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How Can One Recover From Near or Actual Trump-Worship?

I know of, and know personally, a LOT of white professing Christians for whom the emotional and intellectual investment in Trump has been VERY great.  How will it go for them? How will it go as the great golden image begins to dramatically collapse in full...

Together in Flexible Resistance. Naomi Klein Has Hope

A deeply diverse and insistently forward-looking campaign … could well prove unbeatable.A Strong Call to Insistent Courage and HopeNaomi Klein, in No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, calls us to action and...

Inside Out – God’s Love Can Come Out of Our Lives

LOVE I.We learn love by being loved.That is, it comes from the Outside In.That’s a very big deal. We learn, many of us, from parents and others when we are very young – what it’s like to have other, important, “big” people care about us and pay attention...

Thanksgiving is Important! – 4 Links with Short Quotes.

link 1: Thanksgiving - Think Sometimes we do not enjoy truly good aspects of life because we do not practice "thinks-giving" toward them. Sometimes we even lose very precious things because we have not taken time to discover how precious they are.... link 2: 3 Short...

Thanksgiving is a Very Good Spiritual Exercise. 3 Ways to Practice!

We can work on being thankful two or three ways.First: The English word “thank”“Thank” developed itself out of the older word “think.” So as we think about thanks this week, let’s be sure we really do - think. How do you do it? Talking about it is not...

Our Grave National Danger – Links & Quotes

When the President of the United States literally praises mayhem and violence, and major "Christian" spokespersons are stubborn in defense of that, we are well into dangerous territory; there is lethal danger rising from several directions. Here's a short...

God’s New Economy – Crucial Fact 4 of 4

Three of the four Gospels (biographies of Jesus in the Bible) put considerable emphasis on the idea of the "Kingdom of God" or the "Kingdom of Heaven."  Jesus speaks of it, and makes clear that this is a very different way of running society. The coming of...

God Comes To Us in Costly Grace – Crucial Fact 3 of 4

The basic meaning of a Christ-following faith turns on this fact - God is among us by the presence of Jesus in the 2+ decades following the first Christmas stories by the brutal experience of Jesus in the arrest and crucifixion AND by the ongoing presence...

Buddy the Dog, and the Love of God for Us Humans

It's so fun to watch Buddy being stately out on a tie-out, or in his pen, or standing on the couch, or wherever.  When he stands alertly, or sits tall, or does the point.  I used to like watching Danger like that too  (though she was a much smaller dog, a Dachshund)....

Everything is Damaged – Crucial Fact 2 of 4

Damage, all around. Just acknowledging reality, even a terribly unpleasant one like this, puts us in a better place to deal with it. Damage comes in all kinds of ways: It can be from a tornado, hurricane, or fire, or from a childhood with significant...

There’s Beauty All Around – Crucial Fact 1 of 4

There is in this life a great variety of beauty. Here's a list from a recent post: from flowers to trees to sunsets, from dogs to music to a building, from a child learning to walk to an excellent move on the basketball court to a speech, to math, from the...

You MUST Obey? No. You Are Not a Dog. Romans 13.

Top US Government Officials Say the Bible Requires Us to Obey Them. NOT. Here is the audio of my recent sermon on that.  Below are quotes from Romans 13, a passage the Attorney General referenced, and a couple outlines of key points. Romans 13:1-3 Let...

Palm Sunday: The King We Need

8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" - Mark 11:8-9 CEB The Arrival Of The King Last...

We Can Change and Relationships Can be Saved!

“Most of us are not really approaching the subject [scriptures] in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it [them] in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. It is obvious...

God’s Wisdom: That We Make the Invisible Church VISIBLE.

We can see "First Church", standing on the corner. And we call it “a church” or “my church”, because one meaning of “church” is a building. But another meaning of “church” is a group of people  who agree to do “churchly” things together, often in a...

Protect Your Freedom of Conscience from Bad Advice & Gossip

In making our own decisions - or in sticking with them -  It can be hard  to exercise our own good conscience without being too strongly influenced by the opinions of others.  How do we do that? A.  OPINIONS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH: Sometimes, of course,...

It’s YOUR New Year! Some Simple Suggestions for 2018

It’s YOUR New Year. Maybe you can’t change a whole lot in your life or your self. Maybe you don’t WANT to change a whole lot. Maybe you don’t even want to change ANYTHING. How nice 😊. But - maybe in an area or two. After all, within certain very real limits, it is...

“Woe to those who make unjust laws.” – Isaiah

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when...

Are YOU On This List Yet? We are All In Increasing Danger.

TARGETED! One way or another, THESE people, mostly fellow American citizens - all fellow humans and all loved by God - THESE people are living in increased fear now compared to a year ago. "Making America Afraid Again" This is not a careful list; it's just...

7 Signs of a Healthy, Christ-Following Christian Faith

  Unhealthy, dangerous forms of “Christianity” seem epidemic today. Are there healthy forms? Here, I believe, is a good example, from the church I attend. A summary of priority concerns of a Christ-following, healthy faith. 1. We strongly emphasize the...

Spiritual Tune-up: FORGIVENESS Requires …

 “Forgiveness requires acceptance of the factthat the past is not going to change.”- unknown After all, if we could change the past no forgiveness would be needed. Because the offense would have totally disappeared - from experience and from memory. Poof!...

Advent: Christ Has Come. So, What Do We Have TO DO?

