During my two weeks in India, I was able to take two afternoons to myself to walk the city and make photos. A short-term trip doesn’t allow much time for building relationships, learning stories and developing images that tell those stories in ways others can connect to. Throughout the whole trip, whenever I had an opportunity, I would be snapping pictures and grabbing street shots as we were traveling to various sites. These two afternoons allowed me to slow down a little bit, but not much. As I was walking down one alley to get back to a street I had spotted earlier in the day, I came across a group of boys playing soccer. Two bricks in the middle of the street marked their goals, and the ball they used was closer in size to a tennis ball than a regulation soccer ball. I started taking pictures, but after a minute or two, the boy who was clearly the leader of the group picked up the ball and came over to me. I was worried they were going to be upset, or that they would start asking questions I wouldn’t be able to answer adequately through our language barrier. Then he smiled at me, dropped the ball at my feet, and said “play.” He didn’t have to ask twice. I slung my camera onto my back and jumped into the game. My athletic abilities have never been anything to write home about, and this instance was no exception. I tried hard, but my clumsy feet struggled to hang on to the tiny ball. I got a few good shots in, thanks more to the generosity of my opponents than to my own footwork, but I couldn’t ever get past the quick feet of the goal keeper. He managed to block every shot I sent in from a distance and steal the ball from under my feet whenever I got too close, all the while throwing in sharp dance moves worthy of a Michael Jackson or Usher music video. We drew more than a few strange looks from passersby, and upset a handful of drivers making their way through the alley we were obstructing, but none of that really mattered in the midst of our excitement. It was a good game at the end of a good day.
I spent a minute flipping through my pictures from India again, and I picked out a few that didn’t catch my eye the first time around. Enjoy these today, and I’ll add a few more tomorrow. To see the rest of my pictures from India, click here.
As a side note, if you haven’t seen my new website at zoharimages.com (the only available domain name I could come up with after an hour long search; I’m open to suggestions) check it out. If you happen to need someone (or know someone who needs someone) to take wedding photos, engagement pictures, family portraits, make a killer album for your next big party or cover an upcoming event in North Carolina or Virginia, give me a call.
In my first week back working with The Daily Record I had the opportunity to interview and photograph Carsie Denning. Mr. Denning is a World War II veteran who recently published a memoir documenting the special project he worked on during the war years.
I love working with WWII veterans! It’s a stereotype, I know, but all of the veterans from that era I have had the opportunity to meet during my time at The Record and The Sanford Herald have just been incredible, multi-faceted men who have worked hard to make the most of every opportunity they’ve had. Mr. Denning is no exception. In high school, he picked up an interest in electronics and photography, setting up a full dark room in his parents’ home. He worked as a shipyard electrician before enlisting in the Army and participating in this unique project. After the war, he worked in Military Intelligence at the Pentagon, then moved to Denver to be near his wife who was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. When she was transferred to a hospital in Richmond, he returned to Washington for a short while before leaving the military to work with the North Carolina prison system. He later took a job as an electrical engineer for the Department of Public Instruction and ended up retiring as assistant controller. After that long career of public service, Mr. Denning started his own company and worked another two decades before retiring for good. In the past year, he has published two books, married Jenny (his first wife, Mary, died several years ago) and worked hard to recover full mobility and speech after suffering a stroke. I enjoyed getting to know just a little bit about his fascinating life during the hours we had together.
This is a new type of blog post for me: the public note pad.
I spent this evening reading through the book of Acts (yeah, the whole thing) in preparation for my New Testament II class with Dr. Robert Brawley. In true twitter style, I thought I would just shout out the first thoughts that came into my head out of this reading, before giving myself, or my readers, the benefit of careful reflection.
• Reading books of the Bible in their entirety, in one sitting, is something I should do more often; so much is missed when we break up our readings — whether done in the interest of spiritual enlightenment or intellectual stimulation — into short pericopes. A lot is happening in Acts in a short amount of time, and most of it is very interconnected.
• Paul really knows how to get to the point. I could take a lesson or two from him in that discipline, and many others as well. He finds words that connect to people in their current contexts. He doesn’t waste time with flattery;* he doesn’t sugarcoat his messages; he doesn’t weigh people down by giving out more information than the present moment requires. And man does he know what to say when you want to put a room on edge. (Acts 23:6)
• Don’t fall asleep when the sermon get’s too long; you just might fall out of a window.
