Friday, May 23, 2008


I came across an interesting article this morning. It is found on Beliefnet and Sojourners, the God's politics blog called Diplomacy = Hitler Appeaser? It was written by Garth Higgins a Christian Peace activist in Belfast Ireland. It is pretty interesting that Bush used the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of Israel to make this comment --- which was I believe a back handed attack of Barak Obama and his stated willingness to talk with our enemies.

The implication that Bush was making was that there are only two choices --- using Higgins words: "terrorize the terrorists or to cower in fear and denial." I agree with Higgins that there is always another way -- and as Christians we need to seek that alternative vision.

Throughout the history of the world we have talked with our enemies. Whether is is Roosevelt with Stalin, or the British with the IRA and even Bush with Hamas.

Is Obama naive? Probably, and I assume that if he is elected he will use every back channel opportunity he has to build links with other powers throughout the world. Some of which will work, others that will not. But the Bush policy of the USA beating up everybody who does not do what we tell them has not worked either. It is time to quite using rhetoric simply for political gain and to starting working for shalom.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What was I thinking?

Last fall, with Haley joining the Munster HS marching band, Nancy and I joined the "Band Backers." It is an organization that supports and raises money for the Marching Band. We also were asked to sign up to help with a number of different areas. I signed up to help take photo's of the band throughout the year. One of the worse things that an organization can do is ask people to help, and then not give them the opportunity. On the sign up sheet, it stated that we would be contacted by the people in charge of that area. Needless to say, I was never contacted.

At a recent Band Backers meeting, they were looking for someone to put together a slideshow - DVD of the year and the seniors. Nancy suggested that I could do it. The deadline for the pictures was APRIL 15th --- the last picture I received was May 17th, with a large group arriving on May 12th. I don't know what people think, but putting together a year end DVD with 26 seniors doesn't happen overnight. The banquet is tomorrow and they want 36 copies from me. As I write this, I hope that the final version, is being burned to a DVD. Once I watch it again . . . I can start making my 40 copies that are needed for tomorrow.

Once this is done, I get to begin working on the Ridge Church senior DVD. That should not take as long (it better not!!!).

I have been doing some reading. I have recently finished two novels that I picked up at the Rummage Sale and have mixed feelings about both of them. I am a big Clive Cussler fan, especially the Dirk Pitt series. His books are rather mindless, but do take you on some great adventures. FLOOD TIDE was written in 1997 and was one of those books that you knew in reading it that it had to have been written prior to 9-11. It is unfortunate how some details just don't work because of our new emphasis on "homeland security." The premise of the book is that during the Chinese Revolution in 1948, treasures were taken from the country by Chang Kai-shek and ultimately lost at sea.

Fast forward to 2000 and a modern smuggler is bringing illegal goods and people into the United States with the hope of eventually creating a Chinese country on the West Coast. Qin Shang the smuggler is more interested in building an empire for himself, but is most interested in finding the lost treasure. Of all the Cussler books that I have read, this one seemed the most far fetched. I know that the government can be inept but this was beyond belief. This book gets a "C" from me. I did finish it, so maybe that says something.

While the video was burning, I read a Tami Hoag book: LUCKY'S LADY. Pat hooked me up with her mysteries when I went on my renewal leave. This one was not typical Hoag. She even tells you that in the forward. Hoag stated as a romance novelist. This book is kind of a bridge between her earlier romance books and her later suspense novels. It is set on the bayous of Louisiana, and centers around the Sheridan family. Like most families they have lots of issues. I have to admit, while I almost put the book down a number of times, I am glad that I finished it. It was well written and had a good message. It gets a "B" from me.

I will try to find some time while I am burning the copies of the video, to write about the last book, but first I need to go and watch the video once again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Catching Up

It has been too long since I took the time to write, and I will try to do better this week.

Over the last few weeks, Nancy and I have attended five plays. Two of them were of the professional variety, one was community theater, one had Jessica in it and the other had Haley. Overall they were pretty good shows, but one stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

The Center for Visual and Performing Arts (Theatre at the Center) in Munster recently held the world premier of a show called Knute Rockne: All American. It is a brand new show celebrating the life of the great Notre Dame football coach. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much --- a musical about football . . . Most stage actors don't (can't) look like football players . . . But I was totally surprised. This is a great show! Hopefully it will eventually make its way to Broadway and I can say I was there at the beginning.

We also saw, as part of the Broadway in Chicago series, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The performance was very good, but I could not stand the show. It was the first time that I have been downtown and noticed a great many people leaving at the intermission. I don't mind dark stories, but I would like it to go somewhere (anywhere!), Sweeney Todd goes nowhere. I have a hard time imagining how this could be such a successful musical. I haven't seen the movie, and I doubt that I will waste my time.

The third show is from our local community theater: Towle Community Theater. They are in the midst of a run called: No Way To Treat A Lady. This was a cute musical. Rather dark, but well done and at least it came to some resolution. I love the Towle, the do a great job in a very creative space in downtown Hammond.

Jessica was involved in a short play (one of six senior shows) that we went to see at Butler last week. All of the shows were very creative, some too long (I imagine they had a time requirement), others just sort of wandered. For me two of the shows really stuck out. One was of a homeless guy who shared his story in an amazing way. Unfortunately, this one went to long and the middle section --- when he decided to preach at the audience got stupid --- but overall it was a powerful look a the mind of someone who is living on the street. My other favorite, of course, was the one Jessica was involved in. All six short plays were done in different rooms throughout a building on the Butler campus, Jessica's was done in a stairwell. Yes, a stairwell. And believe it or not, the used it extremely well. All six of the shows were about relationship angst. The only bad thing about her show was that it started at 9pm went 2 hours and we still had to finish loading her up and drive back home. They all slept as we got home about 2am.

Haley was involved in the Munster High School production of Guys and Dolls. I have to admit, I am sick and tired of all the "classic" musicals but overall they did a great job. The pit, however, was the pits! Sometimes I wondered how in the world the people could figure out which note to sing since the orchestra was all over the place!!

Coming up we get to go back to Butler to watch Jessica in Transitus Animae an exploration of the tabOO. I have no idea what that will be about. We also will head back into Chicago to see Avenue Q next week.