April 30, 2005

Time Out

Wisdom, patience, and love are three fruits of the Spirit that I believe are essential for parents (especially), and all who speak out on matters concerning the church. I've put words on this blog recently which were impatient, unwise, and proud. Furthermore, I'm not sure my role in the body of Christ is to blog. Comments on recent church news may be handled better by commentators with more wisdom and experience who are better able to articulate their positions. I'm not even sure the blogging medium is the best avenue for discussing those issues.

I'm sorry for all harsh words. I'm taking time off until I discern a clear direction I should take this blog.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

Not so safe topic - links to the UMC Stroud decision

Shane Raynor comments on the Beth Stroud verdict being overturned on appeal.

UMC News link.

Don't see anything on Christianity Today's website, but here's a link to them which will show it when they do.

The Reconciling Congregations reaction. (posted 4/29/2005 and I don't see a permalink so you may have to scroll or search for it later)

Reaction from The Institute on Religion & Democracy.

My reaction? I like what Shayne Raynor said. I'm beginning to wonder about all that talk about schism last year. Not that the person who proposed it desired that it happen, but rather that he was describing what was in effect already reality. This is probably a good time to go back and reread 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

A Safer Topic perhaps?

Just in time for Mother's Day, here is the Kodak BirdCam for 2005

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2005

Say a Good Word about B.XVI and look what happens...

Stanley Kurtz writes in National Review Online on how the Secular Left is demonizing conservative Christians (what the NYT, which claims to be a newspaper, calls the "Religious Right"). I'd add to his comments that conservative Christians are also demonized by the "Religious Left" as well, by organizations such as the Unitarian Universalist Association, which loves to represent itself as a religious organization, but lobbies from its Washington office for gay marriage, abortion on demand, and higher taxes.

I just had a spat with a commenter on a post below, where I only wanted to post a congratulatory word on the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and suddenly I find myself all but accused of gay-baiting. How'd that happen? One little word in a sentence buried deep in this doctrinal statement, which when taken out of context, accuses me of saying that - let's quote the comment verbatim: "I'm astonished that you believe that homosexuals are violent people over and above what heterosexuals are." Did I actually say that? Or imply that by agreeing with the Vatican's statment? Let's look closer at the Vatican statement, at the one and only occurence of the word "violence" (the context is adoption of children by homosexual partners):

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

So, according to Joel Thomas, since the Vatican says that an environment void of sexual complementarity is harmful to children, and I agree with it, I'm admitting that gays are violent people by nature, more than heterosexuals? Sorry, but I don't see that there. First off, the Vatican is not specifically criticizing homosexuals in the sentence, it is criticizing an environment, that of a household without sexual complementarity. If I can't criticize that without being all but accused of homophobia, he's just trying to cut off the debate. So much for critical thought. If you can't beat your opponent with reason, just smear them with some charge of political incorrectness. Calling someone a homophobe wins a lot of arguments; thin-skinned people will shut up when they're called that. As far as actually having a logical point, he's reading a lot more into that statement than I see there. He'll have to provide a better quote from the Vatican, or from me, to prove his case.

Joel Thomas's response to all this can be found here. He seems to be complaining about the heated rhetoric. Well I agree with that, I remember a lot of name-calling growing up myself, and I don't like it either. I remember the recent goings on of the Episcopal and Methodist Conferences, and it seems to me that the gay activist groups were spouting off a lot of heated rhetoric too, including breaking a communion chalice, and calling conservatives a lot of names, so it seems unfair to me that conservatives are the ones branded with the "divisive" and "mean" labels. I know, I know, the Good News flap about "amicable separation", but what the gay activists won't admit is that they're trying to redefine the traditional positions of two churches that are as old as America (and the Catholic church which is as old as Christianity itself) and basically recreate them. Basically that means to me "if you won't welcome us, we'll takeover your church and your conservative beliefs will no longer be tolerated here" or "you can't be a Christian without supporting our liberal social agenda". That seems pretty divisive to me.

