Show & Tell: Hot Links & "Ketch-up!"

I've been gone for a while, so I want to "ketchup" on some links I've meant to highlight for a while. My favorite highlights (i.e., things I really want to hear from you about and/or recommend) are in a nice ketchup-y red!
CHILDREN & RELATED ISSUES:
  • Found another great article over at "His Abiding Love": Whining and Complaining
  • What do you think about the supposed "age of accountability" (an age where a child attains the knowledge of right and wrong; some would say that children who die before this age go t Heaven)? The most biblical support I can find for it is in Deuteronomy 1:39. What say you?
  • Why is Hollywood afraid of abortion?, asks Al Mohler. It is very interesting that aside from a few dark films (a la Cider House Rules), Hollywood consistently makes movies that acknowledge (albeit tacitly) that abortion is not a desirable outcome for a pregnancy. If there's nothing at all wrong with abortion, and it's simply the removal of some tissue, then why not show that on the silver screen?
  • An interesting, and theologically-examined, spelling out of the biblicality of the "no birth control" perspective. Whether or not you agree with the conclusions Bayly draws, I think you might find it an interesting read.
  • A laugh for moms of sons who are Thomas the Train fanatics- I could SO relate to this cartoon!

MARRIAGE & RELATED LINKS:

  • Emotional Affairs- This is a great article about protecting yourself on the front end from adultery. To continue a conversation from my post on premarital advice... I myself feel strongly about this- that affairs don't spring out of nowhere, and that choosing to invest in opposite sex friendships (other than your spouse) is inviting sin. What say you?
  • Scroll down to the part of this article that says, " Some ideas for boundaries for married cross gender interactions ." It's about a third of the way down the page. The point she makes is a good one: we ought not consider these things as a way to judge other marriages, but as a way to fortify our own.
  • Kerry @ hishelpmeet.com has written a thought-provoking series of articles called, "Affair-Proof Your Marriage". (This is part one. Follow the links at the bottom to read the entire series.)

OF HOME AND HEARTH:

  • Frugal redecorating: How to find great colors and good brands and buy your paint inexpensively... I used to do this all the time when we lived in our own house in America!
  • Thoughts on Hospitality: giving and receiving, particularly from the perspective of a larger-than-average family!
RANDOM ISSUES & LINKS:
  • "CLASSIC HUCK" : a Democratic who shared a plane with Mike Huckabee offered this set of in-person observations of the Governor running for President 2008.
  • Concerning the MBTI personality stuff (which I intend to return to eventually)... here's a funny list that gives a humorous look at each personality.
  • An EXCELLENT article- I can't recommend it highly enough- called "Eyes of Mercy" from Sara... about not judging others- with practical ideas for growth in this area. Get thee to this link and read!
Can't wait to hear back from you ladies about these "hot links"! Happy reading!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, there's always so much good stuff in these link posts of yours, I get a bit overwhelmed. I will follow some of them later, but my initial thoughts are:

1) WELCOME BACK! I've missed you! Where are you living now?

2) Age of accountability - manmade idea to help us wrap our human minds around the fact that God chose from before the foundation of the world who would be His sons and daughters. There are SO many passages in the Bible detailing this truth. There is nothing remotely mentioning an age of accountability.

3) The birth control perspective -- Can I ask, did he preach that sermon in his church? GACK! I'd have been crawling under the pew from mortification.

4) On emotional affairs --
You said: choosing to invest in opposite sex friendships (other than your spouse) is inviting sin. What say you?
I speak from experience, unfortunately.

That's all for now. Glad you're back!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Miss Jess. I've been enjoying (I understand that 'lurking' is the accepted vernacular.) your blog for some time, and I never really felt a need to comment until I read today's post.

Regarding the age of accountability: It's my understanding of Scripture that little ones who die while still very young, do go on to eternity in heaven. II Samuel 12:15-23 is the account of the death of King David's first son by Bathsheba. In verse 23, David tells of his certainty that he will someday be reunited to this child in death. And I don't believe that David's meaning is Sheol, as 'in the place of the dead.'

Dr. Morris, in the Defender's Study Bible (CRI publication), makes this comment regarding this passage: I shall go to him... David's infant son, dead before he was able to discern right from wrong, was safe in Christ, together with the departed spirits of all who had died in true faith, resting in "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22) and awaiting the coming of the promised Savior. David thus was confident he would be with his child in the ages to come, after the great resurrection day. He knew that he himself would "dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (Psalm 23:6), and so would his infant son. (- - end quote)

It is important to read the Luke passage referenced in order to have the fullest explanation about destination after death (in the bosom of Abraham - or heaven, and Hades - or place of torment). This explanation comes directly from the lips of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This topic is an important one to my family and me, as one of our grandsons was born with left heart hypoplasia (LHH). This little boy, Ethan, actually has an extreme form of LHH, with the left side of his heart being virtually nonexistant. He had his first open-heart surgery the day after his birth, and has had 11 subsequent surgeries/procedures since then.

Recently, it has been determined that his left lung is 'dead' because of the lack of blood flow to it. Skilled heart surgeons have not been able to stop the formation of scar tissue in Ethan's little reconstructed heart that would have prevented this lung failure.

Our family has had comfort in the knowledge that if this little guy died while very young, he would be 'absent from the body and present with the Lord,' and we rejoiced that God's Word confirmed this to us.

Ethan will be 4 years old the beginning of August, and I believe that he is on the cusp of that "age of accountability," especially since he has been raised in a home saturated with the Word of God by his mommy and daddy who strive daily to live for the Lord.

Ethan is clearly beginning to understand his relationship to God and his responsibility to obey Him. It is our prayer that he will soon understand and realize his need for a Savior and that he will ask Jesus to be Lord of his life and then make Him so, in his own childlike way.

Thank you for also linking to the Bayly Blog post addressing birth-control. I appreciate that godly men are willing to thoughtfully present God's truths, especially on a topic that seems to many (who have never thought of considering birth control scripturally and historically) to be a non-issue. You might want to go over to WorldNetDaily.com to read a July 12, 2007 post regarding the impact of birth control pills on the environment. Frightening and not a pleasant read but certainly something necessary to know, at least from my perspective.

Thank you so much for your precious site.

Rocky Lanotte

Steph VG said...

HI! Missed your posts, but glad you're back online, at least periodically.

Haven't had the time to read the other links, but something I've always heard used as a support for babies going to heaven is 2 Samuel 12:23. David's first child with Bathsheba has died in spite of David's fervent prayer and fasting, and David says, "Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

That said, I haven't done much study on the topic. I should, though, since Matt is a pastor and we're bound to run into people who face this kind of grief. In fact, two of the leaders at our church lost children at a very young age.

But I don't know what I think on the issue.

Steph VG said...

AND (sorry) in context, Deuteronomy 1:39 is not talking about death, but instead about how children who "today have no knowledge of good and evil" would not be forced to die in the wilderness but instead would be allowed to grow up and enter the Promised Land.

For whatever that's worth.

*~Tamara~* said...

Oh boy, Jess. Deut. 1:39 is Moses speaking, saying that the Lord had told him he would not enter the Promised Land, but that the children would. I don't see anywhere where this verse could be construed to mean that children by default enter Heaven.

As for an age of accountability, I do not believe in it. There is no Biblical support for it at all. I think it is a man-made idea designed to comfort us when an "innocent" child dies. It gives people some degree of coping, thinking their child is in heaven. And it helps us cuddle up to our "just and loving God" idea because, "God would never send an innocent baby to hell!" and we think our idea of just and loving is God's idea as well.

I think we are human and we develop human means of understanding. We think of people in heaven as babies, children, young people, and older people, depending on when they died. But souls are eternal, and we are all BORN in sin. Therefore, a child born today is just as unworthy of Christ's atonement and heaven as you and I are. (Again, hard to swallow because in human terms, children are "innocent.")

I don't think an "age of accountability" concept helps us out at all. If anything, I think it helps us excuse sin in children. If Johnny is not capable of understanding grace and redemption, but is capable of understanding that "Mommy said no," then is he sinning when he disobeys? Is sin only sin when we understand it is sin?

****

I agree that investing in opposite sex relationships is often inviting trouble. The statistics support this assertion as well. I have friends who are male, but all of them are mutual friends with my husband as well, and none of them are what I would consider close/confidante type friends. I have women friends and sisters for that.

****

I can't get the Eyes Of Mercy link to work, so I'll check back on that one later.

Anna S said...

Jess, thank you for all these links! I only looked through a couple of them (will come back later when I have more time...) and it's great stuff. About emotional affairs, well, I already mentioned I completely agree with you on the friendships with the opposite sex issue. It might look innocent and rejecting male friends might make people think I'm some sort of weirdo, but I don't care. I think attraction between the two sexes is normal and natural, and if I don't want to kindle it, I won't even approach!

*~Tamara~* said...

I'm back. :-)

I've been mulling a couple of things over this afternoon.

I am at the very least, a little troubled by the use of 2 Samuel 12:23 as a reasoning that children automatically go to heaven. I have heard that argument several times and I am bothered by it a bit. That is not to say that I *don't think any children go to heaven, but that I *don't think this verse is in anyway conclusive.

First, it is hard to know what happened immediately following this conversation between David and his servants, because the passage then jumps ahead by several months to the birth of Solomon. But when David says he "will go to him," I think it might reference the burial process or grave. (I say this because many commentaries that I've checked on refer to the traditional burial processes and subsequent fasting, although just a sentence before, David says he is not going to fast any longer.) Again, I'm not an authority on this, but neither scenario seems conclusive to me.

Second, *if David is referring to his infant going to Heaven and stating that one day he will join him there (which is plausible) I think it is faulty logic to conclude then that the souls of *all children would be called to Heaven. If it is true that we are born in sin, that we are all the sons/daughters of Adam, but that through Christ's atonement many of us will be saved, then it would seem to me that it would not matter how old a physical body was, if a soul was unredeemed it would not enter Heaven. If David is saying that his son is in heaven, then that particular son is one of God's redeemed, or he would not be in Heaven. To my way of thinking, the son's age is immaterial, his destiny is what mattered, and in this interpretation David clearly believed his son was redeemed.

But then, we have the issue of faith. Faith is essential to salvation, and thus spending eternity with God. Can a young child have the faith that God requires? I think so, because faith is a gift from God, given to those whom He wants to reveal Himself to. In that case, can God reveal Himself to a child in the womb? If so, are miscarried and/or aborted children in Heaven? Scripture tells us that "Faith comes by hearing." If a person has never heard the Word of God or His plan of salvation, can he be saved? Is that an all-encompassing truth, or is it one means of imparting truth and spurring repentance?

I am troubled by the idea that when a mother loses a child to miscarriage or her young child dies before making a confession of faith, we offer her some sort of human comfort by saying, "You'll see that child again someday. He's in the loving arms of Jesus." Again, I want (and need, for my own comforting) to be sensitive here. But I also don't want to offer, or be offered, false or unBiblical hope. Those in Heaven are God's redeemed. They are not there because they were "innocent" because none of us are. They are not there because they "didn't understand," because none of us do until God unveils our eyes.

I just think this verse is awfully shaky to try to base such huge emotional investments on. Believe me, in my human weakness and brokenness, I *want to believe "all babies go to heaven" but I also want to be true to God's word, and offer a Biblical answer to the hurts and injustices of life in a fallen world.

Anonymous said...

Laurie B here:

As the token Jewish reader of this blog, I want to point out that you won't find any references to "heaven" in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures).

