My blog has become nothing but a quote book.

From something Ali sent me.

“I used to think we Christians were pro-life. It turns out, we are simply anti-abortion.”

It was an article about universal healthcare. Calm down, Jared. I’m not a big fan of bigger government. But I’m also not a big fan of being uninsured. But I think Shawn M. is right. If Christians would do what we are called to do and truly reflect Christ, these issues wouldn’t even exist. Instead of arguing about whether there should be universal healthcare, we should be talking about taking on an inner-city family to provide for their healthcare needs from our overflow of blessings. Is welfare a bad system? Maybe Christians should start feeding more people.

I sound cynical against Christians. I’m not. I just ask myself often, “Am I doing all that I can.” Not to be all Schindler, but do I have a ring I could sell so that one more person would know the unconditional, saving sacrifice of Jesus?

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27 Responses to My blog has become nothing but a quote book.

  1. Joseph says:

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with being all Schindler? Last time I checked the bible does say that if you have two coats and your brother is in need, give him one of yours. Where’s the nearest pawn shop???

  2. Jared says:

    First off, as someone who ‘grew up’ in the pro-life movement I take strenuous objection to that quote. It’s very condescending and demeaning. Not to mention patently false. I’ll spare you the list of credentials that make me qualified to speak for the pro-life movement on this one but if you really want them I can provide you the references.
    I personally, and many other pro-lifers in general, have a broad-based worldview that opposition to abortion is a derivative. But that some worldview leads me/us to object just as strenuously to infanticide, euthanasia, slavery, the war in Sudan (Darfur AND southern Sudan), rape as a weapon of war in the DRC, sweat shops in Asia, etc, etc, etc. ‘Pro-life’ is about so much more than opposition to a couple medical procedures! The anti-abortion is a label that ‘pro-choice’ types used to try and slap us with (should they be ‘pro-death’? ‘anti-life’?) and to have supposed allies trot out that old accusation/label feels a little bit like a betrayal.
    And that doesn’t even begin to answer the whole universal healthcare thing!
    But if I do that this comment will get ridiculously long and I could/would be accused of taking over your blog. I should get one of my own but I waste enough time on the internet as it is.
    But I can’t help being a bit provacative back: there is no ‘right’ to healthcare. Healthcare is comprised of my (and every other doctor/resident/nurse/pharmacists etc.) knowledge plus companies (however evil/nefarious/corporate) PATENTED medications and machines. No one has a right to the knowledge (remember knowledge represents hours of work and sacrifice on the part of health care professionals) in my head any more than they have a right to my car or my house. There can’t be a right to health insurance either, someone has to pay for it. Having a right to health insurance means you have a right to my money.
    Albeit, just because you do not have a right to my $$/knowledge/house/car doesn’t mean I don’t have a moral obligation to give you what I have.
    Before I am verbally flogged remember that I am planning on spending my life working in Africa where are in much more dire straights (dire-er?) that here.

  3. cheryl says:

    you’re so cute when you get fired up.

  4. John David Henderson says:

    I agree with Jared about the “right to healthcare” stance he just represented. I also add that the sooner we drop the false notion that we or anyone else has a right to health or the medically assisted preservation of it the sooner we can relax and submit to Gods economy. If I die of cancer no right is being violated. I am a creature and I get what the creator gives. He already offers eternal fellowship, purpose and health. I have no “right” to instruct how that end will be achieved for myself or anyone else. Now that I’m no longer bitter or anxious about my rights being violated I’m freed up to give thanks for what I have been given and inspired to give it back to others. Its 1 am but what Im trying to say is that there is a balance between communicating Gods love and sincere desire/power to bless and heal without giving off the false sense of anyone at all deserving it. Dignity without entitlement is the goal.

  5. cheryl says:

    two very interesting issues were raised:

    1. are we entitled to good health provided by the government or faith-based organizations or even individuals?

    2. Does God give someone cancer or any other ailment?

  6. Joseph says:

    I’ve got to say that Jared and John clearly thought a lot more deeply about this post than I did. Since it is apparently such a sensitive and potentially volatile topic, I want to say that, If I’m being completely serious, I agree with both their perspectives on this. I still think that it would be a privilege to be “All Schindler” though. 🙂

  7. Joseph says:

    Oops! I didn’t see your last post before I submitted mine otherwise I would have answered the questions. To your first question: No, I don’t believe we are “entitled” to anything. I come from a country where healthcare is a foreign word. An entltlement mentality is what causes people to scream at their govt. for delivering water late after hurricane Katrina, while a great many chose to ignore the warnings to move to safety. (I recognize that my Katrina statement leaves room for misunderstanding since I am not exhaustively addressing every issue, however, it is only meant to speak to the idea of an entitlement mentality).

