Legend, Mr. Wayne.

Posted: October 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

meganFive years ago today, I lost my best friend, Megan Baldwin, to a freak car accident. While Megan’s life was cut short at 17, she left a legacy of memories that outshine what many are capable of producing in 90 years.

I want to take a few minutes to share one of those memories with you today. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into who Megan was and how she left a mark on everyone she ever encountered – in one way or another.

We were on a youth group outing to one of the homes of a church member who was generous enough to have us for the weekend. This house happened to sit on Lake Lanier and have a dock about 100 yards from the back porch. The boys were staying down in the basement, which had a door leading out to the backyard and dock, and the girls were upstairs in the living room.

Immediately upon arriving, Megan found me and proposed that we identify one youth member to sneakily carry in their sleep down to the dock and throw them into the lake. After I noted it was impossible to carry someone so far without waking him or her up, Megan adjusted her plan to include slipping a dose of Benadryl into their drink before bed to ensure they didn’t awake on the trip to the dock. After I noted that this was an incredibly terrible idea that could result in someone drowning, she dismissed the diabolical plan.

Around dinnertime, we looked across the room at each other and realized our respective cognitive wheels had begun turning to concoct a diabolical plan to throw somebody in the lake against their will.

Finally, the light bulbs went off and we began comparing notes and laying plans. We would tell Youth Member A (YMA) that we were going to carry Youth Member B (YMB) down to the dock and toss them in the lake and that we needed their help. However, we would previously inform YMB that we needed them to pretend to be asleep so we could carry them down and then we turn the tables on YMA and toss them in the lake instead. Megan and I, of course, planned to lure both YMA and YMB down to the lake under the guise of targeting the other conspirator, but we would push them both into the lake.

It was evil. It was perfect. And it would work.

We acquired the support of both of our unsuspecting victims and let the night go on knowing that an hour after lights out we would put our plan into action.

The time came and Megan slipping down to the basement with YMA under the cover of darkness to unfold our terrible plot. We decided we would carry YMB down on his cot as to “limit jostling” that might spoil the plan. We carried YMB with a skeptical YMA all the way down to the dock. As we got to the edge, Megan and I both yelled, “NOW!” YMA and YMB both jumped to a position of action, prepared to throw an unsuspecting victim into the icy cold lake under the glistening moonlight. Megan and I turned to our respective youths, picked them up, and tossed them into the lake.

Success. Sweet, sweet success.

Both youth members screamed in protest at being fooled by our masterminds as they climbed back up onto the dock. Shortly thereafter, the youth pastor trotted down to the dock, flashlight in hand, and posed the question, “What in the world is going on out here?!” Megan and I explained the day of planning, the double-blind deception, and the resulting lake toss in great detail.

The youth pastor looked at both of us for a moment, as if thinking what punishment to best pass down to us. Then, with an evil grin, he proposed we go do the same thing to his son and another youth member.

In total, four youths were tossed in the lake that night with the help of YMA, YMB, and the youth pastor. Future youth members were entranced by the legend of the great lake toss conspiracy and filled with the silent fear, “Will I be next?”

And her legend lives on.

If you would like to donate to the Megan Baldwin Scholarship Fund, which awards a college scholarship each year to a student from her high school, you can send your tax deductible gift to:

Community Foundation of NE Georgia
422 Chadborn Way
Lawrenceville, GA. 30045

OR

Community Foundation of NE Georgia
7188 Hwy 81 SW
Monroe, GA. 30656

The Good Portion

Posted: June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

What a fantastic perspective from a great mommy. Are you stressing over the urgent or focusing on the important?

Courageous Feminism

If you’re a mother – No. Wait. Actually, let’s make this much more simple. –

*If you’re a woman* in the world today, and if you’re anything like me, you probably feel like you are constantly in a hurry. Life is incessantly going and going, never taking a break and letting you breathe. There is always something to do, always something that is urgent and needs your immediate attention.

Which brings me to my point: The difference between Urgent and Important. Do not doubt that the enemy will use *urgent* things in your life to distract you from *important* things in your life.

For example: It is *urgent* that I get to work on time; but it is *important* that I not spend the entire morning every single day yelling at my children to get ready and stop being silly.

“Stop being silly”?? Did I really say that?!

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By Liz Reed, Executive Director of Georgia Businesses for Life

The Girl Scouts…My initial thoughts are of my own few years in the Scouts as a young girl. Selling cookies, earning badges, going to campouts, reading Bible stories around a camp fire, spending precious time with my mother who worked 3 jobs and yet still had time for every scouting event. Those memories are probably some of the most precious that I carry with me from my childhood.

I’m certain that for most Americans, this warm, fuzzy, sentimental reaction is pretty standard when considering the Girl Scouts. It is an organization that we trust, one that we turn our daughters to in complete faith that only good things will come of it.

