Friday, October 06, 2006

Admission & Jesus in the Margins

There was a terrific story on ABC Nightly News Wednesday about women donating their breastmilk for HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa. I nursed all three of my kids, and I did a lot of research before coming to that decision. Breastfeeding gives children so many benefits: immunities to disease and sickness, essentials for brain-growth, even resistance to allergies. But nursing can also be a lot of hard work. Pumping is a special pain in the butt, er well not quite the butt. For these women to donate to other children requires them to build up their supply through supplementary pumping and then stay on that schedule. The women are part of the International Breast Milk Project, and this is one of those groups that although you don't hear a lot about, definitely deserve your support, even if it's just in your prayers. After such a dark week in the news, these women give me hope for the world, because they are taking an ability that the Lord gave them and using it to improve the lives of others less fortunate. God bless them!

Admission by Travis Thrasher is a well-written psychological thriller. Jake Williams left college 15 years ago and hasn’t spoken to any of his friends since. But he’s blackmailed into searching for his former best friend by events that he can’t remember regarding their last days in school and the death of another friend. Thrasher does a great job of feeding out only a little information at a time to the reader, and because even the narrator doesn’t have the answers, it doesn’t feel forced. He also does a good job of dealing with Williams’ faith in God: the faith of a new believer uncertain how to talk about it and still struggling to stay on the narrow path. The true flaw in the book is the overly quick resolution. The story quickly jumps ahead after the killer is revealed, and I felt shortchanged. Just one more chapter could have smoothed over those rough spots.

Jesus in the Margins by Rick McKinley is a good read about how Jesus reaches out to the outcasts of society. McKinley writes with genuine sympathy and emotion. He points out the truth that we each in our own way are all hurting and feeling like outcasts. Too many people are just going through the motions and pretending that everything is ok, because they are too afraid, even within their own church, to reveal their pain. He makes some terrific points, but I guess this wasn’t the right book for me at this point in my life. I didn’t feel that he made any points that haven’t already been made elsewhere.

It's only been going on for a week or so, but I'm already sick of the Mark Foley story. There is nobody in the right here: everybody's guilty of something, even those calling for his head on a platter. Foley's guilty of being inappropriate and possibly a pedophile, the page should have told someone, at almost 18 kids know better, Hastert should have stood up and done something, the other pages and people within the system who warned the new pages should have, Republicans should have, Democrats should have, etc. This is a story full of should haves, and unfortunately this dirty little sex scandal is overwhelming more important stories and colors how not only we view our nation, but how other countries view us as well. Foley resigned: good. If he committed a crime, then let the police investigate and charge him with it, if not, let's move on with the business of this country and consider ourselves lucky that he's no longer a part of the problem.