Thursday, June 27, 2013

Obligatory Paralegal Nerd Supreme Court Post!!!

Supreme Court Building, Washington DC Google Images
Hello, Blogsphere! I had to do a post on the Supreme Court decision of United States v. Windsor. This is the DOMA case. I've been reading this case because the  dispute arose due to the estate tax that we're learning about in Probate and Estate Planning class. 

Before I get into what I want to say, I'll quickly lay out my philosophical foundation for thinking about the Supreme Court decision: 

1. I believe there is a God and He manifested Himself as Jesus Christ. He proved that He was the Savior for the world by dying on the cross and rising again. The consequences of his Resurrection: the growth of the Christian church amid heavy persecution, the radical cultural shift in the Roman empire once the culture accepted Christianity, and billions of individuals' personal testimonies validate its reality. 

2. I believe God has provided evidence about Himself and guidelines for how the world works through the Bible comprising the Old and New Testament. 

3. I believe God offers salvation to everyone. No sin is too great for Him to forgive. He forgave murderers and those considered treasonous to their own culture (Jewish tax-collectors). He forgave several people in sexual sin (The woman at the well and the woman who wiped his feet with her hair). People are saved upon accepting Christ as Savior and trusting in Him to forgive sins, save them from ultimate judgement, and transform their lives here on earth. 

4. With this foundation, I believe God has spoken clearly in the Old and New Testament about human sexuality prohibiting deviations from hetero-sexual relations within the context of marriage. Even so, God does not exclude these deviations from the saving grace of Christ. Meaning, God is willing and able to forgive people that have transgressed in this area. 

Alrighty! Disclaimers are out of the way :D They were not meant to be the crux of this post, but I needed to lay them out before I went on with this post. 

So how did I react to the Supreme Court decision? My thoughts verbatim were: "Let the Continuing Legal Education begin!" I thought about my time at Metro Volunteer Lawyers and at Colorado Legal Services and wondered how would this ruling affect my clients. So far, I have come up with: those who were same-sex married in other states would now be considered married under any federal laws that would apply to them. For example, social-security benefits, the estate-tax, and other federal laws would apply now. 

How do I feel about that? Honestly, even though I do not think that sort of relationship is Biblical or God's design, I am grateful that I live in a country where the highest court sees giving rights to a group society considers marginalized as a priority. This is looking at it purely from a paralegal student's standpoint as one who is entering a position where I examine the law and apply the law as a major part of my future job. 

Thinking about this as a future paralegal, I didn't think about this ruling as being brought about by fringe activists, nor did I think about it firstly as eroding the fabric of society so to speak. I thought in terms of: How would this affect a real client I might see? How would this affect a client who walked through the doors of Colorado Legal Services and had a legal matter involving a same-sex partner and the federal laws? 

As a fledgling paralegal, I feel like I have an obligation to help my supervising attorney explain the law to people if he wants to hold a training or something even if I don't agree with the law. Because I am in a position where I can help an attorney educate the public about the law, the Supreme Court's stance on DOMA isn't a scary "hands-away! That thing is evil and unclean!!" to me. I realize that it's just case-law like any other appellate court decision, and I should reference it if it's going to help my attorney's clients. It's my duty as a paralegal. Knowing that makes this whole thing less "scary." 

Does that mean I have changed my fundamental positions listed above? No. After getting to know several people in these type of relationships, I don't think of the ruling as "Them (the increasingly secular American society) versus Us (Christians who believe the Bible as the Word of God as applicable to every day life including sexuality)." I think of it as a ruling coming down after interpretation of the law and applying it to the current society. 

Does it say something about the current society? Yes. I believe it confirms that our society is embracing secular postmodernism. What does this mean for my life? Well, this means that I need to understand exactly what I believe because the culture conforms less and less to a Christian worldview. Therefore, I need to be able to explain myself clearer when asked about my beliefs. More importantly, this also indicates that as a Christian, I must be more purposeful. I can't blend into society because society's rules are straying from the rules and norms of the Bible. To truly demonstrate what Christianity is so others can know Christ, I need to somehow live in such a way where I am different. I don't want to live in an "I'm right, they're wrong" mentality. That would push people away from the Gospel. But I am convicted that I need to live and treat people in a way that makes people ask, "Why does she do or believe that?" and I have ask God for the courage to explain about Christ when they ask. 

Looking into the future, I know this will affect how Boaz and I raise our kids (assuming Boaz and I get married :D and have kids :D :D :D :D :D ) because the children may not absorb many facets of the Christian worldview from the culture. In fact, they may be taught an entirely different worldview outside of the home and the church. Does that mean Boaz and I should prepare to raise children in Christian isolation? No. Because they will need to know how the world works and understand others' worldview so they will be able to present the Gospel coherently to their peers. That is the main point of teaching children a Christian worldview: To lead them to Christ so they come to a saving knowledge of Him and then share the good news with those around them so that others may be saved. 

So, this is a very long analysis of the Supreme Court decision from all different angles. These things will be things I ponder for quite a while, and I will be praying about how God wants me to respond to this decision and change in the culture. Because I want the way I respond to point to Him. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Courts, Cancer, and the Sovereignty of God

As I watched the special report from CBS News about two Supreme Court rulings this morning, I was reminded of another day about a year ago. 

I was a new paralegal student watching a special report about the Supreme Court upholding the law commonly called "Obamacare." After taking notes on their decision, I decided to check my friend's blog. 

Her three year old daughter was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. 

Suddenly the constitutionality of a healthcare law faded into the background. It didn't matter in comparison to this:

A child I had seen running around the halls of Summitview, this child I've laughed with as she wore a princess dress at a party, this child that giggled about eating a cup-cake "all gone" could die.

This child wasn't mine, but her family was and is still dear to many Summitview friends and I. I had taught this girl's older sisters in Sunday School. Images of this child flashed through my head; her playing, her smiling and saying hi, her eagerly biting into a Summitview cookie. 

Could God be taking her away? 

I explained to Mom about her situation and then excused myself to go for a walk. Going for a walk allowed me to think and have prayer time with God. 

And I cried. And cried. 

Please, God, don't take this precious little girl away from her family. Please don't make her older sisters cry. 

I knew God was sovereign over everything and everyone from the Supreme Court Justices to this little girl. I prayed to understand in a deeper way and I prayed for God to hold me as I cried.

I prayed for God to be with her parents who would shed more tears and feel the pain of her diagnosis infinitely more than I was at that moment. 

I thanked God for being accessible through Christ to comfort those in need. I thanked God that somehow He would use this situation to spread the news that He came to seek and to save. 

Through my tears, my anchor was God who I knew to be sovereign over Supreme Court decisions and a little girl's cancer. 

And I could rest in that sovereignty because Jesus' death for sinners verifies that He is good. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Revisiting the soundtrack of trials

As Christians, we should always crave more of God. Sometimes it takes circumstances to force us to crave more of God. I had that today. 

Anyway, I decided to sync my ipod / iphone to new music. I chose music that I listened to in college when I was going through trials. Now, one might think, "Um... when you're going through hard times, why are you listening to songs you listened to during hard times??" 

Well, friends, the answer is this: God used these particular songs (2 worship CD's to be exact) at different times to remind me that He is God and sovereign and good and faithful and gracious to me during my past trials. I am reminded of how my faith was grown through tears and I am reminded of how in the midst of a trial, I felt God's love in a stronger deeper way. 

Listening to the soundtracks of my trials brings back tears and forces me to revisit these truths in light of my current situation. Listening to these songs encourages me as I draw closer to God in prayer and worship. Therefore, listening to these songs in this way ultimately allows God to encourage me and grow me :) 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Job Search II: The Search for More Money!

That's adapted from a line in Spaceballs where Yogurt says, "Join us in Spaceballs II: the search for more money!" 

Anyway yeah! 

A little job update from me: 

I had an interview with CLS and we shall see :) I am also registered with several Paralegal temp agencies. One of them gave me some good advice about how resumes should be formatted in the legal world. They should be in chronological order with the job duties listed below each employment entry. That was helpful :) 

Anyway, one interesting thing is this: Last time in Katie's Job Search take I, when there was a job I really REALLY wanted, I would freak out and get very anxious. I don't do that this time. One factor is that I am on a very low dose of anti-anxiety meds. But the larger reason is that I trust God and the degree to which I trust God has increased such that I do not give way to fear as easily as I once did. 

How do I do that even when I live in the same house as a beloved worry-wort (I love you, Mom!) Because I know God has this in His hands. I think I had to go through Job Search I: The attack of my (and Mom's anxiety) for me to really experience how God truly is sovereign over my career path. I just tell myself, "Katie, you have so much more going for you now then you did in Fort Collins. You aren't hindered as much with your inability to drive, the transit systems are better here, there are more jobs with the larger population, and you already spent a year in a legal environment." More importantly, God has grown my faith. 

Do I still want the CLS job? Yes I do! If that doesn't pan out, I know something else will :) 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

His Bow in the sky

Today Mom and I were coming out of Rosemary's Cafe - a local establishment near our house - when we saw this beautiful summer rainbow in the sky :) Incidentally, it is near my old church which is in the right of the picture: Notre Dame Church. 

Today's beautiful rainbow
The sight brought a smile and internal eeks and squeaks to my mind because God was telling me that everything would be ok. That His promises were true. That He would provide. I know this because He has assured me two other times with providing His bow in the sky. 

In the summer of 2009, I was in El Paso, TX. Fresh out of grad school, I was looking for a temporary job there while I was there on a mission trip. It was my first out-of-state mission trip, and I knew God wanted me there. Yet clinging to that truth and His biblical truths were hard as the job wasn't coming and others weren't sure I made the right economic choice to go. 

A rainbow in very-warm El Paso after the torrential rain in the desert. 

Upon returning from El Paso, I moved to Fort Collins because that was where I believed God was calling me. I moved in with wonderful girls into an apartment complex dubbed "The Quad." Again, God reminded me of His steadfast promises and His provision - even though the recession was flooding the nation and my job prospects with despair. God reminded me that He was there.  He gave me a rainbow seven days after I moved in. 

Here it is :) 
A rainbow as seen from my apartment in The Quad :)

Now as I am faced with finding a paralegal job as my internship is winding down, God is so kind to me to remind me of His promises - His provision! God provided a rainbow today to remind me that He is with me in the calm, with me in the storm, and reminds me that just like He will never flood the earth, He will never allow my mind and emotions to flood with worry if I hold fast to Him and His promises. His bow in the sky reminds me to look to Him!