Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Again, in the case of Meditation Two, the basic issues are quite simple. There the difficulty lies in convincing readers to relinquish their certitudes regarding what they imagine they know about the text of scripture, as a result of long indoctrination (fortified in most cases by misleading translations). I have, for example, repeatedly seen readers claim with considerable assurance that the Christ of the Synoptic Gospels spoke of a place called “Hell” where souls suffer eternal torment through the application of unquenchable fire and the tender ministrations of an immortal worm. In fact, Christ spoke of a place called the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) which lay outside Jerusalem, and which had become a rather nebulous image in his time of God’s judgment both within and beyond history; and he described that valley in terms borrowed from Isaiah, as a place where corpses would be consumed by flames that were always burning and by worms that were always devouring carrion. It is an image of the final disposal and destruction of the dead, not of their perpetual suffering. And, given that Jesus told his followers that in many instances he was speaking of things that would occur within their lifetimes, it is also clear that much of that imagery applies to intra-historical calamities, not just to some final judgment at history’s end. Then, too, Jesus used a whole host of other images of judgment as well that, read literally, are not compatible with one another, and certainly provide no simple uniform theology of the afterlife; some, in fact, clearly suggest an eventual deliverance from “final” punishment. But, no matter the imagery he employed, absolutely nowhere did he describe a place of eternal misery.
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Saturday, May 08, 2021
I am very annoyed when I hear young progressives use the euphemism, "Women's reproductive health." Abortion is about killing, and is therefore the opposite of health. There is nothing healthy in killing. A living human being who is developing naturally is healthy, and so killing that person is the antithesis of health. Destroying the developing life is certainly the opposite of "reproductive." And to say "women's" is to assert that a pregnant women has, for nine months, two heads, two hearts, four arms, four legs, two distinct DNA patterns, two distinct sets of fingerprints, and two distinct identities. Yes, I get it that it just isn't fair that women get pregnant and men don't; but pregnancy is always of very limited duration: Unlike death, it is not a permanent condition.
The scientific fact is that the two sexes predate the evolution of the species Homo sapiens. Even atheists must admit that human beings did not create this situation that is simply nature beyond our control. We might enforce fairness then, but only by enacting injustice, the injustice of killing innocent human beings. Fairness, at the expenses of justice, is evil.
I say these things because I respect the claim of progressives to the moral high ground when it comes to addressing the reality of racial injustice, and the injustice of continuing economic policies that are, in effect, kleptocracy by the One Percent. I believe that the United States is, by choice, a backward third world country in its harsh and unenlightened treatment of the poor. We need to catch up with all the other democratic and developed countries when it comes to many issues, especially healthcare, campaign funding, economic justice, and police reform.
But, when progressives use the euphemism "women's reproductive health" they forfeit the moral high ground. They opt for the selfish indulgence of the "sexual revolution," to do what feels good, at the expense of accepting the reality that human behavior is capable of responsibility. I understand why the younger generation has turned away from its shift to a more pro-life position than that of the "Baby Boomers." They have retreated to the "Baby Boomer" position because, through the foolishness of many Evangelicals, and many pro-life spokesmen, the obviously hypocritical and morally reprehensible Donald Trump was allowed to appear as the face of the Pro-Life cause. It is heart breaking, because it has a been a total lie all along. But, I ask progressives everywhere, especially the young, to consider this basic argument. The child in the womb is an individual human being; if you argue that that child has no right to life, then you are also arguing for a definition of Personhood.
Now, you may ask, "What is wrong with a definition of personhood?" The answer is simple: Such a definition is never about the objective truth, but about exclusion. Who may we exclude as non-persons? History provides this perspective: Defining personhood has already excluded all people of color, to justify slavery; it has excluded Jews in Europe, to justify the Nazi Holocaust. It excluded the Native Americans to justify the evil of imperial "Manifest Destiny" with its genocide. If the child in the womb is to be treated as a non-person, based on the lie that this separate and equal individual is merely part of her mother's body (which, clearly defies scientific reality), than the argument for the absurd and unjust euphemism "women's reproductive health" is the same argument for slavery, the Holocaust, and the Native American Genocide, etc.
So, there is the forfeit of any claim to a moral high ground.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
Back in 2016 we expected Anglican refugees from Burmese and Congolese origin to arrive in the Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill triangle of North Carolina. Our parish, St. Benedict's Anglican Catholic Church, knew that these Christians feeling persecution would be welcomed into the country and helped by our parish, and that here they would have, also, a parish home with us. But, in early 2017, Executive Orders by the new President, Donald Trump, blocked these Christians, fleeing persecution, from entering the United States. It did not matter to many of you, because that new President assured Pat Robertson (theologically a strange bedfellow) that only Muslims, certainly not Christians, were blocked from coming to America. This was, to me, the earliest sign of the evil that directly interfered with the ministry of our Continuing Anglican parish.
How can the truth, the love of God, the evangelistic order of the Great Commission given us by the Risen Christ compete with the deception of partisan antichrist political ideology? Those of you still wearing your MAGA Nazi hats, stop helping Satan. He is simply laughing at you - though not for long.