What Do You Say?

Is there any response that could fully sum up all the circumstances, feelings, actions, and arguments that constituted the Terri Schiavo case? No doubt at this moment millions of bloggers are commenting, including one whom I think is right. None of us know the Schindlers or M. Schiavo personally (if you do, I would like to hear from you), but there are some objective facts (well, maybe some subjective ones as well) here that should not be forgotten..
1. Terri Schiavo lay in a bed for almost 14 days and starved to death. 14 days.

2. Michael Schindler’s crocodile tears fool no one but the most credulous.

3. I think I’ll punch the next person who takes the words “sanctity of marriage” and applies them to Michael and Terri’s non-marriage (at least for the past 15 years). This is about the most transparent and ridiculous argument that I have heard yet. Sanctity? Where? He has a common-law wife and two kids with her. Yep, he takes it very seriously. And somehow because he’s “suffered” so much (not for a long time, I don’t think), he has the right to say what happens to his ex-wife? Perhaps we should go Biblically, and as soon as he had sex with that other woman, the responsibility for Terri should have gone back to her parents.

4. Her parents wanted to take care of her. Think about that: What possible motivation could M. Schiavo have for wanting to starve his former wife to death, when her parents are willing to remove the entire “burden” from him? This was some ideal for him: I must kill her, I must kill her, I must kill her; she told me that’s what she wanted…

“I personally believe that the Schindlers had good ground to question whether Michael Schiavo should have continued as the guardian after he formed a new family with another woman and ultimately had two children by that individual,” [Professor] Jonathan Turley [of George Washington University] told FOXNews.com.[all quotes from Fox News]

5. Anyone who buys the “victim card” from Michael Schiavo, I’ve got a couple bridges I want you to see.

6. M. Schiavo wouldn’t even let Terri’s parents be in the room while she died. I don’t care what kind of personal disputes they have had in the past, “let’s add insult to injury! I get the last word!”

7. Someone else I’d like to take behind the woodshed? George Felos, M. Schiavo’s attorney.

George Felos declined to describe in detail his client’s wife’s passing, but said: “It was evident to everyone around him, the profound emotion and loss for Mr. Schiavo. It was clear to everyone he loved Terri deeply and her passing was a tremendous loss for him.”

“It was disquieting to hear the priest issue venom and make those extremely harsh statements about Mr. Schiavo,” he said. “Instead of words of healing, words of reconciliation, compassion and understanding, we had a platform for an ideological agenda. It was counterproductive and disquieting.”

What did the priest say?
“His heartless cruelty continued until the end,” [Father Frank] Pavone said.
Sorry George, what would you call it?
And by the way, what would NOT BE “counterproductive and disquieting”? Perhaps letting the family be with their daughter and sister at the moment she died?

More from George:

“Bobby [Terri’s brother] suggested he wanted to remain in the room with Mr. Schiavo and the police officer. Mr. Schiavo made the decision that it was not appropriate under the circumstances,” Felos said. “Mr. Schiavo’s overriding concern was that she had a right to die with dignity and in peace. … Mr. Schiavo was not going to permit a potentially explosive situation knowing there had been a dispute” between Schindler and the police officer.

Die “in dignity and peace.” Good one. As Dr. Gregory House has said, “No one dies with dignity.”

And then this: “Her husband was present by her bed, cradling her… Mrs. Schiavo died a calm, peaceful and gentle death.” Yeah, that’s usually how starving people go. I’m wondering what people would think in nations where the kids have to go scavenging through the garbage dumps to get food? I’m sure they would think that this story is the most wonderful thing they’ve ever heard, and isn’t M. Schiavo so compassionate?

8. “Terri Schiavo suffered catastrophic brain damage in 1990 after a heart attack, brought on by a chemical imbalance associated with bulimia.” I’ve heard it hinted more than once that it was essentially her fault because she had bulimia. No need to say more.

Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican’s office for sainthood, denounced Schiavo’s death, saying that “an attack against life is an attack against God, who is the author of life.”



Final Four

A previous post allowed you to make your NCAA men’s basketball tournament champion selection. I put my hope in Wisconsin, but they fell a few games short, losing to North Carolina this past Sunday.

So whom will it be now? I am going with Illinois.

Easter Monday

O God, who in the Paschal Feast hast bestowed restoration upon the world, continue unto Thy people Thy heavenly gift that they may both attain unto perfect freedom and advance unto life eternal; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Since I posted a poem by John Updike last year, and I happened to come across another Easter poem this year, perhaps this will become a tradition.
Continue reading

God’s Law in the Life of His People

Since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, God’s people live a new life. But is it a life apart from His law? Lutheran reformers had this to say.
“We believe, teach, and confess that, although people who truly believe in Christ and are genuinely converted to God have been liberated and set free from the curse and compulsion of the law through Christ, they indeed are not for that reason without the law. Instead, they have been redeemed by the Son of God so that they may practice the law day and night (Ps. 119[:1]). For our first parents did not live without the law even before the fall. This law of God was written into the heart, for they were created in the image of God.” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VI: Concerning the Third Use of the Law).

Holy Saturday

O God, who didst enlighten this most holy night with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection, preserve in all Thy people the spirit of adoption which Thou hast given, so that, renewed in body and soul, they may perform unto Thee a pure service; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.


Good Friday

Almighty God, we beseech Thee graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked man and to suffer death upon the cross, through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Merciful and everlasting God, who hast not spared Thine only Son, but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sins upon the cross, grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast willed that Thy Son should bear for us the pains of the cross that Thoug mightest remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passon that we may obtain remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.
All we like sheep have gone astray: and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


One Year Down

Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. I think I can speak for Michael as well, when I say ‘thank you’ for reading and commenting. I would also like to thank Joanna and World Magazine for allowing us to be part of their blogging family.
This is as good a time as any to reflect a minute on what the heck we’re doing here. (You can see the original post about our title here.)

This post is necessary partly because of some of the questions that have been raised about us recently, especially by certain commenters (a discussion that took place primarily here, in the last ten or so commments).

Part of this has to do with who Michael and I are, and part of it has to do with personal preferences. As you probably all know, we are seminarians at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. That knowledge has, occasionally, been used as a battering ram against us. In some comments, the formation of our pastoral character has been questioned. Now, this is partly correct: if someone believes we have sinned, we deserve to be called on that and given a chance to respond. This has happened, for instance, in the discussion regarding the name of our blog. However, attacks that have nothing to do with the content of this blog by people who, by their own admission, read this blog sporadically or when her friends are “upset”, are pretty well worthless. Comments like, “I hope no one ever has to hear you preach on forgiveness,” are, for one, baseless, and two, are evidence of a distinct lack of thoroughness in reading what we write.
Being seminarians, everyone has his or her own ideas about what that should look like. We have no problem with people saying what they expect of seminarians, but when those comments are demonstrably false, either by our words or actions, we have, I believe, a right to defend our character. Sometimes, in my case, this means a healthy dose of sarcasm. Certain people view that as being “defensive” and not following Christ’s command to turn the other cheek. But, by its very definition, the ridiculous deserves to be ridiculed.
Another thing with which a particular commenter took issue (as a smokescreen, in my opinion) was the fact that she does not see this blog as “Christ-centered” since our posts often do not include a direct or explicit reference to the fact that Christ died for sinners in order that they might be forgiven (the Gospel). Perhaps she should write a letter to World Magazine complaining about the same thing. But I suspect she will not do that because her personal feelings regarding her friend made her want to find a reason to criticize us.
But the more important issue is what it means to be “Christ-centered.” If one means that it is necessary to include a reference to the Gospel or forgiveness of sins in every post, I confess we are guilty. If it means that we should have a certain percentage of our posts that speak directly to the Gospel, that is a personal preference. (I count about 1/4 of our posts for March including such references, but apparently we did not fill the Gospel quota for this past month.) So then, what does it mean to say that we are, as I believe, Christ-centered? It means what it has always meant, that, ideally (perhaps we have failed at times), we would approach every post from the perspective that we are sinners who have been redeemed and covered with the blood of Christ. Since some people appear to be stuck in Second (Article) gear, while ignoring everything that might fall under the First Article of the Creed (everything that is not explicitly sinful in creation), I would not expect them to understand that we might profitably comment about things such as basketball and the end of Prohibition (to name two). In fact, everything is profitable as long as thanks is given to God and the thing is not made into an idol. (See 1 Timothy 4:1-5.)
I think it is near-blasphemy to say that the devil has created anything, so while he distorts and twists the good things in God’s creation, God is the creator of everything. The comment that we “don’t say Jesus enough” is similar to those well-intentioned, but misguided people who think that any musician who calls himself a Christian must include the “J-word” in each and every stanza or he is somehow betraying the Gospel of God. That is the argument of sects, not of true Christianity.
It is not true to say that we do not welcome criticism of this blog. What is every discussion we have had, if not a discussion of the merits or demerits of our opinions? I believe we have conducted ourselves honorably in those discussions, and there are very few things I like more than a deep theological discussion. On the other hand, there are those, who for personal reasons or otherwise, feel the need to resort to ad hominem (in the true meaning of those words) attacks, rather than offering cogent or constructive arguments for their points of view. That I cannot handle.
For what it’s worth, this blog is, as it says in the sidebar, hopefully a medium for finding and understanding more fully truth (or Truth). This will naturally include not only explicit references to the Truth, Jesus Christ, but also to small-t truth such as attempts to deny the value of life or marriage. It will also include posts on things that interest us, which, while not speaking directly to the reality of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness in our lives, do not deny that reality.
Thanks again for reading, and I invite thoughtful discussion of the purpose for this blog (not that we’ll take all your advice!)


Holy (Maundy) Thursday

O Lord God, who has left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so use this Sacrament of Thy body and blood that the fruits of Thy redemption may continually be manisfest in us; Thou, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

God forbid that I should glory: save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Him is salvation, life, and resurrection from the dead: by Him we are redeemed and set at liberty.


Holy Wednesday

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted, may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of Thine only-begotten Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God. Amen.

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow: of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth.
For He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: wherefore He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.