July 6, 2022

July 6, 2022

Dear Friends,
 
It should not have taken anyone by surprise when almost two weeks ago, the US Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the Dodds v. Jackson Women’s Health case.  Court watchers paid careful attention last fall when the Justices heard the oral arguments in the case, noting then that the questions asked by the Justices foreshadowed either the end of the Roe v. Wade precedent altogether, or at the very least, new allowances for states to regulate abortion.  Then two months ago, when a draft copy of the majority opinion was leaked to the media, the handwriting was on the wall.  So the court’s official ruling to overturn Roe two weeks ago was expected.  Most of us would have been surprised if the decision in the Dodds case had gone any other way.
 
In our politically divided culture, the response to the ruling has also not been particularly surprising, although I have to admit that I expected a more incendiary response from pro-choice advocates.  To be sure, it’s not been nothing.  There has been a wave of vandalism and property crime aimed at local Crises Pregnancy Centers.  But the anticipated “nights of rage” that had been promoted have turned out to be more muted than expected.
 
As I’ve had time to process the court’s decision and to think about how we can and should continue to demonstrate care and concern for unborn and for the women experiencing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, I’ve read three articles that I’ve found helpful.  The first was from Pastor Kevin DeYoung who reminded me that it is right and proper for us to rejoice that Roe has been overturned.
 
“We will hear much over the next days and weeks about all those who are scared and hurt by the Supreme Court’s ruling. We will be told by even some of our friends that now is the time to be extremely sensitive and circumspect. True enough, rudeness is never in order. But sometimes celebration and thanksgiving are. We don’t need a thousand Michals telling David to stop leaping for joy. Every child is a gift, a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and if by some supernatural intervention the children in the womb could learn that Roe is gone, they might just leap in the womb as well (Luke 1:41).”
 
I also appreciated this essay written by Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who notes that in many ways, the end of Roe means that we need to be more aggressive in our efforts to demonstrate our pro-life convictions.  He writes “Dobbs is not the end of a struggle. It is, in a certain sense, only the beginning…  With Dobbs, a new future is possible. Let’s come to the aid, like never before, of pregnant women in distress. Let’s give them the help they need—material, emotional, spiritual. Let’s cherish every baby and make it possible for them to flourish no matter what circumstances they happen to be born into. Let’s make sure that every time someone chooses life, a community of love and support is gathered around them.”
 
And finally, in today’s Wall Street Journal, I read an op-ed column written by Christopher Bell, the co-founder and President of Good Counsel Homes, a non-profit working to care for and serve the needs of women who choose life and who need help and support (much like the good work being done by the Caring Hearts ministry we support here in central Arkansas).  In reflecting on the work he oversees, Mr. Bell paints a picture of what is happening at crisis pregnancy centers in cities all over the country.  While his article is behind the Wall Street Journal paywall, here is a portion of what he wrote:
 
“In the 37 years I’ve been working with homeless women, pregnant mothers and babies, I’ve seen how the media smears the pro-life movement. They say we don’t care about women. They say we love children only before they’re born and… that we “mislead and deceive” women into having babies they don’t want…
 
“At Good Counsel, like many similar organizations throughout the country, we take in any pregnant woman in need. Most come from broken or dysfunctional homes and have nowhere else to go. They are welcome to stay with us for a year or longer. During that time, we help them develop child-rearing skills. We also provide budgeting and vocational assistance, nutritional advice and tips for a healthy lifestyle. Many women choose to work or go back to school. Our staff babysits—free of charge—while new moms begin to build a résumé. We do everything we can to help connect women to resources and support….  ‘Love them both’ is not just a sign we carry at the March for Life every year. It’s the key to ensuring that frightened and abandoned pregnant women understand that they have options other than abortion.”
 
I’ve shared this link with you before, but if you’re interested in looking more carefully at why we believe the right to life for the unborn is an issue of biblical justice, you can listen back to this message I preached in 2019 where I addressed what the Bible teaches about the value of unborn human life. 
 
And going forward, let us keep in mind that the battle to defend the defenseless and to care for every human being has not ended with the reversal of Roe.  We should rejoice that after 49 years of injustice, we now have the opportunity as citizens to enact laws to protect unborn human life.  But the rights of the unborn are still under attack in our culture.  In the months ahead, those who support abortion and their allies in the media will be arguing oud and hard for a right to kill unwanted children.   Roe may be overturned, but there is still much for us to do as Christians.  And it begins with a renewed commitment to provide compassion and love for those who need our support and help.   

Yes, it was hot.  But those who braved the heat tonight and showed up for some wonderful tacos and great fellowship had a whole lot of fun in our second of three Parking Lot Picnics tonight:

And yes, once again, I got my face painted.
Thanks to all who helped set up and tear down the tents and all the other details that were part of the event.  Our final PLP of the summer happens on Wednesday night, August 3.  And back by popular demand, the menu that evening will include Pastor Bob’s Burgers! 
 Here’s an overview of all that’s coming our way in July at Redeemer.

AWANA CLUB

We’ll have details upcoming about our Awana Club plans for fall.  For those who don’t know about Awana, you can click this video to learn more (keep in mind, we’ll be limiting our Awana clubs this fall to pre-school and elementary aged children).

SAVE THE DATEs!

And we have a few “save the date” notices for you as well.
 
Saturday, August 13 – Men’s Breakfast
Sunday, August 21 – An all-church potluck right after our morning service
And Wednesday, August 31, it’s our Awana Club Kickoff.

Have you ever had someone hurt or harm you so badly that you thought to yourself “there is no way I can ever forgive them for what they’ve done to me?”  This week we’ll look at a parable Jesus told that illustrates why forgiving others, while not easy, is not an option for those who are a part of God’s family – it’s a requirement.
 
We’ll look together at the parable in Matthew 18 this Sunday.

See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob
 
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