Margaret Sanger, Adolf Hitler, and Jesus Christ

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the sci-fi film Gattaca. Back in the 90’s Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman were the main cast of characters who starred in a film about a future world ruled by genetic manipulation. Ethan Hawke’s character was conceived without genetic manipulation, thereby making him weaker than his brother, and deemed unfit by society at large. Hawke’s character seeks help from Jude Law’s character who has stronger DNA, but ironically is now wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.

The film poses poignant questions about the social philosophy of Eugenics, a philosophy concerned with improving the genetic quality of the human race. The practice of this philosophy purports either increased sexual reproduction rates of those with desirable genetic traits or the reduction of sexual reproduction for those with undesirable traits. This sounds as far-fetched as a futuristic sci-fi film, but the spirit of Eugenics is alive and well in our culture today.

Adolf Hitler

It was about 75 years ago an Austrian with a toothbrush mustache inspired millions to cry, “Heil Hitler!” Adolf Hitler practiced eugenics in many of his concentration camps. Hitler idolized the idea of an unadulterated purebred German people, but felt that his beloved Germany (though he was Austrian, go figure), had grown weak with mixed blood. For his vision to become a reality Hitler made Jews the scapegoat. Considering Hitler’s ideology, it’s not shocking that not all concentration camp deaths were Jewish people. The great German cleansing that Hitler foresaw had to include Nazi Eugenics practices, which meant getting rid of physically and mentally disabled people. This was executed through either death or sterilization of people who were arbitrarily deemed “unfit” to live.

Hitler ordered Action T4, which was the name given post-war to a program of forced euthanasia in wartime Germany. Under this program roughly 70,000 people were killed at various psychiatric hospitals in Germany and Austria. Part of this program was even dedicated to killing children with physical and mental illness. These “unfit” children were registered, and doctors and midwives were required to report all cases of newborns with disabilities. Reports were then assessed by a panel of medical experts, three of whom must give their approval before a child could be killed. Action T4 was the social experiment that paved the way for the technology and practice toward Hitler’s “Final Solution” of killing the Jews.

Margaret Sanger

Before Hitler was busy cleansing Germany, Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which was later called Planned Parenthood.  Like Hitler, Sanger was an advocate of the Eugenics movement. More specifically, Sanger advocated for the reduction of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with undesired traits or economic conditions. Though Sanger’s ideology expressed itself differently than Hitler’s ideological practices, there are many similarities. Sanger had the same arbitrary assessment of who she deemed “unfit” for life, and she supported sterilization as a way to control this population of people with undesirable genetic or economic dispositions. This ideology continues today, but unlike Hitler’s Action T4, Sanger’s Planned Parenthood has lived on to kill undesirable children.

Today pregnant women can receive a genetic screening to determine their child’s chance for physical or mental defects. We have changed the terms from “unfit” or “undesirables” to not having “quality of life.” We might not kill our children in the toddler stage as the Nazi’s did, but we harbor the same beliefs when we kill them in the womb. The same spirit of Eugenics in Hitler’s ideology is alive in us today when we kill our undesirable children. If we don’t want a child with down syndrome or spina bifida then we can subject them to our personal Action T4 by snuffing out their un-lived life. The world of Gattaca is at our doorstep, because we already believe some are genetically more fit than others – and we are already doing something about it.

Jesus Christ

Yet, there is one who came before Hitler and Sanger who loved the undesirables: Jesus Christ. According to Isaiah 53:2, Jesus was undesirable as well:

“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”

The undesirable God-man welcomed, healed, and dined with the undesirable outcasts of society. He didn’t stop there – but like the paralytic man lowered through the roof – he came to forgive our sins. Because we are among the undesirables whom – in our sin and filth – Jesus loved and chose for himself. We deserved for our lives to be snuffed out by God, but instead he provided a way of salvation through Jesus. He did not deal with us as our sins deserved. Jesus came to redeem the cultural belief in Eugenics, not by sacrificing undesirable children, but by sacrificing himself.

My Solid Rock in Marriage

I almost didn’t marry my husband.