Judaism does not have the same doctrine regarding heaven and hell as Christianity does--that when you die you are immediately sent to one place or the other.

There are many interpretations, but the typical Jewish doctrine on this matter is that someday, when the messianic age arrives, there will be a Judgment Day, and on that day the souls of the righteous will be redeemed/reunited with loved ones, while others will remain dead (not eternally tortured in fiery pits, but rather not redeemed).

So David will be reunited with his child who died, but it won't happen immediately upon David's death, it will happen when the messianic age arrives.

Incidentally, Jewish doctrine holds that the righteous of "all nations" will be redeemed on Judgment Day, that is, you do NOT have to be Jewish or follow all the Jewish commandments to be redeemed.

Regarding the age of accountability--the passage in Deuteronomy refers to the children being able to go to the Promised Land, while Moses is barred from there. I understand Jess's thinking that this may be God's way of saying that children are not morally culpable in the same way as adults.

On the other hand, I wonder whether "children" in this context should be read literally to mean children, or as "Children of Israel," referring to all the Hebrews. Scripture is full of references to God as a father and all human beings as children. Stories about the conduct of Hebrews in the desert (Golden Calf, etc.) make clear that they didn't have a clue (didn't understand right from wrong).

Then again, the Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years so that the generation who lived as slaves would die off before they entered the Promised Land. That interpretation would suggest that God did intend only for the children of those who escaped from Egyptian slavery to enter the Promised Land.

I actually called my rabbi today to ask him about this age of accountability. I was aware of Jewish tradition on the matter but did not know if it came directly from the Bible.

To Jews, full moral accountability arrives when a person reaches adulthood, defined as age 13 for boys and 12 for girls (because girls are understood to mature faster than boys).

This doesn't come directly from the Bible, but from the Talmud, a set of rabbinic commentaries on the Bible mostly written in Palestine and Babylonia between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago.

There is also the tradition that children can be assumed to understand right from wrong at age 7, the traditional age at which boys began formal education.

This doesn't come from the Bible either, but I find it interesting, because in most cultures, children begin either working or studying around age 6-7. Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple to study "after he was weaned," which in that culture was probably around age 6 or 7.

Clearly there is some major cognitive and neurological development happening around age 7, which allows children to understand morality at a higher level.

That doesn't mean we don't start teaching children right from wrong at a young age; it just recognizes that children don't typically grasp this concept until around age 7.

Again, only adults have full moral accountability. My rabbi mentioned that when children below the age of adulthood do something wrong, parents are held accountable and face the consequences under the Jewish tradition.

I really don't understand Tamara's view on this. I understand that Christians believe in original sin, but if I take my kids to the store, and my toddler grabs a toy from the shelf and carries it out of the store without me paying for it, can my child really be said to have "sinned"?

He doesn't understand the concept of ownership or money. He saw something he liked and grabbed it. I am responsible for providing guidance to my children and teaching them not to steal, hit, be cruel to others, etc. If we walk out without paying, that reflects my negligence or my moral failure.

Anonymous said...

Jess, I have not seen a movie in a theater since the summer of 2004. I have very little interest in anything Hollywood has to offer.

And that is in part because Hollywood goes for safe, non-controversial, predictable material. That's how they get big box office. That's why they test endings on focus groups and don't go with anything too dark or upsetting.

Obviously, Hollywood doesn't want to broach the abortion issue. Wouldn't be good for business.

Laurie B

Hedi said...

Thank you for writing about communication with opposite gender and issues to discuss when engaged (married). Also thanks for the links about the communication theme! These were really needed now.

Christina said...

Thanks for the links! I especially enjoyed the one on hospitality. I've been thinking about writing a post about that subject after our pastor preached a wonderful sermon on the topic.

Maggie said...

Thanks for the link to my marriage article. Pleased you stopped by. You have a great blog. (And I'm not a spammer to say it! LOL.)

