Thursday, July 31, 2008


I was convicted by a poem I heard on Focus on the Family recently:

by Edgar Guest

He was going to be all the mortal could be tomorrow.
No one should be kinder and braver than he tomorrow.

A friend who was troubled and weary, he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it too,
On him he would call and see what he could do tomorrow.

Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write tomorrow,
And thought of the folks he'd fill with delight tomorrow.

It was too bad indeed he was busy today
And hadn't a minute to stop on the way.
More time he would have to give to others, he'd say, tomorrow.

The greatest of workers this man would have been tomorrow.
The world would have known him had he ever seen tomorrow.

But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that was left when living was through,
Was a mountain of things he intended to do tomorrow.

I remember speaking with my friend Laura a few days before she died. We met in the hall outside the computer lab. I was going out, she was going in and paused to ask me when the next Illustrator assignment was due in our graphic arts class. She had been struggling to use the program and I had helped her in lab just a few days before.

"Our first draft is due on Friday," I told her.

"Thanks, Mia. See you Friday."

Laura never made it to Friday. In fact, no professor held class for days following the Taylor van accident on I-69.

Sometimes I wonder what Laura and I would have said to one another had we known what was coming. But man knows not his time.

It's just my observation, but generally speaking, everyone tends to live as if they will go on forever. Our culture is centered on self and devoid of delayed gratification, obsessed only with what they desire in the moment.

Take these marketing slogans for example:

White Castle: "White Castle. What you crave."
Wendy's: "Do what tastes right."
Burger King: "Have it your way!" and "You're the boss!"
Pepsi Max: "Max your life."
L'Oreal: "Because I'm worth it."
Sprite: "Obey your thirst."
Nike: "Just do it."

But even if by a miracle one happens to escape the ensnaring "me-culture," it's easy to lose focus. Often I'll find myself engrossed in the minutia of life and allow whole weeks will slip by. Things I consider "extremely important" somehow get pushed further and further out.

Suddenly I "wake up" and think, "When was the last time I stopped to give my husband a hug and tell him how much I appreciate him? When was the last time I called my family to say hello? How much quality time have I spent with my friends lately?" Or, most importantly, "How much time did I spend with God this week? How have I served him today and how have I been growing in my faith?"

It's easy to surrender to the temptation of the moment and leave difficult things - usually the most important - for another day. But what if tomorrow doesn't come? Not everyone will be granted the privilege of another day.

If I died today and stood before Jesus Christ, what would he say about my life? Would he greet me on the golden streets and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"

When I lay on my deathbed, Lord willing, many years from now, I doubt I'm going to be thinking about the laundry I never folded, the food I didn't consume, or the clothes I didn't buy. All of those things are like grass: temporary, fading and easily forgotten. My life is going to boil down to three things: Who I love, who loves me, and what I did for God.

I want to live with no regrets!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plight of the Powerless

I remember driving to my grandparents house when I was a child. We always passed a little brick church next to a field dotted with white crosses. There were rows and rows of them, beginning at the roadside and stretching all the way back over the crest of the hill as far as my little eyes could see.

"What do all those crosses mean, dad?" I asked one day.

"They represent all the little babies who died from abortion," he told me sadly.

In my childish naivety, I assumed each cross stood for a baby and was shocked at the number of innocent lives lost. When I grew older I discovered the hideous truth: each cross in that churchyard represents 10,000 babies who have perished since Roe v. Wade became a precedent in 1973.

In 2008, the United States will likely pass 50 million post-Roe abortions. Fortunately, the number of abortions per year has dropped considerably and the opinions of the American public are gradually shifting.

According to, a May 2008 Gallup Poll showed that 54% of Americans believe abortion should only be legal under certain circumstances, though only 17% believe it should be illegal in all circumstances. And a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll from October 2007 revealed that 50% of Americans believe abortion due to unwanted pregnancy should be illegal.

However, while over-all abortions have decreased, there has been a dramatic increase in abortions among the African-American and Hispanic communities. But the African-American community has been ravaged the most.

According to, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report saying 13% of American women are black, but they account for more than 35% of all abortions. African-American women are also 4.8 times more likely to abort than non-Hispanic white women and almost one in every two African-American pregnancies is terminated.

Alisa Harris, a reporter for World magazine, wrote in her article Black Genocide, "If someone wiped out the entire African-American population in Oakland, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., the number still wouldn't equal the number of black babies lost to abortion in one year: 683,294."

