Sunday, March 27, 2005

In the Darkness

Today, in an antithetical Easter celebration, I spent Easter morning alone. Not finding satisfactory company on the seven hundred cable channels, I chose to read the four Gospel accounts of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. I was most impressed by the sense of darkness and despair that permeated the air of Thursday, Friday and Saturday lo those many years ago. Christ faced a known death, asked for it to pass, and went to it in fulfillment of the prophecy and His Father's will. The Father was silent because He had already spoken: it must be done. And Jesus, for the joy (do you hear that in the mournful tones of Thursday, Friday and Saturday? I confess it is a tone too low for my ears) that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. As I read, I sensed that this is the ultimate example of choosing to continue on a path though it seems hopeless at best, insane and worthless at worst. How many times in my life have I let the darkness direct the outcome rather than the course chosen before the darkness came? Jesus knew the light of Resurrection Sunday lay at the end of the tunnel, even when He couldn't see past the agony of Thursday night and Friday. He believed and obeyed and for that we are eternally blessed. In some small way may I walk my dark Thursdays and Fridays with the same sense of clarity and purpose Christ had. Sunday is coming. Do our hearts not pound as we read the last chapters of each gospel account? The angels show up, push the rocks away, and say, "See? He told you. It's true! Now go and tell everyone! The good guys win!" Woo hoo! The darkness is not only gone, it's obliterated. It's replaced with a sense of wonder, a slight embarrassment that we doubted at all, but most of all joy. Joy that comes from having endured the dark; joy that allows us to be seated with Christ at God's right hand. Thank you Jesus for Sunday. But thank you also for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

We are Not Alone

Thanks, Kerry, for the reminder. I appreciate your encouragement. Here are some words for our "I Like" list" propinquity alabaster schlepp Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Maybe We Just Wouldn't See It

Reading about the apprehending of the alleged "BTK" killer. I listened to friends of his family on CNN. They talked about what a nice guy he was; how shocked they were, etc. No offense, but I knew a guy who got arrested, charged, and found guilty of murder. As I remembered my encounters with him, I remember being creeped out by how he looked at me. I remember telling his wife we none of us know all that's going on inside other people. How true that is. When people say they just can't believe it, is that really true? Or do we just refuse to have our radar on because we don't want to believe that the people all around us, ourselves included, are capable of almost any offense? But for the grace of God go I.

Mom was Right.

The Supreme Court is up to its shenanigans again. (Just wanted to use the word shenanigans.) It struck down a 1989 high-court ruling allowing juvenile criminals to be executed. It cited as its rationale international opinion and national consensus. Two of the most pathetic reasons for making any decision: what my extended family thinks and what my neighbors think. Decisions by the Supreme Court should be based on what is right, not on public opinion. What if we all decided collectively it's okay to kill our fathers? Would the Supreme Court then bow to our wishes? Justice Anthony Scalia disputed any national consensus and, if there is indeed one, said the states should be voting on it--not nine people in long black dresses. Their job is not to speak for the people, their job is to speak for the Constitution. If teenagers engage in adult-sized behaviors, they have adult-sized consequences. It's ugly but it's true. Just like if you eat the super size fries (theoretically now that they have been outlawed), you'll get super size fat. Our job as a society is to help kids understand that. Then, if we really believe it's wrong for them to die for killing someone else, then we outlaw it state by state just like the Constitution says. As for international consensus, it's one thing to listen to the global community and take its thoughts under advisement. It's another thing entirely to do it just because everyone else is. Didn't the justices' mothers teach them anything? I grew up hearing "If everyone jumped off the bridge, would you too?" The fact that France or Canada or England doesn't do something is probably an indication it should be done. We need to make decisions based on what is right, not what other people think. Mom was right.

Right to Life

Terry Schiavo has a right to live. No one, especially her cheating husband and a judge who has never seen her, has a right to say she doesn't. If it's about money, we should be frightened. No one's feeding tube should be removed because it's too expensive to keep it in. We human beings are qualifiers; we're rankers. We like to decide who is the best, the smartest, the most heinous, the most worthy of life, the most worthy of death. Maybe it helps us to feel in control or to order a universe that seems mostly chaotic. But all human life is sacred. Not because we deem it to be so or because we can see it as such. It is sacred because God says it is. Therein lies its beauty--not in the physical manifestation, for sometimes we can't see it. All human life is of immeasurable value because it was made by someone who is above us, not answerable to us, not beholden to us. He is the one who gets to decide who lives and who dies. Should that lot fall to us, should God pass us a portion of his responsibility--as a government faced with the death penalty or a family member faced with a vegetative loved one--we must reverently decide what to do. But we must do it with the guidelines given by the one who gave life. His Word. That opens a can of worms because people will read the same passage of Scripture and come up with diametrically opposed views, each citing God's Word as the source. I understand that, but I know too that if we underscore our understanding of life with the truth that it comes from God and shouldn't be taken or taken away lightly, we will fight against those who would judge people's lives by their value to us, to society.

Playing God or Eyes Wide Shut

Read an article on a fellow blogger's site about a woman who terminated her pregnancy in the second trimester because her baby was diagnosed with a genetic defect. "I am fanatical on this issue. I believe that every woman is entitled to choose when and if to end a pregnancy. I also believe that to end a pregnancy like mine is to kill a fetus. Kill. I use that word very consciously and specifically. I have no regrets… I did not want to raise a genetically compromised child. I did not want my children to have to contend with the massive diversion of parental attention, and the consequences of being compelled to care for their brother after I died. I wanted a genetically perfect baby, and because that was something I could control, I chose to end his life." I find her comments even more chilling than someone who calls a fetus a clump of cells. She knowingly killed a helpless human being. That smacks of Mengele or Bundy. Her eyes are wide open. We are a generation of little gods running around, determining the life and death of other human beings. This woman mistakenly believes she has a right (bestowed by the universe or God or whomever) to kill other people. Show me where that one's written down. Maybe right next to the one that says you should commit adultery and steal other people's money. The antithetical ten commandments. Here's the reality, however. She can bluster. She can say she has no regrets, but she will, someday. It's impossible not to. God is God for a reason. He sees all things; he knows all things; he can do all things. We can't. We can see today and maybe a little bit of yesterday. We barely have enough power to get through this minute let alone an entire day. We certainly, even though we'd deny it, don't know everything. Therein lies the problem with playing God. It's a horrible responsibility when one is not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent. In the end it leaves one, such as the mother in question, withered and bitter because it's impossible to foresee all the possible outcomes of her decision. Her eyes are wide open, but ironically, they see nothing. The Bible says that the God of this world has blinded the minds of its inhabitants. When we play God, we stop being human. Then we have nothing left.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Write even if you have nothing to say.

Advice from a writer. Even if you just write, "I'm going to write today." Over and over and over and over. Reminds me of the guy in The Shining. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Seems insincere, but I guess some days that's all you can do. That or comment on some new nonsense in the news. How 'bout those Cubs? Like I said, write, even if you have nothing to say.