It's not everyday I see two different references to the School of the Americas, so I figure why fight it. (No pun intended.)
Every week my New Testament professor starts the class with a reading to remember a saint who's special day falls on or near the date of the class. This morning we remembered Archbishop Oscar Romero. Yes, I know, the pope didn't think he was a saint, but many of his parishioners did. The Archbishop was assassinated on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated the Eucharist. Years later, two of those involved with his murder were identified as graduates of the SOA.
Then, I arrived home to find the latest email from Sojourners, which contained this quote of the week:
"From the beginning of the conversation, Minister Berrutti
told us that there was no need to explain the atrocities of the
SOA, as she, and the people of Uruguay, were fully aware of this
reality, having experienced first hand the horrors of the
tortures, detentions, imprisonments and 'disappearances' caused
by its graduates."
- Lisa Sullivan, member of a School of the Americas
Watch delegation that met with Uruguayan Defense Minister
Azucena Berrutti, a former human rights lawyer who defended
political prisoners during that country's military
dictatorships. Uruguay and Argentina have decided to stop
sending soldiers to train at the Western Hemisphere Institute
for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas.
They are the second and third Latin American nations to do so,
Venezuela being the first.
So I figure I need to put this post up today. Somedays the world seems like a very dark place, where the people doing their best to keep terrorists out of their countries have a track record of training terrorists, albeit state sponsored ones, elsewhere. Somedays I am not optimistic.
And yet I am hopeful.
These words of Oscar Romero give some indication of why I am hopeful.
It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our
efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the
magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No
prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings
wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives
This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already
planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further
development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do
something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the
way, an opportunity for the lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the
worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a
future not our own. Amen.
Several years ago I worked with a team of theologians, academics,
religious advisors and environmental advocates to produce a handbook
for outreach on the ethical case for protecting biodiversity (Ethics for a Small Planet).
During that time I learned a lot about the complex relationship that
organized religion (the book focused on Judeo-Christian traditions) has
with environmental activism. But as we have seen recently from John's
posts on the Au Sable Institute and the Evangelical call to action on climate change, in some cases that relationship is evolving into a powerful partnership.
We're curious about the experiences that those of you who attend a
formal place of worship (of any tradition) are having regarding faith
and the environment. As always, we invite comments on this topic.
Swing over and check out the survey - It's only one question.
Some young preacher will study until he has to get thick glasses to
take care of his failing eyesight because he has an idea he wants to
become a famous preacher. He wants to use Jesus Christ to make him a
famous preacher. He's just a huckster buying and selling and getting
gain. They will ordain him and he will be known as Reverend and if he
writes a book, they will make him a doctor. And he will be known as
Doctor; but he's still a huckster buying and selling and getting
gain. And when the Lord comes back, He will drive him out of the
temple along with the other cattle.
(A.W. Tozer, Success and the Christian)
"The Afghan constitution was endorsed by the allied forces," said Zaki.
"The same constitution suggests a treatment according to Islamic norms
under which a Muslim who converted to any other religion would be
executed," said Zaki, an ethnic Uzbek known to be a liberal and secular