Thursday, September 15, 2011

Federal judge overturns law preventing pediatricians from talking to patients about guns

Common sense and keeping the government our of our business finally triumphed over the wishes (demands) of the NRA Wednesday when a federal judge blocked enforcement of a ill-conceived idea to block Florida physicians from talking to their patients about guns.   The law was passed earlier this summer and signed by governor Rick Scott in a moment of utter capitulation to the NRA lobby that protested gun ownership and secrecy trumped child safety.

Fortunately, I will not have to take up the torch and add discussions about gun safety to my pre-marital counseling, as promised.  While doctors routinely discuss things like pool safety and wearing helmets while bike riding, priests routinely ask about household finances and conflict resolution among newly engaged couples.  Hopefully, governor Scott and other lobby groups will not decide to try and regulate clergy conversations . . . or any other.  Freedom of speak is, after-all, the law of the land.  Thankfully, this time our representatives have been prevented from trampling upon this freedom.  Had this law been allowed to stand it is not difficult to see it being extended to many other types of conversations.  Think government is intruding in your life?  Just ask yourself what GOP Rep. Jason Brodeur and our legislature were trying to accomplish by this half-baked piece of legislation.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Strange Feeling Upon the Approach of Patriots Day

As September 11 approaches I feel strangely uneasy about our national fervor for patriotism.  As a nation we have much   for which to be thankful.  In spite of current economic woes, this country is a wonderful place to live.  Our many freedoms continue to ensure our safety, even as we continually are encouraged to sign away personal freedoms for the sake of security.  Our countryside is dotted with choices of houses of worship, even as we become more and more a people of intolerance toward persons of faith which do not follow our personal faith choices.

On Aug. 24, 2011 the Wall Street Journal printed an opinion piece by Seth Lipsky, former editor of the Jewish Daily Forward in which Mr. Lipsky brought the following letter to the attention of a nation that sorely needs to be reminded of our calling to be a people of religious liberty and spiritual grace. It is a letter from our founding father George Washington and it was addressed to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.  Please read Mr. Washington's words as I let them speak for themselves.

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.


While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington
(summer 1790)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pediatricians may be banned from asking about guns

I am not an advocate of gun control. I believe all Americans have the right to own and bear arms and this right is protected by our Constitution. This does not mean that all Americans have the innate common sense and intelligence to exercise that right. There are laws that in certain situations restrict gun ownership.

With rights come responsibilities.

It sounds like Florida is about to enter the world of Animal Farm. Governor Rick Scott has a bill on his desk which would ban pediatricians from asking their patients about gun ownership and the safe practices inherent in gun ownership. The American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged its members to ask questions about guns and how they're stored, as part of well-child visits. But Marion Hammer, the NRA's lobbyist in Tallahassee, says that's not a pediatrician's job. She calls it an invasion of privacy and Second Amendment rights.  (Listen to the story on NPR Weekend Edition .)

I do not own a gun nor have I ever had a working gun in my home. I know a number of people who own hand guns and rifles—some for hunting and some for personal protection—and none of those people strike me as ones who would recklessly endanger a child (or an adult) through improper use or storage of a weapon.

But I know there are lots of people in this world who do not have the wherewithal to keep a loaded weapon safe. All you have to do is watch the news or read the papers to find stories of accidental shootings which should have been prevented by responsible adults practicing gun safety. But too often they do not.

As a young child I was exposed to a tragic shooting in my small home town. A close friend and class-mate was killed by his brother when the rifle they were playing with accidentally discharged into my young friend’s chest, killing him instantly. Might this weapon have been stored more safely if a doctor had asked the family about firearms in their home? We will never know. Does it seem unreasonable to believe it might have made a difference?

Should we prohibit citizens from owning guns or having guns if there are small children in the home? Absolutely not. More children die in backyard swimming pools than in accidental shootings and I know of no movement to prohibit families with young children from owning swimming pools.

But if lives can be saved by pediatricians asking families questions concerning gun safety, we should be encouraging that practice rather than prohibiting it.

If Governor Scott signs this bill into legislation I expect I will take on the task of asking parishioners if they practice gun safety in their homes. It seems like the responsible thing to do and if it lands me in jail I’m sure my congregation will be happy to bail me out.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Heroes

One thing you quickly noticed near the “affected areas” were the number of distribution centers for all kind of supplies. Water, ice, tarps, plywood, nails, tools. They were piled high under large tents or in the open in church parking lots. Drive through and pick up what you need. No questions asked, except “do you need any help?” That’s where the heroes come in.

For day’s students, residents, fraternity and sorority brothers and sisters, university staff, and a myriad of others combed the “affected areas” looking for people in need of help. Clearing debris from property seemed to be the most needed assistance. Not much can happen until the big trees are chopped up and toted to the street for eventual pickup. Insurance adjusters cannot appraise auto damage until the can see the cars to assess them. So, for days these heroes have cut and hauled and stacked debris throughout the “affected areas.”

On the porch of a student’s house near the graveyard south of Bryant-Denny Stadium I spend time with a group of students who have been doing this work for four days in the hot, humid, Alabama weather. We shared more than a few beers and I hear their stories. They had come from all over the country, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and California, to study at the University. As I listened to them talk about what they had been doing the previous four days I was struck by the pragmatism they each brought to the task at hand. A terrible thing had happened to their community. They were able to help those in need, so they showed up every day to do whatever was necessary.

Each day these and hundreds of others patrolled the streets looking for people to help. Pickup trucks, overalls, gloves, and strong backs were all that they had to offer—but it was enough. One young man from Atlanta, Scottie, showed the evidence of hours in the sun by sporting a serious farmer’s tan, numerous bug-bites, and lots of cuts and scratches from hauling brush to the street. Another student from Ventura, Ashley, had a serious looking abrasion and knob on her shin. All were complaining of sore muscles and aching backs. It was odd to think that these students, who had been released from the remainder of their classes and final exams, chose to stay behind a while to help out as they could. Well Done!

I wondered what drove these students to go out and put in a hard day’s work for no pay. I mean, they are students. It isn’t like they don’t need the money. And it isn’t like they don’t have other demands on their time. Clay, from Dallas, was also a tornado survivor. He rode out a head on attack in the basement of his rented house. Under the onslaught of two-hundred plus mile per hour winds the house had collapsed upon him. He climbed out of the rubble amide total devastation. His car had been crushed by a fallen tree. His belongings scattered. I could imagine why Clay was still in Tuscaloosa; he was trapped. But it was more than that. It was a sense of duty and responsibility to their community, their school, and each other. It was nice to see.

In fact, it was the day after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and I heard no conversation about his death; no gloating or nationalistic fervor, only total absorption in the situation they faced. That is why I tagged them with the hero badge. If our country and the world are to be placed in the hands of future leaders cut from the same cloth as these young people, I feel safe. Maybe there is a sense of responsibility among the youth of today. Maybe we have misjudged our future leaders. I think so.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ground Zero Tuscaloosa Alabama

I am writing this in my son's apartment in Tuscaloosa Alabama. A light rain is falling and the power has just gone off. It may be for a few minutes or a few hours, or longer. For the people who have nowhere to go, this life, even in an undamaged apartment, must be depressing. I realize now why all the digital clocks in the apartment are flashing at me.

As I sit in Ian’s apartment the sounds of mourning doves are interspersed with chain saw engines, and the noise of the cleanup from across the street. I arrived here yesterday via Southwest Air from Jacksonville through Birmingham. Driving from the airport one never got the impression that anything very bad had happened to this area just a few days before. But, when we arrived in Tuscaloosa it got different fast.

Ian lives in the Midtown apartment complex in Tuscaloosa. It is a new, three story building with covered parking decks on each floor and located one block west of McFarland Blvd. on the south side of the University campus—not far from the intersection of 15th Street and McFarland. I had seen pictures of the damage to this area on the net so I was prepared for some pretty spectacular sites. What I wasn't prepared for was the total destruction of homes, churches, businesses, and neighborhoods that surrounded where my son had been living.

After dropping my things at his apartment—navigating to which was no small task—we made a quick drive through of a neighborhood which was representative of the numerous “affected areas”. This was a very modest neighborhood of homes surrounding a pretty little lake lined with trees. I had seen this area once before as we were looking for living quarters for Ian last fall. It contains a mix of student off-campus housing and resident owners. As we left my son’s apartment complex and crossed 5th Avenue we started down a side street. Each house we passed had massive damage. The cars which were destroyed by the blowing debris laden winds had been removed. But the ones which had been crushed by falling trees and structures remained. After four days of continuous clean-up effort, it was impossible to tell that anything had been done, except for the massive piles of trees and shrubs and vegetation that had been piled in front of each house.

As we left 5th Avenue and processed south I noticed that the roof damage was getting significantly worse. The first houses were missing shingles and roofing felt. They had been covered with blue plastic tarps like giant blue bandages. As we made our way southwest the damage intensified. Roofs were not only missing shingles and felt but structural members, then whole sections of hips and gables, and then entire roofs were gone. A few blocks further it was impossible to even distinguish where a house had been or if what I was seeing had once even been a house.

Along our route were an army of bucket trucks. With their outriggers splayed out to stabilize the truck they were busy stringing new power lines. It was an interesting sight because I soon realized that every line they were stringing was attached to a new pole. And what I had at first thought was a random arrangement of power poles were in fact the denuded remains of large trees. The tornado had stripped the leaves, branches, and bark off of every tree I could see and had then snapped the tree like a twig , fifteen or twenty feet above the ground. Other trees, like the oaks, had been uprooted and deposited on top of a convenient car, truck, or house. Some of the houses were simply cleaved in two by massive oaks which had fallen or been deposited by the storm. In one driveway and late model Chevy SUV was parked, completely totaled by a tree. A young man was working diligently trying to remove a bicycle from the car. It was obviously a futile effort as the bike was also crushed by the giant tree. Further along a giant oak, five feet in diameter, had reduced a two story brick home to rubble. All around the pile of debris stood silent fifteen foot tall pine sticks, once fine trees in their own right.

Some houses were relatively inhabitable. Their residents worked outside or inside clearing away trash and debris. Some just sat on chairs in their yard or driveway—if it was clear—and watched in numb silence. One guy sat in a lawn chair, his shotgun casually laying on his lap. On the corner of his property was a hand painted sigh that read, “Occupied and armed. Looters will be shot.” People are generally tired, fearful, and pissed.

But, last night as we wound our way back to Ian’s place we passed two houses holding lawn parties. The grill was smoking and the driveway was outlined with tiki torches. It reminded me of a Fourth of July cookout. It may be a long time before things return to normal for those in the affected areas, but every day brings a little bit of happiness. Two steps forward, one step back.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Listen to Him!"

Last Sunday after the Epiphany
Transfiguration Sunday

Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Like many things, our use of certain terms and phrases has become so common we often fail to fully understand the scope and depth of their true meaning.  ‘Mountain-top experience’ is one of those phrases.  Many of us say we have had one or more mountain-top experiences, but I wonder if our experiences would pass muster when compared with the ones described in today’s lessons. 

Today is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, otherwise known as Transfiguration of Our Lord.  We think of the Transfiguration as centering on the events on Mt. Sinai which Peter, John, and James experienced with Jesus.

But, also in our lessons we read of another mountain-top experience.  Moses entered a cloud upon climbing up the mountain.  A beautiful scene is described of a mountain whose highest point is enshrouded by a cloud.   It calls to mind one of many paintings and photographs of dramatically lighted scenes of majestic mountains, snow-covered granite peaks, and wintery clouds descending to hide the peak.  The mere mention of such a vista can be awe-inspiring.

And although I have had an experience climbing tall mountains in our western states, my ‘mountain-top’ experience happened in the flat land of Florida at a place called Camp Weed.  It didn’t happen during the time I was there; rather it happened later, after I had been home for several months. Mountain-top experiences, whatever they may be, do not seem to require mountains. 

But it is undeniable that the experience was important to me.  And it may even have fit the definition we place on the term.  It was a religious experience.  It was a sudden realization of the way things were.  It was life changing for me and for other people around me.

I did not know it at the time but my son had a mountain-top experience when we visited the college he ultimately selected where he would spend four years in study.  He had a sudden realization of the way things were and it had the potential to change his life.  You might call it an epiphany—an ‘aha.’

A mountain-top experience is an epiphany, a sudden understanding of the way things work.  A mountaintop experience is an “aha” moment when something—or everything—falls into place.  We are most able to have mountain-top experiences when we find ourselves confused about something which we trust we understand—and then we are faced with insurmountable evidence to the contrary. 

In its most mundane example such an epiphany could be the recognition of the solution to a calculus problem or knowing after many trials and errors why certain chemicals should never be mixed together.  It could be the answer to a question we have long pondered—or God’s voice telling us to “Be quiet, Listen.” In its most complex manifestation, such an epiphany could be the understanding of a deep, problem we have carried around for way too many years. 

The irony of the placement of Transfiguration Sunday at the end of Epiphany and the beginning of Lent should not be lost upon us.  The Season of Epiphany began as God manifest himself to us and the world by using the gentile Kings from the East to call upon the baby Jesus in Bethlehem—to crown Him king of kings and Lord of Lords. 

It continued at the Jordon River when Jesus rose up from the water.  We are again invited to listen with the crowds (at Jesus' Baptism) and disciples (at the Transfiguration) as a voice from heaven announces, "This is my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased”—bookends to the season.

The instruction to "listen to him" addressed to Peter, James, and John will become poignant, even painful in the weeks ahead as the disciples regularly fail to do just that, or at least fail to understand what they are listening to.   Jesus is trying to help his three closest disciples get an idea of what this is all about.

Often we also fail to answer the call to “listen to him” even in the face of knowledge about how things really turn out.  Transfiguration leads us resolutely to Jerusalem and into Lent, as Jesus comes down from the mountain to head to the death he speaks of during that very descent.

And do those same words—“Listen to him”—when taken as addressed also to us as Jesus' latest disciples, orient us to listen and watch the Lord of Glory approach his destiny in Jerusalem so that we might more fully comprehend God's purposes and work in Jesus.  In other words—Epiphany—understanding—“aha.”

And did Peter really want to preserve the moment and stay on the mountain-top and build three booths?  Or was his an appropriate response to Jewish custom surrounding the festival of the Tabernacles—or was it Peter being Peter, the never quite getting it disciple? 

Whatever Peter—or we—may have been thinking, there is only one thing that is necessary: to listen to Jesus.  Because, when it is all over—when the reunion with Moses and Elijah is finished, when the disciples have gone back down the mountain is awe and disbelief and when the voice of God has finished speaking, and Jesus is no longer brilliant white—after all of this has transpired, all that is left is Jesus.

And Jesus looks to us, as he looked to the disciples, to carry out his work in this world.  “I am not your “personal saviour” Jesus;” he says. “I am the saviour for all mankind.”  On this World Mission Sunday Jesus reminds us of the work that needs to be done in our world.   We cannot stay on the mountain; it is time to leave—time to leave the safety of the mountain, the safety of a life in three booths—of comfortable, risk- and commitment-free worship and living.  It is time to go out and do the work we are called to do.

It means going down that mountain and being Christ for the poorest, loneliest, sickest, and most destitute in the world even as they reveal Christ to us.

