At Gethsemane

 

Gethsemane is far more than the physical garden where Jesus prayed the night He was taken.

Gethsemane is a place in the human heart, a destination we all reach. Some of us will go there many times in our lives.

Gethsemane is what I call The Alone. It is that stripped-bare moment when the pretenses and self lies that sustain us in our illusion of invincibility and significance are taken from us. Gethsemane is the realization that we are alone in a way that the glad-handing niceties of human interaction hide from us.

Emotions such as loneliness and even despair are trivialities when contrasted with the stark solitary helplessness of The Alone. It is a stunning thing to look into the eyes of another human being and see satan looking back at you. It is a soul-scouring reality to face the insignificance we really are to other people.

That is Gethsemane, and it is what Jesus faced for you. And for me.

Can you not wait with me one hour? He asked the disciples, and the question vibrates with the isolating aloneness that prompted it.

He had to face the awfulness of what was coming without human succor or understanding. When they came, when Judas struck Him to the heart with a kiss of betrayal, when He looked into the pitiless eyes of Satan, staring at him from another human face, He was alone.

That was Christ’s Gethsemane. Our Gethsemane, even though it will differ, is in some ways like it.

My friend Linda Caswell is director of All Things New, a ministry that shelters and redeems women who have been trafficked and prostituted. These women know The Alone, not as an event or passage, but as the whole of their lives. They have inhabited The Alone the way you and I inhabit our jobs, families and lives, because it has been their lives.

Most of these women have had very few positive contacts with people of faith. They avoid churches because the men who have bought them are also in the churches. Their only safety is in Jesus, but they do not understand that at first.

When Linda shows them the movie that Mel Gibson made, The Passion of the Christ, it inevitably breaks through the hard shell of their defenses. Women who do not understand the Gospels as anything but a lie told by lying liars who buy and sell them break down and sob uncontrollably when they see Jesus humiliated, beaten, tortured and disregarded.

This Jesus, the One who prayed “let this cup pass” in Gethsemane, they understand. And by the miracle of the grace of the cross, they believe that this Jesus understands them.

Their lives, which have been an unending Gethsemane, open to this Brother God who was beaten, tortured, humiliated and disregarded as they have been.

Because He understands. Because He does not disregard them. Because He is the only One who can go with them into The Alone of their personal Gethsemanes.

Jesus Christ suffered for us to redeem us from our sins, from the things we’ve done. He also suffered to redeem us from the things that have been done to us. In this cruel world, the things that are done to us can cut deeper and leave us less able to see the Divine than our sins.

We put people outside the bright circles of acceptability that we draw around ourselves and those we deem worthy. We cast them into the hell of unending Gethsemane where no one keeps vigil with them and no one cares that they are alone.

Only Jesus, Who has been there, can penetrate The Alone of our lives. He is the One, the only One, who can draw people back from the man-made abyss of life lived in The Alone where we cast so many of the people that He died to save.

It is important to remember this at all times, but especially today when we re-enact the Last Supper. Jesus was becoming Christ on this night when He gave us the Eucharist and the servant priesthood. He was teaching us how to love with a love that passes all human understanding and how to live the life of the Kingdom in this world. He was showing us that even in our Gethsemane, even in the deepest pit of The Alone, we are never alone, for He is always there.

And he will keep watch with us, not just for an hour, but for the whole of this life and into the one beyond.

 

Nigeria: Islamic Extremists Kidnap 100 Girls from School

 

Boko Haram has kidnapped over 100 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Nigeria.

Boko Haram gunmen stormed the town after dark, set fire to several buildings and engaged government troops who were guarding the school in gunfire. They evidently overpowered the troops, then loaded the girls on a truck and drove away.

According to a RightScoop article, the purpose of the abductions is to use the girls for both sex slaves and slave laborers.

Al Qaeda and charitable fronts, including at least one such front in Britain are reputed to be funding the terrorist organization.  This raises the question in my mind as to who, exactly, “Al Qaeda” is. I know that we’ve heard the name in news stories over and over, but who are they? Where are they getting the money to fund rebels in a war in Syria and a guerrilla war in Nigeria, as well as all sorts of disruptive engagements elsewhere?

Aside from all other questions, war on any scale does not come cheap, and money on a war-making scale is not quiet. Who is selling them their armaments, and who is paying for them? Who is supplying them with food, clothing and shelter? Who buys the pickup trucks and motorcycles they ride around in? Who sells them the gasoline and who maintains the vehicles? Where are these vehicles parked when they’re not in use?

This is a large scale operation, and it is inexplicable to me that the Nigerian government can not track it down. If they are coming over the border from neighboring countries, why can’t that be tracked?

As for Syria, this an outright war effort that has engaged the Syrian government in a fight for its life. Again, who is feeding/supplying/training/housing a whole army of rebels?

I do not believe that governments in the West are ignorant of the answers to these questions. Money of this magnitude is a force. It’s like a big river, and like all big rivers, it has tributaries and runs in a course. Shoulder-shrugging and waving of the Al Qaeda bogeyman is beginning to look like a way to keep from telling the truth.

I’m asking these questions because I don’t “get” why the Nigerian government is so incapable of tracking these killers down and taking them out. If this was the first time this kind of attack had happened, the government’s inability to respond would make a kind of sense. However, after years of these atrocities, you’d think somebody would have figured out a plan of action.

Reports I’ve read about this raid said that the terrorists showed up riding motorcycles and driving trucks. I know this is a naive question, but why is the Nigerian government so helpless in the face of that?

People I know from Nigeria have told me that corruption is a way of doing business there, including corruption throughout all levels of government. Does corruption play a part in the government’s inability to track these killers down? What effect does the divided loyalties of the country’s Muslims have on the issue?

To circle back around, who, exactly, is putting this together? I seriously doubt that a bunch of thugs on motorcycles and driving pick-up trucks are the big brains who have raised the hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to fund and organize a long-term operation like this.

These repetitive stories of Boko Haram attacking unarmed civilians and then riding off into the night unchallenged are beginning to grate.

I’ll go back to my earlier question. Who is Al Qaeda? By that I mean who is bankrolling them, arming them and feeding this blood-thirsty beast of war on civilian populations by groups of thugs?

 

Shame on Everybody: Michigan Senate Race Debate Over Abortion

 

Shame on everybody.

I would love to single out one of the mud-slingers and propagandizers in this little set-to and say “Fie on you!” But I can’t. So, I guess I’ll just say “Fie on everybody!” and be done with it.

United States Congressman Gary Peters is running for the United States Senate in Michigan. He evidently drug his kids into a debate over an abortion law, saying that as the father of daughters

… I struggle with how to tell them that the state we love and where our family has been for generations is now unfairly discriminating against them and makes health care less affordable.

I understand why this comment would raise the ire of anyone reading it. What kind of man drags his own kids into something this ugly? And what a schlocky way to do it.

Thankfully, the other fine folks in Michigan didn’t attack the daughters directly. But their reply comes close to matching the Congressman’s for sheer jerkiness. According to the pro life people of Michigan, Congressman Peters “wants to make sure abortion is accessible and cheap for his daughters.”

Maybe the harsh winter has frozen their brains up in Michigan. Can anyone in that state talk about important issues without getting down in the pits? I can think of a lot of ways to defend Michigan’s pro life laws, all of them based on principle and a call to higher orders of thinking. I could also, if I wanted, defend a position in opposition to such laws without ever once painting a target on my kids.

ThinkProgressive, which reported this story, added the cherry on top with its painfully biased reporting. Here’s how the reporter who wrote the story described the law in question:

The statement comes in response to a controversial new abortion restriction in Michigan that took effect earlier this month. Women who buy health insurance in Obamacare’s private market are now barred from purchasing a plan that includes abortion coverage, even if they want to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest. They’ll be required to purchase a separate rider if they want an abortion procedure to be covered, which has led reproductive rights supporters to decry the measure as a rape insurance law.

I haven’t read the Michigan law, but there are a number of similar laws around the country. I am assuming that all this one does is not allow health insurance plans to pay for abortions. If someone wants to have abortion coverage in their insurance, then all they have to do is buy a rider providing it. I doubt very much that the questions of rape and incest enter into it.

I’m guessing that the Michigan pro abortion people couldn’t come up with an intelligent way to oppose this law, so they decided to claim that it is somehow aimed at victims of rape and incest. In my humble opinion, this line argument exploits rape and incest victims.

Evidently, a Michigan legislator joined the fray by talking about her own sexual assault in a speech. I’ve watched bits of the debate on this bill, and what I saw was a deliberate mis-characterization of the law in order to exploit women and girls who have suffered these horrible crimes against their humanity. I honestly regard it as a kind of social rape to do this to women.

I could really go off into a rant here, as the subject of violence against women always gets me going. I feel sorry for the legislator who talked about her own sexual assault in this manner. But, as I said, the bill does not address that issue. Conflating it with that issue is propaganda and exploitation of women who have suffered the dehumanizing effects of sexual assault.

I am also sick to the core of hearing people claim that abortion is the answer to rape. Abortion hides rape and lets the rapist off the hook. Abortion is, in a very real way, an accommodation to rape. It is disgusting to me that our idea of “helping” rape victims is to give them the option of adding the murder of their own child to what has already happened to them.

As I said in another post when I quoted a line from Rob Roy, it’s not the child that needs killing. I said this, even though I am opposed to the death penalty, because I want to make it clear who is at fault here: It is the rapist. We need to stop sexualizing and degrading women in our culture, and we also need to put these guys away and never let them out again.

I could say more, but I’m going to stop.

As for the fine folks in Michigan who, on both sides, have taken this debate about the value of human life and the humanity of women down in the basement: Shame on all of you.

How to Present the Christian Message When the Message is the Medium

 

The media is hard-selling abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and now polygamy and polyamory. It is also pushing farming women’s bodies for eggs and using women as pregnancy surrogates.

That is the real-world situation. We need to be aware of it. We need to do what we can to make other Christians aware of it, so that they see it for what it is. But what, beyond that, should we do?

We must learn how to communicate our message in today’s world. We can, you know. We’ve just got to stop bemoaning the situation and start thinking about what we can do.

This video gives a brief discussion of how Christianity has historically communicated its message. That’s a good place to start as we move forward to how we will communicate it in today’s world.

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Complaint Filed Against Oklahoma Abortionist — Again

 

Pro life Okies are well acquainted with Dr Nareshkuma Gandalal Patel.

He runs an abortion clinic in an office complex on the north side of Oklahoma City.

Operation Rescue has recently filed complaints against Dr Patel with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office. The complaints concern violations of clinic regulations. One of the allegations — “Improper disposal of medical waste” — resurrects memories of previous problems the doctor has had.

In 1993, Dr Patel was in the news for dumping the bodies of babies he had aborted in the countryside. He admitted that he had disposed of nearly 60 infant corpses by putting them in plastic bags and dumping the bags in a field near Shawnee, Oklahoma.

He has been disciplined twice by the Oklahoma Medical Board for Unprofessional Conduct relating to his abortion business. He has also been charged with forcible oral sodomy and sexual battery of his patients. An employee of his has sought and received a protective order against Dr Patel.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a surprise when I read that Dr Patel is in trouble again. What did surprise me is the wealth he has accrued from his abortion business. According to Operation Rescue, Patel owns $39.4 million in real estate and has a net worth of $28 million. His personal income exceeds $1.4 million.

From Operation Rescue:

Oklahoma City, OK – Millionaire Oklahoma abortionist Nareshkumar Gandalal “Naresh” Patel, who once faced charges of raping and sodomizing his abortion patients, is once again under investigation after Operation Rescue filed a five-count complaint against him with the State Attorney General’s office, the Oklahoma Health Department, and the Oklahoma Medical Board.

The complaints were based on documents and medical waste that had been discarded in a publicly-accessible trash receptacle near Patel’s Outpatient Services for Women abortion clinic in Oklahoma City. The material was received by Operation Rescue from an anonymous source on March 18, 2013.

Pope Francis: Peace Depends on Human Dignity

 

Following the teachings of the Catholic Church means that you will always be on the right side of history, which is the side of human dignity.

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I Am a Feminist and I Have a Wish List for Pope Francis

Kathy Schiffer, who writes at Seasons of Grace, published a post today about one feminist’s list of things she’d like to see Pope Francis do.

Kathy does a fine job of critiquing this To Do List — which was written by Angela Bonavoglia — from the viewpoint of a faithful Catholic.

Predictably, there was not one thing on this list that would help, or that even addresses, the real problems that endemic misogyny foists on real woman in the real world.

The list was all about demands that the Catholic Church change its hierarchy, appoint a woman cardinal and, oh yes, do away with the celibate priesthood. There was a call to “leave behind the Virgin Birth,” and the predictable demand that the Church get its head right about abortion and contraception.

The only thing on the list that I agree with is that the Vatican should have women on the panels when it discusses women. That’s what you might call a no-brainer. I’ll go a step further and say that the Church should have women on its advisory panels on most topics. We are, after all, half the human race.

I am aware that virtually all of today’s “official” feminists do not consider me much of a woman, much less a feminist, due to my support for the sanctity of human life. Abortion has become the qualifier for what is a feminist in their minds. This is a tragedy, both for feminism and for the women of the world who are in such desperate need of a movement that will speak for them and to them.

The author of the Pope Francis To Do List left out the two fundamental human rights that are denied women in every corner of this globe. She didn’t mention the basic and absolutely essential right to life for female babies and little girls. She also ignored the human right of all people — including women — to live without fear of being bought, sold, raped, beaten, tortured or murdered.

Think about this for a minute.

Girls right here in America are regularly cautioned not to drink from open containers at parties for fear their drink might be drugged and they will end up gang raped by the men at the party. Girls in college dorms are cautioned about this before going to fraternity parties. These fraternities and their behavior are that well known. But the college administration does nothing about it except to caution the girls to be careful.

Here’s a thought Mr or Ms College President: If you can’t trust a fraternity not to drug and gang rape their guests, maybe you should close the fraternity.

Women all over the world know that they cannot go outside alone in certain areas, that they may not wear certain types of clothes, all for fear of violent attack.

Certain cultures here in America and whole cultures elsewhere tolerate husbands who routinely rape their wives, because she “belongs to him.”

Women are bought and sold like chattel on on-line porn sites, on the streets and byways, and in the offices of medical doctors. Egg harvesters run ads on college campuses to entice young girls to endanger their lives and their future fertility by allowing their bodies to be brutalized by massive doses of hormones, then subjected to totally unnecessary surgeries in order to harvest eggs. Women are used in an international surrogacy industry that leaves many of them, especially in other countries, dead.

Women and children of both sexes are trafficked all over the globe in an international sex trafficking industry. This industry could not exist without men who are willing to buy women and children and use them as if they were things.

Sex tourism is a major contributor to the economies of a number of small countries, including island nations in the Caribbean. Again, this could not happen without customers who come from more affluent places to buy human beings and use them without regard for their humanity.

This leads me to an admission.

I have a wish list for Pope Francis of my own.

It’s the same wish list I’ve had for every pope since I converted to Catholicism. It will be my wish list until I either go home to the Lord, or a pope finally grants it.

I want to see a full-scale Encyclical condemning the wholesale, endemic and historic violence against women that is the shame of the human race. I have written previous popes letters, asking them to do this. I haven’t written Pope Francis about it yet, but I must. I will.

I can not describe what such an encyclical would mean to the women of the world. It is so needed — and so long overdue.

As for the feminist woman and her list of things she wants Pope Francis to do, my advice is for her to stop making her feminism about her grudge fights with the Church and start making it about the needs of women who are faced with virulent, degrading and often fatal misogyny.

Four-Year-Old Girl and Her Family Ask Belgian King to Block Euthanasia of Children

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Speaking of child abuse, legislators in Belgium are moving toward passage of a law that would allow doctors to euthanize children.

It all began in 2002 with a law that allowed doctors in Belgium to kill their patients who were (a) at least 18 years old, (b) of sound mind, and (c) gave their consent. Left out of this (of course) was just how questionable “consent” becomes when families and medical practitioners go at a sick person who is probably also isolated and totally dependent on them for their emotional and physical well being.

This “right” morphed a bit in 2013 when doctors began killing people who were not terminally ill, but merely facing a disability. Now, the idea of extending this “right to die” to children and people suffering from dementia is moving toward legality.

The family of four-year-old Jessica Saba has stepped into the debate to ask King Philippe to block euthanasia for children like her. I say “like her” because Jessica was born with a heart defect that required surgery to allow her to live.

You know what that kind of surgery is, don’t you? It’s expensive.

Whereas, killing the child would be oh, so much cheaper, not to mention alleviating the “suffering” of her parents and saving the baby herself from that painful wake-up from anesthesia which any surgery patent knows all too well.

When you look at it that way, it’s a blessing to kill little kids. Who could be so cruel as to deprive them of their “right” to die?

As for those difficult dementia patients, aren’t their “useful” lives over anyway? Think how much better it would be for families if they weren’t burdened with the trouble of taking care of Grandma. As for the expense, everyone knows that end of life care racks up the bucks.

I apologize for being so sarcastic. But I am at my wit’s end with people who try to justify legalized medical murder by flinging around ridiculous arguments about how killing people is a kindness to them and their “right.”

The killing of innocents is not a “human right” and it is not a kindness.

We are creating a society where we kill everyone who does not have the capacity to actively defend their life in a courtroom. If someone who can stand upright and vocalize sophisticated arguments does not speak up for them — and in certain cases such as the judicial murder of Terry Shiavo, even if they do — they can and will be killed by doctors obeying a court order. All that needs to happen is for someone else with what the court decides is “standing” to petition the court that they want their “loved one” dead.

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I hope and pray that the lawmakers of Belgium get a grip and stop this legislation themselves. But if that does not happen, we can only hope that King Philippe will step in. I assume there will be an enormous political price to pay if he does.

That is an interesting remark, isn’t it? We have come to the place in our “civilized” Western world where the political danger lies in refusing to allow oneself to be made into the executioner of little children and helpless old people.

I do not ever take a destabilizing action in governance lightly, and I assume that is what this could be. My basic premise of governance is that a just and stable government is always the greater good. However, a government that kills its old people and little children is not just. There are times when the decision is so fraught that there truly is no other option but to take the possibly destabilizing path.

Every lawmaker from the king down who says yes to this will have done something that puts them beyond the pale of civilized behavior. Every person who lobbies for it, or votes for those who pass it, will have made themselves an accomplice to it.

If the king signs this, he will make of himself the executioner of little children and helpless old people. Could you sign it? Would you?

I hope the lawmakers say no. If they don’t, I hope the king says no.

Whatever the political consequences, they are nothing compared to the moral consequences of having said yes to this measure.

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Woody Allen and Polanski: The Rich and Shameless Display Hypocrisy About Child Sexual Abuse

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Nobody hates pedophiles more than the Rich and Shameless.

At least, they hate pedophiles when the pedophile is a priest.

Pedophile priests should be — and are — burned at the stake of public opinion, and their pedophile-enabling bishops along with them. That’s the verdict of the R&S set.

However, when the pedophile is a powerful director of successful films — who might conceivably be of benefit to their careers — we are reminded of the cinema “art,” these directors provide. As for the unimportant girl-child, well, she can’t give anybody a job or produce their play or anything of value. So what’s the beef? Put away the stake, douse the flames and quit the word processor. There will be no public hating today.

Here’s how the Rich and Shameless appear to regard these things:

Catholic priest caught with child pornography on his computer:

R&S: Burn/behead/draw-and-quarter him. At the least, send him, his bishop and the bishop’s dog to a maximum security prison for life.

Powerful director rapes a teen-aged girl:

R&S: It wasn’t rape rape. Let’s sign a petition protesting the police-state arrest of this great artist.

Powerful director, at age 56, has an affair with and marries a girl he has raised as his daughter, and is accused by her sister of having raped her when she was seven:

R&S: This is just a bitter woman (the girls mother) who is trying to get this fine man, who, by the way, is a “great artist.” His “personal life” should not interfere with the professional respect he receives for his “art.”  

Does anybody but me detect a wee bit of hypocrisy here?

I have no problem with sending pedophile priests to jail. I am as disgusted with the bishops who hid them and allowed them to continue in their abuse of children as anyone on this planet.

The difference between me and the Rich and Shameless is that I feel this way because of the children. I am not interested in using the sexual abuse of children as a leitmotif to try to define and destroy the Catholic Church. I also do not excuse priests who do this because they’re on “my” team. So far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the children.

These people, that I’m calling “Rich and Shameless” for lack of a better way to describe them, excoriate Catholic priests who sexually abuse children without mercy or limit. They extend this excoriation to the Church as a whole, drubbing all priests and bishops with the same filthy brush.

Then they turn around and deny and defend powerful members of their own community from well-founded accusations of egregious sexual abuse of children. They use specious denials, personal testimonies, accusations and claims of some sort of non-existent moral high ground to excuse who they want excused from whatever they do. It gets so ridiculous that they inevitably end up skewering themselves with their own dissimulations.

I don’t think that people who do this care about the sexual abuse of children. I think they use it when the sexual abuse fits their other objectives as a means of attacking people and causes they don’t like. I think they then turn around and dismiss it, to quote Shakespeare, as much ado about nothing when the accused is one of their own, even when the accusations against their own stink like an open sewer.

Their outrage over pedophile priests looks like a pose and a sham. Their reactions to pedophiles, both charged and credibly accused, who are also powerful directors, are exhibits a and b, pointing to that conclusion.

Pro Life Groups Boycott Girl Scout Cookies: I’m Going to Pass

There are limits, and this reaches one of mine.

Pro life groups are evidently boycotting Girl Scout cookies. The reason, so far as I can tell, is that the Girl Scouts have thrown in with Planned Parenthood.

I find that disgusting. I’ve already written quite a bit about what I think of sexualizing little girls and pushing dangerous chemical birth control on them. It’s hard to fathom that the Girl Scouts are doing something like this.

However, if a little girl comes up to me in the parking lot of a convenience store, or knocks on my door, I am not going to look her in the eye and tell her that I am boycotting Girl Scout Cookies.

Ain’t gonna happen.

I’ll fork over the cash and take the cookies (which are usually stale) and toss them in the trash, just like I always do.

I’m sorry, fellow pro lifers. My spirit is with you. But my flesh doesn’t have what it takes for this one.

Can you think of another way to do this; preferably something that doesn’t involve hurting the feelings of a child who doesn’t know come here from sic ‘em about interlocking boards and organizational alliances?

I don’t think we should target kids to get at adults. Let’s go at the adults directly.

Figure out a way to do that, and I’m with you.

From TownHall.com:

Pro-life organizations are standing with a small pro-life group in Waco, Texas to boycott Girl Scout cookies over the organization’s recent “praise for Wendy Davis and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius…and because of a deep and lasting entanglement with abortion providers and abortion rights organizations,” according to the CookieCott 2014’s website.

Many groups, including the American Life League, LifeNews, the Radiance Foundation, Life Coalition International, the National Black Pro-Life Union, are standing with John Pisciotta, head of Pro-Life Waco, which has launched similar ‘CookieCotts’ in the past.

Breitbart explains:

Pisciotta’s group launched a Girl Scout cookie boycott in Waco in 2004as well after the Bluebonnet Girl Scout Council began co-sponsoring theNobody’s Fool summer sex education program offered by Planned Parenthood for Waco-area teens and pre-teens.

With this sponsorship by Planned Parenthood, Pro-Life Waco states the Bluebonnet Council placed the national Girl Scout logo on the program flyer and advertisements. In addition, Girl Scout employees served as volunteers for the Nobody’s Fool program.


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