A myHT Fortress

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Matter of Life and Death

While I have my conservative political views, I would never dictate how people should vote. A Christian conscience will guide those who listen to God's Word, and they will participate in our democratic republic by voting for those who uphold the most virtues.

On the other hand, refusing food and water to healthy (though
mentally injured) people is not virtuous. I did not view the recent democratic debate, but here is a fascinating, disturbing article about some remarks Senator Barak Obama said regarding the murder of Terri Schindler Schiavo.


At the other end of the spectrum is an editorial that I had published the day before she died:

Letting Schiavo die equals death sentence

Lanesville, Ind.

Evil is alive and well in our land. Of course, as a Christian, I believe evil has been among us ever since the Fall in Paradise. But evidence of it is manifesting itself more than ever, as "killing" is now enjoying the new euphemism of "allowing to die."

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Satan convinced thousands upon thousands that people of African descent were not of the same value as Europeans, and could be considered property. He delighted in the slippery slope on which our society plunged, as families were broken and many individuals were beaten, with some even murdered. For those who did not participate, there still was plenty of guilt to go around, as they did not stand up for what is right and good.

In 1973, evil triumphed in the court decision that a woman's "privacy" entitled her to murder her own baby, so long as it had not yet been born. Further progress was made for such wickedness when "partial birth abortion" (the process of delivering a baby, except for its head, plunging scissors into her neck and suctioning out its brain) gained acceptability. Once again, as many morally upright people remain silent regarding this holocaust, their hands become covered in the blood of the innocents.

We have gone a step further, descending yet another slippery slope. Now, even when a person is nowhere near death, they can be sentenced to die by their "guardian." What many news agencies failed to report to you is that Terri Schiavo was not dying! Her heart, breathing and digestive systems were just fine. She had not even been in pain.

Furthermore, Terri has not been on life support. She has never been on life support. There had been no reason at all to suspect that she was anywhere near death. If she was not being killed, she could have lived for years to come, and that life could have been rich and full. In fact, some doctors have submitted statements affirming that if she had been permitted therapy by her "guardian" (read "estranged husband"), she likely could be speaking and orally eating and drinking.

Her own spiritual health has been disregarded by the same "guardian." Terri is a Roman Catholic, and while priests have been allowed to visit, none have been permitted to give her the Sacrament of Holy Communion. (Again, medical personnel have admitted that she could swallow, especially something like the Eucharist.)

Yes, by denying her feeding tube, she will die. But not from natural causes. She will have died from starvation, a torture we do not even permit for terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay.

Our courts have failed to protect the innocent. They have crossed the line, leading the way for our once moral nation, treading into the "ethics" of the Third Reich, which determined that some people did not deserve to live. (I am reminded of the recently canonized Saint Maximillian Kolbe, a Polish Catholic priest, who was starved before the Nazis grew impatient and gave him a lethal injection. Who would dare to say he was "allowed" to die?)

Whence does this lead? At what point will we stop? If we can take a person who is not dying and starve her to death, who is next? Will some start maintaining that homes for physically disabled or mentally handicapped people be cleared out, and the patients be given the "right" to die?! How about the premie ward at Kosiar's? Would people stand by while others insisted "They can't feed themselves and can't talk, but I know they would not want to live like this." That would be absolutely disgusting!

I am sickened with grief that the people of our nation have been duped into hearing arguments for actively murdering someone, and calling it merciful. I am dismayed that this case has been falsely portrayed as simply "allowing" someone to die. My heart is heavy, knowing that Terri Schiavo is actively being sent to an early grave, in order to make life easier for someone else. I am sorrowful to admit that Pope John Paul II is correct in his assessment that we live in a culture of death.

Yes, evil is alive and well among us. As Jesus taught, I daily pray "deliver us from evil" and pray for our land to be brought to repentance for its disregard of the sanctity of life. The only bright spot in all of this is that after she has been killed, Terri will be in the protection, light and everlasting life of her Savior. Safe from individuals who would harm her, Terri will be celebrating Easter with her Risen Lord!
The Rev. Richard A. Heinz
March 30, 2005

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby is an annual Cub Scout event for most packs. The boys are to design and help construct a motor-less car out of a small block of pine, with officially endorsed wheels and nail axles. Gravity is the power source for these 5 oz. race cars.

Ben has never been overly excited, although he has participated in the last 3 out of 4 races. Many boys get quite competitive, almost obsessive regarding this contest. Yet Ben is simply there to have a good day and play with his friends.

This year Ben got to race against one of his best buddies, Cameron. They’ve been good friends since pre-school, and probably will be for years to come!

I just loved how Ben and Cameron shook hands wishing each other “luck” that morning! It was a close race, but Cameron’s car won, and went on in the tournament bracket. Ben didn’t care, because he was just as happy for his friend as he would have been to win himself.

Now, next year may have a bit of competition. He is starting to take this race a little more seriously…and he only has one more time to race as a Webelos Scout. Nevertheless, he is a good sport, and we are thanking the Lord that he is a good witness even in competition.

Friday, February 22, 2008

30 Minute Meals

The bottom line is, we want it all, and we want it now! Patience is gone. Pedagogical philosophies such as Suzuki piano method try to teach patience, but so often it is far too difficult. We can’t even stand 30-second commercials anymore; we need to TiVo the programs we watch so we can fast-forward through the ads. And the commercials we do watch – have you ever noticed how fast and furious the images come at you?

So we have entered the era of the 30-minute meal, a phrase coined by Food Network star Rachael Ray. Her program is based on the idea that in a half hour, she can prepare a “healthy and delicious meal, start to finish.”

Kristi and I enjoy her show. Kristi’s mom absolutely loves it, even if the recipes don’t sound so good to her. Rachael is entertaining and educational. And fast. Thirty minutes fast.

The problem is, this mindset doesn’t stop in the kitchen. It is a part of our entire lives. It even affects church! I can’t tell you how many of my Roman Catholic friends will brag about “Father So-and-so, who can say Mass in 35 minutes!” They get excited about how quickly they can get it over with.

It crosses boundaries as well. One of the arguments I have actually heard against every Sunday Eucharist is that it takes too long! We might not get out the door in 59 minutes!

But what is more important than Jesus? Why is it necessary for a 30-Miniute Mass? Why does the Divine Service need a stop watch?

It doesn’t. Our dear Lord and Savior waited patiently until His hour had come, when He gave Himself over to death, and at the right time rose again, and ascended – all for you! He did not rush anything, or get impatient and sloppy. Jesus stepped into time, and sanctified it for you. In fact, He is the Lord of time!

We can enjoy entertainment such as 30 Minute Meals. But don’t let it infect your thinking about the Divine Liturgy. Take off that watch, turn away from the clock, and give thanks for the time that God graciously gives you daily for all your worship, work, and play.

Monday, February 18, 2008

123 MEME

Okay, so it’s my turn. This is my first “tagging” since starting my blog. It’s been going around for a few weeks on the blogs of my friends, but it took my dear wife – who is new to the blogosphere, mind you – to tag me! J

It’s the now famous 123 Book meme. Many of you know that this is how it works:

1. Pick up the nearest book that has at least 123 pages.

2. Open the book to page 123

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag 5 people

Well, in addition to my theological reading, I have a biography of Walt Disney on hand, entitled: Walt Disney: An American Original. I have not yet arrived at page 123, so this is a surprise to me too! This is in chapter 10, and it speaks of Walt’s business in 1934. (I added the fourth sentence, since it completed the paragraph and the context.)

One cartoon producer made a habit of luring away Disney artists after each Disney success. “Let Disney win the awards and train the artists,” said the rival; “I’ll hire them away and make the money.” It was a logical plot, but it somehow failed in execution. The rival’s cartoons could never match the Disney quality.

Thanks, Honey, for the tag! I think the majority of my friends have also been tagged, but here are a few…

Pastor George Borghardt at Bloghardt’s Reflector http://blog.higherthings.org/borghardt/

Sandra Ostapowich at Madre’s Missives

Jon Kohlmeier at the Monk of Mequon

Stan Lemon at StanLemon.net http://www.stanlemon.net/index/articles/index.html

Oh! and if Pastor Mark Buetow has time to steal away from his work as Internet Services Executive of Higher Things, and can blow the cob webs off of his blog, I tag him too! :-)


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chaplains of Another "Gospel"

In her Pop Culture articles for Higher Things, Kim Grams has spoken of promises she made to herself. Several years ago I too made a promise. “If Carter ever leaves E.R., I am done. That’s it!” They have killed off or written off every original character, it seemed, and that would be the last straw.

Somehow I find myself breaking that promise; and I find myself more and more disappointed. To begin with, the show has always had an extreme-left skewed view of politics and morals. The E.R. staff has had more than its share of unquestioned extra-marital affairs, and the show just doesn’t let up on its pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agendas. That should be reason enough to call it quits.

Nevertheless, I had been watching until the writers’ strike, and this final slap in the face to Christian clergymen takes the cake. This season has seen the introduction of a new character, a female “chaplain,” Julia Dupree, who seems to embrace a belief system that comes from a spiritual “buffet” mixing many religions into one big mess.

Set aside that three-quarters of the world’s Christians belong to churches that take the Bible seriously and respect God’s decision for ordaining only males for the Holy Ministry. Try to forget that this girl has no sexual morality, and enjoys “free love” too much for any divinity school graduate. And never mind that a Christian pastor should never be searching for the latest Zen Buddhist meditation techniques nor attempting to comfort someone with a generic Christ-less “love.” What is left to admire about “Chaplain” Julia? Nothing!

I have disliked her character since she was introduced. Now I do not simply dislike her; she turns my stomach. One of the last episodes shown this year was called: “Atonement.” It featured a cancer patient named Truman who had been a prison doctor. Dr. Truman had executed prisoners by lethal injection. He now had a tortured, misguided conscience that caused him to believe he had broken the Fifth Commandment. Now he was trying to track down all the affected families to apologize, and feared dying under God’s wrath.

Instead of properly helping him cope with the Law that he felt, and giving the man the Gospel of Christ who atoned for us all, “Chaplain” Julia had some New Age hodge-podge of touchy-feely “religion.” The beauty of it all – the patient called her to the carpet! After she tells him that it is up to each person to interpret what God wants, he challenges her and says, “So people can do anything? They can rape, murder, they can steal, all in the name of God, and it's okay?” After her inept response, he ends up shouting: “Well, what are you saying? Because all I'm hearing is some new age, God is love, one size fits all crap!”

“Chaplain” Julia has a tragic flaw – she does not know Christ! The burden that this doctor felt was unbearable. He needed the pure, healing Gospel of Jesus, assuring him that no matter how horrible the sins, (or how horrible the just actions of serving the government that God had ordained), he was completely forgiven. Ironically, this dying, scared man could have helped this “chaplain” toward the right knowledge of God.

The true God is not one size fits all. He is not open to every individual’s interpretation. There are not many paths to paradise. The teachings of religions outside of Christianity are false, plain and simple. The seminary is not the “Mega-bar” from Ryans, where you choose what you want and leave the rest. Christ Himself says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV)

“Chaplain” Julia is the perfect example of what we call “post-modern” thought. This is a belief that you can pick and choose what you want, because there is no absolute truth. Anyone can have their opinion, and no one is “wrong,” because it all is about individual points of view.

Sadly for her, and for the many others who believe this, it is not so. God does have absolutes. Jesus IS the Truth! There is no salvation apart from Christ.

As I ponder that I should have kept my promise to myself in the first place, I urge you to be on guard against such (ordained or lay) “chaplains” of another gospel. Do not give in to the thought that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Do not be run over by those who would tell you that the Bible is all subject to individual interpretation. Do not be overwhelmed by those who say there are many roads to heaven.

Instead, dear friends, be comforted. Trust in our Lord who never lies, that He is the way, and the truth, and the life. Rest assured that He has paid for your sins, and you will never have to atone for them, as Dr. Truman worried. Pay attention to the chaplains of the true Gospel! And begin to realize how choices in your television viewing may affect your opinions and moral positions if you are not careful. In the end, be assured that no matter who you are, no matter what you have watched, no matter what your past transgressions, our loving Savior is your Way, Truth, and Life!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Spin Off Becomes the Real Thing!

Yesterday was the big reveal of the new design for Higher Things. With this new design, myHT is no longer a spin-off; we have become the main page! We are not the Laverne & Shirley to Happy Days, the Knott’s Landing to Dallas, or Frasier to Cheers! No, in truth it never felt like we at myHT were unimportant or less than the original website. Actually, it has been a wonderful beginning, which keeps getting better!

The new design is due to a great team, led by Pastor Mark Buetow as Internet Services Executive for Higher Things, as well as Stan Lemon and Sandra Ostapowich. It has a cleaner look and great feel.

Higher Things has new articles each week, and many more archived. Check out the columnist’s writings on everything from theology and liturgy to Pop Culture, from movie reviews to current events.