7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. 11 Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? 12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
It’s February of 2008. We are living our last few months in China before returning home to live in the USA. It’s now or never. We get our visa and book our flight to Burma – now known as Myanmar – for our Chinese New Year Holiday.
On the morning we arrive at the airport closest to Lake Inle, our guide takes us on a long day trip to see Pindaya Cave, which has one of the largest single collections of Buddhas in the world.
"I would say that our real failure is not so much greed (although it is that, too) as self sufficiency, arrogance, and superficiality. Inner depth, compassion, and community died in many of us. We might call the thing that died a capacity for simple presence--presence to ourselves, to others, to the moment, and to inherent joy. That is the death of the soul for sure, and eventually of society."
I had just finished college. Just before starting my first job, I had made an appointment with the eye doctor. While waiting in his waiting room, I picked up a Life Magazine to read it. There was a spread in the magazine about a nun in India. Her name was Mother Teresa. The interview contained this quote. It was not separated out from anything else she said, but it struck me so much that I wrote it down and then memorized it:
“Do your work as if everything depends on it.
a poem by Ann Weems (from Searching for Shalom: Resources for Creative Worship)
I was wrong,
So interested in being understood,
I didn’t understand.
Somehow the term “pro life” has been co-opted to mean a code word for anti-abortion. According to that view, this eight-celled embryo is entitled to all rights of personhood under the U.S. Constitution: