Authority: It’s Everywhere (at least it should be)

After our check-in at the hotel on Sunday, Jeff and I were anxious to start moving and desperate to find something to eat. We hopped aboard a train and headed downtown. The closer we got to City Center, the more interesting the people watching became. Spotting what looked like a good place to eat, we got off the train, and what a world we stepped into! The streets were full of shouting people, many wearing garish costumes. We even saw a sign outside one restaurant indicating that Rick Santorum was not welcome to sit and take a meal there. Can you guess what the worship event of the day was? It was Portland’s gay pride festival. No celebration of Father’s Day for this progressive city. Instead, they chose to celebrate the casting-off of the God-given function of a man to raise children. The call to worship was provided by Nike with their rainbowy signs and balloons declaring, “Be True”. No more “Just do it!” encouraging athletes to move beyond the weakness of their bodies to achieve greatness. Just soft assurances that it’s A-OK to do whatever you want to do.

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We enjoyed a delicious meal at Kell’s Irish Tavern

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and reboarded the train.

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We disembarked at what we thought was the entrance to the Japanese Gardens, only to find that we had to hoof it a couple of miles to get there. It was well worth the hike though! Everything about this beautiful place practically shouted, “Authority is good!” Every footpath, every stream of water, every tree and plant, had been precisely placed to provide a stunning feast for the eyes.

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Trees that would have been thirty feet tall if they had been left to themselves had been carefully pruned and trained so that their proportions would be just right. Enjoying their beauty, I thought of my little Japanese maple tree at home. I need to learn to use my pruners! Failing to discipline my tree prevents it from displaying its potential beauty. Even their “Natural Gardens”, designed to make you feel like you’re wandering in the forest, were designed very intentionally and everything was pruned. There are lots of things that occur naturally in the world of plants that would have made these gorgeous gardens less than spectacular. Things like weeds and suckers and disease. We were very thankful for the gardeners’ care and discipline for their responsibility.

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