John and Kate and the Impossiblity of Marriage

John and Kate plus 8 is a widely popular show about a a family with eight kids, six of them from one birth.  They have had a show on TLC for a couple of years now chronicling the rasing of their 8 kids and the trials/adventures the family has faced.  Well fame has had a price for the Gosselin family as John and Kate’s marriage is now on the rocks.

I have seen the show a few times over the years and each time I have had two reactions. 1.  Raised levels of anxiety as I would picture what it would be like to try and raise 8 kids and take them out in public. 2. How there seemed to be a constant nagging and negativity dynamic that had developed between John and Kate.  Now I know that raising 8 kids is stressful and I thought that most of their tension and animosity toward each other was more due to how they handled difficult situations.

Yet I was always bothered by the interview parts of the show in which Kate would launch into long diatribes about how John was messing things up or not doing things right and John would sit there with this glazed look on his face as if he had been raptured from his body.

Well with the season premiere this last week it was well known that John and Kate’s marriage was in dire straights.  Ratings were higher than ever with a record 10 million viewers turning in to see the ice storm that had become the marriage of John and Kate.

Christianity Today had an excellent article recently on how massive amounts of bitterness had enveloped John and Kate’s relationship and how as professing Christians they should seek biblical counseling and accountability from other Christians.

Yet the reason I blog about this is not so people googling the topic will come to our blog, but because it highlights how foundational and practical a robust understanding of the Gospel is to marital life.  Mark Driscoll routinely says that when you put to sinners together for life you have to have something to do with the sin that will ensue.  Otherwise you will always get death; death of intimacy, death of affection, death of honesty, and ultimately the death of the marriage.

The bitterness that has manifested in the marriage of John and Kate is not uncommon, in fact it is quite common in marriage.  It is the residue of unresolved sin. It is sin that has not been atoned for.  Either Jesus will pay for the sin done in marriage or you and your spouse will.  There is no third option.

Crystal and I have to continually remind ourselves that our marriage and love for each other does not have to die and suffer for the sin we commit against each other, because Jesus has already atoned for it.

Marriage is precious but absolutely impossible without a means for dealing with sin (the Cross), and a source for reconciliation (The Grace that is a result of the work of the Cross).

ryan

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Obama’s First Supreme Court Pick; Sonia Sotomayor

Interesting Pick on Obama’s part.  If the GOP tries to slay her in the confirmation hearings then they risk doing irreversible damage to their appeal in the Latino community.  And while Sotomayor may not be a full fledge activist judge (an approach to law that approves of making policy/law from the bench) there are some troubling points about her resume.

1.  Here is a quote that many have found tough to swallow, especially if your a white male!

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”

Let me try this on as if it was a statement by Chief Justice Roberts. “I would hope that as an educated white man with a wealth of life lessons, would be more inclined to reach a better decision than a Hispanic woman who has not lived my life.”

Point being that while Sotomayor’s statement may not be racism it is at least identity politics, and an attempt to promote race preference as long as it is the right kind…

2. In the court case Ricci vs. DeStefano,  Sotomayor affirmed that it was acceptable for the New Haven fire department to not promote any of the white firefighters who passed a promotional exam, due to the fact that no African American candidates passed.  Once again we see a selective race/ethnic judicial mindset that favors some races over others.

Of course I think Sotomayor will get appointed and will sail through her confirmation hearings, but at the very least I hope some Americans will learn about the different judicial philosophies that shape our courts and the lives of Americans.

ryan




Why WNBA, NBA?

Only two entities can loss huge amounts of money ever year and still stick around; government, and the WNBA.

With the recent economic collapse and all the anger at bailouts of businesses that make no money you would think there would be some outrage directed toward the WNBA.  Please do not here me as being sexist, I am all for women playing basketball, and think they should have every opportunity to play at the high school and collegiate level.  My point simply is that there is no RIGHT to a professional league.

For over a decade the WNBA has been financially insolvent and a bigger failure in tv ratings than CSPAN (okay I am not sure about that but its really close).  No one wants to watch the sport, the arenas for WNBA games are about as well attended as the rec league soccer games by my house, and yet the league persists, why?

