Friday, December 03, 2010

Don't Touch the QB

Just saw an story about Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid being bothered by Michael Vick being hit late. This quote stood out to me:
"That bothers me, that bothers me. He runs, but he is a quarterback, so you can't treat him like a running back. It concerns me," Reid said, adding, "I'll deal with the people I need to on that."
Sorry, Mr. Reid, but the moment he leaves the pocket and runs, you absolutely can treat him like a running back. If you don't want to get hit so much, I see two options: 1) Don't leave the pocket or, better yet, 2) Don't play tackle football.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Fate of Frozen Embryos

I started writing this post last July, but am only now getting around to publishing it:

My wife just pointed out an article in Parenting magazine entitled "The Fate of Frozen Embryos." If you haven't thought much about infertility & fertility treatments, now's the time to start. My hope is that you'll never struggle with infertility, but I also don't want anybody to make a short-sighted decision when they're blinded by pain & their emotions.

The story at hand is about the "tough decision" that couples going through IVF treatments face when creating embryos - "left over" embryos are generally frozen, and either saved for another attempt at pregnancy, donated to other infertile couples, donated to medical research, or frozen indefinitely (so they won't be "destroyed").

This whole industry of infertility bothers me. Just because we have the technology to do something doesn't mean we should. There are so many moral & ethical questions involved, and the industry tends to do what the abortion industry does, using clinical jargon to avoid dealing with facts and their implications.

According to the article, "Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics throughout the country." This word "embryo" gets thrown around like its a consumer good. If you're reading this, you were once an embroy. As was I. It's simply a stage of human development. I was an embryo, and a fetus, and an infant, and a toddler, and an adolescent, and now I'm an adult. Whether you want to try and medically or biologically define specific stages, they're all periods of human life.

Pro-life advocates rightly ask questions such as "Do you think it would be okay to kill an infant? How about a toddler?" In light of fertility clinics, I'd add "Do you think it would be okay to freeze an infant or toddler?"

I find some of the sentiments about the "left over" embryos in the article to be disturbing. Here are a few (I've left out the names, so know that the "shes" are not all the same woman):
When the time came to decide about the extras, she says, "I thought I was going to be calm and casual." And she was, until the first bill arrived to keep the embryos frozen. "I was petrified," she says. "There was no practical reason to keep them. I just wasn't ready to make the decision not to keep them." She paid the $600, hoping that her thoughts would crystallize as time passed. This year, she's paying the bill again.
"There was no practical reason to keep them." Was there a practical reason to create them? Was there a practical reason to pay $600 a year to keep them frozen when there's no practical reason to keep them?
She has a 2-year-old daughter -- and six frozen embryos. "I would love to have another baby, if I were younger -- I'm 40 -- and if money was not an object." She finds herself trapped in a mental loop; while she doesn't have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter, neither does she consider them anonymous laboratory tissue. And there's another wrinkle: One of the six embryos is biologically hers and her husband's; the other five were created with donor eggs and his sperm. "What do people do?" she asks. "You have all of these embryos in all of these labs. Are people going to keep doing what I'm doing and pay the $40 a month ad infinitum?"
"... she doesn't have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter ..." That's understandable - that's how we are as people. We're material beings and attach to people and things that we can see and interact with. But seeing is not believing. Do we have to see the suffering of people in places like Darfur to believe it? For it to be real?

On the option of donating embryos to other infertile couples:
"I couldn't take the thought of knowing I had another child," she says. "I knew my heart couldn't handle it. We're all better off not knowing."
On donating to medical research:
[Another woman] would have liked more children through in vitro, but complications from the birth of her twin girls two years ago left her unable to get pregnant again. She had five embryos left and spent more than a year reconciling her choices with her religious convictions. Those five clusters of cells forced her to think, almost daily, about how she defined life. She considers herself pro-life, so donating to another infertile couple felt natural. The more she and her husband thought about it, however, the more unsettled they became. The questions she had were too big to be left unanswered. She didn't know if she'd ever stop searching crowds for little girls who looked just like hers. "It's a life-altering decision," she says.

They eventually decided to donate the embryos for medical research, as a gesture of gratitude to a system that had given them their dreams. "We were ultimately still giving life, just not for those particular five embryos," she says.

Many couples find donating to research a middle ground that gives the embryos a status somewhere between born children and simple clumps of cells. Although the embryos will not survive, giving to science can be a very caring act, says Dr. Lyerly, who has studied the issues surrounding frozen embryos. Couples who donate to research, she says, "feel like they were helped by science and they want to give back."
That sounds like sacrificing to the modern day fertility gods.

Here's another option the article calls "Thawing Without Donating:"
Some couples find themselves unable to escape the shadows of infertility without allowing their embryos to pass on naturally and with respect. Dr. Lyerly knows of a few women who've found a doctor willing to perform a "compassionate transfer," implanting the embryos into the woman at a time pregnancy is unlikely -- envisioning it as a way to return the embryos to their keeping. Other couples want to perform a ceremony of some sort during the thawing and disposal to show their reverence.

Finally, I found this to be the most helpful quote of the whole article:
"I don't think anybody knows what their opinion is until they're in this situation,"
I couldn't agree with that more. But I think that's because people don't think about it until or unless they're in this situation. Which is why I urge to you think about it now, before you find yourself in the middle of a situation that seems like there's no such thing as a good option.

Quotes and a Question

Both posted recently by Josh Harris:

"The best thing is neither to seek nor avoid troubles but to follow Christ and take the bitter with the sweet as it may come. Whether we are happy or unhappy at any given time is not important. That we be in the will of God is all that matters. We may safely leave with him the incident of heartache or happiness. He will know how much we need of either or both." - A.W. Tozer, We Travel an Appointed Way, page 80.

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,

but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
- Proverbs 13:20 ESV

If you counted websites, television shows, and musical artists as companions, would you say you're walking with the wise or the foolish?

All Things TSA

Maybe I'll get an extra special full body search next time I fly just for posting this. Here are a couple of good articles written about TSA security:
  • The Things He Carried: Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease.
  • Don't Touch My Junk: The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy.
I'm hoping the American people, government, and airlines all wake up and realize that the TSA does a much better job wasting the people's time & money than they do making them safer.

(HT: Challies)

Why I'm Ungrateful

Here's a good post from Russell Moore. Here's how he starts:

“If I hear the word ‘Daddy’ again, I’m going to scream!”

I heard myself saying those words. And, in my defense, it was loud around here. I was trying to work on something, and all I could hear were feet pounding down the stairs with four boys competing with one another to tell me one thing after another. I just wanted five minutes of silence.

My vocal chords were still vibrating when an image hit my brain. It was the picture of me, on my face, praying for children. The house was certainly quiet then. And in those years of infertility and miscarriage and seemingly unanswered prayers, I would have given anything to hear steps on that staircase. I feared I would never hear the word “Daddy,” ever, directed to me. Come to think of it, I even wrote a book about the Christian cry of “Abba, Father.”

Read the full thing here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Bible Is Not About You

Collin Hansen at the Gospel Coalition blog shares one of my favorite extended clips from one of my favorite pastor/teachers:

To whet your appetite for the 2011 national conference—They Testify About Me: Preaching Jesus and the Gospel from the Old Testament—I wanted to share this clip from Tim Keller’s address at the inaugural 2007 conference. Heath McPherson, a gifted artist himself, mixed Keller’s words with music and paired it with drawings by Gustave Dore. All together the video tells a powerful story of what the Bible is basically about.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stem Cell Research

I couldn't let an entire year go by without posting something. Joe Carter shares the following:
The issue of research involving stem cells derived from human embryos is back in the news after a federal judge clarified that the government cannot use federal funds for such immoral research. Although the debate has been ongoing for almost ten years, the complexity of the issue and the peculiar terminology used often prevents many citizens from developing a fully informed opinion on the matter. To help, in some small way, redress that problem, I’ve compiled a brief primer, a “least you need to know” guide, that helps clarify and explain the questions most frequently asked about stem cell policy.

He goes on to provide brief answers to these questions and more:
  • What are stem cells?
  • How are stem cells different than other types of cells?
  • Why are stem cells so important to research?
  • What are embryonic stem cells?
  • Where do the embryos for ESC come from?
  • What are adult stem cells?
  • What is a stem cell “line”?
  • Why is there a controversy over ESC research?

Read the full thing here.