When Compromise Isn’t Possible

We all have to compromise at times, don’t we? I don’t know anyone who gets his or her way all the time, anyhow.

And nobody is right all the time, either. Right?

Probably. But with one extremely important exception. We may not always understand God’s ways–why He allows certain things to take place, including the martyring of so many of His children–but if we believe in Him, we believe He’s always right. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t compromise.

And that fact sometimes seems pretty extreme to non-believers. After all, aren’t there many roads to God? Don’t they all lead to the same place? Aren’t Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other world religions equally valid?

Not if you believe the Bible. Especially where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s not us “intolerant Christians” who came up with the idea that other religions are worthless; we’re just quoting the man we believe to be the Son of God. The one who died for our sins and rose from death to give us eternal life.

If we study the Bible, we can’t miss some of the issues there’s no room for compromising over. The one at the top is there is no God except Jehovah. Allah isn’t the God of the Bible, regardless of what countless sincere Muslims (and a host of non-Muslims) believe.

Another issue is homosexuality. Of course, the Bible also takes a strong stand against other forms of immorality–any type of promiscuity, including sex outside of marriage. But regardless of how some Christians act–and consequently what many people mistakenly believe–the Bible doesn’t tell us to hate homosexuals. Indeed, even if we considered them “enemies,” which we shouldn’t do, Jesus told us to love our enemies.

Even though the Bible doesn’t speak about abortion as such, it speaks of people as being created in God’s image. It talks about keeping the body a proper dwelling place for God’s holy spirit. It tells about the way God knows the most intricate parts of our beings, including our formation in our mothers’ wombs.

No wonder we take “Do not kill” as a no-compromise issue regarding abortion.

I realize that not everyone reading this post is a Christian, and some of you may strongly–vehemently–disagree with some or all of what I’ve written. Feel free to leave a comment. But keep in mind that even though I must compromise about some areas of life, the things I’ve talked about today are not things I can compromise about.


kindle-coverRosa No-Name is the coming-of-age prequel to Roger’s first young adult novel, Found in Translation. It will be releasing sometime within the next couple of months. If you want to learn more about it, check Roger’s website or join the Rosa No-Name Tribe group on Facebook. That may qualify you to receive a free ARC (advanced review copy).

 


NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

I Value Life

The older I get, the more I marvel at life. And the more I value it.

Maybe that’s because I’m looking back at the nearly seventy years of my life that have already passed. No matter what, they are my personal history—events that cannot be changed, erased, or ignored. They are facts, not opinions—whether I remember them correctly or not—and they include the good, the bad, and the meaningless. Oh, and let’s not forget about the ridiculous.

That time-span is very, very finite even as it continues to expand one minute at a time. In the blink of an eye, “right now” becomes “just then.”

But I also value life because I’m looking forward to the remainder of my days, a portrait that’s still being painted, a book that’s still being written. The time I have left—maybe only hours or minutes—and the quality of that time are beyond my ability to predict. Or even to guess at.

What I can accomplish during my remaining time on earth is equally unknown. No matter how I hope and pray to be mentally alert to the very end and die peacefully in my sleep, the “information’s not available to the mortal man,” as Paul Simon once wrote and sang.

Life. Yes, I marvel at it. And I value it.

I used to think PETA, the animal rights group, was completely whacko. And I still do regarding most of their ideas. I’m not going to give up eating meat or start thinking that animals should have the same rights as people. That’s unbiblical.

God created the animals and placed them under man’s control. Even though Adam and Eve were apparently vegans until the first sin led to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, they and their descendants didn’t remain vegans for long.

Although God specified the kinds of meat that shouldn’t be eaten, He didn’t forbid eating meat completely. And who but their Creator has the right to set the example of treating animals as animals? God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins after they sinned and realized they were naked.

Still, PETA has a point about the importance of creature lives.

I’ve recently had a problem with ants crawling up through the drain in the bathroom sink and walking around as if they owed the place. At one time I would’ve simply flushed them down the sink without a second thought.

I still rinse them away—who can stand having ants where they don’t belong?—but I no longer do it without thinking. Those tiny creatures are just as alive as I am, and death for them is just as real. How did God create such different creatures as humans and insects and give both of us life? For me, that’s just as much a mind blower as pondering the fact that plants and animals are both alive, but in such completely different ways.

I also used to feel neutral about abortion. So did a lot of other people who’ve come to recognize that life actually does begin at conception.

Yet it would seem that the abortion providers see their work as simply rinsing worthless ants down the drain. Why can’t they see the value of the lives they’re taking?

Hmm. I wonder how many members of PETA have had abortions. Or are they horrified at what’s being done to those tiny human “animals”?

I don’t know. Perhaps I don’t want to know.

But I’ll continue to be pro-life because I value life.

If you have anything to share about this subject, please leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

“They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” (part two)

Anyone who sees Christians going about the business of loving people–even the unlovely–should be able to understand that Christianity is the ultimate religion of love and peace. So loving and so peaceful,  in fact, that Jesus prayed and asked God’s forgiveness for the people who were putting Him to death–in circumstances where hatred, anger, and resentment would have been the normal human emotions. Especially since the Romans and religious leaders responsible for His death  weren’t the least sorry for what they were doing.

What amazing love! Love that deserves the description “awesome” above everything else.

Why do so many people view the Bible as a textbook of hatred (and how many of them have read the Quran?) and Christians as the most hateful people on the face of the earth?

Maybe they’re too busy looking backwards at wars and persecution that were carried out in the name of Christianity in days long past. By people who never would’ve sung, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Not unless they’d done it hypocritically.

Or is the problem that Christians believe “Do not murder” means preserving the lives of innocent babies rather than allowing pregnant women to erase their sinful “mistakes” by killing their babies in utero because of the inconvenience or embarrassment of being pregnant? Or that “Do not commit adultery” interferes with the desires of the many individuals who believe post-modernism has eliminated the need for moral standards of behavior regarding anything? Or is the problem that biblical admonitions against homosexuality affect the “rights” of the vocal gay minority to practice their sins publicly–and to flaunt them?

Or is the problem that  non-believers see Christians as judgmental? The Bible says murder, adultery, and homosexuality are all wrong. The Bible is very clear about those issues. All of them are sins–things God disapproves of. Things that stand in the way of having a right relationship with Him.

But the Bible also specifies a number of other sins. Is it right for Christians to go around ranting at gay people for being sinners when–in reality–each one of us is a sinner in our own individual ways. No one is righteous on his own merit, and no one is “good enough” to deserve God’s love.

I’m not advocating the toleration of sin–any sin. But I believe strongly in the popular saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I believe one of the worst sins Christians practice is failing to demonstrate the kind of love and forgiveness Jesus modeled during his earthly ministry. For me, that’s the bottom line.

“They will know we are Christians by our love.” And if they don’t see that love, then they have a right to question our faith–and even the basis of what we say we believe in.

If you’re a Christian, do others see a life filled with love, even when you don’t feel very loving? If you’re not a Christian, has any supposed Christian ever treated you in a way that made you question the reality of his faith? How about leaving a comment, please.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Adoption: Nothing Like It

When I wrote about the similarities between my father and me this past Wednesday, I purposely omitted one important fact: I’m adopted. So those similarities have nothing to do with my adoptive father. Not knowing the identity of my birth parents or anything about them, not even their medical history, I can’t say which of my characteristics are like those of my birth father.

But that’s okay. This post isn’t about heredity vs. environment.  So let me move on.

Several days ago I was talking with an author friend who adopted a baby from China. When I say “from,” I’m being literal. As I understand it, she actually traveled to China to pick her baby-to-be up and bring her back to the States. She was raving to me about what a wonderful experience raising an adopted child was for her.

