20 January 2014

A Forgotten President

Harry S. Truman served as President of the United States from 1945 to 1952. He was Vice President when Franklin Roosevelt died and assumed the responsibilities in April of that year.
       I am studying Truman as a historical mentor this year. I have read all of this State of the Union addresses and have done a biographical sketch on him.
       This week I will read David McCollough's biography of him (this is the seminal work on Truman's life).
       I have three first impressions of President Truman:
* First, he was an "in between" leader who was pivotal to the U.S. in a time of great transition to prosperity;
* Second, his contributions are often overlooked by the larger-than-life presidents of the 20th Century, namely FDR, Kennedy, (infamously) Nixon, and Reagan. I have a hunch that Truman would have wanted this way;
* Third, he lived for another 20 years after his presidency (1952 to 1973) and finished well in marriage, family, and being a citizen but not meddling in the affairs of state.
       I am looking forward to this year-long study of Truman.

17 January 2014

Heschel on Sabbath

Sabbath Shalom!
"When all work is brought to a standstill, the candles are lit. Just as creation begins with the word, 'Let there be light!' so does the celebration of creation begin with the kindling of lights. It is the woman who ushers in the joy and sets up the most exquisite symbol, light, to dominate the atmosphere of the home. And the world becomes a place of rest." - Abraham Heschel, "The Sabbath"

02 January 2014

Humbled by the Forgiveness of a Dad

I come from a sub-culture that largely does not know how to forgive. We Jews have struggled constantly to forgive Nazis who killed 6 million of our people. My father's family is part of that genocide - it's personal to me.
       The problem with the Jewish worldview about forgiveness is that it imprisons the person who needs to forgive. Unforgivenness does not punish the perpetrator; it punishes the victim.
       And this is why it was so moving for me to hear of Claire Davis' father forgiving Karl Pierson, the young man at Arapahoe High School who shot and killed Claire.
       I do not know about Mr. Davis' belief in God or faith in Jesus, but I would imagine his faith is deep and rich. 1 John says that we love because he first loved us. The same is true of this kind of forgiveness - we forgive only to the extent that we have experienced God's forgiveness of our own sin and brokenness.
       It is humbling and hopeful to see this couple forgive their daughter's killer. May this family know shalom this day.