  CHRIST HAS COME. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO? 1. STAND ALONE “Peter … asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘… what is that to you? You must follow me.’” John 21:21,22 If Christ is really present to us in this world, we have to personally respond...

4 Short Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Here are links to 4 short articles related to Thanksgiving, with very brief summaries. 3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work 1. Why we don't want to hear about it. 2. What it does NOT mean. 3. What it DOES mean. Think Thanks on Thanksgiving The...

Stand With Israel? Not When Israel Stands Against God.

  We are often told we must love Israel - which is true - we are to love all peoples. We are often told we should “stand with Israel”. Now that’s not so easy. It seems to mean always take Israel’s side in any conflict or disagreement Israel has - or God...

Spiritual Tune-up: Do Not Think You Know What YOU DO NOT KNOW

"I do not think that I know what I do not know." - Socrates   Three observations: This is profoundly liberating - freeing! No more pretending! No more worrying about what people think of my intelligence! That would be a wonderful stress-reducer. But how...

3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work

A. Reasons We DON'T LIKE to Hear About It. We're having a rough day. We're having a rough five years. We aren't really awake yet. We're physically sick. Some people are being stupid - or even mean or dangerous. We've just got too much going on. We're mad...

Top 10 Posts on This Site (October)

Short Quotes - Martin Luther King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail" Kids' Version of the Declaration of Independence Turn the Other Cheek Means Resist Them Non-Violently If You Do Not Love Your Neighbor Whom You CAN See - Can You Love God? Jesus and Racism -...

White Racism in Charlottesville – old-style Nazi Street Thugs

  The Nazi-precipitated demonstrations and violence in Charlottesville a few weeks ago were disturbing for at least a couple of reasons. RACISM: the public gathering of arrogant whites proudly displaying contempt for all people unlike them.THE OLD NAZI STRATEGY OF...

Jesus Pushes Us to Judge Our OWN Lives – Not Other People’s

  Jesus was a highly respected teacher of morality and of the spiritual life. So, logically enough, a man asked him to take a stand on a moral issue between the man and his brother (Luke 12:13-15) - Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide...

Spiritual Tune-Up: A Spirit of Melancholy and CONSTRAINT

I fear the spirit of melancholy and constraint. -unknown   Let's not be one of those - not too common, but still we see them around - negative, controlling, crabby, critical, always pessimistic Christians ... We needn't pattern our lives and thoughts after the great...

Christians & Churches Should Not Enforce the Bible on Us.

  Here's another example of the misunderstanding and misuse of Scripture by the 'religious right'.  This was quoted to me to show that no Christian could ever vote for Democrats. "Don't you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be...

Hate, Grief, & a New Story. Post-Election HOPE via Empathy.

I. "It may seem that the world is falling apart."   Normal is coming unhinged. For the last eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that society is sound, that the system, though creaky, basically...

Most Popular Posts – Mid-February 2017

Short Quotes – Martin Luther King’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Turn the Other Cheek – means Resist Them NonViolently If You Do Not Love Your Neighbor Whom You CAN See - Can You Love God? Jesus and Racism - Samaritan Lives Matter A Few Chips Must Fly / Gaza &...

Spiritual Tune-up: Sincerity in PRAYER

  Hypocrisy or insincerity is the first thing to guard against in prayer. Beware not to say what you do not mean. ... Pour out your heart before Him.      - John Wesley   It might mean sometimes writing out one's prayer. That helps us to be aware a) whether we are...

Spiritual Tune-up: Don’t Ignore JESUS

         There is absolutely nothing in what Jesus himself or his early followers taught that suggests you can decide just to enjoy forgiveness at Jesus’s expense and have nothing more to do with him.        - Dallas Willard   Why would anyone ever IMAGINE that such...

Freedom to Not Always Fear Our Rulers

One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. We need some people, of course, to think about politics, and help us keep aware. But the great achievement has been...

Spiritual Tune-up: It Takes SILENCE

God is the friend of silence ... We need silence to be able to touch souls. - Mother Teresa   ... because, I suppose, it calms US down. Wow. Even GOD likes it when we seriously calm down. It enables us to be comfortable with ourselves (or FORCES us to be!), so then we...

The Moral Priorities of Jesus – What Did Jesus Teach?

He said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' but do not do what I say?" Maybe he meant it. This short book (40 pages) is available as a free pdf, or as a paperback at LULU.com (see the links below). It treats the following issues.  Here, each chapter title is followed by...

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?...

New American Bad Bible – Not What Jesus Wants (Pt-2)

These sayings may have a Biblical sound to them. But they are not Biblical.   They set aside the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Hebrew prophets, but unfortunately fit well with current neo-con (new Republicans') or neo-lib (new Democrats') American values....

Spiritual Tune-up: DO What Others Won’t

  "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't." - Jerry Rice   If you want personal change to appear in your future, work on it in your personal present. Or, as has been often said, if you aim at nothing you are likely to hit it. This is...

A New Era – President Trump. Should We Hope or Mourn?

A new era begins in America. We have reason to mourn, and reason to hope. Let's do both. We'll likely get the same old stuff, but much more blatant; and that's not good. And there may well be some good things happening. That IS good. It's already "more blatant,"...

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...

New American Bad Bible – Not What Jesus Wants (Pt-1)

  These sayings may have a Biblical sound to them. But they are not Biblical. Setting aside the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Hebrew prophets, these revisions unfortunately fit well with current neo-con (new Republicans) or neo-lib (new Democrats) American...

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...

Kingdom Manifesto – Sermon on the Mount Summarized

It might be a good project for each of us - to try to summarize the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 - 7) in 209 words. Brian McLaren has done so in his The Secret Message of Jesus (chapter 15, "Kingdom Ethics", p 136). Each of us would no doubt change the wording in...

War on Christmas? The Real Issue Is How CHRISTIANS Behave.

It’s about Christ – so it’s really a holiday (holy day) for any who love Christ. How could we expect those who do not love and follow Christ to be super sensitive to the religious, or spiritual meaning of the season? Why should we harass them about it? We should not!...

Is Trump a Christian? What Does It MEAN to Believe in Christ?

There was some excitement among certain Republican Christians when Dobson said Trump had become a "baby" Christian and should be cut some slack on that basis. Two problems with that: A novice at practicing the Christian faith is not someone we should automatically...

Give Thanks Freely – but Not for EVERYthing!

It’s (almost) THANKSGIVING We appreciate food, and housing, clothes, and transportation. We prize friends. We are very grateful for family. We live by faith and fellowship. We feel – and express – thankfulness for many wonderful blessings. But there are some things we...

Jesus and Racism – Samaritan Lives Matter – Black Lives Matter

Samaritans in Jesus' day were both religiously and racially despised. The phrase "Samaritan lives matter" would have been very offensive to the Jewish culture in which Jesus was raised and in which he was a teacher and doer of good. But to Jesus, clearly Samaritan...

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

We (my wife and I) are very concerned about how the Gospel and Scripture are (mis-)represented in popular culture, religious media and the churches, and how truth in general is mis-represented by the neo-conservative, and neo-liberal, wealth elites in the current...

Veterans Day: Those Who Serve Democracy are Mostly Non-Military

"Thank you for your service" - I have heard that often, and I appreciate it. I thank those who say nice things to me, a US Army veteran - or to, or about, so many, many other veterans.  It is valuable to be thankful, and to be explicit. And the free meals, and...

Bernie Sanders Responds to the Election – Cooperate and Resist!

Bernie made a very brief, very wise statement about the election of Donald Trump. He has a way with words, and with clarity of thinking. Bernie, who ran so competitively against Hillary for the Democratic nomination, and who - we now have abundant evidence - was...

Two Types of Religion – Authority vs Love

Seems to me there are obviously two primary modes for religious practice in this world. That amazement is the opposite of complacency and self-satisfaction. And that gentleness is very different from constant critique and...

Turn the Other Cheek MEANS Resist Them Non-Violently

I. THE PROBLEM: Jesus says to turn the other cheek. [See a summary of this post.] Is it ever appropriate for Christians to resist authority? Many of us feel there is much in the behavior of our national leaders that cries out for criticism and resistance. Are...

The Quiet Places in Our Lives Make Our Public Activity Safer

  Contemplation and Public Action The public good is most in danger when the voluntary visits to contemplation are neglected in favor of immediate communitarian action. We don't have to go off and become full-time contemplatives. But times of stepping aside from the...

The Trump Danger to many Christians is Real

  Christian friends: If you support Trump, it is a pastoral problem for me. You are increasing the danger - the fear and threat - in which a significant percentage of my Christian friends, including my congregation, live.It is vigorously...

Are Economic Matters a Moral Issue? Isaiah Thinks So.

  In spite of Isaiah, and other Bible sources, we’ve all heard this - something like: I. It is NOT the government’s place to interfere in economic matters - tell people how they should spend their money or how they should treat their employees. That warps economic...

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...

German Christians Sold Out to Power and Glory

[A Review of Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Charles Marsh, 2014] This book is not written to coddle nor to discomfort whatever our self-image is as American Christians today; Marsh is trying to show reality. To me, two eras of Bonhoeffer's life seem...

NE Gov Candidate – "Do Justice, Love Mercy"

Chuck Hassebrook (D-NE Governor candidate) closed out his campaign last night by quoting Micah 6:8. "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" Coming from him...

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...

You Can Pray and Still Be Wrong

  Here's William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He's rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated. It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the...

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...

Christ Asks Us to Choose His Way, Not Caesar’s.

. . . switch sides from Caesar’s way to Jesus’ way – before it is too late.* - Brian McLaren “Caesar’s way” stands for secular, temporal government or authority. The usage derives from Jesus’ saying, when asked about paying taxes: So give back to Caesar what is...

Freedom From Fear – Comes From Your Faith, Not Your Government

[See also: What if We Are Persecuted?!] No government can ever guarantee that you or I will have nothing to be afraid of. And as the American Founding Fathers well knew, no government, not even ours, can be trusted with freedom to do just as it wants. The Founders...

Wear Your Diagnosis Lightly – It’s Not Really You

A lot of us have “been diagnosed” with specific personality or mental conditions. I don't formally have such a diagnosis (I've not yet seen anyone qualified to do it for me); but I'm sure there are several people around who'd be glad to offer suggestions! The thing I...

“With Malice Toward None” – A Necessary Standard!

In pretty much his last words to the American people, Abraham Lincoln began the wrap-up of his Second Inaugural Address with these famous, beautiful ideals: With malice toward none, with charity for all . . . And I think he really meant it. In a nation that was an...

What If Christians Are Persecuted Here? Advice from the Bible.

Some American Christians worry that we are being persecuted and that our freedom of religion is being infringed. That's always true to some extent – and the idea is scary. How did Jesus deal with it? Jesus practiced non-violent non-cooperation toward evil persons. The...

