Recently, I was browsing the forums on a website that belongs to an indie band I like. In one of the forum discussions, a fan suggested that this Texas band – which has several female members – should move to a state that supports women’s rights. This comment quickly inspired a debate…
Taking a second look at a very misunderstood part of our faith. Being made in the image of God fits everything we know and feel about the human experience. Super evolved ape just does not add up
Wow what a bold, great article. On such a muddied topic, Christians need to hear stuff like this.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:8-13
This passage has been on my mind lately. It has especially been a relevant verse in the context of one of the ministries I am a part of, Streetlights, in which we gather to pray for visions from God about where sex trafficking is going on in Des Moines and then follow those to pray against it in the city. We’ve seen some crazy things and God move in awesome ways to see God’s favor, protection, and big prostitution rings busts at places we’ve prayed over.
This verse has come up in prayer repeatedly and has been a big part of the understanding of our mission, to expose and bring light into dark places. We understand that praying over a place, even if we see nothing or talk to no one, is having an impact in the spiritual realm to do war against the devil’s strongholds and be the light of the world. We battle not against flesh and blood, Amen?
Now there is a lot of darkness in our country, culture, and world today. There are a lot of places and issues which we dare not go into and left unsaid. ”It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Yet, it is our task and calling, as children of the light to not just mention what is done in secret but actively expose the darkness and shine a light into it. Now, there is some darkness, some strongholds, which are more implanted, deeper, fundamental, unsaid, and subtle than others. In light of some atrocities, they may even seem insignificant. But all lies stand against Jesus and every foothold is a threat to person’s soul. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
So it with this in mind that we ought to expose the worst deeds of darkness with the intention of appealing to people’s good sense and morality (while they still have any) with the hope of bringing them further and further into the light. We, as the light, ought to actually go to the darkest places first because it is there the light shines brightest and the shadows of gray are chased away in turn.
For example, the spiritual battle of lies behind sex trafficking goes much deeper and is more subtle than the trafficking itself. Yet, the horrors of sex trafficking, especially child sex trafficking, are obvious. People hear about what we do at Streetlights and shocked but intrigued, they legitimately think its great that we care and are doing something about this injustice. Same goes for Intervarsity’s “Jesus, Justice, and Poverty” week last year in which we spent the week demonstrating and informing students on campus about sex trafficking. So we expose, with statistics, testimonies, prayer, and action, the darkness of sex trafficking and people respond.
Yet, it does not stop there. The obvious injustice of child sex trafficking leads to regular sex trafficking, which leads to more common prostitution, which leads to talk of the porn industry, which leads to stripping, then personal pron consumption, then ultimately lust. Lust can then lead to expose the culture of objectification and the hookup culture. Trafficking can lead to expose labor trafficking, workers rights, and other injustices.
You see, in the same way that the Kingdom of God, the movements of the body of Christ, is all connected and moving together under the headship of Jesus, the kingdom of the devil is connected as well. The ruler of the air has his own plans, schemes, and plots, all working together under his lies. Like one giant dark castle, the lies and plans of the devil are all under one roof. Most people are not genocidal tyrants and don’t willingly believe in lies or have malevolent intentions. Few would. Yet they fail to realize that through their beliefs in a few lies, like lust or porn consumption, they end up in the same residence, the same darkness, and the same house of lies, that consents to the more obvious injustice. Therefore, it is our duty to expose the great injustices of our time and culture, to go deep into the dark castle and point out the fruits of their ideas, that their house is built on very dangerous lies that contribute to through even their passive consent in the hope that through the Holy Spirit they would be brought into the fullness of the light, namely, Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
It is into this framework which I am bringing and beginning my work in the abolition of abortion. The lies behind and surrounding abortion probably too numerous to count. Primarily, I see at it’s root Pride and the willingness to put one’s own convenience, the prospect of an easier future, ahead of your own child’s life. Yet, like lust, you can’t go around condemning pride and expect you to get anywhere. People (probably because of their pride :)) will think you’re silly and not listen. But if you show them a picture of a 21 week old aborted fetus, in all its horrid gruesomeness, that lie and injustice is hard to ignore. If you then explain to them that this is legal in all 50 states, that there is no substantial difference between the child here and at any other stage of development, and that there are 3500 abortions everyday in the US, well then you’re starting to shine some light into the darkness. You start talking about the horrors of late term abortion and then pretty soon you’re discussing the lies of rape exception, when life begins, and getting to the roots of pride.
Do not think I’m promoting some sensational tactic to doing social justice, that I’m merely saying to pull on people’s emotions to get them to your side. This is about shining a light into the darkest places with the goal of not merely that single issue, but to expose all darkness and bring God’s light and Kingdom into every dark corner and cranny of the world and our minds. This is about living out the Christian life and doing justice.
