Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Culture Shifts’ Category

 

thtd2jbmsv
They said that Roe v. Wade would shift a nation toward reproductive freedom for women. But Baal demands what the Lord God does not. Nearly 60 million sacrificed babies and wounded mothers later, we ask: What has improved? In what way are women more free or healthier and happier? Are women and children less… or more at risk?

 

Aware of abortion’s piercing blade, thousands of my fellow pro-lifers joined the Annual March for Life on January 27 in our nation’s capital.   On that day, I was reading National Geographic’s Special Issue on “Gender Revolution.”  One contributor asked, “Can science help us navigate the shifting landscape of gender identity?” Again, Baal demands what God does not. Like fearful and navel-gazing societies before ours, we will cry “Freedom!” and burst “the chains that bind us.” We will think ourselves wise. Live as we desire. But when the “landscape” shifts, what kind of people will we be? Who among us will escape sorrow? Where will peace be found?

 

The landscape may shift. Souls will hunger and thirst. The cold, stone god Baal will be silent, but the Lord Jesus Christ will speak as He always has: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden. My burden is light. Repent… and fear not… for My love is steadfast and true.”

 

Read Full Post »

Nehemiah buildingWhat is a Christian to do?  It’s as if God asks the impossible of us.  He wants us to build with one hand and resist evil with the other.  But with more cultural decay comes more evil.

Mindful of raising up a new generation of Christians but also keenly aware of our own inadequacies and failures, parents, pastors, and all who love children become discouraged and even fearful.  With fear comes the temptation to doubt the sufficiency of God’s Word and more easily accept the help of passionate unbelievers.  “Why do you cling to ancient traditions?” they ask.  “Can’t you see?  We have something new!”

There is a lesson to be learned from God’s people who, in a time before us, were also discouraged, overwhelmed, and taunted by unbelieving neighbors who offered something new.

The remnant of Israel that had survived exile in Persia returned home to find the walls of Jerusalem broken down and city gates destroyed.  To this small number of faithful people was given the arduous task of re-building the temple and walls of Jerusalem.  God also wanted His people to grow faithful families.  He wanted them to be holy and set apart in their worship and practice.  When people in the neighboring land saw that Jerusalem was being restored, they offered their help.  After all, these people explained, they worshipped God, too.  (In reality, they were a people of blended religions.)  Fearing that they would commit themselves to false worship, the Israelite fathers refused the offer of resources and help.  They knew that God had entrusted the job of rebuilding the temple and walls only to them.  So “the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose” (Ezra 4:4-5).

The culture in which God’s people found themselves made the building project very difficult, but the Word of the Lord consistently commanded the people to persevere.  God also reminded His people that they were to be holy and set apart for His good purpose.  But the people of Israel, following the example of some of their leaders, mixed themselves with the Canaanites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and others through marriage (9:1-2).  The people were guilty of breaking faith with God and allowing impurity of worship, teaching, and practice.  There was confession and absolution but, because the potential for continued corruption of worship was so great, illegal marriages were identified and ended (10:18-19).  The rebuilding of the temple, restoration of the walls, and growing of faithful families began anew.

However, when the neighbors in the land saw that the Israelites were again doing the work of God in rebuilding Jerusalem, they were angry.  “[T]hey all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it” (Neh. 4:8).  It was easy to cause confusion and discouragement among the Israelites because fathers, mothers, and grandparents were overwhelmed by the task that lay before them.  “There is too much rubble.  By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall” (4:10).  The enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work” (4:11).  Nehemiah encouraged the people, “Do not be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (4:14).  When the walls were rebuilt and the gates restored, the law of God was read to the people who were both joyful and repentant (chapters 8 and 9).

Everything was coming back into order and Israel was prepared to live by the truth of God’s Word.  What could go wrong?  What went wrong is incredibly significant.  Eliashib, the priest appointed over the chambers of God, gave Tobiah the Ammonite a place in the temple (13:4-5).  Under the guise of helping God’s people, Tobiah was given a room formerly used to store the offering for God.  There, within the temple, sat Tobiah and his possessions.  Nehemiah was away when this happened, but when he returned, he “was very angry, and [he] threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber.  Then [he] gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and [he] brought back there the vessels of the house of God” (13:8-9).

God entrusted the rebuilding of His temple and the city walls to His people.  He entrusted the growing of holy families to husbands and wives equipped with His Word.  He does the same today.

God wants His people to keep their worship, teaching, and practices pure and different from that of the dark and unbelieving world.  Certainly, there are resources in the world that can be practical and helpful to the Christian.  But we must take care especially when it comes to instructing Jesus’ little ones.  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.  For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 18:10).  It is a frightening thing indeed to compromise one of the Father’s children.

Compromise happens, however, when God’s people are weary and burdened, or prideful and above reproach.  Compromise happens when we let down our guard and grow comfortable with the world.  At such times it is easier for an opposing foe to gain access by offering some kind of help or resource.  It was for this reason that Nehemiah “stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows … each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built” (Neh. 4:13, 18).  The men were on guard at night and labored by day (22).

We are weary and overwhelmed by a multitude of life issues.   Sometimes we are prideful after doubting God’s Word and trusting something else.   As the culture decays and evil abounds, we may believe that God asks the impossible of us.  But, Martin Luther reminds us that the task of rebuilding the temple and shoring up walls was given to a weak people, few in number; a people against whom stood powerful princes and nations, which lived round about and daily threatened imminent destruction.

There will be days when failure distracts us from the building project.  There will be those like Tobiah who mock our faithfulness to an ancient faith while tempting us with new practices.  In the face of evil, let it be said of us:  Look!  They remember “the Lord who is great and awesome,” and they “fight for [their] brothers…sons…daughters…wives…and homes” (Neh. 4:14).

Excerpted from The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
(pp 61-63) by Linda Bartlett;
Amazon.com.  Please also visit Our Identity Matters.
Image: mudpreacher.org

Read Full Post »

children sketch

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when sex education was brought into schools and churches.  “We are sexual from birth, so let’s get comfortable with it!”  Five decades later, communities are brimming with “nobodies” who were denied their childhood; who know a lot about sex but very little about manhood and womanhood; who are cohabitating, pregnant but unwed, fearful, depressed, relationally dysfunctional, discontent, insecure, and paranoid about “sexual identity.”

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when abortion was legalized.  Today, mothers, fathers, and grandparents grieve lost relationships with 56 million “nobodies.”  Our nation is poorer economically because 56 million “nobodies” do not pay taxes, buy products, or invest in communities.

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when girls were told that “equal means being the same.”  In the effort to equalize the “playing field”—in sports, the workplace, and the bedroom—girls were taught that the two genders, male and female, are interchangeable.  Today, three generations of “nobodies” are at odds with their own bodies and minds.

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when gay and lesbian advocates began to circulate the schools.  That’s what they said when same-sex “marriage” was legalized.   That’s what they said when restrooms were changed from “men” and “women” to “whatever” so that people who have trouble identifying themselves can use whichever they please.  How many “nobodies” will have to suffer the consequences?  How many impressionable “nobodies” will believe the unnatural is “normal?”

Do we really think that nobody will get hurt when we tamper with God’s design?

Camille Paglia is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  She is a feminist, social critic, and a lesbian.   She is also surprising.  When it comes to “identity politics” and transgenderism, Paglia says, “This hyper-self-consciousness about ‘Who am I?  Where exactly am I on the gender spectrum?’ is mere navel-gazing while, in the Middle East, ISIS is beheading people.  It is a kind of madness of self-absorption.”

Paglia says she pities “young people today” because “it’s one thing to feel, ‘I’m not quite comfortable in the gender I was assigned at birth,’ but the pressures are to change, change, change, and to telegraph it to the world.  People are pushed into making choices about surgical interventions and taking hormones, which is dangerous, and they will have all kinds of medical problems in the long run.”

Paglia believes “there are authentic transgender people who had a genetic issue from the start” and points out that “medical science is still developing to help these people.”   But transgenderism has “become a fashion statement, or a mask [for other problems].  People are being induced to think that all their unhappiness—in family life, in school, in relation to society—is to do with this gender issue.  Well, maybe it isn’t.  Maybe there are other issues a person needs to deal with.”

In a way, Paglia is speaking about the “nobodies that won’t get hurt” or, in this case, today’s college students.   She says, “They have no sense of the great patterns of world history, the rise and fall of civilizations like Babylon and Rome that became very sexually tolerant, and then fell.”

She continues, “If you’ve had no exposure to that, you can honestly believe that ‘There is progress all around us and we are moving to an ideal state of culture, where we all hold hands and everyone is accepted for what they are … and the environment will be pure … .‘”  This is their “magical utopian view,” explains Paglia, that “we are marching toward perfection.”  But what is the “sign of this progress?”  They believe it is “toleration,” observes Paglia, “for homosexuality, or for changing gender, or whatever.”

But to Paglia, “[I]t’s a sign of the opposite, it’s symptomatic of a civilization just before it falls.”

Babylon and Rome did fall.  They fell because men and women shaped themselves after the imaginations of their own heart.  They exchanged the natural for the unnatural and were foolish enough to believe that nobody would get hurt.

Our civilization may be rushing toward the abyss, but the Christian can blaze trail away from destruction.  We do this when we believe that there is no such thing as a “nobody” to God.  Every child—born or yet to be born—is already redeemed and called by name (Is. 43:1).  Every child—born or yet to be born—will be affected by what we do or do not tolerate.

We may wrestle with our identity and, therefore, the way we choose to live.  But, the Lord identifies us in His Prayer when He invites us to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven.”   We are not “debtors to the flesh.”  We are not slaves to our own fear.  What we are, in Christ, is God’s adopted heirs!  Tolerating no other identity, we and our children’s children can navigate out of hopelessness and away from the abyss.

The quotes of Camille Paglia are excerpted from an article by Carolyn Moynihan (www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/navel-gazing-about-gender-while-the-world-burns/17944 ) and an interview with Camille Paglia by Ella Whelan of Spiked (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxoN4wTrnvs)

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when sex education was brought into schools and churches.  “We are sexual from birth, so let’s get comfortable with it!”  Five decades later, communities are brimming with “nobodies” who were denied their childhood; who know a lot about sex but very little about manhood and womanhood; who are cohabiting, pregnant but unwed, fearful, depressed, relationally dysfunctional, discontent, insecure, and paranoid about “sexual identity.”

