“I DON’T KNOW IF I’M PRO-CHOICE AFTER PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS”

This article was posted on a blog that I follow and it is very helpful to think through.  I would highly recommend that you read it here or you can click on the original blog post here:

http://davidwhiting.today/2015/08/i-dont-know-if-im-pro-choice-after-planned-parenthood-videos.html

“I Don’t Know if I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos”

I found this article fascinating. It is an article by Ruban Navarette. In the article, he works through his view of abortion. This is what I’ve been hoping would start to happen as a result of the recent videos. I’ve put some words in red to highlight some parts of the article – in you want the condensed version.

I Don’t Know if I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos

by Ruben Navarette

For the last 30 years, I’ve supported abortion rights. This year may be different.
The only thing I hate more than talking about abortion is writing about it. It’s no accident that, in 2,000 columns over a quarter-century, I have never—ever—written about abortion. I’ve avoided the topic like a root canal.

But that is getting harder to do with the release of what are now five gruesome, albeit edited, undercover videos by The Center for Medical Progress depicting doctors and other top officials of Planned Parenthood discussing, and even laughing about, the harvesting of baby organs, as casually as some folks talk about the weather.

It’s jarring to see doctors acting as negotiators as they dicker over the price of a fetal liver, heart, or brain, and then talk about how they meticulously go to the trouble of not crushing the most valuable body parts. This practice is perfectly legal, and for some people, it is just a business. With millions of abortions each year in America, business is good.
Who could forget Dr. Mary Gatter, council president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors, when, in Video #2, she tells undercover investigators that it isn’t about the money—before she zeroes in on dollars and cents?

“Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine,” Gatter said. “If it’s still low, then we can bump it up.”

Then, going for broke, she added: “I want a Lamborghini.”

I want a shower.

As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality.

Most recently, in Video #5, Melissa Farrell, director of research at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Texas, talks cavalierly about the cost of extracting “intact fetal cadavers.” It is, Farrell says coldly, “all just a matter of line items.”

This raises the possibility that no one wants to discuss—that some of the aborted fetuses exited the womb alive and they were either killed or left to die, their “cadavers” intact. Also in the latest video, Abby Johnson, the former clinic director of that same Planned Parenthood office, said her branch made about $120,000 a month selling aborted fetus tissue and organs.

All for the sake of research, no doubt. Make that a long, hot shower with lots of soap.

The videos were produced by The Center For Medical Progress after a 3-year investigation into Planned Parenthood. While many Democrats—most notably, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest—claim that they haven’t seen the videos so they don’t have to comment, others on the Left admit to having seen them.

Hillary Clinton, who recently came to the defense of the organization as doing a lot of good in the field of women’s health, called them “disturbing.”

David Daleiden, head of The Center for Medical Progress, issued an unsurprisingly stronger statement: “Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable. Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end.”

I agree with that assessment, and I’m pro-choice. At least I thought I was until recently. These days, each time, I express concern, outrage, disgust, or horror over another video—which should come with warnings that they may produce nightmares—some supporter of the organization responds by attacking me and insisting that I was never really pro-choice to begin with.

Defenders of Planned Parenthood are trying to deflect criticism away from the organization and onto those who produced the videos. In the minds of true believers, those are the real culprits—guilty of releasing illegally obtained and “heavily edited” videos with the intent of destroying a valuable organization that provides essential health services to millions of women. The organization has hired an expensive Washington, D.C.-based PR firm to do damage control, and the firm quickly tried to pressure television networks to stop airing the videos.

In California, in a highly unusual preemptive strike, the state Supreme Court and a federal district court have both issued narrowly-crafted temporary restraining orders to stop The Center for Medical Progress from airing more videos before a hearing can be held this month.

And in the Senate, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and transfer the $500 million in federal funds it receives annually to women’s health clinics and other organizations was defeated when it failed to get the 60 votes needed to achieve cloture and move to a vote. Within hours of the defeat, supporters of Planned Parenthood sent out emails urging donors to “stand with” the organization in a craven attempt to use the failed vote to generate even more money in fundraising.

After all this, I still consider myself pro-choice, as I have for the last 30 years. I staked out this position during my freshmen year in college. Even then, I understood the abortion debate was a tug-of-war between competing rights—those of the mother versus those of an unborn baby. I sided with the mother. And I tried not to think about the baby.

All this was happening in the 1980s, which was a particularly tense time in the abortion debate. Americans were at each other’s throats. Protesters picketed the offices of abortion providers. Clinics were bombed or set on fire. Doctors who performed abortions were being threatened. The Moral Majority, Operation Rescue, and the Republican Party seemed an intolerant lot. I couldn’t imagine siding with them, so I lined up on the pro-choice side.

I arrived there for a simple reason: Because I’m a man. Many will say that this is not a very good reason, but it is my reason. Lacking the ability to get pregnant, and thus spared what has been for women friends of mine the anguishing decision of whether to stay pregnant, I’ve remained on the sidelines and deferred to the other half of the population.

Over time, I made refinements—going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion.

As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for “wimping out.”

At least that’s how my wife sees it. She’s pro-life, and so she’s been tearing into me every time a new video is released. She’s not buying my argument that, as a man, I have to defer to women and trust them to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies. To her, that’s ridiculous—and cowardly.

“You can’t stand on the sidelines, especially now that you’ve seen these videos,” she told me recently. “That’s bullshit! These are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children—his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”

I didn’t like the scolding, but I needed to hear it. For those of us who are pro-choice, the Planned Parenthood videos are a game changer. As to whether that means I’ll change my view, I’m not sure. I’m on the bubble. Ask me in a few weeks, after the release of more videos.

You can read the original article HERE.

So – what do you think? Any thoughts come to mind?

“I DON’T KNOW IF I’M PRO-CHOICE AFTER PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS”

When life and temptation is hard!

Jesus warned us that following Him would be hard…but that we would prevail through Him.  If you’ve followed Christ for even a month you have experienced this.  This week I read an article by Jon Bloom on spiritual warfare.  Check out his thoughts in the original form here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-way-is-hard-but-he-is-strong

Since we talked about fighting some very difficult temptations this weekend, I want to encourage you with some tools that you can use to fight temptation.

The Way Is Hard, But He Is Strong

August 17, 2015

The Way Is Hard, But He Is Strong

“The way is hard,” Jesus said (Matthew 7:14).

In our early days we thought we knew what “hard” meant. Hard would be rigorous, demanding, exhausting. Jesus said the way would be hard and with James and John we replied (if not in words, then in unspoken presumption), “We are able” (Matthew 20:22).

But like James and John, we didn’t really understand what we were getting into. Like green recruits we thought we understood what war was like. War is hard. War is hell. Especially when you war with hell.

But we didn’t really understand hell’s warfare until we really began to engage it. Then hell began to break loose and we discovered that the chaos of war is far different experienced than studied.

Devils know no chivalry. They are cruel, and conceal their cruelty in the Trojan horses of pleasure and comfort, “wisdom” and “security,” flattery and shame. Theirs is guerilla warfare and espionage. Theirs is psychological warfare and seduction. Theirs is biological warfare and blackmail.

Hell’s Primary Objective

Hell’s one primary objective is to destroy faith in God. All of its elaborate strategies and all of its diabolical energies are focused on one thing: breaking the power of the word of the Lord by undermining our trust in it. The universe was created and is upheld by the Word of God (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:3), so hell must break the power of the Word of the God, if it wants to win.

Therefore, we find ourselves fighting an enemy that constantly seeks to alter our perception of reality. This is why this fight is such a surreal and sometimes horrific experience.

Hell wages a war of distortion. It seeks to make the most destructive things look tantalizingly desirable. It seeks to make the most wonderful things look unbearably boring. It seeks to make the most trustworthy things look unreliable. It seeks to make the one, true fountain of joy look like a dry well, and a broken cistern look like a spring of refreshment. Hell makes even hell look entertaining.

Hell wages a war of disorientation. Through temptation, condemnation, intimidation discouragement, disappointment, doubt, illness, weakness, weariness, and appeals to our pride and shame, the spiritual powers of evil seek to keep us off-balance, confused, and turned around. For if we lose our focus on the truth we lose our confidence and may lose our faith.

Hell wages a war of suspicion. One of the most painful things in this spiritual war is hell’s infiltration into our relationships. It seeks to corrupt the currency of trust in which they trade. Marriages break, families fracture, friendships rupture, churches split, movements derail as sin infects and seeds of suspicion are sowed and fertilized. And in the fray we easily lose track of who the enemy is and end up fighting against flesh and blood.

That Word Above All Earthly Powers

Jesus was right: the way is hard — far harder than we expected.

But Jesus was right about something else: “the gates of hell will not prevail” (Matthew 16:18). The way is hard, but the way is sure. For the Way (John 14:6) is the Word (John 1:1).

And the Word is impenetrably strong.

All the brutal forces of hell, with all the distortion it can conjure, disorientation it can cause, and suspicion it can sow, simply cannot break the Word of God. Martin Luther was right about the devil: “one little word shall fell him.” Oh, but that Word turns out not to be so little. For that Word is God himself (John 1:1).

And the Word came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Oh, the paradox! The Word of God destroyed the works of the devil by being broken. Yes, all hell broke loose upon the Word of God from Gethsemane to Calvary and the Word was broken. But it was not broken in the way that hell tried to break it. Hell tried to compromise the Word, but the Word held fast by being broken. For in being broken, the Word of God kept unbroken the word of God, the great covenant, and cosmic justice was upheld as Christ became both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

That Word stands above all earthly powers and smashes against the gates of hell.

The way may be hard for us. But the Way will be hell for hell.

The key to our clarity in the face of hell’s distortion, focus in the face of hell’s disorientation, and our persevering, longsuffering love in the face of hell’s suspicion is to listen to the Word of God by soaking in the words of God in the Bible. The Word is our refuge (Psalm 18:30), the Word is our peace (Acts 10:36,Philippians 4:7), and the Word is our weapon (Ephesians 6:17).

