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Weird thoughts for weird times–and better thoughts for the same weird times

December 12, 2008

I squeezed my nutcracker around a large, well-formed hazelnut that was as hard to crack as the others in a pile I had shelled for breakfast. But when the shell came apart, there was no nut inside; it was a completely empty shell. I found myself wondering whether it had been grown in Illinois.

Colin Powell has never been on my Christmas gift list, and this year I have no list anyway. But if I had infinite funds and a gift list, I would send General Powell a weather radio–or maybe even an FM receiver. Perhaps then he would be able at least to tune in to one other station, and he would not have to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Stalled careers are catapulted in some strange ways these days. A laid-off banker in New York wore a sandwich board advertising his credentials and received offers on the street, one of which resulted in a new job. One of my friends writes that a friend of hers who is out of work hopes that recent publicity will help him secure new employment. He had the incredible good fortune to live next-door to a house that caught fire when an F-18 crash landed on it.

Probably neither of these methods would be helpful to Rod Blagojevich, who most of the nation hopes will be the former governor of Illinois by the time I launch this pithy post. So far, I haven’t seen Europe and Kenya weigh in on whether the governor should resign. Harry Reid has, though, and at least he has strongly hinted that no senator referred by Gov. Blagojevich is necessarily going to be installed in the Senate. Whether this is due to competing mob dynamics or a sudden surge of Senatorial principle, it’s good to know that Sen. Reid wonders whether anything good can come out of Chicago. Some of us have wondered this for 40 years.

Some thoughts are not so weird. In my dining room where I was shelling hazelnuts earlier, hangs a beautiful cross-stitched reminder my friend Jane made for me a few Christmases ago. It says, JEHOVAH TSIDKENU, which translates, Jehovah our righteousness. None of us, not one, has any righteousness of his own before God. By the righteousness of Christ alone can we be made right before God. No news is good news but this.

We have a plague upon the land: a plague of unrepentance. The plague saddens and demoralizes me. But I know that God has also blessed the land and stayed his hand from the judgment we deserve. To some has been given the blessing of an abiding belief in the sovereignty of God. To others has been given the curse of belief in their own might and the power of their own will. To all has been given the portion of living side by side.

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