Letter From New York August 11, 2014

Letter From New York
August 10, 2014
Or, as it seems to me…

Sunday mornings usually have a bit of a ritual. I wake up, start the coffee I’ve prepared the night before and while sipping that first, oh so important, cup peruse the New York Times on either my iPhone or my iPad. If I am ambitious, which is not as often as I think it should be, I go down to Christ Church for services.

At some point on Sunday, I go through the “Weddings/Celebrations” section of the Times. It gives me great pleasure to see same sex wedding announcements. I didn’t think that would ever happen in my lifetime. So I honor those folks by reading their stories. Many of them cause me to smile.

I think I enjoy it because it gives me a sense of hope for the world; that we’re actually moving on from old prejudices. It is heartening in a frequently disheartening world, a gentling of the world, reflected in one major thing having changed in the universe.

My good friends, David and Annette, came up this weekend and stayed with me. We celebrated years of friendship over an excellent dinner of farm fresh foods – salad fixings direct from the garden, recently butchered organic meat, summer squash, potatoes pulled from the earth only the day before. They brought an excellent Pinot Noir and we ate at the dining room table after David had grilled the steaks on the barbeque. Spectacular.

We had great conversation. The world is fodder for it and it is impossible to run away from the trouble that is assaulting the world. Ebola is now an International Health Crisis. Ann Coulter has raged against the doctor who contracted the disease while serving as a Christian missionary in Africa. He should have stayed home according to her.

ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now controlling a great swath of the both Syria and Iraq, seems determined to drag the region they control back to feudal times. Christians have been driven from their homes, as have Yazidis, who practice a faith that seems to combine Christianity, Islam and Zoroasterism. They, along with Christians and Shiites are “infidels” who deserve to die according to ISIS. Some Yazidis have been reported buried alive and some women taken as slaves while other have fled to the desert hot Mount Sinjar, where there has been some relief provided by the US dropping humanitarian supplies while fighter planes and drones attack the advancing ISIS troops, who are proving hard to beat back.

There is not a huge amount I can do about the Christians and Shia and Yazidis, except to donate to relief services – though I haven’t seen many appeals.

We are a world in need. I agonize over the daily pleas I get from any number of worthy causes, sometimes slipping toward a kind of despair because the needs are far greater than my wallet. We have a border crisis that revolves around children, illegal immigrants, yes, but children too. Many of them are fleeing San Pedro Sula in Honduras, now the murder capital of the world, a city I visited as a teen when my brother was running a clinic for children in nearby El Progresso, itself then described as the “armpit of Central America.” Things have gone from bad to worse there – as they seem to be in so many places, going from bad to worse.

It is unbelievable to me in some ways that I can have a wonderful and civilized dinner with two wonderful and civilized friends while some thousands of miles away ISIS is burying alive people because they believe differently. It reminds me of the way Catholics and Protestants treated each other several centuries ago during the Thirty Years War.

We live, so many of us, blessed lives here in the West while in other parts of the world madmen seem to roam freely, seeking to enforce a way of life that appears insane to us in the West. I wouldn’t call the leadership of ISIS enlightened.

But then we are the Infidel.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: