Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stopping by the Woods on a Screaming Evening

I was recently asked the question, “How do you get someone involved in the pro-life cause when they do not see any reason to get involved?” Don’t think I did too great a job answering at the time, but, on reflection and with much thought, here is the answer I now have for that question.

First of all, this was asked in the context of pro-life training based on the outstanding DVD training material, Making Abortion Unthinkable: The Art of Pro-Life Persuasion, authored by Greg Koukl (Stand to Reason) and Scott Klusendorf (Life Training Institute). Mastering this material gives you both the scientific and the philosophical legs to stand against the pro-abortion position. One of the things it teaches is to simplify and focus the issue to the question, “What is the unborn?” If the unborn is just a blob of tissue then no reason at all is needed to kill it, BUT if it is a human being, then no reason for killing it is justifiable (with the exception where it is a clear medical choice between mother and baby dying or only aborting the baby will save the mother’s life).

One of my favorite tactics is to paint a word picture. Get the other person involved intellectually and emotionally. Get them to see the issue in their mind’s eye. You know the ending of the story – it must lead to the central issue, “What is the unborn?” and it must arrive there with both emotional and intellectual impact. So, this is an exercise of working backwards from the conclusion.

Here is my story. It is not the only one. You can construct your own.

You’re walking on a path through the woods when you are startled to hear what sounds like human screams. Instinctively, you turn to the direction of the screams, but you cannot see anything through the dense foliage. The screams continue.

What should you do? Investigate?

So, you softly make your way to the sound, until parting some leaves you see an adult brutally abusing a small toddler.

What do you do now? Try to intervene, call for help on your cell phone, or run for help?

What would you think of a person who simply said, “I don’t want to get involved,” turned back to the path, and continued their pleasant stroll through the beautiful woods – all the while ignoring the screams?

Is not some form of action to help simply the human response to this situation? Don’t we have a natural revulsion for the moral integrity of the person who does nothing?

That is the picture of the abortion holocaust happening in this country and around the world.

I’m not sure there’s much more to do for the person whose response remains, “I don’t want to get involved.” But, if the story seems to hit home, and they try to make a point of the difference between the toddler being abused and a fetus being killed in abortion, then, you’ve got your opening to say, “but that’s the real issue isn’t it? What is the unborn?”

That’s where the training kicks in. You now have the open door for the scientific and the moral case ready. And, you’re ready for the other common objections.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Death Defying Acts - Let Go, Let God

Some people are so terrified of roller coasters they don't even want to watch others ride them. Then, some are so brave and death-defying they release their grip on the car and fling their arms skyward as the coaster crests the peak and accelerates through weightlessness down the steep track.

Actually, the brave are only acknowledging the truth that their death grip on the restraint wasn't going to hold them securely in the coaster through all the twists, turns, accelerations, and stomach heaving drops anyway. It's the shoulder harness and lap restraints holding them in. Their strength adds absolutely nothing - but a false sense of doing something and a diversion from enjoying the ride.

For years I was what I call a white-knuckled Christian holding fast to the hem of Christ's robe with all my strength. I wanted to be a faithful Christian, but, at the time, I thought it was by my will and my strength that I exercised faith over my mind's uncertainties. And it took a great deal of my attention and focus to hold fast.

I had a totally unscriptural (worldly) idea of faith as something your heart willed and forced on your mind to cover over doubts.

I knew there was a God - no question whatsoever about that - but it still seemed I had to hold on with all my strength. Then God brought Ravi Zacharias and his books into my life. I saw the Christian life of the mind and that there were reasons to believe what I believed. The faith I previously saw as an act of will became more an act of reasonable response to the evidence. My heart and mind were no longer schizophrenic but united into a whole being.

Just as God brought this into my life, it also dawned on me that it never was my strength holding God but His strength holding me fast - "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." Jn 10:28

Realizing and acting on the truth is a very brave thing to do whether it's letting go on the roller coaster or letting go of God and letting (trusting, faith) His strength hold you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Feed Me!

Our stomach growls and aches when it's hungry ... and we generally give it the attention it demands. But what about our soul?

Our soul doesn't growl, but it does ache for true spiritual food. True spiritual food - God's Word; the fellowship of praise between us and the Father facilitated by the Holy Spirit; the fellowship of suffering; corporate and private worship; that abba, daddy, relationship; the magnificent wonder of revelation - brings a wholeness and fulfillment found nowhere else this side of heaven.

Yet, paradoxically, for all the "high" of soul food, we are "prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love." Prone to let the empty allures and enticements of the flesh draw us to the worldly for satisfaction by that which never can. Like a child testing its independence, we wander away from our Father until the soulish ache-pangs of depression, despair, and disillusionment cause us to cry out as Paul, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24)

I must confess: I'm a professional wanderer (as I suspect many of us are). But how do we stop the unending replays of our role as prodigal son?

The solution to every problem starts with the first step of acknowledging the problem to ourselves. God already knows. We need to come into agreement with God.

We ask God to help us where we are weak.

Then we intentionally set out to routinely feed our soul with what it craves.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Mat 4:4)

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body.'" (Mat 26:26)

"O taste and see that the LORD is good." (Psa 34:8)

Feed your soul.