Since 1973, 15 million African-American babies - equal to a quarter of the population - have been murdered.

Dyxie Lincoln, on staff in Focus on the Family's Sanctity of Life Department, and Kim Trobee, reporter for, assert that Planned Parenthood targets African-American and Hispanic minorities by clustering 95% of its centers in metropolitan and low-income urban areas.

This is not surprising given Planned Parenthood's historical track record. According to Tanya Green of Concerned Women for America, Margaret Sanger, founder of the Birth Control Federation of America which eventually became Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist and some would argue, a white supremacist.

Few Americans are aware of Margaret Sanger's "Negro Project," a program designed to reduce and control - some believe to exterminate - the African-American population under the guise of "family planning" and "better health." These tag lines appealed to the prominent and well-educated blacks of the day, raising their hopes that the Negro Project would bring economic success and respect to their down-trodden race. No benefits were ever recorded.

Sanger named Clarence J. Gamble (of Proctor and Gamble) the southern regional director of the Birth Control Federation of America, and wrote him a letter regarding the use of black ministers to market the Negro Project:

"The minister's work is also important and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation, as to our ideas and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." (found on

Sanger, who also considered the poor and the physically disabled to be a detriment to society also wrote this in her book The Pivot of Civilization:

"It [charity] encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which bring with it, as I'm sure the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant."
(Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, (New York: Brentano's, 1922). 108, found on

Sanger also advocated sterilization of the "lower classes."

"It now remains for the U.S. government to set a sensible example to the world by offering a bonus or yearly pension to all obviously unfit parents who allow themselves to be sterilized by harmless and scientific means. In this way the moron and the diseased would have no posterity to inherit their unhappy condition. The number of the feeble-minded would decrease and a heavy burden would be lifted from the shoulders of the fit." (Margaret Sanger, "The Function of Sterilization," The Birth Control Review, Oct. 1926, 299. Taken from a speech addressed to the Institute of Euthenics at Vassar College on Aug. 5, 1926, found on

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood still retains some of the heinous ideas of its misguided founder. According to, Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation by the U.S. House Minority Leader, John Boehner, R-Ohio, for excepting donations specifically to abort minorities.

A group of pro-life students from the University of California in Los Angeles unearthed Planned Parenthood's prejudice. The students hired actors to contact Planned Parenthood locations all over the U.S. on the pretense of donating money to abort African-American children. Nearly all branches accepted the proposed donations.

According to, The Columbus Dispatch reported the results of one actor who called an Ohio branch of Planned Parenthood. He wanted his donation to fund a black abortion because there are "way too many black people in Ohio." The receptionist shockingly responded: "Okay."

According to, Autumn Kersey, vice president of marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho, was recorded saying it was "understandable" that the actor wanted "less black kids out there" and she was "excited" at the prospect of such a donation.

Planned Parenthood locations across the nation have also been accused of various crimes including covering up incest and statutory rape. Regardless, they still receive an annual $330 million in tax dollars.

I can't imagine how God must weep as the bodies of the children he formed are suctioned, dismembered and blown apart, nor how he views the nation that promotes and funds such murderous actions.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139: 13-16, NIV

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stripping Fallacies to the Naked Truth

I was sitting at my desk at work the other day waiting for the phone to ring and wishing I had work to do. As my mind slowly sank into a haze of drowsy boredom, I was startled by a *dink* - the alert for my instant messenger. It was an old acquaintance I hadn't heard from in quite some time.

We began a surface conversation about weather, life, etc., when I lightheartedly mentioned a statement as fact. (I still don't remember precisely what it was.) He typed back, "That isn't a fact, it's an opinion, just like believing premarital sex is a sin."

The fog in my mind parted like the Red Sea. This was the friend who had encouraged me throughout high school to maintain high standards in all aspects my relationships with the opposite sex. This was the friend who inspired me to save my first kiss for my husband, for which Dan and I are eternally grateful.

I was completely taken aback.

My friend went on to say three things:

1. The Bible has absolutely nothing to say about premarital sex. It's just another rule made-up and imposed by the church.

2. Don't try to persuade me using anything from Song of Songs because it's just a nice story put forth as a suggestion. Plus, it's in the Old Testament, which doesn't matter anyway.

3. I've talked to pastors and none of them can prove to me that premarital sex is wrong, so it must be up to the individual to choose.