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...

“Emergent Evangelical” – Can I Be Both?

A friend recently asked what it means that I use "emergent evangelical" as my religious affiliation on FaceBook. So here's a look at what the phrase means to me. I. "Evangelicals" Today "Evangelical" has come to be a bad word in much of American society, for several...

Abortion Numbers Trend Downward Under Universal Health Care

We can support policies that actually tend to reduce abortions in the short run. Or we can adopt a political strategy of taking over every branch of government with like-minded politicians so we can (try to) use the long arm of the law to force people to not have...

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...

Abortion and Social Justice – Douglas W Kmiec

Douglas W. Kmiec is a prominent Republican and committed Roman Catholic. He was head of the Office of Legal Counsel for Presidents Reagan and the first Bush. He became notorious for coming out in support of then-Senator Obama's campaign for the Presidency, and for...

John Paul II: Private Prayer and the Dangers of Public Life

For decades he resisted Nazi, then Communist, oppression. How did he cope?Connie and I recently watched Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It portrays Karol Wojtyla's lifefrom his late teens, when the Nazi's invaded his city and nation,through WWII,then through decades of...

“Faith … a Busy, Active, Powerful Thing” – Luther

Martin Luther apparently liked to write about faith. Do we not have to admit that faith in the ever-active, ever-creative, ever-loving, ever-redeeming God of the Bible would quickly produce some repurcussions of good-will in the...

Reducing Joy to Self-Indulgence – Using Our Freedom Destructively

In many respects, Americans are freer today than ever before, with more Americans than ever before enjoying unencumbered access to the promise of American life. I'm quoting Andrew J. Bacevich, retired US Army colonel, professor of history and international relations...

Looking for Integrity, Humility, Decency – Psalm 101

4  Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. 5  Whoever slanders his neighbor... , him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. 6  My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that...

Obama’s Perspective on Faith in Christ is Biblical

Here's Obama on the significance of the Gospel: In an interview with Christianity Today magazine, Obama said this about his decision to accept Christ, What was intellectual and what was emotional joined, and the belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that he...

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...

Worship of Idols (like Greed) is Deadly

From an AP article at the Atlanta Journal Constitution site, on Friday October 24, 2008: Wall Street joined stock markets around the world in a huge selloff Friday, sending major market indexes to their lowest levels in more than five years on the belief that a...

Scott Kleeb on Abortion: “The ideal number … is zero.”

The ideal number for me as a Catholic is zero ... and there are plenty of people I'd be willing to work with if they want to get down to ... that ideal number which is zero. Just below there's a video clip (2 minutes, 11 seconds) of Scott Kleeb fielding a question in...

Damaged by False Prophets? Let’s Do It Better From Here On.

I.  Young Adult Attitudes Toward American Christianity In the aftermath of the Religious Right’s ascendancy, it is not an accident that “antihomosexual” is the number one perception of Christians in America, followed closely by “judgmental”...

Abraham Lincoln on Integrity

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. -Abraham Lincoln...

“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...

Government by Fear and Hysteria? Where?

Phil Johnson over at Seeing the Forest sees one of the important differences between these two campaigns for the Presidency. Compare the reaction of Obama and his campaign to last nights "that one" comment by McCain, to McCain and his campaign's reaction to Obama...

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...

Reputation: Portraits in Power [a book review]

This is a reveiew of Reputation: Portraits in Power, by Marjorie Williams, 2008, PublicAffairs. I wrote it for LibraryThing.com It might have been a little frightening to find oneself the subject of an article Marjorie Williams was working...

$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....

Do We Not Want to Know -Where Do They Send the Money??

Our highly reputable (not) Bush Administration wants $700 BILLION (take my word for it - that's a lot of bucks) to hand out when and if it pleases to whomever it pleases without accountability either now or in the future. Are you kidding me? Nope. Not kidding. Just...

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...

“The Path of Christ …” to the Power of God

The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power. The path of Christ, the political commitment to - truth, - servanthood, - proclamation, and - suffering love, is despite appearances, the channel of the power of God. [from "The Spirit of God and the Politics of Men"...

On War – and Its Effects on Humans

Quotes from the e-newsletter I get from Information Clearing House. ... the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the...

Email – She Is Eager to Scare Us All!

Scary Email I received an anonymous forwarded email the other day that combined a bit of good spiritual advice with a lot of classic Republico-Christian fear-mongering. Actually, it wasn't totally anonymous. It was signed (several senders back) by "Carolyn". This is...

Unbelievers’ View of Christians – A Big Problem With Fruit

How does "the world" see us? Recently I wrote about David Kinnaman's treatment of that in his book, unChristian, based on an extensive research project by The Barna Group. Remember, Kinnaman is writing from within the conservative Christian establishment. He's writing...

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...

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Self-Infatuation?!

The Barna Group exists to provide statistical information to Christian churches and ministries, to be a catalyst in moral and spiritual transformation in the United States. We accomplish these outcomes by providing vision, information, strategy, evaluation and...

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...

How Goes Your Pilgrimage? – Parker Palmer, a Quaker View

Sometimes the pilgrimage does not go so well. Sometimes we wonder if we're still moving forward at all. In the tradition of pilgrimage, ... hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall,...

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...

Jesus and Evil People – Strong Resistance while being Non-Violent

Jesus did NOT tell his oppressed hearers not to resist evil. That would have been absurd. His entire ministry is utterly at odds with such a preposterous idea. - Walter Wink I. THE PROBLEM: Jesus said to "turn the other cheek": You have heard that it was said, 'Eye...

