Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Emails, IV's, and a Logic Exercise

We got the coolest email yesterday from our son and his wife.  He had recorded their latest doctor's visit on his iPhone, and sent us a recording of our grandchild's heartbeat.  In the background you can hear the doctor explaining which heartbeat belonged to Mom and which to the baby.  My daughter-in-law is only about 11 weeks pregnant, but the doctor says very plainly, "And the faster one is the baby's."

Our admissions director at the college is also about 11 weeks pregnant.  She's having a bad time, and came to work over the weekend dragging an IV to keep her hydrated and fed.  Even though she feels ill most of the time, she smiles when she speaks of "the baby," and says, dreamily, "It will all be worth it."

Notice:  both babies (embryos, fetuses, buns in the oven, etc.) are babies.  Not just to their mothers, but to everyone around them--including the doctors.  Both young mothers have endured unpleasantness.  Pregnancy is neither easy nor romantic.

That got me thinking.  Last week the Obama/McCain town hall debate asked when a child was entitled to full rights.  McCain answered definitively, "at conception."  Obama waffled and said something about that being above his pay grade.  For someone who wishes to be the most powerful person in the world, he should know that there will be no one above his pay grade, so it is his duty to make up his mind.  I fear what he was trying to avoid saying was that human rights are to be reserved for the convenient, the wanted, and the perfect.  To acknowledge that view would be to acknowledge that he doesn't really believe in human rights at all, if the one needing the rights would cost time or money.  To Obama, "All men are created equal," but apparently there is debate either about what constitutes a human, or when, exactly, creation of said human has reached enough maturity to be deemed complete.  Such uncertainty about definitions ultimately leads to no definition at all.  The age at which one becomes eligible for rights could be redefined at will, so any given characteristic could mean that one was not really human.  Such was the logic that allowed the Holocaust.

Obama needs to go hear a few ultrasounds.

Here's to welcoming new babies--born and unborn!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Renewable Energy

The lights went out at church today, midway through the 3rd service.  We had just finished one set of songs, and we were about to begin another, more worshipful set, when there was the "pop" of electrical gadgetry suddenly silenced.  We were left with only the dim lighting of emergency lights--several hundred people with no sound system and no video screens.  In a church the size of ours, you come to depend on technology for sound, lighting, and climate control, but there would be no modern conveniences today.  The worship leader shifted gears in midstream, and I was glad my parents taught me to memorize hymns (both words and music).  Instead of our carefully practiced worship set with band accompaniment, we had just one singer, one piano, and a congregation relying on long-remembered hymns like "Amazing Grace."

While staffers and interns scrambled behind the scenes to find enough candles to shed light on the minister's Bible, the minister relied on his memory of the Word.  There was quiet in our building as all concentrated on hearing one voice in a place built for a thousand people.  Once in a while you could hear a baby's cry, but mostly what you heard was the silence of people straining to hear a godly man proclaim his next-to-last sermon after 60 years of preaching.

In the dim silence, God began to work.  People sang old familiar words with their hearts.  Though no one asked the congregation to stand, many stood, raised their hands, and worshiped.  At the end of the service, many came to ask for prayer.  Communion time was the most meaningful in recent memory.  At the conclusion of the service, people were reluctant to leave and stayed in their seats, praying.  The lights came on as we were dismissed, but the church was slow to empty.

All in all, this power outage made heavenly power visible.

Here's to darkness that reveals the light--the true source of renewable energy.