Category Archives: Editorials

One-Way Missionaries

Yesterday a friend of mine told me about “One-way Missionaries.” In the early 1900s there was a group of missionaries who, when they were about to embark on a mission to a foreign land, would not pack a suitcase as most people would. Instead, they took a coffin which they packed with their belongings, along with a one-way ticket. By so doing, they demonstrated their intention to die sooner or later in the new land they were adopting.

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The Selfie

Some of the major English dictionaries select a “Word of the Year.”  The word is selected basically on its frequency of use in the past year.  Selfie was the Oxford Dictionary word of the year in 2013, because Oxford research noticed a 17,000% increase in its use since the previous year.

So popular the word, people began playing with the word and gave birth to welfie which is a workout selfie, drelfie, a drunken selfie, and bookshelfie which is a selfie in front of your bookshelves.  All linguistic good fun.  

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Capital “T” Truth

Banting and Best with the first dog ever treated with insulin

In 1922, at the University of Toronto, scientists went to a hospital ward with children who were comatose and dying from diabetic keto-acidosis. Imagine a room full of parents sitting at the bedside waiting for the inevitable death of their child.

On that day in 1921, Dr. Frederick Banting and his medical student, Charles Best, went from bed to bed and injected the dying children with their new purified extract – insulin. As they began to inject the last comatose child, the first child injected began to awaken. One by one, all of the children awoke from their diabetic comas. A room of death and gloom, became a place of joy and hope.

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Eucharist


“Alan Street in his book Subversive Meals has shown how the Eucharist is a table that deliberately subverts the exclusionary table of the empire. ” From Gift and Task by Walter Brueggemann, page 373.

According to Brueggemann, the greedy leaders of the empire don’t look out for their “flock” but only for their own interest. We see that being played out in the face of a small child tearfully begging the “government” to give her back her parents because they didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus, in quite opposite action, welcomed the alienated, poor, lost, and ill. He fed them, touched them, invited them, and loved them. The Eucharist restores the community taken by the empire.

Raging against false leaders, Zechariah wrote that “the dreamers tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer for lack of a shepherd.” Zechariah 10:2.

Seems like an image drawn from our front page today.

It’s the American way!

In the last blog post, “Enough is enough,” we talked about a charitable organization that annually sends millions of shoeboxes filled with trinkets, socks, and candy to Third World children with the claim that it was doing immeasurable good for the recipients.

In point of fact, it does far less good that it claims to do. The flood of boxes damages local, indigenous economies, and the American-made goods can be puzzling to their child recipients.

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Enough is enough!

What’s not to love about a smiling child opening a box of Christmas treasures? Especially when the child is poor, Third World, and whose parents are unable to provide such wonders.

Every year millions of these Christmas boxes are sent all over the world. In the year 2016 the sponsor of these boxes was hoping to send 12 million boxes to eager children. But the boxes are most valuable to the rich people who send them out, thus making them feel generous and benevolent in a cheap sort of way. (A typical box only costs about $15-$25.).

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Wearing Masks

Masks were worn in the Greek theatre for a variety of reasons. One was to enable a single individual to play multiple roles simply by changing a mask.

Masks were also used as a sort of portable microphone system, with its built-in megaphone. It was quite an effective “technology” for the huge amphitheaters before which the actors played. Actors in the Greek theatre were also men only, so they could change their gender simply with the change of a mask.

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Truth & Integrity

Proverbs is the name of the ancient book of Wisdom in the Bible. It is a collection of sayings that shed light on how to live with wisdom and discernment in the world. The ancients were preoccupied with wisdom; in fact, a whole section of the Old Testament was devoted to looking for what is true.

A large number of those proverbial sayings concern truth versus falsehood. Says the Proverbs, “A reliable witness ALWAYS tells the truth, but an unreliable one tells nothing but lies,” Proverbs 14:5. In other words, people do not tend to believe someone who lies.

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Truth and Moishe

No one believed Moishe the Beadle (fictional character).  He was the keeper of the synagogue in Sighet, Hungary in Elie Wiesel’s famous book NightSighet was Wiesel’s hometown.

In the summer of 1941, Hungarian authorities rounded up approximately 20,000 Jews who had not been able to acquire Hungarian citizenship, and deported them to German-occupied Poland.

The Germans massacred approximately 23,000 Jews from August 27-28, 1941 in the first large-scale massacre of the Final Solution.  Moishe the Beadle was an archetype of one of these illegal aliens who was swept up in the deportation. Continue reading Truth and Moishe