Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Do not be faint of heart by what you see and hear! In every culture of madness, the unchanging Word of God gives fathers and mothers what they need to parent their children, resist evil, and build a future of hope. First,

Trust that Light has no fellowship with darkness.

When parents determine the time and place to discuss sex and family life with their children, they do well to discern the language. For 50-plus years, we have been taught to believe that “children are sexual from birth.” Nowhere in Scripture does God describe children this way. The phrase was coined by a secular humanist named Alfred Kinsey who believed infants and children can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity. His social science was wrong, but his research was widely accepted, setting our nation, and even the Church, on a dangerous course. A mistaken identity and compromised purity puts human life at risk. For the sake of children and the future of the Church, we need to know the origin of sex education, then ask: “What fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14-16).

Those who inspired modern sex education did not intend that parents do the teaching. Mary Calderone, who established the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), had a perspective on sex and family life that mirrored Kinsey’s. She believed that children should learn about their “sexuality” in the classroom and under the direction of a trained expert. Such a classroom, however, can become an encounter group. Under the direction of even the best intentioned “family life” or “sex education” facilitator, boys and girls together encounter something new about themselves, their feelings and desires, their relationship with the opposite sex, and detailed information about sexual intercourse. God, however, intends that children encounter these things in the home under the direction of their parents.

Christian parents serve their children best by putting every thought or idea under the microscope of Wisdom. Guarding the body and soul of a child, respecting the differences between boys and girls, preserving modesty, and teaching self-control grows out of the purity of Truth. Sex education, by virtue of its origin, is not pure; rather, it is stained with earthly colors. The palette of sex education is tainted by the very things that fooled our first parents: deception, doubt, pride, flesh, fear, and words that God has never spoken. A parent may attempt to use only the best of secular material and pair it with God’s Word. But when God’s Word and human ideas are joined together, there is a very real danger that God’s Word will simply adorn and lend credibility to a false, secular teaching like beautiful and fresh white paint on a tomb. Second,

Let no one deceive you.

A sexualized culture is Satan’s playground. He slithers up to moms and dads, hissing, “Did God really say that you are capable of parenting your child?” He may attempt to wrestle from parents the authority given to them by God, but they need not be deceived.

Martin Luther wrote The Small Catechism for the head of the family—the fatherly steward—to teach God’s commandments to his household. The First Commandment to father and mother, son and daughter is this: “You shall have no other gods.” This means we are to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Satan knows that with this command comes the promise of life for people who will live forever in the presence of God. For this reason, he accuses parents of ineptitude and tempts the fearful, weary, or doubting to turn the education of their children over to someone “more qualified.” Every parent needs encouragement, sound biblical resources, and support from their church family, pastor, and Christian teachers, but what children need most are moms and dads who courageously accept their God-given role.

God gives to parents His Word—the treasure of true wisdom. God’s Word speaks clearly to parents about their role as educators (Deuteronomy 6; Proverbs 1:8); about purity and holiness (Psalm 119:9; 1 Peter 1:14-16); about training for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-12). “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). Third,

Whether male or female, be holy!

In Genesis 1:27, we learn that we are created by God and in His image; therefore, we are called to be holy. We learn that we are human, different from the animals and compatibly different from one another as male and female.

Sin distorted God’s perfect design and rhythm of life. Sin causes the relationships of men and women—married or not—to be difficult. But even in chaos, God’s design and order of creation stands. Whether male or female, we are to be holy because God is holy and expects us to conform to Him. Whether married or single, men are to remember God’s Word and use it to protect life. In marriage or singleness, women help men remember God’s Word and encourage them to do good.

Our daily life as male or female glorifies God. God does not tell us to abstain from being male or female, but He does tell us to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage. We don’t do battle with the attributes of maleness or femaleness, but with “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry . . . [T]hose who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:19-24).

We do not need sexual intimacy to be a man or to be a woman, but men and women do need to be relational. We are created to be in relationship first with God and then with others. We do this best in the light of our true identity. Therefore,

Hold fast to your identity and that of your children.

Christian parents can help their children identify themselves in the light of their Baptism, vocation, and sanctification. What does this mean? Our Baptism makes us sons and daughters—true heirs—of God in Christ. Our vocation of engaging life as His son or daughter is to be practiced daily whether we are married or single. Our sanctification through faith in Jesus Christ is God’s work in our life through the Holy Spirit who helps us resist the sensual world and be transformed to what is holy.

