because this Ronald is in Bangkok, Thailand located right next to this place, the Erawan Shrine.
I drag these poor quality photos from my album because two bombs went off in the Erawan Shrine today, a spot that has to be the most multi-cultural spot in the world. This is a Hindu shrine in the land of Buddhists sitting right next door to the American culinary gift to the world. The fact that cultures that are largely vegetarian can tolerate perhaps the worst example of carnivore dining in their midst, should impress upon you the amazing placidity and tolerance exhibited by the Thai people daily.
The poor quality photos were taken from the train station that is the local stop for the elevated train that runs above the city. Looking from this vantage point, the background behind Ronald is a very huge indoor mall. When I say huge, think about the biggest WalMart you’ve ever seen, including garden center, double the WalMart on the ground and then stack them about eight high. Big, huh? I guess that mall just wasn’t big enough, because right across the street, on the other side of the elevated train, they built another mall, even bigger. I’m hoping the bombs weren’t set off by angry shoppers who begrudged the Hindus the corner spot. I kid, although not attributed yet, I’m sure that the bombs relate to the current “troubles” in Thailand between political factions.
This story makes me want to share my personal experience in Thailand because I was so impressed by how well the religions co-existed there. The country has a population of 67 million, with about 8 million living in Bangkok. It felt like most of them were below me when I took the photos above. There is a diversity of religions in the population in the area. It is true that the Muslims are largely concentrated in the Southern parts of the country, kind of like the Baptists here, but even though they appear to be the “fundamental” type, they seem to get along. No car bombs, just everyone doing what they need to do each day to take care of their families. I guess poor folk share that the world over. You have to have enough spare time in your day to conjure up why your denomination is better than the other to start laying the ground work for Holy Wars. Ironic that it’s the Holy Men / preachers that have enough time in their week to be able to come up with nuances that create discord rather than peace.
As stated above, I feel certain this bombing will be attributed to one or the other political groups that are trying to wedge their way into control when the King finally passes. Sadly, the bombing taints my memory of being awe struck by so many people jammed in together working in peaceful harmony, the antithesis of any major city in the U.S.
I’d like to end this service by charging the congregation to collect all of their distilled spirits at home and dumping them in the Ocoee River. For our benediction, please open your hymnals to page 442, “Shall We Gather at the River”.