Crusades 2014

This past summer I had the privilege of teaching in South Korea.  As part of my time there, I was taken on a tour of historic sites in Seoul.  During the tour, I learned that South Koreans describe their current location in time as the “second half 10,000 years.”  Koreans trace their history back 5,000 years.  Thus the 21st century is the beginning of the next 5,000 years, or the second half of 10,000 years.  Not only are they generally aware of this huge span of time, but they have a sense of the rhythms and flows of their history. Thus, for example, when the US and China are competing for their attention, they understand this activity as another of a long line of incidents where larger powers strive for influence over their strategic peninsula.

Would that we Americans had such a perspective.

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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Ebola virus

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  It’s an old saying that, unfortunately, human beings don’t really believe.  Or at least it doesn’t drive our behavioral decisions.

Before the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, if you had asked most Americans if we should help African countries develop good healthcare systems, the answer would have been a resounding NO.  Now that Ebola is threatening the world, we are sending in the Army to set up field hospitals, and panic is beginning to rise here in this country as the first case lands in Texas.

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Just can’t stop

Today (9/21/14) marches and rallies are happening around the world calling for more attention and action on climate change issues.  Today also saw the Minneapolis Star Tribune publish an article about the huge amount of money being generated by the oil boom in western North Dakota.  Meanwhile, August marks the 354th consecutive month of above average world-wide temperature.  These three pieces of news clearly present the challenge we face as a species:  stop warming the planet, or rake in lots of money.

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Living on the Edge

I was at the movies Saturday night, a week and a half ago, when my cell phone started going nuts.  This isn’t unusual for many people, but it is for me.  I don’t get a lot of calls, or texts, but suddenly, within the span of about 5 minutes I had several of each.  I admit that I took a quick look at my phone.  With that short glance I knew both what the problem was, and that it was being taken care of.  The gas company wanted the church to switch off of gas and onto our alternative fuel.

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