Because of our Baptism, sons and daughters of God are brothers and sisters who can relate to one another in non-sexual ways as they work together, enjoy life together, pair up to problem-solve, serve in church or neighborhood together, and always trust that God knows the desires of our hearts.

How we identify ourselves affects the way we fear, love, and trust God. It affects the way we act in His presence and understand His purpose for our lives. God does not identify us as “sexual from birth” because the phrase confuses our created maleness or femaleness with the corrupted state of our current sexual desires. A “sexual” identity is all about “me.” It means being in debt to our own flesh and bound to live according to its fickle ways. But a “holy” identity is all about God claiming us as His dear children in Christ. In Christ, our fallen nature has no claim on us. Our flesh side may tempt us, saying, “This is who I am,” or “I owe it to myself,” but we aren’t obligated to obey its impulses or satisfy its desires. Why? Because we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (Romans 8:15). What a difference this makes in the way we live and worship.

Identity matters. If the earliest education is about the child’s identity as a son or daughter of God in Christ and not a “sexual being,” then it will be much easier to train the child in the “way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). The parent, obedient to God, is on guard keeping the walls up and acting as the child’s good judgment.

In a sexualized culture, what is a parent to do? Be uncommon. Stand on holy ground. Engage in honest and kind dialogue. This happens every time The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity is presented in Lutheran congregations or schools. To date, over 50 pastors have participated in panel discussions with parents and grandparents all over the country. Won’t you consider hosting a dialogue, too, so that we might “be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12).


The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
Published by Titus 2 for Life

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woman reading bibleThere is a lot of opposition to God’s Word and to the way He wants us to pass on the truth: generation to generation.  With that in mind, let’s consider one more opportunity —

#7: Mentor in the Midst of Opposition
One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts . . . They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness (Psalm 145:4, 6).

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Everything is not okay with young women today. Girls are coming of age in a society in which institutions of marriage, family and church have been badly weakened putting them at risk in ways their grandmothers and great-grandmothers were not. Everything that is naturally womanly—especially anything having to do with motherhood and children—is regarded by feminists as something that has to be overcome rather than embraced. Providers of contraceptive and abortion services have replaced mothers as the main source of authority on sexual matters. A growing number of young women who are in and out of relationships experience chronic depression. But, there is hope! A young woman whose parents set boundaries for their daughter’s sake, remain involved, and help her see the bigger picture of her life seem to make healthier choices.

Be aware of the opposition. Our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As mothers and grandmothers, we need to be “sober-minded” and “watchful”. We do not “wrestle against” Victoria’s Secret or Planned Parenthood, but against the spiritual forces of evil that use sexual immorality, sensuality, idolatry, jealousy and rivalries (Galatians 5:19-20) to shape the minds of young women and lead them away from Jesus Christ. View for yourself Planned Parenthood’s website for teens (www.teenwire.org). The knowledge offered by the opposition holds no promise for this life or the one to come. It is for this reason that God’s Word instructs the believer in 1 Timothy 4:7-10 to train for godliness; “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come”. Take heart! In spite of the opposition, God remains in control. His Word is true. Jesus is victorious. The Spirit is at work.

Don’t be afraid; be equipped. We are engaged in a battle for young hearts and minds, but God has equipped us with armor and sword (Ephesians 6:14-18). Stand where you have been placed by God—as a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend—and engage the world on behalf of your children, grandchildren, and neighborhood of children. When we practice the same faithfulness as Christian women before us we will mentor a new generation of biblically-courageous women.

Build a bridge between generations. Each generation wants to be a little different from the one before. Young women have always believed that they were more progressive than their mothers. But a younger generation needs an older generation to warn away from pitfalls and precipices. The babyboomers have much to apologize for, but parents who’ve taken their sins to the Cross can testify to children that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Break out of your peer group. A friend of mine explained what happened after she married and moved far away from her mom and church family. “In a strange new place, I was anonymous. My husband was not a believer, so we did not join a church. I really had no one to be accountable to; no one to talk to about the things in life that troubled me. When my daughter was born, I wanted to be the kind of mom my mother was to me, but she was too far away and I didn’t have the benefit of older, wiser women. I assumed that ‘experts’ in child care would be better for my child than me. Actually, I was looking for love, affirmation and encouragement… but in all the wrong places. I became involved with someone other than my husband. I had an abortion and a divorce soon followed.” My friend didn’t need the advice of her peers who were in circumstances similar to her own. She needed an older woman who had learned to trust pure wisdom, Jesus Christ (Proverbs 8).  She needed an older Christian woman who could help her resist the deception of a sinful world and flee youthful passions.

Opportunity #8 (Mentor Purity) and #9 (Mentor and Encourage Biblical Manhood) coming soon!

Ezer’s Handbook is a resource developed by
Linda Bartlett and presented at Titus 2 Retreats

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writing a letterDear Friend,

It was my hope to write much sooner.  I hope this finds you growing in the confidence of our Father’s mercy and love.

Our paths crossed for a time on this earthly journey.  Choices you were making brought suffering to your family and those you care most about.  Those choices forever changed their lives… and yours.  Perhaps the sexual sin that held you captive for too long is part of the reason why I’ve been working on a project.  A very difficult project.  A book that I’d rather not write.  The actual writing began almost two years ago, but the experiences and lessons learned over a period of nearly thirty years laid the foundation.  For now, the working title is The Failure of Christian Sex Education: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  I have no idea when the last sentence will be written or, if published, who will want to read it.  But the book begged to be written.

Over fifty years ago, those who promoted the new concept of sex education in both public and parochial schools said it was necessary to decrease unwed pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  To parents and congregations they said, “Stop teaching so many ‘nos.’  Let us teach your children to say ‘yes’ to the wonders of sex because, after all, children are sexual, too.”  They promised: “Getting everyone comfortable with their sexuality will benefit marriage.”

All that I see proves that too many of us believe the lie that “children are sexual from birth.”  Kinsey built that lie on skewed research and criminal behavior.  He called it science.  Those of the humanist faith were waiting for such “science” to reform the whole of society, one child at a time.  But children are not “sexual” (as Kinsey meant it) from birth.  And we are certainly more than sexual beings, we are spiritual beings.  We will live forever — either with or apart from God.  The Church has forgotten to be distinctively different from the world and, in doing so, failed to encourage children and adults to see themselves as God does.  As baptized persons, we are sons and daughters of God in Christ.  That makes us holy.  Holy means being set aside for noble purpose.  We are not common, but uncommon.  As such, we are useable not just by anyone but by God.  What a difference it makes to see ourselves this way.  Sadly, the world convinces too many of us to identify ourselves as sexual beings and that — from early on — has set the stage for promiscuity, abortion, living together, homosexuality, re-definition of marriage, pedophilia, and a great deal of sin, suffering, and separation from God.  The humanists may claim some victory now, but we know Who has the final Word, don’t we?  Souls are in danger… and for that reason we need to do battle with the sinful world and our own corrupted nature even as we fall at the foot of the Cross — every day — and thank God for his mercies in Christ.

My deepest sense tells me that you know what I mean.  We modern sinners are no different from our first parents.  Eve doubted and thought she could become god of her life.  Adam failed to remember God’s Word and use it to bring order out of the chaos.  Ever since, the enemy of our lives comes to us in our weakest moments, tempting us to doubt God’s strong Word.  We think ourselves wise, but we are foolish.  We think ourselves “good” and, most certainly, we are not.  So, at the end of every day, it is a great privilege and comfort to entrust ourselves to our Savior, poor miserable beings that we are.  In the morning, all things are new and, because of His forgiveness, we can begin all over again.  You know this.  You believed this.  But wrong choices taught you how much sin hurts.  It changes lives.  Covered sin saps our strength.  It shapes us more and more into a common vessel useable by our enemy.

However, there is hope.  There is always hope!  Hope came to us in the Son of God Himself.  Harold L. Senkbeil wrote a revealing book entitled Dying to Live (The Power of Forgiveness).  It explains what the Incarnation — the Word made flesh — means for us.  Simple water, bread, wine and words work in sinful lives to make people over into new creatures.  We can’t go back to Eden.  We live in a dying world.  But God is with us!  Like Moses and Elijah, we cannot look directly at God, but God comes to us in mystery.  Senkbeil calls Jesus (who is God) the “backside” of God.  He is the part of God we can see.  He came in flesh — to teach, to sacrifice, to die — but also to conquer Satan and eternal death.  For me, this is a new way of thinking about Christ.

Consider what this means.  God comes to us in the mystery of water (Baptism), bread and wine (Communion), and His Holy Word.  Wow!  God really has come to you and me… to all who are dying to live 🙂  I think you would like what Harold Senkbeil has to say about the power of forgiveness.  May you know that power in Christ.  May I know that power in Christ.  And may we persevere — with our families and loved ones — on this journey through a strange and unfriendly land to our eternal home.  Can you imagine?  There, at the banquet table, we will be able to rest our eyes on the magnificence of God.  He will no longer have to hide His fullness from us.  We will know His glory in every way.