• Acts seems to make some strong differentiations between traditional baptism, such as the kind administered by John the Baptist, and the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” From Pentecost through the episode at Cornelius’ house, no one really seems to understand what’s going on with the Holy Spirit. Paul acts like he has a handle on it later on, but doesn’t really take the time to explain what is happening. What is the second baptism, and what relation does it have to the “baptism of repentance” that John called for? Why is it granted to some and not others? Was the fiery phenomena the early apostles experienced unique to that time in the life of the church, or is it something believers should be looking for today?
• Pentecost was apparently marked as a holiday of the church year early on; Paul was hurrying to get back to Jerusalem to celebrate pentecost after several years of missionary work, although he was still persecuting the church when the actual “Day of Pentecost” occurred.
• Apparently, in chapter 16 Paul is kept from going to Asia so that Luke, the author, can join the trip for a while. The only indication readers have of this, however, is the abrupt change from the third person “they” style of narration to the first person “we” and “us.” The perspective shifts back and forth at several points later in the account as the journey progresses from city to city, and year to year.
• Secular life and religious life seem very compartmentalized in Acts; i.e., even in the midst of intense religious controversy — such as dueling pharisees and sadducees debating the doctrine of immortality while simultaneously stoning a man to death — life goes on. The normal Roman citizen is completely oblivious, and, other than in the interest of pursuing an odd sense of curiosity, probably couldn’t care less. The exception, of course, is Paul’s life. He blends ministry, work and daily life together in a way that seems to either baffle or captivate everyone else.
• Apart from the sadducees, most of Paul’s opposition comes from people with financial interests at stake: the men exploiting the young prophetess, the magicians, rival philosophers and the silversmiths who sell idols to pagan worshipers. None of these people are confronted by Paul, but they all take offense to him and his work.
• Peter seems to step up and take control of the Jerusalem church right away. No one seems to question this, but how his leadership role came to be is not really spelled out either.
• Paul is the man.
• Barnabas seems to be the nicest guy ever.
Well, that turned out to be a little longer than I thought. In an effort to both write more blog posts and spend more time reading, I plan to begin doing more of these on-the-fly lists of thoughts. Dangerous, I know.
An excerpt from a poem by Mother Teresa, written in 1983 during a hospitalization. That old lady knew her theology; but more than that, she knew Jesus.
Who is Jesus?
You are God.
You are God from God.
You are Begotten, not made.
You are One in Substance with the Father.
You are the Son of the Living God.
You are the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
You are One with the Father.
You are in the Father from the beginning:
All things were made by You and the Father.
You are the Beloved Son in Whom the
Father is well pleased.
You are the Son of Mary,
conceived by the Holy Spirit.
You were born in Bethlehem.
You were wrapped in swaddling clothes by Mary
and put in the manger full of straw.
You were kept warm by the breath of the donkey
that carried Your mother with You in her womb.
You are the Son of Joseph,
thee Carpenter, as known by the people of Nazareth.
You are an ordinary man without much learning,
as judged by the learned people of Israel.
Who is Jesus to me?
Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass
for the sins of the world, and mine.
Jesus is the Word — to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth — to be told.
Jesus is the Way — to be walked.
Jesus is the Light — to be lit.
Jesus is the Life — to be lived.
Jesus is the Love — to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy — to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice — to be offered.
Jesus is the Peace — to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life — to be eaten.
Jesus is the Hungry — to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty — to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked — to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless — to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick — to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely — to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted — to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper — to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar — to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard — to listen to him.
Jesus is the Retarded — to protect him.
Jesus is the Little One — to embrace him.
Jesus is the Blind — to lead him.
Jesus is the Mute — to speak for him.
Jesus is the Crippled — to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict — to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute — to remove from danger and befriend.
Jesus is the Prisoner — to be visited.
Jesus is the Old — to be served.
Jesus is my God.
Jesus is my Life.
Jesus is my Love.
Jesus is my All in All.
Jesus is my Everything.