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Love others as much as you love yourself,” Jesus told his followers. These words are considerably more than a sugary Sunday-school story. For those who take these words to heart, “love others” has profound, life-altering implications, not all of which are warm and fuzzy. Consider the life of Bernard Lichtenberg, arrested seven decades ago. His crime: He loved. Lichtenberg was a Catholic priest serving in Berlin before the outbreak of World War 2. When Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power, he recognized the coming terror better than most, and made it his ambition to help the Jewish people and other persecuted groups.
Near Mpumalanga, South Africa, are the marvelous and mysterious Echo Caves. Rediscovered in the last century and turned into a tourist site, these caverns are home to a truly remarkable ecosystem. One of the more amazing species found there, is its famous and unique wild fig trees. As far as plant life goes, these fig trees appear to be normal run-of-the-mill fruit bushes. What makes them so famous is the unseen: Their roots. Researchers and spelunking scientists have followed the roots of these trees deep into Echo Caves — 400 feet deep to be precise — the deepest known root system in the world.
I’ve made a habit lately of studying the Amish. I use the word “study” loosely as this is not a simple curiosity of mine or some kind of theological experiment. My exploration flows out of a deep respect and admiration for their faith and spirituality. We English (that’s what the Amish call us outside their communities) recognize them because of their familiar beards, horse-drawn buggies, fine woodworking, or barn-raisings, but there’s a lot more to this group than sturdy furniture and firm dispositions. They have a lively, vibrant faith despite their archaic lifestyles.
I once approached my life and work as if I was building a house. Drive a nail here. Lay a block there. Smear a bit of paint in the corner. Cut out a window now and again. Figuratively, this is how I treated my life, and it is a solid, powerful image. It is also an image with plenty of biblical roots.
Today is Father’s Day and it made me realize (once again) how blessed I am to have the dads that I have, and how grateful I am to still have them! Their characters molded me, just like your dad’s molded you.
Last week my son asked me a profound theological question: “Why did God make stinging bugs?” Stumped, I told him to talk directly to God about it. Pausing for just a moment to consider my inadequate answer, he countered, “You know I can’t talk to God; I’m not even dead yet!” In my son’s literal but complex 8-year-old mind, prayer does not qualify as “talking to God.” Thus, his many and variegated questions about the mysteries of the universe, the meaning of life, and the purpose of wasps and biting flies, will have to wait.
Ken Autry is the former pastor at First United Methodist Church on the lake yard in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. I say, “former” pastor only because he has now moved on to another appointment. Those Methodists won’t let their preachers sit still for long. He once shared a letter with his congregation that I have yet to get out of my mind. The letter, while not written to Rev. Autry, had been written by a parishioner who had become quite disgruntled with her pastor. This is not uncommon.
After the avalanche of email I received from the Windows XP article I wrote last month, I thought perhaps it would be nice to address some rather interesting short topics. Just for the record, RW, at last check, the sky has not fallen, nor is it expected any time soon.
Are you a big fan of Apple or Nike, or a hater of McDonald’s? A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows love-it or hate-it brands probably won’t perform exceptionally well in the stock market, but they also offer investors less risk because you know just what to expect — the good and the bad.
Ahwatukee resident, David Kennedy, recently self published his first novel titled “A Vicious Cycle: Escaping the Beast Within,” an accomplishment Kennedy has always wanted to complete.
NEW THIS WEEK
A family trip abroad, a foreign deck of cards and the arduous search for acceptance led Ahwatukee native, Daniel Mefford, to write and self-publish his very own fantasy book.
Phoenix International Raceway has been a part of the motor sports scene since 1964. From its genesis as an open-wheel destination through its present-day status as a stock car haven, the one-mile desert oval has built a reputation as a unique challenge for drivers and as a memory maker for all who have visited over the last 50 years.
No doubt you have heard of people who buy junk at the swap meet or garage sale and sell it for a fortune on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon or any other of a dozen or so online seller sites. Maybe you are thinking you are a pretty savvy shopper and you cruise the garage sales so why not make it big with some discarded relic of the past that will bring your financial future more in line with your expectations? Before you go out treasure hunting, there are a few things you need to know.
The Mesa folk rock band Murrieta, recently named one of Phoenix New Times’ Top 5 Must-See Shows of the Week, is quickly becoming a force to reckon with on the local indie rock scene.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Dwayne Baker has never been much of a cat person so when he moved in with his new wife and stepson and 14 cats he knew he had to figure out some way to get rid of the smell coming from the litter box.
It’s no secret that kids love tablets, but the devices also can get them into trouble.
The city bus service is a poor transportation system. It’s slow, there are so many stops to pick or drop single passengers. It doesn’t pick you up where you are nor drop you off where you want to be. It is almost as expensive as owning a car. Users don’t feel the cost because the bus system is subsidized. Basically, the present bus system is not the best.
When it comes to writing, some authors enjoy writing true-life events.
Once upon a time, people who craved a tablet computer bought an iPad.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gone, that doesn’t mean our holiday shopping is done.
Black Friday used to be the one day where you could find bargain-basement deals on computers, TVs, game consoles, home goods, clothes, toys, and the list goes on.
(Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part guest commentary. See the conclusion in the Nov. 22 AFN, where one porn user shares his journey and mental health experts struggle over what to call this problem).
Their talent has taken them to Nashville and beyond, onto stages where they’ve opened for some of the biggest names in country music, including Wynonna Judd, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Little Big Town and Steve Wariner.