Living As An Exile

BurkaIt was a Farmer’s Market in a large Central Valley city.  A full block of fruits and vegetables, hand made baskets, dog treats, nuts, and cheese.  An adjacent parking lot was completely full of cars on this Saturday morning.  Shorts, tee shirts, jeans, and other casual attire were the dress code.

And there!  She stood out.  You couldn’t see her face or form.  Black burka covering her from head to toe. Continue reading

Getting What You Pray For

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imagesSamuel was a prophet in Israel and came to this role in the eleventh century B.C. He was the last leader of the nation before the first king, Saul, was appointed.

The times during which Samuel acted as national leader were not good times. Fraught with idolatry and rebellion, the nation repeatedly lost her way and suffered horrible consequences as a result. Continue reading

Does God Allow Evil?

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dictionaryallow \uh-lou\  vt  1 : to give permission to or for; permit: to allow a student to be absent; No swimming allowed 2 : to let have; give as one’s share; grant as one’s right: to allow a person $100 for expenses 3 : to permit by neglect, oversight, or the like: to allow a door to remain open 4 : to admit; acknowledge; concede: to allow a claim 5 : to take into consideration, as by adding or subtracting; set apart: to allow an hour for changing trains 6 : Older Use. to say; think 7 : Archaic. to approve; sanction.
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Guilt by Catastrophe

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Tower-of-Siloam1People have debated the cause and purpose of suffering for centuries.  Job is the person most associated with this struggle to discover why.

The book of Job is about 4 miserable friends who visit Job to be of some comfort to him.  Instead they only add to his pain.  “Stop assuming my guilt,” he told them.  “….for I have done no wrong,” Job 6:29.

The question of suffering is never solved.  No one has ever been able to say categorically that this or that is the reason suffering occurs.  The best answers are simply a well-educated guess based on the character of God and the evil of our world. That said, I believe that suffering arises from the choices that human beings make in the exercise of their free will.
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Seeing Something for the First Time

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Eiffel Tower 01No picture captures the grandeur and size of it. It dwarfs those standing in line for lift tickets, making them look like ants from the perspective of the top observation deck.  Even the 605 foot Seattle Space Needle looks like a shrimpy cousin compared to the Eiffel Tower at 1,063 feet.

Standing under the Tower or on top of it renders its observer speechless.  What can be said about something whose steel looks like Belgian lace? Continue reading

My Privilege

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White Privilege

I grew up in a loving family.  My dad worked hard hours to make a living for us.  My mother scrimped and saved in order to provide good food and warm clothes for my sister and me.  I had grandparents who doted on me, included me in their lives, took me fishing and camping, and participated in my upbringing.  My parents picked me up from elementary school, went to school conferences, and monitored my schooling as needed.  It was a privilege living in my parent’s home. Continue reading

Want a new drug?

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Drug SalesmanAcross Embarcadero from the Ferry Building there is a phalanx of flea market booths staffed with people who want to tell you why their product is superior quality or designed just for you.  They sell liquor bottles smashed into small platters designed to hang on your wall or hold a messy spoon used to stir a pot.

Jewelers turn spoons into bracelets.  Little Asian women create necklaces made of stones or shells.  There’s something for every taste.  And only the brave steers his/her way through the forest of stalls. Continue reading

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