The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus

Thanks to Frank Sonnek for introducing me to this sonnet about the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50.  It’s by the son of the great Romantic poet Samuel T. Coleridge!  (Just as the great hymnwriter Christopher Wordsworth was the nephew of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth.  Both Romantic poets, who together penned the revolutionary Lyrical Ballads, would become conservative Christians.)   The title of this poem is Latin for “she loved much,” since, as Jesus said, “he is forgiven little, loves little,” and vice versa.  This makes a fine meditation for Holy Week.  (If you know of others, give a link in the comments.)

“Multum Dilexit”
Hartley Coleridge (1796–1849)
SHE sat and wept beside His feet; the weight
Of sin oppress’d her heart; for all the blame,
And the poor malice of the worldly shame,
To her was past, extinct, and out of date:
Only the sin remain’d,—the leprous state; 5
She would be melted by the heat of love,
By fires far fiercer than are blown to prove
And purge the silver are adulterate.
She sat and wept, and with her untress’d hair
Still wip’d the feet she was so bless’d to touch; 10
And He wip’d off the soiling of despair
From her sweet soul, because she lov’d so much.
I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears:
Make me a humble thing of love and tears.

Learning from gay activists

Homosexuals have pulled what may be the greatest public relations revolution in history, going from reviled to celebrated in the twinkling of an eye.  Illegal immigrants have also scored a public relations coup, as their cause is now ascendant.  Immigration activist Frank Sharry says that the success of his movement has been consciously modeled after the tactics of gay rights activists.

I’ll quote him after the jump, but Christians would do well to study these turnarounds.  Societies tend to project some of its members as “others,” scapegoating, marginalizing, and looking down on them as a way to achieve social solidarity, an “ingroup”  played off against an “outgroup.”  Christians should never play that game, but we have.   I wonder if  Christians will someday be put into that role.  Already, significant parts of the population regard conservative Christians with revulsion and fear, seeing Christians’ sexual ethics as unnatural and scaring themselves at the prospect of Christians taking over the country.  I can see a time when people will mirror the Calvinist/Arminian debates in discussing whether a person chooses to be a Christian (in which case there is no excuse) or is born that way (in which case there is a pathology that needs to be eradicated).  But maybe enough Christians will be bold enough to “out themselves” to their families and friends so as to present a human face to the movement. [Read more…]

A vacuum is not empty

More weird science:

Two forthcoming research papers question whether or not the nature of a vacuum remains static.

In one paper, Marcel Urban from the University of Paris-Sud, located in Orsay, France identified a quantum level mechanism for interpreting vacuum as being filled with pairs of virtual particles with fluctuating energy values. As a result, the inherent characteristics of vacuum, like the speed of light, may not be a constant after all, but fluctuate. [Read more…]

“We must save our gods”

In church on Palm Sunday, our pastor gave another powerful sermon, with a great missionary story:

“Where are their gods? . . . Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection!”  [Deuteronomy 32:37-38]

Those are the words of God through Moses to the people of Israel on the border of the Promised Land about the gods of the Canaanites. They reminded me of a story I once heard from a missionary who visited my church in New York. He was working somewhere in the far east, I don’t remember exactly where, when an earthquake struck. The people, of course, were very frightened and running out of their houses. But then, he said, something very strange happened. They started rushing back into their crumbling, tottering houses. He couldn’t figure out why, so he stopped one of the people and asked what was going on. And this was the answer he got: We have to save our gods. They were risking their lives to save their gods which were sitting on the shelves and altars of their collapsing homes.

What a starkly different picture we hear today and this Holy Week. The one, true God doesn’t need saving – we are the ones who need saving! And it is the one, true God who rushes into our crumbling, tottering world to save us. [Read more…]

Eggsploitation and the New Eugenics

Couples seeking egg donors have been placing ads in Ivy League student newspapers, seeking the perfect blonde, blue-eyed Aryan with a high IQ to sell one of her eggs for $20,000.  Nothing is said about what the ovary-manipulating drugs may do to her. [Read more…]

Supreme Court begins hearing on gay marriage

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on  California’s Proposition 8, in which the people of the state voted not to allow gay marriage.  On Wednesday, the court will hear a related case on whether the Defense of Marriage Act, in which Congress defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, is Constitutional.

I can envision the progressives on the court voting against the Defense of Marriage Act on equality grounds and the conservatives voting against it on federalism grounds, that Congress infringed on the right of states to make laws against marriage.  Then again, if the court throws out Proposition 8, that would prevent states from having the option to not have gay marriage.  That ruling would have consequences for every state in the union.

How do you think the court will rule on this?  (The decision won’t be announced for several months.) [Read more…]


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