June 2009 - Posts
In October 2007, we awarded our trivial Messianic Peace Prize to a couple working in Mauritania. I say that our prize is trivial because there is no real prize other than acknowledgement. But our winners are not trivial. And what I'm about to share is certainly not trivial.
On Wednesday of this week, June 24, I called BJ to see if he wanted to have coffee. He shared some sad news and, because we couldn't talk long, he asked me to check my email. I found that Wesley had sent an email a couple of hours before prefaced by the following: "And Stephen said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" And then he continued by sharing the terrible news that our friend, Chris Leggett, who was the "tentmaker" in Mauritania that we acknowledged here in 2007 had been killed on Tuesday. He attached two links.
I've held off on posting until it was confirmed that his family was safe. And, based on a follow-up email from Wesley, Chris's family is safely back in the States after leaving hastily under armed bodyguards.
Since the initial communication, more information has come to light. Chris was just feet from his computer and language school he managed in Mauritania's capital city of Nouakchott when two or three men approached him in order to kidnap him. When he resisted, the men shot him three times and escaped. According to the SITE Intelligence website, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the murder of Chris who they accused of engaging in evangelism activities.
I was blessed to have known Chris and to have met his family. Our last meeting was just months ago when he spoke at a gathering. Afterwards, we had lunch together. I recognized in his presentation that there was a significant threat to him and his family and asked how he could be so bold as to continue to teach. He simply replied that he was needed there, he knew the dangers and asked us to pray for the other tentmakers in Mauritania.
I hope you can respect that I am carefully guarding my wording, but there are still four or five families who are in danger in Mauritania -- brave men and women who care for the culture they are hoping to impact. Please hold them up in prayer. Satan has a stranglehold in that region and the culture is in desperate need of salvation.
And please pray for Chris's wife and four children. Pray that they will be comforted. Pray that they will not harbor hate in their hearts. Pray that they will be encouraged. Their husband and father was a hero.
Update: World Magazine's blog has picked up the story.
Update 2: "They can't take my life because I've already given it to Jesus." -Chris Leggett. In loving memory.
Do we really need healthcare reform or do we need insurance reform? The reasons I hear for forming a national healthcare plan are really based on the problems caused by insuring the inevitable.
What I mean is this: I have car insurance to cover accidents which are very few and far between. I have home insurance to cover catastrophic damages. But I have to have medical insurance to cover the inevitable like physicals, sicknesses and other maladies which are -- in the grand view of things -- fairly common.
So I hear politicians on TV and the radio who go on and on about corporate cost burdens and the problems caused by distorted incentives. Costs have increased significantly in part because we say, "I'm paying high medical premiums so I might as well use it." And if we're using it, then doctors know this and can charge more. This is a problem because, unlike auto or home insurance where we hope never to have to make a claim, with medical insurance we are incentivized to extract the value. And then these politicians go on to explain how then we need nationalized healthcare.
I can't help but get the feeling that we're getting the old bait and switch.
I'm not a fan of the TV series "Family Guy," but I saw a motivational poster today with a quote from a conversation the main character, Peter Griffin, was having with his wife, Lois, and haven't quit laughing. So, I share it with you guys so you can LOL with me.
Equality: "Listen, Lois, I know you're a feminist and I think that's adorable, but this is grown-up time and I'm the man."
So, like usual, I open my mouth to discuss a hotly-debated subject and it gets me in trouble. On the way back from lunch today, I listened to a discussion about homosexuality and gay marriage. The participants -- at the time, not me -- were vaguely referring to the fact that they accepted both as long as it was "kept behind closed doors." Some guys at work were labeled as being "on the fence" sexually because they seemed to have tendencies. There was some giggling. But it was an accepted fact.
Well, someone in the front seat said, "[Joe], you're being awful quiet. I'm sure you have an opinion. What do you think?"
I explained that my views are very conservative and I quasi-jokingly referred to my Baptist background. I then proceeded to explain that 50 years ago, homosexuality was morally wrong according to most people. But today, people have decided that homosexuality is alright based on bubblegum arguments. One of the most popular arguments is that someone is genetically disposed to be gay. So, I asked if anyone would be opposed to consider that people who are attracted to kids or animals may be genetically disposed to be that way and should, therefore, be accepted and given "equal rights."
A lady in the front seat became a little upset and said that it that was different and completely uncalled for. She became incensed because of her strong feelings about molestation. So, I redefined the argument and asked upon what are the 18-year-old adulthood laws based? In my opinion, I said, it seems arbitrary. Is not a 13-year old able to make reasoned decisions (sometimes unwise, but at least reasoned immaturely)? And, if so, what will keep the next generation from redefining adulthood -- and, therefore, consent -- and say that we shouldn't discriminate against someone who "loves" children if we're willing to concede on consensual adult homosexuality?
When we parked, she stormed off and as she did I joined her and apologized if I had offended. I told her that it may not have been the politically correct response, but it was how I felt.
My job's not in jeopardy. Most people in the car agreed with me, but also agreed that we shouldn't discuss the subject again.
Turns out she's Presbyterian. (You know I just put that do drive you guys crazy. It has no real bearing on the topic at all.)
"I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
"You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:1-6, NIV)
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. ... Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare if you know all this. ... [Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.]" (Job 38:4, 18, 40:2 ESV [KJV])
So what is the Almighty's response to the rebelling nations? "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision." This laugh is not a jolly Saint Nick laugh, a high pitched school girl laugh, or even a maniacal hyena laugh. It is a laugh of ridicule or scorn to show contempt - a derisive laugh. Merriam-Webster defines contempt as "the act of despising, disdain or the lack of respect or reverence for something."
I get the picture of tiny men yelling out in a wee mousey voice to the Almighty God: "we don't need you." "Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury." Often the pride of the nations have them asking one another, "Are you for us, or for our advesaries?" When this question is placed before God and the commander of His army the answer is, "No! As for me, I have set MY KING on Zion, MY holy hill." There is no Round Table when God's King is involved.
"The Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming."