Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Ethics of a Syrian Military Intervention: The Experts Respond

Here is a thoughtful piece that discusses the moral and ethical aspects of a response by the U.S. military to intervention in Syria as a result of the use of chemical weapons by their government. It is written by a variety of different religious leaders.
Click here to read it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Holy Spirit must have chuckled last week.

One of the joys of this ministry-which-is-the-store is that you just can never tell who might enter the life of the store today or any day.
It started with a phone call. “Susan” (not her real name) is the producer for a TV reality show. She had a portion of an episode that needed to be filmed in a Christian bookstore. 

The episode included a “devout Christian” who was to be shopping for materials in a religious bookstore. First we needed to clarify that an individual who labels himself a “devout Christian” more than likely is aligned with the more conservative evangelical branch of Christianity and that our store most likely has little that would interest him. (The analogy of a store that sells fishing tackle and gear comes to mind. A store with fly fishing equipment caters to fishers who have different goals than a store that sells equipment to deep sea fishers. Both stores are concerned with fishing. Both kinds of fishers can be very devoted to their fishing, but the equipment that they use is different for each type of fishing. Although enjoying the cooked fish at a meal with friends could be very similar for the different fishers.)

In Seattle there are very few choices for bookstores that cater to Christians, whether conservative or liberal. During the first phone call Susan viewed a video tour of the inside of our store from the Google Maps website.

 From what she saw there she said that it would be “perfect.” A couple of phone calls later, when we agreed to continue to investigate the possibility of the filming of part of a TV episode in our store, Susan said that she would visit our store in person, that afternoon.

Within the next few hours we had vetted the production company, Susan had visited us, and she had vetted us. We signed the release form and scheduled the “only 30-minutes” visit by the cast of two and crew of four (two cameramen and two producers) within the following day or two.
They showed up the next day. It was three cast members (reality show “actors”), two cameramen, one man with the microphone, two producers, one “suit” (he wore a dress shirt and tie), and two guys who just hunkered down in a corner and apparently did nothing (maybe they were required for moving props, but there were no props). The visit to our store lasted not 30 minutes by an hour and three-quarters.

During their visit as they filmed we helped customers, answered the phones, and tried to carry on normal store activities. Yes, a few customers, but curiously not all of them, asked “What’s going on with them?”

We do not yet know when or on which TV network the episode will be aired. I trust that we will learn that later. We are curious to see just how much of the filming in our store is actually shown during the episode.

I think that through this little unexpected event that the Holy Spirit must have enjoyed a few chuckles.