It’s no wonder she had this to say about adoption. “Adoption is a wonderful thing! Any child who was adopted can know that they were truly wanted.”

Of course she wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. My adopted daughter, Kristi, will be twenty-nine this year, and she, her husband, her son, and her yet-to-be-born second son live way too far away in another state. But one of many things my adoptive parents did right was to rear me to be independent, and that’s a quality I gladly encouraged in Kristi.

My (now ex-) wife and I had never had any reason to think about adoption. Especially once she got pregnant. Beth’s birth in August of 1976 was a joyous time…until she died unexpectedly three days later. It turned out that her heart was not properly formed and the condition she had would normally have resulted in her death at birth. For whatever reason–most likely a gift from God–she didn’t. If you want to read what I wrote about that time in our lives, go here. But make sure you have a good supply of tissues nearby.

Debbie never got pregnant again, and it wasn’t for lack of effort. She even arranged to have microsurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital to correct what seemed the likely problem. That didn’t help.

Eight years later we found ourselves living in Richmond, Virginia. Still childless. We decided to adopt, even though we were all too familiar with the stories about how long it takes to get a baby. To the best of my knowledge, we never considered adopting a child or someone with known medical problems.

We learned of Kristi’s availability during November of 1987. She was six or seven months old at the time and had been living in a foster home. The adoption agency provided us with basic family medical info, but nothing more except her birth mother was an unmarried upper teen and she’d been born in Newport News. (Even now Kristi periodically calls or texts and asks, “Once more, where was I born?” Too funny.)

We fell in love with her instantly, although that red hair should’ve made us think twice about possible temperament problems. But that wouldn’t have stopped us even if it had made us apprehensive. We already loved her. Do you recall the Savage Garden song “I Loved You Before I Knew You”? Even though that’s a love song, it describes our feelings for Kristi perfectly.

For the greater part, Kristi was a wonderful child and has grown into a fine adult. One we’re quite proud of.

One thing her adoption did perfectly was to make her a pro-life advocate. How could it not have done that?  She knows that her birth mother loved her enough not to abort her…and enough to allow her to become the child of a couple who could provide her with the kind of family she herself could not have done.

We know other people who’ve adopted. Jenny and Athos, close friends who adopted while living in Brazil and have now become birth parents to a second son and are awaiting the birth of a girl now; Isaac, a former co-worker, and Alice, who somehow learned of a baby available for a private adoption. Jonathon and his wife, who made numerous trips to Africa to finalize the adoption, even though they already had two kids; a sweet couple at church. And my author friend.

Ask any of them. They’ll all tell you the same thing.  “Adoption? There’s nothing like it.”

What’s your take on adoption? How about sharing a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Life Matters–All Life

While I thoroughly agree with those who say that “black lives matter,” I prefer to take it one step further. A gigantic one. ALL LIFE MATTERS.

God is the giver of life, and He loves each of His human beings. Everyone is His favorite. He loves you as much as He loves me, and He loves me as much as He loves you. He loves the members of every race and nation equally. He even loves the world’s worst sinners as much as He loves His own Son. Some of you may disagree with that point, and I don’t blame you. But why would God the Father have sacrificed Jesus the Son for our sins if He didn’t love His human beings as much as John 3:16 says so beautifully:

“God loved the world so much that He gave up His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Bruner “translation”)

Let’s take those ideas a step further. He also loves the unborn child as much as He loves the newborn. And He loves the baby–I refuse to place less importance on the unborn by saying “fetus”–who’s been cruelly aborted as much as he does the old person who dies of “natural causes.”

He created us all, and He made us all to be the people we’ve become and have yet to finish becoming.

Hmm. Those of us who weren’t murdered prior to birth, that is.

I don’t know the circumstances of my adoption, but I’m sure I could’ve been aborted if circumstances had permitted; but abortion wasn’t as readily available or as widely accepted in 1946. And my daughter, born to a single upper teen in 1987, could have been far more easily aborted.

