Author archives: Rob Schwarzwalder

Five Democrat Abortion Policies More Extreme Than Killing 7-Pound Babies”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 22, 2015

That’s the title of an op-ed by Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox, published in The Federalist, that merits reading.  In sum, here are the five policies Casey cites:

1. Democrats Support Aborting Babies for Race, Sex, and Down Syndrome

2. Democrats Oppose Offering Women Other Alternatives

3. Democrats Want to Make Pro-Life Doctors and Nurses Perform Abortions

4. Democrats Want to Make You — and Your Church — Pay for Abortions

5. Democrats Want to Permit the Most Barbaric and Dehumanizing Abortion Methods

Whether or not these tenets of Democratic faith are more extreme that killing a fully-developed, eager-to-be-born baby is questionable.  But they are evil, extremely so.  No person of conscience should dispute that.

Hate, Love, Truth, and Homosexuality

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 16, 2015

Hate is sin.

Hate is disobedience to God. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15).

To rage against, physically or verbally abuse, belittle, or diminish the humanity of homosexuals is hateful.

To disagree is not hateful.

To stand for truth is not hateful.

To make arguments about human sexuality and marriage from sociological and demographic data is not hateful.

To object to the legal redefinition of marriage is not hateful.

To oppose efforts to redefine marriage in law is not hateful.

To believe in the uniqueness of male-female complementarity is not hateful.

To herald the Bible’s teaching that sexual intimacy is reserved for the covenant of one-man, one-woman marriage is not hateful.

To assert that any form of sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful is not hateful.

To affirm the Bible’s teaching that whatever one’s sins (sins as defined by the eternal, final, clear, and sufficient revelation of Scripture), they separate him or her from God is not hateful.

To proclaim that the rejection of God’s grace in Jesus Christ means eternal punishment is not hateful.

To tell others that God became man in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, that He lived a sinless life, died an atoning, substitutionary death, rose bodily from the grave, is alive today, and that He offers forgiveness to all who will trust solely in Him as Savior and decide to follow Him as Lord is not hateful. It is the most loving thing one can do.

All of the above are Christian teachings. They are not culturally conditioned or theologically malleable.

Those of us who are Christians love people too much not to graciously but unhesitatingly speak God’s truth in God’s love (Ephesians 4:15).

And those of us who believe these things will not be silenced about them or fail to live according to them in our personal, public, or professional lives.

Any of them. Ever.

It’s a matter of love for God and those He has made in His image. The stakes are too high and the costs too great to refrain from talking about the One filled with grace and truth and His will for all of our lives.

Stakes and costs more important that social acceptance, secure employment, personal loyalties, or political viability.

Eternal stakes and costs, which we have weighed in the balance and found far weightier than anything this world can offer. Upon them we have based our lives. Upon them we stand.

Where do you stand?

The Dead End of Sexual Sin

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 9, 2015

Rosaria Butterfield is one of the bravest people I know. Her profound transformation in Christ after a life of lesbianism has subjected her to public attacks and harsh comments, to which she responds with kindness, humility, and truth. Rosaria is also “a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University. After her conversion to Christianity in 1999, she developed a ministry to college students. She has taught and ministered at Geneva College, is a full-time mother and pastor’s wife, and is author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (2012) and Openness, Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (2015).”

Rosaria has written a powerful piece on transformation in Christ in her new “Desiring God” article, “The Dead End of Sexual Sin.” It is copied below in its entirety as it is one of the most potent and life-giving pieces I’ve read in a long time. Read, be challenged, and be blessed:


The Dead End of Sexual Sin

Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.

I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late twenties, I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part — and not always the biggest part.

I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship, and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.

As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.

Conversion and Confusion

It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions, and with my sexual history.

Conversion brought with it a train wreck of contradictory feelings, ranging from liberty to shame. Conversion also left me confused. While it was clear that God forbade sex outside of biblical marriage, it was not clear to me what I should do with the complex matrix of desires and attractions, sensibilities and senses of self that churned within and still defined me.

What is the sin of sexual transgression? The sex? The identity? How deep was repentance to go?

