Monday, September 19, 2016

Mr. and Mrs. Last Name

If you'll recall, I recently got engaged.

One of the conversations Alissa and I had rather early on in our relationship was about last names, and how, at so many weddings, I objected to the concluding phrase, "I now present, for the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. His-First-Name His-Last-Name." I objected because the woman, who often was my friend or relative - aka the reason I was attending the wedding - had been reduced to the name of "Mrs." I recall attending a wedding with my friend Jessie, and when the "Mr. and Mrs." pronouncement was made we both groaned to each other, "and there it is."

Alissa saw my point, but stated in no uncertain terms that if we got married, she'd want to take my last name and be introduced as "Mr. and Mrs. Last-Name." Her reason was to form a new identity as a couple, separate from her former life as an individual. Frantically I explained to her that if I did that at my own wedding, Jessie would never forgive me! She retorted, "who would you rather have upset at you, your friend Jessie or your wife?"


Fortunately, Alissa has since changed her opinion about taking my last name (she realized she actually likes her last name, and doesn't want to go through all the legal hassles of changing something she likes), and now plans on keeping her own, so I've managed to escape the trap! Jessie can be happy with me, as can Alissa.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Have I?

Half my lifetime ago, history happened. Rather than write my personal story of that day, I think it's more important to ask some challenging questions:

If I call myself a follower of Jesus, the same Jesus who says "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," have I truly lived that? Have I prayed for the hijackers who, 15 years ago, following the rhetoric of men who had twisted the peaceful message of Islam for their own destructive means, also lost their lives alongside their victims? Have I prayed for their families who, whether they perceive their loved ones joyfully as martyrs or mournfully as victims, have in both cases still lost someone they loved? Have I prayed for the thousands of victims who have died in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world as a result of my own country's acts of terroristic violence, air raids, invasions? Have I prayed for the leaders, followers, and families of ISIS? Have I written to my legislature asking for saner foreign policies that don't involve dropping bombs, which inevitably kill civilians, therefore inciting more fires of radicalism? Have I reached out to the Muslims in my local community to say, "you are welcome here. You, and Islam, are not my enemy"? Have I in fact done anything to help promote peace, understanding, camaraderie?

This is what's on my mind today.