Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Movie Night

With Clint being so sick these last three weeks, I must admit we have rented far more movies than usual. A personal favorite for us is the hit tv series "24". A show about a U.S. based counter- terrorist unit working to prevent catastrophic terrorist crimes from happening--all within a literal 24 hour day (each episode is an hour).

But last night after watching a few episodes, Clint and I both had adrenaline-pumping, action-packed dreams that caused us to awake with our hearts pounding. We had a good laugh as we recounted our dreams to each other. Between the two of us, we encountered everything from volcanoes erupting and running for our lives only to find a ten story river blocking us from the only train station that could get us out of town, to anxiety about important CD ROM files being corrupted, to terrorists chasing us and trying to shoot us, and of course, plenty of cell phones that flip open.

Alas, we've concluded that in light of the lack of sleep and strain to our hearts, we need to take a break from 24. As good as the show is, we're not sure the negative affects on our heath are worth it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?

This question has consumed much of my thoughts over the last few weeks.

I must admit that I've heard rumblings in the past about the abortive effect of the pill, but always passed it off as an "extreme" or "uninformed" opinion. Not only has my doctor told me that the pill prevents ovulation, but the oral contraceptive pill is also widely accepted among evangelicals and is often recommended by Christian doctors as a valid option for birth control. Surely they could not all be wrong!

My views were challenged recently while listening to a sermon by Dr. Mohler entitled Naked and Not Ashamed: Message 2-- Reproductive Techniques and Contraception . In this message he says we should be careful about using new technology, because it can have significant ethical consequences. We shouldn't assume that the technologies are neutral or even good, and he also mentions that there is research that shows that some oral contraceptive pills cause abortions.

Since then, I have done a fair amount of reading on the issue and found that pro-life doctors are divided. It seems to come down to the fact that there is simply not enough research done to show conclusively whether the claimed abortive back up mechanism actually takes place. The hormones in the pill cause changes in the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) which is said to reduce the likelihood of the implantation of a fertilized egg should ovulation occur.

I searched various websites of pastors and ministries that I trust, but found very little on the subject. Desiring God ministries does make a statement about birth control. I was surprised, but somewhat relieved to find that they are not against the use of "artificial" birth control, and even link to an article called, "Why Pro-Life Advocates Should Not Link Abortion to Contraception in Public Debates."

While there are many good articles by pro-life physicians representing each side of the argument, discovering the truth can be difficult because everyone is contradicting each other. There are many theories in circulation and much conjecture. After reading many of these articles, I found I was more informed, but also more confused.

The best booklet that I read on the subject is by a pastor named Randy Alcorn who believes the birth control pill is abortive. I have yet to hear of anyone else who has compiled such thorough research. It seems that he uses less conjecture and more fact as he has extensive documentation to back up his statements. He has consulted the Physician's Desk Reference, medical journals and textbooks, the pill manufacturers, and many physicians and pharmacists. The whole booklet can be found online here.

Some other articles I found helpful were the following:

Hormone Contraceptives Controversies and Clarifications
(Authored by four Christian ProLife Obstetrician-Gynecologists who feel the pill is not abortive.)

Birth Control Pill: Abortifacient and Contraceptive
(Physicians who believe the pill is abortive.)

Do Oral Contraceptives Cause Abortions?
(Prolife Physicians who discuss the points of disagreement within the prolife community and take a neutral position.)

Is the Oral Contraceptive Pill an Abortifacient?
(A pharmacologist's article written in response to a critique of Alcorn's position.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

"A Thousand Lives We Falsely Imagine"

In studying 1 Timothy, I have been struck by the necessity of Christians pursuing true contentment. I find it is quite natural to desire things that I don't have, and quite attractive to dwell on these things in the name of future dreams and goals.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 says:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Paul is not speaking of the rich falling into temptation and snares, but those who desire to be rich are "plunged into ruin and destruction." It is this intense desire for something we don't have overwhelms us with anxiety and sinks us low. We plan and scheme as if the weight of our future were entirely on our own shoulders. It may be a desire for financial security, a spouse, children, more education, a better job, losing weight or perhaps even being a spiritual 'superstar.'

Difficulty arises because pursuing these desires may be going expressly against what God would have for us. Do you desire to be rich? Perhaps God would have for you to be poor. In Calvin's commentary, he says:

Our covetousness is an insatiable gulf, if it be not restrained;...the best bridle is, when we desire nothing more than the necessity of this life demands;...the reason why we transgress the bounds, is, that our anxiety extends to a thousand lives which we falsely imagine.

I am starting to see that while it is good for Christians to wisely plan for the future, it is extremely important that we do not waste our thoughts longing for the future, especially because this future is not real, but rather "falsely imagined." Maybe we won't live to see tomorrow.

The thing we covet will begin to take over our lives, and yet, this sickly craving can never find true satisfaction. We will always be striving for an unattainable goal.

Although it can be difficult, these words Psalm 34:10 ring true:

"The young lions suffer want and hunger: but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."