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when abortion was legalized.  Today, mothers, fathers, and grandparents grieve lost relationships with 56 million “nobodies.”  Our nation is poorer economically because 56 million “nobodies” do not pay taxes, buy products, or invest in communities.

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when girls were told that “equal means being the same.”  In the effort to equalize the “playing field”—in sports, the workplace, and the bedroom—girls were taught that the two genders, male and female, are interchangeable.  Today, three generations of “nobodies” are at odds with their own bodies and minds.

Nobody will get hurt.  That’s what they said when gay and lesbian advocates began to circulate the schools.  That’s what they said when same-sex “marriage” was legalized.   That’s what they said when restrooms were changed from “men” and “women” to “whatever” so that people who have trouble identifying themselves can use whichever they please.  How many “nobodies” will have to suffer the consequences?  How many impressionable “nobodies” will believe the unnatural is “normal?”

Do we really think that nobody will get hurt when we tamper with God’s design?

Camille Paglia is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  She is a feminist, social critic, and a lesbian.   She is also surprising.  When it comes to “identity politics” and transgenderism, Paglia says, “This hyper-self-consciousness about ‘Who am I?  Where exactly am I on the gender spectrum?’ is mere navel-gazing while, in the Middle East, ISIS is beheading people.  It is a kind of madness of self-absorption.”

Paglia says she pities “young people today” because “it’s one thing to feel, ‘I’m not quite comfortable in the gender I was assigned at birth,’ but the pressures are to change, change, change, and to telegraph it to the world.  People are pushed into making choices about surgical interventions and taking hormones, which is dangerous, and they will have all kinds of medical problems in the long run.”

Paglia believes “there are authentic transgender people who had a genetic issue from the start” and points out that “medical science is still developing to help these people.”   But transgenderism has “become a fashion statement, or a mask [for other problems].  People are being induced to think that all their unhappiness—in family life, in school, in relation to society—is to do with this gender issue.  Well, maybe it isn’t.  Maybe there are other issues a person needs to deal with.”

In a way, Paglia is speaking about the “nobodies that won’t get hurt” or, in this case, today’s college students.   She says, “They have no sense of the great patterns of world history, the rise and fall of civilizations like Babylon and Rome that became very sexually tolerant, and then fell.”

She continues, “If you’ve had no exposure to that, you can honestly believe that ‘There is progress all around us and we are moving to an ideal state of culture, where we all hold hands and everyone is accepted for what they are … and the environment will be pure … .‘”  This is their “magical utopian view,” explains Paglia, that “we are marching toward perfection.”  But what is the “sign of this progress?”  They believe it is “toleration,” observes Paglia, “for homosexuality, or for changing gender, or whatever.”

But to Paglia, “[I]t’s a sign of the opposite, it’s symptomatic of a civilization just before it falls.”

Babylon and Rome did fall.  They fell because men and women shaped themselves after the imaginations of their own heart.  They exchanged the natural for the unnatural and were foolish enough to believe that nobody would get hurt.

Our civilization may be rushing toward the abyss, but the Christian can blaze trail away from destruction.  We do this when we believe that there is no such thing as a “nobody” to God.  Every child—born or yet to be born—is already redeemed and called by name (Is. 43:1).  Every child—born or yet to be born—will be affected by what we do or do not tolerate.

We may wrestle with our identity and, therefore, the way we choose to live.  But, the Lord identifies us in His Prayer when He invites us to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven.”   We are not “debtors to the flesh.”  We are not slaves to our own fear.  What we are, in Christ, is God’s adopted heirs!  Tolerating no other identity, we and our children’s children can navigate out of hopelessness and away from the abyss.

 

Quotes of Camille Paglia are excerpted from an article by Carolyn Moynihan
(“Navy-gazing about gender while the world burns,” Mercatornet)
and an interview with Camille Paglia by Ella Whelan of Spiked
Graphic: Etsy

Read Full Post »

Gold Bands Showing Eternal Commitment

Recently, I was given the opportunity to respond to an 8th grade student who had written a paper for her American History class favoring same-sex “marriage.”  Anya began her defense of same-sex “marriage” by praising Harvey Milk, “an openly gay politician in California who was only in office eleven months before he was assassinated.  Harvey “opened the door for us to now be able to talk about gay rights issues.”  Anya explained that “Mr. Milk started a revolution . . . If Harvey Milk wouldn’t have fought so hard, gay marriage may not be legal.  It needs to be legal.  It is a basic human right to love and marry who you love.” 

In conclusion Anya wrote, “Love who you love, marry who you love, and love your life, because it is your Constitutional right. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

What follows is my response to Anya.

Dear Anya,

Thanks for letting me take this opportunity to respond to your paper on same-sex marriage.  I’m a woman who is involved in our present-day culture as a national speaker, author, and advocate for human life.  I respect people, no matter their differences of opinion.  I care enough to ask questions, listen to the responses, and remain someone’s friend even when we don’t agree.

