Daily Archives: August 25, 2015
..For the most part, segments of our life – often entire chunks of it – aren’t going well and much of it we don’t live well. Given that joy attaches to life going well and being led well, must joy be lost to us? It need not be. We can rejoice over the many small goods we experience, and for those of us who are religious, we can find joy in the One Good that is both the source and the goal of our existence.
Though fragmentary, all small joys celebrate goods in our lives that are and remain wonderful, at times no more than tender plants in the cracks of our otherwise heavily cemented and gray lives. And in all true joys we yearn for, and perhaps also faintly experience, a world in which all things and all manner of things shall be well.
Lincoln Six-Echo (played by Ewan McGregor) is a resident of a seemingly Utopian but totally enclosed, underground facility in the year 2019. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to the “The Island” — a paradise that is reportedly the only uncontaminated spot on the surface of the planet. But Lincoln soon discovers that everything about his existence is a lie. The earth’s surface is not contaminated. It is, in fact, very much like the earth we know. He and all of the other inhabitants of the underground facility are actually human clones, being raised as “insurance policies” to provide organs and body parts for transplants to prolong the lives of their look-alikes on the surface–people who have no idea that the “tissue” and organs they receive are harvested from the clones. Those inhabitants of the facility chosen by “the lottery” to go to the Island are actually selected to be killed when their organs are needed.
Lincoln makes a daring escape with a beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (played by Scarlett Johansson). Relentlessly pursued by the forces of the sinister institute that once housed them, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a race for their lives to literally meet their makers and to let them know that their “insurance policies” are actually human beings who are being killed for their organs and body parts.
What compelled my attention was the similarity between this work of science fiction and the recent revelations of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in harvesting fetal organs and body parts. As in The Island, Planned Parenthood perpetuates the myth that those from whom the tissue and organs are harvested aren’t actual human beings.
Read it all [warning: graphic]
Six people protesting against the mandatory detention of asylum seeker children have been arrested for staging a sit-in at a Tasmanian senator’s office.
The protesters, from Christian group Love Makes A Way, had been holding prayer vigils at Senator David Bushby’s office since just after midday.
They called on the senator to withdraw his support for the mandatory detention of children and refused to leave when his office closed at 5:00pm.
They were then arrested and charged with trespass before being granted bail.
Among the protesters were leaders from Anglican, Baptist and Uniting Churches and the Salvation Army.
In a statement released prior to the protest said the protesters included Reverend Richard Humphrey, who is Dean of St David’s Anglican Cathedral, David Reeve, who is chairperson of Presbytery of Tasmania, Uniting Church, and Captain Craig Farrell, who is territorial youth secretary of The Salvation Army Southern Territory.
Last year, the group staged similar protests in Launceston and Perth, Western Australia, when they staged sit-ins at the offices of Andrew Nikolic and Julie Bishop respectively.
The eight ministers involved in the Perth sit-in were charged with trespass and given spent sentences.
Maori Anglican Church leaders launched into a “spontaneous” and “thunderous” haka after voting to support the current New Zealand flag.
About 160 people met at the church’s synod in Wellington this month, where the possibility of changing the flag was raised and discussed.
Options for a new flag have recently been narrowed down to a long list of 40 designs.
…the church unanimously voted to support keeping the current flag, arguing it best reflected the country’s journey and sense of history.
Wellington Bishop Muru Walters said that after the vote all delegates stood up and sung the national anthem before performing the haka.
“It was spontaneous and it was really thunderous. There was a passion for what was being passed.”
The former Maori All Black said that he had never seen such a haka at a gathering of the governing council.
The reason the church voted against a flag change was about tradition, Muru said.
“Why change the flag after all these years? It has been part of our journey and our history and our understanding of ourselves. It’s a huge change and an unnecessary one.
“When you watch the haka there are some who think it is outdated and England is trying to make the All Blacks get rid of it, but it is what the All Blacks have done for years. It’s a tradition we need to keep.”
If the country was going to fight to keep the haka, then keeping the flag was part of that struggle, he said.
Religious freedom in America is under threat, and the battle is already in progress. For the most part, the burden of the struggle has been borne by Christians. America’s Jews, living safely behind the front lines, have paid little heed. But that safety is likely to be ephemeral. If freedom falls for those now fighting for their religious rights, it can fall for all, prominently including a community characterized by its attachment to an ancient and traditional moral code and defining ritual practices.
The threat emanates from a classic question: what is the proper relationship between church and state? The tension is as old as recorded history. It appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and throughout Greek mythology. Some societies, from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to Japan’s chrysanthemum throne, imbued their rulers with divinity. In Christendom, western kings answered to the pope while eastern churches supported the emperor. In Islam, the caliph held titles of both temporal and spiritual authority. England maintains an established church still today, while France severed its formal ties to Catholicism more than a century ago. In Jewish tradition, the Second Temple period was replete with conflicts between royals and priests””hence the rabbinic reluctance to embrace the Hasmoneans, priestly usurpers to the throne whose victories are celebrated annually by today’s Jews at á¸¤anukkah. In modern-day Israel, selected areas of civil governance have been relegated entirely to religious authorities.
The U.S. Constitution, steeped in classical liberalism, attempted a novel””and ingenious””resolution. It combined the absence of an official, “established” religion with the individual’s freedom to choose and follow his faith.
O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O holy and ever-blessed Jesus, who being the eternal Son of God and most high in the glory of the Father, didst vouchsafe in love for us sinners to be born of a pure virgin, and didst humble thyself unto death, even the death of the cross : Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a due sense of thy infinite love; that adoring and believing in thee as our Lord and Saviour, we may trust in thy infinite merits, imitate thy holy example, obey thy commands, and finally enjoy thy promises; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, ”˜If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.’
–1 Kings 2:1-4