June 2000 -- A quarterly news letter for United Methodists


Contents

Guest Column: LANGUAGE AND LIFE: "BEGOTTEN, NOT MADE"
CLEVELAND CONSIDERED
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CHURCH
THAT TELECONFERENCE
A LETTER ON JUDGMENT
THE "CULTURE OF DEATH" LIVES
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT
BOOK ORDER FORM
SEND LIFEWATCH TO A FRIEND!

 

 

Guest Column: LANGUAGE AND LIFE: "BEGOTTEN, NOT MADE"

Beginning-of-life issues are constantly in the news. We met Dolly, the cloned sheep, in 1997. Last year brought us mention of the University of Nebraska's fetal tissue research program along with reports that it was in a profitable relationship with an abortion provider. More recently, alarm levers have been pulled—by the United States Congress and by television's "20/20"—over the marketing of human body parts by abortion clinics. Most recently, with the "production" of a litter of piglets, cloning once again was in the media spotlight.

Prior to these issues, American society was already inundated with beginning-of-life decisions. Should we, or should we not, prevent conception? Is it worth the cost to do surgery on the child in utero? When we have difficulty conceiving, should we resort to in vitro fertilization? If so, what about all those unused embryos? What about the propriety of using genetic material from donors? If a child is not the preferred sex, or if there is an indication of a handicapping condition, should we abort? This is but a sampling of the questions many in this generation must answer. Unfortunately, most adults having to make such decisions are younger, isolated from intergenerational ties and strong moral traditions, and emotionally highly invested. Is there any guidance for our time?

TWO LANGUAGES AND GOD

We learn to see by what we learn to say. Whoever first stated this wisdom gives sound moral guidance. Truly moral choices require moral discernment, and one discerns most wisely when she uses the right—that is, the most fitting—language for the matter at hand. Of course, the Bible does not directly address many of these modern quandaries. But the Bible and the faith of the Church do give us the language we should employ as we approach these beginning-of-life issues. That language is found in the Bible's premier beginning-of-life story.

When the early Church was seeking to define and describe the relationship between Israel's God and Jesus Christ, she was led to the language of begetting. The other available option was the language of making. When considering God and Jesus, the early Church saw such a great difference between these two languages that she decisively affirmed one and rejected the other. This became evident in the Nicene Creed: Jesus was "begotten, not made" by God the Father. What, we should ask, is suggested by this emphatic distinction?

The language of making uses the image of the craftsman. From his natural gifts and acquired knowledge, the craftsman makes something different from himself. The item he creates is a product. It is something less than its maker, and it is subject to his will and whim. Owning the product, the maker may deploy or destroy it however and whenever he wills. The language of making always connotes this radical difference and inequality between the maker and the made. For this reason the early Church found this language inadequate and improper for describing the relationship between God the Father and Jesus. (However, the Church did, in the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, find this language helpful and precise in describing God the Father as the "maker of heaven and earth.")

So the early Church adopted the alternative language, the language of begetting. John wrote in his Gospel that God "gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16, KJV). Earlier, John reminded his readers that "no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (1:18, KJV). This same language proved ideal for the Council of Nicea: Jesus was "eternally begotten of the Father" and "begotten, not made."

The language of begetting communicates something quite different than the language of making. To be sure, as what is made is different from its maker, so the begotten is different from the one who begets. But that is where the similarity between these languages ends. For unlike the product that is made, the begotten is of the same nature and status, and equal to, the begetter. Thus the Nicene Creed declares that Jesus is "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God...of one Being with the Father." St. Augustine, reflecting upon the meaning of begetting, wrote: "We believe, we maintain, we faithfully preach, that the Father begat the Word...the only-begotten Son, one as the Father is one, eternal as the Father is eternal, and equally with the Father, supremely good..." (City of God, XI, 24). This could be said of one born. It could not be said of something made or manufactured.

TWO LANGUAGES AND HUMANITY

These theological insights, on the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, help us understand the relationship between human parent and child. Like the early theologians, we have the option of two languages—the language of making and the language of begetting. In our time, many seem to prefer the language of making, for they speak of "making babies," "reproducing," and "products of conception." Rarely do we hear the language of begetting. But in this case (and many others), common does not necessarily mean best. After all, the common language of making, when applied to people, tends to dehumanize them.

