When I was young, my favorite book was Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. In one short story called “The Fire Balloons” a group of missionary priests who were going to Mars worried about how they would recognize sin in creatures that were so different from us. Would different limbs mean different sins? I thought that was an odd question. Though I hadn’t read her yet, Julian of Norwich speaks well of what I felt: you know sin by the pain it causes. I thought Christian missionary would not go to Mars to point out sin but to help ease the pain of beings it encountered there.

Original sin is an important doctrine that points out, among other things, that we are not quite right. As St. Paul says, “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:8-9). Our passions are at war within us. This is our own fault, not God’s. It indicates something broken within us, which all the therapy and perfect upbringing in the world cannot fix. Only God’s grace can heal this wound.

The Nepalese people are wonderful, gentle, sincere and happy. I fell in love with them on my first trip there. I am sure that God loves them even more than I do, but as a Christian I have to ask, can God save them? Is heaven full of beautiful Nepalese people? Few of them are Christians.

The just man appraises the house of the wicked: there is one who brings down the wicked to ruin.

-Proverbs 21:12

Funny proverb, this. So judgemental. In "appraising" the house of the wicked, I'll bet the "just man" has an opinion about just how long the wicked should retain their ill-gotten wealth. Perhaps there is also a bit of secret jealousy hinted at as well. I get that. I am not immune from having gossiped. 

How many dimensions does the world have? Most of us would say "three." Albert Einstein said "four," with the fourth dimension being time. Modern string theory is exploring the possibility that there are more dimensions in the universe as a way of explaining odd phenomena.

I was kindly invited to attend a Thai wedding, the daughter of a friend of one of the Dominicans here. A good Catholic family, they were quite happy to have one more priest to attend. It was in the chapel of the new campus of Assumption University outside Bangkok, a church that would be right at home in Rome on a campus that looks like a utopian city of the future from a Stark Trek movie.

From Boudha, Nepal. This morning I went running up to a Krishna temple with Chandra and Rajeesh. Chandra (center) is hoping to move the USA. He is an excellent cook, a hard worker, and has a good education. Rajeesh hasn’t had a day of school in his life, but he is startlingly clever and can run circles around Chandra and me.

This is the Hindu month of Shravan, a sort of Hindu Lent, where people intensify their practice. One of the practices that is new to area is "Bol Bam!", which means "Speak Shiva!" This tradition was brought up in the last several years by immigrants from the Terrai, the low plains bordering India. But it fits in well here in Kathmandu with its ancient Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

foot in mountain meadow

Jesus told the crowds this parable:

"Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"

Corn, clouds, and an old farmhouse

Driving through Iowa, and the corn is doing well. Storm fronts are moving through, bringing alternating patches of sunshine and torrential rain.  Is it the sun or the rain that makes the corn grow? Or perhaps the rich Iowa soil?

The answer is "all of it," of course, sun, rain, soil each contributing in their own way, together making corn that is a living thing and nothing like any of them.