Why Suicide And Self-Harm Questions Matter To Me

Why do I take seriously questions relating to self-harm and suicide? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night as I was getting ready to go to bed, I got a question sent to me for a ministry I help answer questions for. It was a question about suicide that also referenced self-harm. The person who passed the question on to me asked me if I was okay to handle it. It was hard, but yes. I was. I did.

Why is it so hard?

Let me tell you about the worst day of my life.

When I met Allie years ago, she had actually just recently before then had a suicide attempt over a guy who was a jerk to her. When I met her, she thought she could make it right with him. That changed quickly. Before too long, she didn’t care about making it right with him. She was interested in me.

So go back a few years ago. I know the date. I don’t want to tell you for my own reasons. I had just got done with a podcast. Allie and my Dad and I were going to go to the movies. I went to see her and was talking to her and she was being quiet. Something seemed strange. I told her I needed to go to the drugstore and she still seemed out of it. Then I heard her say three words that ripped my world apart.

“Nick. I overdosed.”

At that moment, everything comes crashing down. I called 911 instantly in a panic. Fortunately, there was a fire station about a mile away from where we lived. I was calling everyone. I called her parents. I called my parents. My parents lived next door and my mother ran down and jumped on the bed and begged Allie to keep her eyes open.

The firefighters and ambulance that arrived assured us she was going to be okay. They were taking her to the hospital. My Dad and I would follow in his car. Mine had recently been hit by someone and thus I didn’t have one. When my Dad said we would follow the ambulance, I had no idea how literal he meant that. We followed right behind them the whole time through intersections and red lights even.

Allie had multiple people waiting to see her in the waiting room as we had called so many people on the way. Sadly, most of them did not get to see her. I was restless the whole time wondering when I would get to see her. When the time came, I went back there. Of all the people who were allowed to be in the room, two at a time. I was the one who was there the whole time. Her mother also arrived from Atlanta and stayed with her.

I stayed that night with Allie all night long. I didn’t get any sleep. I had to sit in a chair and someone had to come in regularly and turn the lights on to do things like draw blood and other such things. I don’t remember exactly what was done, but I remember being there. The next day, my parents took me home so I could get some sleep for a little while.

I went back that evening and just stayed by her side. We knew sometime they were going to take her to the mental health wing of the hospital. It could have been that night. We didn’t know. When that happened, I couldn’t be with her. The time came that I needed to go. Allie wanted me to stay, but it wasn’t that easy. I had no car. If they took her to the mental health wing, then I would be there at the hospital all night alone with no food and no place to sleep. Not only that, Allie had done this because she felt like two friends of hers had abandoned her. If I go, will she feel abandoned?

It was a hard decision, but I went home. An hour or so later she called me. I was scared she was going to be angry with me. Instead, she said I was right. Within an hour they had taken her to the mental health wing. From there, for the most part, I couldn’t reach her. She could call me sometimes, but they were the rare times.

So I sat at home alone. Many of you know I love doing apologetics, but there was no interest. I would sit in the chair in the living room just watching TV. My mother took care of everything in the house. Also, this time, there was a lot of anger rising up inside of me.

I couldn’t imagine how Allie could do this to me. How could she be willing to leave me like this after all I had done for her? Did these friends matter more to her than me? Was she just telling me that I was no longer worth it? I’m not a good enough reason to go on living?

I remember well the next time I would see her. Allie was taking Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at the hospital. There was a long hall to get to where she was and at the end there was a set of doors with windows you could see through, a short tiny hallway, and another set of doors like that. Now keep in mind, I love Allie, but I was going to tell her how hurt I was and all manner of things. I had a lot of anger in me and I was preparing all I was going to say. It was ready.

Until I went through the first set of doors and saw her at the end of the long hallway after that. As soon as I saw her, immediately I had a mental wipe. I forgot everything I was going to say.

We walked back to the mental health wing. Allie had been allowed to go out for DBT, but soon she would have to go back. We sat on a little bench outside and did I don’t remember what. I’m sure it was talking, hugging, kissing, things of that sort. Once again, it was devastating to see her go back and know I couldn’t see her.

You have to understand that I have a deep devotion to my wife. If things are not the way I think they should be between us, it’s hard for me to function. It is a great disappointment in my life when I think that I do not please Allie. I am always striving to be her man.

A few days later, Allie was able to come home. When she was home, it was wonderful for the first month. Allie was wanting to take care of the house, she was wanting to lose the extra weight she has, she was sharing great notes on Facebook about the joys of knowing Jesus and wanting everyone to know Him, and she was open to my love and freely giving me hers. She walked with a confidence I hadn’t seen. It left me more and more inspired to make changes in my life and be a better man. Ladies. Learn this. If you have a man in your life, nothing will make that man come alive and face challenges like him knowing he brings you joy and you enjoy him.

