Monday, October 31, 2005


It is with much disappointment I write to commemorate the 2,000th American life (approximately 2012 at this writing) that has been lost in the war in Iraq. I also mourn the 30,000 deaths of Iraqi people (many civilians) who feel that their homeland has been invaded by a foreign country. Also there are 102 soldiers of the "coalition of the willing" that have died. We have almost spent the $30 billion allocated to rebuild Iraq after destroying it and "there is no clear source for hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to operate the projects that have been finished" (NY Times, 10/30/05) .
Let me take this moment to reiterate two facts:
1) There were NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (source: CIA)
2) There was NO link between Iraq and the 9/11 attack on the US. (source: 9/11 Commission)
In both regards the American people have been either LIED to or extremely MISLED by our government leaders. We owe the families of everyone involved much more than a crappy apology but no one's even been given that!

And in closing one more number. ZERO (as in 0, none, nil, nada): the number of funerals Bush has attended as well as the number of casket photos the media has been allowed to publish (despite something called the Freedom of Press in the First Ammendment of our Bill of Rights).

How many roads must a man walk down, Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail, Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly, Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many times must a man look up, Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have, Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows, That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist, Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist, Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head,Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
-Bob Dylan

Sunday, October 30, 2005


As many of you know, I've been going through a difficult past couple of months. Now I'm back in Seoul and starting a new job on Tuesday teaching English to elementary Korean kids. I've been wanting to blog on several subjects but just haven't had the time. It's like all these ideas are bubbling inside of me wanting to get out. So I'm really excited to get back to this! Enjoy!

I've just returned from a trip to Sydney, Australia. Among the many things we did was tour the Blue Mountains where we did alot of hiking. One thing I was impressed with was seeing the gum trees that were charred and seemingly destroyed by fire but upon looking up to their tops, their leaves gave evidence to the life within. Our host, Gregory told us that this is pretty common and pointed out other examples where you could actually see THROUGH holes in the tree and yet, it was still alive.

This reminded me of the burning bush in Exodus that God spoke to Moses through. It also reminded me of a recent devotional that I had read. In Toronto, I purchased this book called "The Word Is Out" by Chris Glasser. It has daily Bible meditations for lesbian and gay men. The one scripture that really stuck with me is the following from Isaiah 43:1-2.

43:1 Israel, the Lord who created you says, "Do not be afraid,I will save
you. I have called you by name, you are mine.
43:2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
The Good News Translation

Recently a friend of mine has been turning to prayer to see if it makes a difference in her life. I've cautioned her that, as this scripture above states, the difference that prayer makes is not necessarily reflected in an easier life. (In fact I'm leery of "Health & Wealth" Christians. These people believe that if one has God's blessing, then things go easier for you in the form of health and wealth. To these Christians, I recommend reading and re-reading the Book of Job until they get the point.) The difference that prayer makes is that it gives us the fortitude to be unconsumed by the fire of our hard trials. We will not be overwhelmed. We will not be burned. We will not be hurt. God is with us.

Another friend of mine recommended this excellent book called "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. The author survived five years in German concentration camps and set about trying to determine why some people survived and some did not. His conclusion was this: that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. (This is in contrast to Freudian psychotheraphy that states sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life.) Those in the camps that survived, believed they had a greater purpose and that their life had meaning. Many found solace in prayer.

I used to think prayer was pointless. I still have doubts about how effectively we mere mortals can change an outcome of a situation that is already part of a greater plan (predestined). However now I can see the connection between this practice and reaffirming my Christian faith.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Power of Positive Thinking

I grew up reading Guideposts, a magazine that Norman Vincent Peale founded to promote inspiring people who faced adversity with a positive attitude. With these stories of perserverance and giving credit to my parents as well, I have been trying to get through the past few months with a positive attitude. Here are some quotes I have run across that I have found extremely helpful. I haven't found who wrote these so apologies all around until I do! Hope you find these inspiring as well.

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results. -Wade Boggs, Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Speech, July 31, 2005

Your attitude, almost always determines your altitude in life. -Zig Ziglar

Learn to embrace change and you'll recognize that life is in constant motion and every change happens for a reason. When you see boundaries as opportunities, the world becomes a limitless place and your life becomes a journey of change that always finds its way.

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying

"I will try again tomorrow." -Mary Anne Radmacher

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Moving the Fence

Today I was reading an interview in The Advocate with the Bishop V. Gene Robinson. He related this story that I found very intriguing. It's been going through my head all day and I thought I should share...

During WWII a man died and his two friends desperately wanted to give him a decent burial. They found a cemetery in a nearby village. It happened to be a Roman Catholic cemetery and the dead man had been a Protestant. When the two friends found the priest in charge of the burial grounds, they requested permission to bury their friend, but the priest refused because the man had not been a Catholic. When the priest saw their disappointment, he explained that they could bury their friend immediately outside the fence. This was done.

Later, they returned to visit the grave, but couldn't find it. Their search led them back to the priest and, of course, they asked him what had happened to the grave. The priest told them that during the night he was unable to sleep. So he got up and moved the fence to include the dead soldier.

As a pastor's kid, growing up in the small town of Beloit, Kansas I recall visiting the town cemetary often. The Protestant cemetary was adjacent to the Catholic one. One day, I noticed along the fence of the Catholic cemetary there were little metal markers with names on them. These names were made with those label making tapes. Anyway I was told that these were the babies that died without getting baptized. Because of this (although most Protestants believe babies are born without sin), these babies could not enter heaven but were in Limbo or Purgatory. Hence why they were buried along the sides of the cemetary, by the fence.

It occurs to me that we are in the position to move the metaphorical fence that keeps out people that should be included in our churches. The Church was founded to include all of God's children and who are we to exclude those on the fringes?