Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty of first degree murder of three of the four babies. He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the case of the woman he gave an overdose of Demerol to.
Planned Parenthood took to Twitter and extended sympathy for the woman, with no mention of the babies. This was the organization’s “compassionate” tweet:
A just verdict. The jury has rightly convicted
#Gosnell for his appalling crimes, ensuring no woman is victimized by him ever again.
Of course, they can’t extend sympathy for the babies because then they would be admitting that they are babies, not fetuses, and in doing so they would be granting “personhood” to the babies and thus aligning with mainstream thought (including Roe v. Wade) that states a baby at 24 weeks gestation is viable. Now, I believe most pro-choice people agree with Roe v. Wade on this point. They don’t want a baby murdered when it could live on it’s own outside the womb and the vast majority of them were cheering alongside the pro-lifers when they caught wind of Gosnell’s conviction. I think most everyone agrees that what he did was unconscionable. Which is why I believe Planned Parenthood should drop the agenda and admit, like the jury has, that these were babies who were murdered. If they care for women like they claim to, they would be able to do that.
I am thankful for local Pennsylvania reporter, JD Mullane, who covered the Gosnell trial on Twitter, detail by detail. If you are on Twitter, you should follow him (@jdmullane). And thank him while you are at it! Mullane said that he spoke with another pro-choice reporter at the trial who has changed his stance to pro-life.
This from Mullane — The state of Pennsylvania has a pro-choice Republican governor who has allowed all 22 of the state’s abortion clinics go 17 years without an inspection.
Now you tell me that there aren’t any more Gosnells and that his is an isolated case. Go ahead and tell me that more “unfettered” access to abortion is going to keep the Gosnells away from women and babies. And yes, please tell me again how legal abortion keeps women safe from “back-alley” abortions with rusty coat hangers (overdoses on Demerol anyone?) and all of that. After all, since abortion is now legal, women shouldn’t be risking unsafe and illegal abortions, correct? Something comes to mind about safe, legal and rare? Oh nevermind. You know, just throw something in there about how compassionate Planned Parenthood is, that should cover it.
Just a warning: I might roll my eyes, and I will definitely conclude that you are out of touch with reality and that you hate logic. Abortion kills human life. Period. It can’t be sanitized. And women deserve better than that. Whether we have had abortions ourselves or not, we don’t want to be deceived by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry any more!
You know what, as a pro-life woman, I am tired of the guilt trips about women. Of course I feel for women who don’t want to be pregnant. Of course my heart aches for women who feel they don’t have another option. But pregnancy is not cancer! It doesn’t just “happen” to a woman! We all have hard times and it’s never acceptable to murder someone else because we find ourselves in an unwanted circumstance. Rape and incest account for 1% of abortions, so don’t throw the R&I thing at me. And I am not talking about women like Beatriz who will die unless they get an abortion and will face jail time if they do. Seriously, pro-choice friends?? I am talking about women getting abortions simply because they don’t want to be pregnant. THIS is where we live here in the US. It’s where Planned Parenthood makes the big bucks. It must stop.
By Steph Nelson
Abby Johnson’s relationship with Planned Parenthood began as a volunteer. She progressed from volunteer to abortion clinic director within eight years. Abby writes a beautiful story of her slow metamorphosis from the pro-choice side to the pro-life side. But her story is about so much more than that. Along the way she learns to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to her, she gets to see that this issue is more than just “pro-choice vs. pro-life.” Let me start at the beginning and I will try not to give too much away because I highly recommend that everyone, no matter what your view on abortion, read this book. I checked it out at my local library.
