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Spiritual Tune-up: The Lord Is NEAR

        "Let your gentleness be apparent to all; the Lord is near."         - Paul, Philippians 4.   "Gentleness," OR patience, or kindness, or forbearance, or - we get the point 🙂 So is this cause and effect? BECAUSE God is near, we are gentle, kind, patient, etc?...

Spiritual Tune-up: Giving ATTENTION

    "The first act of love is always the giving of attention." - Dallas Willard     He was writing about our love for the Lord, in his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines. But it is a broadly applicable truth. Have trouble with love-relationships in life?  This may be...

Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer – Good Values

This prayer is online in a number of places. It was read in our church a while back by a professor of livestock management. (Yes, there really is such a discipline, and it takes some brains to master it.) Cowboy poetry does give you a different perspective if you can...

I’m Relieved Clinton Lost – Still, Trump Is Dangerous

I am no fan of Donald Trump. But I felt a strong sense of relief as more states turned red last Tuesday and it became obvious Hillary was going to lose. It surprised me – but not greatly.  But Trump is dangerous in several ways, to all of us. Hillary – the Clinton...

About PublicChristian

This blog was an active Christian Democrat site for a few years in the mid-oughts (around 2005). It is coming back to life - after a break largely due to time pressures.  I am still a Christian, but not a registered Democrat. The "Christian" part means I take the...

100 Quotes

  Nerd alert! This is a list that used to be behind the quote widget on the upper right of the page. They are from various places, maybe half from my personal reading (books). I'm not documenting sources because I don't have time or did not record them. There's good...

A Few Chips Must Fly / Gaza & Israel

This lists casualties of the Israeli efforts to subdue the Palestinians in two recent months. [This is from a powerful diary over at Daily Kos. Her article adds some very helpful historical illustration and comment.] I do not ask that you read the lists. But do scroll...

10 Rules For Happy Marriage – from Experience

These were created on their recent tenth anniversary by a couple who are friends of ours . We have always felt they are some of the best people we know. Maybe it's attitudes like these that make that true. Be on each other's side no matter what. Don't keep track of...

Not a Democrat. Definitely not a Republican.

This site began as a Christian Democrat site, way back in 2003.  I have been a registered Democrat for probably 43 years; but about four years ago my affiliation changed to independent ("unaffiliated"). So many Christians just assume that...

The Two Most Obvious Facts of Life

Here's my ex-temp ramble in response to the line "momentum succumbs to entropy" seen elsewhere ... "On the one hand ... but then on the other hand ..." + and you can say entropy succumbs to momentum. - but you have to have an energy source for momentum. + well, the...

A Covenant for Civility (Sojourners)

[You can sign this covenant online at the Sojourners site. I have added underlines and bolds to the version below.] How good and pleasant it is when the people of God live together in unity. -Psalm 133:1 As Christian pastors and leaders with diverse theological and...

Eisenhower on Security – and Moral Bankruptcy

there is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security "No way." No way. As in not possible in this world. but it can easily bankrupt itself, morally and economically, in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone. - President...

Why I Pay Priority Attention to Jesus Christ

WHY? Why should we focus any more on Jesus Christ than on Abraham or Moses or Isaiah? Or on the laws in the Bible, or prophecy, or the end of the world? Is focus on Jesus more needed than pointing out sins – especially other people’s sins? Is Christ actually more...

xDid You Vote?

Some Biblical perspective. First, our hope has to be higher than human society, politics, government, churches, or wars. Psalm 146: 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very...

“They Said …” – Corrections, in the Service of Truth

[This is lifted verbatim from BiPM's column this morning. Emphases are mine.] They said his name's too foreign and exotic. It isn't. They said he's too young. He isn't. They said he's a scary Muslim terrorist. He isn't. They said he was sworn in on the Koran. He...

God – Comfort and Radical Challenger

Here's a 24-year old ("Jeff G.") talking about his relationship with God. God, for me, is like someone who's already up when you've come downstairs in the morning and you're stumbling to get that cup of coffee and he's already there with his. And you sit on the front...

And Now? Hard Times and Good News.

Bad News Warren Buffett, the widely respected Omaha multi-billionaire, used the phrase “Pearl Harbor” to describe the significance of our nation's current economic crisis, a phrase he has never before used about the economy. Many other very reputable people feel the...

$25 Billion to Save 25,000 Children

It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases. - Bono Thanks to enewsletter from Sojourners for the quote....

The Government is Merely a Servant

Mark Twain supposedly said, Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. He also asked, For in a Republic, who is 'the country?' Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a...

Short Quotes on Economics and Morality

Statements by economists. These are from an email newsletter I get from Information Clearing House Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make...

Obama and Abortion

The Matthew 25 Network has a very helpful page for Christians who want to know the truth about Senator Barack Obama as against the flood of lies we have all experienced. As promised, here's a lengthy excerpt from that page. These particular lies - with rebuttals - all...

McCain and Obama at Saddleback – Christian Morality

Obama and McCain each just spent an hour answering questions from Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church in Forest Hills, CA. I have a few apparently biased observations: OBAMA Obama put considerable emphasis on the actual moral priorities of Jesus, mentioning the...

Think.

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity. - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing The path of...