Which is precisely why the conservative community is expressing such an outrage to the exposure of the once-so-innocent group’s ties to and outright support of pro-abortion organizations.  As a community, we are shell-shocked to discover their over $1 million per year contribution to a worldwide organization known for advocating ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ (code for abortion) and to learn of their participation in and support of the May 2013 Women Deliver conference; which hosted speakers such as late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart; philosopher Peter Singer, who supports infanticide and euthanasia; and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is currently under investigation by a congressional committee. Other attendees included Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the United Nations Population Fund. The title of one of the speeches given at the conference was “Why I perform Abortions.”

Mothers and fathers are appalled that they have placed their trust, and their daughters, in an organization that is making a very clear statement that they are not only not neutral on the subject, as they once promised to remain, but that they are decidedly pro-abortion. Their participation in this conference, and their continued monetary and public support of Planned Parenthood and The Coalition for Adolescent Girls, a group that supports and distributes comprehensive sex education (taking the ‘birds and bees’ talk away from parents) and abortion related care for young girls, is downright shocking and reprehensible.

As Christians living in a nation based on Christian morals, as Americans raising families in the “Land of the Free,” we feel betrayed. We are forced to question everything. We are asking ourselves, ‘Are we really letting our daughters participate in an organization that supports teaching 11 year olds about anal intercourse?’

We are outraged. Families are making commitments to never buy girl scouts cookies again and are looking at alternatives for scouting, such as the American Heritage Girls. Personally, I made this decision a few years ago after first learning about the Girl Scouts growing support and increasing public opinion in regards to abortion; and I am beaming with pride at my fellow Americans choosing to take the same stand for their families, for their daughters. But I am forced to point out to those taking this stand that the shocking ties and support for pro-abortion organizations in our society does not begin and end with the Girl Scouts. It is much, much deeper and much more sinister than that. Planned Parenthood has its claws sunk so deeply into the very fabric of this country that it would probably be easier for me to tell you where you WON’T find them than where you will.

Despite the existence of the Hyde Amendment, banning use of federal funds for abortion-related services; Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, currently receives 1/3  (roughly $345 million) of their income from Federal tax dollars. Another $244 million comes from sponsors, businesses, and charities that support their mission [1].

Other than contacting our elected officials and making our voices heard, there is little we can do about the $345 million Planned Parenthood receives from your tax dollars; but there IS something we can do about the other roughly $244 million they receive from businesses, organizations, and charities. These are places you and I shop, eat, work, and live. And the loudest noise we can make and easiest stand we can take is to no longer purchase products or services from businesses that support organizations like Planned Parenthood. Money talks, ladies and gentlemen. And, when we take our money away from businesses who directly or indirectly support the slaughter of innocent children and the moral degradation of our society, they will hear us loud and clear and they will be forced to change something or go out of business.

About 20 years ago, AT&T took this stand once they learned what Planned Parenthood was really about [2]. Planned Parenthood tried to bully them, much like they did recently with Susan G. Komen, but AT&T stood strong in their conviction to remove their monetary support for such a morally bankrupt organization. AT&T took a stand for families, for morals, and for LIFE. And it is our duty, our calling, and our mission to DEMAND that every other business that supports Planned Parenthood follow in AT&T’s footsteps.

Remember your shock and outrage upon learning that Susan G. Komen, a breast cancer research charity, donated funds to Planned Parenthood, who performs exactly ZERO mammograms per year? You would be equally shocked to know that The March of Dimes, a charity who describes itself as being committed to ending premature births and promoting healthy pregnancies, also donates funds and provides yearly grants to Planned Parenthood [3].

  • For those that don’t know, you are 3 times more likely to give birth to a premature baby if you’ve had an abortion before, five times more likely if you’ve had two, and nine times more likely with three or more [4]. So, to me, it seems a little counter-productive to provide grants to an organization CAUSING the very thing they are trying to prevent. But maybe I’m just crazy.

Another well known, household name who we all have come to trust is Johnson & Johnson. You can’t be invited to a baby shower and not see a gift with the Johnson & Johnson logo on it. The majority of their products are directed towards the care of infants, yet they donated roughly $1 million to abortion-providing Planned Parenthood in the last two years alone. So, again, it just seems like a bad business decision to support killing off their customer base.

Planned Parenthood has sunk its teeth into almost every big name in our market place today. Other businesses, charities, and organizations include: The American Red Cross, Proctor & Gamble (P&G), General Electric (GE), Kroger, Whole Food Market, Suntrust Bank, JP Morgan Chase (Chase Bank), WellsFargo, Darden Restuarants (think Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorns, etc), Unicef, UnitedWay, Home Depot, Ebay, PayPal, Frito Lay, Pepsi-Co, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Hilton and Marriot Hotel chains, and the list goes on [5]. I could go on, but I’d be writing until next Thursday.

Now, I realize that’s a pretty overwhelming amount of contributors, but it isn’t even the beginning. For a full list, please visit the Georgia Businesses for Life Facebook page or FightPP.org.

My purpose in revealing these businesses to you is to expose the vast net Planned Parenthood has cast over our nation. It really is almost to the point to where you cannot purchase any brand name product in a grocery store without some of your money supporting Planned Parenthood.

I’m sure you’re wondering, ‘…I chose life, and I teach my kids to, so why should I care?’ You should care, friend, because this isn’t about abortion. I know I’m throwing you off, but stay with me. Planned Parenthood does perform abortions, yes, and it is absolutely reprehensible and we will continue to fight for the rights of EVERY person to live. But what is even more appalling is that they create the NEED for abortions in the first place.

Planned Parenthood seeks out your children, much like the Bible verse warning us that the enemy is like a lion seeking to kill, steal, and destroy. Planned Parenthood goes into our public school system, whispering their appealing slogans and fancy words in the ears of our children, exposing our children (as young as 9 years old) to sexually explicit content, pictures and videos, and encouraging them to experiment with masturbation and oral/anal sex to ‘preserve’ their virginity.…I’m sorry… WHAT?! Hey, Planned Parenthood, last time I checked, the birds and the bees talk is one that is MY job to have with MY children. Why don’t YOU stay out of MY CHILD’S bedroom, hmmm?

Planned Parenthood encourages our sons and daughter to embrace sex, convinces them that talking to their parents is a dead-end street, that we couldn’t possibly understand what our children are feeling or experiencing. The organization alienates our children from us, encourages them to reach out their peers in their quest to understand raging hormones and desires, provides them with cheap and in-effective birth control, and when *SHOCK AND SURPRISE* an unplanned pregnancy does occur, they invite our daughters into their clinics without our knowledge, and tell her that killing her child is the only option. And then, they kill our grandchild and create a gaping wound in the heart of our child. One that we cannot even attempt to try to help heal or comfort because we don’t even know that it has occurred [6].

Our issue isn’t only abortion when it comes to Planned Parenthood. Our issue is that they are seeking to destroy our families. They are whispering appealing lies into the ears of our children, and we can’t even fight it because we don’t know it’s going on. They are slowing eroding the very foundation of this country. As long as they are making money, they honestly don’t care who is getting hurt. Live Action’s Lila Rose has revealed many instances where they have covered up rape, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, underage abortions, and child molestation; further proving that their claims of wanting to advance the rights of women and provide help to low-income women to be completely false.

Are you going to sit back and let them steal your children with dirty, sleazy advertisements like this? Or are you going to do something?

When you donate funds, contract with other businesses that donate funds, or shop with companies that donate funds, you are directly supporting a company that performs abortions. You are supporting a company that consistently lies to women and tells them that the key to female liberation is murdering their unborn children.

Take a pledge. Today. Pledge to obtain a list of companies, organizations, and charities that support Planned Parenthood, and pledge to not spend a single dime ever again on any of their products or services.

Why should you take this boycott pledge?

Because it is up to people like you to hit the lucrative abortion industry where it hurts: in their wallet.

Because if you don’t take a stand to support life, who will?

Because you deserve to know that your money is going towards causes you believe in.

Because children need an advocate. They need a voice.

You should take this stand…. Because you are that voice.

  1. Planned Parenthood Annual Report 2011-2012
  2. Seattle Times. April 13, 1990
  3. The Daily Reporter. March 28, 1996
  4. Time Magazine, Study Links Abortions and Preemies, December 18th, 2007
  5. Life Decisions International, The Boycott List, 2012
  6. “Selling Teen Abortions: Parents Beware” By Carol Everett

timeTIME Magazine recently said that the pro-abortion community has been losing ever since 1973. That hasn’t ever felt truer than it does today.

It’s not any secret that the pro-life movement is getting younger, bolder, better organized, is setting their eyes on the prize, and overwhelming the pro-abortion movement. Even then-NARAL President Nancy Keenan said in her resignation announcement last year that the abortion empire is aging and can’t keep up with the youthful vigor of the pro-life generation. Keenan often spoke of the surging “intensity gap” among the pro-abortion community, with 51% of pro-life voters under 30 citing abortion as a “very important” voting issue compared to a disparaging 26% of pro-abortion voters under 30.

This generational shift has placed the pro-abortion empire in dire straits, leaving their leadership with two options: abandon ship, or scramble to regain some control of their very evident downward spiral.

And while people like Nancy Keenan fleeing the house fire is evidence of an imminent shift in the scope of things, there is a surge from the abortion movement that is attempting to fill the void. This surge has molded into a two-part swing of desperation.

  • Charmaine Yoest hit the nail on the head in her Fox News op-ed last weekend when she said that the abortion lobby was resorting to coercion because they failed to generate the passion for “choice” among the young generation. The abortion movement is relying on the “system” to keep them going:
    • Lax politicians and officials keep laws flimsy and their enforcement flimsier;
    • A stacked judicial system allows for bypass, injunction, and defiance of any real laws or enforcement;
    • Unwitting average Americans who pay their taxes faithfully, shop at certain major businesses, and donate to major organizations, keep the pockets of the abortion lobby padded.

This strategy has been passive up until this point, but the abortion empire has to ensure that more sweeping pro-life legislation like was seen through the states over the past three years can’t happen or will be meaningless.

  • The pro-abortion movement has no support from the youth, save for a small demographic of rabid feminists, sex traffickers, and porn stars. Much like the pro-homosexual marriage movement, they can’t afford the time or resources to continue attempting to win the culture through maintaining the “choice” they won through Roe. Their only option is to show their hand and rely on the vocal minority to bully culture into accepting them, even if in a limited form, and then build from their foothold. This has worked well for the homosexual movement, but it is tougher for abortion advocates because they have to convince well-meaning parents that their best option is killing their baby.

To some, this last ditch effort could result in serious harm being done to the pro-life legal power established in the states and could bring a newer, more bold pro-abortion activist that doesn’t have to tip-toe around whether or not a fetus is a person because they don’t care if they’re killing it. But to others, and to myself, this is encouraging. This is, in fact, the best forecast we could have received from their camp.

Why?

Because if they are shifting their strategies and pushing as strong as possible, it means that they have to. It means they’re afraid. It means that they look to the future and see a 2016 where they have lost not only the state legislatures, but also the national scope. It means they think their custom judges won’t win injunctions or appeals anymore. It means they think they could run out of money.

It means we’re winning.

It means that we’ve already won our generation. It means the work of our parents and grandparents from the 60s until now wasn’t in vain. It means that we won’t have a 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Or a 45th.

It means that we’ve crossed over the border into their territory and they don’t have anywhere else to fall back to.

It means that even if, in a fragile and broken attempt to stop the bleeding, the abortion movement were to block every single law, line their bench with judges who would bypass every regulation or enforcement, and received grants from the states, the federal government, and from private organizations like Susan G. Komen For The Cure, they still wouldn’t own the culture.

And isn’t that what we’re really fighting for here? We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but rather strive to win the hearts and minds of our citizens. If our goal is to establish a culture that loves Jesus, respects and recognizes the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and doesn’t even see a need for killing babies, then the abortion lobby can have the laws and the government. We don’t need them.

But, then again, things don’t look very good for the abortion industry in that regard either.

Shaina Edmonds

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Let me tell you about my wife.

She worked tirelessly for 7 months to plan, design, organize, and host the most gracious, serving, moving, and masterful wedding ever. She’s had career wedding-attenders say that they have never seen a more beautiful wedding, people who are emotional boulders get weepy, and more compliments on the passionate atmosphere than she knows what to do with. This is a testament to her selfless heart of a servant, which doesn’t seek to be glorified, but to love those around her. My view of the world and of the people in it, as a pastor/pro-lifer/healer, doesn’t hold a candle to the way she sees things. I can’t begin to understand or describe it. It’s like the world is looking for a way to fulfill the law, and she is drawing the line in the sand. Every single day. And it inspires me beyond compare. On the one day that is centrally focused on her and her life to come, she literally got on her knees and washed the feet of those who brought her here.

ShainaOn top of those 7 months of tireless planning, she worked tirelessly at her job to improve and elevate a strong community cornerstone to operate and serve others better. She started as an afterschool worker, and now is one on a very short list of top individuals in charge. While the work became tough and even frustrating at times, she still looks and loves her job because she understands that she is good at it. Heck, she’s good at anything she does. She feels fulfilled in her work and takes pride in her abilities. This is a testament to her nature as a born leader. Some understand service while some understand skill, but she understands both. She can interact with those around her, whether they are higher in authority, equal, or beneath her in authority, and lead them by her soft and guided demeanor to a sound vision. It’s the reason I understand that she is usually right, and I’m comfortable with submitting to that despite whomever I feel I am or what skills I have.

Through those 7 months, the 1 month since we’ve been married, and the 23 years previous, it’s all been a path of vision. She has always looked behind, then looked ahead, and seen exactly what needs to be done to be successful. She’s never seen the world in a shade of gray, because she always knows where the line is to excel. This is largely why she could do anything she wanted to – absolutely anything in the world – and be successful. She doesn’t even need to know how to do it now, because she would learn it, master it, and end up teaching everyone else how they could have been doing it better all along. She looked at a poor 20 year old punk kid who was called to be her husband, and cast a vision for a relationship filled with grace and love, a marriage filled with passion and joy, and a life covered by faith and fulfillment. She looked at a weed-filled yard that she would become a steward of and cast a vision for a fruitful bounty that would yield food and nourishment for those who rules over it. She even looked in the house and cast a vision for a warm, inviting, comforting haven filled with attractive colors and healthy food. She took me and made me a man, she took a house and made it a home, she took a marriage and made it a beacon. With her vision, there isn’t anything she can’t do.

