Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Mark’s #22 – The Case For Life by Scott Klusendorf

If you are a follower of Christ, you must get your head out of the cultural sand, read this book, and begin to use your voice in the public market place of ideas and dialogue regarding the cause of countless millions of murdered, unborn humans.

Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute, presents a very compelling, thoughtful, and sound argument on behalf of the unborn humanity for their right to life.  One does not need to hold to a Christian worldview to understand and embrace the majority of the scientific and philosophical arguments Scott puts forward.

As a pastor, I thought I was pretty clued in already to the tragedy of abortion and the cause of the pro-life movement.  Having read this book, I realized, I hadn’t a clue.  Few books move me to such indignation (against abortion) and passion to fight for those who have no voice in our culture of murder for the sake of convenience, greed, and ignorance.

In part one, Klusendorf gets to the heart of the issue, “what is the unborn?”  Are they human or not?  If they are not human, then abortion is, as abortion-choice people argue, ‘morally neutral’.  However, if they are human, it is reprehensible to try to justify the murder of countless millions of people created in the image of God.  Here Klusendorf shows from even the most basic scientific level, that human embryos are in fact – human beings. They are not merely a ‘clump of cells’, they are humans at the exact level of development and location where all of us once were as humans. Using the acronym SLED, the author shows that regardless of Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency, the unborn human is still 100% human.

In part two, Klusendorf demonstrates that contrary to what abortion-choice advocates claim, they are neither morally neutral or tolerant when it comes to this issue.  Here he calls Christians to understand God’s will regarding this issue, and rise to the occasion to put forth compelling and persuasive arguments.

In part three, Klusendorf does an excellent job confronting the most common abortion-choice argument, such as:

  • The Coat Hanger Objection: “Women Will Die from Illegal Abortions”
  • The Tolerance Objection: “You Shouldn’t Force Your Views on Others”
  • The Single Issue Objection: “Pro-Lifers Should Broaden Their Focus”
  • The Hard Cases Objection: “Rape Justifies Abortion”
  • The “I Don’t Like You” Objection: “Men Can’t Get Pregnant” and Other Personal Attacks
  • The Bodily Autonomy Objection: “It’s My Body, I’ll Decide”

If you’ve encountered any of these objections (or others), or believe any of these objections, you owe it to yourself to read this book and be equipped.

Throughout the book, Klusendorf constantly points people back to the gospel to give them both grace and truth. There is hope and forgiveness before God through Christ for those who have aborted (and for all sinners).

As I was reading this book I realized that the pro-life arguments are so fundamentally solid, while at the same time the abortion-choice arguments are so fundamentally flawed, that if Christians, or people with simply a moral conscience would take the time to read, be equipped, and engage the culture, then this holocaust of the unborn could one day come to an end… it happened with slavery (many of the same arguments by the way), why can’t it happen for the unborn?

Get equipped, and get involved… as a person who has been granted the right to life, you have a moral obligation to do so.

This Is Abortion Video from Steve Weimar on Vimeo.

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Mark’s #21 – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)

A classic of science fiction, Ender’s Game is the story  from the far dystopian future of young Ender Wiggin’s training (along with other children) to become an international  fleet commander to defend earth from a third devastating attack of alien ‘Buggers’.   Ender’s training becomes increasingly demanding and difficult, but with each new challenge he manages to rise to the occasion showing himself to be a tactical genius, even as a young boy of 11 years old.

Identified as the only hope left for  the survival of humanity,  Ender too eventually comes to realize the high and heavy calling on his life, regardless of his desire to be just a normal boy.   Along the way, those in charge of Ender’s training push him physically, emotionally, and psychologically to the very edge of total breakdown.

The story is engaging, fast-paced, unique, and unpredictable.  If you like science fiction, then Ender’s Game should probably be on your reading list.

Ally

Ally’s #25: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Can I just start by saying what a dang awesome title this book has! It is sounds equally intrepid to the story Lewis lays out for us. The Dawn Treader….arghhhhh!