Apparently this acquaintance has changed quite a bit since I knew him last.

Assertion #1: The Bible has nothing to say about premarital sex

This person is not alone in his belief. According to The Barna Group, a Christian research organization, 35% of "born again Christians" (identified by saying they had "made a commitment to Christ that was still relevant in their lives today" and they were "going to heaven because Christ died to cleanse them of their sins") believe that premarital sex is morally acceptable. This statistic excludes the 7% of Evangelical Christians who also consider premarital sex an acceptable practice.

I'll be honest, I wasn't surprised at those statistics. When I was interning with Focus on the Family, Steve Watters, one of my supervisors, asked me to research the sexual attitudes of unmarried Christians between 18 and 34. An attitude that surfaced again and again was the "line drawn in the sand."

Christian young people are looking for the magical Bible verse that says: "Thou shalt not have premarital sex," or "Thou shalt not engage in heavy petting," or "Thou shalt not touch a girl/guy here, here or here prior to marriage," so they can tip-toe as close to the line as humanly possible.
These verses don't exist. In fact the words "premarital sex" aren't mentioned in Scripture, but that doesn't mean the Bible says nothing on the subject.

In effect, the apostle Paul did draw a "line in the sand" in his letter to the Ephesians:

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed because these are improper for God's holy people." (Eph. 5:3, NIV)

If this is truly the standard Christians are to live by, this verse should cause all true believers to pause and question all areas of our lives, not just in the sexual aspect. We shouldn't be "line-pushers," seeking to get away with as much as we possibly can without "sinning." We should honestly evaluate ourselves without tolerating even a "hint" of any impurity in our lives.

And in actuality, the apostle Paul did forbid sex outside of marriage. He wrote to the Christians at Corinth:

"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman [or, "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman," according to the NIV footnote.] Nevertheless, to avoid fornication (Greek: porneia: fornication, illicit sexual intercourse - Thayer's Greek Dictionary), let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband." (1 Cor. 7:1-2, KJV)

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, fornication is "consensual sexual intercourse between two persons." And according to Gill's Commentary, though fornication can refer to adultery, lewd sexual acts and figuratively can mean idol worship, the Biblical use of fornication also refers to "the carnal copulation of one single person with another."

Paul also wrote:

"Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry for it is better to marry then to burn with passion." (1 Cor 7:8-9, NIV)


"Do you not know that your bodies are a member of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality (porneia: fornication, illicit sexual intercourse - Thayer's Greek Dictionary). All the other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you are bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6: 15-20, NIV)

And for those who would focus only on the word "prostitute," you are missing the point of the passage entirely and I will refer you to a wonderful article by Matt Schmucker on

The author of Hebrews also had something to say about sex outside of marriage:

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." (Heb. 13:4, NIV)

And the author of the beautiful acrostic poem The Wife of Noble Character, found in Proverbs 31: 10-31, had wonderful insight as well. He said that a wife of noble character brings her husband "good, not harm, all the days of her life."

I'd like to point out that it is practically impossible to know your spouse every day of your life. The idea is to behave in such a way as to bring "only good" to your prospective spouse throughout your entire life, regardless of whether you currently know your spouse.

It is needless to ask that if your future or current spouse could look into the past and see you in bed with someone else, would that bring your spouse "good" or "harm?"

Above all, we need to remember that sex is more than just a physical act. A man "becoming one flesh" with his wife is a reflection of Christ's intimacy with his bride: the church. This is not a concept one should take lightly. Marring marriage with sexual sin distorts the image of Christ we bear. Christ demands from us complete faithfulness to himself alone. Should not our marriages reflect the same?

I find it ironic that Satan is leading people astray by questioning the validity of God's words just as he did back in the Garden of Eden:

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" (Genesis 3:1b, NIV, emphasis mine)

In actuality, God didn't say that. He said they could not eat from ONE tree in the garden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All other trees were given to Adam and Eve as a gift from a loving Father.

Satan was exaggerating God's words to make them sound ridiculous and irrelevant, creating the impression God was keeping Adam and Eve from pleasure, knowledge, and wisdom. After all, how harmful could eating a piece of fruit be? In truth, God, in his infinite wisdom, was protecting his creation from certain destruction.

