Summary: A fresh sermon aimed at helping people find direction and stay focussed on God.
A modern day tower of Babel, Genesis 11”1-9
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
November 17, 2002
My stepfather was the Bruce Mogg of my family. He was always telling stories about when he was a Kid and the trouble he used to get into. One time he told us a story about tying his brother up and leaving him in the barn, my stepfather and his brothers left the younger brother there for a few hours.
The problem with adults telling kids those stories it that kids begin to get ideas. My brother is 8 years younger than me and my sister is 4 years younger than me. I remember one day I was 13 years old and my mom and step dad had left the house. My brother was doing the things that brothers do and would not leave us alone. He was being the typical brother. He kept talking and would not be quiet. Finally my sister and I had enough.
So Desi and I decided that action had to be taken. We said hey John how would you like to play a new game? He said sure that would be great, what are we going to play? I said we are going to play a story about Joseph from the bible and his brothers. Now for those of you who know the story, This is probably not a very child friendly game. Especially if you are my youngest brother. The game consisted of us tying my brother up and placing him behind the couch.
I can still remember my parents finding him. They had been home for about half an hour and when they found him I was in big trouble. My parents were disciplinarians. They were judge, jury, prosecution and the executioner all rolled into one. Their favorite thing to do was to prolong my sentence by trying to find out my motive. I would always crack under the pressure of the interrogation room.
My parents didn’t believe in the good cop bad cop. When I was growing up both my parents really believed in the bad cop mentality. I remember My mother asking “Where on earth did you get a dumb idea like this?” There’s my step dad “Kids today are worse than they were when I was growing up” and then came the hardest question I have ever been asked at that point in my life “Why did you do that”
My answer was I don’t know I guess because I thought I could.
Isn’t that why we try to do things today? Because we think we can. I am all in favor of making the world a better place to live but there are some things that should not be done.
The question is how do we know?
In the movie Jurassic park the scientists are brought in and given a tour of the facilities.
The premise of the movie is that these scientists have been able to resurrect the dinosaurs and use their DNA to recreate them. They are so excited that they have resurrected a dead species and there is an incredible line in that movie from Jeff Goldblum he says “it appears to me that you guys were so concerned with ‘could you’ that you never considered the question of ‘should you’”
Isn’t that where we are as a people? Considering not only “can we” but “should we”.
This is an issue we face all the time. Can we clone a human being, can we build a new building, can we add staff or even more personally for some is can we be artificially inseminated. Can we marry a certain person, can we go to a certain college, and can we make it in a certain profession.
I am convinced that we need to ask both questions of the decisions we face in our lives. Not only can we accomplish the task but should we. We are facing complex issues in our society today in our personal lives and in our professional lives. In the last 100 years we have seen nuclear technology, space exploration, flight, and you could argue that all of these things are helpful but all also can also be harmful.
Today we use flight to do God’s work by placing missionaries in other countries or to take foreign aid to hungry people. Yet flight has also added a new element of war. Nuclear power is safe and clean and provides more power than 1000 oil refineries but in the wrong hands it could mean destruction and devastation.
Today we know that the medicine to cure spinal cord injuries can be found in stem cells. Unfortunately the majority of research comes from children who never had a chance to ask the “should we” question for themselves.