Your life took a dramatic and traumatic turn.  Sin never improves us but, rather, beats us up.  You have known guilt, regret and great loss of relationships.  Your family, friends and loved ones have also suffered.  But each new day is new opportunity.  The past is what it is.  We are affected by every choice that we make.  Life becomes much more difficult and painful when we fail to use the Word to bring order out of the chaos of life.  But no matter those choices and circumstances — no matter our sins, or lack of health or popularity — our identity never changes when we cling to our baptism.  We are sons and daughters of God in Christ.  Think of what this means!  We really do have hope.  New hope every morning!

May you cling to your baptism even as I will strive to cling to mine.  I am amazed that God continues to carry me.  Forgive me.  Work through me.  It is for this reason that I have grown in a deeper appreciation of the Divine Service.  God doesn’t need my praise, but this empty vessel sure needs to be filled with His Word and Sacrament.  I need to be divinely served by Him in a service distinctively different from the world… and then, in response, I can praise Him in my work, relationships and service to others all week long.  I pray that you know his Divine Service in your life so that, no matter what the days ahead may bring, you will be able to say: I am not common.  I am uncommon in the hands of a mighty God.  I am poor.  I am miserable.  I am unworthy… but I am chosen as a son of God in Christ.

May you know the overwhelming mercy that only God Himself in the humility of Christ can bring to you.  The Cross changes everything for us.  We are no longer captive to sin, but set free to leave old ways behind.  Dear friend, let us both pray for a diminished pride so that we don’t get in the way of the Spirit’s work in us, through us…

… in spite of us.

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teenagersI will never forget the mom and professional church worker who told me she hoped her sons and daughters would practice safe sex.   We were serving together on a life task force and, during lunch break, she confided, “I raised them to be chaste . . . I want them to wait for marriage.  But, once they started college, I encouraged them to use protection because, after all, they’re sexual, too, and I’m scared to death they’re going to be like everyone else.”

I remember the grandma who toured our local pregnancy center.  She thought the best thing parents could do for their daughters was to get them on The Pill so they wouldn’t need a pregnancy test.

Then there was the single father who raised his daughter to believe in Jesus, but made sure she had the Gardasil shot and was using birth control.  “I know what I was like at her age and I know she’s just going to sleep around so I have to look out for her.”

And there was the pastor who told me that he’s taken some girls from his congregation for abortions because “their parents wouldn’t be supportive of an unplanned pregnancy.”  These girls are “just going to do it,” he explained.  “They can’t help it . . . so I need to be there for them.”

Can’t help it?  What does this say about the way adults view children?

Children are sinful human beings born into a love-to-sin-world.  Do we say, “My child is a sinner.  It’s just who he is, so I’m going to help him lie, cheat, and steal with the least amount of damage.”  Is this how God sees children?  Is this how He helps them?

When we don’t see children the way God does, then our mentoring role in their lives is compromised.

Yes, children are sinful… just like their parents and grandparents.  But baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God sees us as His adopted sons and daughters in Christ.  Jesus won for God’s children the privilege of becoming heirs of the heavenly kingdom.  This not only bestows value but defines purpose.

Identity matters!  Our sons and daughters are not “sexual from birth” as Planned Parenthood sees them.  They are not captive to instincts and desires.  They are persons created more in the image of God than the image of wolves and rabbits.     To see children as God does is to realize they are more than flesh and blood but spirit and, because they are spirit, every choice they make will take them either closer to — or farther from — God.

It is the children who suffer when we fail to see them as God does.  Expectations for their purpose and behavior are lowered.  Their future appears grim.

Identity matters.  And, because it does, my grandchildren need me to remind them of what happened at the baptismal font.  Their baptism “is an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him” (1 Peter 3:21-22).  I can literally tell my grandchildren that their Lord and Savior rules!  This means that someday, when they are teenagers, they won’t have to be subject to raging hormones or made foolish by lack of judgment.  In remembering who they are, they will know the source of their wisdom and strength.  This will affect their choices and behavior.  But that’s not all.

When boys and girls see themselves the way God does, the way they view each other will improve.   Relationships will take on new meaning.  Think about it.  If boys see themselves in light of their baptism as sons of God and girls see themselves as daughters of God, then all baptized people become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can you imagine?  I mean, really!   Can you imagine the impact this would have on high school and college campuses… at the beach… in the workplace… around the neighborhood… and for society as a whole?

I can.  And it renews my hope.

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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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“It’s hard to imagine two stranger organizational bedfellows,” writes Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief of WORLD magazine (WORLD exclusive, July 14, 2012).  Olasky is referring to the partnership between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  The partnership is not only “strange” but unnatural because it attempts to blend two opposing worldviews.

Founded in 1942, the NAE is a pro-life, Christian organization of more than 40 denominations whose motto is: “Cooperation Without Compromise.”  The Campaign, founded in 1996, is a secular organization devoted to promoting contraceptive use by the unmarried.  “The National Campaign is zealous,” writes Olasky.  “When conservatives this year tried to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood and similar groups, the lead story on the Campaign’s newsletter began, ‘The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to increase teen and unplanned pregnancy.’”

Before Olasky’s article entitled “Strange Bedfellows” was published, I was aware that he was investigating a multi-year $1 million grant given by the Campaign to the NAE in 2008.  The Campaign itself, notes Olasky, has received grants from abortion advocates and contraception pushers.  For more details, I encourage you to read Olasky’s articles in WORLD (7-14-12, pp. 9-11, 88).

So, what’s going on here?  Why would pro-life Christians accept help from people who seek to promote contraceptive use by unmarried people?  Who advocate abortion?  I think it is because Christians have been deceived.  We have been deceived by one question: “Did God really say . . . ?”  (Do you hear that hissing sound?)  Did God really say that male and female are set apart for holy purpose?  That sex is not just something two people are going to participate in – married or not – because they can’t help it?

Once deceived, we believe the lie.  What is the lie?  That we are “sexual from birth.”

Olasky’s article exposes a problem.  Something goes awry whenever Christians accept help from those with an opposing worldview.  We become “strange bedfellows” with non-believing neighbors in the land whenever we “evolve” away from God’s Word.  In this case, the NAE is doing the very thing it says it will not do.  It is compromising Biblical faith in the area of sexuality, I think, for two reasons.

It appears that the NAE has determined for itself what is right and wrong.  It has aligned itself with false teachers.  When approached in the Garden by the serpent, a flattered Eve not only spoke for God, she added words of her own to His.  Putting ourselves in God’s place is dangerous.

Secondly, it appears that the NAE, having been deceived, now thinks itself wise.  Wisdom, however, does not come from the world, but through fear of God.  False wisdom believes the lie that we are “sexual from birth.”   Clinging to such “wisdom,” sexual promiscuity – with all of its consequences – increases.  Since we can’t help being the “sexual” beings we are, we’ll just have to rely on the corner drug store.  Deception leads us to rationalize.  Tempted to think that unmarried people will naturally exercise their sexuality, Christians are deceived into justifying provision for the “lesser of two evils.”  NAE President Leith Anderson responded to Olasky, saying, “The Church is understandably reluctant to recommend contraception for unmarried sexual partners, given that it cannot condone extramarital sex.  However, it is even more tragic when unmarried individuals compound one sin by conceiving and then destroying the precious gift of life.”  Many of us may agree with Anderson.

Are we trapped between a rock and a hard place?  What can we do?  I propose that we stop listening to false teachers.  We are not, first and foremost, sexual beings.  We are human beings called to live out our lives as male or female.  Although fallen from God’s perfect image, we are still created with His attributes, not the attributes of animals.  This is what our children need to hear.

The Christian community will better serve a modern culture by remembering how revolutionary we really are.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” by His will, not through sexual behavior.  This was a radical worldview for all the neighbors of the Israelites.  This is still a radical worldview in today’s society.  Historically, the Judeo-Christian view of human life, marriage, and procreative sex was a revolutionary idea that de-sexualized God and religion.  “I Am” stood in contrast to “gods” who engaged in sex with other gods and humans.  Judeo-Christianity introduced the concept of holiness.  It contrasted a life of purity with a life captive to sensuality.   It sanctified the procreative act of sex and connected men to wives, home and generational faithfulness.  “The sexual genie,” writes Dennis Prager, “was forced into the marital bottle.”

God’s own people have always been given opportunity to affect the culture.  But, considering ourselves wiser than God, we become foolish.  Foolish into captivity.  The Israelites were captive in Babylon for so long that generations forgot the Truth and became comfortable with their environment.  When the Israelites were told they could return to their homeland where they could rebuild Jerusalem, very few wanted to go back to “old ways.”  I fear we, too, have grown comfortable with our environment.  Deceived, we believe the lie… and cling to wrong identity

How many times have we told that we are “sexual” beings?  When does God define us that way?   He doesn’t.  Instead, God sets us apart as a people all His own.  We struggle with the “old man” in us, but our Baptism in Christ makes us new every morning. We are not bound by passions of ignorance, but called to reflect our Creator.  God is holy (not sexy) (1 Peter 1:14-16).  We are “His own possession” equipped to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you” (1 Peter 2:9).  We are strengthened to “abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against our souls” here on earth (2:11).  God warns us away from sensuality, but never does God tell His people to stop living their lives as male and female.

We want to make abortion unthinkable.  But, abortion – and new definitions of marriage and family — will always be thinkable for people who see themselves as “sexual from birth.”  Such deception brings us dangerously close to idolatry.  Exchanging the Truth for a lie, we worship the creature rather than the Creator.  At that moment, we are vulnerable to Satan, the world, and our own sensual flesh.

Sex does not have to dominate society.  God-ordained institutions of marriage and family can build a vibrant civilization.  The innocence of children can be guarded.  Men and women can complement one another.  It begins with fear of God rather than trust in fickle hearts and weak flesh.  Even in marriage, husbands and wives are called to more than a sexual relationship, but a partnership as good stewards over all that God has entrusted to them and a life that anticipates Jesus’ return.  Anticipating Jesus, men and women – married or not — do best to see themselves as God sees them.  To be distinctively different from the world.  To be vessels for honorable use.

Our purpose in this world flows from our identity as God’s holy people.  So, let us avoid “strange bedfellows” and affect the culture with true wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:5).

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Every younger generation benefits from the wisdom of sages. Too bad so many of today’s could-be-sages are distracted by the fountain of youth.

There’s something very sad and, honestly, quite unattractive about mothers who try to compete with their daughters.  With fathers who would rather be “best buds” than dads to their sons.

Granted, the men and women of my generation have been long schooled to obsess on our bodies and, whatever the cost, maintain the appearance of youth.  But, what does this do to our minds?  What is the price paid by children?  Grandchildren?  Children in our neighborhoods?

Every younger generation deserves the wisdom and experience that is most naturally mentored by an older generation.  But, in this present culture, we parents and grandparents seem to resist acting our age.  Isn’t this rather selfish?  If we’re absentee from the role of mentor, to whom are we abdicating?

The older generation hasn’t evolved, says the world.  So, girls!  Boys!  Follow your heart!  Listen to your instincts!  Rubbish!   How typical of the world to offer deceptive counsel.  But, people who call themselves “Christian” should know better.  We should value the wisdom that comes with age.  Experience.  Spiritual maturity.

As I was preparing the keynote address for a women’s conference, I was drawn to passages from 1 Timothy 5.  There, the Apostle Paul is speaking to young Timothy like a father.  He is inspired by the Holy Spirit to offer instructions for the church.  Something the church is called to do is honor the widows, especially those who are truly left alone.   What got my attention was the distinction made between an “older” and “younger” widow.  Verse 9 notes that a widow is eligible for church assistance if she is not less than 60 years old.  The one who has been a faithful wife of one husband, has a reputation for good works, has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of saints, and has cared for the afflicted is considered to be a wise woman who won’t bring shame to the congregation.

But, what about a younger widow; a woman less than 60 years of age?  The household of God is to encourage her to marry and manage her household; if possible, to have children.  Why the clear distinction of age here?  Because, as real life has a way of proving out, younger women are more captive to their passions.  They are more tempted to romantic desires, idleness, and gossip or saying things they should not.  They are more easily deceived by worldly trends and led away from Jesus Christ.

What do you think of that?  Does this make sense to you?

God’s Word consistently through Old and New Testament reminds the older generation to mentor the younger.  The Creator of life entrusts children to parents; not to their peers.  He wants parents and grandparents to tell children and grandchildren about the wonders of God’s work.  This includes all the lessons learned over the course of time and in the midst of challenges.  So, when a man or woman refuses to accept their age, resists learning from past mistakes, and clings to the foolishness of youth, woe to the young ones in their charge.

As for me?  Well, I admit I don’t like the gravity of age.  My head, after all, still thinks creatively.  Enthusiastically.  Optimistically.  Laughter is good for my soul – and others.

But, given to me are priceless years.  Years of experience.  Years of lessons often learned the hard way.  Years of seeing God at work in my life.  Why would I want to keep that all to myself?  Where is the shame in acting my age?

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