These days the slithering serpent is up to his old tricks, infiltrating society with the deceitful assertion: "Did God really say anything about premarital sex in the Bible?" Thus he implies God is holding us back from insurmountable pleasure and physical expression. In truth, God has given us the gift of sexual pleasure within the context of marriage. Perhaps he is not trying to hinder us, but to protect our marriages.

Take a look at just a few statistics I found on

*According to a study by the National Survey of Family Growth, women who indulge in premarital sex increase their odds of divorce by 60%.

*Mike McManus, journalist, marriage counselor and author of the book Marriage Savers: Helping Your Friends and Family Avoid Divorce, found that the more promiscuous you are before marriage, the more likely you are to commit adultery after marriage.

*McManus also found that people who have premarital sex run the risk of marrying someone who is not right for them because sexual intimacy causes emotional blindness. Sex makes couples feel closer than they actually are and they can lose objectivity.

*McManus also found that couples who sleep together outside of marriage can suffer guilt or fear due to the dangers of STDs or unwanted pregnancy. Guilt can lead to frigidity and impotence.

*A Columbia University study found that only 26% of women and 19% of men who live together prior to marriage will actually marry the person they are living with.

*Another Columbia University study found that if a cohabiting couple does marry, they are twice as likely to divorce within 10 years compared to all other first marriages: 56% to 80%.

* According to the Western Journal of Nursing Research, women who have slept with three or more people over a lifetime are 15 times more likely to get cervical cancer.

Perhaps mankind should trust God's wisdom and leave the fruit on the tree this time.

Assertion #2: Song of Songs is a suggestion and the Old Testament is irrelevant

Every Christian needs to be holistic in their approach to the Bible. Either you take the Word of God as being just that - God's words to mankind and therefore true - or you don't believe the Bible at all.

Anyone who truly recognizes him or herself as a member of fallen humanity shouldn't be so arrogant as to believe only the words of God he or she likes and ignore the rest.
Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy:

"All Scripture is God breathed [not just the parts we like] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (1 Tim 3:16, NIV, emphasis mine)

James wrote:

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens and does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."

In other words, the Bible is not a book of "suggestions" which we can practice or discard at our discretion. It is an instruction manual for how God intends everyone to live his or her life.

And referring specifically to Song of Songs, I wouldn't want to challenge the wisdom of Solomon, inspired by God to be one of the wisest men who has ever lived. Ironically, Solomon did not heed his own advice and sorely regretted it at the end of his life.

As for the Old Testament, it is just as relevant as the New Testament because it points to the New Testament and the coming of Christ. God commanded the Israelites to observe specific laws and sacrifices to point to his coming. These laws, known as the "Old Covenant," were to humble God's people and reveal how helpless they were without a Messiah to cleanse them of their sin. No amount of slaughtered animals could wipe away a single blemish. But Christ's death on the cross ushered in the New Covenant. Christ's blood washed us clean so we may come unashamed into his presence without the aid of sacrifices, cleansing rituals, or dietary laws.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets [Old Testament]; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (NIV)

We no longer dissect animals to speak with our Heavenly Father because Christ fulfilled, not disregarded, the laws he set in place for his people. However, all other laws, including the Ten Commandments, are repeated throughout the New Testament and upheld in the teachings of Christ.

In summation, the Old Testament acts as humanity's mirror - showing us our frailty without an all-powerful God. Though many of the Israelites tried to follow God faithfully, year after year the priests would have to make sacrifices on behalf of the people to cover their sin. Sacrifices and human endeavours were not enough to cover our penalty. It took God's Son one act on the cross to cover the past, present and future sins of every man from the beginning to the end of time.

If that doesn't cause you to stop and marvel, I don't know what will.

Assertion #3: My pastor can't prove it to me, therefore I may decide

It doesn't not matter what a few select pastors say. I will answer my friend with the rallying cry of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Sola scriptura! The Bible alone.

Scripture, God-breathed and inerrant, stands alone as the authority for the faith and practices of Christians. We may rely on Church traditions for interpretation and allow our leaders to guide us in the truth. But we must always check everything against the Word of God.

"Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, - unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, - and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!" - Martin Luther -

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome reader!

Whether this blog will garner any serious readership shall remain to be seen. Nevertheless, I will forge ahead into the unknown waters of "non-journal" blogging, get my feet wet and hopefully have fun to boot.

The intersection of today's culture and the Christian faith has never ceased to fascinate me. In these humble ramblings I intend to explore cultural trends from a Biblical perspective and examine how these trends impact Christianity today.