Saturday, May 22, 2004

May 22, 2004

9:31 PM Craig Hammond called a few minutes ago with wonderful news. Megan delivered a baby boy at 7:08 PM. His name is Kyler Craig Hammond. Vital stats: 8 pounds, 6 ounces, 21 inches long. Mother is tired but happy, Kyler is doing great, Craig is delighted, and we’re all celebrating the good news. 5:57 PM The rain held off and we had a great time. Ted and Steve met at my house and we set out for Parky’s a few minutes after 1 PM. Ted rode a nicely-restored Schwinn that is at least 30 years old. Steve had a mountain bike with some cool knobby tires for tackling the Forest Preserve trails along the Des Plaines River. He won’t be on those trails for a while because after the recent rains, they are under several feet of water. Ted also brought along a nifty GPS locater that Lisa gave him several years ago. About the size of a cell phone, it tracks your movements, tells you elapsed time and average speed, plus it can display a map showing you exactly where you are. This proved to be a great help is navigating the back roads of River Forest and Elmwood Park. When we got to Parky’s, Ted showed me our route on the display—exactly as the satellite had traced it. I was impressed, although we had only come a mile from my house. It even showed the left turn we made from Washington onto Harlem Avenue. After consuming our hot dogs and Cokes, Steve led us on the five-mile trek to Gene & Jude’s in River Grove. He managed to keep us on less-traveled roads, which is a good thing on Saturday afternoon. We found a huge line of people waiting for hot dogs at Gene & Jude’s. Steve says the place is mobbed on summer evenings. Time for another hot dog and a Pepsi and more stories and laughter. Then back on the bikes and time to go home. I got back to the house just before 3 PM—having traveled 14 miles on our journey. Each man has to write his own review. Ted’s is in hand, I expect Steve’s very soon. I expect the final vote to be extremely close—we’re down to such minutiae as the texture and color of the wieners. I’ll post the final results as soon as they are in. 8:12 AM Despite the rain, the Great Chicago Hot Dog Challenge is still on for today. Joining me will be Steve Boisse and Ted King. Thousands are asking (Okay, maybe just hundreds. Well, maybe dozens.), Who will win the challenge? Will it be Parky’s or Gene & Jude’s? A breathless nation awaits the results. You can watch the network news tonight to find out—or you can find out right here, on this weblog, later today. 7:56 AM More on Gay Marriage … A) This quote from Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY:

There is no refuge on the issue of same-sex marriage, however. The questions will eventually be answered. Churches will either endorse same-sex marriage, or they will not. Congregations will perform same-sex marriages, or they will not. Denominations and religious institutions will recognize same-sex partnerships, or they will not. There is no middle ground, no place of compromise, and eventually no place to hide.

B) Dr. Mohler is absolutely right. Every church will have to take a stand. At Calvary we plan to address this issue in a major way later this year. We will speak from the pulpit, in our classes and groups, in the local newspapers, on the Internet, and by every other means available to us. Our first goal is to teach the congregation what the Bible says about marriage, male-female relationships, God’s design for sexuality, and the call to moral purity. We will also address the need to speak the truth in love. How should Christians speak out on this issue, especially when the biblical position is now derided by many people? How do you share Christ with a close friend or family member who is homosexual? How can Christians make a difference in this battle for the heart and soul of America? Look for the elders and pastors to speak forthrightly to these important questions this fall. C) We do not take for granted that everyone in our congregation has a clear understanding of these issues. Hundreds of new people pass in and out of our midst every year. Because of our location in an urban area, our congregation has a high rate of turnover—much more than a settled, rural congregation. New people come to Christ on a regular basis. So it’s not surprising that we need to address these issues openly—even though we have spoken about homosexuality frequently in the past. D) Our church’s position is well stated in the Calvary Family Manifesto. Here is the statement on marriage from the manifesto:

We believe God, not man, created marriage. We believe marriage was the first institution designed by God. We believe the Bible teaches that the covenant of marriage is sacred and lifelong. The Bible makes it clear that marriage is a legally binding, public declaration of commitment and a private consummation between one man and one woman, never between the same sex. Therefore, we believe God gives a wife to a husband, and a husband to a wife, and they are to receive one another as God’s unique and personal provision to help meet their mutual needs. We believe God created marriage for the purpose of couples glorifying God as one flesh, providing companionship, partnering together in the work of God’s kingdom, parenting godly children, and enjoying sexual pleasure. Just as the Trinity reflects equal worth with differing roles, we believe God created a man and a woman with equal worth but with differing roles and responsibilities in marriage. Finally, we declare the marriage commitment must be upheld in our culture as that sacred institution of God in which men and women can experience the truest sense of spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy, so that the two can become one. (Genesis 2:18-25; Deuteronomy 24:5; Proverbs 27:17; Song of Solomon; Matthew 19:4-6, 22:30; Mark 10:6-9, 12:25; Romans 1:26-27, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 7:3; Ephesians 5:30-32; Hebrews 13:4) Colossians 3:19; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Peter 3:7)

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