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« May 2014 | Main | July 2014 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » June 2014

By Diane Wahto on June 24, 2014

This morning's Wichita Eagle carried an article that rated the states according to how much fun they were to vacation in. It's no surprise, I guess, that Kansas was near the bottom of the rankings. However, having grown up and then returning after being away for close to fifteen years, I know Kansas is beautiful in ways that aren't always obvious to those who don't look closely.

I grew up in the southeast corner of the state. Baxter Springs is a small town, named for its founder and for the springs that people went to. On the east side of town is the Spring River. People fish there below the small dam. The river also supplies hydroelectric power to the area. In the country just outside of Baxter Springs, someone thought to dam up the river and turn it into a crystal clear swimming hole. In the summer, everyone in Baxter Springs drove to Five Mile to escape the heat. If you were a teenager and you didn't go to Five Mile, you just weren't with it.

I live in Wichita, a city of many fine examples of architecture, both new and old. My husband walks around the city every day and takes pictures of sites that can be reached only by walkers. It's amazing what treasures are hidden just out of sight of people driving cars. Then there are the city parks, with great expanses of grass, tennis courts, baseball and football fields, and areas for walking.

My children and their families live in the northeast, so I often drive on the Kansas Turnpike to visit them. The rolling hills in that part of the state put the lie to the idea that Kansas is flat. At the crest of one of the hills, the eye takes in miles and miles of pastureland, trees, creeks, wildflowers, and the other natural sights that live in those hills.

I once traveled to Western Kansas on my way to Colorado. Yes, it is indeed flat out there, but it's also beautiful. As I was driving, off in the distance, I could see an elk standing in solitary grandeur, looking out over prairie. Rivers and streams cut through outcroppings of limestone. Fields of wheat, soybeans, domesticated sunflowers and corn are a testament to the importance of Kansas agriculture.

It's not a problem, I guess, that people don't want to visit Kansas for their vacations. I see the fewer people, the less congestion we have. And, after all, we do have Kansas City, a major U.S. city, and Lawrence, one of the greatest little cities in the world.

By Angelo Lopez on June 22, 2014

These are wonderful blogs, Ken and Diane. I have always been intimidated from writing poetry, so I appreciate you writing about the poetry process. These past couple of years, I've learned to appreciate poetry from reading the blogs of you and of Melissa Tuckey. And Ken, I agree with your insights on Iraq. I read the latest news in Iraq with some dread. I just recently returned from Washington D.C. While we were there, my wife and I visited Arlington, which was a sobering experience. I don't always agree with the wars this country gets in, but I admire the courage, sacrifice and patriotism of the men and women who serve in the military. It's important to make sure these soldiers are not put in harms way in a war we do not have to get involved in.

By Ken Poland on June 20, 2014

Thomas Sowell’s contribution to the Salina Journal editorial page on Friday, June 20, is an example of poor memory and illogical thinking

“Wrong from the beginning” for the major headline and then “Obama has been wrong on Iraq, Afghanistan, and the world will suffer for it” in bold print.

President Bush defied his Dad, former President Bush, and others, who advised against entering a sovereign nation to overthrow its government. It is one thing to chase an invading army out of their neighboring country, but quite another thing to attack a country on their own turf to facilitate overthrowing its leadership.

President Bush declared mission accomplished as soon as Saddam was deposed and then we spent years trying to put a government in place. You can’t establish a government ‘of the people and for the people’ when the people aren’t willing to take on the responsibility of governing themselves, democratically.

Enough is enough. We can’t govern the whole world from Washington D.C.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on June 19, 2014

Thanks to Angelo Lopez for suggesting I write this.


My writing critique group meeting comes along every month without fail, except for December when we all go out for a holiday lunch. Every month, I try to have a poem or two ready to take for the group’s perusal. The members of this group, all women, are all sharp-eyed, experienced writers who have good instincts when it comes to improving a piece of writing. This month, having gone through a long dry spell and having been involved with graduations and other family events, I didn’t have anything I could take. I did, however, have the germ of an idea.

