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Archive for the ‘Citizenship’ Category

boy scout pledgeA Boy Scout learns how to survive in the wilderness.  Trained correctly, he can sense danger and steer himself and others clear.  But when faulty ideologies reconfigure the training ground, a young man’s moral sense is compromised.

Adults who should know better can boast, “Look at what we’ve done!  We broke new trail for young men!”   But this trail most definitely leads off the edge of a cliff.

Why would anyone want to tamper with moral behavior and remove boundaries put in place for the human good?  Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

There is little that influences society more than mentoring a boy to be a man.  Dennis Prager writes,

Wise cultures have learned that happiness is attained only when we conquer our nature . . . Historically, societies and parents have always known it’s a good thing to teach boys to control aspects of their male nature – their sexual desires and their predilection for violence.  Decent men were taught from youth to touch a woman sexually only with her permission and to channel physical aggression into sports or into helping fight evil by joining the police force or military.  Men who didn’t learn to control these aspects of male nature not only became bad men, but unhappy men.” (“Wanted by women: A few good old-fashioned men,” The Washington Times 6/30/08)

When a scout questions his male nature, how will his troop leader respond?   Will he help the young man practice self-control?  Will he remind the scout of his pledge to “do my duty to God . . .”?  And, if so, what god will he be pledging to?  Here he faces the most dangerous cliff of all.

Defined as a “sexual being,” a boy may be tempted to give himself freedoms that God does not; to trust his own reason and desires; to, in fact, worship and serve self rather than God (Romans 1:24-25).  In time, sexual identity can influence everything… even the way a boy sees God.  When society redefines morality, identity and even the character of a Boy Scout, then it redefines God.  It will not just be young men who are in danger.  It will be all the others who fall into idolatry with them.

I’d like to believe that many young men, in doing their “duty to God,” have been encouraged to see themselves as God does.  God does not call a boy “gay” or “straight.”  He calls him “holy.”  Even in the midst of conflicting desires, God equips a boy to rise above self to Him and through Him resist dangerous attitudes and behaviors.  God says, you “will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).  Identified this way, a young man can blaze a trail for himself and others away from danger.

What god does a boy pledge to — the Creator who made woman a “good fit” for man in the faithfulness of marriage, or the god who declares sexuality not a moral issue but a civil rights issue?  It matters.  It matters a lot because a god in our own image is no god at all.  Such a god cannot help any boy navigate the wilderness of life.

Foolishness is tampering with marriage.  Now it threatens another institution.  God did not establish the Boy Scouts, to be sure, but He did establish the boundaries of morality and character.  He does not give us license to do as we please.  He does not make square pegs to fit in round holes.  He does not delight in a boy’s frustration and misery.  But He does offer wisdom and strength to change… or practice self-restraint.  Only the God of all creation enters the chaos of this world to bring order and goodness to life.

New trail for scouting may have been broken, but it leads off the cliff.  Rather than sinning against God and all that is holy, the most courageous thing a boy might do is to turn away to a trail less traveled.  Separate from the pack.  Together with dad, grandpa, and men of faith, set safer course.

P.S.  Looking for a collection of outdoor adventures and character building supplies?  I highly recommend Vision Forum.

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Boy scout logoThe Boy Scouts now allow homosexual boys to participate fully in its programs.

What does this mean?

Weren’t all boys always welcomed into the Boys Scouts?  Weren’t all boys invited to be morally trained in courage, tenacity, community service, trustworthiness, and good citizenship?  Weren’t all boys equally mentored to develop character and skills that honor God, country, and neighbor?

Has there ever been a time when a Boy Scout had to declare himself a heterosexual?

Who turns the heads of boys to think they must demand their rights to sexual preference?  Is sexual identity a pre-cursor to responsible citizenship?  In the name of common sense, we’re talking about children here!

Sexual identity rules the day… even for a Boy Scout.   Alfred Kinsey would be proud.  He’s the one who coined the phrase we’ve heard over and over again: “Children are sexual from birth.”  Prior to Kinsey, no one ever referred to children as being “sexual” or inferred that they enjoyed or responded pleasurably to a sexual experience.   Prior to the 1950s, a child was never defined as “sexual” except in the mind of a predator or pedophile.

A Boy Scout pledges on his honor to do his best “to do my duty to God and my country . . . to help other people at all times . . . to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”  What does it mean to honor God who never once identifies children as “sexual beings?”

