Culture of Life?

I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again, Fred Clark at Slactivist.com is one of my favorite bloggers. It is a common occurence when I start to work on a blog post and visit Fred’s blog and realize he’s said what I wanted to say but much more eloquently and effectively. He’s done it again with regards to my thoughts on Bush’s veto of bill that would fund stem cell research. You can read two of his posts on the subject here and here.

I echo Fred’s thoughts and I wonder when the policy of the “culture of life” that’s coming from the Bush administration and the Religious Right will actually start to make sense. Also, I wonder when it will start showing itself in foreign policy as well as domestic. President Bush says that our Federal governement should not fund the murder of human life. I totally agree. Let’s make a deal George. If you refuse to fund embryonic stem cell research under the banner of having a society where every life is sacred and valuable, then let’s stop dropping bombs on innocent civilians in Iraq.

When commenting on the veto, President Bush said, “This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others. It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it.” (emphasis is mine) I wonder if Bush would make the same statement if we replaced the word “medical” with “political” or “milataristic” or “financial”. What would that look like?

“This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding political, financial, or militaristic benefits for others. It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it.”

We can dream, right?

The Lure of Theocracy

Philip Yancy has written this fantastic article for christianitytoday.com. It serves as a warning that is, in my opinion, very much in need. This quote jumped out at me:

Hearing firsthand about Islamic culture increased my understanding, but it also made me nervous about my own society. The very things we resist in Islam, some Christians find tempting. We, too, seek political power and a legal code that reflects revealed morality. We, too, share a concern about raising our children in a climate of moral decadence. We, too, tend to see others (including Muslims) as a stereotyped community, rather than as individuals. Will we turn toward our own version of the harsh fundamentalism sweeping Islam today?

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)

Shane Hipps on Video-Venue

Shane Hipps, the pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, AZ and the author of the fantastic book “The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture”, has posted an excerpt of the book on the Out of Ur blog. This section of the book looks into the aspect of the video-venue method that has become popular with the Church. This is a very valuable insight that Shane gives us and hopefully it will lead the Church to think of the unintended consequences that arise from the choices churches make in order connect to their community.

(HT: Patrick Buller)

Stephen Baldwin criticizes Bono

stephen-baldwin-thumb.jpgStephen Baldwin, the actor and self professed “spritual activist” is coming out with a new book called “The Unusual Suspect” in which he criticizes the efforts of Bono who has put forth a massive effort in order to provide aid and debt relief to African nations. Baldwin writes;

“You would do far more good if you preached the gospel of Jesus, rather than trying to get Third World debt relief. God will take care of that Third World country. Get back to your calling, Bono.”

I have to say that this quote is incredibly troubling on so many levels. First is the fact that Stephen Baldwin is criticizing Bono, a person of faith who has made such an incredibly positive impact on this world through hard work and compassion for those who are marginalized and forgetten by so many. I could possibly see how someone like Ghandi or Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela could be in a position to give Bono some criticizism on his efforts, but not a guy who co-starred in Bio-Dome. Second is the fact that Baldwin is suggesting that, as a follower of Jesus, helping those who are the “least of these” somehow falls outside of the communication of the Gospel. I simply don’t understand how that has been missed in Baldwin’s study of Jesus’ teachings. Third is the idea that God will simply take care of these struggling nations outside the effort of his body of believers. In the teachings of Jesus, he clearly puts the burden on us, his followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked and to give shelter to those without it. In those acts of service and humility, we can most clearly display the Gospel to those who are in need.

What’s also interesting about Baldwin is that he is trying to raise financial support for his new project: The Breakthrough. The Breakthrough will be an evangelistic arena tour that features extreme sports and light shows aimed at reaching the nation’s youth. According to the website, each stop on the tour is expected to cost around $350,000 to $500,000 to produce. Baldwin suggests that the youth of today is not being reached effectively and I’d say he’s right. We simply aren’t spending enough money entertaining them.

So as Baldwin criticizes Bono for actually serving the poor, or the “least of these”, Baldwin will be getting totally radical to the tune of a half a million dollars per day in an arena near you. May you choose wisely which these two totally different messages you will support.