The Church And The Lava – Reykjahvio, Iceland

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The Church And The Lava – Reykjahvio, Iceland

“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” Will Durant

On August 27, 1729 the Krafla eruption caused a lava flow through the village of Reykjahlíð, destroying farms and buildings, but amazingly the wooden church was spared when the flow parted, missing the church by only meters.

It is believed that prayer saved the church. The church was rebuilt on its original foundation in 1876, then again in 1962.

The reality is that when disasters come, everyone is affected by it. Natural disasters do not separate the believers from the atheists.

I wrestle with God so unshakable faith is hard for me to understand. I’m also a little bit jealous of people who have that kind of faith.

The church is build on ground that is a bit higher up so that could have caused the lava to split and flow down. It has been rebuilt but the houses have not. The visual image is so compelling. My hotel is right near it and I walk around every day looking for answers.

Maybe it was the fact that the church connected this community. It was the place that brought them all together. Maybe it enabled them to move beyond their own stories and unite for the common good. Maybe that is what saved the church.  What will it take to enable us to move beyond our increasing political and cultural polarities to unite around a common purpose?

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Reasons Why I Love Pope Francis

Ten Reasons Why I Love Pope Francis

“The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals but that’s normal, because ‘a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.”  Pope Francis

Its true. I have a crush on the Pope. Every story I hear about him reminds me that I can do better. He leads by example. I was lucky enough to see him in Argentina and if he came to Los Angeles, I would be one of those people in the crowd.

1. When he was in Buenos Aires, he was known to eat with the homeless in the street. He often leaves the Vatican at night to hang out with the homeless. Why is it surprising that he chose to eat lunch with them in Washington DC?

2. In his first year, he refused to move into the 16th-century Apostolic Palace, had his old black shoes replaced by the cobbler instead of buying fancy new papal slippers, and opened his door to three homeless men and a dog named Marley (after Bob Marley).

3. Pope Francis has an “intense fondness” for tango dancing. In 2014, over 3,000 dancers from all over Italy celebrated his birthday by dancing tango in Saint Peter’s Square. A lifelong fan of the Argentine soccer team San Lorenzo, he celebrated the team’s victory by hoisting the trophy over Saint Peter’s Square for the crowd to see.

4. The Popemobile is a Ford Focus or other non luxury car. He refused to drive in a bulletproof car with glass up. He said “its true that anything can happen but at my age (78) I don’t have much to lose.”

5. He studied philosophy at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires and also has a master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. He was a teacher of literature, psychology, philosophy and theology before becoming the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. It seems like he was interested in everything.

6. He is the first Pope to deal with the “political” issue of the environment and climate change. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years,” he wrote. He has been criticized for meddling in a non religious issue.

7. Pope Francis is a porteno, a man of the people. He wants the church to be available and accessible to all people and he knows that it begins with him. His focus is less on sin and more on love. He is less about judgement and more about open-mindedness. He talks about gay marriage and abortion in a way that the Church hasn’t dealt with it before.

8. The reason that the Pope has never been to the Unites States before is because he has made a point of prioritizing the third world countries.

9. He is unusually multilingual, speaking Spanish, Latin and Italian fluently and understanding German, French, Portuguese, English, and Ukrainian.

10. Pope Francis is exactly who he appears to be, which is so often not the case with a public figure. He doesn’t “play the Pope.” He is 100 per cent sincere.

Fly Safe,

JAZ