Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Congress moves to inform mothers, protect unborn
By Erin Roach
Sep 30, 2008
WASHINGTON (BP)--A bill to protect the lives of unborn children diagnosed with disabilities has passed both chambers of Congress and is awaiting President Bush's signature.
The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D.-Mass., would provide support and balanced information to parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition prenatally or until a year after birth.
"One of the most difficult and vulnerable moments in the life of an expectant mother is when she learns she is going to have a child with a disability or medical condition," Brownback wrote in an opinion piece carried by National Review Online Sept. 30.
"Access to the best support and information about the condition can make all the difference to a woman and her family. Hopefully, our bill is the start of something new: real help for families, deepened respect for the value of every life -- especially those with disabilities -- and one step closer to the kind of America we all know is possible," Brownback wrote.
The Senate passed the bill Sept. 23, and the House passed it two days later in what Brownback said was "a great victory for expecting parents who learn that their unborn child may be born with a disability."
The bill requires parents who receive a diagnosis of an impairment for their child be provided with the latest information on the condition and be informed of support services available. It also would establish a registry of families willing to adopt special needs children.
Studies indicate that in the United States, between 80 and 90 percent of children diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are aborted. A similar abortion percentage exists for unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism, according to a release from Brownback's office.
"America is poorer because of this. To deny children with disabilities a chance at life will make us more insensitive, callous, and jaded and will take away from the diversity of American life," Brownback wrote in the opinion piece. "Roe v. Wade has made it not only possible but Constitutional to deny that fundamental right to life to a whole class of people, simply because of their genetic makeup. We are poorer without them, without their amazing gifts, and without their wonderful, unconditional love."
Brownback mentioned Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, who learned through prenatal testing that her fifth child, Trig, would be born with Down syndrome. Palin reportedly said at the time that ending the pregnancy was not an option because "every innocent life has wonderful potential."
"Sadly, for many in the medical community, these special children do not hold the same value," Brownback wrote. "They argue that these children are a burden on their parents and on society, and this is why they recommend that their lives be terminated before they have a chance to begin.
"This 'eugenics mentality' is behind much of the recent push to expand prenatal testing, with the argument that it is better for everyone to weed out these lives before they are born than to bear the emotional and financial cost of taking care of them after they are born," the senator added.
In the National Review Online article, Brownback also noted that a couple of doctors in Canada have expressed publicly their fear that Palin's experience with a Down syndrome baby will inspire other women to make the same decision and not end their pregnancies.
"The irony is that if children with Down Syndrome make it out of the womb, their prospects in life are brighter than ever. Children and adults with Down Syndrome are often the centerpieces of their families. They have amazing gifts and are full of affection. Many adults with Down Syndrome have jobs, live independently, and make valuable contributions to the communities in which they live," Brownback wrote.
"We now understand that with early intervention and access to proper therapies, individuals with Down Syndrome can achieve a level of health and intellectual development not dreamed of even a decade ago," he wrote. "And yet, their prospects of being born are dimmer than ever, largely because of misconceptions that the medical community itself is actively fostering."
Melissa Wagoner, a spokeswoman for Kennedy, said after the Senate passed the bill unanimously, "Access to the best support and information about the condition, and the quality of life for a child born with that condition, can make all the difference to a woman trying to make an informed and difficult decision. Senator Kennedy believes this kind of support is a vital element to strengthening a true culture of life in America."
A call to Brownback's office to inquire about when the president is expected to sign the legislation was not returned by press time.
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.
Copyright (c) 2008 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press
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Saturday, September 27, 2008
Check out GE's Timeline of Fetal Growth.
And remember, that's what you looked like at that age!
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your work; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Read the whole story from High Country News.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Seeing my baby boy's face on an ultrasound this morning has caused me to think about how my family will change over the next few weeks. It also has me thinking about my role as Meg's husband and our kids' father.
I need help. Being a husband and father is more demanding than I once imagined it to be. Here is a list of things that are helping me as I'm working to grow as a husband and father:
- The Holy Spirit and the Bible, especially when then Holy Spirit reminds me of passages like Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and enables me to apply them to my life: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
- Good examples to follow, like my dad, John Kelly, and my father-in-law, Gene Sherrill. These two men have impacted me more than any others through their faithful marriages, strong parenting, and loving grand-parenting.
- Other godly men that God has brought into my life through the church, men like Larry, John, Randy, Bruce, Travis, Glen and so many others. I need these guys a lot. Thank God for Christian community.
- Good teachers like Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Andreas Kostenberger, Bruce Ware, Andrew Nichols, Dennis Rainey, and many others.
