A Life Lived Together

A Life Lived Together

Candor. Truth-telling. It’s never been my way, it lets people in, and that can mean strangers in the house. Candor has never been a word in my lexicon. I’m a man who measures phone conversations in syllables. Yet, I am—so it seems—at my most eloquent when I am most honest. Truth has an elegance that can never be mimicked nor manufactured for a purpose, a story or a cause that isn’t worthwhile. If the truth is not holding it all together, the enjoyment is merely synthetic, manufactured to captivate, control, and mesmerize, but leaving no memory to cherish, no lessons to be learned, no legacy to lean on.

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My Time With Mental Illness

My Time With Mental Illness

Most Friday’s or Saturday’s (pre-pandemic) I would spend my daytime hours at a local cigar shop, reading, with perhaps a bit of writing tossed in; a weekly moments recovery. Ironically, I spent much of my days alone. I don’t work. I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, but mental illness and I can’t seem to get out of each other’s way. So, in my quiet corner, I made feeble, anemic attempts at sorting through my crowded, tired mind. But the ability to unravel from the trauma of life is just a mirage that flickers in the sun’s heat. What most people might reckon a typical day is itself the persistent connection of anguish, sensory overload, and disorientation that I contend with. That’s why when I hear people talk about learning to cope with mental illness, a macabre chuckle in the back my head reverberates. Coping is easier said than done. When you find yourself in a battle for a solid grasp of who you are amidst paranoia of differing degrees, mania and severe depression whip lashing your psyche at 180 mph before hitting the wall and various cocktails of psychotropics coursing through your veins that leave you with little sense of who you might have been before this journey into a realm of darkness and fire; coping is a myth, survival is the dream.  Because the prize in this marathon is peace, a sense self; at least that’s what is at stake for me. 

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Abortion and the Life of the Fetus

Abortion and the Life of the Fetus

On this interpretation of Exod 21:22-25, it is of particular importance for the biblical view of the nature of the fetus that the life-for-life formula is applied to the destruction of the fetus, with no qualification as to how young the fetus might be. The fetus, at any stage of development, is in the eyes of this law a living being, for life (nepes) is attributed to it. To be sure, the life-for-life formula is also used in the case of the death of animals (Lev 24:18), so that this formula by itself does not establish that the referent is a human being. But if it is the fetus of a human mother that is identified by the life-for-life formula as a living being, there can be no question that this living being is a living human being. Significantly, the part of the talion formula specifying injuries to eye and tooth and the like is not applied to animals. Only in the case of human beings do these features take on the value that merits legal redress. And surely the living fetus in view when the talion formula mentions the loss of life (v.23c) must be identified with the human child referred to in the talion formula as suffering the loss of eye or tooth (vv. 24, 25). Consistently in the relevant data of Scripture a continuum of identity is evident between the fetus and the person subsequently born. And Exod 21:22-25 makes clear that this prenatal human being is to be regarded as a separate and distinct human life.

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Only By Blood

Only By Blood

Once I heard that politics is war without bloodshed. I don’t think that holds water anymore. Because when the only means you employ to achieve victory is the sword, ideologically or otherwise, then the only thing that will ever maintain your ascendency will be by that same bloody sword. Peace. Peace is an illusion wrought by fear of retribution, retaliation, and repression. Now, none of these statements are original nor novel; nonetheless, they ring true and prescient. They are reflective of current events a time that has jettisoned decency and community for the sovereign self. The reality before us is that we are never as civilized as we believe ourselves to be. Rather, given the opportunity, the oppressed, be it in mind or body, because of reality, or delusion, will often jump at the chance to achieve “justice” by simply displacing their oppressors and celebrating through the newly embraced power to oppress. Because retribution, because slaughter and justice are often muddled, conflated to the point of confusion, violence as protest and oppression and fear as justice. Liberation and equality are not categories of the modern movements of social justice; the only requirement for victory is dominion. There is no shared power to be had anymore. The only beliefs that ring true in their hearts are reflections and variations of their own creeds and confessions. 

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