Practical, Therapeutic, Theological Thought

by Penrod

Text: "Bodily exercise profiteth little." — Paul ofTarsus
Motto: "The real game is the game you are in."

Unsung Heroes. The greatest heroes of our time are people who are not consuming and despoiling the earth. These people are seldom described as heroes in the news. My heroes are folks who do not ride on noisy, polluting airplanes and people who walk or ride bicycles instead of driving around in cars. These persons are often labeled non-productive and I am grateful for the contribution each of them makes to the commonwealth.

The list of heroes includes the Amish who still use horse and buggy, the homeless without automobiles, the peasants of China and other parts of the world who live close to the earth, and brothers and sisters in communities who take the oath of poverty.

The heroics of these heroes has recently come into sharp focus for me because planes have begun to fly over my home. By the time the sound of one fades, the noise of another is flooding my eardrums. I am not deterred in my complaint by remarks that the noise is much worse in other neighborhoods. I choose not to reside there because of the noise. More important, though, the spreading noise pollution is like a cancer in the city.

Years ago, Ivan Illich said that he would not fly on airplanes because of the tremendous cost to the community. In addition to the noise and pollution, he observed that their speed requires more travel time because of all the traveling necessary for everyone to get to the central point, the airport. But, the expansion of business and travel seems unstoppable. Investment in costly airports and related activities is rarely challenged; they make the economy run so we can eat and play. The interests of the economy are deemed ultimate, the final court of appeal, our object of divine worship. Its good news is illusory.

I am not a hero, but I want to point them out and pay tribute to them—maybe even try to imitate them a bit.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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