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[Ezerwoman’s note: The following is excerpted from the March 2021 edition of the AAPS News. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) was founded in 1943 as a voice for private physicians. The purpose of the AAPS is to protect the patient-physician relationship. The AAPS encourages doctors and patients to speak out together. Unfortunately, the mainstream media seems silent on the research and work of the AAPS.]

The wokeness mob’s attempt to cancel six popular children’s books by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) might push us toward a tipping point and an awakening. The motive is ostensibly to wipe out a virus of racism lurking in a few cartoons. These conceivably might be micro- (or nano or pico) aggressions.

An affiliate of the Southern Poverty Law Center declared the books racist, but Tucker Carlson says they were targeted precisely because they are not. Rather, they take a “race-neutral” approach. The Plain-Belly and the Star-Belly Sneetches’ ultimate “acceptance” of each other “doesn’t address the idea that historical narratives impact present-day power structures,” writes program associate Gabriel Smith (https://tinyurl.com/334sjhvp).

Ironically, Geisel was a leftist whose progressive views suffused his writings. “Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy…genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power,” writes Peter Dreier (tinyurl.com/yzne5aa7). Geisel was one of the earliest to fight anti-Semitism and racism.

Objections to implanting progressive or woke views into vulnerable children would be “fascist”—but they must be guarded against positive views of Western culture or American history.

The wokeness virus threatens to become incorporated into our cultural genome. Will persons born white be constantly trying to atone for “white privilege”? Will white physicians constantly have to document efforts to eradicate racial injustice in medicine (see JAMA 8/4/20)—originally perpetrated by the AMA?

Dr. Nathan Davis, considered AMA’s father, excluded women and blacks from the house of delegates. His bust has been removed from public view, and his name from an award, writes CEO James Madara (tinyurl.com/c7cnr3bf). Just recently, however, AMA honored Thomas Huxley (JAMA 8/18/20), though he once said that “no rational man…believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior of the white man” (Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews, New York, Appleton, 1871, p 20). But Edward Livingstone, M.D., “who is White,” had to resign as JAMA deputy editor over a February 2021 podcast in which he questioned the concept of systemic racism and said, “Many of us are offended by the concept that we are racist.” Editor-in-chief Howard Bauchner, M.D., called the podcast “offensive” and “hurtful” (https://tinyurl.com/wr4ewrty).

In the wokeness culture, sticks, stones, and broken bones might be tolerated, but not words that might give offense—or those who use them.  We must bid “goodbye to cultural icons, large and small—goodbye to all vestiges of the past, replete with their ‘bigoted’ value systems,” writes Ben Shapiro, so that individuals can “self-create” (tinyurl.com/4268zxtb).

 What Is a Human Being?

Disconnected from cultural moorings, atomized individuals  will not be liberated, but treated as vectors of literal or metaphorical viruses, who must be sufficiently vaccinated and tracked. Living a somewhat normal daily life is fast becoming a privilege. Will handing out electronic permission slips become a new function of physicians, asks Pat Conrad, M.D. (tinyurl.com/yrj7x5fc). Will medical boards or insurers require constant logging of a patient’s COVID status and documentation of vaccination counseling, as with controlled-substances data bases or smoking cessation? Will every communication be screened for subversive content?

Engineered  Language

Viral memes, like the genetically modified COVID-19 products, are engineered. Merriam-Webster altered the definition of “vaccine” for the occasion. On Feb 5, 2021, the definition was: “a preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms, that is administered to produce or artificially to increase immunity to a particular disease.” As of Feb 6, a “vaccine” is: “a preparation that is administered…to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious disease…. (b) a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein).” Vaccines are generally viewed as long-established and safe, though they are biologic agents, subject to a less stringent regulatory regime than drugs. The COVID products are novel, bioengineered, genetically modified biologic agents. They are vaccines only by a socially modified definition. As with vaccines, their manufacturers are immune from product liability.

Is There a Freedom (or Logic) Virus?

There are signs of resistance. When an Israeli airline forced a father and an 18-month-old off a flight because the child would not wear a mask, all the other passengers deplaned also in solidarity (tinyurl.com/rrssf7p6). Mask-burning rallies in many Idaho cities trigger woke activists (tinyurl.com/rwnpb2ps). With Lockdown 3.0 descending on Britain, “only dissent can save us now,” writes Irish science journalist Peter Andrews (tinyurl.com/nsnmx3yw). “It is time to draw a line in the sand.” Physicians, such as Dr. Mark Trozzi of Canada, are “surrendering personal income and security” to speak out (tinyurl.com/2zczz9eh).

Fortunately, Yertle the Turtle and Horton Hears a Who! are still acceptable. The small can bring down the mighty—if Jo-Jo, the “smallest of all” the Whos, speaks out to save the entire community. What if doctors and patients spoke out together?

AAPS News March 2021 – Going Viral – AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (aapsonline.org)

Controversial Things

As good neighbors, how should we deal with controversial things such as the “vaccine?”

It would seem that, first, everyone should have the right to ask questions, seek information, dialogue with those they trust, pray, wrestle with conscience, and then decide for themselves what they think is best. No one–not scientist, theologian or best friend–should say, “Take the vaccine.”

Someone I hold in high regard recently posted: “Take the vaccine.” But physicians, surgeons, immunologists, virologists, pediatricians, and the like are not on the same page concerning this present “vaccine.” Health care workers and first responders have genuine concerns. Their concerns range from use of fetal cell lines to “warp speed” production to long-term consequences and everything in between. All are worthy of consideration.

Pro-life folks have expressed concerns about using the cell lines of aborted babies. The answer sometimes given is, “Well, those abortions were a long time ago.” Or, “Today we could hardly recognize those cells as once being human.” If someone feels guilt in using a vaccine (or cosmetic or food product, for that matter) that contains tissue from aborted babies, there is forgiveness. Sure and certain forgiveness in Christ. Someone else may come at this “vaccine” dilemma by asking the question: “Just because we can, should we?” In all things medical and theological, this is never a bad question to ask.

This morning, Facebook featured a “public service announcement” that read: “Getting a Covid-19 Vaccine — Public figures share their experiences.” Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples and Richard Branson were included. Underneath, in fine print, I read: “These posts were selected by a team of experienced journalists at Facebook.” What am I to think of this? Should I put my trust in these “public figures” or Facebook’s “team of experienced journalists?”

After a choice, forgiveness is real. Thank you dear God for Your mercy and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Before a choice, we can remember that because God has created us, He has given us our mind; our “reason and all our senses.”

3-19-21

I

(Note: I am sharing this public information as a blog because I was told by Facebook that I could not post it without suffering limited exposure or other kinds of restrictions.)

Dr. Tal Zaks is the chief medical officer at Moderna, Inc. He explained in a 2017 TED talk how the company’s mRNA vaccine was designed to work: “I’m here to tell you that we are actually hacking the software of life.” Moderna describes its new vaccine as “a computer operating system.” You can listen to Dr. Zak’s TED talk here https://leohohmann.com/2021/03/09/modernas-top-scientist-we-are-actually-hacking-the-software-of-life/

Dr. David Martin is a professor, researcher, author, inventor, and business visionary. His first invention was a laser integrated system to target and treat inoperable tumors. His mathematics helped unravel the way the human body processes hormones. Dr. Martin explains that the injections being supplied by Moderna and Pfizer are not vaccines. According to Dr. Martin, these manufacturers disguised their treatments as vaccines in order to fit them under the 1905 Jacobson v. Massachusetts U.S. Supreme Court case, a ruling that has been interpreted [some say misinterpreted] as a license for states to mandate vaccines during health emergencies.

Dr. Martin says, “. . . This is not a vaccine. This is . . . a medical device designed to stimulate the human cell into becoming a pathogen creator. It is not a vaccine. Vaccines are actually a legally defined term. And they’re a legally defined term under public health law. They’re a legally defined term under CDC and FDA standards, and a vaccine specifically has to stimulate . . . an immunity within the person receiving it but it also has to disrupt transmission. And that’s not what this is. They have been abundantly clear in saying that the mRNA strand going into the cell is not to stop transmission. It is a treatment. But if it was discussed as a treatment it would not get the sympathetic ear of the public health authorities because then people would say well what other treatments are there?”

Dr. Martin continues, “The use of the term vaccine is unconscionable for both the legal definition of it, but also because it actually is the sucker punch to open and free discourse, because by saying ‘vaccine’ you dump it into a thing where you could be anti or pro ‘the therapy,’ but if you actually talked about it as a therapy, and remember–and people forget this–Moderna was started as a chemotherapy company for cancer, not a vaccine manufacturer for SARS-COV2. If we said we’re going to give people prophylactic therapy for the cancer they don’t have, you’d be laughed out of a room, because that’s a stupid idea. That’s eactly what this is. This is a mechanical device in the form of a very small packet of technology that is being inserted into the human system to activate the cell to become a pathogen-manufacturing site.”

Dr. Martin expresses frustration when he hears activists and lawyers and others say they’re “going to fight the vaccine.” Why? Because, he says, “if you stipulate that it’s a vaccine you’ve already lost the battle. It is not a vaccine. . . . Eighty percent of the people who get the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms at all. Eighty percent of the the people who get this injection have a clinical adverse event. You are getting injected with a chemical substance to induce illness, not to induce an immuno-transmissive response. In other words, nothing about this is going to stop you from transmitting anything. This is about getting you sick, and having your own cells being the thing that get you sick.”

I’m in over my head here, friends of Ezerwoman. This isn’t my area of expertise in any way, shape, or form. But because I was forbidden from sharing this information by Facebook “fact checkers,” I’m taking a risk and sharing it on my own blog site. You can read more of what Dr. Martin has to explain here https://leohohmann.com/2021/03/12/heres-why-mrna-injections-do-not-meet-the-legal-definition-of-vaccine/

There is one last thing. Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS News reporter, is the author of the book Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship. She explains that the media will use loaded words to steer you away from factual reports that do damage to the false narrative they are trying to feed into the public psyche. Attkisson explains that there are powerful interests that don’t want you to see or believe a particular study, report, or news article. They are trying to control the information.

So, because the information I shared above seems credible, I am attempting my first evasive maneuver around the Facebook thought police.

March 14, 2021

(The following is a published letter-to-the-editor of the Iowa Falls Times Citizen, 1-27-21)

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation,” said Benjamin Franklin, “must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

Franklin also said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”

With freedom of speech comes the freedom to disagree. This is foundational to a thriving republic.

A bright light shines for all when one person can speak thoughts and ideas in the public square (through a letter-to-the-editor or social media) and another person can exercise the right to kindly disagree.

It is good to have freedom of thought and speech in religion, but also science and history.

Two scientific thoughts may oppose one another; nevertheless, it is good to allow both thoughts to be heard and debated. For example, when discussing Covid-19 masking, lockdowns, and treatment, American citizens should be able to hear the scientific conclusions of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), but also the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and America’s Frontline Doctors.

Two perspectives of history may oppose one another; nevertheless, it is good to allow both to be heard and debated. American history is replete with mistakes, contradictions, and wrongs because we are people affected by our sinful nature. I am appalled by certain events in American history. But because they really happened, I believe we ought to know about them, learn from them, and be free to agree or disagree with them.

If you are a fan of The Waltons you might remember the episode when John Boy took a stand against the neighborhood “book burning” of Mein Kampf. He did not support Hitler’s way of thinking, but he did support freedom of thought and speech. Perhaps Jon Boy believed, like I do, that by knowing history we can learn how not to repeat atrocities of the past.

The American way—guaranteed by The Constitution and Bill of Rights—is freedom of thought, reasonable expression, and neighborly debate. People have fled the “thought police” of communist countries to become U.S. citizens who enjoy freedom of speech.

It is my prayer that we will desire free speech, welcome debate between those who agree or disagree, and preserve such liberty for our children and grandchildren.

Linda Bartlett

Why do we cry “foul” when girls’ sports are invaded by boys “transitioned” as girls?

Who cried “foul” when boys’ sports were invaded by girls? Wrestling. Football. And female reporters in male locker rooms.

Feminists called it “equality.” And “equal,” they said, means “being the same.” Interchangeable. But this is not true. Male and female are equal, but they are not the same. Every cell in a boy is male. Every cell in a girl is female. Never mind the science, cried feminists. This is about rights! Women must compete on an equal playing field with men in the workplace, the Navy Seals, and reproductively.

Now we cry “foul” when girls’ sports are invaded by boys who want to believe they are girls. Sports may be almighty important, but this tragedy is not about sports.

The tragedy is that more has been done to feminize boys and masculinize girls than to help them understand and value what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl. The tragedy is children in—or barely out of—puberty injected with hormones or put under the knife. This happens, reports the American College of Pediatricians, even though “… as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”

The tragedy is irreversibly changing a person’s body to match their feelings rather than helping them change their feelings to match their biological body. The body is not irrelevant. Sex is not “assigned” at birth. When a baby is born, the doctor does not wonder, “Hmm, what sex shall we put on the birth certificate?”

The tragedy is not girls being elbowed out of winning competitions. The tragedy is a world where children have the right to decide not just whether they are boy or girl, but who they are physically attracted to, emotionally attracted to, or if they are “free-floating.”

Even after hormones or surgery a boy’s body will always be male. A girl’s body will always be female. Cardiologist Paula Johnson explains, “Every cell has a sex–and what that means is that men and women are different down to the cellular and molecular level. It means that we’re different across all of our organs, from our brains to our hearts, our lungs, our joints.” Nancy Pearcey continues, “In other words, no matter what your gender philosophy, when you are ill and the doctors put you on the operating table, they still need to know your original biological sex in order to give you the best possible health care.” (Love Thy Body by Nancy R. Pearcey)

My concern, as a Christian, is for children whose greatest need is to be reconciled with their Creator. God created male and female not to be the same but with distinctively different bodies and purpose. The physical body is not insignificant. Jesus had a physical male body on earth. He was bodily resurrected. He bodily ascended to heaven. And so it will be for those who believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. Just as we are here on earth, we will be body, mind, and soul in heaven.

To help resist the foul-play of transgenderism, boys and girls need parents and other adults to help them know 1) what it means to be male and female, and 2) how to embrace their biological sex.

Adults can begin by reading Love Thy Body by Nancy R. Pearcey; Gender, Lies and Suicide by Walt Heyer; Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier; God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew T. Walker; and When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement by Ryan T. Anderson. Or, visit the website of the American College of Pediatricians and read the articles by Michelle Cretella, M.D. 

Linda Bartlett, 1-31-21

Your 18th Year

My oldest grandson turned 18 this month. This is a sobering rite of passage (especially in an election year). Such a birthday deserves a special letter from grandma. In writing that letter, I shared some personal thoughts just between grandma and grandson, but also similarities between his 18th year and mine. Here is the historical portion of my letter:

Dear Grandson,

At 18, I was excited about the life that stretched out ahead of me. I remember riding in the car with a friend of mine. When the radio blasted out the song “I’m 18 and I Like It,” he cranked up the volume and sang along. Me? Not so much. I sensed this was a transitional time for me. I was looking beyond 18… to adulthood.

In chorus, we sang “The Age of Aquarius.” When the “moon is in the Seventh House,” did we really think we would experience:

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation…

A lot of troublesome ideologies and theories were floating around during my eighteenth year. Evolution was taught, but my biology and science teachers didn’t chastise me for believing in creation. One of my classmates was living with her boyfriend. None of my friends’ parents were divorced. Most everyone went to church. However, in looking back, I recognize that secular humanism in the form of sex education, “social justice,” and “liberation theology” were making their way into church bodies.

I turned 18 the November after Woodstock (August 1969). I remember thinking: What an odd thing to do. Sleep in the rain on a muddy field while smoking weed and getting high. All over the country there was a sense of “being different than our parents.” In 1967, the song explained:

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re going to meet some gentle people there.
… All across the nation,
Such a strange vibration,
People in motion,
There’s a whole generation
With a new explanation.

When a few high school and mostly college-age people went to San Francisco with “flowers in [their] hair” they lived as “hippies” in “tent city” communes. Drug use was common. “Make love, not war” was graffitied everywhere.  Some may have thought they were creating a utopia. To me, it seemed lonely, dangerous, and hopeless. The full court press against institutions of family, church, and government had been set in motion. Too many in my age group seemed to want to “do whatever feels right to me.” By January of 1973, “free love” led to Roe vs. Wade. I admit to not knowing much about abortion during my 18th year. Ten percent of my graduating class was pregnant. All five girls gave birth to their babies and all married. Later, I would learn of at least two area college girls who went to New York for abortions prior to 1973.