What JESUS Says About the People We Tend to Turn Away From

Words of Jesus, who is called "Christ." It is from his title that we derive the word "Christian" (from Matthew 25:34-46) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since...

“Bring Us Back To A Unity of Love”

God, good beyond all that is good, fair beyond all that is fair, in you is calmness peace and concord. Heal the dissensions that divide us from one another and bring us back to a unity of love bearing some likeness to your divine nature. Amen - Dionysius of...

A Critique from 1964

From another blessing of last week's used book sale - one published the year after I graduated from high school. Consider it this way: at present, the organization of American society is an interlocking system of • semi-monopolies notoriously venal, • an electorate...

We Make Ourselves Real By Telling The Truth

[Last weekend the public library sponsored one of those huge used book sales. For less than $20 we got about 3 dozen books. One of life's pleasures! And most of them, after a week, I'm still glad we got. (Where we're going to put them is another question.)] Here's...

RFK – “Moral Courage”

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. - Robert F. Kennedy...

Jesus as V.P? Is this funny, sad, wise … ?

Jordan Zakarin wrote a good spoof news article entitled Jesus Demures on Obama VP Talk. Obama is pretty attractive to a lot of Americans as a possible national leader, so... "[Jesus is] concerned with a number of things," said the operative ... the Son of God was...

Why Bother to Tell the Truth?

When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do. - William Blake (Thanks to Tom at Information Clearing House.) Although, of course, a guy always hopes some who do not know it will...

Teens on Resisting the Temptation to Fight

Recently a fairly open discussion another adult and I had with some teenagers took a few interesting turns (no surprise there!). One person in the group talked a little about the experience of being on the brink of some serious temptation, turning away from it, and...

Biden: Our Values Demand BOTH Security and Liberty

Senator Joe Biden can speak English. Is this clear enough? ... there is no daylight between President Bush and Sen. McCain ... Like President Bush, Sen. McCain is presenting the American people with a false choice - national security or civil liberties. We need a...

Prayer: Paying Personal Attention to God

At a pastors' seminar recently I bought two books on prayer. Another pastor asked me to give him my reaction to one of them when I'd read it, so here goes. (I'll review the other one in a few days.) First I got Tom Harpur's Prayer, the Hidden Fire: A Practical and...

Support the Troops. Of Course!

It's just simple truth. Of course we honor those who serve or have served in uniform. We honor them directly, and also we will insist that they be treated decently by the powers that send them into conflict. That is just elementary human decency. We honor our war dead...

Do What You Can

"Ring the bells that still can ring forget your perfect offering there is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in." -Leonard Cohen

American Baptist Bill of Rights

Here is the key part of "The American Baptist Bill of Rights," unanimously approved at the 1939 annual sessions of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Northern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention. Believing religious liberty to be not only an...

An Objective of Prayer

I Timothy 2: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Pretty important "that." And loving our...

Science and Religion – from John Paul II

Thanks to Maribeth Milner for providing these two quotes from John Paul II. Good stuff. The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its makeup, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships...

Real Evil Is Very Stubborn – M L King Jr

A couple weeks ago I'd selected a Martin Luther King quote about evil to publish here. But it's decidedly uncheery, and I left it off. Then we were looking at a PowerPoint series my son prepared for a college class he teaches, and the slide in honor of Dr. King had...

The Cross Has Practical Meaning

John Howard Yoder's The Politics of Jesus is a very serious book of Bible study. Here's a major point of the book in one of its reiterations (p 125). The "cross" of Jesus was a political punishment; and when Christians are made to suffer by government it is usually...

The Powerlessness of American Christian Prayers

An excerpt from an earlier post. If this kind of Christianity ("Christianism"?) really had a "God who is there", a God who responds to prayer of integrity, surely the prayer going on in churches all over this country would have brought much healing and health to this...

MLK Jr on Ends vs Means

You know the old problem: Must we do evil that good may come? Or, as Connie expressed it recently, "Can you [a group or a nation] survive by not being evil? I wonder what that would look like." Means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means,...

Jesus: Kingdom Source

Over and against these senseless modern myths ... there is the "myth" of the God of goodness who has chosen people to prepare a kingdom of justice, truth, and love on earth. This myth dies hard. Why should we refuse to admit that Christ taught it to us? [from Andre...

Fudging About Tax Burdens: Nebraska Gov. Heineman

Ed Howard clears up (slightly) some of the confusion about Nebraska's tax rates - in his daily newsletter from Nebraska State Paper. The Governor is pushing income tax cuts as a dire necessity to reduce "your" tax burden. Some say "your" tax burden will be reduced...

A Reasonable Goal

Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf [thanks to dnta at dkos who uses it as a sig...

Borrowed Earth

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,we borrow it from our children. Those two perspectives are both true, seems to me. But the second one is "truer" in the sense that it carries a lot more practical ethical and emotional weight. That's the quote for the day...

What Counts Is …

Paul said: The only thing that counts is faith working through love. - Galatians 5 Tad Dunne, writing of the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan, says: Religious behavior and religious language often just paper over gaping holes in spiritual substance. And it is the...

The Two Most Obvious Things

I. Question A question for the new year: What do you think are the most obvious facts about this Creation? - this human world, or the natural world, the universe(s) that we live in? II. Answer I think there are two very important, very obvious facts, and they are...

Hey, It’s New Year’s Eve

Celebrate however seems appropriate. But take care of yourself. The whole point is that we earthlings have another year to enjoy and deal with. We'll appreciate your presence for and involvement in that project.

Our Enemies’ Opinions

A worthy subject for personal contemplation as well as for national contemplation: Our enemies' opinion of us comes closer to the truth than our own.-La Rochefoucauld

A Christmas Kind of Issue?

Does this count as a Christmas thought? I'm going to quote John Ruskin again, from his 4 essays titled as a group "Unto This Last." He is talking about the great value of justice. The mistake of the best men through generation after generation, has been that great one...

Six Secrets of Success

Some of us spent some time discussing John 15 Sunday morning. In the blockquote are some excerpts from the chapter, to refresh our memories. Then there are six "simple" principles that stand out to me from the chapter. I say "simple" because they are simple to state....

“Peace on Earth” – but Not NOW, Of Course

How bizarre. A woman in Colorado was threatened with $1000 worth of fines for having a Christmas wreath on the front of her house in the shape of a peace symbol. Yes, I guess I can see that. Celebration of the season where we stress "Peace on Earth" should not be made...

Preaching the Gospel with Guns?

Here's another good one from A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan. After our short war against Spain in the late 1890's, there was much controversy over the idea of imperialistic US expansion in the Philippines. The pious President McKinley argued, with...

The Civilized Are Responsible

Originally published in 1976. My how times have not changed. The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless...

President Kennedy on Church and State

John F. Kennedy said he believed in ... an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act ... For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of...

Moral and Political Education from – Yes – Bill Clinton

Here's a short video in which former President Clinton brings us some deadly serious insight about the intersections of government and morality, with some hilarious comedy highlights. (9 minute video of a speech at a Jim Webb rally in Virginia the Monday before the...

Limbaugh Crawling in Slime Again? I Am SO Surprised.

So who agrees with Ed Howard (Nebraska State Paper) all the time? That would be a strange person. But I have to agree with his take on one of America's favorite liars. It is unlikely that Rush Limbaugh has a sense of shame. That's too bad, because he has good use for...

Tut’s Tomb and Costly Choices

We visited the Tutankhamen exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago with my daughter and her family on Tuesday. Of course the Field is awesome, and the Tut exhibitions are moving. But I had two reactions that I've not had before, at least not so strongly, when studying...

Who’s Pro-life?

Sent to me by a friend: "Pro-life" + no helpful legislation = pro-choice So you "vote pro-life" eh? And what good has that done? There are many steps we could take to significantly reduce abortions in this country, and our Republican-dominated House and Senate have...

Who Is Pro-Life? Not Corrupt Politicians.

Who is Pro-Life? A very religious, very pro-life Republican friend of mine is working for Democratic candidates this year. She told me she is tired of supporting "cookie-cutter conservative Christian candidates" who never seem to get any real moral good done in...

A Republican Political Collapse Will Not Make Things Right.

The collapse of an evil regime does not make things right, but it DOES make great improvement much more possible. The sad testimony of history is that the collapse of an evil regime has often been only the beginning of times of real terror and chaos. So if a major...

“Top Republicans Always Pick Wrong”

That House leaders ... did little about it is terrible. It is also the latest in a long, depressing pattern: When there is a choice between the right thing to do and the easiest route to perpetuation of power, top Republicans always pick wrong. I'd say that's a moral...

Quotable – from Recent But No Longer Republicans

Dick Armey, former Republican House Majority Leader: "Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies." Charles Barkley, former NBA star: "I was a Republican until they lost their minds." And 9 Kansans who were formerly Republicans, ... including Mark Parkinson,...

The Church and the Government

Should the church or the churches run the government? Some think so. I don't. Should the church ever be critical of the government? Some don't think so. I do. The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience...

“Go Tell That Fox”

President Clinton gave Fox News (so-called) something it is not accustomed to - the truth - and a direct rejection of their pattern of manipulation of their hearers and of their guests. Or, as an article in The Nation put it, an intended target of our drive-by media...

God and Politics

  Gandhi believed that to drive the gun out of politics he had to invite God in.   Hmm. Often God is the justification for using guns. Here Gandhi is saying we cannot escape the use of guns in politics without bringing God in. Maybe the difference is this. One...

“One Nation” In It Together?

On the sharing of America's fabulous economic gains, on the sharing of the horrific price for Bush's war in Iraq, on the sharing of the universal need for good health coverage - we clearly are no longer in it together. - Jim...

Keeping the Churches Honest

(I'd never heard of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), or Ernesto Cortez who is on their national board, until our two weeks in Omaha recently (for Chelsea's surgery). While there we heard Tom Hollers speak and got to visit with him. He's affiliated with IAF (and...

LTE About Iraq Vet’s Nice Vibes [w/Update]

A recent letter in the McCook Daily Gazette said nice things about certain Iraqis that the author knows personally, and then concludes we need to stay the course. Here is my response: We dropped the Egg on the Floor One has to applaud the good will of SSG McConnell...

“Searching for Direction”

[Here is the substance of an email I received last week. My responses are in the boxed blockquotes.] First, as I say at the end, I appreciate the courage and courtesy it takes to write an email such as you have written. ... Hello. I am probably what would be...

