One of my favorites!
I read the book. If you see this movie, please think about the criminal negligence of the pro-abortion officials who didn’t want to know what was happening in Gosnell’s clinic. The health department did not inpsect his clinic for 17 years (as per my memory of the book). THEY should be on trial too, but that would be called a witch hunt or a politically motivated prosecution. But it is not about politics. I hope those in Philly who turned a blind eye to Gosnell are confronted in their hearts by their sins of omission. And that they fall to their knees to ask God for forgiveness. His courtroom will not be avoided, by them or by us. Lord have mercy on us all.
Since I’m going to see the Gosnell movie today, I thought I would read a few articles to remind me of the facts. The best article was by the film makers themselves, writing for the Daily Signal.
In progressive Pennsylvania, here was a doctor, Kermit Gosnell, an African-American, he’s in his early 70s now, who ran an abortion clinic for 30 years, where he routinely, and these are not my words, this is the grand jury’s words, where he routinely delivered babies alive and then cut their necks with scissors.
And he did this for 30 years. That’s why in the eyes of the grand jury and also ABC’s Terry Moran, he was described as America’s biggest serial killer, which is the phrase we use in the film.
There’s so many details that are worth…
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I’m reblogging so that more people will find this post. AND reblogging so that I can find this post again in the future. It is a nice summary of our A-Team. -Darren
The Christian church has been graced with brilliant and influential thinkers since its inception. A list of “who’s who” in Christian scholarship would be long and diverse in terms of scholarly disciplines. To whet your appetite in the areas of theology and philosophy, here’s a snapshot of six “straight A” thinkers.
By “straight A,” I mean two things. First, I’m noting that these thinkers were all brilliant scholars (no doubt, they would’ve received straight A report cards in today’s grading system) and accomplished philosophers and theologians who advanced Western civilization in general, and Christianity in particular. Second, all of these distinguished Christian scholars’ names begin with the letter “A.” So they’re Christendom’s A-Team!
Here’s a brief summary of the “straight A” Christian theologians and philosophers from ancient and medieval Christendom and what they are known for:
- Athanasius (ca. 296–373), Defender of Orthodoxy
Athanasius is one of the most honored theologians in…
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To my roughly fifteen Pastors in six congregations of four mainline denominations over my forty-nine years in the church.
Greetings in Christ from your brother in the pew.
For those outside the church, if they wander across this letter, let me unpack what is meant by the word Pastor.
Pastors fulfill their calling (vocation) in public ministry, shepherding their flock (John 21:15-19), and raising them up to be disciples (students and followers) of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). They preach the good news of God’s rescue of us from the fruits of our own rebellion (Romans 10:15, 1 Corinthians 9:14, 16, 2 Timothy 4:2, 17). And, they faithfully administer the sacraments (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
Sounds great! So why am I writing?
The purpose of this letter is one of encouragement.
I have noticed that the job description above is what might be described as “the recruiting poster“. Sometimes recruiting posters fail to describe the activity in the trenches. Let me describe the trenches for the benefit of outsiders and for the encouragement of all Pastors.
I want pastors to know that someone out there “gets it” and that someone out there is praying for them.
What pressures do Pastors face on a daily basis?
- Spiritual Pressure – To quote Paul in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God… Pray, stay alert, persevere, and intercede.”
- Public Pressure – Pastors work in PUBLIC. Their good days are public. Their bad days are also very public. The scrutiny is tremendous.
- Effectiveness Pressure – Pastors are expected to mentor babies in the faith AND to develop mature disciples (Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2). This balance is almost impossible to achieve. Simple sermons bore those who crave “meat” and Greek and Hebrew exposition lose the “young” toddlers in the faith.
- Image Pressure – Pastors families are public. This one hurts the most in my view. The pressure of having a photogenic and behaviorally-perfect family is a source of many stressful days and tear-filled nights for Pastor, their wife, and children.
- Cultural Pressure – Pastors stand in the “no-man’s land” between the trenches of church culture combatants. There seems to be no safe place to stand when the old guard and the new guard are both taking well-placed shots to move you toward their entrenched positions, to join their side, and to drive the others back, out, or away. Some Pastors choose sides and wage war. Others try desperately to “blend the trenches” and are criticized by both armies without mercy it seems. No matter the approach the Pastor finds himself “without a country” emotionally, and often this is in the center of church life, namely worship.
- Administrative Pressure – The organizational and administrative pressures have increased to an all-consuming level in some congregations. Pastors often have academic abilities to study, write, and teach. Others have affective abilities to encourage, listen, and give wise counsel. Still others have a servant’s heart to know who needs what and when. But few can do all these things AND run a board, manage the office, untangle human resources regulations, understand health plans for employees, wisely choose retirement packages for employees, and make necessary hiring, firing, and promotion decisions.
- Health Pressure – Trying to do it all has led to many health problems in Pastors over the years. Or if they are in good health, now, there is no margin. If they have a health issue, there is very little play in the joints for backup and assistance. This takes a great toll on the mental health of a Pastor.
- Political Pressure – I could go on, but I’ll wrap it up with a rising pressure that many dislike the most. There are mounting political pressures on pastors. Pressures from within the congregation to take a stand and to speak out on behalf of the congregation. Pressures within to NEVER do that. Pressures from without to comply with secular culture’s demands and fads. Everything is politicized to tbe benefit of no one.
Pascal’s Law in fluid mechanics says that “pressure in a confined incompressible fluid is omnidirectional and omnipresent inside the container“.
From my perspective pastors live in an incompressible fluid.
Living, working, and loving under omnidirectional, omnipresent pressure with no near-term end in sight (because that is the nature of your calling) is impossible…without God.
“…what is impossible with man, is possible with God…” – Jesus describing the likelihood of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Luke 18:27
Pastors (and all other disciples) are called to be “impossible people” as Os Guinness wrote.
May God in His grace empower us to fulfill our impossible callings:
- to respond with love when insulted
- to seek wisdom in every decision
- to gather advisers and to take their advice
- to trust our brothers and sisters in Christ
- to trust again after that trust has been violated
- and to DAILY worship and pray to Him from whom all blessings flow
May God bless you and keep you, Pastor, (and your family also). May God lift up His countenance upon you. And most precious of all, may God grant you His peace in this IMPOSSIBLE life. -Amen
Your brother in Christ,
Thanks Ken, for this thoughtful post. I’d like to set a goal for all of us to make it a point to have screen-free face-to-face conversations this week with members of our family AND colleagues at work.
How much of your day is spent looking at a screen? Remember that “screen” includes smartphones, computers, tablets, televisions, movies, jumbotrons, video games, digital billboards, and e-books. One online source estimated there may be a total of 8 billion screens in the world.1 Now let me ask you a more indelicate question: If you are a parent, how much of your child’s day is spent looking at a screen?
In a recent article entitled “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?,” San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge states that research indicates that young people who spend lots of time looking at screens tend to feel isolated and lonely, get less sleep, and lack ambition.2
This article was adapted from Dr. Twenge’s new book, which is provocatively entitled iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the…
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A common question on the college campus. Enjoy this one… https://wp.me/p2ZnhB-5fM
An excellent and comprehensive blog post. Well done!
Today’s article in the Stream struck a cord with me. I go to a couple of Apologetics conferences each year to connect with other Ratio Christi Directors and to sharpen the saw. And the most pleasing feature by far is the deep conversations I enjoy with the other attendees.
Tom Gilson writes…
It shouldn’t be this way. But the fact is, it’s a lonely world for the Christian thinker, the one who cares to think deeply and well about the faith.
I’ve just returned from a terrific week of fellowship at the annual Defend conference at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It’s an apologetics conference, which means its purpose was to share and to study the many reasons for confidence in the Christian faith.
Speakers’ topics ranged from the resurrection to the problem of evil. But even though I was one of those speakers, the talks weren’t the real highlight of the week. It was the conversations instead.
Three nights in a row, my friend and team-teaching partner, Dr. Timothy McGrew, and I invited conferees for coffee and conversation. It was about 9 pm when we gathered each evening, but dozens came anyway — so many that we had to move over to a nearby dorm lounge. We stayed as long as the dorm rules allowed.
And one of the main topics of discussion was how refreshing it was to be able to have the kinds of conversations we were having there.
As for my congregation in Huntsville, I’m pleased that there is a Thursday morning men’s group. We enjoy fantastic discussion each week as we crawl through a book on the Christian faith or a book of the Bible.
But nothing has matched the tightly-focused fellowship I have had with my apologetics colleagues. They have stretched me to my intellectual limits in philosophy, physics, ethics, hermeneutics, theology, and on and on. And I love every minute!
Love to all,
This is the most popular topic I have ever presented on the college campus. Students typically flood the front area to ask questions afterward. The subjective, feelings-based, and mystical discernment model that has become the folklore of American Christianity is severely hurting the young adults I serve.
Thanks for posting on this topic, Wintery Knight.
There are two views on the topic of decision making and the will of God. The view you learn in the church is called “the traditional view”. I call this view the feelings/intuition view. This view that elevates feelings / intuitions to the level of divine communications from God. The more practical view is called “the wisdom view”. I call this view the battlefield commander view. I am a proponent of the wisdom / commander view.
[The traditional view is] that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”.
[The wisdom view] holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be…
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Come, let us reason…
Many times when I do apologetics or simply talk about it people tell me they think it is the wrong approach. To them argument, discussion, or some other seemingly confrontational approach to sharing the gospel is not what Jesus would do.
Those that appose an apologetic approach are often those who I may be arguing with, but more often than not it is a fellow Christian who believes a confrontational approach is unbiblical, unloving or even unchristlike.
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