Harvest Times for Your Family

Christian Magazine for All

GLS aims to spiritually enrich the entire family to enrich society. To this end, we publish a monthly magazine ‘Harvest Times for Your Family’ with specific columns dedicated to Children, Youth, Women, Bible Study, Devotions and Contemporary Issues.

It is our vision that this ministry would touch and enrich your walk with the Lord, edify your church and influence our nation. We seek your prayers and participation as we accomplish this aim.

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Homosexual Activism – The Need for Christ-Centered Responses

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28).

Removal of a Landmark

On 18 May 2013, France became the 14th country to legalize homosexual marriage. India is not far behind. Homosexual activism in India is gaining momentum. On 2nd July 2009, an old cultural landmark was removed[1]. The Delhi High Court overturned the 150 year old section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and legalized consensual homosexual activities between adults until the Parliament chooses to amend the law. This was despite the Government of the day not giving its consent to the issue and the masses of democratic India remaining blissfully unaware of the issues involved. The watershed decision was celebrated primarily by the LGBT sections of the society, the liberal media in India and a few supportive voices from civil society. The two-bench court cited the higher motivations of inclusiveness and understanding and equal opportunity of life to overturn this old law[2].

This landmark judgment by the High Court was a significant step towards the legal (and in some segments of society, cultural) acceptance of homosexual[3] relationships in Indian society. However, this reverberating revision of law was not deemed worthy of being discussed across the country by involving diverse voices, despite the seismic shifts that it could potentially bring to the most foundational and enduring unit of any society – the human heterosexual family. In an urban poll conducted in Sept 2009, 73% of those polled felt that homosexuality should be treated as illegal and 83% felt that homosexuality was “against Indian culture”.[4]

 

Silencing the Dissenting Voice

Given the un-representative (though legal) processes by which homosexual activists have sought to gain sanction for homosexuality in Indian society, it is not surprising that when anyone objects to homosexuality (whether on rational grounds or irrational), the person is immediately censored with thought terminating words like “homophobic” or “moral policing” pushing objectors to the back foot and cleverly tarnishing their motives without examining their arguments. Just dis-agreeing with the notion of homosexuality in the most sane and sensible way would quickly earn the arguer the label of a “bigot”! Clearly, there is more at work here than just disagreements. This is part of an apparently global strategy employed by homosexual activists to paint all those who disagree with them into a corner[5].

But is the decision on homosexuality in a country a moral issue? How can we judge others, some say. How can we impose our view of love and morality on others, say the others  Surely, those with homosexual orientation cannot help themselves since they were “born this way” (a phrase popularized by Lady Gaga[6]). Can you accuse someone of being left-handed just because the majority is right-handed? That makes sense to a lot of people today. It’s not a matter of morality but of preference or orientation, we often hear. Or is morality simply a matter of a broad or a narrow mindset (since the educated liberal richer classes in India are more open to homosexuality than the others). This is part of the larger issue that must be debated: “Does objective morality exist?”

The Double Standards of the Entertainment Industry

Recently, on 15 April 2013, Outlook India published or celebrated stories of lesbian “couples” in India. It is not an isolated story. The media is on a campaign to create a context for homosexual marriages. However, it’s interesting that the words ‘morality’ and ‘moral principle’ are used freely when topics related to financial misdemeanor, political corruption, international crime and geo-political issues are discussed. But when sex or sexual behavior is discussed, the very same people who would cry themselves hoarse about injustice in general, would dismiss morality as merely a matter of “preference”. A generally vociferous Pooja Bhat can complain earnestly that ” The moral fabric of India is tattered beyond repair” commenting on the Dec 2012 Delhi rape case, but would want to reject any notion of morality when it comes to her artistic choices and its salacious portrayals of personal or public sexual behaviour. Bhat is but a fair sample of her talented fraternity which has a moral opinion on war and copyright issues and everything else including reporters prying into their personal affairs, but sexual behaviour is dismissed as a matter of personal preference. Isn’t there a self-contradiction behind this selective application of morality?

Further, we have learnt that while we cannot change reality, we can change the words used to describe them. So ‘vulgar’ has become ‘steamy’, ‘promiscuity’ has become “foot-loose’, ‘pornography’ is now ‘adult entertainment’ and “sodomy” is “gay”! So you could be talking about a range of sexual destructive behaviours or “freedoms” but it has as little impact on your soul as discussing chocolates or vegetables. Perhaps Isaiah’s pronouncements against verbal and moral confusion are applicable here as well. He says “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter”[7].

The Need for Passionate Prophetic Voices

Every society needs prophetic voices that will bring objective moral perspectives into mundane human situations. Those who believe that homosexual behavior is detrimental to human society (despite the genuine emotional and sexual struggles of many homosexuals[8]), must be willing to stick their neck out to argue for a society where all sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is eventually counter productive. We must be willing to argue that non-heterosexual relationships are not mere deviations, but eventual destroyers of the human social network (pun not intended) as we know it. Often, we consider these issues as taboo without realizing the colossal destruction it brings on our future generations. If we can discuss the destruction of our natural habitats upfront, shouldn’t we be equally or more upfront about discussing one of the greatest threats to our social habitat – the human family.

Only those who genuinely love homosexuals and homosexual activists can enter into a rational discourse with them and debate their views. We must love all kinds of sinners without loving their sins. There is no place for pompous self-righteousness or judgemental vitriol. All human beings are imperfect, only our imperfections differ. Also, we must be equally willing to oppose heterosexual promiscuity and lack of marital faithfulness which is perhaps a far greater threat to the family as an institution than homosexuality. Else, we suffer from the disease of moral cherry picking – where we apply our moral assumptions and expectations on some issues and not on the others.

I offer two arguments for heterosexuality as the norm and the sole legitimate expression of human sexuality.[9]

  1. Health and Stability:

Two millennia ago, Jesus instructed his divorce-happy disciples, “What God has put together, let no man put asunder”[10] He dismissed the efforts of his male chauvinist circle of disciples to escape from the commitments to their spouse for any and every reason. He described it as acting against God’s divine purpose of putting a male and a female together in a heterosexual marriage.

The heterosexual union and family is the only time-tested model that has served to nourish, fulfill, protect and provide human beings, young and old, with the environment and the boundaries for growth and maturity. Ironically, every homosexual is born to heterosexuals. That itself should be sufficient to demonstrate that the heterosexual union is the original and only form of sexual union required. There is no alternative natural and wholesome environment for growing emotionally and intellectually stable children from the stage of conception till youth than the ambience of a healthy heterosexual and committed relationship[11].

To argue that, science can invent a reproductive process in the future that can eliminate sex altogether or just produce children with either the male or the female of the species, is to reduce a complex expression of heterosexual love and its fruit (having and raising children) and its social and psychological benefits to a mere mechanical process. Scientific processes may produce babies but it cannot humanize them by placing them in a context of human relationships. That requires a human family – with its only ideal and complete expression being children being nurtured by a male and a female parent.

The heterosexual parents also provide their children the wholesome experience of enjoying and learning from a father and a mother. (This also includes adopted children who become part of a heterosexual couple’s life). To deny access to parents of both genders to a child deliberately is a form of child abuse, especially since this “deviation” from the norm is happening without the child’s consent. It must be admitted that we don’t live in a perfect world and heterosexual parents are not always perfect. However, we don’t have to remain content with broken homes or a broken heterosexual marriage. If we can fix it, we must.  If heterosexual parents are failing, then they need to be restored and families set on the path to healing.  Homosexual activists clamouring for “rights” to “homosexual marriage” and start a “homosexual family” cleverly hide the fact that their “marriage” and “family” bear no resemblance to the traditional notions and indeed are diametrically opposed to them. Imagine the psychological challenges for a child who goes to school who has two “mothers”, because the two “mothers” wanted to pursue an un-natural relationship for self-fulfillment and got a male sperm to artificially impregnate one of them?!! This whole plot is not only un-natural but unfair to the emotional stability of the children involved. And Hollywood has a self-consciously titled Oscar nominated movie to convince us otherwise[12]

2. Purpose

To quote Jesus again, the male and female bodies are clearly designed for sexual intimacy to the point of oneness by excluding every other relationship from it[13]. For this intimacy a man ought to prioritizes his wife over every other relationship that he had know till then or will know later.  This is the original and only true sexual fit.

Human physical intimacy has purpose beyond pleasure. How do we know? Because of the way human intimacy is designed- to procreate. Not simply to reproduce (like bacteria) but to co-create a human being with a unique identity. Every human being living is evidence that someone once had physical intimacy and the baby lived to tell the tale. Without procreation, societies will become extinct species. So physical intimacy is a unique personal pleasure that has the option of looking beyond itself.

That’s of course true of almost all creatures in some sense, but humans uniquely think in terms of purpose and faithfulness as “moral obligations” not only to those involved in the sexual act but to those born as a result of it. Animals often have multiple sexual partners simultaneously or abandon their young ones early, but we don’t call it cheating or call animals to moral accountability! Human physical intimacy is not just another form of animal passion. Human physical intimacy contains within it the possibility of love, commitment and responsibility as long as “death does us apart”. But at-least the animals can pro-create. Even though they don’t co-create, since they are largely ruled by instinct.

In contrast, homosexuals simulate sex by activity which has no relationship to the design and purpose connotations of the word. It is like imitation jewelry – a pretender, though it brings pleasure to the one who wears it.

 

Ajoy Varghese is Board of Director, MLS Business Centers India Pvt Ltd.

 


[1] Arguably, past Indian cultures have been ambivalent about sexual choices, but at no point was legal sanction accorded to homosexuality as a alternative and legitimate practice in popular culture as it is done today.

[2] While democratic processes should ideally prevail to decide if homosexuality should be legal in India, it would require more than legal reasoning to come to a decision whether homosexuality is morally acceptable or not.

[3] This article uses the term homosexuality to refer to sexual behaviors between members of the same sex-whether male or female. It does not include behavior like transvestitism or the category of trans-gendered peoples.

[4] http://prernalal.com/2009/09/changing-homophobic-attitudes-in-india/

[5] http://www.massresistance.org/docs/issues/gay_strategies/overhauling.html

[6] Lady Gaga commits the classic logical fallacy of confusing categories when she clubs race with sexual behavior in her song “Born this way”. Even if the argument is accepted that some people are born homosexual (and there is no evidence yet to support this claim), race does not have an element of choice, while sexual behavior and acts are always a choice.

[7] Isaiah 5:20

[8] We must differentiate between the homosexual who is struggling with his sexuality and seeks the space and freedom to practice it and the homosexual activists who insist that homosexuality must be provided the same space, rights, benefits, status and expressions in our society as heterosexual unions as an alternative and equally acceptable lifestyle. The homosexual deserves our friendship and interaction but the activist needs to be resisted using legal and moral options available as he seeks to tamper with time-honored notions through the back-door of the media, the entertainment industry and judicial over-reach.

[9] There are obviously many more positive arguments for heterosexuality. However, given the narrow scope of this article, only the broad generic arguments which would possibly aid the most number of people have been included. Arguments against homosexuality are important but are not discussed in this article.

[10] Mt 19:6(b)

[11] Mal 3:15 – “Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth”.

[12] “The Kids are All right”(2010) directed by Lisa Cholodenko

[13]  Mt 19: 5 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”

Harvest Times for Your Family June 2013/Volume 10 Issue 6

Need a one stop resource to help discern God’s mind on the sexual options available today? Check out the book on Homosexual Patnerships – http://glsindia.com/shopping/books/homosexual-partnerships/

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Blink of an Eye


Cartoon by Alfred Allan for ‘Harvest Times for Your Family’.

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My Journey as an Engineer with the Indian Government

One of the most corrupt professions in India is Civil Engineering. There is a common joke here that even tailors know which of their customers are civil engineers – they make our pockets extra-large! Having been trained as a civil engineer, I wanted to escape the rigors of temptations in field work into the ‘safe’ job of being a teacher in an engineering college. My professor in IIT Madras, where I completed my Master’s course, also wanted me to go on to complete a doctoral program and join the faculty. God, however, had other plans – He took me by the scruff of my neck and ‘threw’ me into a job with the Central Government. I was to look after the buildings in what was then the Posts and Telegraphs Department. The recruitment was conducted by the Union Public Service Commission through a stringent process of examination and interviews.

I began my first job as a raw young man designated as an Assistant Executive Engineer, in the city of Bombay on June 4, 1965. Till then, I had not travelled beyond Hyderabad outside my native Madras state. My first question to my first boss – Mr B T Wadekar – was, “Is it possible to be honest in this job?” He gave me a diplomatic – what we call these days a politically correct – answer, “You can be honest but do not expect others to be honest!”

Another escape route that I considered in those early days was entering full-time Christian service. I missed applying to the Union Biblical Seminary in Yavatmal (now in Pune) by just a few days in January 1967. This was because I believed that I had a ‘call’ for full-time work and my job as an engineer did not

deserve to be called as a response to a ‘call’. My first paradigm shift was to recognize that God can call us to anything that is ethical and creative – He is the great Creator and has made us in His image so that we can be His co-creators. I therefore determined that I shall design and construct buildings that will in some measure reflect God’s creativity in me.

To my pleasant surprise, I found that there were not too many incidents where contractors approached me with a ‘bag of gold’ to bribe me in their favour. My

second lesson was the discovery that once an officer established her/his reputation in the early years, one’s reputation travelled faster than one did! During my tenure, I served in 7 cities – Bombay, Nagpur, Madras, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Shillong and Calcutta. In very differing conditions and with officers and contractors of varying backgrounds, I found that certain factors were actually common – they respected a person who had clear ethical standards. I can think of only one instance when I had to clearly tell my Chief Engineer that I would not do a wrong thing that he was pressing me to do. From 1980 to 1985, when posted in Shillong, I had to work closely with the Minister in the Indian cabinet who was from that region; I cannot remember a single occasion when he asked me to do something that was ethically wrong.

Having been brought up in EU and EGF surroundings, I had learnt that one should not be engaged in wrong practices. However, during my early years in the Government and this was my third lesson, I learnt that this alone was not

enough. God is not only interested in His children keeping their hands and consciences clean from sins of commission; He expects us to make a positive contribution in what we do. Daniel and Joseph were my role models – Daniel 6:4 says that Daniel was neither corrupt nor negligent. This means that he was not only honest – he was hardworking and competent as well. One of the interesting paradoxes even in a corrupt system is that if you are competent, your bosses will have to put up with your honesty – after all, somebody has to get the job done! I therefore do not rush to sympathize with Christians who complain that they are discriminated against because they are honest – I make it a point to make sure that they are competent and hardworking and do not wear their morality on their shirtsleeves, so to speak! I think India suffers from two groups of people – those who are totally corrupt; and those who are honest but think that they alone are honest!

One of the early resolutions that I had made – although I number it as my fourth lesson – was to learn to treat my bosses, colleagues, subordinates and contractors as human beings made in the image of God. I did not realize the far-reaching consequences of that one single attitude. Otherwise corrupt contractors turned out high quality work for me; even mediocre officers worked hard to produce outstanding results so much so that my career was continuously appreciated by my officers and politicians at the highest level. After serving as Superintending Engineer for 6 years in Calcutta, I was promoted as Chief Engineer and was to be transferred to Delhi; I was given to understand later that the Cabinet Minister took the decision to retain me in Calcutta because he felt that I could handle the difficult labour situation in Calcutta better than any other officers.

My colleagues and associates in my job were quite familiar with the message of the Christian faith by what I shared with them from time to time as well as the way I carried out my job. There was one anonymous complaint about me that I went around baptizing people (!) – my boss in Delhi told me that he had thrown that letter into the trash bin! I was able to make time also to study Greek and Hebrew on my own so that I could handle Scriptures better when called upon to teach. I remember one of my officers quipping during one of my tours – “Your briefcase is heavier than your suitcase” – because it was only during my travels that I could spend time to catch up on reading. Here again, Daniel was my model – a civil servant who did double-duty as a prophet!

So at the end of 28 years 6 months and 26 days in the Indian Government, I relinquished charge as Chief Engineer on October 29, 1993; I had another 10 years of service left in the Government. In my last position as Chief Engineer with the Department of Telecommunications based in Calcutta, I was looking after 12 States and 1 Union Territory; the area was about one-fourth of the

whole country and I had about 250 engineers working under my charge. The reason why I have taken pains to count the days of my service is that that period is what gave me credibility for the 18 years and 11 months of service (from November 1, 1993 to September 30, 2012) with the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. When a member of the Board in Delhi came to know of my decision to take voluntary retirement, he said something like this to me: “Please preach whatever you want to preach and take whatever leave you want to avail but do not leave the Department!”

One of my discoveries about full-time Christian work was that, in spite of its importance, the environment in which it is carried out is artificial and contrived and therefore out-of-touch with the realities of the marketplace. When young people fresh out of university approach me with their perceived vision for full-time work, I normally advise them to work in the marketplace for 5 to 10 years before they even think of entering Christian work. It is when one is tried in the crucible of real life that one is better qualified to serve the Lord full-time; the sermons one preaches on Sundays will consequently have relevance to life and work on the other 6 days.

– L.T. Jeyachandran

Harvest Times for Your Family June 2013/Volume 10 Issue 6

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What Excellence means to a Christian

Watching Michael Chang’s victories in the 1989 French Open, and then listening to his victory speech is an emotional experience. Michael, who is a fine Christian, was then a 17 year old boy, and few thought he had a chance of defeating giants like Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg.  He thanked the Lord Jesus Christ in his victory speech, saying “Without Him I am nothing”. He battled cramps and inexperience, yet hung in there and gave his best because he felt an inner voice urging him to go on, and to think beyond winning or losing. To me this is a great example of excellence. In all things Christians are to pursue excellence, because God has given us the opportunity to do our very best in those things. Our goal should be to strive to do the best we can, even if others around us who are paid more, are willing to do less than their best. The result of this mindset is stunning, and can result in very special results. When we are in the presence of excellence it can be an emotional experience.

The Bible teaches us that excellence is a virtue and that we should practice it at all times, whether you work in a call centre talking to customers on the phone, or whether you work with Apple on a project to design the next iPhone. Whatever you do, the Apostle Paul tells us to do it all for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).  This is probably not emphasized enough in Christian teaching today, and excellence is sometimes considered the poor second cousin of more well-known virtues like love, joy, forgiveness and service. Yet this is a teaching that touches every part of our day.

Despite all this we should not worship excellence as a virtue. This is because an inappropriate understanding of the meaning of excellence can lead to pride and even burnout. Sometimes the desire for excellence among Christians is not caused by a genuine love for God, but by a desire to exaggerate our own importance. The desire for excellence can sometimes result in pride, so it’s always important to check our motives. Is it really about God, or is it about you?

Burnout and stress can be another side effect of excellence. Persistent striving can be fatiguing, when we strive to excel to achieve our potential at work, or study. There comes a point where the desire to achieve unbeatable quality can cause stress in us, and also in those around us. I had a very successful boss who used to say that perfectionists cause stress in organizations. I have found this to be true. Many of us know what it feels to be overworked and fully understand how harmful this is to our health, our relationships, our professional abilities and to our spiritual lives. Work can become a punishing, depressing and often prayer-less existence. This is not the life that God has called us to live. The solution to this is to make sure that excellence is bounded by simplicity. You must focus on doing a few things and doing them exceptionally well. Focus exclusively on the areas where you truly feel called. Remember that the pursuit of excellence requires discernment, making difficult choices. We need to learn to choose between two good things, and then do that one good task 100 percent, instead of doing both tasks 60 percent.

Excellence is a process not a destination. It is not merely the goal getting a promotion, passing an exam or getting a good hike in your salary. If you understand excellence as a destination you run the risk of growing complacent when you reach your destination. It is better to think of excellence as a journey, a lifestyle. A final thought, God wants us to live excellent lives; and hold ourselves to the Bible’s standard of personal holiness. When you start fleeing from things which are immoral you will find that your life will change. You begin to see that God’s vision for the world is a lot bigger than your own little kingdom. You then look for opportunities to give to the hurting world around you, instead of expecting the world to give to you. In the words of Paul, you must learn to be excellent at what is good, and be innocent of evil.

— Jonathan Anchen
Harvest Times for Your Family April 2013/Volume 10 Issue 4

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