You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics. — Charles Bukowski

Imagine approaching Earth from space. Far enough away, we cannot see the Earth. There is no trace of man. Mankind does not matter. There is only me, lonely me. Only “I” matters.

Eventually, the Earth appears, a small, glittering jewel.

Closer, at orbital heights above our home, we can see traces of man. We can spot the Great Wall of China. We can detect plumes of pollution streaming into the air and the water.

Closer still, cruising above the land, we can observe groups of people, people separated by color, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation, job, wealth, sports team, and so many other things.

Some enjoy the heights. They revel in distantly observing and manipulating ant-like souls. Most join one of the groups. We want to be with people like us. The more the people around us are like us the more we feel they affirm us.

What we see depends upon where we choose to stand. If we stand close enough, we can see an individual. We can converse with someone. We can know their joys and sorrows. We can examine their virtues and their blemishes. Only up close can we know our neighbor.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. (quote from here)

Only up close can we see, hear, and touch our neighbor. Only up close can we appreciate a unique person, a person like our self. Far away we see differences that don’t much matter. Far enough away we see no one. Then we cannot know our brothers and sisters, people like us, people made in the image of our Creator.


In my first post in this series, PART 1, I focused on the politics. Because I am into politics, that’s was my immediate response to Ortberg’s book, Who Is This Man? Ortberg’s book, however, is not about modern politics. Ortberg’s book is about how Jesus changes people. Thus, Chapter 2 is about how Jesus changed the way we see each other, all made in the image of God.

To illustrate just how readily the people accepted the megalomania of their king, Ortberg uses the brutal reign of King Herod The Great. In contrast, Ortberg tells us how the ancients once disposed of unwanted children. They aborted unwanted newborns, often by leaving them to die on dung hills. Because Christians opposed infanticide, that practice slowly died. Eventually, Christians established orphanages to care for unwanted children.

God Cares About All Of Us?

In Chapter 3, Ortberg expands upon that simple, but jaw-dropping belief: we are all made in the image of God. Everyone has the potential to be our brother or sister in Christ. Here Ortberg provides some insightful bible exposition and recalls. From the Bible we learn that Jesus told us that God cares deeply for each of us.  Jesus called for us to be humble, to love each other, not to lord over each other.  From history we learn how early Christians applied Jesus’ teachings. In a world where it is every man for himself, Christian stood out. Christians stood out because they loved each other, and they even cared for strangers.

Christian slowly learned to despise and to oppose and an age-old institution, slavery. Now we have to imagine a world where slavery is normal. Of course, nobody wants to be a slave, but there was a time when nobody saw anything wrong with owning slaves. Jesus changed that. Because He taught us the values of love and humility, He taught us to see each other as one of God’s children. Who enslaves a brother or sister? Who enslaves someone they love?

When Women Became People Too

"Country Gentleman" magazine cover, November 1922. The 19th Amendment giving all women the right to vote wasn't ratified until August 1920. (from here)
“Country Gentleman” magazine cover, November 1922. The 19th Amendment giving all women the right to vote wasn’t ratified until August 1920. (from here)

Chapter 4 reminds us there is nothing new under the sun.  Today, because of its government’s one child policy, China suffers a shortage of women. The Roman Empire had a similar problem.

In the ancient Greco-Roman world, there was a huge shortage of women — about 140 men for every 100 women.  What happened to the other women?

The were left to die when they got born the wrong sex. (from Chapter 4, page 47).

What does the Bible say about women, particularly the New Testament? It shows that Jesus cared about women. Like men, God made women in His image too.

Counter to the conventions of His day, Jesus taught women and accepted their help in His ministry. When He died on that cross, the women He taught showed the most courage by staying with Him. In the quest to spread the Gospel, women too died as martyrs.

It took hundreds of years, but eventually Christians observed something in the Bible at odds with their experience in the world. The Bible says men and women stand equal before God. The world says men and women are not equal. So determined followers of Jesus Christ set about changing the world to conform to the Word of God.


who-is-this-manEven those who do not believe he was God must find the life of Jesus of Nazareth incongruous. Yet do they ever wonder? How did a mere man, a man unbelievers say was not God and never did anything, ever become the most famous man in history?  Well, the unbelievers are wrong. Jesus did quite a bit, and that is the point of John Ortberg‘s book, Who Is This Man?

In chapter 1, Ortberg begins his book by observing that Jesus did not become famous in any of the usual ways. He was not a conquering general of armies. He was a teacher, but not just a teacher. He was not particularly famous in His lifetime, but He left a church that grew and spread His Gospel.

Made In The Image Of God (Chapter 2)

We live in a nation — in a Christian culture — that believes that we were all made in the image of God. There was a time men did not believe any such thing. Some men, like the emperor or the king, claimed kinship with the gods, but rest of men? No. Some men were thus thought literally better than other men.

Until 2,000 years ago, when Jesus taught about the virtue of humility, the elites did not bridle their pride. In fact, except for those unfortunates at the bottom of the pecking order, most men thought it appropriate to “peck” upon those lower than themselves in the pecking order. Their justification was simple enough.

The king was divine, or semi-divine. The king was understood to be made in the image of the god who created him. Only the king was made in the image of god. This was the dividing line between the king and the rest of the human race. Peasants and slave were not made in the image of god; they were created by inferior gods. (from Chapter 2, page 25)

Jesus taught differently. He said there is only one God, and He made all of us in His image. Jesus destroyed any justification for a pecking order. In Jesus Christ we are all God’s children.

Colossians 3:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Because of Jesus, the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence added these words.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, (from here)

To be continued


babyThe Issue

Several years back I wrote a series of post on abortion (Here is the first post => WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION? — PART 1). I put a lot of work into it, but it did not get a lot of hits.  I guess, even though I am not a Bible scholar, it came across as too scholarly and ivory tower.

Regardless of what we say, when most of us surf the web, we want something bite-size and personally relevant. Life, however, does not necessarily give simple, easy problems. It only gives us what looks like easy choices, like that choice favored by the Pro-Choice crowd.

How Do We Choose?

You are a man. You get your girl-friend pregnant. You are that girl-friend. He doesn’t want the child. If you have the child, you could have a 20-year obligation. If you don’t have the child, it is just gone? Not exactly, and the longer you live the better and more painfully you will understand the consequences of making the wrong choice.

altruistico is doing a series on abortion. His series deals directly with that Pro-Life/Pro-Choice choice. Since ‘s series deals directly with the choice we have to make, I suspect his readers will find his series more personally relevant.

Here is what has thus far posted.

If you have any doubts that unfairly presents what the Bible has to say about abortion, then please consider my poor series on the subject as a place to start your investigation. I did my best to consider both sides of the issue. To my surprise, I discovered the Pro-Choice scholarship on this issue plainly unworthy of any respect.

The 2016 Presidential Election

Please note that abortion will be an issue in the 2016 Presidential Election. We have a candidate that is so rabidly Pro-Choice she has announced her intention to select judges who put their personal “life experience” ahead of what the Constitution actually says.

Here is what Hillary Clinton said in the Second Presidential Debate about her selection criteria for judges.

This is one of the most important issues in this election. I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real life experience. Who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but maybe they tried more cases. Actually understand what people are up against. Because I think the current court has gone in the wrong direction. I would want to see the Supreme Court reverse Citizens United and get dark unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that. I would like the Supreme Court to understand that voting rights are a big problem in many parts of the country. That we don’t do always do everything we can to make it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality. Now, Donald put forth of the names of people he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and take us backwards. I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a Supreme Court that understands because you are wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have more rights or should have any more rights than anything else. (from here)

Given Hillary Clinton speaks out of both sides of her mouth, we can disregard her comments about corporate interests. However, Planned Parenthood has supported her campaign, and that support does interest H. Clinton.

Here is Donald Trump’s statement on abortion.

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions. (from here)

Trump has already given us a list from which he would make his judicial picks. See for yourself. See what Trump has to say about the Constitution and Second Amendment.