionary mom Rachel Pieh Jones.

Rachel Pieh Jones is a wife, mom, writer, and DG blog contributor who has lived in East Africa for the past 10 years. One of her pieces that has generated the most attention, you may remember, was published as a response to the Mommy Wars debate stirred up by a Time Magazine cover article published back in May. Rachel’s response post was titled “Are You Mom Enough?” What Rachel brings to the debate is both a helpful international perspective, and more importantly, a gospel perspective.

You can read her original post here, and you will find an index to the entire DG blog series that her post inspired here.

Discipline Trumps Your Feelings

Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, commenting in a Los Angeles Times article on self-esteem:

People with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don’t support their self-flattering views…A generation – and many millions of dollars – later, it turns out we may have been mistaken…I’m sorry to say, my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline.

And the Times reporter summarized:

In other words, high self-esteem doesn’t make you any better; it only makes you think you are better, which, in the end, makes you worse.

(cited in Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive In Public School, by David and Kelli Pritchard)

Self-Control

Edmund Burke, esteemed British statesman, more than 200 years ago:

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.

Evolution’s End?

Once again, Albert Mohler delivers insightful cultural commentary, this time on the tragic statements from our President yesterday. He begins:

Is President Obama’s “evolution” on same sex marriage finally complete? His call for the legalization of same-sex marriage yesterday is an historic and tragic milestone. An incumbent President of the United States has now called for a transformation of civilization’s central institution. And yet, no observer of this President could be surprised. The arrival of this announcement was only a matter of time.

He then reflects on the timing, and the President’s waffling position as a matter of character:

Why now? The Washington Post reports that he was under intense pressure from many Democrats, including his major campaign fundraisers. According to the paper’s report, one in six of the President’s major “bundlers,” or fundraisers, is a self-identified homosexual.

The immediate pressure came after Vice President Joe Biden said last Sunday that he was “completely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. The Vice President’s statement on the issue delivered full support for same-sex marriage. On Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed Biden’s lead.

The President was under intense pressure within his party, but the issue quickly turned into an issue of presidential character. No one made this point more directly than Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, in a column that ran yesterday morning. “Same-sex marriage is turning into a test of character and leadership for President Obama,” she wrote. “Does he favor it, or doesn’t he? In the wake of Vice President Biden’s remarks supportive of marriage equality, the continued presidential equivocation makes Obama look weak and evasive”

She wasn’t finished. “The longer Obama waits, the worse he looks. The President’s first stall tactic, that he is ‘evolving’ on the issue, doesn’t cut it anymore. Even Darwin would have lost patience by now. His second approach, the not-gonna-make-news-for-you-today cop-out, has also worn thin. If you wonder whether the President actually opposes same-sex marriage, doesn’t evolution imply change? And if you think perhaps he’s still conflicted — well, that’s hardly an advertisement to be leader of the free world. At this point, Obama’s reticence is looking cowardly.”

And he concludes…

He made his statement the day after voters in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly in support of defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman — the 30th state to have taken such action.

Honesty is the best policy, and the President has now made his position clear. He is again for what he was until today against, but that was only after he was for it before. The American people will have to unravel that as an issue of character. He is hardly the first politician to find himself holding to an “evolving” position on an issue of fundamental importance. Most politicians, however, do their best to avoid the kind of situation in which the President found himself on this issue.

In any event, the fact remains that the President of the United States has now put himself publicly on the line for the radical redefinition of marriage, subverting society’s most central institution.

Mr. Mohler is right, it is, indeed, a sad day for marriage.

(Read the whole article)

A Prayer for the EVERY Nation Day of Prayer

    After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”Rev. 7:9-10
     Dear heavenly Father, on this “national day of prayer,” it’s easy to think of several things to bring before your throne of grace, with joy and gratitude. First of all, I praise you for heavenly citizenship. Thank you for making me a citizen of the only unshakable kingdom—the kingdom of God. Though this standing in grace came freely to me, it cost you the life of your beloved Son, Jesus. Thanks be to God for this “indescribable gift.”
     Already reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords, we eagerly await Jesus’ return, by which all evil will be eradicated and the transformation of all things will be complete—including a renewed and whole me. I can barely imagine the day when, not only will I never be tempted to sin again, I will be unable to sin forever. That Day cannot come one day too soon!
     Secondly, as broken as our country is, I’m very thankful to be an American citizen, Father. I praise you for the many freedoms we still enjoy and the multiplied privileges that go with being a citizen of this great nation. We bring our sitting president before the occupied throne of heaven, and we ask you to be at work in his heart and through his hands.
     As with all “kings,” you set them up and you sit them down at your discretion, so we trust you, Father, for the accomplishment of your sovereign purposes through our president. Grant him wisdom, and prove yourself to be the God who opens doors no man can shut, and the One who closes doors no man can open. Our ultimate hope is not in our country, but in your Christ. We don’t look for a “lasting city” here, but for “the City whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).
     Lastly, Father, as I grow in my understanding of the gospel, I find great joy to pray in view of the  apostle John’s vision of the “every nation” day of prayer (Rev. 7:9). Oh, for the Day when men and women from every nation, tribe, people, and language will be wearing the white robes of grace-secured salvation while waving palm branches of praise and shouting in perfect harmony, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:10).
     Because that Day is coming, free us to be good citizens right where you’ve planted us—without naiveté, fear or cynicism. Until the kingdom of God arrives in fullness and King of Glory arrives in splendor, help us to “love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Pet 2:17). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ sovereign and saving name.
(from Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers)