A friend in his mid-20's made time to help us in the garden last week. My perennial bed perennially suffers from lack of attention. He dug up the Japanese anemone too close to the front that unexpectedly hid from view the Canterbury bells and Jacob's ladder. We divided the huge healthy plant so I could share with friends and then planted it further back. The hollyhocks and hibiscus now also seemed out of place and he put his back into digging them. While he cut down corn stalks, I transplanted shorter plants--campanulas and petite foxgloves--to the front. I even got an out-of-place purple cornflower and some yarrow back where they belonged. What an amazing hour! Although the ornamental grasses still so overshadowed the spigot that watering the plants meant scraped-up arms, I was more than satisfied.<read more>
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Action alert: ACT for access
by Susan Mark Landis
We provide suggestions for prayer, reflection and action on health care.<read more>
Action alert: Afghanistan
Congress, the Obama Administration and the military are considering significantly increasing U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan. But we believe that troops do not bring security or peace.<read more>
For the past two decades the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group has threatened communities in northern Uganda and across central Africa by brutally targeting civilians and abducting thousands of children. Even though the LRA is small in numbers (less than 1.500 members), their ruthless attacks have wreaked havoc on the region and caused massive internal displacement of civilians.<read more>
Part 5 of a 5-part series on Agent Orange.<read more>
On August 10, 1961 U.S. forces started their toxic chemical spraying in Viet Nam. Forests and crop fields were left bare and desolate by herbicides with such colorful names as Agent Orange, Agent Purple, Agent Blue and Agent White. Almost 50 years later the land is producing again. Fields of rice wave in the afternoon breezes and hillsides are again covered with trees giving cover to animals and insects that for so many years had no place to forage for food. It is easy to forget that, within the beauty of nature regaining its presence in Quang Ngai Province, the poisons remain. Some streams with crystal-clear water support no fish and many fields of rice are thin and yellowish in color. Most sadly, children continue to be born with severe mental and physical disabilities.
For those of us living half-a-world away it may be easy to pick up a good book or turn on a television show and pretend that the war in Viet Nam never happened, but for the people of Viet Nam, the reminders of those tragic years of unnecessary violence are always in front of them, not just in their memories but in the lives of the many people suffering the effects of unexploded ordnance and herbicide poisons.
Since the early 1980's, the United Nations has proclaimed September 21st as the International Day of Peace, and throughout the world various vigils, commemorations, rallies, festivals and other ways to mark the day have been held on or about that date. And so, once again, we find ourselves preparing for another Day of Peace with hope and expectation. Or do we?<read more>
Within the context of shalom--peace which permeates all of life and which is centered in well-being and right relationships--it is common to focus on nonviolence. There seem to be two somewhat mutually exclusive strains within this focus on nonviolence: nonresistance and nonviolent resistance. John Howard Yoder, Walter Wink and others have convincingly argued the point of view that Jesus does not necessarily advocate nonresistance since he himself resists evil as in the cleansing of the temple and in his heated arguments with religious leaders. The model, they would argue, is one of nonviolent resistance, not one of nonresistance.<read more>
This month's prayer was written by Joel Beachy.<read more>