catching up on life and links

After being in Haiti for a week (seven days without tv and little-to-no internet access), followed by a week at my cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin (where a few tv stations come in fuzzy and there is only internet access when the wind blows strong enough to pick up the wireless signal from one of our neighbors), I am finally catching up on what has been going on in the world while I was away from my “normal” reality. For instance,

In the pop-culture world, Coldplay’s new album has already set tons of download/sales records in only a month and the latest season of MTV’s Real World (Hollywood) came to an end. (Note: I have been listening to the new Coldplay album (a lot!) and am currently writing a theological review of it that will hopefully be online later this week.)

In celebrity gossip, Angelina Jolie had twins and Jimmy Kimmel & Sarah Silverman broke up, among other things that most people don’t care about.

In the wacky world of church and theological politics, a college student in Florida says he received death threats for “smuggling” communion wafers out of church…seriously?

And of course, in the wonderful world of sports, I’m excited about the recent moves being made by the Timberwolves (a team for which I am a season ticket holder for the upcoming season) and I am frustrated and saddened by all the Brett Favre retirement/return drama…why are you doing this Brett? Just make up your mind, please.

Looking through this quick list of news and events, all of which I have actually spent time caring about since returning to my “real world,” it makes me think about how much different my life is compared to so many other people around the world. I’m thinking specifically of my friends in Haiti who I was hanging out with just a few weeks ago. The more I learn about and see others parts of the world, the more I come to understand that the realities of life that most Americans – like me, you, and anyone else who has access to read this blog – are lucky enough to live, is a lot better/nicer/easier than how a majority of people in the world will ever experience life, even for a day.

I realize I’m not the only person in the world who has come to this realization; nor am I the only person who has had the opportunity to see the faces of poverty in other parts of the world, but I’m not writing this to convince you of anything specifically that I think…I’m just asking you to think.

Think about all the blessings in your life, have you done
anything to deserve them?
We should recognize what we have and give thanks for the ways
we are blessed.
I realize some people don’t like this country, but if you
live in America, you are lucky.
Maybe you’re critical of America, and it’s understandable
if you are, but have you thought about how lucky you are
to live in a truly free country?
Have you ever stopped to think that someone in your family tree,
(probably several generations ago),
sacrificed everything they had,
left the only life they knew,
packed up all their stuff and did whatever they had to do to get here
(most of them probably sat on a boat to travel across the ocean),
and when they got here,
they had to completely start over,
new place to live, new job, new language, everything,
(it was probably really hard for at least the first couple of generations),
and they did all this so that you could have a better life?

We don’t deserve to live the way we do in America any more than my friend Tijean deserves to live in a one-room shack with four of his family members in Haiti. But we can learn a lot from Tijean. He is happy and joyful. He works hard. He is respectful to everyone and thankful for everything, often sharing the little he has with others. He makes the most of life, and that’s what we should be doing as well.

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