Finding that vision was simple, because she understood the principle on which every success and joy is based: look to Christ and trust His lead. Ever since I met her, I’ve watched her divide bone and marrow to walk in truth, grace, love, hope, faith, self-control, and every other conceivable characteristic of Christ. It’s helped define me as a man, out relationship, our ministry, and the life that we live together. Christ has been her cornerstone, and she has never let go. I know she never will. Because of that, I know she’ll always honor me in our marriage, and I’ll always be able to love her no matter what. I know we’ll grow in our love. I know our mistakes won’t taint or slow us down. I know we’ll be fruitful in life and not have to worry about the material things. I know she’ll always challenge me to grow and increase in vision and understanding. I know she’ll always be the woman I married.

She does challenge me. Continually. Whether it’s learning new ways to love her and love others, how to view the world around me, how to serve better, how to understand grace more deeply, how to keep my brain on planet Earth every now and again, how to laugh harder, how to think longer, how to speak slower, how to discern faster, and how to be better. She challenges me. If she didn’t I’d always be the same 21 year old punk kid who is called to be her husband, but stumbling through how to actually be her husband.

Strangely, she has led me as much as I’ve led her. I looked up to many examples of how to be a good husband, a strong leader, a stable lover. I read through the Gospels and tried to understand and become more like Jesus in His interactions with those around Him. I watched my dad and her dad to see how they viewed marriage and followed through on their commitments and values. But some of my best pointers on how to be her husband have come from watching and learning who she is. She wakes up early every morning and makes me breakfast and prepares my lunch for the day. She walks me to the door and holds my head in her hands and kisses my lips for a full 10 seconds, looks me in the eyes, and tells me she loves me. She makes me text her when I get to work so she knows I’m safe. She talks with me through the day. She gets home before me and has a delicious dinner ready to eat when I walk in the door. She holds my hand and prays with me before every meal. She sits close to me on the couch and puts her arms around me. She holds my hand every time we drive in the car. She tells me she’s glad I’m home and that she missed me. She’s perfect.

She is, simply, the best wife on the planet. Cliché, I know. But in my heart, I know that’s true. Not to insult any other wife or husband, I’m sure many are very nice. But, mine is simply the best. No arguing or comparing or contesting could convince me otherwise.

Physically, I’m healthier. Emotionally, I’m happier and more fulfilled. Spiritually, I’m stronger and fortified. Life is, simply put, better because she is in it. I recognize and honor those who molded and put her here (Christ, her parents), but I recognize the value and worth is uniquely within her.

Politics, religion, culture, circumstance, rulers, nations, laws, customs, finances, visions, race, rights, gender, statistics, polls, time, deadlines, distance, cost, opinions, verdicts, rallies, schedules, growth, loss – they mean nothing to her. Because she knows who she is, what she is, where she’s going, and how she’s gonna do it. Passionate. Fearless. Caution, meet wind. Nail, meet hammer. That’s her. That’s joy. That’s love. That’s my wife.

http://www.facebook.com/shainajedmonds

ImageYou probably heard that a study was released this week by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics that the media has finally put the nail in the coffin on whether parents should spank their kids. The headlines all read something along the lines of, “scientists find that spanking leads to mental health problems,” or “spanking linked to increased rick of mental health problems and psychopathy,” and the liberals rejoiced. The Timeout Mafia had finally won as science ruled in their favor.

Right?

Well, actually, no. That’s not necessarily the case. At all.

I am a psychology researcher, not a journalist. I have reviewed and/or edited countless studies, and I have authored two studies about psychological distress and psychological health that are currently in press. Allow me to serve you as a middleman and interpret this study, just this once. Then, I expect you to go do the reading yourself next time.

Fact is that neither the study nor the media are correct in their conclusion that spanking leads to increased risk of mental health problems. Shocker, right?

The study says that it took a list of preexisting responses from 34,653 Americans under the age of 20 about their recollection of punishment and physical/emotional abuse as children and then compared their responses to their actual state of mental health.

(If you’re immediately rereading that sentence because the idea of basing a study on someone’s recollection of the type and severity of their own childhood punishment sounds a little silly, you’re right to. In fact, the authors note this as a limitation of the study as a whole.)

The real issue comes in with the way the actual survey that the participants were given that the results are based on was used. The survey data used is taken from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The NESARC is a widely used survey that details people’s psychological wellbeing, negative childhood experiences, etc., and simply lists data bout them while making inferences about the relationships between facts. The section of the NESARC used to gauge childhood punishment was called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which includes scales (the framework for measuring a participant’s responses) from the Conflict Tactics Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.

Now, the actual questions asked in this section of the survey about their childhood abuse is worded this way:

“As a child how often were you ever pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house?”

Sounds pretty harsh, right? That’s because it is. And here comes the deception.

The study says that it excluded any responses that were considered “more severe than ‘customary’ physical punishment (ie, spanking).” These responses included severe physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. But, the sentence you read above, including pushing/grabbing/shoving/hitting, was not excluded as long as it didn’t branch into the “severe” category they noted as excluded. However, in the context they say that punishment is “considered ‘customary’” in the same way that spanking is.

Just so we’re on the same page here, if you push/grab/shove/hit your kid, you are a bad parent. That ain’t loving correction, that’s anger. There is a clear set of instruction throughout the Bible about ways to livingly correct and discipline your child using physical punishment. If you’re engaging in physical punishment like this study dictates as customary, I would urge you to take your family and seek prayer and counseling from your church or from a Christian authority on parenting. Condemn me if you will, but pushing/grabbing/shoving/hitting is not filled with love and needs to be corrected. If you’re a mother or a child who is on the receiving end of that physical punishment, I urge you to reach out to someone for help. It isn’t natural, it isn’t Biblical, and it isn’t loving. There is help, there is hope, and you’renot alone.

So, despite the fact that the data on physical punishment in childhood is being collected based on a wide array of physical harm that is not actually customary forany loving parent, they say it’s all equitable to spanking. Based on that false notion, they claim in the discussion section that parents should be discouraged from physically disciplining their children in any way for any reason.

This is essentially the same as saying that because eating 72 large orders of French fries from McDonald’s causes adverse gastrointestinal health problems that you shouldn’t eat any kind of potatoes for any reason.

What the data does in fact reveal, however, is what they say they know already in the introduction: that physical harm to children beyond normal spanking can lead to mental health problems in adulthood. This is what we, in the psychology profession, like to call “common sense” or “duh, you needed science to tell you that?” findings. Aside from this correlation, the study reveals little else.

The conclusions of the study are drawn inaccurately from the data because of what’s called a “methods assumption.” The authors make an arbitrary decision about what something is, and then from there the whole study is iffy. Mix that with the other numerous variables that the authors don’t address (like the nature or consistency of physical discipline) and the fact that they ignore their most telling finding – that the more educated and wealthy parents are, the more their kids reported harsh physical punishment – and you basically have a textbook case of flimsy science with even worse reporting. It’s almost like they didn’t care.

But oddly enough, most of the responses I’ve seen to this study either blindly accept it as true and say they knew it all along, blindly accept it as true and say they won’t spank anymore, or blindly accept that it’s true and say that they will keep doing it because their parents did it and they turned out fine. But everyone is accepting the validity of a research study based on the commentary of media outlets rather than actually reading the study.

Now, reading research studies is intimidating for several reasons, especially for lay people.

  1. Lay people usually don’t understand rules of validity and reliability in research, terms and practices of correlation and experimentation, or implications of method and interpretation. Which is fair. This means they’ll be reading lots of words, but not knowing what any of it means.
  2. Trying to review or refute a research study is not something easily done, even for researchers. Years of effort could have gone into a study, and simply dismissing it is not only difficult, but it’s irresponsible. Numerous peer reviews and consideration should go into confirming or upholding reliability and validity in a study.
  3. Research studies are quite lengthy and very dense in content and include many references to other studies that are also very lengthy and dense in content. Many lay people simply don’t have the time or discipline to read through and process all of this information appropriately.
  4. If the media says a study found something, then many people often just accept that to be the case because they expect media outlets not to distort science.

Reframing the facts or context of science by media is often done intentionally to serve an agenda. You won’t find many honest folk in media who just report the facts as-is.

Of course, even if someone dismissed the media commentary on the study and went to read it for him or herself, they might still be confused by the facts conveyed by data coupled with the conclusions drawn from the authors of the study. This confusion could usually be caused by one of two big reasons.

  1. The data seems to communicate something different from the conclusions being presented.
  2. The reader doesn’t understand the information or measures being used in the data or the means of interpreting that data.

Those reasons may arise because the reader is not familiar with the work, or, the authors may have miscalculated or misinterpreted the data (either intentionally or unintentionally).

Now, this particular study falls victim to both issues discussed above. Firstly, the data is being framed and misinterpreted by the authors of the study. Then, in turn, it is being reported mainstream because the agenda is to influence parenting styles based on the trust factor built in to the media’s ability to relay scientific fact. If CNN says it, it must be true!

And the media is banking on the fact that you will believe exactly what they say. Because you usually do. That’s the problem.

So, parents can breathe a sigh of relief over the spanking issue. Mainstream science has not ruled definitively on the matter (mainly because if they did, it’d be shooting themselves in the foot. See: cancer research, abortion/mental health problems research, adult stem cell research, etc. If they can’t make cash on it, they don’t want to tell you about it). Good parents can keep lovingly disciplining their children in accordance with the Bible, and liberals can keep telling you about how science says you’re a bad parent. Then, you can send them to this article and be done with them (joking…kind of).

Here’s the actual study itself: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/06/27/peds.2011-2947.full.pdf+html

Now that you’re educated on psychology research, feel free to write your local news affiliate who is reporting on this study and tell them what you think about it. Then, the next time a study comes out that claims it has linked one thing to another, read it and judge it on its own merits before you close the book on the topic.

