Wednesday, April 27, 2005

apologetic or forensic?

Two words have received some attention lately in my closer circles of discussion: “forensic” and “apologetic”. We found it shameful yet humorous that we could all describe ways in which “forensic” could be used, but no one was able to actually define the word! One person theorized the irony, “if we went to the dictionary and found the definition to be, ‘that exercise by which one sets about to determine the definition of this very word.’”

In case you are wondering, “forensic” can be used as a noun, adverb (“forensically”) or as an adjective. The word “forensic” is from the Latin forensis, meaning “belonging to the market, public” and it’s root forum, meaning “what is out of doors, public in place.” Webster tells us the adjective “belongs to or is used in or is suitable to courts of judicature or to public discussion and debate.” Another meaning is “argumentative, rhetorical.” Yet another: “relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems.” As a noun, “forensic” refers to the argumentative exercise, even the art or study of argumentative discourse.

One other word that came to mind was “apologetic” namely that Greek word “apologia” referring to that, “offered in defense or vindication” as opposed to that “regretfully acknowledging fault or failure.” As a singular noun, “apologetics” has become that “systematic argumentative discourse in defense.” Also, “a branch of theology devoted to the defense of divine origin and authority of Christianity.”

I just cannot help but wonder if our application and usage of the terms are correct. If “forensic” includes public discourse, then this is more closely related to lecturing. Since the word also includes that which is in the context of the courts, wouldn’t this imply that the evidence we now have accumulated and present as Christian “apologetics” is really Christian “forensic?” And if this is the case, what is Christian apologetics? What did Peter really have in mind as a rational biblical defense of hope, namely the propositions of scripture: God is holy, man is sinful, the full atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross, etc.. . .which is clearly not the “evidentialism” as we present as “apologetics” today. I am certain Peter did not have volumes of Josh McDowell, Norman Geisler or Greg Koukel much less any of Augustine's writings sitting on his shelf when he wrote to the persecuted Christians encouraging them to be prepared with an "apologia."

What is the hope of our faith? "The credibility of Christianity based on the preparation, uniqueness and reliability of the Bible, its persons, places and things, as confirmed by archaeology in light of God's work in the lives of men and women throughout history?" (The forensic approach)

OR

The withstanding through suffering because of the hope found in Christ Jesus, that one is saved from the power of sin and will be delivered from the presence of sin because of His finished work on the cross, resurrection from the dead, exaltation at the Father's right hand and immenent return? (apologetic)

Thoughtful discussion ("feedback") is appreciated.

Friday, April 22, 2005

overheard outside the prayer closet

Lord, I have no right to enter your presence in prayer. I am tired, weak and unworthy.

If you had been an angel at home, never raised your voice, gave each child equal time, were supersensitive to your wife, got every chore done, would you feel like praying?

Yes, Lord, I sure would.

If you had devotions every day this week for an hour and as part of that time interceded for every lost family member and friend, praying for every missionary you have ever known in every place, would you feel more like entering my presence?

Yes, Lord, I sure would.

If you had written an article, posted a blog, finished all your projects and got all your work done, would you feel like praying?

Yes, Lord, I sure would.

If you witnessed to your next door neighbor instead of complaining about him and had won him to me, would you feel more like praying today?

Then, you would have been praying in your own name and not mine.


***** ***** *****
"My soul, wait thou only upon God" (Ps. 62:5)

"Did it ever occur to you that if you do not hear God’s answer to prayer, it may be not because He is dumb, but because you are deaf; not because He has no answer to give, but because you have not been listening for it? We are so busy with our service, so busy with our work, and sometimes so busy with our praying, that it does not occur to us to stop our own talking and listen if God has some answer to give us with “the still small voice”; to be passive, to be quiet, to do nothing, say nothing, in some true sense think nothing; simply to be receptive and waiting for the voice. “Wait thou only upon God,” says the Psalmist; and again, “Wait on the Lord.”"-- Selected

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Originally published: Chicago: Revell, c1990., April 14. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998, c1997, c1994, c1990.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

God 6.0

To upgrade your god, click here.

Watch Oprah respond to an evangelical on Jesus as the only way to God here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

how profound

this morning as i woke up, in that gray foggy place where the eyes are still not open and one is still able to locate his slippers, i had this profound thought: in the same way the sun rises in each morning, so God makes his flaming spirit rise on those who wait for Him.

dwelling on that imagery for a few minutes, i successfully and safely gained access to the shower in my somnatic state without scalding or freezing myself, then had another profound thought: what did Ezekiel see? What were those confounded wheels? And images like this came to mind--was Ezekiel having a vision of God through space, without a telescope, as it were?

Here are some galaxies taken by Hubble.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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And what about some of our planets, as Uranus and Saturn (infra red)?

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

today's prayer

Psalm 131: A Song of degrees of David.

This psalm contains, (1.) David's candid profession of his contentment with his lot, ver. 1-2. (2.) His warm encouragement of others to a constant dependence on God, ver. 3.

While I sing it, let me be ashamed of my pride, and of meddling with things above my sphere. Let me desire humility, as my great ornament, in every station; and study, like a child of God, weaned from worldly lusts, to set all my hope on God himself.

1 My heart not haughty is, O Lord,
mine eyes not lofty be;
Nor do I deal in matters great,
or things too high for me.

2 I surely have myself behav'd
with quiet sp'rit and mild,
As child of mother wean'd: my soul
is like a weaned child.

3 Upon the Lord let all the hope
of Israel rely,
Ev'n from the time that present is
unto eternity.

(from: "The Psalms of David in Metre with Notes" by John Brown (1722-1787) of Haddington.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Return of the Masque

The Masque Returns--and Jim Carrey ain't in it, nor his little dog, either.

As the Schaivo case gets kicked under the table, and copy-cat cases are springing up, I could not help but remember this quote:

"With the death of abolutes, the prospects are grim for any lover of justice, freedom and order. Western culture will lurch drunkenly between chaotic lawlessness and countering authoritarianism, in which some particularly abysmal vacuum of confidence could finally issue in a supreme dictatorship, mocking Western aspirations for democracy as ineffective and demonstrating the strong alliance between technology and the state. Until then, violence--blood brother of such a totalitarianism--will play its fateful part, naked or disguised, in an inevitable power struggle on all levels."

Os Guiness, "The Dust of Death" (1973)

cry mercy

ελεήμων , adjective: “to being concerned about people in their need.” [1] From ελεος, which means “kindness or concern expressed for someone in need, mercy, compassion, pity, clemency”[2]

This word is used many times to describe the attitudes of God in the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. One specific usage is seen when God passes by in His glory, that no man can see—rather he heard it! “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”[3] The glory of God contains mercy (compassion)!

“He has made His wonders to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and compassionate.” (Psalm 111:4, NASB)

Philo of Alexandria uses this word of God as it relates to things so small and trivial as a garment, “Do ye affirm that the Creator and ruler of the world calls himself merciful with respect to so trivial a matter, as that of a garment not being restored to the borrower by the lender?"[4] What is that classic song? "I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."

Of Christ Himself we read, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Heb 2:17, NASB)

Generally, God has given us great mercy (Lk 1:50; Ps 97:3); rules in mercy (Gal 6:16); surrounds with mercy, (Ps 31:10); greets with mercy (1 Ti 1:2; 2 Ti 1:2; 2J 3 Jd 2). Specifically, God “showed great kindness”(Lk 1:58, 2 Ti 1:16) and expects mercy to be found (Ps 140:5). In Christ, God shows mercy to humans (Ro 15:9; Tit 3:5) , making “rich in mercy”( Eph 2:4) “according to his great mercy (1 Pt 1:3, Ps 50:3; 24:7). Man is to “receive mercy” (Hb 4:16), “show kindness to someone” (Lk 1:72, 78), being “vessels of mercy” (Ro 9:23) “because of the mercy shown to you” (11:31) as Christ extends toward humans (Jd 21).[5]

What does it mean, then to show mercy, “to be concerned about people in their need?”
One must delight in what God delights (Hos 6:6) and be full of wisdom for mercy (Js 3:17) and be ready to show it (Gen 24:44, 49). Let mercy judge action (Js 2:13). One must show compassion, do good to someone in their circumstance (Judg 1:24; 8:35) Lk 10:37.

We are to be patterned after God:
“The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.” (Prov. 11:17, NASB)

“Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man? (Prov. 20:6, NASB)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Mt 5:7, NASB)

The ungodly understand mercy. When Antipater lamented the disorder and possibility of losing the government due to his his betrothal to the daughter of Aristobulus, his distress was compounded by the feeling of betrayal toward Jews who rescued, showed mercy to children made orphans by his father’s irresponsible rule.[6]

As Moses gave his last words to the people, Josephus records his words to include this directive: “for it is proper for you who have had the experience of the afflictions in Egypt, and of those in the wilderness, to make provision for those that are in the like circumstances; and while you have now obtained plenty yourselves, through the mercy and providence of God, to distribute of the same plenty, by the like sympathy, to such as stand in need of it.”[7]

God desires we learn what this means (Mt. 9:13; 12:7) and not be like the Pharisees who have forgotten (Mt. 23:23). Mercy is just one part of all God has done that made our salvation possible (Titus 3:5) and we can expect to find mercy from God when it is most needed, even on our approach to God (Heb. 4:16).

**************
Cry Mercy by David Crowder

I will wait, I will wait for your peace
I will wait, I will wait and you comfort me

I lift my head, I lift my heart my soul
I lift my hands, I give myself, my life, my all

And I cry mercy
A cry of freedom to be heard
And I Cry Mercy
A cry of freedom from this world

©1998 Inot MusicAll rights reserved. International copyright secured.

**************

[1]Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. "Based on Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Wr̲terbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frhüchristlichen [sic] Literatur, sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker.". 3rd ed., Page 316. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
[2]Ibid.
[3]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ex 34:6. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[4]Philo, of Alexandria, and Charles Duke Yonge. The Works of Philo : Complete and Unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1993.
[5]Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. "Based on Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Wr̲terbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frhüchristlichen [sic] Literatur, sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker.". 3rd ed., Page 316. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
[6]Josephus, Flavius, and William Whiston. The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged. Includes index., Wars 1.560. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1987.
[7]Josephus, Flavius, and William Whiston. The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged. Includes index., Ant 4.239. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1987.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wiggling the wedge.

When I think of all the Terri Schaivo case brought into our lives, my stomach still churns out of disgust for the event in and of itself. I qeaze at the reactions of many in the Christian community as it relates to the discussions that stem from the incident, discovering a wide range of opinion where there should be one, to the glory of God. Comments range from “we should repent because of our lack of involvement” to “we should distance ourselves because as Christians we are to abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.” One has suggested that the Christian should not get fired up and excited, diverting time and resources to secular issues like the Schindler-Shaivo case, “after all”, they say, “the way of the treacherous is hard.” (Prov. 13:15).

No matter what side one takes, the Terri Shaivo case was tragedy; but, would it matter if this was a case that fell in the realm of the sacred, and is not in the realm of the secular, as many people may think? Was this a federal matter for the courts to decide, or is there a clear biblical answer to the delimma? If God is sovereign (and He is) and He directs even this issue to His glory (and He does), how are people to act and react as man is fallen and lives in the fallen world? How is the church to act and react?

Of the Civil Magistrate, the Westminster Confession of Faith states: “God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers. (Rom. 13:1–4, 1 Pet. 2:13–14)” [1]

The Confession also makes clear the lawful allowance of Christians to accept and execute the office of civil magistrate, “when called thereunto”; however, once in position, that Christian may not, in effect, act as a Church official toward the state. On the other hand, that Christian magistrate is under compulsion “to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretence of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance. (Rom. 13:4, 1 Tim. 2:2)”[2]

On this subject, R.C. Sproul comments: “The church’s sphere of authority relates to the civil government at the level of morality. The church has the responsibility to comment on the morality of governments and their policies on the basis of God’s word, but should not appropriate to itself the power to set such policies. Whereas these assessments may foster political action among Christians, they should act in their capacity as citizens rather than as representatives of the church. In this way the gospel works through moral persuasion and the working of God’s grace among citizens. ” [3]

What does the Christian as magistrate have to do with Terri Schaivo? When we consider that morality is not a matter of legislation but of the gospel, and the church is to be preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, we discover that in her case specifically, the Christian had every right as a private citizen to get involved. The case of Terri Schaivo was not a case of conscience and moral legislation but the miscarriage of Biblical Law.

I racked my brain. I prayed. I said, “God, if this as all things, are for the praise of your glory, what is the Bible answer to this? Am I wrong for getting worked up? How do I address this as a minister of Jesus Christ?”

Exodus 21:7-11 contains the first part of the answer. “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.”[4]

I’ll wait here while you read that again.

In a nutshell, if a man has a female slave and he wants his son to marry her, then her status moves from that of “slave” to “daughter.” Now, the context is not intended to comment on adultery or bigamy here, so we can’t ask the text to answer that here. The point is that a person, whether wife or slave, must be treated with dignity and respect, as being image-bearer of God—this is why killing and specifically intentional neglect, is wrong. Read the surrounding verses for context and see how instruction on treatment of slaves reflects the treatment of the crown of God’s creation.

Michael wanted rid of Terri, partially due to the presence of the other woman. Terri's parents wanted her back, to take care of her. What could be more clear?

“Ok,” someone says. “Perhaps there is something here.”

What about the relationship between judicial system, the Christian and the Bible? I find Exodus 23:1-3 appropriate: “You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”[5]

It is certainly one thing to “abhor what is evil and cling to what is good”. It is yet another to join hands with the wicked to be a malicious witness and following the masses in doing evil. Where the masses doing evil? I cannot and will not attempt an answer—but where was joining hands with evil done? First, it was in the priest who stood “in the name of the church” (Catholic) and declared that euthanasia was fully supported by the church. While it is true that the “thou shall not kill” passages, including the one mentioned above, say the opposite, the priest’s boss, Pope John Paul II, blatantly said this was not the case. Second, it was in those who stood by and did nothing. I cannot think that in every argument I’ve ever heard about “let the gospel fix the problem” and "preach the Bible--people are held responsible to hear", that the Exodus passages never came to anyone's mind—nor the New Testament ones.

One remembers that Samaritan that helped the man who fell among robbers—did Jesus say that was a parable, by the way? Did he condemn the Samaritan for getting involved or for bringing the poor man to safety? Not in my Bible. Go ahead and argue context with me--who is your and my neighbor but anyone we pass to the left and right.

Ask yourself—why did Jesus use THIS example to describe neighbor-love and why did he connect it to eternal life? How were Samaritans received in that setting? What challenge is given? Read Luke 10:25-37.

One more from Sproul: “Christians should urge governments to fulfill their proper role. They are to pray for, obey, and yet watch over civil governments (1 Tim. 2:1–4; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14), reminding them that God ordained them to rule, protect, and keep order.” [6]

Finally, consider an excerpt from "The Westminster Shorter Catechism":

Question #67: Which is the sixth commandment?
A: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill. (Exod. 20:13)

Question #68: What is required in the sixth commandment?
A; The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, (Eph. 5:28–29) and the life of others. (1 Kings 18:4)

Question #69: What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A: The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto. (Acts 16:28, Gen. 9:6)

********************

[1]The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIII, 1. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996.
[2]ibid.
[3]New Geneva Study Bible. electronic ed., Ge 1:1. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995.
[4]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ex 21:6. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[5]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ex 23:1. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[6]New Geneva Study Bible. electronic ed., Ge 1:1. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

from the shelf

A great weight has been placed on me lately, one not asked or sought for, but one designed for God's glory and my growth.

For the past month or so a good friend and I have not been seeing eye-to-eye. As we talk, our conversations lately have reached points of misunderstanding and this has been getting frustrating. Comments lately make me feel as if I were a personal project that he now cannot control or fix, so he will "steward his time" somewhere else. I want resolution and peace because I feel used and betrayed.

