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Number of unwed mothers skyrockets because of wimps and barbarians

Number of unwed mothers skyrockets because of wimps and barbarians

New U.S. Census data shows that the number of births out of wedlock in Oklahoma is up. Way up. In fact, some 40 percent of births in Oklahoma in 2011 were to unwed mothers, which is higher than the national average. This represents a significant challenge and opportunity for churches in Oklahoma, which remains one of the most churched states in America.

While an increasing number of churches realize we should minister with and to single mothers, there has been a cost to the removal of stigma to out-of-wedlock births. Namely, more children are being born into broken homes.

Expectations matter. The script for those desiring children used to be, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage.” Today, shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo too closely reflects the reality of women becoming pregnant out of wedlock.

The biggest loser in this equation of out-of-wedlock births is children. A close second, though, is the mothers who raise them. Coming off nearly Scott free are men, who sleep around and take no responsibility for their offspring. We have, in a way, catered to the barbarians in society. We have lost the whole idea of a “shotgun wedding.” This must change.

First, let’s face the fact that this is mostly the fault of men. A woman cannot become pregnant without a man, and the pool of guys out there is getting worse and worse. In his 2004 essay, “Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphey Brown,” Terrence O. Moore predicted we would see what we are seeing ten years later. Moore examined societal attitudes about single mothers, when Vice President Dan Quayle criticized fictional TV anchor “Murphey Brown” for purposefully becoming a single mother. Moore argues that Brown’s son would grow up to be one of two extremes, either a wimp or a barbarian.

Boys without fathers, as it turns out, often trend toward one of these extremes. By God’s grace, a single mother can raise godly children, but it is an uphill battle. Therefore, the church must respond in love by supporting mothers who are single, by telling men who abandon women and children they are living in sin and encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions, and by a recommitment to God’s best for a family, having a mother and a father.

Jesus, while compassionate to the woman at the well (John 4), did chide her for living with a man “who is not your husband.” Our Lord forgave her and restored her, as well as set her on a new path for life. Part of her old, sinful way was cohabitation. The church should not be afraid to tell women and men that God does not want them to have sex outside of marriage, nor does he smile upon cohabitation. God is not trying to spoil any fun. He is trying to protect us from ourselves.

Until a fundament shift in expectations occurs in society, we likely will continue to see the unwed birth rates climb. God’s people, though, can be accountable for our own and our actions. Let’s pray that we will take this Census news as a wake-up call and compassionately help young adult Christians stay on the best path.

Drive-thru abortions

Drive-thru abortions

The Food and Drug Administration has created a new policy that will almost certainly further the culture of death in America. To be specific, the FDA approved the so-called morning-after pill (“Plan B”), making it available over-the-counter without a prescription to women as young as 15 years old.

The FDA, with former President George W. Bush’s approval, first made it over-the-counter in 2006 (but not for minors). At the time, courageous leaders like U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma medical doctor, warned that this was a tragic move.

Why, Dr. Coburn wondered, would the FDA make the super-dose of birth control, which can likely terminate a pregnancy, available over-the-counter, when the ordinary birth control pill requires a prescription? It does not make sense.

Further, we have done a disservice to pharmacists, who have now been degraded to mere vending machines for abortifascient pills through this policy. What’s more, there are serious side effects to these drugs for women, let alone their offspring who may be killed.

Regarding the abortion debate, much has changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, and certainly many technological advancements have helped the pro-life cause, such as ultrasound.

These abortion-in-a-bottle pills, however, represented a significant shift in which the average abortion may not occur at a clinic, but result from a trip to the local pharmacy. In other words, while the culture is moving more and more against abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, it grows increasingly comfortable with abortion tactics like the FDA is offering here.

Some in the pro-choice camp are praising the FDA’s decision. Some, however, want to go even farther. According to the New York Times, “Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit that Judge Korman ruled on, said the decision on Tuesday was unsatisfactory. ‘We will continue our battle in court to remove these arbitrary restrictions on emergency contraception for all women,’ she said.”

In her mind, limiting so-called emergency contraceptives at all is too restrictive. It is a sad day in America when a trip to the local pharmacy could mean the end of a life. With Jesus Christ, however, there is always hope. Let us pray for those in leadership (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and that Christ Himself, who came to give us “life and life abundantly” (John 10:10) would save us from our own devices.

Narnia Continued: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Narnia Continued: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

For those of you paying attention to our Chronicles of Narnia book reviews, you may have noticed that I am going out of order in the way the Narnia books are often organized. If you own at set of books, you will see that book one is The Magician’s Nephew. Meanwhile, I began with The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and then Prince Caspian. The reason behind this is that I am reviewing them in the order in which they were released by C.S. Lewis.

To that end, the next book in the series is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For those of you who did not see the movie rendition when it was released in 2010, do yourself a favor and rent it on Netflix tonight. Of the books turned movie, this was perhaps the most well-done, at least from a Christian parent’s perspective.

