One evening during the mid-1970s, I was a young homemaker cleaning the kitchen in my mobile home as the television buzzed along airing Soylent Green (1973). The movie, set in 2022 in New York City, is a dystopia (a tale of futuristic nastiness). Charlton Heston plays Detective Thorn. Crime and unemployment are rampant. Apartments come with ‘furniture’ (a woman) if you think she goes with your decor. In this society, women serve no other function but providing pleasure for men. In the 1970s, women were protesting their objectified status as housewives and sexual subservients. And what is Soylent Green? The starving masses riot in the streets to get their share of it–a form of food.
That evening, the movie was background noise–a sense of company in the otherwise quiet trailer with my child sleeping and her father at work. Then Thorn began to yell. The volume came up on the background noise.
“It’s people! Soylent Green is made of people!” Continue reading “Charlton Heston, Aldous Huxley, Planned Parenthood, and Prayer”
When we think of religious freedom lately, we tend to think of the florists, bakers, and wedding planners who refuse, on religious grounds, to participate in gay weddings. But even before the Supreme Court redefined marriage, a different battle ground was forming.
To provide the homeless with food is now a crime in many cities in America.
It doesn’t take much to become homeless today. A lost job, an illness, a divorce. And it’s tough to find work today. It’s nearly impossible after you’ve lived outside for a couple days. With more people living in cars and on heating grates, programs to feed and shelter the homeless are straining to meet needs. If established programs are struggling, there will be hunger in the streets.
Many people are reluctant to hand cash to the homeless. You don’t want to help feed an addiction. That’s why my husband and I try to have gift cards on hand when we might encounter those in need. With a gift card for fast food, you really can’t do much else but get food.
There is also the argument that feeding people on the streets enables them to continue in this homeless lifestyle. Continue reading “Feeding the Homeless–A New Battleground for Religious Freedom?”
I once had a conversation with a Chinese dissident, a man who had been a leader at the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, who was arrested and imprisoned, and who later made a dramatic escape to America. In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he was a Buddhist, nominally, and that Christianity, “because there are so many kinds,” was confusing.
That is a difficult criticism to answer. There are real differences among our traditions. Take, for example, communion, confession of sins, and the role of Mary and other saints in our lives. Christians from different traditions view these issues differently. Many of us have some view of why other traditions teach what they do. Sometimes, these views are accurate; many times, what we think we know about each other’s beliefs is actually a distortion, an out of focus picture that keeps us from understanding where we might actually agree.
It’s ironic that our confusion began with actual confusion. Continue reading “Real Differences and Simple Misunderstandings”