Selective Liberty, Erotic Liberty, and Child Sacrifice

Liberty for me but not for thee. If you listen hard enough you can hear that refrain echoed down through the centuries as the strong have sought to maintain a certain lifestyle at the expense of the weak. The strong always claiming a libertarian stance to protect an idea or a practice that has economic or social benefit for them.

You can hear the refrain of liberty for me but not for thee in the history of slavery in America. You can hear it in the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. You can hear it in the racism of the Jim Crow era. You can hear it on the steps of the Supreme Court when a panel of judges decided that the liberty of the strong was more important than the liberty of the defenseless in 1973.

Perhaps the most damning thing about selective liberty is how easily it becomes a cloak that our culture can use to hide any number of insidious and evil things. I’m thinking of abortion in particular. Because we can couch it in terms like “rights” or “liberty” or “healthcare” or “legal” or “fairness” or “convenience,” selective liberty has persisted for over four decades. Four decades of the strong deciding the fate of the weak in the name of liberty.

The interesting thing about liberty is that it is always selective. There can never be total personal liberty in a society because the result would be anarchy. So, historically, Americans have created laws to curb personal liberty and to protect the weak in what has been a continual give and take between our branches of government and the desires of the populace.

Thankfully, the culture came to see things like slavery, eugenics, and Jim Crow laws for what they were: evil. Evil because they deprived people of liberty and dignity. From a theological perspective, evil because they let one image bearer of God claim a god-like position over another image bearer and thus turned liberty into a God-replacement, an idol.


Today we have taken two idols – selective liberty and erotic liberty – and combined them into one idol that bears a horrific resemblance to Molech (Leviticus 18:21, 2 Chronicles 28:3). We’d like to think we’ve come a long ways since the days when parents would burn their children in an effort to curry the favor of some metal or stone object, but have we really? Today, instead of fire we use medical instruments to cut, rip, and dismember. Instead of a temple lit by torches and fire and populated by false priests we have steril clinics populated by people all too eager to accept the human sacrifice and the credit card number that comes with it. Instead of a bearded man in a robe crying out for the screaming bodies of infants in order to bring victory in warfare or rain on the crops we have politicians in expensive suits adding to the pile of bodies as they make sacrifices on the altar of personal and erotic liberty. Instead of a priest encouraging and celebrating as a child is reduced to ashes we have healthcare professionals celebrating the extra jingle in their pockets when they can reduce the right infant down to just the right parts to sell for the benefit of the strong.

So we’ve taken that warm and comfortable cloak of selective liberty and erotic liberty and tossed it over the demonic face of that ancient demon, Molech. As long as we can continue to couch our child sacrifice in the terms of liberty and as long as the culture refuses to pull that cloak down to reveal the Satanic forces at work behind it, we’ll not just continue in our barbarism but we’ll continue to celebrate it. Because that’s what Americans do. We celebrate liberty. Unless it’s inconvenient for us.

Reflecting on Daddy Dates

I had a pretty special childhood. I grew up on a small family farm in Southeastern Washington. The soundtrack of my childhood was the rumble of diesel farm equipment, the sound of cows mooing in the pasture, and the rhythmic slap of irrigation sprinklers dousing crops with water.

It was also special because my dad was rarely more than ten minutes from the house. From the little house where I spent my first nine years or so, I could look out into the fields and could sometimes see my dad out on the tractor plowing, disking, planting, and maintaining the fields. There was always the telltale cloud of dust and circling seagulls that accompanied the old John Deere tractors wherever they went.

Some of my earliest memories are climbing up into one of those big (to a young boy) tractors, my dad putting the armrest down, and then sitting beside him for hours while he worked in the fields. The tractor would roar steadily, the AM radio would drone endlessly, and the equipment the tractor was pulling would clank and rattle as we made our way across the fields one pass as a time. For a little boy, the roar of a tractor engine is like a lullaby and I would often end up falling asleep with my head on my Dad’s shoulder.

My Dad took me out in the fields with him. He’d sometimes get me up early so that I could go with him to the coffee shop before the work day started. He took me on trips to town to buy parts for farm equipment. Sometimes those trips to town would end with Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Those were my daddy dates growing up. Now, looking back at them as a dad myself and with my own little boys, I want my boys to get to experience things like that.

