Thursday, January 19, 2006

Butting Desks

They couldn’t stand each other. They didn’t even have to say a word to announce the fact. We all just knew it. Matt and Byrne loathed each other. If they didn’t avoid each other on the playground, they sought each other out with “individualizing intentionality.”

On the day Katina hit I stopped in the local mega-store and found they had put the swim noodles on sale for a quarter apiece. A six-foot foam noodle meant a three-foot light saber to my way of thinking. I snatched up a bunch, and cut a few in half.

There is nothing more all-American-boy than bopping one another over the head with a "sword." These things are several inches of neon foam, so they cause no harm, but plenty of imagination and fun. The gang went for it big time.

Matt and Byrne went after each other with a vengeance.

If teams formed up, each declared, “No way!” to the inclusion of the other on his team. They’d rather “be dead” than to be on the same side as his nemesis. Whenever a disagreement erupted, it usually stemmed from an argument between Matt and Byrne. While Matt was the more vocal of the two, it was clear neither cared much for the other. A polite exterior can cover a world of irritation and instigation.

Finally, Matt commanded Byrne to “stay away from me, just go, far, far away!”

Well, I thought. This is a classroom of seven students. In a classroom of twenty-four, there might be hope of “hiding” with another friend. However, we’re all we’ve got, so we need to learn to get along. Still, that's not the point. Ultimately the question is this: Just how far, far away do troublesome-to-us people have get from those of us who are the Body of Christ?

Matt’s command meant the opposite needed to be done. Instead of separation, it was time for Matt and Byrne to be joined together.

After having them apologize and forgive each other (they were both at fault for the incident leading up to this moment), I moved their desks so that they butted up to and faced each other. “Start enjoying each other’s company. Start loving each other’s faces. You are going to be spending a lot of time with each other,” I instructed them.

Within days Matt and Byrne discovered they giggled at the same things. They had to cooperate in order not to crowd each other’s work space, but not once did they argue. (They didn’t dare! Whatever they thought they could dish out, they knew the deac could handle!) Bit-by-bit, the playground took on a kinder atmosphere. The boys still bopped each other eagerly, but Matt and Byrne weren't tyrannizing each other.

That was three weeks ago. Yesterday Matt admitted Byrne “wasn’t so bad after all.” Today Byrne said Matt was “really pretty cool and funny.” Their desks are no longer head-to-head now, but they are side-by-side. They like it that way. Byrne has a friend to look up to. Matt has someone who understands his sense of humor.

Disposability is the operating system of our universe. It is the pattern of our worldview. If it’s broke, replace it; if your friend offends thee, don't worry about seeking his repentance (or yours)- just get a new one. This is not the way of baptism, but of consumerism.

We teach our students that God has a different operating system. He fixed what was broken with His own perfect Son’s body. His Jesus’ flesh was broken, and His blood spilled for our sins. In Baptism Christ covers our brokenness with His perfection. We are made one in Him. How can those who are one in Christ Body go “far, far away” from others who are also in Christ’s Body? For, what happens to one who is in Christ also affects all who are in Him. So how those who are in Christ treat each other is how they are treating Christ Himself. Sometimes butting heads leads to butting desks to make the point.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Stones and More Stones

Mollie Zeigler has some profound insights at Get Religion on postabortion effects in women.

The Feb 2006 issue of Touchstone journal ran a piece on abortion clinics, “A Stone for Shmuel,” by William Luse. In it Luse wrote in response to an abortion article he read in Glamour magazine. He reports that according to the Glamour article, many in clinics have become a “kinder, gentler sort of baby-killing clinic.” One he names even has a wall in its “inner waiting room” lined with pink hearts. On these hearts mothers of aborted babies have left messages.

Examples are:

“You’ll always be a part of me even though you are not here with me. All my love, the Mom you’ll never meet but I’m sure you know who I am.”

“Even if it doesn’t feel right doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”

“This has got to be the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make… You will always be my baby. I will see you in heaven.”

Luse writes, “Not to coach the reader too closely, but here is the religious impulse in the devil’s service. These ladies have re-ordered their reason, to much rejoicing in hell.”

Luse also reports that the pre-abortion interview questions have been re-framed “with the justification built in.”

“Do you feel it’s OK to kill a fetus for your own life?”

“Does being a good mother sometimes mean acknowledging that I can’t be a mother right now?”

“Can you see abortion as a loving act toward your children and yourself?”

