Washington Duke invented a machine to make cigarettes, thus enabling their mass production. Prior to that, cigars had to be hand-rolled. He made a vast fortune from his invention, some of which he used to relocate Trinity College to his home-town of Durham, North Carolina. He and his family donated millions of dollars to the college, which renamed itself Duke, in his honor. Today Duke University is one of the finest universities in the world.
The Duke hospital and medical school are among the best in the world. A couple of days ago I drove by it and saw what is now a common sight in America–a cluster of folks standing outside the entrance to the building smoking cigarettes.
It struck me as somewhat ironic. Washington Duke made a fortune by inventing the machine that makes cigarettes, making it cheap to smoke tobacco (Before the cigarette, it was the wealthy who smoked pipes and cigars. Poorer people either didn’t use tobacco, or they chewed it.) He used some of the money he made to endow a university that, in turn, created a world-class hospital, which now devotes a lot of its resources to treating those whose health has been destroyed by smoking cigarettes.
An odd historical twist.
Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
“Our earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her.” As Jesus spoke, his voice intensified in subdued anguish. “Some have attempted to help her but most have simply tried to use her. Humans, who have been given the task to lovingly steer the world, instead plunder her with no consideration, other than their immediate needs. And they give little thought for their own children who will inherit their lack of love. So they use and abuse her with little consideration and then when she shudders or blows her breath, they are offended and raise their fist to God.”
“You’re an ecologist?” Mack said, half as an accusation.
“This blue-green ball in black space, filled with beauty even now, battered and abused and lovely.”
“I know that song. You must care deeply about the Creation,” smiled Mack.
“Well, this blue-green ball in black space belongs to me,” Jesus stated emphatically.
Making disciples meant that they were teaching the world to do the things Jesus did. To wash feet. To proclaim jubilee. To love enemies. To welcome strangers. And they would become known as the Way. Their community was more than just a group of people who shared religious beliefs. They were a group of people that embodied a new way of living, the way out of the empire where slavery, poverty, war, and oppression were normal. They were to become the salt and the light of the world. The credibility of their gospel would rest on the integrity of their lives. For they were now to be the body of Christ. Jesus would live in them.
Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw
I have 4 more hours of lectures this morning in my Islam class, after 9 hours yesterday. Then, inshallah, (as my Muslim friends would say) I will race from Orlando to Tampa in hopes of making a 2:40 flight. It will be a full day.
I’m ready to be home. As always there’s work to do–a groundhog is eating up our broccoli, the landmower is finally fixed and the grass hasn’t been cut in weeks, it’s time to start bushhogging all the fields and the gardens always need tending. But more importantly, I’m just ready to see my sweet wife and breathe the air of home.