Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Let Saddam Live

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Letters for November 14
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Let Saddam live

Along side the recent election was an event barely covered by the news media yet may have deep implications for peace in the Middle East and peace within our own lives. I'm referring to the conviction of Saddam Hussein.

Many will rejoice in the death penalty that was handed down. I say let him live. Not only because I don't believe we have the right to take the life of any person, but because I believe the potential for doing good lies within us all.

Speaking to the court, he cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who had opposed them. "I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands," Saddam said.

His top lieutenant, still at large, former Iraqi vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has ordered Baath party bosses still in Iraq to cease attacks.

An attempt to sway world opinion and escape the gallows? Possible.

A sincere request for forgiveness? Also possible.

Will we listen? Probably not.

Yet as a Christian, I will follow the lead of Jesus, my radical leader, who preached unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness. Why would we put to death a man who has the potential, within a flawed life (like ours) to end suffering and bring peace to a troubled region of the world. Far out? Yes. But this radical messenger may be our only hope.


DON WIERENGA/Saugatuck

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Point . . . My Hope . . . My Prayer

Saddam Hussein calls for reconciliation at genocide trial

November 7, 2006
BY SINAN SALAHEDDIN AND ROBERT H. REID Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq---- A somber Saddam Hussein called for national reconciliation as he returned to court Tuesday for his genocide trial, two days after another panel sentenced him to hang for crimes against humanity.
Saddam cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who opposed them.

''I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands,'' Saddam said.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam - What if.

The verdict is in. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. No big surprise about that. And the news coming on the eve of our national election doesn't surprise, or bother, me either.

It does bring into focus the death penalty. The core of my Christian belief tells me it is wrong.

There is little hope that in the present he could in any way help heal the internal strife of his country. If he is put to death there is NO hope. What if he were allowed to live and somehow a compassionate world brought him to the point of understanding his vital role in helping resolve the Iraq conflict? It would require dramatic change in the way we are accoustomed to relate with each other, but it IS what a radical Jesus would do. What do you think?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Vote

I am not a political person. Ginny is and she also is (by my default) controller of the TV. This is the formula for conflict . . . Or at least it use to be!

I was a marginal republican, she is a diehard democrat.

Sorry, I just don't see things in black and white . . . Even the Iraq war.

I also believe very little will change no matter how I vote, or for that matter, who is elected. Certainly not in my lifetime and probably not in the lives of my grandkids.

However, I will vote. This time, mostly for Democrats.

So why change now? The easy answer is to avoid the usual controversy and to prove my point: If the democrats, as expected, do take over the government, four years (or two) from now, the existing controversial issues will NOT be resolved and there will be a host of new ones. And it will do no good to blame the previous administration for the problems of the day.

The answer, of course, is much more complex. It's about how change occurs. It doesn't come easily, especially if we believe that people need to change, not the system. And those that think they have all the answers . . Don't. It's my struggle with the case for war and my belief that Jesus, who's example I try to follow, would certainly be opposed. But what if military intervention would save lives in the genocide taking place in Darfur? It's questioning the motives of those that seek office. Is there often an ulterior motive? Is it truly the Golden Rule? Or is it "Those that have the money rule." I really want to believe that everyone, or almost everyone, has a pure motive.

No one is able to predict the twists and turns of life. We all, rich or pure, powerful or powerless are called to take one day at a time and do what we can to make that day a better place for those whose lives we cross.

So I'm willing to give the other party a chance and not judge. In hopes that they really will made a positive difference. That their motivation and daily decisions are pure.

And besides, I won't need to spend the next two years on the defensive. And it might even be easier to tune out the television!

Septarian Stones




Walking the beach is always an enjoyable experience. Finding driftwood is an added bonus. Discovering septarian stones is another bonus . . . along with changing seasons/water/sky, etc. etc. So, what are they?

Septarian stones (nodules) were formed millions of years ago and are found primarily in Southern Utah . . . but also in Ottawa county, Michigan . . . more precisely . . . my hidden, meandering stream!

Decomposing life killed by volcanic eruptions, had a chemical attraction for the sediment around them, forming mud balls. As Lake Michigan changed the balls were left to dry. They cracked and trapped decomposed calcite from shells and fossils A thin wall of calcite was transformed into aragonite separating the heavy clay exteriors from the calcite centers.

The name Septarian is derived from the Latin name, Septem, meaning seven. When cracked the nodules have seven points thereby creating the beautiful design.

For me the natural designs often tell a story or even suggest a magical message. For example the heart. What picture do you see in the other stone?

I incorporate the stones when constructing my "Bird Castles." . . . or just look at them and make up stories!

Rolls Royce - - It's Running . . but . . . .


. . . won't stop!

carburetor has been cleaned, so has the fuel pump and gas line.

It's still resting comfortably in my mechanics 'extra' garage. They work on it when their regular business slows down. The next step is to rebuild the brake calipers. No easy task considering the dual brake system! It's available for me to do my thing, which is rejuvenate the leather interior, refinish the wood work and recover the dash board. I'm enjoying that part, but still wait for the day when I can sit behind the wheel, make it go and . . . make it stop!

With such plush seats, someone suggested I just park it in my driveway and turn it into a bar! What do you think?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Rose


Some people who know me may remember "The Rose' being one of my favorite songs. Daughter Cindy aka Sandy Feet, for my birthday, learned to play it on her ukulele. The last lines go like this:

Just remember in the winterfar beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose

This rose, with Ginny's loving care, first blossomed about four weeks ago. It has been battered and bruised by 50 mph winds, torrential rains, sleet and now, snow. I asked why it hadn't been cut and brought in like the others. She responded that inside it would die within a couple of days, but left to nature we could enjoy it much longer. So true.



And Concludes:

I say love it is a flower
and you it's only seed.

WE are the seeds of love and we don't need to wait till spring to grow . . . and we shouldn't be brought in too soon!

Artist: Bette Midler Lyrics
Song: The Rose Lyrics

Some say love it is a river
that drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razer
that leaves your soul to blead

Some say love it is a hunger
an endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
and you it's only seed

It's the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance
It's the dream afraid of wakingthat never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
who cannot seem to give
and the soul afraid of dyingthat never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winterfar beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose