Saturday, August 25, 2007

Several Sad Things

Friday and Saturday had good highlights. I don't want to dismiss those moments. Waking up early to see the sun rise, smelling the fresh air on two beautiful mornings. Of course, my seeing the sun rise has more to do with how late the sun is starting to rise than how early I get up. But I have often stopped to look around and take in with all my senses the beauty of God's creation these past few days. Having a new baby to care for can put one in the mind to do this. So can having some very sad things happen.

Sad thing number 1. Leonard R is in Midway care center. He's over 90 years old. He has a trailer house in Trail. I got a call that he had been put into the nursing home. So I went to see him. From what I could gather in our conversation he had fallen down in the ditch opposite from his trailer home. He had lain there for a long time trying to flag down someone to help. His left shoulder is injured, the nursing home staff have him wear it in a sling. Leonard's back is bent double when he sits down. He looks like an old man folded in half mid-way up his back. He wants to go back home. But given what happened and his current state, the question is, is he endangering himself more by being home? I think Leonard is the last of his siblings to live at home. His brother Harold passed away a year ago July. Harold had lived at home until about 8 months before he died. Please keep Leonard in your prayers.

Sad thing number 2. Mable H's cancer is very aggressive. She's not really able to eat at all any more. She hardly takes moisture. Mary and I visited her today with Donna. Some of her family was there. They have someone there pretty much all the time now. She can't really communicate much any more. I sang a hymn to her in Norwegian, and read to her from the Gospel of John. Mable was one of the first person to greet me in Norwegian when I came to this parish. The night we arrived we came through a blizzard. Nov. 24th, 2001. It was a terrible trip. But when we got here we'd found most of our stuff had been unloaded and put in order, and dinner was waiting for us at the church. Mable was sitting at the second table near the entrance.

She said, "Yah, It's good to see you."

I could tell by her strong accent that she grew up speaking Norwegian, so I tried, "Hva heter du?"

"Oh!" she cried, "Han snakke norsk! Jeg heter Mable. Hvordan stor de til?"

"Bare braa, tak."

Mable was one of the chief culprits in getting our kids all sugared up on Halloween. She always had too much to give to the kids. And she was concerned and prayed for her own children and grandchildren.

We talked many times at her place.

When she fell and broke her hip last February (see "Taxes and Mable") she was no longer able to live at home. But she was a very active community member at the nursing home. Her hip healed quickly and she was up and around visiting everyone. Her husband was paralyzed in an accident early on in their marriage and she cared for him until he died in 1979. Add into this working a full time job and raising wonderful children (whom I am privileged to have as members of my congregations and as my friends).

Anyway, it hurts to see her in this condition. It always hurts. But the hurt is tempered by confidence. Look back across the posts since January in this blog and you can see both the pain of sin in this life and the joy of salvation in Christ. Adeline, Ragna, Ray, Verner, Thora, Evelyn, Hilda, Patricia, Edwin, Carl, Bernice, Ernest, and others who went before just this year.

What does a pastor do the rest of the week when worship is done on Sunday. Sometimes he just cries. It's ok. I read that to Mable today. "Jesus wept." John 11:35. It was because of the grief that sin causes to those He loves. He didn't really cry because his beloved friend Lazarus had died. He wept because of the pain that this death had caused to those who loved Lazarus. The grief and pain of sin, which He came to give his life so that we will have relief from this pain and grief. That's why I say that the hurt is tempered with confidence.

Please keep Mable and her family in your prayers.

The third sad thing. This one is not so sad, it's more of a lark and a rant. If you've been following the Michael Vick case through the alternative media (i.e., conservative talk radio) I've got some questions for you. First, what in Sam Houston's name is going on? These conservative talk show hosts usually are for private property rights, personal freedom, limiting government intrusion into private life, and protecting the liberty of U.S. citizens.

OK, first, I agree, that if the law says X, the law should be followed, unless it is contrary to God's word. If I disagree with a law that says X, (Even if it isn't in conflict with God's Word) as a U.S. citizen I have the right to work to have it changed, which includes -primarily- speaking about it.

Do animals have rights? Should a human who is a citizen of the U.S. be deprived of life, liberty, property, or honor because of how he disposes of his own private property?

I slaughter many animals every year. Today I killed a couple dozen houseflies, a few crickets, and several moths. I've killed and eaten different kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish. I eat meat every day. This means that the death of a mammal that once roamed the range. What's the qualitative difference between all these different kinds of animals? I ask that with respect to morality. Is there any moral difference between the slaughter of one form of animal versus another? Well, not really.

Do animals have rights or are they property? OK, I'm going to make a jump in argumentation here. I'm going to assume that everyone reading this knows that animals (though some are cute, cuddly, affectionate, relatively smart, and good to have around) animals are not people, they are either wild or the property of a person.

I can love my possessions. I can love them so much that I sin against my neighbor by loving my possession more than my neighbor. But God's Law applies to me loving my neighbor as myself. I'm not to covet or take his property, nor am I to usurp his authority or cause him any harm.

But these talk show hosts are willing to put Vick in jail because he destroyed his own property. On this issue they sound like communists.

I know, I know; it's the sad-eye cuddly factor. The more cuddly the animal and the more sad-eyed it can look the more people are willing to place it as property above human life and honor.

While these talk show hosts (not all, but quite a large number) boast of being conservative in their philosophical, political, societal, and legal opinions, they are bleeding heart-government intrusive-I'm gonna run your own life cause you don't know what's good for you-liberals when it comes to dogs and cats (probably even more animals).

I wish they could get out of the city and actually have to live off the land for a while. One can respect, care for, love, and nurture animals while loving one's neighbor in general accordance with God's Law (though not perfectly because of sin). I might be sad that my neighbor does something to his animal. I might be tempted to think it cruel. But the animal is his property. And no matter how covetous I can be, no matter how self-righteous I can be about how I would treat my own animals, I dare not besmirch my neighbor's name or seek his harm when he has done what he wants to his own property.

So, I probably ticked some readers off with this. Sorry. But I will defend your rights with respect to your property-as long as it is within God's Law. So, I will not seek to have you harmed or your property seized from you because you did something that I wouldn't do. Nor will I besmirch your character to others. It's your dog, it's your cat. It's your horse. Even if you want to eat them, that's fine.

Just invite me to supper on a different day. Please.

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