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MANY MEN OF SCIENCE, TOO FEW MEN OF GOD
In 1948, at an Armistice Celebration, (Armistice was the declaration of peace at the end of World War I) it was declared on November 11 at 11.00 am. So 11, 11 at 11. They did that symbolically because they felt that they were at the eleventh hour. They actually felt if the war continued, the whole world would be destroyed by it. Over 20 million people were killed in World War I. It was the bloodiest, most destructive war in history up until that time. So they declared an Armistice. Even till today some celebrate that.
Omar Bradley, one of the Generals in World War II went to World War I and he remembered it as a young man. He served in the army in the US, became a General. He actually led one of the largest armies in history during World War II. He spoke at an Armistice Day in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948. He said,
"With the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has clearly outstripped our capacity to control it. We have many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
This is our twentieth century's claim to distinction and to progress."
In the middle of 20th century, he makes this commentary and I think that history has borne his testimony to be true. After he made this speech, we had the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the whole group of other wars in the world. We do not know how to make peace.
If we are going to move into the twenty first century in confidence, if we want to give hope to our children and next generation, it must come through our commitment to our being in Christ and seeing character developed in ourselves, so that His light can shine in this very dark world.
I HEARD OF YOUNG MOTHER WHO WENT DOWN TO THE NURSERY AT A HOSPITAL AND FOUND HER YOUNG HUSBAND PEERING DOWN AT HIS NEWBORN BABY WHO WAS ASLEEP. THE MOTHER COULD TELL HE WAS CAPTIVATED BY THE SCENE AS HE STOOD THERE LOOKING AT THE SLEEPING INFANT. SHE WAS SO TOUCHED THAT FINALLY SHE TIPTOED UP BEHIND HIM AND SLIPPED HER ARM THROUGH HIS AND SAID, "HONEY, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?" HE SAID, "I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY’RE ABLE TO MAKE A CRIB LIKE THIS FOR $89.95." FOR THE MOST PART FATHER’S ARE NOT AS SENTIMENTAL.
The Encarta Encyclopedia defines aging as the “irreversible biological changes that occur in all living things with the passage of time, eventually resulting in death.”
In developed nations, life expectancy has increased more in the 20th century than it has in all of recorded history. A person born in the United States in 1995 can expect to live more than 35 years longer than a person born in 1900. Today more than 34 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for about 13 percent of the population. By the year 2030, their numbers will more than double: One in every five Americans will be over age 65. A person who lives 100 years or more—a centenarian—was once a rarity, but today about 60,000 Americans are 100 years or older. By the year 2060, there may be as many as 2.5 million centenarians in the United States. The number of supercentenarians—people 105 years of age and older—will probably be as commonplace in the next century as centenarians are fast becoming now.
In some parts of the world, 16 to 18 percent of the population is already age 65 or older. By the year 2025, Japan is expected to have twice as many old people as children. Also by that time, there will be more than one billion older people worldwide. This increase in life expectancy is the result of better public health measures, improvements in living conditions, and advances in medical care. A marked reduction in infant mortality rates has also contributed to increased life expectancy statistics.
THE EVOLUTION OF MOTHERS
Being a parent changes everything. But being a parent also changes with each baby. Here are some of the ways having a second and third child is different from having the first.
