Thursday, December 31, 2015

Study Abroad: London Journal

Last winter around this time I was afforded the incredible opportunity to study abroad in London. It was the best time for me to do it, as I'm often busy in summer and spring break and didn't have the desire to do a full semester. With a couple scholarships and a grant from NKU's College of Business, I had a large majority of my travel study paid for.

I have included a Dropbox link to my entire journal from my time in London, as well as a link to a large album in my Facebook photos. (Pasting everything into this post would have been a long job.) I don't post this to be vain, nor do I expect anyone to read it all. My purpose in posting this is to satisfy any curiosity as to what I was able to do and the things I learned, to tell a first-hand account of living for the first time in another culture, and, most importantly, to serve as a reference to anyone contemplating studying abroad, particularly on the annual London trip.

I highly recommend studying abroad. The wealth of experience and knowledge I've obtained has served me well. There is no cheaper way to visit the city, and no better way than with a group of your peers. I still maintain close friendships with some of the people with whom I traveled. The memories made there are cherished to this day. By all means, check into any opportunity to travel abroad in this manner. I know of no one that regretted the trip. Just be warned: this will create an insatiable desire to travel and learn, and may also create lavish tastes in expensive foods found only at international markets. Feel free to reach out in the comments section with any questions on studying abroad.

Included is a daily log of activities, as well as some other assignments that had to be completed. (Be sure you're aware of due dates.) Omitted is my 21 page SWOT analysis comparison of the American and British economies. Plagiarism is real, folks.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Happy Holidays"

Sometimes Christians complain about society and don’t realize their part in making things the way they are. We don’t have the foresight to see the consequence of actions. Yet we complain about those very consequences in the end.

I am one who doesn’t make much of a fuss about the phrase, “happy holidays”. I don’t use it because I celebrate Christmas in December, not any other holidays. But we live in a diverse country. There are people that celebrate Hanukah, Ramadan, or God forbid Kwanzaa. Add in New Year’s (including other nationalities’ New Year’s) and we have a number of holidays being observed. While I don’t support the holidays of other religions, due to the fact that I believe the Bible, I have no problem with a business issuing a general greeting. Some may think me wishy-washy for believing so, but it’s not something to make a big deal about. Perhaps this line is crossed when employees are threatened to stop them from saying “merry Christmas”, but apart from that I don’t take issue.

A number of Christians do, however. This is where I believe we are too late. The use of “happy holidays” by companies may be a sign of moving away from Christianity. That would be nearly unheard of 50 years ago. I can see the correlation between the decline of Christendom in the U.S. and the rise of something like “happy holidays”. But the phrase is an effect, not a cause. Using “happy holidays” is not leading to the decline of Christianity. The decline of Christianity has led to the use of “happy holidays”.

Let me emphasize this. “Happy holidays” is not a threat to Christianity. It is not causing greater problems. We not doing what the Bible commands is.

I see people complaining about the effects of the changes in our society, but not about the causes. What was a ten point gap between the percentage of evangelical Christians and the percentage of unaffiliated people is now less than three. In all, those that even claim Christianity is down 7% while the unaffiliated group is up 6%. This is only since 2007. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development and Into Thy Word Ministries have done 15 years of research on the subject. Their findings include the annual closing of 4500 churches, while only 1000 open. Each year, 2.7 million Americans fall out of church attendance, as the percentage of regular church attendees dipped into the teens at the turn of the century. In 1900, there were 27 churches per 10,000 people. In 2000, there were only 11 churches per 10,000 people.

What do these statistics tell us? We’re failing at our mission. We are commissioned to preach the gospel and make disciples in our own cities and nations. The overlooked part of the Great Commission is that it also mentions our backyards, not just “the nations”. Some combination of fear and complacency has stopped Christians from reaching those around them.

The failure of Christians goes well beyond the unremarkable use of "happy holidays". This is the same mistake we saw in the 1960s and 1970s with the counterculture movement. It wasn’t wrong to lash out against those actions; on the contrary, we should call out sin. But too many people missed the point. It wasn’t the counterculture that was hurting Christianity. It was simply a reflection of the problems in the church. I can point out the same with the gay “rights” movement and abortion today. We must speak out against this sin. But it wasn’t the liberal movements that forced these into law. It was the church that allowed them to become law. If they are to be stopped, it is the church that must force them out.

In light of these, the use of “happy holidays” is trivial. Nonetheless, the same principle applies. There are too many Christians whining about the societal developments around us and not enough Christians focusing on doing our part to prevent them.

Instead, we keep putting buckets out on the floor instead of fixing the leak.

Complaining won’t do any good. What will is Christians doing their God-given duty of affecting and infecting our society. Preaching the gospel is a must, but so is holding ourselves to biblical principles and fighting for justice. Don’t just reminisce about a time when God was in the schools and courthouses. Don’t just complain that gay marriage is legal. And don’t get frustrated over the rather trivial matter of using “happy holidays”. Do something about it. Evangelize. Disciple. Get in the fight to protect the values our nation was founded on.

It’s a lot easier to just put the bucket out. But if you want to solve the problem, you’re going to have to climb up on the roof and fix the leak. If you’re not going to be obedient to your calling, don’t complain about the effects of the problems you allowed.

Friday, November 27, 2015

God will use anyone. Just ask Jesus.

God will use anyone.

The problems start when we underestimate God. We may believe that our past will keep God from using us. We may believe that our struggles will keep God from using us. We may believe that our imperfections will keep God from using us.

But the Bible tells a different story. God’s Word is full of imperfect people that have done all sorts of terrible things, yet God uses them. As we look forward to this Christmas season, we need not look further than Jesus Himself to prove this.

In Matthew 1, Matthew lays out the genealogy of Jesus. Since Matthew writes to a Jewish audience, it was important to do so, especially since Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was of royal blood.

So these had to be some pretty great people to bring our Savior into the world, right?

Sort of.

Abraham (v. 2) is the father of the Jews and a great man in scripture. He did originally doubt God about having a child in his old age. He also took matters into his own hands by having a child with his wife’s maid, who became the father of the Arabs, who have fought the Jews for centuries.

Jacob (v. 2) was a deceiver in a number of ways and played favorites with his children. Most of them became thugs to some degree.

Judah (v. 3) made a woman wait, as was custom, to marry his third son because the first two were killed by God. After his daughter-in-law, Tamar, waited for years, Judah didn’t honor his word. So Tamar dressed up like a prostitute and had sex with Judah, who, after he impregnated her, wanted to have her killed for adultery. After proving Judah was the father, they had the child, Perez, who is in the lineage of Christ.

Rahab (v. 5) was a prostitute in Jericho when Joshua’s spies showed up. Though a disgraced citizen due to her profession, she realized that the God of Israel is the true God. Thus, she housed the spies and was later saved during the invasion. She married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz.

Enter the second woman in this genealogy. An entire book of the Bible is devoted to her. Ruth (v. 5) was a godly woman, but an outsider. In fact, she was a Moabitess. Moab was a child from an incestual relationship between a drunken Lot and his older daughter after the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19). Hence, they were not highly looked upon by the Israelites. Make no mistake, God used women in a great way along with men. Christianity is hardly oppressive. Different roles do not indicate inequality.

David (v. 6) was “a man after God’s own heart”, but even he had some faults, such as the one mentioned in Matthew 1. He had a child through “Uriah’s wife”, Bathsheba, and murdered her husband. After their adultery, they were married and had Solomon (v. 7). Solomon too had problems with lust, as in he had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Then, of course, there were a number of kings of Judah that “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Their brief mention in Matthew 1 (vv. 7-11) would have to be supplemented with their many chapters in II Kings.

So why? Why did, why could, God use all of these individuals? The question is easily answered when we look at the power source. God did not use these people because of their merits. He used them in spite of their imperfection. It is not at all the attributes of man. It is all the adequacy of God. All these people were merely vessels through which God worked.

See, it’s like this. Salvation is through faith for a reason. We simply aren’t good enough to do things on our own. It’s why God told Gideon to whittle down his army to only 300 to face an army numbering around 100,000. In no way would God let people think that Gideon had done it on his own. God made sure to show that HE won the battle.

So if we aren’t adequate enough to earn Heaven, how can we be adequate enough to fight our battles on Earth?

We can’t. That’s the point.

God chose to show His might by taking a bunch of misfits that were guilty of just about anything bad imaginable and using them to bring His Son into the world. Through that He’s clearly sent a message: He will use anyone.

Since it isn’t our power anyway, it doesn’t matter what we’ve done. All that matters is what God does in us and through us.

There was one common denominator between the forefathers of Jesus: obedience. They all were willing to be used by God. That’s enough.

So don’t be left thinking you’re inadequate to be used by God. Know that you are! And that’s a great relief, because that puts all the pressure on God to perform what He wants done.

I think He can handle it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Free The Nipple: The Delusional Campaign

The latest trend in the feminist fight to victimize themselves to gain an advantage over men involves the attempt to desexualize a woman’s breasts, in the campaign they call “Free the Nipple”. The campaign describes its goals on its website, which is hard to see over the background of women taking their shirts off:

Free The Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world. We stand against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines. Even in New York City, which legalized public toplessness in 1992, the NYPD continues to arrest women. We’re working to change these inequalities through film, social media, and a grassroots campaign.

Could it even be a liberal campaign without use of the word “tolerant”?

Twitter too has been abuzz with the use of “#freethenippple”:

Why is it that a females body has somehow become taboo?! No it's beautiful and a women can do what she wants with it!!🌺 #freethenippple

Personally offended that my nipples are considered more offensive than a mans and I can't tan topless. #freethenippple

Because I have nipples and so does everybody else. Stop sexualizing our bodies. #freethenippple

#freethenippple not because i want to walk around shirtless but because its important that i could if i wanted to

Perhaps Free the Nipple should start with a grammar lesson for its supporters.

A principle that has been in civilized societies for thousands of years is suddenly a problem for feminists. It is so oppressive that a campaign must be launched to do something about.
I never heard Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton talk about how they need to walk around topless to desensitize society. That would seem to be quite unbecoming of them. Then again, there are few things that these women would agree with in today’s feminism.

Why has this never been an issue before? One hundred years ago, even fifty years ago there were no activists walking around topless with tape x-ing out their nipples. We must be more enlightened nowadays.

Women’s breasts serve a functional purpose. Men’s do not. Men don’t really have breasts, just chests. When they do, it is considered a condition, an abnormality. There are obvious differences between the function and appearance of a woman’s nipple and chest versus a man’s.

So are those facts a big deal? Not necessarily. Modesty is important, I believe, and this is where everyone, men and women, are lacking. Immodesty is everywhere we look. There is no care about it. No innocence. Children at a young age are introduced to more than they should be.

This particular movement is as much a laughingstock as feminism as a whole is. They are honestly parading around topless, making films, and using hashtags on Twitter all so they can have the right to expose themselves further in public. They aren’t simply going topless, they are calling specific attention to their breasts. They are trying to desexualize their bodies by sexualizing their bodies. Any given man walking down the street of New York City may be at risk of seeing feminists walking down the street with nothing covering their breasts except possibly an x. The first thought of that man will not be, “I’ve been waiting for women to finally be equal in their right to expose themselves; I’m so glad it’s happening.” The first response will likely be sexual. Fifty years ago it wasn’t even an issue, as no one would want to boil themselves down to a sexual object. That is exactly what this campaign accomplishes. When a man or woman walks around in revealing clothing there will be less of a focus on who they are and more of a focus on what they look like and what they can do for another person. If you want your bodies to be desexualized then stop walking around in clothing that sexualizes you. (This works both ways; it is akin to a man parading in a speedo, announcing that he should have the full right to do so and calling specific attention to his body parts, then being angry that he is being sexualized by the women around him.) You will gain more respect and have more of a focus on your personality if you would just cover up what should be covered up. Men and women.

Another issue with the movement is the obvious discrimination. Yes, that’s right. If you happen to run across any photos from the movement’s demonstrations in New York, you will find that all the women fit into a certain body type. So much for body positivity. All the women are young, pretty thin and at least somewhat attractive. So what exactly are they fighting for? You can go around and show off your breasts – as long as you are young and pretty. You can’t be too fat. Or too old. Or too ugly. You have to fit in with us. These words are spoken through the actions of the Free the Nipple campaign because they have yet to have someone different from themselves and their body types in the movement.

I am still waiting for the Free the Nipple campaign to roll into a place where showing their nipples is illegal. Perhaps they have and I’ve just missed it. But everything I’ve seen was in New York City, where it is already legal. Yeah, let’s have a demonstration complaining about how showing our nipples is illegal in a place where it is legal. Swell. People who cared deeply about their movement were willing to break laws they felt were unjust. The Underground Railroad harbored escaped slaves. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s took part in sit-ins in all-white establishments. The Pro-Life Movement blocked the doors of abortion facilities. Where is the risk? If this is so oppressive, where is the risk of arrest to prove that the laws are unjust?

They know the answer that many of us have long figured out. Their movement is meaningless. Feminism is unnecessary today. There is no wage gap. There is no rape culture. There is no oppression. A female friend of mine had this to say on Facebook about the Free the Nipple campaign:

…meanwhile around the world young girls have their genitals mutilated for chastity, are shot in the head for going to school, are forced into child marriages, abused, exploited, and trafficked in the millions but by all means, let’s focus on the important issues …Btw women in Saudi Arabia are legally banned from driving or entering libraries… Just saying

I think she nailed it. American feminists have no legitimate claims to inequality. There might still be more male CEOs, but there are plenty of solid female CEOs because they decided to work hard and compete with the men and other women instead of wasting their time running around a city with no shirt on and claiming they are oppressed. It’s no secret that when someone pulls himself or herself up by their bootstraps, stops making excuses and works hard, they can be successful. Feminism in America does not want to have their demands met because they would have to find something else to whine about. They already stretch the truth enough as is to act like a victim of patriarchy. Meanwhile we have women in the highest company positions, women in Congress, the presidential cabinet, the Supreme Court, and running for president. The glass ceiling was broken long ago. Stop crying in the corner and start climbing.

