Weekly Ponderings

Here are some things that made me think this week. Inclusion does not equal a full endorsement of everything in each post. To read each post in its entirety click on the title beneath each excerpt.

“I found myself in a debate about this the other day, and the gentleman I was talking to fell back on the argument that it was the Church’s job to take care of the poor, not the government. But is that really true?

My first thought whenever I hear this argument is, “Who gave the Church this job?” Obviously the implied answer is God. After all, Jesus does talk a lot about His followers’ responsibility for taking care of the downtrodden, poor and oppressed. If you read His parable about the sheep and the goats, it’s easy to walk away with the impression that eternal life rests entirely upon whether or not a person cares for the poor…

But does that mean that He’s delegated that responsibility away from non-faith communities and governments? That seems a little silly. To tell His followers to be mindful of a particular group doesn’t necessarily preclude the rest of humanity’s responsibility to each other. If I tell my kids to pick up their trash, I’m not sending a message to every other parent on my block that their kids can litter because my kids will pick it up.

Christ’s major point is that He cares about what happens to the those on society’s bottom rung. It would be irresponsible for Christians to not encourage everyone to do all that they can to protect them…”

Whose Job Is It to Take Care of the Poor? By Jayson Bradley

“…We knew to say, ‘don’t do drugs, they are dangerous, people get addicted’. We didn’t know to say, and I wish with all my heart we had, ‘but if you get addicted, please come to us and we will help you. We will be here for you because we love you.’ Of course this OxyContin thing wasn’t on our radar. Who could ever imagine their kid would go so far as to stick a needle in their vein? I’ll tell you, my son didn’t think he’d ever do something so stupid either, even when he was addicted to OxyContin, until he did…

My son would tell you he had a nice childhood. He played baseball and soccer and took karate. We had a good relationship. He knew his parents loved him, and – he did know better. What made him make bad choices in spite of knowing better? What changed from the age of 14 to the age of 16, when the drinking began? Murky gray. Minefield.

Recognize addiction can happen to your child. The epidemic is real. Be afraid. Be prepared to fight for your child’s life.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Arm yourselves.”

I Raised a Heroin Addict–And I Learned Something Every Mom Should Know by Patricia Byrne By Patricia Byrne

“…You just want to engage in sin, the person who disagrees with Evangelical Christianity is told.

But for the things that Evangelical Christianity wants, it’s somehow not a desire to sin to justify why they are allowed to do things that the Bible plainly states are not okay.

And what’s funny is if these things are so small, if it doesn’t matter, then it also is the easiest thing to follow. It doesn’t cost anything to not braid your hair, to not get a tattoo, to forego jewelry or flashy materialism. If you are storing up your treasures in heaven, then there is no reason to defend material wealth, because to let go of it shouldn’t matter.

But if the argument is that sometimes the Bible is cultural, or certain scriptures need to be seen through a broader context, or certain things don’t apply anymore because they don’t matter as much as other things, it’s hard explain how that makes sense for some versus and not for others without it all looking like justifications. You want to do a thing, so that scripture doesn’t apply. You don’t care about something, so that scripture was clearly cultural and doesn’t matter, solely because it doesn’t matter to you…”

The Acceptable Cultural Relativism: Christianity and the Sins that Don’t Matter 
by somaticstrength

“You weren’t there.

You tell me you are going to help us learn “to understand one another.” Please LISTEN. Please hear me! I DO understand him. I have stared into those eyes during the good times, the moments of kindness and laughter that kept us staying. I have also stared into those eyes as he has threatened us, ruined us, shredded us, humiliated us. I have spent __ years studying this man – studying his moods, his looks, his face, the set of his jaw, the squint of his eye, the shift of his weight, the movement of his hands, the movement of his arms (just in case), his words, the meaning behind his words, the movement of the corner of his mouth, his need for admiration, his derisive laughter, his sniggering when he “got” me – I have studied him meticulously all these years to avoid the next rage or joke at my expense or humiliation or cruel trick. YOU need to understand, from someone who DOES know him inside and out – he will not go down without a fight. I am scared, hurting, confused, shaken, broken, financially ruined, sexually damaged, and nearly destroyed by all that he’s done to us. And you want to put me into a room with this person? I KNOW him. He will lie, shift blame, label me as crazy, act humble, draw you aside into his “confidence”. If that doesn’t work, he will lash out in anger, cry, tell you he’s a victim, blame his parents and environment, yell, intimidate, storm out and then “apologize” so that you will be obliged to reciprocate an apology for “words that were said,” or use any other variety of tactics in order to get you to back down and admire him again.

I cried out to you for help. You sent me this letter. You completely discounted my pain, my family’s pain. You made yourself to be an expert in a situation you have never looked into, have never visited, have never seen.”

You Weren’t There — a letter to pastors from a survivor of domestic abuse A guest post at  A Cry for Justice

“Two and a half years ago, a pensioner walked into a police station and handed in a piece of paper. It revealed a horrific secret he’d kept hidden for most of his life – a litany of sexual abuse he’d suffered at a private school in Devon in the 1950s and 60s. His abuser went on to have a successful career as a children’s TV presenter and author. But now – the truth has finally emerged.”

Victim of John Earle’s abuse speaks out by Andy Davies (links to video of victim sharing his story)

“The truth is that words have consequences. Putin’s hardline against homosexuality—which Graham praised—gave the Chechen president space to crack down harder on gay and lesbian residents in his own corner of Russia. Words have consequences in the U.S., too—gay teens kicked out of their homes and high teen suicide rates due to anti-gay bullying…

Within the U.S., evangelicals are used to being able to inveigh against gays and lesbians without having their literal blood on their hands. Yes, this rhetoric still has consequences—and people do still die (see teen suicides as referenced above). But the causality feels less direct. American evangelicals do not have to watch as gay and lesbian individuals are murdered.”

Words Have Consequences: Evangelical Rhetoric and Gay Rights  by Libby Anne

“Childbirth is changing in Kenya. Increasingly, mothers are giving birth in hospitals, rather than in the village. But not so long ago the use of traditional birth attendants was the norm, and there was a tacit assumption about how to deal with intersex babies.
“They used to kill them,” explains Seline Okiki, chairperson of the Ten Beloved Sisters, a group of traditional birth attendants, also from western Kenya.

“If an intersex baby was born, automatically it was seen as a curse and that baby was not allowed to live. It was expected that the traditional birth attendant would kill the child and tell the mother her baby was stillborn…”

“The parents did not get any say in the matter,” says the group secretary Anjeline Naloh. “The expectation was that the baby should not even live long enough to cry.”

The midwife who saved intersex babies By Helen Grady and Anne Soy

“What happened to this family is shocking,” Lambda Legal Counsel Beth Littrell said. “Almost immediately after losing his husband and partner of more than 50 years, Jack Zawadski’s grief was compounded by injustice and callous treatment from the very place that should have helped ease his suffering. Following Bob’s death, the funeral home, the only one in the area with a crematorium, refused to honor agreed-upon funeral arrangements after learning that Bob and Jack were married…”

“John made all necessary arrangements before Bob’s passing in order to shield his 82-year-old uncle from additional suffering and to allow friends to gather to support Jack in his grief,” Littrell explained. “Instead, Bob’s peaceful passing was marred by turmoil, distress and indignity, adding immeasurable anguish to Jack and John’s loss. This should not have happened to them, and should not be allowed to happen again.”

We’re Suing a Mississippi Funeral Home for Refusing to Transport and Cremate the Body of Gay Man by Lambda Legal


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