In my 18th year, Black Lives Matter.inc did not exist, but the Weather Underground did. Originally called the Weatherman, this militant group of young, white Americans formed under the leadership of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn in 1969 on the University of Michigan campus. The organization grew out of the anti-Vietnam movement and evolved from the Third World Marxists, a faction within Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They represented the “New Left” that was active on college campuses during my junior and senior years. The confessed ideology of this group was a mix of Communism and Black Power. Their cause was to advance Communism through violent revolution and use of street fighting. They called on people my age to create a “rearguard” action against the U.S. government that would weaken and collapse the country.

Christianity stood in the way of Communism. This is true because Christians have hope. It is difficult to beat down someone who has hope and can find meaning even in suffering. It is difficult to divide people who see one another as members of one human race. For this reason–between my 18th year and yours, my grandson–Communists with their anti-God ideology worked tirelessly to infiltrate churches and compromise Christians by way of sexual and gender identity, same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, social justice, and critical race theory. In part, I wrote The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity because I was beginning to see how many of the Communist goals for the U.S. had already been accomplished.

Communism sobered me up in my 18th year. But I only saw the consequences of its aggression in countries far away. Constantly in the news during my senior year was the war to prevent South Vietnam from being completely taken over by Communist North Vietnam. At that time, we weren’t told what to think 24/7 by “talking heads” on TV. Instead, we received “news” from on-location reporters who photographed and reported what they saw rather than offer their opinion for debate.

The Kent State riots started on May 1 just before my graduation in 1970 when a mix of bikers, students, and out-of-town young people assaulted police with beer bottles and engaged in criminal behavior. On May 2, the campus ROTC building was set on fire by arsonists. Protesters surrounded the building, cut a fire hose, and assaulted fire fighters with rocks and other objects. City officials and downtown businesses were threatened. I remember it well. A National Guardsman and four students were killed. It was a bit frightening yet seemed far away. Today the riots in Seattle, Portland, L.A., Minneapolis, Kenosha, Washington D.C., and NYC don’t seem very far away at all.

Many of the songs during my 18th year reflected the restless culture. There was “Woodstock,” “War,” and “I Want to Take You Higher.” Strangely, during our senior year your Grandpa and I went to a Sly and the Family Stone concert at Iowa State University. Neither of us liked the band but, hey! It was a great excuse for high school seniors to mix with university students.  Truth be told, the concert was a bust. Sly and the Family Stone did not show up because they were stoned!

In the fall of my 18th year, I was a student at our local community college. There was only a hint of rebellion and unrest. Mostly just talk. Curiosity. And stories told of soldiers going to and returning from a sadly politicized war. I sat next to a student in chemistry lecture who had just returned from Vietnam. He was very quiet. Very private. (Good looking, too!) I tried talking to him. But he responded with few words. I can only guess what images were etched in his mind. Later, it was important for me to stand at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. Seeing the names of soldiers who gave their lives left an impression on me. I could never understand why Hollywood types like Jane Fonda could aid and abet the enemy and, therefore, betray the American boys, husbands, and fathers who sacrificed to press against Communism.

In my advanced writing class, I took on a big project. I wrote a lengthy story about the terrors of war from the perspective of a wounded warrior who was left a quadriplegic. It was a strange story for a girl to write. But I was a strange girl. I started reading books about the Holocaust and Nazi War Crimes in 8th or 9th grade. I believe that such reading prepared me for the pro-life work that I would one day be involved with. Perhaps I wanted to be more familiar with the past so that I could better recognize “good” and “evil” in the present. Like you, my grandson, I was trying to pay attention to what was going on in the world. I wanted to enjoy life, friends, and activities. I wanted to be involved in meaningful ways. I wanted to make a difference. But I did not want to compromise my faith. I won’t lie. There were a lot of temptations. Today I have to believe that the Lord of my life kept me from some dangerous choices and close calls.

A part of my 18-year-old person wanted to be in the city where “things were happening.” I assumed I would be moving on from the community college to a university. Eventually, I envisioned living in Minneapolis where I would be an interior designer. Well, that was one possibility. But I was also starting to be interested in theology. What a mix! An interior designing theologian. Ha!

Upon reflection, my grandson, I see so many similarities between my 18th year and yours. At 18, one is poised on the brink of adventure. There is excitement. But there is also some anxiety. We do better with both when we know who we are.

