Saturday, January 18, 2003

Alice Sebold's HeavenI am now about 80% done with "The Lovely Bones" -- don't tell me how it ends! I am fascinated by the way that Heaven is portrayed in this NYT best-seller. The notion that each person has their "own" Heaven which intersects with other people's Heavens at times and is separate at times really intrigues me. We of course have no idea what the afterlife is like . . . except that I am certain that is above and beyond what we can comprehend. Sebold's version of the afterlife is though-provoking and intriguing. And even though it may all fall apart at the end, this far through it is a compelling read.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

That Cloning Thing

Let's forget for a minute that they are UFO culstists. That has been in the lead paragaph of every story that has appeared, and does make the story a little lighter than it otherwise would be. But let's get past the sideshow and address the guts of the issue.Can a human clone actually be . . . what is the word? "manufactured?" "created?" We are even unsure about the right terminology to use. But for those of us with a view of the world that extends beyond the physical, the issue of the soul arises. If as some believe, life begins at conception, when does life begin if their is no conception? We believe that a baby, fully gestated and born, has a soul. But does a clone? Is this the modern Golom -- physical form, but no soul? If not, then when does that soul arrive in the body? There is a reason they call this "playing God."

Friday, January 03, 2003

The Salvation Army and the Gift

The Salvation Army is back in the news, and this time it is not for the red kettles. A fiercely conservative and evangelical group, the Army recently passed on a $100,000 donation because the donor was giving from his $14 million lottery jackpot. The Army rejected the contribution on the basis that many of the homeless they serve are that way because of gambling, and did not want to accept "dirty money."

Ignoring the differences between bookies and a state governemnt, I admire the spirit of the Army in wanting to be pure. But in this fallen world of the 21st Century, isn't most of life a gamble? Can they accept the profits of someone who successfully starts a new business? Isn't that gambling? Or can they accept the profits of someone who invested in new stock market company years ago? Isn't that gambling? I am all in favor of purity and holiness, but I question whether they are being defined properly in this instance.