Double Haiku?

i thought I was a poet until i met you
but now i am just a loner with wet hair on the train
writing songs about love and the sea

- Dan Unrau
I forgot to thank Rachael for helping me get the uglies out of this site. I know it is still no beauty, but at least the glaring mistakes are gone.

Thanks Rachael.


Asked AKMA this question:

Is it fair to say that many American Christians do see America as an OT style, "nation of God"?

He said:

Well, probably yes and no.

A particular visible slice of the US population does indeed seem persuaded that the US is so righteous and noble a nation that they should feel free to act as a kind of leg-breaker for God�fs will as it has been revealed to the President.

Probably most US citizens, though, simply neglect to distinguish their allegiances to God and country. They would not go so far as to think specifically of the US as a modern Israel (in the sense of an anointed nation uniquely commissioned to enact God�fs will), but they would largely assume that US civic ideals cohere with God�fs will in a way that justifies the US acting out the role of an enforcer to the Christian virtues of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the Christian goals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (That last bit was not meant to be taken literally.)

Then many US citizens don�ft know or think much about Christian theology and ethics except as a sort of liberal ideology with God tacked on at the end. They would probably, in general, oppose the war on the grounds that the US is acting against its own best and wisest founding principles, or that war is not healthy for children and other living things. And, like, Jesus was against war.

And then some Christians just flat-out understand themselves to be citizens of no earthly dominion, and that their lives must reflect, to the extent that they can manage it, the non-violence and ministry of reconciliation that led Jesus to a cross rather than an armed rebellion
[editors note: ooo, well said].

I�fm oversimplifying and leaving somme folks out, but in a short compass, that�fthe way the scene looks to me.

And he says some good things on Jesus' interaction with the centurion as well...
If you are going to rant, you should do it like this:

So I'm watching Survivor the other night... like you do... and the Christian lady (there's always a Christian and a Homo -- It's the rules) doesn't dissappoint in completely making all Christians look like horrible ridiculous idiots. Since she succeedes in removing Christ-likeness from her Christianity she will be henceforth referred to as the "xn lady" instead of "Christian lady" (people use it as an abbreviation on many bulliten boards anyway...). Let's recap the show:

1) Her tribe wins the immunity idol and that night she starts talking about how she doesn't want the wooden figure in the camp because idol worship is forbidden in Christianity.

my opinion:
Xn lady, no one asked you to worship it. You're not bowing at it's feet or giving sacrifices to it. Speaking of idol worship though, the only freakin' reason why you're starving yourself and going through this whole experience is to win a million dollars. I'd be a little more concerned with that whole thing instead of worrying about a wooden doll.


The pre-fabrication of pop-stars is continuing its downward spiral. Tatu is all the rage in Japan right now. What about back home?
At two years old, Simon is just starting to work on his pronounciation. And because of it, our living room is sounding more like a hockey locker room. The especially problematic words are "frog" and "bridge". We all understand that as he jumps aound the house he is trying to say, "ribbit, ribbit, frog" but the last bit comes out considerably coarser.

Good thing we live in Japan where few can understand my lumberjack-mouthed boy.


Yvonne points to a page that all you friends in North America need to see. Phone calls to Japan $0.18/minute NO SIGN-UP!! So who will be the first to call??!! Just remember we are 14 hours in the future so no 3AM wake-up calls.
And I just found this guy through Jordon's post about realizing how we are really quite rich, and spending the majority of our lives having really very few thoughts about mercy, and justice, and giving our lives away. He has good stuff to say at his blog.
Whoever Michael Danner is, he sure knows his stuff when it comes to a Christian stand for peace. Check out the debate at the Emergent Village (start from the beginning, it gets a little confused as it wears on...).

And that was sent to me by my friend Chris Nickols, who just dipped his toe in the blogging pool. He has lots of opinions and jaw-dropping ways of expressing them, so go check him out.

Update: Reading more. I mean this guy is just really good. Well-reasoned arguments, and avoids the temptation to get drawn into the usual sarcastic, condescending back and forth. I gotta quote just some:

I would not jump too quickly to use the OT in support of the current possible war in Iraq. There are key differences that should be considered.

