Life Begins at Blood

I wrote a paper on this for an ethics class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School last year. I offer this as a pro-life alternative to the “life begins at conception” position.

My paper was finished in a hurry at the last minute, so I over-relied on online sources, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find that the paper contains a number of errors. Still, the basic framework for my defense of this idea is there.

This was being discussed on a friend’s Facebook page recently, so I thought I would just go ahead and make the paper publicly available. Would love to publish more formally on this subject someday, especially if I could pair with someone with more scientific training than what I have. Feedback is welcome, though I have precious little time for in-depth argument on this at the moment.

Life Begins at Blood (PDF)

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Filed under Ethics, Reproductive Rights

Of Health & Healing: Part 2 of …

(Cross-posted at ClobberBlog.)

Child’s Pose. Image from Real Beauty

The triage nurse told us to have a seat in the waiting room. I found myself scrunched into my chair in child’s pose, my head resting in my husband’s lap. I imagine there are few things more ridiculous-looking than a 6’0″ woman curled into child’s pose sobbing, but it seemed to lessen the pain ever-so-slightly, so there I was. I had reached the point of not caring about a public display of pain. My husband gently stroked my hair and whispered that it was going to be all right, but I could hear the worry in his voice.

This time, the ER docs ordered a CT scan and wrote me a prescription for narcotic painkillers: methocarbamol and hydrocodone. Those drugs may have addled my brain and made me think everything was funnier, but they definitely took my pain away and allowed me to become semi-functional again. My pain was still bad though. Throughout the weekend, I found myself counting down the hours until I could take another pill as the pain in my neck began to creep back.

The doctors also told me to make an appointment with my PCP to have my neck evaluated; however, the last PCP I had seen was 12 miles away in Mundelein, and I had only seen her once or twice, the last time being ~18 months prior, so naturally, I didn’t do this. I kind of treat doctors the same way I was (at the time) treating God: I avoid them until I desperately need something from them. I had a temporary solution to my symptoms and didn’t really care about treating the cause.

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Of Health & Healing: Part 1 of …

(Cross-posted at ClobberBlog.)

I woke up sick. Lightheaded, nauseous, my neck aching and throbbing like it needed to be popped. I almost never throw up. It’s like I have a high fortitude save, so I have to roll a 1 to throw up. In nine months of being pregnant with my daughter back in 2005-2006, it only happened once. Yet, on Saturday August 4, I threw up.

My summer had been pretty awesome up to that point. Scratch that, my entire year had been mostly awesome. I had completed 19 credits with nothing lower than a B (hey, it was Calvin—what do you want from me?), I had switched my thesis topic to something that I am zealously passionate about, I was eating healthier (thank you pescetarianism), I had kicked my dependency on caffeine, and I was learning to cook and losing weight. I had co-organized a new Mormon studies blog with the help of 24+ people much smarter and sexier than I am, and I’d had a blast at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. John Dehlin called me a “rock star” after one of my sessions, so it must be true. I seemed to have my depression and anxiety under control, and it dawned on me that I felt happier with my life than I had been in years. I didn’t remember feeling so happy since my mother was alive.

My guilty secret was that I was finding all of this wholeness and balance and happiness without God.

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Hell—Yes

John Constantine descends into Hell in Constantine (2005). © Warner Bros. Pictures.

The doctrine of Hell has come under considerable fire in recent years. [1] One need only browse the rumblings on religion-themed Internet discussion forums and Web logs to glean that the notion of a God who eternally disciplines sinful humans in the afterlife is about as popular as parents who spank their children. [2] Over a year ago, popular author and pastor Rob Bell sparked intense debate amongst evangelicals with the publication of Love Wins, a book wherein Bell speaks favorably of universalism, saying: “Whatever objections a person might have to [universalism], and there are many, one has to admit that it is fitting, proper, and Christian to long for it.” [3] Bell insists that he is not a universalist, but many within the evangelical community raised their voices in protest of this apparent attack on Hell from within our own ranks.

For my own part, I affirm the existence of Hell. I believe the Bible teaches that Hell is a real place, that it will be occupied, that those who go there experience anguish, and that assignment to Hell is permanent and based on one’s actions in this life. Furthermore, I believe that the alternatives to Hell—namely, universalism and post-mortem salvation—create more problems than they solve. A belief in the possibility of negative eternal outcomes as well as positive is the only option that validates our free will and grants meaning and purpose to our mortality.

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Going Pescetarian

My new “steak night.” Photo by aquabounty.com

Vegetarianism vs. Omnivorism: A Brief Summary

A few weeks ago, my younger sister was visiting from Seattle with her boyfriend wherein she surprised me with the announcement that she is a vegetarian now. Fried chicken wings, corn dogs, green beans with bacon cooked into them, and sloppy joes were all staples in the household where we grew up, so this struck me as a pretty big change from how we were raised. My sister was nonchalant about it. She said that the switch had not been hard at all, though she did miss seafood.

I read a good deal of omnivore vs. vegetarian arguments years ago, and it did seem to me that vegetarians had the better arguments for healthy eating. I was less attracted to arguments centered around preventing animal cruelty, not because I am in favor of excessive cruelty to animals (duh), but inasmuch as “excessive cruelty” is defined as “any act of killing animals for use in food or other animal byproducts,” I fail to see why animals are worthy of our compassion and protection when other forms of life (such as insects) are not. Personally, it strikes me as a little on the arrogant side to make calls like that. If the issue is only the inhumane treatment and deaths of animals, then one can simply buy organic meats approved by farmers’ humane societies.

Bottom line: I had vegetarian envy for health reasons, but not animal rights reasons. [1] What I lacked was the discipline to switch to a vegetarian diet. Then my sister got me re-thinking the issue.

So, why pescetarian? Continue reading

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