It would seem, considering what Luse reports in light of the Glamour magazine article, women have been coached to believe that abortion is the right thing to do. They are also pre-conditioned for a certain reaction to the abortion. Gene Veith reported in World Magazine during the last election that the amazing paradox of the abortion debate now is that

pro-lifers may be winning the debate on when life begins, but for an increasing number of people it doesn’t matter. Polls show that nearly half of all Americans agree that life begins at conception. And yet, as many as two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should be legal through the first three months. A large percentage of the public, like Sen. Kerry, believes that a fetus is a living human being, and yet can be aborted anyway. Forty-eight percent go so far as to say they believe that abortion is murder. And yet, many of the same people believe that such murder should be legal!

It is bad enough to believe in abortion under the assumption that a fetus is not a human life. But to believe that a fetus is a human being and still to believe in abortion is monstrous.

Pink heart messages from abortive mothers to aborted babies demonstrate how true this is. According to feminism a moral test is the effect of an ethical position, moral decision, or policy on the actual lives of women. This mantra is ingrained in the American social and political worldview. It is also a part of many religious systems.

What the messages on the pink hearts themselves bespeak are women who know they will mourn both the fact of a dead child and the act of a mother killing her own child. One clinic assuages the vacuum left by the abortion with a brightly colored rock. How deadly ironic this is when one considers that the Rock these women needs even before abortion is considered is Christ!

Luse concludes:

“All I know is that hell has a home on earth. If we can just come up with the right perspective, find the right name for it, call it by what we want it to be rather than what it is, we can live there quite comfortably. If we ‘examine’ our religion long and hard enough, we can lose it or remake it in our own image.

“You’d think we could face the facts, the reality, seeing how we keep on dying. Maybe we don’t face it because, in the wondrous inversion peculiar to our times, we no longer die to ourselves but are in love with them; no longer die to love but are in love with death. I don’t understand it, can’t explain it, and I’m sure as hell not going to give it a name, for the one reality I’d like not to face is the one requiring us to give the devil his due.”

For even more good reading on the effect abortion has on lives see January 21, 2006, World Magazine, see What Women Want.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Grizzly Feast

My husband and I settled in last night to watch a movie, Grizzly Man. Now and again a nature documentary is fun. The last one we watched, March of the Penguins, sent us both to zombie-land quickly. I guess we just didn’t “get it.” Grizzly Man had a different effect.

While the Alaskan scenery and the animal footage were beautiful and entertaining, the human antics should have earned this film the title Silly Man. It is a compilation of thirteen years’ worth of Tim Treadwell’s attempts to live with grizzly bears. According to his own words, he wanted to become one of the grizzlies. It ended when he literally became one with the grizzly on October 6, 2003. That’s when a grizzly killed and ate him and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard.

Throughout the film Treadwell is not portrayed as a sainted tree-hugger who died trying to make the world a better place for grizzlies. His detractors are given voice as well. One cautionary note is good to remember: Bears and people have their own separate place on this same earth. The Indians have respected this fact for generations. It is not good for the species to attempt to mix. It is not safe. Bears cannot be tamed into thinking that people are something other than another food source. They will eat you.

There is a theological lesson in this. There are those who think they can rationalize adiaphora, those things which are neither commanded nor forbidden, to accommodate a blanket of immunity for their worship styles and practices. According to them, if God has made no specific Law against it, then the church is free to engage in it. There is even an argument that suggests that, because there is no specific command which states, “Thou shalt not ordain women,” women may be ordained.

This is not how Jesus speaks. He tells His apostles to teach His baptized to observe all His commands (Matt 28:19-20). When He taught of Himself (Lk 24:44), it was from Moses and the Prophets. Paul says the church is built on the same, Eph 2:20. Jesus said the Church is built on the confession of Peter, which is to confess Christ as the Son of the Living God (Matt 16:18). It is only through Scripture that knowledge of the Christ is revealed. Scripture is the whole counsel of God teaching what Jesus taught. As such it is to be regarded when considering adiaphora as they have effect on the church’s confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God. Therefore, things adiaphora, although they may be matters of indifference, are often not neutral in the church’s confession.

Treadwell regarded only his own desires to be one with the grizzlies. He did not heed the biological evidence that he was not a bear, and the numerous precautionary warnings he received alerting him of the dangers he was exposing himself to. In the end, not only did the enemy consume him, it also ate the one who tagged along with him. Huguenard planned to leave Treadwell as soon as they returned from their last campout, but the bear got them both first.

