Weekly Meanderings, 21 April 2018

Tammie Joe Shults:

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board.

“Southwest 1380, we’re single engine,” said Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy. “We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit.” She asked for medical personnel to meet her aircraft on the runway. “We’ve got injured passengers.”

“Injured passengers, okay, and is your airplane physically on fire?” asked a male voice on the other end, according to an air traffic recording.

“No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing,” Shults said, pausing for a moment. “They said there’s a hole, and uh, someone went out.”

The engine on Shults’s plane had, in fact, exploded on Tuesday, spraying shrapnel into the aircraft, causing a window to be blown out and leaving one woman dead and seven other people injured. Passengers pulled the woman who later died back into the plane as she was being sucked out. Others on board the Dallas-bound flight braced for impact as oxygen masks muffled their screams.

In the midst of the chaos, Shults successfully completed an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport, sparing the lives of 148 people aboard the Boeing 737-700 and averting a far worse catastrophe.

“She has nerves of steel,” one passenger, Alfred Tumlinson, told the Associated Press. “That lady, I applaud her. I’m going to send her a Christmas card — I’m going to tell you that — with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.”

Another passenger, Diana McBride Self, thanked Shults on Facebook for her “guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation.” She added that Shults “came back to speak to each of us personally.”

“This is a true American Hero,” McBride wrote. Others on social media agreed and compared Shults with Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who guided his US Airways plane to safety in New York’s Hudson River in 2009.

Carol Leffler, we love you!

CHICAGO — For 20 years of her life she was in the cockpit of a DC-9 as a Navy pilot, but these days Carol Leffler’s mission is to serve veterans who once served their country by making sure they have food on the table.

“If you look at that line of veterans lining up for our food pantry and see the hungry faces, it’s heart-wrenching,” Leffler said. “What people don’t realize is I may have 200 people in line but they all have families, so I’m serving 2,500 mouths a day.”

On Tuesdays, Carol and her team of volunteers transform the hallway at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center into a pop-up food pantry. Veterans line up hours before the pantry even opens.

Through a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, hundreds of veterans go home with nearly two weeks worth of food. Most come with rolling suitcases to fill with the fresh fruit, vegetables and meat that will feed them for over a week.

“I give enough food away that they can’t carry it!” Leffler said.

Carol and her team making certain no veteran walks away empty handed or hungry, and that even back at home, no soldier is left behind.

Thank you Rebecca!

Shortly after she came to faith in Jesus the Messiah in her late twenties, Rebecca Teguns felt called to be a missionary to the Jewish people. In the most roundabout way imaginable, she is living out that call today. God used every step of her journey to lead her to her current position as an Associate Priest at the New Jerusalem House Of Prayer in West Chicago, Illinois. This Anglican congregation is a part of the Anglican Church in North America, and is focused on exploring the Jewish roots of the Christian faith in the first century in its teaching and worship.

Teguns has been on staff at the church, which was formerly known as Resurrection Anglican, since 2007. Northern Seminary was instrumental in forming her as she responded to God’s call to ministry. “I transferred to Northern from Trinity International University where I had been working on an M.A. in Christian Thought in Contemporary Culture/Church History,” she said. “I completed the course work but not my thesis.” She took a break from school and received a call to the priesthood in 2001.

“I hadn’t anticipated a call to the priesthood at all, it had never entered my mind,” she said. During the summer of 2005, the discernment committee that was overseeing the process for my call to the priesthood told me it was time to pursue an M.Div. I started classes at Northern that fall. At that time Northern was experimenting with the Anglican Studies program from Trinity Ambridge.” Teguns was grateful not to have to relocate from her Chicago-area home to continue her studies.

“The most influential instructor at my time at Northern was Robert Webber. God used him in my life long before I even came to Northern. Around 2000, I was looking for a church and happened to read Bob’s book ‘Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail’ which had a huge impact on my life.” Teguns corresponded with him, and that correspondence eventually led her to the church she now helps to lead. She graduated from Northern in June 2008 with a M.Div. and a certificate of Anglican Studies.

Wonderful story:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Amal Altareb came to the U.S. from Yemen in 2011 only knowing the phrase, “I don’t speak English,” now she has a bright future after being accepted into some of the country’s most prestigious colleges.

Amal Altareb grew up in Yemen. When she was 11, her dad took a new job in the U.S., according to WREG.

“What was happening in Yemen in 2011 and 2012, with the Arab spring, was one more reason to unite the family in one place. It would be a more stable and safe place,” Altareb said.

But once she got to the U.S. she had another problem; Arabic would not help her in Memphis.

“I didn’t speak any English except for one phrase: ‘I don’t speak English,'” Altareb said.

She said learning a new language wasn’t easy. She took English as a Second Language, and her classmates became her only friends.

“They were Hispanic and Vietnamese. We couldn’t communicate, but we shared the same experience. We would use sign language, drawings and a couple of English words,” Altareb said.

But she soon realized she would have to mostly teach herself to learn how to speak English.

She used what she already had: her textbooks.

“I stayed up many nights translating my books so I could understand the lesson and it paid off. By the ninth grade I didn’t have to take ESL classes,” Altareb said.

By senior year at Central High School, she was taking five Advanced Placement classes and earned the title of valedictorian.

Cross Country Goodness:

Back in August, the cross-country running team at St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, California decided they’d like to invite their local shelter dogs along for a run. And the staff at Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter were happy to let their dogs get some sun and stretch their legs a bit.

By all accounts, it was a blast, and team coach Luis Escobar wrote on Facebook, “I am not sure who was more excited and having the most fun… the dogs or the kids.”

When I saw the video from the run on Facebook, I couldn’t help but smile, and apparently, I’m not alone. The video was seen by hundreds of thousands of people, including runners and coaches at other schools.

“After we got back, I posted something about it on our Facebook page,” Escobar told the Santa Maria Times. “Almost immediately, it got hundreds of shares and thousands of likes. I got calls from coaches and athletic directors across the country asking about it.”

The art of wasted days:

Patricia Hampl’s new book, The Art of the Wasted Day, is so delightfully nebulous—dangling somewhere between travelogue, literary criticism, memoir, and love letter, with a couple of philosophical deadlifts thrown in—that it’s worth summarizing her argument right from the get-go: reveries and daydreams are not throwaway instances that we should shrug off or snap out of. Times when we are lost in thought, far away from quotidian woes, are moments to seek out and cultivate. The central concern of her book is to show us how to do just that—how to live a life of the mind in a humdrum world.

If you have time, read this wonderful story by Susan Snyder… the opening clip below:

One night about six years ago, Basim Razzo was sitting at his computer in his home in Iraq when he stumbled across a TedX lecture that spoke to him.

The 18-minute talk was called “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.” The speaker, half a world away, was Sam Richards, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Imagine, Richards told his audience, being an ordinary Arab Muslim in Iraq or the Middle East and seeing your country invaded and ravaged by war.

“Can you feel their anger, their fear, their rage at what has happened to their country?” he asked.

Razzo, then in his early 50s, was one of those Arab Muslims. He had spent his days working for a telecommunications company and his nights at home with his wife and daughter. He was so struck by the professor’s talk that he dashed off an email to Richards, praising him for getting it right.

Thus their correspondence was born. The two began to text and Skype. In 2012, Richards enlisted Razzo to speak to his class, remotely patching him in and bridging not just the 6,000 miles between the central Pennsylvania college town and an ancient Middle Eastern city but the political and cultural chasm between their countries.

Razzo’s on-screen appearance became a staple of Richards’ course at State College every semester after that.

Until the night of the accident.

That’s what Razzo calls the Sept. 20, 2015 bombing. The one that killed his wife, his daughter, his brother and his nephew. The one that destroyed his house, broke his hip and foot and hurt his back.

The one — by U.S. forces — that challenged his views on empathy. And forgiveness.

And ultimately would carry him to Penn State to deliver a powerful lesson. [HT: JS]

Douthat on abortion extremisms:

By this I mean that my pro-choice friends endorsing Williamson’s sacking can’t see that his extremism is mirrored in their own, in a system of supposedly “moderate” thought that is often blind to the public’s actual opinions on these issues, that lionizes advocates for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, that hands philosophers who favor forms of euthanasia and infanticide prestigious chairs at major universities, that is at best mildly troubled by the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium or the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia, that increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form.

All this extremism has its reasons, as those tenured philosophers will be happy to explain. But everyday liberalism is sufficiently muddled between semi-Christian ideas and a utilitarian materialism that mostly the system is defended by euphemism and evasion, and by a failure to imagine oneself as all of us once were: tiny and dependent and hidden, and yet still essentially ourselves

Williamson, who was put up for adoption in poor-white Texas just before Roe. v. Wade was decided, had personal reasons to make that imaginative leap, and it carried him all the way to an eye-for-an-eye impulse in response. His views are not common among pro-life writers, they rather deliberately give offense, and I have no doubt they would make inter-office events more uncomfortable than, say, my interactions with Ruth Marcus.

But if they are “callous and violent,” to use the pursed-lip language of Williamson’s firing, they reflect back an essential fact about our respectable reproductive rights regime — which is justified with the hazy theology of individualism, but implemented with lethal violence against the most vulnerable of human bodies every single day.

On reduplicatives:

Some of our favorite expressions are what I call conjoined terms. These are phrases composed of two related words that rhyme or alliterate and are fun to say: hotsy-totsy, hoity-toity, topsy-turvy, dilly-dally, shillyshally, flimflam, flip-flop, fiddlefaddle, fuddyduddy, hocuspocus, hoochiecoochie, hankypanky, herkyjerky, okeydokey, rolypoly, mumbo jumbo, superduper, willynilly, creepy-crawly, wishywashy, and thousands more.

Linguists have their own word for these terms: reduplicatives. Reduplication is a topic of great interest to linguists, and is discussed in books dating back to the 1860s. Some look askance at this kind of wordplay. In English Words: History and StructureDonka Minkova and Robert Stockwell call reduplication “unimportant, though often amusing.” Claptrap. The fact that such terms illustrate playfulness in adult discourse doesn’t make them inconsequential—far from it. The etymologist Allen Walker Read thought such “jubilance” was an essential part of word creation. “The play spirit,” he explained, “may even have been the prime mover in the development of language itself.”

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