Luana Stoltenberg says her life “has been devastated by abortion.”
Foster Care is such a great idea, but the problem is I want it to end, but those who work in it, don’t really want to lose their jobs, do they? Isn’t this the catch-22 of any government-sponsored charity program? Contrast this with the private sector, where many business owners are serial entrepreneurs, who can move from project to project without fearing the loss of income. Employees don’t think like that. Therein lies the problem.
We like to debate about who does more to help those who can’t help themselves. Private agencies or government agencies? Democrats or Republicans? Churchgoers or their counterparts? It’s generally agreed that most giving comes from private agencies and churchgoers who give. So why do we spend billions of dollars running government agencies when the results continue to be lacking? Something’s got to give.
There’s the Department of Education. The Department of Transportation. The Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Housing and Urban Development. The list goes on.There are so many government employees that if there were to be a political revolution to decrease the amount of federal power and let those billions of administrative dollars go into the hands of givers, the unemployment rate would probably double, unfortunately. Why would people leave those jobs if they don’t really have to?
What if by grassroots conversations and relationships, You Tube channels and Twitter tweets, through Facebook and Instagram, TED talks and TV news reports, popular artists and plain old word-of-mouth, a vision was cast for doing things that matter, but doing them cheaply, directly, without bureaucracy and that actually affected lasting – dare I say permanent – change in people’s lives?
I see a social worker, teacher, analyst, or paper pusher who was sick of the waste, sick of the idleness, bureaucracy and abuse had a dream to reach people more effectively where those who wanted help could actually get it, and those that wanted to milk the system hadn’t the resources to waste their time? I see her saying enough is enough, going out on her own and starting a business service that partnered with a church or local business that allowed her to do what her old job claimed to do, but she’d actually get it done. I see her hiring her former coworkers, and partnering with contractor organizations that were integral and authentic, and were in the business not for the ease of milking the vicious cycle, but to actually make a difference.
I see 10 years or less of this happening over and over again in the fields of mental health, geriatric health, welfare, education, housing and veterans affairs where the floodgates would open and the cycles of poverty, fiscal waste, and social abuse would finally churn their final turn to a tired and eternal stop. These brave pioneers, these ex-government trolls would have actually helped the poor get on their feet, helped single moms learn skills and network with others and never go back to their old ways, helped former servicemen find meaning and purpose in life again, living the freedom they fought for, engaged disadvantaged students to belief in real values that allowed them to apply themselves in school and change their family trees.
The question is the cost. Government work is cushy, it’s comfortable, it pays better than private in many cases, the long-term benefits are unbeatable…these are obvious. But what about the other costs? The ones that nag you in your latter days when it’s too late to make a change? When you look down the road at your life and see your purpose could be more than just living comfortably and financially securely. When you look at your hands and ask, what difference did they make in the world? When you look at your children and wonder the impact you’ve had on their belief in the world and in themselves? Waiting isn’t worth it. Make a plan and take the leap. Don’t just lamely hope for a good future, ensure a great one: We are counting on you. I close with this great story by Andy Stanley. Enjoy.
The Family Project team asked noted author and Christian worldview leader Dr. Nancy Pearcey why a theology of family is important. Here is what she had to say:
The reason Christians need to be more intentional about developing a theology of the family is that we are all children of our age — which means we are prone to pick up the views of those around us, often without even being aware of it.
In their view of the family, Americans have been deeply affected by what is called social contract theory, propounded by thinkers such as Locke and Rousseau. American conservatives tend to be influenced by Locke, while liberals think more along the lines of Rousseau. But in both cases, the heart of social contract theory is the idea that the ultimate starting point is the individual, the autonomous self.
Where then do social institutions, like the family, come from? They are products of choice.
The implications are staggering. Social contract theory implies that we agree to be in relationships when they meet our needs. Relationships are essentially redefined as products of enlightened self interest. Thus if a marriage relationship is not meeting my needs, then I can choose to leave. If the origin of marriage is individual choice, then marriage is subject to the whim of the individual. No wonder marriage has become so fragile in our day.
And if we choose to create marriage in the first place, then we can also choose to change it – we can redefine it any way we want. No wonder so many people today are questioning the very definition of marriage.
By contrast, the biblical concept of marriage as a covenant is that it is a pre-existing social institution built into our very nature. We don’t create it so much as we enter into it. (Remember that wonderful older phrase: We “enter into the holy estate of matrimony.”) The relationship of marriage is a moral entity that exists in itself, with its own normative definition. That means it confers on us certain moral obligations such as fidelity, integrity, and so on.
