Sunday, February 10, 2008

Uh, what?

This morning's homily at church: The presiding priest spoke about patience and resisting temptation. (The gospel verses were from Matthew 4, "And he fasted forty days and forty nights.") So he's talking, talking - living today, we've all but sold our souls to impatience, we could do with a little dose of that virtue, etc., and then out of nowhere, he goes "Like stem cell research."

Hold the phone.

You want to make an analogy comparing human impatience to the progress of stem cell research?

He continued: What is to be done? . . . Alternatives: Fat tissue, adult bone marrow. We all just want this miracle cure. We need to be patient. You know, I don't even remember him mentioning the word "embryo," because I was still reeling from the shock, "Did he really just say that? What in the world is he trying to say in the first place?" And then when he mentioned alternate stem cell sources, I got really confused, because he made it sound like they weren't working. "We have more than one method of obtaining human stem cells [, but we need to patient and wait for the original method, which involves terminating human life, to prove effective.]"

I'm all for the advancement of science. Medical research? Ooh, yeah, give me more. Please, find a cure; find a solution; regenerate tissue, organs; make a change so that people don't have to endure cancer anymore. Embryonic stem cell [research] . . . mm, is there another way? I'm not for taking human life. You can no longer argue that an embryo is not alive, developing, more than a semblance of a life capable of being ended (more than dwindling life-support veggies on hospital beds). Ugh. But the research needs to be done. It could change the world. (Hey, GW authorized federal funding to get it done.) It is changing the world! How happy I was, though, when I read an article reporting the use of adult bone marrow. So much progress is being made that way.

Back to Father Whoever. After stem cell research, he brought up sexual temptation, and then he went back to gospel, and then I knew he must have just been rambling. Impatience? Temptation? Consciously fighting the two? Right, the spirit of the Lenten season. We'll just assume stem cells were on his mind and he wanted to encorporate the issue, but didn't quite connect the dots. Because impatience in the name of progress is nothing like impatience to return to a bad habit. ("You wouldn't believe how hard it was to not eat a Big Mac on Ash Wednesday. Like, once something is forbidden, it's all you can think about!") And impatience to improve the world is quite a Christian notion, really. Let's not be Machiavellian about ends and means, but let it suffice to say that someone with a mind to advance the human condition, eradicate suffering, seek progress, and love others would not need another analogy to understand forty days of abstinence, whatever the sort.


alice said...

Did you mean put a list of links on the sidebar? Go to Dashboard -> Layout -> Add page Element. And then you can add a link list and decide where you want to put it and stuff. :)
Hm, yea, I don't know what the priest is trying to get at with that stem cell thing. And while I agree it's not a very good illustration, and that "impatience in the name of progress is nothing like impatience to return to a bad habit", I don't necessarily think that the difficulty of observing Lent has anything to do with waiting to go back to your old ways. I think the priest is right in attempting to use an exampe about being impatient about progress (though perhaps stem cell research is kinda iffy), because Lent should be about trying to better yourself (learning through suffering). It's not depriving yourself from pleasures just to go back to it later, but avoiding certain pleasures in which we tend to overindulge so that we learn to simply trust in and hunger for God.

alice said...

Oh yea, and... 50 letters? Wowzers :p
I don't know how many I'd have... Gosh. I usually try not to think about it. Maybe like... five. Do celebrities count? What about strangers? Haha. Make that around ten, then.