So this has been part of the approach to abolishing abortion which God has called me to lately. I will take propaganda drop cars, showing the life that is the unborn child, showing statistics, and even showing the aftermath of the abortion (yes, that was me around campus). I may end up doing something similar with large posters around campus next semester for the same reason. I do this all with the intention of exposing the darkness of abortion and by going after the darkest of injustices, to in turn and through the working of the Holy Spirit expose all darkness and bring people into the light.
Of course, and I do not have space here to give it full due, this is all done with compassion and love in the name of Jesus. Every time I place a drop card I pray that the person who reads it would 1) Think about abortion 2) Think About Abortion as murder 3) Become involved in it’s abolition. But more importantly and emphatically I always pray that little card would a seed in a persons life to get them thinking about sin and their need for Jesus. I’m also beginning to just pray often for abortion clinics in town, the workers and the customers. I am also enthusiastically seeking to build connections and relationships with Agape Pregnancy Center near Drake so that anything I may do on campus is surrounding by and built on love and help for women who need it. Exposing the darkness and battling the culture must always be girded by love, compassion, and help for those caught in it.
I don’t get everything right all the time and I struggle more than people know, but I truly believe that love with truth is just as bad as truth without love and that we, as Christians, are called to find that balance that had, full of grace and truth, between justice and love. It is not one or the other, they are not mutually exclusive. So that is what I attempt to do through my daily interactions, conversations, and ministry. We must not be afraid to go deep into the darkness of our times and shine our light. Merely staying at the surface level of niceties, politeness, and cheap grace does not change the world. The Kingdom of God has come near and it brings a spirit of power to do the work of God in love and boldness. I pray that we may be called into that Kingdom, to serve God and others courageously, and to expose the darkness of our times that the light may shine the brighter.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16
I need to write this down while I’m living it cus its kinda crazy. Actually, its really crazy. So crazy that I’m not using emphatically but most people will actually think, including myself, that I’m going crazy.
My freshman year I was less than a year into being Christian and after a very experiential and subjective conversion, was really passionate about actually finding out what I believed. Following Solomon’s lead, therefore, I prayed for wisdom. Man did God deliver. I actually did very little school work, read very few books, but was somehow able to learn and retain a ton of information about understanding Jesus in like of other religions and worldviews. Out of my few years in college I have, among other rounded parts of Christianity, gained a love for truth, apologetics, conversations, answering questions, and even public speaking.
But this is not about my prayer for wisdom. No, this is about my next prayer: for asking God to speak to me. Now, when I saw I was praying for these things I do not mean that I was some kind of fasting prayer warrior. I’m talking I made it a priority to pray for that in my life so I would pray for it in my normal morning and night prayers. After 4 years of college and a lot of blessing, I decided to shift my focus away from wisdom. Without even realizing it, I began placing an emphasis on hearing and deciphering God’s will. This came out in phrase, “God, speak to me.” or “Reveal yourself to me.” Pretty typical Christianese type of prayer, right? Morning and Night, nothing spectaucalar.
Well, without even realizing it, I started to have these.. sort of.. conversations. Where my inner self would have a thought, idea, or complaint and immediately I seemed to respond to myself with what I knew was the right, Godly response. This started to happen frequently and I began to be struck at the depth and truth of my own responses. At first I didn’t think of it at all. When I started to notice it, I was pleased with own connection with God’s truth that I was able to correct myself so readily with the truth. Then I started to think about the influence of the Holy Spirit, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit and he was able to speak through and influence my thoughts in such a way.
And then something weird happened. On Monday night of June 17th, I went to a weekly IV summer bible study and we watched a movie called Father of Lights detailing some Christians radical service to God and supernatural experiences and provision. I loved it and was ready to go downtown looking for limps so I could see God’s power show up.
Well that night, before bed, I got down on my knees for usual prayers. Like usual, expect with perhaps a little extra meaning, I prayed for God to use me, to give me courage, to speak to me, and to show me his will. Then, as a sort of response, a thought from within me said, “Yeah? Then don’t sleep tonight?”
"What?" I thought. "Don’t sleep tonight."
Now I have done some vision prayer before and one of the indication that a word is from God and not you is if you just can’t get it out of your head. Well I could not get the words “Don’t sleep tonight” out of my head.
What? No, that can’t be right,” I thought. “I have workouts tomorrow, its important I get a good nights sleep, God wouldn’t do that.”
But the instruction continued and felt like some of the surest words I had ever recieved. I started thinking about how if was from God then most of that other responses/ convos must have likely been from God too. ”Yeah, exactly.” seemed to be the response. “You asked for me to speak to you and now I am.” By this time I’m up off my knees pacing back and forth across my room. ”This can’t be happening, this isn’t real.” “Why not? You know I speak to people, you’ve been praying for it, why not you?”
Well in the flood of thoughts and responses going through my head, I think about God giving me a sign so that I can know this really is from God and I’m not going crazy or its demonic. I pray for a sign and the words that pop into my head are “red hummer,” as in the car. I think, “OK thats probably good for now, I’ll figure out if this is really God tomorrow, for now I’m going to bed.”
