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.
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.
The life of a believer should look so much different than that of the world that you should “not fit in.”
I’ve heard the argument that you should try fit in so you can make new friends and lead them to Christ. Although this is partially true, in that you should love everyone you encounter with a passionate and welcoming love, you are not called to conform to the world around you in order to fit in.
Romans 12:2 says…
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I think about modern day Christian music artists, and also ones I’ve seen in the past, who denounce their Christian title in order to reach a broader audience. While in a sense, I can’t judge where their hearts are, I am smart enough to realize many do this in order to broaden their success, not their audience. Because let’s face it, anything saturated in Christ isn’t popular in our sin-soaked society. When these talented artists “put away” some of their Christian title, they lose a severe amount of effectiveness.
Our lives are supposed to look like Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:12 tells us we are supposed to follow Christ. And if Christians are following Him, our lives should produce beautiful fruit.
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
So, the production of fruit in your life will show that you do indeed follow Christ.
Although you do not become a Christian by “moral goodness”, fruit WILL be evident if your heart is after the Lord.
Plain and simple, a believer cannot live in sin. While yes, you will struggle with it, you cannot live in it. That’s why Christ mentions repentance (which is a turning away from sin) so much in the Bible.
As a 17-year-old, I’ve struggled with sin enough to know that living in and loving it will pull you far away from where God wants you. When you are more concerned with self-satisfaction than with pursuing God’s plan for you, you begin to miss out on some beautiful blessings. I’m not saying that you MUST be completely innocent, because as humans, it is inevitable that will see fallible. But the important thing is that you’re seeking truth. Seeking truth will result in identity in Christ, the production of fruit, and the abstinence of indwelling sin. These are three critical attributes of an effective believer.