Trouble, Nothing But Trouble

This is not just any normal Ronald McDonald,

because this Ronald is in Bangkok, Thailand.

The McDonald’s is located right next to this place,

the Erawan Shrine.

I drag these poor quality photos from my album because of the recent goings on in the Capitol and the continued sense of entitlement shown by some members of our society.

The Erawan Shrine 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. Imagine that number of people crowded together vying for the same items and none of them packing heat. Imagine how disoriented your average American white person would feel in the situation of being in the minority and not being able to bring along their “equalizer” with them.

I’m relating 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 with everyone else.

No “storming the Capitol”, 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/ political party is better than the other to start laying the ground work for Holy Wars. Ironic that it’s the Holy Men / politicians that have enough time in their week to be able to come up with nuances that create discord rather than peace.

Thailand is about 3/4 the size of Texas with roughly three times as many people. If the Thais can keep the multiplicity of their religions and viewpoints working together for common goals, it seems like we Americans should be able to keep the Catholic and Baptists from dumping on the Jews and people of color. Watching the people of Bangkok jammed together working in peaceful harmony is the antithesis to me 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”.

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