God calls boys and girls by name.  He entrusts children to moms and dads within the faithfulness of marriage so that they won’t be mistreated by those who do not see them as He does.  To guard their personhood, God sets children apart from animals who are captive to instincts and bound to do whatever it is they do.  Honoring God, boys are equipped to mature into self-controlled men who rise above selfish interests.

In a sin-drenched world, boys battle sinful natures and the distortion of identity.  But a boy who is baptized is a son of God in Christ.  He is not defined as sexual, but holy.  He is not common, but uncommon.  He is not slave to the weakness of body, but strong of spirit.

Baptized or not, we are all – beginning in the womb of our mothers – both body and spirit.  Our bodies will change, but our spirits will live forever – either with God or apart from Him.  Spiritual identity matters for eternity.

So here is my plea to the Christian community: Do not hide behind choice words like “tolerance” or “compassion.”  Linger no longer in organizations shape-shifted by humanist ideologies.  Take a stand for the sake of boys who journey to manhood.  Treat them not as slaves to themselves, but as heirs of a Kingdom not of this world.

P.S.  Fathers, grandfathers and pastors interested in alternatives to the Boy Scouts might visit Vision Forum.  This ministry offers exciting resources to mentor godly young men.

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women fighter pilotsTwenty years ago on April 28, then Defense Secretary Les Aspin first authorized female pilots.  Women aviators have claimed a series of “firsts.”

Now, female pilots like retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally are offering advice to women’s advocates and the Pentagon on how best to integrate women into the all-male world of ground combat.

Col. McSally has a distinguished career.  Of course she was challenged.  Women don’t easily enter the “man’s world.”  But, said Col. McSally, “I have three older brothers.  I’m Irish.  I’m fiesty.  This wasn’t my first rodeo with these kinds of dynamics.”  Hurdles included the ready room where men were not used to women and proving that she could meet the same standards as men.  She sued the Defense Department to contest a policy that required women personnel to wear the Muslim head scarf while off-base in Saudi Arabia.  Col. McSally was awarded the Air Force’s Distinguished Flying Cross for her heroics in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (The Washington Times National Weekly, 4-1-2013)

I have never doubted that women are equal to men, but we are different.  I admire so many qualities about men but that doesn’t mean I covet their vocation or role.  I often prefer activities and conversations with men more than women just because I find our different abilities and perspectives so fascinating.  At the same time, I mourn what happens when men don’t have the help of a woman.

I believe in serving my country, but I know a woman does this in a myriad of ways.  And, the best way might not be to become one of the “brothers.”

As we prepare to integrate women into the all-male world of ground combat — infantry, armor and special forces operations, I am compelled to ask: Who is asking for this change in policy?  Is it the young women who may have to face the enemy?  Is it the men who have been taught to be chivalrous and respectful of sisters, mothers, girlfriends, and wives?  Is this departure from time-honored tradition for the good of the nation… or on behalf of “women’s rights?”  Is distraction on the gridiron or the battlefield a good thing?  As enemies grow all-male armies a million strong, will we regret tampering with our defense during a time of relative peace?

“The ancient tradition against the use of women in combat,” writes George Gilder, “embodies the deepest wisdom of the human race.  It expresses the most basic imperatives of group survival: a nation or tribe that allows the loss of large numbers of its young women runs the risk of becoming permanently depopulated.  The youthful years of women, far more than of men, are precious and irreplaceable.”

He continues, “Beyond this general imperative is the related need of every society to insure that male physical strength and aggressiveness are not directed against women . . . All civilized societies train their men to protect and defend women.  When these restraints break down . . . the group tends to disintegrate completely and even to become extinct . . . military services, however, are unanimous in asserting that successful use of women in battlefield units depends on men overcoming their natural impulses to treat women differently and more considerately.”  (Men and Marriage)

In all of my years, I have found great joy in working beside men and dialoguing with them.  I could linger for hours in a room of gentlemen.  But, there comes a time when I am wise to give them some space.  To let them breathe.  Work.  Communicate in their own way.  Do what they do the way they do it best.

I am usually happier for it.

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viva crista reyWhat do you know of Mexico’s struggle for religious freedom?  Have you ever been told about the Cristero War?  Would you be surprised to learn that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, supported this war against people of faith?

Here in the U.S., many people of faith are asking: “What is the price of religious liberty?”   During the 1920s, people of faith in Mexico knew the answer: Life itself.

I had never heard about the Cristero War until the movie “For Greater Glory” was released in 2012.  I purchased the DVD and companion book by Ruben Quezada (Ignatius Press) as gifts for my husband.  We have shown this epic film three times to family members and plan to show it again… and again.  How fitting that this movie made its debut the same year that our federally mandated health care made its.

Please.  Rent or, better yet, purchase this DVD.  Host a movie night and invite your Bible study, youth, or parent group.  Hear young people raise their voices as one, proclaiming: “Viva Crista Rey!”  (“Long live Christ the King!”)  Understand that what happened in Mexico was an aggressive war on the Catholic Church which resulted in the death of 200,000 people of faith.  But, recognize that what is happening here in the U.S. is an insidious and, thus, potentially more devastating assault on those who seek to follow the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rather than man.

Mexico was the original cradle of Christianity in the New World.  Missionaries were dispatched from Mexico to North and South America.  Yet, this deeply Catholic country was repressed by an atheist-socialist regime.  Following the revolution in 1917, the government vowed to free the people from “fanaticism and prejudices.”  President Calles, clever with his language, spoke of defending “Mexican dignity” against “foreign intruders” (the Holy Roman Catholic Church).  Public displays of faith were outlawed.  Churches, seminaries and convents were desecrated.   Catholic schools and newspapers were shut down.  Priests were tortured and killed, many shot while celebrating Mass.  But, so were fathers, mothers, grandparents, and young people.

Cristiada, the name given to the Cristero movement, was a response to the direct attack on the Catholic faith by the Mexican president and his “Calles Law.”  The Cristiada movement was organized by the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty.  (Does this name bring to mind our own Alliance Defending Freedom or Becket Fund for Religious Freedom?)  Initially, the League advocated peaceful resistance to the Calles Law in the form of boycotting taxes and nonessential goods.  Petitions were signed, but refused by the Mexican Congress.  It soon became evident that Catholics would have to fight back or surrender their religious freedom.  The Cristero War was costly.  Relative peace may have come after the bloody years between 1926 and 1929, but practice of the Catholic faith in a predominately Catholic country has never been the same.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, supported the Mexican dictator’s war against Catholic people of faith.  Sanger, writes Maureen Walther and Jennifer Daigle, “praised Calles’ campaign against the Church as a strike against intolerance and a step toward making her work easier: ‘With the yoke of medievalism thus thrown off we can anticipate a splendid development of the government work for birth control already begun in Mexico.’” (www.kofc.org “The Voice for Religious Freedom” 4/26/12)

Sanger was a devout advocate of eugenics and a society of the “most desireable.”    She worked tirelessly to promote birth control, most curiously in Hispanic and African American communities.  We should not be deceived.  Birth control has its roots in the eugenic movement.  Sanger, the mother of eleven living children, was a believer in eugenics or a “race of thoroughbreds.”  Her original organization, the American Birth Control League, was quickly renamed Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Birth control may be masked as a “woman’s reproductive freedom,” but can you tell me why advocates of eugenics would join forces with those promoting birth control?

“Religious persecution,” writes Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, “rarely begins with blood.  It begins with redefinition – redefinition of the religion’s role in personal lives, in ministers, in churches, in society and in government.  In Mexico’s case, the clergy were the state’s first target.  It began with a simple statement: all priests must register with the state.  The problem was that by this law, the state gave itself the authority to determine who was a minister and who was not.  A state that can decide ministers can also decide what doctrines it will permit to be preached. Priests and [the] religious were forbidden from criticizing the government.”  (“For Greater Glory,” p. 95)

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remind us that we, in the U.S., enjoy “freedom of worship.”  But, this is deception.  It is a redefinition.  This is not what was guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  Correctly stated, American citizens enjoy “freedom of religion.”  Freedom of religion means more than just being able to “go to church.”  It means being able to speak and live the faith; to set up schools, hospitals, and agencies of servanthood in the name of Jesus Christ.

Oh fellow frogs in the boiling pot!   Know your history!  Learn from our neighboring people of faith in Mexico while we have opportunity.  Resist evil.  Guard liberty.  Teach the faith.

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Before the election, I suggested that we “Vote: Then Stay Calm and Carry On.”

Well, the people have voted.  We cannot blame the president for what will or will not happen.  His ideology and hope for America were made clear through his unapologetic support of abortion, partnership with Planned Parenthood, promotion of sodomy, new definition of marriage, and health care mandate that forces Christians to choose God or Caesar.   The people, whether church-goers or not, determined the kind of leadership this country will have for another four years.

