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Wide White: May 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Become a Driver and You Could Be in the Driver's Seat!!"

That's an advertisement on the bus I took this morning.

If you become a driver and only might be in the driver's seat, there's a problem...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Americans pro-life

If you believe pollsters...
NEW YORK – A Gallup Poll released Friday found that 51 percent of Americans now call themselves pro-life rather than pro-choice on the issue of abortion, the first time a majority gave that answer in the 15 years that Gallup has asked the question.
What's equally relevant, though, is the stance Americans are taking on the legality of abortion, which is much different than their personal views.
The new survey showed that Americans remained deeply divided on the legality of abortion — with 23 percent saying it should be illegal in all circumstances, 22 percent saying it should be legal under any circumstances, and 53 percent saying it should be legal only under certain circumstances.
This summary from the president of Planned Parenthood is probably a fairly accurate assessment of where we're at.
"The terms pro-choice and pro-life no longer define the parameters of the debate, witnessed by the fact that in the Gallup Poll, a majority of people say they are both pro-life and that abortion should be legal."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Silly government rules (and the price of convenience)

When I filed my passport application yesterday at Hennepin County Government Center, I was told they couldn't accept my birth certificate.

Around 6 months ago a quirky policy went into effect whereby a county-issued birth certificate can't be used for a passport application being filed in that same county. It's an attempt to prevent a clerk from doing a friend a favor.

I was born in Hennepin County, so I couldn't file my passport application in Hennepin County using their birth certificate. Rather than try to make it back to file in my home county, I went with plan B.

Plan B: The Hennepin County clerk sold me a new state-issued birth certificate for $16, which he promptly printed and attached to my passport application.

Apparently, it doesn't matter if a Hennepin County clerk hands me the birth certificate; as long as it's technically issued by the state of Minnesota, Hennepin County can now file my birth certificate.

The price of convenience

I've been meaning to get a passport application for 2 months in anticipation of an upcoming trip to Canada.

My problem: the passport photo.

I was going to take it myself to save money.

With just over 7 weeks before the trip, I broke down, went to Walgreens, and paid the 8 bucks to have my picture taken.

Convenience has its price.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thoughts on birth control

I've had a few conversations with both friends and family lately on birth control. My wife recently came across an article on the topic from Desiring God (a ministry of my church) that I found relevant to some of those discussions and very much worth a read.

For those who don't have time to read the whole article, here are a few key sections:
The Bible nowhere forbids birth control, either explicitly or implicitly, and we should not add universal rules that are not in Scripture. What is important is our attitude in using it. Any attitude which fails to see that children are a good gift from the Lord is wrong.

Just because something is a gift from the Lord does not mean that it is wrong to be a steward of when or whether you will come into possession of it. It is wrong to reason that since A is good and a gift from the Lord, then we must pursue as much of A as possible.

In reality, then, although it is true that "blessed is the man whose quiver is full of [children]," we need to realize that God has not given everyone the same size quiver. And so birth control is a gift from God that may be used for the wise regulation of the size of one's family, as well as a means of seeking to have children at the time which seems to be wisest.

Sometimes people also reason that if you really want to "trust God" to determine the size of your family, then you should not use birth control. The assumption seems to be that if you "just let things happen naturally," then God is more at work than if you seek to regulate things and be a steward of when they happen. But surely this is wrong! God is just as much in control of whether you have children when you use birth control as when you don't. The hands of the almighty are not tied by birth control! A couple will have children precisely at the time God wants, whether they use birth control or not. Either way, then, God is ultimately in control of the size of one's family.

Human activity does not...interfere with [God's] plans, but is instead itself governed by Him as the means to bring to pass His will. Hence, we should not conclude that what happens apart from our planning is "better" and more reflective of God's desires for us than what happens through our planning.

Without regulating the size of their family, many couples would end up having more children than they can reasonably support financially. In response, some argue that we should simply have faith that God will provide the funds. However, we don't use the "God would provide" reasoning to justify going beyond our means in other areas of life. We wouldn't consider it wise, for example, to pledge twice our annual income to missions organizations in faith that God will supply the extra funds.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Also be warned

If you're sitting on the throne in a public restroom stall listening to your voicemails and I am sitting two stalls down from you and no one else is in the restroom...

I can hear your voicemails.

Be warned

If you are leading your church small group and say, "Kick your [slight pause] butt," everyone will know what you were really thinking.

It doesn't matter how serious the moment was. It's not a serious moment any more.

Friday, May 01, 2009

BMW's marketing genius