Except one day, one of those friends she’d thought she’d lost. He had made up with her and then on Facebook he told her she was stupid and from that time on things came crashing down. It all vanished. I do not speak to that person to this day. Before we left Knoxville, I tried to make it right, but things failed miserably. I had to talk to several people to help me deal with the anger. No doubt, there’s still some of it there. Anytime I see someone hurt Allie like this, that anger comes back. I guard her with my life.

Allie also struggles with self-harm. The last time was not too long ago and it was after nearly nine months without. When I found out, I cried for two hours. When I called the crisis line, they were more convinced I was the one in crisis. I don’t care if you think I’m less of a man really for crying for my wife so much. It is an expression of how much she means to me. I had no idea how much any one person could mean to me until Allie came into my life. Today, aside from Jesus Christ, she is the #1 influence in my life.

It hurts me every time. I wonder what is going on that hurting herself brings more relief than letting herself be loved. It is incredibly painful. I am pleased to say Allie has avoided self-harm since then, but I know this is a struggle.

Because of all of this, these questions matter to me. Suicide is never anything to joke about. It’s never anything to be flippant about. It’s also never anything to be glorified and celebrated. We should not treat celebrities who commit suicide like they’re heroes. We can grieve for them and their families, and it doesn’t mean we speak of them like they’re devils, but let’s make sure we all know the action is wicked.

If Allie had succeeded, I know I had the thought going through my head that I was no longer worth it. I would have lived with that thought forever. Suicide leaves such a painful effect on those left behind. They do get to where they can function, but they are never the same.

If you are considering suicide or know someone who is, please reconsider. Get some help at the Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Call your local crisis line also. Whatever it is, it is a temporary problem.

Especially if you are a Christian, embrace the love of Christ at this time and realize that even if He seems silent, He is there. He has not abandoned you. You never truly walk alone.

Whoever you are, your life is worth living. You also never need to hurt yourself. Christ took on enough wounds for you. You don’t need to add any more to them. You matter as someone who is in the image of God.

Please don’t make this awful choice. You have more of an impact on those around you than you know and they will never be the same. Celebrate the people who love you today.

When I get a question now about this, I always take it seriously. It matters greatly. I’ve been there. I don’t want anyone else to have to be there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Whatever Happened To Tolerance?

Is tolerance no longer a virtue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember about a decade or so ago that tolerance was all the rage? Books were being written about tolerance. Every apologist who spoke about ethics and political situations had to say something about tolerance. The tolerance being talked about wasn’t classical tolerance, which is always a virtue, but an idea that one must not just allow but accept and celebrate something.

Tolerance was the great virtue everyone celebrated. It was seen as the mark of a good person that they were tolerant. It was all these bigots out there that were intolerant and didn’t allow anyone to have an opposing viewpoint.

Somehow, tolerance seems to have lost some popularity. For all the time people spent preaching this gospel, the good news of it appears to be short-lived. It looks like the opposite is what is virtuous now. When someone does something you really disagree with, now it’s virtuous to call them on the carpet and demand that they repent.

Jack Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter. Earlier this month he stopped at a Chick-Fil-A and for some reason tweeted out his receipt. He was immediately taken to task for his awful action. He dared to stop at a place like Chick-Fil-A that supports only traditional marriage during June which is “Gay Pride Month”? Jack Dorsey eventually apologized for his “sin.”

Most of us also know about so many Christian bakeries and florists and photographers who will perform many other services for homosexual customers, but just say they cannot do something that would give a tacit endorsement to something they consider immoral such as a “gay marriage.” Instead of just going to the next person down the road who has the same business and will be glad to do it, the right thing to do now is apparently to take them to court and sue them for everything they have so they never dare do business again. Disagreement will not be allowed!

Looks like tolerance is just not what it used to be anymore.

Most of us are sure we know what happened. Tolerance is a great virtue when you think you’re the underdog, but as soon as you get into what you think is a position of power, it’s no longer needed. I don’t really think this is the majority opinion still as I do hold to the silent majority, something we saw on an event such as Chick-Fil-A Day. In the eyes of the media, which is apparently what really matters, tolerance is no longer the virtue that we’re supposed to uphold.

Years ago I and several others had been saying that tolerance is a sham. As far as I’m concerned, the way people are acting now demonstrates it. If tolerance was the virtue it was thought to be, it would be practiced now just as much as it was then. Instead, tolerance was used back then to silence the opposition. Now, one can go to the court of law or the media to silence the opposition so there’s really no need.

Our marching orders? Still the exact same regardless of what the world around us does. Fulfill the Great Commission. Stand for truth in our lives. Love our neighbors around us even when we disagree with them. Preach the true gospel, not just one of faux tolerance. Teach the one that says that God does not tolerate sin, but He gives full and loving acceptance to sinners and wants to reshape them to be like Jesus.

I can’t tell what will happen in the future. My thinking is that this will probably lead to a major backlash one day as more and more people get fed up with where society is going and as the other side keeps pushing the envelope, they will one day push it too far. The question is if the church will handle it properly. In America, I’m not so sure since we don’t have the best track record, but I can always hope.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Review of Paul: The Apostle

What are my thoughts on this movie? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Warning! Possible spoilers ahead!

So last night, my in-laws took Allie and I with them to see this movie. As far as Biblical movies go, I actually thought this one was very well done. I cannot really comment on the acting and such because I really just don’t normally notice that kind of thing. I pay more attention to the story.

The story is set in Rome with Paul being held as a prisoner and Luke coming to see him and staying with the Christians in the area. They are often hiding because Rome wants to kill them, especially since this is set at the time of the fire of Rome which Nero was more than happy to blame on the Christians. Christians were regularly lit on fire to provide light for Nero’s games and for any other events he had going on.

Luke meets up with Paul and encourages him to tell his story in an account, which will be the book of Acts. My question at this point is why is it that if this was meant to be Paul’s story that Luke would include so much information at the start that is not about Paul? This is a question that scholars will be debating on why Luke wrote what he wrote. Still, that is a bit nit-picky, but it’s just something I wonder.

Paul will regularly then recount events that happened prior to his coming to Rome and being a prisoner. You can see events like the stoning of Stephen and the road to Damascus. Sadly, there wasn’t much beyond that. It would be fascinating to see Paul at Mars Hill or in Ephesus casting out demons opposite the failed exorcists there or in the Philippian jail cell or in the raging ocean of Acts 27. Perhaps a fuller movie will come out sometime.

Luke also deals with the Christians in Rome who often have different attitudes with what to do. Some Christians want to take up arms and fight against Rome themselves. Some want to flee the city thinking there’s more good to be done outside. Some want to stay in the city thinking that they can still stay inside.

At this point, I find another problem I have as each person decides to do what they think God is revealing to them to do. This is common terminology in modern Christian circles today, but I don’t think it’s the way the ancients thought. It’s more of our individualism seeping through.  I always get bothered when I see something like this in a Biblical film.

The other major character is a Roman soldier who has a sick daughter and the struggles he and his wife have as the gods seem to be silent and each blames the other. This is the same soldier who also has to regularly deal with Paul. It is quite interesting how it all turns out. I leave it to you to go and see it for yourself.

Many times, Paul and Luke and others do quote Scriptural passages in the film. If you have a good Biblical knowledge, you’ll be able to recognize a number of them. Paul is seen as someone who is willing to suffer for Christ greatly. A great theme in the movie is that suffering is temporary. Eternal joy awaits instead.

Biblical movies have normally been a miss for me, but I think after Risen and now with this one, we’re getting more of a step in the right direction. I’m also thankful that a lot of the sappiness of Christian films was left out of this one. There is much suffering in the film and it should be clear to all that the Christian walk never promises freedom from it.

So yeah, I recommend going to see this one. It is an enjoyable film.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

No Twitchy. I Am Not Celebrating

Would I celebrate a redefinition of marriage because it’s two conservatives? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of you know that politically, I’m a conservative. I would say on that spectrum, I’m somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh. Normally, Twitchy has been a favorite site to go to to see some of the hilarity that can take place on Twitter. Yesterday was not one of those days. While Allie had an appointment, I was sitting in a waiting room and I get an update. Conservatives celebrate the marriage of two gay conservative men. (And it’s lovely!)

This has to be a parody. Right? I mean, there has to be some joke I’m missing.

No. There wasn’t.

The whole idea was a narrative had been busted. Here were two homosexuals who were conservatives marrying and fellow conservatives were celebrating. See! Conservatives don’t really oppose the redefinition of marriage! We’re celebrating homosexuals marrying!

That’s just ludicrous really. It would be like saying I oppose two atheists getting married, but I will celebrate when two Christians get married. I celebrate marriage the way it is and the way that every culture has seen it since the dawn of history. I do not celebrate an artificial creation of the state.

You see, if you’re a conservative, one of the things you want is limited government. Government is put there largely to help keep evil in check, but if it extends its power too much, it can become the evil. Should we really think that we have the power to redefine marriage to make it be whatever we want it to be?

I mean, there are people who say it’s fine because there are two consenting adults, but if we can make this change, why not the others? Why does it have to be two? Why does it have to be adults? Why does it have to be consent? (And if we get rid of consent, does rape qualify as some kind of marriage?) Now as soon as you say that marriage requires X, then you are saying that marriage is something and that something cannot be changed.

What has happened here is that the state has made an artificial creation and called it marriage. What is the result? For one thing, it changes the rules for everyone else. It means that every other marriage relationship is on par with a union of two men or two women. These relationships give the same benefit to society that a man/woman marriage does, but they don’t. One obvious reason? These relationships can never naturally produce children. They will require heterosexual activity for that.

