Friday, June 22, 2007

Swept Away

Mountain Stream
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Be sure to read the latest at jeffstreet.blogspot. I've posted, in three installments, a story told to us by our friend, Karen, who is a Christian minister in Muslim Morocco.

The story is of what Karen calls her second baptism - a horrifying tale of being swept up in a flood with the beautiful silver lining of Muslims and Christians pulling together, helping and appreciating one another.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Canoe Trip!

Dan, Hanae and Sarah
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
The youth group from Jeff St took a canoe trip yesterday to Tom Wallace Lake in Jefferson Memorial Forest. I haven't been out to that particular lake in many years.

It's much smaller than I remembered.

Nonetheless, everyone had a good time - it was the first canoe trip for at least some. I've posted some more photos of the trip over at theJeff St blog.

We go to the river's edge for comfort, spiritual renewal, meditation, solitude; we go to the river to feel and know the continuance of life.

Henry David Thoreau

It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.

Henry David Thoreau

The Sun shines not on us but in us.
The Rivers flow not past,
But through us.

John Muir

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Green Transportation?

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Glen Dean over at his eponymous blog has pointed out an article that takes the Toyota Prius - the gas-electric hybrid that supposedly gets up to 60 mpg - has a downside. The article makes the unlikely claim that the Hummer is more environmentally-sound than the Prius!

They actually make a pretty good case, check it out:

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer
that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already
noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel.
The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This
plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding
environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test
moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and
Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the
plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario,
becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants
and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace
energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a
British-based newspaper.


Read the full article here - this particular source is a college report, but I've read the same thing multiple places.

The problem is, the sources have been blogs (likely rightwing, but not exclusively). Anyone have more info from a more reliable source?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Verrry Afraid...

Jordan and Dylan - Halloween
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Where do things stand with New Hampshire Democrats since the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Manchester June 3?

The CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader debate did exactly what it was supposed to do. It helped the New Hampshire voters sort out the candidates.

In early April, New Hampshire Democrats were all over the place. The front-runners -- Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois; and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina -- were closely matched. Clinton was at 27 percent, Edwards was at 21 percent and Obama was at 20 percent. It was essentially a jump ball.

Who jumped highest after the debate? Clinton. According to a new CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters released Monday, the New York senator has surged into the lead, with 36 percent support. Obama has held fairly steady at 22 percent, while Edwards has lost support. He's now at 12 percent.


Just give the Dems a gun and let them shoot themselves in the foot now... You give them a broken Republican Party and the Dems are STILL trying to mess up what should be a shoo-in.

Well, at least the Dems are being even-handed. Sure, they'd win in a landslide if they offer just about anyone but Hillary, but where'd the challenge be in that? I reckon they're trying to make it a closer race. Makes for better TV.

Still, it's early...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Bible and Economics...

Egrets Cove: Mountainview 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I've begun occasional postings of biblical passages that talk about economics, poverty and/or wealth. Despite the reality that we don't discuss personal economics much in most churches, the topic is dealt with extensively in the Bible (over 2000 times, according to some sources such as this one).

And, as I believe we shall see as we continue bringing up these passages, they are exceedingly on the side of the poor and fraught with warnings for the wealthy.

Hear now what the LORD is saying,
"Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.
"Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD,
And you enduring foundations of the earth,
Because the LORD has a case against God’s people;
Even with Israel God will dispute…”

God has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

[God says] “…Is there yet a man in the wicked house,
Along with treasures of wickedness
And a short measure that is cursed?
“Can I justify wicked scales
And a bag of deceptive weights?
“For the rich men of the city are full of violence,
Her residents speak lies,
And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth…”

Micah 6:1-2, 8, 10-12

One thing we see in many passages such as this one is the tying of violence and oppression to the wealthy in their actions against the poor.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Good Life, cont'd...

Amos at Farm
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I began here and continued here a discussion of the Scott and Helen Nearing book, Living the Good Life. The Nearings attempted to live a more simple, sustainable life back mid-century. The story (which I'm just finishing) is extremely compelling and one I recommend - whether or not you have any intention of simplifying your life (but who amongst us doesn't dream of doing that these days?).

Another excerpt from their chapter on Livelihood:

Our practice was almost the exact opposite of the current one. Our consumer necessaries came mostly from the place, on a use basis. Comforts and conveniences came from outside the farm and had to be procured by barter or through cash outlays…

We endeavored to do as Robert Louis Stevenson advised in his Christmas sermon, “earn a little and spend a little less.” Food from the garden and wood from the forest were the product of our own time and labor. We paid no rent. Taxes were reasonable. We bought no candy, pastries, meat, soft drinks, alcohol, tea, coffee or tobacco. These seemingly minor items mount up and occupy a large place in the ordinary family’s budget. We spent little on clothes and knick-knacks. We lighted for fifteen years with kerosene and candles. We never had a telephone or radio. Most of our furniture was built in and hand made. We did our trading in town not more than twice in a month and then our purchases were scanty.

“Civilization,” said Mark Twain, “is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries.” A market economy seeks by ballyhoo to bamboozle consumers into buying things they neither need nor want, thus compelling them to sell their labor power as a means of paying for their purchases. Since our aim was liberation from the exploitation accompanying the sale of labor power, we were as wary of market lures as a wise mouse is wary of other traps.

So, does their simplicity strike you as beautifully appealing or appallingly spartan? Would you replace TV at night with storytelling, music-playing and/or dancing? Would you trade nearly all your stuff for just a bit more simplicity?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in...

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground...

Excerpted from Wendell Berry's The Country of Marriage

Happy Anniversary, Donna.