I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac every weekday on KMUW radio. I also get the transcript online. One day last week, Garrison announced that it was Soren Kierkegaard’s birthday and gave a summary of his philosophy. He mentioned Kierkegaard’s notion of “the leap of faith,” which says that a person finds faith in God only through taking that leap. Kierkegaard also believed that in order to have faith, one must also have doubts.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on June 15, 2014

Pope Francis and many other Christian leaders have joined with other religious leaders, Christian or not, on social issues and economic equality.

With few exceptions, most all world religions profess to believe they are responsible to a higher power than themselves. True, we don't all address our petitions or worship the same higher power. Some acknowledge the God of the Orthodox Jews, some The Christ of the New Testament and others give their allegiance and honor to various and sundry other gods, idols, etc. And some have a mixed up muddle of pagan, Christian, and mythical faiths.

But we all have somethings in common, the welfare of mankind and this world, as we know it. Why can't we work together on those things instead of warring between ourselves over our differences? You may worship the Sun in the sky and I worship the Son of God. But, does that mean we can't work together on world issues for the benefit of all mankind?

There are radical extremists and bigots in all religions. Why must we let those extremists set the agenda for everyone?

By Angelo Lopez on June 15, 2014

In 2008 in California, many leaders of the Mormon, Catholic and Evangelical churches lobbied successfully for the passage of Proposition 8, a law that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman and would make same sex marriages illegal. Though several Catholics, Mormons and Evangelicals spoke out for LGBT rights and against the passage of Proposition 8, a majority of Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals in 2008 voted for Proposition 8. Six years later, in 2014, a huge change has taken place in the opinions of many Catholics, Mormons and Evangelicals about marriage equality and LGBT rights. Recent polls have found that 58% of American Catholics now support marriage equality and LGBT rights. Though 70% of older white Evangelicals are holding firm against LGBT rights, around 50% of younger Evangelicals now support same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. Around 32% of Utah's Mormons think same-sex couples should be allowed to get state-issued marriage licenses, and 65 percent say they should be permitted to form civil unions or domestic partnerships. One of the groups that are leading the charge in these denominations for changing attitudes on gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people have been the parents of LGBT Christians.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 14, 2014

For the past few years, there has been a wave of persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt, Christians are the target of Islamic extremists. In Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram has been seeking to eradicate the Christian population of northern Nigeria. In communist North Korea, Christians are jailed for owning a Bible and 50,000 Christians are trapped in concentration camps. In India, Christians face discriminatory laws and have to fight persecution from Hindu extremists. In Israel, Jewish extremists have persecuted the Christian minority and put anti-Christian graffiti in Christian churches. One of the great Christian voices speaking out against this persecution is Pope Francis. As the head of the largest Christian denomination in the world, Pope Francis is in a unique position to speak to religious and government leaders about the growing persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. Pope Francis has reached out to his fellow Christians, to Muslims, to Jews, to Hindus and to all religious people of good will to collaborate in a united effort to stop the violent persecution of all religious minorities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 13, 2014

Recently I've been seeing a rash of anti-Muslim posts and comments on the internet. Many people are angry and worried at the recent wave of Christian persecution in the Middle East at the hands of Islamic extremists, and these people make the mistake of equating all Muslims for the actions of its extremists. The persecution of Christians in the Middle East is deplorable, but it is wrong to think that all Muslims are to blame for this. Many Muslims have condemned the persecution of Christians in these lands, but this has made many of these more moderate Muslims the target of Islamic extremist threats and violence. Since September 11, 2001, the Muslim American community has been subject to prejudice and sometimes violence at the hands of misguided Americans. One American group though, has reached out to help the Muslim American community and to defend them from unwarranted prejudice. Many members of the Japanese American community, who were the victims of anti-Japanese prejudice during World War II, have reached out to the Muslim American community to share of their common experience of being targets of fear and hysteria.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 12, 2014

This June is LGBT Pride Month. At this time, Pride Parades will take place in various cities in this country and across the world to show pride for LGBT people. One of the great things that has happened has been the growing number of Christians from all denominations who are supporting LGBT rights and have participated in the Pride Parades. These Christians are fighting for full equality for their LGBT friends and family members within their churches, so that LGBT Christians and LGBT individuals in general are treated with dignity and respect. Many of these Christians have been deeply involved in the fight for Marriage Equality and for laws to end discrimination in the workplace and in housing and medical care. Here are some youtube videos of Christians participating in Pride Parades.

Read more from this post here ...

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