For the believer, nothing has really changed.  The day before the election is the same as the day after.  In all circumstances, we are to stay calm and carry on.

But, how can we do this?  How can we carry on the work of Christ in a nation that puts its trust not in God but in government?  In a culture that lifts the “right” to uninhibited sexuality and abortion above the right of conscience and faith?  In congregations that compromise God’s Word for the sake of church growth?

We stay calm and carry on.

There is a passage from Scripture that many of us like to offer as encouragement to friends or family.  It reads: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Left to itself, this passage assures us that all will be well.  All will turn out for good.  But, Steve Elliott of Grassfire.com and my own Pastor Beisel remind me how crucial it is to read all of God’s Word in the context of when and why it was written.

The “future and a hope” passage is from a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the surviving elders, priests, prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Please take note that the Lord God “sent” His people into exile.  It didn’t happen by accident.  It wasn’t because Nebuchadnezzar outwitted God or was more progressive.

What were exiled and captive people of God to do?  They were to be faithful.  They were to “build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:5-7).

They were also to heed God’s warning.  “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in My name;  I did not send them, declares the Lord” (vv. 8-9).

Then the Lord continued, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (vv. 10-11).

It is for this reason that I started Titus 2 for Life years ago.  After hearing the cries of so many Christian women deceived by the world’s focus on sexuality and “my right;” after hearing their cries after choices of promiscuity and abortion, I was motivated to encourage believers using God’s Word of Genesis together with the mentoring model of Titus 2.  Young pastor Titus was concerned for his congregation.  They were pressed on all sides by a culture that craved new ways and personal fulfillment.  What could Titus do for the few believers so that they would be equipped to raise up Christian families and, at the same time, push back against evil?  St. Paul offered Titus a model for mentoring that has always proved effective for any generation – in or out of exile.

So, on a quiet evening, please read Jeremiah 27-33.  Read the whole story.  Then, read Titus 2:2-15.

But, don’t stop there.  It has become very important for me to remember what happened when God’s people came out of exile.  In the Book of Ezra, we learn that only a few of the Jewish exiles wanted to return to Jerusalem and their homeland.  Most were unwilling to give up their Babylonian property or lifestyle to which they had become accustomed.  They didn’t want to return to “old ways.”  So, with only a few faithful ones returning to rebuild Jerusalem, the work was hard.  Some people in the area offered their help.  Those people didn’t worship Yahweh but held to a blend of mixed religious beliefs.  Suffice it to say that they had their own motives for wanting to help.  God told His people to refuse the help of unbelieving neighbors in the land.  Why?  Because accepting help from non-believers would obligate God’s people to pagan ways.  The potential for corruption in worship was too great if God’s people became aligned with non-believers (Ezra 4:3).

I pray for courage and opportunity to use the model given me for mentoring.  Even if it means being strange or unpopular, I pray for help in persevering for God’s glory rather than my own.  At Titus 2 Retreats, I often tell women that I feel exiled in my own country even though never forced from my home.  Perhaps, that’s how it will be for the rest of my life on this earth.  After all, I am but a stranger here on a journey to my heavenly home.  I’m not sure I ever felt “different” in my youth, but I do now.

Identity is everything.  God doesn’t call me to fit in with the world or grow comfortable with my desires.  He calls me to be holy as He is holy.  And when I am not, He reminds me of all He did for me in Christ Jesus.  In exile or not, I am His.  Redeemed to holiness, I can fear less.  Serve more.

In exile or not, I can trust my identity.  Resist deception.  Mentor away from evil.  Seek what is good.  Plant the seed and till the soil.  Raise the standard.  Be fed with Word and Sacrament.  Not be ashamed.  Run my race.  Encourage family.  Stay calm.  Carry on.

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In the last four years, human life has been placed more at risk.  The “right to life” that America promises to guard and protect has diminished.  The life of the unborn – and, therefore, also the born – has been declared of value only if that life is convenient and wanted.

In the last four years and under a government that seems to have another allegiance, a cruel blow has been dealt to the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage and the guardianship of children.  Generations will pay dearly.

Here’s what I see.  The king sets himself and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2-3).

In the past four years, this government has passed over the Creator of life in the scramble to feed the ravenous coffers of Planned Parenthood (PP).  “Opportunity Centers,” PP’s friendly neighborhood sterilization chambers, are set up in strategic locations to reach America’s daughters so they don’t have to worry about pregnancy.  Is there a reason why abortion clinics are strategically set in the middle of African American neighborhoods?  Strange, isn’t it, that one of their own would allow this to happen.   Under no other American presidency has there been such a tight bond between the one who is to defend life and the institution which makes a profit from destroying life.

In the last four years, Americans have been put at risk by an economic burden that threatens to suck the very life out of us.  What kind of leadership pits the young against the old, the “haves” against the “have nots,” and, in general, one citizen against another?

In the last four years, the vibrancy of life that grows out of time-honored marriage and family has been slowly drained away at the altar of progressivism.  But, two men and two women are not a “good fit” (Genesis 2:18).  Faith and science walk hand in hand to prove that social experiments – those trendy ideas that go against the very structure and design of civilization – have terrible consequences.

In the past four years, pedophilia, sex trafficking and all forms of sexual deviancy have risen to dangerous levels.  The hope of desensitizing society and changing the penal code system so that all manner of sexual lust and imagination can be practiced has, indeed, been realized.

In the past four years, the government has determined to take over the health care system. But, human lives will fall between the cracks of a cold and monolithic structure.  The government, after all, is not a person with heart and hands to care.  As to efficiency, well, take a good look at the U.S. Post Office or federally (as opposed to locally) run schools.

In the past four years, people of faith have been told they must deny their faith in order to pay for deeds and services that go against God and conscience.  Under government health care, church-supported schools, social services, and hospitals must cover the sterilization, abortion producing drugs, and birth control of employees.  To refuse places church or private Christian business under penalty of heavy fine.  Will it be God… or Caesar?

In the past four years, the life of every American citizen is more at risk because this government would rather build relationships with America’s enemies than strengthen our defense.  When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was gutted and in-the-field-experienced soldiers sequestered, our president bowed to those who seek jihad against American men, women and children.

The Lord of creation does not stand far off.  He has not forgotten those who call upon Him.  He defends the fatherless and oppressed.  He has shown us what is good.  What does He ask of us?  “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

So, please.  Vote.  Vote as if your life depends on it.

Then, in the words of Winston Churchill (the man whose bust was removed from the White House four years ago): “Stay calm.  Carry on.”

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There are two things (we’re told) we should never talk about.  Religion and politics.  That’s difficult… and silly.

A few days ago, two women and I – standing in a very public place – avoided the “safe” topics found in the pages of People magazine to enter into dialogue about the election and matters of faith.  I don’t know either of these women very well, but I believe that when we are attentive to facial expressions and body language, we can usually recognize another person’s willingness (or unwillingness) to dialogue.  Experience proves to me that a great many people are hungry to talk about issues of faith and life, but they need an invitation to speak whatever might be on their mind or hidden in their heart.

Dialogue is sadly becoming a lost art.  Perhaps we feel ourselves ill-equipped to speak about what may be emotional topics.  Perhaps we’re afraid of conflict.  But, it’s o.k. to disagree.  Two people who don’t agree on something can learn from one another during the polite exchange of thoughts and ideas.  If we keep silent and don’t speak about controversial issues of life from the Biblical perspective, we might miss the opportunity to comfort a hurting soul… to share a word of hope… to point to forgiveness and healing.

We need to break the silence and, with a caring and careful manner, talk about abortion, cohabitation, same-gender “marriage,” health care and, yes, the election.  That’s what happened quite unexpectedly in a public store with two women I’ll call Ellen and Diane.

I know Ellen only because of family connections.  I know Diane because she is a supporter of the pregnancy center where I volunteer.   At a recent fundraiser for our center, Diane told me she didn’t think she could vote this year, “neither for a Mormon,” she said, “nor for Obama.”  That comment stayed with me so, after greeting her in the store, I took the opportunity to tell her that I’d been giving some thought to what she had said about not voting.  I asked her if she had ever considered that Thomas Jefferson, while not a believer in the deity of Jesus Christ, was nonetheless a defender of religious freedom and encourager of virtuous people.  Diane admitted this might be applicable to this year’s election.

“It seems to me,” I said, “that we should vote for the man who will keep us the farthest from the edge of the cliff.”

At that moment, Ellen leaned in to the conversation.  She smiled at me, then said to Diane, “Linda should be out speaking!”

