When I worked NICU, I cared for a preemie that fit in my hand just like this. Though it was tiny, and it’s skin so thin I could see the veins that circulated its blood, there was no doubt that this was a human being, young, out of the womb or in the womb, fully human,fully alive!
Anyone think its not a person?
Prayer for anyone considering abortion, or troubled by their pregnancy:
Lord of Life and Love
O Lord of Love and Life,
Bless me and Your child entrusted to my care and keeping.
Though the forces of Hell conspire against me,
You, O God, are for me,
And for my little one growing beneath my heart.
May the beating of our hearts proclaim You Holy,
And this life sacred to Your glory.
God is for us!
May no power on earth,
No friend, no relative, no worldly voice,
Or power from the Pit,
Persuade me otherwise.
O Lord of Love and Life
R.J. Moeller graduated from Taylor University in 2005 with a degree in business and is currently a…Read more about RJ Moeller
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted something in my “Bible & Economics” series, but I think a return to the topic is well served by the verses from II Thessalonians I’ve selected to delve in to today. This passage, more than perhaps any other in all of the New Testament, is responsible for directing a younger version of the R.J. Moeller that blogs before you today on a path leading sharply away from conventional modern thinking on the topics of welfare, wealth redistribution and the seemingly inescapable “social justice.” (By the way, is there “social truth” or “social patience”?)
From II Thessalonians 3:6-12:
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
A simple, straight-forward reading of this text is a clear and present danger to advocates of a welfare state, but especially to those who also claim allegiance to the body of Christ and his word. However, in a sinful, fallen world—one wrought with hypocrisies, guilt, past societal sins, etc.—“simple” and “straight-forward” are luxuries the thoughtful believer can rarely enjoy, at least not when entering the contentious fray of the public square with their theological convictions in tow (as they most definitely should).
So let me quickly give my brief exegetical overview of the passage above, and then connect a few dots between what Paul wrote and some of the appropriate conclusions one ought to be able to draw in terms of public policy debates.
Now there are some who try to deflect the very real importance of these verses to a Christian’s attitude about how best to help the poor by saying that the “idlers” Paul is calling out are simply misguided believers who are under the impression Christ’s return was imminent. This is a distinction without a difference. Being lazy on a nuclear submarine with the key that launches Armageddon might be different in form, but is no different in substance than an idle Dairy Queen worker who procrastinates sweeping up the sprinkles his portly manager asked him to take care of the previous day.
Habitual idleness is a matter of the heart. (Believe me, I know first-hand.)
Refusing to work or provide for your family because you’re convinced Jesus is returning over the upcoming three-day weekend is, according to scripture, just as much of a sin as an able-bodied human being refusing to work or provide for their family because some well-intentioned bureaucrat is intent on giving them money they didn’t earn.
Right off the bat in verse 6, Paul exhorts the church body to “keep away from” anyone who is living an idle, lazy life and remains needlessly dependent on others. Pretty harsh, no? Not very “social” of him, right? I’ll even admit that nearly every time I read these words, I wince a little. All of the “But what about…” exceptions and exemptions start piling up on my conscience.
But if we’re serious about scripture, we know that scripture is serious about sin. Idleness and making yourself a prolonged and unnecessary burden on someone else, is a sin. There’s no way around that. The Greek translation for the phrase “in idleness” translates to “in an undisciplined, irresponsible or disorderly manner.” Keep that definition in mind for later.
Verses 7-9 are Paul’s reminder that he hasn’t simply preached against things like idleness and being a burden on others, but has modeled for the good people of Thessalonica the appropriate way to live. Paul was a minister of the gospel, and therefore was entitled to living off of the charity that came from other believers. But he feared that a lifetime of such dependency would weaken his witness, and, I don’t think it is unfair to infer, his character.
Verse 10 is the big one: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Paul did not teach this difficult practice of the Christian life from afar, but said it face-to-face. Christian friends don’t enjoy confronting friends. Christian parents don’t delight in having to withhold certain things from their beloved children. Confronting people with difficult subject matter is made no less daunting by how true the subject matter is. It stinks. No way around it.
Read more via Loving Your Idle Neighbor | Values & Capitalism.
First Reading for this day – 2 MC 7:1, 20-31
What has God said to both Jews and Christians in Maccabees about life? (Some Protestants do not have Maccabees in their Bibles, but they should note that the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, was enjoined upon the Jews to be celebrated only in Maccabees. John 7 tells of Jesus going up to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast. So Jesus concurred with the Jews and honored the injunction of Maccabees as given by His Father and recorded in holy writ.)
“Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
“I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”
The response of this heroic woman’s son before his life was ended in accordance with an unjust law is also worth noting:
She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
“What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king’s command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God.”
Our laws do not excuse us before God this day or on our particular judgment day, so our choices matter for our eternity. What we choose to do with our freedom matters in life and in death. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to choose wisely and form our consciences as though our eternity depends on it.
The release of the Women’s Equality Act drew a sharp response from the Church in New York and its pro-life allies. A statement signed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and the bishops of the New York Catholic Conference declared Cuomo was expanding access to abortion, easing all restrictions on late-term abortion and leaving women without any legal protection from forced or coerced abortion.
“As the pastors of more than 7.2 million Catholic New Yorkers, we fully oppose this measure and urge all our faithful people to do the same, vigorously and unapologetically,” they stated. “We invite all women and men of good will to join in this effort and defeat this serious attempt to expand abortion availability in our state and to codify the most radical abortion proposals of any state in the nation.”
The Register obtained a copy of an analysis of Cuomo’s bill prepared for the New York Catholic Conference, which indicates the Women’s Equality Act expands abortion even more than the language from the Reproductive Health Act, which many pro-life advocates believed would be reflected in the bill. The Reproductive Health Act is a stand-alone bill that would make abortion a “fundamental right” in New York state law, but it has never achieved enough support on its own in the state Legislature to become law.
“The new language accomplishes the same result with less limitations,” the analysis notes. It explains that the Women’s Equality Act, in adopting Roe’s broad health exception (which Roe’s companion Doe v. Bolton case said includes “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient”) would essentially mean abortion on demand up to the moment of birth.
The analysis notes the state Health Department would have the power to qualify non-doctors to perform abortions and even late-term abortions with the removal of the “duly licensed physician” requirement in the state penal law. Moreover, the analysis says that removal of abortion from the penal law would prevent prosecutors from going after domestic abusers who directly cause a pregnant woman to lose her unborn infant.
The analysis adds that the concerns over conscience protections remain, since the bill does not define whether “health-care provider” includes health-care institutions, individuals or both. It says that Catholic schools and charities could still find themselves faced with the choice of referring for abortion or losing state contracts and licenses that keep their doors open.