27 September 2007

on being sick

For the last few days, I've been sick. I've had a sinus cold that has made me feel bad enough to miss a presbytery meeting, and basically, anything that involves going anywhere. Compared with my usual "healthy" feeling, I've felt pretty bad.

Okay, enough whining. When I consider my situation and compare it with that of millions of other people, I have nothing to say. Millions of people, who feel worse than I do, can't take time off from life to recuperate. They have to get up very early in the morning and work. (I've been getting up early in the morning, but only to drink water.) Many of these sick ones must travel dirt roads, fleeing those who would do them harm. In addition to all that, they don't have the abundance of remedies available to me. (Their degree of effectiveness is another question...)

I guess that's all I have to say on the matter.

(Hey, what more do you want? I'm sick!)

15 September 2007

even so, I still keep hoping

Last night, as I was listening to Tara and T. R. play at Labyrinth Coffee Press (they have a small stage for musicians), I picked up the current issue of our local "alternative" newspaper--the Chautauqua Region Word. The cover story is "2007's top 10 most censored news stories." Actually, Project Censored (the paper's source) lists 25 stories, but the paper only goes into detail with the top ten. In this context, "censored" doesn't necessarily mean government censorship. Instead, these are stories that big media--which is increasingly controlled by fewer and fewer people--chose to ignore.

(Not) surprisingly, two of the stories are about Halliburton, the company Dick Cheney used to run. One of the censored stories highlights Halliburton's selling of nuclear technology to an Iranian oil company as recently as 2005. The other story describes how Cheney's Halliburton stock rose 3000% from 2004 to 2005. How convenient! I suppose getting no-bid, no-audit government contracts in a war zone means somebody's getting paid!

You can check these stories, and others, at http://www.projectcensored.org/censored_2007/index.htm

Even so, I still keep hoping for sanity and decency to return to the White House!

08 September 2007

courageous confessions

Of the Hebrew prophets, Jeremiah is probably my favorite. I admire him. I admire his courage. Based on what the scriptures tell us, I don't think any other prophet is forced to endure all that he does. (Of course, Amos receives death threats, Ezekiel is taken into exile and loses his wife, and so on. There is no valid arithmetic to suffering.)

What I really admire is his vulnerability. That's what we see in the so-called "confessions" of Jeremiah--11:18-12:6, 15:10-21, 17:14-18, 18:18-23, 20:7-18. These are poems in which he isn't shy about letting God know the betrayal he feels. Didn't you promise to protect me? So why are so many terrible things happening to me? The image I've included, "Jeremiah," which is a woodcut by Jacob Steinhardt, captures powerful emotions: shock, pain, disbelief...but beneath it all, there remains love.

Jeremiah's confessions display courage. Many people believe that faith must be blind, that we must be "dead certain" (or at least, pretend to be). Read the book of Jeremiah. Meditate on his confessions. They bring a badly-needed corrective to our world today.

04 September 2007

I keep hoping for a change

I keep hoping for some sign of change in the Bush administration, but I keep getting disappointed. I say to myself, "Things can't get any worse. They can't possibly do any more damage to the rule of law and to our Constitution." And then something else happens. I remember how hundreds, if not thousands, of black Floridians were unjustly denied the vote in 2000. But as a Christian, I know people can change. People can repent.

I shouldn't be surprised at the revelation that Dick Cheney's top legal aide, David Addington said, "We're one bomb away" from our goal. He was talking about one more terrorist attack on US soil, and then they can abolish the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. You can read about it at http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/09/04/addington/

Of course, it isn't like the Congress and the media have really challenged the Bush administration's consolidation of power to begin with.

But I continue to hope, and pray, for a change.