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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Prayers for Japan

photo from japanator.com

Right now my thoughts and prayers are going out to the people of Japan and along the Pacific coastline.  Early this morning an 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred 80 miles off of the northern coast of Japan.  This was the largest earthquake ever in Japanese history and caused a large Tsunami to strike the coastal towns in the region causing massive damage and yet unknown casualties.

Though I have not yet had the chance to visit the country, Japan has long been a place dear to my heart.  I encourage everyone to keep the Japanese people in your prayers and help however you can once we find out the best way to do that.

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NASA image of Kiribati

On the way home from work today I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR when a story came on about the island nation of Kiribati.  Kiribati is a nation consisting of a string of islands in the Pacific Ocean that, due to climate change, is sinking and may be rendered uninhabitable within the next century.  This particular story focused on 20-year-old Tiibea Baure who is taking part in a program that seeks to relocate citizens of Kiribati.  Baure is now living in Australia where she studies nursing.  She wants to do well and get a job so she can bring her parents over to Australia with her.  The problem with that, though, is that her parents don’t want to leave because they don’t believe climate change is real.  This particular quote from Tiibea’s mother caught my attention:

“I don’t believe, because it’s something beyond me. It’s something beyond my knowledge, and it’s beyond my capacity to understand it. We just believe that God will look after us, and he will do his own way to save us.”

This reminded me, a bit, of an old story I once heard from comedian Jerry Crowder about a man who’s house is being encroached upon by flood waters.  The man is sitting on the porch with the water up to his feet when a boat pulls up offering to save him.  The man simply responds, “Go on ahead.  God’s gonna take care of me.”  Later on when the water is up to the man’s knees the boat comes back.  Again the man responds, “Don’t worry, God’s gonna take care of me.”  Finally, when the water is covering the house and the man is perched on his chimney a helicopter comes and a rescue worker throws down a rope saying, “Sir, grab a hold of the rope.  This is your last chance.”  Once more the man responds, “Go on, God’s gonna take care of me.”  Well, the man drowned and when he got to Heaven he told God, “I’m disappointed in you.  You said you were going to take care of me.”  God then looks at the man and says, “Ya dummy.  I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

In a way I envy faith like that.  Especially since my own can seem so weak and doubtful at times.  At the same time, though, I wonder if such sentiments of faith can cross over from hope into foolishness.  To be sure, I believe that God takes care of us and that worrying is an utterly pointless and counter productive endeavor.  At the same time, though, I believe that God wants us to be pragmatic.  We are children of God but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to do everything for us.  Much of the time we have to simply dig in and solve our own (and each other’s) problems.  Typically what God does is provide us with the means–a boat, a helicopter, or even a scholarship program.  Most of all, though, He provides us with each other and that is how it should be.

We created our own messes of men so the least that should be expected of us is that we help each other work our way out of them.  God will always be with us and will even help us out in seen and unseen ways but through it all we’re going to have to keep working if we want to see a better world.

Of course we could all just sit around until we get to Heaven but that sounds kind of boring to me.

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There was a story in the Des Moines Register a few days back that caught my eye.  It seems that there was a stir at the little high school just down the road from where I grew up.  What happened was the local shop teacher at this school was suspended after refusing to let a student build a Wiccan altar in shop class.  Though I do think the teacher likely acted a bit too rashly and should have followed the school’s policys in the matter his action isn’t the one that most bothered me.  Instead it was this bit:

Almost 70 students signed a petition last week saying they didn’t want witchcraft practiced at the school.

This is a very small (about 180 student) rural school so this relatively large number concerned me a bit.  It indicates to me that there is a serious lack of knowledge in the area of religions when such a small event can provoke such a fearful reaction.  Having grown up in the area I am familiar with the attitudes behind such a reaction and would like to propose a solution.

It seems to me that one of the biggest things missing from public education in America is any sort of education about religion.  I would guess that this is mostly a result of the separation of church and state (point of the constitution I am rather fond of myself) but I think we may be doing ourselves a disservice here.  While public schools should not evangilise any religion it would be a great service to students and to the community to teach students objectively about the beliefs and religions of the world.  After all, there is hardly anything in human society that religion does not influence in one way or another.  To white wash such things from our schools is to leave our children ignorant the way our world works on a basic level.

Thoughts?

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This is just a quick follow-up to the post I wrote way back when about Califorina and gay marraige.  Well, I never would have thought that my home state of Iowa would be one of the early adopters but it happened:

Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman

What do you all think?

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