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...

Economic Judgment Coming, or Repentance – or Both?

The prior post ("Twillight of the Gods - Greed and Money") mentioned increasing economic distress throughout our nation. This is for real. I expect it will continue, though the extent to which it spreads and strengthens, and it's impact on our international positions,...

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...

Spiritual Refreshment – A Musical Bath for Our Souls

A man saw the whole world as a grinning skull and crossbones. The rose flesh of life shriveled from all faces. Nothing counts. Everything is a fake. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes and then an old darkness and a useless silence. So he saw it all. Been there? Done...

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...

What Jesus Emphasized Is Not What Churches Like to Emphasize

John Howard Yoder vigorously believes that Jesus' teaching was very practical and very this-worldly. The spiritual, metaphysical, theological, religious meaning of his life and teaching - in Jesus' mind and in the thinking of his disciples and apostles - had direct...

Are They Laughing At Us – for Our Deadly Repetitions of Past Errors?

I wonder ... Whether shadows of the dead sit somewhere     and look with deep laughter On men who play in terrible earnest the old, known,     solemn repetitions of history? Swarming always in a drift of millions     to the dust of toil,     the salt of tears, And...

Declaration of Independence – Kid’s Version

  This is a pretty good "translation" of the Declaration, though she does have a couple of points of her own to emphasize that are not quite there in the original. I do recommend this for any and all who want a refresher on what the Founders were thinking as things...

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...

American Repentance – Will the Church be “Left Behind?”

If America "repents" - if America is repenting right now - is the Bush-devoted wing of American Christianity going to be "left behind"? "Repent", you know, means to re-evaluate, re-think, and change direction. It seems to me a lot of Americans are doing that this year...

The Soul of Prayer – Peter Taylor Forsyth on Spiritual Genuis

"Prayer changes things." It puts us into direct contact with God, and thus brings God into more active contact with our personal lives and surroundings. That more intimate, active presence of God does indeed tend to change things in and around us. Peter Forsyth, a...

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...

Simplistic, Useless Sermons – Why Does It Happen?

Drew Smith, ordained Baptist minister, wrote recently about shallow sermonizing (at his blog , Wilderness Preacher, and at EthicsDaily.com.) It's dangerous for me to complain about useless sermons, since I deliver a hopefully useful one every week - I'm very...

Does Prayer “Work”? “Scientific & Pastoral Perspectives…”

Here's a review of another book on prayer as promised a couple of days ago. [Here's a more recent review of a book on prayer - P T Forsyth's Soul of Prayer] My second acquisition at Pastors' Seminar was: Scientific and Pastoral Perspectives on Intercessory Prayer: An...

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...

False Prophets: Two Key Signs

Obery Hendricks, in The Politics of Jesus, Doubleday, 2006, also comes down to two basic criteria, but I think they are much more on target than my old standards. And, come to think of it, they are more ethically based.

Religion in Government 20 Years Ago

When I spend 10 minutes stretching my back on my inversion table I often read poetry or old cartoon books. This is from Tom Toles' Mr. Gazoo: A Cartoon History of the Reagan Era, 1987. Ronald Reagan (runninng up the steps into a cathedral-like church building):...

Prince Caspian: Violence and Magic, and the Turning of the Tide

"Violence and magic" - that sounds like the recent American approach to foreign policy. There's been a lot a violence, considerable fantasy, and hope for, but precious little experience of, magic. The new movie version of Prince Caspian (we saw it Saturday with...

Isaiah, with Question: “Where Will You Leave Your Riches?”

Isaiah 10:1-3 (emphasis added) Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on...

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...

Sen. Mark Christensen – a Christian Outlook

Well, maybe. At least a somewhat religious outlook. These are quotes from our new state Senator (NE LD 44), Mark Christensen, elected from Imperial - from an article in the Lincoln Journal Star. "I'm quite at home in church. I'm very active in the church ... I have a...

Hitler, Bonhoeffer – and Torture. A Movie.

We watched tonight for the second time the movie "Bonhoeffer" about the German theologian / pastor who was executed by the Nazis in April 1945, and whose books continue to have influence. I urge that you watch this film. I will not try to list or defend what were to...

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...

You Can Pray And Still Be Very Wrong

Here's William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He's rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated. It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the...

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...

The (Poor) Community College Kids – And War

Where's the outrage?A real antiwar movement would end our Iraq disaster. But the middle class doesn't care enough to protest, so the kids who go to community college will keep dying. "The kids who go to community college" do not include the children of the elected and...

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...

“Thy Kingdom Come” – What’s That Like?

What does the Kingdom of God look like? Some of us pray every Sunday for it to come - "Thy Kingdom come." What do we think we'll be seeing when it really is coming? Andre Trocme says this about it: Jesus carved a new path into the hardness of human realities, a path...

Retired Army Colonel Asks Us To Watch “Road to Guantanamo”

Colonel Ann Wright is registering strong protest against us keeping our prison operating at Guantanamo. This is a Biblical moral issue. Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were...

Andre Trocme Sees A Non-Sectarian Jesus

Andre Trocme was a pastor in Nazi-occupied France. He and his small town risked their lives - and some lost their lives - to save many hundreds of Jews from the Nazis. He wrote this in a book about Jesus published a number of years after the war. Jesus' approach stood...

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....

As We Think, So We Are

I recommend for your attention this excellent recent comment by bookaholic. Here are some excerpts. This little bit about Jesus: "he was not energized by and focused on his enemies" is some kind of key. I spent several years in a small town where a favorite topic of...

Living in Society vs My Mental Health

Here's another quote picked up on our recent trip to Omaha - from a conversation with a well-educated friend. Our society is structured to induce mental illness.

Anteaters Use AND Preserve Their Crucial Resources – Unlike Humans

I'm not interested in imitating their diet or lifestyle. But they act like they're disciplining their appetites in the interests of thinking ahead. What a way to live. I presume these little dudes are not very good seminar-facilitators. Too bad, because we need to get...

Moral Values in Teaching and Nursing

Here, from a nurse's blog, are some values I certainly agree with. It makes no mention of Christian values, Biblical values, or "family values." Does it represent those things as you understand them? So, just because I don't remember your...

A Prayer About Intimacy, Beauty, and Spiritual Reality

Jesus' prayer in John 17 is unusual - for it's length and for its "flavor." It is relatively long. Actually, it's short by the standards of some preachers, but it's long by New Testament standards, and there aren't many prayers in the whole Bible that are longer. To...

“I Voted for Them Because They Value What I Value”

Elisia Harvey, writing at New Nebraska Network, discusses "the elusive NV issues." "Nebraska Values" issues, that is. Those "elusive" moral standards that you get - apparently - from breathing the air out here. Of course, judging from political campaigns and...

Jesus – A Savior AND A Man Worth Learning

Last night I was doing a little review-browsing in a book I used a few years ago - a text for a "Life and Teachings of Jesus" class at the community college. The book is Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel, by Luke Timothy Johnson, 1999. Here's part of his...

“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...

“Jesus Rejected Hatred” for Good Reason – Howard Thurman

And while we are talking about the GIGO effects of listening to hate-talk (prior post), here's Howard Thurman (Jesus and the Disinherited, p 88) Hatred is death to the spirit and disintegration of ethical and moral values. Above and beyond all else it must be borne in...

GIGO! Garbage In – “Christian” Radio, Fox “News”.

Not long ago I heard a minister say, from the pulpit on Sunday morning, that recently he had to stop listening to "talk radio." It was filling him with a hateful spirit. Luke 6:27,28 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless...

Think Thanks on Thanksgiving

Just a reminder - The English word "thank" developed itself out of the older word "think." So as we think about thanks this week, let's be sure we really do think. I don't know how you do it. Talking about it does not necessarily equate to real thankfulness. But...

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...

“A Rigorously Christian Liberal” – Wm Jennings Bryan

On our recent trip we found a bookstore in Sedona AZ going out of business; and of course you have to go in. Talk about bittersweet! You hate to see a bookstore of any kind going out of business. (Unless it's one of those "adult" stores that - I presume - only sell...

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...

Francis Schaeffer’s Son, Disgusted, Leaves Republican Party

Frank Schaeffer is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. In yesterday's column he announced he is utterly disgusted with the Republican party and is leaving it. Best quote: "Wartime demands leaders with character and moral authority. The political party smearing...

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...

The Strange Morality of Family Values Candidates (R-NE)

US Senator Ben Nelson (Dem, NE) and Legislative candidate Frank Shoemaker (Dem, McCook, NE) were not impressed with the false lines of rhetoric on "pro-life" issues that their opponents put out in McCook the other day. This is from a McCook Gazette article titled...

You Can’t Trust the Republicans With Your Money

The only President that's balanced the budget in the last 40 years is William Jefferson Clinton and he's a Democrat. You can't trust the Republicans with your money. -Howard Dean in Connecticut this week

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...

Why All The Fuss? ‘Cause People Are Getting Really Tired of It.

A lot of us have been surprised that the recent sex scandal in Congress has been getting so much attention. I don't think it's the pedophilia and cover-up that's the really energizing factor. What I keep hearing is that people have finally just had enough. I hear...

How Do You Respond to Rightist Friends and Relatives?

Here's my response to a recent inquiry as to how I would handle certain responses from rightist family or friends. First are excerpts from the inquiring email (blockquoted), then my response. I recently had an argument with a christian republican ... who felt it was...

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,...

Oh The Hypocrisy! If Republicans Do It, “Christians” Ignore It.

Two questions about two recent scandals: 1. How do "Christian conservatives" react? 2. How do real Christian conservatives react? Recent Scandal I: White House Loves to Torture, Forces Congress to Approve! 1. Falwell's Liberty University website actually has a column...

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” – Jesus Responds to Tyrants

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...

Who Would Jesus Torture?

I'm just wondering. Who would JESUS torture? I mean the real Jesus of the Gospels, not the Jesus of "Left Behind" or any other fiction, nor the Jesus of Pat Robertson or any other compromised "prophet" sold out. But Jesus Himself. Who would Jesus...

The Real Screams of Adult Human Beings

These are people who claim to be pro-life, who profess to hear a "fetal scream," yet they turn a deaf ear to the very real screams of human beings who are being tortured in our name. from Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come, in an interview in World magazine,...

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...

It Seems “The Unpardonable Sin” Is Stalking the Christian Right

My wife heard on the radio the other day that resistance to Bush is clearly "Satanic." "Christian" radio is promoting some strange ideas, but this is one in particular to be very wary of. We do need to judge spirits, but according to Jesus backwards judging of the...

Denial of Rights is a Sin Against God

Christians believe that man is made in the image of God, that every person is of intrinsic worth before God, and that every individual has a right to the fullest possible opportunity for the development of life abundant and eternal. Denials of rights and freedoms that...

Letter From A Mother

Here are excerpts from a letter JeanValJean posted in a comment. See the full letter here. I am the mother of...

“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...

Nicotine Levels In Cigarettes Were Deliberately Increased

That is the clear import of an article in the Washington Post. "The reports are stunning," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "What's critical is the consistency of the increase, which leads to the conclusion that it has to have...

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,...

On Being Cheerfully, Obliviously, Dangerously Religious

This is a frightening idea, and probably quite true. From a 17th century French theologian, philosopher, scientist and mathematician. Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Blaise...

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...

The REAL “Moral Values” Voters Are Most of Us

Sometimes we need reminding of recent facts that have been buried in the common "wisdom" as promoted by the popular media - for reasons of deliberate duplicity (Fox, Limbaugh, etc.) or because of much of journalism's low levels of competence and responsibility (a.k.a....

Prayer: An Excercise in Reality Therapy

It can be difficult to pray when you get into thinking that you have to "perform" prayer at a certain level of quality in order for it to be valid. Prayer is rather the one place where we are least under obligation to "perform." In fact, it is performing that kills...

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...

Security At Any Price? Not According to Habakkuk.

We've all heard it, and it is a major theme of the Bush Administration and its many popular media outlets. What if somebody tries to HURT us? What if somebody kills some of us even? We can't risk it. We just can't risk it. The sacrifice of a little freedom, and of a...

Marx, Micah, and Religious Sedation (“Opiate of the people”)

[This is lifted verbatim (with permission) from Greg's blog.] Have you ever heard someone say that religion is a crutch? Once when I was talking to a guy about Christ, he made the statement that “Religion is just a crutch. I don't need or want a crutch like that –...

“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...

Abused By and Because of The “Christian Right”

[This is the first part of the email I quoted from in the prior post.] I'm a fellow Christian who talks to a lot of people about my faith. I've had conversations with many atheists, Jews, homosexuals, and agnostics, and I take a lot of emotional abuse from a lot of...

Love Is Not a Special Way of Feeling – Forgiveness

[Here's a comment I put up on a diary over at StreetProphets the other day (Free membership required there to access old diaries.). The diary and commenters were considering the roles of anger in life in this world.] Anger and love are not opposites. But there clearly...

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...

The Trickle-Down Effect of Deceit, Anger, Violence at the Top

What moral consequences can we expect at home in the US when we continue to practice unjustified and indiscriminate violence against countries, cities, and families around the world? What can we expect among the great masses of America if the rulers are...

On Resisting Temptation So As To Help Protect Our Great Blessings

I got an email this week with some guidelines for resisting temptation. The author wrote, "I was just feeling overwhelmed by the wickedness and evil of this world" and offered some guidlines for resisting the moral undermining that comes at us in our private lives....

“Devil Music” Telling the Truth

Thanks to Rob for this: This isn't news, but it still is incredibly appropriate today. But... Guns 'N Roses is "devil music", so why is this true? Did i perhaps get brainwashed by the tail end of the 80's mental/metal vanguard, even after all those warnings in the...

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...

Robin Meyers on Our “Christian” Leaders’ Immorality

These are excerpts from a speech given at the Universtiy of Oklahoma by Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers of Oklahoma City's Mayflower Congregational Church. Be sure to read at least the last two boxes. (Numbers added.) (Meyers has a new book out, Why The Christian Right is Wrong...

Nazi Hate-talk Training – We’re On That Road

Are we traveling down the same road the Germans took in the early 1930's? I can't say - but some of the landmarks sure look familiar. People get upset when I raise that issue, but for different reasons. One extreme: "That's ridiculous! Bush isn't trying to kill...

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...

Nebraska Judge Makes Strong Remarks in Defense of the Constitution.

Don't you just marvel at these quaint rural folks with their quaint rural notions? A Nebraska state District Court Judge, John Murphy in North Platte, issued a strong defense of the Constitution the other day in response to a drug case arising out of a traffic stop by...

“ACLU Says the War on Christianity is a Myth”

That headline is from Focus on the Family's CitizenLink. I'm quoting the article in full. Like many promoted through the daily email Dobson sends me, it is very short -- short in number of words, short on substance, long on self-reporting and self-serving. But at...

Jimmy Carter’s Son Asks, “What’s Going On?” [Updated]

I. Jack Carter is running for the US Senate from Nevada. This simple and brilliant statement is from a recent campaign speech. "I'm not for impeachment, not for censure, I'm for finding out what's going on." II. The current Republican-controlled ("rubber-stamp"...

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...

“What Is Disturbing About the New Conservatism …”

This quote from Shadia Drury is complex enough and important enough to merit some special focus. So here I have added some outlining and emphasis. Enjoy! (not the right word, I know). What is disturbing about the new conservatism, or neoconservatism, is not so much...

Officer Believes US War-Making Makes Us Like Nazis

It's sickening to make such comparisons, even implicitly. But I'm not the only one who sees some significant parallels. (See related PublicChristian posts here.) Can we marvel that Christians did not resist more back then? Christians today - at least certain major...

Marine Speaks of Our Ignorant “Casualness and Swagger”

Remember that old line from the ancient TV show "Dragnet"? "Just the facts, M'am." Well, the facts keep being spoken. Are we listening? "My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special...

