Survivors Find Blessings

Out of curiosity, I did a Google search of news stories with this phrase in them: “for which to be thankful.”

I clicked the St. Petersburg Times (Florida) link with this Associated Press story:

They lost homes, neighbors and cherished communities to Hurricane Katrina. Some are uprooted, far from the only place they ever knew. Others have returned to the cities they love, to pick up the pieces and start over.

They will gather this Thanksgiving with family and friends to reflect back and look forward. But when tragedy scars the soul, what is left to be thankful for?

Blessings, it turns out. Big and small ones. A beloved city that is crippled but stands. Strangers who gave of themselves and became heroes, then friends. School, once a drag, now appreciated. A new life whose future had been uncertain.

Many who made it through the storm have a new understanding of what it means to give thanks. Here are some of their words.

What blessings can you find in your life?

What are some of your words of gratefulness?

Two Punches?

According to this news story, the preacher kept on preaching:

A pastor was standing in front of a group of people when one man rears back and punches him right in the eye. It happened over the weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Victory Christian Center’s Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty continued his sermon with blood coming out of his eye.

The next sentence in the report states blandly:

Church members subdued his attacker.

Then we have this photo of the attacker:

To this “casual observer” it appears at least two punches landed during that service.

Tit for tat.

Ooooops.

State-Sponsored Church

I know this happened two days ago, but I’ve been wondering if I should say just a bit about it:

President George W. Bush visited a state-sponsored Christian church this morning to nudge China on religious freedom — the first stop on a whirlwind visit where he is likely to face difficulty getting his hosts to change their ways on fair trade or human rights.

A bit farther down in the article we have this:

The church itself is one of five officially recognized Protestant churches in Beijing. There are Catholic churches as well, although the Chinese bar them from having close ties to the Vatican.

What does it take to be a church officially recognized by the Communist government of China? What are the practical and theological implications of being state-sponsored? And how many unregistered (ie, underground and persecuted) churches are there?

I suppose I could Google for an answer, but I haven’t yet.

What’s There to Say?

Here’s an AP story that captures my attention, although I suspect it won’t be for long:

A 16-year-old boy accused of killing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has escaped from a juvenile prison for the fifth time in three years รขโ‚ฌโ€ just as he promised, an official said Saturday.

Herlan Colindres, a street gang member implicated in 16 other killings….

He’s only sixteen and he’s already accused of murder?

Sixteen of them?

That makes at least sixteen dead tragedies and at least one living one.

What else is there to say?

To feel?

To do?

Borderline Parallel

The Miami Herald’s headline for the story is interesting (Remember Berlin Wall? Now, think Mexico) yet deeply flawed as an historical parallel.

My recollection of the Berlin Wall is at least three-fold:

  1. It was an intra-national wall.
  2. It was built by the government whose people were “voting with their feet.”
  3. It was there to keep people in.

So when should anyone think of the Berlin Wall when a US-Mexico border fence is discussed?

  1. When the thinker believes the US-Mexico national distinction should not exist. In said case, the thinker would see the fence as an intra-national fence rather than an inter-national fence.
  2. When the thinker believes the fence is to be built by Mexico to keep its oppressed people from choosing freedom in the US.
  3. When the thinker believes the purpose of the fence is to keep people in the United States.

In my view, the parallel the Miami Herald expounds is borderline at best.

If you haven’t yet, at least scan the article/editorial. Notice the words and expressions that serve to plant and foster and anti-fence bias.

Oh, and why should a conservative Anabaptist care about the issue?

Good question. ๐Ÿ™‚

Above all, love God!

since November 9, 2005