Gossip kills churches. If you're reading this blog at all, odds are I don't want your church to be killed! So here's what you do.
First, understand what gossip is. Gossip is spreading harmful by Coupon Companion Plugin">information in an ungodly manner — without love, and thus to no positive end. Its bastard stepchildren are the triplets: Strife, Dissension, Division. Once again, my focus is the life of the local church.
Second, do any or all of the following steps, as needed. Some of them help identify whether you're actually hearing gossip or not. All of them will stop it dead. But none will by Coupon Companion Plugin">work... unless used.
Ask, "Why are you telling me this?"Often, that in itself is such a focusing question that it can bring an end to the whole unpleasant chapter. It has the added benefit that it can help a person whose intentions are as good as his/her judgment is bad.
Ask, "What's the difference between what you're telling me and gossip?"See above; same effect, same potential benefits.
Ask, "How is your telling me that thought, that complaint, that information going to help you and me love God and our brothers better, and knit us closer together as a church in Christ's love?" Isn't that the goal we should share, every one of us? Won't it take the working of each individual member (Eph. 4:16)? Isn't the watch-out for harmful influences an every-member ministry (Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24; 13:12-15)?
Ask, "Now that you've told me about that, what are you going to do about it?" While the previous two are subjective, this is not. If neither of the previous two questions succeeded in identifying gossip/whispering/sowing-dissension for what they are, the by Coupon Companion Plugin">answer to this question will do so. Tip: if the answer is "Pray," a good response might be "Then why didn't you do that and leave it there in the first place?"
Say, "Now that you've told me about that, you've morally obligated me to make sure you talk to ____ about it. How long do you think you need, so I can know when this becomes a sin that I will need to confront in you?" The least that this will accomplish is that you'll fall of the list of gossips'/whisperers' favorite venting-spots. The most is that you may head off a church split, division, harmed souls, sidelined Gospel ministry, and waylaid discipleship. Isn't that worth it?
Anyone who has ever been to tertiary level (or probably even Tafe level) education knows the ease of which one can cheat. With Universities more and more using take-home exams as assessment criteria you no longer have a stringent time-line or environment to complete your exams.
What comes with this new found freedom is the temptation to share ideas and pointers in the group that you'd do other legitimate assignments and exam preparation with. Such practice should be heavily dissuaded and if someone is caught in the act they would face severe academic ramifications.
Such was the case last year when, in a decision handed down this week, over 60 Harvard students were suspended:
“The students were accused of collaborating on the last of four take-home exams in the spring 2012 lecture Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.The students were given a week to complete the exams. Suspicions were first made public last August, when Harvard announced it was dealing with a cheating scandal of unknown scope.”
As this is at one of the most prestigious Universities in America it is no surprise that it has made a splash in the tabloids. However, it is worth noting that tertiary education in our very own country take this very seriously. With this in mind we should steer clear of any temptation to conspire with our fellow students. Not only because of the dangers it poses to our academic studies but because of the ethical implications that we are being dishonest and self-interested. As young adults who stand on Biblical principles we should not allow ourselves to be influenced
So when they release an advertisement that centres on abortion it is best to have a degree of scepticism about their motives. Yet at times you can learn much about the mindset of the “pro-choice” camp. Here is their latest clip:
Let us look at some of the central arguments in this video:
Abortion is too complicated for labels. The video begins with the voiceover “Most things in life aren’t simple. And that includes abortion. It’s personal, it can be complicated and for many people it’s not a black and white issue. So why do people try to label it like it is? Pro-choice. Pro-life. The truth is these labels limit the conversation and simply don’t reflect how people actually feel about abortion.”
The majority of Americans want legalised abortions. The video continues “A majority of Americans believe abortion should remain safe and legal. Many just don’t use the words pro-choice. They don’t necessarily identify as pro-life either. Truth is they just don’t want to be labelled.”
Congress shouldn’t have the ability to decide The Planned Parenthood clip then turns its attention to a Politician’s role in the decision-making: “When it comes to abortion who decides? Her Cogressman? Her Governor? Her President? Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care or cancer treatments, and they shouldn’t. Politicians don’t belong in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.”
As we haven’t walked in her shoes we don’t know enough to take the decision away from her. The video concludes: “When it comes down to it we just don’t know a woman’s specific situation. We’re not in her shoes. Ultimately decisions about whether to choose adoption and a pregnancy or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, her faith. With the counsel of her doctor or health care provider.”
So there you have it. Four reasons that Planned Parenthood believes the viewer will find compelling. The problem is that none of the really stand up. Let us examine each of the arguments:
1.Abortion is too complicated for labels
This is not so much an argument as an attempt to redefine the argument. To move the goalposts. As revealed in the next argument below Planned Parenthood have identified that the majority of Americans do not identify as pro-choice” or “pro-life”, but somewhere in between. Hence they are appealing to those people who might actually buy the statement that abortion is too complicated for labels.
The difficulty for Planned Parenthood here is that you are what you are, regardless of what labels you want or don’t want to apply. If indeed abortion is the taking of human life (which it is) then no matter how hard you try to paint the pro-abortion stance as ethical the mud still sticks, and stinks. What is more, such a radically important question also does not allow for moderation. If you are ambivalent about the “pro-life” or “pro-choice” camps then you are indirectly helping those who would advocate the killing of babies in the womb and this makes you equally culpable.
Planned Parenthood, as always, is trying to overcomplicate a very straight-forward ethical question – is the unborn fetus a baby? A human? If it is then we must extend them the same protection given to each person who has been born.
2. The majority of Americans want legalised abortions
In this debate Planned Parenthood are trying to paint themselves as moderate, like the majority of Americans. Yet their hands are as red as any organisation in history. They are invested in the continued legalisation of the abortive procedure. But the point of whether the majority of Americans identify with them is irrelevant. The argument from superior numbers holds no credence in the debate on abortion.
This argument presupposes that ethics are decided by the majority. Perhaps from a naturalistic worldview this idea holds some weight. Yet when innocent lives are at stake we really should not leave decision-making up to the majority if they choose the wrong course of action.
The idea that the majority can decide on this issue relies on the misconception that all that is at stake is a difference of opinions. The stakes are much higher than that. Therefore even if the vast majority want the woman to make the decision we must oppose them, point out the fallacy of their view and the consequences of their support.
Indeed if we bought into the argument that the majority should always hold the moral high ground that what are we to do with the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade? After all, the right to have an abortion was not supported by a majority back then.
As Charles Spurgeon notably said “Long ago I ceased to count heads. Truth is usually in the minority in this evil world.”
3. Congress shouldn’t have the ability to decide
Regardless of whether you believe this assertion, Congress does have the ability to decide. At the moment we have a President who is severely “pro-choice”. The reason any woman has the ability to have a legal abortion is because of the opinions of seven men serving at the US Supreme Court. So not only do our elected politicians have the ability to legalise abortion but unelected Justices were the initial instigators of the “rights of the woman”. If you believe that the parliament or the courts shouldn’t take what they gave then you are essentially arguing that these institutions should only make decrees that prescribe to your ethos.
This video tries to lump abortion with other procedures like mammograms, prenatal care and cancer treatments and argues that women don’t turn to politicians about these issues so they shouldn’t have to about abortion. Of course, this argument is significantly inhibited by any national healthcare system which suggests that politicians do play some sort of role in women’s health. Beyond this Planned Parenthood receives a great deal of funding from the US Federal Government so such an argument feels very much like Planned Parenthood are having their cake and eating it too.
Regardless, abortion is not a procedure that is similar to mammograms, prenatal care and cancer treatments. All of these treatments mentioned are undertaken upon parts of the body that have the same genetic code as the woman. The baby inside her does not have the same genetic code. If a fetus is left it does not remain a limb, or a mere internal organ. A fetus does not exist inside a women’s body to perform some specific task, it is a being in its own right. To compare the violent removal of this being to procedures on organs of a woman’s body (which will always remain her organs) is dishonest.
I agree that politicians shouldn’t have the final say on abortion, nor should the court system. The sanctity of life is too precious to be left in the fallible hands of men. Indeed even the mother should not have the power to terminate the life of her baby. So we can agree that this issue should not be determined by Congress, or by the US Supreme Court, or by popular vote. The right to life is so valuable that it stands beyond the reach of any man. It is only those who wish to destroy innocence that brought it into our legal systems in the first place. They had no right to do so, no justification and now they argue that this distortion of reality (that the unborn is not a human) should be protected from the reach of the law. How despicable, how vile this argument is.
4. As we haven’t walked in her shoes we don’t know enough to take the decision away from her
It is true that the decision that many women may face regarding abortion is a tough one. There are many different pressures and considerations. Having acknowledged the incredible difficulties it is to have a child (and then perhaps to raise that child) this argument is merely a rehashed version of the argument “It is a woman’s right”. Sure it is more palatable when it is framed “You haven’t walked in her shoes” but the sentiment remains the same – “You have no right to take this decision away from a woman because you don’t know all the facts”. Well, perhaps the facts need to be stated:
The fact that life starts at conception.
The fact that every child (born or unborn) is precious.
The fact that the pre-born is vulnerable, particularly to the one person whose job it is to protect it.
The fact that there is no absolute right to make an absolutely wrong decision.
The fact that this issue is not as complex as Planned Parenthood would have you believe.
"For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.
1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.
2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.
3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.
4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.
5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.
6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.
7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.
8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.
9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.
10. We have seen the photographs.
11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected....”
If you want to read into all of these reasons then click here to go to Piper's article.
One would imagine that someone would not remain "pro-choice" if they believed that the fetus was actually a child.
Yet this may not be the case.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, over at salon.com, had this to say about abortion:
“Of all the diabolically clever moves the anti-choice lobby has ever pulled, surely one of the greatest has been its consistent co-opting of the word “life.” Life! Who wants to argue with that? Who wants be on the side of … not-life? That’s why the language of those who support abortion has for so long been carefully couched in other terms. While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as “pro-life,” the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” The “life” conversation is often too thorny to even broach. Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.....
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.....”