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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
            Monday, February 10 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterTopics and topicality

I was surprised, but pleasantly so, that we lost no more than three or four members of this list through two weeks of debating the emotionally charged issues of abortion and anti-abortion ideology and politics. I still suspect that a writer who weighed in on Friday but asked not to be named represented a widespread sentiment: "The list is for discussing Nanty Glo. Not abortions, or religion, etc. Please get the list back on track." It's certainly a viewpoint that I not only respect, but share. On the tackling of sensitive subjects like these, I wrote here in June 2001:

I want to guarantee that in exploring [religious] topics I hope to never "preach" to you or manipulate (beyond what anyone wants to be "manipulated" by reading good writing).

In general, we're here to cover common ground beneath all of us from Blacklick Valley. In the same light, the little "inspiration" corner in the daily [Postcards] use material from any background that might help us reflect on the meaning of life, how to enrich our inner lives or better appreciate our vocations, avocations, or our human relationships. I tried to make that corner broadly "Christian" for the Lenten season and hope to continue that practice in any future years we may have together, but in all other seasons input will be used from any "uplifting" source, from a latter-day saint like Alexander Men or Mother Teresa to an atheist like Ayn Rand.

But in that same Jonal entry I said we also want to respect any writer's freedom to share items of personal interest, even such as the testimony of his or her conversion to this or that religion or point of view. It's inevitable that we'll occasionally stray beyond the limits of topics dealing with Nanty Glo and Blacklick Valley directly. But when we do, please know that it's our intention to return ASAP to more generally pertinent topics.

In order to make this list available via Yahoo's list service, we had to choose a "general topic" that serves as our umbrella. I found it interesting that there are apparently so few lists about a "place" and its people and recollections about the place that it's not even a general topic. "Communities" has to do more with groups of people who share interest in model railroading or antiques collecting in those attempts to form categoties. The only one I could find that seemed close to us was "Greater Pittsburgh." And on the page under that category, we invite all those interested to join us, telling them we'll be talking mostly about Blacklick Valley and what concerns it, but occasionally we get into more general topics like play, the woods, Western Pennsylvania sayings and speech patterns, and even spirituality.

Thank you, all those reading this today, for sticking with this group through a period of intense controversy. I aim to be kinder and gentler in the weeks ahead. But it's still an open forum. You're still invited to be yourself.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Come again?

A Missouri farmer passed away and left 17 mules to his three sons. The instructions left in the will said that the oldest boy was to get one-half, the second oldest one-third, and the youngest one-ninth. The three sons, recognizing the difficulty of dividing 17 mules into these fractions, began to argue.

Their uncle heard about the argument, hitched up his mule and drove out to settle the matter. He added his mule to the 17, making 18. The oldest therefore got one-half, or nine, the second oldest got one-third, or six, and the youngest son got one-ninth, or two. Adding up 9, 6 and 2 equals 17. The uncle, having settled the argument, hitched up his mule and drove home.

—Anonymous

Thought for the day

What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is a virtuous life in God—to possess one's soul in humility, silence, and patience. Abiding thus, you will see God's peace within yourself—that is, the Kingdom of God—and will find yourself in God's Kingdom after your repose.

—Elder Anthony (Putilov), 1795-1865
An elder of Optina Monastery and Skete, Russia

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