He was bruised for our iniquity. A spear plunged into His side pierced His heart, releasing water and blood, and confirming His death. And yet, hundreds of witnesses saw Him for forty days after He rose again. What a great God!
It's this side, this scarred side, that He offers to all of us who will come. He's all about invitation, sacrifice, and redemption. I remember reading a book review where the reviewer was praising the author for presenting his troubled life without any hint of redemption. Having read not that book but another one that presented a troubled life with no redemption (Apples and Oranges was the title), I'd rather not be depressed again, thank you very much. I'd rather read a book that is one story of redemption right after another. I'd rather meet a God who tells the first couple (and the first couple of sinners) not only the effects of their sin, but also the plan of redemption He's going to bring to redemption. That's the kind of God I want to serve.
Last week I was going through titles of movies finding material to watch and discuss with my Bible study group. Boy, was that fun. Still, it was sobering. At one point as I looked through the titles I had accumulated, I really started realizing how Christ calls us to come and join Him, in joy and in suffering. Some of the heroes/heroines were Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, Sophie Scholl in the movie by the same name, and countless Christians in Obsession, about Islam. These are my heroes. But look at what they went through! But look at what their Master went through! I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I wouldn't want to be on any other side except the one they're on: the scarred side of Jesus the Christ.
Last night I caught up on my YouTube studies (:-) by watching some classic Ann Coulter. Two interviews (if you could call them that!) stood out to me. The first was a group attackfest back on January 12 of this year. Ann was on a show called "The View" which featured such forgettables as Whoopi, Barbara Wawa, and a couple other younger women I'd never heard of. Since I'd never watched the show, I thought I better watch the footage of before Ann appeared. I'd never heard so much blather in my life. The women sat around a table gossiping about various actors and actresses, and gave callouts to them, assuming that their show was as important to the actors' lives as the actors' lives were as important to their show. Two or three of them, Whoopi and Wawa included, performed a strange gesture when they talked about an actor in the hospital. As they talked about thinking of him, they put their two hands together and brought them down. At first I thought, "Are they trying to bring up prayer without using the word?" But then I saw the utility of such a gesture. They never verbally explain what it means, so it's "create your own meaning." It could as easily be Buddhist as Christian. It's delightful -- to syncretists.
But the gooey sweetness and forced airs rapidly gave way to the true women underneath. As soon as Ann Coulter became the topic of discussion, the sap ran wild. Barbara Wawa read a passage aloud, spitting out the words. It was obvious that she was showing her audience what Their View should be on this person. Ann had written about the number of famous "half" black/"half" white people who had rejected the white mothers that raised them, and instead praised the black father that had abandoned them. The erudite members of The View decided that Ann had no way of understanding the situtation because she was a blonde.
Ann was invited out to join them, and to say that the fur flew would be a gross understatement. I've always known that girlie fights can be more insiduous and vicious than guy fights, and here was ample evidence. I think the two things that made this fight most appalling was that a gang of six were attacking one, and throughout the interchange the six let all their ickiness shine through, but if Ann so much as called attention to the fact that they were not allowing her to speak, she was attacked all the more.
They took issue with Ann's analysis of (unmarried) single motherhood. (Ann clearly distinguishes between unwed mothers on the one hand, and widows and divorcees on the other). Ann said that she was simply presenting numbers: 80% of criminals in prison are children of single mothers. She describes single mothers as giving their child the worst lottery ticket in the world, and when a woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she advises them to marry the father or to give their child the best lottery ticket in the world: adoption. Ann described the tripling rate of single motherhood as a success that the Left had engineered to attack the nuclear family.
You can imagine the histrionics that this clearheaded onslaught on satanic propaganda produced. One woman, visibly distressed and running her hands through her hair, conceded that Ann had some nuggets of truth in what she said, but accused Ann of having no compassion. Are you part of the solution; are you talking to potential single mothers? She demanded. Are you telling them about birth control? Ann calmly responded that yes, she is part of the solution, but it's important to recognize what glorifying single motherhood is doing. It's perpetuating the problem. Whoopi had no idea how to combat Ann in the world of ideas, so she blandly stated (without citing anything) that the numbers Ann presented have been disproved time and time again. She then asked the irrelevant question, Do you have children? Are you married? On both counts Ann smiled and said, No, but it doesn't make the difference in the facts I present. Later Wawa tried to muster a sweet voice and explain to Ann that some women want to have children, even if they're not married. These women are able to provide for their children. (Notice that Wawa cannot combat the statistics Ann presented, either. Instead of acknowleding the unavoidable point, she chooses to defend the fact that not every child of an unwed mother will go to prison. Ann never said they would: she simply talked about the increased odds that they would). She then asked her equally irrelevant question, Do you want children? The sympathies of the audience became apparent as they erupted in applause.
