Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Let’s Fight for Life….Together!

 As far back as I can remember, I’ve been pro-life. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, which at that time was very pro-life. I’m an elder in a church and denomination that is unashamedly pro-life. I know that there will be some of you, perhaps many of you, that do not agree with me on this issue, and that’s OK. We don’t have to be mean towards one another by arguing on social media or marching and holding up signs that we know will just anger those that don’t agree with us.  I like author Bob Goff’s approach when he writes in his book Everybody, Always, “Find someone you think is wrong, someone you disagree with, someone who isn’t like you at all, and decide to love that person the way you want Jesus to love you.” Bob goes on to write, “Loving people we don’t understand or agree with is just the kind of beautiful, counterintuitive, risky stuff people who are becoming love do.” For those of you who are in favor of abortion rights/pro-choice, you may very well feel as strongly about your opinion as I do mine.   But I think there’s a way for all of us to work together in support of life.

The actions that have recently taken place in Virginia and New York have given me a heavy heart and led me to write this article. This past week, a delegate to the Virginia state legislature introduced a bill affirming abortion up to the moment of birth.  Virginia’s bill comes just a week after the New York state senate was filled with cheers following the passage of a similar law. Governor Andrew Cuomo declared it “a historic victory” and directed pink lights to shine on landmarks throughout the state, including Freedom Tower, where the Twin Towers once stood.  They would be lit up in pink to celebrate the occasion, a jubilee for the unlimited right to choose death for the defenseless.  Ironically, just beside Freedom Tower, two pools mark the spot of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Around each of them are inscribed the names of every person murdered that day, and beside the names of eleven of those women the carved stone says, “and her unborn child.”

In the Declaration of Independence it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  I believe Life is listed first in these rights for a reason.   Others of you that are pro-choice believe that it should rank third behind Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

My wife Tammy and I have been talking about what we can do to work together to support life and to encourage women to make wise reproductive health choices.  Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Abstinence
  2. Birth Control
  3. Be part of a support system for those with unwanted pregnancies
  4. Adoption
  5. Be the hand that offers healing to those that have had an abortion
  6. Pray.  This is the most important thing you can do. Marches and angry rhetoric are not going to change the hearts and minds of people, only God can do that. If moms make wise choices before pregnancy and even after pregnancy, it doesn’t matter if abortion is legal or illegal here in America.  It would be obsolete and unnecessary.
  7. Volunteer at your local Pregnancy Resource Center. My sister in law has led a Pregnancy Resource Center for the past five years. I’ve heard many wonderful stories of the positive impact that their Center has had on both pregnant women and baby daddies. If possible, volunteer at your local Pregnancy Resource Center.
  8. Contribute to your local Pregnancy Resource Center. In addition to volunteering at your local Center, consider including them in your charitable giving. Your contributions may go toward the purchase of a sonogram machine that could be used as the difference in a woman not aborting her baby. In addition, your contributions could be used for the Center to expand their services or hours of operation.

If God gave out a business card it would say, “Uses His Power on Behalf of the Powerless”.  Here’s what He says about Himself in Deuteronomy 10:  For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

And guess what He commands us to do?  Yep, the same thing:  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

Remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”   Complacency is Complicity.

What will you do?

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What is My Calling?

A few friends and I are reading and discussing Bob Buford’s book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance over breakfast Friday mornings. The book club is a continuation from our last few years at work. Each of us left our organization that was going through significant changes at the end of March, 2018. This time has been a period of evaluating our callings and purpose after having spent in excess of 30 years in the workplace, and we are all in a different stage of evaluation and searching for significance.
One friend stated this morning that he wasn’t sure what his calling was. I’ve known this individual for about fifteen years. I suggested that one of his callings was leadership, as I have seen him be a leader in a number of different settings. I say “one of his callings” because both writer Jeff Goins in his popular book The Art of Work and Pastor Bob Smart in his book Calling to Christ, refer to our “portfolio of callings”. As an example, this friend would also have a calling as a husband, father, grandfather, artist, friend, etc.
Os Guinness in his excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life, introduces us to two types of callings. As Christians, our primary calling is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live and act entirely for God. Our secondary callings can be our jobs or vocations. However, these, and other things are always the secondary, never the primary, calling.  We don’t get our identity through our secondary callings, but through our primary calling. Bob Smart writes that calling formation is for a season, and usually takes from age 18 to 35, but is always renewing with changes in our particular, or secondary, callings.
In Halftime, Bob Buford asks “What is your purpose? What makes you tick? What do you do so well that you would enjoy doing it without pay? What is your passion, the spark that needs only a little breeze to ignite into a raging fire?” Another way of putting this is “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay?”
Another suggestion is to look back at how the Lord has used you for His glory. Leadership was not a calling that I chose. As long as I can remember I’ve been shy and often lacked confidence. I test as an introvert on the Myers-Briggs Indicator (MBTI) assessment. My leadership journey actually started as a part-time minimum wage cleaner for a contract cleaning company that still cleans the buildings for the organization I worked at for nearly 38 years. As a shy guy not pursuing leadership, I gradually moved from a cleaner, to a floor supervisor, building supervisor and eventually an area manager with 60 direct reports as I was finishing college, and would be recognized as the organization’s Area Manager of the Year. Although leadership (professionally and in the church) was not the direction that I thought I would go while in college, it was the calling and vocation that God has placed me in and equipped me for.
So, what about you? How would you answer Bob Buford’s question “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay? The answer to that question could go a long way in helping you to determine one of your callings.


