Follow by Email

Monday, December 29, 2014

Entry 27: Free Cuba For the Gospel of Christ

December 29, 2014

Dear Friends

Re:  Entry 27 (in English)

I used to have a list, it was really a joke, born in the realization of my late youth (in other words, my 20’s) when I finally realized that the party of my birth was not likely to be the party of my death.  I have grown more circumspect—read wise—about it now, recognizing that neither party really represents me fully.  The joke was a list, that there were three things I wanted to see in my lifetime:  (a) Bill Clinton impeached (and this was 3 years before that whole sad, sordid tale of woe); (b) Pete Rose in the Hall; and, (c) Cuba opened to America.  I didn’t say it was a consistent list, as it jumps from politics to sports to…well, religion.  The last better said as “Liberating Cuba with the Gospel”.

[As an aside, the fact that the most improbable on the list—Clinton’s impeachment—actually happened amazes me still to this day, I’m even more amazed by the warm nostalgia the press at least has for the Clinton years. Perhaps one day we will look back on that period as a sad chapter in personal morality, where it became fashionable to be, well, “kardashian”.   As to Pete Rose, well I thought that was the one winner on the whole list, but now I doubt it will ever be.]

Back to Cuba.  This had its genesis in my love of foreign-broadcast short wave radio.  If you’ve ever listened to short wave, the 1980’s were an especially fruitful period, what with the Cold War and all still on.  Some of the most accessible broadcasts (by which I mean those that were powerful enough to reach me in my mountain hovel) were Soviet, Chinese and Cuban.  Cuba was especially prolific, on almost every major broadcast band, even some of the AM (medium wave) bands.  I really became fascinated with the music, the politics and the social commentary—I have very little practical Spanish knowledge despite having two college Spanish courses—so it was all in English.  The political discourse was laughable.  The Cuban government was and is so obsessed with the United States and the US knows so very little about Cuba.  Every event that happened, according to Radio Havana, was the result of, the fault of, or the plan of the United States trying to undermine the Castro regime.    The most amusing part of the whole matter is how little the people of the US, outside of south Florida, really know about Cuba.  Here was Cuba, at every turn blaming the US and the Embargo for its problems while most Americans not only didn’t know where Cuba was in relation to the mainland, but cared about it even less.  It was as if some obsessed would-be Romeo mailed letters, wrote sonnets, composed ballads that were never delivered, read or even heard by Juliet.  The United States and Cuba aren’t just in different spheres, they have literally been in different dimensions, and most Americans forget Cuba even exists (even worse than the way we act with the Canadians and Mexicans, which is unfair and wrong, because to me at least they are like brothers).  It must be vexing to the Cubans or more especially their government (it applies to Cuba what Mexico’s President Diaz once said about his country: “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so Close to the United States”)

I can give you all the standard arguments as to why we should lift the embargo, establish relations, and allow trade and travel. You likely have heard them all, and whether or not you may agree, at least you must acknowledge that our current policy (a policy we have had longer than the Cold War lasted) has not worked.  I could also try to defend my assumptions against all the anti-immigrant talk that is out there (sadly, among Christians as well as others), or the political calculations of the south Florida vote, but any of you still misguided enough to depend on cable news, any cable news, as your sole source of information can probably raise loud arguments against my views.   At the bottom of it all are people. Remember, we are talking about people, individuals.  Individuals who have the right to hear the Gospel—and we have the obligation to take it to them, Fox News or MSNBC, Republican or Democrat, all notwithstanding.  That is my reason for wanting Cuba opened and for being thankful that our President is doing what he is doing, regardless of whether his reasons are cynical political calculations.

We didn’t call it cynical when Paul co-opted the Roman court system, the Roman transport system, the Roman trade system, the Roman laws and practices, all to preach the Gospel to the heart of the Roman Empire.  The Roman Empire, built on the blood and backs of slaves and the brutality of the ruling classes, was overrun by Christianity.  If you think the Castro brothers, or their government, can withstand the Gospel being preached to the individual, it still does not matter or relieve the obligation to preach it.  The command, commission, of Jesus was to Preach the Gospel (it wasn’t qualified as to race, religion, government, country).  Do you really trust one day America, or its government, won’t turn on you?  One day we may need those Cuban missionaries, preaching the Gospel to us.

And where is it written that America is cannot change?  Indeed, there are two Communist countries with which have we have fought wars—all in living memory—and we have re-established relations (China and Vietnam.  Remember, the Korean War was really the Chinese War).  Come along now, preach the Gospel to every creature, not just those far enough away as to not upset the balance in the Electoral College.  It may not change your world, but I know it will change theirs.

Free Cuba For the Gospel of Christ!

I remain,


Fessler

Entrada 27: Cuba libre para el Evangelio de Cristo!

29 de diciembre 2014

Queridos amigos
Re: Entrada 27

Yo solía tener una lista, que era en realidad una broma, nacido en la realización de mi juventud tardía (en otras palabras, mis años 20) cuando finalmente me di cuenta de que el partido de mi nacimiento no era probable que sea el partido de mi muerte. He crecido más de leer circunspecto sabio en eso ahora, reconociendo que ninguna de las partes realmente me representa plenamente. La broma era una lista, que había tres cosas que quería ver en mi vida: (a) Bill Clinton sometido a juicio político (y esto fue de 3 años antes de toda esa historia triste y sórdida de dolor); (b) Pete Rose en el Salón; y, (c) Cuba abrió a América. Yo no dije que era una lista coherente, ya que salta de la política con el deporte a ... bueno, religión. El último dijo mejor como "Libertadora Cuba con el Evangelio".
[En un aparte, el hecho de que el más improbable en la lista de Clinton-juicio político-realidad sucedió me sorprende aún hoy en día, estoy más sorprendido por la nostalgia caliente a la prensa, al menos, ha hecho durante los años de Clinton. Tal vez algún día vamos a mirar hacia atrás en ese período como un capítulo triste en la moral personal, donde se puso de moda a ser, así, "kardashian". En cuanto a Pete Rose, así que pensé que era el ganador en toda la lista, pero ahora dudo que alguna vez será.]

Volver a Cuba. Esto tuvo su génesis en mi amor por la radio de onda corta de difusión extranjera. Si alguna vez has escuchado de onda corta, la década de 1980 fueron un periodo especialmente fructífero, lo que con la Guerra Fría y todos en pie. Algunas de las emisiones más accesibles (y me refiero a los que eran lo suficientemente potente como para llegar a mí en mi cuchitril montaña) eran Soviética, China y Cuba. Cuba fue especialmente prolífico, en casi todas las bandas de radiodifusión importante, incluso algunas de las bandas de onda media (AM). Me quedé fascinado con la música, la política y lo social comentario-tengo muy poco conocimiento práctico español a pesar de tener dos universitarios españoles cursos-así que fue todo en Inglés. El discurso político era ridícula. El gobierno de Cuba ha sido y es tan obsesionado con los Estados Unidos y los EE.UU. sabe muy poco acerca de Cuba. Cada evento que ocurrió, según Radio Habana, fue el resultado de, por culpa de, o el plan de los Estados Unidos tratando de socavar el régimen de Castro. La parte más divertida de todo el asunto es lo poco que la gente de los EE.UU., en las afueras del sur de la Florida, de verdad saben de Cuba. Aquí fue Cuba, a cada paso culpando los EE.UU. y el embargo de sus problemas mientras que la mayoría de los estadounidenses no sólo no saben donde Cuba fue en relación con el continente, pero se preocupaba aún menos. Era como si un obsesionado aspirantes a Romeo envía por correo cartas, escribió sonetos, romances compuestos que nunca fueron entregados, leer o incluso escuchadas por Julieta. Los Estados Unidos y Cuba no son sólo en diferentes ámbitos, que han sido, literalmente, en diferentes dimensiones, y la mayoría de los estadounidenses olvidan Cuba aún existe (aún peor que la forma en que actuamos con los canadienses y mexicanos, que es injusto y equivocado, porque a mí por lo menos, son como hermanos). Debe ser irritante para los cubanos o más especialmente su gobierno (que se aplica a Cuba lo que dijo una vez que el presidente Díaz de México sobre su país: "Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos")

Te puedo dar todos los argumentos estándar en cuanto a por qué debemos levantar el embargo, establecer relaciones, y permitir el comercio y los viajes. Es probable que todos ellos han oído, y si está o no estar de acuerdo, al menos hay que reconocer que nuestra política actual (una política que hemos tenido más tiempo que duró la Guerra Fría) no ha funcionado. Yo también podría tratar de defender mis suposiciones contra toda la charla anti-inmigrante que está ahí fuera (por desgracia, entre los cristianos, así como otros), o los cálculos políticos del sur de la Florida voto, pero alguno de ustedes todavía lo suficientemente equivocada a depender noticias por cable, cualquiera de noticias por cable, como su única fuente de información, probablemente, puede elevar argumentos fuertes en contra de mis puntos de vista. En el fondo de todo esto son las personas. Recuerde, estamos hablando de personas, individuos. Los individuos que tienen el derecho de escuchar el Evangelio, y tenemos la obligación de llevarlo a ellos, Fox News o MSNBC, republicano o demócrata, a pesar de todo. Esa es mi razón para querer Cuba abrió y por ser agradecido de que nuestro presidente está haciendo lo que está haciendo, sin importar si sus razones son cálculos políticos cínicos.

Nosotros no llamamos cínica cuando Pablo cooptado el sistema romano tribunal, el sistema de transporte romana, el sistema de comercio romano, las leyes y las prácticas romanas, todo para predicar el Evangelio al corazón del Imperio Romano. El Imperio romano, construido sobre la sangre y espaldas de los esclavos y la brutalidad de las clases dominantes, fue invadido por el cristianismo. Si usted piensa que los hermanos Castro, o su gobierno, puede soportar el Evangelio se predica a la persona, que todavía no tiene importancia o aliviar la obligación de predicarlo. El comando, comisión de Jesús fue a predicar el evangelio (que no estaba calificado por motivos de raza, religión, gobierno, país). ¿Usted realmente confiar el uno en Estados Unidos de hoy, o su gobierno, no se convertirá en su vida? Un día podemos necesitar esos misioneros cubanos, predicando el Evangelio a nosotros.
Y ¿dónde está escrito que Estados Unidos no se puede cambiar? De hecho, hay dos países comunistas con los que tenemos hemos luchado guerras-todo en la memoria viva y tenemos relaciones restablecidas (China y Vietnam. Recuerde, la Guerra de Corea fue realmente la Guerra chino). Ven ahora, predicar el Evangelio a toda criatura, no sólo aquellos lo suficientemente lejos como para no alterar el equilibrio en el Colegio Electoral. La apertura de Cuba al Evangelio puede dejar estadounidense ha cambiado, pero el Evangelio cambiará para siempre las vidas de los cubanos.

Cuba libre para el Evangelio de Cristo!

Quedo,

Fessler
[note:  thanks to Google for the translation]

Monday, December 8, 2014

Entry 26: Random Memories on Turning 50

December 8, 2014

Dear Friends


Re:         Entry 26

Dodge Trucks with their squashed front ends, almost like they were squinting at you.  My neighbors who could build or fix anything, and who I thought were cool because they wanted to end the war in Vietnam, and they played Led Zeppelin and John Sebastian and all other kinds of wonderful and weird stuff.  I didn’t realize how close they were to going to Vietnam, or for that matter, my own brother.  I used to tell my dad I was going to Canada—I was like 7 or 8.  He would always say “don’t join the army”.  Hearing the John Denver song “Country Roads” in the summer of 1971, before I started first grade.  My brother Mike came out on the front porch and said “Hey, A.D., there’s a guy on the radio singing a song about West Virginia!”   And it was one that did not make fun of us.  The wonder when Channel 4 in Pittsburgh, or better yet, ABC or NBC, said the name of the state on the national news.  It wasn’t until later that I realized most of the world didn’t know this was the center of the universe.  The slate pile burning in the winter, the snow never staying on it.  Red dog roads.  The smell of coal burning.  Train horns, the slack-slack sound of the locomotive starting and pulling the cars, you could hear it jump from one car to another all the way up the valley.  Going to Fairview for the Homecoming parade.  And the bonfire they would build on the side of the football field.  Every once in a while, I will hear a combination of sounds, especially in the fall, or smell dried leaves and for some reason it takes me back to the Fairview High School Homecoming Parade, around 1972.  USA-1 plates on the Chevy Camaro in the garage showroom.  Underwood Deviled Ham sandwiches on Kettering’s bread while watching Sesame Street sitting with Anna, my neighbor, in her house the year before first grade.  I didn’t realize until later her teenage son had died from leukemia.  Maybe I helped by being there. I hope. She was such a nice lady.  She could bake bread, any kind, and would always bring us some.  Agnes, who every two days or so would send me to Junior’s for a box of barley and a can of corn beef hash (I did this for her until the day before I got married). My dad never let me take her money, at least when he knew.  When I got older, I wouldn’t take it on my own accord.  Mary Kitchen Corn Beef Hash.  It’s like 50% fat.  She lived to be 99.  Charley, her son, would say “Hey boy, go down to Junior’s and buy me a pack of Luckies.”  I think I was six.  Myrtle would say “these aren’t for you now are they?”  He had a tattoo; I think it was an eagle, with dates on it.  I asked him when I got older why he got it.  He said he got drunk on leave in Paris after Bastogne.  He later got called back up for Korea.  I always thought that if you were going to have a tattoo, you really needed a story like Charley’s.  Not anymore, someday, somewhere, I imagine some 75 year old explaining the little duck tattoo on her calf. I bet it won’t be about being surrounded by the Germans.  When my other neighbor’s house burned down, the night they both died, I ran outside and it was 2 a.m., the house was fully on fire.  Charley picked up a section of a wall that was like four concrete blocks and threw them through the front door to save them but the fire exploded out.  He couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds.   He taught me how to sweat copper fittings. I think about him a lot, I wish I could talk to him now.  My grandfather used to bring me home a 5 cent candy bar called a “Chunky”.  Sometimes the one with nuts or raisins.  I saw one a few years ago, it was like twice the size, and I didn’t try it as I liked the memory better.  Walking down to the Esso station to get a Coke in the summer, hoping it would be frozen.  Six ounce glass bottles.  My Uncle Sam getting a stereo and playing records on it.  My cousin Junior who was deaf, but you could always hear him coming because he would play the radio very loudly and put his hand on the dashboard speaker to feel the vibration.  I can’t imagine not knowing what it’s like to hear music and only to feel it.  Meline who was crazy and lived across the street, who would go down to the railroad tracks and fill up a coal scuttle from cars sitting on the siding.  My dad said that he was in the war and lost his girlfriend and he was never the same.  Sometimes he would talk to me, and he seemed normal.  Later I realized this was probably mental illness, but no one said that then.  Ziggy who had a German shepherd, a very nice pleasant dog even though he looked scary.   And my dog, Johantz, who was the opposite.  Once he ran away for four days and I thought he was dead.  Then I saw him coming up the street all alone, his ear tore a little, thinner. He acted as if he hadn’t been gone.  Anne the cook at the school and the biscuits she would make. Winter plays before Christmas and the smell of the curtains in the auditorium.  The smell of the oiled floors in the schoolhouse.  Mrs. Davies playing the piano in the third grade. Tony, my neighbor, had a Willys Truck with knobby tires.  Once paid me two dollars to climb his pine trees and tie a rope to the top so he could cut them down without them falling over the hill. I can’t write about my dad without crying, I have at least one dream a week when I get to talk to him.  I can remember it all like it was yesterday.  It was.
I remain,
 
Fessler