Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Archive for August, 2008

A Simple Prayer

I received this lovely (and enlightening story) in the mail this week and I had to share it with you, my friends.  With all the stuff that’s going on in the world … the struggle for peace in the Middle East, the ongoing Iraqi and Afghani conflicts, tension in our country concerning the outcome of the ’08 election, etc. … it’s good to know there are still simple solutions to marital strife – like the one suggested in this story:

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of  her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.  

For all of these  years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover .

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.  When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents.  ‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ‘my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue.  She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.’

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears.  Only two precious dolls were in the box.  She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving.  He almost burst with happiness.

‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the doll, but what about all of this money?  Where did it come from?’

‘Oh,’ she said,  ‘that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.’

 A Prayer:

Dear Lord,

I pray for Wisdom to understand my man, Love to forgive him, And Patience for his moods; Because Lord, if I pray for Strength, I’ll beat him to death, because I don’t know how to crochet.

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Disingenuous?

I recently received a comment from “Maggie” to my “Expelled” page – the page I created to encourage my readers to consider seeing Ben Stein’s movie, Expelled.  I thought I should share my response to her comment with you, my audience.
Maggie wrote:  
Disingenuous. What you don’t say by running this Ben Stein video is your intention: the mindless, word for word acceptance of the Old Testament (or, as interpreted when necessary). Freedom of speech? Churches have been against freedom of speech and thought for as long as they’ve existed. Don’t blame science for trying to keep religion out of its business. 

Your congregations believe because you have told them that the earth was created 6,000 years ago.  If you don’t happen to believe this silly idea because you’re more progressive than that, you should be attacking churches who DO teach it, not scientists that have proven that idea wrong.  Religion needs to clean up its own act. Start with the Old Testament. But you won’t, will you? Because an informed congregation won’t tithe 10 percent.
Here is my response:
 

Dear Maggie,

1.  I already published your comment below, and I will publish my response, too.

2.  Please explain how you know what my intentions were when I published my comments.

3.  How did you arrive at your conclusion(s) about the Old Testament?  I’ll paraphrase Josh McDowell:  An intelligent person who is seeking the truth will certainly read up on the historical qualifications of the Bible, and a truth seeker will consider the uniqueness of the Old Testament/Bible.  There’s no other book like it.

The Bible has been confirmed and affirmed by comparing historical records of ancient texts not associated with the Jews, as well as archeological finds throughout the Middle East.  Usually those who criticize the Bible have never read it.  Are you one of the millions who blindly accept the rants of atheists while never checking their credentials, biases, and blunders of logic?  The Bible has come under attack throughout history.  It has been thoroughly examined by thoughtful men and women for centuries.  Some of the world’s most brilliant people, however, after doing their Biblical due diligence, have come to the conclusion that the Bible is true.

4.  As to the belief that the earth was created 6,000 years ago – the Bible makes no such claim!  Certain people in the past concluded such from their dating of Egyptian historical events (the reign of Rameses II, and the best dating of the “Exodus” of the Iburu [Hebrews], etc.), but their dating inaccuracies should not be considered equal in weight to the Bible’s own words.  “In the beginning” is the way God inspired Moses to record the Creation.  Give me a date for “the beginning.”  And while we’re on the subject of the Creation, there are more and more people in the scientific community who are considering the possibility of a Creator creating the Universe than ever before.  Why?  Because they’ve bought into some vague religious possibilities?  Because they’re less intelligent than Darwin?  Because they willfully ignore the best data available on the subject?  No.  The evidence for the Creation is starting to crowd out the “evidence” of, and mathematical possibilities for big bangs, spontaneous life (complex life developing from simple cells – wherever the simple or single cells came from), and the discovery of a missing link.  Brilliant people are coming to the conclusion – not based on religious theory, but scientific fact – that it is more likely a Creator created than a big bang created.

5.  And as for churches being against freedom of speech … yes, I have to admit that that is sadly true.  Certain churches, led by certain men, have stifled free expression, killed dissenters, and held back progress in certain arenas of human endeavor.  But the Bible doesn’t stifle investigation, invention, or progress.  Over history the Church, when it is functioning properly, has elevated the value of human life, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, educated the masses (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Oxford, etc.), led to the discovery of new worlds, contributed to civil liberties, held for equality in justice systems, initiated scientific discovery (if Aristotle had been left unchallenged, the world would still be dark and empty – men like Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Faraday, Pasteur, Lister, etc., challenged his notions), protected marriage and family, inspired music, inspired all the arts, and led the way in the medical field (the first hospitals were initiated by Bible believers, nursing care [see Florence Nightingale’s story], the Red Cross, as well as formulating the idea of preventative care).  The Christian Bible can’t be blamed for Marxism, Communism, Apartheid, and the genocides in Russia, Cambodia, Dafur, China, Rwanda, etc.

6.  Sure … religion needs to clean up its act.  What religion(s) are you suggesting?  Humanism?  Communism?  Socialism?  Islam?  Taoism?  Hinduism?  Buddhism?  Judaism?  Christianity?  New Age-ism?  Religion is a man-made thing.  God never promoted religion.  He was constantly talking about relationship … friendship, love, marriage, children, kindness, etc.

7.  Are you suggesting that Ben Stein/Churches/Religion/Me promote ignorance so the world will contribute to certain institutional coffers (the 10% – tithe – thing you’re referring to)?  Do you mean that voluntary giving thing – where the basket is passed on Sundays?  Maggie … the politicians DEMAND giving.  The Bible didn’t come up with the IRS.  Churches don’t hand out jail time if you and I decide we won’t comply with tax laws.  Isn’t it an accepted truth today that politicians (with 20% positive ratings) redistribute wealth to get votes and stay in power?  Isn’t Obama, for example, running on a platform that REQUIRES more “giving”?  (Taxes!!)  Sure, there are some scoundrels in churches and cults who fleece their minions.  But when the Church is functioning rightly, more people are blessed and helped in world-wide humanitarian ways than through any government programs!

8.  I am not defending “mindless, word-for-word” acceptance of anything.  I am for the careful examination of any idea that purports to be the answer for whatever ails humanity.  I question our government.  I question the scientific community.  And I question “the Church.”

I’m challenged by your comments.  Initially I got a little mad.  I don’t like it when people presume to know my motives.  But once I started writing about what I believe in… as opposed to what I DON’T believe in … I enjoyed it.