Monday, March 19, 2012

Forgiving is understanding: Inexcusable is not the same as unforgivable

I recently ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in quite some time.  We chatted, and for a while we danced around a painful topic, but it eventually surfaced like bad news will.  This friend had a major moral failing, one of epic destruction.  The consequences were far reaching and devastating.  The failure cost this friend their family and their livelihood.

Paradoxically, I left that conversation feeling a bit guilty for not checking in along the way to see how well my old friend was doing.  Sounds like a betrayal to that friend's family?  Not really.  I said, If David could fall, and he was a man after God's own heart, who are we to think we are invincible?

Honestly, I think it was a disservice for not following up with my friend to see how they were doing, spiritually and otherwise.  I apologized.  There was no excuse for infidelity, and regardless of what our sin against others may be, or their sin against us, we have to learn to give forgiveness.  And, forgiveness includes some level of acceptance.  Not blind acceptance that puts us or others in harms way, but acceptance nonetheless.

What I really want to communicate here, as simply as possible is: Inexcusable is not the same as unforgivable..

I'd like you, and myself as well, to keep this notion in the back of our mind when we need to forgive an offense.  People are "stupid" by nature, we do things we ought not do, each and everyone of us does things we regret.  I know that it's hard to admit, but be honest.

With that as a given, that we are fallible, we need to cut others more slack.  Family will let us down.  Coworkers will stab us in the back.  Our neighbors will drive through our lawns.  So, I guess Church is the only place where we never have any problems with people... right?  Wrong.

So, everywhere we go and every relationship is exposed to this principle:  Eventually, we will get hurt the hardest by those we love the most.

The older I get, the less in life I find bothering me.  One thing that irritates me to no end though, is the amount of un-forgiveness and vengeful attitudes people can harbor.  The most dangerous sin I know of is un-forgiveness.  I won't take time to list an entire doctrinal thesis on what happens when we judge others and refuse to forgive them.   Suffice it to say, Jesus repeatedly warns His audience, if you don't forgive others, God won't forgive you.

Again, the point I'm driving home is: Inexcusable is not the same as unforgivable
Just because there is no excuse for an offense, that doesn't give us the right to withhold forgiveness.  It's not healthy for the offender, or for the offended.

Am I saying turn a blind eye and stick our heads in the sand?  No.  People have to face reality, and that can hurt.  Spouses do have a right to end a marriage after certain trusts are broken or vows are violated.  People break laws and must deal with the results.  Boundaries are healthy, but, perpetually scorning or scolding isn't.

What am I advocating?  If you've been hurt/upset/offended, or, if you are wondering what to do where you weren't the one hurt but you've kept the offender at arm's length.  Keep this in mind: For guilty people who've made "the huge mistake," having to deal with their own consequences is sometimes painful enough.  Why do we feel the need to harshly add to their pain by being punitive or vindictive when reality can do this way more effectively?

Everyone deserves a little grace, occasionally, even the person in the mirror.  As a husband and a father, I've learned this lesson... and I've surely needed other loved-ones to learn it for my sake too...

BTW: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."(Matthew 5:7 ESV)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cloning is a no-brainer

I'm not a scientist, geneticist, or physician.  I'm a tentmaker; I'm a minister & I'm a cement finisher.  I don't know if my graduate degree in theology qualifies me for talking much about cloning, but I'll take commonsense as my guide as well.  Enough disclaimers.

Before I go further:

  • I'm not interested in the ethics of cloning in this post, whatsoever.
  • Also, I do not think the fact that cloning is possible is a threat to our faith.  
  • I'm not slamming or insulting the field of cloning; I have no hostilities to vent against cloning.

I don't have an ax to grind, I simply want to draw attention the failures of cloning to make a case for a Creator.  I'm guessing within a 100 years cloning will probably be a snap, maybe not, but I can't see why not.  That cloning will improve isn't the issue.  The issue is, as I see it, we have intelligent beings in sterilized and temperate environments "trying" in earnest to accomplish (with preexisting materials from accessible life forms) what the naturalist claims could happen through time + chance + matter = happy accident...

I recently heard that only 2 to 3% of all laboratory controlled cloning experiments actually produce a living organism... and only 30 to 33% of that 2/3% survive!  Maybe this is why the Germans banned all human cloning back in the 1990's?

So, think about how we are advanced enough to send people to the moon, build nuclear bombs, and build skyscrapers to impossible heights.  That analogy fails, you say rightly so, because we're supposed to be talking about life, carbon based, amino acid energized life-forms.  Okay.

We are advanced enough to save premature babies.  We transplant organs; we regenerate livers from halves from living donors too.  We have sophisticated MRI's that give us images sliced to 1/64th of an inch that can peer into the deepest part of the human anatomy...  We do marvels with cancer, comparatively speaking. We've beaten polio.  We have curbed the ravaging devastation HIV causes, prolonging lifespans of its victims by decades.  We can artificially inseminate.  Yet, we can't clone successfully, when the pieces are all laid out.

The equipment for cloning is not is as extravagant as you might imagine.  An NPR piece reported the equipment for cloning could easily be purchased and stored in your basement...   The materials for cloning are easily harvested, ample, accessible...  Yet, in lab trial after lab trial the results are horrendously catastrophic.  Most, again 90% plus specimens, don't survive.  A mass majority of those that do spark life are hideously deformed.  Most attempts are terminal.  And, in light of this, we are supposed to think life "just happened" like a Nike slogan "Just do it"?  Again, how could life spontaneously and accidentally spark into existence unguided, when with our guidance and utilizing existing building blocks for life, we are unable to do so?

Life forms, of any complexity, simply defy science's abilities to replicate with any consistency.  Yet, we are surrounded by life forms that follow the double helix blueprints of DNA (mysteriously replicated by RNA) and that complex-language-encoded method was able to develop on accident???

Here's the rub: According to a naturalistic and atheistic worldview, a lifeless universe in a chaotic harsh environment, shackled and hindered by the burden of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy) birthed untold numbers of life forms.  Why is this hard to fathom?  In a controlled laboratory with all of the building blocks at hand we can't achieve success at replicating life on any consistent basis?   This is without considering an unemotional universe birthing the full range of joy, happiness, anger, despair, and every emotion between.  Or non-thinking non-living atoms generating intelligence, logic, and creativity?

I think the problematic, Sisyphean tale of cloning lends more credence to a Creator than perhaps any of our sciences.  An uncontrolled, unguided, deaf-dumb-and-blind universe that's generating life, with living creatures that appreciate beauty and feel a sense of purpose all supposedly being a cosmic accident stretches the imagination beyond creditably, far past credulity.