Russell and Duenes

Archive for February 2011

This Present Age is Evil

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We are liable to forget what the Scripture tells us about this present earthly age in which we live:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Gal.1:3-4)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph.5:15-16)

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Eph.6:11-13)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing;  so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil.2:14-15).

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor.4:4)

This would sober us against our current coziness with this world, of which am far too familiar, and remind us of the fight of faith in which we must engage.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

February 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Posted in Duenes, Theology

The Reality Intern: Academy Awards, Jesus and Lionel Logue

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Most of us probably don’t go to the movies looking for Jesus. Indiana Jones perhaps, or even Optimus Prime, but probably not Jesus.  But every once in a while, a character will come along and generate comparisons with Christ. William Walllace from “Braveheart’.   Neo from “The Matrix”.  Carl Spackler.  And while there may be merit to these associations, it’s usually broad themes, such as charismatic leadership, or being some sort of savior, or being willing to lay down your life for others, even if they’re gophers, that spawns them.  But exactly how similar are they to the Biblical Jesus, and do they really capture who he was?

In spite of the fact he’s the most famous person in the history of the planet, it’s not much of a stretch to suggest that the majority of us, even Christians, spend very little time imagining what Jesus was like. It’s one thing to study his words, or even try to gain a better understanding of his character, but how often do we think about him as a person?

Which brings us to Lionel Logue, the speech therapist employed by the soon-to-be-King of England to help deal with his oratorical difficulties in “The King’s Speech”.  Although he fights no battles, wields no weapon (other than a piercing dry wit), and doesn’t die for the sake of others, I’d like to suggest that the character of Logue presents as clear a picture of the character of Jesus as we’re likely to see on screen.  But perhaps not in the way we’re accustomed, nor in a way that we usually associate with Jesus.

In order to get a clear picture of Lionel Logue, it will help to start by taking a brief look at his client, the Duke of Windsor, who eventually ascends to the throne.  Afflicted with a “stammer” since childhood, “Bertie” as he’s known by his family, can barely navigate personal conversation, much less the public orations that nearly give him a coronary.  Having spent years in therapy and trying every imaginable cure, the Duke declares “no one can fix it”.  He is, in effect, lost and unable to help himself.

Enter Lionel Logue, the Australian speech therapist enlisted by the Duke’s wife to help her husband.  From the get-go, Logue is completely clear about how the relationship will work.  His demeanor towards his royal client is one of simple, humble, confidence.  He tells the Duke he will treat him “only if you’re interested in being treated”.   He also demands respect, letting the heir to the British throne know that when the Duke visits him in his office, it’s “my castle, my rules”.   It wasn’t a matter of pride for Logue, but a reflection of his deep understanding of what needed to happen in order to maximize the benefit for his patient.  He was explaining reality, much in the same way Jesus explained that “no one comes to the Father but through me”.  Our culture finds statements like these to be rigid and repressive, if not prejudiced or, shudder the thought, intolerant.  But Logue understood that in order for him to do the Duke the most good, it would have to be “my game, my turf, my rules”. Jesus is no different.

Logue also displays a penetrating understanding of his patient.  The Duke sees his stammer as ingrained in him, yet Logue makes a startling claim, telling him “your impediment isn’t a permanent part of you.”  How similar is this to the way Jesus deals with the woman at the well? Or the rich young ruler? Or the woman caught in adultery? In each case Jesus shows that he has a deeper insight into the plight of the individual than even they do of themselves, a realization they eventually come to as well.

The most interesting parallel is how Logue approaches and deals with the Duke’s affliction.  He initially attempts to search the soon-to-be-King’s past for clues as to the origin of the stammer; he wants to understand the root cause.  And when the Duke resists, Logue is flexible enough to adjust his approach, but he’s very clear with the Duke, explaining “what you’re asking will only deal with the surface of the problem”. The Pharisees heard nearly the same message from Jesus.  In allowing the Duke to dictate the regimen for a time, Logue provides room for “Bertie” to realize that this won’t cure him, that they will eventually need to address the heart. And when they do, it’s the Duke’s fear of his father (who preferred his children fear him) that surfaces as a culprit. When Logue says “You needn’t be governed by fear”, one can almost hear Jesus telling the disciples, as they neared hysteria on the Sea of Galliee, “do not be afraid”, or later, “do not let you hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid”. Like Jesus, Logue has an uncommon perspective on the landscape and the Duke’s place in it, which is why he’s able to see through the pomp and circumstance, the “rubbish that goes with being King”, and focus on his friend’s heart, for he knows that this is where salvation resides.

The old hymn tells us “What a Friend we have in Jesus”, but how often do we think of him this way?  In the climactic scene of the movie, with the morale of the British Empire sitting squarely on his shoulders, the now-King is faced with making a speech that he still feels monumentally unprepared to deliver. In the quiet moments just before he’s to go live to a radio audience of millions, Logue gives him one final instruction, telling him, in a still small voice, “forget everything else, and just say it to me.  Say it to me…as a friend”. And in the final analysis, is Jesus really asking us to do anything else?

The Reality Intern

Written by Michael Duenes

February 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Far Too Much Civility in This Country?

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Couldn’t pass up this additional quip from David Berlinski. Couldn’t agree more!

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

February 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections, Science

A Cow Evolving into a Whale

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Dr. David Berlinski is one of the most clear-thinking and humorous debunkers of Darwinism. Here he discusses the issue of what it would take for, say, a cow to evolve into a whale.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

February 26, 2011 at 10:04 am

Posted in Duenes, Science

Grand Jury Testimony in the Kermit Gosnell Case: Part 4

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Again, one scratches his head in vain attempting to understand why Gosnell was never apprehended in almost 40 years of running his “clinic.” More testimony about what happened to the women he treated (or didn’t):

Dana Haynes went to Gosnell for an abortion in November 2006. She called
relatives just before her procedure to tell them that she should be ready to be picked up
by 7:45 p.m. When Ms. Haynes’s cousins arrived, clinic staff refused to admit them into
the clinic and made excuses as to why Haynes was not ready. Finally, after hours of
waiting, the cousins gained entry to the clinic by threatening to call the police. They
found Ms. Haynes alone, incoherent, slumped over, and bleeding. There was no
monitoring equipment, and there was blood on the floor.
Gosnell called an ambulance only after the cousins demanded that he do so.
Kareema Cross testified that, after having problems performing Ms. Haynes’s abortion
and extracting only portions of her fetus, Gosnell had placed her in the recovery room
while he performed abortions on other patients. Rather than call an ambulance, Gosnell
kept Ms. Haynes waiting for hours after the unsuccessful procedure because he wanted to
try to fix it himself. By the time Ms. Haynes’s cousins rescued her from the recovery
room, Gosnell had tried at least twice, unsuccessfully, to complete the abortion.
Ms. Haynes was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
There, doctors discovered that Gosnell had left most of the fetus inside her uterus and had perforated her cervix and bowel. Ms. Haynes required surgery to remove five inches of
bowel, needed a large blood transfusion, and remained hospitalized for five days.
Similarly, Gosnell should have sent another patient, Marie Smith, to the hospital
when he was unable to remove the entire fetus during her abortion in November 1999.
But again, he just kept the patient waiting, sedated and bleeding in the recovery room
while he proceeded with other patients. Again, it was an insistent relative – Marie’s
mother – who found her. In Marie Smith’s case, Gosnell did not tell her that he had left
parts of the fetus inside her uterus. (Doctors are required to inspect the extracted tissue to
ensure they have removed it all.)
Instead, Gosnell allowed Marie Smith to go home. When her mother called days
later to report that Marie’s condition had worsened, he assured her that Marie would be
fine. Fortunately, the mother ignored Gosnell’s assurances and took her daughter to the
emergency room. When they arrived at Presbyterian Hospital, Marie was unconscious.
Doctors found that Gosnell had left fetal parts inside her and that she had a severe
infection. They told her she was lucky to be alive.
Another patient, a 19-year-old, had to have a hysterectomy after Gosnell left her
sitting in his recovery room for over four hours after perforating her uterus. Gosnell
finished performing the abortion at 8:45 p.m. on April 16, 1996, but did not call fire
rescue until 1:15 a.m. By the time emergency help arrived, the patient was not breathing.
She arrived at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in shock, having lost
significant blood. To save her life, doctors had to remove her uterus.

Further,

Gosnell flagrantly violated virtually every regulation and law Pennsylvania has
relating to the operation of abortion facilities. He did not comply with the basic standards
of his profession. Nor did he follow state regulations pertaining to health care facilities
generally.
Gosnell violated Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act in many ways. He failed to
counsel patients, despite a requirement to provide counseling at least 24 hours before
abortions. He performed abortions on minors without a parent’s consent or a court order.
He failed to take steps to ascertain accurate gestational ages and he intentionally falsified
gestational ages. He did not report to the state Department of Health any of the secondand
third-trimester abortions that he performed. Nor did he comply with the Act’s
requirement to send tissue from late-term abortions to a pathologist to verify that fetuses
were not viable or born alive.

And yet, it was all carried on for so long.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

February 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm