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Why is this significant? Because younger Americans intuitively understand, as parents always have, that the life growing inside the mother’s body is more than an accumulation of gelatinous tissue. Instead, in watching the ultrasound images projected on a screen, they recognize a living person, developing and small and, in appearance, unlike a full-term baby, but undeniably a human being.
We live in a turbulent cultural moment. The world around us is rapidly changing, and we face many challenges unprecedented in the history of the church. Augustine fought the Pelagians; Aquinas synthesized Aristotle; Luther strove with his conscience; Zwingli wielded an axe; but probably none of them ever dreamed of a world in which people could choose their gender. Secularizing late-modernity is a strange, new animal.
Most families—rich, poor, or middle class—have an image, maybe even a dream, of what their child’s life will look like once they reach adulthood.
If pressed to describe it, the image might include impressive academic credentials, a high-paying job, good medical benefits, a solid retirement package, a house in the suburbs, a lovely spouse, and as many grandchildren as possible (but not to the point of financial endangerment). Behind the high-pressure academics, ACT tutors, private coaches, and race to optimize college acceptance lies a target at which many Christian parents are aiming. I once asked a parent what the college arms race was all about.
One of the accusations leveled against conservative believers is the common charge that our pastors are not professionally trained or certified, and consequently, when it comes to counseling parishioners, are in way over their heads. Whether the issue is clinical depression, or dealing with childhood abuse, or fighting addiction, or any other number of serious but common afflictions, the charge is that however exegetically adept a man may be at exposition of the book of Romans, when it comes to issues like these, he is necessarily out of his depth.