Abby was attracted to Planned Parenthood because of its emphasis in 2001 on lowering the amount of abortions performed through contraceptives and family planning counseling. She felt at home with PP’s mission to serve women who might not otherwise have access to quality healthcare. She is a certified counselor and as such, knows the value of being a listening ear to women in desperate circumstances. Abby was all-in for PP’s mission to serve women and she was decidedly pro-choice except that she didn’t approve of late-term abortions, favoring adoption in those cases. Once she is employed by PP, her pro-life church rejects her request for membership and she is deeply hurt. She and her husband then take up with a pro-choice Episcopalian church, which works out great until Abby becomes pro-life, at which point she is rejected by the pro-choice church.
After a few years at PP, Abby notices among other things, a slight shift in the way that PP runs their company. PP is trying to open a mega-clinic in the metro area of Abby’s state where they will begin performing late-term abortions. She is told, in essence, that her clinic’s quota for contraceptive care has been lowered while its quota for abortion has been elevated since abortion brings in more money. Abby protests this, stating that she believed PP’s mission was to lower the amount of abortions performed, thus making abortion rare. She points out the inconsistency of that with increasing abortions and performing late-term abortions. For this she is formally reprimanded for disagreeing with her supervisor. She is told to open her clinic for abortions every day of the week instead of only on Saturday, which had been the clinic’s previous practice. Shortly after this corporate meeting, Abby is randomly asked to assist an ultrasound-guided abortion in her clinic where she holds the ultrasound wand as the abortionist sucks a tiny fetus (Abby notes that she saw a spine, arms, legs, hands, feet, etc.) from the womb. She describes how the baby tried to get away but eventually was “crumpled up” and disappeared as the abortion doctor quipped, “Beam me up, Scotty!”
The rest of the book is her journey to let go of the idea that abortion is healthcare since she sees firsthand over the course of eight years that it is not. She is hesitant to join the pro-life movement and thinks at first that she can just leave PP but not exactly be pro-life. That proves very difficult for her and I will leave you to find out why.
I loved this book for a lot of reasons. The main one is that it showed that it’s possible for someone to change their views when confronted with reality and fact. Abby says that the Holy Spirit was setting everything up so that she could plainly see what Planned Parenthood actually stands for and what abortion actually is. The book highlights how the politics of abortion play into church life, and she also has interesting insight into the pro-life movement as one who watched it grow while she was still a PP clinic director. She notes the blurriness of lines between victim and attacker, pointing to her own experience as everything from the victim of the pro-life movement to the role of being responsible for hundreds of fetal deaths. She had thought the women were the sole victims in abortion, but later sees the unborn as a victim as well.
I also appreciated how Abby is very forgiving of PP and her co-workers. Even as she tells her story from the other side of the fence, she makes it clear that she gave PP and the pro-choice side every benefit of the doubt. And she is quite gracious as she recounts the story and her friendships, stating repeatedly her confidence that there are pro-choice people who truly believe PP is doing good, and that abortion is “the only option” for some women, and they don’t all want to just kill babies. It would be easy for Abby to leave PP and slander them, especially after what PP does to her toward the end. (I will leave you with that suspense). But she is resolute in her view that there are well-meaning people in each camp, and there are also mean-spirited people in each camp.
This book gave me hope that eventually Planned Parenthood’s motives will see the light of day and they will no longer be the darling of “women’s healthcare.” Abby was brave to change her view and I can only hope to hear many more stories like hers.
Women deserve better than abortion.
By Steph Nelson
Some time has passed since the Gosnell story broke the news. Even more time has passed since the Gosnell trial began. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can read about the murder, scissors, feet, and blood here.
You can read about how conservatives took to Twitter and called the mainstream media out on its non-existent coverage of such a horrific story and subsequent murder trial. I was a part of the #Gosnell tweet fest and I won’t lie: it felt a little bit like what I imagine it might have felt like to dump cargos of Tea into the Boston harbor. Except tweeting is legal and so far hasn’t led to a war. Now, before you dismiss the #Gosnell media revolution, let’s realize that it’s possible that we, through mediums like Twitter, might be the new watchdog of the watchdog (media). Especially if the media continues to insist on such strong liberal bias.
The Gosnell story hit me in the gut – like really hard. I confess that I cry at the drop of a hat where abortion is concerned. The babies. The mother! The BABIES! The MOTHER! I go back and forth in a blubbering mess, unable to decide who I cry more for. But this? I had to step away from the computer to get a hold of myself. Anyone who has had a baby knows that feeling of instantly personalizing it (or maybe that’s just a woman thing?) But when I see a baby corpse laying in a tray, it’s my baby. I see my Jonny usually, because he’s my most recent baby. Maybe I am weird.
But maybe I am on to something.
These are our babies. Our fellow Americans at the very least. And as much as the pro-choice movement wants to demagogue about it, saying that if only abortion were legal under any and all circumstances to every woman with just the snap of her finger, there would be no Gosnells. Yeah, not buying it. Why? Well because at the end of the day, the abortion procedure will still stop a life. Even if it’s sanitary and hush-hush. And we are talking late second and third trimester lives where Gosnell is concerned. The horrifying thing about abortion is that it is murder. More access to it doesn’t make it less gory.
And where does Obama stand on Gosnell? Well, he won’t say. But we have only to look at policy and history to know. Obama supports partial birth abortions (WAY different than what Gosnell was doing, of course, because the partially birthed and aborted baby isn’t totally out of the birth canal.) <inject sarcasm.> It doesn’t stop there, either. Obama opposed Born Alive Infant Acts which would protect a baby who survives a failed abortion. Nope, we can’t have that, Obama and his progressive cohorts want unwanted babies dead. We at The Civic Arena have, at great length, shown arguments in favor of abortion to be illogical and at times, silly.
Yet, here we are still. Logic doesn’t seem to matter to the abortion supporter. What matters is our “right” to terminate life growing in the womb. Doug Wilson gives this analogy:
“It is as though some horrible event happened in Canada that caused a stream of refugees to head for our border, and someone with very precise legal reasoning skills developed the schizophrenic policy of shooting the refugees on their side of the border, but demanding the ultimate in medical care for them if they managed to make it across the border alive…Gosnell’s problem is not with what he was doing, which countless progressives have defended with their special kind of passionate malice, but with where he was doing it.”
America, it’s time to stop covering our eyes and humming a loud tune to deafen the sound of aborted babies screaming for help. And thanks to Gosnell, we now know that they do actually scream.
I am ending on an unnerving note. But I think it’s appropriate if we are a little bit unnerved by this. It’s horrific. I hope it continues to be exposed for the terror that it is.
”Obama says abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Unfortunately, it’s only legal.” - Alveda King
Do you love indie music? If so, you will thank me for introducing you to my family.
My brother in law Jared, (Chris’ brother) and his new wife Rachelle, just released their first music single. Their band is called “Nelson at the Helm.” And the song is called “Mechanical.” I interviewed them briefly about this song and other projects they are working on. Here is the music video:
Tell me how you two got the idea for “Mechanical.” Is there a story or a process that you can share?
Jared: The idea for the song hit me as I was leaving biology class. We were studying cell respiration, and I thought, “This is crazy. We’re machines.” Yet, biology class totally ignored the fact that we as humans are not only physical, but we are spiritual as well. I started writing the song. When I had some of the framework down, I showed the idea to Rachelle. We weren’t dating yet. She helped me finish the song on our third date.
I love how you have overlaid this idea that we are mechanical and physical beings with the observation that there must be more than what we can see and feel. Can you elaborate on that idea?
Rachelle: Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” When I studied Christianity and Philosophy in school, we talked a lot about “natural law.” Natural law means that there is a way things are supposed to be, a way that they operate, and we can know this by observing nature. The line “Why am I haunted by You?” in our song refers to the Holy Spirit. It is an observation that each of us, though we may be “a machine” has a longing for something divine –- even a relationship with our Creator.
