Monday, February 28, 2005

Lucy Grealy

At the age of nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a lethal form of cancer with only a five percent survival rate. She lost nearly half her jaw to the disease, endured three years of chemotherapy, and endless painful operations attempting to reconstruct her face. Yet in her 1994 memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Grealy tells the story of a different kind of pain - "the deep bottomless grief . . . called ugliness." It is this pain that she calls "the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison."

The book is a powerful, strikingly candid account of the alienation, humiliation, and hostility Grealy endured as a result of her deformity. It is also a fresh and insightful commentary on the relationship between beauty and happiness in our society. The critical response to the work was overwhelming.

You can order Lucy's book through Amazon.

Lucy is now a writer and poet. Here is a quote from her book, Autobiography of a Face:

"I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I've spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison."

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Go Ahead...Make My Day

As you all may well know by now, Million Dollar Baby picked up several Oscars last night. Eastwood won best director and the film won Best Picture. (Now we all know how Michael Moore felt on Election Day!) I am tempted to contemplate the philosophical impications of a society who applauds this movie as "art" - on the other hand, I can't get too worked up about it because my guess is, when it comes to the Oscars -- no one really cares. Half the viewers tuned in to see J-Lo's dress or to see if Chris Rock would drop the F-bomb. Ultimately, Even Hollywood is too wrapped up with who Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston showed up with to care two hoots about what flick won Best Picture. This too shall pass...

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Round Two

Click here for Part Two of the O'Reilly/Eastwood video interview about the film Million Dollar Baby.

For a transcript of the entire interview, click here.

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God and the Problem of Evil

The sovereignty of God is a tough issue for a lot of people, even those who profess to be Christians. I am amazed at the consistency of atheists who nearly every time sight the problem of evil in the world as their number one reason for not being able to believe in God.

It is a perplexing and complicated discussion -- a powerful, loving God and a planet full of unfathomable crime and evil.

This radio interview does an amazing job of answering the very tough questions about why God allows terrible things to happen while still maintaining his love, mercy, and sovereignty through it.

The interview is specifically addressing the December 26 Indian Ocean tsunami, but can easily be personally applied to our own suffering and circumstances as well.

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Round One

Click here to view Part One of a short interview between Bill O'Reilly and Clint Eastwood regarding the movie Million Dollar Baby. Surprisingly, O'Reilly comes off far more stomach-churning that Eastwood. I will post Part Two as soon as it becomes available.

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Friday, February 25, 2005

The Passion of the Clint

Am I being overly philosophical to point out the hypocrisy between Hollywood bellyaching over the "scandal" of Mel Gibson making a film about Jesus Christ, only to see them turn around a year later and applaud Clint Eastwood for his soapbox epic, Million Dollar Baby?

The story of a perfect Man who sacrifices his own life so that he can offer redemption to a world of sinners (boo, hiss, snore) somehow lacks emotional value compared to the story of a no-name boxer who sacrifices her own life so that she can....well....umm...well, she died anyway.

I guess a chick boxer is just way more amazing of a concept than a virgin giving birth to the Son of God.

Once again, Hollywood fails to recognize the true Million Dollar Baby.


Edgar Allen Poe or the American Justice System?

Here is an excerpt from an eerie article appearing on the Not Dead Yet website.

Disability activists have called for a nationwide moratorium on the dehydration and starvation of people alleged to be in "persistent vegetative state." This would apply to individuals who do not have an advance directive or durable power of attorney.

The call for a moratorium is a reaction to the newly-published report indicating high levels of brain activity in people thought to be in "minimally conscious state (MCS)." The study, published in the February issue of Neurology, discovered evidence that these individuals may hear and understand much of what is going on around them, but are unable to respond.
The study drew a distinction between MCS and Persistent Vegetative State (PVS), but the distinction is not a reliable one. In a New York Times article, Dr. Joseph Fins mentioned research indicating a 30% misdiagnosis rate of PVS, indicating that nearly a third of persons diagnosed in PVS are actually in "minimally conscious state." Fins is chief of the medical ethics division of New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.

With the exception of oblique references to Terri Schiavo, current coverage of the study and its implications dance around the most important issues regarding this study. Namely, thousands of people around this country with labels of both MCS and PVS are being starved and dehydrated, often without an advance directive indicating their wishes, or a durable power of attorney appointing a substitute decision-maker they chose for themselves.

"Given the current research regarding brain activity and misdiagnosis, it's a virtual certainty that countless people have been helpless to prevent their own deaths through starvation and dehydration," says Stephen Drake, research analyst for Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group opposed to legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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Note to Pope: Steer Clear of Florida!

The Vatican took pains to emphasize the positive: the 84-year-old pope was breathing on his own, showed no signs of pneumonia and ate a breakfast that included coffee with milk, yogurt and 10 small cookies. But other descriptions were impossible to ignore: John Paul fitted with a tube to ease his breathing and following doctors' orders to avoid speaking, at least for several days. Each detail of his condition was shadowed by uncertainty, including how long the tracheotomy device would remain and if the pope would regain full command of his voice. No official health update was expected until Monday.

I wonder how the Florida Supreme Court would rule upon the suggestion that we "do the loving thing" and pull the Pope's breathing tube out? (Though someone should do the loving thing and at least tell him that coffee and ten cookies isn't the most balanced breakfast).

New rule: Celebrities are exempt from Euthanasia, murder, and child molestation charges. All in favor say Aye (yiye yai....)!


Three More Weeks

TAMPA, Fla. — A judge gave Terri Schiavo's husband permission to remove the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube in three weeks, handing him a victory in his effort to carry out what he says were his wife's wishes not to be kept alive artificially.

The ruling by Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer will allow the husband, Michael Schiavo, to order the tube removed at 1 p.m. on March 18. In the meantime, the woman's parents, who want her kept alive, are expected to ask another court to block the order from taking effect.

A leading Vatican cardinal also has weighed in on behalf of keeping Terri Schiavo alive.
"If Mr. Schiavo legally succeeded in provoking the death of his wife, this would not only be tragic in itself, but it would be a serious step toward legally approving euthanasia in the United States," Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio on Thursday.