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your doctor
confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
Preparing for the Birth
1st baby: You practice your breathing
2nd baby: You donít bother practicing because you remember that last
time, breathing didnít do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th
1st baby: You pre-wash your newbornís clothes, color-coordinate them,
and fold them neatly in the babyís little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes
are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, canít they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick
up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the babyís bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
1st baby: You change your babyís diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to
complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
JILL STANEK IS A 44 YEAR OLD NURSE WHO WORKED FOR SEVERAL YEARS AT THE CHRIST HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER IN OAK LAWN, ILLINOIS, A CHICAGO SUBURB. SHE CHOSE THIS HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF ITS CHRISTIAN NAME, HOPING THAT SHE WOULDN’T HAVE TO FACE SOME OF THE ETHICAL DILEMMAS REGARDING ABORTION THAT SHE MIGHT HAVE TO FACE AT ANOTHER HOSPITAL. SHE SOON LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL, IN SPITE OF NOT HAVING A POLICY THAT REGULATED ABORTIONS, HAD BEEN DOING THEM SINCE 1978. JILL LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL FAVORED A NONSURGICAL METHOD OF ABORTION THAT USED A DRUG CALLED CYTOTEC TO INDUCE PREMATURE LABOR. THE BABIES DELIVERED ARE QUITE SMALL BUT FULLY FORMED. SOME OF THE BABIES, THOUGH PREMATURE AND SMALL, ARE BORN ALIVE. ONE BUSY NIGHT AT THE HOSPITAL JILL RAN INTO A NURSE WHO WAS ON HER WAY TO A SOILED UTILITY ROOM TO DROP OFF AN ABORTED-BUT-STILL-LIVING DOWN SYNDROME BABY. THE NURSE WAS TOO BUSY WITH OTHER PATIENTS TO HOLD THE BABY UNTIL IT DIED. JILL TOOK THE BABY AND HELD IT UNTIL IT DIED 45 MINUTES LATER. ANOTHER LIVING INFANT WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON A SCALE UNTIL IT DIED. ANOTHER WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON THE EDGE OF A SINK. JILL STANEK WAS PARTICULARLY STRUCK BY THE HOSPITAL’S INCONSISTENCY. THEIR MISSION STATEMENT WAS “THE MISSION OF ADVOCATE HEALTHCARE IS TO SERVE THE HEALTH NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES THROUGH WHOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY ROOTED IN OUR FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN BEINGS AS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.” JILL STANEK, THROUGH VARIOUS AVENUES, BEGAN TO CONFRONT THE SITUATION AND WHILE THE HOSPITAL STILL DOES ABORTIONS, THE CASE HAS BEEN DEBATED IN THE U.S. SENATE. ALSO, REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES CANADY FROM FLORIDA SPONSORED HR 4292, “THE BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT OF 2000.” THE BILL PASSED 22-1 OUT OF SUBCOMMITTEE, BUT HAS NOT YET BECOME LAW.
A. Todd Coget
["Mr. Holland’s Opus": Leaving a Legacy, Citation: Mr. Holland’s Opus, (Hollywood Pictures, 1995), rated PG, written by Patrick Sheane Duncan, directed by Stephen Herek; submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois]
Mr. Holland’s Opus is a movie about a frustrated composer in Portland, Oregon, who takes a job as a high school band teacher in the 1960s.
Although diverted from his lifelong goal of achieving critical fame as a classical musician, Glenn Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss) believes his school job is only temporary.
At first he maintains his determination to write an opus or a concerto by composing at his piano after putting in a full day with his students.
But, as family demands increase (including discovery that his infant son is deaf) and the pressures of his job multiply, Mr. Holland recognizes that his dream of leaving a lasting musical legacy is merely a dream.
At the end of the movie we find an aged Mr. Holland fighting in vain to keep his job.
The board has decided to reduce the operating budget by cutting the music and drama program.
No longer a reluctant band teacher, Mr. Holland believes in what he does and passionately defends the role of the arts in public education.
What began as a career detour became a 35-year mission, pouring his heart into the lives of young people.
Mr. Holland returns to his classroom to retrieve his belongings a few days after school has let out for summer vacation.
He has taught his final class.
With regret and sorrow, he fills a box with artifacts that represent the tools of his trade and memories of many meaningful classes.
His wife and son arrive to give him a hand.
As they leave the room and walk down the hall, Mr. Holland hears some noise in the auditorium.
Because school is out, he opens the door to see what the commotion is.
To his amazement he sees a capacity audience of former students and teaching colleagues and a banner that reads "Goodbye, Mr. Holland."
Those in attendance greet Mr. Holland with a standing ovation while a band (consisting of past and present members) plays songs they learned at his hand.
His wife, who was in on the surprise reception, approaches the podium and makes small talk until the master of ceremonies, the governor of Oregon, arrives.
The governor is none other than a student Mr. Holland helped to believe in herself his first year of teaching.
As she addresses the room of well-wishers, she speaks for the hundreds who fill the auditorium:
"Mr. Holland had a profound influence in my life (on a lot of lives, I know), and yet I get the feeling that he considers a great part of his life misspent.
Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his, and this was going to make him famous and rich (probably both).
But Mr. Holland isn’t rich and he isn’t famous.
At least not outside our little town.
So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure, but he’d be wrong.
Because I think he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame."
