The SCOTUS has spoken — One commentator’s reaction

Whatever your view of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the “constitutional right to same sex marriage,” it is definitely one that now or later will have a significant impact on you, people who are important to you and, if you have one, your church.  A commentator on culture and issues of interest to Christians I respect is Albert Mohler. Dr. Mohler is a theologian and president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He just released the following article which helps me process what has happened.  The article appeared at: www.albertmohler.com. I hope you will appreciate his commentary.  RMF

Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

By Albert Mohler

US Supreme Court iWashington DC

US Supreme Court iWashington DC

Albert Mohler

Albert Mohler

Everything has changed and nothing has changed. The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a five to four decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all fifty states.
As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”
The majority’s argument, expressed by Justice Kennedy, is that the right of same-sex couples to marry is based in individual autonomy as related to sexuality, in marriage as a fundamental right, in marriage as a privileged context for raising children, and in upholding marriage as central to civilization. But at every one of these points, the majority had to reinvent marriage in order to make its case. The Court has not merely ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry – it has fundamentally redefined marriage itself.
The inventive legal argument set forth by the majority is clearly traceable in Justice Kennedy’s previous decisions including Lawrence (2003) and Windsor (2013), and he cites his own decisions as legal precedent. As the Chief Justice makes clear, Justice Kennedy and his fellow justices in the majority wanted to legalize same-sex marriage and they invented a constitutional theory to achieve their purpose. It was indeed an act of will disguised as a legal judgment.
Justice Kennedy declared that “the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex cannot be deprived of that right and that liberty.” But marriage is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. As the Chief Justice asserted in his dissent, the majority opinion did not really make any serious constitutional argument at all. It was, as the Chief Justice insisted, an argument based in philosophy rather than in law.   Continue reading

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How to Talk About Science and Faith

ronfurg:

When we talk about our faith as Christians we need to do so from a position of humility and wisdom. This article from a blog I follow, Musings on Science and Theology, is useful in that regard. RMF

Originally posted on Musings on Science and Theology:

Or perhaps, and more important, how not to talk about science and faith. Some thoughts from 50+ years as a Christian involved in a range of churches, and from 30+ years as an active scientist, 23 years as a professor.

1. Make Sure Your Facts are Straight.

Balance YECThere is no scientific controversy about the age of the earth. It is old, far older than 10,000 years. The few scientists who doubt this almost invariably do so for religious reasons, with Christianity being the most common. If you feel that the Bible teaches a young earth and thus hold this position, be honest in the way you approach it.

Ridiculous and easily falsified claims will undermine your credibility with anyone who happens to check, or who is exposed to science in more detail in the course of their education. Make sure you understand any science you use to support your position…

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Good Leadership is Courageous Leadership

I’m not a Catholic. I do, however, have some great friends who are and I am impressed with their love of Jesus and His church.  Anyone who follows the media regarding what is happening in the Catholic church is well aware that there are deep divisions within the church regarding church teachings on abortion/sanctity of life, contraception, same sex marriage, divorce, the role of women in the church, etc..  One very powerful voice speaking up for the need for adherence to doctrine in action as well as in word is Michael Voris.  He is calling out leaders for rationalizing their silence instead of being courageous and demanding doctrinal adherence.  While I do not agree with all the doctrines themselves I admire Mr. Voris for his forceful faithfulness in speaking out for his beliefs as well as his skill as a communicator.  I also believe we can learn much about leadership and moral courage from his comments.  Mr. Voris heads the Church Militant ministry. This message by Michael Voris appeared on the Church Militant website, www.churchmilitant.org, as: The Vortex – “Good” Bishop Calculus. Click this link to see the message delivered on video. RMF

The calculus or cowardice and courage

The calculus or cowardice and courage

“Good” Bishop Calculus

By Michael Voris

Michael Voris

Michael Voris

A close friend was telling me the last few days that he had had a chance encounter with a solid bishop (who shall remain nameless), and he was saying to my friend that Church Militant needs to know there are a good number of “good” bishops who just stay silent.

