[image: Harper's Ferry, 2012, JA Van Devender]
2 Co 2:14–17
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
This mornings NYT - "Racing to Save The Stray Dogs of Solchi"
“We were told, ‘Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them,’ ” said Olga Melnikova, who is coordinating the rescue effort on behalf of a charity called Good Will, which is financed by Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s billionaire oligarchs.
Not much different than yesterday and the day before and the day before that... in the news this morning. There was that piece in the Baltimore Sun about Johns Hopkins University professors who are outraged, you hear me, furious... that the institution is going to raise the stipend of graduate assistants from $22k to $30k but at the same time DECREASE the number of GA's that they allow. The PhD's are screaming that they will not have sufficient numbers of minions to do their bidding. Hmmmm... does this not sound ominously akin to the current push to raise the minimum wage? I wonder how many of these PhD's are otherwise avid exponents of that political effort?
And then there was that other article about how Baltimore public school teachers are angry. It seems that the union, yes that one they are required to support, has negotiated a new contract which prohibits any person or organization sending emails to the teacher's school inbox or put letters or other types of paperwork in the the teacher's school mailbox except the UNION. Only the union approved, union reviewed, union allowed material is allowed to be distributed to the teachers. Who knows what might be in those things... why some of it might be anti-union, or expressing ideas that do not meet politically correct standards, or, heaven help us, advocating methods of teaching children that don't conform to NEA policies. Remind me again when unions became a part of the public education structural establishment? The next thing you know they will be demanding public tax-payer support for the "services" they render.
But perhaps the dog story was the most ridiculous. Our friend Vladimir Putin doesn't want the pristine (uhhh, there are those reports of sanitary problems and incomplete hotel accomodations) beauty of the Russian Winter Sports venue "soiled" by stray dogs doing the full range of what stray dogs do with all those foreign tourists in town. So how does one deal with such a problem. One resorts to the historic Russian practice of shooting those things which cause an embarrassment.
Now, I am not a fan of stray dogs or cats in cities. I am not opposed to the current practice of disposing of them in a humane manner after a suitable time in the pen. But what this story conjurs up in my mind is that of an American family, walking out of their hotel in the morning enroute to watch their son or daughter compete, and being confronted with a uniformed officer blasting away at a dog running down the street in front of them.
You might think that this would be a worse image of Russia than that of being over-run with stray dogs. OK... I know... it probably wouldn't work out that way. They would probably hunt them down at night using silencers and night vision goggles... but, you know, the effect is the same.
I'm glad that the Russian billionaire is concerned about the puppies and is doing something about it. I have my own doubts about how said billionaire got all his money in the first place. The nouveau riche Russians tend to have more in common with "The God-Father" than they have with Colonel Sanders, but I can't say for certain where this guy's wealth originated. But if treating a few mutts more humanely buys him some comfort I will not deny him the venue.
All this is to say that there is more than enough craziness to go around. The bad news is that it doesn't seem to be diminishing. It's the same today, yesterday, and as far back as we can tell.
The Good News is that, with Paul, we can say that craziness and death is not the only "aroma" in our atmosphere. There is the aroma of life, that which is exuding from changed lives and changed hearts and changed minds. There is the ministry of the Holy Spirit who is continuing what He started at Pentecost and is touching lives even in the darkest of places. He is "diffusing" the knowledge of Christ in every place. That hasn't changed either... and it is a ray of hope for a world abounding in silliness and worse than silliness.