Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The kingdome of God is within you

 The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God seeds into God.
- Meister Eckhart

In the words of one who died

Is it worth it?  What have we gained?  What is below makes clear what is lost.

A Last Goodbye

Hey beautiful well we were on blackout again, we lost yet some more soldiers. I cant wait to get out of this place and return to you where i belong. I dont know how much more of this place i can take. i try to be hard and brave for my guys but i dont know how long i can keep that up you know. its like everytime we go out, any little bump or sounds freaks me out. maybe im jus stressin is all. hopefully ill get over it....

you know, you never think that anything is or can happen to you, at first you feel invincible, but then little by little things start to wear on you...

well im sure well be able to save a couple of bucks if you stay with your mom....and at the same time you can help her with some of the bills for the time being. it doesnt bother me. as long as you guys are content is all that matters. I love and miss you guys like crazy. I know i miss both of you too. at times id like to even just spend 1 minute out of this nightmare just to hold and kiss you guys to make it seem a little bit easier. im sure he will like whatever you get him for xmas, and i know that as he gets older he'll understand how things work. well things here always seem to be......uhm whats the word.....interesting i guess you can say. you never know whats gonna happen and thats the worst part. do me a favor though, when you go to my sisters or moms or wherever you see my family let them know that i love them very much..ok? well i better get going, i have a lot of stuff to do. but hopefully ill get to hear from you pretty soon.*muah* and hugs. tell mijo im proud of him too!

love always,
your other half
Juan Campos, e-mail message to his wife, Dec. 12, 2006.

When Staff Sgt. Juan Campos, 27, flew from Baghdad to Texas for two weeks last year, there was more on his mind than rest and relaxation. He visited his father's grave, which he had never seen. He spent time with his grandparents and touched base with the rest of his rambling, extended family.

The day he was scheduled to return to war, Sergeant Campos and his wife went out dancing and drinking all evening with friends. Calm and reserved by nature, Sergeant Campos could out-salsa and out-hip-hop most anyone on the dance floor. At the airport, his wife, Jamie Campos, who had grown used to the upheaval of deployment, surprised herself.

"I cried and I have never ever cried before," said Mrs. Campos, 26, who has a 9-year-old son, Andre. "It was just really, really weird. He knew, and I kind of knew. It felt different."

"We both felt that it was the last goodbye," she said.


Sergeant Campos was riding in a Humvee on May 14, 2007, two weeks after returning from Texas, when it hit an I.E.D. The bomb lifted the Humvee five feet off the ground and engulfed it in flames. "That's when we just left hope at the door," Sergeant. Johnson said. Severely burned over 80 percent of his body, Sergeant Campos lived two weeks. He died June 1. Another soldier, Pfc. Nicholas S. Hartge, 20, of Indiana, died in the same attack.

4000 Dead

[T]he 4000th death (and all the rest) does serve as a reminder to the cost of ineptitude and when compared to the early statements and rhetoric leading up to the war, and serves as a harsh reminder of the truth. No WMD. No link to 9/11 or al Qaeda. No threat of "mushroom clouds" over American cities if we did not invade Iraq, while a certain increased risk now because we've allowed al Qaeda to rebuild from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Five years later, what does the 4000-death mark mean to me? It means that today, like yesterday and tomorrow, we will lose some of the finest Americans we have. That is a harsh reminder that disastrous policy decisions have tragic consequences.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chinese Olympics

We must continually work hard so that each of our actions is a way of carrying on little conversations with God, not in any carefully prepared way but as it comes from the purity and simplicity of the heart. - Brother Lawrence

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Morning Prayer of Lament, based on Psalm 130

Morning Prayer of Lament, based on Psalm 130 and
the Pastoral Letter on the War in Iraq

1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2   Lord, hear my voice!

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq.
Thousands of precious American lives have been lost;
thousands more have been altered forever by injuries;
Tens of thousands more innocent Iraqi lives are daily being lost
to war and sectarian violence.
We grieve, we weep.
Let your ears be attentive
   to the voice of my supplications!
We struggle in our hearts and in our churches
to know the truth of what is happening to the Iraqi people and to America:
3If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
   Lord, who could stand?
In our name human rights have been violated;
Iraqi infrastructure and lives destroyed.
Precious resources have been diverted
from education, health care, and the needs of the poor.
Efforts to restrain the real sources of global terrorism
have been ignored or subverted.
Trust and respect for the United States
has been traded for self-serving political gain.
4But there is forgiveness with you,
   so that you may be revered.

We confess that too often the church has been little more
than a silent witness to evil deeds:
We have prayed without protest, and without action for peace.
As citizens of this land we have been made complicit
in the bloodshed and the cries.
5I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
   and in his word I hope;

Yet in the midst of our lament we may give thanks -
for pastors and laity who have raised courageous voices;
for military personnel who serve with honor and integrity,
for chaplains who care for soldiers and their families;
for veterans whose experience has led them to say, "no more;"
for humanitarian groups, who care for the victims of violence;
for the fragile Christian community in Iraq
that continues to bear witness to the Gospel
under intense pressure and fear,
for public officials who have challenged this war
risking reputation and career.
The Gospel witness has not been completely silenced, and we are grateful.
6my soul waits for the Lord
   more than those who watch for the morning,
   more than those who watch for the morning.

Today we call for an end
to war, to reliance on violence;
Today we call for humility and courage
to accept the futility of our current path.
Today we cry out for creativity
to seek new paths of peacemaking.
Today we call for repentance in our nation
and for recognition in our churches that security is found
in submitting to Christ, not by dominating others.
7O [People], hope in the Lord!
May we join protest to prayer, support ministries of compassion,
and cast off the fear
that has made us accept the way of violence.
May we return again to the way of Jesus.
Thus may bloodshed end and cries be transformed
to the harmonies of justice and the melodies of peace.
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
   and with him is great power to redeem.
For this we yearn, for this we pray,
and toward this end we rededicate ourselves
as children of a loving God
who gives "light to those who sit in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace."
8It is he who will redeem [our People]
   from all its iniquities.

5 years later...

The most costly war in US History??  Not yet, but perhaps before all is said and done.

It was supposed to be a quick war and a cheap one. Five years later, 160,000 U.S. troops are still in Iraq. And the costs keep piling up - $12 billion every month - putting a strain on an already faltering economy.

The United States has poured more than $500 billion into Iraq, mostly for military operations. But that figure is just a small piece of the much larger bill that taxpayers will pay in the future.

Because the money for the war is being borrowed, interest payments could add another $615 billion. A heavily depleted military will have to be rebuilt at a cost of $280 billion. Disability benefits and health care for Iraq war veterans, many of them severely injured, could add another half-trillion dollars over their lifetime.

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University public finance Professor Laura Bilmes, both of whom served in the Clinton administration, have included those calculations in a new study of the war's long-term costs. Their estimate of the war's price tag: $3 trillion.

And Cheney still can't help himself from continuing to lie...

But Vice President Dick Cheney gave an upbeat view of conditions in Iraq as he concluded his unannounced trip to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion. Cheney also defended the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as part of the struggle against terrorism following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 . That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home," said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

"So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace," Cheney said. "Understanding all the dangers of this new era, we have no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 square miles to become a staging area for further attacks against Americans."

A happy war anniversary to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all their co-conspirators.