Meeting John Owen

In these newfound struggles, a friend recommended that I read an old, seventeenth-century theologian named John Owen, in a trio of his books (now brought together under the title Overcoming Sin and Temptation).

At first, I was offended to realize that what I called “who I am,” John Owen called “indwelling sin.” But I hung in there with him. Owen taught me that sin in the life of a believer manifests itself in three ways: distortion by original sin, distraction of actual day-to-day sin, and discouragement by the daily residence of indwelling sin.

Eventually, the concept of indwelling sin provided a window to see how God intended to replace my shame with hope. Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

As believers, we lament with the apostle Paul, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19–20). But after we lament, what should we do? How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?

Owen explained with four responses.

1. Starve It

Indwelling sin is a parasite, and it eats what you do. God’s word is poison to sin when embraced by a heart made new by the Holy Spirit. You starve indwelling sin by feeding yourself deeply on his word. Sin cannot abide in his word. So, fill your hearts and minds with Scripture.

One way that I do that is singing the Psalms. Psalm-singing, for me, is a powerful devotional practice as it helps me to melt my will into God’s and memorize his word in the process. We starve our indwelling sin by reading Scripture comprehensively, in big chunks, and by whole books at a time. This allows us to see God’s providence at work in big-picture ways.

2. Call Sin What It Is

Now that it is in the house, don’t buy it a collar and a leash and give it a sweet name. Don’t “admit” sin as a harmless (but un-housebroken) pet. Instead, confess it as an evil offense and put it out! Even if you love it! You can’t domesticate sin by welcoming it into your home.

Don’t make a false peace. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get sentimental about sin. Don’t play the victim. Don’t live by excuse-righteousness. If you bring the baby tiger into your house and name it Fluffy, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and Fluffy is eating you alive. That is how sin works, and Fluffy knows her job. Sometimes sin lurks and festers for decades, deceiving the sinner that he really has it all under control, until it unleashes itself on everything you built, cherished, and loved.

Be wise about your choice sins and don’t coddle them. And remember that sin is not ever “who you are” if you are in Christ. In Christ, you are a son or daughter of the King; you are royalty. You do battle with sin because it distorts your real identity; you do not define yourself by these sins that are original with your consciousness and daily present in your life.

3. Extinguish Indwelling Sin by Killing It

Sin is not only an enemy, says Owen. Sin is at enmity with God. Enemies can be reconciled, but there is no hope for reconciliation for anything at enmity with God. Anything at enmity with God must be put to death. Our battles with sin draw us closer in union with Christ. Repentance is a new doorway into God’s presence and joy.

Indeed, our identity comes from being crucified and resurrected with Christ:

We have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:4–6)

Satan will use our indwelling sin as blackmail, declaring that we cannot be in Christ and sin in heart or body like this. In those moments, we remind him that he is right about one thing only: our sin is indeed sin. It is indeed transgression against God and nothing else.

But Satan is dead wrong about the most important matter. In repentance, we stand in the risen Christ. And the sin that we have committed (and will commit) is covered by his righteousness. But fight we must. To leave sin alone, says Owen, is to let sin grow — “not to conquer it is to be conquered by it.”

4. Daily Cultivate Your New Life in Christ

God does not leave us alone to fight the battle in shame and isolation. Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the soul of each believer is “vivified.” “To vivicate” means to animate, or to give life to. Vivification complements mortification (to put to death), and by so doing, it allows us to see the wide angle of sanctification, which includes two aspects:

1) Deliverance from the desire of those choice sins, experienced when the grace of obedience gives us the “expulsive power of a new affection” (to quote Thomas Chalmers).

2) Humility over the fact that we daily need God’s constant flow of grace from heaven, and that no matter how sin tries to delude us, hiding our sin is never the answer. Indeed, the desire to be strong enough in ourselves, so that we can live independently of God, is the first sin, the essence of sin, and the mother of all sin.

Owen’s missing link is for believers only. He says, “Unless a man be regenerate (born again), unless he be a believer, all attempts that he can make for mortification [of sin] … are to no purpose. In vain he shall use many remedies, [but] he shall not be healed.”

