Thursday, February 08, 2007

Influenza, moral dilemmas, etc.

I'm recovering from a bout of what I called "Montezuma's Revenge" to a church member yesterday, and he protested that hear in NM, Montezuma is not a character demanding revenge on unwelcome visitors. In any case, it wasn't pretty, but I'm feeling better and know that there are lots of others around me who have suffered with the stomach 'flu lately.

The Habitat for Humanity house is coming along. We've just about completed the siding and soffits, at which point the outside work will be done. The floors, walls and insulation will be done by people who know what they're doing. I took the day off today, supposing that going to the Community Kitchen was not a good idea until I was fully recovered. It gave us a chance to do some necessary things like laundry, getting oil and filter change on the car, flushing out the sewage holding tank on the RV, cleaning the carpets in the car on which we spilled a bunch of borscht when we hauled it to church on Monday, etc. Fun stuff. Such are the ingredients of adventure, it appears.

One of my goals here was to gain some understanding into the situation Mennonites face in Bush's USA in 2007. I learned in conversation yesterday that 2/3 of American Mennonites vote Republican. Take that to mean whatever you like, but it helps me to understand the schizophrenia that MC USA is suffering under. What I fail to understand is how Mennonites can see Christ in the politics of force and war, in the policies of domination to which the current regime seems to have married itself.

Here in Carlsbad, liberal theology seems to be right at home, at least among the members we've gotten to know. The other day we had a discussion around the table at A. + E.'s about a lot of things, including D's recent participation in the mass demonstration in Washington against the "surge" in troops to Iraq. One subject of our conversation was the lobby Carlsbad area politicians are putting on the federal government to locate a plant in the area for the manufacture of the detonating devices for nuclear weapons. The area needs jobs and economic development, and this is seen as a great economic opportunity. Church members here, of course, are dead against it. I made the point that although Canada is a nuclear weapons-free zone, Saskatchewan produces a lot of the world's raw resource for nuclear programs. One gentleman at the dinner table works for the University of New Mexico on the project that buries military nuclear waste in a salt bed thousands of feet below the surface just east of Carlsbad.

I delivered a meditation to a men's breakfast last Saturday. My topics was "witnessing," and my central theme was the need to identify the issues on which we need to witness for Christ in our age, and the finding of the effective means to do this. That's nothing radical, but in the light of the moral dilemmas faced by Christians and their temptations to support the status quo - either actively or passively - we face a real test, as Mennonites in the USA as well as in Canada.

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