On Miracles

Dr. Michael Lemole, the chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at the University, is one of the doctors caring for Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ). For me, as a person interested in the interface between science and theology, this comment by Dr. Lemole caught my attention:

A lot of medicine is outside of our control, so we’re wise to acknowledge miracles.

Dr. Lemole is a man of science. By defining science as the search of an explanation for what we observe in nature, I establish the parameters of science. To me science is a like football – there is an established playing field with boundaries (nature), players (scientists), playbook (methodologies), and referees (other scientists).

Science assumes natural causes, yet the hypothesis No supernatural cause for any natural phenomenon is possible cannot be tested. At the same time, many major faiths believe in miracles, as Rev Tim Keller defines as the intervention of God into the natural order.

Whereas modern science may not be able to explain miracles, it also cannot prove or disprove God’s existence. Regardless of the mantra at either end of the science and theology issue, most of us are not faced with the dogma that we must make a choice between science and theology – but rather, we face questions about how to integrate and reconcile these two aspects of life. Perhaps more of us should look at not only Dr. Lemole’s words above, but also his next sentence:

We can’t control that (miracles) – and when we’re dealt that hand, we are very thankful.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 82

On Two Arizona Hurts
Most Americans are rooting and cheering for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the more I learn about her, how could one not.

Another hurt is that of the shooter’s parents. As they understandably stay secluded within their home, the media remains camped on the outside. They must feel a wide range of emotions as shame, rage, shock, bewilderment, and countless other adjectives. Personally, I would like to see three things for them: all media leave, someone close to the tragedy reach out their hand of forgiveness, and hope that they accept those who reach out – and the sooner the better on all counts.

Note: NBC reported that one of the injured went to the parent’s home for grant forgiveness, but he couldn’t get access.

On Mindless Finger Pointing
Sarah Palin is right in saying, “We are better than the mindless finger pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.” However, is she is capable of mindless finger pointing?

Oh Rush for saying, “What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.” Are any conservatives out there going to challenge him?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently sent a letter seeking campaign funds while also mentioning the recent shootings in Arizona and the Republican far right. What were you thinking?

On the Two Speeches
President Obama delivered a magnificent speech Wednesday night in Tucson. Honest, genuine, compassionate, eloquent, realistic, inspirational, graceful, and many more adjectives can describe the speech. Anyone denying so is simply lost wondering adrift in the woods of partisanship.

After the speech, out of curiosity, I tuned to Fox News to hear their comments, which were all positive. Now compare that speech with the video released from Alaska earlier in the day.

Of the Tucson speech, I don’t recall seeing Speaker Boehner (R-OH) or Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) in the crowd. If that was the case, not a good decision because one of them should have been there.

On an Upcoming Speech
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will deliver the 2011 State of the Union address. Hey members of Capitol Hill. Consider standing and clapping only after Mr. President is introduced and at his conclusion. In between, sit and listen with dignity.

As a side note, I suggested this in a comment on CNN yesterday in a comment to a good letter by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

On a PBS Series
Sometime ago I recorded God in America, a 6-hour PBS series about the role religious faith has played in shaping life, politics, and culture in America. Both my wife and I found it to be enjoyable and enlightening. Not only can anyone view each segment online, the series’ website also provides transcripts, interviews, a study guide, and other resources about the topic.

On the BCS Championship
Congratulations to Auburn and their fans for winning the the game, but not the true national championship because there isn’t one to win.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock recently said the “old system” is more likely to return than a playoff system. Then so be it! Break up the cartel!

On Rushing Waters
Our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the horrifying waters in Brisbane, Australia and most recently in Brazil. Please consider donating to the International Red Cross or your favorite international relief agency.

On an Approaching Day
Monday is Martin Luther King Day, and these words from Bill Tammeus’s Faith Matter’s blog stuck me: The progress we’ve made as a nation has been by fits and starts and, in the end, has left much unaccomplished. Each of us, no matter our ethnic origin, no doubt has a list of what has been left undone and needs to be tackled. (Source post)

Have a safe weekend.

On Reflecting Arizona

Since the tragic shooting in Arizona, I intentionally decided to avoid a sudden or quick post about the event, thus attempting to take the high road of watching, listening, and thinking. Here are some thoughts.

First and foremost though, thoughts and prayers to those most closely affected. I cannot image their pains, yet I hope they give time a chance to deliver the necessary healing.

A disturbed young male caused this tragedy. A person who needed help, and for whatever reason, never got it. Seeing his arraignment picture confirmed to me that his mental illness pulled the trigger.

My initial reaction was to point the finger at the current political discourse as the cause that brought about his act, but I’m not sure if the evidence supports that. It may in time, but not yet, and maybe not at all. Besides, I hesitate to accept a one-size-fits-all explanation.

Nonetheless, the current climate of political discourse is a worthy topic. We must remember that both sides fan the flames of distrust through exaggerations and lies.

In the midst of calls of a political action of truce, many pundits fill the air and print with calls for gun control, tempering the media, and political-based comments and questions to those interviewed – and it is easy to find examples from the red and the blue. Moreover, yes, given the dominance of many bombastics from the right, their examples are easiest to find – but that does not mean the left is innocent.

Some of us want discourse with civility. We want an honest debate of important issues. We want our lawmakers to prefer country-first decisions to party-first wants and desires. Ideological differences occur, and can be quite sharp – yet there are only insurmountable by those believing more in their party than their country.

There is one way to control the tone – and that is by elected officials leading the way. They must demonstrate by example – by the words they choose – by the ads they run – by the actions they take, which includes what they choose not to do.

One of those actions should be for them to call out those in their own party who unnecessarily fuel discourse – yes, within in their own party and NOT the other. If they are leaders, they must take care of their own house – fellow elected officials and their supporters.

It would be easy to fire a dart at Sarah Palin – after all, she is a nincompoop – and I’m not sure she’s willing to change her schtick. However, Governor Tim Pawlenty recently jabbed her for using the crosshairs. It’s a start, but since it’s well after-the-fact, I see it as a political move – but still a start.

Will anyone in the GOP dare to take a stand against Rush Limbaugh or any other of the talking heads from the right? Will any Democrat dare to direct comments at any of the MSNBC commentators? Will members of Congress dare to challenge the rhetoric from someone in their own party?

Let us not forget the mood thrust upon us on 11 September 2001 as it was an event that bonded a nation with political grace. Let us also not forget that it took only several months before party operatives decided to politicize national security, thus the severing its ties with political grace.

Talk of political civility will be remain just that – talk. Besides, money does the talking.