I was kind of glad to see the elder Pevensies (Peter and Susan) ditched in this book. They were growing irresolute in their views of Narnia and of Aslan after just one year back in England. Edmund and Lucy, however, maintained their childlike faith, but they too would be advised by Aslan when there visits to Narnia would come to an end.

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we are introduced to some delightful, some bizarre, and some downright exasperating characters. In the first category, we have the (literal, not Hollywood) stars, Coriakin, Ramandu, and Ramandu’s daughter. In the second category, we have the foot-fetish dufflepuds of the Island of Voices, who are not only cursed with invisibility, but also suffer from severe feeble-mindedness. Edmund and Lucy’s cousin, Eustace Clarence Scrubb, overflows the third category all by himself. We also get a peek into the type of man and king Caspian has become in the span of time it’s taken Edmund and Lucy to return to Narnia.

While the previous book was slightly dull reading for me, this one is a page-turner. With each chapter, we have new characters to meet and new islands to explore. There are also obstacles to overcome, some individually and some as a team, that get increasingly difficult as The Dawn Treader nears the very end of the world where Aslan’s country begins.

One of my favorite parts of the story is the fulfillment of Reepicheep’s calling. As a wee little mouse, a Dryad prophesied the following over him:

“Where sky and water meet,

Where the waves grow sweet,

Doubt not, Reepicheep,

To find all you seek,

There is the utter east.”

Reepicheep, eternally hopeful, has the deepest desire of his heart fulfilled when the group is instructed by Ramandu that to break the spell that was holding fast to the Narnian Lords, one person/creature must be left behind when they reach the World’s End. Reepicheep didn’t just volunteer–he believed himself to be predestined from birth to fulfill that very role. I love to lean on the truth that God has created us each in such a way that the deepest, most outrageous desires of our hearts are fulfilled in Him, by Him, and through Him.

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Mark’s #20 – Sexual Detox by Tim Challies (2010)

In preparation for last weeks sermon on sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3-14), I read this short book dealing with the issue of porn addiction. This is an issue that is the elephant in the pew in our churches today. Sexual immorality in all its forms is the most common issue I deal with as a pastor and counselor.

In this book, Tim Challies writes primarily to men struggling with porn addictions.  He shows the damaging effects this sin has on men, women, marriages, and families.  He guides guys to a path of hope and freedom from the vicious cycle.

The price of the book was worth it from this one paragraph alone:

Here’s a promise.  You will never stop until you begin to see the monstrous nature of the sin you are committing.  You will never stop until the sin is more horrifying to you than the commission of the sin is enjoyable. You will need to hate that sin before you can find freedom from it. That means you need more grace.  You need to cry out to be changed so you do see the monstrous nature of this sin, and then you need to act, in faith that God will meet you with grace as you seek to cut of the pornography and begin the reset.

Do yourself a favor and invest the few bucks and the hour or two it will take you to read this book, it will be worth it.

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Mark’s #19 – The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

There is no God and we are his prophets.

Father and son journey through a dystopian, colorless, cold, and brutal world, along a road fraught with danger at every turn and little hope for things to get better.  It is a world that has collapsed in on itself.  We’re not told how things have digressed to this point, we’re only carried along by the constricted prose and staccato conversations about survival between a father and his young son.

In many ways, The Road is the story of life without God, without hope, without joy, without a future, and fading memories of a day when life was as we know it now.  Think of the movie, The Book of Eli and replace Denzel washington with a father and son (minus the redeeming ending and the reciting of the Bible… ok, so it’s not really like the movie at all).

On the one hand this is a dark and depressing book. On the other hand, the story is engaging, and it reminds us of the downward spiral of humanity trapped by sin and the hopelessness of this world apart from Christ.  While this is first book I’ve read by Cormac McCarthy, it’s obvious that he is an excellent author (this book won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction).  I look forward to reading more from him… sort of… when I want to enter into the angst.

Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it

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