Friday, September 17, 2021

Remembering the Shining Light of BISHOP JOHN K. YAMBASU 

 

Friends, welcome!   Des amis, bienvenue! 


Last week I blogged about letting our lights shine. Let me, this week, share memories of a tremendous shining light--the light of Bishop John K. Yambasu, shining in Africa and the greater world. His earthly life ended in an auto accident near Freetown, largest city in Sierra Leone, W. Africa recently.  Bishop Yambasu was en-route to northern Sierra Leone on church business. His light shines on.

I blog about him today in sadness. I’m sad that he’s gone from this earth. Sad that the cause of death was reckless driving on someone’s part. I wish I could write about "wreckless" driving instead of reckless driving.

A native of Sierra Leone, John Yambasu obtained grade school  and high school education in a mission schools as well his  university education at Njala University College, Sierra Leone.  He studied theology in the United States at Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1999.

 I had the great pleasure of meeting Yambasu in person--in Portland, Oregon, western U.S.A., in 2016. The bishop was in that city--my city--attending the worldwide General Conference of The United Methodist Church. My wife and I were at the conference as guests.  In a hallway during a break I was chatting with a friend--Bishop Mary Ann Swenson--in a hallway of the Convention Center. Bishop Swenson saw Bishop Yambasu approaching and eagerly invited him to join us so that she could introduce me to Bishop Yambasu. (Bishop Swenson knew me from our Tacoma days, where she was my family’s pastor in the 1960s. She knew that I had researched and travelled in Sierra Leone.)

 “Oh, John,” she said. “This is Dr. Darrell Reeck. He’s lived in Sierra Leone.”

 After Mary Ann's introduction, Bishop Yambasu put out his hand greeted me in a warm and friendly manner. Yes, actually, with the traditional Sierra Leone handshake-finger snap combination.  His broad grin made me feel at ease at once. I told him of my research in Taiama, a Sierra Leone town close to the bishop’s undergraduate college at Njala. We also conversed about Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone--two other cities we both knew well.

Shortly, he said something like “Farewell, Darrell. Visit me in Sierra Leone next time you’re there.” Then he was gone--off on his way to a committee meeting.

That very sweet, simple conversation with Yambasu brought him to my attention.  The conversation remains in indelible memory. Sadly, Yambasu is deceased, but he lives on in the memories of thousands of us--Africans and Americans and hundreds of from other nations. We all remember Bishop Yasmbasu’s  concerns for children, religious congregations, the nation of Sierra Leone and other nations of Africa. Bishop Yambasu was a role model for sure. His light lives on. May we all walk in his shining light.

I'm very grateful to be able to meet with you on-line and to shine a little light. Please share this blogsite with your friends and please return every week.  /signed: Darrell 


 

Resource for further reading: “John K. Yambasu,” an article in Wikipedia.com.

Friday, September 10, 2021

"LET IT SHINE": a hugely practical camping night light shows the way in social trecking too

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE

A Lantern Sheds Light to Us about the Way Ahead


        Months ago, my dear wife found and ordered a lantern from an on-line dealer. It was "a camping lantern," she said. You can find the lantern at Lee Valley.com.

        Since the order arrived, this little lamp has sat on a shelf in our bathroom.  Only recently have I begun to discover how useful the camping lantern can be at home. I've now come to use it at night to avoid waking my sleeping bed-mate. Example: I use the camping light when I write a to-do note to myself on a yellow sticky-pad at 4:00 a.m.  I use it in the closet to avoid turning on the overhead light, which casts light into the bedroom--enough light to be a nuisance to a person sleeping there. I'm discovering additional uses of the light every day or two.

    In the photo you see the lantern in its permanent home.



THIS LITTLE LIGHT 
A-shining in my home


Very light weight (about 1.25 lbs.), the lamp measures about 9 inches tall. It sheds light downward, illuminating a 360-degree circle on a surface below.  Convenient. Great design for use both while camping and while in the home.

For months, I just observed the lamp, admired its unique shape and design as if it were an ornament or something, but I did not actually use it. But three months ago did I discovered how useful it can be for night-time bathroom visits, other early morning activities of any sort while other family members are still sleeping and so forth.
        
This lamp calls to my mind a song I learned in my Church School class decades ago.  "This little light of mine--I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine 'til Jesus comes, this little light of mine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine." Honestly, as an "oldie,"  I love those words still--all these years later.  Actually, they're inscribed indelibly in my brain. 

Further, the little-lamp relationship to night-time darkness around the home prompts me to think of individuals and groups who mill about in the moral darkness of rumor and conspiracy theories. We in the U.S. live, according to some dismal reports, in a failed, broken state. Examples: the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. Another: the millions of citizens who blindly refuse to accept the COVID vaccination. We live, according to some, in a failed, broken society. I don't agree, but I do find that the camping light metaphor can help us find our way out of the current political and moral darkness.  

Furthermore, the childhood song teaches us to react this way:  "Lamp of mine.  Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine." Join me in applying these words to yourself in your family, your community, your society, your nation.  

It's time to switch on our sometimes-neglected Lanterns of religious and moral teaching and the light of scientific findings. Let them shine.  Let us carry the torch, let's illuminate the dark corners of our nations and cities and towns--in the U.S.A, in Africa, in Europe and around the entire world. Our lights sit on the shelf, waiting to be switched on. When we move the button from off to on, individuals and organizations of all sizes (school boards, businesses, governments, religious organizations) will find wide paths to higher quality, greater justice and equality, and to enduring strength. 

We can access the light.  Switch it on. Let it shine.  Can you find ways to join me in doing that? Please click the reply button and leave a message for me and others. Tell us about your lamp.

posted 9/10/2021
________________

Recommended background reading: go to "divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings" and click on "Conspiracy Theories and Human Psychology."


This Little Light of Mine Available at Lee Valley.com / Lanterna

Saturday, September 4, 2021

26 YEARS AFTER SURVIVING A MASSIVE CORONY THROMBOSIS, WHAT DOES ONE SAY?

26 years after surviving a massive thrombosis, what does one say? If you're in that position I'd surely like to read your thoughts. Hear are a few of mine. Where was I that fateful day, September 6, 1995--26 years ago? In Portland, OR., at work in the Progressive Securities building. Early in the day, I was working on budget matters in my 2nd floor office. Suddenly I felt very weak and faint. My Co-workers (Carsten and Rob), found me lying on the floor, in pain. Chest pain. They immediately telephoned for help. An ambulance arrived. The crew quickly maneuvered me onto a stretcher and carried me from the second floor down the staircase, carefully finagling a difficult U-turn, and loaded me into the ambulance. They toted me, siren wailing, to the emergency room of the nearby Oregon Health and Sciences University Hospital. I give heartfelt thanks thanks to the Progressive Securities staff and to the ambulance crew for their prompt life-saving action! Thank God I was neither out on a Mount Rainier trail nor driving from Tacoma to Portland that morning, but was at work just a mile from O.H.S.U. In the Emergency Room, the team quickly concluded that I was suffering a massive coronary thrombosis. They began treatment. My co-workers at Progressive had already telephoned Lucy, my wife (she was in our Tacoma home lazily enjoying her first day of retirement after her long teaching career). Lucy notified our two kids. Then she rushed to my bedside in Portland. Lucy and the kids--my great family--arrived later in the day. We had a reunion--both tearful and joyful. I stayed in the hospital room for several days. Looking back, I appreciate greatly the bedside visits from family, nurses, doctors, clergy friends and other friends. When I was finally released, my co-worker, Jim, drove Lucy and me to our home in Tacoma. t's amazing to me that, 26 years later, I'm feeling quite well. I enjoy taking 60-minute early morning neighborhood walks each day. I help my wife maintain our home in the Friendsview Retirement Community, Newberg, Oregon (I've already walked three miles and vacuumed the house this morning, just as I do every Saturday). I'm doing okay. Amazingly well in fact. I attribute my recovery and survival since that September 6, 1995, health emergency to an array of supporters. To skilled medical staff who've helped me over the years--those both in Tacoma and Portland. To developers of medical technology--especially I'm thinking of my pacemaker/defibrillator. I thank unknown teams of chemists who research heart medications, and to manufacturers and pharmacists who then distribute and sell such meds. I also thank my country, all the citizens of the United States of America, for our Medicare program that sustains and helps every heart patient meet the expenses that each of us faces. I thank the Great Force (i.e. "God" in English) that creates, conserves, and saves the universe, especially this amazing little chunk-in-space we humans who live, move, and have our being on earth. Dear reader-friend: I'd love to know your thoughts re. experiences like mine; click "comment" or just email me: dreeck@msn.com. And thanks for visiting the blog-site. You're welcome here every week.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

GLOBAL HEAT LEVEL SEEN RISING: should we be concerned? / what can we do?

