One of my favorite authors, Christine Sine, has produced a very meaningful video to celebrate Christmas.
Watch it here:
"One country appears to have taken the threat from plants seriously enough to sue for peace with the plant kingdom. That’s Switzerland. How? By enshrining the "dignity"—their word, not mine—of plants in their constitution. A molecular biologist at the University of Zürich...had to satisfy government officials that (a scientific) trial 'wouldn’t "disturb the vital functions or lifestyle" of the plants.
Dignity? Lifestyle? Of plants?
...Last spring, the parliament asked a panel of “philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians” to determine how this requirement applies to plants. The panel’s report concluded that people do not have “absolute ownership” over plants and that “individual plants have an inherent worth.” Therefore, they concluded, “we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger.”
Unfortunately, the damage from this worldview isn’t limited to making Alpine countries look silly or creating more paperwork for researchers. While some of the sought-after parity between man and the rest of creation is achieved by raising the status of animals and plants, most of it comes through lowering our status as humans.
That’s where the real danger lies. Research that could help feed countless millions is made more difficult and even impossible because of concerns over plant “dignity.” Even worse, carrying the logic to its conclusion, the sanctity of human life becomes a matter of what you can do, not who you are—that is, someone created in the image of God. (read or listen to the entire commentary here)
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (Rev. 4:11).
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross" (Col. 1:19-20).
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8: 19-23)
I grew up a Roman Catholic but entered the Protestant fold when, as a college freshman on a secular campus, I fell into an evangelical conservative crowd calling themselves Campus Crusade for Christ. Through unconditional love and discipleship these new friends instilled in me a fresh and powerful desire for marinating my mind in Scripture and sharing my faith with others. Because at the time I felt a vocational calling to psychotherapy, they steered me to a Christian college and assured me that I would be better off learning Christian psychology rather than the psychology of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and B.F. Skinner taught at the secular university. I followed their advice, but at the Christ-centered college I attended, I unexpectedly came to face what they feared—i.e., the psychological theories of modern thinkers who started their thinking from non-theistic assumptions—and learned to love looking for truth wherever one can find it.
The last days of the 2008 presidential election reminded me of this fear-based approach to culture. I recently became aware of it when I watched an invocation given by an evangelical pastor at a McCain rally. Then Focus on the Family Action issued the “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” Of course, I had already heard the rumors circulating in the evangelical camp that Obama is a Muslim, not a US citizen, is the anti-Christ, “pals around with terrorists,” and the like. Last week I received a DVD from my evangelical in-laws that cast Obama in a scary light. I haven’t bothered to look, but I’m sure this kind of fear is expressed throughout the evangelical Christian corner of the internet. And just last weekend a former evangelical pastor and relative of mine said he plans to move back to the Eastern bloc country from which he escaped in the 1940s because it is less socialist than Obama’s nation will be.
This reaction to an Obama presidency is rooted in fear, and as any good horror flick demonstrates, fear often distorts what is real. I believe president-elect Barack Obama and his administration will make mistakes, and he will push for or tolerate policies that many will find problematic, even repugnant. I also expect some of those policies will be just and some won’t be. But he is no more likely to be an ogre—or, in evangelical parlance, the anti-Christ—than John McCain, the boogey man of the radical left.
I used to be surprised by this political fear, but I’ve gotten used to it. Nonetheless, I never cease being severely disappointed in many of my tribe for being so predictably fearful rather than hopeful, especially in the face of what they believe will be a political disaster. Since evangelicals became a powerful political force in the US, we have become widely known as fearful rather than hopeful people. Yet, the most common command of Scripture is “Do not be afraid,” a command tethered to hope. When election races are tight we so often act as though 1) God is not sovereign over history; 2) when God intervenes in history, it is primarily through politics; and 3) few of us are working in organizations that help move civil society in a healthy direction. Instead, let’s remember that the US is so fortunate to have a strong, richly textured civil society, a bulwark against tyranny, and a potential vehicle for encouraging a just society. Through our faith-based organizations—i.e., churches, colleges, businesses, nonprofits, etc.—and through our memberships in the political parties and various interest groups, we have the privilege and opportunity to express our living, vibrant, and hopeful faith, which will naturally reverberate in ways God can use.
I offer this reflection in the spirit of Paul’s common admonition to be content and to be thankful to God, while rolling up our sleeves to live into the prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
“Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.”
"Then the LORD said to Moses “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you.” (Exodus 31:1-6)
“All evidence suggests that the current meltdown was built from layered irresponsibility. This financial crisis is a genuinely democratic one, with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role.”Both the Right and the Left are attempting to simplify this multilayered and complex problem by pointing the finger at the other. FactCheck.org takes on two ads– one from MoveOn.org and the other from the McCain campaign – and shows how shallow these quick swipes at the other party can be.
“The U.S. economy is enormously complicated. Screwing it up takes a great deal of cooperation. Claiming that a single piece of legislation was responsible for (or could have averted) is just political grandstanding. We have no advice to offer on how best to solve the financial crisis. But these sorts of partisan caricatures can only make the task more difficult.”
"For the last year and a half I have spent far too much time explaining the terms 'emerging' and 'emergent' and I’m tired of it. I don’t need either one to describe what is going on anyway… Most of us don’t give one rip if we are called 'emerging' or 'emergent.' Not one rip. I know I don’t.
Dan Kimball and I…are both evangelistic and we are not convinced that the emerging/emergent conversation is doing enough of it. Our concern is that being missional leads to evangelism. We want to participate in this big emerging movement in ways that focus on evangelism, in ways that reach out to postmoderns, and in ways that focus on local churches. So, we are forming some partnerships with other leaders who want to support one another in this missional-and-evangelism direction.
What about theology? Yes, we differ from EV in this regard. We are committed to the Lausanne Covenant, where you will find a global emphasis on sin and salvation and the ultimacy of evangelism as the vanguard of the mission of God in this world."
Read the entire post here.
"Normally we post a 'Whoppers' compilation the week before Election Day. This time we've already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now.
It's not just Sarah Palin's claim about killing the bridge project that she had supported until it became a national laughingstock and Congress turned against it. That's just the whopper that got the attention of many news orgaizations earlier this month. There have been lots of others.
McCain has made multiple false representations of Obama's tax proposals. Obama has made false claims about McCain's stance on Social Security. Both McCain and Obama have traded some whoppers about their energy policies, about Iraq, and about Iran, and about supporting troops."
"Ever since the [9/11] attacks, the United States has felt threatened and under siege and determined to carve out maximum room to maneuver. But where Americans have seen defensive behavior, the rest of the world has looked on and seen the most powerful nation in human history acting like a caged animal, lashing out at any and every constraint on its actions.
At the heart of this behavior is fear. Americans have become scared of the new world that is emerging around them. As long as this atmosphere of fear envelops U.S. politics, it will surely produce very similar results abroad. Washington's real task, therefore, is to combat such unthinking emotion."
"Republicans are falling over each other to paint an atmosphere of dire threat that requires strong, even brutish action to protect the American people. Democrats, while far less guilty of fearmongering, have been afraid to combat this hysteria."
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."