There is a stark and profound comparison when we look at other countries. Five years ago Time Magazine had a picture of a woman in Afghanistan that had her nose and ears cut off while trying to escape from her abusive husband. Girls attempting to go to school have been attacked with acid. Women in Saudi Arabia cannot go anywhere without a male chaperone, wear anything that “shows off their beauty”, drive, vote, swim, try on clothes in stores, or compete in sports.[1] Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are systematically raped to inflict terror on citizens. In Nepal, they are married off young or trafficked as sex slaves. One in twenty-four women die in childbirth. The number is one in ten in Mali, where genital mutilation is the norm. They face domestic violence, rape and the second-highest HIV rate in Guatemala. In Pakistan, any woman attempting to run for office and anyone helping oppressed women, including human rights workers, are the targets of honor killings. They are also gang-raped as punishment for a man’s crime. In anarchic Somalia, women are subjected to daily rapes and are attacked by armed gangs.[2]

I am sure these women would express their deepest gratitude that you care about them enough to fight for their right to parade around topless. Doubtless they think it is the biggest oppression they face as well.

Unspeakable atrocities as America has never known are part of the daily lives of women in other countries. To the American feminists, the most important thing right now is being able to show their nipples in public. That has to be a greater priority than gang-rapes, genital mutilation and sex trafficking.

There are problems in the U.S. as well. An estimated 100,000 child sex slaves are believed to be in the United States every year with another 293,000 at risk. Worldwide, there are between 20 and 30 million sex slaves. By age 50, one in three American women have had an abortion, with many regretting theirs. They become more likely to develop breast cancer, have psychiatric problems, and commit suicide. Around 40% felt pressured into their abortion and wanted to keep their child. Some are forced into one. It enables both sex trafficking and pornography, which are also oppressive to women. Undoubtedly, half of the 2900 daily victims of abortion are female. Yet radical feminism supports abortion and somehow thinks it is legitimate in its opposition to sex trafficking and pornography.

There are fights to be had. But instead of fighting for what matters, feminism clings to inaccurate statistics and aims to be as obscene as possible. Burning bras, walking around topless, becoming lesbians, and using eight year-olds spewing foul language to get your lies and propaganda across will not earn you respect or change anything. It will only show you to be the illegitimate movement you are. It will keep you in the spotlight, keep you in the conversation. Some people might even buy it. If you are that tenacious, you could be a valuable asset in a movement that is worth something. But I don’t think you are. Playing the victim is cowardly. You are afraid to do anything that might take the lights off of you and place them on victims. Selfish people do not take part in selfless acts.

You might be able to convince some like you that your actions actually matter, but I won’t buy it. There are too many oppressions in our own borders and across the world to waste my time on letting you flaunt your bodies to somehow prove that you are a victim. Help victims for a change instead of creating them.

[1] “Twelve Things Women in Saudi Arabia can’t Do”, The Week
[2] “Ten Worst Countries for Women”, Olivia Ward

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weapons on Campus: How Successful are Weapons Bans in Protecting Students?

“Warning: No Weapons Allowed”

“Notice: Unarmed Fish in Barrel Here”

While the first is what the signs actually say, the latter is what message it sends to criminals.

Let’s try to be sensible about this. On its very face value, weapon control would seem to make sense. No weapons, no way to easily harm people, right? Yeah, except that opponents of gun rights beg the question of just how we arrive at no weapons.

Just look at the other stuff we’ve outlawed. There certainly wasn’t any bootlegging during prohibition. There is no heroin in Northern Kentucky. There can’t be. We’ve outlawed it.

In late August, there was a student at NKU taken into custody for having an inoperable gun on her person. (At first, my blood was boiling. I assumed she was just carrying it for protection. Based on the story the university told us, it was a perfectly justifiable reaction. The university, of course, lied to us. There was more to the story. Turns out she threatened someone and pointed the gun at him or her. I guess the best way to keep us safe is to keep us ignorant. But I digress.) It was a shocking occurrence because there is obviously a weapons ban on campus. I cannot understand how there was actually a weapon on campus. She must not have seen the signs!

Despite the sarcasm, the problem is real. This tactic is echoed in schools across the nation. We’re taught to feel safe because there is a weapons ban, when, clearly, they are not obeyed.

Last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon did not happen in a strict gun-free zone – meaning that Oregon is one of only seven states that allows guns on postsecondary campuses – but the college is a posted gun-free zone. I would imagine, for most law-abiding students, that policy is enough.

Our mistake is in thinking that criminals follow laws. Simple, but crucial. Look no further than Chicago to see the terrible effect gun control has in America, where gun violence rates swelled to exorbitant numbers in the very city our president calls home. These are details he apparently forgot about before again politicizing a tragedy in a greedy attempt to disarm honest people.

But I want to focus on college campuses. Most that have housing have a police department. Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is that on the vast majority of campuses they are the only ones with weapons. Police can’t be everywhere at all times. There will be some sort of reactionary lag between a crime and their arrival. A lag that can be devastating.

In the case of NKU, the police responded in about a minute as they happened to be in the vicinity. But let’s set up a hypothetical situation. Let’s say the woman was an actual threat. She planned it out like maniacal school shooters do. And let’s say the police can match their quick response, which is generous since the average police response time is ten minutes.

How many people could someone shoot in a minute?

Most shootings like this only take a few minutes. Often it is all over before the police get there. In a busy library in the afternoon, there could easily be fifty people in close vicinity. FBI studies have shown that a novice can fire three rounds in less than a second from a semiautomatic handgun. Not a rifle. Just a handgun. The Fort Hood shooter fired 100 rounds in seven minutes.

Body counts can pile up pretty quickly.

Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killed 27 in five minutes before killing himself. Police arrived two minutes after it was over.

This is why citizens as a whole should be armed. Relying on the police is a gamble to take. There is a reason for police, and their presence keeps us safe. But any half-brained criminal will not act with police around. They will make sure they aren’t. How long will it take them to arrive? Two minutes? Five? Eight?

I will reiterate: the average mass shooting only lasts a few minutes. The average number of people killed when the shooter is stopped by police is 14.29. The average number killed when the shooter is stopped by a civilian is 2.33.1 Do we want to take these risks?

A student would be expelled for carrying a firearm, when that same student could save an average of 12 lives if push came to shove.

