Archive for October, 2012

21
Oct
12

About gender, abortions, and love that’s growing cold

It’s a quiet Sunday morning in Copenhagen, Denmark. Yesterday, we had a beautiful family day at the wonderful local zoo. What a treat to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather with many of God’s fun, majestic, and creative creations. This morning my thoughts are a lot more dark after I read an article in a Danish newspaper talking about how several Danish couples these days decide to go to our neighbor country Sweden to have an abortion after the 12 week-abortion-limit we have in Denmark if they don’t like the sex of the baby they’re expecting! After 14 weeks Danish couples can get see the sex of their baby through a sonogram, and doctors in both Denmark and Sweden confirm that especially well-educated Danish couples travel to Sweden to have an abortion up until the 18 week limit for provoked abortions they have in Sweden.

Thomas Tegenfeldt, executive at the Social Services in Sweden puts it this way: “Until the 18th week we (Sweden) have free abortions, and you have to execute the abortion NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON might be“.

Here is a picture of a 18 week old fetus. These days you can discard and kill this precious little baby, if you prefer a pink to a blue baby room:

This story about, as Danish media calls it, abortion tourism (taste that word. a-b-o-r-t-i-o-n  t-o-u-r-i-s-m……. :-()comes as a tragicomic end to a week where a story was published in Danish media about a Danish kindergarten where they avoid talking about ‘boy’ and ‘girl’, and do their best to present a gender neutral reality for the little ones. This idea is also inspired by Sweden, where several Swedish kindergartens have replaced the Swedish terms for ‘he’ (han) and she (hon) in songs and everyday conversation with the gender neutral ‘hen’. So in Scandinavia growing parts of the population support gender neutrality, but also kill babies because they don’t have the right sex…..! It would be laughable, if only it wasn’t so unbelievably tragic.

Jesus said it this way when he spoke about the last days before he will return: “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:11-12). The love of most will grow cold. The chill-factor in Scandinavia is high indeed these days.

I wrote about self-hatred and self-acceptance yesterday. I wonder how well-educated, rich Danes live with themselves, if they travel to Sweden to get rid off their baby because of the unwanted sex. How do you forgive yourself, if you’ve done that? Again, the only hope for anybody is found in Jesus. He forgives anyone who comes to him and asks for help.

“Jesus, I sit this morning with a heavy and angry heart. I’m sure you share these sentiments when you think about what’s going on in these last days before you return. I pray for my country, Denmark, and our dear neighbors, Sweden. I pray for a revival among your people. I pray for your children to find out more and more about who they are in you. I pray that we, your children, may be able to speak words of comfort, hope, clarity and truth to the world around that’s falling apart on the unholy altars of selfishness and ungodliness. Come soon, Lord Jesus, when will you come and say NEVER AGAIN to all the injustices going on?”

Two songs spring to mind as I mourn the loss of the children that lost their chance to live here on earth because of an unwanted DNA-combination:

Delirious?’ Our God Reigns:

watch?v=asAyiB0PpvU

and Enter the Worship Circle’s Never Again

You feel the grieving of the broken, And You hold them in Your hands
And You listen to their prayers, their prayers

You hear the crying of the orphan, And You hold them in Your hands
And You listen to their prayers, their prayers

Wake up, God, move yourself, wicked men crush Your children
We pray…we wait, how long until you say “Never Again”

You see the bruises on the victims, And You hold them in Your hands
And You listen to their prayers, their prayers

You are King forever and ever, Your Kingdom come on down
Justice rolls like waters, like waters, where wickedness will drown

Blessings, Torben

20
Oct
12

Sexologist with deep understanding of marriage problems!

All truth is God’s truth. So it’s not a major surprise that some of God’s created beings who (probably) don’t know him personally can muster up a grain of truth once in a while. And yet, it did catch me by surprise when I read what famed (in Denmark) sexologist Joan Ørting said under the headline “Why everyone gets divorced these days” (the article is in Danish). Of course you could start by objecting that not everybody gets divorced, even though obviously the number of divorces is staggering. But anyway, the answer from the sexologist was to my surprise both clear and true.
Ørting claims that the reason so many people get divorced these days is that people don’t know how to love themselves! She explains that we haven’t learned how to love ourselves, and then in marriage, we’re just somehow supposed to know how to do that. She adds that if we don’t love ourselves, we’re greedy and needy for attention from everybody around us, and especially from our spouses.
Wow…that’s deep for a secular sexologist! Her answer to this problem is shallow and irrelevant, as she claims that all you have to do to fix this problem of not loving yourself is just standing in front of the mirror and tell yourself: “I love you” until you believe it. Yeah, if only it was that easy to fix 🙂

Anyway, encouraging to see such a truth-analysis of one of the major reasons for the break-down of marriages and families. Jesus told his followers “love your neighbor as yourself“. It’s something that most believers and even most people who never attend church have heard numerous times. To the point where we don’t hear what Jesus is really saying. It’s a huge challenge. To love myself doesn’t come easy to most people. I would dare to say that real love and self-acceptance with the good, the bad, and the ugly I see in myself is extremely rare to come across. Sure, lots of people live with a puffed up self-image where they pretend that they are God’s greatest gift to mankind, and we can end up equating that with a healthy self-concept and a healthy love for themselves. But living a lie of pretending doesn’t answer the deeper cries of the heart of learning how to love ourselves.

These days most churches focus A LOT on loving other people. There is a huge focus in most modern, evangelical churches to reach people. (Unfortunately, the focus isn’t so much on actually telling people about who Jesus is and what he has done and wants to do in peoples’ lives, but that’s a soap box issue for another entry). Nonetheless, there is a massive emphasis on loving other people. Washing their bikes, cleaning gardens, helping in prisons, building buildings, staffing orphanages. All great things, but (and the truth always comes after the ‘but’), if all the people involved in all of these good things, don’t do them from a place of loving and accepting themselves, we’re actually not doing what Jesus wanted us to do!

Jesus agrees with sexologist Joan Ørting in so far as if we don’t love ourselves, we end up as attention-grabbing, needy people who need other people to tell us that we’re okay in a never-ending quest to feel good (enough) about ourselves. That’s unfortunately also often the reason why believers sign up for service at their local church or on the missions field. I’ve met many people, and I was one of them at a point in my life, who need to be in missions to feel needed and wanted. It makes you feel loved. But…it’s a very empty feeling, and you end up desperately running from project to project or relationship to relationship trying to get your love tank filled. But it won’t ever be filled, as long as you don’t love and accept yourself.

Henri Nouwen put it this way: “Self-rejection is the single greatest enemy of spiritual life, because it contradicts the voice that calls us the Beloved“. I agree whole-heartedly with Nouwen. I’ve counseled countless individuals and couples, and time and time again we’ve zeroed in on Jesus’ simple words: love your neighbor AS YOURSELF!

If I don’t embrace and accept Jesus’ unconditional acceptance and love for me, there is no way to live in a proper place of self-love and self-acceptance. That’s the key. Without finding the answer to the inner neediness in Jesus, there is no answer. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, and unfortunately most pastors and most books talk very little about it. It’s as if it’s commonly understood that we love ourselves already. When in fact the truth is very different.

Blessings, Torben




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