The part that says, “I’ve seen the Angels win the Pennant,” makes me think of that old movie, Angels in the Outfield and how even in it’s simple and quirky way, that movie addressed this same issue of the reality of the metaphysical, or spiritual realm. Was that intended or am I reaching?
Jared: I totally took that line from the movie! I liked it because it represents an “impossibility.” And in the song we’re showing that “Love never backs down.”
I really connected with the line, “All of my demons hide, until I try to fly.” I just loved that because it’s so true! Until we “step out” onto the water, in a sense, we aren’t forced to face our fears and inadequacies. Have you two experienced this at all with your songwriting and music, and if so, how?
Rachelle: Haha! Well, yes. Yes we have. I would definitely say that the whole process together (songwriting, singing, performance, production, etc.) has the propensity to draw out our insecurities and that can definitely bring up some challenges. It’s good though! And it’s that way with everything. We will never have to face our insecurities or shortcomings until we enter into relationship with other people.
Jared: Yeah, totally. You see, Rachelle and I get insecure about our abilities. We’re trying to be professional musicians. But, in reality, we’re just two people who like to sing. So, when you have to be honest with each other to get a good product, and combine that with the fact that we’re both already feeling like we’re inadequate for the job, that can be very stretching.
What are some upcoming projects that you are working on?
Jared: We have another song being released mid-summer that we’re excited about. It was written right after we got married, so it talks about selfless love. Right now, we’re writing a song for our friends who are expecting a boy. It’s gonna be cool. It has an Irish jig feel. Our friends have a You Tube channel called “Bumps Along The Way” that follows their story of the challenges and joys of having a baby. So, we’re writing the music for the video when they first show their newborn son.
The video really highlights the sweetness of your marriage and since I know you both, I know it captures you perfectly. The fun you have together, the way you adore each other, your commitment to serve and love each other no matter the situation. What advice would you give to singles who want to have a marriage like yours someday?
Rachelle: For some advice, you will just have to wait and listen to our single release this summer! Just kidding. I would say that you outlined everything we know right in your question –- be committed to serving and loving no matter what, and then find somebody else with the same idea. Also, marry your best friend! That way you will always be able to laugh together. So there you have it, all of the wisdom of a newlywed couple! Hehe.
I’m mechanical, gears and sinew,
Rods and ventricles and scar tissue.
I’m mechanical, bone rib cages,
Padded skeletal structural braces.
If I’m mechanical, why does it feel like this,
When my heart is dead, but my heartbeat persists?
If I’m mechanical, made of heartless steel,
Why am I haunted by You, why am I haunted by You?
All of my demons hide until I try to fly.
I’ve played a traitor’s part in the battle for my heart.
I’ve seen the Angels win the Pennant.
I know what love can do when it’s in it.
I’ve watched an iron curtain fall.
I don’t know exactly how
But love never backs down.
I am physical, trapped in space and time,
Always just one mile from the soft skyline.
I am physical, here on Sixth and Main.
On my warm skin I can feel the rain.
You say I’m physical, but this trajectory is taking me places I can’t see.
If I am physical, made of flesh and bone,
Why am I haunted by You, why am I haunted by You?
All of my demons hide until I try to fly.
I’ve played a traitor’s part in the battle for my heart.
I’ve seen the Angels win the Pennant.
I know what love can do when it’s in it.
I’ve watched an iron curtain fall.
I don’t know exactly how
But love never backs down.
You can buy “Mechanical” as a single on iTunes right here.
You can find “Nelson at the Helm” on Facebook right here.
By Steph Nelson
I fell madly in love with Jesus when I was 14. My life was changed by the message of the gospel. I didn’t have reasons to believe that the claims made by those in my church were true. I didn’t have justification for why I believed the Bible was the word of God. I just accepted it. It worked, and I came alive. God breathed life into me and I was different. I was made new.
As wonderful as that experience was, it wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t just believe something without reason. I needed to know that what I believed was true. Yet, I felt an expectation to just accept my experience as evidence. Faith seemed to mean laying aside my mental faculties and embracing Christianity without reason. Furthermore, asking questions and pursuing answers amounted to the sin of doubt.
