Changing the World
Nov 14th, 2007 by Sonja

As some of you might know I’m married to a shutter bug. LightHusband has been known to take a photo or two. In another life he was once rather affectionately (or so we thought) known as “The Sniper” because of his delight in snapping photos. Now he takes literally thousands of pictures of hockey players. Those that play with the LightChildren that is. He does a great job with it too. Enough so that when the “professional” came to take the team photos this year, I took secret delight at the high standards the hockey moms and dads had for him … that had been set by LightHusband.

In any case, when Brother Maynard mentioned that he’d found a website of 100 photographs that had changed the world, I was intrigued to say the least.  I wanted to see these photographs that had managed to change the world.  Because I’m always interested in the things that can change the world.

It was, in any case, the Life website and the 100 photographs that their photographers had taken that had changed the world … in their estimation.  The introduction and their rationale is well worth the read.  The photographs themselves are revealing and stunning.  They trace a bunch of our shared history for the past 150 years … that period of time during which we have had photography available to us.  It is a site that I really cannot recommend enough.

Here is the thought that kept echoing through my head and I cannot shake.  It hasn’t given me nightmares … yet.  But I’m bereft with it.  These photographs that changed the world.  I’m not so certain that it was the photographs that did the changing … it was that they captured the moment that a change began.  And here is the thing that causes my soul to quake … was how many of those moments were moments of utter and depraved violence.  They captured the worst moments of evil and depravity.  Some of the photographs are seemingly innocent.

There is the photograph of the first “Marlboro Man.”  I never knew he was originally a real cowboy, a foreman on a 320,000 acre ranch in northern Texas.  He rode into town once a week for storebought shave.  But there is violence underneath that photo … the violence of using a human as an icon to make money on addiction and ultimately death.

There is the “Earthrise” photo … capturing the moment the earth rises over the horizon of the moon during the one of the trips to the moon in the late 60’s.  It remains one of the most beautiful photos ever taken.  But we still do not know the effects of our pollution when taken into the realms of outer space.  We take it there and blithely dump it as we did for so many decades into our oceans thinking they were limitless.

Take only photographs and leave only footprints … is that truly possible?  Can we really leave only footprints behind?  Or do we make more of an impact on our environment than that.  I wonder about the implications of the curses in Genesis 3.  What did God mean by them?  How far down have we gone?  Can we ever change the world?

“You Won’t Find A Head. …”
Oct 11th, 2007 by Sonja

“… The brain is scattered on the ground.”He added: “I am shaking as I am trying to describe to you what happened. We are not able to eat. These were innocent people. Is it so natural for them to shoot innocent people?”  from The Washington Post two days ago.

I have restrained myself for months.  But I’m going to say it now.

I predicted this.  I said this was going to happen.  I said this from the very beginning.  I do not relish this at. all.  But I got into more than one argument over whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq.  There were not.  Or whether or not Al Qaeda was in Iraq.  It wasn’t.  Vindication does nothing now.  Because now Al Qaeda IS in Iraq.  We have created that which we feared.  And *that* is what I predicted.

Bigger, stronger, and harsher is not going to win this war.  If we do not learn that lesson quickly we will be trapped in that quagmire for decades on end.  Smarter, kinder, more loving is going to win the day.  Bullies never win and apparently they never learn either.

September 11 …
Sep 11th, 2007 by Sonja

It is a day I will always remember and yet I struggle to forget. I want it to be a day like any other day. It was the first day that we had PlusOneFriend over to play. We had just begun homeschooling and his mother had recently had a surgery. So we picked him up to play for the day. On the way home I stopped to pick up some groceries. As I came through the door, the phone was ringing and three children plus groceries slowed me down. It was my sister-in-law. She said, “What the hell’s going on down there?” I thought this was in reference to how long it took me to get to the phone. So I told what was going on in my tiny little life. No. A plane just flew into the Pentagon. Oh. That’s made up. Surely that didn’t happen. I turned on the television in front of three sets of impressionable eyes just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower. And not one of us could fathom what was happening. It didn’t make any sense. So we sat and watched for hours until somehow it made sense. I sat on the phone with LightHusband … the only connection he and his co-workers had with the outside world until they were released to go home.

In a sense, though, this should be a day like any other. Terrible things happened six years ago today. But terrible things happen every day. Seismic shifts happen in peoples lives every day and the world does not stop, sit up and take notice. The world just drifts right on by. I did a little (very little) research before I sat down to write this post. As of this year there have been 673 coalition deaths in Afghanistan. Depending on which source you look at … some say as few as 617. It is extremely difficult to find any data on civilian deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom. From what little I can gather, it would be safe to say that approximately 4,000 civilians have died in Afghanistan since October 2001. This number does not include any Afghani Taliban, Al Qaeda, or insurgent deaths. I haven’t been able to find any data on that at all. So the seismic shifts that happened to us on September 11 would now seem to have been equalized. We have gone to the country of their origin, terrorized and killed an equal number of their civilians. But equal justice was not enough. We had to get more. So we went to Iraq. The number of coalition dead there is now 3,774. The number of Iraqi dead is equally difficult to determine. Some number it in the hundreds of thousands, others in the simple thousands. This article in Wikipedia does a good job of presenting the evidence from many perspectives.

