Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The late Cardinal Joseph Bernadin was fond of saying that when we talk about 'life issues' that we need to be wearing a seamless garment. My understanding is that our 'ethic of life' had to be consistent whether we were talking about the unborn, the marinalized, the disabled, or the elderly. Do we you have an ethic of life that weaves itself through your thinking and influences how you act, what you argue for, how you vote, and where you give your money?

Be careful. This isn't a quick answer. This is not 'proof texting' time for those inclined to whip out the Bible. This is real stuff.

Here's some questions.

Is what you believe consistent? If I watched you in action, examined your bank account would there be evidence that you value life? Do you battle for the unborn but don't care about the quality of the life of poor children? Do you care about children but try to pawn off aging parents on a more caring sibling? If you care about the marginalized how does that care and concern carry consistently through your 'theology of life'?

Do you value all people or only those you agree with? If you're Baptist do you dislike Catholics? If you're a Democrat do you dismiss Republicans? What about capital punishment? Do convicts deserve to be treated with dignity? Would you live next to a 'mosque'?

If pressed would you explain what makes your argument about life 'seamless'.

Here's my take. Most of us 'take a little of this and a little of that'. We listen to this talk show and read that magazine and read a little Scripture, watch some Oprah ...and when push comes to shove we really don't understand nor are able to articulate what we believe and why. And for those of us who are Christians, who need to put a biblical understanding on such things ...well, too many of us, if we're honest, don't have a scriptual framework for talking about it all. Don't believe me? Stand outside your church next Sunday and ask people the questions I'm posing to you. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people wouldn't be able to lay down a consistent ethic and theology about life issues.

If you haven't noticed our world is getting increasingly complex. Hunkering down in our little 'ghettoes' isn't going to cut it. How do we engage this complex world if we don't know what our consistent belief needs to be? And even then, how does a consistent belief and ethic of life manifest itself when we have discussions with those who see things in a polar opposite way?

Let's start thinking so that we can respond intelligently. vibrantly and compassionately as the great issues of our day keep hitting center stage. What do you really believe? How seamless is your garment?

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