August 28, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Saga

My friend John has posted an article on some of the recent news on embryonic stem cell research. You may find his thoughts and the ensuing discussion interesting—and may even want to join in!

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August 24, 2006

Total Depravity and the Crux of Our Democracy

I’ve wondered for quite a while what our society would look like if we could no longer make the implicit assumption that most folks would generally obey the law. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a rallying-cry of American (and most Western) democracies—but is by no means a universally-held human right. (A novel I recently read, Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle, shows quite clearly how Stalin’s Russia assumed everyone was guilty, and used it to his advantage.) So far, our culture has done surprisingly well with this assumption. Total depravity has not done us in legally, although one could easily make the argument that our culture has long ago been done in morally and spiritually. But will it last?

A somewhat disturbing article about defeating standard locks make me think about this again today. Security—from front doors to airports—has never been about stopping every evil-doer. Rather, it’s been about stopping as many as possible: the low-hanging fruit, the uncommitted, the simple and careless ones. But is that needing to change? And what will truly prevent our society from entering Russia’s free-fall in the process?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. And, please, don’t go burgle.

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August 08, 2006

“Lots of changes Old Max, lots of changes”

I know David doesn’t like it when I quote from movies that we don’t really recommend for watching, but this quote has been in my head for a week now I just had to get it out! ;) Ok, I didn’t HAVE to, but it does fit our thoughts of the past week and a half. (Quote from Dirty Dancing)

David and I were just in Canada visiting my family and going to a family reunion. It was a WONDERFUL time! We didn’t get to spend much time with my immediate family, but we were able to get to know a quite a bit of my Dad’s siblings and my cousins. That was wonderful! I also got to spend a quite a bit of time making sure my niece and nephews will remember me ;)

Funny how being with people you haven’t seen for a long time will make you think. After answering the questions “What are you doing?”, “Where are you living?”, “Do you like it?” “Why are you there?” etc, really made David and I think harder about why we are still in Sioux Center when neither of us feel like we really want to be here and David doesn’t really LOVE his job. It would be one thing to be in Sioux Center if David was excited about his job, it is a very different thing to stay here when he doesn’t and we don’t care about living in Sioux Center.

So, for the first time in almost 2 years, we are thinking about leaving Sioux Center for real. We have thought about it before too, but each time said no. Now we are thinking about it for real, and it’s an exciting thought!

We know we need a change of some sort, either to be come more involved in Sioux Center so we come to love it, or a different job or something. We are praying hard about what it is that God wants us to do.

David is looking into grad schools and even as we pray we don’t feel God saying no. We don’t know where we will be in a years time, probably getting ready to move somewhere but it’s an exciting thought. And it is exciting for David and I to work together on a goal.

Please pray for us as we want to follow God first and for most, even if that means staying here.

God has been teaching me that “Unless the Lord builds a house, it’s builders labour in vain.” Psalm 127:1. We do want to follow where he is leading, or else stay where we are until he leads. God is good, he will show us what to do next~! And we are excited!

Also, we added another file of photo’s titled: Book about us. It’s a scrapbooking book I am working on. About David and I of course! And there are two new pages under Rita’s pages you can check out too! :)

We hope you are doing well ! Love in Christ with You! Rita

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August 06, 2006

God’s Justice

So my friend Adam had a discussion with a Muslim recently, and he blogged a bit about it.

One of Adam’s comments in his final post:

Namely, isn’t it illogical that God needs to kill himself, to have Jesus be sacrificed, for our sins to be forgiven? How can punishing one person cause the sins of another to be forgiven?

Adam does a good job of showing that how justification at least isn’t illogical. But there is something that struck me as I was reading his post that I wanted to talk about: justice.

It’s probably one of the biggest questions I would have about Christianity if I wasn’t a Christian. Why couldn’t God simply say, “Hey, bud, I’ll forgive you! I’m God—I can do anything I want!” Why the need for all the, well, blood? Herds of cattle—dead—in the Old Testament, and the blood of a truly good Man in the New Testament. It’s a gory mess. Why can’t we just be like the other religions and hope that Allah will be merciful or that I will return a better person or that there really isn’t such a thing as “sin” or “wrongdoing?”

I think it is because Christianity has a very unique understanding of “sin.” Sin as in not meeting the expectations and standards that God has for us—the same standards that He has for himself.

Now, think for a moment. If you don’t happen to meet the standards of a guy who you met on the bus—maybe he doesn’t like your haircut—you probably aren’t going to care too much. And that’s probably just as well. If it was your parent or your spouse or a close friend (depending on your status), you might care more—even a lot more. If your boss decided he didn’t like your work, you might care quite a bit. If the president of your multi-national organization singled you out of thousands of similarly-placed workers, and said that you didn’t meet his standards, you might care a lot more. And, if the God of the universe, the One in charge of all things, your Maker, Designer, and Standards-Setter, said that you did not meet His standards, should you not care that much more? And, to top it all off, should not the consequences be that much more dire?

It is called justice.

Only by associating wrong-doing with an appropriate punishment do we really realize it’s magnitude. If there was no punishment, than did we really do wrong in the first place?

God wants us to realized the magnitude of what we—you and I—do wrong. He doesn’t want us to take His forgiveness for granted. He doesn’t want us to just accept “cheap grace,” as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it. Sin is a ugly thing, attractive, but devastatingly deadly—and to pretend that it isn’t is to laugh in the face of the God who put the standards in place.

The forgiveness that we get cost a great deal. If it didn’t, I suspect God wouldn’t have even bothered calling it sin.

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