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My Review of THE WIFE

The Wife, rated R
***

The Wife is a well-acted film featuring an Oscar nominated performance by Glenn Close that is marred by a large amount of adult language. The film is directed by Bjorn Runge and written by three-time Emmy winner Jane Anderson (Olive Kitteridge, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom), based on the novel The Wife by Meg Wolitzer.
The film takes place in 1992. Joseph Castleman, played by Golden Globe nominee Jonathan Pryce (Barbarians at the Gate), can’t sleep as he anticipates a call he may get notifying him that he has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


The North Coast Sessions – Keith and Kristyn Getty
****

This EP of new hymns and songs, inspired by the book of Psalms and created with the Sing! 2018 conference in mind, was recorded by Keith and Kristyn Getty with their band in the little harbor of Portbradden along the North Antrim coast near the Getty’s home in Northern Ireland. I enjoyed hearing many of these songs at the Sing! 2018 conference.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of The Beatles (White Album) and Native Tongue by Switchfoot
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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My Review of STAN AND OLLIE

Stan and Ollie, rated PG
*** ½

Stan and Ollie is a well-made, funny and at times emotional film about the final tour of the popular comedy team of Laurel and Hardy. The film is directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Oscar nominee Jeff Pope (Philomena), based on the book Laurel and Hardy: The British Tours by A.J. Marriot.
The film begins in 1937 on the set of the film Way Out West being filmed at the Hal Roach Studios. Laurel and Hardy are at the peak of their popularity, but Stan Laurel, played by two-time Oscar nominee Steve Coogan (Philomena) doesn’t feel that Roach, played by Golden Globe nominee Danny Huston (Magic City), is adequately compensating them, and he plans to push for more money for the duo. Oliver Hardy, played by Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (Chicago), doesn’t want him to push too hard, as he has debts – multiple marriages, gambling on the horses – so he is fine to keep his job with the salary just as it is. Oliver is under a different contract, and so when Stan leaves Roach, Oliver is forced to stay and partner with comedian Harry Langdon in the 1939 film Zenobia.
The movie then moves forward to 1953. The duo goes on a comeback tour of Scotland, London and Ireland to encourage a London-based film producer to finance a Robin Hood film. By this time, Hardy has gained more weight, and has heart and knee problems. Throughout the tour we see Laurel working hard on the Robin Hood film script. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush. Crown. 284 pages. 2014

****

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States was the only President in modern times not to write a memoir. His son, George W. Bush the 43rd President, has written this book that he says is not objective, but instead a love story from a son to his father. The book opens with an account of Bush the elder celebrating his 90th birthday with a parachute jump.
George H. W. Bush’s father was an accomplished golfer, United States Senator and investment banker. He started the family tradition of attending Yale. Bush’s mother, who died shortly after he lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton, was a woman of strong faith.
Bush joined the Navy shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, enlisting on his eighteenth birthday in 1942. He served for three years. During that time, he was shot down by the Japanese in the Pacific and rescued as the Japanese were trying to capture him. At age 78 he would return to the site and meet one of the Japanese soldiers that was there that day.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Love Does for Kids by Bob and Lindsey Goff
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman
I’M CURRENTLY READING….

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My Review of AMERICAN GOSPEL: CHRIST ALONE

American Gospel: Christ Alone (not rated)
****

American Gospel: Christ Alone, available on Amazon and iTunes), looks at the biblical Gospel, and contrasts it with the so-called prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6,7). Unfortunately, America has exported the prosperity (health and wealth) gospel to other nations, which has caused significant problems for missionaries who go to those countries to teach the true Gospel. Through interviews, excellent graphics by Jason Jean and Les Lanphere (Calvinist) which include numerous bible passages, film clips of actual prosperity teachers/faith healers, the film, written and directed by Brandon Kimber, shows in a straight-forward manner that the Gospel is not Jesus plus anything else (works, tradition, healing, wealth). But using the actual words of the prosperity teachers and faith healers, the prosperity gospel is shown to be the evil that it is. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13 that such men (and women) are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. He gives a chilling warning in v. 15 that their end will correspond to their deeds. Continue reading