I don’t have tractors or a farm. I have a job that often pulls me away from my family for extended periods of time. So our daddy dates look a little different than a trip to town to buy tractor parts or a few hours on the combine. But the big thing they have in common is time.  And to a little boy (speaking from experience) few things in life are as valuable or will have the lasting impact of a daddy willing to spend time with his son.

It’s kind of funny though, how some of my daddy dates mirror the time my Dad spent with me. I take Liam to my coffee shop (Dunkin Donuts). Sometimes we’ll go to Dairy Queen and get a Blizzard together. The other day he ran an errand with me to buy new running shoes.

Would it be easier and more relaxing to go by myself? Sure. But the most valuable currency I have to give to my boys is my time. And now I get to enjoy watching my Dad spend time with my boys on those all too rare occasions when we can all get together. From fishing/swimming in the river to rides on the lawn mower, my Dad continues to invest in my boys with the same valuable currency that he invested in me: time.


Pushing Back The Darkness

Have you ever been in a place where there was a darkness so thick it was stifling? It seemed like it was all consuming and could almost suck the air from your lungs.

That’s what it felt like when I saw the news from the past couple of days regarding a top Planned Parenthood director talking nonchalantly over a meal about dismembering of babies in order to harvest their body parts for research purposes. Then to have the realization that for a huge chunk of the culture this isn’t an evil and murderous act but rather “science, progress, health care and choice.”

How do Christians respond to such evil and is there any hope of overcoming such darkness? The Bible and the words of Jesus would tell us that there is hope and that hope is rooted first and foremost in the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the close of the Gospel of Matthew. The command that would launch the church and serve as the rallying cry for the body that Jesus commissioned to be the instrument to bring about his Kingdom in this world.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

That “Great Commission” was given from the lips of the Divine man who had done the impossible: Defeated Satan, sin, and death and created a way for humanity to be restored to a right relationship with God and also launching a Kingdom movement that will culminate in a new and perfect earth. It was a victory over sin that was so complete that even abortion doctors, murderers, racists, thieves, adulterers, those in sexual sin, and me could be saved from the depths of our depravity.

So to advance God’s Kingdom is to make disciples. To advance God’s Kingdom is to push back darkness. To advance God’s Kingdom is to link arms with brothers and sisters of other races when they are mistreated, marginalized, and murdered and say, “You are my family.” To advance God’s Kingdom is to come alongside a world enslaved to sexual passion and show them a better way. To advance God’s Kingdom is to give that scared mom who sees no option other than abortion another option. That may be through help birthing the baby, help raising the baby, or helping find an adoptive family. To advance God’s Kingdom is to not dismiss social justice as something only liberals care about but rather to embrace a social justice informed by the Gospel and the Great Commission. To advance God’s Kingdom is to stop seeing illegal immigrants first as problematic pests to be rid of and to see them as an opportunity to take the Gospel to the nations right in our own backyards and street corners. To advance God’s Kingdom is to go to every tribe and every tongue no matter the cost so that they too might hear the name of Jesus and be saved. To advance God’s kingdom is to stop seeing the world through lenses of “us and them” or “Democrat and Republican” or “black and white” or “gay and straight” or “American and everyone else” but rather the lens of “sinners who have been saved by grace and sinners who need to be saved by grace.”

So, Christians, if you want to know what you can do to respond when it seems like every day there is more evil and more darkness it’s to shine the Light of the World into that darkness. To Go! To make disciples of all nations so that finally on the day that Jesus returns in glory to make all things new we can stand victoriously with our brothers and sisters (former abortion doctors, murderers, racists, thieves, adulterers, those in sexual sin) in Christ from across millennia and join them in singing in every language imaginable, “HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY!

That gives me hope. That helps me breathe in stifling darkness because I know it’s darkest in the moments right before dawn begins to break over the horizon.

I Have No Idea

Mr. C:

This lady can flat out write!

