09 August 2018

Nagasaki shorts

Cross from the Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki
(Collection of the Peace Resource Center)
It was 38 years ago today, at the end of Boston's annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki peace vigil, that Judy and I were married at Friends Meeting at Cambridge. I love celebrating our August 9 wedding anniversary, but I always pause to think about the full import of the date.

I've written about Hiroshima before, and probably will again. [Here.] Today, a few words about Nagasaki. Specifically, about how hard it is to look at this cross. It is from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Nagasaki, a building that was located about a third of a mile from ground zero on August 9, 1945. This bomb-scarred cross is part of the collection of Wilmington College's Peace Resource Center.

The Christian cross symbolizes the sacrifice of the nonviolent Lamb who was slain for all of us, and this particular cross tells me how costly our defiance of the Prince of Peace still is. We dare not sentimentalize or trivialize the cross of Christ!

It's been over thirty years since Helen Redding, director of the Peace Resource Center, first showed me the Center's Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Collection, and told me the story of how Barbara Reynolds established the collection. At the time, it seemed cruelly ironic to me that the second atomic bomb attack was on the city that many considered the center of Japanese Christianity. I don't feel that way now. There's no reason that we Christians should be shielded from any hazard that the world's innocent children of whatever description might be forced to suffer.

Update, August 2019: Wilmington College returns the Nagasaki cross to the Urakami Cathedral. (Also see the Wilmington Yearly Meeting epistle.) Thanks to Dan Kasztelan for the links. Here (video) is the story from a Japanese viewpoint.

A week and a half ago we moved from Eugene back to Portland, Oregon, but this past Sunday we returned to Eugene Friends Church to say a proper goodbye. We sang these words during worship:
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

(from "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Louie Giglio, Matt Maher)
When I sing contemporary worship choruses, I am often tempted to substitute "we" and "us" for "I" and "me." But not with this song.

Back around the same time I met Helen Redding in Wilmington, Ohio, I had the good fortune of meeting Joe Kelly for the first time. You can read some of Joe's story in the description of the meeting he pastors in Traverse City, Michigan -- Friends of the Light. He once told me that his vision of a Quaker meeting was a community that would embody Jesus for people who had always thought they were not "good enough to be in a church."

In my olden days, The Canadian Friend subscription
records were on McBee cards for sorting by postal
code and expiration date. Source.
When I sing "I will rise on eagle's wings," I am thankful that I already know that I don't have to be Good Enough to sing those words. But I've been in the church world for over four decades -- much of that time as an employee of the church. (I started out as the business manager for The Canadian Friend at $100/month.) I love imagining these same words being sung bravely by someone who decided to trust Jesus just yesterday, or who is maybe right in the process of deciding, and whose life might not exactly have anything resembling a churchy gloss. I cherish the assurance that we will rise together. You and I and the children of Nagasaki.

Melani McAlister writes about the homelessness that some evangelicals of color are experiencing in the Trump era. Sample:
The very term “evangelical” has become fraught for many people of color, who might never have been that comfortable with the label to begin with. For some time, a crucial reality of evangelical life has been its increasing racial diversity, buoyed by evangelicalism’s growing transnational ties. In the last few decades, U.S. believers have grown more likely to travel on short-term missions, participate in international conferences, or simply watch one of the multiracial and multinational teachers and preachers on Christian television and online. Over the last two years, however, the election of President Trump has created a profound generational, racial, political, and gender divide—one that has shaped U.S. evangelical life so thoroughly that the long-term impact will not likely be known for a generation.

The factors that are causing global warming don't just add up, they might have a mutually reinforcing domino effect. Reading this article makes me ask again: what will be the Pearl Harbor-level alarm that will finally pierce our denial about climate change?

Today: Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration at Wilmington College.

Hiroshima: the anti-transfiguration.

The Quaker meetinghouse that speaks of quiet faith.

... And what we encounter in silence, says Mike Farley, lies beyond all distinctions.

Kent Thornburg on nutrition, chronic disease, and the 100-Year Effect.

Meet computer pioneer Grace Hopper (including a fascinating interview with David Letterman), thanks to Open Culture.

For the best in rockabilly and blues, go to ... Moscow! Dennis Mazhukov introduces us to the Off Beat band.

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