Friday, April 26, 2013

Reaping What is Sown

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business.  Instead of simply choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all of the young executives in his company together for a meeting.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO to run my business.  I have decided to choose one of you."  The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.  "I am going to give each one of you a single plant seed today - one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man named Jim was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story.  She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost and he planted the seed.  Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.  Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.  By now others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant or even any signs of life in his pot and he began to feel like a failure.
Six months went by and still there was nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues; however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil.  He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and the day came when the CEO called for the big meeting, and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.  Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.  But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach; it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.  He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.  They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes.  Jim simply put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed.  A few felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO.  "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"  All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.  Jim was embarrassed and terrified.  He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure!  Maybe he will even have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, so Jim told him the whole story.  The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!  His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it.  Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.  All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
   * If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
   * If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
   * If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
   * If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
   * If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
   * If you plant hard work, you will reap success
   * If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

H/T:  To my friend Paul Dubney who passed away over a year ago now.  You are missed!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Refutation of the Case for Gay "Marriage"

I had made it a point to try and restrain myself from writing on temporal matters during Lent and so of course found much in the way of temptation that just cried out for my vitally-needed input into the various debates that occurred over the course of these past forty days.  Unfortunately one of those critically important debates was focused on the topic of gay “marriage” as our Supreme Court heard arguments on this matter last week during the holiest week on the Christian calendar.  Irony abounds as we as a culture further turn away our faces from God and His will and concentrate rather on what we want as self-indulgent adults in our “enlightened and compassionate society” today.

Marriage throughout the millennia was primarily about a man and woman becoming one flesh and the raising of any children that resulted from their unitive and procreative marital embrace.  Marriage was necessary for protecting and caring for the wife and children.  Marriage was about the perpetuation of our species in the most efficient and logical manner.  With that being the case, I guess that one of the main questions of this debate is do children have a basic right to a mother and father?  I would argue that the answer is emphatically yes, and therefore I oppose the redefinition of marriage on the grounds that doing so would dramatically infringe on that basic human right of a child to have a mother and a father. 

Sociology and science reflects what common sense already tells us.  Children tend to fair far better when living with their own mother and father who are living in a committed marriage.  Most gay marriage proponents disagree.  A refreshing exception to the rule, Jean Marc, who is a mayor of a French city who has cohabitated with his male companion for twenty years agrees with me.  He said, “the LGBT movement that speaks out in the media . . . They don’t speak for me. As a society we should not be encouraging this…The rights of children trump the right to children.”

Unfortunately, many proponents do not see any harm in allowing two people in love, regardless of either’s genders, from engaging in matrimony.  After all, we are an enlightened society today.  If two men or two women love each other, why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry each other?  Indeed!  Well what happens if both my wife and I decide that we both love Susie and want her to be our second wife?  Why should we be restricted from our polygamous marriage if love is the only standard?  For that matter, I love my mother too.  Why should society deem it inappropriate or taboo for me to marry her?  Shouldn’t I be allowed to marry the one I love after all?  And what about that 15 year old down the street?  We do so much enjoy playing video games together while listening to Justin Bieber CD’s.  Why should the government tell us that it would be wrong for us to marry?  And, what about my dog?  She has been a loyal companion for the last decade, and many folks already leave their estates to pets.  This would simply extend that path to its logical destination.  Why shouldn’t we codify it one step further and just allow human/pet marriages?  Continuing, there is already an instance of a woman “marrying” herself and another woman who has “married" the Eiffel tower.  And who are we to deny them this right to marry the person(s), animal, or object of their affections and love? 

You see, if the definition of marriage is so transitory and can be redefined based on what our newly enlightened society says it is, then we must also recognize these other “non-traditional” forms of marriage as being equally valid.  Of course if the definition of marriage is no longer the union of one man and one woman, but the union of any combination of individuals, then the term no longer holds any discernible meaning. A counterfeit will always devalue the real thing, and thus counterfeit marriages will lead to “everything is acceptable” unions. There will be no legal reason with which to deny anyone from falling under the penumbra of the new definition of “marriage.”  Since love is the determining benchmark, all of these "marriages" now become permissible.