Dehumanization serves certain ends. The making of "pre-implantation embryos" for cloning research seems as proper as the discarding of the "products of conception." But notice: in each case, the language of making empowers and authorizes the makers to do whatever they will with the made. The makers are, after all, by definition, more than that which they make. Thus, the language of making covers a multitude of sins.

The language of begetting changes how one sees the moral conscience. It humanizes. It reveals a child, not a product. Begetting reveals people to be procreators of equals, not makers of things that are disposable at will. According to this language, we beget babies. We do not make them. Yes, the begotten is different from the ones who beget. That is, the begotten is neither the father nor the mother. But the begotten shares the parents' nature. Sharing the parents' nature, the begotten is a human being, a child, and not a product. The human person of any age is our equal—not to be demeaned, not to be commodified, not to be sold on a medical market.

This is a bewildering era. The medical industry promises nothing but health and some helpfulness. It sets before its consumers a buffet of choices, but it offers precious little moral guidance. How shall we choose rightly? We choose rightly by seeing rightly; and we see rightly by truthfully naming. In dealing with the beginning of life, we beget; we do not make. —Rev. David A. Banks/St. Peter's United Methodist Church/11 Hodges Street/Morehead City, NC 28557/(252)-726-2175 heart.gif (1031 bytes)


CLEVELAND CONSIDERED

The 2000 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, which took place in Cleveland, OH, has come and gone. During most of General Conference, Lifewatch and its concerns were well represented. Kim Turkington of Lexington, KY, who is the Lifewatch Outreach Coordinator, Cindy Evans of Holts Summit, MO, and your editor each participated in the conference for four or five days.

We are thankful to report that the 2000 General Conference changed The Book of Discipline's paragraph on abortion. To be specific, a sentence opposed to partial-birth abortion was added. This is an important development, which will be examined at greater length in the September 2000 Lifewatch.

What follows is not a comprehensive report on the 2000 General Conference. Such reports can be found elsewhere—e.g., in Good News, Newscope, and The United Methodist Reporter. The following is a list—a grab bag, if you will—of mere considerations related to first days of the Cleveland conference.

• A Peculiar Beginning: Near the beginning of the conference, words of greeting from President Clinton were read to the assembly. This caused us to stop and think. At international Roman Catholic gatherings, greetings from Pope John Paul II are often read aloud; such words certainly underline the importance of the meetings in progress. When United Methodists gathered in Cleveland, words from Bill Clinton were heard; presumably, these words added significance to the event in progress. Interesting (and sad) that United Methodists rely on words from a scandal-ridden White House to increase our sense of importance.

John Cardinal O'Connor (1920-2000): Yes, as the 2000 General Conference unfolded, history marched on outside the Cleveland Convention Center. A part of that history was the death of John Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York. He died on May 3rd, the second day of the conference.

Cardinal O'Connor was dedicated to the Gospel of Life, to the dignity of every human life, in a glorious way. He routinely witnessed to the Gospel of Life from his pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral, before banks of media microphones, and in various pro-life marches. He willingly carried on a public argument, regarding life and abortion, with the then-Governor Mario Cuomo. He gladly contributed one of his sermons to The Right Choice: Pro-Life Sermons (Abingdon, 1997). And he offered the services of the Archdiocese of New York to care for any woman, with child, who felt abandoned by others and tempted by abortion. (By the way, his offer inspired Lifewatch to develop and promote our ministerial vision of The Sheltering Church Movement.)

But there is another reason we should bring up Cardinal O'Connor. He presented a glorious example of what a bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ says and does. His episcopal example is one to be followed—even by bishops in The United Methodist Church.

Thank God for the wonderful, courageous life and ministry of John Cardinal O'Connor. He was, is, and will be a force for the Gospel in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church catholic, and throughout the world. General Conference was truly ecumenical and wise to pass a resolution which acknowledged the greatness and the goodness of John Cardinal O'Connor.

Pro-Choice, Again: It is no secret that homosexuality was the main "issue" of the conference. Basically, General Conference was faced with this challenging question: Will The United Methodist Church become pro-choice on homosexuality? Unfortunately, nearly 30 years ago, United Methodism decided to go pro-choice on abortion. That is, the church decided to make abortion a tragic but justifiable option, to act like a political "big tent," and to become a home to all "opinions" on abortion. Now we are debating whether our church should become pro-choice on homosexuality. The new pro-choice side again wants the church to operate like the political big tent—this time by legitimating homosexual conduct as a God-given way of life by making all "opinions" on homosexuality morally equivalent. In the end, General Conference affirmed, once again, that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." That is, General Conference decided not to go pro-choice on homosexuality.

Seems like Censorship: It is amazing. In the United States and around the world, a pervasive debate is afoot. The debate concerns the morality and the justice of abortion. This debate regularly surfaces in many faith communities, in various cultural arenas, in judicial spheres, and in political worlds. However, from the main platform of General Conference, during the first several days of the conference, never was there so much as one word spoken about abortion. Not in the Episcopal Address. Not in the Laity Address. Not in the several sermons. Not in the motions. Not in the debates. Abortion had become a non-issue. It was as if there were an Unseen Censor who eliminated every reference to abortion that appeared in the various prepared texts. Yes, yes, we know this Unseen Censor is a fantasy. But still, it appears there was one at work.

Make the Connections: The Episcopal Address, delivered by Bishop Emerito P. Nacpil of the Philippines, truly taught the faith of the Church. It described the Biblical theology of discipleship. It contained resounding references to "living by the truth of the Resurrection and confessing it" and "discipleship suffering." It even declared that The United Methodist Church now identifies too closely with "mainstream culture." In conclusion, Bp. Nacpil and the other bishops tied "faith working through love" to freedom, justice, and inclusiveness. Unsaid was the truth that faith working through love, freedom, justice, and inclusiveness would reach out to the unborn child and mother, and offer them protection. It seems that kind of pro-life ministry would be more loving, freeing, just, and inclusive than a pro-choice ministry, which simply offers the choice of abortion.

Rightly Placed: All petitions related to abortion were sent to the Faith and Order Legislative Committee. "To this committee shall be referred all petitions relating to Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task, Social Principles..." (Daily Christian Advocate). In other words, abortion related petitions went to the committee charged with legislatively overseeing The United Methodist Church's teaching. That is exactly where these petitions needed to be sent—especially since this committee contained so many of the leading United Methodist teachers of the Church's faith. And by the way, this committee was ably and gracefully chaired by The Reverend Robert E. Hayes of the Texas Conference.

Again, look for more on the 2000 General Conference in the next issue of Lifewatch.heart.gif (1031 bytes)


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CHURCH

Back in March, the General Board of Discipleship distributed an issue of Perspective contains a thoughtful article, "Honoring the Dialogue," by Dr. Ezra Earl Jones, who is the General Secretary of the aforementioned board. Basically, the article concerns how The United Methodist Church should respond to the denomination's conflict and controversy over homosexuality.

Dr. Jones contends, rightly in this editor's humble opinion, that homosexuality is not distracting The United Methodist Church from its primary mission and ministry, from the "essence of the gospel." Instead, he believes that "our resolution of the deep division brought about by this issue is part of our primary mission." And this is Dr. Jones' proposal for resolution: "We center our lives in the heart of God. We do so in the company of one another. We continue the dialogue. We honor the dialogue; and dwelling in mystery, we wait for undeserved light." And he concludes, as he often concludes his column, with this challenge: "Think about it!" In what follows, we will take up his challenge .

CREATING THE CHURCH

Dr. Jones assumes that the Church, when confronted with difficult matters, must either dialogue or teach. Then he proceeds to point the Church toward dialogue and away from teaching. In pointing the Church away from teaching, he presumes that: either the Church does not have teaching on the contested issue; or, if such teaching does exist, the Church should simply bracket it or ignore it. His bottom line is this: the Church should just dialogue. Dr. Jones' vision suggests that all parties to the Church's dialogue have equally valid perspectives and positions; thus, all are equally welcome to the table. So, let all come to the Church's public square, and let the dialogue on homosexuality continue and continue indefinitely, he encourages. This, according to Dr. Jones, will hold The United Methodist Church together.

This vision of the Church requires that "'the truth' about an issue," such as homosexuality, cannot be decided once and for all. To postulate truth about an issue is to display human pride and arrogance. That is, to postulate truth about an issue is to "[draw] a line in the sand. He or she [who does so] assumes superior knowledge, makes one position absolute, and destroys the delicate nature of the church as an institution that is both divine and human." In their not-so-simple form, issues confronting the Church—racial matters, "euthanasia, abortion, and sustaining life artificially," and responding to the poor—are never easy. After all, "[t]he whole of our tradition is much more open and welcoming [than the 'Ten Commandments and the other rules set forth in the Hebrew Scripture']. It is much more aware that life does not fit rigid rules." Therefore, the Church's only permanent rule appears to be the rule to dialogue, about these issues and others, forever. Again, Dr. Jones asserts that this way of "honoring the dialogue" helps hold the Church together.

RECEIVING THE CHURCH

This, certainly, is one vision of the Church. It might be called the liberal Protestant vision of the Church that seems to thrive especially in liberal democratic cultures, such as the United States. Unfortunately, the liberal Protestant vision of the Church is not the vision of the Church given in the Bible, the creeds, and the Great Tradition. Reverend Richard John Neuhaus describes this greater vision of the Church: "As is said in the Nicene Creed, 'We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.' That reality encompasses doctrine, ministry, liturgy, and a rule of life. Christians disagree about precisely where that Church is to be located historically and at present, but almost all agree that it is to be identified with the Great Tradition defined by the apostolic era through at least the first four ecumenical councils, and continuing in diverse forms to the present day." (First Things, March 2000) Again, according to Rev. Neuhaus, the Church is to be identified with the Great Tradition, with a truthful tradition.

Along the same lines, The Articles of Religion define and describe the Church in this more congregational way: "The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men [sic] in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." (Article XIII-Of the Church, The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 62)

According to Rev. Neuhaus and to the Articles of Religion, the Church really has teaching. Neuhaus ties the Church's teaching to the Great Tradition, and Article XIII ties the Church teaching to "the pure Word of God." In both cases, this teaching is presumed to be truthful. In both cases, the Church's teaching is presumed to be given—by God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the Great Tradition.

Again, the Church has teaching. Therefore, the Church does not have have to run around and come up with its own teaching on fundamental issues. Nor does the Church have to dialogue endlessly about various matters. Rather, the Church's privilege and duty is to receive the teaching (from the Great Tradition and the Word of God), be informed by the teaching, be formed by the teaching, and transmit the teaching in word and deed.

This vision of the Church and its teaching applies, of course, to the issue of homosexuality. The Church indeed has truthful teaching on homosexuality. Our privilege and our duty is to receive, know, live, and pass on this teaching. To be sure, that is not easy. It is difficult, especially when that teaching is under question, perhaps even under challenge or assault. Still, the Church must teach, live, and transmit what she knows to be true about homosexuality.

Because the Church has teaching, and teaching about homosexuality, she must also be in dialogue. It is not enough for the Church to offer its teaching and then walk away from those who have questions or disagreements. Therefore, the Church patiently and lovingly enters dialogue with those who question and/or disagree. In dialogue, the Church engages. In dialogue, the Church listens. The Church tries to find common ground. The Church learns from those who dissent. But also the Church tries to persuade those in dissent to convert to the truthfulness of her given teaching.

Again, Dr. Ezra Earl Jones poses a choice for the Church: dialogue or teach. That is a false choice. Both should be attempted. First, the Church should teach. Then, the Church should dialogue. In our time, to dialogue without teaching is to pretend that there is no Christian truth about homosexuality. To teach without dialogue is to lack the Christian love well described in I Corinthians 13.

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16, RSV) (PTS)heart.gif (1031 bytes)


THAT TELECONFERENCE

On Easter Tuesday, April 25th, a satellite teleconference was broadcast across the United States. Sponsored by The Iliff School of Theology and United Methodist Communications, in cooperation with the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Publishing House, the teleconference was titled "Does God Care How we Make Babies? —Ethical Concerns about Reproductive Choices, Cloning and Abortion." The four-hour event featured many bright ethical and theological thinkers from The United Methodist Church and beyond. It was based, in large part, on the book The Befuddled Stork: Helping Persons of Faith Debate Beginning-of-Life Issues, which is edited by Sally B. Geis and Donald E. Messer. This teleconference was interactive: it welcomed callers and their questions into the discussion.

