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Some Things Said… (January 08)

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June on suspicion of soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, but denied soliciting anyone for sex. He is trying to withdraw his plea.

The ACLU filed a brief Tuesday supporting Craig. It cited a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago that found that people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms “have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

That means the state cannot prove Craig was inviting an undercover officer also noted that Craig was originally charged with interference with privacy, which it said was an admission by the state that people in the bathroom stall expect privacy.

Craig at one point said he would resign but now says he will finish his term, which ends in January 2009… —from the Associated Press, 1.16.08, as submitted by Mark Zaveson.

Easy answers

There is great virtue in the American way, which expects CEOs to perform on a quarterly basis, presidents and Congresses to reinvent politics in 100 days, generals to wipe out opponents in 100 hours without taking significant casualties, doctors to save life and limb every time, search engines to yield a million results in less than a second, and so on. There is also great virtue in the belief that what is bad can be made good, and that what is good can be made great, and that what is fractionally less than great is downright awful.

But these virtues can spawn vices. One is impatience. Another is a culture of chronic complaint. A third is the belief that every problem has a solution, that trial is possible without error, that risks must always be zero, that every inconvenience is an outrage, every setback a disaster and every mishap a plausible basis for a lawsuit.

It is often said that the Bush administration’s effort to bring democracy to the Middle East wasn’t so much a case of American idealism as it was of hubris. That may yet prove true. But is it any less hubristic to think the enterprise was ever going to be brought off without blundering time and again? It’s a thought that ought to weigh especially heavily on Mr. Obama, dream candidate of America’s great expectations. –Bret Stephens: as found in the Wall Street Journal, in his editorial column, Global View, 1.8.08, and as submitted by Andy Foster

The Welcome Mat

If you have been in my Bible studies you have heard this story at least once, probably more, but it is such a powerful example that affected me on so many levels, I think it deserves yet another repetition, so please be patient with me.

About 15 years ago, we spent a long weekend camping in one of our north Florida parks. It was cold that November, the coldest weather we had ever camped in, and I was busily trying to remember to pack enough cold weather clothes to keep us warm, especially for a night outdoors. Unfortunately, I forgot the garment bag that held our Sunday clothes.

Not attending services that Sunday morning in the nearby town was not an option for us. We raised our boys the way I was raised–on Sundays we went to the assembly of the saints, period. No one ever even thought to say, “Will we attend today?”

So we walked into the services that morning in jeans and flannel shirts. We did not even have on our “best” jeans, because we learned early that camping could be a dirty, staining experience. It was not quite so bad for the guys–one or two other men did not have on ties–but there I was, the only woman in the place without a dress and heels. And without exception, the women looked at me, turned their heads, and walked away. None of them ever did speak to me, even after Keith spoke knowledgeably in Bible class, and we obviously knew the hymns. I tried not to be judgmental, but I kept wondering if they thought we were some poor, down and out family, who had stopped, “just to try to get some money.” You know why? Because I had thought the same thing in the past about others who looked like us.

I wanted to stand up and say, “My husband preached full time for ten years and is a deacon. I teach Bible classes and have some Bible class literature in the bookstores. My children can probably answer more Bible questions than you can!” I wanted to rub their noses in the fact of their discrimination. But I didn’t. Instead, I pondered my own guilt, and wondered if I would have done any better.

So take a minute and think about your own behavior on Sunday mornings. Whom do you rush to greet? Whom do you leave standing, feeling awkward and unwelcome? Which ones may need the Lord the most? In fact, which ones might the Lord himself have welcomed the most fervently? Would we have stood with the Pharisees, rebuking him for eating with sinners? And weren’t we, in our suits and ties, dresses and heels, once in the same condition? And couldn’t we find ourselves there again, if we do not follow his example? –Dene Ward, her e-mail lesson dated 1.18.08.

“My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there comes into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there comes in also a poor man in vile clothing, and you have regard to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, ‘Sit here in a good place,’ and you say to the poor man, ‘Stand there,’ or ‘Sit under my footstool,’ do you not make distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren, did not God choose those who are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them who loved him? …Howbeit, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ you do well, but if you have respect of persons, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. …For judgment is without mercy to him who shows no mercy.” (James 2:1-5, 8-9, 13)

The image of God

“With all the attention the atheist agenda is receiving, doesn’t it seem strange that most Americans find heroes among those who reflect a biblical worldview?… Atheism has no explanation for… acts of self-giving and even self-sacrificing charity… Darwinian evolution cannot explain this kind of altruism: How does one who willingly dies for another pass on his or her genetic traits for the improvement of the species? No, defenders of atheism and Darwinism, if true to their convictions, should sneer at this kind of self-sacrifice as weak and pointless. But we know better. Why? Because we… are made in the image of God. His very character is stamped into our beings… This is the same God who tells us ‘to lay down our lives’ for our friends, ‘to let the little children come,’ and ‘to act justly and love mercy.’ Tragically, many people, including many Christians, are practical atheists, living our lives in a way that ignores God’s existence. But in the final analysis, we are all still wired to find heroes in those who live life as though God does exist.” –Mark Earley as quoted at the Patriot Post 08.03 published 1.14.08, and as submitted by Mark Zaveson

New Bacteria Strain Is Striking Gay Men

A new, highly drug-resistant strain of the “flesh-eating” MRSA bacteria is being spread among gay men in San Francisco and Boston, researchers reported on Monday.

In a study published online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the bacteria seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but also through casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces.

The authors warned that unless microbiology laboratories were able to identify the strain and doctors prescribed the proper antibiotic therapy, the infection could soon spread among other groups and become a wider threat… –excerpted from an article by Lawrence K. Altman in the New York Times, 1.15.08, as submitted by Mark Zaveson

Mark Zaveson notes: Don’t you just love how they always add that caveat, “If a cure is not found soon it could spread to the general population.”