This line of reasoning brings up a question: What does “good” mean exactly when it comes to being applied to a bishop? Or a priest, for that fact? Some people want to give a very broad understanding to the word “good” to include a cleric who simply believes the Church’s teaching. So he believes the teachings, says his prayers, has profound thoughts during meditation, maybe even shows up for good causes every now and then. And for many people, that’s good enough. What a good bishop have we! they say.

Wrong. Sorry. That is only the beginnings of being a good bishop — all necessary ingredients, but certainly not sufficient.  Continue reading

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When Criticism Comes

In your speaking, writing, and just everyday life you will be criticized if you’re a faithful witness for Jesus and His teaching. The following article by Pastor Bob Russell provides sound advice on dealing with criticism when it comes. The article appeared at www.bobrussell.org as: Coping with Criticism. Oh, I’ve followed Pastor Russell’s ministry for many years as a result of my friendship with New Life Christian Church pastor Brett Andrews.  Brett served an internship under Pastor Russell at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville (Home of the Slugger), Kentucky prior to migrating to Virginia. Currently, in his Bob Russell Ministries capacity Pastor Russell works with Don “Duck” Waddell, one of my personal heroes.  Trust me –  Bob Russell is the real deal. RMF

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Coping with Criticism

by Bob Russell

Bob Russell

Bob Russell

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog titled, “An Open Letter to Bruce Jenner.” I received a number of positive responses from Christians who appreciated my attempt to speak the truth of God’s Word in a spirit of love. As expected, I also received a handful of critical tweets and negative emails. Self-appointed pundits suggested the blog was a waste of time and the same old legalistic principles that haven’t worked. I was called insensitive, hypocritical, arrogant and judgmental. One writer chirped, “What God-fearing person would spend all his time judging others and tweeting his loony opinions?”

Social media provides an easy vehicle for the venting of negativity and anger. Anyone who dares to speak against today’s secular- progressive agenda has to anticipate venomous attacks. Ironically those who are the most vocal in pleading for tolerance are themselves thuggishly intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. Those who insist no one has a right to judge others don’t hesitate to judge anyone who verbalizes Biblical truth.  Continue reading

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Tim Keller reviews two books on same sex relationships

One of my favorite Christian speakers and authors is Pastor Timothy Keller. Pastor Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons.  Our Panera Guys Men’s Group studied his bestselling book, The Reason for God – Belief in an Age of Skepticism, and  thoroughly enjoyed it.  

In the following article Keller reviews and refutes two recent books: Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships, Convergent Books, 2014, and Ken Wilson’s A Letter to My Congregation, David Crum Media, 2014.  Whether you side with Vine and Wilson or with Keller on the basic issue this review well articulates both views.  I believe this particular review sheds more light than heat on the topic and does so in a very respectful manner which is why I’ve decided to share it.  The article appeared first in the Redeemer Report at: Redeemer.com. RMF

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The Bible and same sex relationships: A review article
By Tim Keller

Pastor Timothy Keller

Pastor Timothy Keller

  The relationship of homosexuality to Christianity is one of the main topics of discussion in our culture today. In the fall of last year I wrote a review of books by Wesley Hill and Sam Allberry that take the historic Christian view, in Hill’s words: “that homosexuality was not God’s original creative intention for humanity … and therefore that homosexual practice goes against God’s express will for all human beings, especially those who trust in Christ.”

There are a number of other books that take the opposite view, namely that the Bible either allows for or supports same sex relationships. Over the last year or so I (and other pastors at Redeemer) have been regularly asked for responses to their arguments. The two most read volumes taking this position seem to be those by Matthew Vines and Ken Wilson. The review of these two books will be longer than usual because the topic is so contested today and, while I disagree with the authors’ theses, a too-brief review can’t avoid appearing cursory and dismissive. Hence the length.

I see five basic arguments that these books and others like them make.

Knowing gay people personally.

