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Showing posts from November, 2011

Further Thoughts on Matthew, chapter 1

Overview & Structure of the First Chapter of Matthew:
An eight word introduction to Matthew's Gospel (Mt. 1:1)a genealogical/theological recounting of God's mercy, justice and faithfulness (Mt. 1:2-16)A summary of God's sovereign act in human history (Mt. 1:17)The birth narrative of Jesus the Messiah (Mt. 1:18-25)An Eight Word Introduction:

Tuesday, November 8th

As we begin winding down our time here in Tucson, we are also finishing our experience at Borderlinks today - the organization that has directed our last four days and who has sought to provide us with a better sense of the issues here locally and along the border. They have asked us to fill out an evaluation. Here are my responses to the evaluation:
1. What are three new things you have learned?
I learned a great deal more about the legal process and the judicial system, and I also learned a great deal about the mission and function of the Border Patrol. I also learned to see these issues from a much more personal perspective, and I really appreciate hearing from individuals trying to do their best in a lot of different fields.
2. What do you plan to do with the information you've gained and the experiences you've had?
I plan to invest more time and energy into farming our land & to reduce our reliance on the food/commerce industry. I also hope to share about my experie…

At the Border - Saturday, November 5

It is past 10 o'clock pm Mountain West time, and it has been a long day. I miss home incredibly right now, and I'm also trying to process what was a tough day emotionally.
We traveled to Nogales, Arizona this afternoon, one of a few significant American cities on the border here in this state. Well, I say American cities, but Nogales - like other border cities - feels very much beyond anything that any of us would characterize as American. The city skyline is littered with the glowing signs of Burger King and McDonalds, but even those places are culturally adapted to mirror the predominantly Latino community. I have lived near places like this before, including the near northside of Pasadena, but Nogales is in many ways a Mexican city on the United States side of the border.
Secondly, Nogales, Arizona is unimaginable to us because it is clearly a place under constant surveillance and watch. Even before entering Nogales, we passed by several security cameras up on a bluff …

Friday, November 4th

We are leaving the Catholic retreat center this morning, and for the next several days we will be staying at the facility for Borderlinks, an organization begun in part by a Presbyterian minister. I am sad to leave this retreat center. It has been a time of healing and renewal in this place, particularly as a result of some extended time for prayer and worship each afternoon.Today promises to be eye-opening. After lunch, we are planning to visit the Federal Court here in Tucson to experience first-hand a new initiative called Operation Streamline. This program was initiated in order to deal with the significant number of individuals seeking to cross the border into the US, combined with the United States recent push to deter illegal immigration into the US. As I understand it, the first seventy individuals who are caught by the Border Patrol trying to cross illegally are gathered together, processed and tried in Federal Court.A lot of people have told me to expect seeing a large …

Carl with Humane Borders

Humane Borders Water Truck

Thursday, November 3rd

This morning we left early to meet up with a volunteer with Humane Borders, a non-profit, humanitarian aid organization that seeks to provide relief to individuals in the desert regardless of their ethnicity or purpose for being there. Humane Borders has been operating in this area of Arizona for approximately 10 years and currently operates about 100 different watering stations throughout the region, although many of those watering stations are not used nearly as much during this winter season in the desert.
The goal was to follow Carl, a volunteer, in our two vans as he navigated his truck into a sparse and unpopulated part of the desert.
We are parked along the side of a two-lane road in the midst of a desert about ten miles north of the United States/Mexico border. Carl, who works with Humane Borders and who earlier took us out into the desert to see a watering station has stopped to provide a gentleman with water. We do not know whether or not the gentleman is crossing illega…

Wednesday, November 2nd

Last night, we had our first discussion on what is really going on here in Tucson. A Catholic priest and social worker in the area, Father Ricardo Elford, came to share his experience of living in this area for the past forty years and about his work in the thick of the immigration issues here in Tucson and down on the border in a city called Nogales.

It's hard to convey everything he shared, but his impression is that things are radically different, that the climate here has turned dramatically worse - especially in the last twenty-five years. He can remember a time as recent as the mid 80's when the border zone between the United States and Mexico was a much more fluid thing, more of a shared space than a definite line between two countries. He described the current conditions along the border as a type of war zone, and he referred to an article in the New York Times yesterday that reported a significant drug bust that involved a number of illicit routes up through this …

Pastor Wes in Tucson

Monday, October 31st

20 Hoosiers (seventeen pastors, two leaders of the Wabash program and one of the leader's spouse) have arrived at the Redemptorist Center outside of Tucson. It is currently 7:10 pm Tucson time, 10:10 pm Indiana time. Have a headache and feel ready for sleep. We still have a brief meeting to help prep us for tomorrow ... everyone was hoping to be released to our room for rest.

Arrived in time to see the sunset. It was beautiful. Climate reminds me a lot of Southern California. Seems like a very American city in the desert southwest.

Hoping that tomorrow provides time for rest.

Tuesday, November 1st - All Saint's Day (Day of the Dead)

Naturally, I awoke well before dawn this morning, my internal clock still set on Eastern time. The good news is that I got a wonderful view of the rising sun this morning, coming up over a small strip of mountains to the east of Tucson. Well before the sun came up, though, the city was already coming to life.

We are stayin…