brother minister.

this post is being written soon after the conclusions of the books roots by alex haley, the autobiography of malcolm x, and race matters by cornel west. and here we are after the conclusion of ‘black history month.’ amazing books, amazing stories. this stuff matters. better now do i understand racial issues of today and the differing viewpoints, and the background that formed them. i am amazed at what racism has done and continues to do. the shift to acceptance has been slow, still lagging in some areas. these sorts of struggles will continue, sadly. all those books above i highly suggest.

at the turning of every season i find that a terrible nostalgia comes upon me. scents of spring, the fluttering sounds of birds, the growing hours of sun; all these things speak to me memories of glories long past, other near-forgotten springs. the rushing tide of emotions always stills me, humbles. i can’t help but think of last year, the year before, before that, and on and on. i become a new person, a spring creation, i grow with the season into a being with a different set of activities, a renewed life. i pull off my winter furs and embrace a distant sun. and with this comes the memories. i think to a few marvelous springs years ago now, every day bursting to the fullest, and wonder how it could be possible this year to do even better. what adventures await me this time in the flatlands? maybe it won’t rain for a month like last year. maybe i will journey far to forests abundant and let nature fill my soul. perhaps only time will tell. but i tell you, sometimes the changing seasons are hard to deal with. maybe i am just too sentimental.

ben woods, the man who led the romania team and did that whole marriage ceremony for steph and i, has moved his family into southern indiana to work at a large church in new albany. he is missed here, and thus steph and i made our plan to visit him and his awesome wife crystal and their wonderful kids. we left last friday after a couple thunderstorms rolled through town, giving eventual way to a bright sky and sun. stephanie came back from an early shift at work, finished up a couple things, and we finally left about an hour later than we had originally hoped. about two hours into the drive, just south of indianapolis, ben tells us that we should be careful; tornadoes have been spotted about ten miles north of them. as some of you may have heard, southern indiana and parts of kentucky were brutalized last week by tornadoes. as we got closer it became obvious that something was amiss. for several miles we inched along in thick traffic, emergency vehicles (and impatient drivers) blasting by on the shoulder every little bit. the sky was dark, drizzling rain, wind still slashing the trees in gusts, giving way to breaks of sun. a bright rainbow followed us for a while. steph and i played go fish while we waited. eventually we made it to henryville, indiana. how were we to know? never had either of us seen anything like it. trees were snapped or bent to the ground, or completely uprooted. as we neared the town the sides of houses were pocked with slashes and rips. debris was scattered everywhere, whether from vegetation or buildings. just before the overpass we saw the semi truck, trailer and all, having been thrown fully through the warped and twisted guardrail and smashed upside-down into the ditch. a house stood beyond, scratched and dented, and just next to this house was the pile of scattered scrap that was once a similar house. and with the passing of more ravaged trees and the picking up of the combined speed of the road, the madness passed. and that was it. so incredibly ridiculous that in all the large expanse of land, empty forests, the tornado hits a town of about 2,000. from what we found out later what we saw from the road was only a small section of the tornado’s wrath. the pictures from the rest of the town are devastating in other ways. had we left when we wanted we would have been in some trouble. the storm passed not hours before we drove through. ben’s church begun immediately to respond to the crisis in close association with samaritan’s purse. it was a harrowing start to the weekend. please, don’t stop praying for the families down there.

sometimes i am struck but the silliness of facebook. i have been realizing that in many ways it has become a place where people just post funny things. i look at the feed just to wonder what strange things from the depths of the internets my friends have found and shared, and i hope for a laugh. but it is more or less a waste of time, it feels to me. and i have in fact toyed with the idea of just closing down the whole thing and being done with it. but certain things bring me back. some things make me see the good that this worldwide tool can do. perhaps you have heard of this invisible children group, their new video ‘kony.’ so many posts and shares. and thus a big movement becomes even bigger. this silly tool of self entertainment can be used better, as a way to bring light to near-forgotten issues, to bring hope, to hopefully bring to justice one of the biggest jerks the world has ever known. so go watch the video, sign the petition, buy some stuff, or whatever you want. but know that this stuff is important. this is strangely more than an issue, but also a way to show what crazy things can happen because of this bizarre wonder of the internets. and i guess i thank collected facebookers for keeping me updated. now go, help change things.

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