“Must Speak Out” – You Could.

  Whenever extremists attempt to hijack religion for violent ends,whenever politicians seek to exploit sectarian differences, and whenever the press mischaracterises our faith traditions, people of faith, religious communities and religious leaders must stand up,...

Truth (& Lying) and Politics

  Since the liar is free to fashion his "facts" to fit the profit and pleasure, or even the expectations, of his audience, the chances are that he will be more persuasive than the truthteller.   Indeed, he will usually have plausibility on his side; his exposition...

Some Top Concerns In SW Nebraska

I've been asking people around McCook a question that varies in form, but yesterday came out as "What are the top three issues you are concerned about, whether on the national-international level, state level, or local level?" A majority of the people interviewed are...

The Self-Destruction of Empires

What is a prophet? Do you qualify if you explain what a nation is doing to itself and what the consequences will be if it continues in that course? If so, we have many worthy prophets in our land. This is from one of those (many) books I longed to buy and read as the...

Old Testament Philosophy – From Erich Fromm on “1984”

I wonder how this strikes you. The Old Testament philosophy of history assumes that man grows and unfolds in history and eventually becomes what he potentially is. It assumes that he develops his powers of reason and love fully, and thus is enabled to grasp the world,...

What Are “Little Children” Like?

One of the oddities of how Jesus thinks: But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God...

Our Country’s Many Anti-Democratic Institutions

I. Hard Stuff and Soft Stuff in Institutional Purpose Driving and thinking yesterday, about all the institutions I am involved in, it seemed to me that our formal institutions are, perhaps without exception, fairly strongly devoted to preventing anything too creative...

Thinking About What God Is Thinking

If we honestly compared - the amount of time in church spent thinking about what others think or might think - with the amount of time spent thinking about what God is thinking, we would probably be shocked. Those of us in congregational leadership need to think...

Words and Deeds

  Power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company, where words are not empty and deeds not brutal, where words are not used to veil intentions but to disclose realities, and deeds are not used to violate and destroy but to establish relations and...

“The Most Friendly To Religion”

America has given to the world a precious jewel. It has shown that a government whose concerns are purely secular and which leaves to the individual conscience of its citizenry all obligations that relate to God is the one which is actually the most friendly to...

A Very Good Question About Israel, Lebanon, Iran, the US

A very good question: As Israeli firepower rained down on Lebanon last week, pundits here in the West wasted no time pinning the blame on - Iran ... Is it really Iran that is pushing for war? Think about it. Why would Iran want to provoke a war with Israel and the...

“Declaration of Independence” – from What?

Aristotle drew a distinction between "accident" and "essence." "Accident" would include the specifics of how a thing appears in this world in a particular instance. You, for example, appear as male or female, of a given age and physical description, having a...

A Good Quote is Worth a Thousand Words

Thanks to Information Clearing House for these. Ehren Watada has refused orders to Iraq. I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and...

Remember Better Times?

Alternative title: "Had Enough?" From an email - Bill Clinton speaks about our nation's direction today. In the eight years I was privileged to serve as President, we set a positive course for this country by working together. Because of the work we did, our country...

Was Jesus A Political Figure?

Here's a condensation of Martin's recent comment about Christians being engaged in political activity. I've made a few changes for the sake of flow. Obviously I think it is worth our while. Here are a couple of quotes to whet our appetites: "Jesus ACTED politically,...

Ed Howard’s At It again

From Ed's intro comments to the daily headlines email from Nebraska.Statepaper.com What we need are people whose votes are based on something besides emotional issues - such as gay marriage and abortion - which Congress cannot address effectively. If political...

One Way to Clarify Bush’s Values as a Leader

I found this in an old notebook recently. About three years ago, when I first started blogging, a major-party candidate for the Presidency set forth these values: As President, I would set four goals for American leadership: First, defeat the threat posed by...

“The Americans Brought Us Rosy Dreams”

This is from Muayad Muhsin, the Iraqi artist of a painting of Rumsfeld. "Rumsfeld's boots deliver a message from America: `We rule the world,'" Muhsin, 41, said in an interview. "It speaks of America's total indifference to what the rest of the world thinks." Muhsin...

Bush Plays Christians for Suckers Yet Again

Cynthia Tucker is editorial page editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She wrote this late last week. President Bush should be ashamed. Tucker argues as follows: He has treated religious conservatives with more disrespect than Hollywood or the so-called liberal...

When The Money and the Power are One

I'm not an Ayn Rand fan, but you have to acknowledge some wisdom in this selection. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion, when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing, when you see...

Lenny the Misfit – Survival and Achievement!

[Thanks to the Wizard of Ads for this story.] Caterina dumps baby Lenny on her boyfriend, then moves to town and gets married to someone else. Neither Lenny's father nor his mother is willing to give Lenny their family name, so he is known only by the name of the...

Liberal Media? Not on tv, BUT …

Is there a left wing liberal media? Maybe, but not where we've been told it is. Certainly not on network television, not on talk radio, not among the editorialists at the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. But there's an interesting diary by jwb over at...

America Dreams of Empire – A Comment from Germany

Have you read the new comment by Martin on yesterday's post? I'm reproducing most of it here. This is obviously a very literate, concerned, and attentive fellow. He's talking about a strong American tendency that he says showed pretty much all through the twentieth...

Values Voters Needed!

Every day I receive an email update of current concerns from Focus on the Family. Today's edition shows real concern on the far right about losing control of the federal government. "Family Issues Hinge on the Mid-Term Election Values Voters need to register to vote...

Cinco de Mayo

That's "the fifth of May." Wikipedia A brief history of the day. 5 Tex-Mex recipes / Hundreds of Mexican recipes / More recipes for Cinco de...

“Thoroughness and Charm”

Here's another of my favorite prayers - this one from St. Thomas Aquinas. A great philosopher and university professor of the 13th century, he had an unusual philosophical method - when stumped he would sometimes go over to the church and pray for awhile before the...

You Can’t Be Both Conservative and Republican

Here's an awesome quote I got last night from a retired farmer who lives in Hitchcock County (far southwest Nebraska). I can be conservative, but it is impossible to be a conservative Republican. The Republican party of the last 12 years or so (at least) has made that...

Is Biblical Morality Egalitarian?

Egalitarian: adj. affirming political, economic, and social equality for all [< Fr. egalite] Defined that way, I'd have some problems with the idea, unless we're pretty careful how we define "equality". But the Bible certainly touches related issues. I have found a...

Assault Ministry?

In the appropriately inaccurate, or rightly wrong category: Correction: In the original version of this report, Newsweek misquoted [Jerry] Falwell as referring to 'assault ministry.' In fact, Falwell was referring to 'a salt ministry' a reference to Matthew 5:13,...

Fear and Courage in the Ambulance

A nurse friend of mine, mobitz57 - a Critical Care RN and a volunteer EMT - has begun blogging. Here's a paragraph about fear and courage, from a riff on "Middle of the Night EMS Calls". This is a good parable for some of the other kinds of fear that come to us, and...

With Senators Like These …

Our Congressman (Tom Osborne, Rep, NE 3rd District) is running for Governor. He used to manage a major NCAA football program (remember the once mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers?). He wants to leave Congress and move to the Governor's office because there you have some real...

Books for a Desert Island

Someone at LibraryThing.com asked which five books I'd like to have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island. Not an easy question. Here's my answer. (Obviously part of my standard was sheer size, assuming I'm going to be there a long time with little else...

Things Are Going “Just Fine” in Iraq?

HBK gave us a good list of quick links about how "well" things are going in Iraq. I looked them all up to provide headlines. Notice that this quick survey of world press reports on events related to our war are all within a very recent three-day period. Here's HBK's...

Looking for a “Progressive Church”

I get requests like this from time to time. I stumbled across your site quite literally by accident. I am looking for a progressive church in the Central Texas Area, (Austin - San Antonio). I don't know if you can help me ... I'm still looking. Maybe someday, I will...

Why Do We Call Him “Lord”?

This is from an email I received recently: Our "moderate" churches have eliminated half of the Gospel by "spiritualizing" its espousal of the poor and weak. As a recent SojoMail observed, anyone who says what Maria did in the Magnificat without indicating clearly that...

Our Callings Are Precious – Michael Eric Dyson

What is your calling? Many of us actually have several in this complex society. I've been enjoying the first 50 or so pages of The Michael Eric Dyson Reader*, in which he talks several times about his calling to be "an intellectual." Dyson is controversial - a word...

Quit Whining About Being Persecuted

If our faith - and the lifestyle it produces, and the public types of Christianity it produces - cannot attract people on its merits, we are in deep trouble. I do not want the government forcing people to pretend to respect my faith. I do not want to live by and...

“He Refused to Become That Kind of Leader”

Here are excerpts from a Christmas email sent out by ChristianAlliance.org. A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE ... With people whipped into a frenzy by right wing pundits, it has become all the rage among certain branches of Christianity to protest by boycotting any retailer who...

A Prairie Prayer (Christmas Poem)

I know this guy personally and this is entirely legit. And I much agree with some of his sentiments! I have an occupation not familiar to most men So my outlook's prob'ly dif'rent from beginin' to the end. I don't need a lot of money or the uptown social life, Just...

Happy Holidays To You!! (Grrr!)

Grrr! The so-called Christian right's belligerence in trying to force everybody to SAY "Christmas" (as in "Merry Christmas"- as against "Happy Holidays") is so offensive and irrational that it almost leaves me speechless. Almost, but not quite. This is a CLASSIC case...

Real Prayer in the Real World

Here are some good thoughts on prayer from a curriculum ad I got from the Baptist Center for Ethics. Many people seem to understand prayer as little more than a visit with a Santa Claus-type figure who can grant our every wish. This misconception leads not only to a...

Another Pro-Life Democrat

Being a Democrat is often a result of a concern for ordinary folks, for working people, for those who are discriminated against (as rural people or rural counties sometimes are), or for those who have unusual vulnerability to abuse or neglect (like children, the...

Being Thankful Requires a Little Thought

We can work on being thankful from two directions. First: Our word "thank" comes from an older word, "think." To be thankful today for the most precious things in our lives, we have to think about those things. And it really is a valuable exercise. Spend a few moments...

“Lucky” To Live Here AND Pay Taxes Here – Warren Buffet

This paragraph nails it! Writing checks to the IRS that include strings of zeros does not bother ... me. Berkshire as a corporation, and we as individuals have prospered in America as we would have in no other country. Indeed, if we lived in some other part of the...

