Sitting there with folded hands |
And peaceful heart and restful mind I see
The warm sunlit color
Of brown and red and gold leaves rustling
With a spicy, rich, dark, earth smell stirring
In the cool caress of crisp autumn air
Glinting here and there with shadow shapes
Of carved wood chairs and rough, red hearth
And wondering recollect the days of joy and pain
And stumbling steps and breathless pace,
A table set by God and spread with blessings amply served,
And now for which as afterward I sit in time of rest
My heart with quiet thankfulness is overflowed
And eagerly awaits
Posted 11/19/2006 at 8:35 PM
Sunday November 19, 2006
Conversation on Saturday, August 31, 2002 with a young man|
at a Subway somewhere in the cornfields of Indiana.
Are you a Christian?
No, I used to be, but I'm not anymore.
What is your group called?
We don't have a name. We have chapters all over the world.
How do your beliefs differ from that of Christians?
We never ask for donations, and follow *only* what the Bible says. We reject all worldy influence, and have no TV, radio, or newspapers.
In what ways do Christians add to or fail to obey the teaching of Scripture?
Jesus sent His disciples out 2 by 2, with no purse or provisions.
George Muller, St Benedict, St Francsis embodied this principle in different ways. How does your group handle differing interpretations of a Scripture?
I'm not aware of any difference in interpretation. It has never come up.
How does your group handle someone teaching a different doctrine? For instance, suppose someone started teaching that Jesus only apperared to be Human? How would this be corrected?
But Jesus does *not* have a Human nature! He overcame our Human Nature so that we can overcome it also.
Ok, suppose I come to your group and claim that Jesus is fully Human as well as Divine. How would you handle it?
I don't know. We go by what the Bible says. The Bible says Jesus overcame the flesh, and we are to become like Christ.
The Bible also says "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us," and promises resurrection of the body for both the just and unjust. What do you call Adam's nature before the fall?
I don't know. I have to go...
Posted 11/19/2006 at 5:20 PM
Sunday November 12, 2006
I am often asked if there is a secular reason to be against "gay"
"marriage". There are many reasons based on historical sources
and authorities which are not accepted by most secularists. But
there are secular reasons as well. I think the best way to answer
is to first explain what the "gay" "marriage" issue is not.
We will leave aside the question of whether sexual behaviours
commonly called "gay" are healthy or moral for another discussion.|
It is not about redefining words. Words like "gay" and the like are too far gone to be worth trying to save. It is true that the more radical gay advocacy groups are intent on redefining the word "marriage". However, this only serves to confuse those trying to think about the issue. It doesn't change the issue. Marriage is what it is even if the activists force us to make up a new word for it. Furthermore, there are honest efforts to create "civil unions" that don't attempt to redefine marriage - just create a legal framework that resembles it in some ways.
It is not about freedom. In the United States, everyone is free to engage in any desired sexual behaviour in private. (There are increasingly minor restrictions on what may be done in public that apply equally to all types of sexual behaviour, and practices involving a minor, or fatal to a partner in the short term are illegal.) Furthermore, everyone is free to exchange public vows of fidelity (or infidelity) with persons or animals (yes, a woman exchanged vows with her dog in public) of any description while calling on any deity, demon, or non-existence of same that they choose. Everyone is free to sign legal documents with any person or persons creating mutual privileges and obligations just like a civil marriage (sorry, bestie buffs are out of luck until they succeed in getting animals declared as "persons"). They do not need to hire a lawyer to create such documents from scratch - if their type of sexual behaviour is at all popular (and is a kind that wants such obligations), an advocacy group has most likely already created standard forms.
It is not about tax benefits. Until recently, civil marriage carried a tax penalty, prompting many couples to say their vows and skip the civil marriage - or get a civil divorce each December and remarry in January. Even recent reforms do not entirely eliminate the marriage penalty.
So what on earth are gay activists trying to get with civil unions or gay "marriage" that they don't already have? They want explicit official approval. They already have implicit approval with the repeal of sodomy laws in most states. But they want explicit approval - a pat on the back. The more radical elements want to brand those who fail to sing their praises with proper feeling as "bigots" guilty of "hate crime" (which makes those who demand this gay fascists), but most of those calling for civil unions just want official approval.
Before we consider civil unions, we need to ask why we have civil marriage. Why not have weddings in churches or covens of choice, sign a legal agreement and be done with it? Civil marriages are supposed to encourage marriage because the survival of the state depends on the next generation. In other words, it is a "compelling state interest". Lest you think this is an exaggeration, look at the fate of Germany and France today. The survival of the German nation depends on whether the current secretary of family affairs, a woman setting the example with 7 children, can convince enough other Germans to take on the challenge of raising a family. In the United States, the birth rate is still stable. But this depends on enough people not just having babies, but raising families. Civil unions do not meet such a state interest.
There are those who resent the role of marriage and families in nurturing the next generation. They propose "advanced" methods of procreation that involve breeders (or test tubes) and day care in place of marriage and family. (Sound familiar?) This vision is the next step in the process of separating sex and procreation. This process began with birth control. Now, people were told, you can have sex whenever you please, and have children when you please (if you please - which Europeans today by and large don't). Same sex, and inter-species sexual behaviours are more ways to get sex with out procreation. Test tube babies, surrogate mothers, sperm banks, egg banks, are all ways to get procreation without sex. Abortion is a way to "fix" unwanted procreation after the fact.
We have not yet reached the limits of this separation. In "That Hideous Strength", C. S. Lewis describes the fictional selenites (moon people) as lying with images of their mates, warmed and animated by cunning arts, while their children are conceived in vats by machinery. Our culture is already exploring the fringes of selenite culture with virtual pornography.
But if we do reach this nirvahna of endless sex without responsibility, scientifically controlled procreation, and children raised by villages of professionals, so that marriage is no longer a compelling state interest, then civil unions are still less a state interest.
Edited on January 20, 2007 to correct reference to German Chancellor.
Posted 11/12/2006 at 5:14 PM