A brief post from Helsinki, where we have about forty minutes before boarding our flight to Moscow. Just enough time to express gratitude for all the friends and angels who have brought us this far. I won't list them all, but I can't help but mention the very last of them on the U.S. side (as far as we could see ourselves!)--Ken Haase and Margaret Benefiel, who saw us off in Boston yesterday. The four of us had an amazing meeting for worship together in a quiet corner of Logan Airport.
And there's enough time to add a few righteous links:
I may be in trouble with some Friends for saying this, but I agree with Stanley Fish's New York Times column on the victory of "intentionalism" in the U.S. Supreme Court's Washington, DC, gun ban decision. The comments after his column are also worth reading. To me, it's hard to avoid the awkward conclusion that the writers of the U.S. Constitution really did want ordinary citizens to be able to keep arms. They also expected those citizens to use their arms for purposes consistent with democratic citizenship. By this logic, sensible regulations to confine arms to legal purposes would be justified. I wish I could spin the evidence another way, but I also want simple "intentionalism" to continue to be available for other constitutional issues than just guns--for example, our First Amendment rights, and the clear constitutional guarantees of due process and against cruel and unusual punishment. Those are worth not having things my way all the time.
Today's wet blanket department: "Rethinking missions trips." I actually support missions trips, but not uncritically. I can name some facilities that visiting Friends have repaired or painted too many times, but also some that would never have been built or repaired without visitors' help. And I blush to think of how many Bible schools have been conducted by visitors among local people who knew the Bible better than their guests.
"Torture in Democratic Societies."
Thanks to David Finke for this reference: A conversation with Bill McKibben.
We enjoyed a brief visit to Richmond, Indiana, last month. Aside from Richmond's Quaker roots and communities, one of its claims to fame is its role in the history of recorded jazz and blues. The site of the old Starr Piano Company and Gennett Studios was an undeveloped eyesore when we lived there, but great things have happened in recent years.
Just enough time for some dessert, too: Jean-Rene presents "Trouble in Mind":
PS: My compliments to Finnair for having a blues channel on their inflight audio program.