Thursday, August 30, 2007

Life as we know it

I recently read an article about scientists who are working to create life in the lab. (The Flint Journal, August 26, 2007, Scientists edge ever closer to creating life from the lab)

According to Jack Szostak, a leader in the field from Harvard, they must overcome three obstacles--creating a container for the cell, establishing a genetic system to control its functions, and developing a metabolism that can extract food and change it into energy.

Szostak goes on to admit that "We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work, and then we figure out what happened."

I know scientists can do amazing things, but creating life from scratch? Why would they even want to try?

Well, the purpose, as outlined in the article, said "several scientists believe man-made life forms will one day offer the potential for solving a variety of problems, from fighting diseases to locking up greenhouse gases to eating toxic waste."

Whatever scientists happen to create, man is not God and we simply cannot create with the perfection that God does. Missing from the clinical aspects of creation is God's hand. The creation of "that first cell from synthetic life" is purely man's design, not God's.

There are people who argue that we should do whatever we can because God is the one who gives us the wisdom, but that is ridiculous when you consider that God also gives us discernment between good and evil, and if we are not humble, we can easily be led astray. Wisdom in discernment hasn't proven to be one of our strong points so far. We must try to walk the delicate balance between science and the dignity and protection of human life.

Science alone is not an evil, of course, but it could be our fall, once again!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Charges dismissed, apologies given???

The description of the acts which brought charges against two thirteen year old Oregon boys six months ago is appalling.

The charges were dismissed recently, with the boys being required to apologize, pay cash to their female classmates, and attend an educational class to learn about "boundaries." Apparently they poked, slapped, imitated intercourse, and basically mauled the girls after watching the R-rated movie Jack***.

Nobody, including the victims, wanted to see the boys go to prison or labeled as sex offenders so the charges were dismissed. I'm not arguing for or against that, but I was struck by their so-called apologies.

It is widely reported that the boys said:

"I never intended to hurt you in any way."
"I hope we can still be friends."

Are these remorseful words that reflect an understanding of the depth of the cruelty of such immoral actions? Do these words reflect acceptance of responsibility?

These are the words of emptiness. Perhaps the boys did feel remorse, but these words do not express it. These perfunctory words are the lowest expression of sorrow and guilt.

The hard work towards forgiveness and healing will hopefully be guided by the adults in their lives, whom, we can only hope, do not feed the emptiness, but fill it.

God bless,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America/homosexuality

August 12, 2007

It has just been reported that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has passed a resolution to restrain from punishing gay and lesbian ministers who are in a committed, same-gender relationship. Gay and lesbian ministers are encouraged to refrain from sexual relationships, but now there is an exception for those in committed partnerships.

The ELCA has been working on this for some time now, trying to reconcile the Biblical perspective of "accepting all people" with Biblical claims of homosexuality as sinful.

What they missed in passing this resolution, is that one must continue to be accepting of all people while instructing them in truth---such as that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that unmarried persons should practice celibacy.

This has surely been a very long, painful process for the ELCA. We should pray for the strife this will undoubtedly cause.

God bless,

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Catholic Evangelization/Latin America

August 4, 2007

I have a friend whose (non-denominational) church is relocating in order to minister to a nearby neighborhood. As I was thinking about their ministry, I said to my husband, "Why don't Catholics do that? It seems like we wait for people to come to us after they've had a conversion experience. Maybe we should go out to neighborhoods like that."

Of course, Catholics do a great deal of on-the-street ministry work with the poor, but for me, personally, my first inclination when I feel motivated is to set up a center, maybe a clearinghouse of information, rather than walk the streets.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I read an article recently in The National Catholic Register summarizing my exact concerns (Volume 83, No. XX, The Brazil Brief.) The article was reporting on a document which came from the Latin American Bishops' meeting in Cuba. The reference is to a "Great Mission" that is being created to get Catholics there, moving.

According to The Register, the document, which comes out of Aparecida, Brazil, says, in part, that the Church should not depend "so much on great programs and structures, but in men and women who have incarnated the values of the Gospel in their hearts."

So perfect a call is this to men and women throughout the worldwide church to be converted to the Gospel and work in evangelization and religious education! Our "great programs and structures" will indeed be empty shells if they are not built on hearts of love. From Religious Education teachers to missionaries, if we don't evoke the name of God by our witness or our work, we're like a "resounding gong or a clashing cymbal." (1Cor 13:1)

Secondly, The Register article says:

In regards to the root problems identified by the Latin American bishops, "We do not experience an open confrontation against the Church, but there is a sustained effort to erode the Christian culture and replace our core values with a strange list of 'rights' that attacks life, family and community under the mantle of a false 'freedom of choice.'" (Cuban Cardinal Ortega)

Isn't this what is happening all over the world? Isn't this why Christians everywhere should speak up when their values are dismissed or challenged? Not to put too sharp a point on it, but it is true that the Christian culture which we know is eroding into a secularized pool of relativism.

Of course, we are not without hope. It is time, especially for laypeople to take responsibility for spreading the Gospel and we can do that, but it begins with our own conversion. Through prayer and consistently turning our hearts and minds to God, so that he is at the forefront of our thoughts, daily--perhaps hourly--we can be leaven in the world.

God bless,