Curses Foiled

November 3, 2016 § 2 Comments

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Many Chicago Cubs fans would say a curse was lifted late last night when their team won the World Series for the first time since 1908. The “Curse of the Billy Goat”(1) dates back to the 1945 World Series, when the Cubs were in game four leading the Detroit Tigers two games to one. William Sianis, owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern, tried to bring his pet goat to the game (he had two tickets). Wrigley Field told William his stinky goat was not welcome, and William pronounces the curse: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” The Cubs went on to lose that game and the series, never to see another post-season victory. Until last night, at 11:47pm Iowa time, with game 7 against the Cleveland Indians going into extra innings, when a Cubs victory broke the curse(2).

This was a welcome ending to our November 2nd, 2016, a day that began with news of the ambush-style murder of two Des Moines-area police officers(3) shortly after 1:00am. We’ve been lamenting the news of cops getting killed all over the nation, and yesterday it hit home. It was a day of mourning, of bringing flowers and other notes of appreciation to local police stations, of hugs and tears at two flower-covered street corners, of blue stripes and lights appearing on cars and houses across the city, of churches(4) like ours canceling normal Wednesday services and opening their doors for a hurting community to come and pray.

Thankfully, the alleged shooter was caught and neighbors came together to support one another, but the evil behind the killing of Des Moines Police Sgt. Tony Beminio and Urbandale Officer Justin Martin is a reflection of another curse. Genesis 3 tells us about the curse over creation brought on by sin at the dawn of creation. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)

I don’t want a comparison of the curse of sin to the “Curse of the Billy Goat” to make light of those fallen officers. A World Series win can’t bring them back. But maybe the Cubs’ day-ending and curse-ending victory could serve to remind us of the hope we have in Christ and God’s promises to us. Sin is the most serious business there is, and the evil and suffering brought by Adam’s sin in the beginning is part of a curse which will one day meet an end. The suffering of Christ for the sin that cursed creation will in the end heal it and renew it. “And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” (Revelation 21:5).

The truth of God’s Word bookends history; the tragedy that began the day of mankind will be made right by day’s end. In the midst of a broken and groaning world, we are “more than victorious” (Romans 8:37) with our trust placed in Jesus Christ, the one who has already proclaimed victory over sin and death. That’s a promise worth celebrating now.

1) billygoattavern.com/legend/curse
2) nbcnews.com/…/chicago-cubs-bury-curse-first-world-series-title-108-years-n677091
3) cnn.com/…16/11/02/us/iowa-police-shooting
4) whotv.com/…/community-showing-support-for-police-in-variety-of-ways

Psychopathy or Sin: What Caused the Sandy Hook Shooting?

December 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

This is a discussion under a Facebook post calling for a focus on mental health reform following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th, where 27 people, 20 of them children, died at the hands of a lone gunman. The comments reflect different ideas on the root of the problem of such heinous crimes.

David

Let’s get down to it people. This country needs renewed focus on mental health. There is a serious problem here that won’t be solved by wishing, giving or taking. This heinous crime was committed by a psychopath.

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Mary

Agreed.

Tracey

That’s true. Try to stop it at its source.

Brent

They’re closing all the mental health institutions due to budget constraints. This is what we get?

David

Maybe so, but it is greater than that. It starts at home. Greater consequences for a start. There is a world of knowledge available, and the signs of psychopathic behavior are freely listed and available to know, and act upon.

Mike (me)

Does heinous crime come from being mentally ill, or do we decide he is mentally because he committed such a heinous crime?

David

I have to be honest, I don’t think there is a solution to this. Psychopaths exist. They do not empathize normally. They blend within our society, and are adept at manipulation so they may escape detection even within the aid of mental health professionals.

Modern science and psychiatry needs to be enlisted to determine what makes them take the move from desire or thought to planning and action.

But… That won’t happen. A sufficient enough part of the population has already made this their political rallying cry, or blamed the cause on a supernatural evil, or just can’t look because it hurts.

Mike, the nature of the crime… He killed his parents, then children at where his mother works in a premeditated manner, leads on to believe he lacks basic human empathy and has penchant for violence against the most defenseless.

I don’t see how it could be said any other way than a mentally ill psychopathic person acted upon that illness or the effects of that illness to commit the acts he did.

Mike

I agree that we won’t get to a solution the way we’re going, refusing to recognize evil for what it is: simply evil.

What is the threshold someone like this (whose name I’ve intentionally forgotten to rob him of any more fame) crosses that makes him the victim of a sickness rather than an instigator of evil to a high degree? Were the 9/11 bombers all merely sick? As you said, the act was premeditated. This crime was calculated and planned by a clear and morally responsible mind. A mindless drone acting on the effects of a clinical condition couldn’t have pulled it off. It’s so evil, we would rather think there is some cause we could isolate and treat with psychotherapy or a pill.

I don’t think there is healthy thought and desire behind a barrier of unhealthy planning and action. Each flows into the next.

We can’t blame his upbringing, or economics, or dismiss sin as a sickness we don’t carry responsibility for. If sin is a sickness, it’s self-inflicted.

David

I believe we will be learning more about this in upcoming days and weeks.

I am sure it will become clearer what made him a monster.