- Megan, Anna & Sophie (pictured with me above!): My girls make it easier for me to grow as a husband and father as they forgive my sins and love me so well. The grace of God that I experience in my own home through these three is so good for me. It makes me want to be a much better husband and father.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Have you heard about the Badwater Ultramarathon? My neighbor, Jim Smith, posted an impressive time in this mother-of-all-endurance-races this past July. When I saw him in August, the heat-induced blisters on his feet were beginning to heal pretty well. He went through several pairs of running shoes during the race because the soles had melted.
FYI: The 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon was held in Death Valley, California on July 14, 2008. With temperatures reaching as high as 130F (55C), the 135 miles (217 km) course began in the desert at Badwater Basin - 280 feet (85 m) below sea level. Three mountain ranges were crossed for a total of 13,000’ (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700’ (1433m) of cumulative descent. The course ended at the Mt. Witney Portal at 8,360 feet (2533m). The winner normally crosses the finish line in less than 24 hours, while the course stays open for 60 hours.
Endurance. Faith. These virtues were required for Jim Smith and the other 74 finishers of this year's Badwater Ultramarathon. These runners suffered much in order to reach the finish line. And now they share in the glory of having finished what is certainly the world's toughest race.
God's people are called to endure like this. Christians are called to continue to put their faith in Jesus Christ every moment of every day, so that, no matter what sufferings we may have to face, we will reach the finish line of our lives. And one day soon, we will also share in the glory of God's Son Jesus, because through our union with him by faith, we will have been enabled to endure to the end.
Congratulations on your great finish, Jim!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Colorado State Forest Service is recommending that people with affected trees wait a few months before deciding whether to cut or spray.
They say there's no risk in waiting given that the beetles can't fly throughout the fall and winter.
They also say that the beetle is incapable of creating the wipeout seen in the high country because of the diverse nature of the urban forest.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Join Alice’s madcap adventures in Wonderland as she chases the White Rabbit, races the Dodo Bird, gets tied up with the Tweedles, raps with a bubble-blowing Caterpillar, and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game! Roles are plentiful, including three Cheshire Cats and dozens of other wonderfully wacky characters.
I can't wait for the show to start!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
If you're a US Citizen in Colorado and you choose vote on November 4th, one question you’ll vote on is just this simple:
Amendment Question #48:
“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution
defining the term “person” to include any human being from
the moment of fertilization as “person” is used in those
provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable
rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?”
YES on 48
The language proposed to be changed in the code is:
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is
amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
Section 31. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article
II of the state constitution, the terms "person" or "persons" shall include
any human being from the moment of fertilization.
For more information and to get involved, please visit http://www.coloradoforequalrights.com
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27-28).
Even when we say, "I forgive you," many of us have a difficult time not thinking about what others have done to hurt us... It is very difficult simply to stop thinking about an unpleasant experience. Instead, we must replace negative thoughts and memories with positive ones... Every time you begin to dwell on or brood over what someone else has done, ask for God's help and deliberately pray for that person or think of something about the offender that is "true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy."
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 220-221
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Gospel Coalition is a group of (mostly) pastors and churches in the Reformed heritage who delight in the truth and power of the gospel, and who want the gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected to lie at the center of all we cherish, preach, and teach. In a time of endless fragmentation, it is easy to sound prophetic from the margins, but one of the most urgent needs of any generation is to be prophetic from the center—from what the Bible makes the center. We want to be robustly biblical, richly theological, constantly elevating what God himself in his own Word makes central. We are not looking for some inexpensive lowest-common-denominator theology, as if unity that is biblically understood can be increased by enlarging the list of things we cannot discuss. Far from it: to focus on Christ and the gospel does not mean that every other subject is off limits; rather, it means we want to be able to address the full panoply of biblical topics and understanding of our times through the prism of what the Bible itself makes the focal point. We are gradually learning that our unity under the Lordship of Christ is not achieved by increasing the length of the list of things we will not talk about, but by being willing to talk about anything while bringing everything to the test of Scripture and the non-negotiable gospel it promotes.
Our theological convictions and our vision of what ministry should look like in our churches are detailed elsewhere (see the Foundation Documents at www.thegospelcoalition.org). We place the highest priority on what is nowadays often called “word ministries,” including preaching but also elevating the role of the Bible in small groups, evangelism, counseling, discipleship. At the same time, we want to encourage Christians to be salt and light in the full panoply of life, living out the norms of the kingdom in ways that do good to people around us while challenging the cultural status quo with the norms of the kingdom and the prospect of a new heaven and a new earth.