1. We are a secular government, not a Theocracy. I know, we are a "Christian" nation, founded on Christian principles. I know our President is, by his testimony, a Christian. That is not the point. In the OT, God ruled Israel. God was in charge and directed the nation. There is no one-to-one correspondance between OT Israel and current America. In the NT, Jesus rules, directly, the Church. Government - in general - is instituted by God to provide order (Rom. 13), but nowhere in the NT does God rule directly any government, but only the church. 2. In the OT, God used armies to administer judgement. He used Israel, but he also used Babylon to destroy Israel. When Israel sought to use war for their own purpose or personal gain, God judged them (i.e. allowed the Ark to be carried off because the army used it as a "secret weapon".) 3. Israel often fought from a deliberate position of weakness - using trumpets and scaling back troop size to a point of weakness. Israel relied on God alone to provide victory. From a human perspective, if God had not shown up, they would have been defeated. In the OT, God was not pleased with nations and rulers who put their faith in "chariots and horses."

In order for OT history to support current war, we would have to conclude that we are God's Nation - a theocracy opperating under the direct rule of God. We would have to conclude that God specifically and clearly directed American armies to war in order to bring judgement on Iraq. We would then have to trust in God alone, fighting in such a way that we would lose if God did not directly intervene.

Comments like [If there isn't a place for just war, why read the old testament?]implies that the only reason to read the OT is to justify war. It is much deeper than that. So is OT war history.


First of all, s, I believe it is incorrect to say we don't have the direct interventional power we need. As Christians, indwelt with the power of the Spirit of God, we have all the power we need. I would not have much respect for a God who calls us to be stewards over all creation, as you suggest, but then does not give us the power needed to fulfill the role, as you also suggest. If we are having any crises in this conversation it is not a crises of power, but a crises of faith. non-violent resistance is an excercise of faith. We have faith that God is present and active in the world. I believe that, although I do not fully understand it, this is how God has called followers of Christ to live. When you say it is not wise or feasible, you are not challenging my perspective, but what Jesus taught and Paul reinforced! Your battle is not with christian pacifists who are trying to faithfully live what Jesus taught. It seems to me that Peter tried to convince Jesus that non-violence was not the way to go as well. He was rebuked.
"Sit-ins" and "candle light"vigils may not stop a "psycho", but again you show little or no understanding of non-violent resistance. To participate in non-violent resistance in the civil rights movement meant getting beat, attacked by dogs, assaulted with firehoses, or thrown in jail. Participating in non-violent resistance in Tienimen square meant getting run over by tanks. When a seemingly powerless majority realize the power they have in numbers, non-violent resistance can be extremely effective in bringing about change.

I don't find the statement killing the bad guys to be "too crass", but too arrogant. s, you are very confident in your ability to decide who is good and who is bad. So much so that your judgement becomes the standard by which other people live and die. I, personally, am not that confident in my ability to do so. I certainly don't want to make decisions about the lives of others based on my perspective.

The problem with most justification for war is simply that it ignores the clear teaching of Jesus. It also ignores the model of Jesus. Jesus didn't say it would be easy and make perfect sense to follow Him in this life. We are to follow none-the-less. At the same time, I would certainly challenge the notion that violence and war are proactive and effective means for achieving peace. They are not. They only fuel cycles of violence, they do not end them. Cycles of violence always favor those with the most guns, not the good guys or the bad guys.


via Len H.

"There are two dangers I want to address. The first is the aligning ourselves and God�fs call with the anti-war movement. As I look at many people who are involved in this movement today, the vast majority come from one side of the political spectrum. To illustrate, more bombs were dropped on Iraq in 1998 than during the entire Gulf War in the early �e90�fs. Yet we did not see and hear about massive peace marches and rallies. Much of the rhetoric against the war is situational: the US and the President are imperialistic, the danger is not as strong as is portrayed, the US is going alone. The danger for us as a peace church is that our stance against war is not situational. It is unconditional. When we begin picking up the anti-war rhetoric, we risk painting ourselves in a corner if proven wrong. What if the war starts, there are limited casualties, and convincing evidence of terrorist plans is uncovered? Does that then mean we were wrong to oppose the war? If the situation is why we oppose it, then the situation can prove us wrong. That is why it becomes key to clarify that our stance is not to oppose or support war, but rather to clear identify that the role of one who claims Christ�fs name is not to participate in it.

