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Heaven and Earth: Jesus and John the Baptist (John 3:22-36)

 This particular situation might be confusing: two unique people, who seem to have truth from God are both preaching and baptizing. John the Baptist notices that people seem to be more drawn to Jesus. John's disciples notice, too. John the Baptist reminds them and us that he is not the Messiah, but that he was given the task of proclaiming His coming. He uses the analogy of a wedding. In our terms, John the Baptist is saying that he is the best man. The best man's job is to celebrate his friend, the groom, and to do whatever he can to help the guests celebrate and enjoy the wedding. Our culture isn't much different than theirs in this. The best man is usually the closest friend that the man getting married has in the world. Any solid best man will be thrilled for his buddy, and once it's over, his job is done. That's exactly what John the Baptist is saying. There is a fair amount of discussion about whether verses 31 through 36 is still John the Baptist talking, or
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Waino, Yadi, Albert

 Today was the final home game for the St. Louis Cardinals. Accordingly, it was the final regular season home game for Yadier Molina, and Albert Pujols, who have both made it clear that this season is their last. As you may or may not know, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina now have the all-time MLB record for most starts as pitcher and catcher. It's possible that, given the great caution with which those players are handled, this record is completely unreachable. We will see. I do know that Wainwright is the best pitcher never to win a Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher, and that he's within hailing distance of consideration for baseball's Hall of Fame. (In point of fact, he has carried the Cardinals this season, and has for several years now, despite celebrating his 41st birthday about 2 months ago.) You can't say enough about Yadier Molina. Once considered a light-hitting catcher, he's just finished his regular season career with a batting mark of .2

I'm "Non-Affirming": An Explanation

 This covers homosexuality/gender non-conformity, and anything related you can think of. Why? It starts with this simple assertion: Our bodies and our organs are for something, and that something is not exhausted in personal pleasure.  Sex is for creation. To be more specific, procreation. That's what it's for. To create new people is the reason we've been given this gift. To be sure, it gives pleasure. Most likely because people will not always do the things we ought to do, if none of it was pleasant. Why does it matter? If we were to say that "parents" were any two people, and that a "family" is whatever we say it is, we necessarily say   that the traditional view is wrong. Suppose we all chose to believe this, and acted accordingly. The human race would cease to exist. It's no longer about being tolerant of a rare variation; if various radicals are correct, everything we ever believed in is wrong. But we know better. We are seeing that transgender

I Love The Diverse Re-Boots

 I had to stop watching the Twitter thread of the little Black girls, watching the trailer for next year's re-boot of "The Little Mermaid." It really does matter, and you can see it in their faces. I had to stop, because I had to teach; I can't be crying in the middle of the school day. (And if we are honest, "The Little Mermaid" could benefit the most from a re-imagining. Be honest with us, and yourself.) It got me thinking back to high school, when Disney re-did "Cinderella," live-action, with a predominantly Black cast, including my first celebrity crush, Brandy Norwood--noted R&B singer and actress generally known simply as, "Brandy." I watched it less than 2 years ago; it was like I was 17 again. I love her. The End. Anyway, in those simpler times,--before everything folks didn't like was "woke,"-- most people went, "Wait, what? We've never had a Black Cinderella?" And it was pretty great. Pete's s

Even If They Are "Crazy," They're Right About Marriage

 I haven't watched Fox News intentionally since 2008. It got weird after Obama got elected. By the way, "Some of this criticism is racist, and reflects structural racism" does not mean, "You are a racist," or, "All criticism of Obama is racist." Anyway, sidebar. Apparently, someone made a mistake over there, posting a picture of a couple ostensibly getting married, one dressed as a groom, and the other as a bride. It was part of a piece defending traditional marriage. The only trouble was, the couple are lesbians. And I know how it goes, OK? Fox News says batty things routinely. Our "package deal" partisanship makes it easy to jump on and laugh at everything from hypocrisy to mistakes. But... Marriage can only exist between a biological man, and a biological woman. That's true, and the thing is, even if you want to argue, you know this. It's tragic that in the name of tolerance or inclusivity or whatever you like, that people are wast

Contraception and Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Are Not The Same

 You often hear this sloppy comparison, when regulating abortion is discussed. How are they different? Erectile dysfunction treatment aids reproduction, while contraception by definition thwarts reproduction. According to a traditional sexual ethics, such as you might find in Christianity,--represented most visibly by the Catholic Church--as long as the sexual act(s) are ordered to reproduction, (and the union of the spouses) aids in that process are licit. Of course, such aids can be used illicitly--like Viagra used in service to an orgy--but that's a licit means to an unjust end. On the other hand, contraception has an intention that can be just--the prevention of pregnancy--but the means thwarts the design and purpose of the sex organs, and the sexual act. Contraceptive sex is by its very nature fundamentally opposed to the purpose of human sexuality. Moreover, anything that has sexual pleasure as the primary or sole end would be out of bounds. Does this mean that the tradition

Further Thoughts About Life

 One of the interesting things about the regime of legalized abortion under Roe is that we have pretended that “When does life begin?” is an intriguing question for which we do not have an answer. It’s not only that the decision imposed an answer, though it certainly did, but that the answer was wrong. Any other answer besides “at conception” creates huge ethical problems that our most intelligent people can’t solve. Think about what happens when we say the unborn is “potential life”: that means at any time up to birth,—and after—we could argue that there is some achievement of independence or consciousness that the person has yet to reach. Before that, it’s said that there is no problem in killing the product of conception. You’ll have to forgive me; we have to deal frankly with the implications of arguments. We see that “potential life” essentially talks about the living being in terms of its ability to defend itself, or to be defended by someone else. In contrast, the “conception” a

I’m Not Ambivalent About Today

 I’ve heard some left-of-center Christians say something like this, and I confess, I don’t understand it. I was never bruised by the “culture war,” and I am not ashamed of it, except perhaps to say that if total culture war is opposed to living in community, then and only then do I oppose it. Because the fact remains that I have been on the “wrong” or losing side the whole time. To oppose the fight itself would be to say that those who fought had illegitimate concerns. I can’t say that. Truthfully, something is only a “wedge issue” to those who disagree, and lack the courage of their own conviction. I believe this is true for other things as well, but abortion is front and center today. If I have disagreements with the “Christian Right,” it’s over tactics, partisanship, and exaggerated apocalypticism. Moreover, people could simply say, “I value other things more highly,” and move on. Yet it seems that bad faith and posturing is more valued than frank honesty. The people know that popul

Roe and Casey Down

 You don’t need the breaking news; let me get right to the point: “Liberal” Christian, you are more than free to say that some group of politicians doesn’t have a complete view of the world, or even doesn’t actually care about truth or justice, but the only way this decision “has nothing to do with truth or justice” is by excluding the act of aborting a young human from the consideration of what counts as “truth and justice.” In fact, now we can get back to arguing in justice about what human dignity deserves and requires, especially with respect to an elected government, because the emotional blackmail of poisoning the well in service to child murder has been (largely) removed. And understand that the pro-life cause as a political movement has sought exactly this, because laws forbid and create barriers to something undesirable. The hardships faced by women seeking abortion in the process of seeking one are part of the point: a merely symbolic law doesn’t function as a law. That’s why