Running on Faure

I love this time of year. I'm not certain why it is so, but the interplay of light and darkness, the glorious riot of color amidst leaves and sky, the wind in my face, the rain, it all plays so well for me, inviting me to worship.

It happened yet again this afternoon as I delayed my morning run in order to catch the sunset. I had my i-pod on shuffle, just taking what the electrons served up and as I turned towards the southwest, and the sunset, Gabriel Faure's 'Requiem' began. The juxtaposition of physical and musical beauty with the power of the words (Grant them Eternal Rest of Lord, and May Perpetual Light Shine on them) was overwhelming. Recently, this very Requiem was played as a benefit concert for Darfur victims, and I thought of the...there is no word to describe it... the powerful, poignant interplay between beauty and tragedy that is all around us every day. I prayed for those victims, and other victims I know, in Kenya, India, Syria, Bolivia, Iraq, Seattle. And I thought, especially of the 2nd line: "May Perpetual Light Shine on them". Yes Lord, perpetual light. May they encounter the light of Christ.
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"The World is headin' for hell"

Literary icon Norman Mailer died last week, setting off a slew of retrospectives by literary pundits and cultural observers. Ironically, although he rejected organized religion (to his credit, he also rejected atheism), Mailer's last book was On God: An Uncommon Conversation. Here he pretty much sets up his own religious system and, in effect, reinvents God into his own image.

Supposedly one of Mailer's last quotes was something to the effect that "evil has triumphed over good." That's not exactly right, but it's close. Essentially he was reflecting the mood that seems to be overtaking a growing number of mainstream artists. In this day and age when atheism is enjoying new popularity, people are more skeptical about humanity's chances to make a bad world better.

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Tags | Global

Money Money Money

The hits just keep on coming, folks. Frieda posted a news story from the Tulsa World reporting that Richard Roberts, son of sawdust trail evangelist Oral Roberts and the president of the university founded by and named for his father, has been given a vote of "no confidence" by the university's faculty. No reason was given, except to say the vote was not connected in any way to a series of lawsuits that have been filed against ORU by former faculty members. No, this seems more connected to some alleged misuse of university funds by Richard Roberts and his wife. Evidently the allegations had enough substance to warrant Mr. Roberts taking a leave of absence from his position.

Is the faculty at ORU unhappy with the way Mr. Roberts has been using university funds? Hard to say, but the allegations probably didn't help. It seems that in this new era of economic instability, people are getting increasingly intolerant of leaders who use organizational funds to enhance their lifestyle. Whether it's a CEO making $50 million a year, or a baseball player asking for a contract worth $300, or a ministry leader driving luxury cars on the ministry's dime, people are tired of other people living excessively.

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Where Has All the Water Gone?

Now that the fires in California are all but extinguished, there's a new weather topic to talk about: drought. We've actually been living with drought in the West for a couple of years now, but our situation is manageable when compared with the South. In Georgia, the lack of rain is so severe that the state is expected to run out of water by January. I didn't know a state could run out of water.

Of course, if I knew my history better, I would know that running out of water is not only possible, but actually happened in the fabled Dust Bowl in the 1930s. A prolonged drought in the Southern Plains forced 2.5 million people to abandon their homes and livelihood and seek greener pastures in the West. It was the largest migration in U.S. history and one of the reasons my home town of Fresno in the Central Valley of California has so many families with roots in places like Oklahoma and Texas (it also explains their Southwestern accents).

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