"The second danger is to align oneself and God�fs call with support of the war. God�fs agent and force of redemption in the world today is the local church. Jesus Christ, working through the church, is the most powerful force in the world, including smart bombs and terrorist acts. While God does sometimes use the violent acts of others to accomplish His purposes, the call to the church by Jesus Christ is clear and uncompromising. Our project here is not to garner safety and security for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation. In fact, Jesus gives a clear and direct call to everyone who follows Him to abandon such notions and be willing to give everything up for His name.

"So what is our role? What does it mean to abandon all for the sake of Jesus? How is the church a powerful force of redemption? We can get some indications of our role by looking at the life of Jesus and the early church. Their political situation was even more treacherous than ours today. They had the Zealots who wanted to fight for independence from Rome. They had an imperialist Roman government that plundered and conquered other nations. Yet the focus of Jesus is clear: bring healing to sick, welcome the stranger, offer salvation to those who believe. These acts of service are acts of power, far more powerful in history than any bomb or weapon of mass destruction has ever been. Jesus calls us as Christians to reject the use of force and to reject participation in its implementation. He calls us to join up in His army, fighting with unconventional spiritual weapons to form communities that bring redemption and transformation to our townships, towns and cities.

"So I do not spend my time supporting or opposing the war. My attempts to influence the direction of war policy is of small political consequence compared to the political consequence of subordinating my natural desires and working in God�fs kingdom. And the truth is, when I write this I realize how little I�fve done, how little I�fve sacrifice. I am called to action."

John T Royer

Well said.
Somebody go play name that beard...
And I think I found snarkymalarkey Japanese edition...
Very interesting Japan life blog... well to me anyway.

The train is city life, simply. I caught a late train home Saturday night. I hustled, and managed to get a seat. However, not everyone was so lucky. A man about my age chose to sit on the train floor, adjacent to the automatic sliding doors. But soon his posture changed, his legs sprawled out and his eyes shut. Finally, he hit deep slumber and adopted an all out fetal position. His body blocked the entirety of the exit. The train stopped at several stations, but the slamming of the door, and the people stepping over him didn't seem to wake him. Saturday nights are rough.

I shared a moment of giggles with my fellow train passengers. It was nice. One of the few human moments I've ever really had on the train.

That is classic Japanese quirkiness.
On a small bridge in Iraq

Japanese writer Natsuki Ikezawa, together with photographer Seiichi Motohashi, has published a small book about his trip to Iraq last Fall, entitled "On a Small Bridge in Iraq." An English version of the book is available online for free, in .pdf format (requires Adobe Acrobat), here. (It can also be purchased in print form for less than a 1,000 yen.) It struck me as a fair, balanced portrait of Iraq from an admitted tourist, which is a lot closer than most of us will get or be exposed to by the establishment media.

via hmmn: musings from the far east(erwood)


Ok. I am trying to give a fair read to the other side, but articles like this just tend to emphasize me the incredible distance one has to go to talk around the challenges of following Christ. I mean, if you are going to re-make Jesus Christ in the image of an Old Testament warrior, at least fight your battles like they did in the OT. And in the summarizing list of people who "we Christians have a responsibility to pray for", enemies don't even get a mention, the one group that Christ is explicit about us praying for.

"But, if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you."
Is Tony Campolo allowed on American Christian radio??


One of my classes tonight was with three of the big dogs in the design section of Toyota. I was complaining to them that the Toyota products sold in Canada lean a little to the boring side. But in Japan, there is way more interesting variety than just the Corolla and Camry. And they said Toyota is going to be trying to introduce a couple of the "hipper" cars in North America this year. So here is a preview:

How can we follow Christ even at a distance while fighting and killing? Calvin gives us an indication by pointing out that Christ's pacific nature (his willingness to suffer violence at the hands of Jewish and Roman authorities) is grounded in the priestly office of reconciliation and intercession that is reserved for him alone. Christ's pacific nature is thus inextricably tied to his role as redeemer and cannot be intended as a model for Christian behavior. No Christian can or should try to act as a redeemer, but all can and should follow Christ in obeying the commands of the Father. And the Father commands the just use of force.

What did he mean then by all that "follow me" business?

