Stony (or Stony Bear as he is affectionately called) continues to bring us much joy. Today he successfully mastered two new tricks: 1) catching a tennis ball in the air when thrown to him, and 2) shaking hands (paw to hand!). He is enrolled in obedience classes and is doing well with walking by my side and sitting when I stop moving, and with the “sit” and “down” commands. He is a smart dog, a beautiful dog, and a most affectionate dog. Of course, I am an entirely unbiased observer!
I have to admit to mixed feelings about the debate over immigration policies.
On the one hand, the biblical message of welcome for the foreigner, of ready hospitality offered to one’s neighbor, any neighbor, “neighbor” by the broadest definition of the word, is clear and strong. God’s bias toward kindness and generosity and non-discrimination is unmistakable.
On the other hand, I believe in following the law. I try to “do the right thing,” to “do it by the rules.” It is difficult for me to rouse sympathy for those who intentionally violate the law and then expect to be excused.
On the other hand, ignoring the law may well be the just thing to do if the law is unjust. Is immigration law itself a “fence” around the United States, a law that requires years and years and years before even entertaining the possibility of gaining citizenship? We call ourselves “a land of opportunity,” but turn back the ones seeking opportunity.
… unless of course we have need of their cheap labor. Illegals are illegal, unless they are good for business, in which case we are ready to look the other way!
I would be interested in your comments, especially from those of you who may know more about immigration law than I do.
Heard a great benediction this morning at the Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta, Georgia, delivered by William Willimon:
People of God, the Holy Spirit is with you … Watch out!
Which means both that I don’t think much of it, and that I don’t think much about it. I have neither seen the movie nor read the book, though I’ve read reviews and talked with folks who have. I do not feel the same sense of threat that some Christians and Christian organizations seem to. I feel no need to make a reply to the assertions of The Da Vinci Code. I believe without reservation that truth will outlast any passing fancy or cultural buzz.
I did not see The Passion of the Christ for the same reasons. In that instance, too, I felt that the fanciful (and largely self-serving) fabrications of one man’s imagination did not merit serious debate. The story itself — the story of the God who came among us and shared our common lot — holds far more wonder, far more mystery, far more beauty, than any “revised version.” The story does not re-telling. It needs re-hearing!
Both the recently discovered Gospel of Judas and The Da Vinci Code appeal to human pride, our fondness for being among the “insiders,” for being numbered among those “in the know.” We like to think the truth is so complex, so impenetrable, that only the elite few (including ourselves, of course) can discover its secrets. A story so simple as a God who loves us completely and desires nothing more and nothing less than our complete love in return may not excite the book publishers or movie producers, but to me, it is far more compelling and simply rings true.
For another well-written take on the gnostic tendencies of The Da Vinci Code, see Novel faiths, an editorial column in the May 16, 2006 issue of The Christian Century.
Get your TerraPass!
I discovered a link to this website while reading an article about global warming. TerraPass is a program that provides a way to offset the global warming impact of your vehicle’s CO2 emissions by investing in clean energy projects that reduce industrial carbon emissions. They call it cleaning up after your car.
I bought my TerraPass. Visit the TerraPass website and clean up after your car!
(And read a May 3 article by Andrew Revkin of the New York Times: Federal Study Finds Accord on Warming.)
Amnesty International has just filed a report citing the ongoing use of interrogation tactics by the government of the United States that would be labeled “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” under any reasonable definition.
“Although the US government continues to assert its condemnation of torture and ill-treatment, these statements contradict what is happening in practice,” said Curt Goering, Senior Deputy Executive Director Of Amnesty International USA. “The US government is not only failing to take steps to eradicate torture it is actually creating a climate in which torture and other ill-treatment can flourish — including by trying to narrow the definition of torture …
“The heaviest sentence imposed on anyone to date for a torture-related death while in US custody is five months — the same sentence that you might receive in the US for stealing a bicycle. In this case, the five-month sentence was for assaulting a 22-year-old taxi-driver who was hooded and chained to a ceiling while being kicked and beaten until he died.”
We must enforce the laws which define us as a law-abiding state. We must enforce the recently-enacted ban on torture by any agent of the US government, anytime, anywhere. We must not look the other way! We must not place blind and unquestioning trust in our leaders, empowering them to do whatever they have to do to keep us safe. We cannot defeat terrorism by terrorism.
We must not look the other way, and we must not be silent.