Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gay Marriage Controversy

The Supreme Court is considering whether it is discrimination against homosexuals by denying them the right of marriage. The suit was brought after the Federal Court in California over ruled the will of the people who had voted against it. As I have read, blacks were overwhelmingly opposed. Personally I can accept civil union but am opposed to marriage. With civil union, a couple, whether straight or gay can live together. I can even accept a Justice of the Peace or a ship’s Captain. Marriage is a step too far. I have discussed this with two pastors. One said he favored marriage, the other said he would never participate in a gay wedding ceremony. My question to you and anyone else who reads this article, is what happens to the minister who refuses to perform the ceremony? Can he or she be sued? Can the church to which he or she is the Pastor be found responsible and fined for inaction? This is a far more important issue than the Catholic Church’s objection to providing birth control to employees. Marriage is the most sacred of all rites. In my opinion it was created for a man and a woman to join together and bring forth children in a loving union and thereby maintain the population. Before you hit me with the response that gay couples are raising children, I have not stated that they cannot adopt. So that is my simple short effort to state my opinion for whatever it might be worth. Jack B. Walters March 30,2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Abel Emerging by Ron Rude-a reconsideration of the Christian story for a sustainable world

Ron is leading an OLLI Course on Presidents and doing a fine job. He shared information on two books he has written. This book report is about his first book. He is a Lutheran Pastor and therefore a believer in God, Jesus Christ and all that entails, but he is far different from the norm in that he also accepts that the Universe has evolved over eons of time and that modern Homo sapiens emerged about 70,000 years ago. This is a bold refutation of the standard beliefs of most who profess a belief in Christianity, those who proclaim without reservation that every word written in the Bible is irrefutable and true. This author proclaims the story of Adam and Eve is not an actual event but rather a way of expressing the unfolding of mankind. The title of the book relates to Abel as representing those humans who are givers, ready and willing to live frugally with respect for all living creatures, while Cain represents the takers, those who grab all they can for themselves without regard to the destruction of nature around them. He further states that the Cain’s represent the majority of humans in positions of power including Christians. In his introduction he proclaims that the Christian story needs to be re-considered. He bases this on the fact that the story is merely about Homo sapiens. He believes, as I do, that it needs to also include the wider community of life, from vegetation and animals to reptiles and bacteria, from landscapes and oceans to rivers and air. He believes, as I do, that Planet Earth is listing toward calamity and that humans are responsible. One comment he makes that I particularly agreed with was “Earth is humanities home (not a disposable way station on the road to an afterlife or heaven). He concludes this section by stating there is hope (but not in the short term). He states that humans lived in harmony until about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago and that the relationship changed from living in harmony to one in which humans were regarded as special and that the rest of nature was here to be used and abused if necessary to serve their needs. He states that the Cain era started about 8,000 years ago. Here is where I want to intercede with my own thoughts. I believe the change occurred when formal religion took hold such as written in the Bible and the Koran. In the Bible it is clearly stated that man had dominion over all creatures on Earth. Further it promotes the afterlife as the goal, implying that life on Earth was only a passing step on the way to eternal life. It also refers to the end of the world as we know it and therefore it promotes the idea that the Earth will be destroyed anyway so use it to our hearts content as it doesn’t matter. At the present time it is estimated that over 30,000 species are being wiped out on an annual basis. Cain’s culture has gained the upper hand. Entire peoples have been decimated, whole cultures laid waste. Traditions lost, family systems broken up and ecologies endangered to the brink of ruin. Like a cancer, Cain knows no boundaries and harbors no shame. Cain’s focus is on self, on immediate opportunities for exploitation, and an insatiable quest for more and more. Abel has regard for the water, soil and air, as well as respect for God, the whole community of life. In Chapter 5 the author does refer to the Cain philosophy that the world will be destroyed anyway giving humans license to do as they will without regard to the effect on nature. Chapter 10, he addresses the subject of afterlife. He states he believes in heaven, but only after we have lived a life that blesses life here. He states “If I can’t be faithful with God’s community of life on Earth, how will I be faithful with God’s community of life in heaven”? He suggests that Cain’s goal is to rule heaven also. Chapter 11, Is there hope? In March 2008 the Southern Baptist Church declared that they had been too timid in the care of God’s creation. He finishes the book with hope that we will wake up in time to learn to live with nature as a partner rather than to be used. There are efforts well known of groups dedicated to this cause. We need to support them and hope for the best. That is the least we can do. Jack B. Walters March 2, 2013