Formula of Concord X states that not all ceremonies must be alike. It also states that in times of persecution the church may not give the appearance of being at one with her enemies. That is the “Treadwellian error” of many congregations today with their Open Communion and Contemporary Worship. They do not give serious consideration to the enemy who constantly prowls about as a hungry lion. Just as the species maintain their limits with respect for each other, so we ought to regard what Luther spoke to Zwingli, “You are of another spirit.” There is a reason to practice according to that which Jesus taught. We are in this world; we are not of it.

Adiaphora cannot be the bridge for fellowship, but it can easily become a bridge to heterodoxy.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jeremiah's Light

With only two days in the post-Christmas vacation week, I planned for a light schedule. This gave time for an art project.

We were working quietly when suddenly Jeremiah said quite suddenly and emphatically, “When Jesus was born, He knew He was going to die for our sins.”

It is good to be fed by the mouths of the students.

Jeremiah wanted so dearly to attend church this evening. Byrne, too. It is our night for the big blaze. Every Epiphany we have first the Mass, then the bonfire of the Christ Mass trees that have been gathered and piled at the end of the parking lot. Jeremiah and Byrne both begged to go. “We’ll see,” was the polite reply from parents.

Tonight Jeremiah was standing in the parking lot with his grandfather/adoptive father when we arrived for services. Byrne arrived not long after. No small accomplishment, that.

Both inhaled the scent of heaven with the smells of frankincense and myrrh and heard the sounds thereof as the saints joined with heaven’s own singing “Hosannas.”

Byrne left early, leaving Jeremiah to the remnants of the bonfire on his own. A pity. The local fire company responded to the blaze and joined the throng. Jeremiah was invited to sit in the cab with the lights adding a different sort of blaze to the night sky.

Big night for First Graders.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

When "No" Means "Yes"

Let’s keep running the Feminist Definition on this one…

According to the original posting at Cranach, a feminist displayed her sexual fantasies in a photography exhibit at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee “with captions that describes the artist's reaction to the ‘unexpected intercourse’ that leads to her feeling ‘guilty and rejoiced.’”  

Cyberstones responded,

Several years ago I heard a book report on NPR by a feminist on rape. She claimed it was natural. Men (male and female) are simply animals and this is what animals do. Male animals want to impregnate as many females as possible and spread their seed. Female animals are incapable of not sleeping with other males, since their instincts tell them to spread the gene pool about. Male animals don't feel bad using their superior strength to subdue another animal (male or female) any more than a cat feels sorry for a mouse. That is what animals do so rape is natural also for me. It can't be stopped and it shouldn't even be considered immoral, since morals are just religious people trying to enslave us.

According to these feminists, if females are participants by nature in sexual attacks and in fact derive pleasure from them, what now constitutes rape?

Is this the final deconstruction of “No?”

Wendy Shallit noted that because of the loss of modesty through feminism, the only woman who can walk the streets safely is the one who can afford to hire bodyguards. Now it is also the one who can afford this new definition of rape.

I’ll pass.

Cyberstones on Feminism

Cyberstones has a wonderful response to feminist reasoning regarding art and rape. I found this (feminist) perspective from his article interesting.

“Male animals want to impregnate as many females as possible and spread their seed. Female animals are incapable of not sleeping with other males, since their instincts tell them to spread the gene pool about”

The first sentence is clearly the definition of patriarchy according to feminism. There is more behind it than just that, though. What lurks beneath, by now also adding the female into the mix as an accomplice in rape and patriarchy, is the feminist achievement of another goal: to denounce Man as the crown of creation. The androcentric stress on creation/salvation history must be unraveled by them in order for feminism to ultimately succeed. The writings from Stanton to Ruether and LaCugna stress this fact. Intrinsic to this is the denial of Eve's history in the story of mankind. If women can be convinced that Eve is mere patriarchal myth; that mankind emanates from the primidorial ooze and is subject to the same urges as the lower beasts; then the Fatherhood of God can likewise be abandoned as well as the necessity of a male Savior.

Cyberstones is correct when he writes, “I realize most people think feminism is the equivalent of the civil rights movement for women, but it is not.” No, it isn’t. He’s right to call it a heresy. He’s also right with regard to feminism being a “wake up call” to abuses suffered by males and females. However, because even in the church feminism/Feminist Theology does not begin first in God's word and therefore end in Christ, it is also a political movement as opposed to a theological one. It always has been. This is because as a heretical philosophical movement politics has been its means to effect its goals, both within the church and without. Its birth-mother, Eliz. Cady Stanton saw this clearly when she used the Bible as a political weapon, then wrote another to take its place, The Woman’s Bible.

Nice piece, Cyberstones!