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My First Book
Other Places You’ll Find Me
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Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens (and others) have inspired a new generation of atheists. They are smart, they are sharp, and they are… grumpy. At least according to author Mitch Stokes. I agree with him.
Intended as a resource for believers, A Shot of Faith to the Head is Stokes’ attempt to show that Christians stand on solid philosophical ground as they face the rising tide of Neo-Atheism that is often characterized as not just unbelief, but belligerent unbelief.
Overall, Stokes does a fine job. I especially enjoyed his treatment of natural selection, which Dawkins in particular employs as a favorite argument against the need for a god. Stokes’ counter is how can the atheist know for certain that natural selection has indeed given us the correct faculties for determining whether or not belief is rational. The honest answer is that the atheist cannot know if this is so. His other arguments, including the counter to the neo-atheists’ clamoring for evidence (what’s the evidence for the evidence, and so on…), are strong.
This book isn’t meant to convert nonbelievers. It is meant to show that Christians can be confident that their faith is reasonable. Although I found the book refreshing, it does wade into some deep philosophical waters at times. Thus many believers may find the reading dry. But overall, a solid effort.
Thomas Nelson gave me a complimentary copy of this book.
Until Monday night, that word described my thoughts on Amendment 1, a proposed amendment to the NC state constitution that would define marriage between one man and one woman as the only domestic partnership that would be recognized in the state.
I did my homework. I studied the reasons for and against the amendment. Most of all, I prayed for wisdom. Regardless of the outcome, there are potential consequences for the citizens of our state. I finally came to a decision late Monday night.
I voted against Amendment 1, and my faith had everything to do with it.
Some of you reading this, who have been my friends for years, are undoubtedly disappointed in that decision. A few of you may question the legitimacy of my faith. Some of you may be surprised. Why did I vote this way, and how did faith have anything to do with voting against something that supposedly protects marriage?
There are the insignificant reasons: it’s legislative overkill, bigger government, the secular government sticking its fingers in what is largely a religious issue, the church getting involved in politics. But these reasons pale to the main reasons I chose to vote against Amendment 1.
I know what the Bible says about marriage. I still believe what the Scripture says is true, that marriage is between one man and one woman. I am not for homosexual marriage. I realize that voting against this amendment may open up the door to that possibility and that it carries some eventual potential risks for churches and faith-based professionals (thus I understand the reasons that supporters voted for it).
But I also know that the Bible says much more about caring for the helpless, the abused, and those who cannot speak for themselves than it does about marriage.
The wording of Amendment 1 opens up a Pandora’s Box of issues that could potentially rob such people of rights. Here are just a few:
- Children of unwed parents could lose much-needed health insurance that is provided to their parent, who is now covered by their domestic partner’s benefits.
- Victims of domestic abuse could lose some protection as this amendment could lead to lesser charges being filed against the abuser.
- Custody proceedings could become more muddied and complicated, and the main ones who suffer will be the children involved.
I chose justice for the helpless, the abused, and those who could not speak for themselves over legislative “protection” for marriage. Scripture is full of such injunctions, and Jesus lived this to the full. That’s what I am called to do.
And regardless of how we voted, this issue doesn’t end at the ballot box.
If you chose to vote for the amendment, then spend time everyday protecting your marriage. Pornography, adultery, lack of communication, abuse, and apathy are way more dangerous to marriage than whether or not the government eventually sanctions homosexual unions. (This goes for those of you who voted against Amendment 1 as well).
If you chose to vote against the amendment, actively pursue justice for those who need it. Serve the poor. Mentor the fatherless. Love those who do not live like you. (This goes for those of you who voted for Amendment 1 as well).
Legislation can never change hearts. Only the gospel can do that. Christians, regardless of how we voted on Amendment 1, let that change begin in us. Because the kingdom comes, not through the ballot box, but through lives radically changed by grace.
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It has been La Casa de Sickness around the Saufley house recently. I took my first sick day in many a moon yesterday (and still somehow managed to get in 6.5 hours of work). Nyquil has been my best friend fro several days. Add to that some other blog projects and work-related deadlines, and there hasn’t been much action here at the ol’ RTL recently. It may take some time for me to catch back up. So stay tuned. Consider me to be on injured reserve until further notice.
The RLT Cinema player is located in the widget sidebar to the right. Simply click the video, which is the feature of today’s post.
Jim Gaffigan is the funniest man on the face of the earth. No one can talk about laziness, cake, bacon, and Hot Pockets with the same wit and humor as The Pale One can.
Today’s RLT Cinema feature shows Gaffigan taking on the Pope. Very funny stuff. Gaffigan can talk about religion in a way few people can. Many of the things he says border so close to offensive for many people, yet you walk away laughing so hard you want a Hot Pocket.
After nine years and over 106,000 miles together (she had 59,000 on her when we bought her), I’m finally putting my old black horse out to pasture.
I’m going to miss her.
We bought her back in January 2002, a month before our oldest daughter was born. We needed a new car with a little more room for a baby. She outlasted three other cars (plus three years of our mommy van). In the past year, I’ve essentially paid a car payment each month replacing old parts. Last week, I pulled into the driveway and smoke started pouring out of the hood. Antifreeze was everywhere. I suspect a weak head gasket, which I’ve been nursing for several years. As badly as I want to fix her and keep her going, I can’t do it anymore.
Although I’m a little frustrated at the inconvenience, I’m not worried. If this would have happened five years ago, I would have freaked out and worried as if God did not exist. I know better now. This isn’t worth worrying about. I’ll say my good-byes, and hopefully trade her in on one of these bad boys:
Aw, snap! The ultimate in octogenarian luxury. The definition of “Chaplain Car”. And the standard in dependability (my father swears by these Buicks). I’m past the age where I care about what my car looks like. I just want something that’ll stay out of the shop.
Although some 26’s with spinners and a sub in the back would thug it out.
… to my Buttercup, Laura.
On April 24, 1996 at 10:20 PM, we started dating. She was wearing her Smashing Pumpkins T-shirt, her red hooded seatshirt, her cut-off jeans, and her Chucks.
On April 24, 1997 at 10:30 PM, I asked her to marry me. She said, “I can’t believe you! I can’t believe you!” I had to ask if that was a yes. It was.
On August 1, 1998, we got married. It was a storybook wedding. Over twelve years later, we still have people telling us it was the coolest wedding they’d every attended.
In April, we’ll have been together for fifteen years. In August, we’ll have been married for thirteen years. They’ve been the best years of my life. I’m the luckiest guy on earth. All you fellas should be jealous.
I love you, babe. Thank you for loving me, way more than I deserve. Yoda one for me (always have been, always will be).