“Yeah, but what are the chances of him being in the right place?” Exactly. That’s why we need a lot of people packing. If you can pass an accuracy test and a background check, you should be able to carry a weapon. It is a violation of someone’s rights to tell them they cannot carry a gun when they have a concealed carry license.

What part of “shall not be infringed” are we missing?

“Good heavens, the students want to defend themselves! We must put a stop to it!”

Here’s the deal: criminals don’t follow laws. Profound, I know, but the very nature of criminals is that they don’t follow laws. Hence the name.

So when we make laws preventing people from carrying weapons, the law-abiding citizens – that wouldn’t use them to commit a crime – abide by the laws and don’t carry weapons, while the people that break laws break the gun law to use the gun to break another law. Why would a person who wants to commit a rape or murder or massacre be worried about an additional gun charge?

All we do with weapon bans is take weapons out of the hands of responsible people that would only use them against a person in defense, and make it much easier for a person with evil intent to commit their crime.

Hopefully you get it, because I’m sick of beating a dead horse.

How much more powerful would women on college campuses be if they could carry a firearm when walking alone instead of mace?

How much more secure would a campus be when we knew that every classroom had students that are ready to fire back at a shooter?

If responsible students and staff were encouraged to carry weapons, how much would the chances drop of being victimized by a suicidal attention-seeker? Who will target a place where it is not known who or how many are carrying guns? There are plenty of less risky targets.

Students want to be able to have a weapon for practical reasons as well. I'd love to have a machete for hiking through the woods or a shotgun to hunt.

I can’t even have any weapons in my dorm room to use off-campus. Still against policies. Still will get me at least suspended.

Something is wrong when students can get alcohol in a basketball arena or free condoms from the health center but can’t have a gun on their person. We’ve seen some pretty big shootings over the past years. We can teach students to throw books, barricade doors and hide in corners all we want, but when are we going to fight lethal force with lethal force?

Until then, we’ll keep wondering why these things happen, blaming it on a violent society or past trauma. The motivations have varied for committing these massacres. This last one was targeted at Christians, which is a whole other story. While there’s certainly not one cause, there is one good solution: make the risk to the criminal high enough to prevent them from doing it. If there’s a good chance of a shooter being hurt or killed without accomplishing their end goal, they may rethink. And if they’re looking to go out in a mass shooting, they may look elsewhere or have their plans delayed long enough to come to their senses.

If a shooter walked into the library, I’d rather have a few people to fire back. Not try to run. Not throw books. Kill the shooter before he can do any harm.

Pearl High School. Appalachian School of Law. New Life Church. Golden Market. New York Mills AT&T Store. Clackamas Town Center.

You probably haven’t heard of these shootings. That’s because the death tolls were significantly lower than other shootings. The killers were stopped by citizens with guns.

Some laws should be broken, such as when they contradict the Constitution. Some shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Students are the ones harmed by the opprobrious policies that disenfranchise us and aid potential shooters.

It is criminally negligent to tell us we can’t effectively protect ourselves. Schools should be ashamed. Administrators and lawmakers should answer for every life taken as a result of their doltish restrictions.

Tell me it doesn’t make sense.

Tell me you’ll do something about it.

My friend Aaron Hatfield, a Student Government Association senator at NKU, is currently pushing for allowing concealed carry on NKU’s campus. I’m thankful someone has stepped up to do so. Contact me below for more information on how to get involved.

1 - The numbers are based on the averages from 100 different shootings. The author details how he arrived at them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Transubstantiation: Is Christ in the Eucharist?

I desire two things from this writing. For born-again Christians, I hope this will better equip you with a knowledge of Catholic belief and how to witness to Catholics you know. For those who are Catholic, I challenge you to truly take an impartial look at your beliefs. Don’t let emotions or the fact that you were raised this way stop you from properly examining your religion. If indeed you find problems with this teaching, examine further and do not hesitate in reaching out to me. If beliefs don’t make sense, nothing is worth holding on to them.

The belief in transubstantiation is a sacred one in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It is elevated as a sacrament and one of the most important parts of the religious devotion of their members. The physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist is believed (in the Catholic Catechism, which I have studied more extensively since I have a number of Catholic friends) to be powerful in a number of ways, including the ability to keep from sin and even help the dead gain quicker entrance into Heaven.

For those unfamiliar, allow a brief explanation. The Catholic Church teaches that when a priest blesses the bread and wine, the bread becomes the literal body of Jesus and the wine the literal blood of Jesus. The bread and wine, however, maintain their appearance and taste. Those who partake in communion, therefore, are believed to partake of Christ Himself.

The Catechism describes it this way:

“The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: ‘Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.’” –CCC, pg. 347, #1376

The belief in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is based off of the words of Jesus in John 6:

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” –John 6:53-57

Taking these words alone, transubstantiation would seem to be, well, substantiated. However, there are very obvious reasons as to why I take issue with this. As it is a very sacred doctrine of the Catholic Church, I will attempt to tread lightly. It must be noted, though, that this teaching is exactly as it appears: Catholics weekly or even daily cannibalize Jesus.

First, the context of John 6 does not at all indicate that Jesus meant that we are to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood. This immediately follows the feeding of the five thousand, a well-known event in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus now has a mass following of people who are not following Him because they believe His message, but because they want more free meals:

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” –John 6:26

Jesus, as He often did, uses figurative language to explain a heavenly principle:

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” –John 6:27-34

Sound like a prior passage? Recall when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman:

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.” –John 4:10-15

Earlier Jesus had called Himself “Living Water”, using that as an example because He was at a well. The same opportunity came when people followed Him for food. In Samaria, the woman sought water when she needed “Living Water”. In Capernaum (where the people found Him), the crowd sought bread when they needed the “Bread of Life”. This is simply a figurative comparison, not a literal truth. No one blesses water to make it become Jesus.

Jesus later continues:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” –John 6:47-51

How do we know this is figurative? The many disciples of Jesus were confused and even angered that Jesus said they must eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53-57):

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” –John 6:60-65

Jesus directly states that “the flesh profiteth nothing”. His words are “spirit”, not literal. The intent was not to state that He is present in the Eucharist, but that it is only Him that satisfies – not a temporary meal. Not all of His words were meant in a literal way. I’ve brought up before to Catholics that there should also be a doctrine of literally cutting our right hands off and plucking our right eyes out when they offend us (Matthew 5:29-30). Not everything is meant literally.

There are a number of other problems with transubstantiation.

Communion, chronologically, is not instituted until John 13. How would the disciples have known that the specific practice of communion is what was meant when Jesus said to eat His flesh and drink His blood? Couldn’t He have meant something else? Or maybe He meant it was a perpetual thing, like every time they ate and drank?

The Catechism states:

“The Eucharistic presence of Christ…endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist.” –CCC, pg. 347, #1377

It might sound ridiculous, but when does this cease to be Christ? Is it after He is eaten? Is it not until the chemical change in the digestive system changes Him into something else? Or do those that partake of communion actually excrete Christ? It may seem humorous, but this presents a problem that needs answered. We would certainly need to properly dispose of whatever is the body and blood of Jesus. If the bread and wine are transformed into Christ, how long do they remain Him?

As mentioned before, these words were merely figurative. We do not say that Jesus is also in our well water because He said He is living water. In John 10:9, Jesus said, “I am the door.” So Jesus is literally a door, right? Or is it every door that we bless becomes Jesus, even though it retains all the properties of a door? It sounds absurd because it is. Paul calls Him the “chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20) and the “spiritual Rock” (I Corinthians 10:4). Jesus says He is the “vine” and we are the “branches” (John 15:5). And while we’re at it, that must mean that Christians are literal “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5:13-14). None of these things were meant in a literal sense, and deep down we know that. They are metaphors that are used frequently in the Bible. Why have we pulled out one metaphor, misinterpreted it, and built a sacred tradition around it all while overlooking the other metaphors?

Did Jesus forget what the law said?

“And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.” –Leviticus 17:10-14

“Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.” –Deuteronomy 12:23-24

The law not only prohibits consuming blood, but makes it a capital offense. Most of Jesus’ disciples were Jewish. If He is commanding them to drink His blood, He is blatantly commanding them to break the law in a very serious way.

Furthermore, Jesus also partook of the elements during the Lord’s Supper. One, this means (under the Catholic belief) that Jesus cannibalized Himself. Two, this means that Jesus broke the Mosaic law.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” –Matthew 5:17-18

This would present a stunning contradiction. Jesus, who claims He came to fulfill the law, broke the law by drinking His own blood. This makes Jesus a liar, and thus someone not really worth following anyway. It would also have given the Jewish religious leaders legitimate grounds for His execution and the executions of His disciples.

It must also be remembered that, at the time of Jesus’ statement in John 6 and the Lord’s Supper, Jesus had not been crucified yet. How could Jesus be resacrificed in the communion elements if He had not yet been sacrificed at all? The initial sacrifice was not even there yet.

The Eucharist claims that communion is not the resacrificing of Christ, but rather the same sacrifice on the cross is present in the Eucharist:

“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice.” –CCC, #1367

However, this would still be contrary to what Hebrews says:

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” –Hebrews 9:12, 24-28

If this sacrifice is showing up on a daily basis in locations across the world, how could it not be considered multiple sacrifices? The Bible makes it clear that Christ was ONCE offered. Catholic communion could rightfully be compared to the sacrifice of animals. Partaking must be a regular thing because doing it just once is not good enough. This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews wrote against.

Rick Jones, a former Catholic and author of Understanding Roman Catholicism: 37 Roman Catholic Doctrines Explained, wrote this in his comparison of the Eucharist to what the Bible says:

“…Can you knowingly partake in this practice now that you know the truth?
‘Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.’" –James 4:17

Jesus said in the very passage that transubstantiation mistakenly comes out of that “he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” –John 6:40

It is not the participation in communion or any other sacraments that brings peace with God. Salvation is not through a church; it is through the blood of Jesus alone.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” –Titus 3:5

Put faith in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Don’t put trust in tradition that is contrary to scripture.

“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” –Mark 7:7-9, 13

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sara's Story

Over a year ago, I delivered the story of Elyssa, a young woman who was almost killed at the hands of an abortionist. It is still one of my most popular posts. I have since heard another equally astounding pro-life story. One that must be told.

A young woman in Mexico, sixteen years old, ultimately dreamed of going into business. But like countless other women, her career plans were derailed by an unplanned pregnancy.

This was Sara’s mother. I randomly encountered Sara for the first time at a new student orientation in the summer of 2014. I was working the table for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) over the summer at Northern Kentucky University. In charge of bringing in freshmen to our ministry, I had the job of spreading the word to as many as I could. I was walking around and felt led, in the way that only the Holy Spirit can, to stop and talk to a couple freshmen sitting against a wall. One of them was Sara.
Sara and I at the BCM at NKU

When she came into the BCM building for the first time, I didn’t recognize her. Too many faces over the summer. Pretty soon, though, she became one of the regular people around the ministry.

Sara has been one of the few people interested in pro-life functions that I attend. I wasn’t sure why at the time. Finally, on the bus to the March for Life, I heard her story.

Her mom was in a bad spot. She really didn’t want a baby. She didn’t want her family to know. Her boyfriend was about to enter the army and didn’t want a baby. And so the aunt of Sara’s mother’s boyfriend took charge to help “fix it”.

Mexico is much different than America when it comes to abortion. Today, only Mexico City has legalized abortion; even then, it was an elite group that got the law passed. Generally, public opinion is against it. The last Forty Days for Life campaign (spring 2015) saw two of the three abortion mills in the city shut down. In 1996, the year Sara was born, only one in forty Mexican women had an abortion by age 40. In the U.S. today, that number is about one in three.

But like the U.S., the criminalization of abortion did not entirely stop it from happening. Sara’s mom, with help from her boyfriend’s aunt, went through several home remedies to attempt abortion. In a third-world country with no legal abortion options, this was the way to go.

The first attempt was with a special tea mix that induces a miscarriage. A fellow blogger on Blogspot, may God deal with her justly, gives these rather crass and chilling instructions:

You will need:

Fresh parsley (preferably organic...I don't want pesticides in my vagina, so I go organic)
500 mg pills/capsules of Vitamin C (Try not to get pills with Bioflavonoids such as Rose Hips. These PREVENT miscarriage.)

The treatment can last 3 days: DO NOT EXCEED 3 DAYS!! This will work or not within 2/3 days.

1. Insert a fresh sprig of parsley as far as possible into the vagina. (parsley induces contractions, yum) Change every 12 hours. When soft, it may be difficult to remove, but this is not dangerous.

2. At the same time, drink parsley infusions. 2 to 6 tablespoons 4 times a day.

Making an infusion: use 2 1/2 cups of boiling water for every ounce of parsley (If you buy it at the store, minus 2/3 stems (for sprigs) this should be the amount of water used to make the tincture). Add parsley to boiling water, remove from heat and cover. Very important that you remove from heat IMMEDIATELY upon adding the parsley. Boiling the water with the parsley in there will make the infusion less effective. Let it steep for at least 20 minutes (the longer it steeps, the more potent it will be. I usually let it steep for 2 hours.

3. During the 3 days (or until your period starts) take high doses of Vitamin C orally. Ideally, take 500 mg every hour up to 6000 mg. You can continue using the Vitamin C for up to 6 days. Vitamin C can bring on menstruation even 3 weeks after a "late" period. you can begin taking Vitamin C immediately after unsafe sex, or if the condom broke, etc.