    To your second question: No, I don’t believe God gives anyone sickness. Sickness is a manifestation of the curse, but it is God’s singular prerogative to determine whether or not he heals anyone, how he heals any one, and when he heals anyone. There. That’s my two cents for the day.

  8. cheryl says:

    For the record and benefit of my reader(s) Joseph, where are you from? let me guess…Nigeria?

    Interesting thought. we are not entitled to anything from the Almight. Any healing we recieve is by His grace alone. And we as Americans (at least for arguments sake) have a LONG list of demanded “rights.” I can just see the women of Jared’s Darfur trying to respond to the western mentality of entitlement.

  9. Joseph says:

    Yes Cheryl, as you know I am Hope Clark’s pastor, and I am Nigerian.

    Understanding that everything good comes from His grace alone, helps put perspective on our ‘wealth’ and the motivation to serve the greater good of the less fortunate with that wealth.

  10. John Henderson says:

    Well that’s writing in the early a.m. for ya. God doesn’t give sickness, like death it is a result of the fall but he choses to allow it and hold back his healing hand at times. There is probably a good reason why I should be more articulate there but it boils down to the same thing, namely, It happens and Gods still in control.

  11. Shawn says:

    The whole idea of “rights” reflects a uniquely Western perspective (which is a sinful and self-centered approach to life). Just because people baptize ideas with the phrase “endowed by our Creator” and think that certain truths are “self-evident”, doesn’t mean they are actually endorsed by our Creator.

    “There is a way that seems right (or self-evident) to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

    Instead of holding on to our rights, we should let go of them and take a hold of service. We may not like it, but it is the Way of Jesus. He did not consider his “rights” as God something to be grasped, but instead he let go of them and purposefully took hold of service with both hands. Even allowing those two hands to be nailed to a cross, unable to grasp anything but the nails in them.

    Anytime you feel the need to claim your “rights” consider the following …

    “In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8)

  12. Jared says:

    Communist…

  13. Colleen says:

    Sigh….

    I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t jump into this, but I can’t help myself, so I’m going to type very slowly so as not to disrespect Cheryl’s blog with my raging liberalism. I’ll try not to get all ranty.

    First off, I think there is some merit to the idea that the pro-life movement is more anti-abortion than it actually is pro-life. That is obviously a sweeping generalization and there are certainly members of the pro-life movement who espouse ideology that is consistently supportive of life. Within any movement there are a variety of perspectives and opinions represented. All pro-life people may oppose abortion, but aside from that you can find lots of people who don’t agree on a variety of other reproductive issues. Like birth control. Similarly, all pro-choice people may agree that abortion should be kept legal, but not all pro-choice people agree on other reproductive issues. Like restrictions on procedures done past the point of viability.

    In the end, the names of the movements don’t matter. When political groups form, they choose titles that are rhetorically beneficial. It’s all basically propaganda…no sense in getting all worked up over it.

    And while universal healthcare is certainly a complicated issue, it does seem a little silly to argue in one breath that abortion should be illegal because a fetus is entitled to life and then in the next breath say that universal healthcare is ridiculous because know one is entitled to good health. Ok, so it isn’t ridiculous. It’s callous. No one likes it when their moral imperative conflicts with the soulless wonder of free market capitalism, but that cognitive dissonance is what keeps us from getting smug and self-righteous.

  14. Shawn says:

    If you are referring to the remarks against self-centered, self-serving, right-claiming, cry-baby Christianity…

    I think Jesus and Karl Marx would both agree that Communism is not what Jesus advocates and that the gospel is not what Marx is calling for either.

  15. Jared says:

    Shawn- ‘Communist’ was a joke borrowed from Cheryl.

    Colleen,
    1- give A reason why good health/healthcare is a right. You make a statement but give no argument in support of it, you just call people like myself callous/ridiculous. I take exception to that. I am killing myself to provide compassionate medical care to my patients and make $8/hr doing it, after 8+ years of school! Not that the two are the same thing. Your health is your responsibility. Do you really have a right to other peoples property (knowledge/medications/devices)?
    2- on what grounds do you judge the ‘pro-life movement’? How many of ‘us’ have you known? What interaction have you had with women seeking abortion? Have you ever seen one done?

    Let’s make an analogy between health and movement. We have a right to free movement in this country, we do not have a right to a car.
    Or another analogy: food. If you are hungry and I have food you have no right to (eg the government should not force me to give you) my food. But Christ has laid a moral obligation on me to feed the hungry, so here, have some of mine.
    You have the right to life, your life is your property. My life is mine. I can lay my life down for you and arguably have a moral obligation to lay it down.
    Similarly, (repeating myself) you do not have a right to be treated by me. The ethics of my profession may demand it, the example of Jesus may place a moral obligation on me to provide you with all the help I can, medical and otherwise. A moral obligation laid on me does not equal your right.

    You can call the differences ‘silly’ all you want, but with out a reasonable argument to back it up it’s just name calling. The difference between rights and obligations may seem like splitting hairs to you. I think the importance lies in whose responsibility it is to fix a violated right versus fulfill a moral obligation. It is the civil governments job to protect our rights: life, liberty, property (punish/stop slavery, murder and theft). It is the responsibility of the church and individuals to meet moral obligations.

  16. Papa Robbie says:

    This is really good stuff here. (goes for more popcorn)

  17. Colleen says:

    Ok, Jared, I’m gonna start with your second set of questions first, because I think it’s a better way to set up the first questions.

    My opinion of the pro-life movement has been formed by my experiences with the movement itself. A political movement is not necessarily the sum of its parts, so I try to keep my feelings about the pro-life movement separate from my feelings about pro-life people. I’ve got nothing against people who espouse pro-life positions. Just wanted to make that clear….so try not to take anything too personally. I was raised in a pro-life family, had many pro-life friends, and considered myself pro-life until my sophomore year of college.

    In the last 5 years, most of my experiences with the movement and with pro-life people have occurred at times when I’ve worked with pro-choice organizations. There have also been a few personal experiences. I’ve been escorted up clinic steps by men in bullet-proof vests so that I could be supportive for a friend who was making the best decision she knew how to make. I held her hand during her vacuum aspiration. I’ve taken crisis hotline calls from women who’ve been raped by men they trusted, only to find themselves pregnant and scared. I’ve been called a murderer and a whore by people who know nothing about my life or the choices I’ve made. Due to these and a few other experiences, I have a really hard time not becoming bitter or taking out my frustration on individual people who identify themselves as pro-life, but so far I’ve managed alright.

    Moving on to health care….

    First of all, I made no claim that people have a right to healthcare. I didn’t say it’s silly or callous to believe that people have no right to good health. What I did say is that it seems silly and callous to advocate for the rights of the unborn and to label yourself as being “pro-life” and not care about the quality of people’s lives. That seems to be a contradiction. I don’t think it’s callous to be pro-life or to oppose universal healthcare, but I do think it’s callous to insist that any woman pregnant under any circumstances give birth and then wait till the child is born to bust out an intellectual property argument to explain why it’s no one’s responsibility to take care of that life.

    The issue here is that we aren’t doing a very good job of taking care of the people who are already here. It’s especially frustrating when a political movement makes it their priority to ensure that every fertilized egg becomes a baby without doing anything to ensure that the baby in question gets food, shelter, and yes, medical care. Good health might not be a right, but sometimes it’s a need.

    Opposing abortion doesn’t automatically mean that you respect life. Respecting life means caring about the quality of a person’s life too.

    As for developing a “reasonable” argument to back up my position, that’s tough to do since my position is based on compassion. Compassion is rarely reasonable. We don’t act out of compassion because it’s the logical thing to do, we do it because we should.

    So if you want a “reasonable” argument for universal healthcare, then I suppose I’d have to call an economist and figure out a cost/benefit analysis. I mean, more healthy people should mean more people in the workforce, which would mean more money in the pockets of the rich people with the power, yes? That’s not really my deal–I have a hard time seeing people as wage slaves.

  18. Shawn says:

    It seems to me the argument is over who’s responsibility it is to look after those who are in need. Both liberals and conservatives are guilty of pressing the government to be something it was never designed to be, which is the church.

  19. Colleen says:

    Perhaps because the church doesn’t do it?

    I’ve had this conversation with Christians numerous times. I don’t disagree that it’s the church’s responsibility…well…I don’t disagree that according to the message of Christ, it is the church’s responsibility to take care of people. And some churches are pretty good at that.

    But is it enough? Do we let people fall through the cracks because the church is either too small or too complacent?

    And I think it depends on what kind of country we want America to be. Land of the free or land of the free market?

  20. Papa Robbie says:

    The United States is definitely the “Land Of The Free Market”. Capitalism corrupts so many things. When the bottom line is money, we get things like G.W. Bush as President and American Idol (yeah I said it). Healthcare is a mess…the bottom line is making money and the insurance/pharmaceutical companies only care about that.

  21. cheryl says:

    i had lunch with my sister and niece today. i love emily more than my life. she is practically perfect in every way. sharon tried to give her a bite of food and she willfully refused. i asked her for a kiss and she grabbed for the money i had in my hand. all that to say…capitolism doesn’t currupt everything. the sinful heart of mankind, even seen in the selfish, willful heart of my angel sweetie pie, button face lovie. MANKIND wants power and comfort and looks out for #1. NO society throughout history, no matter what their system looked like was without violence, greed and self-indulgence. every religion is filled with corruption-EVERY RELIGION, EVERY CHURCH, EVERY GOV’T PROGRAM because if people are involved, it’s going to need redemption. And another system or church or whatever, if created by MAN, will carry the same fingerprints that mark the history of civilization. well, there were 10 Fingerprints that didn’t. What a Savior.

