Saturday, 22 April 2006

Peace WITH Democracy?

This is a picture of us kids playing a game of baseball on our field in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Who knows, maybe one day we will get the pleasure of watching our kids and grandkids join with some Afghan kids for a rousing game on The Diamond. If I'm not mistaken, that's Elephant Mountain in the background.

Once again, Pamela Constable of the Washington Post Foreign Service, beautifully elucidates the complexities of the ‘Afghans' Uneasy Peace With Democracy’
In Discord Over Convert's Trial, Muslims Say They Identify With Islamic Law First

(click title)

Any other illusive thoughts out there?


Farhad Azad, the young publisher of Afghan Magazine, came to the US as a young lad. He published his first edition in 1997, with the hopes of educating the American public to the beautiful facets of Afghanistan’s literary, music, and artistic culture. For a country where illiteracy is the norm, the poetry and stories of the ages, past and present, are stunning.

The last time I was in contact with Farhad, who at the time was living in the San Francisco Bay area, he mentioned to me that his parents and some of his family lived in Allen, TX.

During the year before we left Dallas for the UK, and well before September 11th, my husband and I became acquainted with a compassionate woman who served as the refugee liaison for the Dallas Central Mosque in Richardson, TX. She was a Baptist Texan who had converted to Islam. She taught me much, and I learned to love, admire, and respect her. She put us in contact with a family of Afghan refugees – a mother, daughter and three sons – who were new to the country. We tried to help them while we were there. Their struggles with our Western culture and social morés were achingly obvious.

I would ask that you would read some of the beautiful articles within the online pages of Farhad’s magazine before you read Ms Constable’s report. Hopefully, it will enable you to connect a bit with the heart and soul of the beauty of the Afghan peoples before you can form any judgements, ill or otherwise good.

I believe that one day, with lots of hope and even more gentle persuasion, the Afghans will have peace with democracy. We just have to learn how to respect their freedom.
We'll have to rethink the hot dogs. Pork is a no-no, and there's nairy a piglet in sight, not even to be smuggled on the Black Market. Perhaps hot chops? Our playing field was inside the 2-square mile compound. I have often wondered if Usama bin Laden used our American compound, deserted in the early '70's, as his base of operations? That is, if the Russians didn't destroy it first.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Let Your Cross be Mine

Lord, you are my life:
Fill my heart with desire –
Shape my will, Lord, as you design
Place the thorns upon my brow,
Let your Cross become my own.
Place the thorns upon my brow,
Let your Cross become my own.

As you lead me on,
And my soul follows you,
Tune my spirit to sing your song:
To your kingdom I belong –
Lay my life before your throne!
To your kingdom I belong –
Lay my life before your throne!

Lord, you are my life –
Let your Cross be mine.

Thursday, 13 April 2006

Murphy the Donkey comes to church

Murphy the Donkey came to church this Sunday! He is the sweetest chocolate donkey that has ever led a Palm Sunday procession -- in my life, at least. When I first saw Murphy, I was struck with how humble he was. He was calm and peaceful in a crowd of adults, even kids in choir robes and ruffs, all excited about our role in the procession across the green with our African palm crosses and singing, in anticipation of this celebration and story of Jesus’ triumphal entry. His owner led Murphy at a respectable pace, and not much sound came from either of them. Murphy had been groomed to perfection -- his long chocolate coat was so smooth. His hooves had even been polished and were shiny as a mirror! He was totally focused on his task and kept his eyes averted in a bashful, unassuming way.

The study notes in my NIV for Matthew 21.2 reveal the donkey is ‘…an animal symbolic of humility, peace, and Davidic royalty…’ To be honest, I had not noticed the detail the Gospel accounts go into with regards to Jesus’ precise instructions for the kind of animal he wanted to carry him on his final journey into Jerusalem. Jesus had specified to his disciples that they acquire a young donkey colt, one that had never been yoked or used as a beast of burden. I’ve made several trips to the Grand Canyon, and can these animals pack it going down and back up the canyon trails, with human cargo on their backs! But Jesus did not want an animal that had been broken in. He was paying attention to the prophecies in the Old Testament scriptures, clues that would help his disciples ‘get it’ after he had fulfilled God’s will on the Cross and had arisen from the tomb. A young donkey that had yet to sweat and toil, or become damaged by a yoke, was symbolic of animals led to the altar to be offered for sacrifice. The donkey Jesus wanted would be dignified and gracious in demeanour – like Murphy – a solemn reminder in a jubilant crowd that Jesus was on his way to bear our burdens on the Cross.

As Murphy approached the door to the church, and we all took our places inside, it became silent as Murphy’s owner gently led him down the aisle, stopping a few hoof paces from the altar. I understand that Murphy has had a little practice. On Palm Sunday last year, he did not know what to do when he got to the church door. He planted his hooves and refused to go inside, because he had never been indoors. The congregation waited inside the church, holding their collective breath, but with some coaxing and promises that he would be safe he made his first trip to the altar. This year, he had a bit more confidence and did not hesitate to come in and go down the aisle. In a few weak moments of uncertainty, though, he would lean on his owner’s arm and nuzzle. (I wonder if the owner of the donkey that carried Jesus groomed that animal and polished its hooves as attentively as Murphy’s owner had?) But he made it through the priest’s welcome, and even seemed to understand the blessing! He is a blesséd beast indeed, as his trips to the altar are numerous and only role-playing …

With Murphy, I learn that Jesus’ demeanour throughout the Holy Week was one of humbleness with dignity. His actions do not try to prove his importance as a person, or his station as a religious celebrity. He does not demand any perks with his position. He anticipates the suffering he will endure at the same time he seeks to instruct and minister to his disciples and loved ones. As he puts his affairs in order, his focus on others – be it individuals or a group – is so caring, so amazing!

Well, bedtime for Debzo zoomed past a while ago. Guess that means it is now Maundy Thursday. So, as Maundy Thursday yearns towards Spring's early daylight, I am soon to be reminded of yet another act of humble kindness my Lord performed: washing his followers’ dry, dusty, dirty, and tired feet.

I sure would like to know how to wash and buff Murphy’s hooves to get them so shiny! But there are some wonderful humans in my life that I would like to pedicure first.

Who’s feet would you wash?

Locations of visitors to this page