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Archive for the ‘Mohler Jr.’ Category

Boys…diagnosed with ADHD, but are they really? Dr. Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on February 27, 2008

OK, So What Kid Doesn’t Fit this Description?

When thinking of signs of our times, consider this advertisement from a Nebraska newspaper. The ad was brought to my attention by a helpful listener to the radio program.

Now, let’s think carefully about this. Can’t sit still? Can’t play quietly? Loses things? Does not seem to listen? Has difficulty paying attention? Is fidgety? Honestly, do you know any 6 to 12-year-old children who do not fit this description?

The number of children — especially boys — diagnosed with ADHD has skyrocketed in recent years. While some boys may well have some kind of genuine problem, the vast majority appear to be diagnosed as, well . . . boys. As physician Leonard Sax, author of Boys Adrift, explains, a diagnosis of ADHD lets everyone off the hook, so to speak. The boy is told he is not responsible for his behavioral problems, the parents are relieved of anxiety over inadequate parenting, teachers and bureaucrats have a new pathological slot into which boys can be filed, and drug companies get to sell pills. Everybody wins.

But, as Dr. Sax argues, the diagnosis and the drugs can have far-reaching consequences for the boy. I am not a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a pharmacologist, or a medical professional of any sort. I am a former boy, however, and I know very well that every boy I have ever known would fit the categories described in this advertisement.

I would write more about this, but I just can’t sit still. Now, what were we talking about?

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. (February 27th, 2008)

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A New Voice in the Abortion Debate-Fathers!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion.

“We had abortions. . . . I’ve had abortions,” says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost children.

Stephanie Simon of The Los Angeles Times provides a report on this new movement in “Changing Abortion’s Pronoun,” published in the January 7, 2008 edition of the paper. Here is her introduction to the story:

Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy — his son — with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.  But he’ll never know for sure. His fiancee’s sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. “I hated the world,” he said.  Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: “How can I miss something I never even held?”

That question haunts many men, as Simon’s report makes clear. These men are raising their voices against abortion and the Culture of Death, and they call themselves “post-abortive men.” As Simon explains, “Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman’s issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement — both political and deeply personal in nature — contends that the pronoun is all wrong.”

The concept of “post-abortion syndrome” has gained currency in recent years as women who have experienced abortions speak of their trauma and pain. As the paper’s report acknowledges, these reports of post-abortion pain and deep distress were cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing the government to ban partial-birth abortions.

The focus on the voices of men is new, but it reveals again that abortion takes a toll on all concerned, including those who are the fathers of aborted babies. The stories vary with the individuals involved. Some of these “post-abortive men” demanded and facilitated the abortion, others never knew of the pregnancy until it was too late.

More from Mark Morrow:

Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife — more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion.  Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, “I suddenly realized that I had four dead children,” said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. “I hadn’t given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me — look what you’ve done.”  A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: “That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, ‘We can’t do this’. . . but you didn’t.”

“Look what you’ve done.” Those words come with a haunting sense of reality, guilt, and grief. These voices are also causing concern among abortion rights advocates. As Simon reports:

Abortion rights supporters watch this latest mobilization warily: If anecdotes from grieving women can move the Supreme Court, what will testimony about men’s pain accomplish?  “They can potentially shift the entire debate,” said Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights.

We can only respond with the hope that she is right. While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.

A new voice is being heard in the abortion debate — and it’s about time.

Albert Mohler Jr.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Does Marriage Matter?

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

The “My Turn” column in each week’s issue of Newsweek is always one of the most interesting features in the magazine, and it is often the first page I read. The January 14, 2008 edition featured a column that demands attention — and has attracted plenty.

In her article, “Yes to Love, No to Marriage,” Bonnie Eslinger writes of choosing love but insists that she has absolutely no need of marriage. “I am a 42-year-old woman who has lived life mostly on my own terms,” she explains. “I have never sought a husband and have still experienced intense, affirming love. I have explored the world and myself and sought understanding, knowledge and a sense of how I can best contribute. Ten years ago I left a New York career to return to California and pursue a writer’s life.”

She also became a foster mom to a teenage girl . . . and then she met Jeff. As she recalls, “Meeting Jeff–an intelligent, creative, thoughtful man–became the icing on the rich cake of a life not wasted cruising singles bars and pining over lost loves.”

As the relationship moved forward, Jeff thought of marriage and then asked Bonnie to marry him. Here is how she tells the story:

Last year Jeff asked me to marry him, and I willingly gave my heart to the intent of his question. We are committed to spending our future together, pursuing our dreams and facing life’s challenges in partnership.

Yet I do not need a piece of paper from the state to strengthen my commitment to Jeff. I do not believe in a religion that says romantic, committed love is moral only if couples pledge joint allegiance to God.

Bonnie Eslinger willingly gave her heart to “the intent of his question,” she insists, but not to marriage. Her explanation is straightforward — she has no need of “a piece of paper from the state” and is not a believer in any religion that would demand that romance, sex, and “committed love” be restricted to marriage — a couple’s “joint allegiance to God.”

In one sense, the column is not shocking. Rates of heterosexual cohabitation are growing annually. Marriage has been subverted by easy divorce, pummeled in the mass culture and in entertainment, confused through debates over same-sex relationships, and sidelined by a generation that is extending adolescence past age thirty.

In another sense, Bonnie Eslinger’s column is surely noteworthy for its candor — and its evasions.

Her candor is bracing at points.  Consider this section:

I don’t need a white dress to feel pretty, and I have no desire to pretend I’m virginal. I don’t need to have Jeff propose to me as if he’s chosen me. I don’t need a ring as a daily reminder to myself or others that I am loved. And I don’t need Jeff to say publicly that he loves me, because he says it privately, not just in words but in daily actions.

Few paragraphs offer such eloquent testimony to the absolute victory of personal autonomy as an ideal.  The first-person pronoun appears no less than eleven times in that short paragraph.

Where is Jeff?  Bonnie Eslinger argues that she responded positively to “the intent of his question” when he proposed marriage.  But, if marriage was his question, how can his “intent” be so easily reduced to cohabitation?

Marriage is not primarily about what we as individuals think we want or need.  It is about a central public commitment that the society needs, that couples need, that children need, and yes, that the spouses need.  Marriage is a public institution, not merely a private commitment.  It identifies the couple as a pair committed to lifelong marriage and thus to be respected in this commitment.  The fact that our society has weakened marriage offers only further incentive to get it right and to strengthen this vital institution.

The traditions of the wedding ceremony are important as a part of solemnizing and recognizing this covenanted relationship — but the traditions are expendable.  Marriage is not.  There is a universe of difference between a private promise and a public pledge.  Marriage is about a public vow made by the man to the woman and the woman to the man whereby they become now husband and wife.

Bonnie Eslinger’s column has sparked controversy on both sides of the cultural divide.  Ironically, one interesting piece of testimony to the enduring power of marriage is the fact that, even in 2008, this column has met resistance as well as agreement.  There are things we really cannot not know, and one of these truths is that marriage really does matter.

__________________

We discussed this issue on Monday’s edition of The Albert Mohler Program [listen here].

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Theology Matters…It Always Matters! by Al Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on January 12, 2008

Ideas drive history.  Any significant conflict comes down, however eventually, to ideas, beliefs, and convictions.  Take that analysis to the next level and it becomes clear that the most significant human conflicts we encounter are the most significantly tied to ideas — and to beliefs about God.  In other words, theology matters.

 

This is especially clear when the conflict between Islam and the West comes into view.  The deeply and inescapably theological character of this collision should be apparent to all.  Those most ardently determined to ignore this dimension are those who are convinced that the West has now entered a secular and post-theological age in which basic convictions and belief about God no longer matter.

 

This conveniently, but dangerously, ignores the obvious — that the West is based upon a certain understanding of order, rationality, human dignity, and human responsibility that emerged out of the Christian worldview, informed by both the Old and New Testaments.  Rival civilizations are based in different belief systems that produce very different understandings and moral actions.  Students in most American high schools study the stories of those understood to be champions of freedom.  Students in far too many madrassas throughout much of the Islamic world are taught to celebrate martyrs to Islam — even teenage suicide bombers.  

 

In his new book, Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism, George Weigel takes theology seriously as he considers the threat of jihadism.  A Distinguished Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, Weigel is a prominent Catholic intellectual and commentator.  Here is the central thrust of his analysis:

 

How men and women think about God–or don’t think about God–has a great deal to do with how they envision the just society, and how they determine the appropriate means by which to build that society. This means taking theology seriously–which includes taking seriously others’ concepts of God’s nature and purposes, and their commitments to the beliefs arising from those concepts–as well as the theologies that have shaped the civilization of the West. If we have not learned this over the past five years, one wonders if we have learned anything.

 

Well, one does wonder if we have learned anything.  This quality of analysis is virtually missing from most public conversation — which is why Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism is so important.

 

Weigel also notices the different way Muslims and Westerners view history.  He sees theology at work there as well:

 

 

Despite the supersessionist claims that some Christians have made throughout history vis-à-vis Judaism, no orthodox Christian holds that God’s self-revelation in Christ negates God’s self-revelation in the history of the People of Israel. Islam, by contrast, takes a radically supersessionist view of both Judaism and Christianity, claiming that the final revelation to Muhammad de facto trumps, by way of supersession, any prior revelatory value (so to speak) that might be found in the Hebrew Bible or the Christian New Testament.

 

But Islam and the Christianity-formed West also produced very different theological anthropologies:

 

 

Islamic theological anthropology also helps explain Islam’s traditional division of the human world into the “House of Islam,” the “God-hallowed realm” that embodies God’s purposes on earth, and the “House of War,” which is composed of all those who have not yet submitted to Allah and his Prophet. From there, it is but a short step to the Muslim conviction that, as Bernard Lewis writes, “The Islamic state [is] the only truly legitimate power on earth and the Islamic community the sole repository of truth and enlightenment, surrounded on all sides by an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief.”

 

Weigel also gives the jihadists their due; they are acting in ways that, given their own belief system, make sense.  Calling them crazy or irrational does not help.  Their actions — including suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism — make sense to them:

 

 

It is thus a great folly to think that jihadism and the terrorism it underwrites can be understood in terms drawn primarily from the patois of the therapeutic society, as if jihadist terrorism were some Levantine form of psychiatric aberration. Within their own theological frame of reference and the reading of history it warrants, jihadists are not crazy. They make, to themselves, a terrible kind of sense.

 

Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism clarifies what so many observers confuse.  Theology matters . . . it always matters.

 

_____________________

 

FOOTNOTES:  [1]  George Weigel was my guest on Thursday’s edition of The Albert Mohler Program [listen here].  I enjoyed the conversation with him.  [2]  Theology does matter, of course, and I would look forward to an opportunity to consider how evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics might look at certain aspects of this dynamic quite differently.  I appreciate the fact that George Weigel believes that the “trope” of referring to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as “Abrahamic” religions is “ultimately misleading.”  Nevertheless, I must ask whether certain strains of Roman Catholic teaching (including crucial texts of Vatican II) strongly suggest this same misunderstanding.  I believe that they do, but I will have to leave that for another day and another argument.  [3]  George Weigel’s previous book, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God also offered a penetrating critique of Western secularism and the crisis of Europe.  I wrote about it here.  The book is now available at a significantly discounted price here.

 

-Scott Bailey 2008

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