Sunday, January 22, 2017

How do we learn to speak together?

While it isn't an "easy" read, I am enjoying this book, in its Kindle edition.
Moerbe, Mary J.; Mitchell, Christopher. Blessed: God's Gift of Love. Concordia Publishing House.

Chapter 3 talks about "earthy" and often underappreciated gifts of creation.  (One example that came to my mind is "fertility." It's not just about having babies. Of course, we live in a society that doesn't even want our trees to be fertile in our yards. It is messy! Creativity of any sort is messy.) This book is forcing me to think and thoroughly different boxes. Anyhow, here is a snippet:

Blessings are sometimes rewards, but they are never payments; only gifts God gives as He chooses. His favor is not reserved for spiritual exercises or feats of strength. Instead, the Creator of heaven and earth plants a garden and provides food for “every living thing” (Job 12: 10; Psalm 145: 16). The almighty God makes us clothing and covers our shame. He considers even ravens and lilies of the field (Luke 12: 24– 28).

It kind of echoes something else I'm reading:
From Adam we have our “earthiness.” Not only did Adam and his descendants come from earth, from dust. Man’s concerns are also of this earth—material things and sensual experiences. He is occupied with the things of this world, not with the life of the spirit. Adam is our pattern for our “natural” life. “The man made of dust is the pattern for all men of dust.”In like manner Christ is the pattern for our heavenly life. “Just as each of us now has a body like Adam’s, so we shall some day have a body like Christ” (Living Bible [LB]). What we cannot really conceive of is indeed true: we shall be like Christ when our resurrection frees us from this sorry earthbound existence. Not only is there a resurrection awaiting those who are Christ’s; an undreamed-of glory will also be theirs.

Carleton Toppe, 1 Corinthians, The People’s Bible (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House, 1987), 155.

I love books! I especially appreciate books like these two that elaborate on what God has done and continues to do in the lives of HIS people.

It is sad to me that we are becoming increasingly unable to even discuss books anymore! We are so polarized, yelling at each other with our fingers in our ears and our eyes squeezed tightly shut. I have been looking for different discussions about how to have discussions, and ran across a couple of Ted talks that seem to apply.
The first covers a lot of what I would say. I especially found it interesting that in her story about taking a conservative to lunch, both women felt safe enough to ask each "other" why the "other" polarity demonized their side more than their side demonized the "other." Nobody changed each other's mind, but that wasn't the point. We have to be able to talk together and work together!

My instinctive reaction to the second one on "moral reframing" was not really good. I thought he was advocating merely changing the semantics to appear to value the morals of the hearer. I had to listen a second time before I realized that he was advocating "caring about your hearer." Know your audience well enough to know what is important to them. Odds are, you probably care about many of the same things. Maybe they are of a different "ranking" on your list of priorities, maybe your answer to the question is different, but we all care about many of the same things.

And yes, both of these speakers probably come from a different perspective than I come from. That's not important. I LEARNED from them both.

So… If you took an "Other" for a meal or coffee somewhere, what would you discuss? How would you reframe your important points in the language of the "Other"?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Second Sunday after the Epiphany Text: John 2:1-11 Rev. Michael Daniels
via YouTube

The Baptism of Our Lord

The Baptism of Our Lord
The Baptism of Our Lord Text: Matthew 3:13-17 Rev. Christopher Hull
via YouTube

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mid-Week Service (including ASL) - January 4, 2017

Mid-Week Service (including ASL) - January 4, 2017
Mid-Week Service (including ASL) Text: Apostles' Creed - First Article Rev. Christopher Hull Zion Lutheran, Tomball, TX
via YouTube

Monday, January 2, 2017

I Am in the Mood for Fun Today

Let's romp all over the Internet today! Who knows what we will find!

I'm entertained. How about you?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Of SMA, Medical Research, and TV Programs

People are ready to move this year into the past, so many beloved people have died. However, one  excellent piece of news came out in 2016. The first drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy has been approved. It is called Spinraza and it slows the death of motor neurons. This development has created quite a buzz among those of us with neuromuscular disorders. The Muscular Dystrophy Association will be holding a webinar on Tuesday to discuss it, so will NMD United. A good number of people are ready to sign up for treatment immediately.
(Here's a video about what this drug does to fix the problem…)

While I am delighted with the news, I don't necessarily believe that it will benefit me immediately. Number one: it slows the progress of the disease. I have had it for over 50 years. There may not be much to slow. I probably only have one or two motor neurons left. From what I can tell, it doesn't regenerate any neurons. Number two: it involves needles in the spinal cord. Even if the idea didn't make my hair fall out, since I have a spinal fusion… I probably am not really eligible for treatment. Number three: while the results have been good for the test subjects, there have only been 170 test subjects.

I think I want to wait for the second-generation of treatment.

Of course, that step would come more quickly if we had a research hospital like Bunker Hill from the TV series Pure Genius. Even though that program is fiction, there is a certain amount of truth in it. One of the writers is a doctor, his life experiences led him into medicine to begin with. < > More importantly, some private research hospitals are doing extraordinary work and are bringing real results. For example, in the realm of cancer treatment, there is Huntsman Cancer Institute. Located in Utah, it was "created" by a cancer patient who knows what it takes to get well. An older example is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In a sense, it is the prototype for the TV series-it was created by an individual with money who wanted to advance medicine.

About a year ago, the Chronicle of Philanthropy had an article outlining how private medical research can move things forward when standard government medicine slows the pace. People with ideas don't necessarily do well with vast amounts of bureaucracy. People in general, other than in the political realm, don't seem to do well with bureaucracy. <  >

Now, if I had my own Bunker Hill Hospital, and the freedom to design my own experiment to try on myself (with shades of Dr. Frankenstein running rampant), here's what I would do. I would get the Spinraza injections. Then, I would 3-D print something like an exoskeleton attached to something that would take the most minute pretense of a movement and magnify it. (Kind of like how a microphone can magnify a very quiet voice…) Then, I would attach virtual reality goggles so I could see myself moving around much more broadly than my current capability.

You know, they have been doing this kind of research. Again, not many test subjects. It almost sounds too good to be true, but… I really do want it to be true. Between the medication, virtual reality, and electronics… I really would enjoy testing the theory that I might be able to develop something resembling movement.

Of course, this isn't an option at the moment. I don't have my own private research facility. I don't see any likelihood of $30 million landing in my lap anytime soon so I can develop said facility. Howard Hughes died and didn't leave me any of his funds, and I'm okay with that.

Until this is an option for me I will spend time rejoicing in what God has done and continues to do in the lives of His People. His extravagant and abundant living forgiveness is mine to have and share. There are delicate and transient beauties all around. Loving friends and family surround me. There are opportunities to reach out and care for others who are not as richly blessed as I am.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last Sunday of the Church Year

Last Sunday of the Church Year
Last Sunday of the Church Year Text: Matthew 25:1-13 Rev. Michael Daniels Zion Lutheran Church, Tomball
via YouTube