As you are learning in American History, men and women—human beings in general—will always have differing perspectives on what we should and should not do.  Whatever the faith or worldview of a person might be, it should influence that person’s decision-making and actions.  Perhaps one of the best things about a nation like the United States is that it allows for different faiths or worldviews to be expressed, lived, and judged as helpful in building up—or tearing down—society and the nation.

America is truly “exceptional” because it defends the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  But what is the origin of those “rights”?  Did we give them to ourselves?  And from where does life come?  Is it an accident, or by design?  Who ultimately defines liberty and who grants it?  Does the pursuit of happiness mean that every citizen gets to do anything we darn well please, or does it mean that we have the opportunity to pursue right things for the benefit of not just ourselves, but our family and neighbors, too?

Sexual Revolutionaries: Good for Society?

As you report, Harvey Milk was an openly gay politician.  It is a crime against humanity that he was assassinated.  Someone took it upon themselves to deny him the “right to life.”   Murder—be it the murder of an adult man like Harvey Milk or a pre-born child residing in his or her mother’s womb—is never right.  Harvey has been remembered by some as the man who opened the door for this country to talk about “gay rights.”  But two questions should be asked by any critical thinker.  1) Is a human being defined by their sexual behavior, or something more?  And, 2) If homosexuality is “normal” and “good,” why is sickness and a shorter life span associated with its practice?  Harvey Milk may have had the freedom to express his thoughts and beliefs, but like all of us, he also bore the responsibility of proving why those beliefs would be helpful to himself, his neighbors, and the future of the country in which he lives.

No matter what one’s opinions or religion (i.e. secular humanism, atheism, Islam, New Age, Buddhism, or Christianity) might be, the holder of that belief bears the responsibility of allowing it to be put to the test.  When a person like Harvey Milk proclaims his belief, he must be open to discussing the consequences of that belief.  He must show why calling the union of two men or two women “marriage” when it was not instituted as that (nor ever could be that) is in the best interests of an entire society.

It is always appropriate for citizens to hear someone’s opinion or belief, discuss it, and choose to act or not act upon it.  Whether we agree or disagree, we owe one another the honesty of facts rather than emotion, kindness rather than meanness, general welfare of neighbors rather than “me, myself, and I,” and long-range perspective rather than “all I care about is right here, right now.”

Alfred Kinsey is another person in our American history who started a revolution.  It was the revolution, in fact, that opened the door for men like Harvey Milk.  Alfred Kinsey was a practicing homosexual, pedophile, and perpetrator of hideous crimes against humanity.  His theory was that “children are sexual from birth,” and to make that claim stick, he knowingly allowed convicted pedophiles to sexually abuse and experiment with children, ages six months to 14 years of age.  He took the “statistics” gathered from those experiments, called them “science,” and used them to prove that children and adults alike should be permitted to participate in any kind of sex if it brought them pleasure.  After 30 years of research and study of Kinsey, Dr. Judith Reisman and others proved that Kinsey had abused science in order to change public opinion on sex and the teaching of sex to children.  But it was too late.  Kinsey, a zoologist with absolutely no respect for women, had changed the way we view men, women, and children.

Yes, Kinsey had freedom to express his beliefs.  But he did not have the freedom to abuse science, use deceit, or do harm.  The duty of the American public was to question Kinsey.  Not to call him names, or belittle him, or deny him the right to speak, but to ask him to show the source of his “science,” reveal the methods used for research, and verify his data.

The same is true with same-sex “marriage.”  Anyone who demands that marriage become what it was never intended to be should be asked to give evidence of why non-traditional, two men or two women, and intentional non-procreative marriage is healthy, sustainable, and in the best interest of family, society and civilization.  In Rome, it was common for a man to have a sexual relationship with a young boy, but even Rome never legalized same-sex “marriage.”   Why?  Because Romans knew that marriage, and the stability of the family, was foundational to Rome’s existence.  For this reason, when a boy was old enough, he was expected to marry a woman and father children for whom he would be responsible.

Marriage: To Anyone I Love?

Marriage does not intrinsically mean uniting oneself to someone you love and who makes you “feel good.”

That brings us to the now popular thinking that “as long as you love someone, you should be able to marry them.”  I love my dad.  I love my brother.  I love my son.  I love my niece.  I love my best friend, Jane.  Can I love them so much that I want to marry them?  Maybe.  But is it in your best interest that my “right” to marry my son becomes the law of the land?  Is something in jeopardy here?  And what will be the cost?

Marriage is not founded on someone’s concept of love.  Human concepts and ideas of love are changing all the time.  Today, I love you.  Tomorrow, I don’t.  Or, I love you because you make me feel good about myself.  But when you don’t make me feel good about myself, I won’t love you anymore.  And so on and so on.

Here’s where love needs to be put to the test, too.  Love is about more than feelings.  It is about patience, kindness, selflessness, and perseverance in good and bad times.  Marriage requires this kind of love.  Marriage also requires one man and one woman, two different genders, because it makes biological sense!  Not only do male and female fit together perfectly to create new little humans, but they also mentor male and female characteristics… both needed by a son or daughter.  Even if two men or two women (who call themselves “married”) don’t have children of their own, but adopt or use a surrogate mother or in vitro fertilization, it is unfair and actually quite selfish to intentionally deny any child the right of both a mother (female) and a father (male).

For many years, I have kept a file of the testimonies and true stories of women who thought they were in love with another woman and so took up the lesbian lifestyle, or men who thought they were in love with another man so took up the gay lifestyle.  The relationships did not last.  Why?  Because they were built on an idea of love, and not the truth and faithfulness of love.

Have you ever noticed that even in a same-sex relationship, one plays the role of “husband” (or the male) and one plays the role of the “wife” (or the female)?  It’s true!  A young friend of mine “married” a woman.  Her partner took on the role of the “man” and she took on the role of the “woman.”  My young friend became pregnant by way of in vitro fertilization and she stayed home to be the “mom.”  Her partner went outside the home to play the “male” role of “provider.”  Now, years later, my young friend is hurting.  She is in conflict with herself, with nature, and with the God she says she believes in.  She might be wondering: What am I teaching my little boy about the value of becoming a man?  How can I help him learn about manhood when he’s being parented by two moms?

Alfred Kinsey and Harvey Milk may be commended for their courage in speaking up about things they believed to be true.  But can we see the consequences of what happens when all ideas are considered “equal” and valid?

People are equal, yes! 

People of different colors, nationalities, and cultures are equal, yes! 

But not all ideas, desires, and practices (sexual or otherwise) are equal.  They must be questioned and put to the test.

Anya, that is the responsibility of people like you and me.  It is ok to differ in thought and behavior.   But with concern for more than just ourselves, we must wisely consider the consequences of each thought and every behavior.

With sincere respect for you as a person,

Linda

Read Full Post »

woman combat gun

Deborah was a judge and prophetess.  To this, many Christian women quickly add, “Deborah was also a courageous military leader in battle.”  But, what does God’s Word tell us?

LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Deborah was a prophetess.  A prophet or prophetess speaks on behalf of another but not as a public speaker for God during a congregational gathering.  A prophetess might give counsel, settle disputes, or offer thankfulness and praise to God.  Deborah was also a judge.  What was the condition of Israel in the years prior to her leadership?  Read Judges 2:13, 16-17; 3:7, 13; 4:1-4.   

Martin Luther took note of the service of Deborah and other women as rulers.  He said that they “have been very good at management.”  He suggested that women’s leadership in other areas of life might motivate men to properly fulfill their responsibility.  It is important to note that Deborah became a judge after the people of Israel repeatedly “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Evil, in every way, opposes God’s created order for men, women, and the benefit of a thriving society.

We may think that Deborah was sent by God into combat against Israel’s enemy.  But, is this the case?  Carefully read Judges 4:4-15.   Did God ask Deborah to carry the sword in combat… or did He ask Barak through Deborah?  Victory was promised to Barak if only he would obey, but he chose not to.  Barak said he would do the Lord’s bidding only if Deborah went with him into battle.  Read Judges 4:9.  Why wouldn’t the glory in battle go to Barak?  The woman Deborah refers to in this verse is not herself, but Jael.

Dr. Vogel explains: “Deborah accompanied Barak to Mount Tabor, but no further.  Consistent with Deuteronomy, she donned no battle gear nor engaged in the conflict.   Barak (unaccompanied by Deborah) led 10,000 men into the valley to a resounding victory. The rebuke for Barak’s recalcitrance was rendered when a heroic woman, Jael, was given the opportunity to slay the fleeing enemy commander, Sisera.  She did this in her own tent, with household equipment [a tent peg], not as a warrior on a battlefield.”  (“Women in Combat: Two Views,” The Lutheran Witness, May 2003, p. 16-20)

Deborah served as a judge and prophetess.  She counseled Barak as the leader of Israel’s troops.  Yet, how did she sum up her role in Judges 5:7?   Deborah was praised for her leadership, yet she does not sing about being raised up as a warrior.  She sings of being a “mother in Israel.”  Though no biological children of Deborah are mentioned, she is an encourager and helper for her people.  In this way, she is practicing the vocation given to all women.

Read Genesis 2:18.   Many women do not like being called a “helper.”  Why might this be?  The role of “helper” is not inferior, but is consistent with God’s order of creation.  The Triune God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  All are equal, yet each has a distinct role to play.  Jesus is God, yet He submitted to the Father for the sake of our salvation.   The Hebrew word for “helper” is ezer which has a sense of “assistant” or even “ally.”  Now read John 14:16; 15:26 and 16:7.  How is the Holy Spirit described in this passage?  What might a woman think about this?  How does this elevate her vocation of “helper?”

Is there a problem with women in the military?  No, but as in any workplace, there will certainly be a changed environment and cautions to heed.  A woman, by nature of her created purpose, will always be a helper.  The question is: Will she help to the good… or the bad?  Built up… or tear down?   In what ways might a woman help her country without donning battle gear or compromising the service of men? 

THE BEARERS AND NURTURERS OF LIFE

Specialist Hollie Vallence, quoted in Part 1 of this series, was asked by her country to sacrifice home and family.  In doing so, she explained that she had to build an “ice wall around her heart” in regard to her husband and child.  Is this consistent with God’s design?  What are the consequences for women, men, and children if a mother hardens her heart?   Luther noted that a woman is merciful by nature because she is born to show mercy and to cherish just as a man is born to protect.  This is why, Luther says, no living creature has more mercy than a woman, particularly in respect for her infant.

It is often observed that men tend to focus on one project, putting all others aside, until it is finished.  In times of war, wives of soldiers see their men bucking up for duty even in the face of leaving home and family for extended periods of time.  Is it fair to say that men always feel brave and fearless?  Where do they find wisdom and strength?  In His faithfulness, God equips men for their vocation of steward and protector.  He gives to men what is necessary so that they might do what they need to do for wives, sons and daughters; indeed, for future generations.  It is not so much that men want to go into battle, but they are equipped for battle and can leave home and family knowing that their children are in the capable and loving care of mothers.  How is the woman partnering with her husband to serve her country?   She is guarding hearth and home while he is doing battle with the enemy of that home.

In war, as in work, men understand other men.  When a country is serious about winning victory over its enemy, it brings well-trained men together, with no distractions, to focus on the job at hand.  These men may return home “changed,” but most can resume life as usual.  Mothers, as explained by Hollie Vallence, are not programmed to put distance between themselves and young children.  Small tribes and great countries who honor the human rule of chivalry understand that great sacrifice may be necessary in order to protect mothers of children for they are a people’s future.

Dr. Vogel offers wisdom: “If God is indifferent to the woman-warrior concept and a woman chooses to serve in a noncombatant role, God is not offended.  If, however, God is not indifferent to the woman warrior concept, and a woman seeks service as a combatant, does she not become a victim of her own will and disobedient to that of God?”  (Vogel, The Lutheran Witness)

Will God bless a people or a nation that sends daughters and wives to the front lines of battle?  Will He bless the men who send the bearers of life to meet the enemy?  Should women be shot at, brutalized, or sacrificed in the name of “equality” or “rights?”  God was not pleased with the man who used Deborah as a kind of “human shield.”  That is because the Groom of the Church does not stand behind his Bride.  He stands in front of her.

WHAT IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER?

It is not that God wants men to die, but that He entrusts to them the noble role of protector and defender.  As the Man of Sacrifice, Jesus led the way into battle.  He did not send others.  Jesus faced the greatest weapon of mass destruction – the anger of God upon sinful people.  He did not stand behind “human shields,” letting you and me die so that He might avoid pain and death.  In the battle for the life of His Bride, Jesus “took the bullet.”  He died so that we might live.

Jesus is our Savior.  He is also a model for men and women.  He wants us to follow Him and imitate His behavior.  Sinful as we are, we will want to test the boundaries.  We will put ourselves in God’s place, but such pride can put others at risk.  Is all hopeless?  No!  The One who faced our enemy – and won the eternal victory – reaches to us with nail-pierced hands, saying: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6).

Dear Lord and Savior, without Your Word for life we are a confused and desperate people.  We seek to determine right and wrong according to our whims and pleasures, but we are filled with vanity and puffed up with pride.  Have mercy on our country, dear Lord.  Raise up brave men and women to serve nation and family in ways that honor You and resist all enemies.  Bless the chaplains who serve in difficult circumstances.  Help us to live this life in anticipation of Your coming, that we might be found faithful.  AMEN. 

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women, and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.

 

Read Full Post »

woman combat gun

Who lobbies for women in combat?  Is it with national security — or something else — in mind?  

In light of terrorists and all-male armies around the world, should we regard serving in combat as an “equal job opportunity?” 

Elaine Donnelly and the Center for Military Readiness, released a 42-page report in January of 2013 exploring the unintended consequences of putting women on the front lines.  “It will do great harm to women in the military, especially those who will find themselves in the infantry – something there’s no indication they wanted.” 

Mrs. Donnelly asks an important question: “Why is the Secretary of Defense ramming this on through?”  This, says Mrs. Donnelly, “is social engineering to achieve a political end in the name of diversity”. . . [but] it is unfair to the women, it’s unfair to the men, it’s problematic for the readiness and efficiency and effectiveness of infantry battalions.

TITANIC CHIVALRY

Sociologist George Gilder notes that while all-male armies grow in countries that pursue America as their prey, we seem to regard combat as an obstacle to women’s rights.  He notes that this “demand for equality [is] nothing more or less than a move toward barbarism. (Men and Marriage, p. 136)  What might he mean?  Do you agree or disagree?

Civilized cultures have always trained men to protect and defend women and children.  Christian fathers who follow the example set by Jesus mentor sons to be gentlemen and guardians of a woman’s virtue and well-being.  However, the effective utilization of women in combat requires that men put aside such behavior in order to treat a woman like just another man.  What kind of culture does this create?

Even non-Christians note that groups tend to disintegrate and face extinction when societies fail to train their men to protect and defend women.  Men on board the Titanic gave their lives for women, not because they were all Christian men, but because Biblical teaching for society had become the “rule of the sea.”  Read Ephesians 5:25.  The titanic chivalry of “women and children [into the lifeboats] first” follows the example of Jesus who gave His life for His bride, the Church.