Well when you talk to the Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern about why he keeps subsidizing the league he gets cranky and gives a look as if he would like to lock you up in gitmo.  And most reporters do not want to grill him on the topic because they are afraid of being portrayed as sexist.

The perpetual existence of the WNBA is about more than just basketball, its about hyper political correctness.  Every year I am smothered by WNBA commercials during the NBA playoffs that tell me how amazing their league is and implicitly that I am sexist for not watching.

My modest proposal is this; could we please move past the trite argument that if someone does not like the debacle known as the WNBA then they are a sexist?  It could simply be that they do not like bad basketball.

ryan

Evolution Proved? Ida The Missing Link?

Not so much.

The frenzy has begun.  Evolutionists are as excited as ever, with some claiming they have found the missing link, though it was hanging on some rich man’s wall for the last few decades before being discovered.  Yet as loud and boisterous hardcore Darwinians want to preach their good news, their evidence is far from conclusive.  The fossil find has been named Ida, and she is far from Cro-Magnon man or any type of missing link.  In reality Ida is a Lemur who seems to display evidence of micro-evolution and not macro-evolution.  What is the difference?  Good question.

Micro-evolution has never been debated, everyone agrees on it.  It is small adaptations over time such a beak becoming more narrow, thick, or sharp depending on what is most advantageous for its environmental needs. The controversy swells around macro-evolution, which claims that entirely new species emerge from other species going all the way back to one common life source (supposedly a pool of simple cells in primordial soup, which requires extreme amounts of faith to believe once you understand that a cell is more complex in structure than even the most complex machines humans can build.)

Truth be told the search for the missing link has been the Holy Grail for Darwinian Naturalists, as even Darwin himself said if the fossil record did not support his theory of gradual transitory change from one species to another over time then his theory of macro-evolution was bankrupt.  So the question is, have we found it?  Well I will let the experts speak here (from AP article).

Experts not connected with the discovery said the finding was remarkably complete because of features like stomach contents. But they questioned the conclusions of Hurum and his colleagues about how closely it is related to ancestors of monkeys and humans.

“I actually don’t think it’s terribly close to the common ancestral line of monkeys, apes and people,” said K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. “I would say it’s about as far away as you can get from that line and still be a primate.”

Rather than a long-ago aunt, “I would say it’s more like a third cousin twice removed,” he said. So it probably resembles ancestral creatures “only in a very peripheral way,” he said.

John Fleagle of the State University of New York at Stony Brook said the scientists’ analysis provides only “a pretty weak link” between the new creature and higher primates, called anthropoids, that includes monkeys and man.

“It doesn’t really tell us much about anthropoid origins, quite frankly,” Fleagle said.

Needless to say, this fossil find is far from the missing link and is more hype than truth.  In reality, Ida’s fossil appears to be really just a Lemur prior to minor adaptions. This could be considered big news if you are a fan of ancient zoology, but has little to do with proving what Darwin set out to explain; the origin of species.

Truth be told the scientists who are announcing Ida are looking for the biggest stage possible and the brightest spotlights they can find to share their interpretation of what they see in the fossil of Ida.  Yet it is far from unbiased proven scientific fact.  Other experts look at Ida and shrug, Why?  Well that is because looking at Ida is like looking at a puffy cloud with friends; one of you might see a oil tanker, and someone else see’s a spaceship.  Far from exact irrefutable proof.

So why all the hype?  Why when I log onto Google this morning is their logo paying homage to this fossil find?  Why is it plastered on every story I can find on the web this morning?  Well that is because this is really not about fossils at all, it is about worldview.  It is about proving that humans are merely animals and that there is nothing unique or transcendent about our existence.  And if that is the case than we free to do as we please, our behavior does not matter, the way we treat others is cosmically inconsequential, and the reality of God is further debunked.  Ida is not about science, Ida will become a worldview flag trumpeting forward secular humanism.

ryan

President Obama’s Abortion Contradiction At Notre Dame

President Obama caused a big ruckus this weekend by speaking at Notre Dame’s graduation, and receiving an honorary degree.  Being that Obama is pro-choice (in favor of abortion) and speaking at a Catholic university that is explicitly pro-life, there was bound to be protests about his appearance.  Many in the media who are pro-choice loved Obama’s speech and have deemed it a victorious achievement on his part and one of his best speeches ever.