I couldn’t find any Christians to help with my intellectual quest. The internet didn’t have the resources that are available today. There was no one to tell me that the discipline of “Christian Apologetics” even existed. I set out on my own…
What followed has been my lifelong struggle to understand the roles of faith and reason in the life of a Christian.
Are faith and reason mutually exclusive?
Does faith require us to lay aside our mental faculties and embrace religious belief without reason?
The answer to both of these questions is a resounding “NO!” Basing our religious belief on personal experience and promises of a better life is nothing more than conforming to our post-modern culture. We’ve allowed relativism and subjective experience to pervade Christianity and falsely make us think that this is “faith.” The result is a shallow understanding of God and theology and a lack of maturing. We are infants “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)
J.P. Moreland* defines faith as follows,
“…biblically, faith is a power or skill to act in accordance with the nature of the kingdom of God, a trust in what we have reason to believe is true.”
He goes on to say,
“…faith is built on reason. We should have good reasons for thinking that Christianity is true before we dedicate ourselves completely to it. We should have solid evidence that our understanding of a biblical passage is correct before we go on to apply it. And so on.”
The life of the Christian should be a highly intellectual one. The Christian mind shouldn’t be neglected, but rather developed and strengthened. We should use our minds to understand and study the Bible. We should use our minds to determine and defend truth.
Truth is not subjective and it can be known. We have nothing to fear!! When we pursue truth we will find it, through reason, natural science, literature, arts, humanities, etc.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
We need to be educated. We need to understand. Proverbs 18:2 says, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” This isn’t just speaking of biblical understanding. Let’s look at a couple of commentaries on this verse.
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible:
“The separated person seeks understanding in every hidden thing, and feels his toil well repaid when he finds it, even after the most painful and expensive search: the other regards it not, though its secret springs should be laid open to him without toil or expense.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
“A fool hath no delight in understanding,…. In natural understanding, and in the improvement of his mind in it; he delights not in books, nor in the conversation of men of learning and sense: or in spiritual understanding, in the understanding of spiritual things; these are foolishness to a natural man; nor does he delight in reading the Scriptures, nor in hearing the word, and attendance on it in the house of God, but is weary of such exercises…”
Our response to the intellectual assault on Christianity has been to withdraw and to hide. We’ve stepped out of the public forum. We’ve created a divide between the sacred and the secular. We are no longer relevant. As J.P. Moreland put it, “the church has lost its saltiness.”
Christianity has become a private religion, based solely on feelings and personal experience and not able to withstand the Goliaths of our culture. We’re unprepared. We are unable to provide a reason for the hope that we have. (1 Peter 3:15)
If philosophers can shape the thinking of an entire generation, then we clearly need more Christian philosophers. Instead of cowering in fear, let us rise to the occasion and give ourselves to rigorous training so that we can address the intellectual questions of our time. Let’s re-enter the battlefield and take a stand. Let’s take back a culture that has been stolen by the philosophies of this world.
*Love God with All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.”
“So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
The conservative community responded negatively to the ad, and many of us have heard the “touche” remarks of Palin, Beck, and Limbaugh. Harris-Perry made what I consider to be a thoughtful response to the criticism.
In this statement, she clarifies her meaning:
“Those of you who were alarmed by the ad can relax, I have no designs on taking your children. Please keep your kids! I venture to say that anyone and everyone should know full well that my message in that ad was a call to see ourselves as connected to a larger whole. I don’t want your kids, but I want them to live in safe neighborhoods. I want them to learn in enriching and dynamic classrooms. I want them to be healthy and well and free from fear.”
She, along with other liberal folks, are totally confused about what could be bothersome to a conservative regarding her statement. Conservatives and liberals agree that every adult should take caring notice of the children of our nation and invest in them. Many on both sides of the political spectrum see the clear value of our children and many understand that the future of our nation depends on the spiritual, intellectual, and physical fitness of our children. Agreed.