Accountability

(From my campaign blog - no longer available.) Most of us believe that State Senators have a duty to be transparent with their constituents - that they should be open about what they’re doing and why - that they should be ready and willing to be held to account. We...

New Quotes to Tote

Here are some newly collected quotes - all legit as far as I know. If you want peace, work for justice. Pope Paul VI All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and...

What Was The Sin Of Sodom?

James L. Evans, pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama, recently wrote about the sins that cities (and nations) might be judged for in the light of Biblical complaints about Sodom. He points out that Sodom, or "Sodom and Gomorrah," is commonly used...

Egotism in Prayer

Does anybody see, in any way, any truth in this?  Any personal experience with this distinction in your own life (or elsewhere)? There is a certain egoist self-confidence which is increased by the more elementary forms of religion, which upholds us in much of our...

What Does It Mean To Believe?

I recently put an article up about faith, discussing the first few verses in the book of James. What is the faith the Bible requires? You may not agree with my conclusions, but in a Christian context it is surely an important question. It's kinda long so here are some...

On Being a Bridge

This site got listed under "Know Thine Opponent" on a liberal blog (certainly more "liberal" than I am, if you define the term a certain way), between Oliver North and Randall Terry, with the likes of PNAC and Rush Limbaugh. I think I'm going to be sick. I guess it's...

“Fundamentalist Movements Distort the Tradition”

Through her much experience, study and writing about religion and religious ideas and leaders, Karen Armstrong has come to this conclusion: I discovered that in all three of the religions of Abraham [Judaism, Christianity, Islam], fundamentalist movements distort the...

Only Justice Can Stop A Curse

"Only justice can stop a curse." That's from Alice Walker via Paul Rogat Loeb in The Impossible Will Take A Little While. How far has the curse progressed? We've messed up the climate, and significant drought is impacting many of us. The ice caps are shrinking, the...

The Profound Silence

I get a daily email newsletter / update from Dobson's "Focus on the Family" ("Citizen Link"). As of today, the silence about Pat Robertson's terrorism-promoting remarks (on Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, see recent posts) is eloquent. I guess "moral values" and...

Pro-Life and Pro-Terror?

Here's Salon.com quoting Pat Robertson's interesting approach to popularly elected leaders of other sovereign nations. Pat Robertson is a great teacher and leader of the so-called Christian right. But if the only trump values are oil and power - how is that Christian?...

Changing Their Tune on Supporting the Troops

These are comments about Clinton's commitment of US troops into Bosnia; and it wasn't all that long ago - they should be able to remember the logic. (Thanks to kos.) "You can support the troops but not the president." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX) "Well, I just think it's a...

If We Try to Kill All Our Enemies – We Just Make More

You may see Bill Clinton as "the enemy" or as your enemy. I think you would be wrong, but if you haven't actually listened you don't actually know. Please 'listen' to these brief sentences. [From a recent interview given by Bill Clinton, translated by Jerome a Paris.]...

Republicans: The Party of Big, Intrusive Government

From the Sunday Portland Oregonian: ˜Other than telling us how to live, think, marry, pray, vote, invest, educate our children, and now, die, I think the Republicans have done a fine job of getting government out of our lives." Quoted from Barry Rubin on the Nebraska...

Litmus Test II

This has been circulating in blogdom. It's called "My Litmus Test" for candidates. (Barb wrote us another, more fundamental "Litmus Test" article for this site a while back.) I know some who visit here are not Democrats, some are neither Democrats nor Republicans. But...

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

This quote may seem a bit dense the first time through; but it's worth it. (It's from a text in philosophical theology - Faith Seeking Understanding - by Robert Earl Cushman.) I find it very pertinent to our lives as American patriots. "What is not effectually known...

Long-Distance Sin: Part II

Here's a quote from the next page of Sin and Society. As society grows complex, it can be harmed in more ways. Those who rack and rend this social order do worse than hurt particular individuals; they wound society itself. The men who steal elections, who make...

So Who Is Pro Abortion?

Here's Howard Dean speaking the other day in Utah: "I'm tired of Republicans telling us we're pro-abortion. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for five years. I don't know anybody who's pro-abortion," he said. "Most people in this country would like to see...

Some Dare Call It Treason – Bush Sr Does

These are remarks made in 1999 by George Bush, the father of our current President, speaking at the CIA. I have added emphasis to parts of this. Some people think, "what do we need intelligence for?" My answer to that is we have plenty of enemies. Plenty of enemies...

Love of Enemies, Love of Friends

"Love of enemies has, for our time, become the litmus test of authentic Christian faith .... Love of enemies is the recognition that the enemy, too, is a child of God." The author of those lines was writing about thieves, extortioners, torturers, murderers, tyrants -...

We Must Love One Another or Die

In some of my classes I have the students read Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie. It is always the favorite text of the semester, and even the guys confess being moved to tears. If you haven't read it, it's quick, but it's potent. I urge it on you. One sentence...

Will It Be Enough? Is There Any Place To Hide?

Here are two thoughtful questions that came my way yesterday. Regarding the good things that are happening that work against the current Admnistration's direction: "Will it be enough to stop fascism from taking hold? We'll see." The deep corruptions swirling in our...