The title of the teleconference, "Does God Care How we Make Babies?"—is somewhat striking. It assumes that we human beings 'make babies" and that God, from a distance, is simply evaluating what we are doing. Besides being a bit mechanistic (see the Guest Column above), this language severely limits the role of God in procreation. It makes people, not God, the prime (if not exclusive) movers in the "making" of children. Needless to say, the Church through the ages has understood these matters in a more God-centered way.

Most of the teleconference was based on this unstated belief: the Church has little, if any, solid, definitive teaching about "how we make babies." Therefore, it is up to the state to establish public policies regarding the making of babies; within these rather wide legal boundaries, are individuals who must decide for themselves what they think best in the making of babies. Again, the teleconference downplayed Church teaching and referred the matters at hand to state action and to individual decision-making.

For several callers, this way of approaching these matters evoked thoughts of past programs in eugenics. Panelists admitted that, under the banner of eugenics, governments in the past had done some very nasty things. Now, in the United States, in their heated rush to achieve designer people, individuals acting according to their own lights are doing some very nasty things. In both instances, the Church is assumed to have no authoritative, instructive teaching.

This fixation on the state and the individual was especially illustrated by the comments by Dr. J. Philip Wogaman, the Senior Pastor at Foundry United Methodist Church of Washington, DC. Discussing abortion, Dr. Wogaman discussed abortion primarily as a matter of public policy and individual choice. He seemed to give very limited place to Church teaching on abortion.

Dr. Sondra Ely Wheeler, a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, saw things quite differently than Dr. Wogaman. She spoke eloquently of the Church (and the Synagogue) having a great and grand tradition of ethical understanding. The Church's ethical tradition, she claimed, describes the deep meanings of mother, father, child, family, community, and so on. In other words, the Church understands the truth about humanity. With this truth in mind, the Church can then engage the challenges of the various "reproductive technologies" and judge them accordingly. Furthermore, it might be added that, with her ethical tradition in mind, the Church can also engage the politics surrounding these technologies. But the Church's first duty and privilege is to be formed and informed by her own ethical teaching.

Regarding procreation and technology the Church need not and should not simply defer to the state. Nor should the Church just turn these matters over to individual conscience. First, the Church should teach the truth about mankind. Then comes the loving application of that truth to actual women, men, and their (actual or potential) children. Therefore Church—not the state and not the individual—should be the primary carrier of truth about procreation. (Dr. Joel Shuman/The Divinity School/Duke University/Durham, NC 27708 and PTS)heart.gif (1031 bytes)


A LETTER ON JUDGMENT
March 2000

Dear Editor:

I will take a minute to reinforce what you said about Matthew 7:1-2 in the recent issue of Lifewatch ("The Failure to Judge," 3/l/00).

(1) The speaker who utters this statement [that is, Jesus] does a whole heck of a lot of judging. It would be bizarre for the Jesus of Matthew, who so often debates, disagrees, disputes, criticizes, and, yes, condemns, to say, "Do not judge," in the sense popularly indicated. And of course such a reading would put these verses at odds not only with the rest of Matthew but also with the rest of the New Testament and the Old Testament, where prophets and apostles and others criticize and condemn the behavior and beliefs of others all the time.

(2) Matthew 7:6 is important. "Do not give dogs what is holy"—originally a priestly rule about sacrificial meat, but here used metaphorically—fits very nicely into its present setting. Matthew 7:1-5 has commanded that there be not too much severity. Matthew 7:6 follows up by saying that there should not be too much laxity. That is, the text anticipates a problem and searches for a balance, for a moral symmetry. So the principles in Matthew 7:1-5 are not to be abused. They do not eliminate the use of critical faculties when it comes to sacred concerns. As Matthew 18:15-20 shows, it is sometimes necessary to deal with the faults of others.

This interpretation admittedly remains general, and it is possible that Matthew had something more specific in mind. But the general point is clear: one must not be meekly charitable against all reason.

(3) If you want to make Matthew coherent, you have to look at Matthew 18:15ff, just referred to, where you have a rite of excommunication. How could such a thing take place if there were no judging of others in the modern sense?

