I’m glad my church pays for my birth control

Well it’s not a line item on our church budget called “Pastor family planning fund” or anything like that. So you can breathe now. But my health insurance through the United Methodist Church is what pays for my wife and me to have our IUD that keeps us from having more babies. And I think it’s time someone named the fact that family planning is a legitimate part of the equation of Christian sexual ethics rather than always being a demonic conspiracy against God’s will for humanity. Birth control is part of how my wife and I try to be faithful stewards of our bodies and our relationship for the sake of both our family and the ministry to which God has called each of us. Continue reading

Looking Back on 2012: Jan-Feb

I figured I would end 2012 by reviewing a selection of my posts from throughout the year chronologically, starting with 10 posts from January and February, which I have listed below with a brief description for each of them. These don’t necessarily have any ranking to them; they are just the ten that first jumped out at me for being either popular or important. Continue reading

Opportunistic “persecution”

Normally on Fridays I don’t write anything on my blog because I’m hard at work on my sermon. But the whole contraception quagmire has gotten me too churned up to focus. There are countries in our world right now where Christians are actually being murdered for their religious beliefs. This is particularly the case in Egypt, where the Coptic Christians are being brutally attacked by Muslim lynch-mobs. It is profoundly disrespectful to the genuine martyrdom that these Christians suffer when American evangelical celebrities like Rick Warren try to fan the flames of our government’s contraception debate for politically opportunistic reasons. And it’s abominable for recent Dietrich Bonhoeffer biographer Eric Metaxas to try to make an analogy between contraception and the Holocaust. Continue reading

What makes pregnancy a disease?

In protesting the Obama Administration’s new decision to treat contraception as preventative medicine, Archbishop Timothy Dolan said that he “objects to treating pregnancy as a disease.” A lot of people have ridiculed the Roman church’s stance on contraception and pointed out that some 95% of Catholics use contraception. While I understand the practical concerns that motivated the Obama administration’s decision, I ultimately share the sacramental worldview behind Archbishop Dolan’s perspective: since every human is created by God in His image, human life should never be treated as a consumer product. The only problem with Archbishop Dolan’s worldview is that it’s completely incompatible with the social forces created by capitalism. The Vatican recognizes this problem, but Dolan may be too cozy with his Ayn Rand-loving fellow Catholic politicians to discern the way that capitalism redefines pregnancy in terms of consumerism. It is sadly a very common form of ideological schizophrenia in America to be pro-life and simultaneously in love with the laissez-faire capitalism that makes life a commodity. Continue reading