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

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Hollywood, but Hollyshouldnt

A recent Fox News poll finds that Hollywood is "out of touch" with most American's values. (Did they really need to conduct a poll for that)?

This is good news for those of us perturbed with airbrushed celebrities and big-name directors using their star power to trick the masses into watching their two-hour-long political soapbox speeches at $8.50 a crack.

The poll concludes that "few people believe moviemakers share their values, and there is widespread agreement that Hollywood is out of touch with Americans."

From young people to seniors, the story is the same — Hollywood is out of touch. Overall, more than 7 in 10 Americans think Tinseltown is out of sync with "average Americans." Self-identified conservatives (81 percent) are more likely than others to think Hollywood is out of touch, but majorities of moderates (74 percent) and liberals (58 percent) also agree.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on February 8-9.

Similarly, it is a small minority of Americans who believe Hollywood moviemakers share their values. Thirteen percent of the public thinks moviemakers share their values, while a sizeable majority — 70 percent — disagrees.

At 19 percent, Democrats are more than three times as likely as Republicans (6 percent) and twice as likely as independents (9 percent) to say filmmakers share their values.

Who are Hollywood moviemakers? A 61 percent majority of Americans think most people in Hollywood are liberals, 8 percent think they are conservatives and 14 percent say "both."

And as for the Oscars, while winning the gold statue can improve ticket sales, fewer than one in five Americans (17 percent) say movie awards influence which films they see.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sign Petition to Help Terri

This link will take you to a website where you can sign a petition to help save Terri Schiavo's life. It takes less than two minutes to fill out and submit.

The petition is being sposored by The Center for Reclaiming America. They are also asking that you make phone calls to key representitives in addition to signing the petition. Please take ten minutes or so to do so.

Governor Jeb Bush
(850) 488-4441

Senate President Tom Lee
Tallahassee: (850) 487-5072
District Office: (813) 744-8683

Speaker of the House Allan G. Bense
Tallahassee: (850) 488-1450
District Office: (850) 914-6300


Call President Bush and ask him to personally intervene:

President George W. Bush
(202) 456-1111

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Open Letter From Terri Schiavo's Father

Help Save My Daughter From Starvation! (from Terri Schiavo's father)

Dear Friend of Life,

By now you have probably heard about a young woman who is threatened with starvation in Florida.

That young woman is my daughter, Terri. In 1990, through circumstances which are shrouded in mystery (and may involve a criminal act by Terri's estranged husband), my daughter was left severely brain-damaged.

But before I go any further, I must put an end to the lies and misinformation that are circulating around the country through the media concerning my daughter's condition.

Contrary to anything you may have heard, Terri is NOT brain dead; Terri is NOT in a coma; she is NOT in a "persistent vegetative state;" nor is she on ANY life-support system.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Terri Schiavo responds
to her mother's touch

Terri laughs, Terri cries, she moves, and she makes child-like attempts at speech with her mother and me. Sometimes she will say "Mom" or "Dad" or "yeah" when we ask her a question. When I kiss her hello or goodbye, she looks at me and "puckers up" her lips.

This may not seem like much to you, but it means everything to Terri's mother and me. It tells us she is still here, she still knows us, and with therapy and time she can have some level of recovery.

I know that there are some hard hearted people who believe that due to my daughters condition, she is better off dead. Words cannot describe the pain and anger such sentiments cause us. This is our daughter, our little girl, and even in her disabled condition, she still has the right to life and the right to be loved and cared for by her family.

Why, you may ask, is Terry in danger of death by starvation?

It is a long and outrageous story, but I'll give it to you as briefly as I can.

After the "incident" that left Terry in this condition, her husband Michael Schiavo sued various members of the medical community for money, saying that they did not treat or diagnose her properly at an early stage, and that he needed this money to provide for Terri's therapy and rehabilitation and care.

After lengthy court battles, he finally won upwards of $1.7 million under the guise of caring for our daughter, and then to our horror, he immediately began spending the money on himself and his Playboy lifestyle.

Terri's estranged husband Michael Schiavo has been living with another woman for years, and has two children by her. He is determined to see Terri dead. Why? We believe it's because he gets to keep whatever money is left... and he may have even darker motives than that.

To add insult to all of this injury toward my daughter, Michael Schiavo is still her "legal husband" and therefore is her "guardian." And since they are not legally divorced, he controls whatever health care she will and will not get. We are not even allowed to know if she is getting aspirin.

In 1993 my family initiated litigation against Michael Schiavo solely for the purpose of acquiring medical, physical and neurological assistance for our daughter Terri. The litigation escalated in 1998 when Michael Schiavo petitioned the court to stop Terri from receiving food and water, thereby starving her to death.

In filing this legal action, he retained the services of a high profile euthanasia attorney and the financial backing of powerful euthanasia organizations. He also used Terri's medical rehabilitation money to underwrite much of the legal expenses associated with his effort to starve our daughter to death.

We know that he has spent nearly $500,000 of Terri's money in attorney's fees for just one attorney trying to obtain a court order to have Terri starved to death. The very money that was supposed to be used for Terri's rehabilitation is being used to have her killed.

We very quickly discovered it was impossible for us to compete with the abundance of financial and legal resources the pro-death organizations were providing Micheal Schiavo in their effort to kill Terri. They are pouring time and effort into her starvation because they want to use this case to further the agenda of legalized euthanasia.

My wife and I are not wealthy people. Throughout those years, we did not have any large organizations trying to help rescue our daughter. Consequently, we had to rely on the generosity of attorneys who were willing to offer their legal expertise at no cost or at reduced fees.

The bottom line is that we are in the final weeks or months of our struggle to rescue our daughter from an untimely death by starvation. Death by starvation is very slow, and extremely painful. As you must know, it is against the law to deliberately starve an animal to death. There are members of the Florida court who would not treat a dog the way they plan to treat my daughter.

At this point we must pull out all the stops in our fight to rescue our daughter.

As parents, we are desperate to save our daughter's life. As people who love life, we are determined to deprive the euthanasia advocates of successfully legalizing this form of homicide. We believe that their efforts to kill Terri are designed to set a precedent for the future eradication of defenseless disabled human beings. I was alive when Americans fought the Nazis; I do not want my daughter to meet the same fate of thousands of disabled people in Nazi Germany, and I do not want our country to go down that same dark path.

Friend, though we have never met, I'm asking you for your help. We desperately need your financial assistance to help our family continue the battle to keep our daughter from being starved to death. There are so many expenses in a case like this it is mind-boggling and overwhelming. Please click below to make a contribution now:

Our adversaries believe that by our family's financial attrition and difficulties, they will attain their objective of killing our daughter. Presently, Terri's starvation may only be a few weeks away, unless we find the financial resources to prevent this atrocity from becoming a reality.

I implore you to please help us. We are writing to you, because we believe you have a heart for justice and mercy. I'm asking you to put yourself in my shoes, and then do whatever you can to help our family. Whether it is $10 or $1000, we are desperate for the resources to fight this battle for our daughter's life at this critical juncture.

Please do whatever you can, and forward this e-mail to any friends or family that you have who you think might be interested in saving Terri's life.

I thank you for your time, your concern, and I solicit your prayers for Terri and our entire family. These have been very trying times for us all.


Bob Schindler Sr.


To submit a donation by check, please make check payable to "Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation" and send to:

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation
c/o NewsMax
P.O. Box 20989
West Palm Beach FL, 33416

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How You Can Help Terri Schiavo

From a recent e-mail alert from

Thanks to your help and the help of thousands of Americans, Terri Schiavo will be allowed to live for a few more days.

The legal efforts of Terri's father to save her life have saved her from certain death. But the court order lasts for just two more days.

There is more hope: Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush has courageously intervened
to save Terri again!

If you would like to help Terri's father in his fight to save his daughter -- Go Here Now.

Also, if you haven't read her father's letter, please do so below.

Thank you and keep Terri and her family in your prayers.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Singin' in the Brain!

According to an article in Medical Hypotheses, “Vibration of the human skull, as produced by loud vocalization, exerts a massaging effect on the brain and facilitates expulsion of metabolic products into the cerebrospinal fluid, leading neurophysicists to hypothesize that vocal vibrations cause a kind of cleaning of the chemical cobwebs out of the head. A process as simple as singing might well make the removal of chemical waste from the brain more efficient.And according to a recent study by the University of California, Irvine, singing in a choir just might make you healthier. This study, authored by Robert Beck and Thomas Cesario and published in Music Perception, found that Immunoglobulin A, a protein used by the immune system to fight disease, increased 150 percent during rehearsals and 240 percent during performance.

A similar article concluded that singing for a half hour a day will improve your health, fend off illnesses, and positively affect your mood. This is interesting to me because the Bible has so much to say about worship.

There are a lot of verses in the Bible that talk about "giving thanks" in all circumstances and to be joyful in suffering. I have always interpreted this to be a lesson in faith alone - that if we trust God, we won't be anxious. But perhaps there is more going on. Perhaps God, as our Creator, built certain things into our immune system that respond favorably to the actual act of worship.
This isn't to say that everyone who sings will be immune from disease, of course. I am merely contemplating the idea that singing joyfully has an active and postive affect on our health.

I guess the only way to test the theory is to start singing and see what happens!


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

24 Hours to Live

The Florida Supreme Court has just issued an emergency stay in the Terri Schiavo case. In light of the Schiavo case, the foresight of our forefathers and the words they penned in the very first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence becomes hauntingly ironic.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

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Supreme Court to Challenge Euthanasia Law

Justices will review a lower court ruling that said the U.S. government cannot sanction or hold doctors criminally liable for prescribing overdoses under Oregon's voter-approved Death With Dignity Act. Since 1998, more than 170 people — most with cancer — have used the law to end their lives. Arguments will be heard in the court's next term, which begins in October.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft filed the appeal last November, on the day his resignation was announced by the White House, arguing that physician-assisted suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" and that doctors take an oath to heal patients, not help them die.

Oregon countered by saying that regulation of doctors generally has been the sole responsibility of the states. Ashcroft has no authority under the federal Controlled Substances Act to punish doctors because Congress intended the law only to prevent illegal drug trafficking, the state argued.

Interesting choice of words. An act that protects patients from being murdered by their doctors is a way of "punishing" doctors.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo Gets No Break

The following paragraph is not posted to the Joni and Friends Homepage. The blurb was written by Sanda Allyson, JAF Journalist.

AGOURA HILLS, February 11 - Pinellas County Circuit Judge George Greer handed down today another refusal to set aside his previous order which provides for the execution of Terri Schiavo. The ruling in question calls for the removal of Terri’s feeding and hydration tube with the intention of her death. Though this is another disappointing ruling for Terri’s parents, the Schindlers, it is not yet the end of the legal road. The Schindlers attorney said they would file for appeal of this ruling, ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review another issue, and ask Judge Greer to issue a stay of the order while they continue to pursue their legal options. The order previously handed down by Greer in February 2000 was not carried out due to a stay also issued by Greer. That stay is set to expire the 21st of this month, which, according to Schiavo’s attorney, would make Terri’s husband, Micahael Schiavo, free to remove his wife’s feeding tube. Terri Schindler Schiavo, 41, collapsed 15 years ago from lack of oxygen to the brain. It is unclear what caused the collapse, though doctors have suggested both strangulation and potassium imbalance. The oxygen deprivation caused severe brain damage, but Terri does not require life support and continues to interact purposefully with her visitors.

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Marc's Testimony

I found Marc's website last week and knew immediately I wanted to post it on my blog. What a testimony to God's love and grace Marc's life is! Please visit his website and view his photos and read his testimony!

It is encouraging to me how powerful personal testimonies are. Of all my postings, the one I have gotten the most feedack on so far is Krista's testimony. I hope to get my own up too one of these days.

If Marc and Krista's testimonies have encouraged you, drop me a note and let me know so I can pass it on and encourage them!

If any of you have a similar testimony and would like to share it with others, please e-mail it to me and I will post it to my blog.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

This is How We Know What Love is

With reading so many articles on Euthanasia as of late, it intrigues me that "mercy" is the supposed motive of such an act. Yet, in cases like Terri Schaivo and Tracy Latimer, the victims never expressed a desire to die, but their husband and father, respectively, made that decision omnisciently on their behalf.

1 John 3:12-16 says:
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

This verse highlights the differences between Cain and Christ. Under the "Cain" column we have:

1. Do not be like him
2. He belonged to the Evil One
3. He murdered his brother
4. His actions were evil
5. He hated his brother
6. He did not have eternal life in him

Under the Christ column we have:

1. He laid down his life for us
2. He modeled love

Cain, out of love for self, took his brothers life. Christ, out of love for us, sacrificed his.

This passage exhorts us to:

1. Not be like Cain (who took his brother's life)
2. Not be surprised if the world (ex. Euthanasia supporters?) hate us
3. We ought to lay down our lives for others

Christ died to save us from our sins. If this is Heaven's definition of mercy, we should ponder what this means for us. If Christ pitied sinners and wanted to help them, why didn't he just euthanize us all and thus "rescue" us from our pitiful existence? Why not deliver us from this cruel world and usher us into heaven? Doesn't that sound a lot more merciful than making us endure the hardships of life for seventy or eighty years?

Interestingly, the Bible tells another story where this very thing happened. In Genesis, we read of the flood where all the world, but eight people, were killed. But we, nor the Bible, view this as an act of love or rescue. The story of the flood is one of judgment and death. The people who died in the flood were not being rescued out of mercy and ushered into paradise, they were being judged for their sin.

The flood tells a story where God initiates death and as a result mankind is condemned. The cross tells the story of Christ initiating the death of his own life and as a result mankind is redeemed.

Taking life is murder; laying down your own is love.

You will be a dynamic and inspirational example of love and mercy if you lay down your life for others by pouring out your gifts and energy, serving, attending to, and loving the disabled. Disabled people are like regular people, we feel loved when someone cares for us and helps us and tells us they love us. And we, reflexively, feel hated when someone tells us were a waste of oxygen and then threatens to kill us. Pretty basic logic, really.

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Murder is Art?

My buddy JT had this posted on his blog on February 17:

Michael Medved--a self-described "skeptic regarding one of the most absurdly over-praised movies in recent Hollywood history" [Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby"]--explains why he's been so critical of this movie with its sympathetic portrayal of assisted suicide and with its implicit message that premediated murder can be the ultimate gift of love, especially if the alternative means life in a wheelchair or a hospital bed.

My post title was inspired by this paragraph in Medved's article:

"More recently, some of the film's most conspicuous promoters have taken another tack entirely, insisting that the movie never tilts one way or another on the death-with-dignity debate, even when it portrays premeditated murder as the ultimate gift of love. "Michael Moore and Mel Gibson aside," wrote Ms. Dowd, "the purpose of art is not always to send messages. More often, it's just to tell a story, move people and provoke ideas. Mr. Eastwood's critics don't even understand what art is."

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Rest in Peace?

“The focus of this legislation is to give those who suffer, the right to choose a death with dignity, to bring to an end the torture many endure on their death-bed... Society has, through the laws in place today, made an assessment for all of us - that our quality of life, no matter how wretched, miserable and painful is never so bad that any of us will be allowed to put an end to it. I am not prepared to allow society to make that decision for me or those I love."

This quote was taken from an

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What Causes Birth Defects?

According to the March of Dimes: Both genetic and environmental factors can cause birth defects. However, the causes of about 60 to 70 percent of birth defects currently are unknown.

According to Exodus 4:11: Then the Lord said to him [Moses], "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?"

According to Psalm 139:13-16: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

According to John 9:1-3: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

And these are just a few reasons why we can rejoice in suffering!

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Are Disabled People Unhappy?

This article really intrigued me because all of my early surgeries were done at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia in the 1970s.

Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who worked for years with severely deformed infants as a pediatric surgeon at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital, commented that...
It has been my constant experience that disability and unhappiness do not necessarily go together. He continues: Some of the most unhappy children whom I have known have all of their physical and mental faculties, and on the other hand some of the happiest youngsters have borne burdens which I myself would find very difficult to bear. Our obligation in such circumstances is to find alternatives for the problems our patients face. I don't consider death an acceptable alternative. With our technology and creativity, we are merely at the beginning of what we can do educationally and in the field of leisure activities for such youngsters. And who knows what happiness is for another person?

To read the entire article, click here.


Friday, February 18, 2005

The Vogue Factor

I found an ineresting article concerning the effect of beautiful people on soceity as a whole. Interestingly, this study was done by mathmeticians, not psychologists, so it makes for an interesting read.

BEAUTY makes the world an unhappier place, say two mathematicians who have calculated the ideal way to match lonely hearts to their soulmates.

Conventionally good looking people such as Kate Moss, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lopez, may be pleasing to the eye, but their very presence in our midst makes the world a less contented place, the research suggests


Eye of the Beholder

The research I did on the current plastic surgery trend in the U.S. led me to start thinking about similar rituals in other countries -- after all, the painful quest for beauty isn't limmited to the American borders alone.

Here are some examples.

Feet binding comes to mind first. Take a look at the beautiful results:

Neck Stretching


Maoris Moko (face tattoos)

Cosmetic Toe Amputation (going on in the U.S. today)

Lip Stretching


And for the record - the most disgusting, unpublishable photos I found on the entire world wide web while trying to find painful and grotesque cultural beauty rituals were the pictures of American teenagers taken in this decade. So, let us Americans not be too quick to judge or boast of being "civilized."


Monday, February 14, 2005

Does Suffering Come from God?

I was thinking about “good works” this morning and how we erroneously think that God’s love and acceptance upon us fluctuates according to our own deeds. And then the thought twisted and I realize that we evaluate God the same way. We look at our life and we use our comfort level as a thermometer to determine God’s favor with us.

