Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ultimate Sentimental Fool

Recently a friend called me an old sentimental fool. I immediately smiled. I love my attachments to people. My family, my friends, my memories. Sure, there are some things back there I’d rather forget, but we all have those.

The definition of sentimental includes: “feelings of tenderness, sadness or nostalgia in an exaggerated and self-indulgent way.”

Someone once told me that being sentimental was foolish and a waste of time. I get that too. To be sentimental means you put yourself out there. You make yourself vulnerable in a tender way. You show yourself to others in ways that are open to criticism, open to rejection. It is a chance we take.

But being sentimental also has its advantages. It says, “I’m putting myself out there. If you take me for me then you will truly know me. If you reject me, you will miss out.” It’s an honesty that is raw, but true.

Soon after I was called a sentimental fool, I read Psalm 147 talking about God and nature.

He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills. (Ps 147:8 NIV)

He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. (Ps 147:16-18 NIV)

I don’t think it was by accident that I then heard a song on KLOVE by Natalie Grant called Alive.

“Who but You, could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and dream of me?
What kind of Love is writing my story till the end with Mercy’s pen?
Only You.”

Do we ever consider that perhaps the biggest sentimental fool of all is God? He has created all these things for us. He puts himself out there every day in every moment. From the smallest of snowflakes, to the boldness of the deep red rose, from the tiniest tear drop to the rushing of an avalanche, God created it all.

And what is our answer?

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1 NIV)

So why would a Creator capable of such incredible feats be trying so hard to get our attention with nature?

“The LORD looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.” (Ps14:2 NIV)

Love. God is love. He wants to love us. In each creation, He cries out, “I AM here!”

So why doesn’t Yahweh just boom out of the heavens, “Here I am. Believe in me!!!”

Simple. That is not His way. Love never pushes itself on anyone. If it did, it wouldn’t be true love. So God allows us to reject Him and choose our own destiny.

Can you imagine how much a love hurts when it is not chosen? Yes! We all have been rejected at some time.

But what about True Love? What happens when we reject True Love of God?

That’s why there is a place called Hell. It is there for those who choose not to be with God. And God did not create Hell, we did. It is a place absent of God, absent of creation, absent of love. It’s a place WE choose, not Him. And God will mourn each and every loss of a soul to that place, but He will never take away our free will to choose to be without Him.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13:4-7 NIV)

God ALWAYS hopes. God ALWAYS perseveres. When we are lost, all we have to do is ask. Ask for Him. He will be there. He will send a peace that is unlike any other. But in order to receive that peace, we have to let go and let Him in.

And that is why He constantly gives us renewal in nature. He says, “I know you are hurting, I AM here. I will be here today and I will be here tomorrow.”

Sentimental fool. Thinking that He can reach us in the quiet majesty of creation…

And yet, He hopes, He endures.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Follow the Logic

One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Full of great lines and great moments, the story continues to be a classic. One of my favorite scenes is when Wesley (the hero) takes on Vizzini (an antagonist) in a duel of wits. Wesley wins because, as he admits to Buttercup, he’s been building up immunity to iocane powder.

It makes me wonder if we are doing the same thing today…

I’m going to jump right to the point. We’ve known that research companies use aborted fetus cells as part of medical research, but there is a rather new market that we don’t hear about.

Kidney cells from aborted babies are being used to test sweeteners for sodas. Senomyx is a research company under contract with Pepsi to test sweeteners for their drinks. While the cells do not make it into the drinks themselves, they are used to do the research for the drinks.

This leads me to the next question. How far away are we from cannibalism?

Follow the logic.

Human cells are being used in research for the drinks, thus we are only a step away. Does this frighten you? What does this tell us about our society?

Those of us “older folk” remember a 1973 science fiction movie called Soylent Green. Even the name turns my stomach (still!) just thinking of the context. But this science fiction idea is not so science fiction anymore.

Let me summarize the plot… (Yes! Spoiler alert!!!)

The main character is a police officer who through a series of murders tracks down a corporation who says they are using plankton from the disappearing oceans of 2022 to make healthy crackers called soylent green for the starving people to eat. The world has become over populated, the green house effect has led to poor crops, and the general state of the people is that they are in a starving panic. The main character’s shaman is an older man who is dying. This shaman figures out that the murders are committed to keep the results of an oceanic research paper out of the public eye. The research? There is there is no more plankton in the dying oceans. So the next question is “What is soylent green?” As the shaman is dying he begs the main character to see what happens to his dead body and sure enough, it is turned into these soylent green crackers for people to eat.

Are you sick to your stomach yet?

Well, the fact of the matter is this: We are only a step away from Soylent Green.

Follow the logic.

1973 – abortions are made legal

We find out through medical research that a fetus has complete human DNA from the moment of conception.

We begin to use aborted fetus cell lines to create vaccinations for our children (See MMR, Varicella, and Hepatitis A ingredients) We justify this because it is saving lives.

We begin to use aborted fetus cells lines for research for cures for diseases. (It happens that adult stem cells have helped many different diseases while fetus cells still have produced very little cures yet). But we again justify this because it saves lives.

We use aborted fetus cells to test sweeteners for human consumption. How is this saving lives?

It doesn’t. But this is the next step in the de-valuing of human life. There really is no reason for this type of research except that we’ve become so de-sensitized that we think nothing of it.

If we take the next logical step, we might ask ourselves: Would it be so bad to be cannibals if we put these cells in our food? The fetuses are already dead, right?

The slippery slope was determined back in 1973, but when do we cry uncle?

Are we really that far away from Soylent Green?

I can’t help but think that standing by and letting this happen is any different than building up an immunity to iocane powder. Can it do us any good?

Here is the research: http://www.cogforlife.org/pepsiboycott.htm