The Rosetta Stone of Christian social thought is the Trinity: The human race was created in the image of God, who is three Persons so intimately related as to constitute one Godhead—in the classic theological formulation, one in being and three in person. Both oneness and threeness, both individuality and relationship, are equally real, equally ultimate, equally integral to God’s nature.
Because humans are created in the image of God, this perfect balance of unity and diversity in the Trinity gives a model for human social life. On one hand, the Trinity implies the dignity and uniqueness of individual persons. On the other hand, the Trinity implies that relationships are not created by sheer choice but are built into the very essence of human nature. We are not atomistic individuals but are created for relationship.
The implication of the doctrine of the Trinity is that relationships are just as ultimate or real as individuals. Relationships are not the creation of autonomous individuals, who can make or break them at will. Relationships are part of the created order, and thus are ontologically real and good.
This may sound abstract, but think of it this way. When we are in a relationship. we sense that there is “me” and there is “you” . . . and then there is “the relationship.” And there are times when we say, We need to work on “our relationship.” In other words, we sense that a relationship is more than the sum of its parts—that it is a reality that goes beyond the two individuals involved.
This was traditionally spoken about in terms of the common good: There was a “good” for each of the individuals in the relationship (God’s moral purpose for each person), and then there was a “common good” for their lives together (God’s moral purpose for the marriage itself). In a perfect marriage unaffected by sin, there would be no conflict between these two purposes: The common good would express and fulfill the individual natures of both wife and husband.
A woman recently wrote me an email saying that she had been raised in a home governed by the rule that Christians should not expose themselves to any non-biblical ways of thinking. But when she read Total Truth, she says, “I discovered that I had unconsciously absorbed ideas that came from secular thinkers like Rousseau.” What about you?
Are your ideas about marriage biblical, or have you absorbed ideas from our secular culture that are eating away at the heart of your marriage?
(Adapted from Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, originally published at http://www.familyproject.com/blog/worldview-weakening-marriage)
Nancy Pearcey is author of the award-winning, bestselling book Total Truth: Liberation Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity and coauthor (with Chuck Colson) of How Now Shall We Live? She is a professor and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University, as well as editor at large of the Pearcey Report. Heralded in The Economist as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual,” Pearcey has appeared on national radio and television, including C-SPAN. She and her husband homeschooled their two sons. Her most recent book is Saving Leonardo.
My child is sick. Every parent understands the anvil of pain weighing down each one of those four words when they leave their lips. The agony of helplessness. The darkness of the unknown. The isolating cloud of fearing things won’t turn around.
I’ve recently been the one offering encouragement to my friends. It seemed like hardships were visiting my loved ones all around me and I could offer scriptural support, and an ear. Now it’s my turn, and it’s amazing how challenging it is to focus on truth. I naturally want to melt into sorrow and tears, not keep my chin up and recite that God is in control, that His timing is perfect, that all things happen for the good of those who love Him and other things that are much easier to believe when things are going well.
The doctor’s office opens in 13 minutes, and my husband and I are about to take our baby to him. I was standing in the kitchen trying to accomplish getting some food in my belly before we headed out but all I could do was stand still, my eyes fixed on the window. He asked me what I was doing, and I said I was trying to focus on truth, though if I had been truly honest I felt that was more what I should have been doing. I think he wisely suspected that, so he tested me, “like what?” So I started saying, “God is in control, I can trust Him, His mercies are new every morning…” and before I finished, my focus shifted from the window to the orchid in front of it that had budded its first bloom this morning.
God knows me and how much I love the elusive wonder and delicacy of an orchid. He made no mistake in timing of when my eyes noticed that bloom. He does love me, and my son. And we’ll get through this.
As the tide comes in every night and clears away the footsteps, the seaweed, the shells, waste, and other refuse, so Jesus has taken the wake of a broken past and gently ebbed it away until a smooth, clean present remained. My husband grew up in a household under a burdensome culture of verbal abuse, a cold and relentless demand for perfection, unpredictable rage. Jesus has turned his present into one of praise from peers, encouragement at work, reconciled relationships and joy and fulfillment at home. That kind of transformation can’t be bought.
Been considering Adoption? Foster Care? Domestic Adoption? Central Pres has answers for you! Sign up for the upcoming Orphan Sunday forums:
November 4, 2012 – December 9, 2012
Sundays, 9am-10:15am Covenant Room
Central Presbyterian Church
7308 York Rd., Towson, MD 21204
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