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I spent part of mid-day at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City. On my way there the roads began to get icy in the city. I saw one wreck (a pickup pulling a trailer jacknifed on an overpass) and fish-tailed a bit myself. (I was driving the smaller church van, a 1989 Ford Aerostar that looks like it has driven every one of its many miles.)

Leaving the hospital about 1:30, the drive out of the city was bad. Every overpass had at least one wreck; occasionally fellow drivers would fishtail or even slide sideways. It took me about an hour to get out of town. (I followed a plan of bypassing overpasses by using service roads.) Then, we had icy conditions for the next 30 miles; I had to stop once to bang the ice off the windshield wipers so that they would function properly. The last 30 miles were OK. Glad was I to get home.

The majority of vehicles that wrecked seemed to be 4WD pickups. We do, of course, has a lot of pickups on the roads (maybe not quite as high a percentage as Texas). But four-wheel-drive pickups seemed over-represented in the wrecks. I think I know why. (cont. below)

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Category: From the Heart
Posted by: an okie gardener
My pastoral work this week has me thinking about life and death and modern medicine: when to fight death and when to accept it.

Here is my view, for what its worth.

If I were diagnosed with cancer, and told I needed extensive chemo and radiation, I would ask the following questions: what are the odds that the treatments would bring me to a state of being cancer free? if I take the treatments, how much longer would I live than if I refused treatment? if I take the treatments, what would the extra time be like?

If I were told that the treatments would give me a better than even chance of becoming cancer free, then I would accept treatment. If I were told that the odds were good that treatment would add years to my life, years that could be productive, then I would accept treatment. On the other hand, if I were told that there was almost no way treatment could make me cancer free, that treatment probably would add minimal time to my life, and that this time would not be productive, I would refuse treatment. These decisions I would make as a Christian.

(my reasoning below)

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19/01: Ali turns 65

Category: From the Heart
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Happy Birthday, Champ.


May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young.

~~Bob Dylan

From the 110th Congress:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives honors Muhammad Ali, global humanitarian, on the occasion of his 65th birthday and extends best wishes to him and his family (read all here).
Category: From the Heart
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I remain optimistic.

Irrespective of all the posts I have written, and will write in the future, chastising the President, moaning the blues and screaming in pain, I am committed to following the President on this latest wrinkle.

I think he is merely buying more time toward his basic operating theory that good things happen if you come to work everyday. Good guys win in the end. Succeeding is trying just one more time than you fail. Never give in! Never give in! Never ever give in!

I remain optimistic because I am infected with the same contagion as the President: Evangelical Americanism. We are a people of hope. We are a people operating under the delusion that all things work toward good for those who love God. We are a people convinced that freedom is not just right--but our birthright.

None of the above statements are logical. Smart people the world over can explain why only a complete ignoramus would believe these things. No matter, I continue to believe in the goodness and necessity of our mission in Iraq. I continue to believe there is a recipe for success out there, and it is our challenge to discern it.
From my office window tonight I see very few vehicles on the highway (US 62 & 281). Here in southwest Oklahoma we are coated in ice and expecting more. Plans have had to change. The local TV station crawls cancellation after cancellation for tonight and tomorrow across the bottom of the screen, including our church. We have bowed to the necessity of bad weather.

"Bad weather" is relative. The congregation I served in NW Iowa would not have thought of cancelling for these conditions, at least the morning service. But, we had a few evening cancellations there also. Sometimes you just have to change your plans.

Winter reminds us that we do not have total control. The world and life are bigger than us, and our desires and plans may be thwarted. Robert Burns said it best, (cont. below)

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Category: From the Heart
Posted by: an okie gardener
We spent the day New Year's Eve with family near Des Moines. The year ended in central Iowa on a gray day with rain, falling termperatures, and finally snow. Driving away from the church hall, through the grey hills with blowing snow darkening the already dim light of late afternoon, we were in Winter.

Garrison Keillor, in one of his monologues, said that winter in Minnesota reminded us of our place in the universe--prey. I'm sure Garrison has read Jack London, the writer who can make you feel the searing cold of a Yukon night as temperatures plunge to 70 below. Life is always under threat in a Jack London story: Unable to kindle a fire, hands stiffening with cold, hope that if I can kill my dog and put my hands into his warm body I yet may live, but my dog will not come close to me, eventually leaving my stiffening body. Winter is death. Death always pursuing life: wolves howling about the dog sled hurrying across the frozen waste, with too few bullets for the gun. Death is what happens to humans in the Wild, death is what ends life; death freezes our foolish attempts to find meaning in the snowy vastness. This is London's message. (cont. below)

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