Thursday, July 24, 2008

Zimbabwe's Political Talks

Senior negotiators from Zimbabwe's main opposition and ruling political parties began talks at an undisclosed venue close to Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday about forming a unity government. Not surprisingly, the two sides differ on who should lead the government and how long it should stay in power.

South African financial daily Business Day reported on Thursday that the two sides are close to reaching a deal but still need to iron out the final details.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gazprom Russia

Do you know the name Gazprom? If not, you may be in years ahead. It's the name of Russia's natural gas monopoly. The Russian government seems increasingly clear about using Gazprom as its primary foreign relations carrot and stick.

Will Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attempt to galvanize other gas producing nations into some anti-western lobbying force? I dunno, but as Medvedev said, "it is wrong to assume that the issue is dead."

So stay tuned. Russia, along with Brazil, South Africa, India and obviously China are rising international players.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Religion and forgiveness

How is it that religious beliefs and religious people both foster and frustrate forgiveness? That's one of the questions I've been asked to write and speak about.

What should I say?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Spring of 2007
The Château of Coppet
Vaud, Switzerland
Our family was there for my graduation from the Master of Advanced Studies program at the University of Geneva.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Seems like everywhere I turn these days, the topic of forgiveness is there to meet me.

I’ll quickly mention two examples. The first occurred last week when I taught a class in another state on a different topic. At the end of the last class session, some of the participants in the class asked if I would teach the same class and other classes in the future. Forgiveness emerged as a topic and was affirmed by others. In particular, the participants were interested in recent mind-body-spirit research about the positive effects of forgiving and the detrimental health effects of not forgiving.

It’s been known since well before the time of Christ that forgiving others and ourselves has curative powers; and, likewise, refusing to forgive causes more injury and harm.

A second example occurred earlier this week in a counseling session. Here is the rest of the column.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Worship in the park

The text for First Christian Church's worship celebration tomorrow is Psalm 118:24: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. We plan to worship outdoors at a local park, then have games for most ages and then a church picnic.

An extra tent was set up today. Tables and chairs will be hauled out early in the morning. Table coverings, food, all sorts of stuff.

God made this day, indeed, so let's enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

High Density Vertical Garden (HDVG)

What in the world is a high density vertical garden, you ask? Well, thanks for asking!
I just came across the term and idea, and I like it. Here's what someone else wrote about vertical gardens:

In Victorian times, houses were very narrow, multi-storied, and had a small "footprint" on the land. This left more land for private gardening, and commons, among other things. Then came the 1960s, and "ranch style" homes, with half-acre grass covered lots. By the 1970's anyone with a vegetable garden in a suburban or city back yard were "hippies," "weird," or "old fashioned."
The 1990's saw the boom of Mega-Mansions on postage stamp sized lots, weekly lawn-care crew visits, and still little vegetable gardening on a respectable scale, regardless of whether one lives in the city or the suburbs. Now we have an oil crisis overlain with a salmonella crisis: both of which the US Federal government seems incapable of dealing with. Vertical gardening might help change that.

Vertical gradens are said to grow vegetables and other foods much more efficiently and with greater food value than in agricultural field conditions.
Other claims are that vertical gardens produce approximately 20 times the normal production volume for field crops; require 5% of the normal water requirements for field crops; function in a variety of environments, such as urban, suburban and countryside; do not use herbicides or pesticides; save significant operating and capital costs over field agriculture; and, will drastically reduce transportation costs to market resulting in further savings, higher quality and fresher foods on delivery, and less transportation pollution.
Maybe worth a try, huh? Here's a visual:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Chautauqua face painting

Thanks to our friend John's quick and apt photography, here is a picture of the girls with their faces freshly painted at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) houses at the Chautauqua Institution. John Scott Williams of National City CC is the artist, and arguably the most popular person with children at the Institution this week!