There is really good bunch of articles at faithmaps that explore both sides of this ugly mess...


I was trying to take a week away from the computer, which I was more or less successful at, but some of the debate on Rachael's page drew me back. I will re-post my comment here because... well, because it was long and would make a good blog entry.

Respectfully yours in Christ. That is the big one for me. It all comes down to the question of whether Christ meant what he said or not. Each person who claims the label of "Christian" needs to decide if that means they really follow the lifestyle and teaching of the man who said he was God, or if they identify with the institutions and traditions that choose to de-emphasize what he said very clearly.

In the course of this debate, I have heard the question asked, "What would the Good Samaritan have done if he had happened upon the beating of the man on the road?" I have see a few references to saying "render to Caesar what is Caesars". I have seen a lot of Paul's words on respecting government and authority used to support going to war.

I remember a good old evengelical pastor, a guy well-known in North America, Chuck Swindoll, setting forth a bedrock rule for biblical hermeneutics. He said the unclear must be interpreted through the clear. With that in mind, how, other than through a de-emphasis of Christ in a variety of ways, could we support war, when our leader had this to say:

* God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.

* "But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

* Then Jesus answered, "I am not an earthly king. If I were, my followers would have fought when I was arrested by the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world."

And Paul joins in on the chorus:

* For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

* Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written:

"It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And that is just a quick survey. I mean, it seems so clear. Admittedly, not to everyone. But I think the problem comes in the incredible difficulty in believing that an act of Love (which gives control over to God) has more power than an act of violence (wherein we keep ourselves firmly in control). The other massive problem is the notion of a "Christian nation", because "Christians" generally in the west are very confused about where their primary loyalty lies. Is a truly Christian nation a historical posibility? It would be an incredible thing. What would happen in the realms of the spirit if, say, the U.S. converted its military budget to some sort of "blessing other nations" budget, and trusted God with whatever happened. I agree, in our current context, such thinking lies firmly in the world of fantasy. But such thinking is the only thinking that would demonstrate that a nation takes Christ seriously. Apart from that, we are forced into a "realism" that relegates Christ to the sidelines...

Until the day comes when such things are no longer fantasy (I admit it may take Christ's return), Christ's followers are called to be micro-examples of the practice and values of the kingdom he spoke so much about, a peculiar people who demonstrate that the stuff he commanded is doable. Anything less makes the idea that we are following him, well, I guess a lie to ourselves at best and serious hypocrisy at worst.

This response really speaks to only those who don't think Christ was a loony. If you do, fair enough, I can't understand why you might think I am too, but I think he was on to something. I think "Love your enemies" (basically, grace, loving those who don't deserve it) was fundmental to what God through Christ was and is communicating to humankind.
Ok, I give up. Somebody at least tell me how I get rid of the ugly black bar on the right there...

At least then I can be clean shaven.

This is humiliating...
You know when you are trying to shave yourself a really cool new beard and this goes wrong and then that goes wrong until you are left pretty much clean shaven? That is kinda what is going on here. One day I am going to learn a whole bunch of html and design myself a really nice-looking blog... one day... For now you have to put up with this painful visage until I can figure all that out - or pay someone to do it for me.

So what do you think - am I going to get a bunch of those "look whose blog has been redesigned" referrals?

My apologies for uglying up cyber-space...


I think I need to take a blog break. A fast of sorts. I need to spend some time on other things. Be back later.
Arguably the World's Most Useful Gift Catalogue


Laura expresses herself...
Protest alone, which often leads to violence, is not sufficient. Often it is fruitless. Thus we must demonstrate that a new way exists and show the world a new reality, the reality of God�fs righteousness and holiness, which is opposed to the spirit of this world. We must show with our lives that men and women can live lives of purity, peace, unity, and love wherever they dedicate their energies to working for the common good; and not only by creating spiritual community, but by building up a practical life of sharing. Above all, we must witness to the power of love. Each of us can give our lives to others in the service of love.

-- Johann Christoph Arnold

via Rachael.


Now I just thought that this made a lot of sense...


From my buddy Brian (get a frickin' blog already...)

Gate-Crasher Hands Bush 'Message From God'


God and American Diplomacy
Dan again:

what the hell is going on in Israel? attacking hospitals with Apache gunships? crushing grandmothers? killing farmers? destroying whole markets? all in a week??!

nearly 3000 people have died since the Sept 2000 Intifada began.
2200 Palestinians
700 Israelis


George Bush gets loose... maybe he ain't so bad after all.

from RC.
It seems that everybody's doing it. Some Japanese "human shields" are heading off to Iraq this week. I admire workers like Christian Peacemaker Teams who are willing to put their lives on the line in those places, but there is one point for me when it breaks down: shouldn't we have been sending people there even before the US was the agressor? When Saddam was boldly torturing and killing his opposition? By the same token, shouldn't we be sending people to various trouble spots of the world with the same spirit in mind?

This is not really intended to be a sharp criticism, because I believe in what these teams are up to. And maybe these teams will act as a prophetic wake-up call to followers of Christ for whom such actions should be a vital part of mission. Imagine if Christians were to take the teachings of Christ so seriously that such a missionary movement was spawned. Imagine if this was simply the reputation of Christians: people who are deliberate about seeking out the "low places" of the earth; people who gladly put their lives on the line, standing shoulder to shoulder with the poor and oppressed, to demonstrate the Love, mercy and justice of a good God. Does that sounds anything like the reputation of a Christian?

Not that this is such a new thing. Movements like the Quakers, and Moravian Brethern, and Anabaptist movements have gone in this direction before. Let's pray that the spirit births an even bigger wave of the same thing this time around.
'Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure... The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to frame the Constitution so that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.'

- Abraham Lincoln

... again, from Dan.
Great quote over at Theyblinked:

At the peace march there was a sign : " Peace is not merely a distant goal, it is the means by which we arrive at that goal. Peace, as a tactic, requires patience and forbearance and love, which is why it is so powerful. "
Mike Todd finds Monty Python getting political:

For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is...

My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.


I was re-listening to a clip from a talk David Ruis gave a while ago, and it was sparking some thoughts. He gets into this part about the difference between sharing and giving:

...Sharing is totally different than giving. Because you can give something to someone and not share anything with them. ...the ultimate thing is to get a house and some land and a place where you've got a huge barrier around you that keeps you from being connected with anybody... so the houses get bigger, the property gets bigger, the fences get higher, the security systems get more intense, that's the goal right? The reality is riches isolate you. And then, all we have is philanthropy, so you lob gifts of kindness across the fence and then we hail that as the greatest giving on the planet...

I think that is what Jesus was getting at by advocating a personal connection to the poor, rather than the welfare mentality - sending them money to attempt to fix their problems. And the reason, as I see it, is that the welfare mentality assumes that the problem needing to be fixed is only with them. It ignores that Eastern Orthodox notion that I pick up from time to time at James' site that the problems of the world are caused by the dark selfishness in each of us, in all humanity, rather than just the bad stuff going on in a particular place. In calling for the personal touch, Christ calls us to an embracing of diversity; of community that simultaneously fixes us and them, transforming us into a "we". And that again points everything back to the Love that Jesus was all about revealing, because stepping into community is an automatic challenge to our own selfishness. It demands that we be deliberate about making the move to selflessness (or asking God to move us there, because that might be a miracle in itself).
I know I am way behind when it comes to the open theism debate. I haven't paid much attention. But I was reading over some of Pinnock's articles today, and maybe it is because I am already a total heretic, but most of it just didn't seem that threatening to me. How about this:

By delegating power to the creature, God chooses to become vulnerable. Had God actualized a determined world, everything would have been controlled. But as it is, God took the risk that freedom might be abused and that the creature might decide to work against God's purposes. In such a universe, God's plans can be adversely affected by perversity and disobedience. God accepts the risks that accompany genuine relationship. Though ontologically strong, God chooses to become "weak" by the decision to create a significant world God would not control. God decided to work within a history whose outcome is not predetermined and to rule over a world that is able to resist.

This view helps us deal with the problem of evil. God made a world where evil was possible but not inevitable. We can say that God did not ordain moral evil but that it arose from the misuse of freedom. Ours is a world in which God does not normally override human decisions but lets them play out, because God regards them as significant. God may be responsible for creating a world with moral agents capable of rebelling, but God is not to blame for what human beings do with their freedom. The gift of freedom is costly and carries precariousness with it. But to make a world with free beings is surely a worthwhile thing to do.

