A Theology of Expression

Some people have a problem with being thankful. I am not one of those people.

I thank God for things all the time. But I am not one of those irrational people who thanks God for everything – like inventing cars, or soda, or diabetic socks, or bacon. God didn’t invent those things, stupid people. But I usually pray a prayer of thanksgiving every time I eat a peanut butter sandwich that goes something like this: “God, thank you for creating the man who invented peanut butter.” Now, you might say that is George Washington Carver, but you’d be doubly wrong. So, maybe I have to retract my statement about bacon, but the rest still stands.

I’m so glad that God has inspired so many men and women to think, invent, and create.

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can cause a person to paint a picture, write a song, develop an invention, or pen Scripture. All forms of expression come from some form of inspiration. The key to discovering a great form of expression is to look at the inspiration. God is the highest form of inspiration there is. He is the Creator of the whole universe – from the stars in the sky to the fleas on a dog. Every night when I walk into my house, I look up at those stars and am continually reminded at how inspiring God is.

Just like you can look at a great painting and see the heart of the artist, you can look at the heart of mankind and see the hand of God. You can look at Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and see the love of God. You can see the conquest of Joshua and see the wrath of God. You read the Psalms and see how God inspires man. The Bible itself is another example of God inspiring man – in more ways than one.

Expression is only as good as the inspiration behind it. If your inspiration is temporary, if it is fleeting, if it can fail you, your expression loses significance. People who don’t live in an area where there are peanuts probably don’t care for the inspiration behind peanut butter. People who write songs about sex or drugs or money don’t create inspiration. But songs and paintings can be temporary or about current situations in time and still hold eternal significance depending on the inspiration. Great expression always inspires. It’s contagious.

My pastor said a few weeks ago that the gospel isn’t centered on expressing oneself but denying oneself. This is one of those statements though with a paradoxical twist – it is only when denying themselves that people can truly express themselves. If God is the highest form of inspiration, the highest form of expression comes through Him. This can be heard in Handel’s Messiah, seen in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or experienced while walking through a park on a nice day.

A great thing about expression is it speaks about and to its inspiration regardless of how explicit that mention might be. There are some great worship songs out there that are glorifying and directly speak to God’s character. Then there are those songs that speak through metaphor or situations to point to spiritual and godly truths. I think one of the disasters today of the Christian music industry is its forcefulness of the inclusion of God. People love NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot because their expression isn’t forced; it is fluid and it is natural.

One of my favorite songs of all-time is called “John Wayne Gacy Jr” by Sufjan Stevens. In the song, Stevens talks about one of the most prolific serial killers to ever live. The song is disgusting and it leaves the listener feeling sickened as the song progresses. In the heart, the listener feels how wretched this killer was. Then in the last line of the song, Stevens says: “In reality, I am really just like him. Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid.”

There it is.

What a phenomenal song to express the fallen nature of mankind and to show the morality engraved in the hearts of man to feel sickened by evil. It is something I loved about the show Breaking Bad. No show in the history of television has painted such a vivid picture of right and wrong. This is the key to great expression. This is a key that opens many doors and leads the artist down many corridors. This is the key that allows one to think outside the box, outside of themselves, and potentially outside their present reality.

What inspires you?

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Living in an Era of Technology

It is always funny when you are with a group of people and then realize everyone is on their cell phone. You or someone else points out that all of you aren’t really together; you all chuckle, and then go back to what you were doing. Then there are those who make a big deal out of it. Like, by not talking and being on your phones, you aren’t really hanging out. You are all still alone – just alone while being together.

There are good and bad things about living in this age of technology. Many people seem to tilt one way or the other and that makes sense – different people use technology and are involved in social media differently. Those who are more involved will obviously see a lot of the benefits, while those who are less involved will see a lot of the deficits.

Social media is good in that it links people. Same with cell phones and other technology. I love that I can Skype or Facetime with people on the other side of the country! I love that instead of talking to one friend at a time, I can multi-task and text several friends throughout the day. Social media is good at that. It is so good, that technology has linked cultures where there once was a divide.

People across America used to be divided by their different regions. Different people in different areas of the U.S. had some things in common, but there were a lot of differences. With the growth of technology, many people who were raised with social media seem closer linked with their generation. Trends now aren’t regional. Trends now go national. This makes it easier to communicate and market audiences. It also takes away a lot of individualism.

A lot of these individuals struggle with an identity crisis. They want to be different yet belong, and with so many different unoriginal outlets, the chase becomes tiresome. Many individuals can be in a group of people but feel alone. They do not know how to verbally socialize with others, because they are so used to being able to edit what they write through texting and social media. They are used to writing without seeing the emotions they are causing others, and the shift from private “social media” to public interaction can become overwhelming.

Many people don’t know how to be alone. Or they don’t know what it is like to miss someone.

If you are dating someone, I am pretty sure you text constantly. Surprisingly, that wasn’t always the case. You couldn’t keep tabs on people. You simply had to trust them. You hoped they would meet you at the restaurant or the movies when they said they would. Even parties with friends were a risk. How would you know if any of your friends would be there? You didn’t, and if they weren’t, you would be there and would have to make new friends.

Many teenagers and young adults don’t know what it is like to make new friends. Instead of going to an event and meeting new people, if their friends text them and tell them they aren’t going, then chances will be slim they will go themselves. They can just stay home and “connect” with their friends online or do something else – something that is comfortable.

Social media has its good qualities. Because of it, I can connect with anyone in the U.S. I can just ask them about what so-and-so said on Twitter or ask them what they thought of a certain YouTube video. I can keep in contact with them regardless of where they live, because they most likely live in a place where there is Internet connection. Unfortunately, there are also negative sides to social media and technology. There is never a sense of longing – it can always be fulfilled with some Facebook creeping and a text message. There might be unity, but at the cost of individuality.

And technology prevents us from taking risks. At my job, I put on a lot of events. I’m not going to lie… I think some of them are pretty cool. It becomes disheartening though to know that if a couple college students decide they can’t come or they don’t want to come, that the rest will follow their lead. They are afraid to branch out. They are afraid of awkward silences. They are afraid of meeting new people. They might not say it. They might not even realize it. But it is true.

Does social media and technology run your life? Do you need a GPS to figure out where you are going? Do you text all of your friends before deciding if you want to go to an event or party? Do you always have to know what your love interest is doing? Technology is a great tool, but it fails when people completely rely on it for everything. It fails if we use it as an excuse not to grow socially. It fails when we can’t live in reality.

Noah: A Review

It was difficult going into a movie without bias or prejudice. I now understand why jurors in a courtroom shouldn’t have prior knowledge of the case they will be sitting through and making assessments on – their prior experience has clouded what they may think of the case. “Noah” is no different – among conservative evangelicals and many others, Noah stands on trial. For the sake of those wanting to watch the film, I’ll save any spoilers for the end of the article (and let you know when I start to spoil things). For additional input, I loved what Brett McCracken had to say for Converge and this article that was posted by RELEVANT.

NOAH

I give Noah a solid C.

While many of us cringe to see our favorite books or novels be made into films, Aronofsky already made his viewers skeptics by picking a biblical narrative. Most other bible stories have chapters or even whole books they can go off of, while the Noah account only has several chapters at best (in which Noah only speak three verses!). Anyone wanting to make a movie out of Noah has to fill in all the gaps somehow. This is where I can see most people getting upset with the film. Aronofsky doesn’t take anything away from the Noah narrative, but what he adds may make people angry.

Here’s what I liked. I liked how human Noah was. I liked how tragic the movie was, yet how merciful God was. I liked how God was a central character to the film. I liked how the movie used a story from the past and made it resonate with people of today. I definitely wasn’t angry throughout the whole film. I left feeling challenged at some points, with slight disappointment towards some of the film’s artistic executions.

First, I want to tackle some misconceptions. Those who say God is not in the movie have no clue what they are talking about. God is a central character in the film, only being referenced to as “The Creator” – a move that makes sense with how close Noah is to the Creation Story. God is seen as the one who made the earth. He is also the merciful God who is sparing Noah and the judging God that is condemning mankind.

Another misconception is that this is an environmentalist film. While taking care of God’s creation is an important issue in the movie, it is as big of an issue in the movie as it is in the biblical account. God has called mankind to be stewards of His creation, and they are being wasteful. This is something I think Aronofsky plays well with. Cain is the one who started the first civilization. Being wasteful and wrecking the environment is just a physical representation of how evil mankind has gotten. You won’t feel like mankind is bad because they hate the environment. You’ll feel like they are evil all over even to how they treat God’s creation.

Within the first several minutes of the film, you get the sense that this world isn’t quite like the world we live in today. When watching it, I couldn’t help but have a feeling like I was in a place similar to Middle Earth, and fortunately many others agree. With Noah being only ten generations since the Garden, earth before the flood has almost a mystical and whimsical sense to it. Many of the characters even have shaman-like powers verging on witchery. Is this what prophets used to be like? Creation before the Flood seems to still have a lot of the residue left from when God was in the Garden of Eden. But does making the earth seem like a mythical place take away from the main plot? I think there are some places where Aronofsky succeeds and some places where he fails. I think it was Aronofsky’s intention to have the audience feel like they were between worlds. He was nearly successful with it.

What I loved the most about the movie was how dark and real it was as far as the situation at hand. Here you have a man whose family are the only people to survive their own prehistoric apocalypse. Building the ark isn’t something that was filled with bliss and happiness. Throughout the film, Noah wrestles with his obedience to God and struggles to understand what God is trying to tell him. Noah, like the biblical Noah, was a man, and after the flood you see Noah having to live with the choices he has made up to this point. After seeing all of mankind destroyed, the first thing Noah does is drink away his pain. Noah is someone who I think anyone can relate to, and I applaud Aronofsky for that. Whether or not you think a prophet should be relatable is your opinion, but Noah is a man who struggles with his choices, misunderstands the full message of God’s commands, and is fallible.

Okay, so how was the film as far as just being a work of art?

It definitely wasn’t perfect. It was choppy and busy. The plot was very complex and everything hit a climax at one point of the film. In my opinion, it was a train wreck that ended up being turned into a piece of art. The points leading to the climax were catastrophic. But I thought the resolution was masterful. It was a movie with a brilliant development and a brilliant conclusion.

The cinematography was weird. I felt like many times the artistic dimension of the film was a bit forced. If anyone has seen a film by Terrence Malick, I feel like Aronofsky was going for an artistic feel much like one of his films. I just feel like Aronofsky failed to capitalize on it. In the end, the piecing of the film didn’t seem natural. I wasn’t swept into the dreams and visions and stories. There were places in the film where the CGI was brilliant and beautiful then there were other places where it was terrible. The post-production was very inconsistent, but that could be because they spent so much time trying to please their target audience. I also thought the acting was a bit over-the-top. If you see this as a Hamlet-esque film (like McCracken described it), then maybe this is okay. There were moments when the actors were brilliant, then there would be monologues that seemed again, forced. I thought it was just boarder-line cheesy at times – reaching for the audience to feel emotions by over-selling them on the screen.

Like I said before, I think the biggest problem people will have will be with what Aronofsky added. I don’t think most of it is objectively wrong, but for subjective reasons, I didn’t like much of it.

SPOILERS ahead.

Glenn Beck’s biggest problem with the movie seemed to be Aronofsky’s interpretation of “The Watchers” or Nephilim (Gen 6:1-4). In the bible, in simplest terms, these are fallen angels. While most people have their own ideas of what angels look like (that are equally inaccurate in the biblical sense), Aronofsky has these fallen angels being molded in the form of Rock Men. They almost reminded me of Tree Beard from LOTR. I haven’t yet decided if I didn’t like them because I thought they were too mythological or that I thought they just looked stupid from bad CGI, but I didn’t like them. I try to think though of something better that Aronofsky could’ve done – maybe Giants or just glorified human beings – but I don’t know if anything would make The Watchers cool. I don’t know if the story would be better without them. Before you get angry with this, remember that the bible also has tales of Leviathan and other creatures we try to write away or create explanations for. This is just one man’s explanation, and I just wasn’t a fan of it. By the time the Flood came, God had mercy on the Watchers and welcomed them back into heaven. This part was probably one of the most unsettling parts of the film for me. I’m sure it will leave you wondering too why God would have mercy on them and not on all of mankind. Thinking about their role in the film is dizzying.

There is also a brief glimpse of evolution in the film. If you aren’t looking for it though, you probably won’t notice it. While on the ark, Noah takes time to tell his family again the story of Creation. While going through the days of Creation, you see each animal group evolve into the next. What I applaud Aronofsky for is not showing that happen to mankind. Mankind still held a special place in the movie. Adam and Eve were wrapped in light. They were still set apart. This may unsettle some, but for me it wasn’t a big deal. Mankind was still set apart. Not only so, but the evolution montage was beautifully done and only filled about one or two minutes of the nearly two and a half hour film.

The movie is filled with Noah wrestling with his obedience to God and not wanting to be merciful at all to mankind. At the end of the film, I thought Aronofsky showed God’s mercy beautifully as Noah makes a decision to spare his family from the destruction of God. Throughout the film Noah thinks that humans will no longer take part in God’s creation. He assumes that if God wants to kill off all of mankind, then he and his family would be the last of them, dying off once Noah’s youngest son passes away. Noah comes across as a lunatic for a good hour of the movie as he tries to understand the task God wants him to fulfill, and he struggles to take it to its bitter end. At the end of the film, God is seen as a Being who either allows mankind the freedom to choose his destiny or a Being who knew Noah’s choice from the beginning (thus giving him the task to begin with). Only a bible scholar will notice the tightrope walked for this part of the film. This will definitely put a bitter taste in the mouth of anyone looking at the narrative through Sunday School eyes. But it causes Noah’s humanity stand out. Noah isn’t God in this movie as much as any of mankind is. The reason for Noah’s survival isn’t necessarily his goodness but God’s mercy.

This film definitely isn’t perfect. It definitely isn’t a Christian film. This is about the God of the Old Testament, so there is no need to mention Christ. It definitely could be toxic to anyone wanting to use it to further bash God or Christians. But when the movie ends, I don’t know of a person who wouldn’t want to pick up their bible as soon as they get home.

The Mundane To Meaningful Movement

Mundane to Meaningful 2

I remember being in the car with my friend Jordan when he shared with me an idea. Jordan is a pretty crazy guy! Sometimes his ideas were so bizarre – not because they were bad or outlandish, but because they were inspired. He started talking about mock trials and how law students create situations to prepare themselves for when they actually appear in court. He explained how they just don’t go into court and expect to know everything. They just don’t sit and watch other cases. But they have a time when they are in a controlled environment where they actually practice and pretend like what they are doing is for real.

He then asked me why there aren’t any groups that do something similar at our bible school with preaching and worship. With this idea, Jordan grabbed a few of his friends and started writing up an idea for a ministry team that would function in that way. The original idea was that a team would come to church and practically take over. There would be one or two people who would preach. There would be a full worship team. There would be people to help teach Sunday School and just be happy to serve. This would give the pastoral staff a chance to have a week to relax, and it would also help prepare those on the team for their futures in ministry.

The group he founded was called, “Catalyst.” (not to be confused with Catalyst Conference)

I loved being at the ground level of Catalyst. I was sold on the mission and the vision of the group. I was invested in it, because I believed in it. Not only that, but since all of the first members were at the ground level, we got to put our DNA in the group. The group didn’t define us – it had no detailed definition. We got to define what Catalyst truly was. Our first year we went to Kansas several times, Illinois, Ohio, we did some stuff in the town where our college was, and that summer we took a full team to do a three week camp in the Bahamas.

There are so many popular Christian movements picking up in America. Whether it is IHOP, Bethel, or a myriad of others, it isn’t hard for someone to jump on a bandwagon if they want. And that isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Christianity itself is a movement I am happy to have joined. But too many people are just following what is already cool. They haven’t learned to invest and believe in something that doesn’t exist. They don’t know what it means to see something go from mundane to meaningful, because they’ve joined something that already had meaning.

To be a part of a movement you must believe in its mission, invest in its mission, and become a community united in its mission. The mission of my college ministry, The Abstract, is to reach the college students in my area. We believe also in the mission of our church, Harvest Time, and the Great Commission of the Gospel – to make disciples of all nations. To invest in any mission one has to put in time and energy. One has to show up to services. For Catalyst, we had to go to weekly practices and travel to other states on a lot of weekends. But by putting in time and energy and work, it helped reinforce our passion and belief for our team.

And within all of that, we became a community. A lot of people complained when our team started, because they thought Jordan picked only his friends to be a part of the team. It wasn’t true. He did have some friends, but he knew we were the ones who believed in the mission of the group. And the other half of the group were freshman we didn’t even know. But to this day, many of the people I was on Catalyst with have a special place in my heart. We have inside jokes and stories, and thinking of them always puts a warm feeling in my heart. We struggled through tough times together, we disagreed sometimes, but we knew that was just part of growing together.

This year at The Abstract our goal is to take mundane moments and make them meaningful. Just like one act of obedience of the servants to fill the water jugs at the wedding of Cana led to Christ’s first miracle, we are going to find something meaningful in the mundane. Within a few days of Christ’s ascension, he lost over 75% of his followers in the upper room (from 500 to 120), but on Pentecost the church grew to over 3000!

The Abstract isn’t what I want it to be right now. We are building. We are growing. But if we are obedient and are willing to believe and invest and become a community, we can turn our area upside-down. Christ changed the world with a group of twelve disciples. I am excited to see what we will do.

Catalyst was started over four years ago, and it is still around today. Jordan is now a youth pastor and had Catalyst come and minister at his church a few months ago. Even though Jordan hasn’t been a part of Catalyst for three years, it still has part of his DNA because of his vision and his investment to the group.

What are you investing in? Is it worth your investment? What are your goals for this year and how does your spiritual life line up with those goals? Is being part of a community and a movement of Christ a priority in your life? Take time and reflect… then act. Be a part of something that is bigger than you. Invest in a cause that will outlast your involvement. Be a visionary.

This is The Mundane to Meaningful Movement.

The Abstract Large Logo

The Promiscuity of Purity

John and I had a complicated relationship. It’s not that we weren’t friends, or had some adolescent, passive-aggressive hostility against one another. We just had a theoretical friendship. Let me explain. We never really hung out that much, but we would carpool a lot. So I would chip in with gas riding home or when we would hang out with friends. But whenever we got to our destination we would part ways. It was an interesting friendship.

You learn a lot about a person when you are trapped in a moving metal box with them for countless hours. You find out their bad habits, their music interests, and eventually you get to the nitty-gritty secrets that nobody else knows. Maybe we just talked to each other about it because we knew once we got to our location, we would part ways and not feel the vulnerability or regret that comes from spilling out one’s heart… We are guys, so we probably talked about that stuff mostly out of boredom.

The conversation that sticks with me the most with John is one that we had that pertained to a girl he was interested in. I didn’t know her at the time, which is why he wanted my opinion on the matter. He knew I would be free of prejudice. He explained how he had a crush on this girl for years, and how there was now hope for them possibly being a couple in the near future. The wrench in the mix for him though was that she wasn’t a virgin… and he was. It was hard for him to get past the fact that she wasn’t “pure” anymore. John was upset that he “waited” for her, but that she didn’t wait for him. I shared with him something that caught him a bit off guard.

Who are we to say that Christ’s forgiveness isn’t good enough for someone?

I have a continuing love/hate relationship with the Purity Culture in the American Church. While trying to strive towards chastity, the people of God accidently replaced it with misogyny and legalism. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be abstinent until they are married… but my problem is to put a label on the sin as though those who commit it are now dirty, discarded, and unwanted.

It creates cyclical problems of insecurity with no solution for wholeness.

Maybe it’s an argument of semantics, but “purity” is something that once it’s lost it cannot be regained. I remember hearing pastors and reading authors describe it as drinking dirty water or trying to continually rewrap and unwrap a birthday present. And purity rings, though with good intentions and great outcomes, can easily become a judgmental staple of condescending holier-than-thou-ism in the eyes of those who have a past, or those who have hurdles in the present.

We just need to be careful how we present chastity and abstinence.

Purity culture can also easily drift into sexism and misogyny. Purity rings can easily become like shackles on the young women in our church, while men get out mostly unscathed. If young males “stumble in their purity” it is just that – stumbling. But it is our young women who go through a transformation from pure to impure. I can only imagine the psycho-trauma caused from young women trying to remain “pure.”

But Christ has already brought about a transformation, and we have forgotten about it. We have been justified by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (Rom 3:22). This is a court term saying that we have a status that has transformed our guilty verdict to innocent. It is saying that despite our guilt, we are now free to go, because of Jesus’ obedience to dying on the cross. Being righteous isn’t about perfection – that is sanctification. Being righteous is about being set in right relationship with a holy God.

It is saying, “The slate is clean. You are free to go.”

Don’t let any culture decide through subjectivity what has been clarified objectively through God. Even if it is the Christian Culture, remember that it can be fallible as anything else in this fallen world. Too often the church says everything it is against, and people forget all that it is for.

Be for chastity. Be for love. Be for forgiveness.

Luckily for John, he got over himself, and he and that girl ended up getting hitched. They are a great couple, and a wonderful godly example to all those around them.

Agitators and Aggressors

Multiple times a week I have children asking me for high fives, calling me names, and sticking their tongues out at me. I just remind myself that it is part of my job. I have been working at a daycare for the past few months… so I obviously have A LOT of amazing and ridiculous stories! Fortunately for my own sanity, I work with children who are in kindergarten through fifth grade.

I have noticed at my job that I have two types of children that either make my day great, or they make my day terrible! I call them agitators and aggressors. Though I first noticed this trend because of negative instances, I now see the positive signs that could only be exemplified through the actions of a child. So here’s the story. There were some students that were having problems with others at the daycare. Multiple students were usually culpable – one child would “egg on” or pester another child, and the other child would lash out and either pester them back or do something physically to get back at them. It’s a vicious cycle that sometimes seems to “flip-flop” daily.

But without agitators and aggressors there wouldn’t be world changers.

Because agitators and aggressors are the world changers.

Agitators are the type of people that notice when something is wrong. In a kid’s world, they are the person that knows exactly what to say to get under someone’s skin. It is an amazing gift for them to sense and know what bothers people, what is wrong, and how to point it out with a clarity that is sometimes less than friendly. If not nourished correctly, an agitator is a person who will see all the wrong in the world, but will not have hope in it ever getting better. They will get pessimistic to the point of falling into the mundane life of the fold.

Aggressors are the types of people who get “excited” and moved into action. In a kid’s world, they might not know how to get under someone’s skin, but they know how to take care of those who do know how to get under other’s skin. They have the dominant type of personality to control a group or situation. They are the types who pick what game is played at recess and decide who is captain and who gets the ball first. If not nourished correctly, an aggressor is nothing less than a bully. They might live their life climbing over people, but it will be lonely at the top.

Agitators and Aggressors might be born leaders, but they will be lone leaders if they do not properly flourish and harness their gifts.

Like I said, agitators and aggressors are the types of people who change the world. Agitators point out when something is not how it should be or if it can be improved. They are the “big idea” types that know how to point out what is wrong and might know how to fix it, but they don’t have the ability to follow through. They will get distracted and quickly move on to the next task. Aggressors get things done. They might not have noticed what was wrong, but they know every step it would take to bring a task to completion. They are detailed oriented, even sometimes to a fault. But, if they don’t have a “thing” to improve on, they will quickly become stagnant, or they will find something to fix without a proper vision for fixing it.

We need to embrace that mankind is full of agitators and aggressors. We have the ability as potential agitators and aggressors to either make the world better or to make it worse. Let us not use our ingrained abilities and gifts as a way of making our world worse, but see our own potential and use it to make a better tomorrow for everyone.

Are you an agitator or an aggressor or “anything but”?

40 Years

Norma was a young twenty-something. She was poor and lived with her father. And she was pregnant… AGAIN! And already being 21 with two kids, she felt hopeless and depressed. At the time, the law forbade her from having the child aborted, unless she was raped. So she did what any desperate young adult would do; she went to the police and lied. But due to a lack of physical evidence, she was denied the “right” to abort her child…

It’s strange that at this moment in my life, I can really sympathize with Norma. Being around the same age as her, same financial desperation, and same failing feelings regarding life, I can see now more than ever why Norma would want to abort her child. She felt like she could barely support herself, and being pregnant meant not being able to work to support the family she already had as a single mother.

Dietrich spent sometime in America after finishing his doctoral work in his homeland – Germany. He worked at a church at the time, and made friends with the few people that would tolerate his poor English. He looked at the culture of America with ridicule – coming over in the 1930’s when racial prejudice was still at a high. He didn’t understand how human beings, whites and blacks, could treat each other so poorly. And Dietrich loved the gospel choirs of Black America!

Within several years, Dietrich didn’t know that he would only wish that his country had racial prejudice as mild as that in America. What Dietrich faced before him was far worse! The Fuhrer had black listed the Jews in Dietrich’s country. Close friends and colleagues had lost their jobs and were starting to disappear without a trace. Hitler was also using misguided quotes from Martin Luther, a prime historical figure of Germany, to make the people think that the Jews weren’t even human at all.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer would end up being killed by firing squad for his role in the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler. He was a theologian, and a pastor, and some would say a martyr. I look up to him because he was willing to speak up for the voiceless, and stand with few against the millions for something that he knew to be true.

Norma McCorvey, who most people probably know as Jane Roe, stood up for what she believed to be the right thing at the time. She went to court to fight for her right to choose abortion as an outcome for her child. The case Roe v. Wade was won on January 22, 1973 (though her baby was born during the trial and placed into adoption). Later, McCorvey would say that she was merely used by her attorneys to get what they wanted – a person who would allow them to challenge the state law.

And now millions of unborn children have died due to that outcome – abortion.

I wonder in another 40 years if we will look back and see the harm that we have caused our nation and the world. Abortion is no more a fight of religion as was the Holocaust. Abortion isn’t a matter of a woman’s right, but it is about the definition and importance of a human life.

I guess my favorite part of Norma McCorvey’s story is one of redemption. Now, 40 years after Roe v. Wade, McCorvey is a pro-life advocate. “I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”