In this published report, Gorbachev denies he's converted to Christianity and remains an atheist. I like the quote at the end from the Russian Orthodox spokesman, "He is still on his way to Christianity. If he arrives, we will welcome him." Sometimes our paths to Christ follow some crooked ways indeed.
The article makes it sounds as if the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the agency that runs the organ transplant system in the U.S., is doing something shady and manipulative by including inactive people when they publicize the number of people waiting for transplants.
For example, 50,408 people are on the active waiting list for a kidney nationwide (not me any more, may God be praised!). And 24,226 are on the inactive list. They may be inactive for a number of reasons, perhaps they have an infection that makes transplant surgery unsafe for a time, or they have had cancer and have to be cancer-free for a couple of years before they can have transplant surgery.
Being inactive, however, means the person is still accumulating wait time. But if an organ becomes available that may be a match for them, they will be skipped over for the time being. They aren’t de-listed.
The article says some patients may be “languishing” on the inactive list. I’ll tell you one thing about people waiting for organs … if they can be actively listed and transplanted ASAP, that’s what they want more than anything in the world. They don’t want to remain inactive any longer than their doctors say they have to.
What puzzles me is how the Washington Post seems to feel there is such a big difference between these numbers that potential donors may decide against donation because, oh, they’re being deceived.
Are 75,000 people waiting for a kidney so very much more motivating than 50,000? Even at the lower number, there still aren’t nearly enough donated organs to go around. Are 50,000 people on dialysis, basically life support, OK with you? Because, let me tell you, it’s expensive. It’s expensive for insurance companies and it’s expensive for taxpayers because dialysis is covered under Medicare. Not to mention that it’s no way anyone wants to live for very long.
So, go ahead and tell people the true numbers. Because, man, if we were able to get all 67,000-some organs that the active listed patients needed, well, that would be a great day.
Although he's not so secret any more. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev revealed that he is a Christian, during a recent visit to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi in Rome. One has to wonder how much Gorbachev's faith may have contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ”
By Brother Andrew and Al Janssen, Revell, 2007.
“Secret Believers” may be the most haunting book you will read all year. It will haunt you when you watch or read news from the Middle East. It will haunt you when you read Scripture passages about persecution. It will certainly haunt your prayers.
Brother Andrew, author of “God’s Smuggler,” no longer slips Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. From his home base in the Netherlands, he reaches out to Christians in Islamic countries, strengthening the churches and witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims in those countries.
But this book isn’t really Brother Andrew’s story. Three quarters of the book is taken up by the stories of real men and women in Islamic countries, Christians and Muslim converts to Christianity. Their names and the locations have been changed to protect their safety, but the stories are true. They are so compelling, you will find yourself moved to tears and to prayer. You will find it difficult to stop reading.
For Muslim converts to Christianity like Ahmed, Salima, Mustafa and Hassan, their decision to follow Jesus is extremely costly. At the very least, they are cut off from their families and everything they knew about their former lives. They are watched by the secret police. If arrested, they face torture and beatings. They face abduction, forced conversion to Islam and even death.
At the end of the book, Brother Andrew issues four challenges to Christians in the West. He calls for us to see Muslims as people for whom Jesus died, rather than as enemies. He challenges us to forgive rather than seek revenge. Not for nothing does he call these challenges, because they certainly aren’t easy for many of us in the American church, but they give us much to think about and pray for God to give us changed hearts for a changed world.
If you want to know more, there is a Web site, SecretBelievers.org. There you will find links to news headlines, more stories of secret believers in Islamic countries, ways to give and help.
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes.
A man living across the street from a church in the county where I live has filed a civil complaint against the church because of the loud music coming from the church during worship services last summer. Apparently the man had complained about the noise, beginning in August. In September, township police went into the church, talked to the musicians, and took their names for a report. No charges were filed.
But the neighbor says the noise problem wasn’t addressed and felt he had no recourse but to file the civil complaint. The church has responded by filing a lawsuit of its own — in federal court, alleging violation of the church’s and band members’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.
What a terrible shame that this dispute has come to this. What a shame that this could not have been solved by neighbor talking to neighbor. What a pathetic witness to the love of Jesus Christ.
Love, you’ll remember, is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (I Cor. 13:5). The Christian’s response is radically different from the world’s: If someone wants to sue you, and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (Matt. 5:39). Filing lawsuits against one’s neighbor is not loving your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39) Paul reminds the Roman Christians to not repay anyone evil for evil but to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody, and if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Rom 12:17-18).
It seems to me that this whole dispute could have been solved much more lovingly and biblically if the church’s pastor and worship leader had paid a visit last summer to their disgruntled neighbor and worked out a compromise with the man. Perhaps they could have agreed to turn down the band’s amps a notch or two and closed the church’s doors during the summer.
There’s nothing in Scripture that says Christians have a right to praise God at 70 decibels; certainly He is not hard of hearing. The neighbor is not trying to keep the church from worshipping God; he only wants to enjoy a quiet Sunday morning. Certainly a gentle answer and a cooperative spirit will do more to get that neighbor off his porch and into church himself than a lawsuit will.
Today is the fifth anniversary of such small hands. I humbly thank those of you who have hung in there with me over the years. With the changes I know the coming year will bring, I hope to be more faithful in posting here.
Just a post to let you know that all is well and I haven’t regressed or anything. When my days are shaped by not much more than TV, reading, having meals and taking naps, there really isn’t much fodder for blogging.
TV has led to one irritation that I’d like to share with the world. I realize, in my post-transplant condition, that I have a unique perspective on taking prescriptions and other minor medical procedures, but a couple of recent pharmaceutical ads really frost my cake.
There’s Sally Field hawking Boniva. Poor Sally’s life is so doggone busy and full of taking care of her family that she just can’t manage to take one lousy pill a week. So gee, isn’t it great that she only has to gag down a Boniva once a month. Because, you know, it’s just so hard to swallow a pill. Even though plenty of people take a daily vitamin. It’s a good thing Sally doesn’t have to take 11 pills a day because her life depends on it.
Then there’s the ad for some contraceptive in which a young woman, picking up a prescription for some other contraceptive, is told by her pharmacist that she might have to get a (horrors!) blood test to make sure her potassium isn’t too high (which, btw, could be fatal.) I want to tell her to suck it up, it’s just a pinprick. Grow up, for goodness’ sake.
Being at home all day also allows me to schedule a visit from the plumber, seeing as how a problem with low water pressure in the kitchen faucet turns out to be caused by a deteriorating water heater. Cha-ching!
Amy just returned to Kalamazoo today after an extended weekend home. WMU is on spring break, and since she wasn't taking a trip, she decided to hang around home a few days longer. Probably so she could get her laundry done. And also watch a lot of DVDs, most "Sex and the City" and "The Office."