God gave you His name and His Spirit at your Baptism. Through water and Word, you became a son and heir of God because of what Jesus Christ has done for you. You are a character in God’s Story. No matter what is happening in the culture around you, remembering who you are to God will help you know how to think, speak, and act.

How do I know that? Because between my 18th year and now, God has been merciful and patient with me. He has taught me much about who I am and why I am here. There have been good days and bad. Successes and failures. Through it all, I didn’t hold on to Him nearly as tightly as He held on to me. I wonder. Do you think it might be that He had me experience the roller-coaster of 18-plus years so that I could be a better grandma to you?

We Are Regarded by God

Martin Luther writes:

Mary confesses that the foremost work God did for her was that He regarded her, which is indeed the greatest of His works, on which all the rest depend and from which they all derive. For where it comes to pass that God turns His face toward one to regard him, there is nothing but grace and salvation, and all gifts and works must follow.

[We pray] that God would lift up His countenance upon us, that He would not hide His countenance from us, that He would make His face shine upon us, and the like. And that Mary herself regards this as the chief thing, she indicates by saying:

Behold, since He has regarded me, all generations will call me blessed.

Note that she does not say men will speak all manner of good of her, praise her virtues, exalt her virginity or her humility, or sing of what she has done. But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.*

There is comfort in the Word of God:

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord life up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

 

* Quoted in Treasury of Daily Prayer,
624-626

 

The Land of Covid

John Bunyan described Christian as a pilgrim progressing on an earthly journey. Christian travels over hills of difficulty and through dark valleys. He meets Despair and Doubting, but also Faithful and Hopeful. At one point on the journey,

Hopeful began to get very sleepy. Christian, shaking his friend’s arm, exclaimed, “Remember, the shepherds warned us about the Enchanted Ground. We must stay alert!”

“What would have happened to me if I’d been by myself?” Hopeful wondered. “I’m thankful you are here with me!”

Christian said, “To keep us from falling asleep, let’s talk….”*

Today, we might say that Christian is traveling through the Land of Covid. It is unfamiliar to him and like no place he has ever been. The River of Fear flows along the trail. Some travelers have already slipped into the River. Others have set camp near the River.

A voice calls to Christian. “Come camp with us. There is no need for talk here. Close your eyes for a while. We will keep you safe.” The invitation is tempting, but Christian is bold to ask, “What does this mean?

Stepping away from the camp, Christian scouts the area. His reason and all his senses are alert. He looks right, then left, then ahead. There, Christian sees other travelers walking away from the River. Moving closer, Christian hears them talking and telling stories of where they have been and what they have seen.

Christian looks back toward the camp where he was invited to close his eyes and feel safe. Then he looks to the talkers moving on the trail. Christian is deceived neither by the campers nor the talkers. He knows the Savior of his life and trusts the guidance of Wisdom.

In Wisdom, Christian walks.

To keep from falling asleep, Christian talks. In humility, he asks questions. With discretion, he listens. The way does not become easier.

But in Wisdom, Christian walks.

 

L. Bartlett, 5-7-20

*From Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s Classic Story Adapted for Children,
Great Commission Publications.

Road Trip

 

A road trip might not seem wise right now. But one was necessary if my husband and I were to return to the fields of Iowa from the desert and mountains of Arizona. We socially-distanced at motels, picked up food for our room, and sanitized before and after fueling the car.

One morning we knew we could go no further until an unscheduled stop was made. We pulled off the interstate and into the small town where a dear, widowed friend lives. I called her. “Rubie, if you stand at your front door, we’ll come visit you!” And that we did. No, it wasn’t the same as giving her a hug, or sitting next to her on the sofa, but for a few minutes we were able to let her know that she matters to us. We sat curbside in our car and she stood on her porch. We exchanged news, shared a laugh or two, and told her we love her without placing her at risk. Pulling away, I’m quite sure I saw her wipe away a tear.

It is all quite surreal. Gazing out the car window at the beauty of Utah and Colorado, we could see that nothing had changed. It is still possible to love our neighbor. It is still possible because God first loved us. He loves us through His Son, our Savior and Lord Jesus. He loves us by holding His world together and sustaining it. He sends rain and then the sun. He sprouts leaves from bare and seemingly dead trees.

