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How. Much. More. Abortion and the Line of False Choice

Sometimes the most unusual phrases capture my attention.

Reading through the Old Testament the other day, I ran across the command, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”  I was immediately struck by those words. I have been unable to shake them from my mind. In particular, I’ve been contemplating how this phrase relates to the recent passage of a law in the State of New York legalizing—and indeed, actually celebrating—third trimester abortion.

Wondering if I understood the passage rightly, I went to multiple sources and, of course, received multiple interpretations as to the meaning. Learning that this phrase appears not one, but three times, in the Old Testament, I also found that it appears in different contexts. While some consider it to be a mistake in the translation of the text, others suggest that it is written in reaction to a pagan ritual, while still others see it as comparable in usage to “how much more” statements which are made in both the Old and New Testaments. (I will be working off of the premise of the “how much more” perspective.)

“How Much More” Applied

One example of Jesus’ “how much more” statements occurs in Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount. There, Jesus tells his hearers to consider the lilies of the field—and how God cares for them. “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?” In other words, “If God cares for his creation as a whole, how much more does he care for every one of his image bearers?”

Redemptive Relationships: Refusing to Let False Narratives Rule

KRISTEN HATTON|CONTRIBUTOR

We hadn’t seen each other very much lately, or even texted in our usual way.  I knew we had both been busy, so I hadn’t thought much of it. I have lots of friends I don’t see very often because of proximity, different life stages or work schedules, but we always pick right back up as if no time had passed. Assuming the same would be true with this friend, I had looked forward to seeing her at an event later that week.

But the big hug and incessant catch up session I expected didn’t come. Instead my presence was barely acknowledged. Not knowing what to make of her icy reception, I pretended not to notice, opting instead to keep trying to get the conversation going. I kept asking questions hoping to make things feel normal, only it was never reciprocated which left me hurt and confused.

Back home, later that night and into the next day and week, I kept replaying this whole scenario in my head. But the longer I dwelt on it, the more my hurt turned to indignation and I became convinced of my own narrative. Of course, at this point I didn’t know what was really true, but it didn’t matter. I felt justified in thinking how dare she be mad at me for not texting or calling her, when she hadn’t reached out to me either. Ironically, in the same way I felt like she wanted me to “pay” some consequence for something I knew nothing about and I now wanted her to pay. For I deserved a better friend than what she’d shown me!

I know I’m not alone in this line of thinking even though we usually don’t tease it out.

Transitions: Hope for Those Facing Change

RENEE MATHIS|CONTRIBUTOR

As a writing teacher, this is a term I use all the time. I like to say that transitions are signposts or traffic signals we use to help our reader along the journey. While we may know where we are headed, the reader may not.  Transitional words or phrases can be helpful in maintaining a sense of direction. “In addition…” “Accordingly…” “Therefore…” and “The first reason….” But what about when transitions leap off the page and become a reality? What does it look like when we move from one place or stage to the next?

Currently I’m in an empty-next stage. My husband will be retiring in a few years. Should we move? Should we be closer to the kids? We have 5 and they are spread out. Where do we go? These are scary changes for me! Transitioning to new adventures and maybe a new location are exciting prospects for my husband, but for change-averse me, the idea of a major move is daunting!

Then there are the transitions that are more personal. I will be ending a 30 year long teaching career that began with homeschooling my 5 year old and grew to include 4 more children and eventually classes of other homeschooled children, locally and online. Will I miss grading all those essays? Probably not. Will I miss connecting to my students, “my kids,” praying with and for them, seeing the light bulb moments, and rejoicing in their progress? Of course! Yet, even without a gradebook, I know the Lord has opportunities for me to teach. I look forward to transitioning to a different kind of teaching.

Any kind of change brings questions…

Slowly Unraveled: Transformation from the Inside Out

RACHEL CRADDOCK|GUEST
The day after our honeymoon, just eighteen months after I had accepted Christ as my personal Savior, I moved to Covenant Theological Seminary with my husband who planned to become a pastor. Outwardly, I bravely faced the new things God was calling me to; inwardly, I felt great tension between who I was becoming and who I used to be. By His grace and mercy, God was changing me from the inside out.

My mother passed away from breast cancer when I was fourteen. In my grief after her passing, my life turned upside down and inside out. I didn’t know how to allow myself to feel the pain and loss, so I numbed myself to the pain instead. If you can imagine any girl from your middle school or high school who bullied others, struggled with cutting, or engaged in substance abuse—I was like her. After graduation, I vowed I would never come back to my hometown—facing the shame and pain of my past was something I didn’t have the courage or strength to do on my own. I desired to forget the past—to untether myself from the person I had been.

When we left seminary in 2009, God called my husband to serve in a church just fourteen miles from my hometown. As a new Christian one of the first verses I had memorized was 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” When we moved back to serve in a church so close to my past life, I tried to let this verse fill every nook and cranny of my heart. It is easy to say 2 Corinthians 5:17 from memory—it is more difficult to live by these words and walk in them.