Thursday, December 18, 2003


Religious Freedom

According to a Reuters article, "The State Department voiced misgivings on Thursday about French President Jacques Chirac's plan to bar the wearing of Islamic headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in state schools. 'President Chirac is concerned to maintain France's principle of secularism and he wants that, as I think he said, not to be negotiable,' U.S. ambassador John Hanford told reporters when asked about the issue. 'Our hope is religious freedom would be a nonnegotiable as well.'"

This deserves more thought.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Okay class, here's a sarcastic article entitled "When Christians Kill" about the death of nine children in a recent military attack. After reading it, answer: Is this a good or a bad use of sarcasm? Is it mean-spirited? Does it enlighten the reader? Is it nauseating? Is it necessary? Is it effective? Is the writer familiar with only a pop form of the Gospel, or does he or she have a deep knowledge of spiritual principles and realities? Is the writer a Christian? What is his or her attitude toward most Christians in America generally, and Bush supporters who are Christian in particular? Would you like to see the writer elected to a position of public trust? Would you like your elected officials to be sarcastic?

Perhaps the writer was simply upset, and sarcasm seems the only way to get it out. But sincerity is better. Consider this article from the same online outfit.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I didn't realize the Queen still does stuff important, but apparently, she does. Don't you just sometimes wish we never shrugged off the British crown, so we could have some cool royalty?

En todo caso, fui a Texas y Nuevo México semana pasada para ver a mi padre y el padre de Jessica. También vimos a algunos hermanos, tios, abuelos, y mi madre. We saw one of Jessica's nephews too. It was a quick trip, just eight days, but we got to see (almost) everyone we wanted, with the exception of Jessica's brother Aldo and some of his family in Albuquerque, who were away when we passed through.

One of the highlights was driving through Juarez, México, the much larger Mexican city (pop. 2 million), which borders El Paso, Texas (pop. 0.5 million). With Jessica's dad, El Pidio, as the navigator, we drove through the chaotic streets of old Juarez, past a street bazaar which reminded me of Puerto Rico. The newer, "urban sprawl" part of Juarez reminded me of some parts of Orange County, complete with restaurants like Carl's Jr. and Applebee's and major stores like Walmart.

Soft asadero cheeseAnother highlight was going to a private zoo near El Paso with Jessica's little sister Delilah. Who knew that you could have zebras, ostriches, and camels in your backyard? We went to see the animals and buy some really good cheese, asadero (amidst the menagerie, there were also milk cows).

Jessica also got to meet my dad, uncle Mo, and grandparents in Hewitt, TX. When they get together, they crack a bunch of jokes and a good time is usually had by all. Then we caught up with Natalie and my mom in Dallas, where my sister told of how she had fasted in the manner of Esther, not eating or drinking for three days. Death comes at day four. You can find out more about what my sister and others did in the name of seeking to address historic injustices, including a prayer walk of the notorious Trail of Tears, here.

A photo taken on Route 66On our way to Albuquerque, NM, we rode through the ghost towns of Texas cattle country. This was my second time in a year of making the drive (having driven back from Texas with Ryan last year). But this time I saw it in the light, and the country was beautiful, as was the sunset into which we drove.