Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

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The “Savage” Irony of Charles Darwin

Savages.  Can we use the word?  Absolutely not! says polite society … unless of course you are speaking evolutionarily.  Then it is just fine.  Merely a term of science, so to speak.

Many people will still try to blame genocide and racism on faith communities (especially Christians), but it is not they who believe in savages.  It is an evolutionary term that has led to discrimination, wanton blood-letting, racial stereotyping and various forms of eugenics for over 150 years now.  If we are evolved from lower forms after all, then those who are of those lower forms, or still exhibit such features are surely not as fit for survival as we, are they?  So why feel bad about it?  Call a savage a savage and have done with it.

It was the opinion of Mr. Darwin himself.  Consider his learned position regarding the Fuegians he met on his travels aboard the Beagle.

“For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey … or from that old baboon … as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest of superstitions.” (The Descent of Man) Read it from the source. (p.518)

Let us not mince words.  He considered them less than human.  How much nobler, if we had risen from the heroic struggle of the mindless animals, than to be connected to such unreasoning savagery.

Yet consider this – what do you see around you in our gentrified and highly evolved societies today?  And what should we make of it by the same Darwinian standards?  Ten minutes in politics will show anyone that the love of torturing enemies has not been left behind us on the evolutionary tree.  We simply have more complex rules for how and when it is proper to engage in such things.

Bloody sacrifices?  As the people whose livelihood was destroyed by the thugs and the vandals supposedly trying to make a point at this past weekend’s G20 summit in Toronto.  Over a million dollars in damage to windows alone!  And why?  Because sacrificing an innocent’s livelihood is the most enlightened way of making your opinions known?

Practicing infanticide?  how about 300 000 infants aborted in Canada alone each and every year.  Babies offered up on the altars of “choice”, “bad timing”, or “convenience.”  And remorse?  How can one be remorseful of a person’s hard-won right.

Decency, wives as slaves?  Pornography is a multibillion dollar business.   Much of fashion (for girls as much as women) leaves little more to the imagination than the porn magazines out there.  Women are still routinely beaten and battered, to the point where nearly every town sports at least one women’s shelter (I drive past the local one every morning n my way to the church).  And superstition?  You name it, people still do it! Ladders, black cats, mirrors, salt, 13, speaking of death and so on and so on.

It’s a good thing we are so much more evolved now than we were back in those prehistoric days of savagery isn’t it?

“A wild man is indeed a miserable animal.”  So wrote Charles Darwin (Darwin correspondence Project, Letter 207) I know its ironic, but I couldn’t agree more!

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For Dorothy

“I can’t believe it!” the nurse says walking into the room. “I was here on Sunday and thought then that she was done. But here we are three days later!”

Yes, here we are. In that same small room. Waiting. Waiting for another dose, another bolus, another turn, another in a long line of little adjustments meant to bring some measure of comfort.

But there is little comfort, even for all this care. Not for those gathered around, anyway. For as surely as the caring hand will not leave her weakened shoulder, the hand of death will not be stayed forever. With each diminishing breath we can see that it is coming. ‘But why will it not come?’ the heart silently cries out. ‘Where is the relief?’

“I can’t believe it!” the man says as he walks down the road. “We had thought He was the Messiah … but then He died. A horrible death. An agony of humiliation and stolen breath. And now it is the third day.”

“The words of comfort, the way He brought healing and relief in the midst of suffering, the joy and the hope … it is all gone now.” ‘Why did it happen?’ his heart silently cries out. ‘Why did it come to an end so soon – too soon?’

But the stranger only smiles in answer. And there is silence as they walk together for the span of a few paces. Then placing a nail-scarred hand upon the grieving shoulder, He draws in sweet breath and begins to tell of the mysteries of death and of life, and of all that is still down the road … still waiting when we finally get home …

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Where I Have Been …

It has been too long since we have spoken dear friends.  I am sorry.  I offer the following not as an excuse but merely an explanation from one soul in need of this to another …

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. ” Psalm 133

Living in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.  Every once and a while God shows you just what these words can really mean.  Sometimes He gives you that unity and peace in a way that makes you realize just how much you’ve been missing it!

Oh sure things might be going very well … you’re not fighting with anyone, there are no pressing issues, work is good, the family is doing well … life is fine.

But fine isn’t as good as it gets.  God is rarely satisfied with just “fine”, not even if it is just for us.

Over the past few weeks God has shown me again and again, that as good as things are, they can always be better!  A vacation spent with my wife and children.  Round the clock quality time with those I love the most.  Days of visiting family and friends.  Seeing familiar faces, smiling at old jokes and remembering common experiences.  You forget how good it can be … until you walk into that room and see someone you haven’t seen in years, and there is nothing to say – because nothing needs to be said.

You know.  They know.  It all just fits. There is a bond of unity and a peace which words cannot describe.

Be it shooting video-game zombies and eating junk food in your old home town.  A meal and conversation that rightly began decades ago, but now shared with two families worth of children who weren’t there to hear it begin.  Quiet discussions about things both deep and shallow in a car speeding through the open fields of Saskatchewan.  A new adventure with old companions that fits like a precious old glove. (Even when the old body is not as willing as the young spirit!)

In each of these ways and more I have been blessed by God in these past weeks.  Like precious oils to soothe an overlooked itch it has been an abundance of  blessings overflowing in my already fine life.  A dew that brings new life and a restored outlook.  Such was the unity and bond I experienced by the hand of God through my dearest friends.  Thank you one and all. Thank you!