Furthermore, with this change, the government will be in charge of this and defending this. If the government says it is true and some people resist, then we are in essence enemies of the state. Someone who is wanting to follow their conscience and not serve a homosexual ceremony can be forced into bankruptcy because they could not bring themselves to do what they think is wrong. These people have been happy to serve them on any other occasion and glad to refer them to someone else. It’s already started in America. Why should I think it won’t get worse?

Will we get to a day where someone who says that homosexuality is a sin is brought before the government for a crime? We could even grant the person is wrong for the sake of the argument, but that is their freedom of speech and of religion at that point. Why should we sacrifice that?

I have no doubt that we will get to this day. I know of some liberals who say they want no “tolerance” for the right. It was a great virtue when they were not in the favor of the state, but now that they are getting there, it is becoming less and less of a virtue. We’re getting to the point where someone can be penalized because they didn’t use a gender the person identifies with for that day.

The cry raised up here is that this is a theocracy, but it’s not. It’s simply remaining in line with human tradition for a few thousand years and there is no new major information I know of that has led to any justification for a major change. It also does not mean going and criminalizing homosexual behavior.

So Twitchy, I am not celebrating. I do not want to see the state give more power and infringe upon the freedom of the majority of the people due to a decision to think we have the power to change a metaphysical reality. I will stick with celebrating marriage as it has been seen for thousands of years.

Someone alert me when Twitchy becomes conservative again.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Thoughts On The Greatest Showman

What did I get out of The Greatest Showman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife and I had a Fandango gift card and so we went with another couple from our church to see this movie yesterday. There are no doubt some readers who are more familiar with the history of P.T. Barnum than I am. I cannot comment on if the history in the movie is accurate, so what I’m going to do is to just take the story as is. If we granted the story presented was accurate, what can we get from it? Also, as should be obvious, there are spoilers here. I will tell where spoilers end.

The story starts with Barnum growing up in a poor society and trying to impress a girl who has the rich snobby parents. He writes to her regularly while she’s at finishing school and then shows up at her door to marry her. Her father is sure that she’ll be back where there is money.

Barnum loves his wife, Charity, and their two little girls, but wants to be able to do more for them. He goes with the idea of starting a show where he has wax figures of dead and gruesome figures from the past, but his daughters suggest that he needs something living. Barnum starts by going to find a midget he had seen earlier in the film and from there, gets the oddest and most talented group he can, such as trapeze artists, a dog boy, a man covered in tattoos, the world’s tallest man, the world’s heaviest man, and the bearded lady.

Barnum’s show is a hit with many of the masses, but the critics of society do not like it. Also, there regularly show up people in the community who are angry about the glamorization of the freaks. Barnum’s whole point throughout is encouraging those who society has shamed to rise above. Let themselves be themselves and let people love them not because they are like everyone else, but because they are different.

Barnum gets himself a partner in Phillip Carlyle. After that, he’s invited with his troupe to go see the Queen of England. There, he runs into the star singer Jenny Lind. He offers to take her on tour in America with him, leaving his family and his entourage behind there. On the trip, Lind and he start getting close. Nothing happens until her last performance where she kisses him live on stage where the cameras see it.

Barnum returns where his troupe he gathered around him feels rejected by him and his wife is leaving him because she’s seen the pictures and says he doesn’t love her. He loves himself. There is a fight also between the protesters and Barnum’s troupe and the building where the shows are at burns down. Barnum has hit rock bottom.

It’s at this point he is reminded by that band of misfits that he found that they are why he started this and he remembers what is important. He is able to reunite to his wife and he and Carlyle agree to be partners. They don’t need a building. A tent will do. The show does indeed go on!

END SPOILERS

As my wife and I left, I told her I figured I would blog on this to which she replied there wasn’t anything religious in the film. I told her that that was quite mistaken. Everything is to some extent religious. Christianity has something to say about everything and despite what many skeptics might think, our world has been greatly shaped by Christianity. So what are some things I gleaned from this film?

We could ask what is a human first off. The characters Barnum had were all considered freaks by the protesters and shouldn’t be put on display. But why? We could all understand not wanting to put bad behavior on display, but that’s not what was going on. The people were being rejected because of who they were. They were different. They didn’t fit in.

As someone on the spectrum married to someone on the spectrum, this is something I definitely resonated with. Yet here, Christianity has something else to see. All human beings are valuable because they are in the image of God even if they’re a dog boy or a bearded lady. Everyone is someone who bears the image of God and was made to be loved by Him and by us.

Second, what does it mean to be successful? Barnum wanted more and more, and to an extent that’s understandable, but at times, he lost sight of his family. It as if he got so caught up in providing for his kids that he forgot about his kids. He wanted to provide what would make his wife happy forgetting that she loved him when he had nothing and he is what made her happy. There are many people that can be successes in ministry, but sadly their families are left damaged due to them neglecting their family. Ministry to God does not mean that you neglect your ministry to your family.