I sat in my cubicle with showering tears and a shiny engagement ring on my finger. That morning on my way to work we had our first fight. My old fears of marriage crept in: loss of control, vulnerability, and the potential for being hurt. Maybe I shouldn’t go through with this. Maybe he’s not who I thought he was. Are these his true colors finally bleeding through?

I was gushing to my boss at work about the heated argument and the apparent pride of my fiancé. My boss patiently listened and said many things that day to me, but one sentence hooked me in. It seemed so simple, but in that moment it was profound. It was a reality of life I hadn’t experienced before this point.

He said, “I can be a very proud man sometimes, but I’m glad my wife still married me.”

To read the rest of this post, head on over to Boundless.org’s blog.

The One Parenting Tip we all Need

My Facebook feed has articles of top ten lists, methods, and practices of parents I’ve never met before. These methods and practices can be helpful, but as a parent I’ve realized there is one bottom line: I’m a sinner in need of grace.

It seems God invented parenthood to show us how much we are sinners in need of grace. All parents have this in common. This is where comparisons stop and the playing field is leveled.

How I’m Like a Two Year Old

Recently, the Lord reminded me of this simple truth as my sin was laid bare in front of a 2 1/2 year old. My husband and I have been attempting to train our toddler son to not throw fits when he doesn’t get what he wants. We have been telling him it is anger. In the midst of dealing with my son’s anger on an almost daily basis the Lord has made this a training tool for me as well.

You see, I’m angry too. I might not show it the same way as my son by hitting, screaming, and throwing, but my heart is angry. I’m angry about dealing with a tantruming toddler. I’m feeling worn down and discontent.

During one of these angry fits my son was throwing around plastic Easter eggs, because I needed to check on something cooking in the kitchen. In turn, I got angry and impatient. In that moment I saw myself as a reflection of my son. We’re in the same boat here; sinners in need of God’s grace. So, I gathered my son into my arms and hugged him.

I told him, “Mommy gets angry too and I’m sorry. You know who can help us not be angry? Jesus.”

My son told me he was sorry. Then I told him I loved him and we needed to love like Jesus loves us.

When I am Weak He is Strong

I’m seeing how weak I really am, but confident that His strength is made perfect in weakness. I can run to my Father and ask for help to love like him. My heavenly Father does not grow weary of me, and when I sin he is not impatient or unloving; because of Christ he loves me and does not deal with me in anger. But I never love as perfectly as he loves me. Yet, He will answer when I call. He knows I need more than the love of a mother. I need the love of Christ.

The love of Christ absorbs sin and returns love. He loves unconditionally. He is the Great Shepard who lays down his life for the flock. He does this regardless of how we behave. His love does not change, because He does not change. When I throw tantrums His love embraces me and says, “I know you’re a sinner in need of grace.”

Housewife Theologian Book Review

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Today housewife has become a dirty word. In Christian circles it has sometimes become a shameful thing. We can be embarrassed to admit our occupation to others. Our culture doesn’t see much value and meaning in being a housewife in comparison with working outside the home. A housewife is second rate; uneducated and imprisoned.

In her book, Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary, Aimee Byrd attempts to redeem the word housewife and transform it into something glorious; and something deeper than we make it. Byrd encourages us to think. Our days are not just about laundry and dishes, but should be rich in theology. What we know about God should be apart of the ordinary in our lives; what we know and believe should affect how we live. Byrd describes it this way:

“Truly Christian thinking involves an eternal perspective on our daily matters and contemplation of how they fit into the dogma of the drama in which God has cast us.”

Byrd explains how our femininity, beauty, identity, sexuality, self-image, sin, and attitudes are all out workings of our theological thoughts. This is so important in this day and age as we are surrounded by false teaching that impedes the calling the Lord has given us as women. Byrd teaches us how to not be ‘gullible housewives,’ who believe anything that sounds nice, but to be sharpened in our pursuit of Christian thinking.

Self-Image and Identity

Some of my favorite portions in the book cover self-image and identity. These two issues are typically areas of deception for women. A lot of the lies our culture promotes about these two topics sound pretty truthful. Today you can hear people talking about finding themselves. Feeling lost, like they have no purpose; trying to figure out who they are. It’s not just non-Christians that feel this way, but many Christians.
My only question about these feelings are: Where are you right now?

One of my heroes, Jim Elliot, says this,

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Wherever God has you right now, whatever place, position, or season, is exactly God’s will for you. If we examine our doctrine and truly believe God is sovereign, then we know where we are and what we are doing now is God’s will for us. We don’t have to travel the world or take a pottery class to find ourselves. If we are in the Word of God, we know who we are and who we belong to.

I love the quote from C.S. Lewis in Byrd’s book. It truly summarizes this issue in our culture of finding self:

“The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end . . . and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Identity and Idolatry

When it comes to our identity as women, idolatry is not far behind. It’s easy for us to make ultimate things out of good things, as Byrd describes it. It’s also easy for us to find something to attach ourselves to; something that identifies us. Then we end up looking to that thing as our source of happiness. When it’s taken away we respond in sin.

If we are studying and thinking through God’s Word and taking part in Church fellowship we will be setting ourselves up for idol exposing and killing. What are those things that are not Christ that we are looking to fulfill us? To make us happy? To give us purpose? Maybe it’s having a successful career? Getting rich? Maybe being a good housewife? Maybe it’s having a job outside of the home or not having a job outside the home? Maybe it’s looks?

Maybe we need to look for Christ to identify us. We do that when we are faithful housewife theologians who study the Word of God with rigorous discipline and humble prayers for grace. We are true to ourselves (as our culture calls it) when we immerse ourselves in Christ. We follow our dreams (again a modern cultural saying) when we discover the ultimate dream that is Christ himself.

He is our treasure and pearl of great price. Christ defines us as women and shows us that true value, worth, and meaning is found in losing ourselves and finding Him.

“So, What Do You Do?”

You’re at a party. You don’t know many people, so you strike up a conversation with someone over the punch bowl. You ask, “So what do you do?” The conversation then rolls to talk of occupation, work, study…whatever it is you “do.”

It’s a common ice-breaker question with an unintentional and underlying meaning. Basically, the person asking the question is seeking to identify you with something, and in our culture we are identified by what we do. Who we are is what we do. It’s as simple as that.

Identity and Success

This is why so many in our culture are highly driven for success. If our identity is wrapped up in what we do, then we need to do a heck of a lot and do it better than everyone else. Why would anyone settle for the bottom of the ladder when they can climb to the top? Why would anyone drop their career to stay at home with their children? Why would someone pass up overtime to spend time with their family? It’s not wrong to climb to the top of the ladder, keep a career with children, or work overtime. But when you are completely absorbed in it and consistently put it above everything else, your work has become who you are.

The reason our culture absorbs themselves in their careers, and is always running towards success, is because they have nothing else. Each success they earn is all they have to live for in this world. Everyone is building their own mini-kingdom on this earth. They don’t know there is another kingdom to invest in or another world to live for. The emptiness they feel (or are unaware of, but is still present) drives them to do more. Each accomplishment in life (personal or work related) never satisfies, which is why they have to look for the next one to conquer.

A Christian Mindset

Yet, if you are a Christian your identity is not in what you do or have accomplished, but in what has already been done for you. This is why we can rest and not “do” so much, this is why we don’t need to feel inadequate if we don’t have a degree, or feel intimidated by people who have much earthly success. Our identity is secure; it’s not based on a fluctuating economy, a wavering income, or our tentative position in a company. Who we are is who Christ is. We are one with Christ who is one with the Father. Our greatest and most important accomplishment in life — salvation — has been achieved by Jesus Christ; He is our success story.

Jesus is the perfect model of true success; a life emptied of self and full of God and others. All of his accomplishments were acts of love and service. When we give our lives to Christ we not only believe and accept he died on the cross and rose from the dead for us, but we believe and accept all of his accomplishments in His life as our own. His success becomes our success. And in this success we cannot boast, because we didn’t earn it nor do we deserve it.

We have been set free from our culture’s version of identity in success. Now we can live our lives in true success: dying to self and living for God and others. This is building the Kingdom of God on earth, and the perfect fulfillment of His Kingdom will be found in heaven. Our culture lives for their own mini-kingdom that they build themselves. We are apart of something much bigger and more fulfilling; a Kingdom not made with human hands, but bought with flesh and blood. Christ’s broken flesh and spilled blood bought my success.