I've been dealing with a onslaught of thoughts and temptations concerning this and I've come to these few conclusions so far:

1) I've done nothing wrong and neither has he--there is deception in the way;

2) I am not wrong to have an opinion and neither is he--there is the issue of personal conviction on how one acts and reacts based on what is known, not assumed;

3) "Love covers a multitude of sins and overlooks many offenses." (Prov. 10:12, 16; 17:9; 19:11; 1 Pe 4:8)

4) "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

5) Bitterness is to be put away (Eph. 4:31) and biting must end (Gal. 5:15). Bitterness belongs to the sinful nature (Gal. 5:19) and the bitter root must not grow (Heb. 12:15.)

It is to my shame and God's glory I am what I am; for I would not realize the ongoing depravity of my own heart should I not look at Him. As I sit in selfish self-pity I realize then that my eyes are not on Him who is Faithful and True.

Eulogy

To a friend who differs in opinion:

**********

"The Invitation"

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals or
have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be
careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you're telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithless
and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it's not pretty, every day,
and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes"!

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and
despair, weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

-- Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Thursday, April 07, 2005

“The Slippery Slope of the Terri Schiavo case.”

Today in chapel on the campus of Columbia International University, we had what was perhaps one of the best chapels many of us can remember.

Beginning with a multimedia presentation summarizing the life and circumstances surrounding Terri Shiavo, we listened to Switchfoot perform “On Fire.”

Dr. Dixon moderated a panel discussion on topics related to Terri Schaivo and how we apply this to our current life and ministry situation. The panel included Dr. Baarendse (SB), Dr. Larkin (WL), Dr. Shiffman (SS), Dr. Crutchfield (JC) and Mr. Janosik.

What follows are my notes from the Chapel Panel Discussion:

1. “How should Christians think about current events? Should we stay current?”

(LD) Lk 13:1-5 shows us how Jesus was “up” on the issues.

(SS) We must meaningfully engage the culture, we cannot be ignorant. We must be concerned with issues, but not consumed by them. Beware of becoming issues-oriented and not Christ-oriented. Beware of losing the peace and joy of living the abundant life given by Jesus.

(DJ) Be apologists. Get both sides of an issue. Make certain your answer reflect the hope that is in you.

(WL) Love God with all you mind and answer from that perspective. Media has no such foundation. When we have this foundation, we are better equipped to answer questions as: “What does it mean to be created imago dei?” and “ What does it mean that death is the result of sin and is to be done away by Christ?”

(LD) Be resourceful. Use resources wisely.

2. “How do we know media is not misinforming us on issues?”

(SB) Language molds the way we think. Orwell knew that for the government to control the people, language had to first be controlled. He gave us an example of this in his book 1984. Orwell gave us “newspeak” that produced the word “unpersons.” As we read the newspapers we can look for word patterns. Terri was called “PVS”, which was a term used by the media to help us think of her as a “non-person” because by definition a vegetable is nothing more than cabbage. The “extreme measures” by which she was kept alive was the need for food and water, just as a baby. Does a baby deserve to die? No person is cabbage.

(DJ) “quality of life” is being emphasized over “quantity of life.” Where is the spirit? Consider the victims of coma, many of whom have not only recovered from worse situations than Terri, but also report the ability to have seen, heard and felt everything that was going on around them, only they did not have the ability to respond.

3. “What about “right to die” and “right to live” issues?

(WL) First, God is the sovereign giver and taker of life. Second, consider the nature of human life. If man is only his body, then his life consists of nothing more than the physical. On the other hand, because man is whole and has a soul, he is more than a body alone and life is much more. Terri was a person with a soul.

4. “With advancements of technology, what measures should we take to keep our loved ones alive?”

(SS) People are discussing issues as “Living Wills” and are very specific about their wishes, even appointing rights. Terri left no Living Will and we were left to deal with someone else’s decision.

(WL) C. Everett Koop wrote his book “The Right to Love, The Right to Die” as a pediatric surgeon with experience in dealing with children and disease. He laid out his “philosophy” of dealing with this issue: first, understand the nature of the disease; second, understand the nature of the patient; third, understand the reaction of the patient to the disease; fourth, is there hope of recovery; fifth, is death imminent? It is still a judgment call, but Koop would err on the side of life. Terri’s situation was not hopeless or irreversible. She was not near death. To withdraw nourishment was to engage in “mercy killing” for convenience.