That was an invitation to continue the conversation.  With the invitation, however, also came a memory.  A faint memory of Ellen’s past.  After high school, Ellen left home in search of something different from the life of her parents.  There were some rough years.  I don’t know specifics.  But, this memory prompted me to respond to Ellen.

“I am a speaker,” I said.  “I’ve been a pro-life speaker for a long time.”  But, I explained to Ellen, “it was only when I became a listener that I really learned.”  Often, in a hallway or the restroom after my presentation, women would approach me, wanting to confess their abortion.   The pain in their voices, I told Ellen, compelled me to dig beneath the symptoms of promiscuity and abortion to the real problem.

“We’re in spiritual battle, Ellen.  It seems to me that Satan and our Savior both desire our attention, but what they have in store for us is very, very different.  Trusting ourselves, we are deceived and bound for trouble.  Satan offers no comfort when we fall.  But, even after our sin and in the midst of consequences, Jesus stands close with arms open wide.”

Ellen’s eyes never wandered from mine.  Her cheeks were moist.  I suspicioned that she was thinking about her own life.

“We all have a story,” I said.  “We all have a story.”

At that point, we needed to go our separate ways.  Ellen and Diane went to one part of the store for coffee, I to another.  Within a half hour, one of my closest friends walked in the door.  Jane was in town to visit her mom.  We had not planned to meet, but apparently God had a different idea.  “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” I asked.  We settled into chairs at a table across the room from Ellen and Diane who were enjoying their time together.  When they got up to leave, Diane and I waved to one another.  Then she headed for her car.

Ellen, however, approached our table.  “That conversation we had mattered,” she said.  “This afternoon has been good.”

She kept looking at Jane.  “There’s something familiar about you.  Do I know you from high school?”

Jane looked surprised.  “Oh, my goodness,” she said.  “We graduated the same year, didn’t we… but that was a long time ago.”

Ellen pressed on.  “Weren’t you in a serious car accident?  I remember reading about it in our class reunion book.”

“I was,” Jane said, “and God sent mighty angels to protect me that day.”  She gave a few details.  Then paused.  Ellen could have excused herself and said good-bye.  But, she didn’t.   This was another invitation.

“Ellen,” I said, “the fact that Jane is here with us today is God’s amazing grace, but she has another story to tell… a powerful story of Christ’s work in her life.  She doesn’t tell this particular story publicly, but . . .”

At this point, Jane interrupted.  “No, I don’t tell my story, but I’ve given Linda permission to tell it.”

“And it’s so important that I do,” I continued.  “It’s after I share Jane’s story that other women are more willing to come up to me and share their own stories.  They tell me they feel more welcomed and less alone and vulnerable.  Jane’s story is one of hope.  It reminds others of how patient God really is and that He never turns His back on us.  We may walk away from Him, but our Father never abandons us.”

“There is so much fear,” Jane spoke up.  “It can be overpowering.”

“It is,” Ellen agreed.  “It is overpowering.”

“I’ve come to believe,” I added, “that every one of our wrong choices is made out of fear… fear of being out of control or unloved or insignificant.”

It was long past time for Ellen to go be with her family, but she lingered.  She seemed to be searching for words.  “I came home to visit my parents, but never would I have imagined meeting up with the two of you or having a conversation like this.”

Ellen continued.  “Do you know what this afternoon has meant to me?  I’ve been close to losing my faith . . . I was told by my parents that my life and the lives of my children have been difficult because it’s punishment for the sins of my youth, but you have reminded me that God doesn’t work that way.”

No, He doesn’t.  “There are consequences of our choices – good or bad,” I said, “but rather than punishing you, it seems that God is staying the course with you.”

Jane nodded and said, “I thank God every day that He never lets go.”

Ellen hugged Jane.  Then me.  “Thank you.  Thank you for this visit.  For the honesty.  What a difference this has made for me.”

Jesus makes the difference.  Jesus – the very Word of Life – speaks to every important issue of our day.  Trusting Him, we can dare to break the silence.  Ellen was hungry to hear someone speak to the concerns she has about our nation.  Even more, she was hungry to get personal… to hear someone remind her that sins of the past may affect our lives, but do not have to bind us.  Newness of life in Christ is real.  We are forgiven and set free to start our lives over.

What do you think?  If we who claim to know the Lord of life are afraid to dialogue in the public square about issues of life, what will happen?  What won’t happen?

We may not want to make waves, but what about a ripple here and there?

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