If successful you should start to bleed in 2 to 3 days.
-You may have cramps (I get 'em bad after doing this) and you can take whatever you usually take for cramps or make a ginger infusion and take that.
-The chances of success are less if you regularly take high doses of Vitamin C
-High amounts of Vitmain C can cause loose stools. No one I know has experienced this, but is has been known to happen.
-Do not use if you have kidney problems.
-Watch for signs of Toxicity Specific to Parsley: Nausea, hallucinations, vomiting, vertigo, hives, paralysis, liver swollen and
painful, urine scanty and darkly colored, and tremors.

The simple fact is, this is abortion. The intended goal is to kill a growing human inside the womb, call them what you may.

But somehow, Sara survived.

Next was an injection into the uterus. From Sara’s description, it sounds similar to a Prostaglandin abortion that induces premature labor and kills the child through the trauma of premature birth. (Prostaglandin abortion is usually around four to eight month’s gestation, though.) It is suggested that the woman have intercourse to help induce labor, but this, thankfully, was not an option in the strained relationship.

But Sara’s mom didn’t go into labor. Sara survived.

After that was a pill to cause a heavier menstrual period, similar to the RU-486 pill in the U.S.

Though Sara’s mom did have a heavier period, Sara was not killed in the process.

Sara survived.

The aunt of Sara’s mom’s boyfriend even recommended the teenager fall on her stomach, although she did not try it. These methods seem primitive, but they are common practice in poor areas of Mexico, where doctors are few and doctors performing abortion are much fewer.

It didn’t appear anything was working. So, after these failed abortion attempts, Sara’s mom was already showing and believed she was three months along. So, after attempting to avoid it, she had to tell her mom that she was pregnant. The one only other person who had any choice in Sara’s very existence said that it was the teenager’s choice as to what to do with her baby. Sara’s mom went to a doctor that performed abortions.

After checking her out, the doctor determined that she was actually four months along. So, while any abortion is immoral, a fetus looks like this at four months:

The doctor witnessed this teenager have a nervous breakdown from stress and fear. In a strange act of mercy, he told her, “A child is always a blessing,” and asked her to consider keeping her daughter.

Despite the confusion in her life, Sara’s mom did just that.

Sara survived.

The times to follow were no less straining. Aside from the strain of a crisis pregnancy, Sara’s mom and her mom were broke. Truly broke. So the next few months involved moving from friend’s house to friend’s house, sleeping on couches. Sara’s grandma used the little money she had to buy yarn to knit a dress to put on Sara when she was born.

But it was at this time that Sara’s mom made a vow to care for Sara’s needs, to make sure she was never wanting and would grow up to have character. The depression that the teenager was dealing with from the pregnancy and rejection was ended. Living for someone else made life worth living.

A few weeks later, a lady gave Sara’s mom a bag full of 0-4 year-old clothes. She didn’t have to buy clothes until Sara was five.

“God always, always blessed me,” Sara told me.

When she was almost seven, Sara and her family immigrated to the United States. It was there that she came to church for the first time. For some reason, Sara liked it. One day she asked her mom to come with her, because “all the other kids have their mom there.” And so she did. Ultimately, both of them came to Christ. A woman who wanted nothing to do with religion and a girl who according to abortion advocates should not be here are both daughters of God.

Sara spent years not knowing the circumstances of her birth. It was just recently that she got all the details, which she then shared with me.

“Even with all that, I’ve never felt unloved,” she said, adding that she has never had bitterness towards her mom.

I asked her what made this story an important part of her testimony. “The first time I heard it, it had me in tears over God’s love…Why am I so special? God wanted me alive for some reason, how can I not spend every moment serving him?”

Sara has survived three attempts on her life and escaped the hands of an abortionist. If she would have already been born, the story would have made national headlines. Yet in the United States, access to murder those in Sara’s position is protected. Encouraged. Celebrated.

Let’s think this through. Let’s say I approached Sara’s mom a few weeks after Sara is born and give her the option to pay me to kill Sara. Let’s say her mom accepts, and I dismember Sara (in a sanitary environment, of course). Then let’s say that outside is a group of liberals and feminists that are yelling encouragement to myself and Sara’s mom. And let’s also say that there is a group of people that peacefully try to stop Sara’s mom from going into the building where I am planning to dismember her young daughter. What would we think of each of these characters?

Mind you, this is after Sara is born. So most would consider me a murderer and Sara’s mom fully complicit in Sara’s death. Society would expect both of us to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If the group of liberals and feminists were not criminally guilty, they would at least be considered evil. The group of people trying to stop Sara’s death would be commended for their effort.

But back it up a month before Sara is born, and suddenly we have a heroic woman with a good doctor. We have a group outside standing for women’s health. And we have an anti-choice extremist group that is to be demonized.

My God, where have we went astray?

Not only do abortion advocates believe that women should be allowed to make the “choice” to kill those like Sara before they are born, but they believe it is a great wrong that there is not equivalent abortion access in nations such as Mexico. They think the United States should be pressuring these nations to fund abortions.

To sift through the liberal rhetoric, Sara should be dead.

Let’s be real: there is no fundamental difference between a newly formed zygote and an infant. Sara did not suddenly become human when she was born. She didn’t become human when at four months gestation her mother decided to keep her. She has never changed species. She was human when she was first fertilized, and she is the same person with the same DNA and same humanity at age nineteen that she was when she was a zygote.

No true liberal will deny that women should have the choice to take their child’s life before birth. When God is working His plan, however, no person or celestial being can stop Him. And He has a great purpose for Sara.

I’ve mentioned in pro-life circles before that no one will likely see the end results of our work. But someone does. We will likely never meet the children that were saved through our witness (on Earth, at least) in front of abortion mills. But someone will. We may never know that a woman in college sees the violent, bloody reality of abortion on signs and decides to never have an abortion. But the life of her children in the future will testify to that. In the same way, I will never meet the doctor that told Sara’s mom “a child is always a blessing.” But I see the fruit of it. He may not even know if the teenage girl decided to keep her daughter. But those of us that know Sara know the end result.

What of the other children? What of all those that were not saved because no one put forth the effort to reason with their parents?

We have blood on our hands.

Collectively, as a nation, we have the blood of 56 million on our hands.

Individually, you have the blood of every person you did not save through your apathy. You treat the pro-life movement like any other fanatical thing, but when you look down your hands are stained red. That should concern you. It probably doesn’t.

If you are pro-choice, it is worse. You have the blood of every child that has died since you’ve held the belief that a born human is worth more than a preborn human. Every single one, because you defend the accessibility to take their lives.

There are people out there like Elyssa. Like Sara. Like other abortion survivors and people saved from abortion. Take a look at them. They look human to me. Since the absurd idea that we evolve while we’re in the womb has long been proven false, they were human from the very beginning. So were all of us.

Their lives are not worth less now because they were born to single parents. Why, somehow, are their lives worth less before they are born?

Pro-choice people, shed your delusion. You are defending the ability to take innocent human life.

Christians, shed your apathy. You are doing nothing to end the slaughter of innocent humans.

There are millions upon millions of people that have been savagely murdered in the United States because of fools who believe it to be okay because the circumstances are hard, and equally foolish people who are against it in conscience that refuse to act.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances. I know people who grew up in single-parent homes. People that went through foster care. People that were abused. I have yet to meet one that has said they wish they had never been given the chance to continue living. Where is the choice for those like Sara? Where is their value?

Value doesn’t come from being “wanted”. I’m looking at you, Planned Parenthood. Value is intrinsic to humanity. It cannot be divorced based on a formula. If you know a Sara, it’s time to stand up and confront the greatest human rights violation of our time. If you care about her life, you should care about the lives of those like her.

If this has touched you in some way, share this story. Subscribe below to follow my blog via email. And most importantly, find some way to be involved in the pro-life movement. If you aren’t sure how, drop me an email or comment below.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Music Video Interpretation: Be Your Everything - Boys Like Girls

Towards the beginning of my blog’s history, I began to offer interpretations to music videos. I completed two: “Blurred Lines” and “Clarity”. My goal has been to do this third installment, but it has been continuously sidetracked – until now, that is.
Boys Like Girls has been a rising band, and there is probably not a better song of theirs than “Be Your Everything”. (Here is a lyric video link: the song isn’t hard to understand though.) The song is good in and of itself, but the music video really puts a unique spin on it. (And the music video:
Let’s set the stage. You have to pay attention to the background settings to realize exactly what is going on. It took me a few times, but the song is so much richer with it. The couple, the only two people in the video besides the other members of Boys Like Girls, are separated in a post-apocalyptic area. It looks like a nuclear warhead has been detonated, or some other war has decimated their unknown location. We see a ravaged ghost town and its outskirts with destroyed automobiles. Everything is grayscale, dusty, and hazy.
The song starts within ten seconds. First seen is Martin Johnson, the lead vocalist of BLG. He, in tattered, dirty clothes, walks through the smoky wilderness outside the town. Low plant growth (the first vegetation to grow after an environmental disaster) and dust cover the ground.
“Four letter word, but I don’t have the guts to say it.” An assumed reference to love. “Smile ‘til it hurts, but let’s not make it complicated.” So often there are subtle hints dropped instead of legitimate feelings shared. This leads to overanalyzing situations when it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Now the female side of this friendship comes briefly into view. Actress Allie Gonino plays this role. (For a former Disney actress she is quite attractive, but that is beside the point.) She too wears a rag-tag outfit, as well as a head covering.
“We’ve got a story, but I’m about to change the ending. You’re perfect for me, and more than just a friend so we can just stop pretending now, I gotta let you know somehow.” It is soon clear that these two are well-acquainted with each other. But Johnson’s character wants to make an alteration to the friendship; that is, more than friends. Both are traveling, but it is unclear how much distance separates them, until they both go past the same cross not too far apart in time. We also don’t know what else separates them. Notice Johnson looking at pictures, doubtless of the two of them (and they’re Polaroid). He then puts them in his vest. He just has to let her know how he feels, somehow.
The band is seen in contrasting color. The chorus comes and offers contrasting views that speak for themselves, and to the name of the song: “I’ll be your shelter; I’ll be your storm. I’ll make you shiver; I’ll keep you warm. Whatever weather, baby I’m yours. Be your forever, be your fling, baby I will be your everything.” And then to the “baby I wi-ill, baby I will, baby I wi-ill be your everything.”
During the first chorus, Gonino walks a lonely path while Johnson rides a motorcycle. The motorcycle is the one working vehicle of transportation, as the two pass ruined cars, busses, and even a helicopter. Eventually Johnson gets off the motorcycle and kneels down. Again he is seen looking at the photos.
It gets better. “We used to say that we would always stick together.” Again, a reference to a long friendship. During this line, Gonino walks into an old dusty school bus and runs her hands across the seats as if she is reminiscing. The symbolism to their school days is obvious and beautiful. “But who’s to say that we could never last forever.” While Johnson gets back on the motorcycle, Ganino places her head on a seat of the bus and has a distant look. “Girl, got a question, ‘Could you see yourself with somebody else?’” They are close friends, who else could she see herself with besides him? (That, and there is less to choose from after whatever disaster has happened – but let’s not ruin the romance.) He arrives into the desolate town while she continues to reminisce in the bus. She is warming up to the idea of them being together. “’Cause I’m on a mission…” As he continues to walk through the town, she too arrives there. “…And I don’t wanna share, I want you all to myself right now. I just wanna scream it out!”
As the chorus comes back in, the coloration is becoming a bit lighter. Johnson continues to walk through the town while Gonino stands against a building, still deep in thought. He seems quite upbeat as he strolls along, even pulling at things, while she seems quite reflective.
Then the bridge. “No matter what you do, yeah…” Johnson grows in energy, pacing around and pulling at things more fiercely. Gonino, for lack of a better term, finds herself in front of a heap of trash. “…Girl I’ll be there for you!” Johnson and lead guitarist/backup vocalist Paul DiGiovanni share a moment at the microphone apart from the story line. Gonino bends down next to the trash pile. Johnson again looks at the Polaroid pictures. “And every time you close your eyes…” The action continues to accelerate. Gonino hastily digs through the pile of trash. Johnson walks up to a shrine-esque display he has set up, complete with candles and cloth. “…I will be by your side!” Gonino digs through the pile even quicker. Johnson picks up a picture of Gonino that is the centerpiece of his 'shrine'. “’Cause every time you make me sing, ‘Baby I wi-ill be your everything.” Other than a brief shot of Johnson looking up from the photo, the focus is on Gonino for these lines. She continues to dig until she is down to a few plastic bottles. She finds something as the song transitions into the final chorus, quieter with less instrumentals. Gonino places her hand over her heart out of shock as memories flood back.
Johnson walks through the town reminiscing. It is now apparent what Gonino has found. It is a flower, seemingly insignificant but of great symbolism. It brings color to a fairly dull background. It shows that something could bloom in this environment. And just as a flower bloomed in this decimated world, so too can their love. She gathers it into an old glass jar.
The second half of the chorus picks back up from the contrasting lull in the song with an awesome quick turn-around by Johnson (apart from the story line). This focuses a lot on the band itself. But by the beginning of “baby I wi-ill…”, both sides of this soon-to-be-more-than-friendship are seen. They make eye contact, with serene, unsurprised faces. Johnson seems eager while Gonino is more solemn. They both knew it was coming, and it is right.
“Baby I, baby I will – I’ll be your storm! Baby I will, yeah!” The song wraps up as the two meet. Behind them, trash rains down, the new confetti in this world. Things begin to get lighter as Gonino takes off her head covering. The two just look at each other, Gonino with an understanding half-smile. (He’s out of the friend zone!) They realize they both share feelings for each other, and are ready to take their friendship further.
“Baby I will be your everything.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Completely Secular Argument Against Gay Marriage

There is a sad excuse of an argument almost unanimously used by gay marriage advocates. “You’re trying to force your religion on me! What about the separation of church and state?!”

