17 December 2011

Mullings and Musings

"...I decided to open by simply displaying, without comment, the photo of Bibi Aisha. Aisha was the Afghani teenager who was forced into an abusive marriage with a Taliban fighter, who abused her and kept her with his animals. When she attempted to flee, her family caught her, hacked off her nose and ears, and left her for dead in the mountains. After crawling to her grandfather’s house, she was saved by a nearby American hospital. I felt quite sure that my students, seeing the suffering of this poor girl of their own age, would have a clear ethical reaction, from which we could build toward more difficult cases.

The picture is horrific. Aisha’s beautiful eyes stare hauntingly back at you above the mangled hole that was once her nose. Some of my students could not even raise their eyes to look at it. I could see that many were experiencing deep emotions.

But I was not prepared for their reaction.

I had expected strong aversion; but that’s not what I got. Instead, they became confused. They seemed not to know what to think. They spoke timorously, afraid to make any moral judgment at all. They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in a different culture..."

  • "Matthew 25: How I met my husband" (Ok, so there are many things that I don't agree with in this article... women pastors/preachers, some vocabulary choices etc., but I'd hate to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water: I loved her perspective, the balance, the focus on finding Christ IN the needs and IN the meeting of needs...)
"...we can so easily replace the conservative personal morality insurance plan for the hereafter checklist with a liberal social justice, here’s what Christianity REALLY means checklist. Either way we end up not really needing Jesus so much as needing to make sure we successfully complete the right list of tasks. Because in the end every form of Checklist Christianity leaves Jesus essentially idling in his van on the corner while we say 'Thanks Jesus…but we can take it from here' ... Because as anyone for whom the poor are not an abstraction but actual flesh and blood people knows…the poor and hungry and imprisoned are not a romantic special class of Christ like people. And those who meet their needs are not a romantic special class of Christ like people. We all are equally as Sinful and Saintly as the other. No, Christ comes to us IN the needs of the poor and hungry, needs that are met by another so that the gleaming redemption of God might be known. And we are all the needy and the ones who meet needs. Placing ourselves or anyone else in only one category or another is to tell ourselves the wrong story entirely."

  • "Crying in LaGuardia" (Most of us are quite content to accept the praise for our what we do right. Why is it so tempting... why do we so want to pass the buck or find someone else to blame... instead of accepting responsibility when we mess up? Yes - that is somewhat of a rhetorical question- but only somewhat...)

"I’m pretty good about rolling with the punches, and I’ve had my share of mistakes at work. But this was different. Worse.

After landing in LaGuardia, I checked my email messages as we prepared to de-board the plane. A note from a good friend inquired, 'How was that conference you spoke at today?'


'No, the conference is tomorrow.' I typed back. 'I’ve just landed in New York.'

My friend responded back right away. 'Um, you might want to check the brochure...' "

  • "Evidences of God's Grace" (Just think of what life in the church would be like if we could keep this attitude... even when confronting sin and difficult issues... and so I pray, "Lord... Amen! May it be so, may You work this attitude in me...")
"Let me tell you about my son. He is an utter failure and a terrible disappointment. Though he professes Christ, he is too often rude to his mother and to me; though he says that he is a Christian, he refuses to get along with his sisters, he refuses to do his job to the best of his ability, he gets grades that are so much less than they ought to be. And we won’t even speak of his personal hygiene! He is a grave, grave disappointment to me.

But hang on. What kind of a father would I be if I looked at my son in this way? What kind of a Father would have such a narrow view and such a negative view? When I look at my son from the perspective of a father, I see the sin and I see the things I wish he would do better, but that is not who he is to me..."

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