Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Giving thanks for friends

Last week Lynn Reha from Plow Creek had to spend four days in the Chicago area for her work. She stayed with friends in the Clearing, a Reba Place Fellowship household.

Lynn's colleagues were amazed that she could stay with friends while on her business trip.

Lack of friends is a side effect of the mad American rush to succeed. Even though I've lived in a commune since 1977 I too get caught up in the rush. Yesterday I wrapped up a capital campaign feasibility study for a local nonprofit that I squeezed in this fall between being on the leadership team for our church and our communal group at Plow Creek and also serving as the one person staff for Evergreen Leaders.

This morning I've been enjoying slowing down. My first meeting is at 10:00.

Reba Place Fellowship, a communal group founded in the 1950's, sent out three couples to found Plow Creek in 1971. This week ''Christian Century'' has an article on "The New Monastics: Alternative Chistian Communities." Reba is featured in the article.

David Janzen is quoted in the article. He and his wife Joanne often come to Plow Creek for retreats. They'll be joining a bunch of us at Plow Creek for a Thanksgiving dinner at Plow Creek's Alpha House where Mark and Louise Stahnke live.

I am thankful for time to slow down, admire, and give thanks for friends.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tagworld friends

I love to explore. When I go on spiritual retreats in the Chicago area, I read my Bible, write in my journal, and wander through parks, galleries, and alleys.

There's something renewing about exploring. Sometimes I do the same with the Web, I simply wander through alleys and pages and blogs.

This morning I wandered through e-mails and found a glowing review of Tagworld. I read the review, clicked on a link and registered, creating my own page on Tagworld.

I had vaguely heard of tagging. According to Wikepedia, "Tags are pieces of information separate from, but related to, an object. In the practice of collaborative categorization using freely chosen keywords, tags are descriptors that individuals assign to objects."

So I guess I am doing my bit to collaborate on categorizing the web.

After I registered, my Tagworld page appeared and it in the upper left hand corner it said:

Hi, RichFoss
You have 0 friends.
TagWorld Population: 74,163 people.

I had to laugh. Zero friends. A little presumptuous of Tagworld to decide I suddenly had zero friends.

But, it turns out that the people who created Tagworld are nice people. Soon it said:

Hi, RichFoss
You have 1 friend.

I clicked on the link to see who my one friend is. Turns out it's Ryan, a member of the Tagworld team. Hi, Ryan.

You can upload photos to Tagworld, use it as your blog site, and e-mail from it.

I haven't figure out how you become my friend on Tagworld but I am glad to have you as a real world friend and if you figure how to become my Tagworld friend I'll be glad about that too.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

News that's not in the news

Last night Sarah and I arrived in St. Louis to visit our daughter, Heidi, and our son-in-law, Woju. Shortly after we arrived Woju began listening on the web to an Ethiopian radio station in Washington, DC.

Soon I heard the voice of a woman speaking Amharic, a language I don't understand, but I could tell she was in great distress.

The radio station called her in Ethiopia, Woju explained, and she is crying out because her son was killed by government soldiers.

In June Ethiopia held parlimentary elections. When the elections appeared to endanger Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's hold on power he ordered international election observers out of Ethiopia.

Even without the international observers and with suspected fraud, the opposition won forty percent of the seats in parliament. When people ammassed to protest the voter fraud in June, 36 people were killed.

This week the opposition announced peaceful protests. A Reuters story today indicates that 46 people were killed this week.

Woju says that police shot on a group of unarmed demonstrators killing men, women, and children. Once the demonstrators fled the government would not allow family members to return to claim the dead. The goverment removed the bodies to prevent an accurate count of the dead but Woju has heard that as many as 1000 were killed.

Ethiopia was ruled by Marxists for nearly two decades until 1991 when the Marxist regime was overthrown by a group of guerillas led by Meles Zenawi.

The Marxists had overthrown 82 year-old Emperor Haile Selassie on September 12, 1974.

When Sarah's father, a Baptist missionary, was killed in Ethiopia in 1951 the Princess met with Sarah's mother as she grieved her husband's death. Sarah's Dad is buried in Addis Abba so we have deep ties to the country.

This week 25 leaders of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD)were arrested this week. Woju has been reading online witness reports of people suspected of being part of the opposition being loaded on buses and taken to unknown location.

Woju's brother is in a college surrounded by troops. No one is allowed to go out of doors.

Wars and rumors of wars.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I dare to believe the world needs me

Gazing out my west-facing window I see the early morning sun highlighting the fall leaves in their dying splendor.

My days are full of bringing life to my family, Plow Creek, and Evergreen Leaders and yet there is a time to die.

A few minutes ago, reading posts on an Open Space List Serve, I came across Tree Fitzpatrick who concluded a post with, "I have been feeling more and more like technology is leaving me behind. And, yet, I dare to believe the world needs me."

A few years ago at Plow Creek Elsie Mast did a Sunday morning childrens' story about plants in fall. She didn't focus on they dying leaves but on all the amazing ways that plants in the fall are spreading their seeds for the spring.

One plant drops seed-filled cockleburs that cling to animals who carry them far from the original plant. Another tree drops winged seeds that glides hundreds of feet. Thousands of plants and each has a strategy to spreads its seeds. While the leaves are dying and getting ready for winter, seeds are daring to believe that come spring the world is going to need them.

Today, with much to do, I dare to believe that the world needs me to spread these little words.