(4) in Matthew 7:3 one simply sees (blepein). In Matthew 7:5 one sees clearly (diablepein). In the latter instance, one sees in order to help. The stare to find fault becomes the genuinely friendly eye of a brother or sister who is a servant. Some commentators fail to discern in Matthew 7:3-5 any instruction concerning fraternal correction. For them, the text prohibits judging altogether. But Matthew shows a special concern elsewhere for the proper procedures for dealing with sin in others; see, once again, Matthew 18 :15-20, a passage which our evangelist thinks consistent with unlimited forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-25). Moreover, Matthew usually uses "brother" to mean Christian brother, so it is natural to see here intraecclesiastical activity.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Sincerely,
An Untenured Professor at an American Divinity School


THE "CULTURE OF DEATH" LIVES

There really is a "culture of death" out there, as John Paul II says and writes. Sometimes it looks like a parade of horrors. While reading through the current issue of The Human Life Review (Winter 2000), this editor ran across several morbid illustrations of today's death culture.

First, in his article "The Party of Death," William Murchison argues that "[t]he present stand [on abortion], in Democratic circles at least, is that no stand [i.e., the pro-choice position] is the right stand. But 'no stand' as to what? A claimed right to take life. This is without precedent. The Democratic Party's agnosticism (however cynical) concerning 'choice' vacates its moral authority on other questions. Saying that any choice is right is the same as saying no choice is wrong. If there are no 'wrong' choices concerning abortion, how can it be said there are 'wrong' choices on guns, on cigarettes, on the environment, on anything?" The same statement could well be offered on The United Methodist Church's qualified pro-choice position on abortion: it undercuts the denomination's moral authority in other areas as well.

Murchison also points to "Democrats and Catholics," an article by Margaret O'Brien Steinfels in Dissent (Fall 1999). Steinfels sadly notes that, because of her political party's position on abortion, she is "coming to think of the Democratic Party not as the party of the people, or the party of the poor and vulnerable, but as the party of death." She goes on to object to the fact that Democrats and liberals are turning to abortion as "the lens through which candidates and issues must be scrutinized." Lately, this was brought home when Vice President Al Gore and Democratic challenger Bill Bradley played a I-am-more-pro-choice-than-thou game. That's a grisly, little, political game.

The next culture-of-death exhibit is from contemporary European history. In March of 1999, you will remember, roughly 800,000 Albanians, fleeing Serb soldiers and NATO bombs, gathered in refugee camps hurriedly organized across Albania. According to Austin Ruse, "[i]n the early days of the emergency, what the refugees desperately needed was food and medicine. However, the United Nations Population Fund's one and only response was to send enough 'reproductive health kits' to last 350,000 people in the field for six months. These packages of contraceptive devices included something called a 'manual vacuum aspirator,' used for performing abortions in the field." Let's get this straight. Hundreds of thousands of"frightened, wounded, hungry refugees [were reaching] out for help." And what did they receive from a UN agency? Hundreds of thousands of portable abortion kits.

And the last item involves the sale of fetal body parts. Writes Hadley Arkes, in "Millennial Blues, Cautious Hopes:" "The story of this novel trade was assembled first by Mark Crutcher in Denton, Texas, and then by the redoubtable Jack and Barbara Wilke at the Life Issues Institute in Cincinnati. The vendors in this trade seem shadowy, and when reporters called to track them down, they disappeared. But the buyers encompass some of the most respectable centers of medical research. And the brochures contain items of this kind:

Livers (more than 8 weeks)....................$150
(30% discount if significantly fragmented)
Eyes (less than 8 weeks).............................75
Kidney (less than 8 weeks).......................125
Brain (less than 8 weeks)..........................999
(more than 8 weeks).................................150
Gonads.....................................................550

"...Once the notion takes hold that abortions are thoroughly legitimate, that the unborn child is merely a fetus, with no human standing, then the moral inhibitions melt away—and why be so finicky? Why not sell then a 'product' with some utility, that some people actually want?"

