Tune in on Monday, 10 am Eastern, 9 where I am, and 7 where my parents are.
[Unfortunately, my time was not correct. It was on at 8, rather than 9 here. Here’s an article on the Today site, though.]
I have her book, but it’s still on my “To Read” list.
It’s always a little strange what articles sometimes come up together. Today, I read both this and this. In the first, a British millionaire is accused of trying to cause his wife to miscarry with abortion drugs. In the second, a woman gave birth to a baby almost as tall as she is, in spite of being encouraged to abort by her doctors.
You might think it suspicious that the millionaire is being tried for his crime, considering abortion is legal. After all, how can we, on the one hand, allow women to kill their own unborn children, but call it a crime when someone else tries to do the same thing. The illogic is inherent in pro-abortion ideas, but it’s really not based on the status (human or non-human) of the baby. Rather, it really has to do with the desire of the woman. If she wants it, then killing it is wrong. If she doesn’t want it, killing it is okay.
Therein lies the problem for those who think murder is wrong in itself. We see the stupidity of such laws because we hold that murdering a human being, precisely because he or she is human, is always wrong. On the other hand, the pro-murder faction recognizes personhood based on some criteria other than whether a human simply belongs to the human family. But defining who belongs as a person and who does not will never be a successful enterprise for the bare fact that, despite even the best philosophical try, no definition of personhood that I have seen has yet been able to say why it is wrong to kill old people in nursing homes, or anyone in a coma, or your own grandmother when you tire of paying her bills. The current definitions of person, like the Nazi ones, sound eerily like the self-definition of the definer. The only question that needs to be asked is, who gets to draw the boundary lines of who is and is not a person? If it’s Ann Coulter, the Democrats are out of luck. Totalitarianism is only good as long as its my totality that reigns.
This essay says a lot about our churches, and it’s mostly bad.
Something that struck me:
2. It is hard to be solemn if you are in a hurry.
Haste says that something else is more important than what you are doing at present. The marines’ deliberate and unhurried ceremonies showed that ritual, done with care and attention, can communicate the solemnity of a solemn occasion, which the burial of the dead certainly is.
The trend in liturgical revision in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches (and I suspect most Western liturgical churches) in the last forty years has been to shorten the services, to streamline things, so that people don’t get bored. Having absorbed this mentality, ministers have become apologetic for taking any time with the liturgy. The mentality says, “We know you have more important things to do, so we’ll get through the worship as quickly as possible.” It tells the people gathered that there is nothing that requires solemnity, for if worship does not, what does?
And everyone does have more important things. An hour and a half for a church service? Are you kidding me? And you can watch the people exit after they’ve got their bits of Jesus in the Sacrament. They got what they came for. What a pathetic lot we are, willing to spend hours watching a football or baseball game, or reading a book (?), or whatever it is that we enjoy, but when it comes to God’s service for and of us, we can’t be bothered. If that’s not the essence of Original Sin, I don’t know what is. Pathetic, selfish losers, all of us.
If you are involved at all in denominational politics (if you’re not, count it a blessing) or you have simply been paying attention to religion in the United States, you know that church has become much like everything else: individualistic, consumer-driven, and bound to marketplace and therapeutic dynamics. No one is made part of the Body of Christ anymore by the Gospel and Baptism; instead, you join a like-minded group of people. People don’t flock to churches where pure doctrine is taught and defended (as if they ever did!); no, churches compete to see who can produce the best programs and use the newest technology. If someone steps on your toes (especially the pastor) or isn’t nice to you, you just leave and find a church where they’re extra-nice. (Maybe it’s backwards, but the churches that have the “nicest” people are usually the most heretical; either that, or they’re trying to sell you something.)
This article discusses a survey that recognizes all these things and describes how people switch traditions in a second, with little or no loyalty to the tradition in which they have been brought up. Loyalty for loyalty’s sake is obviously no better, but perhaps they’ll be in a position to hear the actual Christian Gospel, rather than some trumped-up pseudo-Christian feel-goodism.
“The American religious economy is like a marketplace — very dynamic, very competitive,” said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum. “Everyone is losing, everyone is gaining. There are net winners and losers, but no one can stand still. Those groups that are losing significant numbers have to recoup them to stay vibrant.”
As if numbers guaranteed vibrancy, let alone vitality. Maybe it’s just a thousand sinners going to hell. Christ never guaranteed vibrancy. I believe He did guarantee persecution and death for those who follow Him. So, all in all, I’m not too worried. If Luther was right, one of the marks of the Church is the holy cross. Somehow, I’m not surprised then that the biggest churches with the most programs and the coolest bands and PowerPoint are cross-less. Numbers? We have enough to worry about trying to be faithful. Leave the numbers to God.
If you’re married with children, or if you’ve ever seen that one episode of King of Queens, this video is for you.
Weekend Plans on FunnyOrDie.com
[I recommend nothing else on the site]
I highly recommend this article by Pr. Krenz. Congratulations and God’s blessings to him and his wife as well on the birth of their first child, a daughter. The goodness of the Lord abounds.
I was at this conference in 2001, and I see that they now have the audio files up at iTunesU. I recommend these files for your edification.
(Go to iTunesU, either from within iTunes, or from here; I found it in the featured “Science and Religion” section, but you can also find it from the Seattle Pacific University section. Look under “Campus Lectures.”)