"For us let it be enough to know ourselves to be in the place where God wants us, and carry on our work, even though it be no more than the work of an ant, infinitesimally small, and with unforeseeable results."
-- Abbé Monchanin

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tai Chi in the Park

Last Saturday some members of our Tai Chi class did a demo as part of the Park Palooza in Arlington Park here in Hot Springs, AR.  This is a class to improve the health of old-timers and not training for a group of warriors.  The pictures and video will make that quite clear.

To see a photo album of the demo visit:  Tai Chi Park Palooza

Here is the video of the Tai Chi for Arthritis routine.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What Creates Such Hatred?

Watching the unfolding identification of the Boston bombers, I can't help but wonder what it is that is causing so many people who came to this country at a youngish age as their families fled dangers in their homelands to become so embittered against the USA that they join terrorists groups. There have been numerous Somali youth recruited and others from middle eastern countries. I find it hard to believe that they came with their families intentionally planning to become terrorists. Something happened. 

 Could it be that we have been to unloving to them? Have we alienated them by the way we speak about other countries, ethnic groups or religious groups? Shouldn't the way we live our lives and relate to them be creating a sense of acceptance and a growing love for their new homeland instead? Many come to this country and become even more devoted to it than masses of people who were born here and never develop an appreciation for the treasure they have. 

We need to prevent future terrorist events, not simply by increased security and restrictions on immigration, but by winning the hearts of our neighbours.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston and the World

The pouring rain and the wind blowing so hard this morning inspired Kathy and me to decide not to go out to our Tai Chi class.  Instead we watched the memorial service in Boston.  I'm glad I did.  It was very inspirational over all.  I especially appreciated the youth choir and some of the scripture passages used.  The tributes to the brave heroes who rushed to the aid of others were uplifting.

The most significant insight for me came when I heard the Muslim leader speak.  He told of having just received his US citizenship and the pledge to service all new citizens make when they swear the oath of allegiance to their new nation.  He challenged all citizens to join in service to their communities.  But more importantly, he told how as a 7 year old student, long before he came to America, he encountered a car bomb on his walk home from school one day. Monday brought those memories back to him.  It struck me that we  as Americans are feeling so unique in our tragedy and feeling especially targeted by this rare attack.  Yet, for many in our world, bombings and terrorist attacks are a regular part of their lives.  Car bombs.  Suicide bombers.  Attacks of other kinds upon innocent non-combatants who are directly targeted or happen to be near targeted individuals.  It's the life they have to live.  Day in.  Day out.  It's their normal.

The attack in Boston could have been much worse.  Not every bomb attack in our world happens near some of the best medical facilities in existence. Most happen away from trained medical people or where there are no brave volunteers rushing to give immediate assistance.  It is a truly blessing that the bombings in Boston did not kill more people.  Give thanks for the resources that were readily available on Monday.  Remember, others are seldom so blessed in resources.

My prayer is that as we work our ways through the anger and pain, sorrow and grief of our national experience of terror, as we raise ourselves to the determination to overcome our fears and defeat the bomber's effort to demoralize us, my prayer is that we will remember those around our world who also live in danger of terror strikes and join in solidarity with them in striving to overcome evil with good.

Let us look beyond ourselves and pay tribute to those other victims of terror in our world.  Let us work with more diligence to eliminate the specter of terror that is so common in our world today.

And, rather than being instruments of revenge, let us join our souls in St. Francis of Assisi's prayer, "LORD, make me an instrument of Thy peace. . . ."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Will it give you more time to pray?"

In his book Rediscovering Values, Jim Wallis recounts an interaction with an agnostic friend.  His friend was interested in the virtual religious experience available through contemporary technologies.  His friend asks this insightful question, "Will it give you more time to pray?"

Shouldn't we be asking ourselves that same question regarding all our "time saving" conveniences?  I'm not sure we'll like our answers.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Cock Crows

To the extent that we are comfortable in contemporary American culture, we deny Christ.  This is a warning to those of us audacious enough to appropriate the name "Christian" and a rebuff to those of us who make claim to any degree of spiritual maturity.