Thank you for all your thoughts, ideas, perspectives and comments pertaining to my July 9 submission regarding religious divisiveness in Homer. In no way do I intend to judge others due to the words of one person – despite his role.
I called the pastor to make sure I had heard him correctly. He confirmed that I did, and kindly elaborated by explaining that the followers of the Koran – the Muslims – do not pray to the same God. He explained that their God is a hateful God.
The pastor continued by saying, “if you go to the doctor with cancer, you expect the doctor to tell you the proper treatment.” He explained that the treatment prescribed might be a “tough pill to swallow,” but the doctor has to tell you the truth. He continued by saying that if spiritual growth, salvation or eternal life are being sought, then it is his duty to describe the one and only avenue to enlightenment, and that is only through Jesus Christ. All other avenues are false.
So, I guess it is case closed, as the spiritual doctor has spoken. I can’t remember the last time I went to a doctor that prescribed something, and then also felt compelled to throw every other possible treatment or remedy out the window.
I don’t really know the pastor’s motivation, but I do know that words, phrases, concepts and themes within a sermon or a monologue have power. Ideas, thoughts and judgments are often formed as a result of what is said from a pulpit. So the pulpit is a powerful place and, therefore, it comes with a great deal of responsibility.
I explained to the pastor that my experience listening to his sermon was negative and that I felt his theme was divisive and judgmental. I felt he was teaching hate and fear.
I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me to clarify and elaborate. I had the opportunity to have a quick brush with the rationale that has been, and seemingly will continue to be, the ongoing cause of many future wars, racist thoughts and intolerance for the religious freedom of others. I wished the pastor well and truly hope that we can all learn to live on the small spaceship called earth in a peaceful manner.
I first met Renn Tolman while I lived and worked as a seasonal ranger on Shuyak Island in the early 1990s. Renn had been hunting and fishing on Shuyak Island since before I moved to Alaska. He told me of all the old timers that used to trap and fish there, and showed me the best spots for big bucks and hidden coho streams that few knew about.
He also pioneered many routes up to the high country on Afognak Island. We shared his smoked salmon – which he cured under a blue tarp on the beach every year. He was a man of simplicity; a minimalist, yet open-minded, and not afraid of what the future brought our way.
Decades later, we spent many a day and night spinning yarns about boats, the early days in Jackson Hole and living off the land. To visit him at his boat shop was like stepping back into old New England. Friends came by with salmon chowder, pickled herring and whisky.
Renn was a great philosopher, teacher and mentor. He shared all his hard-earned knowledge with anyone willing to take the time to ask. He was a lover of all things wild and I know he touched many lives and hearts — especially mine. I’m going to miss you Old Salty. Shuyak won’t be the same without you, but your spirit will live on forever.
Hospice of Homer recently invited our remarkable, big-hearted volunteers to a barbecue on the patio of our new office. I want to thank the following generous Hospice supporters for helping to make the event a fun, successful evening: Kachemak Wholesale, Safeway, Caribou Family Restaurant, Cookie’s Country Greenhouse, Edward Jones Investment and South Peninsula Hospital. What a great community we live in, as evidenced by this generous support.
If you are interested in learning about the free-of-charge services Hospice of Homer provides the community, or want to become a Hospice volunteer or make a donation, come visit us at our wonderful, new space located in the lower level of 265 East Pioneer — Suite 3.
To get to the Hospice office, take the driveway on the side of building that leads to the parking lot in the back. Our door is on the right and is marked with a sign. You can also call us at 235-6899.
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