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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pass the Gherkins

     Turned up on Twitter: photo of a newspaper article reporting a Muslim imam's declaration that women should not be allowed to touch any elongated fruits or vegetables, like cucumbers or bananas, because it might set them a-tingle and give them naughty thoughts. Almost sounds like a satire from The Onion, but then these are the guys who have an etiquette for raping slaves: mother or daughter, but not both. That would be so gauche. Some of these charmers even maim women to make sure there's no chance of their enjoying sex. So Imam Produce Chastity could be for real. And seriously delusional. I mean, if the bearers of courgette-like appendages in your neighborhood were pretty much all goat-diddlers and child rapists, would a zucchini turn you on? Rather, the imagination produces a burqa'd brigade of Lorena Bobbits slicing, dicing and julienning. "All I want for Eid is a Vege-Matic." Shoot, far from a way of cooling down the supposed hair-trigger babes, what they need in the suq is more likely a car-load of Omar Sharif masks. I mean, really, el-Dude, do you think what you got is that enticing? Melt some sand, man, and make a mirror. 

     I read a book by an American woman who was kidnapped in Somalia along with a (wimpy twit, my editorial opinion) male companion and held for ransom by a Muslim gang. For two years. Every one of the gang raped her, and one began to visit daily. He actually talked about how some day they'd be married and have many sons. Right, Omar. Any girl would be thrilled. Nevertheless, she and companion plotted to escape by working bars out of a window and running to a mosque. The religious people would help them, right? They ran in and begged for help in the name of Allah. Their captors were close behind. One woman came into the prayer room. The author showed by gestures that the kidnappers were raping her. The woman took her in her arms and tried to hold her there as the captors pulled her away. The male locals just stroked their beards. Such gray areas, kidnap and rape. But one woman understood. 
    In Kenya recently, Muslim dandies stopped a bus and demanded that all Christians disembark to be shot. Muslim women on board quickly shared their head coverings with Christian neighbors to disguise them. They stayed seated and told the killers that if they wanted to shoot the Christians, they would have to shoot everybody. They backed down. 
     Somehow, some Muslim women have retained their human hearts in the depths of Islamic hellholes. May the Gospel reach them. May they come to know the kind Savior Who loves them as His children, made in His image. "Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this," wrote Dorothy L. Sayers in Are Women Human? Women in these hateful cultures know how bad the men are. Now, if only the Light will show it to the men. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Where the Light Comes From

     This is the sign of a good sermon. It makes me write things down-- not notes exactly, but thoughts triggered by the content. Good books do this to me too. In this sermon about the Magnificat, Pastor Bill started out talking about the fluff that surrounds Christmas, like the feel-good songs about chestnuts and sleigh bells and home for Christmas that never mention Jesus. He plays them for his granddaughters, and they dance. Sweet.
     Did you know the Japanese decorate for Christmas as extravagantly as Americans, even though they have one of the smallest percentages of Christian believers in the world? So what do they have? Sparkly stuff, warm feelings, lights, fun. Scraps. Like crumbs under the table. Nice, as far as they go, but still scraps. 
     Mary's soul "glorifies the Lord." His glory is more than light. It's the essence of His being, which is real and dense and inexhaustible. (Cue Handel: "And the glory,the glory of the Lord, shall be revealed.") What surrounds that glory, what emanates from it, is beautiful and pleasant. In God's economy, even the scraps can be beautiful. Ice floes in Alaska have a stunning heart of ethereal blue that transfixes the eye. They are scraps that fall from the glaciers. Seashells riot with color and shape. I can't resist picking them up and taking a few home. They are scraps left over when their inhabitants die. 
     The ice floe melts. The shells I can keep, but what if I'd never seen the sea? And what if I'd seen all the Christmas lights, but never knew the one from Whom all good things emanate? Ultimately the sights and sounds are only disturbances in the air, and if that is all I know, then I have nothing. I can grab at more and more and more, but it has no more substance than the air. There is one who is the prince of its power. He wants us to focus only on the images and never on the real. "Don't look for the source. This is all there is," he insists. 
     No. Follow the light, the music, the joy, the love, the dancing children. Here is the source, the one true Lord, born a baby in Bethlehem and laid in a manger. Very God of very God. The light of the world. Jesus. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blood and Rhetoric

     With a truly astounding lack of self-awareness, one Jessica Valenti says in support of Planned Parenthood, "Words matter. When we dehumanize people, we make it easier for others to do them harm." Oh, like "fetus," "blob of cells," "product of conception"? Well, no, she seems to mean the way pro-life people point out what actually happens in an abortion and call it murder. They also warn about psychological damage to women who must then live with the memory of having a baby killed, as well as the possibility of physical injury. Is it vicious hate-speech to point out that a suction machine strong enough to rip the arms and legs off a "fetal" body is also strong enough to tear a hole in a woman's uterus, and sometimes does? Is it anti-woman to mention the possibility of infection or infertility? Abortion fans seem to think so. After all, I've never heard a pro-life person say, "Let's go shoot up an abortion clinic."  We don't promote murder because we're, you know, pro-life. 
     Listen, if I'm responsible for an anti-social flake like Robert Lewis Dear shooting people in the vicinity of a Planned Parenthood abortuary (note that he did a lousy job of attacking the abortionists. He started shooting cops outside and was then too pinned down to do much mischief inside the building. If you were going to shoot the place up, wouldn't you keep your weapon concealed under that alleged long coat until you got in the door?), then abortion boosters are sure as hell (and I mean that pretty literally) responsible for Kermit Gosnell. This is a man who had enough on the ball to make it through medical school, but then devoted himself to killing big babies. Oops, "fetal tissue masses." That's the vocabulary he was given, although if he had studied obstetrics in the 1950s, he might have read that the obstetrician has two patients, mother and baby. But when Roe v. Wade came along (and did you know that "Jane Roe" is now prolife? Look up Norma McCorvey. Norma ) the language began to change. Suddenly the baby was a "fetus." Look that up too. It simply means an unborn creature in the womb, particularly a human being. But it sounds kind of medical and sterile, and the feminist champions of womanhood insisted it wasn't really human. It was just potential, no more valuable than a chicken's egg. A product. A blob. Medical waste. "When we dehumanize people, we make it easier for others to do them harm." Sure enough, Jessica Valenti. 
     The procedure itself quickly morphed from a sad but necessary thing into an unfettered right. Abortion on demand, without apology! And those who performed abortions were heroes, champions for women, bravest of the brave. Every abortion was a salute to women-- never mind the reality that abortionists' halls are more likely to see tears, fear and coercion than women proud and free celebrating their "choice." 
     So is it any wonder that Kermit Gosnell might feel free to keep a filthy facility, to cut the necks of living babies with scissors, to keep a jar of their feet as souvenirs? Or that he would be protected by the abortionist "community"? More on Gosnell
     In the decades since Roe v. Wade, about eight abortion workers have been murdered. Eight. And the number of babies killed is pushing 50,000,000. That doesn't include women who bled to death, died of sepsis or were maimed. Pro-life people are pikers when it comes to blood on the hands. Abortion promoters are soaked in it from head to foot and licking it off their lips. Ms. Valenti has held up a mirror, but ought to turn it around. All of you will have to look in it sooner or later.