Posted by: adventlife | July 6, 2012

A Stigmata Case in Loma Linda? By Nic Samojluk

Some years ago I did write the following allegory as a result of my struggle over what to do with my tithes and  offerings.   Leading Adventist pro-lifers were leaving Adventism and some of them had decided to move back to Rome because of its strong stand against abortion. This was regrettable, and I thought that there should be other more desirable options. One of said options was to send our money to independent ministries like “The Quiet Hour,” “3ABN,” “Amazing Facts,” and so on. Here is said allegory:

“How long have you had these stains on your hands?” My devout Catholic friend inquired.

I told him I had noticed them at least a decade ago, and I added that their size and coloration had become more conspicuous with the passage of time, especially on my right hand.

“They look to me like a case of stigmata,” my friend stated with some assurance. “If I am correct in my assessment, then you might be considered among the most privileged members of Christendom. You might even become a candidate for beatification and even sainthood two or three centuries after you die,” he added with some excitement. “I know that your church does not believe in the miracle of stigmata; but, perhaps God is trying to break through to your denomination. You should consult a priest; but first, you might have your doctor analyze these stains to insure they match your own genetic code.”

The DNA Blood Test Results

My physician ordered, rather reluctantly, a DNA test and a telephone call from my doctor followed. The first question I asked him was whether the test revealed the presence of human blood. He assured me it did. “But the curious detail,” he added, “is that the test reveals the presence of blood from very young individuals. It seems to be either neo-natal or fetal blood. Have you been close, perhaps unawares, to a crime scene?” He asked.

This turn of events I did not like a bit; nevertheless, making an effort to hide my apprehension, I managed to ask him whether he had heard of similar cases before, to which he responded:

“Yes, I have. Especially in the last two decades or so. Actually, I detected an increase of reported cases beginning with the 1973 year. Medical science has been perplexed by this rare phenomenon, and the current theory is that the cause is not physiological, but rather psychological. Science seems to be at a loss trying to explain the presence of foreign bloodstains resulting from exclusively altered psychological mental states. What I recommend is that you see an ethicist, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist.”

Me a mental case? I always thought to be mentally well balanced. This was beyond my psychological pain threshold. I was ready to hang up, but he added the following:

“There is a renowned ethics expert who recently published a book designed to help those with this rare symptom. You can see him, or you may want to see your pastor; or, if you are really serious, you may want to consult a well-known psychologist who relocated fromPasadenatoColorado Springsa few years ago. He is the best on this subject.”

The Ethical Diagnosis

Since I dreaded the idea of being diagnosed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, and since I hated the thought of driving all the way toColorado, especially in winter, I decided to see my friend, the ethicist. He greeted me with his friendly smile, and put me right at ease with the following words of reassurance:

“What you are experiencing should be no cause for worry. This is a quite common situation where symptoms reveal an overactive guilt feeling by association. Your doctor says the DNA test revealed the presence of human blood from a foreign source. We have analyzed this rare phenomenon and we have concluded that it is the blood of non-persons.

The Holy Book tells us that humans were created in ‘God’s image” and our prophet assures us that said image represents the ‘power to think and to do.’ My conclusion is that fetal blood is the blood of an entity that has not developed to a point where we can assign to it the category of personhood. There should not be any guilt associated with such bloodstains. You are as normal as you can be. If you accept this, these blood stains on your hands will eventually, slowly but surely, disappear with time.”

The Verdict of my Pastor

I left the office of my friend greatly relieved, but my problem persisted, so I had no choice but to consult my pastor. His reaction was similar, but slightly different from that of the ethics expert:

“Your concern is a valid one. There is something you can do about this problem. You should exercise your rights as a citizen of a democratic country. These bloodstains are the result of a Supreme Court decision rendered back in 1973. As a pastor, I regret the shedding of innocent blood, but the church should respect the freedom God and the government grants to individuals. Remember that Jesus Christ died to make us free. There is nothing more sacred than human freedom, for which our Redeemer paid a high price: his life.

“If you cast the right votes, you have no reason to feel guilty for the actions of those whose vote is different from yours. The church must stay out of this controversial issue. We have no right to impose our personal values on those who feel otherwise. Many members of our congregation would feel offended if we were to transfer our guilt feelings upon them on this issue. If you can respect the personal preferences of others, your problem will, slowly but surely, disappear with time.”

The Psychologist’s Opinion

I hoped against hope that his advice would work for me. The fact is it didn’t, and I found myself winding the snowy roads leading toColorado Springs. The sight of the snow-covered mountain peaks was really impressive, and the fresh and pure air, free from the smog-pollutedSouthern Californialandscape, was quite invigorating, which gave me a sense that somehow this trip might help me restore the peace of mind I craved so much. Soon I was in the presence of the renowned psychologist.

“This is definitely not a case of stigmata. Your doctor is correct in stating that these ugly bloodstains have a psychological origin. I also concur with your ethicist belief that humans were created in God’s image, and that this image is expressed in our ‘power to think and to do.’ Nevertheless, this definition of humanness is incomplete.

The correct definition includes the ‘power to think and to do God’s will.’ Without that, both Hitler, who exterminated six million innocent Jews, and the Columbine students, who murdered more than a dozen of their classmates, would qualify. They revealed a remarkable ‘power to think and to do,’ but unfortunately, it was a power to think and to do not God’s will, but the will of the Evil One.

They had developed the image, not of God, but the image of the one who has been ‘a murderer from the beginning.’” “Likewise, I agree with your pastor regarding our duty and privilege to exercise our voting rights.

Nevertheless, the church has a prophetic role, which is to call people to repentance. Suffering and evil tends to increase whenever the voice of the church is silenced. All it takes for evil to increase is for good people to do nothing. This was true inGermanyhalf a century ago, and it is true today. The Good Book condemns the shedding of innocent blood, and there is no more innocent blood than the blood of the unborn. It also cries to God like the blood of Abel whom Cain murdered.

“Your pastor says that Jesus Christ died to make us free, and I agree. He did die ‘to make us free,’ but again this sentence is incomplete. He did not offer his life in order to make us free to shed innocent blood, but rather died ‘to make us free from sin.’ There is a world of difference between these diametrically opposed concepts.

I also concur with your pastor that abortion is a controversial issue, but your ‘Sabbath’ is controversial as well, yet your magazines and books and sermons are filled with arguments in favor of worshipping God on the correct day of the week. Your denomination does not keep silent on this issue just because it is controversial.”

Listening to all this was almost more than I could bear. My guilt feelings had suddenly increased to the breaking point. I felt like running away from his office without even saying good-bye. Nevertheless, I was somehow glued to my chair. I could not move, and I was almost unable to utter a word either. A long silence followed, after which he made the following final remark

“I noticed that your right hand is the one with the most ugliest blood stains, and I know why this is so. Evidently, you are right handed. Very likely, your right hand is the one that writes the checks to a pro-choice church, which makes you an accomplice in the shedding of all this innocent blood.”

The Results of my Research

On my return to Loma Linda, I went straight to the Heritage section of theLomaLindaUniversitylibrary. I was determined to prove theColorado   Springspsychologist wrong. I searched our church papers for the pro-life articles. The result? A total vacuum, while almost every issue had something about the Sabbath. I said to myself: “Surely, if I peruse the free-press SDA publications like Adventist Today and Spectrum the result will be different.” It was the same silence about what I now considered also sacred: human life.

I decided to run one more test. It would be my last chance to prove my psychologist wrong. I sent the Lord’s money to my church treasurer labeled as “pro-life/anti-abortion funds.” Four days later they were returned with the incredible explanation that neither the local church nor the Conference had such a program in operation. This was the last straw, which means that in the future my tithes and free-will offerings might have to go to some other ministries which are working on behalf of the unborn, or—God forbid—to Rome.

Explanation

I presume you must have guessed that the above parable is merely a way of describing my spiritual struggle over the issue of abortion. I am a second generation Adventist, and I would never send my tithes and offering toRome. Nevertheless, I do admire the Catholic position on abortion. Catholic hospitals do not provide abortion services to their patients while Adventist hospitals do. This is difficult to understand for somebody who for long decades has been indoctrinated in the belief that Adventists do recognize the validity and permanence of the Ten Commandments one of which clearly forbids the killing of innocent human beings.

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Responses

  1. […] This spiritual pilgrimage of mine is described in an allegory I wrote some years ago. You can read this by clicking on the following link: https://adventlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/a-stigmata-case-in-loma-linda-by-nic-samojluk-4/ […]


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