On any given day in this country, approximately 117 people die in generic automobile accidents. The world of their families just seismically shifted. Of those approximately 117 people, 41% of those automobile accidents are alcohol related … so 48 of those accidents are not accidents at all. They could (without too much stretch) be likened to terrorism. If one or both drivers had not consumed alcohol, the accident probably would not have happened and people would not die. Yet, we do not take out after drunken drivers with guns, seeking justice in an eye for eye Old Testament fashion. We allow for time and season to heal our wounds, if ever they can. We allow the justice system to work for us. We hope that God will step in for us. That in this world or the next, at some point, the scales will be evened … though we may never know it.

Last year throughout the world 2.9 million people … men, women and children died as result of being infected with the AIDS virus. Those families … those mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children … their worlds just seismically shifted. All for the lack of some very cheap … very inexpensive drugs.

Isaiah 59 4;7-15
4 No one calls for justice;
no one pleads his case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

7 Their feet rush into sin;
they are swift to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are evil thoughts;
ruin and destruction mark their ways.

8 The way of peace they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks in them will know peace.

9 So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
feeling our way like men without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
among the strong, we are like the dead.

11 We all growl like bears;
we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
and we acknowledge our iniquities:

13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,
turning our backs on our God,
fomenting oppression and revolt,
uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.

15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The LORD looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.

May 7th, 2007 by Sonja

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, as quoted on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos:

“We’re at a point now where we’ve got a plan,” Hadley said. “Execution of that plan is now everything.”

Oh. really. I was under the apparently misguided assumption that “they” had a plan all along. Mind you, I was under no illusions. I knew I probably would not agree with anything that the current administration came up with as a plan (not that they need to consult me 😉 ). But surely they had a plan. Have we truly been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past 5 years without a plan? Can this lunacy be true?

I was in first and second grade during the height of the US involvement in Vietnam. I went to school in a two room school house. First and second grades were in one room with Mrs. Metakos. Third grade was in the other room with Mrs. Keith. There was a coal bin in the basement because the school house had been converted to oil in the past 5 years or so. There was still coal in it and we used to sneak in when we could. We had to be careful to not get coal dust on us though. It was very tempting for some odd reason. There was a swing set and teeter-totters and a whirlygig for playground equipment all set amongst the maple trees. There were plenty of trees for playing hide n’ seek or tag. The driveway was accomodatingly gravel so we played marbles there in the spring. We also played many, many games of Red Rover.

The game I remember best, though, was grabbing a stick, hopping the back fence and playing War in Cedric’s cow pasture. We had to be careful to avoid the cow pies (land mines). Girls had to be especially careful because we all had dresses on. The “big boys” in third grade were the leaders of these expeditions. This often happened on nice days when we ate our lunches quickly and had lots of playtime for lunch period. We all learned how to make agreeably fashionable machine gun noises with our mouths and kill the enemy with our sticks. Sometimes the enemy was the cows. That was sort of unfulfilling because the cows didn’t know they were the enemy and refused to play dead. Sometimes they did not even acknowledge our presence. So we often formed teams and shot each other so that people could play dead in ever more dramatic fashion. This lead to some rather feisty arguments on the way back to the school when the bell clanged about which team “won.” The “big boys” did the arguing, us little kids were just glad to be allowed to play. But either way, we all came back heros for having fought a good fight.

It is child’s play to think one might grab a weapon, hop a fence, and vanquish one’s enemy in an afternoon … or even a few short months. Veni, vidi, vici is a myth that not even the Romans fully believed. It is never true. Since the time of Adam people have proven over and over again that they do not want outside rulers coming in. We do not know what is best for them. How long, how long must we sing this song? How long until we have real adults in charge of this country? People who will stand for doing what is actually right rather than what looks good or what polls say. Someone who will look at life in and on this planet as not a game, but a wonderful and horrible responsibility.

David Picks a Fight
Apr 26th, 2007 by Sonja

Just in case you hadn’t heard yet …

The Vermont State Senate voted to impeach George Bush last week. It is important. In the grand scheme of things.

David v. Goliath

Passing Time
Mar 20th, 2007 by Sonja

Yesterday was a marker of two things. One in the world and one in our family, but both were large.

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq.

Yesterday was Lightboy’s tenth birthday.

I hate that war. It fills me with revulsion. It is being fought for all the wrong reasons. We were told lies to make it palatable. We are still being told lies to keep the real issues from coming to the table. If we were ever able to sit down and talk amongst ourselves about the truth, the money would dry up. I hate that war with every fiber of my soul. Men, women and children are dying to keep a few fat rich men fatter and richer.

I hate most of all that it gets discussed, vigils are held, and opinions expressed, etc. every year on the day that I must attempt to be merry and happy for my son. I love my boy and I love to remember the day he was born and all the days he has been with us since (all three thousand six hundred fifty of them). The struggle to overcome that tension saps my strength. I avoid the news and my usual on-line haunts. But somehow I can’t avoid the inside of my head.

Lightboy had a good birthday. He never knew. He never does. Beginning next year, though I will give him the choice. He will be old enough to choose to participate in vigils or stay home. To hear and read the articles or not. It will be his choice.

Zathura - gameIt was a quiet birthday. Just us. He got his most lusted after gift … Test Tube Aliens (article here). And he got a surprise that he didn’t know existed … the game Zathura. This is a game which is based on a movie that we all love. The game is an integral part of the movie. We played last night after cake. It was fun and we imagined we were in the movie. It was a good day to be 10.

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