Originally posted on A Glimpse of the Universe in My Head:

I’m at that point in my story where I question every decision I’ve made and feel like it will never be finished. It is usually at this point that I start to think I must be crazy to ever write a novel. Every reason to NOT write sucks the life out of my ambitions and pulls me into a vortex of apathy and despair. I imagine painful reviews stacking up on Amazon, book signings where I sit alone for hours while the store owner sympathetically brings me soda, and email treatises on everything wrong with my story filling my inbox. But mostly I take a sideways glance at tumblr and shudder.

Tumblr is a website devoted to SuperWhoLock, shipping, anime I’ve never heard of, and gifs of aggressive chicken dancers. And other stuff. I refuse to get a tumblr page even though John Green has one. As much as I amuse…

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Father’s Day Sermon – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Here’s my most recent sermon from the Chapel Next service. I’ve had the opportunity to preach more often these past few months and it has been so wonderful to get to study and to share from God’s Word with the Chapel Next community. Things are going to get busier over these next few months and we will probably add some new Chaplains to our ranks who will be anxious to share what God puts on their heart, but I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to teach as much as I have.

Adventures in Fatherhood- “Strong Boys”

I’ve been a daddy for a bit over four years now. Both boys are old enough now that their personalities are starting to come through. Liam is our firebrand. He’s strong and stubborn and so smart that sometimes it’s a bit scary. Ewan is a little more chill but I’ll often see the same fire in his eyes that I see in Liam’s. We have strong boys. They have strong personalities that challenge Laura and I in ways I certainly never anticipated.

I’ll confess that there are times I see other kids and I find myself saying, “I wish my boys were more compliant.” It’s exacerbated by things like Facebook where pictures of kids doing sweet things and playing nicely with their siblings abound. It’s an attitude that comes all too easy and one I need to repent of.  You see, the personalities that my boys have weren’t an accident. Their personalities were given to them by God and God has a plan to use these strong boys for his glory. Maybe having kids who were more compliant would be easier for me but then Liam and Ewan wouldn’t be Liam and Ewan.

I don’t know what the future holds for my boys. Right now I know Liam loves to run and play. He loves to test boundaries and he will persist in it even it comes at personal cost. He will ask Laura and I to read him “Digory” (“The Magician’s Nephew”) over a book more his age. He has many passages of Scripture memorized and is on his way to learning the Catechism. If he sees mommy or daddy hurting he’s quick to come over and pat a leg and say, “It’ll be okay, mommy!”

Ewan’s personality is still coming out so I’m hesitant to write too much at this point. He’s a little more laid back than big brother but we’ve seen some of the same persistence in him that big brother has in spades.

All this to say, it’s really easy to look at strong kids and give them the stink eye as mom and dad wrestle them out to the car after a tantrum in a restaurant. To wonder if their parents just let them run wild and never discipline them. As the parent of two strong boys, I can tell you it’s exactly the opposite. Our strong boys require us to be hands on almost all the time. It’s tough and it’s exhausting. Many days it feels like we are spinning our tires.

But with strong boys we have to remember that this parenting gig is a long game. It’s a couple of decades when they are under your direct care and a lifetime of mentoring and loving. It’s looking at the things that can be so frustrating today and seeing how our boys with their stubborn and high energy personalities have the potential to become men who turn the world upside down.

So I hope this can be an encouragement to other parents with strong kids. You are not alone. There are other parents wrestling with scary smart kids with fierce personalities and stubborn streaks a mile wide. The difference is we don’t just see the kid when he’s being carried out to the car in the throes of a tantrum. We see the potential.

For those of you who see those strong kids and their parents who often seem to be knocked on their heels. Remember that these parents are doing their best to channel the energy of their kids toward a God-honoring future. Maybe instead of giving the stink eye as mom and dad try to wrangle the kids and and the groceries to the car you could offer to get the door or push the cart. You will make the day of those parents because, believe it or not, we feel every stink eye and judgmental stare and we hear those whispered comments. Next time try offering a smile or a helping hand. Mom and dad will be eternally grateful.

Our strong boys are a gift. Don’t pity us. Don’t judge us and assume we don’t parent or discipline. Look at our parenting the same way we look at our boys: a long game. It’s one that will have many successes and many screaming failures along the way but by the grace of God we believe that our labors are not in vain. So thanks in advance for the helping hand and the understanding smile. We need all the help and the encouragement we can get and know that we wouldn’t trade our strong boys for the world!