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Month: September 2014

I am Jonah

Photo by Daniel Hochhalter

It’s been almost two decades since I left my home state of Montana and moved out to Portland, Oregon for seminary. When asked where I’m from, I still answer, “I am from Montana, but I live in Portland.” After eighteen years, I still don’t see myself as being from here. I still consider myself an outsider. I just don’t seem to fit in.

I think I’m too rural for the city; I feel claustrophobic here. My horizons are blocked by the neighbor’s fence behind me and the tall apartments in front of me. I always seem to be jostling against people and bumping into things. Even the parking spaces are smaller. It’s hard to ignore the chaos and clamor—the yelling, the car horns, the police sirens (one is screaming past right now). Whenever I get chance to return home to Big Sky country, my body decompresses. My breathing slows. My heart rate goes down. My natural movements become, well, more natural. read more

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Ice bucket justice

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August 2014 was a rough month.

Israel and Hamas exchanged missiles. The ebola death toll in Africa cracked four digits. ISIS slaughtered Iraqi Christians and started beheading journalists. Russia invaded Ukraine and claimed the video footage of their advancing tank columns came from a video game. A St. Louis suburb exploded in race riots, with some elected leaders promising more if the system doesn’t go their way.

And Americans responded by dumping ice water on their heads.14848289439_dfbc1f961f_z

It was difficult not to feel paralyzed by all of the insanity. Instead of dousing my head with ice water, I wanted to bury it in the sand like an ostrich. I was worried about all that was going on, and frustrated by my own smallness. What could I possibly do to affect even one of those headlines? read more

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