We must remember that hell is after one thing: our faith. And we must remember that we will overcome hell by one thing: our faith (1 John 5:4). Jesus summarized our one and supreme defense against hell is this statement: “believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).

Therefore, today:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

When life and temptation is hard!

That’s Just Weird – Leviticus 18!

This past Sunday we walked through a tough and culturally sensitive subject: “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”  If you haven’t listened to it, you can listen to it here:

http://www.ogbckc.com/?page_id=1723

During this talk, we read several passages of the Bible that deal with homosexuality and sexuality in general.  One of those passages was Leviticus 18.  In Leviticus 18 there are many commands dealing with sexuality, and one of those commands has to do with homosexuality.  Leviticus 18 also says: “Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.”  Now, you may say, “that’s gross, but I don’t really think it’s sinful or wrong, so how can I say that homosexuality, which is condemned 3 verses later, is sinful or wrong?”.  I think that is a great question.  For me, when I read Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20:13 there are a couple questions that come up, but the biggest question is this: “Do the Old Testament laws still apply to us today?”.  I addressed that question in the talk on Sunday, but I didn’t really get to address this verse concerning sex with your wife during her period.  If you were questioning this verse, the following video will give you my thoughts on the subject.

Finally, I highly recommend that you be at Oak Grove this weekend to hear the last talk in this series.  We will be talking about “The Church and Homosexuality”. How should we as Christ-followers interact with our culture on this issue?

That’s Just Weird – Leviticus 18!

Singleness and Hope

This past weekend we began talking about singleness and sexuality.  Singleness is a subject that I’ve not often hear addressed in the context of the church, however the New Testament does have quite a bit to say about it.  Singleness is also a subject that I hear talked about quite a bit outside of the realm of what the Bible says, but really about how “I feel about my singleness”.  Now, I am not single and I don’t pretend to be an expert on this, however Paul, one of the main writers of the New Testament devotes almost an entire chapter to singleness and sexuality in 1 Corinthians 7.  If you want to hear our whole talk about it, you can listen here:

http://www.ogbckc.com/?page_id=1723

08-09-15 Title Slide

This morning I came across an article that talked about the hope that is available for those who are unhappily single.  I appreciated what the author had to say.  In particular, this quote I think is full of truth and hope:

We need to anchor our feelings of loneliness and longing in the gospel. If we are in Christ, there’s really nothing single about us. We all know there are intimacies that are — and should be — unique to marriage, but those that matter most really can be experienced in the bride of Christ, his church. A husband or wife may help and provide for you in ways others can’t, but a true, Spirit-filled, persistent, and present brother or sister in faith can care for you in remarkable ways. In Jesus, none are single, no not one.  – Marshall Segal

So, check out the whole article here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/hope-for-the-unhappily-single

Singleness and Hope

Do you need to jumpstart your evangelism?

Helping Others Hear Logo

Here at Oak Grove, we have a very specific plan for connecting with people who are far from God: we call it Pi2 or Pray, Invest, Invite!  This plan or strategy is what many call an evangelism strategy, and I’m personally fine with that, however I think it’s bigger than that. This is a discipleship strategy whereby those who spend time praying for others, investing in them and inviting them to begin to follow Jesus with them will grow personally and so will those they are investing in.  So, do you need some ideas to jumpstart your personal growth and outreach?  Here are 10 ways to ‘Jump Start’ your evangelism.

http://chucklawless.com/2015/08/10-ways-to-jump-start-your-personal-evangelism-2/

What would you personally add to the list?

Do you need to jumpstart your evangelism?

How should we respond?

I (Aaron) haven’t written much at all concerning Planned Parenthood and I certainly don’t plan on posting much because of the political nature that much of the discussion is taking. However, contained within this article is an amazing powerpoint presenation that you can click through to see some of the truths concerning children and abortion. I highly recommend that you take a look at this presentation. Please note: there is a video contained in this article and it is very disturbing!  This is not meant to be a political thing, but a social mercy and care issue.

http://www.challies.com/articles/planned-parenthood-4-ways-to-respond

planned_parenthood

How should we respond?

God and Sexuality

Recently I have been doing a significant amount of studying concerning God, His Word and sexuality.  All of this studying has lead me through several books, at least a dozen articles and many stories of real-life people fighting battles – some they win and some they don’t.  Through my studies I have found these stories to be incredibly compelling and even very familiar.  Here’s what I mean: my particular sin struggles haven’t been the same, however I can totally identify with struggling with things that control and begin to gradually disintegrate our lives.

One of the stories that I came across was in this article and I would highly recommend it.  It will probably offend you no matter where you stand on this discussion, however it is a story of grace and because of that, I love it!  While the whole article was beneficial, this particular portion stood out to me:

My desire to be made straight was all about me. I had no interest in being reconciled to God or having a relationship with Christ.

Which brings me to by second point. From what I see in the Bible, God is far more concerned with first fixing our hearts than he is with fixing other things in our lives.

Check out the article in it’s entirety here:

http://www.tosavealife.com/i-prayed-for-god-to-make-me-straight-why-didnt-he-answer-me/

God and Sexuality