As spring and summer vacations beckon, this book invites and incites a whole new approach to travel. "Postmarks from a Political Traveler" is a series of travel recollections confronting the troubling topics of roots and racism, polar bears and climate change, anti-Americanism, and the war in Afghanistan. The book opens with the story of the author s experience growing up in the Jim Crow South, traveling in apartheid South Africa, and living in the post-apartheid South Africa of 2009 and 2010. It explores the not-so-dissimilar roots and racism of the United States and South Africa, as well as the cross-fertilization of ideas between the two countries. The next installment chronicles two trips to Churchill, Manitoba, where the planet s largest population of polar bears congregate each October. It recounts the dramatic changes that have occurred in both the human and the polar bear communities in just the last decade and shows how the bears have become an Arctic version of the proverbial canary in the coalmine. Then the book shifts to the author s journey back to the United States on a German freighter with a rabidly anti-American captain. Woven into this account of life aboard a long haul ship are threads of the author s travels and anti-American encounters over a decade of living in Africa and Asia. The book concludes with reflections on trips to Afghanistan in 2004 and in 2012, describing the effects of war and conflict zone politics on women, education, refugees, and aid workers. What ties these episodes together is the author s commitment to social justice and to changing the world through travel and writing that is, affirming travel as a political act."
As I reflected on these sermons from the Book of James, I was reminded of something from my post-Depression childhood. My parents were poor, but that didn't bother us much because almost everyone we knew was as poor as we were. We lived on a farm and were fortunate in that we always had food to eat; but we didn't always have good clothes to wear. In fact, we had two kinds of clothes. We had what we called our "Sunday go-to-meetin' clothes," which were the best we had; we kept them to wear to church on Sunday. Then we had our clothes that we only wore during the week for work and play. These were not as good or nice as our Sunday clothes. In the vernacular of rural Alabama in the mid-1930s we referred to them as our "ever'day" clothes. The expression "ever'day clothes" reminds me of the Book of James. James is about every day religion-Faith in Ever'day Clothes.
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