In practice our Council of about fifty pastors meets regularly, off camera, to work through theological issues in frank discussion (some of the results are posted on our website), to encourage one another in the ministry, learn from one another, and pray for one another. Our website is becoming a way of circulating more broadly the sermons, studies, discipleship ventures and the like of our Council members, both for our own encouragement and for the good of others. At the same time we are becoming a distribution center for other ventures with similar vision (see, for instance, the tab for the Christ on Campus Initiative). Our hope is to foster a network—The Gospel Coalition Network—of Christian pastors and other leaders who stimulate one another to faithfulness and fruitfulness in life and ministry in this rapidly-changing, increasingly urbanized, and spiritually hungry world. National and regional conferences constitute part of the outworking of this vision. At the same time we hope in due course to foster ties of mutual encouragement and support with believers in other cultures from which we have much to learn.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Broncos/Chargers game just ended. And I have an important announcement to make: After almost 6 years in Colorado, I have now officially become a Denver Broncos fan. Jay Cutler is no John Elway. He's young, and he makes things exciting sometimes (like that fumble against the Chargers today), but he's mentally tough and has one heck of an arm. The Broncos are a young team all around, but under coach Mike Shanahan, these young players look like they are on their way to a great season.
PS: I am still a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. It will take a lot more than a freak Rockies season last year to challenge that loyalty.
PPS: My apologies to Kurt Warner and the 2000 Rams (winners of Super Bowl XXXIV over the Titans...now THAT was a great game).
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Family Life's Weekend to Remember conferences will begin in just a few weeks. Meg and I enjoyed one of these conferences in Chicago about 10 years ago.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A debtor to mercy alone,
of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring,
The terrors of law and of God
with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior's obedience and blood
hide all my transgressions from view.
The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is yea and amen,
and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below or above
can make Him His purpose forego,
or sever my soul from His love.
My name from the palms of His hands
eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
as sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
the glorified spirits in heaven.
Visit Indelible Grace Music to hear a quality "re-tuning" of this rich, old hymn by some of Nashville's top musicians.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Last night in St. Paul, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin addressed the nation on prime-time TV. Tonight, Senator John McCain will be giving his presidential nomination acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention.
And once again this morning, I'm sitting at my favorite coffee shop in deep blue Boulder, sipping my favorite blend of green tea, and enjoying the view of the Flatirons. But this time, instead of just listening to great music, I've also been listening to Mark Driscoll preach about King Jesus from the book of Revelation. And once again I'm reflecting on what's going on in our country.
Truth-in-Blogging Disclosure: I haven't read any of John McCain's books. I haven't read the biography of Sarah Palin either. (Okay, I've skimmed the opening chapters online, but that's it.)
Sen. McCain's book was written with the help of his speech-writer, Mark Salter. The biography of Gov. Palin was written by Kaylene Johnson. I'm not aware of any books written or co-written by Gov. Palin. If you are, please comment.
To read my thoughts about Sen. Barack Obama, click here.
What I Like About John McCain & Sarah Palin:
1) Both have publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ. In the recent Saddleback Civil Forum, McCain repeated his oft-told story of worshiping God through Jesus Christ one Christmas in the dirt of a Vietnamese prison yard. I have not yet found anything with Sarah Palin's full Christian testimony in it. If you have, please comment.
2) Both McCain & Palin display a strong commitment to their spouses and children. McCain said that his greatest moral failure was the failure of his first marriage (he made this confession during the Saddleback Civil Forum, see link above). I love the fact that he and Cindy have adopted children from other countries who have skin colors different than theirs. I also loved seeing the face of Trig Paxon Van Palin during last night's RNC TV coverage. Children with Down's Syndrome are as much a gift of God as any other children! I'm sad and disappointed that Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant out of wedlock, and I'm sad and disappointed that her pregnancy has become an issue in the national media. From all appearances so far, Palin and her husband have a strong marriage and as strong a family as many Christian families in the US.
3) I like that fact that McCain is old. Proverbs 20:29 says, "The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair." With greater age often comes greater wisdom. One thing people in this country need to do is learn to respect our elders.
4) I like "straight talk" and a loyalty to country and principle over party, as well as the populism reflected in Palin's small-town persona last night. Neither McCain nor Palin are perfect in these areas, but they do have impressive records and speak with credibility (ethos) about them.
5) McCain has pledged to run an honorable campaign. Quoting a recent Wall Street Journal article: "At a campaign rally in Cincinnati earlier this year, Mr. Salter [McCain's advisor & speech-writer, see above] intercepted Sen. McCain before he could take the podium. He whispered to his boss that the local radio host warming up the crowd had just made disparaging remarks about his Democratic rival, calling him repeatedly by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. "You have to disavow his comments," Mr. Salter said. "Now." Sen. McCain apologized for the speaker's inflammatory remarks and promised to run an "honorable" campaign. (Hopefully, we'll see more of this type of behavior from McCain & Palin between now and November 4th. One can hope, right?)