A borrowed summary reads, “Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship the Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.”

The movie does not entirely follow the book, but there are some thrilling scenes to behold, and the Christian references in the movie are the most explicit. Without ruining the plot, there is a powerful allegory comparison made between Aslan and Christ himself that children will understand.

The Dawn Treader book is crucial to the whole Narnia series in several ways, one of which is the introduction of the character Eustace Scrubb, who appears in other books in the Chronicles. The opening line of the book says, “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The transformation of Eustace from a snobby, cowardly, childish, annoying little boy to a redeemed one is remarkable. It involves the assistance of Reepicheep the mouse, one of C.S. Lewis most endearing characters in all of Narnia.

In the book, as with the movie, there are some suspenseful moments that may frighten the youngest readers and viewers. With that caution aside, this sea-faring adventure of a book is one of the most delightful in all of the Narnia series. It will entertain, uplift and challenge us all to live a more virtuous life, by the grace of God.

When They Were Twenty-Five: Baby Boomers

When They Were Twenty-Five: Baby Boomers

For this next article in the Generations series, I am going to do something very shocking. I’m dividing the Baby Boomers into two groups. This might not sit well with some of them because that makes the Boomers an average-sized generation instead of the second largest one. Boomers like things to be big!

There is method in my madness. There are 363,905 Baby Boomers living in Oklahoma. The first group is what some term “Early Boomers” (born: 1946-1954. Age: 59-67). My next article will be about the second group of “Late Boomers,” which many believe should be considered separately as “Generation Jones” (born 1955-1964. Age: 49-58).

Baby Boomers were born (1946-1954) in a time of unprecedented prosperity in the United States. Because of this, they usually have an optimistic attitude and tend to take material things for granted. Rather than aspiring to the American Dream, Boomers have been born into it. When they were 25, the first Starbucks opened at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington and the Intel 4004 was the first microprocessor. Their impact on culture and technology are the hallmarks of the Boomer generation.

Boomers have shaped the world with technology innovations in just about every area of learning, especially in physical science, sociology, psychology and technology. They invented the personal computer, the internet, satellite networks, etc. Most of America’s technical engineers are Baby Boomers.

As the first generation that was raised on TV, they grew up watching Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver, but by 1971, when the oldest Boomer turned 25, everything was changed. Sweeping social and cultural change came to the United States and continued  throughout their lifetimes. Boomer values changed society in the United States with regard to women, race, sexual mores, the rearing of children, the economy–even clothing! If you are wearing jeans at work as you read this, thank a Boomer. Their informal approach to life changed the business world from formal suits and ties to “business casual.”

Baby Boomers have a strong need to define what they do in terms of morality and right and wrong. They are the force behind movements from the Hippies and Free Love to the Jesus People and contemporary Christian music. Their tastes in music, movies, and design have shaped the present American context. They are the most educated generation in American history. They value and respect education. Baby Boomers are insatiable learners who are constantly on a quest of personal development.

Life in the SBC:

The argument could be made that the Boomers are the makers of the Southern Baptist Convention. As children they were enrolled in SBC churches during the Million More in ‘54” campaign. The sheer size of their numbers forced the SBC to adapt to them with developments such as age-graded Sunday School, church busing, Vacation Bible School, and full-time children’s ministers.  As youth, the SBC experienced explosive growth in church-based youth ministry, youth camps, youth musicals, etc. SBC campus ministries like BCM were at their height at the time the SBC Boomers were in college.  Many Boomers became believers during the Jesus Movement of the 1970‘s.  As they entered the ministry, Boomers reshaped the landscape of the SBC, creating new expressions of church with contemporary music, mega-churches, and Para-church organizations.  Boomers will continue to shape the future of the SBC as they face retirement age. Between now and 2015, the people entering retirement age is projected to increase 54%. Boomers do not expect old age to slow them down or keep them from contributing to society. Look for the Baby Boomers to continue their active involvement in the SBC.

Boomer have shared experiences growing up that shaped their lives, many have a similar outlook on life.

Baby Boomer Outlook

Youthfulness. Boomers don’t want to be kids forever, but they do want to stay young by intensely questioning established ways and bringing the youthful sentiment of looking at things with fresh eyes.

Personal spiritual development. They tend to pursue their growth using programs, many of which have videos, books and seminars.

Achievement. Boomers are driven and hard working and tend to think a person needs to pay his or her dues to get to the top. Position is the result of creative action, hard work, and dedication.

Give a little face time. The generation that gave us “Woodstock” loves conferences and large gatherings. These are places where Boomers thrive because they like to mingle with others and form relationships.

Consensus building. They value egalitarian leadership. They prefer to work on problems in teams and task force groups. Give them a place to meet regularly and a team of competent people and they feel they can change the world.

Spend the money. Boomers are focused on the present more than the future. For this reason, they tend to spend more than save. They want to spend in ways that have measurable impact in the present.