Despite what many critics will characterize and dismiss as that slippery slope argument, it would seem today that many of the proponents of “gay marriage” still insist that traditional Christian morality on the topic is antiquated and unenlightened – indeed it is even bigoted and hateful to many peoples’ way of thinking in opposing gay marriage.  Sadly, many gay marriage proponents fail to realize that I and others can love someone without embracing everything they stand for, and likewise disagreeing (even vehemently) with someone on a particular issue such as gay marriage does not mean that I necessarily abhor that person.  Indeed we are called by God to love everyone, and although I do fail at this, such is nonetheless my goal.  I have gay friends and family members whom I do love and respect.  That does not mean that I accept or condone homosexual activity or the redefining of the sacrament of marriage.  That said, I choose to hate the sin and not the sinner, as we all are guilty of sin. 

This makes me wonder further though.  Is there such a thing as absolute Truth?  And if so what is the standard for that Truth?  Still today, many people would say that absolute and transcending truth is found in God and His will.  I know I am of this particular opinion.

It is my belief that God has placed in each of our hearts the essential knowledge of His truth and love.  We generally know if we are doing good or bad accordingly and this intrinsic knowledge typically transcends geography, cultures, faith, and time.   

So why is that throughout nearly all of recorded human history has marriage always been between a man and a woman? 

Marriage between a woman and a man is definitely something that has transcended thousands and thousands of years, across nearly all cultures, across nearly all religions, and across all continents.  Indeed, the concept of “gay marriage” was so aberrant that for all of these past millennia, humankind could not even conceive of the idea of it.  This is what the Inuit tribes of the Arctic taught.  It was the custom of dynastic China and Japan.  This was the case for the Mayan people of central America and such were the rituals of most of the tribes of Africa.  It was the way of our own Native Americans.  One male and one female marriage was the cornerstone of European society for all of the past ages.  Marriage between a man and a woman are what was recorded in the sacred scriptures and traditions of the world’s greatest religions from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, to Hinduism. 

And after all these millennia of wisdom from man and the heavens, we as a people have finally become so smart and enlightened that we can reject them all.  We can now disavow all of human history as wrong and bigoted in order to redefine the term of marriage to allow for the union of same sex couples.  If all of these cultures, faiths, and traditions taught such a fundamental falsehood, then that would tend to indict them all as being false themselves.  All of the world throughout human history has been wrong, and now in the last two decades of our history we have finally evolved to know that we now have the Truth. 

But truth is not to be found simply in a majority of voters’ ballots or in a Gallup poll.  Real truth transcends time.  It is found in God.  And since the sides of history and the present are mutually exclusive in their view points on this topic, obviously both cannot be right.  Many of our progressive friends ironically decry the fact that those of us who fail to support gay marriage will ultimately end up being on the wrong side of history.  The wisdom of the millennia of past history screams out to be heard and is ignored by such people accordingly.  And while history does teach us what is right in this case, shouldn’t we be more concerned with being on the right side of Truth?

If we are to legalize marriage between same sex couples, does this not enshrine into law and teach our children that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and ultimately irrelevant?  Doesn’t it say that there are no significant differences between the genders?

Regardless of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court a few months from now, I think it is sadly likely that “gay marriage” will eventually become the new norm of the land.  It would seem that we are indeed continuing to slouch towards Gomorrah in our new enlightened society.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone when interviewed on the topic of gay marriage last year stated, “Everyone should be treated equally, but it is not discrimination to treat differently things that are different. Marriage really is unique for a reason.”

Simply identifying what is “right” with the will of the majority is a dangerous thing.  At one time in America’s history, a majority in the South thought that owning slaves was right.  Indeed a majority of the crowd on that first Good Friday called for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Christ. A majority does not necessarily lend itself as a credible moral authority.  As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “there is a world of difference between an authority on which you rely when it pleases you, and one which you trust absolutely whether it pleases you or not; for what the world needs is a voice that is right not when the world is right, but right when the world is wrong.” 

I hope and pray that the Supreme Court will concur with the wisdom of all of human history and God, but whether it does or not, the Truth about what constitutes true marriage will not be altered.