10/29/2010

Stool Repair 101: A Commentary on the State of the Pillars of Family

By Jim Tonkowich
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
Commentary - Crosswalk.com

In the beginning, God created a three-legged stool: marriage, sex, and children. The beauty of three-legged stools including God's is that they're solid and hard to tip over regardless of the uneven ground on which they stand. Observe the simplicity, wisdom, and stability of God's stool!

Though people regularly break the rules, in God's economy, the commitment of marriage comes before sex. The sacramental quality of sex is recognized in the notion of consummation. Sex seals the covenant between man and the woman physically: "the two shall become one flesh."

Babies are the natural and expected result of sex within marriage. Without artificial contraception, sex always carries the risk—or more accurately, the blessed possibility—of pregnancy. Even well into the twentieth century, a "barren" woman (not that people used that term) was looked on as an object of pity.

Sex then is reserved for marriage and produces children, the rearing of whom is a primary purpose of marriage to begin with. Couple's needs for companionship are taken care of. Aggressive male sexuality is reigned in. And the future generation enjoys the benefits of growing up with stability and love.

While revealed in the Scriptures and affirmed by the Church, this three-legged stool is also clear from natural law. With some variations, twists, and a great deal of dysfunctionality, the three-legged stool has been the foundation for nearly every human culture throughout the world from time out of mind.

So marriage, sex, and children go together. Or at least they did until what by historical standards is just yesterday.

Sex has been sawn apart from marriage, marriage from children, and children from sex. The result is the mess we still call "marriage," but marriage encumbered by abortion and "reproductive technologies," divorce and cohabitation, "hooking up" and pornography, out-of-wedlock births and blended families, the political and cultural war over same-sex marriage, and the subsequent damage to our children and the future.

For 1,930 years, Christian churches uniformly taught that artificial birth control was inherently evil. Martin Luther, to pick just one example, ranked the sin of birth control as, "far more atrocious than incest and adultery." As extreme as that sounds to modern years, Luther, who was never one to mince words, was in the mainstream of Christian belief and teaching.

But under social pressure that was already building, the Anglicans opened the door—just a crack—to artificial contraception at their 1930 Lambeth Conference. The next year the American the Federal Council of Churches followed suit and the Washington Post excoriated them: "Carried to its logical conclusion, [churches permitting artificial birth control], if carried into effect, would sound the deathknell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained' is preposterous."

The Post was right, but that didn't stop the tide it predicted from engulfing the country and before long Christian pastors were asking couples in pre-marital counseling what sort of birth control they intended to use and even making suggestions.

In 1968, a mere thirty-seven years after that Post editorial, Pope Paul VI's encyclical, Humanae Vitae, a document that was consistent with 1,968 years of Christian teaching, sounded even to Christian ears as not only completely outrageous, but also as brand new, as if its contents had been conjured out of thin air for the occasion. Five years later abortion was legalized in the United States and the connection between sex and childbearing was completely severed.

New attitudes toward and the easy availability of artificial contraception—including abortion as an ex post facto method of birth control—democratized the sexual revolution that had begun at the end of the nineteenth century. Marriage could not help but be the victim.

At the same time, "reproductive technologies" beginning with in vitroin vitro without moral due diligence since it appeared to be the answer to the prayers of infertile couples everywhere. fertilization separated childbearing from sex. Biological children were suddenly available not only to infertile couples, but to gay couples (through a surrogate), lesbian couples, and unmarried individuals. And many churches embraced

This is the short version of how marriage, sex, and children became independent of one another. The three-legged stool is in pieces and, needless to say, no longer functions as designed.

In light of the ongoing judicial usurpation of marriage in the recent decision striking down Proposition 8 in California and other victories for same-sex marriage, we must, Christian leaders tell us, defend and fix marriage. Agreed, but defending and fixing marriage is a vast, long-term cultural project, not a quick legislative sprint.

Changing a few laws and winning a few court battles will accomplish little unless we address all three legs of the stool and begin reattaching them according to God's original specifications. This begins by with the difficult task of challenging the now conventional wisdom that birth control is not only a right, but a normal, wise, and even godly practice.

Jim Tonkowich is a Senior Fellow at the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and a scholar at the Institute on Religion & Democracy. He holds a degree in philosophy from Bates College and both a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. More of his work can be found at jimtonkowich.com.

10/20/2010

A Muslim Cries Out to Jesus

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He heard a voice call his name and saw a vision of Christ. This was miraculous, because up until then, Kamal was a Muslim.

"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; If he is thirsty, give him water to drink." (Proverbs 25:21
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10/19/2010

Betraying One's Own Conscience

Fr. Barron on Obama's "The Audacity of Hope"

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10/17/2010

Be Not Deceived By False Christianity

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"This is a shockingly powerful & biblical message preached to about 5,000 youth in a day when youth are appealed to through shallow and worldly means. At one point in this sermon the 5,000 Youth are clapping and yelling but then the preacher makes a comment that change the whole atmosphere to where you could have heard a pin drop... As you can imagine, the preacher was never invited back. We believe the whole sermon will be a blessing to many souls." --Heart Cry Missionary

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim 4:3-4)
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10/15/2010

10/10/2010

The Heart Of The King They Wanted

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The people demanded to the servant of the Lord and said, "Give us a king to judge us." The Lord said to his servant, "Listen to the voice of the people in all that they tell you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of the Land of Slavery even to this day, in that they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also to you. Now therefore listen to their voice: however you shall protest solemnly to them, and shall show them the manner of the king who shall reign over them." (Reference: 1 Samuel 8:6-9)

The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will. (Reference: Proverbs 21:1)

And the Lord hardened the heart of the king..., and the king pursued after their children... (Reference: Exodus 14:8)
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See video: Planned Parenthood
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10/09/2010

The Hijacked U.N. General Assembly Agenda

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video
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"...the U.N. General Assembly has never agreed, never agreed that Reproductive Health includes abortion..."
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10/08/2010

Superficial Preaching: Greatest Obstacle to Evangelization

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One bishop complained: "In the 'Acts of the Apostles', the apostles gave one sermon and made three thousand converts. We give three thousand sermons and don't make a single convert."

"The greatest obstacle to evangelization is superficial preaching." --Pope John Paul II

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[2 Timothy 3:16-4:5]

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

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Luke 21:33] Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

[Matthew 28:19-20] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

10/07/2010

There's No Such Thing As An Atheist

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video
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Watch the full video: The Virtue of Faith
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Not Enough Young To Support The Old

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video
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Problems of aging, shrinking population
The Economist

The population of bugs in a Petri dish typically increases in an S-shaped curve. To start with, the line is flat because the colony is barely growing. Then the slope rises ever more steeply as bacteria proliferate until it reaches an inflection point. After that, the curve flattens out as the colony stops growing.

Overcrowding and a shortage of resources constrain bug populations. The reasons for the growth of the human population may be different, but the pattern may be surprisingly similar.

For thousands of years, the number of people in the world inched up. Then there was a sudden spurt during the Industrial Revolution that produced, between 1900 and 2000, a near quadrupling of the world's population.

Numbers are still growing; but recently an inflection point seems to have been reached. The rate of population increase began to slow. In more and more countries, women started having fewer children than the number required to keep populations stable.

Four of nine people already live in countries in which the fertility rate has dipped below the replacement rate. Last year the United Nations said it thought the world's average fertility would fall below replacement by 2025. Demographers expect the global population to peak at around 10 billion (it is now 6.5 billion) by mid-century.

As population predictions have changed in the past few years, so have attitudes. The panic about resource constraints that prevailed during the 1970s and 1980s, when the population was rising through the steep part of the S-curve, has given way to a new concern: that the number of people in the world is likely to start falling.

Some regard this as a cause for celebration, on the ground that there are obviously too many people on the planet. But too many for what? There doesn't seem to be much danger of a Malthusian catastrophe.

Humankind appropriates about a quarter of what is known as the net primary production of the Earth (this is the plant tissue created by photosynthesis) -- a lot, but hardly near the point of exhaustion. The price of raw materials reflects their scarcity and, despite recent rises, commodity prices have fallen sharply in real terms during the past century.

By that measure, raw materials have become more abundant, not scarcer. Certainly, the impact that people have on the climate is a problem; but the solution lies in consuming less fossil fuel, not in manipulating population levels.

Nor does the opposite problem -- that the population will fall so fast or so far that civilization is threatened -- seem a real danger. The projections suggest a flattening off and then a slight decline in the foreseeable future.

If the world's population does not look like it's rising or shrinking to unmanageable levels, surely governments can watch its progress with equanimity? Not quite. Adjusting to decline poses problems, which three areas of the world -- Central and Eastern Europe, from Germany to Russia; the northern Mediterranean; and parts of East Asia, including Japan and South Korea -- are already facing.

Think of 20-somethings as a single work force, the best educated there is. In Japan, that work force will shrink by one-fifth in the next decade -- a considerable loss of knowledge and skills. At the other end of the age spectrum, state pensions systems face difficulties now, when there are four people of working age to each retired person. By 2030, Japan and Italy will have only two per retiree; by 2050, the ratio will be three to two.

An aging, shrinking population poses problems in other, surprising ways. The Russian army has had to tighten up conscription because there are not enough young men around. In Japan, rural areas have borne the brunt of population decline, which is so bad that one village wants to give up and turn itself into an industrial-waste dump.

States should not be in the business of pushing people to have babies. If women decide to spend their 20s clubbing rather than child-rearing, and their cash on handbags rather than diapers, that's up to them. But the transition to a lower population can be a difficult one, and it is up to governments to ease it.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways of going about it -- most of which involve social changes that are desirable in themselves.

The best way to ease the transition toward a smaller population would be to encourage people to work longer, and remove the barriers that prevent them from doing so. State pension ages need raising.

Mandatory retirement ages need to go. They're bad not just for society, which has to pay the pensions of perfectly capable people who have been put out to pasture, but also for companies, which would do better to use performance, rather than age, as a criterion for employing people.

Rigid salary structures in which pay rises with seniority (as in Japan) should also be replaced with more flexible ones. More immigration would ease labor shortages, though it would not stop the aging of societies because the numbers required would be too vast. Policies to encourage women into the workplace, through better provisions for child care and parental leave, can also help redress the balance between workers and retirees.

Some of those measures might have an interesting side effect. The U.S. and northwestern Europe once also faced demographic decline, but are growing again, and not just because of immigration. All sorts of factors may be involved; but one obvious candidate is the efforts those countries have made to ease the business of being a working parent.

Most changes were carried out to make labor markets efficient or advance sexual equality. But they had the effect of increasing fertility.

As traditional societies modernize, fertility falls. In traditional societies with modern economies -- Japan and Italy, for instance -- fertility falls the most. And in societies that make breeding and working compatible, by contrast, women tend to do both.

10/05/2010

Art, or Blasphemy?

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Some people, when they are in a state of denial of their silent crisis of spiritual identity, subconsciously tend to resort to art as a means of abstractly ventilating their inner confusion.

Going back to the question at hand. Is the painting mentioned in the video an art, or is it blasphemy? There should be no argue as to whether it is an art or a blasphemy because clearly it is a combination of both. It is an artistic blasphemy as well as a blasphemous art. It is a work of a soul who is subconsciously learning the art of blasphemy.