Life Issues

The Pain of Charlottesville Reveals an Act of False Worship

The Pain of Charlottesville Reveals an Act of False Worship

You are what you worship. What happened in Charlottesville is a theological reaction against true worship. Racism and violence come from a people who have created a god in their own image. The god they created is a self-serving and self-consuming deity that devours the good, true, and beautiful and spits out a fully grown sin that leads to death (Jam. 1:15). It is a god that deceives man and allures him with the whisper of superiority. And fallen man eagerly bows before evil to taste a vaporous glory.

But the end of all false worship is death.

The God of all justice will restore man to true glory, and we who watch from afar the misery and injustice suffered by others must humble ourselves and bow down before the cosmic LORD who demands of all tribes, tongues, and people, “Come to me and worship at My feet for under my rule is true and everlasting life.” #Charlottesville #grieving

Pondering Death: Another Day as a Pro-Lifer

Pondering Death: Another Day as a Pro-Lifer

On Thursday mornings, I join a group of young mothers and their children and several Roman Catholic folks for a litany in response to abortion.a We give thanks for those who have given so many years to speak for life in a place of death. One gentleman who is there quite often has been peacefully serving in the pro-life movement for over 30 years. His eyes give the appearance of defeat as he paces back and forth. His disheveled appearance adds to his age. I asked him if he ever feels discouraged. He tells me that every time he sees young people standing in front of this place of death he is energized.

As we go through this litany, I had a thought. I had noticed cars passing driving by the abortion facility. Some of the vehicles came and parked. As the protagonists exited the cars, they walked proudly, defiantly to the building. They didn’t say a word.

The building has no charm. It looks like a warehouse, but a busy one. Other folks park, look at us somewhat bemused by our skepticism about their decision. It’s as if we are ruining their perfect day. “Leave me the ___alone! This is none of your business,” he says. The man next to me looks at him and replies: “It is my business. That’s a human being your girlfriend has inside of her, and you are about to let some doctor kill him.” He flips him off. The veteran pro-lifer is not one bit discouraged. “Maybe he will meditate on what I said,” he tells me.

Another group of vehicles drives right by the clinic. They ride down to a cul-de-sac. They park away from people. Someone in the car is having second thoughts. They ponder for the last time whether this is the right decision. As we look, it feels like an eternity before the vehicle begins marching our way. We wait in silence uncertain about their decision. As they drive up the hill toward us, our only hope is for this car to keep going. They give an indication they are going to turn into the parking lot, and then suddenly the vehicle speeds away towards the main road; away from death.

But before we can even cheer several other cars come and join the others. The parking lot is getting full. The security guards smoke their cigarettes offering new-comers some instruction. They say people inside the building can hear the things we say outside, so I use my voice to project their way. “Lord, hear our prayer.” “For your steadfast love endures forever.” “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” “Hear us!”

These angels of life look at this generation and see a culture drunk with death. And though they have been at this life-saving business for decades, the battle continues. I hope by the end of their lives they might see the fruits of their labor. I know their labors are not in vain. Lord, have mercy!

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I am sorry!

This video is sad and hopeful at the same time. Listen to it and pass it on to others. There is hope for those who have fallen prey and succumbed to the pressures of the death industry called abortion. God has not abandoned you. He is here ready to embrace you and offer his forgiveness. Though women are guilty of making these life-ending decisions, they are usually led by the pressures of boyfriends who persuade them that a child would ruin their lives or plunge them into poverty, or other form of manipulation.

While some in the comments’ section decry such a powerful video, others find freedom and forgiveness in them:

Thank you gentlemen for the apology.  As a woman who aborted her child, mainly because the father of the baby didn’t want the responsibility of the baby, your apology will help many women hurting from aborting their babies.  My baby’s father refuses to acknowledge  his part of the pain I have endured from aborting our baby.   There will be women who will claim you have no right to say what you are saying, but I want you to know they don’t speak for those of us who get it.  Again thank you so much!!!

 

The Pro-Choice New Chant

First published at Kuyperian.

The chant outside Texas Capitol was consistent and unmistakable: “Hail Satan.” As the peaceful pro-life advocates were singing Amazing Grace, a group of loud pro-abortion chanters added their own version (hear video).

 I am not saying that every woman who has ever committed abortion or support abortion are actively joined to some Anton Lavey gathering, or that Rachel Maddow will begin her show with a pro-Satan salutation, rather what I am saying is that this chant is an affirmation of the one who is behind these ideologies. Satan is the father of lies, and so he delights to hear his praises sung.

The Christian faith has always been a faith of life. The unbelieving heart is voluntarily against life. Policies and ideologies that delight in death are diametrically opposed to the Christian order. These loud advocates may have been trying to sabotage John Newton’s hymn, or to silence the pro-life sounds, but in reality they were revealing that which is fundamental to the way they look at the world. They were chanting from page one of their hymnals.  Out of the heart the mouth chants. We are all worshiping beings. We all worship something or someone, and that worship is most clearly demonstrated in song.

Ideas have consequences and consequences have songs. Every generation has its own soundtrack. This generation has finally found one for her ideologies.

The Christian Post publishes a few of my articles…

I came a cross an angry atheist’s website who mocked my last name. Something about burritos. As a result, he linked me to the evangelical and nationally acclaimed Christian news website,  The Christian PostAnd I was surprised to see that they have published five of my pieces. Here they are if you are interested.

Affirming True Truth

Francis Schaeffer’s line true truth was coined as a result of the pluralistic culture he was a part of and which has in many ways engulfed our present society. Schaeffer was referring to a truth that is objective and not relativized by one’s preferences. The Gospel is true truth. The Church’s peculiarity stems from her unique message. It is indeed a message that is hardly embraced in the public square, but one which she must proudly proclaim: Jesus, the Messiah, is Lord.

Lesslie Newbigin’s classic work The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society addresses some of these  profound manifestations in the Christian world. He exposes the pluralistic and cowardly trends of the modern church a few decades ago and certainly still very much true in our own day. A Church can speak truth, but speak it so subtly and unwillingly that she permeates by her words a certain level of skepticism in her people. But there is also the type of belief that leaves the door open to other ideologies. Newbigin observed that,

As long as the church is content to offer its beliefs modestly as simply one of the many brands available in the ideological supermarket, no offense is taken. But the affirmation that the truth revealed in the gospel ought to govern public life is offensive (7).

Both are fatal. One slowly ceases to proclaim true truth, while the other leaves the door open for philosophical wolves. The Gospel is no longer that potent and offensive claim, but a powerless declaration that Jesus can be a lord, but is not necessarily interested in the job description.

True truth is declarational. Simple truth has its genesis in the One who claims to be the way, truth, and life. This three-fold declaration is not up for debate. Pluralism, religious pluralism, is doxologically impossible for you can only serve one master.

A Four-Year Old’s Reaction to the Abortion Industry

Originally published at Kuyperian Commentary

Response to Comments: I am pleased with the enormous response. As of now there have been over 500 views. The vast majority of responses were very supportive and expressed in one way or another the sadness, but also the hope that a new generation will turn this evil tide in our country.

As I expected there were a couple of negative responses. The response can be summarized in the following manner: “Abortion is such a difficult issue, and to expose a four year old to such an issue can be unhealthy.” One comment referred to the topic of abortion as “intense.” I do not wish to spend too much time with a lengthy response, except to say the following:

First, we have largely sanitized abortion in our evangelical culture. We looked at the Gosnell case with absolute horror, but then treated it as something completely different than what happens every single day in the abortion clinics of America. Approximately, 4,000 babies are suffering the same fate every day. Instead of sanitizing, we need to call it for what it is: barbarism. 

Secondly, we have also minimized the ability of our little children to understand big issues. My four year old has been raised in a covenant home where the gospel is brought to her attention every day through singing, Bible reading, discipline, and conversations that vary from the Trinity to tying shoes. Children can grasp more than we can imagine. During our lunch time today, my daughter called my wife to tell her something. She whispered to my wife: “Thank you for loving life.” Yes, there were some tears, but ultimately it was a confirmation that the covenant promises of God are yes and amen.

Third, one comment addressed the fact that we need to show more love to these mothers. I agree. And I think that pregnancy centers like Safe Harbor in Pensacola do a marvelous job. Last year alone they–through their counsel–prevented over 150 women from taking the life of their unborn children. At the same time, when these women are walking into these abortion centers, they are mostly making a conscientious choice to take the life of their unborn child. This is tragic, and my daughter’s response was far more mature and pure than my own at times. Death is death. Death is a reality. We cannot keep our children from it, and when we see it we need to despise those who work iniquity (Psalm 5:5). 

May God grant this new generation courage and a fresh passion for the glory of God and the purity and value of human life.

———

It was a morning like any other, except my daughter was wide awake at 4:45 AM. I work hard at not being a morning person, but for her it came rather easily. I got dressed and made the quick decision to take my vivacious four-year old with me. It was an ordinary morning, but at the last abortion clinic in Pensacola it was a morbid morning. Young ladies full of life were entering the house of death.

I am an ordained minister. I have sat through a presbytery oral examination. After having studied for six months, I felt fairly confident as I sat before six other pastors. The Bible verses and the theology flowed from my lips with tremendous ease. This morning, however, I was examined by my four year old. Suddenly I found my rhetorical abilities being challenged as I tried to explain to this beautiful little girl just how un-beautiful this place was. “We are going to a place where mommies don’t want their babies,” I said. “Why do they not want their babies,” she asked. “Well, they simply don’t love life.” She paused and looked outside in silent wonder.

We arrived at the clinic and the signs were beautiful. The faces of lovely little children brought a temporary sanity to some of us. Another sign pictured a bloody and shattered body of an aborted image-bearer. She saw the image.

We joined the other saints. We read a psalm, prayed, and sang Psalm 92. They may not have heard us inside, but God did, and God acts through the prayers of his people. We sang of how the enemies of Yahweh grow like weed, but they are caught in their own evil schemes. Lord, hear our prayer.

We saw the vehicles as they drove by us. They reminded me of young college students flying through the college campus to get to class on time. In this case, they were young college students flying by in their expensive cars to terminate the life of their unborn children. It was a devastating sight to behold.

My daughter asked me to lower myself and quietly asked me: “Are the mommies going to kill their babies?” “They are, baby girl! That is why we are here. We don’t want them to make this horrible decision.” “But daddy, I don’t want them to kill their babies.” “We don’t either. We need to let them know that God loves life, and that He loves babies.” She was visibly shocked. In her world, mommies treasure babies, and daddies are not cowards. But in this world, mommies are bad characters in this unending movie, and daddies are participants in one of the most cowardly acts of history. “Daddy, I want to go home.” I excused myself and took my four year old to the car knowing that I was going to be examined again. “Are they really going to kill their babies?” Now she asked with greater conviction. Once again I said yes. We need to let them know that babies are gifts from God and that we cannot refuse his gifts. We then talked about how precious her baby brothers were. She told me she wanted to go home and kiss her 9 month old brother. Once again, she silently looked out the window in a contemplative manner. Then she burst into righteous anger: “I don’t like those mommies! They will never be able to kiss the babies! I don’t want to come back here.” I didn’t respond. She then pondered for a minute or two. “Maybe I will come back,” she said. “Just let daddy know, and I will bring you with me,” I said.

It was a morning like all others, but this morning my daughter learned that not everyone treasures life. And her heart was broken, and so was her father’s.

Uri Brito is a husband, and a father of three lovely children.

Why I am proud to be an American

In the best sense of the term, this has been a very patriotic weekend for me. It began on Thursday evening at the Banquet for Life hosted by Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a ministry the saints of Providence have invested in for quite a few years. It is more than just another pro-life ministry, it is a labor that saw 162 women this past year choose life rather than live with the blood of the innocent in their hands for the rest of their lives. They provide counseling, medical help, and the environment to best guide confused young women out of their present chaos.

At their annual fundraising banquet they invited Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum was still living off the energy of last year’s election. The Senator from Pennsylvania shocked the nation by losing to Mitt Romney by only eight votes in Iowa and going on to win several other primaries. Though Santorum was no match for the prosperous GOP establishment candidate, the Senator was still able to leave a lasting impression in the GOP Primary.

Santorum observed in his speech that though he had opined continuously on the state of the economy and on other pertinent matters, the media chose not to pursue the Senator’s opinion on these issues, but rather focus on some of his more “extreme” ideas. Ideas like opposition to abortion, which according to the general American public are far from extreme. Yet, we are at such a stage in the civil discourse that when anyone speaks passionately about any moral issue, he is already termed a radical. To hell with logic!

The Santorum event renewed my commitment to the life issue and my support for organizations like Safe Harbor in Pensacola, Fl. May they prosper!

Friday morning then was a continuation to this patriotic weekend. After 17 years in these United States, I have finally made official what many thought had been official for a long time. The reality is, I waited this long because I understood what this meant. In one sense, it meant that my allegiance to my birth country of Brazil would move to the passenger’s seat. Practically it has been that way, but a liturgy was needed to confirm this commitment. Though I love my country’s beauty and culture, I am and will be an American at heart. My commitment to the well-being of this nation is a deep part of who I am. Though my skepticism about our government’s actions will always prevail, I am deep inside an American by choice. I didn’t have to be, but I chose to be.

The naturalization ceremony flowed with all its pomp and persistent commentary by the Judge. Her American pride was gallantly streaming. But in some ways the ceremony had to be slow for I had been waiting for a long time for this moment to come to pass, and the slow and tedious ceremony was just an symbol of how long this entire process took; thousands of dollars, the patience of a loving wife, and the trips…so many trips. So here I am: an American at last.

My religious and political propensity demands that I refrain from exalting too much this nation. But it is hard to remain silent about a nation that has done so much for me. It has nourished me in all the human luxuries imaginable. It has provided for me confirmation of my calling. It has romanced me into its beauty and culture, and then asked me to take part in it. It accepted me even when I declared from the mountain tops that this country needs repentance of the II Chronicles kind.

So this has been a patriotic past weekend. I have tasted officially of the American air with a flag pin to prove it. I indulged in corn dogs and French fries (yes, freedom fries), and no, I still do not have an appetite for country music. I entered into the fine company of what the Judge so repetitively described as the “melting pot.” I enter as one, but hope to impact many.

I am proud to be an American, but in a different way than the obnoxious tune. I am proud to be an American because I know that my loyalty is to the King of America, Jesus Christ. And though this blessed nation has deserted our Lord and Maker, I decided to use my mouth and vote to opine passionately and studiously about why this nation needs to pursue this Lord. She is lost without His care. I don’t want to only glory in her past; I want to glory in the future she will have if she turns, and repents, and bows down before the only One who can make her great.

Gosnell and the Boston Marathon

One of the great problems of our society is the problem of prioritization. We have not disciplined ourselves. We have a disjointed hierarchy. Since this is the case we walk around limping as a culture. Christians, the architects of society, have a particular distaste for priorities. They want to tackle too many issues with the same level of enthusiasm and dedication. As a result, we have lost our battles again and again. I am not implying that we need to forget certain issues, but that we need to give more attention to others.

One such example of this is the recent cases of Kermit Gosnell and the Boston Marathon Bombing. The media has overwhelmed us with terrorist experts. They have played images again and again. On the other hand–by comparison–the media has avoided the details of the Gosnell case. Where are the terrorist experts when we need them? The grand jury transcripts are all available. The details are gruesome. While Planned Parenthood laments how dirty Gosnell’s facility was and how much cleaner their deaths are, we need to keep first things first. One monster who keeps body parts as souvenirs is no different than another monster who prefers to dispose of body parts. They are all guilty and filthy in every way.

We weep and expect quick judgment to befall the protagonists of the evil that occurred in Boston. The Boston Marathon bombing offered us a glimpse into sin ( I offered a prayer here), but the slaughtered body parts of born infants offers us a gigantic display of the barbaric nature of sin. This is what priorities look like.  Though Christ bore every sin, not every sin is alike. Though people die, not every death is alike. Though catastrophes happen, not every catastrophe is alike.  We know this instinctively, but at times we are afraid to bring it to light. Some may fear we are trivializing an atrocity to bring light to another. This is not the case. I am simply pointing out that certain atrocities are so humanly appalling that it deserves more light than others. I am trying to reverse the prioritization of a culture. I am asserting that not all evil acts are created equal. I am also affirming that God’s wrath burns brighter in some cases over others. I am asserting that when what God so wonderfully made (Ps. 139) is torn and broken, our weeping should last longer.

Marc Lamont Hill made clear his priorities when he stated the following recently:

“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.”

This type of clarity is rare, but refreshing. It is refreshing in an extremely morbid sense. Hill is one of those that acknowledge that his ideology is to be preferred over what is good, true, and beautiful. Simply put, a philosophy of death needs to prevail. Robert Frost once humorously observed that “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” The humor vanishes when we consider that for those dismembered infants life barely started. We lack moral prioritization.

So while we offer our prayers to the suffering and grieving in Boston, let us remember and keep reminding everyone through whatever means that what monsters do to the least of these must not be forgotten. Let us keep reminding everyone and ourselves that what monsters do seconds after birth or seconds (or months) before birth is no different. Let us keep reminding the world that God will not overlook evil. Let us keep first things first. 

Guilt, Grace, and Galileans

The Gospel Lesson for this Lord’s Day is from Luke 13:1-13. Pilate’s brutality is fully on display right in verse one: “Pilate had mingled Galilean blood with their sacrifices.” “Are these Galileans worse than other Galileans because they suffered in this way?, was the question our Lord posed.

Jesus did not spend his time in Luke’s account offering a philosophical exegesis of theodicy.[1] Rather, he simply “said, “If you don’t repent, you will likewise perish.” “But Rabbi, I want a more profound answer to this intellectual dilemma. I want to know the ins and outs of your divine and decretal will. I want to be able to rationalize every detail of your purposes in life and in death.” Jesus had a different agenda. Jesus sees death, as Richard Hays observes, as “an occasion for metanoia.[2] Jesus did not offer words of religious comfort to appease the inquirer, no; he used it as an opportunity to express something very central to his Kingdom Gospel: repentance. The word repentance implies turning away, or a change of mind. But biblically, it is more than that. Repentance means turning away from something and embodying a view of life diametrically opposed to the one previously expressed.

It is not enough to turn from something without knowing where you are turning to. Otherwise, that turn might lead you back to the sin that entangled you. Jesus wants us to avoid this vicious cycle.

Suffering and pain are caused for a host of reasons that many times are unknown to us in this life. But one response is absolutely sure: repentance. The tragic events that occur in this life are tragic because they expose the mortality of humanity.[3] The sudden difficult events that shake our very beings (and in some cases our faith) deal with the uniqueness and temporariness of the un-resurrected corporeal nature.

The human tendency is to compare sinners so that we may excuse ourselves. After all, it is easier to point to someone else’s sinfulness than our own. But Jesus wants Israel to consider her sins, and as a result, our own, and see if repentance is being expressed in light of what has happened.

The patience of God endures, but it is not forever. Historical tragedies of great and small proportions should cause us to seek forgiveness and to consider whether we are bearing fruits of repentance.


[1] Though the prophets before Him and the New Testament provides a healthy theology of good and evil, and God’s Just and Perfect ways.

[2] Hays, Richard. On Hearing Bad News, Living by the Word; The Christian Century.

[3] Bock, Darrell, The NIV Application Commentary, 365