Monday, April 30, 2012


Last night we watched a DVD at our church called “Breaking the Spiral of Silence.” It conveyed the idea of speaking out on issues of great importance. Speaking out is sometimes very difficult, especially if you are speaking in opposition of the prevailing culture. Speaking out may mean you stand alone or even in opposition to the majority. However, when you know something is terribly wrong, you feel a moral obligation to break your silence. Today I am speaking out in favor of marriage.

Why defend marriage? People are asking that question these days, especially since the idea of gay marriage is a very popular topic. Why not let gays have marriage, and we will stick with traditional marriage? What’s the harm? That’s a good question, and it deserves a good answer. Those of us who defend marriage today do so because we see this issue as a moral issue. We define traditional marriage as one man and one woman loving each other and being committed to a permanent and monogamous relationship. It has been defined this way for over 5000 years. They are naturally complete in regard to biological function of sexual reproduction. A man and woman who bare children in the union of marriage provide the best possible environment to rear children. The biological mother and father who stay in a loving relationship give stability to the home. This environment is the most ideal for bearing and rearing children, a fact corroborated by the best available social science.[i] In this kind of setting, children flourish like a plant does that has all the right ingredients.

When a child grows up in a loving home where she sees her mother love and respect her father, she learns the meaning of love. When a child sees his father love his mother, he learns how to be a loving husband and a father. When children have the opportunity to grow up in a home where love is modeled, they feel secure. In this home a boy learns what it means to model his masculinity, and a girl embraces her femininity. Where marriage is modeled, children learn the meaning of marriage and embrace it.

One of the reasons many of us are concerned about the reality of gay marriage is what has happened in the places where it has been legal for several years. In Norway, Canada or Holland, for example, traditional marriage has greatly declined, and co-habitation has greatly increased. Consequently, illegitimacy rates have sky rocketed. Invariably, where gay marriage is sanctioned, heterosexual marriage declines.

Imagine traditional marriage as a strong concrete bridge that carries traffic over a busy freeway. Then imagine gay marriage as the proposal to build another bridge over the same freeway. The only problem is they want to build it in the very same spot where traditional marriage is. The two ideas of marriage cannot exist together without heterosexual marriage being weakened. As a result, the effect on children being raised in homes apart from their biological mothers and fathers is of great concern to us. Therefore, I am defending marriage as defined as one man and one woman loving each other until death.

[i] Robert George, What Is Marriage? Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 34, PP 262-263.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Enjoy the Journey

How many people do you know who are unhappy? So many people are not enjoying life. I hear from some of them, and they say they don’t have enough money, they need a better job. Others say they have too many problems and their life is too complicated. Some people say life feels like a rat race because life has been reduced to a boring routine. Paul had this to say about contentment when he wrote Timothy:
1 Timothy 6:6-8
6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

To be content today in this fast-paced world is truly gain. I believe it is possible and that God desires for you to be content. He wants you to be content with yourself—with your body, your personality, your knowledge, your job and your family. The first place to start when we want to be content is to understand that God made us the way we are.

Psalms 139:13-19
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

God made you just the way you are. You were no accident. There are no two people alike in the entire world because God has made us each unique. God crafted you—your body, your features, your traits, your personality and even your desires. When you come to accept this, you are on your way to becoming content.

The next step toward contentment is to enjoy the journey. Some people are always on their way to a destination in life, and they live for that moment of arrival. This trap robs us of the rewarding moments we experience each day. Last Sunday was my birthday, and I had a wonderful day with my family. Marilyn and I were driving with two of our little granddaughters when they started singing happy birthday to Grandpa. It was such a spontaneous moment that brought me such satisfaction and contentment. It reminded me that every day there are wonderful moments ripe for the picking, and I want to enjoy every one of them.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Resurrected Bodies

This week I said goodbye to a very good friend, Arlie Wilson. He was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called Adenoid cystic cancer a little over six years ago. He continued to work for three years after he was diagnosed with the cancer even though it wasn’t easy. Arlie’s easygoing personality and profound faith allowed him to live a quality life for the last six years despite the cancer and the struggle he had dealing with the drug treatments. It never stopped him from living and enjoying life. He and his wife, Teresa, continued to live their everyday lives with the same commitment and enthusiasm they had before the cancer. The two of them have shown all of us who know them how to live in really tough times.
Arlie was a genuine person with no pretentions or hidden agendas. He was independent and a critical thinker. He was quiet, and when he said something, you usually remembered what he had to say. He loved simple things that brought happiness and contentment to his life and to those around him. He loved God and lived out his faith in a quiet but faithful manner that inspired people.
Arlie had a wonderful sense of humor. Here are a couple examples: Back when his daughter, Carin, was going to college, Teresa would leave five dollars on the kitchen table for her to have some lunch money. One day Carin said to her mother, “I don’t have any more lunch money.” Teresa responded, “Well, I’ve been leaving you five dollars every day.” Carin said, “Well, I haven’t been getting it. Then they both looked at Arlie and he said, “Well, it was just lying there every day.”
There was a certain period when Teresa packed one of those Little Debbie cakes in Arlie’s lunch every day. One day Arlie said, “You don’t have to put that cake in my lunch anymore.” Teresa queried, “Why, Arlie, don’t you like the cake anymore?” Arlie wryly responded, “No, I never did like it much, but the guy who has been eating it has just retired.”
Arlie didn’t have fear. His life philosophy was to do the best you can and go on and don’t sweat the small stuff. He didn’t like debt, and he knew how to handle his money. How rare that philosophy is today. He could figure things out by thinking his way through. It’s called logic. Arlie had a lot of common sense which he put in practice over the years. This proverb describes him: “If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;” Proverbs 9:12. His philosophy and his faith really came in handy when dealing with a crippling cancer. Though it may have robbed his health, it never robbed him of his joy and hope. 
I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Arlie numerous times over the last several months. We talked about the church, about our families, about history, about life, about dying and about heaven. Arlie was unintimidated by death because his steadfast faith in Jesus Christ as his savior gave him a heavenly perspective. He bravely faced death as his faith enabled him to look past his battle with cancer because he had hope beyond death and beyond the grave. Arlie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will live again in his body that had been devastated by cancer. You see, Arlie believed, like Job, in the resurrection of the dead.
Job 19:25-26
25 “I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;”