Saturday, September 03, 2011

We Have Met the Enemy. . .

“The Help” is undoubtedly a fascinating and excellent movie based on one of the darkest periods of this nation’s recent past. Yet if the only thing we take from it is how far we’ve come from those days of racial prejudice and how much better off we are than those Southern women with the effrontery to treat others with disdain, then it’s time to give ourselves another think.

Peter didn’t think twice about shucking off his new religion and returning to the old when the Judaizers showed up. Instead of appearing to be on the “outside,” he coddled to the circumcision party, giving offense to the Gospel. There is prejudice. It was born of sinful pride, and we each have more than enough of that to go around ourselves.

Nope. We aren’t like those women in that movie. Not us at all. And yet when was the last time we scrambled to be first in line, clawed to be first at the table, shouted to be first to make a point? When was the last time we were frustrated when the other person was “too stubborn” to hear what we had to say, while all along, we, of course, were spoke with perfect clarity and sense?

Prejudice isn’t a matter of degree; it’s a state of fact. We commit prejudice because we cannot fear, love or trust in God above all things. Therefore, we break the Eighth Commandment against others, daily and much; we pre-judge them based on our own criteria of the way things ought to be. It’s hardwired into us. It’s called original sin from which we cannot free ourselves. We may struggle against it, but we lose. Even our covetousness simply hides our prejudices. We want more so we won’t be like them; we desire less so we can appear to be more like these. Who can free us from this body of death? Thanks be to Christ Jesus that He already has!      

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Of Fixable and Treatable

We’ve been down this road before—back surgery. Yet, here we go again. A graft didn’t heal properly so one of the screws holding the hardware is loose. Painful doesn’t quite describe it for some days.

I’m not a painkiller taker. I learned the hard way that those things can create more problems than they alleviate. So I’ll opt for whatever keeps me comfortable even if I’m not pain-free.

That’s not current with American thinking. We’re pressed to live pain-free lives. Isn’t that a part of freedom from want? It’s at least in there with quality of life. We can throw a whole load of things in those two buckets. Quality of life and freedom from want requires me to have the latest in electronic gear in my home, too. Don’t want to be socially deprived. It might cause an emotional slide from which I might not recover.

I visited a doctor recently about my little problem. Having moved from one state to another I was in the process of setting up the procedures for what ought to be a forthcoming surgery to correct the little issue regarding my failed graft and loose screw. At first the doctor offered me an opium pump. Sure. I’ll just zone out for the rest of my life. Never mind what the drug does to my body over the long run. No fix, just mask the problem. I don’t think so.

Eventually, after explaining a variety of fix-it procedures, he basically said I wasn’t fixable. Failed grafts are repaired with minimal success, according to him.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or walk out on him. I already knew I wasn’t fixable. I wanted to know if I was treatable. In the end he transferred my care to a doctor in Little Rock, and I called my doctor in Mississippi to reverify which treatments would work to correct my situation. Leaving the screw out, as suggested by this new doctor, was certainly not among them. My Mississippi doctor is writing a letter as a consult to the new doctor in Little Rock.

Still, the fixable/treatable tension played on my mind. There’s a difference. What ails me is the result of original sin playing havoc in the members of my body. That’s not fixable by medicine. Ananias was told by God to go to Paul, but was reluctant. God told him, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). Paul asked for a thorn to be removed from his flesh. God replied that His grace was sufficient, and His power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Can a doctor treat my condition? Sure. Can he fix it? I dunno. Perhaps God has other plans and intentions. I look at my mother who has been dealing with this disease for a lot longer than I have. I have no complaints and many more prayers—especially for her who needs them more than I—before I start to whine and suggest God has ignored my pleas for relief. God ignores neither of us. Our Father leads us to salvation His way.

For a great sermon on this topic follow this link.    

Friday, June 24, 2011

Of Billboards and Foundations

So abortion is a personal matter—a woman’s rights issue? Right? Greg Fulz doesn’t think so. If he’s correct, that his girlfriend did have an abortion against his wishes for the welfare of his own child, then hasn’t he as much right to speak up as any father would?

Oh, that’s right. It’s a privacy matter, not a social one. The billboard proves the irony in that argument! It was a social event that impregnated the woman. We ought, therefore, as a society, own up to the fact that abortion is a societal event. It affects us all.

The unnaturalness of women killing their own children strikes us with horror. Who can forget the stories of Andrea Yates or Susan Smith? Then there’s the lesser known Theresa Riggi. Reporter of the article on Riggi Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler. He states, “At least 200 women kill their children in the U.S. every year, yet we are still surprised when incidents of “filicide,” the killing of one’s own child, occur in our society.

In all honesty, given the acceptance and normalization of abortion, why the surprise? Why the surprise with the so-called Society of Death and the increasingly normalization of suicide across all ages?

The leap from woman as nurturer to woman as killer goes beyond Constitutional decisions. In truth, society has always had mothers who killed their own or others in defense of their own. Jael treated Sisera to a tent peg and saved her nation much grief. Yet here we are speaking of actions within the Fourth Commandment.  Deborah had spoken as God’s prophetess that Sisera’s day was at hand. She did not say by whose hand he would fall.

The Fifth Commandment binds us to “help and support our neighbor in every physical need.” “Neighbor” includes myself as well as those God places in our path.

Pregnant happens. It is a social action when it does. And most often it is a friendly sort of action going on rather than a violent one. Abortion happens. It has social ramifications, despite the lie promoting its personal characteristics. Knowing that abortion is so freely chosen by so many women today, social responsibility ought to lead to better choices than the one that landed Fultz where he is now. Sin happens, too. Blessed be the Sixth Commandment. It's there for a reason, still. Christ and His Bride are living icons ill understood by those who live by virtual reality even in their sacramental lives.     

Who’s right? Fulz or his girlfriend? Did she have an abortion or a miscarriage? Who will ever know for certain? What this article does point out is the lie that abortion is a personal matter between a woman and her physician/abortionist. There’s a father, a child, and the whole of society involved when women killing their own children is accepted as the norm and foundation of society.   

Come quickly Lord Jesus!          

Thursday, June 23, 2011

From Here to There

Didn't take us long. Just a few more aches and pains than usual. But we're pros at it on the one hand and older than other times on the other hand. We're settled in to our new home in Arkansas. The tags are on the cars and the icons are hanging all throughout the house. I'm not traditional when it comes to hanging icons. As far as I'm concerned, they belong anywhere, to be seen by anyone at anytime a good heavenly reminder is wanted. The laundry room with its western wall is just fine by me. A grouping reminding me of vocation is fitting there. But this is old information, having been posted on FB previously.

We couldn't have accomplished the move as quickly without the hard work of Jane and Mike. They really worked hard unpacking and then also getting things up into the attic. it was loads more fun with them, too. Sarah did her part, too. Bit-by-bit we are learning our way around town. We've found a place with N'awlins food. Friday we'll have an early anniversary dinner there. The littlest grandbabies are coming over for lunch Saturday, so that day is given over to them.

Church takes a bit longer to get to, but it's well worth it. The delivery of Christ is, well, what it's all about. Driving a few extra miles is no big thing.

Right now we're taking time to slow down and relax just a bit. There's plenty of work ahead of us in the coming days and weeks. That little thing in my back nags at me. A reminder of original sin and even more so of the grace that overcomes it.