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July 31, 2003

Hi. I'm back after an inexcusably long absence due to a perverse combination of travel, accident, computer failure and a few other unfortunate coincidences. But I have this thing working again at long last--at least until the gremlins return. There are some new Psalms in Reflections.

Same Sex Marriage?

The Catholic Church comes out four square in opposition, not only to same sex marriage, but to gay adoption. Link.

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter is not nuanced. She is a bomb thrower who has little interest in complicated explanations. In her book "Treason" she states baldly, "Liberals chose man. Conservatives chose God." Statements like that send some television interviewers over the edge, but there is something here one might consider. Ann paints with a broad brush, perhaps too broad. But there is a cohort of people in this country who have chosen man and standing opposite them is a cohort that has chosen God. (In between, there is a broad range of people who think they havenít chosen when they probably have.) This is a fact one should not lose sight of. And Ms. Coulter is right to this extent: More of those who have chosen man are Democrats. More of those who have chosen God are Republicans. So donít be too quick to dismiss her rhetoric, and donít miss her latest piece, "Closure on Nuance."



June 16, 2003

In reading the 10th Psalm, I am led to wonder why it is that Moslem clerics did not long ago condemn Saddam Hussein in the strongest possible terms. This psalm includes a detailed description of what evil people are like, and it fits the Saddam regime like a glove. It is hard to imagine that Islam condones mass killings, torture and rape. If it does, let them say so. If it does not, why have they not condemned this regime with at least as much vigor as they condemn the Israeli "occupation"?

I also wonder why it is that, in the face of what is being uncovered in Iraq, the world press can only carp about what it not being found. I never doubted, and still donít, that chemical and biological weapons existed in Iraq. Nor did I ever believe that the war in Iraq was primarily about WMD. To me, it was always a part of the ongoing war on terror and the WMD issue was the one issue that could be taken to the UN. Afghanistan was phase one in the war on terror and Iraq was phase two. I donít know where phase three will lead us, but I know there is one. This is probably another hundred years war, should our Lord delay his coming.

In hindsight, the war was obviously just, and everyone knows it. But instead of recognizing that, the world is ready to impeach Blair and Bush because they have not produced a smoking gun that proves beyond any doubt that there were WMD in Iraq on the opening day of the Iraq war. Never mind that they already have enough circumstantial evidence for an indictment, and that preparation even for a murder trial takes months.

Most of the noise in the press is politics. Politics is a dirty business. But it is only dirty because you and I make it so. We respond too often without thinking.

June 9, 2003

The Law and the Christian

I came across a striking statement in a recent article by Wilfred McCauley. It is far from a new idea, but sometimes old ideas can be stated with greater clarity:

The gospel is about new birth, about the making of a new man in the crucible of conversionóabout the washing away of sin, the canceling of debt, the negating of the weight of the past, the annulling of the condemning power of the Law in favor of the redeeming and renewing power of the Spirit.

The phrase I found so powerful was this: "the making of a new man in the crucible of conversion." I donít know how widespread it is, but there seems to be a feeling that conversion is an event, not a process. People speak of Saulís "conversion" on the road to Damascus, but his conversion only started there. Paul was dropped into the crucible and then placed on the anvil to be reshaped by the Holy Spirit. A crucible is "a vessel of a very refractory material (as porcelain) used for melting and calcining a substance that requires a high degree of heat." Hence, it is "a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development."

Christian conversion is not an event. It is the process of a lifetime.

The other phrase that caught my attention was this one: "the annulling of the condemning power of the Law in favor of the redeeming and renewing power of the Spirit." Oddly, there are those who believe it was the law that was annulled instead of the condemning power of the law. It occurs to me that we are no longer in the hands of the law. The law is now in our hands. Or better put, it is in our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). It is a companion, a guide, an instructor. Metaphorically, it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The law is in no way diminished (Matthew 5:17-19). But the role of the law in our lives has changed from condemnation to guide.







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