There is also the issue of mentoring.  When we focus on “it’s my right” or perpetuate the myth that “equal means ‘being the same,’” how are we instructing a younger generation?  What is a young man taught to think about women as they endure the rigors of military training side by side?  What do boys learn from fathers who intentionally put women in harm’s way? 

What is the carry-over to life outside the military?  If society will not tolerate male aggression toward women in everyday life, is it wise – or necessary – to make an exception in combat?  A civilization that wants to thrive does well to think beyond the present to the future.

What are the realities of both training and battle conditions?  We may want to envision pleasant images of skilled women managing high tech equipment, young men and women successfully practicing self-control in close quarters, and enlisted men snapping to the attention of female drill sergeants, but evidence reveals much to the contrary.  There are reported increases of sexual abuse, unfaithfulness of spouses, unintended pregnancy, a supposed “need” for easier access to abortion, and deployment of single moms.

It may be politically correct to claim that differences between male and female are socially constructed, but basic biology proves otherwise.  Mrs. Donnelly says, “Women don’t have an equal opportunity to survive in combat.”  Why might this be?  How might the anatomy of a woman put her more at risk than a man?  In seeking a bush for privacy, how does a woman avoid sniper fire and landmines?  Men can quickly unzip and zip, but is it the same for women?  Besides dignity and modesty there are important issues of hygiene and gynecology.  Women can chemically shut down their menstrual cycle, but is this natural and healthy?  Feminists and social engineers may deny the differences between men and women, but will the enemy?  How might a female prisoner of war be treated differently than a man?  Jessica Lynch, pulled from her Humvee and taken prisoner in Iraq, was raped and sodomized by her captors (I Am A Soldier, Too; the biography of Jessica Lynch by Rick Bragg).  If he is obedient to his calling as a defender of women, to what lengths might a male soldier go in protecting a female soldier?  

ADAM, EVE AND THE ENEMY OF LIFE

Rev. F.A. Hertwig asks, “If there is a threatening noise at the front door, who do you expect should be the first to investigate?  Will the man sit back and send his wife, daughter or mother while he goes to the basement?”  (“Letters” in The Lutheran Witness, June 2003, p. 4)

Let’s return to Genesis, the Book of our beginnings.  When Eve stood in harm’s way before Satan, how did Adam respond (Genesis 3:6, 12)?  What is the significance of these verses when it comes to the discussion of women in combat?  Genesis 3:6 reveals that Adam sinned when he failed to remember God’s Word and use it in the battle between life and death.  Adam failed to protect his wife from Satan’s attack.  He failed to bring order out of chaos for the sake of future generations.

Rev. Hertwig, a pastor in Lincoln, Missouri, explains Genesis 3:12 in this way: “When God stood at the door, a confused and fallen Adam sent his wife, Eve, to face the catastrophe.  He chose to deny the one who had come from his side.  For the rest of his 930 years, he lived with daily contrition each time he looked at his bosom friend.  His protecting embrace had all the more fervor mixed with regret that he had failed.”  Rev. Hertwig continues, “For a man to see his wife, mother or daughter writhing in the mud with a bayonet rifle is repulsive to the core.  When Adam retreats, yes even in the face of God, he has in a miserable moment surrendered to the devil.  To venture the ‘absence’ of specifics on our subject is an accommodating detail to the devil’s question, ‘Yea, hath God said?’” (The Lutheran Witness, “Letters,” June/July 2003)

There are many mixed emotions when considering women in the service of their country, particularly when it comes to combat duty.  You may say, “But there is the example of Deborah!”  Deborah is held up by many Christians as the Old Testament example of a woman in combat.  But, was she?  Let’s move on to Part 4 in this series to discover the truth.

Dear Lord of Life, please help us remember that Your created order and design for male and female is for our good and the good of society.  Rather than defaulting to our own ideas of right and wrong, help us to trust Your Word for life in all circumstances.  AMEN.

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.

Read Full Post »

woman combat gun

Are we wise or foolish?  Have we developed a bad habit of turning social experiments into policy and code?  What is a social experiment?  Abortion and same-sex “marriage” are but two examples.  Another is the “political correctness” of putting women into combat.  A social experiment arrogantly opposes God’s created order.  It has the look and feel of liberty but, in reality, puts human life at risk.   Social experiments are reckless and foolish.

JESUS KNOWS MALE AND FEMALE

During His life on earth, Jesus honored and elevated women in remarkable new ways.  Certainly, He could have chosen both men and women to serve as His apostles.  But He did not.  Jesus was very familiar with the created differences of male and female.  He knew their different yet complementary roles and vocations.  Why would He know male and female so well?  Read Genesis 1:26 and John 1:1-5; 14.  Equality does not mean that everyone does the same thing, but that male and female each have the opportunity to serve God and others according to created order and unique design.

In today’s culture, discussions about the roles of men and women bring with them emotion and strong opinion.  So, if we’re going to have honest dialogue, let’s begin with some personal introspection.   Do you confess that God created you?   Are you His design for His purpose?  But are you, like the first woman Eve, tempted to doubt the Creator and, in fact, position yourself as lord of your own life?  Are your choices too easily influenced by personal feelings, circumstance, pride, envy, short-sightedness, and search for identity?  In discussing women in combat, like any other life issue, it is important to acknowledge our own failure to trust God’s Word and desire for control.  We need to contrast His created order with the chaos of the world and our own thinking.

How does God’s Word in Colossians 2:8 shed light on this particular discussion? 

Read Genesis 2.  Carefully find the passages that address the order of Adam and Eve’s creation, the way that each was created, and their specific vocations.  How does knowing that God did not create Adam and Eve at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose shed light on women in combat?  

Dr. Leroy Vogel, retired U.S. Navy chaplain and professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, writes, “While it may be argued that there is no specific Scriptural passage that forbids a woman to serve as warrior, the apparent accommodation of some within the Church to the spirit of the age that turns warrior into a unisex role would appear, at a minimum, to be a departure from the divine wisdom of the Creator regarding the differentiation of the sexes.”

What is the issue – sexual equality or ordered equality?   Dr. Vogel notes that when we ignore the Biblical account of creation, sexual differentiation and roles are viewed as “social constructs and, if society has created the distinctions, society can abolish them.”  To overturn the created order of differentiation and roles is to abandon Biblical faith.  “Scripture is clear,” writes Dr. Vogel.  “God made two sexes, equal but with assigned roles.  Sexual equality is not the issue; ordered equality is.  Scripture and the tradition of the Church assign to man the role of defender, protector, warrior.  To woman is given the role of life-giver, nurturer, sustainer.”  Dr. Vogel offers a curious Hebrew interpretation of a Deuteronomy 22:5 (NIV translation): “A woman must not wear men’s clothing . . . for the Lord your god detests anyone who does this.”  Dr. Vogel submits that this verse is about more than cross-dressing.  He explains that “men’s clothing” in Hebrew is translated keli-gerberKeli denotes “equipment,” specifically a soldier’s equipment.  The Hebrew noun geber denotes “mighty man” or “hunter” or “warrior.”  So, writes, Dr. Vogel, “a legitimate translation of the phrase uses language of a decidedly military flavor: ‘No woman shall put on the gear of a warrior.’”  It seems that the church fathers John Calvin and Martin Luther agreed.  “Luther knew Hebrew,” writes Dr. Vogel, “and comments on the verse as follows: ‘A woman shall not bear the weapons of a man . . . it is improper . . . Through this law [God] reproaches any nation in which this custom is observed.’”  (“Women in Combat: Two Views,” The Lutheran Witness, May 2003, p. 16-20.)

Let’s review Genesis 3:20.  What is part of a woman’s created glory that exists even after sin distorted the world?  Is it God’s design that woman bear and nurture life or destroy life?  Woman’s glory is found in her God-given role as life-giver and nurturer.  Dr. Vogel paraphrases Luther, saying that “women were created not to kill and destroy, but to be a vessel for life.”  A culture that encourages women to destroy life is a culture that rebels against God’s design for His creation.  A culture that doubts the created differences between the “defender” of life (male) and “bearer” of life (female) is a culture that has been deceived by Satan’s question: “Did God really say . . .?” (Genesis 3:1).

Sociologist George Gilder writes, “The ancient tradition against the use of women in combat 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.”  (Men and Marriage, Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, LA., p. 135).  What brings a society to the place where it forgets or ignores this truth?  What does the future hold for such a society?

IT’S A MATTER OF WORLDVIEW

There are two worldviews: God’s and all others.  The Christian who trusts God’s Word can be confident that the Creator of life has a way that things of life work best.  Consider the words of God to Job (Job 38-41).  God speaks His worldview to us through His Word – from Genesis to Revelation.  He speaks His Word to us through Jesus Christ who, literally, is the Word become flesh (John 1:1-5; 14).  But sometimes, when a people or nation is blessed with resources and peace on its home soil, men and women become complacent and self-absorbed.  Their hearts and minds are influenced more by the selfish pleasures of the world than the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:16-30). What does the future hold for such a society?  Read 1 John 2:15-17.

Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, writes, “The reason we all know the idea of women playing pro football is absurd is because we’re serious about football.  It’s tough game, and if you allow yourself to be distracted by irrelevant issues like ‘sexual equity’ when you should be making your team the toughest it can possibly be, you’re going to get creamed.  So why are we letting feminists impose ‘sexual equity’ on an area that makes football look like a tea party; something that is  not a game, but a matter of life and death for our nation as well as for the ‘players,’ namely, our military?”  How do you respond?

Dear Jesus, You were there at creation.  You are the Creator!  You know male and female full well.  Please help us to trust Your design and purpose for our lives so that we might bring glory, not to ourselves, but to You.  Do not let us be distracted by ideas of the sinful world or our own opinions.  Instead, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us so that we will be encouraged to live our different yet complementary roles as men and women.  Help men stand tall in defense of home and country.  Help women nurture life and provide good counsel to all who seek truth.   Through the created order, strengthen our nation so that we might stand against enemies both foreign and domestic.  AMEN. 

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women, and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »