Rebranding Despicable

Lately, I’ve been wondering, when did it become okay to kill children? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, I know at least 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States. Yes, they were “legal” based on the standard instituted through the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. Nevertheless, women who sought abortions used to drive to neighboring towns to obtain abortions; they didn’t stand on Main Street with signs and brag about having killed their unborn children.

4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram
4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram

A woman who had an abortion acknowledged there was a natural stigma about it, supposedly an admission that the procedure was the “only” choice rather than the “preferred” choice. Even politicians adopted the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Why rare? Because of its moral component! Because having an abortion was thought to be a BAD choice (albeit in their minds a necessary choice, nonetheless)!

I haven’t heard the “safe, legal and rare” (SL&R) mantra in a long time. I think, in part, the phrase fell out of favor because there were those who recognized this specific phraseology carried a negative inference (specifically, the moral component) … and God forbid, any woman who has an abortion should feel shame (or moral condemnation) for taking the life of her unborn babe! Continue reading “Rebranding Despicable”

Selfie De-generation

Today, I give you the tale of a man and his mistress. It’s a tale as old and sordid as history itself, but also as current as today’s scandal-driven news headlines as well as countless film and television plots. In this particular case, the man has his mistress. He delights in her, lavishes her with priceless baubles and they live together happily for a while, but over time, she becomes increasingly bored and decides to see other men.old-man-and-mistress-1884

Naturally, the man reacts with dismay to this turn of events. He’s jealous and wants her to himself, but the mistress finds his declarations of love to be unconvincing. If he really loves me so much, why doesn’t he make me his wife? she reasons. And, because he won’t marry her, she decides she’s not going to remain in an exclusive dalliance with him. She will toy with his emotions just exactly as he has toyed with hers. Occasionally, she even spends the night with other lovers, a pattern which makes him furious.

Eventually, the man becomes more demanding and quarrelsome, causing the mistress to leave in disgust. She travels to her father’s home to live, completely abandoning her lover. She reminds herself, there are other fish in the sea. Continue reading “Selfie De-generation”

Osteenification

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/7boqlx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/7boqlx

Today is the seventeenth anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death. Though she was an Albanian by birth, this diminutive woman lived most of her life in India serving the poorest of the poor. She began her life as a Catholic missionary at age 18 and devoted the rest of her 87 years to mission work, living among those for whom she cared.

Even though I’m a non-Catholic, I’ve respected the dedication of Mother Teresa whose sacrificial service was significant. I found her especially endearing when (in 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC) she spoke before a crowd of more than 3,000 attendees and boldly advocated on behalf of the unborn.

One quote must suffice here because the speech is lengthy, but in part, she told her audience:   “… the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion … if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

Notwithstanding her status as a Nobel Prize winner (1979), she was widely criticized for her decision to speak so fearlessly about her deeply-held convictions. Among the dignitaries on the dais as she spoke were President and Mrs. Clinton as well as Vice President Al Gore.

Standing before powerful people didn’t dissuade this woman from speaking the truth as she understood it. Continue reading “Osteenification”

An Officer And A Son

My older son is a police officer. Soon to celebrate his 35th birthday, he’s served proudly over the last decade with our local police department. He is pleased to be a member of an excellent department where officers are expected to excel at the highest levels. He and his fellow officers are conscientious and dedicated. OfficerAdamOnMotorcycle

Over the last week, I’ve read numerous disparaging remarks (either on Twitter or Facebook or in the blogosphere) and viewed news reports where the broad brush of hatred paints all policemen as pigs. These descriptions don’t comport with what I know to be true.

I’ve already posted my initial reaction to the situation in Ferguson MO. As this situation continues to receive additional sensational coverage from news outlets far and wide, the disturbing aspects become harder to dismiss. Before I revisit the matter, though, I think it’s important to emphasize all the facts are not yet known to the public. As with any situation of this serious nature, facts should trump rumors. Discovering what happened ‒ in toto ‒ is the only acceptable path.

At the same time, facts are subject to interpretation. In this case, we already know several facts including the fact (based on clear security camera images) that Mr. Brown accosted and intimidated a store clerk, and then proceeded to leave the store with merchandise for which he hadn’t paid. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a stretch to conclude from this one security camera image-capture that Mr. Brown was a garden-variety thug who, given his large (300 pounds) and menacing presence, was capable of (and willing to use) physical intimidation. Continue reading “An Officer And A Son”

Life Is A Gift

On Wiseblooding, I post periodically about abortion. It’s an issue about which I feel strongly. I am unwaveringly pro-life. Back in the late 70s, I composed a simple poem that summed up the debate of that time. Those were the days when discussion seemed more focused on the specious question:  When does life really begin?

Over time, this question was shoved aside, because for many supporters of abortion, it didn’t really matter. Whether life was judged to begin at conception or later (as late as the child celebrating his/her second or third birthday), these individuals supported abortion without regulation or reservations.

As you read the poem below, please imagine in your mind’s eye the intertwined strands of cascading human DNA. The short lines and sustained simple rhymes are meant to evoke that image.

Epitaph, abortion, down-syndrome, termination, infanticide, poem, poetry, verse
Poem: Epitaph

Help to Live

From the first time I heard the euphemistic term Death with Dignity, I thought it surely had to be a joke. This laughable term describes one’s desire to ease into death, much as one might slip into bed one night … and never wake again. hypodermicThe principle adherents of the death-with-dignity mentality are usually individuals who’ve received a terminal diagnosis. Some supporters are hoping to avoid the high costs of dying while others hope to minimize the pain associated with extended illnesses or others just prefer to pull the trigger (so to speak) at a time of their choosing. 

I’ve always argued the notion of death with dignity is absurd. First and foremost, we’ve all been given a terminal diagnosis; the day each of us was born, we were born with the exact same destiny: death. Is that harsh? Regrettably, it’s true. Continue reading “Help to Live”

You Asked For It!

Yes, there used to be a television series in the 1950s by that name. No, this post has no connection to the tv show.YouAskedFort

Over at the MindfulDigressions blog today, Doobster posted his reaction (entitled I Just Don’t Get It) discussing the Supreme Court decision in re: Hobby Lobby.

Later in the day, he added a follow-up post (entitled Let Me Have It) that expresses surprise (or possibly disappointment?) that his earlier post didn’t generate the level of pushback he apparently anticipated (only two dissenters).

ASIDE: I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters. I suspect I won’t fare any better than they did, but since Doobster solicited, I humbly offer my response.

It’s simple, really. With all due respect, you don’t have to “get it.” You obviously have a difference of opinion. The Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) hold one view, you hold another. You’re not going to change their minds on the issue and I imagine your stance is just as firm as theirs. Continue reading “You Asked For It!”

Daddy Dear(est)

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. The hashtag #EndFathersDay has been (predictably) trending on Twitter. According to some sources, the hashtag is a hoax, but it hasn’t prevented both tweets and blogs from discussing the pros and cons of ending future commemorations of Father’s Day. (If you take a gander through Twitter for this hashtag, be prepared to read some coarse and offensive comments.) At least one blogger posted a satirical claim to having originated the tag and offers a tongue-in-cheek explanation why.

happy-fathers-day-giveaway-2014

I’m not capable of wrapping my brain around the unfortunate negative comments about dads. Though my dad wasn’t perfect, I remember him (he died in 1994) as a man totally devoted to God and family. He served his country during World War II, worked really hard almost every single day of his life, and loved to have fun no matter what he was doing. He was a tender and loving man. Continue reading “Daddy Dear(est)”

Acceptable Christianity

“The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over.”

Take a close look at that statement. Take another moment to ponder its meaning.

Those are the first words of Princeton Professor Robert P. George from his recent address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. A sobering statement from a man The New York Times Magazine calls “The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker.” (Another group notes his “anti-gay ideology.”) In subsequent comments, George explains the basis for his thoughts.

St-Liborius-Church_144802_2I’m not a Catholic but I recall a time in this country when Catholics sincerely respected their church’s doctrinal positions on common issues including questions of birth control and abortion. I remember a time when it wasn’t unusual for a husband to say apologetically, “I know the Church doesn’t approve of birth control, but we can’t afford to feed another child.” Or a woman might sadly admit, “The Pope says abortion is a sin, so I’m doomed to Hell.” These were people who cared deeply that their personal actions didn’t match up with the teachings of their church.

Then culture found itself on shifting sands …

No matter how ingrained the doctrines of the Church, people daringly ignored the counsel of their religious leaders, knowingly defying church teachings. Over time, a religious divide separated “practicing Catholic” from “cultural or lapsed Catholic;” that is, between people who adhered to church teaching and others who were raised Catholic but had abandoned doctrinal constancy. For the latter group, church teachings were dismissed, creating a disconnect between church life and daily life. One was irrelevant to the other.

Professor George references this cultural shift that is (and has been) transforming society. This societal transformation insists: marriage is for all. But the professor bravely challenges that cultural orthodoxy. I agree with him. If marriage is for all, then it’s for no one, the concept is rendered meaningless.

In his prayer breakfast comments, George challenged his audience to consider fidelity to the whole Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ – because “Marriage is inseparable from the gospel … “ Christians may choose one or the other but he maintains a tepid, socially acceptable Christianity is no longer possible.

Recent news provides abundant examples of how this new cultural orthodoxy compels our fealty. Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure in April after his misstep into heresy (donating money to the 2008 campaign for California Proposition 8, a one-man/one-woman marriage initiative). Heretic! How dare he?!

Entrepreneurs David and Jason Benham paid a price for their stance on traditional marriage. (The Benham brothers were terminated from their starring roles in an HGTV reality show.) The Benhams exemplify Professor George’s warning that the “costs of discipleship [are] heavy costs … [sometimes] burdensome and painful to bear.”

Professor George also challenges the cultural orthodoxy that elevates abortion to the level of sacrament. If it’s defensible to abort (kill) a fetus in the womb, how does that differ from destroying a six-month-old infant or a three-year-old child? George challenges his students (and generally, all Americans) to reconsider the logical coherence of abortion.

I was thinking about George’s address when I came across a news article today. This was the story of an Australian woman who gave birth to conjoined twins with a rare condition, diprosopus. The twin girls share one body but have symmetrical faces and separate brains. During the mother’s pregnancy, she was advised to abort after an ultrasound revealed her daughters’ unusual plight.

When reading the DailyMail report, what struck me was a headline on the Current Affair video (pictured below). It reads: Baby born with rare disorder causing two faces.twins

Baby! Not twins, not two little girls, but the singular word, baby! Such a disconnect as this reminded me how the multiple aspects related to so-called “reproductive freedom” have robbed us of our inherent and individual humanity. (And I refuse to engage in any debate that suggests because these children are differently formed from other children that somehow they’re not entitled to the same human dignity and protection as we all deserve!)

Professor Robert P. George observes that “Powerful forces and currents in our society press us to be ashamed of the Gospel—ashamed of the good, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, ashamed of our faith’s teachings on marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

Yes, as Prof. George contends, I believe Christians will either be devoured by the current cultural orthodoxy or decide to take their stand for an unequivocal Gospel (in all its aspects) … because personal comfort is no longer an option.

Mighty In The Land

Having family members in town to celebrate Mother’s Day certainly makes the day special. Not only did we celebrate our grandson’s university graduation yesterday, we incorporated another grandson’s (Friday) birthday into the festivities. (Ha! We also celebrated a third grandson’s birthday earlier in the week!)creative_mother’s_day_cards_ideas_printable

Some of our out of town guests left yesterday evening after the celebration. Others exited today … after a houseful of children eating, drinking, scattering toys, running about and only crashing for sleep when they were tied (not literally!) to the beds, the house is unusually quiet now. The quiet permitted some reflection on this celebratory day we know as Mother’s Day.

This being the 100th official commemoration of the day, National Geographic has an article about Its Surprisingly Dark History. The story explains how the founder of Mother’s Day reacted with disgust as the day became increasingly commercialized. (The article’s slightly sensational title doesn’t justify the “surprisingly dark” phrase, in my view, but it was an effective attention-getter and lured me in.)

What struck me most was a comment following the article. Someone had posted: “My mother was evil and almost killed me when I was young. So no, I do not honor her on that day ….” Perhaps even more striking was another respondent’s comment: “You seem bitter and selfish ….” Apparently, Mother’s Day potentially brings out the worst in some people.

Moving onto another web article, Forgiving the Sins of My Father, I was reminded that relationships with parents (not just one’s mother as illustrated in the previously-cited Mother’s Day article) are sometimes terribly complicated and prickly. I’m blessed to be unfamiliar via personal experience with such stories.

A third article I read was part of the World Magazine Amy Writing Awards compilation*. A Promise To Beth relates the story of a twelve-year old boy from Mississippi who lost (over a seven-year period) his father (plane crash), his older brother (auto accident) and his mother (cancer), and who is now in the care of his step-father. In terms of this story’s relation to Mother’s Day, the story highlights the mother’s outlook and grit (while she was battling cancer) as an example of unflagging courage.

Another Amy Writing Awards story on the World Magazine website* is titled An Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Journey. This story featured a woman who brought her ailing mother into her home and spent eight years caring and ministering to her mother’s physical well-being as Alzheimer’s stole away the older woman’s memory and awareness. As with the aforementioned writing winner, this article is a testament to a woman’s unconditional love and courage under equally difficult circumstances.

*Links to both of the World Magazine stories may only be available by subscription, but I wholeheartedly recommend the magazine!

So what’s the connective link to these diverse stories? Mothers. Fathers. We’re all broken people. We’ve all suffered personal indignities and grief … sometimes (far too often) by the hands of those who are supposed to love us the most. Certainly, such mis-care is reprehensible. The commenter who characterized her mother as “evil … [who] almost killed me when I was young” may well be justified in her venomous attitude. No child deserves being terrorized.

ASIDE: At the same time, consider the number of children who are killed “young” – before they’ve ever breathed a single breath. Should we be surprised children are treated so inhumanely outside the womb when they’re routinely destroyed within the womb?

The second story (the woman forgiving her father) provides more details than the first. This woman’s story is unique, but a common thread repeats: evil, emotional detachment, anger, an adult child wounded body and soul, and an adult parent so damaged that the essence of “relationship” (the connection of persons by blood or marriage) is laughable, even despicable. Though forgiveness brings the hope of restoration and wholeness, it’s an extensive and painful process per the article.

Both writing award pieces further relate how God brings restoration and wholeness through brokenness. Certainly, the young man from Mississippi would never rejoice in the losses he’s endured. How awful to lose one’s parents and sibling, at any time, but especially in childhood! Despite the boy’s devastation, a loving step-father is there to succor him, to sustain and encourage an arm-in-arm understanding of God’s provision.

That same sense of God’s provision runs through the story of a woman loving and caring for her Alzheimer’s-befuddled mother. The younger woman bestowed on her broken mother the same kind of care her mother had given in nurturing a newborn daughter through stages of development into independence as a woman.

I have a point of personal reference here as I witness my Beloved ministering to his mother while her Alzheimer’s progresses. (When I posted about her last October, she was slightly more coherent than she is today.) Visiting with her proves challenging because it’s a guessing game to determine what she’s trying to communicate. (Sometimes, people simply give up in discouragement.) Nevertheless, my Beloved stays connected with her, making effort to engage her mentally, often using silly jokes and lighthearted teasing. I admire my Beloved’s tenacity.

Whether the problems are physical, psychological or emotional, we all bear the brokenness of humanity. Wounds, those inflicted by others and many self-inflicted, complicate our human interactions. We’ll never find complete wholeness in this realm but forgiveness is a good place to start.

The poem below, by Amy Carmichael, was one of my dad’s favorites. When we suffer unbearable scars, it’s a reminder of marvelous, numinous healing available to all.

http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/poems/amy_carmichael/no-scar.htm
http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/poems/amy_carmichael/no-scar.htm