Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Archive for the ‘US Travel’ Category

Saint Mobes

Jim Moberg is a saint.  You may have never heard of him, but he’s a saint nonetheless, and I say that, beautifying him, because he has taken hospitality to a saintly level.

At Jim’s place, what’s his is yours.  Need a bed?  Done.  Need a meal?  Pull up a chair.  Need some conversation?  You got it.  Need an internet connection?  Plug in.

mobes-at-kaanapali.jpgThis hospitality thing in Jim’s life could have come from good genetics, but it didn’t.  His gift came from a new birth – a second birth.  If he were so bold, Jim would tell you that he’s generous because he’s been the recipient of God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.

His face may never adorn a cathedral’s façade, but that doesn’t matter to Jim.  He may never receive a Nobel for showing warmth and kindness, but Jim won’t lose any sleep over it.  He’s got something better than fame or reward.  He’s got satisfaction.  What Mick Jagger complained he could “get no,” Jim has by the boat load.  And he’s hospitable for the best of reasons.  Jim’s a Jesus freak.

When he reads this – my tribute – Jim’ll blush a little and say, “It’s no big deal.”  But it is.  It is a big deal, Jim!  You enrich the planet.  You model the love and grace of God.  You’re a good friend.  If you worked on your ping-pong, you might be perfect.  Ha!  Kidding aside, I wish Jim could bottle his version – his recipe – for hospitality.  You’d love its taste.  It goes down sweet and smooth, and refreshes its recipients to the bone.

Good for you, Mobes!  You’re the best.

Oh, and can I come back?

(St. Mobes is the guy on the right … with Ryan, Brandon, and me) 

What Does “Aloha” Mean?

img_0658.jpgWhat does “Aloha” mean?  According to To-Hawaii.com, “aloha” can mean hello, goodbye, love and affection.  But its meaning goes well beyond any definition you can find in dictionaries.  In Hawaii, you hear aloha all the time and you are treated with aloha everywhere.  (Hawaii is called the Aloha State, and for good reason.)  Aloha express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people.  It was the working philosophy of Native Hawaiians; they felt it was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii by one of their ancient gods.

The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.”  (It’s interesting that in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of life,” and Adam “became a living being.”)  The word “aloha” comes from “Alo,” meaning presence, front and face, and “ha,” meaning breath.  

According to the old kahunas (priests), being able to live the Spirit of Aloha was a way of sending and receiving positive energy, or living in harmony.  Aloha was and still is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect.  

Inspired by the philosophy and the wisdom of the Spirit of Aloha, nowadays many institutions and businesses in Hawaii carry its name:  Aloha Tower, Aloha Stadium and Aloha Airlines.  Many Hawaiian singers write and perform songs about aloha as well.

 

Believe it or not, Aloha Spirit is considered a state “law.”  Although the word law sounds too strong and strict, Aloha Spirit is not a type of law that will get you in trouble if you break it.  Having “the Law of Aloha Spirit” on the books serves as a reminder to government officials (while they perform their duties) to treat people with deep care and respect, just like their ancestors did.   Aloha Spirit is more a lesson than a law.   By learning and applying this lesson to real life, government officials can contribute to a better world, a world filled with aloha.

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So by now you may understand that “Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell, or a salutation.  Aloha means mutual regard and affection, and is a reminder to extend warmth and caring for others with no obligation (payback) in return.  Furthermore, aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person.

Queen Lili‘uokalani said, “Aloha is to learn what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable.”

I greet you in the Spirit of Aloha, and pray that you will discover the “breath of life” found in the Person of Jesus Christ. [Both pictures by Lowell Qualls, Maui – 2008 (c)] 

Resurrection On Maui

maui-sunset-small.jpg Joy!

This morning I was in the ohana (a Hawaiian name for “family room”) getting a cup of coffee, this cozy and welcoming little room being located close to our condominium.   Every morning Rick – our host – makes Kona.  The smell of the coffee was wonderful, deep and rich.