(DJ) Our culture is moving toward death, not life. We are echoing what is happening in Europe, who is allowing death by choice. Anyone can ask for “the pill” and end it—at any age, at any time.

(WL) Who should decide? Who is considered “competent”? The challenge of the Living Will is we don’t know how one is thinking at the time of death. People do change their minds. Durable Power of Attorney allows one of like mind to speak on behalf of one regardless of Living Will. [note: in some states, living wills are not acknowledged or honored unless it is physically on the person at the time of admittance.]

5. “R.C. Sproul wrote an article [released just today] on “neo-barbarism”. Are we to be the moral conscience of our culture and should we influence protestors or supporters of a cause?”

(SB) Yes, we are the moral conscience. If we are not, then who is? Look at the heroic figures in the book of Daniel who stood up against barbarism. Look at how the church faced Nazi Germany. Read Irwin Lutzer’s book “Hitler’s Cross” and discover how Hitler did not begin his reign of terror by gassing Jews. He “reassigned” the status of the handicapped. The courts were ready in Florida long before anyone showed up. Barriers were put up before the decision to pull Terri’s feeding tube was publicized. Sadly, when the announcement was made, there was no big rush of Christians that were expected. The 10 year old homeschooler that was arrested approached a policeman with an open Bible and read “if your enemy is thirsty, give him a drink.” He asked if it was alright with the policeman to obey scripture; if not, he was going to take water to Terri instead—and he was arrested! When things like this are taking place and we like to sit back and turn our consciences off, we need to repent. Where were we when that boy was arrested?

(WL) Francis Schaeffer pointed out a way to respond: first, resist evil; second, show compassion to those who suffer because of evil; third, live in hope; last, work for restoration. Our challenge is to speak the truth in love and hope, being unstoppable. Live truth and love in compassion and restoration.

(SB) God is God of the weak, the powerless, the orphan and the widow. God is on the side of the weak. Culture is on the side of the strong. Our churches are not to the point the early church was of rescuing the cast-offs of Rome and raising them as their own.

(DJ) During the early church, the secularists saw the compassion of the Christians during persecution. How is the world seeing the love of Christ when we are silent?

(LD) As we stand with our consciences and are thrilled by Biblical standards, the world is not going to accept it graciously.

6. “How can we prepare ourselves being the minority and standing for the truth? We want to be liked in the world!”

(DJ) Take Apologetics!

(WL) God’s law was given for His glory, not for man’s good alone.

7. “How can we use an opportunity like this to share Christ? What issues should we agree on to effectively evangelize?”

(DJ) No matter where you go, people are asking the same fundamental questions: “where did we come from? Where are we going? Who are we?” These are questions everyone has and the places at which we can engage the culture.

(SB) We are concerned about the life of others in relation to heaven and historically, it is the Christian who has also been concerned about life on earth. This is where we get to know God! C.S. Lewis reminds us that eternity is now—it has already started. See the movie “Million Dollar Baby” for another take on this. We are made to believe a person is no better than a wounded dog that should be destroyed. Why did Terri live for 15 years if she wanted to die? Her parents visited her every day and spoke into her life.

(WL) We have the best news to tell people. We care because God cares. He is true and living and this is refreshing to the culture of death. Err on the side of life. There is a true line between life and death: live out compassion and caring.

(SS) [addressing audience] How do you think? Is this a terrible world in which we live? No so many years ago, religion was not in the news as it is now. Satan is in overdrive to get as many men dead as fast possible to keep people from worshipping God. God is in overdrive to save them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If I end up like Terri

by Mark Hartwig

Editor's Note: On the day of Terri Schiavo’s tragic death, the pundits are writing about what they think is the moral of the story: make sure you have your “end-of-life wishes” in writing. But they’re missing the point. The real moral requires far more insight, maturity, responsibility and faith: be sure of whom you marry.

Dear Janelle,
These last few months have troubled me deeply. And I have a request that I hope you'll have the courage and strength to honor: If I ever become like Terri Schiavo, please don't put me through what she has endured.

