Saturday’s Stray Thoughts

The end of another week and the posting of thoughts which are incomplete–some of which should stay that way and some of which we might develop together in coming weeks. Help me in discerning the difference, please.

Whatever one thinks of the state of health care the, or of the health care of the state, it should be evident that the manner in which the massive law was crafted signals a problem in itself. Two thousand pages? And we thought people would actually read it all and discuss it together before voting? Why do I mention this now, well after the fact? In the local news this morning it was reported that the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is sending a letter to those under his care. It seems that as an employer subject to the provisions of the law, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is required to provide coverage for all employees–coverage which includes contraceptive services and drugs. Regardless of whether one agrees with the position of Catholicism (one must admit that it is a very consistent pro-life approach), it should be troubling on a number of levels that they are mandated to violate their understanding of Scripture and Tradition. First Amendment issues are at stake here. I suspect we have not heard the end of the debate, which should have occurred before passage.

On a completely unrelated topic, the coverage of the Paterno memorial service is probably unprecedented. Television stations continue to have rebroadcast requests, and most of them are complying. Anyone who has read this blog for a length of time knows that I do not believe vilification of the coach was justified by the facts of the case. But I do suspect a small measure of revenge from the Paterno family (justifiable?) in the selection of speakers. The only non-PSU related person to speak after the opening invocation was Phil Knight of Nike. A curious selection, considering how many hundreds of other notable persons could have been chosen. Knight was also the only speaker to in any way draw attention to the action of the Board of Trustees. Coincidental? Probably not. Accurate portrayal of the board? Possibly. But none of that should overshadow the testimonies of those who knew Coach Paterno best. And the picture is clearly one of a man who had a wisdom born of a vision of what’s good for people and society.

It seems Rick Santorum’s momentum is running thin in his attempt to win the Republican nomination for the White House. True to American political habits, his apparent demise has nothing to do with is positions (some of which resonate, some of which grate in me). He has attempted to stay above the negativity between Romney and Gingrich, but that seems to make him uninteresting to those who are covering the campaigns. What does it say about our culture when we tacitly accept this way of choosing our leaders? What does it say about the funding of these “attack” ads. Are we seeing the first fruits of the Supreme Court decision that virtually freed anyone to spend any amount of money to say anything he/she wishes in a campaign, some of which is rather clearly unconcerned with the public good? And is there a point at which Christians should just stop participating?

Some of the comments regarding what is and isn’t legitimate work on the Thursday entry on the blog attempted to change the focus to what we do with our money as individuals. What choices do we have with our own resources; do we realize that when we criticize the position of others we are usually looking in only one direction, ignoring that vast majority of the world’s population that stands and begs below us; to what extent should all of us simplify our lives and consumption; and can we do that without further jeopardizing the overall health of our own economy? What a believer’s faithfulness in dealing with unrighteous mammon does and does not allow or require is a subject not often addressed. At times we might even be guilty of using our faith in Jesus as a means by which to attain the riches of this world.

Thoughts not as scattered as they are at times. But what are yours?

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2 thoughts on “Saturday’s Stray Thoughts

  1. On using our resources… I really miss living in Amish country, where you can see very tangibly that some people make very clearly different choices about what constitutes “necessity.” It’s hard to explain sometimes to people here why I might choose not to have certain things, or why I don’t even slightly feel compelled to get newer varieties of others. It’s easier to understand those kinds of decisions in a place where many choose to make their own clothes and use their own wells.

    • It makes too much sense to us, Amy. But on the other side we’ve built an economy that depends on each of us spending our money on more and more products that either wear out or go out of style or don’t do as much as the newer models; it’s almost ike we’re unAmerican if we don’t do our part to keep that economic wheel turning.

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