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Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Having mastered the University of Montana's IYFD program, I journeyed to Peru with the US Peace Corps. Currently, I'm discovering Peru while living in the gorgeous Andes mountains in beautiful Ancash. Come visit!

Friday, March 11, 2005

A World of Ill-intent

My name is Ari and I'm addicted to books.

Hi Ari.

It started when I was young. I don't mean to pass the blame, but my mother was always reading. She read to me. She read to herself. She read to other children. So, I was doomed. There was no way to get past it. I was going to be a reader too. My sister is an English teacher and although it took her longer to get the reading addiction, by the time she got to college Siddartha and Shoeless Joe had converted her to the dark side. For me, the addiction came young. I remember my first novel was Grandfather Frog, it has since been the only novel I've read twice. As a freshman in high school I read Les Miserables, Madame Bovary, and Anna Karenina. I graduated to Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and a whole new world was opened up to me when a librarian told me I could read for fun. What about Les Mis is not already fun? So I began to read R.L. Stine and other meaningless books, but I didn't stray from Uncle Tom's Cabin or Jane Eyre.

I was in college when I read my first Christian book. And it was a divine and spiritural moment. I was in Barnes and Noble just minding my own business when a book jumped out at me, not literally. Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb is still high up on my list of all-time most intriguing books. I bring this up because books can become a distraction for me, as one has lately.

I'll admit, the true crime book intrigues me. I was rivited by Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and could barely handle Helter Skelter, but fascinating. My latest addiction: Small Sacrifices. The story of a mother who tries to kills her own children (and manages to kill one) so her lover will leave his wife and be with her. Her lover has no intention of leaving his wife. Oh man, is this woman messed up. She's abusive and manipulative especially to her children. It really makes me angry. I just look around this world, and read stories like this that make me realize that we live in a world of ill-intent. Humans make choices every day to do what is right or what is wrong.

I read this morning on the Reuters web page about a shooting of a judge, a court reporter, and possibly a baliff who were killed by a man on trial. Yesterday, I read of the suicide of the person who probably killed that judge's family from the aryan nation/cult trial. Scary stuff. There are earthquakes in Iran, tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, etc, etc. What to do with all of this information? Sometimes it can be too much. Do we all find a bomb shelter somewhere, load it with food and water and start singing Kum-ba-ya?

Of course not. It's interesting to me that even before the events of recent days evolved, I had been studying the topic of "Why does a benevolent God allow such terrible things to happen?" And the truth is we will not know this side of heaven. Yet, I look to the "end times" with as much trepidation as I do anticipation. There are days when I long for Jesus' return. And still I agree more with the comments made by Rabbi Daniel Isaak, "The issue isn't 'Why did God do this to us?' but 'How do we human beings care for one another?" As a Christian, I could look at these tragedies as God's punishment (which has a Biblical precedent) or as a sign of the "end times" (the "signs" are so numerous, where does one begin?) but I would prefer to see it as a responsibility that God has given us to care for one another in times of suffering. I'll be honest, I do believe God allows suffering, but I don't believe he leaves us to suffer. Jesus certainly suffered (on the cross) and each of us, throughout our life, will face times of suffering, but the question is not, "Why did God do this?" It is, "How does God want me to respond to this?" How can I help my fellow man? Can I cling to my faith with the same strength that many Tsunami survivors used to cling to tree branches and roof tops? I hope so.

There is so much more to this answer, but I think I'll save that for another blog. I really want to finish Small Sacrifices before the weekend.


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