Archive for September 24, 2012

Dear Ira:

As a loyal listener of This American Life, I found episodes 454 and 460 quite intriguing.

Still, as Apple sold its 5 millionth iPhone during the past weekend, I was stunned to read the NY Times article indicating Foxconn Technology, a major supplier to some of the world’s electronics giants, including Apple, closed one of its plants Monday after the police were required to break up a fight among factory employees.

The NY Times reported unconfirmed photographs and video, purporting to be from the factory, showing smashed windows, riot police officers and large groups of workers milling around. Chinese state-run news media said 5,000 police officers had been called in to quell the riot.

Think about that: 5,000 police officers were needed to quell the riot. An entire U.S. Military ‘Brigade’ equals approximately 3,000 to 5,000 troops. The Chinese needed an equivalent of a U.S. Brigade to put down the unrest.

So in light of the fact that episodes 454 and 460 dealt with some fabrications and in light of the recent news coming from Foxconn, I have one question: “Are you sure we didn’t miss something significant?”


S. G.

In a “Fighting for Life” article, a recent blogger penned:

Whether you’ve been “fighting for life” for 4 days or nearly 40 years, you’re never alone!  You never have been and you never will be. God’s got your back. Period. Protecting and defending life is like running a long marathon, not a short sprint.  Along the journey, the evil one will use weapons of fear, abandonment, disappointment and exhaustion to discourage you and distract you from the finish line. The secret to not feeling abandoned during the “race for life” is to finally realize, once-and-for-all, it’s not about you or me or any of us. It’s all about God and fulfilling His plan according to His will in His time.

None of the language, such as the ‘evil one,’ etc., really grabbed my attention. What struck me was the blogger’s use of the picture “Footprints in the Sand.” The meaning of which has been extracted accordingly, “When you see two sets of footprints you and Christ are walking side by side. When you only see one set, Christ is carrying.”

I regularly walk the beach at night. It’s quiet and somewhat comforting. But on most days, what do I see? I see sand so hot one cannot possibly walk it. By night, it dampens cold chills through to the bone.

I see annoying. Damn, the very sand which produced the footprints stings during  heavy winds. It’s dry; has little taste; no water. It’s drab, ordinary and dull. Furthermore, you can’t build anything of value, for it’s hard to shape and non-cohesive. It refuses connection. It’s quiet and one can barely hear anything but an ocean wave or distant bird.

Shying away from all the “enemy and God carries you” theme, I found sand to be a wonderful teacher. If you will, like the portrait of Christ walking with us, sand is a lot like life: cold one moment, hot the next.

Life and love can become significantly dry. Similarly, we can provide complete dispossession to all who look upon us. We become ordinary, drab and dull. In spite of our best efforts, so many things come against us that love sifts through our soul. In the end, while Christ walks with us, we are dust. Our impact is limited beyond our very days. And regardless of who walks with us, at the end of day our footprints wash away. New covers old … and the old dissolves.

The real lesson taught is of love. The beach itself has nothing we can cling to. There is no staying power beyond you, me, heaven or earth other than love. Love is the unifying knot. We must recognize that real footprints of lasting change, the real opportunities for building kingdoms are created by the power of grace and forgiveness.  In love’s footprints you’ll find God, Buddha and Christ. And within the steps of mutual recognition and admiration, we hope God will find and walk with us.  Like Christ, love is the only miracle we can give.

I walk the beach hoping to renew love. Usually, all I find is famine, loss, grief and the sifting tide of constant change. But in the moment, I find footprints of love and love’s truth. The truth is on the other side of anguish: it’s called grace.

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