This brought to mind 1 Peter 1. It begins in verse 3 by praising God for his great mercy through Jesus. Verse 5 says, “who trough faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” Wow, how much better does it get than that? Having God’s own power shielding us until the end of our lives? But, then, verse 6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

Wait, back up! First he promises that he will shield us with His power, and the very next sentence he is saying that we will suffer all kinds of trials? Is this a contradiction? A broken promise? If he is going to shield us with his power, but we are still going to suffer, then what in the world is he shielding us from anyway?

Verse 4 may hold that key. “and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you.” His power shields us from losing our inheritance. We know that our inheritance is of greater value than earthly comfort because 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.”

So, if suffering is a part of life, does that make God cruel and sadistic, or is there a purpose in our sorrow? Yes, 1 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Going back to 1 Peter 1, verse 7 says, “These [trials] have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even through refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

So, we see that sorrow leads to increased faith, lack of regrets, repentance, salvation, and the most incredible of all – increased glory when Christ returns.

But what does that mean? How can seeing Christ return to earth to rescue us from our sinful nature and corrupt bodies and ushering us to paradise…how do you increase the joy of that?!

A simple analogy: you live in a comfortable mansion full of servants, loaded with cash, good looks, and everything your heart desires. A salesman comes to your door and says, “Hey I’d like to hire you to work for me. You’ll make $10 an hour and when you retire, I’ll give you a lifeboat.”

Now imagine that you are not lounging comfortably in your mansion when the salesman approaches you, but instead you are out in the middle of the Indian Ocean during a raging tsunami, you cannot swim, and you have just fallen off of your yacht.

Likewise, one can genuinely long for Christ’s return in the midst of prosperity. But how much more deep and genuine and passionate and desperate and grateful will the gift be if when he comes, he doesn’t just rescue us from our sin, but from painful circumstances and relief from our sorrows. One of the few details Scripture gives about Heaven is that there will be no more tears. Who exactly is the Scripture writer appealing to as he describes Heaven? What does the writer assume about his audience to leave out zillions of details of such a place and mention only that we will no longer have tears?

I am not saying one should enjoy suffering. Nor am I saying one who is enjoying a phase of life now that offers much joy and contentment should go out and find sorrow. I am saying that God is sovereign and no matter where you are in your life, he is, as always, on his throne.

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

List o' Links

Chuck Coleson's article (see previous post) ended with a fantastic list of links to topics related to his article. For those of you who may not have linked to his full article, here is that list of links.

Frederica Mathewes-Green, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Million Dollar Baby goes too far and not far enough ,” National Review Online, 2 February 2005 .

Sanda Allyson, “Million Dollar Baby Cost Too High,” Joni and Friends.

The backlash over ‘Million Dollar Baby’ ,” CNN, 7 February 2005 .

Jeffrey Overstreet, “ Review of Million Dollar Baby,” Christianity Today, 7 January 2005 .

Learn more about the show House.

S. T. Karnick, “ Must-Believe TV: Christianity Gets a Fair Shake ,” National Review Online, 21 December 2004 .

Tom Shales, “ ‘House’: Watching Is the Best Medicine ,” WashingtonPost, 16 November 2004 , C01.

Roberto Rivera, “ Lean on Me: Dignity and Dependency ,” BreakPoint Online, 28 January 2004 .

Rita L. Marker and Wesley J. Smith, “Words, Words, Words: Terms used in the euthanasia debate—their use and abuse ,” International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

Arthur J. Dyck, Life’s Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide (Eerdmans, 2002).

Richard John Neuhaus, As I Lay Dying: Meditations on Returning (Basic Books, 2002).

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Million Dollar Baby vs. House


Thanks to JT for forwarding this article to me. Chuck Coleson (BreakPoint, Prison Fellowship) got the same message out of the Million Dollar Baby film as I did...which is great comfort to me as I respect Coleson's opinions quite a bit. He also reviews a cable doctor show called "House" and gives it a thumbs-up.

For most of its two-and-a-quarter hours, Million Dollar Baby is a story about love and determination. Frankie and Maggie need each other because they both have something to prove, to themselves and to others. Under Frankie’s tutelage, Maggie rises through the ranks of women’s boxing.

Then tragedy strikes: An illegal blow causes Maggie to strike her head against the stool. She’s left as a quadriplegic. Frankie works just as hard at trying to help Maggie adjust to her new life out of the ring as he did helping her in the ring. But that’s not what she wants. She wants Frankie to help her end her life—which he does.

Why? As Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote, it’s not because she’s in pain or even because she’s depressed. Rather, it’s because “she can’t bear to be a has-been.” In the moral universe of the film, “anyone who comes to the end of their 15 minutes of fame is justified in seeking suicide.” The idea that, as with my friend, Joni Eareckson Tada, life goes on even after paralysis—and is even richer, perhaps—is alien to this universe.

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A Modern Day Miracle

Fox News is running an article on their website today about a woman (now 38) who was hit by a drunk driver when in college. The accident maimed her severely. She also lost the ability to speak. Last month, after twenty years of silence, she regained her ability to speak. The doctors are not 100% sure how this happened. What a marvelous, unexpected grace for this woman and her family!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Celebrities Without Makeup

This is proof that we don't need plastic surgery, we just need great lighting, an airbrush, and a professional makeup artist.

Celebrities without makeup:

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True Thighs

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis recently posed for a photograph with no make up, no special lighting, no airbrush. What a relief to us ordinary folks...Hollywood actresses are just ordinary folk too! The article below first appeared in USA Today (written by Ann Oldenbburg).

Jamie Lee Curtis is posing for More magazine in a sports bra and tight spandex briefs that reveal what she looks like when she's not glammed up as a movie star. For one photo, Curtis spent three hours prepping with a team of 13 people making sure she looked just right.

Curtis then asked photographer Andrew Eccles to shoot with her no makeup, no manicure, no professionally done hair, no diamond jewelry or high fashion outfit, in unforgiving light with a full-body straight-on shot.

She says she doesn't have a perfect body.

"I don't have great thighs," she tells More. "I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I've got back fat. People assume I'm walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It's the insidious Glam Jamie Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don't want the unsuspecting 40-year-old women of the world to think that I've got it going on. It's such a fraud. And I'm the one perpetuating it."

Curtis is promoting her fifth children's book, I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem. It hits bookstores this month, and its message is what prompted Curtis to pose in her unflattering undies.

"In the recovery program I'm in for addiction problems, they talk about peeling an onion, exposing more layers," she says. The myth of the perfect Jamie is something she "actively participated in and, by the way, profited from. Now, I'm sitting here on my high hill, debunking the very foundation that I sit on. Don't think I'm not afraid of it. I'm not financially independent enough that I don't rely on outside income still."

She admits she has gone under the knife to improve her looks. "I've had a little plastic surgery. I've had a little lipo. I've had a little Botox. And you know what? None of it works. None of it."
So now, she's on a mission, she says in the September issue of More, which hits newsstands next week.

"I want to do my part, as I develop the consciousness for it, to stop perpetuating the myth. I'm going to look the way God intends me to look ... with a little help from Manolo Blahnik."

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

God's Definition of Beauty

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article written by Carolyn Mahaney.

We are exhorted in Romans 12:2 not to allow the world around us to squeeze us into its mold. We need to ask ourselves if we have been captivated by our culture's definition of beauty ... or God's. Do our thoughts and actions regarding our appearance reflect a cultural standard, or a biblical standard? To answer these questions honestly, we need to understand God's perspective on beauty.

Scripture reveals the falsehood and futility of the quest for physical beauty. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting" (Pro 31:30). Charm in the Hebrew means "bodily form." Form and beauty are two things that our culture esteems and pursues with fervor, yet God exposes our pursuit of the perfect figure and beauty to be idolatrous.

A survey of physically beautiful women in the Bible supports the admonitions of Proverbs. Physical beauty in Scripture is more often linked with trouble and temptation than with blessing and goodness. Many Old Testament stories of lying, cheating, stealing, murder, adultery, and idol-worship find their roots in sinful responses to female physical beauty (E.g., the accounts of Sarah in Gen 12:11-20, Rebekah in Gen 26:7-11, and Tamar in 2Sa 13:1-20).

Nowhere in the Bible are women instructed to wish, ask, or strive for physical beauty. Instead, God's Word warns us of the futility and deceitfulness of such a pursuit. Neither does the Bible portray physical beauty as a blessing for those who have it. Instead, it can create greater potential for being snared by sin (Pro 6:23-26).

However, there is a kind of beauty that we are to pursue. First Peter 3:4-5 tells us that a woman's beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It's the Inside That Counts

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Isaiah 16:7

Oh how I wish this verse was known and loved and cherished and believed in America! If only we could replace all of our shallow self-esteem courses with this one, short verse.

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The Joy of Suffering

I preceded this series by examining the false view that God guarantees us health, wealth and a carefree lifestyle. This was absolutely necessary for a number of obvious reasons. We are to uphold truth. The belief that our inheritance is in this life distorts the scriptures, therefore, it is impossible to understand the higher purposes of God without first correcting the misunderstandings many are taught to believe. This is especially true with suffering. If we are taught that we are guaranteed a healthy, prosperous life in tranquility, then suffering can only mean failure. Many teach that suffering is the result of sin, a lack of faith, or the anger of God. If this were true, each time we suffer we would have to ask, "Why me?" or, "What have I done?" What Christian can thrive and spiritually mature under the constant fear of falling out of favor with God? The faith of many Christians are overthrown because they view trouble as the disfavor of God.

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Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth

JT, my friend, colleague, and the inspiring force behind my starting a blog, has a great post on his blog this morning. You can view his site here:

Here is his latest post in its entirety:

Al Mohler reports that "a team of researchers has taken a closer look at the idea that self-esteem is a crucial factor in personal happiness, achievement, and behavior. Their research conclusively destroys the self-esteem myth and demonstrates that the nation's obsession with self-esteem was never based on science in the first place."

The article, entitled "Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth, was published in the January 2005 issue of Scientific American. They explain that "Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior."

Mohler explains the Christian alternative:

"The Christian worldview completely reverses this cycle. The Christian finds satisfaction, not in a sense of self-worth, but in knowing the one true and living God. Human beings are indeed made in God's image, and every single human life is thus worthy of respect and dignity. Nevertheless, the gospel makes clear that the Christian's identity is found in Christ--not in the self."

"As a matter of fact, this is one of the most transformative and liberating realities of the Christian faith. It's not about us--even as we are the recipients of God's grace and mercy."

"Scientific American has done us all a great service by exploding the self-esteem myth, and indicating just how superficial and baseless the claims of self-esteem advocates are now shown to be. Expect an energetic retort from the self-esteem industry. They won't go down without a fight."

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Plastic Surgery Myth

The Dove soap company conducted a survey last year that yielded some surprising results. You can read the full article here: The article begins: New research, released today by the Dove beauty brand, reveals that women are frustrated with the gap that exists between their definition of beauty and society's. The Dove Report: Challenging Beauty finds the majority of women (90%) in the United States are somewhat to very satisfied with their looks. In fact, nearly half of the women surveyed (44%) are more comfortable with their looks today than they were ten years ago. Women are comfortable with their appearance and do not feel compelled to change their looks. These findings provide a thought-provoking contrast to America's seeming obsession with makeovers and cosmetic procedures. We who have facial deformities understand that there is a difference between cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. In our case, reconstruction is necessary, whereas cosmetic is superfluous. But, psychologically, this survey has profound effects on our perceptions. Many times, we feel ugly and inferior simply because we don't look the way we are told we are supposed to look, but according to this survey, that standard is a myth. This news should encourage us and free us from debilitating self-pity and shame.

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Peter Singer

I did some further research on the philosopher Peter Singer. This is the man I mentioned in my last post that supports the outright murder of disabled babies. Irony of ironies – Singer is the founder of the Animal Rights Movement. Yes, that’s the truth, folks, even I couldn’t make something that nonsensical up!

Because the articles I read about Adolph Hitler and Margaret Sanger both mentioned their connections with drugs and the occult, I did a specific search and found that Singer is also an atheist with occult ties. It is amazing to me that drugs and the occult consistently birth within its followers deep-seeded racism. What is it about the poor, disabled, and diversity that the Evil One hates so much? Why does he specifically target these groups?

Satan’s blatant attempt to destroy us (the disabled) begs the question, “Why?” Is he just a cosmic bully who picks on the weak? Is he some Wizard of Oz – someone we are told to fear but is really nothing more than a cowering man behind a curtain?

Or, is there something about the weak things of the world that Satan fears? I cannot be dogmatic here, all I am doing is speculating. But can we jump to the conclusion that Satan targets that which threatens his work? I can understand his hating Jews and Christians…but why the handicapped? Why is there a global vendetta against us? What does Satan know that we don’t? Why are we a threat to him?

Here is my off-the-cuff attempt at philosophizing – God has a mind-blowing eternal purpose for those of us that he created with disabilities! We will have a role in heaven that will bring the Lord glory, forever. If we were as harmless and worthless and weak and purposeless as the world would have us think, then why such blatant, extreme, extraordinary measures to rid the planet of us?

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:20-31

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

When We Are Weak, He is Strong!

Australian ethicist Peter Singer says the disabled and the unwanted should be killed. Not just passive euthanasia, but active, eugenic euthanasia for infants, the sick, and the elderly - everyone whose "life is not worth living" (8/8 World).

In the U.S., Singer is joining the faculty of Princeton University that once included Jonathan Edwards and J. Gresham Machen! (Calvary Contender, September 1, 1998).

Praise the Lord that we are in the hands of God and not Peter Singer!

1 Samuel 2:8-9 says, He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the LORD'S; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails.

It is in the mind of God alone to determine whose life is "not worth living." It is not by strength that one comforting that is to those of us who are weak! Strength and physical ability are not biblical prerequisites for worth or success!

But it gets even better. The Lord does not simply leave us to our own defenselessness. He gives us Christ and the promise that, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." It is like a biblical "tortise and the hare" analogy. The weaklings rise up to the stature of Christ, thus dwarfing the boast of man's own supposed "strength" to a level that no weak, dependent saint would ever covet.

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Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid is an online outreach to parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis. The family stories, articles, and links within this site are presented as a resource for those who may have been asked to choose between terminating a pregnancy or continuing on despite the diagnosis. The families faced the same decision and chose not to terminate. By sharing our experiences, we hope to offer encouragement to those who may be afraid to continue on.

To read more visit:

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Save a Special-Needs Baby!

Currently America is debating whether to have government funding of abortions of disabled babies. I am reminded of Proverbs 12:10b: "Even the compassion of the wicked is cruel."

To read three inspiring stories about special-needs babies saved from abortion:

CHASK (Christian Homes and Special Kids) is an organization that specifically designed to find homes for special-needs babies. Their mission statement (as posted on their website) is:

To encourage families with special needs children, in ways that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. To find Christian homes for children with special needs.

For more information about their service, to download an adoption application, or contact info, visit their website at:

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Wrongful Death Act

The blurred lines of the abortion debate continue to unfold. Currently, there is a gaping contradiction between a woman being allowed to legally get an abortion, but a person who slays a pregnant woman is charged for double-homicide.

Most recently, the lines blurred again when an Amber Alert was put out on the whereabouts of a fetus stolen from its mother's womb. is now reporting the story of a couple in Chicago, suing a fertility clinic under the state's Wrongful Death Act because their frozen embryos, being housed at the clinic, were erroneously discarded.

The Wrongful Death Act allows lawsuits to be filed if unborn fetuses are killed in an accident or assault. " The state of gestation or development of a human being" does not preclude taking legal action, the act says.

What I personally find peculiar about this is that from my very limited knowledge of fertility clinics, the process of fertilization usually requires multiple embryos, one or two are nurtured to the birth stage and the remaining embryos are discarded.

This couple had nine fertilized embryos, all of which were accidently discarded. They are suing the state under the Wrongful Death Act, but my guess is that if all had gone according to plan, they would have wound up with one baby and, in the end, allowed the fertility clinic to discarded the eight remaining embryos anyway.

If this couple wins their case and the state of Illinois recognizes fertilized embryos as human life, this will mean drastic social, ethical, and political reconstruction of our current system. It will also have profound implications for the abortion debate.

The very fact that the law being invoked to protect these embryos is called the "Wrongful Death" Act speaks volumes to me.

To read the full article:,2933,146511,00.html


Friday, February 04, 2005

The Forgotten Field

The history of missions has been intimately tied to discovery. As new worlds unfolded over the years with each journey of a merchant ship or caravan, we learned more and more of what Christ had in mind when he said "uttermost parts of the earth." Advancements in communication and transportation have accelerated rapidly in the last fity years, bringing us closer to the geographic edge of the Great Commission.

Despite the discoveries and technologies and the concomitant spread of the gospel, could there still be a large, as of yet undiscovered country? Is there a people group of significant number that have not yet been targeted for inclusion in the Kingdom of Christ?

I believe there is and many will be surprised to learn its scope. Its population exceeds 540 million people. Every ethnic group is represented in this country. Every known language is spoken in this society. And sadly, it is a nation of people in daily crisis:

Poverty and unemployment rates are staggering. The divorce rate exceeds eighty percent. Suicide and euthanasia are common practices, both for adults and infants. Illiteracy is common. Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent for those who can afford it. Many are victims of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Homelessness is a pervasive problem.

Even more disturbing than these societal problems, the mission field in question has often been the least evangelized and the least integrated into the local church. In our race to fulfill the Great Commission, this people group has often been forgotten. Sadder still, this people group is not inaccessible. They are within easy reach of every Christian.

They are known as people with disabilities.

To read the rest of this article, written by Steve Jensen, click here:


History's Fine Print

Nazi Germany was not the first or only country to sterilize people considered "abnormal." Before Hitler, the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in prisons or institutions for the mentally ill. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California. Advocates of sterilization policies in both Germany and the United States were influenced by eugenics. This sociobiological theory took Charles Darwin's principle of natural selection and applied it to society. Eugenicists believed the human race could be improved by controlled breeding.

Margaret Sanger opened the nation's first birth control clinic in 1916. For the rest of her life she worked to establish a woman's right to control her body and to decide when or whether to have a child. In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control league, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood.

Through detailed research and concise writing, Grant unveils Sanger's true character and ideology, which included blatant racism, revolutionary socialism, sexual perversion and insatiable avarice. In a 1921 article in the Birth Control Review, Sanger wrote, "The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Many African American women have been subject to nonconsensual forced sterilization. Some did not even know that they were sterilized until they tried, unsuccessfully, to have children. In 1973, Essence Magazine published an expose of forced sterilization practices in the rural South, where racist physicians felt they were performing a service by sterilizing black women without telling them.

Still, no nation carried sterilization as far as Hitler's Germany. The forced sterilizations began in January 1934, and altogether an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people were sterilized under the law.

Forced sterilization in Germany was the forerunner of the systematic killing of the mentally ill and the handicapped. In October 1939, Hitler himself initiated a decree which empowered physicians to grant a "mercy death" to "patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health." The intent of the so called "euthanasia" program, however, was not to relieve the suffering of the chronically ill. The Nazi regime used the term as a euphemism: its aim was to exterminate the mentally ill and the handicapped, thus "cleansing" the Aryan race of persons considered genetically defective and a financial burden to society

These are only a few selected quotes from two larger articles that I urge you to read in their entirety.



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The Million Dollar Follow-up

Posted just this afternoon on

Critics Enter Ring Against Eastwood:
Marcie Roth, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, said her group has been working to improve conditions for the disabled since 1948, "yet lo these many years later, many people still think having a spinal-cord injury is a fate worse than death. Unfortunately, a message like the one in `Million Dollar Baby' just perpetuates exactly what we work so hard to dispel."

To read the NSCIA full statement:

To read the Fox News article in it's entirety:,2933,146328,00.html

In related news, visit:

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Million Dollar Baby

I saw the movie "Million Dollar Baby" on Wednesday night. I had never even heard of the movie and had no idea what it was about. The guys I was with just said, "It's about a girl boxer." Indeed, that is how it began. But half way through it, the movie completely and unexpectedly came to a screeching halt and shifted gears. The boxer (Hilary Swank) broke her neck and got laid up in a hospital. She was on a respirator and eventually had a leg amputated due to bed ulcers. I was encouraged at this point that the movie was going to turn from a shallow "guts and glory" storyline to a Joni Tada theme of courage and overcoming odds. Not so. After a time, Swank gets sick of being bedridden and asks her trainer (Clint Eastwood) to do the loving thing and put her out of her misery. He goes through a very brief see-saw of emotions and the movie culminates with Eastwood unscrewing her respirator tube.

I could list probably a dozen things wrong with the message and theology of this movie's storyline so I will do my best to stay off my soapbox and merely discuss the one topic relevant to this blog. And that is the myth that disabled people are miserable and want to die. Swank's speech, appealing to Eastwood, was noteworthy. The reason it was all over for her was because, "they used to line up to see me, they would chant my name, I was in magazines...."

This movie fails to differentiate between two very distinct things, namely, living a valid, happy, fulfilled life vs. living a life of fame and glory. It wasn't that Swank couldn't be happy without a leg, it was that she couldn't box without one. It wasn't that people wouldn't love her anymore, but that she wouldn't be loved by thousands of adoring fans. It wasn't the loss of quality living she dreaded, it was the loss of her own glory.

The message of this film goes far beyond euthanasia. The film perpetuates the myth that our purpose in life is to acquire fame, stature, and glory and if our physical body restricts us from achieving that goal, there is no reason left to keep going.

This man-centered approach to life will result in nothing but depression and failure (whether disabled or not) because we were not put on this earth to achieve our own glory, but to give our glory over to Christ.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005


Snow crystals fall in a stunning array of shapes and sizes whether admired for a fleeting moment or captured in time, each is a masterpiece of nature. (This quote is taken from Winter Science magazine, January/February 2005 edition).

What is more fleeting than the lifespan of a snowflake that melts the moment it hits a warm mitten? And yet, in the mind of God, even the futile objects of his creation receive the utmost of attention and detail. And even things that live only a moment can bring him glory – and in fact, were designed with that very purpose in mind. is an amazing website where photographer, Kenneth Libbrecht, has invented a high-powered digital camera that enables him to photograph magnified pictures of real snowflakes. I first viewed the photos with absolute skepticism – they were far too intricate and beautiful to be real.

But as it slowly hit me that they were indeed real, my heart was overcome with thoughts of a powerful and wonderful Creator. Perhaps this is what Romans speaks of when it says that we are without excuse because nature itself displays the glory of God.

My wonder was rooted in the thought that if God gives such care and such beauty to something as fleeting as a snowflake, how much more intentional and beautiful is his design for us. Snowflakes are futile. Unless someone looks very closely, their design goes unnoticed and from afar, what looks like an insignificant blob is, upon a closer look, extraordinarily beautiful.

I believe much of God can be learned from the snowflake. The Lord has hidden breath-taking beauty in tiny, insignificant, frail parts of his creation. Even if no one ever thought to look at or photograph a snowflake – God is aware of every one as each one parades past his throne like a never-ending train of glory – each flake sounding its own unique note within a blinding blizzard of worship.

Certainly a Creator who takes this much pleasure in fleeting scraps of melting ice has wonderful plans for us! And if science and nature and the power of God are at work in order to produce one, minute snowflake, then certainly his hand was steady as he knit us all together perfectly, according to his plan, in our mother’s wombs. Take heart from the snowflake – God’s design for your life was intentional, and upon a closer look, extraordinarily beautiful.

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