That next day, I wake up and my back has tightened up and is KILLING ME. I haven’t had any back problems at all, mind you, and can’t help but think I would not be waking up with problems if I had been awake. Was this a punishment? Was this why God didn’t want me to sleep? Well, i don’t know and I’m still not convinced it was real but I remember “Red Hummer.” I ride to and fro workouts, forget to look for the hummer. On the way to work I’ve got my eye out but nothing. OK, whew, I’m not going crazy. Then, as I pull into my usual spot at work, on the east side mind you, I see it. A red Hummer H3 parked alone in the middle of the parking lot, one I have never seen before. WHAT!>? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I have a mini freakout in the car before work. So I guess God is directly speaking to me? what?
Then I think, OK, i think it might be God but what would I have to do to make up for not believing. The first thought into my head is “don’t sleep for two nights.” OK, now I’m having my doubts again. After work I go by the library. First, I feel to voice call to me go pray to a women walking by, I chase her down and iI’m nervous but ts easy I just bless and her and move on. Then I should pray for another girl who I lose in a building, a bunch of people come out, I’m feeling overwhelmed. God tell me, its ok lets goto the library. Before getting online I go to the library stacks to pray and sort this out. Basically, instead of waiting for grace to speak to me I basically forced a deal on God to show me another hummer so I can REALLY trust him because praying for all those people would be tough and the kingdom need is huge.
Although I was hopeful to see that second hummer, it did show through the night, although perhaps I could have been looking better. I’m starting now to think my request was a bit shallow. I mean, how many Hummers, let along red hummers do you see in your average day? week? month? Yet I did still follow, and am following the Spirits initial call to stay up all night. Tonight, when I would normally be in bed, I went over near Planned Parenthood, where I was told to pray for the night, Then God said, okay go to the library now. Ok now write down my story which I’m doing now. I feel like after I’m done He’s saying it’s okay for me to go to bed because I was being obedient and I’m losing functionality.
When I asked why losing sleep the answer was, “because it’s too important to you.” which is very true. I feel God is also saying how even more effective I can be for the kingdom with my time. I don’t need to stay up all night every night but I don’t need 8 hours and sleeping in everyday.
So for right now I guess I’m listening to the voice in my head that sounds like God and keeping an eye out for red hummers. I know it sounds crazy but isn’t this what the Holy Spirit is supposed to be like? Isn’t this what we see in the Jesus and the early church? Isn’t this what I was praying for? More to come.
"Conservative" and "Liberal" are shifting terms because they depend on what one is conserving or liberalizing/changing. For the most part, Conservatives of today believe in conserving the classical liberal ideals and principles of yesterday. That is to say: freedom, republicanism, federalism, representative government, free markets, and the Christian morality which holds it all together. No conservative would suggest nothing should ever change, that everything should be conserved and we should stagnate. For many of principles such as free markets and Christian morality inherently contain the prospect of labor toward positive change, productivity, growth, and bringing forth profit from the earth and for the Kingdom. It is the Conservative’s quest to bring forth a “more perfect union,” but within the Constitutional and classical liberal framework, not according to the whims of the modern mob. The foundation of my political belief, however, is not classical liberalism but the inherent depravity of human nature and the ability for Jesus to change lives. Classical liberalism, freedom, checks and balances, decentralized government, community focus, and much more flows from that. Ultimately, the solution of our political ailments is and must be Jesus because so long as he is not changing lives, our human nature will take over. For these reasons, I would label myself as a Christian Conservative, with Christian most positively first. If I were to write a book, it would be a combination of Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levine and The Lamb’s Agenda by Samuel Rodriguez, and I highly recommend both.
This is tough to see but needs to be seen. Graphic picture victim of Abortionist Douglas Karpen. Too often we in the church justify ourselves by asking “Who is my neighbor?” “What is the unborn?” “We can’t really know” “It’s complicated” It is a human life made in the image of God. The only difference between between a child in or outside of the womb is a matter of location and development. Even the difference between a child at 30 weeks and 3 is one of development. It is simply unjustifiable. It is simply murder and there are 3400 everyday in the US. This occurred within 2 miles of 50 visible churches… Oh that the Church may rise up and fulfill its role as the Body of Christ!
(via Abolish Human Abortion)
Also created in the image of God - they’re living, breathing, and sentient people. They have heartbeats, thoughts, dreams, and feelings. What about them?
What about them? No one is talking about killing full grown women, merely preventing them from killing their own unborn children. Women have very real dreams and feelings, but they are no excuse for killing an unborn baby. Women are created in the image of God and therefore have inherent and sacred dignity and worth. I actually believe in the inherent dignity and worth of women so much that I believe it should be protected in the womb as well as outside. Having an unplanned pregnancy is difficult, no doubt more difficult than i can ever imagine. But no amount of difficulty, inconvenience, or damaged dreams is ever an excuse to kill another human being made in the image of God. That’s why God gave us family, community, and churches, to help when things get tough.