Archives For Trevin Wax

Kirsten Powers writing a “Column” in the USA Today under the title “Philadelphia abortion clinic horror” begins her article in the following way:

Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?

It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.

As noted on Summit Ministries blog,

Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell is accused of killing seven born-alive babies (many more actually died — hundreds more) and one grown woman in his abortion clinic. Testimony from former employees in recent days has included descriptions of literal beheadings, as Gosnell and his staff rushed from room to room using scissors to sever the spinal cords of minute-old infants. One woman died at the hands of his ill-equipped, unqualified medical staff. Jars of severed baby feet served as macabre decorations at Gosnell’s office, some have said.

Joe Carter has given a brief overview of this murderer and the grisly ways in which he and his staff treated women and murdered babies. Trevin Wax does a similar thing while addressing reasons why the media has said nothing about it.  Another has also pointed out the silence of media, which is appalling. As one noted, “The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It just is insanely newsworthy.”

There has also been a 21 minute documentary,“3801 Lancaster,” exposing Kermit Gosnell by explaining the horrific acts committed against women and children at this abortuary, the Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society, and the cover-up by state and local oversight agencies. It is almost beyond belief! Please be discerning before you watch this as it contains graphic pictures of aborted babies and tragic testimonies from some of those who were abused. It is not necessarily something everyone should watch or hear, but some must. It is factual and these atrocities cannot and should not be hidden, particularly since we hear nothing from the media.

For regular updates on the court proceedings, Andrée Seu Peterson has been writing summaries.

On the one hand, this silence of the media ought not to surprise us. It reflects the culture in which we live where they will promote their agenda and, often, attack Christians and Christianity. But on the other hand, we can be grateful that this sort of barbarism committed against humanity, specifically exploiting those who may be considered marginal and most needy, still offends consciences. Unlike the silence of the media, we must not to be silent. In love and with justice, we will stand with and for those fellow image bearers, and we will stand, in love and with justice, against those who exploit them for their own gain.

Lord, have mercy!

 

Trevin Wax has written a perceptive piece about same-sex marriage in his article “Read the Fine Print Before Supporting ‘Marriage Equality’

Wax identifies three way that same-sex marriage is presented in the media to the public, the way in which it is advertised today:

1. Legalizing same-sex marriage will allow gay and lesbian couples to have the same hospital visitation rights, etc. as other married couples.

2. Legalizing same-sex marriage will put an end to discrimination by affording gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

3. Same-sex marriage won’t affect other types of marriages.

Wax then ponders this a bit more deeply and finds there are huge issues in the fine print that must not be swept under the rug, or treated as if they are unimportant. He points out a number of implications of what will happen if marriage is legally redefined.

1. When it comes to the family, there is no qualifiable difference between a mom and a dad.

2. Marriage will be based on the intensity of a couple’s emotional bond.

3. Disagreeing with same-sex marriage is a sign of bigotry and should not be tolerated.

4. Same-sex marriage will be taught as normal in all public schools. What is legalized is normalized.

5. Legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to the legalization of “marriage” in other cases.

Wax draws the following conclusions:

Considering the current flow of our society, the legalization of same-sex marriage seems inevitable.

Those of us who continue to advocate for the traditional definition of marriage are painted as mean-spirited and regressive.

Still, informed citizens ought to consider the implications of overhauling one definition of marriage and replacing it with another.

It may be that same-sex marriage will be legalized. But that does not mean this is a foregone conclusion, or that we ought to remain silent about the inevitable. We need to proceed based on biblical truth, with a divine design, i.e. God’s will and desire for marriage in mind, not simply to be content to remain passive and silent and allow decisions to be made by default. May the Lord give us wisdom, insight and courage as we do so!

James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, Cultural Liturgies 2 (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 145-146, has an excellent word about how living life publicly with social media affects teenagers (thank you Trevin Wax for the quote):

I do not envy our four teenagers in the least: far from carefree, their adolescence is a tangled web of angst that is, I think, qualitatively different from that of past generations. The difference, I suggest, stems from a unique constellation of cultural habits that has exacerbated their self-consciousness to an almost-paralyzing degree.

Granted, self-consciousness is part of the rite of passage that is adolescence. The hormonal effects on teenaged bodies make them realize they are bodies in ways that surprise them. They inhabit their bodies as foreign guests, constantly imagining that all eyes are upon them as they go to sharpen their pencil or climb the stairs at a football game. Such self-consciousness has always bred its own warped ontology in which the teenager is the center of the universe, praying both that no one will notice and that everyone would.

The advent of social media has amplified this exponentially. In the past, there would have been spaces where adolescents could escape from these games, most notably in the home. Whatever teenagers might have thought of their parents, they certainly didn’t have to put on a show for them. The home was a space to let down your guard, freed from the perpetual gaze of your peers. You could almost forget yourself. You could at least forget how gawky and pimpled and weird you were, freed from the competition that characterizes teenagedom.

No longer. The space of the home has been punctured by the intrusion of social media such that the competitive world of self-display and self-consciousness is always with us. The universe of social media is a ubiquitous panopticon.

The teenager at home does not escape the game of self-consciousness; instead, she is constantly aware of being on display – and she is regularly aware of the exhibitions of others. Her Twitter feed incessantly updates her about all of the exciting, hip things she is not doing with the “popular” girls; her Facebook pings nonstop with photos that highlight how boring her homebound existence is. And so she is compelled to constantly be “on,” to be “updating” and “checking in.” The competition for coolness never stops. She is constantly aware of herself – and thus unable to lose herself in the pleasures of solitude: burrowing into a novel, pouring herself out in a journal, playing with fanciful forms in a sketch pad. More pointedly, she loses any orientation to a project. Self-consciousness is the end of teleology…

With the expansion of social media, every space is a space of “mutual self-display.” As a result, every space is a kind of visual echo chamber. We are no longer seen doing something; we’re doing something to be seen.

A few questions of application:

  1. How do you help your teenage children understand this and to navigate through it?
  2. What are you doing as a church to equip parents to lead their children through this?
  3. What are you doing as churches to come alongside teenagers to walk with them to teach and model there is a better way?

This is one (of many!) reason I am delighted for the privilege of teaching Senior High school students (including my daughter!) every Sunday in the context of a local EFC church.

The Church of England’s General Synod voted against women serving as Bishops this past Tuesday, November 20. The proposal did not receive the required two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod, not passing among the laity by a narrow margin.

This vote came almost two decades after the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests. This decision is different than the one to ordain women as priests in that bishops oversee/supervise other clergy or priests. With this determination, it will be another five years before another proposal can be put before the General Synod for a vote.

Here are a few of the news reports about the decision:

Trevin Wax provides a brief commentary on the decision: “Thoughts on the Church of England’s Vote on Women Bishops,” (November 20, 2012)

There are many things to be said, but I close with one observation. It was interesting to observe/read how leaders who were in favor of approving women to the office/role of bishop prayed and spoke prior to the vote, thinking the vote would pass. There is a gracious, kind and irenic tone. And then to contrast that with the statements made and the tone and manner in which those statements were made by those same people after the vote failed is quite telling. There are certainly some things to learn here!

As Evangelicals committed to the sanctity of human life from conception to death, we need to be prepared to respond to questions we receive when asked about our commitment to being pro-life, all of life for the whole of  life. It is a privilege to be able to speak this truth and to speak on behalf of the weakest and most vulnerable of humanity. Truly God is the God of the living, which means our doctrine and ethic is committed to the same – life.

There is also another important side to a defense of our pro-life position. Not only do we engage in “defensive” apologetics, i.e., we respond to the questions raised against our position, but we also engage in “offensive” apologetics in which we ask those who are pro-choice to defend their position.

Trevin Wax raised this matter in a recent blog post. During election seasons, pro-life candidates often get asked numerous questions about their positions, and they often consist of the hard cases. This should be expected, and responses should be given respectfully. But Wax points out that seldom, if ever, are pro-choice candidates asked about their position, much less the hard cases. Wax writes the following:

Here are 10 questions you never hear a pro-choice candidate asked by the media:

  1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
  2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
  3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
  4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
  5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement of a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
  6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
  7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
  8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
  9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
  10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?

Trevin Wax, “10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate is Never Asked by the Media,” Kingdom People blog (October 24, 2012)