The Ice Bucket challenge is a national phenomenon.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, that was the IBC. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign started by the ALS Association to raise awareness and donations for ALS. The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. According to the ALS Association, people can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS charity of their choice, or do both.
ALS is the initialism for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease or classical motor neuron disease. ALS is a neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. Unable to function, the muscles gradually weaken, waste away, and twitch. The disease become progressively worse the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement is lost, eventually resulting in death. The cause of ALS is not known, and scientists do not yet know why ALS strikes some people and not others. About 30,000 Americans now have ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has led millions to:
- Hear about it.
- Know about it.
- Care about it.
- Do something about it.
As we have been studying the book of James, this is the exact message we see in Chapter 1:19-27. James wants us to:
- Hear the Word
- Know the Word
- Care about the Word
- Do the Word.
Just as importantly he wants us to do all of this with wisdom. In verses 19 -21, James gives us 5 wise ways to be “Knowers of the Word.
Wise Ways to be Knowers of the Word
- Be quick to hear.
- Slow to speak.
- Slow to anger.
- Get rid of sin
- Accept the Word with Humility.
Later in the book, James calls faith without works…DEAD. Knowing the Word is only half of the equation. In the Ice Bucket Challenge, if no one ever gave money to help find a cure, it would be pointless. We are called not only to Know the Word but Do the Word. In verses 22 – 27, James gives us 4 ways to be wise “Doers of the Word.”
Wise Ways to be Doers of the Word
- Don’t Forget what the Word says.
- Control your Tongue
- Care for the vulnerable
The reason I use the Ice Bucket Challenge as an example is because I recently learned that a portion of the funds raised through ALS Association goes to embryonic stem cell research.
Embryonic stem cell research is speculative medical research (it has never resulted in clinical treatments) that is predicated on the destruction of embryonic human life. The process uses stem cells harvested from embryos conceived through vitro fertilization (IVF) that have been donated for research purposes rather than being implanted into a woman’s uterus. The embryos are killed during the process of harvesting their cells and then are discarded afterwards. In 1999, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a resolution expressing opposition to the destruction of innocent human life, including the destruction of human embryos for research purposes.
If you have given money to ALS association, unless you designated specifically that you didn’t want funds to go to this research, a portion of your funds did. I’m not trying to shame you or embarrass you. The reality is that we do this every day.
We make seemingly insignificant decisions that speak to what we believe and support unintentionally that may or may not be true about us. When we don’t use wisdom we say, do, and support things unintentionally that we may not have chosen to if we did use wisdom.
This is a point James is making in this section of Scripture.
So what do we do?
Linked are two great articles on how to approach this movement with wisdom. Included are alternative charities that help support finding a cure to ALS without funding embryonic stem cell research. Much of my research and content came from these two sources.
The FAQs: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Why I Cannot Accept the Ice-Bucket Challenge by Nathaniel King
Just so you know I do not think it is wrong to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. I think it is a great opportunity to help find a cure to a horrific disease and an opportunity to highlight research that is not destroying human life. Please give through one of the links at the bottom of this page.
Please help find a cure to ALS by donating to one of the links below.
The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center
Dr. Anthony Windebank and his team
The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC
John Paul II Medical Research Institute