Thought For The OPEN Mind - Humor From American Culture!
First Published In The Last Century - July 26, 1997!
Over 9 Million Hits!
An Amusement Park Of Ideas! #ProfHowdy
Politically Correct and Deadly It is often pointed out that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortionsupplier in America. This is but one thing the organization doesn't wish topromote. Planned Parenthood's website presents a greatly edited version oftheir founder Margaret Sanger's life. This carefully crafted version seeksto downplay any charges that she promoted racial ideas and insist thatothers are simply quoting her out of context. The truth is far different, asshe and her colleagues' quotes showed a tremendous affinity for the idealsespoused by Hitler's Germany: "While striving to limit the propagation of mental defectives and othersgrossly unfit, and guarding mothers from dangerous or excessivechildbearing, we physicians would be grievously remiss if we failed tofollow the recommendation of the most impressive of the birth controlconferences, the one held in New York in 1925, that 'persons whose progenygives promise of being of decided value to the community should beencouraged to bear as large families as they feasibly can.'"--Robert L.Dickinson. "On the Control of Conception." Birth Control Review, Volume XV,Number 1 (January 1931), page 5. In 1939 (October 19, 1939), Margaret Sanger wrote Clarence Gamble,instructing him to hire "three or four colored ministers with engagingpersonalities . . . we do not want word to get out that we want toexterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who canstraighten out that idea if it occurs to any of their more rebelliousmembers". (Linda Gordon, Women's Body, Women's Right, A Social History ofBirth Control in America p. 333). [TBC: Reading this quote in its originalcontext does nothing to mitigate the force of her words]. And, as anothercommentator notes: "Sanger frequently featured racists and eugenicists in her magazine, the'Birth Control Review.' Contributor Lothrop Stoddard, who also served onSanger's board of directors, wrote in 'The Rising Tide of Color AgainstWhite World-Supremacy' that 'We must resolutely oppose both Asiaticpermeation of white race-areas and Asiatic inundation of those non-white,but equally non-Asiatic regions inhabited by the really inferior races.'Each issue of the Birth Control Review was packed with such ideas. ButSanger was not content merely to publish racist propaganda; the magazinealso made concrete policy proposals, such as the creation of 'moroncommunities,' the forced production of children by the 'fit,' and thecompulsory sterilization and even elimination of the 'unfit.' "Sanger's own racist views were scarcely less opprobrious. In 1939 she andClarence Gamble made an infamous proposal called 'Birth Control and theNegro,' which asserted that 'the poorer areas, particularly in the South . .. are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations.' Her'religion of birth control' would, she wrote, 'ease the financial load ofcaring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden tothemselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation.' " ("TheRepackaging of Margaret Sanger," Steven W. Mosher, "The Wall StreetJournal," May 5, 1997) Chuck Colson
Definitions~~~Twenty Something -- The cost of a sitter for Saturday night.Fancy Restaurant -- One that serves cold soup on purpose.College -- The four-year period when parents are permitted access to thetelephone.Hors D'oeuvres -- A sandwich cut into 20 pieces.Kissing -- A means of getting two people so close together that theycan't see anything wrong with each other.Emergency Numbers -- Police station, Fire Department and Places thatdeliver.
Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month. The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier. /////////////////////////////// You could run this over to your friends but why not just e-mail it to them!
I thought for a second that you were going to say "You could run this over to your friends, but on second thought, why not just run over them"! (in light of the depressing news that my "healthy" walking habit may not be so healthy!) :)
The parables of Jesus are inescapably weighted with ethos and revelation. With good reason, we seek to know and understand the depths of thesethoughtful stories. Theologians have expounded chapters on theintricacies of even the simplest of parables--agreeing and disagreeingalong the way. Yet even so, and no doubt contributing to their appeal,the parables of Jesus are also simple enough to compel a child to listen: "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It islike a mustard seed that a man cast in his garden; it grew and became atree and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."(1)Though the theological and methodological approaches to this parable maybe varied, perhaps in varying degrees each contends a similar truth: Thekingdom of God holds much to be discovered, discussed, and held inwonder.German theologian Joachim Jeremias argues that Jesus is not describing thekingdom as the mustard seed itself, but as the vision of the seed broughtto fruition.(2) In other words, the kingdom of God is not the tiny seed,but the giant shrub into which it grows, and in whose boughs the birdsmake their nests. Jesus is looking for the audience to compare thekingdom of God to the final stage of the process from seedling totree, and hence internalize the vision of a great and protective kingdom. Writes Jeremias, "The tree which shelters the birds is a common metaphorfor a mighty kingdom which protects its vassals."(2) For this influentialscholar, the parable of the mustard seed depicts the sharp contrast betweenthe kingdom of God in its fledging beginnings and the mighty kingdom thatis breaking-in beyond all asking or perceiving. The kingdom of God is inthe process of realization, and this is both an essential component forunderstanding the parable of the mustard seed, and every word Jesus eversaid. Others contend that the nature of metaphor itself is such that it leavesJesus's descriptions of the kingdom largely unarticulated, requiringhearers to draw out the conclusions based on what they know of him, thecharacter of God, and the intricacies of life. The kingdom of God as itis compared to a grain of mustard planted in a garden sets up a point ofcontrast that is "creative of meaning," to use the words of Robert Funk,and unending in dialogue: How is a kingdom like a tiny, planted seed? Who is the man who planted it? How is the realm of God like a tree withbranches providing shelter? The conclusions are many--and transforming. Like all of his parables, the comparison of "kingdom" and "seed" setshearers up for surprise. It is a metaphorical narrative that calls forparticipation, and leads hearers to a point of decision: Will youcontinue to see signs of the kingdom as futile and diminutive or will youopen your eyes to the possibility of a great and hidden reality? For manyscholars, this parable describes the advent of a radical world in its tinybeginnings. It subverts our well-ordered vision of what is, andleaves in its place a system of signs that point us to the person of Jesusand the kingdom he proclaims. We are invited into a dialogue about thekingdom of God and its surprising and transcendent presence in oureveryday situations. Still other approaches to the kingdom and the mustard seed weigh in on thesocial context and cultural conventions of the first century world of theparables. As a Jewish rabbi speaking parabolically of the kingdom of Godwithin a Jewish and Hellenistic context, Jesus would have conceivablyelicited reactions quite different than ours today. William Herzog'sdescription of Mediterranean life as affected daily by insufficient andlimited resources might illumine reactions of the audience to the greatpromise of the kingdom Jesus describes. If everything surrounding firstcentury peasant life seemed in short supply, the description of thekingdom of heaven as a negligible grain of mustard growing into a greattree would undoubtedly be received in earnest wonder. The kingdom of Godas the greatest of all shrubs reverses the imagery of status by turningthe smallest of all seeds into something of momentous proportions. Thepromise of shelter in the shade of the branches of God's reach would alsohave been a subversion of order to those who were slaves to the landbeneath those branches. Such a kingdom is indeed good news! In each of these approaches to Jesus's unlikely comparison, we find truthsand wonders worth gleaning as if from a great and fruitful tree. Theparable of the mustard seed depicts the inconspicuous ministry of Jesusand the sometimes hidden signs of his significance as holding a potentialfar beyond metaphor or imagination, culture or history. The kingdom ofGod is not in the future only, nor is it only at hand in a history wecannot reach; it is here even now, reaching out with branches that bid usto come and dwell. As with all of Jesus's stories, which "leap out oftheir historical situation and confront us as if they had not yet spokentheir final word," I believe this parable will continue to surprise us ifwe will continue to inquire.(3) The great reality of a great kingdom hasbeen planted within the life and words of Jesus, always ready to breakforth the fullness of meaning, gradually or suddenly, or sometimes both.Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at RaviZacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.(1) This parable is told in Luke 13:18-19, Mark 4:30-32, and Matthew13:31-32. (2) Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1972), 102.(3) David Gowler quoting Richard Pevear in What Are They Saying aboutthe Parables? (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 2.----------------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to theWorld Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
When I was a little girl, my father would affectionately call me "kaduku"which means "mustard seed." Since most of my friends were called the morecommon food-inspired nicknames of honey and sugar, I never understood why Iwas compared to such a strange item. Years later, I described mybewilderment to a friend as we were preparing a curry dish--mustard seedsin hand. She chuckled and knew immediately why the name was appropriate. She said, "Look at these tiny seeds, so quiet and inconspicuous. Yet whenwe throw them into the oil, they will show us how loud and explosive theycan really be." I could not help but smile recently with that memory in mind while readingthe parable of the mustard seed, another comparison that bursts ofparadoxical imagery. Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustardseed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallestof all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plantsand becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in itsbranches" (Matthew 13:31). The significance of this parable is illuminated when connecting it to OldTestament passages that describe little birds nesting in the branches ofmighty trees. In a revelation to Ezekiel, the Lord described Assyria as"a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and veryhigh; and its top was among the clouds... all the birds of the heavensnested in its boughs, and under its branches all the beasts of the fieldgave birth, and all great nations lived under its shade" (Ezekiel 31:6). In Nebuchadnezzar's dream he too beheld "a tree in the midst of the earth,and its height was great. The tree grew large and became strong, and itsheight reached to the sky, and it was visible to the end of the wholeearth. Its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it wasfood for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birdsof the sky dwelt in its branches, and all living creatures fed themselvesfrom it" (Daniel 4:10-12). Since Jesus and his disciples were familiar with those mighty images, thedeliberate irony in the parable of the mustard seed was clear. Thekingdom of heaven would grow from its tiny beginnings to a great tree thatwould ultimately provide shelter, protection, and benefit to the entireworld. As Craig Keener notes, "The parable is intended to accent both thequalities of growth and contrast. Like the mustard seed, the kingdom'shumble beginnings and unpretentious character offer no visible indicationof its future growth and glory, but just as there is continuity betweenthe tiny mustard seed and the resulting 'tree,' so there is continuityfrom the seemingly inconsequential beginnings in Jesus' ministry and thefuture glory of God's consummating reign. Thus even though the beginningsof God's kingdom as manifested in Jesus may appear unimpressive, it iscasually dismissed at one's own peril."(1) How marvelously the parable of the mustard seed highlights the past,present, and future magnificence of the kingdom in which God reigns. Though the presence of the King among us may at times feel threatened andslight, his is a kingdom with an explosive promise: it is not the one whoplants or waters; it is God who makes things grow. Even now God isworking to that end of future glory, calling us to see the great tree inthe seedling, growing all things in his time--even those with the tiniestof beginnings. Alison Thomas is a member of the speaking team at Ravi ZachariasInternational Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.(1) Craig Keener as quoted in The College Press NIV Commentary:Matthew (Joplin: College Press, 1997), Matthew 13:31.----------------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to theWorld Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
Generally speaking, I am an optimistic person. I find the bright side ofbad situations, I see the world with hopeful lenses, and I go the extramile to give others the benefit of the doubt in personal relationships. Now, this is not the same kind of optimism like Pangloss in Voltaire'sbiting satire Candide. When the ship is sinking, I don't believeeverything will be alright, nor do I believe, like Pangloss, that thesinking ship is the best thing that could happen to me, just because I amoptimistic. I do all that I can to bail out the rising water, even as Iwrestle against the fear and anxiety that accompanies impending disaster!Yet despite my generally optimistic attitude and outlook, there are timeswhen I am overwhelmed by sadness. It may be a growing storm of wearylonging or a tide of bitterness that sweeps over me, drowning me with adolor that submerges my hope. Sometimes it occurs when I think about theageing process and our hopeless fight against it. Sometimes it occurswhen I am in the grocery line, looking at the baggers and clerks whowonder if this is all they will ever do for work. Oftentimes, it occurswhen I cannot see the good through all the violence and evil thatoppresses our world and its people. I grieve for those who are forgottenby our society--the last, the least, and the lost among us--and wonder whois there to help and to save them from drowning. It is in these times that I recognize the role of lament in our lives. And I am comforted to know that a great portion of the Scriptures are inthe form of lament, both individual and communal lament. Lament themesfound in ancient Hebrew literature such as the Book of Psalms representthe deepest cries of agony, anger, confusion, disorientation, sorrow,grief, and protest, expressed towards a God who would listen andultimately respond affirmatively to this emotional outpouring.(1) Theprophetic literature, as well, contains some of the most heart-wrenchingcries to God in times of deep sorrow and distress. One can hear theanguish in Jeremiah's cry, "Why has my pain been perpetual and my woundincurable, refusing to be healed? Will God indeed be to me like adeceptive stream with water that is unreliable?" (Jeremiah 15:18) Inaddition, Jeremiah cries out on behalf of the people of Judah: "Harvest ispast, summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the brokenness of thedaughter of my people I am broken; I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then hasnot the health of the daughter of my people been restored? (Jeremiah8:20-22). As I listen to Jeremiah's cries, I recognize that they arise out of a deeplove for the very people he was called upon by God to pronounce judgment. As Abraham Joshua Heschel notes, "[Jeremiah] was a person overwhelmed bysympathy for God and sympathy for man. Standing before the people hepleaded for God. Standing before God he pleaded for his people."(2) Oftentimes, my own overwhelming sadness arises when I look out upon aworld that seems to love evil more than good, darkness more than light. And yet, like Jeremiah, I have sympathy for the very same people. Igrieve over their self-imposed predicaments, their bad choices, and theirselfish indulgences. As Jesus said amidst tears about the people in hisown day, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which makefor peace" (Luke 19:42). It is more than appropriate for us to weep andlament over the sin of the world--the sin that we, too, participate in andcondone.But beyond this, there are simply some realities in life that at times areoverwhelming: the inevitability of ageing, death, and loss, poverty,hunger, homelessness, relational disruption, and many others. I grieveover those who find themselves on the losing end of things, who through nofault of their own always find themselves in last place or left behind. Lament arises from the despair of looking honestly at these realities forwhat they are, and wishing for something else. It is the despair thatarises from not knowing what can be done or how to overcome.Yet it has been said that "the cry of pain is our deepest acknowledgmentthat we are not home." The author continues, "We are divided from our ownbody; our own deepest desires; our dearest relationships. We are separatedand long for utter restoration. It is the cry of pain that initiates thesearch to ask God, 'What are you doing?' It is this element of a lamentthat has the potential to change the heart."(3) If this is true, thensometimes my overwhelming sorrow, my feelings of bitterness over some ofthe harsh or inevitable realities of life are, in fact, the crucible forreal change. The same waters of despair that seek to drown and overwhelmare the waters of cleansing. So indeed, let the tears flow, "for if [theLORD] causes grief, then He will have compassion according to his abundantlovingkindness."(4) Let lament have its way of bittersweettransformation.Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at RaviZacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.(1) Barish Golan, "A Look at Lament Songs in the Bible,"www.disciplestoday.org.(2) Abraham Heschel, The Prophets (New York: Harper Collins, 1962),154-155.(3) Dan Allender, "The Hidden Hope in Lament" Mars Hill Review,Premier Issue, 1994, 25-38. (4) Lamentations 3:32---------------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to theWorld Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
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