This ends today’s lesson.

Steaks are incompatible with being vegan, war is incompatible with being pacifist, drugs are incompatible with being straight edge, crime is incompatible with being law enforcement, abortion is incompatible with being Christian. These things we know to be self-evident.

I used a number of metaphorical scenarios that display one thing that, if performed by a particular individual, by definition, contradicts who they profess to be and/or stand for. No arguments were made against the first four examples because, as the final sentence of the post states, they are self-evident truths. If true to their profession, no vegan eats steak, no pacifist wages war, no straight-edge does drugs, and no police officer breaks the law. They don’t do those things because, by virtue o their declaration, they are standing against that thing. It is antagonistic to them. Likewise, there are also other things that those individuals do not do because they are antagonistic to their profession. For example, a vegan would also not wear fur or drink dairy. A pacifist would also not vote for a pro-war politician. A straight-edge would also not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. You get the idea.

I, likewise, stated that, if true to their profession, no Christian has an abortion. Also likewise, there are other things that a Christian would not to. For example, pray to a false god, lie, steal, engage in or support sexual immorality such as homosexuality or extramarital sex, etc. Again, you get the idea.

Now, the reason these individuals would not to these things is because those things are incompatible and contradictory to their profession. Incompatible is defined as “So opposed in character as to be incapable of existing together,” or “Unable to live together harmoniously.” By these definitions, if that individual did do those things, they may not even be what they profess. At the very least, they cannot live harmoniously with their profession while those things exist in their life. I think both circumstances could be the case.

We are aware of why the other four scenarios are incompatible, I assume, as you did not contest them. It’s merely a matter of logic (again, as I state at the end of my post). Logically, there is no compatibility between a vegan and animal products. So, we will simply apply the same intended logic of incompatibility to Christians and find that those things are also incompatible. Now, the reason that the logic exists in these scenarios is because there are sets of rules, laws, and expectations with each of those professions that dictate what is compatible and appropriate. You may even argue that the rules and expectations exist because of the logic; this is an insignificant point however because the profession is defined by both. For instance, vegans and straight-edge have a set of beliefs and standards they set in place (diets, practices, etc) that structure the profession. Likewise, law enforcement and pacifists have laws and practices to define them.

In the same likeness, Christians have laws and practices that define them – it is called the Bible. This is the overlap of theology and logic. If something is illogical, it is likely contradictory to a particular theology. For this defense, we will simply assume that the Bible in its inerrancy is a stand-alone theology.

This being the case, we must compare my stated practice (abortion) to the theology of the Bible to determine compatibility.

Science dictates that human existence begins at the moment of conception (or fertilization). Once that human existence begins, that human falls into the confines of the Bible and its laws/practices/expectations. We see evidence of this in Psalm 51:5 referring to sin affecting the soul at conception, in Psalm 139:13 referring to being knitted together in the womb, in Jeremiah 1:5 referring to God knowing us before birth, in Luke 1:41 with Jesus and John the Baptist being active in perceiving spirits and reacting with joy in the womb, etc etc.

Working with that understanding, we see that humans begin to function within the confines of commandments, protections, and promises from the moment of conception. In that construct, if we look to one of the original 10 commandments, we see a command to not murder another human in Exodus 23:13. This commandment is devoid of qualifying aspects of it, and is a blanket statement to protect all humans both from being murdered and from the consequences of committing murder. Now, there are instances throughout the Bible where God, in His infinite righteousness and judgment, killed humans or ordered the killing of other humans. But we do not count these as contradictions of His commandment not to murder, as He functions as an eternally righteous judge that may both give and take life, whether through His hand or the hand of His people. But, we do see this function alleviate with the coming of the New Covenant through Christ, which was one of love that fulfilled the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17).

Accounting all of this and understanding the nature of the law under the New Covenant, we understand that the commandments of the old law are still to protect from sin, but we have forgiveness of sins under the One who fulfilled the law. These commandments exist to protect from sin because, as we read in Romans 6:23, that the wages of sin is death. We understand that having sin in our lives is a barrier between us and God, preventing communion and fellowship. This is the constant state of existence we lived in before He saved us. As you referred to in Romans 7:15-25, Paul speaks to the ongoing war that is waged, even after we are saved, between our Spirit (which seeks to do God’s will) and our flesh (which seeks to do its own will). This war is dangerous and vicious, but it is the reason that Jesus is continually interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25) and why He sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This war is also very costly, and will result in many falling away from the faith to pursue their fleshly lusts (Matthew 24:10; 1 Timothy 4:1) and some even being turned over by God because they warred against Him over sexual immorality specifically (Romans 1:24-27).  In light of this, we must keep in mind that, simply because we have the capacity for sin, we ought not by any means sin – something Paul was very adamant about even whilst revealing the deadly nature of sin, also revealing the perpetual power of redemption through Christ (Romans 6). Jesus went further than this and spoke to the dangers of sinning while appearing to be a Christian, saying that we could even perform miracles in His name but, because we never really accepted Him in His Lordship, that He would send us away from Him (Matthew 7:21-23). All of this being the case, we must understand that sin is a reality of life but it is a detrimental aspect. We must flee even the appearance of evil at all costs (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

So, we understand that Christians are capable of evil, but that it is incompatible with their Christianity. It either removes harmony from their lives (poses a barrier between themselves and God), results in a heart change towards sin (falling away from the faith), or reveals their true nature since sin should not exist amongst Christians (being totally incompatible, resulting in the revelation that they were never a Christian).

