Thinking Out Loud

September 16, 2019

Opinions Change, Values Should Not

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:02 am

Despite the steady growth of people posting things to WordPress as evidenced by this slightly older graphic, the impact of bloggers in Christianity is not the same as it once was.

Now that I’m not posting every single day, 24/7/365, I allow myself to question whether I need to weigh in on each and every topic which comes under this blog’s larger area of study — Christianity and Culture — or involves something currently making the rounds in Christian news or opinion.

If I were to go back ten-plus years, I would probably see blog posts that were filled with self-importance, and in fairness, this blog did regularly rank among the top such sites in North America.  Now, in the years following the post-blogging boom, I realize that my opinion is not that for which the world waits.

I also realize that my opinion on a few things have changed.

Let’s be clear what I mean by that:

  • My core doctrine is solidly unchanged on the things that matter
  • My core values are unchanged on the things that matter to me
  • My beliefs on secondary and tertiary doctrines have shifted slightly, perhaps more radically in a few cases
  • My ranking of what things I prize or value is unaltered by any shifts on secondary matters

People change, but I believe the core statement-of-faith type things have to be non negotiable. These are not on the table for discussion.

However, on a whole other list of things, my opinions or understanding has shifted somewhat.

What are your non-negotiables?

I recently discovered this list of 255 dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. These are their non-negotiables. To dissent on any one of these is, in one person’s words to “cease being a Roman Catholic.”

We don’t have such a list in Evangelicalism. Our faith statements or creeds give prominence to about 8 to 10 core doctrines. Then there follows that many again that some people would like to see in the core list. You have yours and I have mine.

Except that I don’t actually have any. I can live and fellowship with people who simply are satisfied with that 8 to 10 items.

And it sure beats 255…

…Before you ask, I’ve never deleted a blog post. I’ve never gone back and said, ‘This would be embarrassing should anyone find it today.’ Because the word blog is shorthand for web log and that’s what it is, a log or diary of my thoughts at that time. (Captain’s log, Stardate 5743. We were cruising the Romulan galaxy…)

And if you are human, your thoughts should be allowed to change; you should give yourself room to grow.

June 12, 2010

When a Man’s Home is not His Castle

When you run a business from your home, does the house then become a public place or is it still, at the end of the day, your home?

That’s the question a Human Rights Tribunal was to have been dealing with this week — the case was postponed to June 18 — in the Canadian province of British Columbia, as reported in the Vancouver Sun:

A British Columbia couple is in the “center of a firestorm” after refusing to provide accommodation to a gay couple have shut down their bed and breakfast despite doing major renovations on their home to facilitate the business.

“We’ve been harassed so bad we’re not running (the B&B),” said Lee Molnar, who lives with his wife Susan in the B.C. community of Grand Forks.

Their lawyer Ronald Smith said they are “devastated” but also feel they can’t continue to operate Grand Forks Riverbend Bed and Breakfast for fear they will be asked again “to violate their religious beliefs” by renting to a gay couple.

Smith is representing the couple in a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case scheduled to begin Wednesday, but it was postponed.

“They’re just a retired couple in Grand Forks who thought they would open their home to guests and here they are in the centre of a firestorm,” Smith said. “They’re a lovely couple. They don’t want to be thought of as discriminating, but they’re Christians who don’t feel they can violate their religious beliefs.”

The human-rights hearing, scheduled for two days this week in Kelowna, B.C., was postponed Wednesday after the lawyer for the gay couple — Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas — became ill. A new date has yet to be scheduled.

The hearing will rule on whether Eadie and Thomas, who tried to book a room at the B&B on June 18, 2009, were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation when they were turned away.

According to the complaint, Eadie called the B&B, spoke with Susan Molnar and reserved a room for the following two nights. He was told it would be cash only at $80 per night, which Eadie agreed to pay.

She took their names, Shaun and Brian, and the conversation ended.

About five to 10 minutes later, Lee Molnar called back and asked whether the pair were gay.

When Eadie said yes, Molnar replied “Then this is not going to work out,” according to the complaint filed in July 2009 by the couple.

In an earlier application to have the complaint dismissed, Lee Molnar stated “to allow a gay couple to share a bed in my Christian home would violate my Christian beliefs and would cause me and my wife great distress.”

…Read more: Here

What do you think?   Does the presence of the business render the entire house public, or do homeowners still maintain their rights to accept or reject guests for whatever reason?   To put it another way, do you throw away all personal rights and prerogatives to the use of your own residence when a portion of it has commercial application?

To read what others are saying, check out the over 300 comments on this story at CBC News.

Related item: Story/editorial at Lifesite News.

Related item:  The Edge in Boston likens the story to a similar British case.

