·The Nonhuman Rights Project is “ . . . asking
the courts to recognize, for the first time, that these cognitively
sophisticated, autonomous beings are legal persons who have the basic right to not be held in captivity.”
I don’t have a clue how to comment on the complex news that
greets us each morning, much less how to come along side any of the people who
are hurting, confused or just caught up in the craziness these snapshots of
today’s world represent. What’s more troubling is that for our grandchildren,
these may well be normal in their world, the way abortion and homosexuality are
rights in our children’s world.How
do I even talk about topics like these without sounding like Chicken Little?
Tim Keller, retired pastor from Redeemer Church NYC offers
one suggestion, “Pray and pray a lot. Especially when you don't feel like
praying at all.”
That’s harder than talking.
So, I opened my Bible, and finished up the book of Numbers,
chapters 33-36: God’s warnings and promises to His people. A Bible teacher
summed them up: “Don’t affirm evil by excusing it as social issues.”
Aye – there’s the rub – I don’t see how in the world I can
do that! I like a lot the world has to offer – I don’t want to live as a
hermit. But if the above articles are among the stories describing the people
to whom we are called to go, I’m tempted to stay! (And urge the grandkids not
to get involved!)
God help me – and make a path upon which I can walk – being
useful to the folks I love, and those whom you put in my path -- doing no harm,
because these times sure seem crazy and overwhelming.
Almighty God, we confess how hard
it is to be your people. You have called us to be the church, to continue the
mission of Jesus Christ to our lonely and confused world. Yet we acknowledge we
are more apathetic than active, isolated than involved, callous than
compassionate, obstinate than obedient, legalistic than loving.
Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us
and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your
representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of
your indwelling Sprit.
This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Prayer of Confession from 03/08/15, Park Cities Presbyterian
Snow and ice pounded my neighbor’s daffodils – They sprang
up in the warm sunshine of a few weeks ago, but have had to survive recent icy
rain and snow. Their hardiness
fascinated me as I have watched them holding up in the face of the intemperate
weather. They are act as a little goad to get a grip and quit griping.
I gripe a lot about how bad things are – that is, how different
the world seems from the one in which I thought we would be living.
This is one scary place! What’s scarier is how we describe what we see; it
communicates frustration more than
solutions. News of current events, and the reporters and commentators feel and sound as bitter as the recent icy blasts in Dallas –polarizing has a new adjectival
dimension for me. Moreover, it’s hard to
laugh when popular entertainers lean on the F-bomb crutch for laughs to jokes
anchored firmly to straw man arguments.
Good Grief! Have I become like the grousers I used to hate
to be around?
That’s why those resilient little flowers intrigued me.The times may be brutal, and bring much that is unexpected. Our social commentators may be harsh -- a bit like our weather has been. But I can weather it-- even flourish. That is true even though a
friend said daffodils reminded her of flowers she used to place on graves.
So . . . I have had a BUSY day of Facebook. No sooner did I
read a link from one friend and share it – another friend posted an idea,
prayer, teaching, current event equally pressing. If we were sitting all
together in one room – I don’t think I could have fully heard what all my friends were saying! Reading, one by one though, what
they thought was important enough to share, I could hear.
They enabled me to listen calmly to Israel’s Prime Minister’s
address the United States’ Congress. *Mr. Netanyahu reminded me that tomorrow is Purim – the Jewish holiday of
one woman’s courage to thwart a Persian man’s plan to annihilate the Jews.
. . . Queen Esther
exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves
against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.
Today the Jewish people face
another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. . .
tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets. . in English that Israel
must be destroyed.
. . .
But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime
was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but
a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's
regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the
And the Prime Minister reminded us of how the world has
changed since 1979 when
. . . one of the world's great civilizations [was] hijacked by religious zealots --
religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal
That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed
the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to
fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah
Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world."
He then said:
and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the
Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose
a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world.
They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no
peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval
creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.
when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
I think back to two books and movies that changed me: The
Diary of Anne Frank, and On the Beach by Neil Shute: an eyewitness
account of Nazi occupation, and a frightening real imagination of the aftermath
of a nuclear holocaust.
Praying the world’s leaders will quickly turn to God in
Christ to calm the storms that threaten to swamp us – and that we -- His church -- will not give
know that in this way we cannot ever really pray wrong. God hears us, and the
distant god of our culture cowers in defeat.