Tuesday, November 15, 2011

more of my favorite lyrics...

This is a classic underground Christian alternative rock song... and the album (has the same title) is definitely worth buying if you can find it.

Mike Knott - 'Rocket and a Bomb'

Monday, November 7, 2011

Think life begins at conception? Well... maybe...

[Update: The bill mentioned below did not pass, which is very interesting for a variety of reasons.]

I am pro-life. I oppose both abortion-on-demand and the death penalty (and attempt to live as a pacifist) because I believe that human life is a sacred gift, given by God, and we don't have the right to take another human life. Only God has that authority. Unfortunately, just saying this is not enough to solve many serious ethical dilemmas, including the issue of abortion.

But, it seems to me that taking seriously the question "When does life begin?" is vital if we hope to get closer to a valuable understanding these ethical dilemmas. Of course, for some, there is no question. Poor thinking takes place on all sides, but here is one example:

The state of Mississippi is going to vote this week on Initiative 26, which has gained notoriety as the "personhood amendment." Essentially, the voters of the state will decide on how the beginning of a human life is defined. It seems likely that the decision will be that life begins at conception. The problem is, this view does not have much scientific evidence to support it, and, I will suggest, it does not have much biblical support either.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I didn't write this...

This guy did. But it's so good I just had to re-post. (His blog is great, by the way. Very thoughtful theologian getting a PhD at the University of Durham.)

"The Church is the place where water is thicker than blood, and where married partners, whose earthly unions survive only until the parting of death, enter into deeper and eternal unions in the body of Christ, where the eternal friendship of Christian sibling-hood overcomes the barriers of blood, race, and status. This new order transcends and translates the old order into it. Christian married couples remain married, but now participate in a deeper and more lasting set of relationships. Rather than playing off celibacy against married life, I think that what we need to do is focus on those deeper sets of relationships, and how they transform and shape our existing ones. In a context where most parties in the Church seem to be obsessed with marriage, family, and sexuality, perhaps we should remember that the perfect human being that we follow was a lifelong celibate, with a rather ambivalent attitude to his blood relations...

People have wondered how Jesus of Nazareth, who never married or fathered children, could embody perfect humanity. Jesus may not have been a husband or a father, but he exemplified a sort of relationship that speaks beyond all of these roles and can transform them: Jesus was the Friend. While this fact is often presented in the trivializing fashion of Jesus as the ‘life and soul of the party’, this falls so far short of the truth. Jesus had an unparalleled capacity to give himself to other people in a manner that brought freedom, health, life, comfort, forgiveness, and joy. People wanted to be with Jesus. No human being has been a friend like Christ.

Jesus' friendships broke boundaries between the sexes, and between social insiders and outsiders. In the realm of true friendship we are all equals and contemporaries. Generational differences no longer matter and the differences between the sexes need not be a divide. Jesus had close friendships with both men and women, including forms of friendship that can be very rarely practiced in certain contexts today, such as profoundly homoaffective but non-sexual friendships and unsexualized friendships with the other sex. The various vocations we have as individuals are nothing but innumerable different species of friendship, conjugations of that more fundamental relationship...

In the contemporary Church, I wonder whether our incessant focus upon the categories of marriage, singleness, and sexuality is bound up with a myopic failure to see the deeper category of friendship, which both relativizes and transforms them. In the midst of the innumerable theological works that are written on the subject of sexuality, one could be forgiven for forgetting that the Bible really has hardly anything to say about what we call sexuality and that, when it does, it is accorded only a marginally important significance. In a like manner, the centrality of family and marriage in the contemporary evangelical church and awkward place of singles seems somewhat strange when perceived against the background of a New Testament in which families are most noticeable by their absence and where familial, marital, and blood bonds are consistently transcended.

A thoroughgoing theology of friendship has the potential to puncture numerous myths and radically to reorient our understanding and vision. A Church that spoke far more about friendship than sexuality, for instance, would have a far more challenging message to present to a sex-obsessed age. A Church that unapologetically proclaimed that a celibate person embodied perfect humanity, and carefully articulated the consequences of this belief, would strike at the heart of some of the greatest idols of our age. The fact that this is seldom done is perhaps evidence of the fact that we are also enthralled by them."