What’s Happening?

For several reasons, this blog has been dormant for some time. Posting this entry does not guarantee that I will be blogging regularly again, but there are several issues going on in my country (USA) and around the globe, that I have addressed in past posts and on other blogs. The one below has been on my mind for a while. It’s somewhat dated with regard to the current events mentioned, but I have not edited it. You can mentally update it by thinking: North Korea, Putin and Russia, Wars all over the middle east and Africa, School shootings (and stabbings), general political unrest. Of course, many of the issues mentioned in the post remain today. Read any newspaper and the headlines will emphasize the thoughts below.

This post was published in 2010 on the (now defunct) blog “Coffee with Curt.” Comments are welcome.

 

Something is, Indeed, Happening Here

In an online forum in which I participate, the question was asked, recently, “What is the music in you head right now?” Strangely enough it was an easy question for me, since one song has been running through my head for some time. It’s “For What It’s Worth,” by Buffalo-Springfield

The group itself was only together for two or three years, although all its members went on to great musical careers. This song, which came out in 1967, was their big hit. Not only that, but it became the rock anthem of the 60s and 70s.  

The year 1967 was a tumultuous year in this country. Protest against the war in Vietnam was at its height. Demonstrations; rallies; even violence over the unpopular war was widespread. Priest Daniel Berrigan, with several others, went into a draft office and splattered red liquid – made up partly of their own blood – over draft records. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared that the US gov’t is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.  Part of the lyrics for the song read like this:

What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the streetSinging songs and they carrying signsMostly say, hooray for our side. It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.

(Of course, I can hear the music in my head).

Paranoia and fear were all around. 

I propose this song as the Rock Anthem of today,  for an indefinite period.

We’re out of Bush’s unpopular war (for the most part) and we’re entrenched in Obama’s unpopular war. The economy is in bad shape (don’t ever accuse me of understatement!). Election campaigns are dirtier than ever. Race relations are in the toilet. Winter’s coming and we’re still dependent on foreign oil. Immigration politics and policies are dividing the nation. Fear of socialism – in our own country  – is rampant.

Anybody who is a member of any patriotic organization is labeled a domestic terrorist suspect. Our names are on several lists gathered and disseminated by our own government. Mistrust of the government is probably at its highest since the 60s (if not higher).

Paranoia and fear are all around.

There’s somethin’ happenin’ here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. There’s a man with a gun over there A-tellin’ me I’ve got to beware.

I think it’s time we stop. Children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s goin’ down.
There’s battle lines bein’ drawn. Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. Young people speakin’ their minds A-gettin’ so much resistance from behind.

The song is only 2 minutes and 39 seconds long. Its worth a listen. And maybe we should “stop. Children, what’s that sound?”

Everybody look what’s goin’ down.

 

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Preparing for That Iceberg

I have often remarked that with the way health care is being managed in the US, I half expect to be put on an iceberg and allowed to float away and perish. This thought is based upon a tradition among some Eskimo peoples to do exactly that when people got to old to contribute to the general welfare of the society. Note the past tense. I believe this practice may be out of vogue today. But, maybe it will be revived in America.

Consider the story of Barbara Wagner, an elderly woman in Oregon.

She was a lung cancer patient who was presented with the “choice” to end her life.

Wagner said: “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.” See the whole story here.

th-2There are numerous stories like this all over the nation. It’s variously called senicide or senilicide. One supposedly civil or dignified manner of doing this is called “doctor-assisted suicide.” Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California have all passed legislation which call for “compassionate aid in dying.” More states are expected to follow suit. After all, it will see money and reduce the old person’s drag in the community.

Daniel Callahan, an influential bioethicist and co-founder of the prestigious Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute in New York  argues for a cease-fire in America’s “war against death,” calling on us to surrender gracefully; Americans thus “may die earlier than [is now common], but they will die better deaths.”  Read more here.

th-2Now I am very aware that there are some complex ethical questions involved regarding stewardship of our God-given resources. Sometimes “heroic measures,” or extraordinary life-sustaining treatment may be vain attempts to ward off the inevitability of death. These are decisions which must be made on a case-by-case basis, with the understanding that we do not lean toward the taking of a life because it’s easier than living.

I offer two good reads, one from a very practical perspective written by a woman who went through the death of her husband and position paper from a conservative denomination.

I am rapidly approaching the age at which the metaphorical iceerg may become a reality for me. What will that look like? It may be refusal of medical care.It may be the offer of pills to end it all.