Looking at her former teacher the governor gestures with a sweeping hand and continues, "Look around you.
There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each one of us is a better person because of you.
We are your symphony, Mr. Holland.
We are the melodies and the notes of your opus.
And we are the music of your life."
One night a wife found her husband standing over their infantís crib. As she watched him looking down at their very first baby, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: Ödisbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.
Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband. "A penny for your thoughts," she said.
"Itís amazing!" he replied. "I just canít see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."
Dr. Frederic Loomis faced the most difficult decision a physician could ever make--whether to allow a deformed baby to live or die. He had only seconds to decide. Dr. Loomis had delivered hundreds of babies, but this one was different. The infant lay in a breech position, promising at best a difficult and dangerous birth. One of its feet stretched only to the knee of the other leg. Furthermore, it was missing a thigh. The mother, a frail person visiting the sterile delivery room for her first time, was not aware of the grossly deformed child struggling to survive.
Dr. Loomis closed his eyes; at his fingertips squirmed a pitiful creature yet unborn. Would not the most loving thing be to detain the birth long enough to cause the child to be stillborn? He agonized within himself. Will this kid not be considered a freak, a twisted burden to its delicate mother? How can I justify playing a part in such a cruel drama? Surely no one will ever know if I spare this family from inevitable pain. The doctor, through the babyís cord, felt its heartbeat--dancing in rhythm to his own wildly racing heart. As Dr. Loomis continued to prevent the birth, he felt the normal foot pressing for passage into the world. Suddenly, he could no longer justify "playing God." Instead, he would trust God to care for this child against what seemed to be impossible odds. Dr. Loomis delivered the infant into the world, which, he sensed, would be very unkind.
In the years that followed. Dr. Loomis often second-guessed his decision. He watched the anguish of the family as desperate parents sought in vain to find some correction for their childís deformity. Even after they moved away Dr. Loomis continued to lament the burden that he had saddled upon the family. The heartache, he often said to himself, was his fault.
In time, however, Dr. Loomis would find peace. It came at an unexpected time and place--the hospital Christmas party. Typically, it was during the holiday season when his pain seemed most severe. He could not shake the image of that unfortunate child from his mind. While the world celebrated the greatest birth ever known, Dr. Loomis obsessed over the saddest birth he had ever known.
At this particular party, the most heavenly music filled the room. The sadness seemed to dissipate as the rich tones of "Silent Night" washed Dr. Loomisí anguished spirit. Following the concert, a woman approached him. "Doctor," she said excitedly. "You saw her."
Dr. Loomis studied the womanís face, wanting to recognize her but unable to recall the memory. "Iím sorry. I should know you, but you may need to help me."
"Donít you remember the little girl with only one good leg, 17 years ago?"
Remember. . . it was ...
During the long war years a boy looked frequently at a picture of his daddy on the table. His father had left for Europe when the boy was a young infant. After several years the boy had forgotten him as a person but he would often look at the picture and say, "If only my father could step out of that picture and be real...."
Many years ago I went to see a theatrical production called Cotton Patch Gospel, a musical about the life of Jesus with an Appalachian, country-western twist. It was based on Clarence Jordanís paraphrase of the New Testament, by the same name. It tries to tell the story of Jesus as if he has been born in Georgia in the 1950ís. The lyrics and music were written and composed by the late Harry Chapin. I wish I could play one of the songs for you, for it is both gripping and haunting.
It begins with Herodís men singing:
All through the ages, the wise men and sages,
have said there are dirty deeds that simply must be done.
To keep society going, and the benefits flowing,
thereís the simple necessity of hurting someone.
It means strength and agility, taking responsibility,
itís the core of what leadershipís really about.
When the red blood starts coming, just think of it as plumbing, if youíve got a problem you must flush it out.
Then the narrator comes in and tells this story: Herod had seen to it that on Sunday morning a bomb got tossed into the nursery of a church where Jesus was supposed to be. Fortunately, Joe had taken Jesus to Mexico, so the plan failed to get him. But the explosion did kill 14 innocent infants and toddlers. It was a horrible sight that morning. The doctor couldnít even convince one mother that her child was dead. And then the mother sings her song:
Rock a by sweet baby, Mama is here
Hush a by sweet angel, thereís nothing to fear
Close your eyes sweet darling, all through the night
Mama will hold you safe Ďtil the morning light.