  22. Colleen says:

    excellent point, cheryl, dear.

    but should we maintain a system that rewards violence, greed, and self-indulgence just because we know it’ll always be around?

    i realize utopia isn’t going to happen. and even if it did, i doubt it would be all it’s cracked up to be. but do we stop trying to be a better, more compassionate nation, just because we’ll never be a perfect nation?

  23. cheryl says:

    Aye, there’s the rub. Better by whose standards? You and jared would disagree on what being better might look like when fleshed out. One person might say “get rid of welfare. it just enables.” that would be there idea of “better.” and someone else might say “socialize everything.” it’s “working for the swedes” In a nation consumed with reletive morality, there is no natioanl standard for what is better or right. the concept that there is a God who made an order that carried absolute truth is offensive to most. then again, these people haven’t thought about it very logically.

    until we can decide what is “better” “compassionate” we are going to have a hard time becoming those things.

    after all, is it compassionate to save an unborn child or is it compassionate to let a woman who has been raped terminate a pregnancy that will always remind her of what happened?

  24. cheryl says:

    btw, socialism isnt working for the swedes. sure they are all rich and pretty, but it’s got one of the hightest alcoholism and suicide rates in the word. making everybody rich and pretty does not make for a perfect society.

  25. Colleen says:

    I see your point. Not everyone shares a common morality, because morality is so often tied to religious conviction. And we can’t legislate by religious conviction.

    It’s that First Amendment getting in the way again.

  26. Papa Robbie says:

    Look….our President is doin’ it up as only he can! Gotta love Capitalism and his strong moral conviction right?

    Washington – US President George W Bush is asking Congress for nearly 3 trillion dollars in his budget for fiscal year 2008, with about one-quarter earmarked for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the defence budget, according to news reports on the document to be released Monday.

    With the exception of defence, which would get a 10 per cent boost, overall spending increases would be limited to 1 per cent for 2008, less than enough to keep up with last year’s inflation rate of 2.5 per cent. Bush is calling for a balanced budget by 2012.

    Expenditures for public health care – Medicare for senior citizens and Medicaid for the poor – would be reduced by 80 billion dollars, shifting more of the burden of health for the needy to the individual states, Cable News Network reported.

    The 716-billion-dollar defence segment of the budget includes 245 billion dollars for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and 481 billion dollars to cover the 10 per cent increase in regular Pentagon spending for 2008.

    The defence request includes funds to increase the size of the Army by more than 13 percent to 547,000 and the Marine Corps by 15 percent to 202,000 over four years, Bloomberg news service reported.

    Bush has been criticized for funding the wars through special requests to Congress in an effort to keep the appearance of the budget smaller. But the war funding for 2008 is being included in the new budget request, senior administration officials were quoted as saying.

    If approved by Congress, the war spending would bring to 745 billion dollars the amount of money the US has spent on the two wars since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the Washington Post reported over the weekend.

    Democrats who are in control of Congress for the first time in 13 years have vowed to have a louder voice in making decisions about the war, and many oppose the Republican leader’s deployment of another 21,000 troops to Iraq to help bring sectarian fighting in Baghdad under control.

    Democrats are expected to examine war expenditures closely to regain some control over the direction of US policy in Iraq.

    In other budget proposals:

    – The US would spend 145.2 billion dollars on the ‘global’ war on terrorism.

    – Planning beyond 2008 would balance the budget by 2012. Bush inherited a surplus from his predecessor, centre-left Democrat Bill Clinton, but through tax cuts, a slowing economy and increased costs for defence and homeland security, the deficit fell 22 per cent in 2006 to 248 billion dollars, its second decline in a row.

    – Although Bush pledged increased spending on alternative energy, the 2008 proposal outlines about 1.2 billion dollars – the same amount Bush proposed for 2001, CNN reported.

    – 1.82 billion dollars for the US State Department for ‘strengthening’ democracy in Iraq, including 400 million dollars for job creation and building the Iraqi governance system.

    – 5.4 billion dollars for AIDS research and prevention, 300 million dollars for malaria research and 3 billion dollars for the Millennium Challenge Account for poor countries.

    – Bush also called for 2 billion dollars in unused tax benefits for a direct rail link to John F Kennedy International Airport in New York from lower Manhattan, reports said.

  27. cheryl says:

    exactly. no man, no system, no earthly creation can fix the cluster we’re in. miss the papa. my sis says hi!

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