The Lord has not turned His face from us. He is asking us to turn our face toward Him.

 

A pregnant woman is not autonomous.

Her pregnancy is not “a cancer.”

And the placenta knows it!

When serving as president of National Lutherans For Life, I had long discussions with my Ob/Gyn friend, Karen Rehder, M.D. I’ve never forgotten what Karen told me: “Birth is a miracle. Were it not for the placenta, the mother would reject the baby as something foreign to her body just like a transplant patient rejects a liver or kidney.”

Two separate entities—baby and mother—are attached by umbilical cord and placenta. The placenta tells us that a pregnant woman is not autonomous.

The placenta “is the only organ made in cooperation by two people,” explains Dr. Kristin Collier. It is “the organ through which the baby and mother interface.” Dr. Collier is Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and practices general Internal Medicine. She also serves as Director of the U of Michigan’s Medical School program on Health, Spirituality, and Religion.

The placenta, “made from the growing baby’s tissue and the mother’s tissue together . . . is known as a ‘feto-maternal’ organ . . . [that] helps provide nutrition, produces hormones, and protects the baby against infection.” This “purposely transient organ” acts like “a lung, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, and the endocrine and immune system.”

The placenta is so important that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. has a research arm called the Human Placenta Project. A “healthy placenta is not only crucial for healthy development of the prenatal child, but also affects the health of the child and mother for years to come.”

There is “a unique transfer of cellular materials that happens across the placenta. In science, microchimerism refers to the presence of a small population of genetically distinct and separately derived cells within an individual. In pregnancy, small amounts of cells travel across the placenta. Some of these cells are the prenatal child’s cells that travel from the baby into her mother, and some cells also pass from the mother into her child. The cells from the prenatal child into her mother are pluripotent, which means they haven’t yet differentiated into the type of cell specific for one organ or tissue in particular. These cells find their way into mother’s tissue and start acting like the tissue in which they find themselves. This process is known as feto-maternal microchimerism.”

Scientifically, we can say that mother is helped by her unborn baby. “For example, these [fetal] cells have been found in Caesarean sections incisions helping to make collagen to help mom heal after a surgical delivery. These cells have been found in the maternal breast and have been hypothesized to help reduce mom’s risk of breast cancer in her later years.”

The “gift of these cells from the baby, entering into mom’s body and helping her heal and protecting her from cancer, is amazing to think of and really challenges our ideas of people as autonomous beings.” Just as amazing is the fact that “these cells that enter the mother are allowed to survive and are not attacked by the mother’s immune system, even though they are somewhat ‘foreign.’ This again speaks to a cooperation, at the cellular level, between mother and child.”

This science sheds new light on the abortion debate. “Every dehumanizing ideology succumbs to the same temptation—to see the undesirable other as a non-person. In the abortion debate, as in similar debates around marginalized vulnerable populations, language is used when describing the undesirable other that is dehumanizing. In the abortion debate, the prenatal child is referred to as a ‘clump of cells’ or even a ‘parasite.’” We must “resist appeals to individual autonomy that detach us from our duty to aid others, and resist language, practices, and social structures that detach us from the full reality and dignity of . . . marginalized [persons]. A radical view of autonomy that leads to the end of another human life is one that is anti-life and oppresses the rights of another in the name of ‘freedom.’”

Dr. Collier admits that she is not a theologian, but she encourages us to think of biology “in a relational sense that mirrors the nature of God. The scriptures speak of a God who is in relationship with his people. We then would only expect that God, being the author of biology, would create our bodily nature in a way that was also relational—even down to the level of the cell.” Dr. Collier draws our attention to the “cells from the incarnate word of God, Jesus Christ, in his mother, the Virgin Mary [who] not only carried the Son of God in her body when he was in her womb, but . . . likely carried his cells in her body throughout her life . . .”

It is a loss to the human family when we pervert the language of conception and pregnancy. May we instead share God’s hope for mother and child revealed through the miracle of the placenta. A baby in the womb is not “a cancer”—and the placenta knows it!

 

by Linda Bartlett 2-16-20
(Source: “Together, baby; forever, baby,”
an interview by Carolyn Moynihan with Dr. Kristin Collier
in MercatorNet.com, 2-5-20)