Third, we could then ask what is a family and what is friendship. Many of us know about friends that we have that we would consider them family. When I lived with a roommate for awhile, we went to a bookstore and I knew he wanted the apologetics study Bible. I went up to the counter asking if they had it in thinking I would surprise him if I found it for him and got told, “Oh. Your brother was up here already asking for it.”

Biological brother? Not at all, but there is a way that a friend can be closer than a brother. Many have also had families that were less than stellar and they turn to friends to be a surrogate family of sorts. Barnum’s friends managed to come together to form a unity based on their being the rejected misfits of the world. The acceptance they missed with others they found with each other.

This isn’t to say that a family is just any relationship you want. Still, we can have such great friendships that friends will seem like family. If you have a bad family, you can find comfort and support in the good people that you do allow in your life.

Also, I think this movie would not be possible without a Christian worldview that says that each person matters and that something should not be despised for being different. Chesterton said the same about Christianity making childhood something special and so we have Peter Pan. If Christianity is true, everyone has something they can give to the Kingdom.

If you’re wanting to know about how the acting was and such in this, I’m not the one to comment on that. It is a musical and I think the music is great. My wife and I are planning on getting the soundtrack soon. Definitely, this is a film I am glad I went to see and is quite memorable.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thoughts On Living Biblically

What did I think of this new series? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife and I DVRed the new series, Living Biblically, wanting to see what it would be like. We came in skeptical. We were thinking we would see a series making fun of Christians and any mention of religion. So what did we see?

The series involves a man named Chip Curry who suddenly has a best friend die on him and his mother is convinced her son is not in a better place because he stopped going to church. When Chip says he doesn’t go, then the mother says that he’ll see his friend again. This sends Chip into a depression. He goes to a workplace where he’s just your average guy and one of his other friends, who is married, likes to talk about his extra-marital exploits. To top it all off, Chip’s wife announces she’s pregnant, so how is Chip going to be ready to be a good father?

At the bookstore looking for a book to turn his life around, he comes across the Bible, but when about to put it up, a light just shines on him. It is one of the lights in the store, but he takes it as a sign. He tells a priest in a confessional then that he plans to live his life strictly according to the Bible.

This is one low point where the priest laughs and says that that can’t be done. Of course, there is no mention of hermeneutics or the relationship of the law and the Gospel together and how they work out. The next thing said is that Chip is wearing mixed fabrics, which is a violation of Leviticus.

Chip’s wife is concerned about this major change. She says she’s not particularly religious and asks if they will have any fun anymore. Sadly, her concern is understandable. A lot of times people who present themselves as very Christian or religious happen to be some of the most boring people you will ever meet. Lee Strobel in his book The Case for Christ wrote about how when his wife converted, he was worried she’d spend all her time in Bible studies and become a sexual prude.

Chip’s first crisis in his new life concerns his cheating co-worker. The priest tells him an adulterer should be stoned. That won’t happen because it’s 2018. Later, Chip is with his wife at a restaurant where he meets the priest and a rabbi. Chip’s friend comes in with another woman. Chip goes over to confront him and ends up throwing a rock in the guy’s face and runs out with his wife saying they will indeed still have fun.

The next day at work Chip’s co-worker confronts him and in a refreshing scene actually thanks him. He says that he and his wife are going to go to get counseling. He told her everything and they’re going to work on their relationship. Allie and I found this pleasantly surprising. You don’t often find on a TV show that one shouldn’t cheat on their spouse and that a marriage is worth working on.

There was some humor. It’s not the funniest show, but it wasn’t the worst thing that I had seen and I was pleasantly surprised. I told Allie I could see myself using this in a Sunday School class some to explain how hermeneutics really works. We should all strive to live Biblically after all, but what does that mean? Why do Americans particularly have a big hang-up over literalism?

We plan to keep watching just to see how it is. It’s important after all to keep up with the culture and see what’s going on. Hopefully we’ll keep being surprised.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Transgenderism on The Good Doctor

Was the right diagnosis made? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Generally, my wife and I enjoy watching The Good Doctor. It’s a great new series about a surgeon who is a savant and who is autistic. What is most interesting is not the diagnoses per se, although it is interesting to see the symbology that shows that he’s thinking about the case and picturing it all, but how he relates to others and how he speaks and understands messages around him.

In the latest episode called “She” the team starts to investigate a young girl who was brought into the hospital by her grandmother. As they start to check out the pain the patient has, they have to uncover her lower regions and lo and behold, they notice that she has male genitalia. Shaun Murphy, the good doctor, says that most everyone should know immediately.

The patient is a boy.

Now some might say that the person who is autistic does not understand how society works, but on the other hand, we could say that person is going to be less clouded by political correctness and such. Over and over, Shaun will regularly refer to the patient as he. Other doctors will correct him, but he will insist that this is the case.

Of course, every other doctor and even the president of the hospital and all involved from the hospital’s side are wanting to be politically correct. The patient says he’s a girl, so by golly, he is a girl. (Please note that that sentence doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It is crazy to even have to say he is a girl unless you’re talking about someone doing an acting job.) The parents also have been going along with this since the patient, Quinn, decided years ago that he was really a girl.

The grandmother in this episode normally plays the role of the villain. Why? Because the grandmother in this episode is guilty of the awful heresy of telling the truth. She is guilty of saying that Quinn is really a boy. I think I once read a quote from Chesterton about how a madman would be one day someone who stood on top of a tower and proclaimed that two plus two equals four. The rest of the world would gasp at such a claim.

Now we are in the position that we believe in such claims often as assigned sex. It is as if the doctors see the baby coming out of the womb and look at the body and just say to each other “Well what do you think? Is it a boy or a girl?” It’s as if there’s no objective criteria to tell what someone really is. (You know, things that normally don’t change like DNA and genitalia.)

“But what about intersex?” Yes. I know about cases like that, but for the overwhelming majority of these cases, there is no problem with the DNA and genitalia. We’re not talking about intersex here. We’re talking about someone with no ambiguity in their bodies, but ambiguity in their feelings.

The story also goes on to say that Quinn due to his condition tried to commit suicide rather than live like a boy. The parents had then put him on puberty blockers which the grandmother was horrified to learn of. (We can think the grandmother is a person obviously still living in the past and not aware of how progressive we are.) Yet one has to wonder, are we going to say that because one person tried to commit suicide, their reasoning for it was right?

Let’s be clear. People who think that they are the opposite sex of their body do need compassion and understanding. Yes. Bullying is always wrong. On the other hand, so is coddling and giving in to demands. If an alcoholic was wanting to commit suicide rather than live without alcohol, that would not mean we freely give them the bottle.

The episode also dealt with if the patient should have both testicles removed or just one due to a cancerous growth. In the end, only one was removed unless the mind was changed later on. Let’s keep in mind that people think a decision like this should be given to a teenager when many a teenager has a hard time even deciding what they’re going to wear to school the next day.

I find it amazing in the field of apologetics how much we have to defend today and how much we have to defend is that which is often the most obvious. I thought it odd enough when we had to defend that marriage is a man-woman relationship. Now we have to defend that the man is a man and the woman is a woman.

Unfortunately, many of our people are going to be educated through pop culture rather than think through the issues themselves. It is another reason why Christians need to learn how to use the mediums that we have today to better communicate the Christian claim instead of just preaching to ourselves. At this point, I wonder how long it will be before future historians will look back on some of the things that were defended in the popular culture and ask “What were they thinking?”

In the end, Shaun says he is working on understanding. By all means, try to understand what is going on when a boy thinks that he is a girl. Try to understand the person and what they’re going through and how to help them. Don’t try to understand the boy being a girl. You might as well try to understand 2 + 2 being 5.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: A Charlie Brown Religion

What do I think of Stephen J. Lind’s book published by the University of Mississippi Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As far back as I can remember, Peanuts has been a part of my life. As a small child, my sister had given me a Snoopy stuffed animal and I slept with that for many a night. The library was within walking distance of my home and I would often go down there and pick up the Peanuts books and read through them repeatedly. My Dad had his old collection of Peanuts books and they were passed on to me and I read them repeatedly. He and I can still regularly talk about various strips.

This isn’t even counting the animated specials. How many times did we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas together? For many years, this has been a family tradition. It’s amazing that Linus’s speech towards the end was so amazing for its time and growing up, I didn’t realize all the boundaries that Linus was breaking with that speech. There is hardly a more touching Christmas special than that one.

Those who read Schulz regularly also know about religion in the comic strips and particularly Christianity. Questions often arise about Charles Schulz. Was he a fundamentalist? Was he an atheist? I wanted to know and I went looking for a book. I came across this one in my search, but not knowing for sure, I checked the endorsements. When I saw endorsements from Schulz’s children, I knew this was the right one.

Lind takes on a tour of Schulz’s (Or Sparky’s) life growing up and how he came to know Christ at a Church of God. Schulz was a man very committed to the Scriptures and a number of times when he met someone famous, one of the first things he would do is ask them about their opinion of Jesus Christ. He had several commentaries and such and would read them trying to study the Bible. There is no reason to doubt his conversion to Christianity was a real one and there is no evidence that he ever retracted his faith.

This is not to say that his faith didn’t change. It did. Sparky held a number of positions that many of us would consider liberal. For instance, Sparky’s daughter Amy wound up joining the Mormon church and while Sparky thought Mormonism was a great hoax, he didn’t deny that his daughter was out there supporting the kingdom of God. It could also be asked if Sparky really held to Christian exclusivity. It might have just been that Sparky liked to discuss the Scriptures, but he didn’t want to debate them.

Sure, there are times Sparky described himself as a secular humanist, but odds are he didn’t really realize what that meant. He wanted to avoid saying Christian because people thought of denominations and such when he said that. What he had in mind was not a denial of God or Christianity, but an emphasis on the living out of Christian claims in caring for the poor and loving your fellow man and such.

As I said earlier with the Christmas special, Sparky was willing to push the envelope. He fought hard to get Linus’s speech into his special. A lot of people were backing off because you just didn’t talk about religion like that on TV, but Sparky had said to his team that if we don’t say this, who will. It was kept in and it made a different. Scores of letters came in from fans who praised the report and Coca-Cola who sponsored the special certainly benefited from it.

Sparky’s comic strips took a subject one was not supposed to talk about, and talked about it. Very rarely was there any direct preaching in the strip if ever. Instead, it was more meant to get people thinking about the topic. This could include even ideas like The Great Pumpkin or a butterfly landing on Peppermint Patty’s nose only to be told to her later by Marice that it turned into an angel and flew away while she was sleeping.

Sparky’s kids in the comic were children like no other. They were often engaged in deep conversations for their age. Linus was a great theologian walking around his town, and yet the one who always sucked his thumb and had a security blanket with him constantly. They were kids asking the questions of adults, but often they were still just being kids.

Sparky also wasn’t always a saint with his life. If one reads the book, they will find that he made many mistakes along the way, some of them very disappointing. As a parent, he was also quite absent. He loved his children, but he rarely talked with them about religion. They saw him reading his Bible, but discussion didn’t seem to be commonplace.

It has been a little over eighteen years since Sparky died. As I would go through the book, I would find myself from time to time going to the internet and looking at the last strip. In all honesty, I get emotional seeing it and have great sorrow thinking about what a gift Sparky was to the world. It seems almost like a divine plan that when that strip hit the paper announcing that Sparky was done drawing new comic strips and no one else would take over drawing comic strips, that Sparky had passed away in his his sleep the night before after losing a battle with colon cancer.

Sparky was willing to cross that envelope and many people might sadly never hear of the great apologists of the faith today, but perhaps many will be thinking more seriously about religion because they knew Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and so many others. These kids are all easily recognizable and household names as are terms now like “security blanket” and “good grief” and others. Sparky left us a legacy and a challenge to go forward and spread the message of the Kingdom. We could ask the question about spreading it that Sparky said when asked about Linus’s speech in the Christmas special.

“If we don’t, who will?”

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/27/2018: Nancy Pearcey

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We live in an age where people are really enthused about their bodies. You can turn on TV and see many fitness shows. You can go to the library or the DVD store and you can find plenty of fitness videos. Of course, we live in an age also of rampant sexuality which means that we really want to appreciate those bodies all the more.

In this, we have a book come out called Love Thy Body. Obviously, this is a book about working out and taking care of yourself. No? It isn’t? What is it about? It’s about in an age where people claim to love their bodies and be fascinated with them, we really don’t listen to them and pay attention to them. With our fitness regimes, we treat the body as fundamentally important. With our philosophies, we treat it as highly secondary. Perhaps it could be that we don’t really love our bodies.

This plays out in a number of areas in our lives. It plays out in abortion, pre-marital sex and the concept of living together prior to marriage, homosexuality, and transgenderism. (You kind of wish the book could have talked about something relevant to today don’t you?) In all of these areas, we deny the truth of the body and put that truth below something else, most notably, our feelings for the most part.

I’m very pleased to have on the author of this book. This is a lady with a razor sharp mind and as I have gone through the book I have often asked, “Why is it that I didn’t put two and two together like this before?” The book I really think is a bombshell on the whole culture war and one that should not be ignored. The author is Nancy Pearcey. So who is she?

According to her bio:

Nancy Pearcey is the author of the newly released Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. She is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University and editor at large of the Pearcey Report. Her earlier books include The Soul of ScienceSaving Leonardo,Finding Truth, and two ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winners: Total Truth and (coauthored with Harold Fickett and Chuck Colson) How Now Shall We Live? Hailed in The Economist as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual,” Pearcey has spoken at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, USC, and Dartmouth.

I hope you’ll be listening to this show and I hope this is a book you’ll also want to get your hands on. Pearcey gives some powerful arguments that will help with debates you get into concerning homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, and pre-marital sex. Not only that, she often writes with a pastoral heart on the need for compassion for people struggling with many of these areas. Please be watching and please also consider going on iTunes and leaving behind a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. It’s always good to know that you are enjoying the show.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Where Science and Gnosticism Meet

Do these two contradictory views have anything in common? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Gnosticism was one of the first great heresies of Christianity. Since the time of Plato, the material world had been downplayed in comparison to the immaterial world. Gnosticism continued this and it had a real problem with Christianity. Christianity held that God became incarnate in a body. Gnosticism was the view that all of matter was evil. When it met Christianity, it tried to say Jesus came to set us free from the lesser evil god who created matter and that lesser evil god was the God of the Old Testament.

