- 2015Apr 13
To say that my life has been richly blessed would be an understatement. I have had a fulfilling career, wonderful family, and enriching opportunities with gifts and abilities that have given me a rewarding sense of purpose and accomplishment—all which led to a lofty measure of self-sufficiency, until the winter of 2001.
Angiosarcoma . . . Clinical trials . . . Quality of life . . . Quantity of life . . . were the sound bites steaming through my consciousness as I strained to focus on the oncologist’s words. After 10 days of diagnostic procedures, the biopsy results indicated that I had rare cancer. In the collective experience of the oncology group, there had been only three prior cases, with the longest survivor lasting less than one month. As I lay listless in the hospital bed, I silently gasped, “Why me, why now? Why?”
So began my test of faith.
Two months prior to my diagnosis, I had been praying the prayer of Jabez for God to “enlarge my territory.” My intention was to have a greater impact for the kingdom in my teaching ministry.
At the time I was leading a church class in a four-week study on facing spiritual conflict. Halfway through the series, the initial symptoms of my illness surfaced. Mere coincidence? Although we are tempted to chafe at the suggestion of divinely orchestrated affliction, Scripture is full of such examples. For instance, the Apostle John tells us,
"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind. 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:1-3)
Did I think God caused my illness? I didn’t know. Although John’s account indicates that the blind man’s affliction was not a judgment, Paul tells us, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32).
What I knew, intellectually, was that we inhabit a world in decay. From the beginning, our willful action against the Creator has caused us to be hurled ever deeper down the descending spiral of suffering, disease, death, and sorrow, where we and all creation groan for relief.
What I was about to learn, experientially, is that our weakest and most vulnerable condition is where we encounter God in fullest measure. Read on here.
- 2015Apr 11
The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) bills itself as “a fellowship of Christians in science.” According to a 2010 survey, less than 12 percent of the fellowship believes “Adam and Eve had no contemporaries, and were the biological ancestors of all humans.” Many survey respondents referred to Adam and Eve as “metaphors,” “symbols,” “representations,” or “fictional characters.”
If you think these beliefs are limited to liberal-leaning laymen, you would be badly mistaken: They are shared by A-list Christian scholars and theologians, like popular author and Bible commentator N. T. Wright.
In his book “Surprised by Scripture,” Rev. Wright suggests that the biblical significance of Adam and Eve is not their order in the creation, but their calling. As he explains, “God chose one pair from the rest of early hominoids for a special, demanding vocation.” [Emphasis in original.]
In case “early hominoids” doesn’t make his point sufficiently clear, Wright adds, “This pair (call them Adam and Eve if you like) were to be the representatives of the whole human race.” [Emphasis added.] All this in a chapter tellingly titled, “Do We Need a Historical Adam?”
For the reader not sufficiently surprised by that rendering of Scripture, the former Bishop of Durham frames “young-earthism” as not only a “regrettable alternative” (to the creation narrative), but a “false teaching.”*
The “Wright alternative,” the “true” teaching, given the Bishop’s prominent association withBioLogos—a faith and science forum that promotes theistic evolution—is a glacial, mud-to-man process inwrought in nature by God.
More recently, Old Testament scholar John Walton weighed in on the Adam question. Continue reading here.
- 2015Mar 14
Back in January, Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wol tapped Dr. Rachel Levine for state physician general. Dr. Levine is a recognized expert in eating disorders with nearly 30 years of medical practice in pediatric psychology and behavioral health.
The governor stated that Dr. Levine’s knowledge and expertise is important for placing “equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues.” As for Levine, she says she wants to help “individuals with their myriad, complex, medical, and psychological problems.”
But there’s a glaring paradox about Levine’s selection.
You see, “Rachel” was born Richard, a male who has been transitioning to female over the last decade—or, as “she” would put it, a woman trapped in a man’s body who is becoming who she truly is.
Were it not for the fact that Dr. Levine will be setting health policy for the state, this would be little cause for concern. But Levine is a physician with a disorder caused by feelings about himself that are at odds with his body. And, whereas, he treats his anorexic patients by encouraging them to accept their bodies and change their feelings, he treats his own disorder by accepting his feelings and changing his body—a treatment fully sanctioned by the psychiatric establishment (one that no doubt contributed to his divorce in 2013 from his wife of 30 years).
While the incongruity has been lost on the therapist class, the governor, and Levine, it hasn’t on at least one of the Levine’s former patients: “Dr. Levine is sending the wrong message. . . . Since I am a diagnosed anorexic but still feel I am fat does this allow for me to continue to lose even more weight or . . . to seek out surgery to change the way I see myself?” Continue reading here.