The house that I stayed at with my friends is located on Kealakekua Bay on the west side of Hawaii, the big island. That bay, which is the location of the Captain Cook monument, was hit by the tsunami from the March 11, 2011, Japanese earthquake. The pictures I saw online showed houses that had fronted on the ocean like mine, buckled in half and one was completely torn from its foundation and pulled into the bay where it floated before sinking.
My friend, Tim from Honolulu, took his sailboat out of the marina once he heard the tsunami was coming, and went out into the ocean where he stayed all night and part of the next day. He and his boat made it, and his current marina weathered the tsunami, but the marina where had had kept his boat last year was almost completely wrecked.
I worried about what had happened to our beautiful vacation home for about five days, and finally sent an email to the vacation rental company inquiring. I heard back from the daughter of the owners of the property, who live in California:
Thank you for your thoughts. The house was untouched- a miracle- but there were homes near Kealakekua bay that were swept into the bay. There is a big cleanup effort to help the marine life there. Thank you for your prayers. If you could write a brief comment on VRBO about your stay at the house, that would be great. Please ask Tim as well.
Dad had a heart attack and is at home recovering and Mom just fell a fractured her wrist. We never rented the house out until last year. We are trying so hard to keep it rented to great people like you to relieve the costs (i.e. like the tsunami insurance.)
That was a relief. Maybe I can return next year. One of my best vacations ever.
Proposed Change to the Presbyterian Book of Order to permit ordination of gays and lesbians
The Seattle Presbytery met and voted on the proposed change to the Book of Order which would permit the ordination of gays and lesbians on March 15, 2011. I was one of three voting delegates sent by my church. The meeting was at Steel Lake Presbyterian Church in Federal Way, so the three of us car pooled after work to make it to the meeting.
I would like to report that the change passed in our Presbytery, but I cannot. There were two hours of impassioned discussion by elders both pro and con. The majority speaking against the proposition were male, and many were about my age. Although I wanted to speak, I felt constrained by my lack of voice and instead, uncharacteristically. sat mute. However, while sitting there I reviewed the New Revised bible tucked in the pocket of pew ahead of me. As a speaker railed about how he was constrained by the word of God as revealed in the Bible to vote against the measure, I found this passage in the New Testament, in the sixth chapter of Luke and wondered how the Presbyterian church had been able to wriggle out of the plain wording of this direct quote from Jesus:
18 ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.I wanted to ask all the literalists, how many of them were divorced.
And then again, I wondered how they reconciled their positions with this statement from Second Peter:
18 Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. 19For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
It is not so long ago that women were finally able to be ordained as ministers in the Presbyterian church. Perhaps that is why many of those speaking in favor of the change to the Book of Order were women. The final vote was 124 to 106 or something like that.
However, nationally, the measure appears to be headed for approval. If so, I expect that the Presbyterian Church will split again, probably along the lines that they split over slavery during the Civil War. Although the largest Presbyterian church in my Presbytery, University Presbyterian, seems headed that way, if their ministers have anything to say about it. What continues to perplex me is how many of the members of that church seem not to have been informed of this by their leadership.
Luke, chapter 5:
37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’