Blood Of The New Covenant For Your Refreshment

Around the house, our nearly-two-year-old will sip from a cup and follow it with a gratified, “Ahhh.” Sunday during the fruit of the vine portion of the Lord’s Supper, after I sipped the juice from my cup, Whitby followed up with a quite audible, “Ahhh.”

I guess we need to work on that reverence thing.

Evolution Vacillation

I have to thank my buddy Kevan Moore for sparking this thought.  We were at the Atlanta Zoo.   (By the way, seeing a real, live panda in person is even cooler than you think it would be.  But I digress.)

While we were looking at one of the endangered species exhibits (I forget now which), Kevan piped up, asking why, if we subscribe to the theory of evolution, are we concerned when any animal becomes “endangered?”  Isn’t that just evolution at work, weeding out the inferior species?

I responded sarcastically, “Oh no!  You must understand that these species are only endangered because we—mankind—have hunted them down in our arrogance to make them trophies, or we have disturbed their habitats in our recklessness so that they can no longer flourish.  For nature to kill off her own species is fine, but for us to do it is abomination!”

Then it occurred to me.  Evolution theory says that mankind—uh, humankind (sorry) is simply nature’s most evolved species.  In other words, we’re not outside of nature; we’re very much a part of it.  So what’s the harm if our behavior causes other species to fall out of existence—species less capable, less fit, less able to adapt?  Such is the binding arbitration of evolution.

So is mankind—uh, humankind part of nature or not?  Can we just make up our minds already?

Pro-Life Cruelty

The candidates for Alabama’s 5th seat in the U.S. House of Representatives participated in a debate on May 22.  In the debate’s so-called lightning round, candidates were asked their positions on abortion.  In his response, Dr. David Maker said, “I oppose abortion, except in very special cases.  If you demand that a woman not have an abortion under every circumstance, I believe you’re being cruel.”  Unfortunately, given the fifteen-second time limit in which candidates were allowed to answer in the lightning round, Maker did not go into details.  I suspect nonetheless, because they are caveats that politicians and political candidates commonly support, that Maker is speaking of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

First, let me deal with the idea of cruelty.  The cruelty in such a situation is on the part of the rapist. It is on the part of the father who abuses his daughter.  It is on the part of the near kin who do not think about the consequences of their creepy, consensual relationship.

Second, how do the circumstances of conception change the fact that a fertilized embryo is a life?  A distinct human life!  That is all it is about: Is it life?  Life is all it must be about because as soon as we start making exceptions for what we think are extenuating circumstances, it becomes far too easy make exceptions for simple convenience.

If we all agree that A, B, and C are extenuating (and cruel) circumstances and worthy of exception, some situation D will come along that is almost, but not quite the same as A, B, or C.  Still though, D is basically the same as A, B, or C, so surely we can allow an exception for it.  Then later case E arises, which bears a lot of resemblance to case D.  Yes, it’s a little different, but if we allow for D, no one can argue that E is not also an exceptional case.  Before long, the list of things we make exception for is longer than the list we hold the line on.

What about the life of the mother?  I mean, the mother’s mental health is one thing, but we’re talking about her physical health, her life here!  I could perhaps be persuaded in theory that abortion is the lesser of two evils if a mother would lose her life in delivery.  Why bring a child into the world without a mother?  Wouldn’t it be better to try again?  Perhaps the next pregnancy will go better, and the family unit will be intact.

The problem is that no one can say with any degree of certainty that a woman will, in fact, lose her life if she attempts to deliver a child in situation X.  There are odds based on the research we have on the matter, but they are only odds.  How many times have doctors given someone no chance of living only to watch the person pull through in the end?  For that matter, it sometimes works the other way around: a seemingly routine pregnancy and delivery end up with complications that result in the mother’s death.  We just cannot know.  It is therefore unjust to choose to terminate a life in favor of another when we are not sure that either life is truly in danger.

Isn’t it just beyond the pale, though, to ask a woman to rear up the child of her attacker?  How can a woman look every day into the face of her child, a child begotten by her own father?  The answer, of course, is adoption.  If seeing that child every day would be too grim a reminder of how the child came to be, the mother need not see the child again after giving birth.  There are would-be parents who are not concerned with how a child was conceived.  They simply long for a child.

There is no cruelty in preserving life.  Still, that is not to say that there would be no difficulties.  The emotional trauma would be grueling.  The medical expenses could be crippling.  Doing the right thing sometimes demands a heavy sacrifice, especially when one suffers the consequences of someone else’s misdeeds.  In the end, the truly cruel thing would be to end a life that has come about by no fault of its own.

Earth Day “Scripture”

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi “quoted” from the Bible on Earth Day:

In her April 22 Earth Day news release, Pelosi said, “The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’ On this Earth Day, and every day, let us pledge to our children, and our children’s children, that they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.”

Hm.  Can’t say that I remember that one.  Must be from one of those modern paraphrase translations.  Then again, according to Wikipedia, Pelosi is a Roman Catholic.  Maybe it’s a quote from the Apocrypha.

OK, look, it’s got to be somewhere!  A public servant of her stature wouldn’t just make something up!

All His Adversaries

We worshipped with the church at Elgin Hills last Sunday, and part of our study was in the book of Luke:

Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. — Luke 13:10–17 (NKJV)

Something hit me as we read that passage. All His adversaries. It occurs to me that not all His adversaries were in the room, per se. Yes, there was the hypocritical ruler of the synagogue. Some Pharisees were probably in the room, too. But was there anyone else in view here?

The Greek word we translate “Satan” is literally “adversary.” The devil was among those adversaries put to shame that day. Jesus even made a point of saying that it was Satan who had bound this woman for eighteen years. Yet Jesus Christ, in but a moment, with a word and the touch of His hands, loosed the bond that Satan had had over this woman for nearly two decades. Put to shame indeed!

Kathy Griffin’s Booby Prize

While blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, it’s a good thing for comedienne Kathy Griffin that blasphemy against the Son of Man may be (Matthew 12:32). You see, Miss Griffin won an Emmy for her reality program on the Bravo channel, and Reuters reported on her acceptance speech:

“A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus,” an exultant Griffin said, holding up her statuette. “Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now.”

Classy, for sure. I haven’t seen Miss Griffin’s television program, but I imagine that she is correct about one thing: Jesus is likely the last person who would give her an award.

At the same time, she does highlight how silly it is for gangsta rappers, promiscuous rockers, and depraved Hollywood types to thank God for their awards. If you want to see the things of Galatians 5:19–21 on parade, take in almost any modern movie or primetime television program. Listen to today’s popular music. To thank God for that rubbish can only be an insult to God! But I digress.

Griffin dismissed her comments as a joke:

Griffin’s reaction to the imbroglio, according to a statement issued by her publicist: “Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?”

A sense of humor? If you think, “Suck it, Jesus,” is funny, you’ve proven to me that you don’t have a sense of humor.

Even if you could somehow make the case that there is some humor here, there are some things you just don’t joke about. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10). If the very name commands homage, how can it be right to direct such a scornful insult—kidding or not—at the very Son of God? God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit must, without exception, be the objects of utmost reverence.

Tower of Babel, Part II?

Genesis 11:4 (NKJV) reads as follows:

And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Well perhaps you’ve heard about The Nazareth Cross:

The Nazareth Cross Project aims to build the world’s largest and most impressive cross, standing at 60 meters tall, housing a magnificent church in its center. The cross will be decorated by some 7.2 million brilliant mosaic tiles of varying sizes, each one with a personal engraving. These tiles will be made of stone from Nazareth, or platinum, silver or gold.

The breathtaking Church with its panoramic view will be located at the intersection of the arms of the cross, 15 stories high, and will contain over 400 m2 of floor space.

Words like “the world’s largest and most impressive cross, standing at 60 meters tall” sound an awful lot like “a tower whose top is in the heavens.” What should impress the Christian? Something he builds or the God who built him?

Also, who is the object of worship here?

Worship is an essential part of the Christian life. The breathtaking setting of the Church Within, located at the intersection of the arms of the cross, is 15 stories high and contains over 4500 square feet of floor space. This church will provide a stunning 360° panorama and an inspirational worship setting.

What exactly is “inspirational” about being fifteen stories high with a panoramic view?  Stunning?  Probably.  Aesthetically pleasing?  Sure.  But the focus of those things is self, not God.  As Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, it’s not about where you worship, but how you worship.  And if being fifteen stories up with a panoramic view makes you feel closer to God, I fear that your god may not be who you think he is.