Hi everyone. You're reading an article in a blog called "Growing Green". Fire and Smoke and Global Warming is the theme for this week's post. On August 14th, just a week ago, I posted about smoky skies in the Pacific Northwest, where I and many of my family members live. Earlier, in June, 2021, my family and I endured the Pacific Northwest HEAT CAP. During this week-long heat cap, temperatures vaulted 20 to 30 degrees above the normal summer temperature zone for days. The HEAT CAP stretched from southern British Columbia to California and west to east from Pacific shores into Montana--a huge portion of North America. Professional climatologists stated that the 2021 HEAT CAP could not have happened had it not been for global warming. Further, since the HEAT CAP four weeks ago, I've been living under a hazy-smoky sky (see photo below in the August 14 article.) "Global warming"? What does that mean? It's been defined as the rising of summer time temperatures in the northern hemisphere of the earth by 2 degrees or more. That number sounds pretty benign, doesn't it? But scientists called it a catastrophe. In fact, climate scientists are sending stark warning messages. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.), representing researchers and the governments of 195 countries, is terrified. "Owing to humans, the (the I.PC.C. reports states), the world has warmed by more than one degreee Celsius. . . . Global temperatures are now higher than at any other time in the past hundred and twenty-five thousand years." (Source: Elizabeth Colbert, "Too Hot," The New Yorker, August 23, 2021, page 11.) My own 2021 smoky summer expereience suggests that to me that it really is TOO HOT already. I've felt the heat personally. What's causing this gradual, persistent rise of the global temperature? Climate scientists point to the prolific use of fossil fuels (oil, particularly) for heating and transportation. The long-term outlook of I.P.C.C. projects global heat to rise another 2 degrees Celsius or (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2090. Personally, that means that my grandkids and their entire generation world-wide will be living in a very high-risk climate quite soon--during their middle-age years. I don't want that to happen to them. The obvious question: what can be done now to avoid this impending catastrophe of global over-heating? The answer is: use much less fossil fuel. Substitute "clean energy fuels" such as wind energy, wood, municipal solid waste, bio-gas and bio-diesel. (Visit biodiesel.org for information on bio-diesel.) We ordinary citizens must ask national politicians and policy-makers to work together across the aisle. Liberal/conservative peferences are irrelevant. You'll also probably agree that thousands of concerned persons need to communicate promptly to ask political and policy leaders to shape effective "stop-global-heating" policy. The goal is to avoid catastrophe by return the world climatic heat level to normal. Join me in that. I do trust that humanity will learn to GROW GREEN. Please post ideas / comments of your own about how to replace "growing hotter" with "growing greener."

Saturday, August 14, 2021

SMOKY SUNRISE

You've undoubtedly seen the news that the sky over the Pacific Northwest and California in the United States has been smoky. I live in Western Oregon between the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. I can certainly attest to the fact that the sky has seemed smoky. Yes, it has--for days. Perhaps weeks. To get a visual glimpse of the forest and range fires that produce the smoke, computer search for "Oregon Fires". Or just follow this link: https://www.google.com/search?q=oregon+fires+map&rlz=1C1ASVC_en&oq=oregon&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j46i275i433i512j35i39j0i131i433i512l2j69i60l3.1536j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 On a map of the U.S., you'll see fires crowding the landscape all across the Northwest. Not been fun. Hoping for better late-summer days.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? DOES YOUR COMMUNITY INCLUDE ALL PEOPLE? EQUALLY?

Where do you live? and does it seem good? ? More to the point does it seems as good now as it did before the plague called Coronavirus In medieval Egypt, waves of bubonic plague weakened entire tribes and nations. Is coronavirus a plague? It sure seems o.k. to me to call it such. Plague is a widespread contagious disease caused by a virus. My retirement community forbids public gatherings, requires masking and social distancing. my community's case this isolation has been worthwhile. It's limited the spread of the virus to virtually nothing. It's like living a hermit life, however. School: students of all ages interact with teachers and professors by media channels. "Home schooling" of this sort has become standard practice, at least temporarily. Grocery shopping. Want to avoid crowded aisles in the grocery store? In my town the shopper can order groceries via the internet and pick them up by automobile without going into the store--or even have them delivered to the shopper's home. Social and economic life continue amid the modern plague. It absolutely seems possible to me that a biological disease hastened a social transformation. Education, work, entertainment, and many other facets of life can be conducted to a large extent without leaving home.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

EMPTY NESTERS--What's that mean?

Empty nesters? What does this phrase mean? People use it to describe older human adults whose children have grown and are living independently somewhere else. Like "Oh, they're empty nesters."

Well, the ultimate reference point might be nesting birds whose hatchlings have matured and flown off on their own. Ducks, for example, whose ducklings have matured and swum off downriver on their down.



Here's another example from bird life:

For the previous couple of springs, Lucille and I've watched a pair of Crown Sparrows tending a nest in our hedge.

But this spring, 2021, we've watched a pair of Crown Sparrows busily nest-building and chick-tending in a pot of thick bamboo directly in sight from the living room. Mom and Dad would fly away from the nest quickly vs. approaching the nest ever so cautiously with food bits. Now this hubbub has suddenly ceased. Today we photographed the nest, empty now.

Except for two unhatched blue eggs. I removed them. (Sad.) 😔😔

We assume that other eggs hatched, though we have no evidence of that, and that the chicks flew off with mom and dad And we hope optimistically to see them all again, next spring. (Happy.) 😉😉

Some things are absolutely intriguing: that birds know when to mate, how to choose a location for a nest and to prepare it, what to feed the chicks and where to get the food, then how to migrate off for other places in the south, only to return next year.