vendredi, mars 30, 2007


I've been wondering what drove Iran to kidnap British seamen and women, and to continue to hold them hostage. To a Western mind, it seems rather incomprehensible. Apparently Tony Blair can't believe it, either. Writing in the British newspaper The Independent, commentator Matthew Norman termed it a "blatant act of brinkmanship." No one outside of Iran seems to quite know who is holding them.

I guess we need to consider the neighborhood. In Iraq, a series of bombs in a marketplace left, according to one account, the bodies of headless children lying amid the corpses of adults. Sorry, I know how unmannerly it is to talk about such gruesome matters. But we are at least responsible in part for this holocaust of innocents-and so it is not innapropriate to remember who is paying the price for our meddling.

Now Britons have been trapped in this geopolitical chess match, not least because the Labor Party (no, Tony Blair) so strongly allied itself with Washington that the black hats have no fear in taunting it. Who knows which way this will go and how horrible it can get? The whip was taken out of British and American hands long ago-now it is being used against them.

jeudi, mars 29, 2007

Pop culture corrupts-American Idol Corrupts Absolutely

What's wrong with a little corruption?

I surrender to corruption on a regular basis.

I was trained to read improving novels, and brought up to appreciate good food, but it doesn't come naturally.

So I say-Yes to the sleazy romance novels that compete with the improving volumes on spirituality and football on my bedside table. Yes to pop music with the car window down. Yes to regular makeover sessions at the mall, who do I feel like being today? Yes to the saucy wide-eyed grin and head toss targeting the hottie cyclist as I run by. No harm, no foul, he's already a mile down the hill.

And yes to Peeps. Oh my goodness, I love Peeps as much as my son Colin does. My ex once told me that he ran into a good mutual friend in the grocery store. Looking disdainfully at a package of the flourescent yellow chicks (or bunnies) she asked him who on earth would eat those. "My wife," he told her. And I'm not ashamed, which just shows how deliquent I am.

Are you corrupt? 'Fess up. What siren songs get you all hot and bothered?

About a month ago Sian and I gave up our movie night (temporarily) for American Idol. I gotta tell ya, I'm not at all sure that it was worth the sacrifice. That show seriously gets under my skin. The faux suspense, the smiles pasted on the faces of the contestants, the odious Simon and the vapid Sanjaya are beginning to tick me off. And when you start getting mad about something that's supposed to be fluffy and satisfying, if totally without nutritional value, why bother?

On the other hand, I got to see Akon last night. Sure, all he did was sing "uuu, uuu" as back up to Gwen Stefani, but that guy makes laid-back look incredibly sexy. Yeah, so "Smack That" is a little obvious, who cares about the lyrics? It's the beat that matters, isn't it?

So the jury is still out on American Idol. But I'm really looking forward to a visit from the Easter bunny...

mardi, mars 27, 2007

Grace under fire

Can you imagine hearing that you have a (suspended) death sentence in a doctor's office or a hospital bed, and then, a few hours or a day later, reading about it in the newspaper, watching it reported on CNN, and having the way your family deals with your illness become the talk of urban and small town America?

I can't. But it is an honor that John and Elizabeth Edwards share their struggle, and their strength, and their hope with us. And really, who cares what Katie Couric did, or was trying to do when she volleyed one hardball question after the other at Elizabeth and John Edwards? I doubt they lost much sleep over it.

Amid the sadness of the news that Elizabeth's cancer could be controlled , yet not cured, the encouraging words of White House spokesman and brother cancer survivor Tony Snow were memorable and poignant: "For Elizabeth Edwards, good going. As somebody who has been through this, Elizabeth Edwards is setting a powerful example for a lot of people, and a good and positive one.”

Because he has been so open about his illness, Snow has helped bring cancer and its treatment out of the grey light of hospitalizations and hair loss and suffering in which many ill people find themselves.

Wouldn't it be tremendous if more public figures spoke with such candor about being treated for drug abuse, or alcoholism, heart conditions and mental health disorders like bi-polar and Attention Deficit? How many dads and moms who have autistic spectrum kids would be helped by having public figures willing to act as advocates?

Now it is Tony Snow's family who will also need our encouragement and prayer as he deals with a metastatic cancer. He, too has a public role. He also is the middle aged parent of young children. Like Mrs. Edwards, he is gutsy, and optimistic, and determined.

Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards represent not only themselves, but families by the thousands in America who are coping with the sad word of a suspended death sentence for themselves or for a member of their tribe. As we pray for Tony and Elizabeth, as we hope for remission and more time with their families, we ask God to have mercy not only on them, but on every American that must deal with the shock of such terrible news.

Grace under fire? Lord, may it be there for us to lean on, too, when we most need it.

Good going, Tony. We're rooting for you.

lundi, mars 26, 2007

An Irish Blessing

Can we consign the hatred between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland to the dusty pages of history?

Those of us who grew up with the "Troubles" could not believe our eyes when we saw former terrorist spokesman Gerry Adams and that old firebrand Ian Paisley sitting in the same room. Can we dare to hope that with the power sharing agreement between Sinn Fein and the Unionists the centuries of bloodshed are banished?

It's amazing that it has been ten years since the IRA ceasefire and nine since the Good Friday peace accords. Paisley and Adams have got to be two extremely stubborn men. Yet even they came to see how ridiculous it was to carry on in the old manner. It doesn't mean that either party has changed its view on governing Northern Ireland as commentators noted. In case you have forgotten their platforms, the Unionists still want close ties with Great Britain, and Sinn Fein still wants Northern Ireland to be a republic.

Why did the two sides finally decide to share political power, to move from a cold peace to compromise?

Just a few guesses-Prosperity in the South, which allowed the North to see peace benefits. A less doctrinaire government in Britain. An Irish and a British Prime Minister devoted to working with both sides. The inexorable forces of globalisation, changing the political map not only of Ireland but of all of Europe.

More than 300 years of fighting-old wounds that were passed on to children's children like hereditary illness. Finally, we can pray that this next generation will identify itself as Irish first, and Protestant or Catholic second. Perhaps our children, and our grandchildren, will be not be embarrassed by the stain on the Christian Church, where brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ were killing each other in the name of cultural, rather than spiritual identity. God bless the Irish tonight.