Friday, April 24, 2015

A CO Woman's Baby Was Cut Out of Her. Is Our Society That Bad?

I read a disturbing story recently about a woman who cut the baby out of a pregnant woman in Colorado. There are really awful headlines like this all the time. Often, I don't take the time to connect with the story and so these tragedies hardly even register - but this one really affected me. If I had seen this headline on a different day, I might not have taken the time to read the details and allow myself to be horrified by it, and it would have been just another story - nothing out of the usual, really, because bad things happen everywhere all the time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

If there's no God, then why is the Creation beautiful?

Today, after opening several browser tabs of various news stories that had bubbled up to the top of the internet and weeding through them, I found myself with two left which stood in obvious opposition. One of them was a piece from Aeon Magazine about strictly observant Orthodox Jews turning atheist, but being unwilling to tell anyone out of fear of isolation from their tight-nit communities. As so many of the increasingly popular "longform" news stories these days, it drew me in with the super personal account of one man's struggle, from which it takes periodic breaks to discuss the broader scope of the phenomenon and also interject parallel accounts from others experiencing very nearly the same thing, and by the end of it these people all come together somehow  to stand in solidarity together over their common dilemma/goal/whatever - it really is a compelling storytelling method!

I could give an analysis of the whole story because it was quite stimulating, but I'll focus instead on the issue which relates to the other browser tab that I was left with. As I read through the various personal accounts, perhaps the unifying thread is that all of these people seemed to stumble over what they perceived to be an incongruence between the first few chapters of Genesis and science.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Are You Charlie Hebdo?

Somewhat uncharacteristically, I've been reading a lot about Islamic radicalism as of late. In part, I guess it's due to a renewed media interest because of several high-profile terrorist activities and the ensuing backlash from the populace. The big story last week was that 3 Muslim men went armed into a "satirical magazine" in France called Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people, largely in response to the publication's repeated portrayals of Mohammed in a newspaper-comic style over the years.
French rallies in support of Charlie Hebdo
Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

And more violence from these same men ensued as the French went after them to bring them to justice, and the whole situation is really just terrible. It brought people together - on Twitter, often considered the bellwether for tracking by-the-minute societal thought evolution which simultaneously serves as a platform for rapid idea propagation across the world, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie skyrocketed out of solidarity and sympathy for those affected by the attack - it means "I am Charlie." The public outcry after the tense 3 days leading to the death of these terrorists led to huge rallies in the streets. Today, the first new issue of Charlie Hebdo is out since the attack. Their 3 million copies sold out within minutes, despite having printed several times more than their usual run.

It's a very easy wave to be swept away in: bad guys did a bad thing to people who didn't deserve it, so now we all band together and show the bad guys that they can't just do bad things like that without consequences, and also free speech is the greatest thing ever invented and we need to protect it no matter what people are saying. Keep in mind, that is a ridiculous oversimplification which I devised on purpose to illustrate a point, but I can't help but feel that there are probably quite a lot of people out there who don't know anything about the character of the parties involved and, consequently, are ill equipped to analyze and judge the media narrative for themselves. My purpose in this article, therefore, is not to rail against Islamic extremism or champion free speech or anything like that. I want to give you some insight into what Charlie Hebdo represents (I went almost a week having no idea until I finally looked up some of their material today) and consider whether it's something that you want to proudly identify yourself with by wearing a "Je Suis Charlie" t-shirt or whatever.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Life in the Sacrifices

When you think of the biblical sacrifices, what comes to your mind? In the simplest sense, I tend to think of an animal dying to appease God. You kill the animal, burn it, and God forgives your sin - isn't that the point of offerings? If you've been following along on my blog, then you know there's much more to understand from God's offertory system!

Last time, I wrote in detail about the role of death in the sacrifices. Jesus Christ's death is the death pictured by the sin offerings of the Old Covenant, and this is the most basic point of our understanding in our relationship with God: that Jesus had to die for our sins to be forgiven, so that we could be reconciled. But is the sacrificial system all about death?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Death in the Sacrifices

The history of Genesis 2-3 established firmly that death is the consequence and penalty of sin (Genesis 2:17 & 3:19). As the result of sin, the first human lives which God created would end - and, moreover, Adam and Eve had to be cast out of the presence of God, being banished from the Garden of Eden.

Having the entire bible before us and knowing much of the plan of God already, we may miss the gravity of this situation. If you were reading it for the first time, do you know how far you would have to read through the bible before God revealed that the FORGIVENESS of sins is possible or how it can take place? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Burial versus Cremation in the Bible

For all of the ceremony and specificity of God's law, it doesn't address how to dispose of the dead.

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