God’s Word is not silent in this matter. It teaches that we are made in God’s image. It also teaches that he is in control of our lives and our deaths. We are not to try to usurp the authority which is His alone. It also teaches that we are to live and learn through suffering, not to give in and quit, though we may desperately desire to do so. Peter wrote tht suffering is part f the Christian life.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9, ESV).

Listen to the Apostle Paul who struggled with the decision of whether to live or die.

Yes, and I will rejoice, or I know that brought your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ  will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me  to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is  to depart and  be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.    Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,  so that in me  you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Do not, my friends, buy into the spirit of the age which devalues human life. We already, as a society, kill millions on the birth end of the life journey. Let us work against that scourge which is abortion and be vigilant in protecting the elderly as well.

 

What is Really Responsible for Orlando?

The cause of the shooting in Orlando is SIN. The cause of all the mass shootings – and not so massive shootings – is SIN.

Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens will not erase anybody’s sin nature. If ALL guns are gone, then man in his ingenuity will find other ways to kill. He already has quite a track record in that regard.

God made man with the ability to think and create. Mankind has used these gifts in deplorable manners.

Let’s pray for those who were injured in Orlando and the families who lost loved ones.

Let’s pray for revival.

Let’s pray for the police, medical personnel, chaplains, and others reaching out to help in this heinous situation.

Church Culture III

We’ve been looking at an overall picture of general culture. There is a lot to be learned about popular culture by looking at the signs and the bumper stickers that people display

There are academic studies on bumper sticker culture. For some they just let us know where they recently vacationed. For others they describe a worldview. Of course we have the whole “I (heart)…” series. Here are some more:

  • 38Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway.
  • No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.
  • My Child Can Beat Up Your Honor Student.
  • Don’t Laugh – Your Daughter Might Be In Here. (On Old Truck)
  • Stamp Out Crime – Abolish the IRS
  • Dare to keep the CIA off Drugs.
  • Just say no to sexist Pro-Lifers.
  • My Other Car is a Broom.
  • Quit Sniveling.
  • Have You Flogged Your Crew Today?
  • Husbands Are Proof That Women Have a Sense of Humor.
  • Forget the Whales, Save the Cowboy.
  • Eat American Lamb. Ten Million Coyotes Can’t be Wrong.
  • “If You Call Some Animals Pets, How Can You Call Other Animals Dinner?”
  • Old Skiers Never Die. They Just go Downhill.
  • Money Isn’t Everything, But it Sure Keeps the Kids In Touch.
  • Happiness is the Ball in the Fairway.
  • Have You Hugged Your Stockbroker Today?
  • My Karma just ran over your Dogma.
  • My Mother was a Travel Agent for Guilt Trips
  • Hug Your Kids at Home and Belt Them in the Car.
  • I brake for Hallucinations.
  • Illiterate? Call This Number for Help…
  • Welcome to Colorado – Now Go Home
  • If You Love Jesus Tithe – Any Fool Can Honk
  • I’m OK. You’re So-So.
  • Will Rogers Never Met Howard Cosell.
  • Use Caution in Passing – Driver Chewing Tobacco
  • If Men Could Have Abortions, It Would Be a Sacrament
  • Your Mother’s Choice was Pro-Life.
  • Don’t Honk – I’m Pedaling as Fast as I Can
  • If You Can Read This Bumper Sticker, You’re In Range

And Finally, “Help Stamp Out Bumper Stickers.”

That’s an overview on culture. It’s an interesting and rich subject. We’ve only scratched the surface. Next time we start looking at what this has to do with the church.

Keep Christ in Christmas – Devotional Offer

Special Offer, LIMITED TIME for Children in Church Subscribers

As a thank you for a donation of any size to our ministry, Lifework Forum, we will send you a copy of our brand new e-booklet.

For this special occasion we’ve added a Bonus Introduction.

Celebrate-the-Newborn-King-300x230Celebrate the Newborn King: 25 Advent and Nativity Readings is a $20 value that we want to put into your hands for Christmas 2014.

Time is short. We will honor all donations made by noon EST on Sunday, November 30. Go to the Children in Church website, then:

 

1. Subscribe by entering your email address in the box at the right.

2. Donate at the yellow button below that box.

Be sure to include your email address in the PayPal forms.
We will forward your gift to that email address.

May the Lord bless you as you endeavor to keep Christ in Christmas.

with Joy in The Lamb,
Curt & Sandra

Our third and final video

We’re receiving lots of positive feedback about our video efforts, our thoughts about focus, and the samples from our Advent and Nativity booklet. Now we want to get this valuable resource into your hands.

Watch and Listen. Then Subscribe over at Children in Church.com to take advantage of our offer.

May the Lord grant you a blessed Thanks-giving.

Resting in the grace that only He can grant,
Curt & Sandra