As the conversation switched back to "half" black/"half" white children, it became increasingly embarrassing to see Whoopi, Wawa, and company struggle to produce even basic repartee, let alone cohesive arguments. With six to one, their strategy finally dissolved into angrily talking over Ann, oddly reminiscent of the scence in the final Prisoner series where a cloud of shrouded maskees drown out the Prisoner's attempts to speak to them.
When Ann's statements about Obama proved more than Wawa could bear, she decided to turn the topic to something she stated was more current -- Ann's description of a president who died decades ago. Way to go, Wawa. Couldn't you have at least admitted that you couldn't stand the fact that Ann was discussing actually current events with so much candor? So Wawa went back to Ann's book. Ann asked her to read it like she might read Mein Kamf, as she did before. Wawa looked pained, but one of her apologists told Ann how much offense she took at this comment. When Wawa read again, it was in a tone so modulated and mild that Ann told her she could do the audio book. She read a passage where Ann addresses the misconception of JFK's reign as being comparable to Camelot by pointing out that the media never got around to talking about JFK's venereal disease or drug addictions. It seemed to me that Wawa was trying to take an example that multiple Republicans and Democrats might be expected to agree on: that JFK was awesome. In showing Ann's view of JFK, Wawa might have hoped to alienate Ann from as many people as possible in a short amount of time.
Some of what this interchange taught me is that when people cannot respond to your arguments, they'll just try to drown you out. Also, appearance becomes a huge issue, and some will truly believe that unless you're black you can't comment on anything about blacks. Finally, know your stats, but don't expect liberals to listen to them.
The second interview was one with Katie Couric. In it, Katie tries the same shtick that failed Wawa so decidedly: the "I'm sweet little ol' me, talking to a hellhound." Katie used the same tactic multiple times: she would bring up a quote of Ann's, give her own description of why it was wrong, give Ann a few seconds to reply, give her own ending comment and without taking a breath say that we can't settle this today and move on to the next topic. It was a forced "I must have the last word." I've experienced this with various people in various "discussions" I've had, but it's much easier to see what's going on when you're the observer, and not the person being attacked. In forcibly claiming the last word and breathlessly saying that there's no point in discussing a topic any more, the person is strangling discussion. They're afraid of further discussion, so they're cutting off the topic's air supply while their point is still floating. It's an extremely cowardly tactic.
Ann had some good reminders. A favorite tactic of liberals is to completely disregard a conservative's ideas, and instead try to find "the one quote" that can make a person look like a freak, and then dismiss them. The goal here is to find any conceivable reason to write a person off, and rationalize your rejection of a person.
Couric was a living example of this. She also demonstrated the same regrettable tendency to study an individual data point (a single quote from Ann's book) while intentionally ignoring the trend from which she abstracted the data point.
Seeing Couric's interaction with Ann reminded me incredibly of conversations I'd had in a past campus group. I don't think that Couric claims to be a Christian, but a gal who used the same tactics as Couric did. Thinking of it now, a passage apt to this group is: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people... I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil." (Romans 14:17-19)
Seeing Ann surrounded by harpies possessed by the desire to conquer her reminds "our struggle is not against flesh and blood." I honestly believe that those six women didn't understand their own furor to best her. As Ann spoke truth, the cockroaches of falsehood (I mean sinful ideas, not individual people) scurried to hide from the light or pull the plug. In trying to live a doctrine of false compassion (let's glorify unwed singelmotherhood!), these women had turned their back on true compassion (let's think about what's best for this woman and her child). There is thesis, and there is antithesis. Either unwed single motherhood is good for the vast majority of children or it's not. The six on the view disagreed with Coulter on this, and they couldn't both be right. All the tripe about tolerance and non-judgementalism went spiraling down the drain, and they tried with all their might to attack Ann. I see this as the closest I might ever get to seeing the spiritual battle happening around me. The camp given over to satanic ideas may seem calm enough, as long as no one challenges them. But when someone given over to Godly ideas dares to speak truth in their presence, the demons start swarming. Hate can be covered over in gooey sweetness, but it's still just sugar-coated. The bitter rage cannot be hidden forever, and possibly not for even thirty seconds.
God bless those who are bold enough to proclaim His truth, even when they are encircled by howling banshees. God's side: I wouldn't want to be by any other.