Vines and Wilson relate stories of people who were sure that the Bible condemned homosexuality. However, they were brought to a change of mind through getting to know gay people personally. It is certainly important for Christians who are not gay to hear the hearts and stories of people who are attracted to the same sex.  Continue reading

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The Navy’s Heavies on Display

Ok, I admit it. I’m a huge fan of the navy. It started when I was a wee lad and my father joined the navy during WW-II. I still recall being thrilled when he came home on leave and I saw him for the first time in his uniform. I was intrigued by the distinctive “Dixie Cup” sailor hat, the jumper with the flap in the back, the scarf which had to be rolled in a special way, and especially the bellbottom trousers.  After that I alway harbored a desire to be a sailor.  I got my chance when I was accepted for a navy scholarship and became a midshipman and then was commissioned as an Ensign.  My summertime midshipman cruises were aboard the USS The Sullivans, DD 537, a destroyer out of Newport, RI and the Saratoga, CVA 60 in the Mediterranean.  My first tour as an officer was aboard the USS Lexington, CVS 16 (later CVT 16) a aircraft carrier out of Pensacola, FL.  That was followed by a tour aboard the USS Richard B Anderson DD 786, a destroyer out of San Diego.  But, back to the USS Lexington and the reason for this post.  The Lexington is one of the ships featured in an excellent little article by Lyn Mettler describing historic retired battleships and aircraft carriers which are on display at various US ports and can be visited by the public.  The article appeared at foxnews.com as: Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display.  Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. You can find her at www.GotoTravelGal.com or on Twitter at @GotoTravelGal.  RMF

Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display

Lyn Mettler

Lyn Mettler

 By Lyn Mettler

Want to see America’s military might up close? From New York to Hawaii, retired battleships and aircraft carriers give the public a peek into the lives of the men and women who lived, fought and died aboard them.

Check out some of the biggest battleships and aircraft carriers open to the public around the U.S.:

 

 

1. USS Hornet, San Francisco Bay area

USS Hornet

USS Hornet

A registered state and national historic landmark, the USS Hornet opened as a museum in 1998. The aircraft carrier was under heavy attack 59 times during World War II, but it was never hit by a single bomb, torpedo or kamikaze. The Hornet is famous for recovering Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their mission to the moon, and it contains the largest collection of Apollo space mission artifacts along the West Coast. It also houses a Flight Simulator movie theater to give visitors the sensation of flight.

2. USS Midway, San Diego

USS Midway

USS Midway

America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century, the USS Midway shot down MiGs in North Vietnam in 1965 and played a key role in the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. Visitors will find 29 restored aircraft on the ship, as well as a chance to see its sleeping quarters, the jail, the post office and more. You also can ride in one of two flight simulators that let you roll, spin and loop through the skies in the seat of a fighter pilot. Operators recommend setting aside three to four hours to see the whole ship. Continue reading

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Don’t be a Social Media Jerk

ronfurg:

Here is some really great advice on social media/networking by Christian authorMark Sayers. Though the article is directed mostly at Christian leaders it is certainly applicable to others as well. I confess to having violated most of these “tips” and will sincerely try and do better. I hope that if you have any tendency toward self-promotion this list will be useful to you too.  Incidentally, in his book Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, Sayers wrote: “When leaders die to pushing their own agendas and realize that leadership is the act of dying to self, those around them are profoundly transformed. Selfless leadership opens a space for God to flow into.” This “pushing our own agenda,” is precisely where we can go astray in our use of social media and Sayer’s “tips” can help us make room in the lives of others for God’s holy presence.   RMF

Mark Sayers

Mark Sayers

Originally posted on MARK SAYERS:

Social Networking can be a fabulous tool for leaders to advance the kingdom. However like so many other things it can also lead us into dangerous territory if unexamined.

Below are some tips on how to use social networking well in our celebrity obsessed, image based culture without falling into the sin of pride. I have probably broken several at times, but hopefully they will be of help to you.

1) Avoid being a fame-vampire. Just because you had coffee with someone well known doesn’t mean that you have to tweet about it. We tend to do this because sub-consciously believe that if we broadcast the fact that we are associating with someone well known, that their fame/influence will rub off on us.

Would you be willing to tweet that you just met with a person who had no influence or social capital?

2) Don’t add to the Hubbub. We…

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