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With the USA and coalitions dabbling in some type of skirmish with ISIS terrorists in the Syrian and Iraqi regions, now’s an important time to reflect on the advancement of terrorism and its impact on America’s way of life. Case in point:
While traveling in Central America, I had the opportunity to worship at an international, interdenominational, English-speaking church. The congregation contained Africans, Italians, Spaniards, Latinos, Americans, and Asians. We sang old Irish hymns and modern, Australian worship choruses. The service was a mixture of Lutheran, Reformed, and Pentecostal elements. The welcome was given by a Canadian, a German read the Scripture lesson, and an American did the preaching. It was a wonderful, diverse experience, and for a little while I thought the kingdom of God had come.
My friend’s daughter just turned 8 and I was recently reminiscing about having attended her baby shower. I arrived at the party, set my purse in a room with everyone else’s and joined the activities. Most of the women in attendance went to my friend’s church.
Our society loves labels of all kinds. Many of us now check out the label on packaged food products before we buy them. Perhaps because we’re watching our weight, avoiding allergens, or trying to reduce the salt in our diet. Or maybe because we’re trying to make healthier choices about what goes into our body. Some of us just like to know where our fresh food is grown. When it comes to clothing, we may prefer a certain designer label, or a brand that we know fits us well. With greater social awareness of injustices around the world, many of us also look at labels so we can shop wisely for fair trade products, or avoid buying from countries with unfair or abusive labor practices. Then there are other labels such as nicknames, or descriptors that we use to conveniently label and categorize people. These labels, which are largely subjective, quite often determine our attitudes and our treatment of others. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the cruel and hurtful labels that children of all ages use to dehumanize, taunt, or exclude others.
A husband and wife had been married for many years when the husband began to fear that his wife was going deaf. He implemented an informal exam. While his wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner, the husband in a normal, conversation tone asked from the den, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” She didn't answer. So he moved closer to the kitchen and repeated the question; no response.
The newspapers now seem to have many articles about the Christians living in the mid-east being persecuted, and killed. Beheading seems to be the selected punishment for being a Christian. This bothers me, but what is happening in America bothers me more, as it is under our control.
I’m spending more time studying the Old Testament this year and as I was reading Second Kings I came upon a story that made me go, “No way! Are you serious?”
Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday. It is an annual event, the first Sunday of each October, in which Christians worldwide celebrate our oneness in Christ. There is a unity to the faith, scarcely as it might appear and in spite of our many differences and traditions. Special services will be held around the globe testifying to this fact.
Months ago a friend handed me a little book entitled “Have A Little Faith,” written by Mitch Albom. Honestly, it sat on my shelf for a long time gathering dust. It’s not that I was uninterested; I was plowing through some dense reading material and figured that Albom’s book was a little too light for what I had my teeth sunk in at the time.
Ten years ago, Pastor Paul Lavino of New Life Church in Ahwatukee Foothills thought, “If we weren’t here as a church, would anybody miss us?”
Raymond Frederick (Bobermin) Baxter, 86, a retired Hollywood actor, was welcomed home into God’s Glorious Kingdom on Saturday, Aug. 30.
I am sometimes suspicious of how we employ our faith. Don’t get me wrong, faith is important to me, and I have given my life to it. But sometimes I treat my faith like it is a medicine cabinet or a pharmaceutical, going to it only when something is wrong, or if I am looking for a quick remedy.
A fun question to ask kids is, “How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the ark?” When they shout out “Two!” you shake your head and break the news to them that Moses didn’t have an ark. Ha!
Janet Hagberg was the first person who defined the experience for me. I had lived through it, but I didn’t know what to call it. In a book entitled, “The Critical Journey,” Janet called the experience, simply, “The Wall.” My summary goes like this. Many people begin their walk of faith, and everything goes as they expected. Out of genuine conviction, they attend church, learn from the Scriptures, volunteer, serve, give, and become “productive, committed, faithful, Christians” (whatever that exactly means, who knows?). But somewhere along the way things go wrong. Terribly wrong.
Due to last Monday’s huge storm, it actually rained on the inside of our house for awhile. Water found a way between floors and began to stream through the ceiling on the first floor while leaving soggy carpet in the room directly above. And I had just been feeling confident because our pool hadn’t overflowed.
This is the first year of the official Sept. 11th Museum and Memorial. Located underground, on the foundation stones of the World Trade Center Towers, it contains more than 10,000 artifacts of the day, 23,000 pictures, and an archive of more than 500 hours of video.
Unable to find her second directing project, Angelina Jolie took to sifting through “generals.”
It was 13 years ago Thursday when terrorists attacked the United States after gaining control of four commercial airplanes. Two planes struck and took down the World Trade Center in New York; the third damaged the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Passengers of that flight, United 93, fought the terrorists in an attempt to regain control of the plane.
I was in the hardware store when I first heard the news, though I did not know what I was hearing. As the cashier tallied my purchase, I overheard a reporter on the store’s radio make the peculiar announcement that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. At the time, I thought of it as little more than a curiosity. How wrong I was.
It was, by my reckoning, a perfect day to sail. The thunderstorms of the night before had given way to a half-blue sky populated by enormous, billowing clouds and a stiff, northerly breeze that would facilitate sailing close-hauled the full length of the “chute.” The chute was a straight line down the middle of the lake where the wind was usually steady, unencumbered by trees and houses along the shoreline.
The Buddha said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Well, ready or not kids, your teachers are showing up in classrooms everywhere. It’s time to crack open the books, slip the surly bonds of summer, and head back to school.
My youngest son started middle school this year. On the first day of classes, climbing on the bus with all his No. 2 pencils and three-ring binders, he also carried with them enough anxiety to fill a mama’s boy’s backpack. It wasn’t just the reality of a new school that put them on edge; it was middle school, and that is scary enough all on its own.
Words are powerful creatures. Sometimes sleek and smooth, sometimes coarse and rough. Once they’re out there, we can’t snatch them back, tame them, or change them. Of course, not all words are hurtful or intended to wound. But words that hurt can kill us slowly and painfully, like a torturer. They cut away at our confidence, they eat up our self-esteem. While we might be able to maintain outward façade of normality, we inwardly shrivel and die. In those hidden depths, we can look and feel like “The Scream,” by Edvard Munch.
The Old Testament Law contains 613 individual commandments. The majority of these are negative: “Thou shalt not” do such or so. These commandments prohibit activities ranging from coveting your neighbor’s cow to wearing pants made from two different materials. The remaining commandments are positive: “Thou shalt.” These order adherents to perform in determined ways and means.
I wonder how many people are still paying attention to the calamity going on in Missouri?