Showing posts from July, 2016

Collecting Stories: The Subversive Cross

The "mother church," the "bishop's church," the church called "Resurrection" is home to a treasure of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church.  That treasure is called "The Subversive Cross."  The cross, made of wood, painted white, and inscribed words inscribed by suffering people during a time of war, tells a story - a powerful story of the transformational work of the Holy Spirit, of faithful people being encouraged and hardened hearts being softened. Lutheran pilgrims to El Salvador often take time during their journeys to hear the story of the cross and to stand in its presence.   The story of the Subversive Cross has been told and retold, by Bishop G√≥mez, by his wife, by people who were present when the cross was created, by people who wrote words on the cross, by people who saw the cross in captivity, by people who remember its return to the people, and by people who heard the story as it has passed between family members and friends. I hav

Natural Medicine for Tour Guides?

We decided to eat lunch before hiking up the big hill to the lookout over the lake .  We sat in the shade on benches made from long bamboo "logs."  We munched on sandwiches, bags of chips and sweet fruit drinks.  A week ago Ruben had been feeling very weak, but his diet of  mora  (wild spinach) soup had clearly renewed his energy.  Sonia knows a great deal about plants, and as we talked about the different types of trees and shrubs on the steep hills which stretch up from the lakeshore, Ruben joined the conversation.  Ruben, like Sonia, knows every plant by multiple names and is wise in the gathering and making of natural medicines. Lilian is shy, but recognizing the gifts of Ruben as a healer, she mentioned a problem she has been having with her ears.  Ruben asked her some questions, determining she had both pain and decreased hearing, and then he gave her three treatment options: 1)  Crush fresh wild basil in a little cotton cloth so that the juice is on the cloth.  Put

The War After the War

No one comes to visit.   The road is controlled by the muchachos.   It's not really a road - more of a dirt path, but it is controlled.  We come in through another way. The home is built in the traditional style of the countryside - small, with a big porch area between the sleeping rooms and the kitchen.  The kitchen is tucked inside a couple of sheets of corrugated metal.  There are plants all around.  We sit in plastic chairs on the cement veranda, appreciative of the breeze on the hot, moist afternoon.  It is little slice of paradise.  The muchachos hang out behind the row of plants.  It is a paradise and a prison. The father tells the story of this place - a farming cooperative which was formed after the civil war, one parcel shared by 80 families.  As in many post-war settlement communities, the people here have never obtained title to their land.  The cooperative has been take to court twice, by people claiming "ownership," and both times that ownership was deem