Yet looking at the actual content of Obama’s speech there is nothing new, fresh, or great about it.  Rather the speech is convoluted in logic and hides misleading content behind flowering rhetoric.  Here are the important lines from his speech.

“(both sides) can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

“So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term.”

Whenever I hear any talk about reducing abortions my brain is frozen with the question; why? If there is nothing immoral about abortion, if it is not killing a human, than why focus on reducing abortions? It is akin to saying lets reduce mole removals, or wisdom teeth removals. Why are there no agendas to limit these surgical procedures?

This question MUST be asked by any thoughtful journalist the next time any politician begins with this kind of reducing abortion talk.

In addition, it is begging the question to move right onto the issue of choice and speaking of the heart wrenching matter of a woman choosing an abortion without first addressing the central question of the whole debate; what is the unborn?  If the unborn are human than talking about choice is simply horrific.  It is akin to saying a woman has a right to murder her toddler if done in the privacy of her own home and she has wrestled with the question.  There is nothing personal or private about abortion, just like it would not be acceptable to say, “I am personally against slavery but I do not want to impose upon others choice to own or not own slaves.”  We must do better than this.

I implore all of you to not fall for this double-speak that is riddled with contradictions from Obama.  He must tell us why someone who is for abortion would want to work to reduce them and not wisdom teeth removal, or mole removal.

ryan

Francis Schaeffer On The Gospel And Christian Life

I know I have quoted from this book before but I must do so again.  Schaeffer was ahead of his time as he was thinking holistically about the Gospel before anyone else.  Francis Schaeffer was truly the epitome of loving God with all your heart, mind and soul.

As I was reading Schaeffer today I was stunned by how succinctly he summed up the Christian message; “The call to a non-Christian is to make Jesus the center of his life.  The call to Christians is to remember that He is the center.”

The non-believer is to end his rebellion against God and joyfully accept the gift of grace through the cross.  The believer is to constantly orient themselves around this same grace.

So ask yourself, is Jesus your center?  Is he first in your affections, relationships, and plans?  Jesus must be your center if you are truly his follower, because he is the vine and you are the branch, apart from him you can do nothing.

ryan

Prayer: Why Is It Hard?

There are many answers to this question but the most honest and perhaps convicting one is that we often believe it just does not matter.

Basically we feel that if we pick up the prayer phone there is at worst no one on the other line, and at best were just leaving a voice message.

I am often haunted by the practice of my prayer life and the convictions I have about God’s nearness.  Where is the disconnect?  Yet I have found myself meditating recently on the truth that prayer is more than a feeling or emotional response or dutiful ritual that I am obligated to do.

Rather the Christian life is one in which prayer is an imperative.  You see relationships are never stagnant, they are either growing or wilting.  If I engage with my wife and give all of myself to love her than our relationship will grow.  If I do not than our relationship will suffer and we will drift apart.

No matter if we feel it or not our prayer life matters more than just about anything.  In John 15 Jesus makes very clear that he is the vine and we are the branches.  That apart from Jesus we can do nothing.  Think about that last word…nothing.  You will do nothing of worth, eternal impact, or significance outside of connection to Jesus.  Your prayer life must be cared for at all times so that you remain connected to the vine and bear fruit.

So what do you do when you are worn out and your heart is cold?  Here are a few things.

1.  Run to community and church.  Make sure you soul is being nourished and fed by other believers.  That you are immersing in Spirit filled community that can encourage you onto good works and joy.  Don’t be surprised if your heart has grown stale to the things of God when you have cut yourselves off from Jesus’ bride.

2.  Silence.  Take a few minutes today and just seek God’s grace.  Turn off the ipod, cell phone, and tv and simple say, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

3.  Memorize Scripture.  So few of us have blessed our souls with the tremendous benefit of God’s word implanted into our hearts and minds.  I have taken to memorizing scripture in the last few years and it has been massively transforming for my thought and prayer life.  When my soul is dry I simple lean into scripture and let it speak for me.  I would recommend Micah, 6:8, and Matt. 13:44 as two verses to start with.

Prayer is not easy but it is vital.  May we all pray that daily that G