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My job has nothing to do with relieving the pain of orphans in Haiti or anywhere else. My job consists of standing at a register and scanning bar-codes. There is nothing world changing about it. There is no social injustices being over turned by what I do. And on top of that the primary reason I am doing it is to make money.

Is this wrong? From what I gather from some growing up in this social action driven generation this may seem to be a waste of life. How could I be so individualistic by doing a job that has no influence on the betterment of society? How could I waste my life working to earn money?

It is very true that this world is not all that there is. “This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). The end of this world is a present reality that should have shaping influence of the decision we make. Everything from the desire to marry to buying groceries is to be done in the frame work of this world passing away. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). All we could possibly gather to ourselves and/or lose in this world has no comparisons to what we will have in the coming age. It is very true, “Only one life will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.”

So does that mean I am living in a temporal and selfish mindset when I spend 8 hours a day scanning bar-codes to make money?

If that is all the bible had to say then we would have to say yes. However, God commands some things that seem very temporal and selfish.”and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). “For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). What!? They are not to sell all they have and move to present day Uzbekistan to spread the gospel? Has Paul shifted to a temporal mindset? Doesn’t he know no social injustices will be over turned by these people just “earning their own living”?

Here is the balance that Scripture gives us to these things. We are not to waste this life in the lest bit. Yet, God does not count the lowliest job as a waste. On one side we are protected from the America dream which says that the goal of life is to accumulate wealth. And on the other there is the glory of jobs where we do not selfishly burden others to care for us.

The bible does not call a life that is working a boring, unexciting job a wasted life. Instead, it says it is a life where we are not having to have others provide for us. And then with the extra funds I do make I can give it away. For with the funds I earn from the unexciting job of scanning bar-codes I can give to a couple who is going over seas to translate the bible for those who do not have it. In both assignments, the translator and the bar-code scanner, God is equally glorified.

This is the third lecture in the Greens Lecture Series delivered by Hunter Baker at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In this lecture Hunter Baker gives some very good arguments against secularism. Secularism will attempt to argue that religion has not place in influencing the politics and laws of a country. Yet, I believe Hunter Baker gives good reasons to reject secularism’s claim.

Secularism, Church, and Society

[Vimeo=http://vimeo.com/15267079]

You can listen or download the Audio here.

From Denny Burk:

Yesterday, a federal judge overturned California’s ban on gay marriage—a measure that was added to the state’s constitution through a 2008 ballot effort called Proposition 8. Federal district judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (p. 109). The judge immediately stayed his own decision pending appeals, so gay marriages will not be performed until the issue is resolved in the higher courts. Read the decision here.

The next stop for this case is the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—a court well-known for leaning left on social issues and which will almost certainly rubber-stamp the lower court’s decision. The next stop will then be the Supreme Court. That is where the showdown will be and where there won’t be any rubber-stamps. In fact, I think the Supreme Court could overturn this. But if Justice Anthony Kennedy is the tie-breaking vote (as many expect him to be), who knows how this will end up?

I think the court’s decision today sets a horrible precedent. The court didn’t merely strike down a law enacted by the state’s legislature. Proposition 8 is an amendment to California’s constitution that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The court ruled that this part of the state’s constitution was a violation of the U.S. constitution.

Just so you understand the implications of this. If the Supreme Court were to uphold this ruling, it would immediately overturn constitutional amendments and laws in 45 states that define marriage as between one man and one woman. If you are reading this in America, chances are you live in a state that has enacted a ban on gay marriage. The law in your state is now on the line. In short if the Supreme Court would uphold this decision, it would be the most egregious overreach of the high court sinceRoe v. Wade. It would also polarize the nation just as much if not more than the Roe v. Wade decision did.

Another disappointing aspect of this decision is that the judge sided with plaintiffs who brought in witnesses to show how evangelical Christianity in particular leads to abuse of gay people (read about it here). Throughout the trial, the plaintiff’s subtext has been that Christianity promotes bigotry. This idea is gaining traction not just in this court, but in the culture at large. Christians who prize the Bible’s teaching on marriage will likely find themselves in very uncomfortable territory in the not too distant future. Faithfulness to Christ on this point will earn us the status of a pariah and bigot. And now with the legal situation changing, Christians will also have to deal with a host of unforeseen consequences that will likely result in diminishing religious liberty.

Among the most troubling aspects of this decision are these:

“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether the individual can be a good parent… Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted” (p. 95).

“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians” (p. 101).

“Gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents” (p. 113).

“That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant” (p. 116).

“Sexual orientation discrimination is thus a phenomenon distinct from, but related to, sex discrimination” (p. 120).

“The court determines that plaintiff’s equal protection claim is based on sexual orientation, but this claim is equivalent to a claim of discrimination based on sex” (p. 121).

“The tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not further any state interest. Rather, the evidence shows that Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based only on antiquated and discredited notions of gender” (p. 124).

“The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples… These interests do not provide a rational basis supporting Proposition 8” (pp. 130-31).

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians” (p. 135).

Anyone who thinks they don’t have a stake in this case is burying their head in the sand. Massive social change is afoot, and the ground is moving beneath our feet. This judge declares that “religious beliefs” are no rational basis for law, that fathers or mothers are expendable in child-rearing, that the elected will of the majority of voters is irrelevant, and that homosexuals are a protected class. These statements represent nothing less than a legal and societal revolution. The implications of this decision—if upheld by the Supreme Court—are far-reaching, and I am concerned that many Americans are not paying attention to what could become the most significant legal decision of their lifetimes.

In the years to come, the issue of homosexuality and marriage will be a touchstone issue for evangelicals. It will be an issue that divides the men from the boys. It will test who will be willing to take a hit for the truth and who will shrink back. In other words, it will ferret out for us who is willing to take their lumps for the Bible and who will not.

Stay tuned.

Sources:

Jesse McKinley and John Schwartz, “Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Ban in California” (NY Times)

Michael Foust, “Landmark: Judge overturns Calif. ‘gay marriage’ ban” (Baptist Press)

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom 1:21).

This is a list of the various means of abortion used today:

  1. Dilation and Curettage: During the first trimester the mother’s cervix is dilated, and the surgeon inserts an instrument to scrape the wall of the uterus, cutting the baby’s body to pieces and removing the placenta from its place in the uterine wall.
  2. Suction: during the first trimester the cervix is dilated and a suction tube is inserted into the womb. The suction tears both the baby and his or her placenta from the uterus, sucking them into a jar. With both methods mentioned so far, it is possible to identify human arms, hands, and legs.
  3. Saline Injection: During the second trimester A long needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen into the sac surrounding the baby, and some of the fluid is removed and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. The baby breathes in and swallows the salt and is poisoned by it. Often the outer layer of skin is burned off. With saline injection there are osmotic pressure changes in the fetus, causing brain hemorrhages. It takes about an hour for the solution to slowly kill the baby. About a day later the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead, shriveled baby.
  4. Hysterotomy: During the final trimester is a technique which is exactly like a C-section. The alive fetus is then either allowed to die of neglect or by deliberate action.
  5. Prostaglandin: during any stage of pregnancy the drug prostaglandin is taken in some form, and it induces labor. The result may be the delivery of a live infant who is allowed to die, or prostaglandin may be used in conjunction with a saline solution to assure the birth of a dead fetus.

From, Ethics For a Brave New World by John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, p. 51-52.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)

Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love, pp. 38-39:

Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.

When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ.

Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I.

Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me.

Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?

Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show them. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.

The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well.

HT: Justin Taylor

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