I respect Joel Thomas's right to free speech, but I wonder if he respects mine. He seems to think I shouldn't speak out because the heated rhetoric hurts people. Well, so what if it does? I'm sorry people are hurt, but I happen to believe more people would be hurt if conservatives ignored the issues of homosexual marriage and adoption. To take another example, should I be able say that the American Red Cross (ARC) is right to discriminate against gays by not letting them donate blood? If the ARC starting letting gays donate blood, and the public said "sure ok, gotta let you do that, to do otherwise would be hateful", a lot more people would get HIV, or at least that's the ARC's rationale for rejecting blood donated by gays, and that policy doesn't seem to be based on gay-baiting to me, just solid science. Gays are a high-risk group for HIV, so the ARC does not allow them to donate blood (they also don't allow other high-risk behaviours or situations as well). It seems to me that it's proper and good to fight for something when something is worth defending, such as children growing up with moms and dads. I respect civil debate, but debate means a discussion of ideas, not rabid charges of political incorrectness. I don't think I should have to shut up just because someone disagrees with me, especially when they quote me out of context or say I said something I didn't say. I've got a right to defend myself when that happens.

For what it's worth, here's an apology to Joel for deleting his last comment. Joel, I'm sorry. Here's what you said:

Well, for you and the Catholic Church to use the word "violence" in such a fashion seems to go against the commonly accepted defintion of the word. However, I'll play along, and on any matter in which you don't support matters that I think are conducive to the psychological well-being of gays I will simply say that you are inflicting violence on them. From here on out, I pronounce your opposition to gays in the military as an act of violence against gays. I am not accusing you of being a violent person, however. ;-)

To which my response is: There are many arguments for being against gays in the military. They are not all based on hate. To blame my opinion on homophobia is pretty simple-minded (Definition #1, so don't accuse me of calling you stupid or mentally impaired)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:37 PM | Comments (4)

April 27, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

This December, Disney will release its adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Many have wondered if Disney will cut the Christian message from the movie, but everything I've seen so far seems to indicate that they will keep the movie true to Lewis's meaning. C.S. Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, is serving as a consultant to the movie's production, which is fulfilling a long-term goal for him. I think this movie has as much potential for witnessing to the Gospel as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ did. For starters, it won't have the "R" rating, so people of all ages will be able to see it. The book, though allegorical, is a clear rendering of what Jesus accomplished, our reconciliation with God. And, of course, it is a very moving story. I'm sure Disney will tone down the violence of The Stone Table, but Lewis's description of that event, in words, rivals that of the descriptions of Christ's Passion found in the Gospels. I'm looking forward to seeing it December 9. I'll probably take the day off from work to do so.

Christianity Today story on Douglas Gresham, containing a link to a NarniaWeb interview

Website for the movie (slow moving but new content since sometime around February when I first saw the site)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Comments on Last Week's News

Real late on my comments here, but I'll get them in before they're completely outdated. I extend my congratulations and best wishes to my Catholic brothers and sisters on the occasion of choosing their next Pope, Benedict XVI. I'm glad the church has as its leader one who says that Truth is not subject to majority opinion. What detractors don't seem to understand is that the church is not subject to popular opinion, it is subject to Christ. As Patricia Heaton said, when each of us stands before the judgment seat at the last day, it won't be Barbra Streisand we're answering to, but rather Jesus Himself. A pope who understands that will draw the world's wrath, but he'll lead the church right. Another sign that he's leading the church right is his opposition, people who mock godliness and dignify hedonism and materialism. The church has no business accomodating those values.

Along with the election of Pope Benedict XVI came the sad news of the passing of Diane Knippers, president of The Institute on Religion and Democracy. In addition to her role as President of IR&D, she also served that organization's Episcopal Action branch, and was active in a lot of the events surrounding the creation of the American Anglican Council.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:17 PM | Comments (9)

April 18, 2005

Long absence

I've been gone from the blog a long time. To readers of this site: I'm sorry for being gone so long with no news of why. To tell the truth, with the weather improving, a two-(and a 1/4)-year-old demanding time outside, and blog access from work being blocked so that I can't blog during lunch (actually I can, but I can't read other peoples' blogs, or at least most of them on my blogroll, so I can't link like I want to - and by the way, the company's policy is completely justified), it's become a bit more difficult. That and I've come down with a bit of writer's block. Every time I've had a moment to sit down and write, I just can't seem to come up with anything that's not either old, or practically a copy of something someone else has said. I'm not going to take the blog down, I plan on picking up the pace so there's always content visible. I hate having nothing up for so long. That and the colors. I've got to add more colors and pictures, I'm sick of this black and white. Not blogging everyday though. The weather is too nice, and Rebecca wants my attention.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:24 PM | Comments (1)