Archive for the ‘All Truth is God’s Truth’ Category

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Pro-Lifers, Let’s Be an Unstoppable Owl Brigade

August 20, 2015

You know that scene in the first Harry Potter story, when Harry starts getting his letters from Hogwarts?  His aunt and uncle won’t let him keep or see any of the notes.  Each time one arrives they shred it, confiscate it, smash it, burn it in the fire.

Until one day Owl Post bombards their house with a billion letters.

They can’t look away anymore.  They can’t stop the owls.  They leave the house entirely to get away (only to be found by Hagrid!).

It occurred to me that this is what we pro-life advocates need to be right now.

We need to be like an Owl Post against abortion.

The media tries as hard as possible to stuff this story down.  Pro-choice advocates wave them off because “Planned Parenthood said they were lies”…’cuz there’s a trustworthy source on this controversy…they don’t have ANYTHING to lose! 😛

They’re hoping if they ignore this scandal long enough, the pro-life crowd will get bored of it and meander off to other topics.

Not listening. Not listening! I can’t heeeeear youuuuu…

Even some who oppose abortion refuse to support these video stings because deception was involved…’cuz the means invalidate the evidence?

Many, many voices (even pro-lifers) are saying we have to tread carefully here because Planned Parenthood provides “necessary services” too, and we don’t want to take those away from women…’cuz inconveniencing people with a little extra cost or a longer drive to get mammograms and birth control isn’t a cost America’s ready to pay, I see.

It’s like a Facebook page saying, “If I get 10,000 likes my dad will quit smoking!”

Yeah, sure! *like*

But: “If I can get American women to find another place for their reproductive health services, Planned Parenthood will stop cutting babies apart!”

Nah. I’ll pass.  Planned Parenthood is just so cheap and convenient for American women!

My heart grieves.

“Millions severed.”

Pro-lifers, this is the best opportunity since Roe vs. Wade passed!

We have a chance to be a part of one of the greatest achievements for human rights since the end of slavery.  If you believe abortion is the taking of an innocent life, if aborting a child in such a way that you can harvest their organs while they’re still warm is deplorable, if the act of slicing a baby’s face with scissors to get out his brain while his little heart is still beating is appalling and turns your stomach – SPEAK OUT.

We need to keep shoving these “letters” in the world’s face.  We need to drown the internet with our posts, links, videos, articles, and tweets.  Fill the house!  Send the Dursleys packing!

And we can’t do that unless we all use our voices (and our written words) to SPEAK UP.  Watch the videos, if you can stomach them.  Read the articles.  Find the facts.  SHARE.  And pray!

Don’t shut up.  Don’t back down.  Raise that flag high!  We are on “the right side of history.”

Let’s be an unstoppable owl brigade.

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Put Down the Mask

July 31, 2014
One of my first Facebook profile pictures, before I decided it was okay to show my real face online.

One of my first Facebook profile pictures, before I decided I felt safe enough showing my real face online.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how everyone is insecure.  There are few exceptions.  Everyone puts up a front to hide the fact that they don’t like who they are, or what they’ve done, or the mess their lives are.  Either we hide our deepest flaws, or we glorify them and hold them up like proud signs.  “Hey, this is who I am.  Deal with it.”

For some of us the deception or pride runs so deep that even we are convinced of our own got-it-togetherness.  Then when our insufficiency or our hidden sin rears its ugly head, we panic. What? That’s not me! No, I’m not normally like that!

In this era of social media, it’s even more painfully obvious that everyone’s putting up a facade.  People are all in competition to put the best face forward, out-yell everyone else, wave their proud signs highest.  (This is where the Mommy Wars come from, too.)  If we’re all in chains, at least I’m shuffling around faster than the person next to me, right?  Like the Pharisee we all like to think in our hearts, “I might not be the best in the world…but at least I’m better than that guy!  That’s got to count for something.”

Except it really doesn’t.

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But God gives grace to the humble.  He covers those who weep that they can no longer hide their faces.  He lifts up those who are too weary to go on shuffling, and breaks their chains.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Matthew 5:3-6

In Christ we can stop striving!

[Following a list of sinners] – “And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:11

If we are cleansed in Him, we have no reason to hide ourselves any longer.  We are free to pull off our masks and soak in the sunlight on our bare faces, and put down those heavy signs and rest our tired arms.  We can rest.

We can open up our souls to others without shame, and show our faces without fear, because this isn’t a beauty pageant anymore.  We’re not in a race, and nobody’s going to knock us down the ladder.  We are safe, purified, and loved.

We no longer need to identify ourselves with our parenting methods, our handiwork, our bad history, our depravity, our perfectionism, or our desperate attempts at righteousness.  We are free to be our true selves!  No more putting down others to make sure we aren’t on the bottom of the heap.  No more competitions.  No more disguises.  There is no need for a disguise! – our souls are becoming beautiful from the inside out as we follow a beautiful Savior.  No more cumbersome props.  No more chains dragging behind us.

Weep for your sins…because He is not judging you.  Put them down…because you don’t need them to define you.  Hold out your empty hands…because He will fill them.

In Christ we can show our true souls because unlike our mortal body, they are not deteriorating and crumbling away.  We are becoming newer every day.  Like Moses’ face when he descended Mount Sinai, our faces shine ever brighter with the brilliant, reflected glory of God.  We are being made like Him.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 3:17-18

A recent Facebook profile picture - zits, baby weight, and all.  :)

For contrast – a recent Facebook profile picture.  Who cares about baby weight and acne when you have joy?  🙂

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If you are encouraged by any of my posts, please consider sharing them!  🙂

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The Secret Signature of the Soul

June 26, 2014
This man's insights blow my mind and put things into words that I never thought could be expressed.

This man’s insights blow my mind and put things into words that I never thought could be expressed.

Any time I start to write a post and have to find a quote from C.S. Lewis, I end up spending forever browsing quotes from him online, because they are all so good.

This quote completely hijacked my blogging attempts for today, and made me start a whole new post about it:

“You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw — but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of — something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it — tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest — if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself — you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say “Here at last is the thing I was made for”. We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all…

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever…”

– C.S. Lewis

This.  Doesn’t this resonate with you too?

Perhaps this “secret signature” is our Lord Himself, His indelible mark (and pull) on our souls, that “God-shaped vacuum” Blaise Pascal spoke of in the human soul, that can be filled with nothing but God.  Or perhaps this signature is the purpose for which He made us, the “place” He is preparing for us in His Father’s house.  That would explain how each of us are chasing something different, sometimes similar, but always as unique as our individual fingerprints.

How amazing to think that God knows this call in our hearts, this longing, and He will fulfill it.  We may not be able to describe it to anyone else fully, but He can answer that call because He formed us this way, and is continuing to form us to follow that subtle strain of music that only we can hear.

 “Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it – made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.” ― C.S. Lewis

We all want to belong.  Is there any person who has not, at some time, felt out of place, or wished they fit in better?  God designed us to fit.  His creation was a beautiful image, a reflection of His glory, and when mankind fell into sin it was as if we all fell apart into a billion jigsaw pieces.  Now we float around, painfully aware that we have knobs on some sides, and holes on others, and we just aren’t sure if we will ever find where those knobs are supposed to go, or anything to fill those holes.  Turn us over and you will see little flecks of the big picture, but you may not know where it fits.  In eternity God will put us all back into place, filling our gaps, giving us purpose, showing us how we fit to display the perfect picture He made.  Even now He is doing that, in His church!  Also, once in a great while, he brings together two pieces who discover that, inexplicably, they fit right together.  And those are what we call kindred spirits.

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When do you hear that “call” loudest?  When do you feel, somehow, that, “I was made for this?”

Picture of C.S. Lewis taken from NNDB.com.
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Think About These Things

May 16, 2014

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

When it comes to fiction, Christians are very fond of this verse.  It is often quoted as a warning against sinful content in books and movies.  Many of us have felt guilty over stories we’ve enjoyed because parts of them seemed to go against this text, even though there were many good things in the story otherwise.  Some of us have quoted this passage to others with loving concern, when we suspect their entertainment choices are less than godly.

I am concerned that this may be a skewed interpretation of what this verse means and how we should apply it.

First, let me be clear – the Bible is adamant that we should flee temptation to sin, and so I must be as well.  Our Lord even said that if our eye causes us to sin we should (metaphorically!) gouge it out rather than dally with temptation (Matthew 18:9).  It’s foolish to play with fire.  Everyone should discern carefully whether their entertainment choices are leading them toward sin or pointing them toward godliness.  So I’m not talking here about watching pornography, or crude, coarse comedy shows, or other things that are clearly detrimental to our walk with the Lord and our witness for His name.  I’m talking here about those things in the middle, that might not be completely “clean” or may portray great darkness, but also have “redeeming qualities”, as they say.  What do we do with those stories?  Do we avoid them because it might make us think of untrue, dishonorable, impure, or un-praiseworthy things?