(link)

*************
Honey, I share this man's feelings exactly. "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder . . . till death do us part."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

GEORGE FELOS' BEAUTY TIP

by Michael J. Gaynor
MichNews.com
Mar 27, 2005

Especially for ladies eager to enhance their physical beauty: Yesterday George Felos, Michael Schiavo's "right-to-die" lawyer and a self-described "agent of God," suggested a way to enhance your physical beauty.

(link)

**********
Why does this scenario look so familar?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

2 Wycliffe Missionaries found murdered

Richie and wife Char Hicks were Wycliffe Translators in the district (country...might as well say jungle) of Guyana, near the Brazilian border. First word came thru Wycliff Translators prayer dept:

"U.S. missionaries suspected murdered in Rupununi"
POLICE yesterday said they are investigating the suspected murder of an American missionary couple in the central Rupununi. A police statement identified the couple as Richard and Charlene Hicks.

Police said the woman's battered body was found outside a burnt-out building
in which the charred remains of her husband were discovered.

Robbery did not appear to be the motive of the apparent double killing which has shocked the Lethem community where they were known. A source said the husband usually wore an expensive Seiko wristwatch which was found on his remains yesterday morning.

Police said they died at about 22:00 h Wednesday.

The wife was beaten on the head and body and her corpse was found several yards from the burnt-out small house which police said was destroyed by fire.

The two were working on a bilingual education project among the Wapishiana Amerindian tribe since they moved into the district around 1994-1995.

Police said detectives from Georgetown have been dispatched to the area to spearhead investigations.

The bodies were flown to Georgetown last night, an official said.

The two were continuing a field mission on the bilingual Wapishiana education project started some 30 years ago by another American, Francis Tracey, who has since returned to the U.S..

A Wapishiana who knew the couple, was returning home from the annual Christian Brethren Church conference at Lethem yesterday morning when he made the gruesome discovery. He was heading back to the South Savannahs where he lives and decided to check on the two who he sometimes worked with as a facilitator on their project.

A resident said the Americans were well-known at Lethem where they regularly picked up supplies and mail. He said they were allowed to live in the thatched house at San Jose, a cattle compound owned by the late Leonard Da'guiar.

A government official yesterday recalled that an American nun who sided with the landless in Brazil against powerful planters, was recently murdered and said investigators dispatched to the Rupununi would be checking all angles in the death of the couple.

************

The brother of Richie Hicks adds:

"Their bodies have already been flown to Georgetown, the capitol of Guyana and they are waiting for experts from the US to arrive to do the autopsies. The US Government has sent experts down to investigate. Wycliffe (SIL) has also sent people to be involved.

At this time the plan is to bury them in Guyana, but this is not final yet.

We have made reservations to fly home on Wednesday. We, and all those around us here, feel that it is very important for us to go as a family. With this happening so soon after my father dying, we need to be with our mother. It will also give Barb and the kids a real chance to work through both Dad's death and this.

Many people have asked about sending money help us make the trip back. World Team will give tax deductible receipts for gifts. If you would like to send a gift in, make it out to World Team and mark it as a gift for Hicks travel expenses.

In the USA:World Team, 1431 Stuckert Rd, Warrington, PA 18976
(1-800-967-7109)
In Canada:7575 Danbro Cres, Mississauga, ON L5N6P9 (1-800-610-9788)
In Australia: PO Box 217 Ringwood East, Victoria, 3135 Australia
(39-879-6377)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Dying with Courage

(indulge me on this one, ok?)

Dying With Courage
A personal tribute to Tom Brazaitis, a husband who endured his final days with a clarity of mind and spirit.

WEB-EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY
By Eleanor Clift
Contributing Editor
Newsweek
Updated: 11:51 a.m. ET April 1, 2005

April 1 - While the country watched Terri Schiavo, I watched my husband. He was in a hospital bed in our living room battling the ravages of kidney cancer that had spread to his bones and his brain. As I wrote about and commented on the Schiavo situation, I kept quiet about the end of life process I was overseeing in our home for the person I have been closest to for more than 20 years.

(link)

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