Saturday, March 29, 2008
Regardless of what we might think of the masculine image or fearful image of God here, Gary has a point. So often I think of a personal relationship with God as being between myself and God, that I have to remember that my wife also has a personal relationship with God that she sees primarily as between herself and God. The funny thing is-same God! Therefore how I treat her affects her and so also her relationship with God, then presumably also God and finally my relationship with God. Does remembering that others in our church, at the supermarket, on the road all belong to God--the same God that I sing hymns and pray to--affect the way I treat them? I don't know that I have thought about it much, but perhaps I should.
We always pray the "Our Father," but to be honest, I think I am most tempted to think, even while praying it in the congregation, "My Father." But maybe Jesus taught us to pray in the first person plural for a reason.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This really bothered us. It seems God made the female body to function in a particular way, and we were medicating it as if her fertility were a disease. We soon learned of the Creighton Model. Instead of medicating to change cycles and inhibit fertility, the Creighton Model teaches couples to understand the signals that the body is made to send during cycles. We chart daily mucus activity (I'll spare details) and are able to know exactly which days are fertile and which days are not. The system has a 99.5% method effectiveness (how effective the model is when used properly), and has a 96.8% use effectiveness (how effective people are at using the method properly). This rivals that of "The Pill" and as soon as you wish to have a child, the same method that prevented unwanted pregnancy turns into a fertility aid.
In addition, the few doctors who are familiar with the method have found that charting the body's activity can help diagnose certain diseases, including ovarian cancer, long before current traditional methods of detection.
The problem is, why would no medical professional tell my wife and I of this model when we asked for a full list of possibilities? It is assumed to be a strange Catholic practice, not unlike the rhythm method. But it is very different. It is much more researched, there is an enormous amount documentation; and yet we continue to be told that medication is the only way to deal with the problem of the female body.
Finally, and sorry for the long post, it seems that this should instigate again the debate about birth control. Here is a natural method that respects the female body, avoids implicitly labeling fertility as a disease, and allows couples to have some control over when to have how many children, while giving women tools to notice something out of the ordinary long before traditional medicine would have noticed. Is it too late for such a method to even be considered? Why has this model been kept secret. It seems that objective doctors, who are indeed "practicing medicine" should at least be familiar enough with the model to let an inquiring patient how to find more information.
Friday, March 21, 2008
On this Good Friday night, I am reminded again, that in so much as Jesus is God, God is dead..
Earlier this week, a boy at a local middle school committed suicide. Parents and youth at my church are trying to make sense of such a tragedy. Another pastor and I had an opportunity to talk with our confirmation class--some of whom were very closely affected by the death. At one point the other pastor asked a rhetorical question of the group. "Knowing what you now know, imagine that you had an opportunity to talk with the boy. What would you have said to him?"
As I have thought about that question myself this week, I am pondering what it means that God has died for us.
A number of people have expressed disbelief that the life of a seventh grader could be so bad to warrant suicide. I am troubled by this reasoning on two levels. On the one hand it seems dismissive of the things that stress teenagers--as if those stresses are somehow less real because they affect young people. On the other hand, it seems to assume that it is unreasonable that a 7th grader would commit suicide and assumes that if he were much older, suicide seems a more appropriate consideration.
Another comment I have often heard is, "There is nothing so terrible that could possibly make suicide your best option." This is undoubtedly true, and a good bit of simple advice to young people. But obviously anyone who has committed suicide thought that they had only one option--and not having stood in their shoes, I wouldn't want to deny their feelings especially since it is impossible to hear them out at this point.
So what would I say?
Lets assume for just a minute that it really is that bad. Maybe the depths of despair can become so great that death is the only thing deep enough to match the pain. In fact, I find it likely that such despair exists for many of us. The good news is that the death has been died for us. God is dead. God has died. And God has invited us to cast our cares, our deepest hurts, our embarrassments on Christ--who has already died that we don't have to.
Maybe those who are contemplating suicide really are in need of death--not the kind of death that you inflict on yourself. Rather, maybe there is a need to die to that which has caused the kind of anxiety that has led the suicidal person to believe death is the only possibility.
We are invited to participate in God's death so there is no need to take our own lives. Rather we can give our lives over to the one who has died; the one who can transform death into everlasting life; the one who takes our anxiety and despair and gives us freedom and hope.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
You're Babar the King!
by Jean de Brunhoff
Though your life has been filled with struggle and sadness of late,
you're personally doing quite well for yourself. All this success brings responsibility,
though, and should not be taken lightly. Life has turned from war to peace, from damage
to reconstruction, and this brings a bright new hope for everyone you know. These hopeful
people look to you for guidance, and your best advice to them is to watch out for snakes.
You're quite fond of the name "Celeste".
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
This concept of allowing the loving Jesus to also be a Jesus who becomes frustrated with his people makes me wonder if Jesus is ever frustrated with me. Do my prayers reveal a lack of understanding about the identity of the God I serve?