A minute or two later I was returning to our place, walking past the pool, and just luxuriating in the warm, fragrant air, listening to the Mina birds chirping and turtle doves cooing.  The sun was just peeking over the West Maui mountains, causing the clouds to glow light yellows and oranges.  Almost heaven.

A man I had never met came up the path leading to the ohana, heading for the coffee pot I had just left, and he greeted me.  “Happy Easter.”  I replied, “He is risen!”

I’m back in our place, sitting on our lanai, and my son just pointed toward the ocean.  “Rainbow,” was all he said.

This joy that is welling up within me is so pleasurable, so intense.  And I wonder, “Why do we concentrate so much on the problem of pain, and never wrestle with the problem of pleasure?” 

Philip Yancey asks, “If atheists insist there is no God because of all the pain and suffering in this world, why aren’t they held accountable for the ‘problem of pleasure?’” 

“Should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?” he writes, meaning that if Christians must defend the existence of God because there are so many painful experiences in life, shouldn’t atheists have to defend their beliefs because there are so many pleasurable experiences, too?

Why is sex fun?  “Reproduction surely doesn’t require pleasure,” Yancey goes on.  “Some animals simply split in half to reproduce … and … why is eating enjoyable?  Plants and animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds.  Why are there colors?”  All good questions.

Back to Easter morning on Maui.  As I look around, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth itself puts God’s creative genius on display,” says David, the song writer of ancient Israel. (Psalm 19)  I get to enjoy all that I see and taste and feel because there is a God in heaven who created me to enjoy creation.

I’m a happy camper, and a joy-filled human being today!

Jesus is risen indeed.

Think about it.

(By the way, I took the picture above last night … looking out of the Pacific, toward Lanai.  Wow!)

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport – Tornados Cancel Flights

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ANABELLE GARAY, an Associated Press Writer, made this report (© 2008 The Associated Press):

DALLAS — A series of storms packing strong winds and heavy rains hit North Texas on Tuesday, grounding hundreds of flights, forcing an airport control tower to evacuate briefly and sending floodwaters spilling into Dallas-area streets.  Winds of more than 100 mph briefly were reported at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where lightning struck a ramp earlier Tuesday.  Airport officials said the strongest winds occurred in microbursts and caused no damage.  More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said.  More than 100 incoming flights were diverted.

“This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity,” said airport spokesman Ken Capps.  “We know it can be frustrating for passengers, but everyone’s top priority is their safety.”

It’s unclear how many travelers were affected by the cancellations, but airport officials estimate about 160,000 passengers pass through DFW each day.

Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated DFW’s west tower for about 15 minutes after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway.  A funnel cloud was also spotted over Lake Lewisville, just north of the airport.

South Dallas had around 4 1/2 to 5 inches of rain by late afternoon, said Ted Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

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I was on one of those “100 incoming flights” that was diverted away from the dangerous storms that struck the Dallas/Fort Worth area today.  American Airlines flight 343 out of Richmond, Virginia, ended up going to Houston instead of Dallas, and we – the passengers and me – stayed in Houston for six hours before finally arriving at our intended destination.  I missed my connecting flight.img_0537.jpg

Big deal!

Being safe was a lot more important than being on time today.  For me, I think I had my priorities straight in my own mind.  And while sleeping on a cot in DFW International is not as comfortable as my own bed, I’

d much rather be on a cot than in a body bag.  Perspective.

There were a few boneheads complaining about the weather, and cancelled flights … but very, very few.  Most of the people (99.99%) that ended up at DFW this evening didn’t make life miserable for themselves and others.  And I’

m choosing not to focus on that .01% that make you scratch your head and wonder where they were when common sense img_0532.jpgwas being handed out.

As I lay my head down tonight in Terminal D – DFW, I’m reminded of this Psalm:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 

He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  (Psalm 91, NIV, selected verses)

Thank You, God, for protecting me today.