America's propensity to see
ourselves as God's new chosen nation has often led us to claim scripture
directed at Israel (or Judah) as promises for ourselves. While such
thinking generally makes me squirm, I can re-apply such interpretations
to see how they apply to the modern world.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Leonard Bernstein was there to celebrate with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The great chorus did not voice the familiar "Freude, Freude" ("joy, joy") but instead sang "Freiheit, Freiheit" ("freedom, freedom"). That simple, direct, unambiguous moment, however, is not the norm for thinking about freedom.
Bruce’s dog intruded on the Easter sunrise service. It had caught a bunny, of all things, and choked while attempting to eat it. This little reminder of nature red in tooth and claw marred the morning’s tranquility. The God emptying the borrowed grave in order to bring life and immortality to light seemed complicit in the routine reality of a dog-eat-bunny creation.
Compassion & Choices, a death with dignity group, recently polled a representative group of likely California voters, asking how they’d vote on a measure to give terminally ill people who are of sound mind the right to request a life-ending medication. Nearly two-thirds said they’d vote in favor of it, including 53 percent of Republicans. Ignacia Castuera, a United Methodist minister and a Compassion & Choices board member, believes baby boomers are going to want that choice when they reach the end of life. Previous death with dignity efforts in California have been defeated with the help of religious groups, including the Catholic Church. Five states now have provisions for assisted suicide or assisted dying (Los Angeles Times, September 30).