7) John McCain wants to end the war in Iraq. Whether or not you think that his proposals to end the Iraq War are responsible, doing one's utmost to end war is good and right. And the fact is that he was one of the few in our congress who spoke against the Bush administration's management of the war. Whether the Iraq War is a just war or not, we've got a war on our hands, and what a mess we have gotten ourselves into! Such is real life our fallen world. As the two ways to live outline says, humankind has failed to rule ourselves or society or the world as God would have us rule the world under His just and good authority.
8) Both McCain & Palin have a witty sense of humor. I'll admit it; Sarah Palin had me laughing out loud quite a few times last night (especially with her joke about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull).
What I Don't Like About John McCain & Sarah Palin:
1) The sarcastic attitude displayed in last night's speech by Sarah Palin (and likely to be copied in some way by McCain tonight). Did Mark Salter also help Sarah Palin with her speech last night, or was all that sarcasm and mockery her own? To quote the same Wall Street Journal article from earlier this year:
"Mr. Salter and his boss [John McCain] have comparable world views, and both say they have sarcastic streaks. Sen. McCain said in an interview: "Mark writes the way I think. We have shared values and somewhat similar personalities. He's a true partner.""While shared values and similar personalities may make a good partner in campaigning, it is no excuse for speaking so sarcastically against Obama. He is now a leader of one of our major political parties and more than that, he is made in the image of God. Christians shouldn't treat other people that way, especially other Chrstians, and especially their enemies. Didn't Jesus say something about that? Obama has also served this country in many good and right ways and he loves this country too. How committed is McCain to "running an honorable campaign"? Too much sarcasm in the future just may backfire on him. I certainly don't want Sarah Palin to start behaving like Ann Coulter, but I'm afraid that is her trajectory right now.
2) Why couldn't McCain give a better answer to Rick Warren's question, "How rich is rich?", during the Saddleback Civil Forum? Obama was right in saying that McCain is out of touch if he really thinks the rich/poor threshold is someone who makes $5 million a year or more. That's not where most Americans live. Not remembering how many houses he and Cindy own didn't help him look like much of a populist either. It made him look at least as elitist as Obama. Let's face it, as U.S. Senators, they both live in a world of power and prosperity that most of us have never experienced.
3) McCain/Palin '08 won the hearts of many evangelical voters last night (at least that's the perspective I'm getting from my email inbox this morning). I'm thankful for their stands and records on what I think are the most important issues in this country: life issues and marriage issues. But why don't Republicans seize the moment and recast the vision of the compassionate conservatism that got George W. Bush into office in the first place? I heard a lot about victory in Iraq last night, but I wish I had heard more about victory in the classroom, the hospital and the grocery store too. Evangelical voters need to remember that God will hold us accountable not only for our votes related to issues of life and marriage, but also for issues of peacemaking and social justice. I'll say it again: I'm more than willing to have the range of issues that evangelicals are concerned about expand to include education, health care, affirmative action, economic opportunity and ending war.
Concluding Assessment of John McCain & Sarah Palin:
John McCain is a great man and Sarah Palin is a great woman. Now that they seem to be gaining traction with evangelical voters in the US, it's time for them to do a heart check. The Republican Party is not the "Christian Party" in this country. To quote the politician-turned-prophet, Chuck Colson,
"Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that's where our hope is in this country. And that's where our hope is in life."The City of God is not The City of Man, as Augustine wisely taught. Jesus is (should be?) the real leader and ruler over American Evangelicals. Jesus' kingdom has come and it is coming:
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33, ESV)So, who am I going to vote for, you ask? If you've come this far and don't think you have a good guess, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 1, 2008
Yesterday, as I was preaching through Colossians 2:4-8 at Christchurch, I proposed an exercise in thanksgiving as an action point for all of us. It's an alphabetical thanksgiving exercise. Simply take a blank piece of paper, write the letters of the alphabet down the left side of the page, and then try to think of a few things you are thankful for that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Here's what I came up with:
B -Baby Boy, Blogging, Brownies, Books, BIBLE!
C-Christchurch, cooking, community
D-Days off, dessert
E-Elections, Evidence for New Testament Reliability
F-Friendships, Freedom, Forgiveness
G-Greek, Green Tea
H-Hebrew, Hiking, Heaven, House, Hope
I-Imax Movies, Ipods, Immanuel
J-Juniper Trees, Joy
K-Kids, Kingdom of Heaven
L-Life, Love, Laughter
M-Megan, Ministry, Members, Mountains
O-Organic food, Organization, Organism
P-Pizza, Prayer, Peace
R-Running, Reading, Rainbows, Resurrection!
S-Sophie, Skiing, Sunsets, Swimming, Sermons, Superior Elementary School
T-Treadmill Class, Trust, Teaching
V-Visitors!, Vineyards, Vision
X-Xylophones and X-Ray Machines
Y-Youth, Yesterday, Yertle the Turtle
Are you abounding in thanksgiving today? What are you thankful for? Post a comment and let the world know!