Sunday, February 8, 2009

Christian Response to Homosexuality

There are several asppects to the issue of homosexuality.

One aspect is personal: between me and the Lord, what is the right context for sex? It seems as though the consistent message of the Bible is that the only context for sex which God blesses and approves is within marriage, a lifetime union of one man and one woman (this appears to be the ideal).

If that is the consistent message of scripture, and if scripture really is God’s word, and if I love God and seek to do His will, then I realize that sex for me will be blessed and approved by God only within a marriage between me and a man (since I am a woman). That rules out every other variety of sex available and approved of today (and in the New Testament days too, let alone the surrounding cultures of the Old Testament).

The next aspect is societal. If I believe that sex within marriage is God’s only right and appointed way, and I also am responsible for guiding the laws and mores of my society (as a person in a democratic state would feel), then I am going to press for laws which protect sex within marriage of one man and one woman, and discourage sex outside of marriage, as defined above. It is a matter of conscience.

The next aspect has to do with the church. If I believe that sex within marriage, as defined above, is the only blessed-and-approved-by-God kind of sex, and I know that those who teach (and lead) will be “judged more strictly” (James 3:1), then I will want my leaders to follow this sex principle, and will not want my leaders to follow any other sex principle.

A lot of damage has been done in people's lives in this one issue, I think everyone can agree on that. Christians who, as a matter of conscience, based on study of God's word and prayer, seek to exercise their rights and responsibilities as voters and voting church members should not be slammed by people who do not agree with them.

And I am talking about people who stand on both sides of the homosexuality issue, the abortion isse, and any other issue you can think of.

At the macro level, society and church leadership, it seems appropriate to follow one’s conscience and sense of responsibility, and trust God with the outcome.

At the micro level life gets a little more messy. There are many, many kinds of sins, as we all know. Pretend illustration: I might wish this person over here would be convicted of gossiping, but she isn’t. She feels perfectly fine about gossiping and yet claims Christ. Because I am frustrated about what I see as a lack of movement towards holiness in her life, I move in and try to be the Holy Spirit, convicting her. A lot of damage happens at this point. And this is not a new problem. I believe Jesus addressed this problem in the Sermon on the Mount, and Paul addressed this problem in Galatians.

In the case of homosexuality, this swings both ways, folks. Someone can be as militant about homophobia being a sin (and defining that word to suit their own purposes) as one can be militant about homosexuality being a sin.

Lack of conviction on a matter does not mean that the person is not sinning. It just means they don’t feel convicted. The Pharisees did not appear to feel convicted about their behavior. But they were still sinning. Leviticus actually has almost two chapters devoted to sacrifices that can be offered for sins done in ignorance.

What we do in a case like this, when we feel very sure that a person is sinning, yet they insist that they are not, and not even the whole body of believers with whom they are in community can convince them otherwise, then the Lord says we are to treat that person in the way we treat a pagan or a tax collector.

Interestingly, it was a tax collector who recorded Jesus’ words in Matt 18:15-20. The way Jesus treated tax collectors was to honor them above everyone else by going to their house and eating with them. He called them to be close to Him. He hung out with their friends and went to their parties. He gave them love, friendship, respect and, most importantly, the whole gospel. Jesus was the friend of sinners.

And as to pagans, the only two people Matthew records Jesus commending for their "great faith" were pagans -- A Roman Centurian, and a Cannanite woman.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lawsuit: Florida Clinic Botched Abortion, Threw Out Live Baby

From Fox News, Thursday, February 5, 2008

Here is an excerpt from the above-listed article:

"...Williams struggled with the decision to have an abortion, Pennekamp said. She declined an interview request made through him.

"She concluded she didn't have the resources or maturity to raise a child, he said, and went to the Miramar Women's Center on July 17, 2006. Sonograms indicated she was 23 weeks pregnant, according to the Department of Health. She met Renelique at a second clinic two days later.

"Renelique gave Williams laminaria, a drug that dilates the cervix, and prescribed three other medications, according to the administrative complaint filed by the Health Department. She was told to go to yet another clinic, A Gyn Diagnostic Center in Hialeah, where the procedure would be performed the next day, on July 20, 2006.

"Williams arrived in the morning and was given more medication.

"The Department of Health account continues as follows: Just before noon she began to feel ill. The clinic contacted Renelique. Two hours later, he still hadn't shown up. Williams went into labor and delivered the baby.

"'She came face to face with a human being," Pennekamp said. "And that changed everything.'

"The complaint says one of the clinic owners, Belkis Gonzalez came in and cut the umbilical cord with scissors, then placed the baby in a plastic bag, and the bag in a trash can.

"Williams' lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby's umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.

"No working telephone number could be found for Gonzalez, and an attorney who has represented the clinic in the past did not return a message.

"At 23 weeks, an otherwise healthy fetus would have a slim but legitimate chance of survival. Quadruplets born at 23 weeks last year at The Nebraska Medical Center survived.

"An autopsy determined Williams' baby — she named her Shanice — had filled her lungs with air, meaning she had been born alive, according to the Department of Health. The cause of death was listed as extreme prematurity...",2933,488644,00.html

The pro-choice people I know like to parse out what's a baby. It's not a baby if you don't want it to be. It's not a baby before it's born. It's not a baby until some particular point in the pregnancy, although viability of an unborn baby is creeping ever backward in terms of weeks of gestation, thanks to medical break-throughs.

So the unborn baby is not referred to as a baby, it's called a fetus. "Fetus" used to mean "gestating baby." But not anymore.

Now the word "fetus" has come to mean NOT a human being, NOT a baby, but a complex grouping of cells feeding off of the host (what we might call the mother) that will someday be a human being. Right now this thing, this fetus, holds only the potential for being a human being.

When exactly does that potential become reality? Apparently, not even when the fetus is born. Being born does not make you a human being these days if you are unwanted; if your mother intended to abort you.

I say, give it up. Admit this not-yet-born being within is a baby.

Let's not dance around this issue anymore. Instead, to the pro-choice advocates, take a more straightforward approach, one that no one can argue with. Since the government has been given "power of the sword," add abortion to the list. In other words, war and capital punishment can be legal forms of killing people. In some countries assisted suicide is legal, and so is euthanasia: mercy killing. All the people who die in these variety of ways of killing are real people, no one can quibble over their status as human beings.

Well, so are unborn babies. They are real people, human beings, just very small ones. Are they not yet fully formed? Neither are born babies for the first 16 to 25years of their lives. Are they not able to live on their own? Neither are children until they hit their teens.

Let's all just be honest for once. Some of us feel that babies should be allowed to live once the miracle of conception has occured. Others feel that only some babies should live, and others should die. Call it what it is: killing unwanted babies and be done with it.