God Will Judge Those Who Destroy the Environment

I think there are people operating on the national scene who could be called "good guys" by any reasonable standard. Robert Kennedy, Jr. is one of them. I received a letter from him this week, sharing his concern for the destruction of our natural environment - on...

Eating Their Young? Fracturing?

Here are two quotes I received in the last 12 hours. I've been a Republican all my life. They'll never throw me out. But they have an amazing ability to eat their young. They give each other the saliva test of purity every once in a while, and then they lose. And then...

Take Back the Bible

The Bible is at the core of many public fights (such as the current debate in Kansas about evolution as portrayed in this article) only because of political ambition and public misunderstanding. I know that's a strong statement, but the point here is not to grapple...

“Family Values” Force Working People Into the Military.

(Yesterday afternoon Connie and I were discussing how many more troops would be necessary to fulfill the administration's apparent desire to dominate the world. We thought it interesting how a need for (low-paying) jobs would mesh with the need for (low-paid) troops....

Jesus, the People, and the Powers

This is my "wrap-up" commentary for this week's Bible meditation passage (at our BibleWeek site). In this excerpt (Luke 19:37-48) Jesus enters Jerusalem experiencing public praise and official contempt and conspiracy. I'll list some themes I see, some things I do not...

Machiavelli, Ledeen, Bush, and Jesus

A recent comment questioned a post I made about the morality of Machiavelli's principles, as against what Jesus taught and practised. These are very basic issues of political morality, and seem very relevant to patterns we're seeing today in America, here's the...

How Long Must We Sing This Song?

Here's another from Rob: Finding the Truth in Strange Places I can't believe the news today Oh, I can't close my eyes And make it go away How long... How long must we sing this song? How long? How long... 'cause tonight...we can be as one Tonight... Broken bottles...

When I Think of John Paul II …

Thanks to "Guest" for this: When I think of Pope John Paul II, I see his greatness and depth of faith in contrast to some of the things that are wrong in other areas of Christianity today. His humility is all the more apparent in contrast to the arrogance of our...

Do “The Least of These” Matter to Jesus Even Today?

Here's a blogpost lifted by permission from another blog. the least of all I continue to question where poverty sits on the priority list in western culture. Rather than make the impoverished a priority, they are a scab to us and we do nothing about it. Life is sad....

Hi-Schoolers Start World Ministry Based in Prayer

Back in 1968 they did - one of those years of student activism and turmoil in many places. And the ministry they began is still going - STRONG! You can visit the website of Sant 'Egidio (based in Trastevere, Rome) to get an idea of how much is going on, and in how...

50 More Quotes

Here are 50 quotes added to the list since I posted the first 100 on Mar 1. Eat and enjoy! A high degree of inequality causes the comfortable to disavow the needy.    -James K Galbraith A high degree of inequality .... increases the social and the psychological...

Good Sense: An Interview with Mary Pipher

by Larry and Connie Harvey, published in Southwest Nebraska News, Jun 26, 2003 from a delightful conversation with Mary Dec 15, 2002 at The Mill, Lincoln, NE SNN: Please introduce yourself to our readers. PIPHER: I am Mary Pipher and I am a clinical psychologist. I...

Feminist and Liberal Voices Against Abortion

Historically and in the present very strong feminist and liberal voices have been raised against the practice of abortion. Here is a list of quotes form "Feminist Foremothers". They are pretty strong, and it is quite significant that they clearly come from the...

Short Quotes – Martin Luther King’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"*

King's letter is one of many treasures often ignored in American liberal democracy and in bringing Christian moral theology to public life.   These are a few shorter quotes, but it's worth reading the whole thing. (Underlines have been added.) I cannot sit idly by in...

The Dangers of the Right’s Dominion Theology

[I do not know the author of this. See note at the bottom.] Dominion theology is not new but I recently became interested in it when I read an internet article by Sara Diamond that discusses its influence in the policies of the Bush Administration. The precepts of...

New Year, Old Pain: “Sleepy Democracy is Over”

Here's a very expressive email I received the other day, printed here with Laurie's permission. Dear Friends and Family John and I had a truly warm and heart-nourishing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, and we hope you did too. However, out of the blue while...

Hitler’s Respect for “My Lord and Savior” Jesus

It is not pleasant to study the face of evil, but it seems good that some of us be aware of its common habits, intentions, and techniques, and spread our findings around a bit. I've been browsing again in the speeches of Adolf Hitler*. There are several patterns of...

New Year, Same Old Us, and That’s Not All Bad

We got a new electronic game for Christmas; so I summoned all my engineering know-how and went to work installing the batteries. The instructions warned me not to mix new batteries with old. Tell me - if we can't even mix new batteries with old ones how come every...

A New Litmus Test: Do What He Taught

Barb writes: As a general rule, I do not advocate a tit-for-tat response to the Christian right and their dogma. I oppose the very idea of drawing a line in the sand on abortion or any other issue. I have already said this in other comments, but I believe that so much...

“A Little Baby Thing”

December 16, 2004 Here's an old Christmas poem we love. We have it memorized and quote it together several times a year. It was written by a man C S Lewis admired very much, George MacDonald. They all were looking for a King to slay their foes and lift them high. Thou...

Merry Christmas If You Can

December 7, 2004 I apologize for my five-day absence from these pages. Among other things, I'm working to get up a whole new site structure that has better compatiblity with more browsers. It will also allow more extensive participation and interaction -- since I'm...

Blissfully Ignorant Email

September 22, 2004 Here's an email I received today, and my response. You have got to be kidding me? Can you honestly believe this? John Kerry is the most liberal anti-God candidate that this country has ever seen. Your web. site really saddens me. I guess you have a...

Lying Leaders and Jesus

September 22, 2004 Certain key leaders bribe, lie, manipulate and destroy while others just go on doing good. Sounds like today, but we also find that pattern at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew(Mt 28:12-20). Here's what the leaders did and said: They gave...

Mixed Metaphors

September 13, 2004   Mixing metaphors: They've got their hands deep into the pockets of the biggest cash cow in history - the world economy. But with their godless morality they are going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, and send that world economy to hell...

Thanksgiving – Think

Here are 4 paragraphs from an article I wrote on Thanksgiving for Southwest Nebraska News a few years ago. Our word "thank" developed from an even more common good old five-letter word - think. Thank comes from think. I don't know just how the development went, but we...

My First ‘Peace Sermon’

Sunday morning I preached twice as a guest speaker in our church, and spoke on the negative image so many churches and Christians are projecting, due largely to their over-involvement with the Republican party. I talked about hypocrisy and judgmentalism, neglecting...

What Might Bring Them Down?

My earlier post about Nixon's collapse after winning re-election asked whether the Bush administration will suffer the same fate. (Posted as a diary on dailykos that question brought some interesting and intelligent responses.) Actually, I'm a little more hopeful...

Do You Remember Nixon?

Nov 4, 2004 Just before the election in 1972 my students (in a Christian high school) asked what I thought would happen. I said Nixon would win, but he would be forced out of office before his term was up. "Oh, Mr. Harvey, you only say that because you don't like...

List of Bush Lies and Betrayals

October 22, 2004   I receive comments and emails demanding that I point out "even one" case where Bush betrayed or misled us. Sad to say, in this real world where we actually live, Bush has misled us over and over. He tells us we are gaining jobs. He tells us drugs...

Excellent Comments Excerpted

Oct 14, 2004 There have been some excellent comments added at the ends of my posts and articles. Here are excerpts from just a few. Click on the first word in each to read the whole comment or others in the same thread.       __________ No one is for killing babies or...

Joe Republican Helped by Liberals

Oct 8, 2004 Here are a couple of excerpts from a very true parable of an ordinary "self-made man" who doesn't realize how much he benefits daily from the selfless labor of courageous liberals over the years. Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He...

How About It? A List of Questions for President Bush

October 5, 2004   (Here's part of an entry made here back in August.) ... Why are so few sins emphasized by the 'right'? And the Republicans have NOT helped us reduce the frequency of even those few. Further, why are only 'other peoples' sins taken into consideration...

Psalm 2004, Sorta

October 2, 2004 This has been making the rounds. It's obviously intended to be humorous, and it is. Unfortunately, it is not frivolous. Psalm 2004 Bush is my shepherd, I shall be in want. He maketh me to lie down on park benches. He leadeth me beside the still...

“Pro-life” Voting is INeffective for Morality

August 30, 2004 Here's a quote from a comment added recently to a pro-life letter on this site. Being "pro-life" means much more than being anti-abortion. It also means opposing leaders who engage in wars of choice, opposing capital punishment, favoring policies aimed...

Success Is …

August 28, 2004 To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people      and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics      and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave...

Wobbly Morals of the Religious Right

Someone posted a new comment on the "Christians for Kerry" page that is a classic example of the problems in the morality of the religious right. Here are excerpts: "There have to be "moral absolutes". Too long we have all gone into the "grey" area. Do you believe...

Is Jesus a Republican? Is Jesus a Liberal?

As far as we know, Jesus never directly mentioned either homosexual behavior or abortion / infanticide. And we can be sure that's not because he cared nothing for moral or social issues. He cared a great deal. As for power and politics, one of my favorite lines from...

Jesus Stayed Out of Politics

July 24, 2004 I do not fully agree with Shadia Drury's take on the historical Jesus, but she is very much on target when she discusses how his name and "cover" have been used down through the centuries and today. Here are three short quotes: The reason for resisting...

A Huge Fan of America

July 8, 2004 This is a cool way to put it! This is from a commencement address by Bono at the University of Pennsylvania. I got it from Sojourners online. I'm in love with this country called America. I'm a huge fan of America. I'm one of those annoying fans, you know...

Christians In Restaurants Often Leave a Bad Taste!

June 13, 2004 After her stint as a waitress Barbara Ehrenreich wrote, "The worst, for some reason, are the Visible Christians - like the ten-person table, all jolly and sanctified after Sunday night service, who run me mercilessly and then leave me $1 on a $92 bill."...

She Has Been Greatly Wronged

When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society - so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged. - from Mattie...

Fatherhood, Perverse Masculinity, and Politics

Shadia Drury writes of ...the sort of perverse masculinity...for [which] fatherhood is a totally foreign ideal. Instead of being fathers and husbands, men are the inhabitants of 'guy land where life is one large sports network, supplemented with fast cars, guns, and...