Monday, September 22, 2008

Another week in Anchor town

Grace and greetings.

It has been one week since Kim and I were flown down last Tuesday.  Kim is getting better slowly, out of CCU,  she is recognizing people and remembering where she is and what the day of the week is, and the month. Of course it is written on the board in front of her when she answers the questions. Now we wait for the doctors to tell us about her lung and how long she will be in the hospital. 

In the meantime, I have seen a lot of wildlife here, on a daily basis. The moose are out and about; have seen moose while going and coming from the hospital,  as well as a buck with a HUGE rack on his head slowly walking through the hospital parking lot, with cars having to slowly follow behind; saw a black bear the one night, jumped out in front of the car and dove into the bushes along the side of the road near my parent's house; and our son was with his aunt when they saw a mother black bear and three cubs walk in front of the car Friday night a little further down the road than where I saw my bear. 

In the paper on Sunday, saw a quick little comment by a woman that runs a daily column in the Anchorage Daily News called the Ear. I guess she is not a fan of Sarah Palin; her suggestion was to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Palin's name. Of course, Palin is anti-choice, and political donations are not tax deductible, but they are deductible to Planned Parenthood, (and any other non-profit organizations). When a donation is made in Palin's name, she receives a notice of the donation. Of course, this can be used for any politician and what ever their cause (or anti-cause) of choice may be. 

Well, it is time to regain strength and energy before meeting with the doctors tomorrow, hopefully. 

Peace and blessing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wet Friday in Anchorage

Grace and greetings.

For those who are reading my blog, I am requesting prayers. After going to the hospital in Barrow seven times in the last four weeks, the medical staff finally admitted that my wife's illness was not just the normal respiratory cough. Tuesday, we went in and they took another x-ray. It turns out that yes she has pneumonia, but also her right lung had collapsed. We were flown to Anchorage Tuesday night and have been here ever since.  There is a mass in her right lung the doctors are not sure what it is, hopefully a second CAT scan will be able to tell more. She is still disoriented and not sure where or even who she is at the moment. Hopefully things will start to clear up for her soon.

Our son was able to fly out yesterday, even though the flights were full through to the weekend, as there was teacher in-service yesterday and today. Even though he wants to be here with his mother, he dislikes hospitals, so I need to find something for him to do while he is here in Anchorage. 

On our way to the hospital. Thank you for your prayers in advance.

Peace and blessings.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another week has passed

Grace and greetings.

Thursday I wrote about the bear that just laid in the sand while everybody stood around and took pictures. At times, it looked like the bear was trying to stand up, but was not able. I thought that it was just too tired. Later, I heard why. It turns out that if you look at the back right hip, you will notice a red spot that looks like blood. If the story is right, it turns out that somebody had shot the bear, and he made it to the beach before collapsing. The police let the bear rest for a couple of hours then tried to chase the bear back into the water. The bear was not able to get up, so I guess that "they" (not sure just who they were) ended up killing the bear. This was the second bear in a week that was shot and killed when there was really a question as to the need to kill.
But this leads me into tonight's meditation: Living with Others. It is based on Romans 14.1-13.
During the past several weeks, we have been following the Lectionary through the Letter to the Romans. Tonight’s reading is the last that we will be going through in this part of the Lectionary cycle. Basically, in the last passage, Paul tells the Romans, and all others, that hear the letter, to “play nice with each other.”

We are encouraged to welcome each other, or as Paul writes, those who are strong (in the faith) and those who are weak. We do not welcome others so that we can change their beliefs and habits; but rather we welcome each other so that we can be supportive of each other, help each other grow and remain faithful in our walk with the Lord our God.

Paul uses an example of eating meat verses those who do not, but only eat vegetables. Those who ate meat did so with the understanding that God gave the meat to be eaten. Other worried that the meat may have been sacrificed and offered to some other god, or maybe they already knew that too much of a meat diet can cause the body harm. Of course each group felt superior over the other. In some respects it is like alcohol, there are those who can have a glass of wine with their dinner every so often. The other group says that all alcohol is not good, so they abstain altogether. Paul is calling us to be able to stand together and support one another in their faith, encourage them to remain true to their walk of faith whether we drink or abstain, eat meat or abstain. The issue is not whether we eat or drink, but how we help each other in their Faith Journey. We each have a time, when we come before God with an accounting to our own lives, not in how we did in comparison, but how true we lived, how true we walked our own talk.

Paul writes that we are not to judge each other in who walks a more Holy Walk, but to help each other remain faithful to God, not to cause another to stumble or fall because of what we may say or do.

Support each other to walk the path that they have chosen; encourage each other through prayer and love. While we do that, we will realize that we have our own wrongs to worry about, rather than somebody else’s wrongs.

Paul continues his letter with encouragement and personal greetings, but I want to finish with the verse Romans 15.13. “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Alleluia and Amen
Peace and blessings.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Patriot's Day

Grace and greetings.

This morning brought a lot of excitement in the village, as a bear was found wandering around and then later took a nap on the beach. It was lying around for a while, so I went down to get some pictures along with about twenty other cars and vehicles. The bear was about 10 to 15 yards away from all the people, and about 5 yards on shore. It must have been too tired to do anything, but lie there. Without the ice, the bears are having to swim sometimes hundreds of miles before getting any rest. Here are a couple of my pictures. I can now say that I have seen my first Polar Bear in the village of Barrow.

I was looking at a calendar yesterday while waiting in the hospital, and noticed that today, (September 11) was named Patriot's Day in the United States. I did not realize that it had become an official stated day. I am sure most of us can remember where we were seven years ago. (I cannot believe that it has been seven years already). We were in the process of moving from Iowa to New Mexico. Kim and Sam were already in Roswell, and I had closed out things in Iowa. I left Davenport, IA about noon on Monday September 10th and took a detour to Birmingham, Alabama to see my daughter and my grand-daughter, already 5 months old. I had driven until three in the morning pulling into a hotel just outside Birmingham. I woke up about 9 AM or so, just in time to turn on the TV with pictures of the one Tower on fire. Just then, the second Tower was struck. I have always associated this day to my first day "in the South". Since
I was driving, it did not really effect my travel plans, but I know it effected many others.
I also received a message this morning that one of the more mainline Imams in the United States has died this week. Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, who was the former leader of the Nation of Islam and later broke with the racially tinged teachings of his father, Elijah Muhammad, and inspired thousands of African-American Muslims to follow mainstream Islam. (Minister Louis Farrakhan later broke away from Mohammed and claimed the leadership of the Nation of Islam as his own.) According to a press release, "Imam Mohammed was the first Muslim to offer the invocation in the U.S. Senate, in 1990. He was well known as a strong proponent of civil rights and community development, and of better interfaith relations...including with the Presbyterian Church (USA)." The article does not mention any involvement trying to heal the impact of the 9/11 event, but I am sure he was one of the National leaders trying to address the fear that gripped the world for those first several weeks. Unfortunately, there are still people who lump all Muslims together, which is very unfortunate. There is no one group who can speak or act for the entire body of believers. Just as the Religious Right or the Moral Majority in its day, did not speak for all Christians, nor did those who participated in the acts of violence speak for all Muslims.
I hope you are able to take a moment to remember all loss of life that day, and the days that followed.
Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Angels are In, the Yankees are probably out.

Grace and greetings.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has clinched their division with a win over the evil empire of the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners win over the Texas Rangers. Now hopefully the Angels can heal up their hurt players before the playoffs come around the beginning of October. As for my thoughts on this situation, I think the title says it all.

Another thought that has been rattling around in my mind for the last 24 hours is from a story I heard on NPR last night. It seems that the GOP was able to get two anchors from MNBC forced out of their positions for the remainder of the Presidential Election. I guess Keith Obermann and another anchor made comments that were seen as "too liberal". My questions, does that mean that only "too conservative" anchors are okay? Talk about having control over the media.

I guess I can find no way to end this blog tonight, other than what has been said.

Peace and blessings.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Time is Now

Grace and greetings.

The following is my Sunday evening meditation based on Romans 13.8-14.

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another”. Paul, the Hebrew scholar, quotes from the Ten Commandments and includes the quote from Leviticus 19.18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we can learn to love our neighbor, we will be fulfilling the Law. It seems so easy, just love one another, but it gets hard to follow it through.

If we love our neighbor, we will not want to hurt, steal, oppress, speak ill of them along with everything else we tend to do to each other. This means to love those who do not love us; to love those who do not think, act, or worship like us. It means to love those who dress differently, eat different foods and have different rituals and habits than ours. As we know, loving our neighbor is to show compassion on those to whom we maybe at war with; at war mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or even physically. We are taught to pray for our enemies; can we pray for our enemies and then go out to hurt them? Not if our prayers follow the understanding that we are to love our neighbors.

Paul goes on to express the need and urgency of the lack of time to follow through with this. As Paul writes the night is nearly over, and the day of the Lord is to dawn upon us. We do many things in the dark, hurt full things, mostly so that we will not be seen by others and most of all, by God. Now is the time to realize that we live in God’s light forever. We are to continue to show God’s love to one another, particularly to those we have our differences.

I have struggled to live this out in my own life. Though I teach, I preach, I study, and I love, I too hold grudges. I would like to think that God thinks like I do on the political, social and theological issues of our day. I want God to show the “other group” how wrong they are. Does it really matter who the “other group” is: the liberals; the conservatives; the moderates; the Republicans; the Democrats; gays; the anti gays; those who support the right to legally and medically safe abortions or those who feel abortion is wrong at anytime; the warmongers; or the peace advocates.

As our own time grows short, we are being called to put our lives in order, to reconcile with those who have differences, to make peace with those that we are at war with. We are called to love one another, and let God do the judging, let God hand out the punishment, let God be the one whom chooses who is right and who is wrong, at the time of God's choosing. It is not as if we really know the whole score and scope of life everlasting. We are not called to judge others, we are called to love, here and now, because the Dark of Selfish Night is coming to an end, and the Day of the Loving Lord is dawning upon us.
Peace and blessings.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Re-looking at our Governor Sarah Palin

Grace and greetings.

After my first blog statement concerning our Governor Sarah Palin, I have been doing some more research and stories are coming out of the woodwork.

My thinking that she was a moderate GOP was entirely off track, except that it still maybe true in some parts of Alaska. As I ask around it seems that many Alaskans are finding out just who Sarah Palin is along with the rest of the United States. My problem, like many others, I did not look beyond the pretty face and big smile.

Yes, Sarah is smart and hard working. Yet, it is like the bear in the picture, as long as you do not get too close you will not get hurt. As Sarah's past is slowly, (or quickly) catching up with her, we are finding things out. Many people know and call her by her first name, Sarah, rather than more formal greetings. But it seems that once someone gets on her bad side, or not good list, they remain for a very long time.

When Sarah was mayor, she tried to pressure a librarian to resign because the librarian would not ban book that Mayor Palin deemed bannable. There was a story in Thursday's Anchorage Daily News about the event, and how the people involved are still targets for Governor Palin's revenge.

There is the story that I was not following concerning the firing of the top Police officer in the State. As Governor, she had the right to fire the person, but the story that continues to go with the firing is that she want the person to fire her sister's ex-husband, an Alaska State Trooper. Of course the person refused, so he was fired.

Claiming to be a fiscal conservative, she raised and spent more money as Mayor of Wasilla, mostly in remodeling her office. While Mayor, she got into enough trouble with firing people there, that there was a recall campaign.

Governor Sarah Palin has only been Governor of Alaska for less than two years. Outside of the politics of running a "small town" (5,000), she has no real experience in the wide political arena. Sarah Palin seems to be everything our current Vice President is, except being a woman; a vindictive, pro-life, gun toting NRA, grudge holding person, that is asking for our votes to become a heart beat from being President.

As one Alaskan has commented on her acceptance speech written by President Bush's speech writer, she took several shots at Obama as just as a community organizer; Jesus Christ was seen as just a community organizer and rabble raiser by another Governor, Pontius Pilot.

I realize that many people do not hold to my beliefs, but I think Sarah Palin deserves the hard second look beyond the pretty face and smile.

Peace and blessings.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wet Friday Morning

Grace and greetings.

It is overcast and drizzling outside, which makes for a good morning to just hang out inside on my day off before I have to head into the office anyway.

I thought I would share with you a picture of the bear that walked right in front of our bus through the Denali National Park. Of course, he (I think it is a he), walked about four feet in front of the bus. Unfortunately, I was sitting in the wrong place to get a better picture.

Other than than, life is continuing here in Barrow. There is still the fall out of Governor Palin being nominated for the Vice President position on McCain's ticket. Just like the rest of the United States, there are new tales being told, but like anything else, can not confirm the correctness of the stories. Be sure to keep an open mind of what you read.

Peace and blessings.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day again

Grace and greetings.

We have made it to our second Labor Day here on the North Slope. It is overcast and cold here in Barrow. While my wife is still dealing with her respiratory fun, I came down with my own stuffed up head and sinuses. I thought I would start to share a few of my pictures from our trip south.

While we were in the Denali Park, we came upon this caribou during the bus ride. Of course the buck was facing the wrong way the majority of the time, then quickly looked up, then returning to his feeding. How I was able to get this shot, I am not sure, but here it is.

In other news that broke today, Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant. Of course the Republicans are saying that the Democrats forced their hand in announcing it. Regardless of how and why it was announced, I think Obama summed it up correctly, "Family, especially children are out of bounds". Which of course the National News service is raising it every few minutes. Drop it all ready.

We will see how things fall out in the near future. Hope your Labor Day was restful.

Peace and blessings.