(Mildly) Related item:  MacDonalds in France releases a gay-targetted television commercial.

November 16, 2009

Planned Parenthood Director Resignation Gets Mixed Reaction at Church

This story deserved more than to be buried in a link list of suggested reading a few days from now.   It’s more significant than that.   And if you think you’re already on top of this one, just hang in there for a few paragraphs, or jump to the asterisk  * below for a rather strange twist updating as of November 15th.

Here’s a sample of how the story begins at The Christian Post:

The director of a Planned Parenthood abortion center in Texas has resigned and embraced the pro-life movement after witnessing an abortion through an ultrasound.

(Photo: Coalition for Life) Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas

Abby Johnson had worked at the clinic in Bryan/College Station, Texas, for eight years before departing from the facility after her change of heart.

“I left on good terms and simply had a change of heart on this issue,” she told 40 Days for Life, which had been holding prayer and fasting initiatives outside her clinic since fall of 2004. “Over the past few months I had seen a change in motivation regarding the financial impact of abortions and really reached my breaking point after witnessing a particular kind of abortion on an ultrasound.”

According to reports, Johnson had never seen an abortion take place on an ultrasound but happened to be present during one procedure, in which she saw a 13-weeks-old fetus trying to move away from the doctor’s probe

“I just thought, ‘What am I doing?'” she told ABC News. “And then I thought, ‘Never again.'”

Here’s another summary at World Magazine:

In late September, the abortionist at Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, needed assistance, so he asked the center’s director Abby Johnson to hold the ultrasound probe during a dilation and evacuation abortion. Johnson watched as the 13-week-old unborn child attempted to avoid the probe. “I saw a full profile of the baby from head to foot,” she told me.

Once the abortion procedure began, Johnson saw the child “crumple” under the pressure of the vacuum and then in an instant the child was gone. The reality of seeing the baby moving struck her as she stood in shock and dropped the ultrasound probe, she recalled: “My heart was racing. I kept thinking about my daughter.”

Blogger Stevan Sheets has an embedded 2-minute news report from local station KBTX.

I thought if any blogger would have commentary on this, it would be pro-life proponent La Shawn Barber, but her blog simply mentions the story in passing in a couple of posts, including a 3-minute embedded report from CBN News.

* End of story, right?   Not quite.  Johnson is finding some of the greatest resistance to her decision coming from her home church; as this story on the website Stand Firm reports:

Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose about-face on abortion prompted her to resign her job, says she’s gotten flack for her decision from an unexpected quarter: her own church.

Her Oct. 6 decision to leave Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas – after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13-week-old fetus two weeks earlier – made headlines, especially when she ended up volunteering at the Coalition for Life center a few doors away. Her former employer filed a restraining order to silence Mrs. Johnson, but a judge threw out the case on Tuesday.

Now she is facing a different kind of music at her parish, St. Francis Episcopal in nearby College Station, the home of Texas A&M University.

Whereas clergy and parishioners welcomed her as a Planned Parenthood employee, now they are buttonholing her after Sunday services.

“Now that I have taken this stand, some of the people there are not accepting of that,” she told The Washington Times. “People have told me they disagree with my choice. One of the things I’ve been told is that as Episcopalians, we embrace our differences and disagreements. While I agree with that, I am not sure I can go to a place where I don’t feel I am welcome.”

Wow!

Abby, if you’re reading this, I’m sure the whole world is looking a lot different than it did a few weeks ago.   Stand strong on what you know your heart — and God’s Spirit — is showing you and telling you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.    Psalm 139: 13-16

——Read the full stories by clicking the individual links.   The Stand Firm story is reprinted in full and the Washington Times article it refers to is worth reading in full.    An attempt by Planned Parenthood to obtain an injunction silencing Johnson failed as reported in this story in Metro Catholic.

Also, here’s a repeat from a few days ago of a link to seven pictures — be sure to see all seven — in the London Telegraph showing a human fetus (or foetus, as the Brits spell it) developing in the womb.

November 12, 2009

My Thai Food Dilemma

Filed under: Religion, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:29 pm

thaiHands-down, our favorite restaurant is the Thai place in the downtown section of the community where we live.

The restaurant serves great food and the lunch prices are quite reasonable.   The problem is, the rather massive quantity of statues and images of Buddah throughout the place.

We took our oldest there to mark his graduation.   He counted 130 of them.  Or so he says.   I looked around after he said that, and it is rather oppressive.   At least, if you stop to think about it.

I realize this is somewhat obligatory when your dining preference is food of oriental extraction.   Our other favorite locally is a Chinese buffet with some kind of shrine or altar in one corner with a statue to which the owners offer a bowl of fresh fruit.

But do any of you ever consider the implications of this?   Or are there no implications?

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