This immediately is guilty of the genetic fallacy. Simply because an argument comes from a religious person does not inherently mean that the argument is religious, nor that it is wrong. Homosexual marriage proponents attempt to avoid actually discussing the issue. Ad hominem is the way to go.

Another issue is the idea of separation of church and state. Without going into too much detail, separation of church and state does not require an individual to check their beliefs at the door. Contrary to popular liberal belief, it is not even in the Constitution. Rather, Thomas Jefferson mentioned the “wall of separation” in his letter to the Danbury Baptists. It was simply a reassurance that government would not overstep its bounds in establishing a state religion. Never did he mention that they are to neglect their convictions in politics.

This raises another point. Opposing gay marriage on grounds of religion does not violate the establishment clause of the first amendment of the Constitution. The establishment clause was put in place to prevent a single sect (from their prior experience under the Church of England) from being forced on others by government. The entirety of Christian churches – Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox – oppose gay marriage, except, of course, the new liberal movements to hijack biblical truth. Judaism and Islam are also against redefining marriage. So limiting marriage to monogamous, heterosexual relationships is hardly the establishment of a religion. Rather, it reflects a number of religions.

Furthermore, the very argument against a metaphysical code of morals defining marriage is hypocritical. Why do homosexual marriage proponents believe that gays should marry? It is in line with their own morals, however twisted they are. The attempt to avoid a religious view by claiming that God should have no say is itself a religious claim, for the morals that tell them gay marriage is acceptable are based off of a metaphysical belief. To avoid any use of immaterial constraint is to ignore morality entirely, in which case there is no right to tell me I am wrong, since one’s morals are no better than another’s. Herein lies the problem with the claim of the goodness of sodomite marriage.

That being said, many Christians have chosen to go the route of religious argument. The Bible says so is a good enough argument for me, but it is not for many. Nor is it reason enough to prevent something like gay marriage from being allowed. I will grant that our law should have better reason than a solely religious restriction on marriage.

So, even with the deep flaws apparent in the argument for gay marriage and against religious principles, I am still able to present a completely secular view on why homosexual marriage is negative for our society.

There is a reason as to why marriage has generally been limited to a man and a woman. Pause: red flags are already going up among gay marriage proponents. “Men married more than one woman in the Bible.” Let us briefly follow the scent of the red herring. It is certainly true that men married more than one woman in the Bible. But nowhere do we find it condoned. In fact, it always bred problems. Abraham took his wife’s handmaid to wife, and through it was born the still-hot relationship between the Jews and Arabs. Jacob’s wives were jealous of each other, and his children quarreled consistently, ultimately selling one brother as a slave because of their jealousy over Jacob playing favorites. David’s family fell apart and warred against each other. Solomon never got God’s full blessing. The reason that homosexuality was dealt with more severely is that is strikes at the very image of God by making sex into something totally different than what God intended it to be, and that it skews the image we see between Christ and His bride by making God’s design of marriage something to be mocked.

Marriage is traditionally monogamous and heterosexual, I believe, for two reasons. The first pertains to where it leads, the second to its importance in society.

I must be careful to avoid the slippery slope fallacy. I do not claim that worse things WILL happen, but that I believe it is the logical conclusion of sodomite marriage. If we are to erode the definition of marriage that has been with us, literally, since the beginning of time, why should we only slightly alter it? Why not throw the door wide open? Why discriminate against those that want to marry something different? If marriage can be changed from its root definition, there should not be a ban on other marriages. Why can’t marriage be, as a friend would say, “between a man, two chickens, and a bathtub?” Take the “mecaphile” that is marrying a Volkswagon Beetle. Or the countless cases of people marrying dogs. And goats. And there is the woman the married a warehouse. And a man who married a tree. There are plenty more examples.

These are bizarre examples, but there are worse possibilities. There are parents who want to marry their children, along with other incestuous relationships. Polygamous marriages have been banned in every state, but why should polygamists be excluded from marriage and homosexuals included? Then there is the movement for pedophiliac rights. Their claim is that pedophilia is simply a sexual orientation, just as the LGBT movement claims theirs are.

Are we willing to be consistent with our views? If it is true that an individual should marry whomever he loves and we are to be tolerant of that, it is hypocritical to say that two men can marry but a man and two women cannot. Or a woman and a dog, a man and a tree, a woman and a warehouse. Or a father and his daughter. Or a man and a child. It is practicing elitism to elevate gay relationships to the status of marriage yet hang all sorts of other marriages out to dry. Be consistent in your demands. Changing the blueprint for marriage ruins the definition and makes anything a possibility.

Then there is the lack of sustainability of such a practice as sodomite marriages. I dislike Vladimir Putin as much as the next guy, but his law relating to homosexuals got a bad rap. Russia is in a bad situation created by Communism. The killings of millions over the years along with unimaginable casualties in World War II left them hurting in population. Then add the despair of living in a brutal totalitarian state that drove women to the norm of multiple abortions. The nation is hurting in regard to population. Hence, Putin has heavily regulated abortion almost to the point of full criminalization. They need strong families that, frankly, can reproduce and grow Russia’s population. This is also why Putin signed the law to ban homosexuals from advertising and openly advocating their lifestyle. It did not criminalize homosexuality, as the American media led people to believe.

This springboards to the sustainability problem with homosexual unions. Sodomy does not produce children. Unless there is a heterosexual relationship that takes place outside of the homosexual union, no children will be produced.

However, society has a vested interest in the traditional family. The natural result of heterosexual marriage is the rearing up of children. While individuals should not be forced to be essential factories producing children, any strong nation has marriages that produce offspring. Much of the health and future of a nation can be viewed through population pyramids. If the most populous age ranges are younger, there is a good future. If the bulk of the population is concentrated in age ranges closer to natural death, there is something wrong. The free allowance and acceptance of gay marriage would have a detrimental effect on the population by virtue of its impossibility to produce children. Without being too crass, there is a reason for the design of men and women; there is a puzzle that fits together, and only through natural sex comes the possibility of having children. Even in vitro fertilization utilizes the same process. Put simply, homosexual relations will not further the healthy future of a society. Only heterosexual marriage can properly accomplish that.

The inconsistencies in the movement to legalize gay marriage are telling. The lack of regard for bringing children into the world is concerning. For completely nonreligious reasons, it is vital to maintain the age-old definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

That being said, a religious argument is not an evil thing. In order to truly examine the inherent rightness or wrongness of gay marriage, one must do so through some metaphysical morality. Attempts to reason away the validity of biblical truth will fail; it has stood over time and it promises to until the end. Gay marriage is imprudent through secular reasoning. It is sinful through the law of God.