I know that a hawk will just say that the hospital was bombed because Saddam was making WMD's in there, but man, these are real people who are really there seeing things first hand, not "embedded journalists". Who has a bigger motive to be telling lies?? This war is about justice and freedom and the primary concern is for the civilians? If you believe that... well, you must really love your country.

...they were able to open the doors on the top side of the vehicle and eventually were able to pull everyone out. Everyone was bruised, badly shaken, but all were conscious though it was clear that Weldon was badly injured, and Cliff was bleeding badly from a large gash in his head. The car was totaled, and the other two cars in the convoy were well out of sight down the road toward the Jordanian border and no one in the delegation had a satellite phone. Because of to the intensive US/British bombing, with very good reason, there were very few vehicles on the road between Baghdad and the Jordanian.

The group was just beginning to panic, when an Iraqi civilian car approached, pulled over and asked if he could help. Without a second thought, the driver packed the 5 additional passengers into his car and drove to the closest Iraqi town, Rutba, about 6 km from the site of the accident. Rutba is a city of about 20,000 people located 140 km east of the Jordanian Border. The group was astounded to see that this civilian town, with no apparent military structures had been devastated by US/British bombing three days earlier.

Much of the town was destroyed including the children's hospital in which two children were killed in the bombing. The group was taken to the only remaining functioning medical facility in town, a 20-foot X 20-foot four-bed clinic. The people of the town quickly gathered to inspect their uninvited foreign guests.

The group hastily offered everyone a copy the CPT hand-out, a description of the Christian Peacemakers Team's mission and work in Iraq, with English on one side of the page and Arabic on the other. Introduction in hand, the people of Rutba warmly welcomed the wounded stranded American refugees, just three days after their town had been destroyed by American/British Aircraft.

The next morning, Shane asked, "How do you think Americans would respond to Iraqi civilians accidentally stranded in their community three days after Iraqi aircraft had destroyed their town?"

When the doctor arrived, the group was in for an even bigger surprise. In this town of 20,000 in the middle of the Iraqi desert, the doctor who would treat them spoke perfect English, and without delay, he started his examinations.

Everyone in the vehicle was badly bruised, but Weldon Nisly had a broken thumb, several broken ribs and other possible fractures, while Ciff Kindy had a very bad gash in his head. The doctor was professionally embarrassed. Because of the embargo, and the Allied attack on their primary hospital three days earlier, many medications were unavailable. Some painkillers were on hand, but Cliff Kindy would have to get the 10 stitches he needed to close the gash in his head without anesthesia.

Under normal circumstances, the doctor explained, they would gladly have offered to take the wounded of group by ambulance to Jordan. But, he could not make that offer in the current situation. As was obvious from the bombed out ambulance not far down the road, it appears that even ambulances are at times considered legitimate targets of American/British bombing.

By the time everyone in the group had been treated, about two hours after they had arrived, the two other cars in the convoy had returned and found them. The group warmly thanked the people of Rutba for their hospitality, and tried unsuccessfully to pay the clinic and doctor for their services. "We treat everyone in our clinic: Muslim, Christian, Iraqi or American. We all are part of the same family you know," the doctor said.
Jordon points to this guy who drips with satire. Like it.
As you can tell from all the pictures, I had a great weekend. This weekend was the first of the Sakura time, when the cherry trees burst into full blossom. It is a very cool time to be in Japan, because it almost seems like Christmas. People wait in anticipation for the arrival of the cherry blossoms to signal the coming of spring, and then they set up lanterns around the castles and drink and barbecue meat and generally party together. And we get to be a part of it.

Life is really good right now.
A beautiful Saturday in the park in Nagoya


Music news:

A while back my CD got picked up by an American distributor. They just emailed today and said that the CD will be available nationally through Christian music outlets. If any of you are interested in a new CD, drop by your local Christian bookstore and order Think Again. Tell them to get it through www.grassrootsmusic.com. That would give me a boost. Tell your friends. Thanks!

Update: Canadians can still get it through www.vineyardmusic.ca


This is Bob Sapp. Warren's brother. He played for a while in the NFL and now he is K-1 fighting in Japan. He is something like 6'7'' and 380lbs, and he is all the rage in Japan right now. His fights are morbidly attrractive, like watching an execution. You should see what he does to his (much smaller) opponents. It makes boxing look kinda sissy.

In Japan these are called, "mansions" though I think apartment hell might be a more appropriate term.

They are still very rare, but here in the heart of Nagoya, you too can find the most massive SUV's on the market. Never know when that urban jungle is going to require a few hundred extra horsepower.

Give them a break - their name is Peace International, not Ecological Harmony International.

And peace is somehow connected to high fuel consumption, isn't it?

Good to see Canada's official sport catching on in Japan.
And the stadium food is a little different too...

The Nagoya Dome, home of the Chunichi Dragons (as baseball teams are named after companies, not cities - though interestingly enough, the dome is named after the city). And how about that for stadium washrooms? Beats the troughs at Winnipeg, er, Canad-Inn Stadium, eh?

Lady walking dogs in river park.
Ok, I'm back. First a vending machine. I only took the picture because they are making coke bottles completely out of aluminum now. Do we have that at home yet?? And peanut butter m and m's, which I love. Never saw those at home either.

I am going on a long bike ride today and I plan to come back with a lot of pictures...

Best new find...

Thanks, Steve.





A northern Iraqi rural FAMILY makes around $80 a month. The white house has estimated that the bill for this war will be around $75 Billion (cnn). If you take $75 000 000 000. Billion and divide it by the Iraqi Population of 24,001,816 it would come out to $3124.76 per person. I assure you that if we sent representatives of our country around and gave our $3125. to every PERSON (not family, every PERSON, meaning a family of five would receive $15,625.) the need for bombs and bullets falling on Baghdad would not exist.

From deathkills via dan.
Call me a cynic, but it looks like they are already getting anxious about dividing up the spoils. And this from the mainstream press!

Worried it could be shut out of business deals in postwar Iraq, France is drawing up plans to win French companies access to lucrative oil and reconstruction contracts, officials said Tuesday.

The government is determined that French companies will be part of rebuilding Iraq, despite President Jacques Chirac's vigorous opposition to the war, a Finance Ministry official said...

The Bush administration awarded a $4.8 million contract Monday to a Seattle-based company to rebuild Iraq's only deep-water port. Washington is expected to announce similar deals soon...

No, no John, don't be so cynical. This is really all about freedom and justice...


Chris Smith has good stuff to say. Nothing in particular, just generally like it.
Jordon posts something from Tony Campolo.

Nothing would destroy the authority of Saddam Hussein more than if we Christians provided a massive relief program of food and medicine to the people of Iraq. And if we are going to pave the way for missionary enterprise, we have got to do that. We've got to do that. I don't know who's going to do it; but somebody's got to organize the Christian community, and say we're going to load up freighters with food and medicine -- and we're going to send them to Iraq, and we dare the US Navy to stop us


Arguably the greatest meal in the history of humankind.

Yes! Finally, a movie theatre just like Silver City at home. But this one costs 20 bucks a pop.

On the side of a van parked next to me.

Let me play with your new toys. You can't enjoy them on as many levels as I can....
Lisa Martens, of Christian Peacemaker Teams, is sitting in a hotel in Baghdad and frequently calling home. You can keep up with what is going on with them here.

I truly admire what these people are up to threre. Their very presence in the city serves to weaken the "us vs. them" mindset that is so necessary for hating your enemies. Christ be with them as they testify to the possibility of there being another way.


What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could "support democracy in Iraq" become to mean "bomb the hell out of Iraq"? why did it end up that democracy won't happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.

from Salam in Iraq
War is Sell

By this time next week, there will almost certainly be war in the Middle East.

The American government has justified this terrifying step with several pieces of evidence presented to a doubting world.

During the last Gulf War, the most spectacular example of Iraqi brutality � soldiers disconnecting baby�s incubators in Kuwait � turned out to be a colossal fabrication [see: San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center: Baby Killing Lies and the 1991 Gulf War].

Has it happened again? This week, Disclosure�s Gillian Findlay reports on how this war was sold � and asks how much was fact and how much was fiction.

From my buddy Brian.


"So yes, if you count crimes, it's an ugly record, but it's only the enemy's crimes that count. They're the ones we deplore and agonise about, and so on. Our own, which may be monstrously worse, they just don't enter into our field of vision. You don't study them, you don't read about them, you don't think about them, nobody writes about them...."

Thus, during the endless debate on Iraq over the last year there has been almost no media discussion on the suffering inflicted by the West. The idea that Western sanctions have killed a million people somehow does not register - it simply can't be true. It has to be the product of overheated 'loony left' imaginations, rather than the reason why UN diplomats who ran the sanctions programme resigned in protest. Their words don't count either - they can't matter because their view of the West can't be allowed to matter.

Noam Chomsky once again points us to the fact that, as we are the ones on top, we are not interested in truth.


This game is the Pong of the 21st century.

From the websurfing brilliance of sparky at snarky malarkey.
Rachael Corrie was the American girl who was run over by the Israeli tank yesterday. Here are some emails she sent to her parents in the weeks before she was killed.

I really can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be.

Found in a comment at AKMA's site.


Here's the juice on Dan: he uses big words. But if I am correctly interpreting what I think he is saying, I like it a lot. More juice: he requires a lot of reading.

It may be difficult for me to wrap up my point. I am tired of the faddish approaches to spiritual life and identity. Just be yourself. Check out the traditions that surround you. Consider the things that have had part in making you. Create something beautiful in the midst of it all. Haphazardly advocating or vociferously reacting against the strands of credulity that make up the web of existence you would not exist without is to engage in a certain ideological violence that is more destructive than creative.

A couple more of Simon's bestest buddies...

Simon and his best buddies, who are the sons of some of our best buddies. The Hioki's. Ironically, I only recently realized that Hioki is their last name, rather than Tatsuya, which is the father's first name. Amazing how dumb a language barrier can make you look sometimes.


