Monday, December 15, 2008

The Hand of God

I woke up this morning to some interesting news: an Iraqi threw a shoe at President Bush at a Baghdad press conference, there's an acorn shortage on the U.S. eastern coast, and a fire broke out in Sarah Palin's church. Are these stories related in some way? Maybe, maybe not.

[Excerpt taken from CNN]

Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head during the news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in his palace in the heavily fortified Green Zone. The shoe-thrower -- identified as Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network -- could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!" While pinned on the ground by security personnel, he screamed: "You killed the Iraqis!"

Wherever you stand on the Iraq war this action says a lot on how the Iraqi people feel about the current occupation, and to them it is an occupation. Bush was in Baghdad celebrating the conclusion of the security pact that will extend their presence in the country till December 31, 2011. Some Iraqis may see this as a sign that the end is near while others see it as a Western country overextending their unwelcomed stay. There is a silver-lining to this story: "All this basically says is we made good progress, and we will continue to work together to achieve peace," Mr. Bush commented after the "attack". I personally don't think this man would have lived to see the sunrise the next day under Saddam's reign.

Progress? But at what cost.

The one thing that I've seen the media and politicians repeatedly fail to recognize (and/or admit) is that the Arab World views the Iraq war as an invasion, occupation, and an attack on their culture, religion, and way of life. They don't want us there. Period. I'm not suggesting an immediate withdraw of all troops because that would create a power vacuum with the still feeble (in my opinion) Iraqi government. If a foreign nation invaded our country and kicked in my door, arrested my family, and refused to leave I'd be front and center throwing my shoes at their leader no matter how good their original intentions.

What does one starving squirrel say to another starving squirrel? Ah Nuts!

Okay, so the joke is terrible but the story is creepy. Scientists are baffled by the acorn shortage on the East coast, and in some pockets there are no acorns to be found. Should we be concerned and start a food drive for the starving squirrels?

[Excerpt taken from CNN]

Not necessarily, naturalists say. Last year Garris reported a bumper crop of acorns, which scientists say may be one clue to this year's scarcity. Virginia extension agent Adam Downing said acorn production runs in cycles, so a lean year is normal after a year with a big crop. "It fits with the physiology of seed reproduction. The trees are exhausted, energy wise, from last year," Downing said. But even he is surprised at the complete absence of nuts in parts of Virginia.

This sounds eerily similar to the quote attributed to Einstein, "if the bees disappeared off the face of the globe then man would only have four years of life left." Of course I don't think squirrels are as important as the bees since they don't pollinate our flowers, but what does it tells us if it continues? Are we really affecting our environment to the point where squirrels might appear on the endangered species list? Now I don't think the squirrels will be on that list any time soon but I do believe that we are indeed negatively affecting our environment. So please keep the squirrel population in your prayers.

A fire broke out at Sarah Palin's church in Wasilla on Friday night. There was a ladies craft group in the building when the fire broke but they all got out safely.

You can read the story here.

"We have no idea what caused it," the Rev. Larry Kroon of the Wasilla Bible Church said Saturday, adding that investigators were considering arson and other possible causes.

It's always a shame for any fire to burn down a building but it feels worse when it happens to a place of worship. And the fact that arson is being considered makes my stomach turn. I can't imagine why anyone would intentionally set a building on fire especially to church. I think Sarah Palin's association with the church makes it more likely that it was arson.

But what if it wasn't arson but a sign from God? Is God capable of allowing (or causing) a church to burn down? God has been known for more atrocious acts in the Bible and has been called upon by his worshipers to destroy entire nations in modern times. I don't think God will be on the list of suspects, but then who would suspect God?

Now to try and tie these stories together why is it when something happens in our favor that we say "God has showered blessing upon us, praise Him!" but we say "God is punishing us for our lack of faith, forgive us Lord," when something happens in our enemy's favor?

There are thousands of accounts throughout history where God is held responsible for an event be it victory in war, prosperity, and even elections. The danger of this is when people apply this to everything that happens in their daily lives. Some events are the result of the choices we make and not by a deity that may or may not exist. If you eat junk food for your entire life and you develop serious health problems God is not punishing you for your lack of faith. You are punishing yourself for not eating right in the first place.

None of these stories suggested that they were caused by God but I am just pointing out how some may do just that on a daily basis. One can have faith in the Divine and look at life rationally while also taking personal responsiblity for our world. So let's strive to take care of our world and one another so that we may have some peace in this life and the next.

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