May 31, 2019
Internet memes are ideas and concepts that pass from one person to another on the Internet virally. Think Facebook. The meme is frequently a picture with wording. Memes are also used to address social issues. Memes are designed to bring about an emotional response. I think that is one of the problems as we deal with issues, we are often not meeting one another and dealing with reason and evidence.
Here’s a meme I’ve seen recently. It is a picture of two fried eggs, and the caption reads “According to Alabama, I had chicken for breakfast.” The meme encourages us to chuckle at the “stupid” lawmakers in Alabama. But let’s think and reason about this meme. Two initial problems present themselves. Most of us are not eating fertilized chicken eggs. Hens can lay eggs without a rooster. So, let’s specify that we are dealing with two fertilized chicken eggs. Such eggs are edible, and the embryo stops developing once the egg is refrigerated.
The second issue is the word chicken. This word is used of young birds that can be eaten or used for laying eggs. (Farmers don’t have old chickens by the way, although if they did, we would still call them chickens.) It is unlike the word human being which isn’t tied to a particular age. So, let me suggest the scientific name Gallus gallus domesticus for this discussion.
Does Gallus gallus domesticus come from non-Gallus gallus domesticus? Or do chickens come from non-chickens? I see no magical period in which it is non-chicken (if we can use that word more broadly). The fertilized egg is a natural part of the life cycle of Gallus gallus domesticus. Certainly, I wouldn’t claim to serve you chicken when the plate has two fried eggs, but for the comparison to the abortion issue to really work, the fertilized egg has to not be part of the natural life cycle of Gallus gallus domesticus.
The pro-life argument is that from conception to death we are dealing with human life. There may be changes in form and abilities, but it is all part of the human life cycle. Humans do not come from something non-human, but human. The biblical phrase is that all living things including humans produce “after their kind.” Try this thought experiment. A villainous time traveler says that he will travel back in time and force your mother to have an abortion after she has conceived you, so that you would not have existed in this time line. But he consoles you by saying, “Since I know the gestation period and your birthday, I will force your mother to have an abortion when there is just a fertilized egg or zygote. You won’t even be human yet.” Wouldn’t you beg for your life and maybe even cry out, “But that’s me!”
May 24, 2019
Memorial Day is a national holiday to honor those who have died in military service. John Logan, a U.S. Congressman and Union General during the Civil War, began the memorial. As commander in chief of a Union veterans’ organization he urged the members to decorate soldiers’ graves with flowers on May 30th. Eventually it became a national holiday and extended to all U.S. war dead. Memorial Day is marked by the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. With the current war on terror, I suspect that we are keenly aware of what soldiers sacrifice.
My memories of Memorial Day growing up are quite vivid. For a small child, it wasn’t fun for the most part, although we did cook out at the end of the day. The day was spent with my parents, my Grandma Holden, and my great-aunt. They would pick peonies from the yard and make bouquets. Then we would spend much of the day driving to cemeteries and placing these bouquets on the graves.
It seems like there were at least four cemeteries that we went to, and they were miles apart from each other. For a child, it was being cooped up in a car on a nice day in May. For the adults, it was a day of remembering and sharing family history. It was a day of honoring those who had died as soldiers. It was as the name of the day implies a day of remembering.
If you count all of the wars the United States has been involved in, we have lost 666,441+ soldiers in combat and another 673,929+ soldiers who died from accidents, privation, disease or as prisoners of war. As a child, I was witnessing adults who had lived through WWI, WWII, or both. I think I understand why they took the meaning of remembering so seriously. Those two wars represent 52% of all US combat deaths.
I wish that I could say I could find all of those cemeteries and graves, but the truth is I only remember the location of one of the cemeteries. Some family history has been lost, but an impression was made on me. As enjoyable as it was to cook on the grill at the end of that day, Memorial Day was important to them for remembering.
May 4, 2019
Does God not like leaven? I think we have to answer no. Leaven has its place in life, but it is interesting to look through the Bible at the subject.
The Passover is associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the reason given in the text for no leaven is their haste in leaving Egypt. They didn’t have time for bread to rise, but in the subsequent celebration of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread they purposely removed the leaven. Exodus 12:34, 39, Exodus 13:3-10. Deuteronomy 16:1-8 calls the unleavened bread the bread of affliction and again notes their haste in leaving Egypt. But all of this is a reminder of the circumstances of the Exodus.
Leaven was not used with the blood of the sacrifice. Exodus 23:18 and 34:25. The grain also excluded leaven and honey. Leviticus 2:11. Why leaven is excluded is not given in the text. Some speculate that the leaven represents a corrupting influence so that it is especially not used with blood which represents life. Others have suggested that it represents a vital force in the vegetable world while the blood represents the vital force of the animal world. But we don’t have clear guidance on the reasons from the text.
Leaven could be a part of the thanks offering. Leviticus 7:11-14 and 23.17. So, leaven wasn’t always excluded just most of the time.
Jewish people would have eaten bread with leaven as a normal part of their diet.
Leaven becomes a symbol of power and influence which can be either positive or negative.
- Leaven represents the positive and growing influence of the kingdom in Matt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21
Leaven is a negative image in the following.
- The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees represents their teaching and hypocrisy. Matt. 16:6, 11-12; cf. Mk. 8:15; Lk. 12:1
- Leaven is the corrupting influence of immoral behavior that hasn’t been disciplined in the church.1 Cor. 5:6
- Leaven is the corrupting influence of false teaching in Gal 5:9 with the warning that a little leaven can leaven the whole lump if you are not careful.
We use unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper because that is what would have been at the Institution of the Lord’s Supper at Passover. But we like the Jews use leavening on a regular basis in our food. As readers, we need to remember that leaven can be a power image for either good or evil.