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Archive for March, 2016


"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The ugly Cult of Trump–he who practices a strange strain of Christian faith–keeps marching on.

“See, in the good old days this doesn’t happen,” Trump told his fans, “because they used to treat them very, very rough. And when they protested once, you know, they would not do it again so easily.”

    The good old days???

    The good old days???

    And then there was Kent State, where the Ohio National Guard threw “political correctness” to the wind and killed four students.

    Some of us remember quite well “the good old days.”

    God Help America!

    God, please help America.

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Belize is famous for its colorful, exotic birds; bird fanatics pour in here from around the world every day, loaded down with their high-powered binocs and high-dollar cameras.

But I did a crazy little dance the other day with a rather common vermillion flycatcher, one of the prettiest of tiny, high-energy birds in God’s great green Creation.

A male Vermillion Flycatcher: not the most exotic bird in Belize, but pretty and engaging nonetheless.

A male Vermillion Flycatcher: not the most exotic bird in Belize, but pretty and engaging nonetheless.

This is a bird whose male version comes with some impressive color coordination: its illuminating red feathering stands out against its dark gray coat and bandit-like eyes.

As the sun began its descent, I was taking one of my aimless walks on a country lane that leads to a beautiful Belizean farm and ranch. It’s a wonderful setting for some casual bird watching in the evening (and for fox watching as the foxes prowl around for field mice for supper; they have a way of creeping me out, but they are interesting to watch).

On this particular stroll, I noticed a particular vermillion flycatcher as he did a sweep around me and then set himself atop a pole on a barbed wire fence. Perched there as perfectly still as the post upon which he’d landed, he stared at me.

I stopped and stared back, perfectly still (call me “The Bird Whisperer”). Then I slowly re-started my walk and he flittered down the fence line to another post a short distance away. As I neared him again, I stopped and we had another stare-down before I took a couple of steps and he fled to another observation point on another post another short distance down.

This little dance we did went on for several minutes before he finally flittered away across a pasture. I could imagine him saying, “Hasta la vista, gringo. I’m going back to my wild freedom and I’ll see ya (wouldn’t wanna be ya).”

One of the greatest gifts I’ve received from living a committed life of spiritual discipline is the ability to pay closer and ever-closer attention to everybody and everything.

It’s in paying mindful attention that I’ve discovered what a great dance partner my loving Lord is.

Especially out in the wild, where “getting wild and crazy” takes on a whole new Holy meaning.

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I’ve traveled around a lot of countries and on numerous continents and found that people everywhere really relish three things in life:

1. Ice Cream (everywhere in the world, and I mean everywhere)

2. Melons (most countries, even some cold climes)

3. Peaches (in warm climes)

Pretty much everything you ever needed to know about the joy of labor, creativity, the connection of everything (see physics), God’s providence (see the Bible), why we live and the divine miracle of it all is contained in this poem by one who is really good at poetry:

Still Life with Peaches, Renoir,1881

Still Life with Peaches, Renoir,1881

FROM BLOSSOMS
By Her Greatness the poet Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee

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 The Missionaries of Charity killed in Yemen last week. Sr. Anselm from India, Sr. Margherite from Rwanda, Sr. Reginette from Rwanda, and Sr. Judith from Kenya. They were killed along with 12 elderly people at the retirement home that they ran in Aden.

The Missionaries of Charity killed in Yemen last week. Sr. Anselm from India, Sr. Margherite from Rwanda, Sr. Reginette from Rwanda, and Sr. Judith from Kenya. They were killed along with 12 elderly people at the retirement home that they ran in Aden.

So tell me, are you as an American Christian being persecuted or denied your religious rights?

Have you ever been persecuted or denied your rights as a Christian in America, or known anyone who has been?

Has your house of worship been invaded by government marauders or wild “liberals” out to stamp out Christianity in the U.S. lately?

Is your church a target of U.S. government oppression and terror, or is it a “Safe Zone” where you are free to go find communion with God and like-minded believers without fear?

Talk of “religious persecution of Christians” in America is a big political lie and look around at all the real persecution of Christians before you buy into the falsehood.

God bless and watch over the Christians of the world who have such powerful faith that their only weapons are spiritual weapons: faith, love, prayer, worship, the Word of God and all the other weapons that, end the end, disarm evil.

God bless the four nuns in Yemen who lived their lives in faith, hope, love, contentment and the peace that fear cannot overcome.

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“I’m Christ Jesus and I approved this message.”

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“The Vacation”
BY WENDELL BERRY

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

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In which Bernie Sanders reminds the kids he won an underwhelming four states and gets his Jitterbug groove on at a, uh, victory(?) rally . . .

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