Many of us are uncomfortable with fictional sin because – well, sin is wrong, and doesn’t reading about wrong things equal thinking about them?

Yes, it does…but might I suggest a different interpretation of the command?

See no evil?

Look for the True

There are many Scripture texts that teach us to avoid sin and temptation, but personally I don’t believe this is one of them.  It never says we should keep matters of sin and ugliness from ever entering our thoughts, as some suggest (and let’s not deceive ourselves – there are plenty of hideous things in our minds and hearts already, and putting big walls around our minds won’t keep the sin out).

It doesn’t say, “If there is anything unlovely, if there is anything condemnable, if there is anything unworthy of any praise, stop yourself from ever thinking about these things!”

Instead, what I see here is a glorious command to look for the true.

In every story you encounter, look for what is true.  Find the things that are honorable.  Search out what is just.  Examine the things that are pure and lovely so you might imitate them.  Discern what is commendable and keep an eye out for the excellent.  If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things!  Put aside the unlovely and meditate on the beautiful things that remind you of God and His grace and goodness.  In the enjoyment of any story, set your mind on things above.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Beauty and small pictures of Christ’s love can be found everywhere, and all truth is God’s truth, even in stories written by ungodly or mistaken authors.  That means anything true, lovely, and praiseworthy is from Him, through Him, and to His glory – and we can rejoice in it as such because we are new Creations in Him.

Am I suggesting we surround ourselves with filth so we can use a magnifying glass to look for flecks of gold in the mud?  As Paul might say – by no means!

What I am suggesting is that we shouldn’t judge a story on whether it depicts sin or not.  (If there are humans in it, there is bound to be sin.  Either that or the author is a lousy portrayer of human nature and reality.)

Rather, we should judge our fiction by asking, “Did this story leave me ‘think[ing] about these things’?”

And we writers, who joke about “killing our darlings”, raising the stakes, taking our characters through the worst of troubles, finding the things they would never do and figuring out a situation where they would do it – we are often the “masters of darkness” when it comes to the lives of our fictional people.  It’s important for us to depict the reality of sin.  It’s not just a bad idea, it is rebellion against the Maker and Avenger of all things, and the wages of sin is death.  So we must show real sin, because sin is real and demands a blood sacrifice.  And we must show real darkness, because the true world holds darkness because it of that sin.  But where are we pointing our readers?  We should always point them toward the light, not leave them staring bleakly into the blackness.

Different Perspectives = Different Takeaways

The interesting thing is, our reactions to a story are heavily influenced by our own perspective on life, often as much or more than the actual content of the tale or the intentions of the author.

As an example, take Frozen.  I have seen Christians decry that film, claiming it is full of secret gay propaganda.  They busily scare up “evidence”, quotes, lyrics, or scenes that might be trying to promote homosexuality.  Of course it’s all theoretical, since Disney hasn’t made any claim of such intentions.  On the other hand, I have seen many Christian reviewers praising Frozen, calling it one of the most Christian movies of the year, full of themes of Christlike love and self-sacrifice!  They watched the movie and glorified God, because they saw His grace reflected through the characters’ story.

Which side in that controversy has their minds more focused on what is true, honorable, praiseworthy?…and which side has its mind in the gutter?

In the nebulous area of stories and symbolism, beauty is often in the mind of the beholder.  Filmmakers may create their stories in evil, perhaps, but God can still mean it for good.  All truth is His, no matter how much the atheist or lawless man might try to claim it for their own or use it against Him.

Look to the Source of All Joy

Why should we look for what is true, honorable, and all the rest?  And how do we know it when we see it?  Those are topics for a whole series of posts, but I think the easiest answer is this – look at Jesus Christ.  There is no one more true, more honorable, more just, pure, or lovely, or more worthy of commendation, excellence, and praise.

The more I meditate on Christ, the more I will see glimpses and reminders of His beauty in the stories I read, hear, and watch.  And the more often I am reminded of His beauty in unexpected places, the more often I will meditate on Jesus day in and day out.  There is nothing more precious to set our minds upon than Him!

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I’d love to hear your applications of this text!  What is the last story you enjoyed that made you “think about these things”?  For me it’s Captain America: Winter Soldier.