Tuesday, January 22, 2008

biology, justice and faith

Today, I began teaching Biology. Our first unit is on evolution, and I introduced the topic by addressing my Christian students who don't even want to hear about it. I explained that in Acts 17 Paul goes to Athens as a missionary. But, before he presents his beliefs, he studies the beliefs of the Athenians. He then uses their belief in "an unknown god" to build a bridge for sharing the gospel. In the same way, Christian students can think of studying evolution as a means of understanding what others believe so they can then have reasonable discussions about what they believe.

Later in the semester, we'll be discussing genetics and heredity. In that unit, I plan to incorporate information on DNA exonerations. And I just read this evening about yet another man freed from prison. And to make the case even worse, it appears the government withheld information from the defense. They sent an innocent man to prison knowing there was a good chance they were sending an innocent man to prison.

Also today, I read a WORLD article about how President Bush openly calls for religious freedom in China, but has said nothing about religious freedom in the Muslim world. I wrote the author to point out another irritant of mine: the US government prohibits sending "bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith" to troops in Iraq. So, we're fighting a war in the name of freedom, but our government is more than content to ignore the lack of religious freedom.


Father, I pray that your name would flood the earth, that your name would be glorified among all peoples. May your name be praised in every nation on earth as it is in heaven. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.

I pray that those groups seeking justice for the wrongly accused, groups such as Project Innocence, would be able to continue righting wrongs throughout our society. I pray that people across this nation would cry out for justice and demand our legal system be held to the strictest standards of justice and be held accountable. May your church rise up and become a catalyst for change in our nation. Yesterday, our nation marked our remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr; help us as a people do more than take a day off, but help us internalize a commitment to truth, justice and equity. May the church bring you glory by standing firm for those righteous values

And father, I pray that your church in America would turn aside from our complacency about those sins that live deep within ourselves, and I pray that we would no longer be hypocritical in our defense of righteousness. Our church today vigorously fights against gay marriage, yet marriages in our churches fall apart faster than among unbelievers. Divorce has become an acceptable sin among our own people; we forget that there is no such thing as an acceptable sin and that he who breaks one law has broken the entire law. May we always remember that the only thing separating us from eternal damnation is your pure grace through our savior Jesus Christ. May we remember it is a gift from you that has turned away your wrath and restored us into fellowship. Jesus did not come so that we could take political power but so that we could live through spiritual power. Give your church the grace to turn the world upside down for righteousness.

Father, I pray for your name to spread throughout the nations. May your people carry your word and your calling to the very ends of the earth. Father, your word overcomes all obstacles. No government has every stood in your way. Your church has grown faster under China's communist rule than under America's freedom. Your word is more powerful than anything on earth. Still, I pray that religious freedom would cover the globe so that your people could worship you in peace and that your people would enjoy greater freedom to share your good news. Your will be done.

And father, I ask you to bless my students and me as we begin this semester. Give me wisdom as I teach Biology. Give my students wisdom as they study and learn. May my students and I see together your glory as we search through complexities of life. When I look at the stars or see images of deep space, I see your majesty. And when I see the complexities of DNA or the balance of life throughout the earth, I see your hand at work.

I also ask that you bless Charlotte. It is so incredible to watch her grow. It is so beautiful to see her smile. You have blessed Jennifer and me so much. Help us be graceful parents. Help us raise her in the way she should go. Help us model for her how to love you with all her heart, all her mind, all her strength and all her soul; and help us model for her how she can love her neighbor as herself. But ultimately, her soul rests in your hands. So, I ask that you would show her your glory and grace and call her to your son Jesus. May she, when the time is right, hear his voice and respond to him as a sheep to her shepherd.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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