Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Formats

This morning I'm filling time waiting for my 2nd Respiratory exam in a few minutes and it suddenly hit me, as it often does, that it is time to refresh and reformat. You see my classmates and I have come to the end of a stretch of 8 exams in 15 days, and 15 exams in the last month. Despite the general zombie-like mental state most of us are in, there is a palpable excitement, a mass sigh of relief. We have made it through what has likely been the most challenging and emotionally insecure academic period any of this conglomeration of professional students has ever been through. Not only surviving, but succeeding... and that is encouraging, energizing, refreshing! We are proud of each other, proud of our families, friends, and support systems, and proud of ourselves!

For me, I praise God for two things. First, He has blessed me with recall and analytical abilities during exams that has proved invaluable. Second, He has blessed me with a sacrificial and supportive wife who has suffered through this stretch with me. Through her words, notes, and simple presence in my arms she kept me going as strong as possible. Thank you God and thank you Katrina! I love you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Gay Marriage Bans are Really About

While most of us were focused on the history-making election of Barack Obama as President on Tuesday, another interesting vote took place that day. Californians narrowly approved Proposition 8 to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, overturning a California court decision from earlier this year. This, of course, is headed for a long legal battle but I want to share some thoughts I have behind the motivation for gay marriage bans... Read on...

Gay Marriage bans are consistently put forward by Christian-affiliated religious and political groups. The reasoning usually goes something like, "protecting the institution of marriage" or "protecting the family unit" and it is based on a few passages of biblical scripture that condemn homosexual behavior and describe the unity of man and woman. Different people can argue all day on that issue alone but I want to go somewhere different with it.

Why is it that these same groups have not made an effort to ban common law marriage? It seems to me that a man and woman living together, having sexual relations without the public marriage commitment before God and man could be condemned for the same reasons by these groups. It seems to me that if the 'Anti-Gay Marriage' movement was really about protecting the institutions of marriage and family, that we would see just as much effort to ban common law marriage.

So maybe this is not about protecting marriage and family as much as it is about discrimination against homosexuals. If we really believe homosexuality is a sin and that these souls will eventually have to face God with that sin, is it really a good idea to do all that we can to isolate them, condemn them, and make them hate Christianity here in this life. That seems to correlate well with Jesus' statement to the Adulteress in the book of John... (sarcasm intended).

"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

I would like any of my fellow Christians to please explain how a legal ban on gay marriage is a Christ-like, loving, non-condemning way of challenging people to examine, recognize, and leave their sin. Again, I am not going to state definitively whether homosexuality is or is not a sin because that is not the point of this blog.

Maybe before we go around banning gay marriage, throwing stones, we should focus on taking care of the sin and struggles in our own hearts and lives. That seems to be what Jesus is saying to me.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Heart and History

What can I say on the eve of one of the most important and improbable moments in U.S. history that I have been privileged to experience? Tomorrow this country that I love will turn the page in so many ways. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow I do believe change will happen in this country to some degree, because I know that patriotism is still a guiding principle for both McCain and Obama despite campaign pandering. Both men will not allow this great country to fall, but I believe with all my heart that Barack Obama is the leader to help the U.S. rise once again.

It is my heart though that is so restless tonight. I am nervous that power will not concede to change, that somehow this hope for transformative leadership will be quashed by the status quo. I am fearful that the passion of my generation to engage in policy and patriotism now for the first time, will be snuffed out by longstanding political tactics and election day 'ground games'.

That having been said, the Presidential Election of 2008 has left an indelible mark on me!

You see, this catchphrase, this now tongue-in-cheek word 'change' has actually resonated with me. I spent the first months of these two campaign years knowing about policy, discussing policy, having opinions, all from the sidelines. Then came caucus night in Iowa and I became engaged! Better yet, I became transformed in my own way. It became apparent to me that I did not want to sit back for the rest of my life and let things be dictated to me. I found inside of myself a renewed desire to be an activist and leader on issues important to me and my future profession. As I look back over the past year as my passion for an Obama presidency grew, so too grew my passion to positively impact policies at my school and in my profession. I am now working towards a Masters of Healthcare Administration degree while also serving in leadership for several organizations and groups on campus.

The purpose of all of this? Well I think that this whole experience for me has been God's way of directing my path, facing me in the direction He wants to take me, and reminding me of the capabilities He has given me. I have no idea what that means or where it will lead but it will be exciting to see where this road winds its way to! On top of that, I get to share the journey with an amazing, beautiful wife and a strong little boy! God is good!