Edwin

Exactly Mike. No one in today’s society can simplify it to that. There are some people who are just evil End of story. No doctor or social worker is going to help. The only thing we can do is protect our selves and our loved ones and get to know the people around us. Start talking to people again instead of texting and e-mailing. Start getting to know your neighbors and report the out of the ordinary…Stop avoiding and being politically correct.

Ryan

I am with both David and Mike on this one. I think mental illness IS real, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to the extreme, horrifying ends witnessed yesterday; in fact, mental illness generally decays its victims slowly and often with little outside observation or, God forbid, acknowledgement from people affected by it themselves. It is a tragic disease that needs more, not less, attention in our society. That said, evil (and grace, and we often forget that) indeed exists in the world as well. That acts of evil is a manifest of sin itself, and I believe both extreme mental illness and evil were married together in yesterday’s news. Also think Edwin’s right…regardless of belief, we ALL need to know our neighbor’s better. Put the Smartphone down, and go next door to say “hello”…

Mike

Yes, this guy’s story will unfold in the days to come I’m sure, a story that began in Genesis 3. I think the corrupting effects of sin in the world are far reaching (Romans 5 and 8:22), that “creation groans”, even in the form of very real mental illness. But truly, we’re all messed up and need a Savior from what we saw yesterday.

Great thoughts. For me, the love for neighbor starts with the reality of sin and and its effects. But we’d all be better off to get in touch with people. Will be spending some quality time with my wife and son today, perhaps more than usual given yesterday’s events.

David

This society inspires crazy. Religion and belief can and do contribute to this, as well as the zeitgeist, and the simple fact that man is on the top of the food chain. We just make more of us us as it is to other animals.

The prisons are not filled with athiests.

We need to look at how we do things differently than other societies that are not subject to the same ills to find out what we have done to ourselves.

There is no supernatural element here, nor need for one to explain this, nor evidence that a supernatural element would have prevented this.

Again… Our overcrowded prison system is not full of athiests. Shouldn’t it be? Why not? Where is all the “evil” coming from? The answers I have heard are all a bit too contrived, and convenient.

Mike

Prisons are filled with people who do evil. Prisons are not filled with atheists simply because you don’t need to be an atheist to do evil. Evil doesn’t come from atheism, it comes from being human. Humans are created in the image of a moral law-giving God (Gen. 1:27), and we know good and evil innately (Rom. 2:15). We’re all made with a free will that can choose evil (Gen. 3).

Evil is universally recognizable. What person, atheist or not, will deny this murder spree was just plain evil, without putting it in “quotes”? Evil is an objective reality that is the absence of good (another objective reality). We all live as if moral good and evil are objective reality, atheist or not.

Nature obviously can’t explain the existence of evil. If the moral law that says the unprovoked slaughter of innocent children is wrong was conceived by people, we ought to find an abundance of people who think that such a thing is morally good, and that’s unheard of. Such a crime would be viewed as a crime regardless of who did it, where, or when it was done. The obvious alternative then is super (outside of) natural. God’s transcendent moral law is what we are all made to regard.

I’m not sure where you would find “societies that are not subject to the same ills”… Less crime, perhaps, but no one lives in a sinless country where the same type of tragedy couldn’t happen. Sin is the common denominator. I can’t prove the Biblical God as the source of objective morality—no more than the atheist can show evolution or something else as a source—it must be accepted on faith. But when God-given morality is accepted, it makes perfect sense of good and evil, whereas the alternatives don’t.

David, changing the topic to avoid the issue 

I am totally 100% cool with anything anyone believes that does no harm.

What I am not cool with is getting battered with bible verses, or an acceptance of a “truth” without evidence, a hijacking of a culture based upon cult of personality. I also have no interest in changing the beliefs of others. Keep it away from me, and especially from my child.

Find your path and follow it, preferably respectfully. I am on my path.

Mike

Well, there’s the dismissal I was anticipating. If I quote no scripture save a few references, yet you feel “battered with Bible verses”, it may just be that you feel a bit threatened by the truth projected. Just a theory. 😉

Truly I mean no disrespect and certainly no harm, but I’m willing to sign off here to avoid giving that impression. Just know that we’re kidding ourselves if we say we have no hopes of changing anyone else’s view about good and evil and what is true (in fact your posts do the same).

David

Mike, we all have a threshold for annoyance, ad-infinitum twisted repetitive arguments. You are confusing it with feeling threatened. We not in the flock get bombarded with this every day… on the internet, at work, from family. I am sure you just feel great when you hear about Scientology, or Mormons, or whatever that comes around you that you don’t believe in.

I don’t care what people see or view. I prefer to gather with like minds and to observe those who think differently. If I want a bible verse, I will find a bible and read it. But, actually reading it got me where I am today, with the help of some of that good ole repetitive annoyance I wrote about above.

You keep doing you, Mike… but you either do not know where the threshold is, or don’t care. Can’t swing at someone and follow with “just kidding”… so, I think you did mean to disrespect.

So, congrats. I am amazingly hard to insult these days… but you persevered.

Mike

Thankfully, man is not the sum of his ideas. The call to love and respect people God created doesn’t apply to the ideas they may come by, which whenever presented are always open for scrutiny, challenge, and reasoned debate, and they will stand or fall by the same.

Non ad hominem. David I love and respect.

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