The differences emerge when both sides offer solutions to issues that face children. Two separate worldviews come into play. One worldview suggests a solution that requires more programs, better education, more awareness, a sense of responsibility for all of humanity. This worldview truly believes that knowledge is power and it is their moral responsibility to educate — at any cost — children that might not otherwise receive this type of education. (The education being courses in their worldview and value system, not just ABC’s and 123′s). This specific education will ensure that the playing field will be equal, and everyone will get along.
The second worldview suggests that maybe this issue goes a little deeper and has more to do with the decay of our morality over the years and less with our current situation. This worldview recommends a return to Biblical morality, honest and genuine concern for individuals, and it values the free choice of each individual. Perhaps every child will not be parented equally, but this worldview doesn’t believe it’s the responsibility of everyone else to ensure that all things are fair. In fact, it holds that fairness is an illusion. Respect is shown for humanity in attempts to help the less fortunate with whatever extra each person has, but there is no pressure to be or do something by coercion or force. Children should be taught (usually by parents) how to handle difficulty in life because there is no historical proof that more education equals a trouble-free world.
This will always boil down to a war between worldviews. If two people of opposing worldviews both sincerely adore children, they would still find plenty to fight about.
But I can answer Harris-Perry as to why her comments made conservatives so mad. Because she said that we need to “break through” the idea that “kids belongs to their parents.” And she used that wording repeatedly. Now, if her intention is just to make a safe and healthy world for kids, please tell me why would she use that wording? This was not an off-hand comment to a reporter, this was a TV spot that she was doing. Clearly rehearsed and well-thought out. Those words were chosen.
That’s why Worldview #2 got mad at Worldview #1 this time.
Learning in “dynamic classrooms,” and being healthy and well doesn’t make fear go away. We can make public education available earlier, better, and include more fruits and veggies. But nothing, and I mean nothing can replace a parent’s role in their child’s development. Parents not Programs prepare children for life, for a global economy and for just being a great parent themselves someday. That is, if we believe that humans are individually and intrinsically valuable. But if we believe they are just another cog in the great machine, then perhaps we might be easily tricked into thinking they don’t need parents as much as they need a good education.
What is your take on this latest grenade in the worldview war?
By Steph Nelson
Today I want to link a letter that Naghmeh, Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife received this week. If you remember, Saeed is being held in prison in Iran and abused for his Christian faith. I will let him speak for himself:
Read Pastor Saeed’s heartfelt letter here.
By Stephanie Nelson
**Updated** It has been pointed out to me that the State Dept. HAS called for Saeed’s release back in January. Even so, I stand by my statements in this post and counter that they should do what it takes to bring Saeed home. And there remains some ‘splainin to do about the contrasts I point out regarding the Obama Administration.
If you are from around here, you have most likely heard the urgent call to sign petitions and spread the word about a pastor — a US Citizen — who is being held in one of Iran’s most horrific and bloody prisons, Evin, located in Tehran. His crime? Well, we don’t really know. He is ethnically Iranian and re-entered the country lawfully, to help start a non-sectarian orphanage. Being a convert to Christianity from Islam has made him a target, and he is now in prison for “threatening the national security of Iran.”
(As an aside, if only we could cause Iran to shake in their boots merely by sending a baby-faced pastor there to start an orphanage! Smell fishy to anyone else?)
Here is the “threat” in all of his scary glory:
I hope you have heard about this even if you aren’t from Boise, where Pastor Saeed Abedini was living before his imprisonment.
I hope you have heard about him if you aren’t a Christian and don’t totally care what other countries do to Christians.
Here’s why: Today I have learned that when Saeed’s ferociously brave wife showed up to testify before the State Department regarding the life of her husband, again I remind you, a US Citizen, somebody just couldn’t find any time to show up.
Too busy procuring $250,000,000 to deliver to Egypt?
The sad truth unravels: The people we have chosen to represent us on Capitol Hill may or may not have a minute to represent us when it really counts. I speak of the Obama Administration, specifically the State Department. I know we don’t directly elect those in the State Department. But we elect the president, and we trust him to choose people who have our best interest in mind.
The European Union has spoken up and called for Pastor Saeed’s release. But not the country he chose to be a citizen of. You know, the country that requires ten truckloads of red tape in order to become a “citizen.” Saeed was honored to put in the hours of study and tests in order to have the privilege of calling the USA his home.
But the feelings apparently are not mutual.
Here is a picture of Naghmeh before testifying in Washington DC. She holds a flag that the US gave Saeed upon receiving his citizenship. This picture is very touching. She is smiling warmly, she’s dressed up and looks very classy. And I am certain I see a glimmer of pride in the way she is holding that box with the flag.
We are so thankful to be US Citizens. We want Saeed to come home to us (he has two small children as well). Please, USA, can’t you speak up and help us bring Saeed home?
They are not demanding any entitlements. They are invoking the right as US Citizens to be protected and defended abroad. Yet, Secretary Kerry and his cohorts have no time. No time to send anyone to the hearing.
President Obama claims to not favor Muslims over others, and to not have any special admiration for Iran. Yet an opportunity arises for him to prove his own claims true by demanding Saeed’s release and he chooses silence. I must ask, why?
President Obama claims to put the interests of America, and by extension, her citizens, first. Yet while Saeed is being beaten in prison, rumored to be on the verge of death itself, Obama is busy sending $250,000,000 to Egypt. I ask, why does he have time and money for Egypt, but cannot find time — merely minutes — to call for the release of one of his own?
President Obama supports the rights of illegal immigrants to live, work, study, and die in this country. Yet by his silence he lets Americans assume that an immigrant here illegally is more precious than one who has earned citizenship and is about to die abroad. I ask again, why?
This is why every American should care about the fate of Pastor Saeed. And it is why every American should take note of the response of a progressive ideology to the cry of an individual.
I am not one for Obama conspiracy theories, in fact I detest them because they are usually based in speculation and fear. But there are times when this administration makes it very hard to not think that the darker forces are at work.
President Obama, some of us want to think the best of you, but you make it extremely difficult. Could you throw us a bone this time? Call for Pastor Saeed’s immediate release.
We say that something is “too long” and so it doesn’t capture our interest, or “too wordy” and so we don’t have time to read it.
I think this is quite the wrong focus.
If we are to be counter-culture and buck the trend of our peers, we should allow our minds to engage a little. We can’t expect everything we read to be as instantly enlightening as our Facebook newsfeed might be. Being willing to read something that feels challenging or looking up a new word and pondering how to use it in a sentence are markers of a successful person. This person trades the twinge of insecurity they feel when faced with something they don’t know, for the lasting confidence that comes when they find that they can learn something new. That’s a sweet trade, in my opinion.
All around us life beckons us to breathe just like Twitter: Say it in 140 characters. Instagram: Show it in one photo. Make it so that someone can just breeze through it and get the jist, since they don’t have time to actually stop and admire, or to stop and think. Huck it at them as they sprint by and if you are lucky, you might hit them broadside. Granted, it’s the one on the receiving end of this that is getting ripped off, but aren’t we all receivers at some point? Are we letting ourselves get ripped off?
Yes. We are being ripped off when it comes to knowing how to really value beauty. Social media has it’s place and I enjoy it, it’s great for marketing and re-connecting with my junior high best friend (Hi Melissa!) but what about real art work? What about enjoying something only because it is beautiful, paying no heed to how much time is spent in enjoying it?