People may not look at my daughter and me and question what the world would’ve been like had we not been born. It’s not something I think about, either. But I want to believe that our lives have made a difference to the people who’ve known us and sometimes even to people we don’t even realize our lives have touched.

I’ve read far too many times that America began its drastic decline with the Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion and the subsequent “sexual revolution,” which in turn brought about the need for increasingly more drastic forms of birth control.  I can’t argue with that opinion.

For thousands of years, the Bible has been the standard of human behavior. “Do not commit adultery” just as easily translates to “Do not commit any form of sexual sin,” heterosexual or homosexual. And “Do not commit murder” applies just as validly to murder of the unborn, who are alive and human from the moment of conception.

I’m afraid history books of the future will look back on the current era as the time time when biblical standards were totally dismissed as old-fashioned and inapplicable. Not to mention “inconvenient.”

But maybe it’s not too late. Let those of us who still believe in biblical standards “step up to the microphone” and make our voices heard. Without regard to the intolerance of those who oppose us.

Taking a stand isn’t always easy. But are you on my side? Can you say with me, “All life matters”? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

The First of Two New Novels that “Tell it Like it Is”

If you’re old enough, you remember a wonderful expression from the 1960s. “Tell it like it is.” Of course, we English teachers officially hated it because it wasn’t grammatically correct. As much as the rules of grammar have changed, however, who knows whether it would be acceptable now?

Nonetheless, “Tell it like it is” is a very apt description of two new novels (not yet released) I’ve been privileged to read and review. Both of them deal with issues that people get really worked up about.

One is abortion. The Breeding Tree is a dystopian novel about a future society that believes that its job is the perfecting of the human race. So it uses “creation specialists” to further refine the process. Imperfections are not to be tolerated. So abortion is a common practice, even when an imperfection is only highly likely.

Abortion for them is different, though. Woman don’t have babies. They don’t get pregnant. In fact, their eggs are harvested soon after birth and fertilized artificially whenever a baby is needed. This society has perfected the concept of “test tube babies.”

While learning to become a creation specialist, Kate sees babies at various stages of development. But then she witnesses–in fact, she must participate in–the killing of imperfect babies. When she discovers that one of her eggs was used without her knowledge to create a baby that is scheduled to be terminated, she starts to see her society’s practices in a different light.

If you want to learn what Kate does, read J. Andersen’s The Breeding Tree when it releases in September. It’s available for pre-order now.

I’ll tell you about the other book on Wednesday.

~*~

If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

Growing More Conservative

I’ve never considered myself a liberal. Neither has anyone else who’s known me over the years. And I’ve never been  radical about anything. Except maybe the time I turned down a job when they told me I’d have to shave my mustache. But that’s another story.

I’ve always considered myself moderate, both politically and theologically. A nice, safe, middle of the road guy. Live and let live.

I knew liberals existed, but I didn’t know or care what they stood for. I wasn’t always sure they knew, either.

Conservatives were something else, though. If anything characterized them, it was their unyielding and very annoying belief that they were right about everything and nobody else was. At least as a moderate I was free to consider the possibility that the far right might actually be right about anything and everything.

I just couldn’t agree that their viewpoints were automatically the only valid ones.

I suspect I’ve opposed abortion at least since 1987. The year we adopted Kristi, whom her birth mother could easily have aborted. We’re so thankful she didn’t. So is Kristi and the rest of her family.

The more conspicuous the Pro-Lifers have become, the more their way of looking at things seems right. Yes, right. As in “the only right way.” Human life does begin at conception.

You want to read something interesting? Check out Psalm 139 in the Bible. Especially the verse that says, “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.”

I believe God is responsible for all human life. Abortion is nothing but legalized murder.

I’ve grown conservative in other ways, too.  But I’ll save those for several additional blog posts.

Please leave a comment if any of this post has spoken to you. Even if you disagree. I’m not too conservative to listen politely.

<>

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger