Nick Rosendal

‘Why would you give up so much for pro-life work?: a father’s duty

Nick Rosendal
By Nick Rosendal
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January 18, 2013 (ReformedProlifer) - "Why would you give up so much for pro-life work?"

Over the past few months this question has been asked repeatedly by friends and family alike. Most ask out of curiosity, some in admiration and wonderment, and a few in tones of ridicule and spite when they learn of my new employment with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. For myself, I have always kept a motto of keeping all my options open. Throughout high school, for example, I took all academic courses since I wasn't sure of my career path, and even during the first two years of university I tried introduction courses from every faculty available. Once my profession was chosen, the most enticing aspect of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) was the endless possibilities it would bring. However, never had I imagined that of all the options available, that this would be God's way for me.

This past summer, as I studied for my final test to complete and obtain my CA designation, it was impossible not to think about my future career and how to use my capacities to God's honour and glory. In the parable of the talents, as told in Matthew 25, it clearly shows us that the Lord has given talents to everyone and asks of us that we use and multiply these talents to the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. Further, in this parable it can be seen that unto those who the Lord has given much, much is also required of them. For the servant in the parable that received five talents, an additional five talents were required of him.

But this return of talents is not simply turning five dollars into ten dollars and perhaps even reserving a portion for tithes and the poor—no, this return is much greater. Matthew 25:14 speaks of the man who "delivered unto [his servants] his goods." Symbolizing God's gifts to us, this speaks of capacities of His image that are endowed unto all people: capacities of knowledge, love, and ability. Too often, we think of using our time and talents as our duty, which it undoubtedly is, but the higher goal must be to expand God's Kingdom and return what we received with thankfulness and interest. That can be very practical. If you help someone with car troubles on the side of the road the greatest reward is not that this person gives you a million dollars for your act of kindness, nor that it may cause him or her to return the favour to someone else down the road, but rather that you did it to serve the Master, and that the person may even ponder upon something so foreign to our fallen world.

Now, as a CA, I could look forward to and climb the corporate ladder in front of me, dreaming of a nice house, a fancy car, a boat perhaps and many sunny vacations, or I could consider an offer to help manage a non-profit organization that advocates for the most vulnerable of our neighbours. For over eight years already, the Lord has made the plight of the pre-born an important part of my life and now I have the opportunity to use my talents as an accountant to the good of those very children.

This is not to say it was an easy step for me to take, especially as the head of our little family and having the responsibility of looking after and providing for them. It took time, counsel, prayer and much encouragement from Above to show me that I place too much faith in a regular paycheque that is received from your employer. Since October my wife and I have been fundraising for our salary and in this time I have realized it must all come from the Lord, no matter what your occupation is. The fact that your employer doesn't go bankrupt, that business continues to thrive, that you have the health and ability to work, that your labour is blessed—all these factors and many more come from the Lord alone.

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In Matthew 6 we read, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains, "[Man] imagines that there is a relation of cause and effect between work and sustenance, but Jesus explodes that illusion. According to Him, bread is not to be valued as the reward for our work; He speaks instead of the carefree simplicity of the man who walks with Him and accepts everything as it comes from God."

This, of course, could be applied in different ways. It doesn't mean we may never earn money, but it has taught me that living in dependence on the Lord is of the greatest importance. And in my case, that has come in the way of giving up a secure income for a fundraised income. We now fundraise our salary, for the simple reason that there is no alternative funding for a non-profit organization that is not supported by government funds or the general public.

On the other side of the coin, I strongly believe that being a man not only means I provide for my family, but also gives me more responsibility to stand up for the pre-born as it is largely due to the demise of masculinity and the shirking of our responsibilities as men in society that abortion is so prevalent today. In general, we men have failed to be a role model to "our sons grown up in their youth" and we have failed to esteem "our daughters as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace" (Psalm 144). From pornography to advertising in business windows we are bombarded with hyper-sexualized versions of women, now degraded to sex objects. Though I was conceived after the beginning of the sexual revolution, isn't the question how we, as a Christian church, could have let this happen? Isn't the question what our response is today—are we determined to make a difference, unwavering in guarding our homes and hearts? I know it is nearly impossible to protect our kids, let alone ourselves, and therefore it is more important than ever before to lead by example, to show boys how to be men and treat women and children with respect.

It is much too convenient for us to point to feminism as the sole cause of the sexual 'liberation' of our day and age, when in part male chauvinism may have instigated the movement, the lukewarm state of the church allowed it, our materialism promoted it. And thus, abortion would not be the leading cause of death in Canada today if men would take responsibility. No, not just the men who cowardly leave a woman to deal with the results of their physical desires and lusts, but you and me too—Christian men who ought to reflect Christ in all we think, say, and do.

While we may have failed in the past, and without God's grace will continue to do so, this should not be a reason to give up on the future. Francis A. Schaeffer once wrote, "Future generations will look back, and many will either scoff or believe in Christ on the basis of whether we Christians of today took a sacrificial stand in our various walks of life on these overwhelmingly important issues."

Isn't that how we often look back at the lack of action from European Christians during the Second World War? Just the other day, someone said to me, "How could they have just let it happen?" I couldn't help but think of the historical account of a Lutheran church, situated only a short distance from railroad tracks. Every Sunday, cattle cars full of Jews would ride past the church on their way to concentration or death camps. The wailing and weeping from the train could be heard in the church. What was the response? Comfortably inside, the congregation just sang louder to drown out the anguish. As we consider this, we shake our heads. "How could they?" But today, many of us, who call ourselves Christians, go about with our lives, "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" (Matthew 24:38), building our homes, and attending church, all the while fellow human beings are visiting hospitals and abortion clinics to have their tiny pre-born children torn to pieces. Should we not stop and rethink and change our lives accordingly, lest future generations will look at the blood on our hands and say, "How could they?"

Finally, regardless of talent or opportunities, the Scriptures command us in Matthew 22 to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. What does that mean in our day-to-day lives? In obedience to God, that means asking what He would have us do about the injustice of our day, one that we pay for with our tax dollars. Proverbs 31: 8 says to "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction." If you have watched "The Silent Scream" or take a few minutes to watch this video, you will be able to make the connection quite easily. Pre-born children are appointed to destruction, almost 300 times a day in our country alone. Each time an abortion is scheduled, we are to open our mouth to defend those that cannot defend themselves. That is not a question or a suggestion: it is a command.

There are many ways to advocate for the pre-born, the most vulnerable in our society in Canada today and for the past 25 years. Efforts are made through pro-life organizations such as ours to give a voice to the voiceless, to show their plight so that the general public may not plead ignorance and abortion will become unthinkable. Support comes in many forms, through actively volunteering, financially funding, prayerfully encouraging, and lovingly educating those that are still ignorant. But the most important question is this: are we willing? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to save these children?

For our little family, it has meant a life-style change and it won't always be easy, but our decision has definitely come with tremendous blessings too. While working from home, we spend more time together than before, and we are able to raise our boys engaged in the fight for the very heart and life of our culture. We've also had the privilege of meeting many pro-lifers, each of them serving the Lord in the place that was given to them. A businessman wrote a big cheque after going through his finances and concluding that this cause was getting much too little. Young families with already tight budgets have committed to monthly donations to answer the call in this way. And one God-fearing, elderly couple we met wasn't able to contribute much financially, but their prayers are a mighty weapon against the forces of darkness.

So, why give up so much to do pro-life work? The way I see it, we're gaining more than we're giving up. As the Talmud saying goes, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."

Reprinted with permission from Reformed Pro-lifer

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Matt Fradd Matt Fradd

5 reasons it isn’t your wife’s fault that you use porn

Matt Fradd Matt Fradd
By Matt Fradd

As someone who used to watch a lot of porn, I have the utmost compassion for men who are really struggling to quit and can’t seem to find the willpower to do so. I love talking with and helping blokes like this.

That said, when I’m writing and speaking about the subject of pornography, I occasionally run into men who really believe their wives are the source of the problem.

These men, I have less respect for.

Please don’t misunderstand me. The struggle against objectification and lust is a fight most men face. If you are striving with all your heart to be a better man to your bride, I’m in the same boat as you.

But if you are more interested in justifying your porn use by shifting the blame, this article has been written to set you straight. I don’t write it as someone who thinks he’s in anyway above you. As Saint John Paul the Great wrote: “every man’s heart is a battlefield between love and lust.” The reason I’m going to be extremely frank in this article is because sometimes nothing less than unvarnished truth will wake us up to reality.

Are you ready? Good.

Now, in one sense, I get why some men think their wives are to blame. Pornography has the nagging habit of making a man feel like a man without requiring him to be one. Given enough time with porn, men can delude themselves into thinking if their wives were a little more _________, they wouldn’t touch porn.

I have five reasons for why this is a ridiculous argument.

1. Your wife’s so-called “frigidity” is not the catalyst for your habit. In fact, it might be the other way around.

Perhaps there are men today who don’t touch porn until after they are married, but I have never met one.

Most men start their porn habits long before they get married; so to blame a woman for the habit is clearly mistaken.

Furthermore, in nearly every case I’ve seen, what men interpret as a woman’s “frigidity” is actually a lack of initiative on the his part. A man might say, “But I ask my wife for sex all the time.” To which I reply, “When was the last time you really fostered an environment of romance in the home that would make your wife feel treasured and not just like a warm body?”

Unfortunately, porn trains this belief into us: sex should be on-demand—as quick to boot up as my web browser. Healthy intimacy, however, takes time, attention, and devotion to maintain.

2. Porn is cleverly edited, high-octane sex, and no woman can (or should) compete with this.

Everywhere women are told they need to be younger, prettier, and bustier. The last place they need to have that message reinforced is in their marriages. In the arms of their husbands they should feel beautiful—because they are.

But using porn not only communicates the opposite to a woman, it trains men to believe the opposite.

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Here’s an odd story to illustrate my point:

Back in the 1860s, Americans made the mistake of bringing the gypsy moth from Europe to Boston. Within 10 years, swarms of gypsy moths were devastating the forests and continued doing so for over a century. Attempts to eradicate this moth failed. But then in the 1960s scientists devised a new strategy. Biologists knew that the male gypsy moth found the female by following her scent—her pheromones. Scientists developed massive quantities of a synthetic version of this pheromone and then scattered small pellets of it from the air. The effect was overpowering for the males. Overwhelmed by the highly concentrated pheromone, they became confused and didn’t know which direction to turn to find the female, or they became desensitized to the lower levels of pheromones naturally given out by the female.

This is what porn is to men: a highly synthetic, industrial, commercial form of sexuality, pumped into our atmosphere and found in ultra-concentrated doses online. If overexposed to this high-octane sex, suddenly the subtleties of a woman’s natural mystique and beauty are lost.

This is why there are so many young, healthy men today who are experiencing what one Harvard professor calls, “porn-induced erectile dysfunction.” This is a real thing: young men, raised on porn from their teen years, have so hardwired their brains they can’t even get it up for a real woman when they want to.

Why porn causes this problem is dealt with in the next reason…

3. Porn is about sexual novelty and variety; marriage is about loving commitment.

The pornographic experience is one of constant novelty: multiple tabs open, endless clicking, browsing, and always searching for the next girl who will really send you over the edge.

It isn’t your wife’s fault she isn’t hundreds of two-dimensional Internet women. It isn’t your wife’s fault she isn’t as clickable and customizable as the endless parade of digital women. It isn’t your wife’s fault she doesn’t become sexually euphoric at the drop of a hat like the porn stars you frequent. She is a woman—a human being with sexual desires and feelings of her own.

A mind trained for constant sexual novelty and variety simply won’t take the time and effort to really connect with one woman in a truly intimate way.

4. Porn is objectifying and selfish; marriage celebrates your wife’s humanity.

Russell Brand is making waves right now with his recent video about pornography. After honesty admitting about his own struggles with porn, Brand says, “If I had total dominion over myself, I would never look at pornography again.” Why? Because he hates how porn is intricately linked to a culture of objectification. When we reduce sex to an extracted physical act, we allow ourselves to turn women into objects to be used rather than women to be loved and cherished.

Porn is consumer, Burger-King sex: your way, right away. You can handpick the exact women you want to see, down the smallest specification. The women in porn are dolled up to play to any stereotype or fetish you desire. All traces of humanity are stripped away until there is nothing left but misogynistic fantasy.

Porn is entirely selfish. By that I don’t mean that masturbation is a solo act—though that is true as well—I mean the whole point of porn is to play to a man’s desire for validation: the women are portrayed as sex goddesses that cater to the man’s every whim. They are objects to use for his pleasure.

A married man with a mind trained for objectification can only go one of three ways:

1. He will drag his wife into that objectification, not seeing sex as a giving act but as an opportunity to act out pornographic fantasies in real life.

2. He will ignore his wife to pursue more online objectification—or worse.

3. He will turn away from a culture of objectification and relearn what it means to make his wife his standard of beauty.

As my friend Luke Gilkerson wrote in his book Your Brain on Porn, “‘Free porn’ is a misnomer. Pornography always costs somebody something. And it’s the women and girls in our culture, surrounded by boys and men with porn expectations, who often end up paying the highest price.”

5. Porn is an insult to your marriage vows, so your wife has every right to feel betrayed.

When you stood before God and others, slipped that ring on your wife’s finger, and told her you would “forsake all others,” did you really think that sneaking off to masturbate to digital prostitutes would fit with the spirit of that vow?

Some men actually have the nerve to say, “I get my needs met with porn. At least I’m not going out sleeping with other women.”

Really? Is this what we’ve come to: the measure of your virtue as a husband is not sleeping around?

Deep down, despite all the excuses, this is not who a man really wants to be. Do you want to be the man who loves one woman well for the rest of your life, gladly sacrificing yourself for the good of another—experiencing an intimate sexual bond? Or do you want to be the guy who sneaks off to get a fix from your computer screen and your hand? Which one of these sounds closer to the wedding vows you spoke and the man you wish to become?

A Word to Wives

If your husband struggles with porn—and I mean that in the truest sense of the word…that he contends with porn like an adversary—then you can count yourself blessed. I wish that more men counted porn as an enemy.

However, if your husband is brazenly using porn despite your wishes, know this: you are not the problem. No matter what you have done or not done, no matter how you have contributed to marital strife, no matter how you look, your husband’s porn problem is his to own. No offense—real or imaginary—is license to sin again you.

Wives, We Need Your Help!

My friends at Covenant Eyes are getting ready to re-release their amazing book, Porn and Your Husband. They want to hear from you before they release it. Please fill out their one-question survey and let them know: What's the one big thing you hope they cover in the book, Porn and Your Husband?

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Lisa Bourne

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Alabama Supreme Court rebuffs federal court in ‘historic’ ruling: forbids marriage licenses for gay couples

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

MONTGOMERY, AL, March 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Alabama’s high court has upheld the state’s definition of marriage and ordered a halt to marriage licenses for homosexual couples in the state, while also criticizing its federal counterpart for striking down DOMA.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that “nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides” state judges’ duty to administer state law.

The all-Republican court also said the federal district court had employed a “judicial sleight of hand” in “conferring fundamental-right status upon a concept of marriage divorced from its traditional understanding.”

“Throughout the entirety of its history, Alabama has chosen the traditional definition of marriage,” the ruling said. “That fact does not change simply because the new definition of marriage has gained ascendancy in certain quarters of the country, even if one of those quarters is the federal judiciary.”

The ruling is significant in making Alabama the first state to directly resist federal imposition of marriage redefinition, with a great majority of the states having had their legal definition of marriage overturned by judicial order.

“The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well-reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Staver praised the order for upholding state’s rights and for resisting judicial tyranny.

“The legitimacy of the judiciary is undermined when a judge legislates from the bench or usurps the power reserved to the states regarding natural marriage,” he said. “This decision of the Alabama Supreme Court is very well reasoned, which is quite rare from today’s courts. The decision not only affirms natural marriage but also restores the rule of law.”

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade had struck down a constitutional amendment and an Alabama state law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman in a January 23 decision, saying the laws violate homosexuals’ due process and equal protection rights according to the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was on hold until the state’s appeal to the 11th Circuit.

Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore contested the judicial action to redefine marriage. He told the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples as it would violate state law. He also urged Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in a January 27 letter to fight the federal decision. 

Moore wrote to all 50 of the nation’s governors in 2014 urging them to preserve marriage in the U.S. Constitution with an amendment. He was not part of the March 3 Alabama State Supreme Court ruling, and his absence was not explained, according to the SCOTUS blog.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined an application February 9 by the State of Alabama to stay the decision striking down the state's constitutional amendment and state law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, pending its ruling on whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex “marriage,” expected by the end of June.

The seven-to-one majority decision by the Alabama high court rebutted every argument made for same-sex “marriage” as a constitutional matter, the SCOTUS blog said, and “lambasted the Supreme Court for making a ‘moral judgment, not a legal judgment’ when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor in June 2013.”

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The order to stop issuance of marriage licenses to homosexual couples extends to all sixty-eight Alabama probate judges, some of whom have been issuing such licenses after the district federal judge’s ruling. Most of the state judges, those not not named directly in the case, were given five days from Tuesday to answer the challenge and argue why they should not have to observe the statewide order against licenses for homosexual “marriages.” 

The SCOTUS blog said that because the state court’s ruling is an interpretation of the federal Constitution, it is likely subject to direct appeal to the Supreme Court, if any state judge wanted to take it there. What’s not clear, it said, is whether same-sex couples could appeal it because they were not parties in the case, but the couples could probably bring a new lawsuit against any state probate judge who refused them a license in accord with the order.

Marriage supporters praised the Alabama Supreme Court decision.

"I applaud the Alabama Justices in their wise decision respecting the freedom of Alabama's voters to uphold natural marriage,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement. “In a refreshing change, Alabama's Supreme Court is using the law to determine their actions -- not a politically motivated opinion of a lower court federal judge.”

He pointed to recent polling that found sixty-one percent of Americans oppose the U.S. Supreme Court forcing marriage redefinition on all 50 states.

“If Americans were truly on board with this effort to redefine marriage, governors, state attorneys general, and other elected officials wouldn't bother fighting it.” Perkins said. “Instead, the Alabama Supreme Court reflects where the American people really are on the issue --and it is respecting the freedom of the voters to uphold natural marriage.”

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Cardinal George Pell John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews.com
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

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The attack on Cardinal Pell: is someone trying to silence his voice for orthodoxy?

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By Hilary White

ROME, March 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last week an Italian tabloid launched an attack on one of the most outspoken opponents of the so-called “Kasper Proposal” to abolish the Church’s discipline on refusing communion to Catholics in “irregular” unions. Based on leaked information from within the Vatican, the gossip magazine L’Espresso accused Cardinal George Pell of padding his expenses.

The Australian member of Pope Francis’ inner circle of nine cardinals serves as the head of the Secretariat of the Economy, charged with reorganizing the Vatican’s finances.

Some observers are saying the attack on Pell comes from opposition to his financial reforms. However, Pell was also a leading voice for doctrinal orthodoxy at last autumn’s Synod of Bishops, and some see that as a motivating factor as well.

L’Espresso published leaked documents that they said showed Pell spending money on refurbishing his apartment, on airline tickets, and on liturgical vestments from a high-end Roman ecclesiastical tailor. The story was picked up by the Sydney Morning Herald, a longtime opponent of Pell from his days as archbishop of Sydney, who accused him of “living it up at the Holy See’s expense.”

Father Federico Lombardi, the head of the Holy See Press Office, condemned the leak, saying, “Passing confidential documents to the press for polemical ends or to foster conflict is not new, but is always to be strongly condemned, and is illegal.” The statement said that the Secretariat’s expenses, around 500,000 USD according to the leaked information, remain below its budget allotment.

Pell is said to be “ruffling the feathers” of a deeply entrenched, and largely Italian, bureaucratic culture that has hitherto operated largely without scrutiny or rules. Recently the cardinal announced that his office had “found” hundreds of millions of Euros “tucked away” that had never been recorded in the official books. 

America’s leading Vaticanist, John Allen, suggested that the motive for attacking Pell was his financial work. Allen says Pell’s “pugnacious” personality has rubbed Vatican officials the wrong way, but also cites his hard-hitting reforms of official financial practices.

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The UK’s Damian Thompson also took this tack, saying, “Cardinal Pell is embattled because, from now on, Curial officials will have to account for their spending. He’s brought an end to a culture of fiddling your exes which makes 20th-century Fleet Street look like a Presbyterian knitting circle.”

However, Thompson also suspects Pell’s stand for orthodoxy played a part. “I knew a hit job was coming; and I was doubly certain when he spoke up for orthodox cardinals when their views were being trashed by the liberal organisers of the chaotic ‘Carry On Synod’ on the Family,” he wrote.

Mainstream newspapers have downplayed the cardinal’s high-profile support at the Synod for the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching on the indissolubility of marriage in the face of the ongoing crisis over Cardinal Walter Kasper’s notorious “proposal.” Cardinal Kasper and his supporters see the year between Synods as a time of campaigning for their program, and they are giving interviews and lectures around the world.

Pell was among those Synod fathers who joined the now-famous rebellion of bishops against the “manipulation” of the Synod in October. It was widely reported in Rome during the Synod in October that Pell directly and forcefully confronted the Synod’s organizer, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, over the apparent push for a change in the Church’s “pastoral practice” of withholding Communion from divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

In a video interview, Pell said the bishops would not capitulate to the machinations of “radical elements” in the Church.

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