While we wait, there are hundreds of visitors to the Sogen-ji monastery to attend the annual formal tea ceremony today. It is a chance to reconnect with ancient Japanese traditions, to see and be seen having tea with the Roshi (the head of the monastery) in his meeting room next to the formal gardens.

Downtown Shibuya, Tokyo. "Bustle" doesn't quite capture it. Everywhere you look, you could look more and see more. Notice the elephants on the big building on the right, above the Starbuck's Coffee. The entire top of the building is a video screen, as is the top of the building to the left. Action, motion, even the buildings move.

My first day in Japan. Tthe Dominicans took me to visit a local Shinto shrine, Meiji Jingu. It is in Shibu-ku, Tokyo, and although it is in the center of the city, has 175 acres of woods and fields. The shrine itself sits in the middle of the woods, reached only by a long walk through quiet, wooded paths and flower gardens just coming into bloom? a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of the streets of Tokyo.

This is my nephew Kyle in the back of his father's Chevy Suburban. Kyle is 15. He is learning to play the guitar, and is fiddling around with my road guitar as we drive. He will be a much better guitarist than I ever will be. He applies himself.

I have been given many gifts in my life. Gift-giving is an impulse we all share, wanting those whom we love to receive the blessings we are able to give. On this trip to Guatemala, we have been given many gifts by people we do not know, who are appreciative that we work in the United States to raise money for their families, their schools, and their lives.

Sor Lucia Roge Nutritional Center. Not a very exciting name? "nutritional center"? , but an incredible place. It is run by Sister Anna Christina, and she takes in children who have families, but are very sick or starving to death. The center nurses them back to health and works with the families to teach them how to keep their children healthy.

I'm on tour in Guatemala with Food For the Poor, seeing our work. The group is mostly priests and deacons of various denominations who go out every week and invite people to share what they have with those who have not. This morning the first stop was the San Raymundo Community, an educational program for women at an old Catholic church. Women are taught how to sew, how to cook, how to care for their children and themselves, and they are given food to help their families in hard times.

The last day of my retreat, and the desert is in bloom. Scores of flowers of different types fill the spaces between the sage and mesquite, adding softer dots of color to the dramtic blue/red/green landscape.

Mike and I planned to camp in the desert next to Lake Powell. We bought an inflatable canoe so that we could go out on the lake. But like the "best laid plans of mice and men," things went astray.

Unfortunately, there wad a seven-year drought. Lake Powell is now four miles past the end of the road, down a trackless canyon. Even if we could have gotten there, we (I) forgot the paddles. Oops? they're sitting back in Tucson.

Scott Steinkerchner OP
Final Paper for The Saving Work of Christ with professor S. Mark Heim
May 17, 2001

The Preferential Option for the Poor & Atonement Theology