“For those who feel it, nothing makes the soul so religious and pure as the endeavor to create something perfect; for God is perfection, and whoever strives after it, is striving after something divine. True painting is only the image of the perfection of God, a shadow of the pencil with which he paints, a melody, a striving after harmony.”
When a child’s father is married to his mother, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82 percent.
Absent fathers don’t just harm their children economically. A father’s influence on children is documented and widely accepted. Adolescents without dads in their lives tend to exhibit more anti-social behavior. To be blunt, they get into trouble. Social science indicates that fathers play a different and complementary role to mothers in raising children, particularly sons. . . .
If American culture doesn’t honor the role of fathers, young people won’t understand the importance of young men growing up in responsibility – and young women won’t understand what to look for in a mate. Rather than honoring fatherhood, though, too often our society minimizes the importance of fathers in the home. So much so that a live-in dad is seen, at best, as optional.
Does this sound ridiculous or what? Even if we have the technology to create Neanderthal babies, should we? Jennifer Lahl writes:
No, this is not a tabloid headline you read while waiting to checkout at the grocery store or something you might read on Craigslist in their Help Wanted ads. This was a casual comment by Harvard University’s prestigious geneticist, George Church, made in a recent interview for Germany’s Der Speigel magazine. . . .
But just how far-fetched is this idea? In 2009, scientists in Germany reconstructed the Neanderthal genome and boldly proclaimed that with these new technologies (and $30 million) they could produce a living Neanderthal. . . .
As scientists pursue this technology in hopes of resurrecting an extinct species or of dealing with endangered species, one has to wonder what limits should be placed on this new science? What are the moral criteria that will be used in making these decisions? And who gets to decide? …
Again, what are the ultimate goals, the ends and purposes of this biotechnology and medical progress? Cloning a Neanderthal and impregnating a woman with such a clone is not progress. We must advocate for and demand progress based on rigorous and fact-based biotechnologies and medical therapies that honor and secure human dignity rather than undermine it. We must insist upon virtuous character in both the scientist and physician, and recognize the limits of the natural moral order, which promises us a truly human future, deeply situated in the dignity of the human person.
In God, there is a sufficient antidote against everything that would bring us sorrow. Grief cannot affect him who is in the presence of God. Jonathan Edwards explains:
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
It is not in the power of any earthly enjoyment to drive and shut out all trouble from the heart. If a man has some things in which he takes comfort and pleasure, there are others that yield him uneasiness and sorrow; if he has some things in the world that are sweet, there are others that are bitter, against which it is not in the power of his pleasures to help him. We never can find anything here below that shall make us so happy, but that we shall have grief and pleasure mixed together. This world, let us make the best of it, will be spotted with black and white, varied with clouds and sunshine. And to them who yield their hearts to it, it will yield pain as well as pleasure. But this pleasure of seeing God can suffer no mixture. For this pleasure of seeing God is so great and strong that it takes the full possession of the heart. It fills it perfectly full, so that there shall be no room for any sorrow, no room in any corner for anything of an adverse nature from joy. There is no darkness that can bear such powerful light. It is impossible that they who see God face to face, who behold his glory and love so immediately as they do in heaven, should have any such thing as grief or pain in their hearts. When once the saints are come into God’s presence, tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. The pleasure will be so great, as fully and perfectly to employ every faculty; the sight of God’s glory and love will be so wonderful, so engaging to the mind, and it shall keep all the powers of it in such strong attention, that the soul will be wholly possessed and taken up. (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)
“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”
There is no doubt that in the history of warfare, women have certainly played a role in the frontline of combat many times. However, the rise of Western Civilization has mostly frowned upon the idea of women in combat. If we look to the Bible, we find Deborah (Judges 4:14) who on one occasion acted as a military adviser or even a general to an army of 10,000 men. The idea of women in combat, however, is a foreign concept to the teachings of the Bible.
There are many who have lobbied our government for years to place women in front line combat roles. “Equality” is often the generalized reason for pushing the concept forward. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last month that the military is going to remove its ban on women in combat. Is this something to celebrate or just another sign of moral decay? Michael Foust writes:
Panetta made his announcement Thursday (Jan. 24), saying the removal of the ban had unanimous approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With the removal, about 237,000 positions on or near the front lines of combat are now open to women.
“If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation,” Panetta said.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS NEW POLICY, AS A CHRISTIAN SPECIFICALLY?
“Be sure of your call to every business you go about. Though it is the least business, be sure of your call to it; then, whatever you meet with, you may quiet your heart with this: I know I am where God would have me. Nothing in the world will quiet the heart so much as this: when I meet with any cross, I know I am where God would have me, in my place and calling; I am about the work that God has set me.” (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment)
This is the way we develop conviction – by bringing God’s Word to bear on specific situations that arise in our lives and determining God’s will in that situation from the Word.
We must have conviction that it is God’s will that we seek holiness – regardless of how arduous and painful the seeking may be. And we must be confident that the pursuit of holiness results in God’s approval and blessing, even when circumstances make it appear otherwise. (The Pursuit of Holiness, pp. 87 and 142)
Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams’ parents were both Puritans, but Adams himself became a strict Congregationalist. He was the son of a deacon and married the daughter of a minister.
Samuel Adams believed, when discussing the rights of the colonists, that freedom and liberty cannot be given or taken away by government – it is the gift of God. Adams often used many biblical arguments to justify American independence. He never lost sight of the revolution’s political and religious goals.
His understanding of the Bible and his strong faith in God encouraged Adams to work for three goals: achieving American independence, protecting the constitutional liberties of the American people, and – most importantly – building a society of upright people.
Samuel Adams believed that:
“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” (Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren dated February 12, 1779)
Adams envisioned a country where the clergy, philosophers, political leaders, and patriots worked together to impress upon the minds of youth the fear and love of God. He desired that the people would be led “in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” (Samuel Adams October 4, 1790)
“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of [exceptional] character. The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., volume III, pp. 236-37, written to James Warren on Nov. 4, 1775)
Concerning his private life, there is no reasonable doubt that Samuel Adams was a Christian. The piety of his personal life confirmed his love for Jesus Christ. He regularly attended church and he led his family in morning and evening devotions. Not long before his death, he wrote a letter to Thomas Paine disapproving Paine’s attempts to discredit Christianity. He died on October 2, 1803 believing in Jesus Christ as his savior.
I was reading Louis Cardinal Pie’s Christmas homily (1871) a few days ago and was inspired to rewrite a part of it to broaden the application. Therefore, the theme is Pie’s and the words are mine as written below:
Imagine a nation of true Christians. Such a nation would have the grand advantage of possessing many strong Christian men and women. However, in a nation where Christianity is on the decline, strong men and women of character begin to disappear. Such nations sink into perversion and chaos. There are no strong men and women where moral principles are ignored. When Christianity becomes just one of many ways to heaven, there are no strong men and women to take a stand on the doctrines of the Christian faith. Strong men and women are the product of worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Without truth, the people and nation perish. (Hosea 4:6 and Proverbs 29:18 ESV)
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945):
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
“The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”