Archive for February 8th, 2010

OK, so for the past couple of weeks, the outrage from the “pro-choice” left increased  in decibels and shrillness in anticipation of a 30-second commercial to air in the Superbowl from Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Tebow and his mother, in support of life (when she was pregnant with Tim, as a missionary overseas, she was afflicted with a condition where the medical advice was to have an abortion – instead, she carried him to term).  For example, Joy Behar on The View derided Pam Tebow’s decision, as Tim could just as easily turned out to be a “racist pedophile”.

And that was one of the nicer comments.

I have been critical of Focus on the Family in the past, and hearing that they were buying a Superbowl Spot made me cringe a little bit on the inside, just because of the ham-handed way they’ve handled political issues in the US in the past.  In this case, though, I have to tip my hat to them.  In the words of the Washington Post’s pro-choice sports columnist Sally Jenkins, to write last week:

Tebow’s 30-second ad hasn’t even run yet, but it already has provoked “The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us” to reveal something important about themselves: They aren’t actually “pro-choice” so much as they are pro-abortion.

Indeed.  FotF’s strategy of not releasing the video in advance now appears somewhat brilliant in its ripping the veneer off of much of the pro-abortion left, as their rage built with CBS over its’ willingness to air the ad.  [Which is rather revealing that a group called the National Organization for Women went nuclear over CBS airing the Tebow ad, but had no similar outrage over the aired GoDaddy commercials, which - I would think - were far more offensive to women (and men).]

So, the game is over now [I really didn't want to see either team lose, though I was hoping for overtime instead of interception to end it], and the ad has aired.  So, what was all the fuss over?  Here you go…

Be prepared to be offended:

YouTube Preview Image

Really offensive, right?  Brilliantly played, Focus. Brilliantly played, I say.

In watching this whole thing played out, it reminded me of how many times we (myself included) deride things, sight-unseen, simply because of the source or the anticipated message, only to be left with egg on our faces (and lots of “splainin’ to do” afterwards”.

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“One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” (Romans 9:19-21)

If you would, please allow me some pastoral license that I might rip this passage of Romans out of its intended context for a moment or two in order to illustrate a point. I realize it probably has very little to do with what I am about to write and share with you, but I think at this point in time I can rightfully  be accused and found guilty of worse.

The short and long of it is that I have no excuse. “Who are you, O Man, to talk back to God?”

I went to my doctor yesterday. I usually go to my doctor not because I have any particular ailment but because I want to talk, blow off some steam; make sure I’m not crazy. He listens. He offers me some pills if I ask for them. He gives me advice, like he did yesterday, that resembles anything but modern medicine: Go out for a twenty minute walk each night, take note of the position of the moon, and keep a journal of your moods in relation to the moon. OK. I’m not having menstrual irregularity, but I’ll try.

Or, he’ll say, without a hint of irony, “Well, the Chinese say…” and then, “maybe we could do some acupuncture.” If my insurance company knew this is what me and my doctor were talking about I suspect the bill would be entirely my responsibility. I think he knows me well enough to know that when I come in to see him I am not there to talk about my kidney stones or hemorrhoids or my nightmares. Strangely enough, I think he knows I am there to talk shop which, in our case, is theology; or Zen; blades of grass; grace.

So he asks how I have been and it spills out of me like the Niagara River over the edge. I tell him that since August of 2008 my life has been a train wreck. I sit there on the paper covered bench-thingy, hunched over, and my sadness pours out of me as if he were Jesus or my pastor. I sit there in the cold, barren dung-heap of an office, scratching myself with a pen cap confessing to him my pain. “124/76,” says the nurse. “Is that good?” I ask. “Yes, excellent,” she replies. “Well, that’s because I don’t carry stress in my chest, but in my abdomen.”

Kidney stones. Diarrhea. Constipation. Hemorrhoids. Cramps. Gas. I’m a walking advertisement for Pepto Bismol and Milk of Magnesia. Aleve is really nice. I can’t tell the twenty-four year old shapely brunette nurse any of this. No, I am a fine specimen of man. I stand tall and crack some jokes. She barely laughs, but is courteous nonetheless; she humors my wit. Later she will come in and clean a couple of spots on my skin that will be operated on by the doctor. So much for my bearded, manly presence: There I lay in a ripped gown, half naked, raising my boxer shorts and covering myself while this nurse preps me for surgery.

I know you don’t want to hear it, but there it is.

“Well, since August of 2008 here’s the story. My brother in law, who was thirty, died from a brain tumor…”—‘he didn’t die from it, but with it; so say the Chinese’ he interrupts—“and that set off a string of events that I haven’t been able to figure out yet.”

“My wife and I were buying our first house; after 17 years of marriage we finally could. Then Bobby died. Then the shit hit the fan at the church. In July 2009 I was fired. That quick. They called me on my last day of church camp and told me to be at meeting the next day (they had been having meetings behind my back for some time). I knew it was coming.” By now it is pouring out of me even faster. “But there was nothing I could do. They had lost confidence and blamed me for twenty some years of no growth. I shouldn’t be talking to you about this. We had just bought a house. My brother in law—what’s up with all the brain tumors going around anyhow?”—‘It depends upon who you talk to,’—“I’m sick of it!”

Silence.

But I was talking to him and he was listening. I was spilling my guts to a practitioner of Chinese medicine, who is more in tune with the Ohio State Buckeyes than with Jesus, and who was furiously typing away our conversation on his laptop even as I am now reporting my version of it on my laptop. I visit my doctor maybe once every two years. I noticed that the lobby was empty when I arrived; he knows.

He knows I won’t listen to his advice about cholesterol and that I won’t take pills. He knows that I don’t really care too much about having my prostate examined even though I am nearly 40 and should. He knows that even if I take pills it will be for a week and then I’ll throw them away.

“Maybe it was about pride,” I say. ‘It’s always about pride,’ he responds. Dammit. I was hoping it wasn’t. “Seriously, I’m working at Blockbuster Video. I spent four long years learning how to do something I am not now doing. Death. Major life changes. Career changes. Age. Am I going nuts? I studied hard to be a preacher and now I’m not. I’m working at Blockbuster, not contributing anything to the world. And let’s not even talk about how this has upset my sons. My eldest questions church, is uncertain of God. Behavior issues. All three have struggled in school since we lost our church of nearly ten years. And my wife? Am I losing it?”

‘No.’

He then goes into this long, thoughtful monologue about the Chinese and how there are no accidents and how God is in the blade of grass and acupuncture and the moon and menstrual cycles and half a dozen other things. I nod thoughtfully. “I shouldn’t be talking to you about this.” I always say that because I don’t want the doctor to think that the things I believe faith is supposed to do are not being done—you know, like giving me courage, making me holy, giving me peace—“I am not happy; I have no peace; I’m all out of balance; can’t find an even keel…”—I don’t want him to think that Jesus is a failure just because I am.

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