Hauerwas story from the Gutless Pacifist:

Stanley Hauerwas used to say that he wanted to be sure that his children suffered for his convictions as a Christian - so when President Richard Nixon began (pre-emptive?) bombing in Vietnam -- he told his son over breakfast that everytime he hears the name Richard Nixon at school today (he was in grade school) he wanted him to say real loud, "You mean the murderer?" Hauerwas practiced it with him a number of times over breakfast before sending him to school.


More from Andrews:

As we move towards the centre, Christ, we can move beyond the scriptures, creeds, rights, rituals, ceremonies, and even religions that divide us. 'One, greater than the Bible, is here,' Jones says:

"We love the Bible, honour it, assimilate it, for it leads us to his feet. But the Bible is not the revelation of God. It is the inspired record of the revelation. The revelation we have seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 'You searched the scriptures, imagining you possess the eternal life in their pages - and they do testify to me - but you refuse to come to me for life' (John 5:39 - 40). Eternal life is not in the pages; it is in Christ who is uncovered through the pages."

'One, greater than the creeds, is here,' Jones says:

"The creeds attempt to fix in statements what we see in Christ. We are grateful for these attempts - grateful but not satified. A fixed creed becomes a false creed. Christ is ever beyond us calling us to new meanings. Hence our creeds must be eternally open to revision - revision towards larger, fuller meanings."

One greater than our rights, rituals, and ceremonies, is here, says Jones: 'no right, ritual, or ceremony of any kind is essential for salvation. We are saved by Christ.'


Another big point that Andrews gets into, which I think is pivotal to changing the way we view our mission as followers of Christ, is the view of salvation as a "bounded" versus a "centered set". Bounded set is the one where we all know the rules plain and clear and the prayer you have to pray to get "in". In that view, we come to believe that the "rules" are so clear that we can pretty much look around us and judge who is in and out just as well as God can. From there we can really go get our condemnation on. The centred set is not quite so clear about the rules, and leaves the judgement up to God:

Peterson assumes that the only way to have a boundary between 'not being saved' and 'being saved' is by having a set boundary. Thus salvation can only be understood in terms of a Bounded Set. However, though there are no set boundaries in the Centred Set, there are still boundaries. And one crosses the boundary, from 'not being saved' to 'being saved', by choosing to follow in the footsteps of 'the Saviour'. In the Bounded Set, the boundary is in the same place for everyone, no matter where they are coming from. However, in th Centred Set the boundary is moving all the time to accomodate anyone who makes a move toward the centre, whether they cross a set boundary or not. The gospels show that 'being saved' depends on choosing to 'follow in the footsteps of the Saviour', but that may mean 'different paths for different people', depending on where they are coming from.

Christ called everyone to follow in his footsteps. But he expected one person to leave home (Mt. 8:22), while he expected another person to go home (Mk 5:19). His expectations of them were exactly the opposite of each other, based on their personal circumstances at that particular time and place.

Christ challenged everyone to give generously to the poor. But while he expected one person to sell all that he had to give to the poor (Mk 10:21), he expected another person to sell only half of what he had to give to the poor (Lk 19:8-10). His expectations were not 'set' standards, but variations on a common theme.

This all sounds a lot like C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.
I just finished a great book. Christi-anarchy, by Dave Andrews. It's the kind of book that makes me realize that most of the stuff I wanted to say has already been said, just with a great deal more clarity and depth of thought. If I could post the whole book up, I would, but seeing as that would take too long, I will just quote as much as I can while trying to avoid violation of copyright laws (I can quote 10% or something can't I??). Just buy the book.

He starts out without a historical snapshot of the incredible evil that has been perpetuated in the name of Christ. He revisits the idea that in the evolution of the Church from Christ to Constantine, already the church as an institution has become contrary to the teachings of Christ:

According to A.N. Wilson, the Nicene Creed, to which all Christians now subscribed on pain of banishment, notably 'contained not one jot of the ethical teachings that Jesus had once preached.' Not for the Emperor was a Jesus who called upon his followers to 'love your enemies... love them, not hate them... bless them, not curse them... turn the other cheek... take up your cross and follow me'; but the 'unthinkable, impossible, perfectly ridiculous ' imperial Christ 'riding a fiery white stallion... and shouting - "Heigh! Ho! Forward charge!"'

From that time onwards no one Christian territory has been safe from Christian tyranny imposed in the name of an imperial Christ. Jaques Ellul laments the fact that 'freedom finds little place in church history'... He says - as we have witnessed for ourselves - that 'whenever the church has been in a position of power, it has regarded freedom as the enemy'.

I have found myself increasingly coming to believe that when Christ says things like "those who Love me will obey my teaching" and "many will say Lord, Lord, but I will say 'I never knew you'", it means that what we look back on and call the Church may be completely different from what Christ sees as his Church throughout history. I have come across various groups in history who were very deliberate about living out the teachings of Christ, and most often they were labelled heretics by the "Christians" in power, as their lifestyles subverted the rulers' power. Andrews touches upon some of these groups and deals well with the power-laden use of the word "heretic".


Live from Norway House, Manitoba, Derek's English class is blogging. Take a look inside the mind of a northern Manitoba teenager...
Leila's "dialogue" pretty much captures the essence of the debate...

Booze and a meal.

Who can ask for anything more??