Friday, April 22, 2011

The Color of My Soul

Eight years ago in the march to war, Jean and I were more than apprehensive about the outcome.

War is eating our country alive financially, morally, imaginitively.

For all the talk lately about big government / "waste, fraud and abuse" / spending, nobody has really owned up to the cost of war and the fact that we've been doing two on borrowed money for the better part of a decade.

Big question that looms is this: Has all that spending and loss of life actually achieved the conditions for peace and progress? Jury is out on that one. Was the revolution in Egypt the result of regime change in Iraq or the inevitable result of a world of Facebook and Twitter that not even the Commies and the dictators can entirely shut down?

Don't know for sure. But I do know this. Greg Mortenson offered a different path to peace that looked much more like the way of Christ. And I believe he has done an untold world of good. But has has some "issues", and they aren't small one.

And now, yet another hero has proven to have a ton of baggage. Was the fame virus at work here too, or was it just ego?

Mortenson's work is not all fiction, but it's now under a huge cloud. Nick Kristof's recent NY Times piece was well thought.

A young (34) woman served with me on a key committee a few months ago. "Sarah" (not her name) repeatedly brought up the fact that her generation has a lot of trust issues. I've wanted for the longest time to get her to sit down and just talk at me for 45 minutes or so. I grant that she's got a case to make. Her generation has seen a lot of heroes fall, a lot of religious leaders prove to be corrupt sex addicts and liars.

But I also told her a while back to not feel like the Lone Stranger. After all, how much truth did an entire generation of us get about the Vietnam/American War? Jade is not just a carvable stone or a plant with waxy, thick leaves. It's often the color of my soul.

These "grave stones"? Part of a neighbor's Halloween yard display last October. I wonder whose grave they will mark this year?

Meanwhile, we await resurrection. God knows, we need it.

He lives!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

For all the people...

The nursing students from Linfield College do much of their training at Good Samaritan Hospital, aka "Good Sam" up in inner NW Portland. As many young people do these days before settling down into families and careers, they travel in their downtime. They see parts of the world where their parents or grandparents never traveled--except during time of war. Several years ago, a group traveled to Southeast Asia. They spent time in Thailand and Cambodia. They spent a lot of time in Vietnam. They took a lot of pictures, brought home many more in their heads. At one of the Linfield/Good Sam buildings there is a small space for art exhibits, often photography. This group took one of their photos with the sun at their backs and casting long shadows on the street to make a composite collage. Over 10,000 pictures. Most contain people. The students themselves. Or the people they encountered. From these images they reconstructed the one street photo on a large panel measuring approximately 4 x 5 feet. If your computer can do so, zoom in on either of these shots. See the people. All the people... As April 5 came and passed this year, I thought again about Wes and how few days he had left in his one-year tour in Vietnam. 5 April 1968. His last. I live. He doesn't. Most of the people in the photos were not alive when Wes lived. And died. None of the people who took the pictures were. For all the people, Christ came. He lived. He died. He lives... Amen. Roger