In terms of the age of accountability, one scripture I have heard that lent some credibility to age of accountability (and I'd have to dig out old notes) is that there is some indication in scripture of two books...the lamb's book of life, where are written all the names of everyone born. It says "whose name is not blotted out of the lamb's book of life"-- suggesting we are all cantidates for grace, and that it is not until we are of age to know to refuse that names are blotted out.

Then, another book/scroll, (sorry I can't remember the name) in Revelation where all the names are written who have received Christ.

It's been years since I heard it taught.

This suggests a two stage process...all difficult and I do not understand it all. If we are born with the Adamic and sinful nature "for all have sinned" and it is not until we receive Christ that we are set free from it...I do not know how this works.

All I do know is that God is a righteous and fair judge. I don't understand it...I just have to trust Him who is beyond me.

He creates life, and He alone knows what to do with it once it is creates to suite the purposes intended to glorify Himself. I have to trust Him who creates.

"The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord".

He has always honored the prayers and desires of my heart...I know I can trust that.

He loves my children more than I do...He's proven I can trust that.

He cares for mothers and carries them close to His heart...I know and can trust that.

He is utterly trustworthy.

(And, yes...I've miscarried a baby) and nearly lost another wrestling with these issues. Very tender subject, but if He is anything...it is a righteous and trustworthy judge. Do the hard work of trusting Him who loves you and yours even more than you do.

Great dialogue

Anonymous said...

Laurie B again:

Tamara wrote, "Therefore, a child born today is just as unworthy of Christ's atonement and heaven as you and I are."

I find it impossible to look at a baby and believe that God considers everyone unworthy of redemption until they are old enough to prove themselves worthy.

No one is without sin, clearly, but what kind of sin can a baby commit? Just by being born, he or she is unworthy? You can't sin without knowing right from wrong.

There is a famous Jewish teaching in the Hasidic tradition that says everyone should carry two pieces of paper, one in the right pocket and one in the left.

On one paper, you write the Biblical verse "I am but dust and ashes." On the other, you write the verse, "For my sake the world was created." You pull the papers out of your pocket as needed--the first if you are feeling too self-important, the second if you begin to feel that your life is pointless.

These truths may seem contradictory, but there are plenty of contradictory passages in the Bible.

I am no expert on the New Testament, but there must be passages about God having compassion for all children, right? Why not put that in one pocket, and put something about us all being born in sin, unworthy of redemption, in your other pocket?

Then when you are struggling to comfort the bereaved parents of a small child, you can pull out that Biblical verse from the first pocket.

PS: Jess, here's a Huckabee link you will enjoy:

http://commoniowan.blogspot.com/2007/07/huckabee-wants-leaders-to-work-to-get.html

Jess said...

For what it's worth, I've been meaning to write back on this post and kept forgetting:

I recognize what the verse is talking about. But the point (which I apparently didn't make at all... chalk it up to culture shock) is that there is, apparently, an age where children do not know good and evil. What is that age? I don't know. Does that mean that they would not go to hell if they died? I don't know. But I don't think it's ENTIRELY absurd or bad exegesis to draw an idea from this passage that innocence about good & evil can lead to protection by God from potential consequences. That's all I'm sayin. I'm not advocating for or against- just explaining why I don't think this passage is irrelevant to the discussion.

Jess

Steph VG said...

As I was thinking over the question later on (including the Deut passage you quoted), I *finally* caught the idea that the point was not that the children would see the Promised Land, but that they didn't know right from wrong at a specific point, so they were not subject to the same consequences others were who did understand right and wrong. I meant to come back and either delete my second comment or re-comment, but forgot. Sorry I was so slow on the uptake! :-)

This has been an interesting discussion for me to read, very stretching. I still don't know where I'll come down - on the side of Scripture, yes, but I'm not sure that I understand clearly what Scripture teaches. Thanks for posting about this, and spurring me on to think.