Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From the Sad But True and Unsurprising Department

Well it's finally happened... what Christians have known all along - that an abortion can produce deep emotional and spiritual effects - has been finally recognized in a journal article in Europe. This is sad for sure. We shouldn't triumph at this point just because finally we have some agreement from secularists. Instead, we should mourn with these ladies. We should mourn that we are sinners like they and that death is profoundly unnatural no matter what way it comes. Perhaps mourning together we can point them to our only hope, Jesus who was also put to death unjustly so that those who put others to death unjustly don't have to die solely under God's justice but also under His mercy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

What about Justice?

I've been listening to NPR and reading the occasional news story over the past couple of weeks as they have covered the upcoming execution of Tookie Williams. The linked article illustrates the worldview which lies behind those who are pleading with Governor Arnold for clemency. In particular it says, "They [Williams' supporters - mb] say he has redeemed himself by speaking out against violence and writing children's books on the evils of gang life." There are two particular faults with this kind of thinking.

First, if we assume that the justice system worked (I know, I know this is a major complaint in America jurisprudence but that's why I said "assume") and Tookie Williams is guilty, there is an issue I haven't once heard mentioned. What about justice? What about "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." (Gen. 9:6). What about the fact that the blood of those whom Tookie Williams killed cries out from the ground for vengeance (Gen. 4:10). Missing in any talk of Tookie Williams is God and the affront murder makes upon God who placed His image on each murdered person.

Second, Tookie Williams and every other person on earth can't "redeem themselves". No matter how much good Tookie Williams does (good for which I'm very thankful!) he can't repay God for his sin. Only Jesus can do that.

The answer Governor Arnold should give to a plea for clemency is two-fold. First, "No. Tookie you killed those folks and you deserve to die." Second, "Tookie you don't have to go to hell to pay the penalty for your sins. The reason Christ came at Christmas is that God's justice for murderers like you could be meted out on His Son and not on you." I wonder what Arnold will say ...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

They're Just Sinners

States are struggling with how to treat sex offenders. This is a worthy topic of discussion both in the state and in the church given the reoccurrence rate among sex offenders. I'm not seeking to be a simpleton nor to set public policy but this is easier than it looks while impossible at the same time.

While it may be the sincere opinion of many mental health professionals that sex offenders are not psychotic what this means is that treatment is not needed for them. This yields no solution though since if a prisoner has done his time and there is not a compelling state interest in holding him in a mental facility, he must go free. People don't want sex offenders to go free though since most likely they'll commit a crime again. Thus the conundrum with no spiritual view of things.

Without a Christian view of this topic it's impossible to solve. Religions come in only two forms: those which conform people's behavior by external constraint and those which conform people's behavior by internal change. The first is everything but Christianity (including godless, secular humanism which lies at the root of our modern American penal system) and the second is orthodox Christianity. A penal and mental health system whose worldview cannot encompass the spiritual needs of those it serves can only be frustrated. Thus the impossibility of a Spirit-less system solving the "what do we do with sex offenders" question.

But a Spirit-ual system (i.e. one which mandates the renewing, renovating, heart overturning work of the Spirit of God in granting new life to dead sinners) makes it look easy. A sex offender is one who views others as the tool of his pleasure rather than a fellow image-bearer to be respected and cherished while sexual fulfillment is found in marriage. What is wrong with a sex offender's thinking and actions is easy to determine but impossible to change for fellow humans.

However, what is impossible for man is possible with God. Not just in a virgin having a baby but in inveterate sex offenders becoming new people in Christ by the powerful operation of the Spirit granting new life to dead sinners. Sex offenders may or may not be psychotic. I'll leave the psychiatrists to figure that out. But this sinner knows that apart from the Spirit of God I could be a sex offender and so could you. The difference is not inherently in the sinner but in the Savior's Spirit who mercifully changes heart.

What Ever Happened to the Idea of Calling?

I'm appalled. Americans are not willing to put in a decent day's work to make money? The linked article indicates that the immigrant who works cutting your fish makes $300/ wk in the winter and $700/wk in the summer. Even if the "summer" is only 4 months long that's a yearly wage of $22,000 or $11/hr.

Isn't preparing someone else's food a legitimate calling from God? I hope so or a lot of Mom's are displeasing God. It is appaling that we've completely lost any sense of vocation/calling and won't work at legitimate jobs to provide for our families. Would I want to do it? Probably not unless it was the only work available and then I'd do it in a heart beat. Why must immigrants do this work when there are likely tons of unemployed folks in Mass living off the system? The answer is that it's easier - though less fulfilling, think French riots - to live off the system.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wise Advice on Stress and Busyness

Sometimes someone else just says it better than you can. I submit to helpful and superior wisdom.

Friday, December 02, 2005

French riots partially explained

Gene Veith does an able job beginning to explain the origin of the French Riots in this article. There's a bit more analysis that needs to be done - IMHO - to explain everything that is going on in France with regards to this disturbance. Perhaps I can throw my two cents on the pile later today or early next week. In the mean time, Veith will give you plenty to think about.