Today, we have a movement that seems to be quite different. This is the idea that science is the supreme gateway to truth and science studies the material world. The material world is the real one and we need to get past any mention of anything that is so-called supernatural. (I question the use of the term)

I have been reading Nancy Pearcey’s excellent book Love Thy Body and started thinking about this. I can’t claim credit for everything then as her writing has been something that got my mind thinking about this. There will be a review of the book when I’m done and she is going to be on my show later this month.

Interestingly, where all of these meet is always connected with sex in some way. At this point, many of our friends in the sciences suddenly start to deny science. Let’s take a look at how.

Abortion is one of the first ones. If we look at the scientific evidence of what is in the womb, we have a human being. However, this is something very inconvenient for many people since it interferes with free sex and other such things, so something has to be done. Well, it might be a human, but it’s not a person. Scientific basis for the difference between a human being and a human person? It doesn’t exist. All of a sudden, many of our skeptical friends promoting abortion are interested in metaphysics and philosophy.

The next area is in homosexuality. You don’t have to be a super genius to tell that the man and the woman go together sexually. Simply put, A goes into B very well. Yet once again, we have an anti-scientific mindset going on here. Now I have no problem with people wanting to do research to see if there is anything genetic that leads to homosexuality or a proclivity to it, but there is one problem and one that Pearcey brings out very well.

When a person abandons a straight orientation and goes to a homosexual one, they are said to have found their true selves. Keep in mind that when doing this, they can sometimes leave behind a spouse and kids in tears and broken, but they do it anyway. This is looked at with applause as the person has realized who they really are. If a person ever abandons a homosexual orientation for a straight one or is a homosexual but lives married to someone of the opposite sex, they are said to loathe themselves and be denying themselves. Never are they celebrated as having found their true selves.

Question. What is the scientific test for the true self? Answer. There isn’t one. How is it known? It is based on how the person feels and on the reigning paradigm of the moment.

Despite all of this, I really consider the last one the most bizarre.

Now we get to the transgender movement. Often in apologetics, I find it amazing the things that one has to defend that one never thought they would have to defend. A few years ago I was stunned that we now have to actually convince people marriage is between a man and a woman. Today, we have to convince them that the man and the woman really are the man and the woman. The sign of bigotry today is to say that a man is actually a man.

In all other cases, we could look at the body and see how it works, but even here, we can just look and see what the body is. All the evidence that is physical for someone says that their DNA is male (or female) and their body is that of a male. This is the true scientific evidence. Unfortunately, all of this is denied. Why? The feelings contradict.

When these two contradict, one will have to be worked on and even if never fully altered, it will need to come under the control of the other. It will either be the body that determines the identity and we change the feelings, or it will be the feelings that determine the identity and we change the body. It is quite amazing that many in the scientific community, particularly internet atheists, think that the feelings are where the person’s true identity lies and you must change all the material reality to fit their feelings.

In this, they are like the Gnostics of old. We could say that transgenderism might be nothing new. It is just an old heresy wrapped up in new terminology and presented in a new way. Deny the reality of matter and go with the immaterial. The person’s feelings reign supreme.

Where does this end? Who knows. It was bizarre enough to redefine marriage, but now a person’s feelings are given more and more precedence and once that starts, I really don’t know how that will end.

Keep in mind, none of this says anything about how we treat such people in itself. People who are struggling with these issues do need to be treated with love and compassion. However, they also need to be worked with to accept reality. One will never have good results if they try to go against reality.

It’s also interesting that Christians that hold to a biblical view on all of these are the ones that are going with the science and yet, we’re seen as bigots for doing that. Could it possibly be that those who want to champion science are just extremely selective where they want to champion it? Could it be some really aren’t interested in following the evidence where it leads?

How we deal with this is what Pearcey tells us to do. Love thy body. The body is not an evil thing. It is a gift to be treasured and cherished. This is especially so since in Christianity, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit and God Himself became incarnated in a body.

Consider this thought. Suppose that Jesus is crucified and dies and is buried. The tomb is found empty on Sunday, but instead, Jesus is now appearing as a woman named Joanna. This would be something unusual, but I don’t think we could call it Christianity anymore. It would deny that there is something essential to the body. It can be changed to be whatever you want. It would bring into question the notion of identity. Was this truly Jesus? Is the fact that He was a man something accidental to who he is as a person or is the identity something that can be changed?

Throughout the incarnation, Jesus was Jesus and the body that went down came up again. Yes, it was new and glorified, but it was still the body of Jesus. So it is for us. Our bodies are not accidents. They are the first line of evidence we have of who we are. Start with the feelings and you can justify most any belief. Start with the body and you’re limited to reality.

I think I’ll go with reality.

I have no wish to be a science-denier.

In Christ,
Nick Peters