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
Same Sex Marriage?
The Catholic Church comes out four square in opposition, not only to same
sex marriage, but to gay adoption.
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
June 9, 2003
The Law and the
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.