Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Guardian of Faith


Entering the Duomo, Milan, Italy © Jim Korpi

Gianbattista sits slouching in front of a computer for nine hours a day in his white, fluorescent-lit office at a software firm. He is in accounting. For his parent’s 50th anniversary Gianbattista wanted to do something special. Knowing his parents, he typed an email to the Pope. The Pope’s people answered.
Now his father refuses to ride his bike. His mother will not leave the house. According to the pen-marked calendar beside the kitchen table, there are still 14 more days before their meeting with the Pope. No risks can be taken.
The two have been married for 50 years. Being Catholic, they consider the Pope to be a supreme guardian of their faith and second to no one but Jesus in significance.

life, liberty and land


Two Roads Converge Ahead, Belfast, Ireland © Jim Korpi

“That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.” – The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, Resolved, N. C. D. 1, 1774

See more images from Belfast, Northern Ireland

family at home

Pakistani Crew, Art and Fashion Expo, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia © Jim Korpi

Allah does not like the man who considers himself superior to his companions. – Prophet Mohammad (Zarqani, Vol 4 p. 306)

“How is it that anyone can do a job like this?” Khalid asks after we order soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones from a Bengali who hands our order out of the side of a converted Chevy van where the city of Riyadh meets the desert. It is late, almost midnight. “Saudis can not work these hours. They have families at home.”
The majority of Bengali workers I have questioned about their lives have an average of two children and an extended family they are supporting in their home country.
After nearly an hour of contemplating the lives of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, Khalid proclaims,”The Prophet Mohammad said some people are born to serve others.”

Torn by the Land

“To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors — the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.”
– Chief Seattle in Contested Speech
Wendell Berry talks of two types of people in the world, the nurturer and the exploiter. The more I begin to understand my own tendencies and those of the people around me, I’m frightened by human potential and those types who have defined our history.
I think often about owning land. Why? Do I crave the security of entering into the communion of homeownership? Do I want to draw a line in the sand as if to say, “This is mine?” Or is it just a bit of the ol’ “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em?”
People talk of owning property in terms of “view” and “location” but rarely does someone say to me, “I would like to buy this piece of land because the history my family has here.” It’s as if the land has become only something to look at and possess, another thing to place in a box in the attic or in a storage facility nearby.
I’m well aware of the belief that if one doesn’t own something then they don’t care for it. This I believe only if one is brought up without a strong value system and/or sense of entitlement, but I’m not sold on this idea when it comes to the land. No law or ownership is required for me to know that I shouldn’t throw trash from a moving vehicle, nor should I dump my refuse while going for a walk in the woods.