What then should an unbeliever do? Cry out to God for the Holy Spirit to give him a new heart and convert his soul: “mortification [of sin] is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet; conversion is their work — the conversion of the whole soul — not the mortification of this or that particular lust.”

Freed for Joy

In the writings of John Owen, I was shown how and why the promises of sexual fulfillment on my own terms were the antithesis of what I had once fervently believed. Instead of liberty, my sexual sin was enslavement. This seventeenth-century Puritan revealed to me how my lesbian desires and sensibilities were dead-end joy-killers.

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

With peace, I found that the gospel is always ahead of you. Home is forward. Today, by God’s amazing grace alone, I am a chosen part of God’s family, where God cares about the details of my day, the math lessons and the spilled macaroni and cheese, and most of all, for the people, the image-bearers of his precious grace, the man who calls me beloved, and the children who call me mother.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News April 9, 2015

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 9, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


Recently, the news has been tough for Christians here at home and abroad. Some of what’s been taking place is simply horrific: Islamist terrorists mass-murdering Christians in Kenya, for example. Other stories involve the erosion of religious liberty in America, as in the failure in Indiana to protect the rights of business persons who don’t wish to participate in same-sex weddings.

Religious liberty, same-sex “marriage” and “LGBT rights,” and the sanctity of life are requiring more and more of our attention. But there’s also good news about these very matters; here’s a sampling:

  • After activists threatened the family that runs a pizza shop declining to cater same-sex weddings, an Indiana lesbian contributed to a fund for the family. “As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild,” wrote Courtney Hoffman. In total, Memories Pizza received more than $840,000 in on-line donations (most of which it will donate to charities) and, reports say, is planning to re-open.
  • In a recent interview on the outstanding Podcast, “Michael Easley: In Context,” former practicing homosexual Matt Moore tells of his journey from what he calls “a hopeless way of life” and says he now “greatly desires, through his writing, to help the gay community see the world and themselves from a biblical perspective and to know the hope that is available to them in Christ.” Matt now attends a seminary and hopes to serve as a pastor. He also has begun a serious relationship with a young Christian woman.
  • The Oklahoma Senate has approved a 72-hour waiting period before a woman seeking an abortion can receive one. Wisconsin’s attorney general is working to reverse a court ruling against laws designed to protect women’s health and safety in abortion clinics. And long-time pro-life champion Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has enacted legislation to limit late-term abortions in his state.

We don’t know the final chapter of any of these stories. Or of our country’s future. Or of our own lives. But there’s One Who does. He’s worth serving, His truth is worth upholding, and His grace is worth sharing. Knowing these things are sure, let’s not grow weary in advancing and defending faith, family, and freedom.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. In The Christian Post, FRC President Tony Perkins and I make our case against a New York Times op-ed implying support for anti-Christian fascism. And don’t miss our April 22 panel discussion, “The Supreme Court and Marriage: What Happens after the Decision?” Join us in person or watch (at no registration fee) online live.

P.S.S. The Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Travis Weber, has just published two new analyses concerning same-sex marriage and the courts: “State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs): What are they and why are they needed?” and “How are clergy protected from being forced to perform same-sex marriages?” Download and distribute at no charge.


Education

 

Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life

Abortion

Assisted Suicide

Bioethics

 

Marriage & Family

Economy and the family

Homosexuality and Gender Issues

Human Trafficking

Marriage

Pornography

 

Religious Liberty and Persecution

Domestic

International

Religion in Public Life

 

Other Stories of Note

Standing with my friend, Curt Smith

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 7, 2015

In early 1991, Curt Smith hired me to serve in the press office of U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN).  He was my boss for more than three years, working in harness for one of the finest men to serve in the Senate in recent memory.

Curt is a gracious, soft-spoken man who has a deep love for people.  He was patient with me as I grew in my role and has been a friend for, now, nearly a quarter of a century.