A God who gives up his right to sovereignty so that humans can experience true freedom thereby giving birth to real Love. Sounds good to me. At the root of it is power, and the revelation of the divine nature in regard to power. God simply doesn't grasp it and force it and wield it like the "rulers of the world" do.

Perhaps we admire too highly power to force others to do our will. God's power is greater than the power of coercion. It is the power to make agents who are creators in their own right and the power to continue to rule even when they work against God. We are wrong to measure the greatness of power by a standard of compulsion. This is to confuse sovereignty with the excessive omnipotence of tyranny, which deploys itself against other powers, never alongside them. We have to realize that God wills and loves the existence of free creatures and delights in all their possibilities.

This stuff relates massively to care for the poor and the gospel of peace.

Down here in Nagoya, we only get snow once or twice a year, and winter is just kinda there. By Winnipeg standards it is not really even winter. More like cold autumn or something. But in Sapporo winter sounds like fun...


Interesting thoughts to ponder:

1930: �The two per cent speech�: During a speech Albert Einstein observed that if only 2% of the male population of the world refused to fight, future wars would be prevented: there wouldn�t be enough prisons for so many conscientious objectors, and so large a public opposition to war would deter any government from embarking on one.

1936: Bertrand Russell�s �Which Way to Peace?� was published. Disenchanted with the League of Nations as a provider of peace through �collective security�, Russell argued for unilateral disarmament. Even if this meant enemy occupation, that would be �infinitely less terrible than the consequences of a war, even if it ended in complete victory�.
The business of water

Around the world, private companies are taking over public water utilities. In a lot of places, it's happened without much public scrutiny. But it did come to the attention of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which spent a year probing the trend towards water privatization.

CBC's Bob Carty reports on the top three multi-national corporations leading the water industry and answers questions about the ICIJ's investigation of water privatization around the globe.
More on Kagawa

After he became a Christian he decided to become a Christian minister and entered seminary, but at the same time was led to put his faith into action in a radical way. He began to preach in the famous, Shinkawa slum of Kobe. Hear its description: "It had some twenty thousand outcasts, paupers, criminals, beggars, prostitutes, and defectives, who lived like homeless dogs in human kennels of filth and vermin and disease. Policemen feared to visit this district unless they went in groups. Often a single house, not more than six feet square, would accommodate a family of five; or two families of nine to ten persons. A community kitchen, a water hydrant, and a common toilet of unspeakable filth often served the needs of a score of families. The district swarmed with scrofulous, undernourished children, and the infantile mortality often reached the staggering height of over 1 in 2." [p.93, Erickson]. Kagawa contracted tubercular pneumonia. In Kagawa's words: The doctor told me "there was no hope of my recovery. On the third day my condition seemed completely hopeless. I could not cough any more or breathe without effort. For a week I lay there, just praying and waiting. Then the hemorrhages got worse and I got a very high fever. I thought that the time had come for me to die. The doctor said to notify my friends. The sun was setting in the west. I could see its reflection on my pillow. For hours I prayed, waiting for my last breath. Then there came a peculiar, mysterious experience; an ecstatic consciousness of God; a feeling that God was inside me and all around me. I felt a great ecstasy and joy. I coughed up a cupful of clotted blood. I could breathe again. The fever was reduced. I forgot to die. The doctor came back at nine-thirty. He was disappointed. He had written a certificate for my cremation and feared people would call him a quack." [p.16]. [Pause] He went back to Seminary but his strength failed. He went to a small cottage. "There was not much of anything in that cottage--no cot, no mattress--so I got some straw to make a bed on the floor and I lived in that house nearly a year.

People didn't like to get close to me because of my terrible disease, so I was very lonesome." But Dr. Myers visited and stayed four days. "I asked if he wasn't afraid of me. "Your disease is contagious," he said, "but love is more contagious. At that moment I realized more truly than ever what love really means: that love can have no fear; that love can have no limits; that love encompasses everything--the people sick like me, and the people sick in spirit and mind. I thought I must love everybody, too--even the horrible people in the slums. I decided I must not be sick any more. I told God that if He would let me live, I would serve His children in the slums. Pretty soon I began to get well again." [p. 17].

