Saturday, May 19, 2018

Having Children in an Evil World

I hear every now and then some young, idealistic, Christian woman saying she never wants children because the world is too evil. I think this is a very misguided notion for several reasons.

For one thing, having children and raising them to know the Lord and make a difference in their world is one of the best ways to make the world a better place. Children are an investment in the future. You can complain about how bad things are or you can do something about it. One of the most effective things you can do to change your world for the better is raise great kids who grow up to contribute to society, help the needy, demolish bad arguments against God and Christianity, bring others to Christ, and raise more children to do the same.

It's also a rather short-sighted view to think our era is so much worse than all of history. While our society is certainly in decline, we still have far more freedom, wealth, health, and knowledge of God than most of the people who have ever lived. 

Countless generations before us managed to bear and raise children in a truly terrible world. Many feared that their children would die of disease or wondered whether they would be able to feed them tomorrow. Surviving to adulthood was an accomplishment. Mothers have borne and tended children in slavery, in the midst of war, as victims of rape, as refugees in a land not their own, through famine and plague, hard-labor and many tears, and they did so despite their suffering because their children were a hope for a better tomorrow. Even those who had a relatively good life with no wars or plagues or slavery had it tough. Everyone worked hard, including the children. Many had little time for education. If they could raise children in such times, who are we to complain or lose hope when we live in far more wealth and luxury than the kings of their time? 

Not only do we have material wealth the people of the past never would have dreamed of, we also know that the King of Kings has come and given us new life. We have a promise from God Himself that if we have faith in Christ, heaven will be our home. We have the spirit of God living inside us to help us avoid sin and make wise choices and we can share our faith with others so that they have the same hope. 

Every child in a Christian home is a tangible hope that life will go on, more people will be taught about God, and more people will be in heaven. That's far more important than an idealized and impractical notion that children should only be born into the most perfect of situations. If our ancestors had taken that view, none of us would be here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lemon Meringue Pie

In honor of National Pie Day (3/14 is like 3.14 = pi), here's a tasty lemon pie recipe. It's very refreshing, with a sweet and tangy citrus flavor.

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups water
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks

4 egg whites
6 tablespoons white sugar

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt until well blended. Stir in the water and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil

Note: If you have fresh lemons, you can use the juice from 2 lemons plus their zest instead of the lemon juice and increase the water to 1-1/2 cups. I don't keep lemons on hand, so bottled juice works fine for me.

When the lemon mixture comes to a boil, stir in the butter. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl or mixing cup and add about 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture slowly while whisking. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the lemon filling and whisk well. Bring the mixture back to a boil and continue cooking and stirring for a couple minutes, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and pour into a baked 9-inch pie crust.

Preheat the oven to 350. Beat the egg whites until they start to foam. Add in the sugar very gradually as you continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, sealing all the edges around the crust. Swirl the top to add some texture. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Refrigerate pie until chilled before serving. Enjoy!

Ok, I don't usually use paper plates for pictures, but we ate this pie in a hurry and this is the only picture I got. It was so good.

Friday, December 22, 2017

God Has No Feminine Side

I hear the statement that God is both masculine and feminine or that God has both male and female traits now and then, and I think it is worth clarifying the issue because it is easy to be misled into an erroneous view of God. It is not uncommon to hear people claim that God could just as easily be referred to as Goddess or to hear them speaking of Him as Mother God or something of that nature. Even those who don't go that far might be a little confused about God's gender, if you will. So perhaps this will be helpful.

I should think it obvious that God the Father does not have a body and thus has no sex. He is not male or female and has no attributes of male or female bodies. So we must distinguish in this case between biological sex and personal attributes such as masculinity and femininity which could apply even to a spirit being.

What people often mean when they claim that God has both male and female traits is that God exhibits all the good traits which we attribute to both men and women, including some that we might associate more with one gender or the other (such as caring, nurturing, compassion for females or strength and courage for males). This part is true. God does exhibit all good traits.

However, such character traits are not necessarily either masculine or feminine. We often associate certain traits more strongly with masculine or feminine roles, but the traits themselves, in being good and noble, are not solely the province of either gender. A man can be caring or compassionate and do so without being feminine. A woman can be courageous or strong without being masculine. So the roles of masculinity and femininity are not merely a collection of traits.

I would claim that the underlying basis for masculinity and femininity are in their contrast to one another and their emphasis more so than individual traits, and especially their contrast with regard to authority and leadership. The masculine role is one of leadership, authority, protection, and provision with respect to the feminine and the feminine role is one of receptiveness, submission, vulnerability, and willingness to be led with regard to the masculine.

Given these definitions of masculine and feminine, as contrasts to one another rather than a list of traits, it does not make sense to claim that God has both masculine and feminine traits. Traits have no gender. Masculine and feminine refer to roles, not merely a group of traits.

Under this definition, God is only masculine because He holds only the role of authority, provision, protection, and leadership with regard to everything else that exists - His creation. God does not hold the feminine role. Ever. He submits to no one. He is not led by anyone. And thus while we can acknowledge that God can and does exhibit compassion, nurturing, and care for those in need, these do not make God feminine any more than they would make any man feminine. They are noble and good traits and have no inherent gender, even if the female sex is more associated with them, and perhaps exhibits them more often.

God's role with respect to His creation is the role of the masculine, and thus we should only refer to God with masculine pronouns. That is also, not coincidentally, the way that God has revealed Himself to us. It is a serious error to claim God is feminine, and we must be careful to avoid this error.