Creating beauty. That wonderful gift within each of us to accentuate or capture aspects of God’s nature. Numbers, words, canvas, paint, melodies, clothing, movement, all of these things can glorify the Creator. The speaker, sculptor, blogger, designer, artist, mathematician or writer does have a responsibility to be as clear as possible — and yes, concise — but we are all makers of art, and being absorbed in the beauty of art isn’t always going to fit into the one minute and 13 seconds that you have with your smartphone while sitting at a red light.
If we aren’t willing to stand in awe for a few moments at God’s creation coming alive through another person’s medium, what do we really have to offer people? If we can’t really hear them, or if they don’t communicate in a way that is convenient enough for us, how can we learn from them? I wonder if maybe we would just rather not be bothered with becoming “all things to all men,” as the Apostle Paul said.
Are we willing to invest in learning from someone else? How about straight from God’s creation? What if it requires reading more than a couple of words? Spending more than a few minutes admiring? Let’s not be seduced into taking our “being amazed at God’s creation” in a to-go cup as we scroll through life, missing the message that each person has to offer and the ways that they can help us see more of the character of Christ.
To be counter-culture is to appreciate something that isn’t exactly easy to appreciate. To be counter-culture is to try and understand someone in the same way that you want to be understood.
Even better if you absolutely disagree with their ideology and worldview.
Confession: I completely insulate myself when it comes to music. I pretty much only listen to music that inspires me, encourages me, and helps me to keep my focus where I believe it should be, which is on the great gift of salvation that I’ve found in Christ. Good or bad, this is my modus operandi.
I grew up in a music-loving family and know *almost* every word to any pop song that was popular from the 70′s up until about 2000 (when I chose the insulated musical life and left pop music.) Hang out with me and a mainstream radio station for 30 seconds and you will (to your total annoyance) see that this is a true statement.
Confession: My normal radio station wasn’t working today, so I started scanning the stations. I caught the last part of “She Talks to Angels,” by the Black Crowes and I cried. My heart was screaming, doesn’t she know the pain DOESN’T make everything alright??? She doesn’t have to live this way! The song ended and I reminded myself that “she” isn’t real. (Isn’t it stressful to be me?! I internalize way too much of what I think others are feeling.) But seriously, how many other girls are in “her” shoes? Turning to drugs to numb the pain of life. My heart breaks.
And then I scanned the radio waves some more and found this song on a country station. (As an aside, I had no clue this was a “country” song until the song was over and the commercials came on. Apparently the line between “country” and “pop” and “folk” and “hipster” is very blurry now.) Here is the song, one warning for more insulated music people, like me: There is one use of the “d” word, it’s the very last word of the song. And a note for those with more diverse music tastes than me: yes, I realize this song came out last fall. Like I said, I live in a self-inflicted musical bubble.
Listening to this song made me…well angry. I understand that mainstream music reflects culture. And I for sure see this sentiment that she sings about in culture. Hopelessness, the emptiness of “things,” and even the frustration with the hypocrisy of many Christians. The underlying message that I detected bothered me though, and then when I watched the music video I got even more bothered.
The entitlement attitude behind the song. The idea that we are victims of “tradition.” That we are victims of our circumstances at all! And then, here is a cute young hipster-esque girl offering no solutions, only problems that are quite obvious to most of us.
Yep, we live on a crummy, messed up clod of dirt. Thanks for that, Kace.
Where are the voices in this young generation who will stand up and be counted among those who don’t want to blame others? Or what about those that don’t buy that our human hurts are the fault of “tradition” (AKA Christianity, and the traditional family model.)
Where are the songs that bring life, that offer solutions, or at least inspiration for overcoming the problems that are common to us all?
I really want to know your thoughts on the song (yes, her voice is pretty. Yes, I like that “folksy/raw” sound and lyrical style too…I mean beyond that.) What problems do you see with this message that Kacey has primped and packaged, not unlike the women in her music video who, presumably are pretty on the outside and empty on the inside. Okay that should give plenty food for thought in analyzing this song and video. Thoughts? I have more but I want to hear yours!