Okay, so now if we take that knowledge of the nature of sin and the essence of humanity from conception, we can examine abortion to determine compatibility. Having such a sound understanding of the previous points, this will be clear and not require much explanation.

Abortion exists in varying forms, but it always leads to the same result: a child is killed in-utero. Now, if we look back to the commandment to not commit murder, we can see that this act is a violation, a sin, and counteractive to a Christian. If this sin occurs, we still see all other aspects of Biblical dealing with sin exist. For instance, there is healing and forgiveness of sins – that is the prime reason that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave. He desired to make a bridge between the law and lawlessness be fulfilling the law and advocating on the behalf of those who violated it. This is the beautiful and unexplainable nature of grace. We also see that when we do commit sin, we must repent and turn to God in order for that forgiveness to take place (Acts 3:19). And, as we discussed earlier, we also see that committing sin can either drive us away from Him complete, or reveal that we never were saved in the first place. If we follow the dictates of science, theology, and logic, all of these principles apply to abortion. For women who have an abortion, there is hope and grace, but they must repent and turn to Him. There are also women who will turn away from Him in their shame and heartache, or they will realize they never were save and, Lord willing, turn to Him for salvation.

In pure essence and by definition, however, abortion is incompatible with being a Christian. The consequences of that incompatibility are varying, but it most certainly is incompatible.

Now, you stated a statistic that most abortions in the U.S. are sought by professing Christians. This is true – about 68.7% of them are either “Protestant” or “Catholic.” But this is not just an unfortunate fact that we should accept and understand, it’s an epidemic. This is the exact reason for this statement. We have allowed a secular culture that is fascinated with sex and death to creep into the church. And, over time, church leaders began to either condone the sin or not address it because it’s too controversial (which translates to them either not being equipped to speak on such topics or being afraid to lose church members). This statement is geared to those who are willingly ignorant and spiritually blind to address their terrible heartache with the reality of its source. Abortion, like so many other sins, is incompatible with Christianity and creates a terrible void that can only be filled by Jesus. This statement is meant to awaken those who are ignorant to that fact and urge them to speak out and protect those who are at risk (especially the youth) or counsel those who are broken. This statement is meant to open the eyes of the spiritually blind to their condition that they may see the cure is close than they know.  We have a church full of Christians that are either facing barriers between themselves and God, are falling away from God, or have never really been in communion with God. All the while, a lost and broken world awaits that church to bring them a saving gospel to alleviate suffering and brokenness that is just as prevalent in the church.

You are also right that we are not saved by works. We are saved by the loving, undeserving grace of Christ Jesus, who came and died for us while we were yet sinners. We are saved by repenting from our sins and turning to His salvation and submitting to His Lordship as we commune and fellowship with Him and expand His kingdom. And again, you are right that the only healing from abortion is that same loving grace that changed our hearts and tamed our rebellious tongues. But, if these things are to take place not only in a dying world, but also in a church that is limping along covering its ears and eyes so that it doesn’t have to tend to its own wounds, we must address the incompatibilities with our faith and expose them as evils that ought not exist in the life of a Christian. Not because our works are good, but because we love Him enough to perform good works. Once we have encountered that beautiful heart change, we will see a works change. And by our works, by our fruits, and by our love, the we will both know Him and the world know Him (Matthew 7:16; James 2:14-26; Hebrews 10:24; Galatians 5:19-26; Titus 2:7-9; Matthew 6:24; Acts 2:38; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Romans 6:14).

For these reasons, I posit the following: That greed is incompatible with being a Christian. Anger is incompatible with being a Christian. Lust is incompatible with being a Christian. Envy is incompatible with being a Christian. Lying is incompatible with being a Christian. A poor prayer life is incompatible with being a Christian. Worshipping false idols is incompatible with being a Christian. Sex outside of marriage is incompatible with being a Christian. Homosexuality is incompatible with being a Christian. Not honoring your wife is incompatible with being a Christian. Not honoring your parents is incompatible with being a Christian. Seeking violence is incompatible with being a Christian. Suicide is incompatible with being a Christian. Theft is incompatible with being a Christian. Enmity between the saints is incompatible with being a Christian. Witchcraft is incompatible with being a Christian. And abortion is incompatible with being a Christian.

These things we know to be self-evident.