In 1925 she found her mission when a remarkable Japanese evangelist, Toyohiko Kagawa, "called" her to work for him as his English secretary and organizer in America. She had to subordinate herself and take direction from the native leader, revising the usual religious imperialism which held that the native religious leaders practiced an inferior brand of Christianity and could work only under the spiritual guidance and direction of a Western missionary board and dedicated to the proposition of dividing and conquering the Christianity the missionary represented. In Japan the traditional approach had resulted in only a handful of conversions and a certain contempt felt and expressed by the Japanese for a religion which was preached more than practiced.

Toyohiko Kagawa was in no sense traditional. He was born in 1888, the illegitimate son of a geisha and a high-ranking court official. Orphaned at four, he was raised by an unloving stepmother. The first kindness he encountered was from a Christian missionary, and he became a Christian in his teens. Upon doing so, he was disinherited and evicted from his home. He managed, nevertheless, to obtain a Christian education and in 1909, at the age of 21, he embarked on a remarkable period of his life. He went to live for 11 years in the Shinkawa slums of Kobe, working with and helping the poor people of the slums and evolving his life-long commitment to social action. By the time Helen Topping went to work for him he was already well-known for his work in founding churches, settlement houses, cooperatives, labor unions, schools, relief work after the earthquake of 1923, and for the publication of his highly successful first novel Crossing the Death Line.

Miss Topping actually joined Kagawa in Japan in 1927 after founding a support group in Berkeley, California, Kagawa Cooperators, which paid her salary. Kagawa was in the midst of a monumental crusade, the "Kingdom of God Movement," which aimed at converting so significant a portion of Japanese Christianity that the economic and social reforms which he advocated could be implemented. He believed that there could be no social progress without the inward transformation and consecration of the souls of men to the love of God. It was this dual emphasis which attracted so many American supporters but made him a thorn in the side of the established churches.


I just got this from Derek Eidse. It might be a good way to remind the powers of something they always need to be reminded of: that Christ's way supersedes their own.

There is a grassroots campaign underway to protest war in Iraq in a simple,
but potentially powerful way.

Place 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a small plastic bag (a snack-size bag or
sandwich bag work fine). Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap it in
a piece of paper on which you have written, "If your enemies are hungry,
feed them. Romans 12:20. Please send this rice to the people of Iraq; do not
attack them."

Place the paper and bag of rice in an envelope (either a letter-sized or
padded mailing envelope--both are the same cost to mail) and address them to

President George Bush White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Attach postage.

Drop this in the mail. It is important to act NOW so that President Bush
gets the letters ASAP.

In order for this protest to be effective, there must be hundreds of
thousands of such rice deliveries to the White House. We can do this if you
each forward this message to your friends and family.

There is a positive history of this protest! In the 1950s, Fellowship of
Reconciliation began a similar protest, which is credited with influencing
President Eisenhower against attacking China. Read on:

"In the mid-1950s, the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, learning of
famine in the Chinese mainland, launched a 'Feed Thine Enemy' campaign.

Members and friends mailed thousands of little bags of rice to the White
House with a tag quoting the Bible, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him." As
far as anyone knew for more than ten years, the campaign was an abject
failure. The President did not acknowledge receipt of the bags publicly;
certainly, no rice was ever sent to China.

"What nonviolent activists only learned a decade later was that the campaign
played a significant, perhaps even determining role in preventing nuclear
war. Twice while the campaign was on, President Eisenhower met
with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider U.S. options in the conflict
with China over two islands, Quemoy and Matsu. The generals twice
recommended the use of nuclear weapons. President Eisenhower each time
turned to his aide and asked how many little bags of rice had come in.

When told they numbered in the tens of thousands, Eisenhower told the
generals that as long as so many Americans were expressing active interest
in having the U.S. feed the Chinese, he certainly wasn't going to consider
using nuclear weapons against them."
The Antiwar Movement on the Web

If you get your news by reading newspapers and watching television, you won�ft find much coverage of the antiwar movement. But on the Web, there�fs plenty of evidence of a global grassroots sentiment opposing the war. In fact the Internet�fs crucial role in public debates has never been more evident.