Most of us have had mountain top experiences.  We know and can tell about the impact they have had on our lives.  But we also have returned to the valley—knowing we could not live in the rarified air of Christ.  And At both places, and everywhere in between, Jesus is there, reaching out to raise us to life again. 

“Listen to him!”

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What, Me Worry?

The VIII Sunday after the Epiphany 

We have a lot more things to worry about than the people in Jesus’ day did.  Food, clothing, and lions, as one of my parishioners said.  At times in my life I have been ranked among the world’s great worriers; especially at three o’clock in the morning, when I wake from a sound sleep to tackle the troubles of the day.   I have been known to think and worry and analyze things until the alarm goes off.  Many times some elegant solution comes to me in my state of sleep-drunken analysis that seems so perfect—I get enamored with it and continue to lay awake thinking about the solution, which is probably some other kind of “insomniac-sin.” 

Recently I have discovered that if I wake up in one of these worry modes I can fight it off by occupying my mind with something more pleasurable.  I chose golf.  I play a round of golf in my head, tee-ing up a shot on my favorite course, taking a few practice swings, imagining the shot I want to make, and then in my mind hitting that perfect shot.  Sometimes I will play two or three holes before finally dosing off into dreamland.

Dream-golf may be fun, but the solution to this habit of late-night-worrying that we all fall into is to get at the source of our worries and put them to rest.  Most of us worry about finances, or relationships, or our families.  Sometimes we get specific and worry about certain people, our health, or things that are about to happen like visits to the doctor or banker.  No matter what we worry about we know we cannot affect the outcome one iota by worrying about it.

I remember the story of a businessman who had a payment due on his bank note the next day.  He did not have the money so he worried and fretted over it. At night he would lay awake pondering what he would do.  Finally his wife picked up the phone and called the banker.  She told him her husband didn’t have the money to make the note payment.  The husband was outranged!

“Why did you do that?” he shouted.
“Well, you keep worrying and worrying about it and you couldn’t sleep—so now it’s his problem and you can go to sleep,” she said.

The kernel of a solution to our worrying lies in this little story—if we continue to worry nothing will change.  We need to do something differently.  We need to give our problems away.  We need to let someone else handle them.

The thing that makes our worrying so destructive is how it isolates us.  As we worry we fall into a deeper sense of aloneness and isolation.  We feel like no one can possibly understand our problems—no one can appreciate our sense of abandonment.  We face our troubles alone and we suffer the negative judgment of our family, our friends, and our community; in our minds even the nation and world view us as failures, unable to cope.  We feel that if we cannot glean a solution out of the air of our worry, no one can help us.  No one can understand.

It becomes even more complex—a deeper problem than this.  Worrying leads to new and troubling emotions.  As we explore the depths of our troubles and worry about the choices we have to make to address our problems, we are led into the sin of judgment.  We compare our plight to those of others and judge them for their luck or good fortune.  We compare how a decision here or an opportunity there would have changed everything for us—made us more successful, accepted, and spared us from our worries.  As we judge others we fence off, separate, and isolate ourselves.  Judging brings division and aloneness.  A steady diet of worry, judgment, separation, isolation, and aloneness brings depression and the paralysis of self-pity.

What is this power that worry holds over us?  Why are we so easily drawn into a cycle of worry?  More importantly, how can we extract ourselves from worry’s grip? 

This is not easy to do, but Jesus admonishes us to not worry.

We are drawn into a state of worry and fearfulness by many things; personal troubles and threats to our family—even our political leaders can draw us into feelings of fear and worry.  (This is a long-used strategy to garner support for their policies—making us fearful of the future or of the policies of their adversary.)

The bottom line however is always the same.  Worry starts by a feeling of scarcity.  Our attitudes change—we hoard, we protect, and we worry.

William Blaine-Wallace said, “We have squandered Jewish wisdom about death.  Our culture’s disposition towards death as that, which ends and empties life, permeates the institutions that shape our lives. Our body politic is one of scarcity, irrespective of the immense abundance we enjoy.  The aim and attitude of government, corporations, religious bodies, and families reflect a fear of death by striving to persevere and prosper against the uncertainties and diminishments of life.  The greater our abundance the more heightened is our sensitivity to scarcity.  Logic suggests that those who have the most might hoard the least; those who have the least might hoard the most.  The logic is lost on us. [1]

We may not see it but we live in a world of abundance.  To appreciate what God has given us we need to look around and see how God is working in the world and in our lives.  When we face our troubles alone we have dialed God out of the equation—we prevent his work from having a life-changing impact on our lives.

We live in a world of abundance.  We need not worry about possessions, property, or comfort.  Strive for God’s Kingdom and all the things we need will be given to us.  Concentrate on God’s Kingdom—how we treat others—love of our neighbor—the love of God—trust in the only one in whom we truly can trust.

When we replace the love of our treasure on earth with love for God we begin to change our habits concerning worry.  As our need for “something” diminishes, our need to worry about “something” also fades. 

It helps if we no longer place ourselves at the center of our existence.  We suffer from “center-of-the-universe syndrome.”  But that can change.  If we stop thinking about our needs and desires first, we can begin to heal our propensity to worry and we can fill that empty space with God.

This change begins when we answer the request which Jesus makes of us to show God our treasure.
How do we go about doing that?  Do we open up our safe-deposit box at the bank and pull out our stock certificates?  Do we dig up the chest full of jewels which is buried in the back yard?  Do we drive our car past God’s house, wave and honk the horn?  Do we open up our check register and let God browse around?

“For where your treasure is . . . there also is your heart.”

I think we worry because we know God sees our treasure.  He sees what we have worked so hard for and worried so incessantly for and He laughs.  He laughs until He cries.

A rich man was about to die and he was visited by an angel.

 “You are about to die,” the angel said. “I’ve come to walk with you.”

 “I know,” the man replied.  “Before I die, I need to know if I can bring something with me to Heaven.”

 “Not allowed!” the angel said.  “You know the rules.”

 “But this is very important.  You know I have never asked for anything like this before,” the man begged.

“You are right,” the angel agreed.  “You have lived a good life.  You have helped others with your wealth but you need to learn one last lesson.  I will let you bring one suitcase into heaven.”

 A few days later, the rich man died.  He arrived at the Gates of Heaven dragging a very heavy and large suitcase.

“Whoa! You cannot bring that in here,” said St. Peter.

 “But I was told I could bring one suitcase,” the man replied.

 “That was you?” said St. Peter.  “Okay, but you have to go through security first.”

 The rich man put the suitcase on a table to be examined by the angel.  Suddenly, there was laughter from all the angels who saw the case’s contents.

“What is this?” they asked in mock wonderment.

 “It’s my gold,” the rich man replied. 

 “I know its gold,” said St. Peter.  “What we want to know is why you brought PAVEMENT with you!”

We are God’s Children and we are living in the midst of the Kingdom which Jesus has won for us.  In this new world—and new economy—things have a different value than they did in the old world.  God waits for us to adjust our accounting principles for this new age.  Our bank accounts do not have the same value in this world.  We need to learn what has true value—love.

Love is the commodity for which all other commodities will be exchanged.  Love is the new gold standard.  Love is the Euro and the dollar and all other currencies combined—and then some.

But we have trouble trusting God in these matters.  We cannot trust because we do not fully understand God’s Kingdom—we tend to over or under estimate the significance of the facts of God’s Kingdom.  We make it harder than it needs to be.

We cannot trust because we cannot let go of the things which we believe have value to us—our treasure which moth and rust consume.

We cannot trust because we do not understand how to put a deposit into God’s accounting system.  We do not know how to store up treasure in Heaven.  We cling to what we know. 

But Israel said, "The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me."  The Lord answered; “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?  Even these women  may forget, yet I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you as well.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

[1] Blaine-Wallace, William.  Water In the Wastelands.  Cambridge, MA: Cowley. 1989.