A Morning Peacock of Links (5/14)

Links on Obama’s “Julia”

  1. I’m Not Julia: Why Obama’s American Woman Doesn’t Speak for Me
    We might say that Julia goes to a certain extreme because there is simply no need to show the people in her life in this context. But the result is that Julia’s life is just a little too revealing about modern mores, especially when we see birth control but not a partner, and later a pregnancy (which she carefully “decides” upon, of course) but not a father. These foundational areas of Julia’s life are so completely in her own hands that, apparently, there is no one else qualified or permitted to make these decisions with her. 


    In fact, Julia demonstrates a certain erroneous view of women that has seeped into the culture: The strong, empowered woman is one who does everything by herself—even if that version of independence leads, paradoxically, to dependence on government. But how many of us really live like that? How many of us want to live like that?
  2. The Party of Julia
    What’s more, she seems to have no meaningful relationships apart from her bond with the Obama White House: no friends or siblings or extended family, no husband (“Julia decides to have a child,” is all the slide show says), a son who disappears once school starts and parents who only matter because Obamacare grants her the privilege of staying on their health care plan until she’s 26. This lends the whole production a curiously patriarchal quality, with Obama as a beneficent Daddy Warbucks and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan co-starring as the wicked uncles threatening to steal Julia’s inheritance.

Your Ministry is Not Your Identity

Well worth a read – Paul David Tripp on the struggles of pastors as they find their identities horizontally rather than vertically:

I was a pastor in the process of destroying his life and ministry, and I didn’t know it. I wish I could say that my pastoral experience is unique, but I have come to learn in travels to hundreds of churches around the world that sadly, it is not. Sure, the details are unique, but I see in many pastors the same disconnect between the public persona and the private man. I have heard so many stories containing so many confessions that I grieve over the state of pastoral culture in our generation. The burn of this concern, coupled with my knowledge and experience of transforming grace, drives me to write this column.

German Nazi Sniper Tamed with a Trumpet

 

A Mother’s Inspiring Video About Her Blind Baby Boy

People ask her why she didn’t choose to abort her boy. They stare at both of them. They talk behind their back. But none of that matters because this mother knows that her boy is beautiful just the way he is.

Same Sex Marriage Makes a Lot of Sense

Michael Horton with a thought-provoking (bit of a dense read) post on “plausibility structures”, modern philosophy and why same-sex marriage is a “no-brainer” (read: hard to argue against) when considering what many of us, including the church, believe today:

…However, this is just to extend the pragmatic-and-therapeutic-usefulness presupposition of individual autonomy to a social scale.

On this common ground, same-sex marriage is a no-brainer. Some people are happier and more fulfilled in committed same-sex relationships. There’s no use trying to refute other people’s emotional expressions of their own subjective states of consciousness. Do same-sex couples wrestle with tension, anxiety over a partner losing interest and being attracted to someone else, infidelity, and so forth? Looking at the state of traditional marriage, how exactly are these couples uniquely dysfunctional? A 2006 Amicus Brief presented to the California Supreme Court by the nation’s leading psychological and psychiatric bodies argued, “Gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects. The institution of marriage offers social, psychological, and health benefits that are denied to same-sex couples…There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.” Well, there you have it. The new high priests of the national soul have spoken.

How would someone who believes that sin is unhappiness and salvation is having “your best life now” make a good argument against same-sex marriage? There is simply no way of defending traditional marriage within the narrative logic that apparently most Christians—much less non-Christians—presuppose regardless of their position on this issue.

What Is Better?

Jared Wilson on the dichotomy between giving into “pleasures” vs struggling to overcome these “urges”.

But there’s nothing else in me God wants to change except who I am. And this comes through the cross — Christ’s cross becoming my cross. What is better? To be warring all the life in Romans 7, denying urges and not feeling good inside, or doing what we feel is right simply because it feels good, better? One voice answers the latter, and it strokes the ear. The other strikes terror sometimes — okay, many times — but it takes us from Romans 7 to Romans 8.

Don’t believe the lie that struggling always to obey God is a worse lot in life than disobeying him with peace. God did not make us to “feel good inside” (or outside) all the time this side of heaven; he made us to share in the sufferings of Christ, that we might share in his resurrection. And the reality is, for many, the resurrection kind of life in these areas of death isn’t always postponed to the life to come. But you won’t know that until you’re willing to go to the cross for as long as it takes to die.

Our Disturbing Contemporary Culture

John Johnson’s reflections on the philosophies and shortcomings of modern culture in America:

My “rant” is not directed towards homosexual behavior, so much as it is at the growing perverse sexual misbehavior that is defining our landscape. It is directed at a growing number  who use Jesus or the Bible in their statements, and do it with a casualness (and often a thoughtlessness).  I find few have really taken any time to seriously search the Scriptures, interpret Scripture on its terms (not theirs), and truly hear what God has said and is saying on themes regarding the life of the unborn or sexual purity ( or sit down with careful theologians to engage in serious dialogue).  Far more are interested in the subject of human rights (the right to an abortion, the right to a marital union, etc.), but few seriously are asking the question—by what authority (or to whom) should I be submitting my life to? Whose right is it really?  All too many quote from Scripture without really studying Scripture—put words in Jesus’ mouth without pausing to truly listen to what He has said regarding, life, sex, marriage, holiness, and godliness.

There is hesitancy in letting my thoughts be posted, as I work hard as a pastor at showing grace, not getting involved in politics, and not allowing my ministry to be defined by single issues (like gay marriage or abortion).  The church has too often been known for what it is against, and not for what it is for—for being graceless rather than graceful.  But there are times you have to speak, lest a moral confusion pervade and consume our age.

The irony is that some of the headlines today would suggest the President took the moral high ground on what might be the great civil rights struggle of our time.  Really?  If the high ground is defined today as redrawing the design of marriage (what I would say is actually defying what God intended-a faithful and pure union between a man and a woman), or providing funding and law so women can have an abortion (with no one speaking up for the unborn), or defining people largely by their sexual orientation (when our identity as people made in the image of God is so much higher)—then you can’t help but wonder—what is the low ground?

A Critical Mind vs. A Critical Spirit

Trevin Wax with an illuminating and thoughtful post on the dichotomy between cultivating a critical mind (necessary) versus possessing a critical spirit (divisive):

But the Evil One would love nothing more than to infect such a movement with a critical spirit, to have us be theologically minded at the expense of mission-driven rather than having our theological acumen drive us toward mission. It’s a small jump from engaging in critical thinking to having a critical spirit.

I’ve made that jump before. Too many times. And I don’t want to go there again.

We will not critique our way to gospel-centered revival.

Lenin’s Stroke: Doctor Has a Theory (and a Suspect)

An interesting read about doctors and historians reinvestigating Lenin’s life and re-exploring the political/medical context behind his death.

Friday Funny: Theology Student Bloopers

HAHAHA. I recommend reading the main blog posts that inspired this post. My favorite blooper is “The power of Christ could not be overcome by Satin’s power of death.”

Michael Horton, Gender Stereotypes, and Me

Doug Wilson’s response to Michael Horton’s post on Muscular Christianity. A summary of this “debate” can also be found in Joe Carter’s post from TGC.

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