He is also a committed follower of Jesus Christ  who, while working for the prestigious law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, also served as head of the Indiana Family Institute.  Now, due to his support for Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s original religious liberty bill, Curt has lost his job.  As Indianapolis’s WISH-TV tells it:

Until last week Smith was the director of public policy at the Taft Law firm. One of its biggest clients is Cummins, the Columbus based engine manufacturer that was a leading opponent of the religious freedom law. Something had to give … (By) last week Smith was in the middle of a professional transition. As recently as Monday morning his Linkedin page showed him working at Taft Law. But an email sent to his law firm address came back with a message saying that he left Taft to join the Family Institute as President, even though his bio at the Family Institute website points out that he has actually held that position for 11 years. A spokesman for the law firm said that the purpose of the Family Institute didn’t match the purpose of the law firm but that it was Smith’s decision to leave … The Taft law firm, according the spokesman, has a principle of inclusiveness, and the when the Religious Freedom law was perceived to allow discrimination against gays and lesbians, that apparently posed an additional problem.

A “principle of inclusiveness?”  Really?  So inclusive that they part ways with the former state director of a sitting U.S. Senator who simply endorsed a bill signed by the democratically elected governor of one of the nation’s largest states?  A bill that mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), signed into law by Bill Clinton and sponsored by then-Sen. Ted Kennedy?

It is a sad day for Indiana and for American law when a man as principled and talented as Curt Smith is de facto forced to leave his role with his employer because he believes that coercion and repression are not Hoosier values.  The moral cowardice of the leadership of Taft and its clients (including Cummins, about whose generous federal contracts I wrote myriad news releases when working for Sen. Coats) is repulsive. 

Curt Smith has the assurance of a loving God and the respect of many friends.  What do Taft, Cummins, and their compeers have?  Gaining the world at the cost of one’s soul is, according to Jesus, a bad bargain.  They might consider that a bit.

VIOLENT OR NON-VIOLENT, AT HOME OR ABROAD, IT’S STILL PERSECUTION

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 2, 2015

As I write, militants from the Islamist Al-Shabab terrorist organization are holding Christian students hostage at a university in Kenya.  They are reported to have killed about 20 people so far.  Here’s a link to this breaking story: Al Shabab militants target Christians in Kenya university attack.

The violent persecution of Christians around the world is one of the crises of our time.  Doubt it?  Consider the following headlines from the past 10 days or so:

Suicide bombers kill 15 people outside Pakistani churches, mob attacks suspects in aftermathU.S. News and World Report

New Evidence of War Crimes, Genocide against Iraqi Christians, Yazidis – Christianity Today

China jails Christian pastor for protesting cross removal – Fox News

Strangers In Their Own Land’: Dilemma Of The Christian Populace In India – CounterCurrents

Christians in the Middle East May Disappear Within Two Years: Lebanese Leader – Assyrian International News Agency

Red Cross: ISIS Cutting Off Water Supply to Christians, Kurds as War Tactic – Breitbart

Here at home?  Consider this story, published this morning, about a restaurant in Indiana:

A small-town pizza shop in Indiana has closed its doors after the owners’ support of the state’s “religious freedom” law and pronouncement they would not cater a gay wedding brought fierce backlash. Kevin O’Connor, 61, who owns Memories Pizza with his two children in Walkerton, Ind., has closed the shop’s doors in hopes the furor will die down, but the family fears it will never reopen … O’Connor’s daughter, Crystal, says the family is considering leaving the state. On Tuesday, WBND Channel 57 interviewed members of the O’Connor family, who said they agreed with Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The family said the pizzeria is a “Christian establishment.” “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal O’Connor said. “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.” The family said it would serve gays or a non-Christian couple in the restaurant.

Brutal physical attack, imprisonment, and cutting-off water are persecution of a different type than that experienced by the Hoosiers described above.  But the O’Connors are being non-violently persecuted for their commitment to living-out their faith.

Microaggressions,” Racism, and Plain Stupidity

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 1, 2015

Microaggressions are defined by an article carried by the American Psychological Association as “racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on — which may be especially toxic for people of color.”

I’m not sure they’re so subtle. Consider what follows.

A number of Fordham University students have developed a project in which they display signs with offensive things said to them, such as:

** A biracial woman who has been asked, “What are you?” (Her response: “Human”)

** An African-American man who has been told, “You don’t act like a normal black person, ya know?”

** A black student: “You’re really pretty for a dark-skinned girl.”

Full disclosure: My children are multi-racial, so I’m especially alert to comments like this. They smack of racism or at least insensitivity of a nature so pronounced that it reeks like a rotting egg.

Still, I would submit that some of these things are less “aggressive” than they are either unkind or ignorant. I’m not mincing words when I draw this distinction. Aggression connotes an effort to demean or belittle, and while some of the remarks reported by the Fordham students certainly would fall into that category, others just seem borne of a particular kind of insularity. People who don’t spend time with others of different races or ethnicities often have provincial and stereotypical images of one another that are dispelled by more frequent contact — by less insular and monochromatic social interaction.

My major concern here is that the Bible gives ample remedy for both overt bigotry and unintentional but still hurtful rudeness. “Be kind one to another,” writes Paul to the church in Ephesus, “tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God in Christ has forgiven you” (4:32). That’s just one of hundreds of passages in which warmth, acceptance, and respect are taught as endemic to Christian character. In other words, believers in Christ need to try to be more like Him.

Is the application of these commandments a remedy for all racial prejudice and its offensive articulation in social conversation or conduct? No, certainly not. But for followers of Jesus, His Word’s teaching about racial equality and human dignity offer more than sufficient counsel for the way we treat others of “every tribe and nation and people and language” (Revelation 7:9).

I’m grateful for the work of FRC President Tony Perkins, Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin, and Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell in seeking to advance racial reconciliation, and that I work for an organization that affirms our most fundamental national assertion: that all men are created equal, bearing the same value before their Creator as every other image-bearer of God.

For Christians, those truths should be the final word. Let’s keep working to that end.

Some Evangelicals I Know

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 30, 2015

Today, among urban Americans and Europeans, ‘evangelical Christian’ is sometimes a synonym for ‘rube.’ In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly. Yet the liberal caricature of evangelicals is incomplete and unfair.” So writes Nicholas Kristof in the March 29th New York Times as he begins a narration of the ministry of Dr. Stephen Foster, a medical missionary who has brought hope and healing to thousands on behalf of the love of Christ.

Dr. Foster is but one of countless Evangelical Protestants whose devotion to their Lord has animated a life of anonymous service, often at great sacrifice. There is no way to capture the many believers whose dedication to the good news of Jesus Christ has driven them to give up virtually all the world has to offer in exchange for an as-yet unknown city (Hebrews 11:10-16). In this short piece, I thought I’d note just three of those I know personally.

K.K. Deveraj, Bombay Teen Challenge, Mumbai, India

Deveraj (he goes by his last name) rescues women and girls from sex trafficking in one of the seamiest and filthiest places in the world, the “red light” district of Mumbai (Bombay), India. He has an AIDS clinic, runs an orphanage, and operates a large recovery home for women delivered from bondage and for their children. At this latter home, Ashragram, (“The Village of Hope”), “the women have an opportunity to start new lives in a protected environment of love, and receive education and job training in the hope that they can become productive members of society. Those that cannot move on because of psychological or physical trauma have a permanent home at Ashagram.”

Deveraj seeks no glory and gets little. I have been with him when he has stood between me and an angry group of Indian traffickers, upset because I had prayed with their “girls” instead of purchasing their services. I’ve worshipped with him in his AIDS clinic. And I’ve hosted women he has gotten out of trafficking on Capitol Hill, introducing them to people who want to learn more about their journey from darkness to light.

Brave and humble, Deveraj is “a bond-servant of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1).  I want to be like him.

Dave Treadwell, Central Union Mission, Washington, D.C.

Lt.Col. (ret) Dave Treadwell served two tours in Vietnam and holds the Silver Star, two awards of the Legion of Merit, and two awards of the Bronze Star. Many persons of Dave’s standing, upon leaving the military, go to work for defense or aerospace firms where they employ their training and expertise in the private sector.

Dave heard a different call. In the nearly 30 years since he left the military, Dave has served with the Christian Legal Society, Advocates International and, for the past 17 years, the Central Union Mission (CUM). CUM’s mission is to “glorify God by proclaiming the Gospel and meeting the needs of hungry, hurting and homeless individuals and families in the Washington Metropolitan Area.”

Dave and his team fulfill this calling every day for men and women the world just wants to pretend don’t exist.  Because of Dave and his colleagues, not only do they exist – they learn to thrive.

Jim Walker, Heal Our Patriots (Samaritan’s Purse), nationwide

Jim Walker sat in a Bible class I used to teach for months, if not years, never speaking but always listening. I knew he served in the military but his unassuming manner betrayed the stature of his service: senior military attorney for the United States Marine Corps. When Brigadier General James Walker spoke in the Pentagon, people listened.

When Jim left the Marines, he asked about ideas I might have concerning future service. I put him in touch with my friend Ken Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse, and today Jim leads SP’s “Heal Our Patriots” ministry. Heal Our Patriots “gives wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment. Couples participate in Biblically-based seminars that help strengthen their relationships with God and others and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation with outdoor activities at our Alaskan wilderness lodge.”

Jim and his delightful bride of 35 years, Nancy, are now serving a group of men and women deeply wounded, physically and emotionally, by the trauma of war. I’m honored to know them.

American Evangelicals have, since the earliest days of our country, served the most needy and sacrificed of their lives, hearts, and treasure to show, in tangible but usually quiet ways, the love of a living Savior to people here at home and around the world. Evangelicals, derided and misunderstood — in part because they won’t budge on issues of biblical morality — have represented and lived a Cross-filled life without fanfare or acclaim.

Perfect, always tactful, up on all the latest cultural phenomena? No. But knowing their audience is the God of the universe keeps them going, and keeps them loving even their most vicious critics, again and again. Paul the apostle says it best in the first chapter of his first letter to the church in Corinth:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe … God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Tony, the Homeless Track Star

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 23, 2015

This afternoon I met a man on the street named Tony. A tall, handsome African-American man, he was well-spoken and dressed warmly in a new-ish parka. We talked for a while in front of the shelter where he resides currently.

Tony is homeless and lives at a mission not far from Capitol Hill. Gregarious but soft-spoken, he told me a bit about his life and noted he had attended four colleges. He also said he had run competitively with some of track’s greatest.

So, when I got back to my office, I looked him up. In roughly 25 years in the nation’s capital, I’ve been scammed a lot by people on the street, so my skepticism is not without some history.

Tony was telling the truth. In fact, he was an All-American in 1977 in the two-mile relay.

Since then, he’s spent time in prison – I don’t know for what — and now is hoping for a job as a maintenance man at a store near downtown D.C. He is to find out if he gets the job on Friday.

From All-American collegiate athlete to being a homeless ex-inmate hoping for an entry level cleaning-type job: Life’s journey can be strange and painful.

At one point, I made some comment like, “With God, there are always new chances.” Tony stared at me hard and said, “It’s predestined, isn’t it?”

As a moderate Calvinist, I was a little taken aback, but not wanting to get into the Reformed-Arminian controversy quite so extemporaneously, I said simply, “We all have to make choices.” He said, quietly, “Amen.”

My prayer for Tony is that he will make the right choices from hereon, that if he hasn’t yet found new life in Christ that he will, and that God will guide and bless his life as Tony seeks to restore years eaten by the locusts of deception and evil. And I hope I don’t soon forget Tony: With only a few wrong decisions over the course of my more-than five decades of life, I might be standing beside him on the street, wondering if I’ll find work pushing a broom somewhere. There, but by the grace of God …

Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 18, 2015

Every so often an article comes along that is so moving it puts all the extemporaneous analysis and opinion that floods the Internet into the background. “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting” is such an article.

In her loving, gentle, but painfully honest open letter to advocates of same-sex marriage, Heather Barwick describes being raised by two lesbians. Her mother and her partner loved Heather, but couldn’t replace her “deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man.” Following are some excerpts from her moving piece, which is addressed specifically to same-sex partners raising children:

I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father …

Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting …

It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, ‘God hates fags’ and ‘AIDS cures homosexuality.’ I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.

I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.”

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