The liberal media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting noted that leading American newspapers gave more space to recent British demonstrations against a proposed fox-hunting ban than to coverage of the antiwar movement
I went to Spa World yesterday, But rather than write a long explanation of my own, this guy's will do just fine...

Anyway I head back to Spa World. One of the cultural experiences of being in Japan is going to a Japanese bath. Japanese love a good bath however it is not the same as an American idea of a bath. A Japanese bath is a communial bath with the sexes seperated. Also you are supposed to be sure to clean yourself before entering the bath. The actual bath is for soaking, not cleaning. Anway I wanted to try a Japanese bath before leaving Japan.

Spa World is a modern, updated Japanese bath, the veritable Disneyland of Japanese baths and is quite famous. This huge facility can accomodate up to 5,000 bathers at a time and in addition to baths features several pools, a lazy river a waterslide, massage, sauna, resting rooms and even a video arcade. Ok so it is nothing like a traditional Japanese bath but it sounded a lot more fun.

Entering Spa World is like entering a fancy hotel with a registration desk and everything. The admission for three hours was a hefty Y2,700. This gave me a pause as I had one Y10,000 bill and some small change left in Japanese money. I figured I might need up to Y3,000 for a room that night, another Y400 to get to the room, Y880 to get the airport, Y2,500 for the airport departure tax plus some cash for dinner. If I paid for Spa World I would have about Y600 for dinner and no Japanese money left at all. This would be cutting it very close.

In the end I figured what the hell, I wasn't going to let what amounted to maybe $5 stop me from enjoying Japan and anyways after two weeks of steady sightseeing and relentless wolking I really needed a bath and some pampering. So after paying my money and getting a numbered wristband I took off my shoes before heading to lockers. Unfortunately they ddn't have locker big enough for my big bag but they were able to hold it for me at the registration desk.

Back at the lockers I find that these lockers were just for shoes. OK, so I stash my shoes and daypack in the locker and head off carrying my swim shorts. I see that the pool is on the 8th floor but when I get to the elevator I find out that it only goes to the third, fourth and fifth floor. I get off on the third floor only to find a sign indicating that it was the Asian baths and that it was women only. Back on the elevator and up to the fourth floor where I find that this is the European baths and men only. Now we are making progress.

Through the doors and I find myself in a nice locker room. Well I change into my swim trunks and follow a few more signs before finding another elevator which this time allows me to go up the eighth floor. There I find a small waterpark about half the size of a football field. Not quite as grand as Raging Rapids but a nice little place none the less. There are a large number of families there but is not crowded. I spend some time there enjoying the lazy river and the waterslide. It is very nice to be able to swim a little and the water is like warm bathwater..

In an adjacent room there is a series of pools and huge jacuzzies. One thing I really enjoyed is the special jacuzzi with a row of individual seating areas. Seven streams of hot water and bubbles massage your feet and back. Very relaxing.

After that I went back down to the fourth floor where the men's bath was. Japanese communial baths are taken nude so with some trepidation I stripped down and headed for the showers

After a thorough shower I entered the actual bath area and it was gorgeous. It looked like I had entered Ceasars palace in Las Vegas. There were a number of different rooms with different themes but most were based upon the Roman theme. The first room had a hot pool that looked like it could have been a Roman fountain. An outdoor hot pool looked like a Roman courtyard and the cold pool was designed to look like a cave grotto.

With all the naked men walking around I had the thought that this place would be a gay San Francisco bathhouse patron's dream. Of course being a Japanese bath house there was nothing but bathing and soaking going on. After wandering around for a while enjoying the splendors of the baths I was getting very wrinkley and proceeded to the relaxation room.

This is a huge room full of recliner sofas and a bank of TV's. Each recliner comes with a blanket and individual speakers built into the headrests. There must have been over 100 recliners in that room, most of them occupied by sleeping men. Well I took the opportunity to take a little nap until my three hours were up.


Toyohiko Kagawa, Renewer of Society
Len H. ponders loving our enemies on a grand scale.

"What If?"

What if instead of bombing Iraq the US suddenly offered a billion dollars in humanitarian aid?

What if instead of sending in the military they sent in doctors, nurses, teachers, geophysicists and agricultural experts?

What if the way of love was seriously tried?

"But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you.

"Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return.

"Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don't be concerned that they might not repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.