Like we said. There is a culture of death out there. And unfortunately, The United Methodist Church is doing far too little to resist it. (PTS)heart.gif (1031 bytes)


YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT

Thinking Theologically about Abortion (Bristol House, 2000) has just been published. Edited by your friendly scribe, this brief book contains essays by: Professor Elizabeth Achteemeier, a leading Reformed theologian, author and preacher of our day; Dr. Cari E. Braalen, the effective director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, the co-editor of Pro Ecclesia, and the author and editor of many theological texts; Reverend Leonard R. Klein, a Lutheran pastor, the former editor of Lutheran Forum, and a distinguished theological journalist; and Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, the editor-in-chief of the monthly journal First Things, and the author and editor of many books. This book will be most useful to pastors, church-school teachers of adults, and laity who are theologically engaged. For your copy, please write to Lifewatch/512 Florence Street/Dothan, AL 36301. A $7.00 check made payable to "Lifewatch" will cover the costs.

• "Doors" is the title of one of the finest guest columns ever to grace the pages of Lifewatch (911199 issue). This memorable article describes Mrs. Julie Woodley's experience of abortion, childbirth, and redemption in Jesus Christ. It is a moving, powerful account. Now Mrs. Woodley's story has been expanded into a brief book, Restoring the Heart: Experiencing Christ's Healing after Brokenness. To obtain your copy of this most inspiring testimony, send a request, and a check for $11.20 (which includes shipping and handling) made payable, to: Restoring the Health Ministries/ 3220 Vine Street South/Cambridge, MN 55008.

• While addressing the Fifth Commandment, "Honor your father and mother. .." (Exodus 2():12), in his Large Catechism, Martin Luther wrote this: 'Why, do you think, is the world now so full of unfaithfulness, shame, misery, and murder [including abortion]? It is because everyone wishes to be his own master, be free from all authority, care nothing for anyone, and do whatever he pleases..." Here, here!

• Thomas F. Torrance is one of the great reformed theologians of our day. He has held chairs in Church History and Christian Dogmatics at Edinburgh University, and he won the Templeton Prize for Religion in 1978. Recently, he concluded a speech with this word: "The human embryo is fully human being personal being in the sight of his or her Creator, and must be recognized, accepted, and cherished as such, not only by his or her mother and father, but by science and medicine." (Presbyterians Pro-Life News, Fall 1999) Time and time again, the most outstanding Church theologians of our day teach what historic Christianity has always taught about life and abortion: a part of the Church's God-given mission is to protect the unborn child and mother.

• "I love the picture of Mother Teresa that appeared in a book about her. It was a typical day in the slums of Calcutta. She had gone out in the morning and found a little infant in a gutter, on the street. She held [the little one] in her arms...[the child] lay there limp in her arms, all skin and bones. But [the little one was breathing. The caption under the picture captured her response when she picked up the child and found that [the child] was still breathing. There was a Quge smile on her face, and she said, 'Look, [the child] is alive.' The little one was lost, and [Mother Teresa] found [the child]. And she took [the little one] home with her. Life matters to God because people matter to God." (Geoffrey W. Chapman, NOEL News, April 1999)


PLEASE JOIN US ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH IN PRAYING AND FASTING FOR LIFEWATCH’S CONTINUING MINISTRY.


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Please enclose your check, payable to "Lifewatch," and mail to: Lifewatch/512 Florence Street/Dothan AL 36301.

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Extend your outreach-and ours-with a free subscription to a friend. Simply provide the information requested below. Also, your contributions-however large or small-will help continue the ministry of Lifewatch in inspiring United Methodists to love both mother and unborn child. Thank you for caring enough to act.

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Please mail to: Lifewatch/512 Florence Street/Dothan AL 36301.


Lifewatch is published by the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

 

Our Mission:

Out of obedience to Jesus Christ, the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS) "will work to create in church and society esteem for human life at its most vulnerable/e, specifically for the unborn child and for the woman who contemplates abortion." Therefore, TUMAS's first goal is "to win the hearts and minds of United Methodists, to engage in abortion-prevention through theological, pastoral, and social emphases that support human life."

 

Lifewatch is published by the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, a network of United Methodist clergy, laity, and congregations.

It is sent free to interested readers. Editor, Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth: P.O. Box 177, Rose Hill NC 28458 (910)289-2449/Administrator, Mrs. Ruth Brown: 512 Florence Street, Dothan AL 3630/ (334)794-8543/E-mail: cindy@lifewatch.org Web site: http://lifewatch.org

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