A Strong Dose of Perspective – from Psalms 49 & 50

But to the wicked, God says: "What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and...

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...

18 Questions: The Reaction to the Lists

I promised to share some responses I got in church when I read two lists of questions from the pulpit a couple of weeks ago. (The two lists are at the bottom of this post.) I had asked the congregation to watch for differences between the two lists. Their initial...

The Integrity of the Right-Wing Media Elite – MIA

Vince Powers of Lincoln, NE posted this awesome list of quotes from the ranting rightists. Oops, these are the true media elite speaking, so I guess we have to call them "the liberal media elite" if we want to be politcally correct in these days. Do they ever see...

Bob Roberts Had It Down – We Were Well On the Way in 1994

We watched the movie Bob Roberts last night. Netflix's review calls the movie "goofy." Wrong word. This fictional candidate for US Senate from Pennsylvania had today's neo-fascist (self-described neo-con or neoconservative) political style and message down pat in the...

A Game of 18 Questions:What Differences Do You See?

Sermon Title: What Should We Emphasize In Order to Promote True Christianity in This Country? I "preached" Sunday. (Some say what I do is not really "preaching", but that's another question.) We began with these two lists of questions, and me asking what differences...

President Harry Truman’s Integrity Prayer

I found this in David McCullough's 1992 biography Truman several years ago and put it into a little prayer book I made for myself. Of Truman's high school years McCullough writes, "He memorized a prayer, one he would say through much of his life," then quotes this...

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,...

"THIS IS HOW they made the pleasant land desolate."

The Bible fairly often makes a direct connection between the desolation of a land (and its people - and, obviously, its economic life) and moral corruption in the people's prior social, legal, and economic patterns. Here's an example from Zechariah 7. The residents...

Habakkuk: Guilty Men Worshipping Their Own Strength

Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" is not one of my favorite cartoons - after all, there's no visual art involved. But this is sickeningly wise and prescient. This cartoon was done three years ago. And guess what? Bush and Co. are right on track. Afghanistan, Iraq,...

Self-Righteousness Rolls Down Like a Mighty Stream

Our old friend Bono of the band U2 was the speaker at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast recently (Feb 2) - yes, the President was there. USAToday has provided a transcript of his remarks. He seems to be more familiar with the Bible than most public figures are -...

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...

White House: Don’t Worry – We Should All Be Scared to Death!

Markos brings us up to date. So what have we learned the last 24 hours? One mind of the White House - We Should All Be Scared to Death! Terrorism is such a horrific danger to the very existence of our republic that we must torture prisoners, suspend all manners of...

How To Behave At Funerals, Part II: A Place for Truth-Telling

Thanks to Hamil Harris at the Washington Post for more on Rev. Joseph Lowery's remarks at Coretta King's funeral. (See prior post on this site.) ... the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery said yesterday that his conservative critics do not understand black funerals and are seeking...

“Worship Is …” Sage Insight from William Temple

  Worship is   the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His...

The Cycle of Torture: What Goes Around Comes Around

From Habakkuk 2:25-27 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. The "drink" here is pretty obviously not related to grapes. It is the intoxicating brew of ideology /...

Habakkuk for Today? The Arrogance of Power.

There are some parts of the Bible, even the "Old Testament," that need very little adjustment in order to have clear and direct meaning to today. What do you think of this from Habakkuk, ch 1? 2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out...

The Lamb and the Dove – Powerful Symbols

[The pictures are missing. Temporarily I hope.] The pictures in the upper corners of this site of the Lamb and the Dove are significant to me because they refer my mind and heart to what are to me very fundamental theological and philosophical convictions. [Here are...

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...

The Moderate, Sensible Hitler that Christians Approved Of

We watched PBS's Bonhoeffer video last night (the full-length version; the current PBS airing is a shortened version for tv). How's that old saying from Santayana go? - something like "those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it". Hitler was...

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...

How To Behave At Funerals (w/ Update)

Here's an awesome little video clip of Dr. Joseph Lowery's mini-sermon at Mrs. King's funeral. This is not my style of preaching, but I love it. I love seeing someone hit the right tone, get in profound and memorable and telling lines, connect so appropriately with...

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...

M L King Opposed Our Vietnam War. What About Iraq? Juan Cole.

Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, has done excellent work (as is his reputation) in compiling this list of "10 Things Martin Luther King Would Have Done about Iraq". He analyzes King's anti-war speech "Beyond Vietnam" of April 1967 in New...

Are We Making the American Church a Stench to Most Americans?

I was pretty angry when I wrote back in April about one of these "Justice Sunday" events. I titled the post "I Am Angry, and It's Very Appropriate." I guess I'm pretty angry again. Here are some quotes from that April article:   [The italicized selections are from an...

Christmas Reflections: Dangers from ‘Christianized’ Politics

[Thanks to Barb C for this.] The leaders of the religious right are not dangerous because of their politics. Even the worst of the current political issues are temporary and as the book of Eccesliastes points out, will all mean nothing in the end. They are dangerous...

Jesus Came Down His “Own Secret Stair”

Here's our hands-down all-time favorite Christmas poem, with our paraphrase following. Little Baby Thing They all were looking for a king to slay their foes and lift them high. Thou cam'st a little baby thing that made a woman cry. O Son of Man, to right my lot,...

“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...

Shame-meter Is Obviously Set Wrong

You can read this in the news today. It appears that the shameful behavior detector the President uses is set wrong, or he is reading it backwards. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush vowed on Monday to authorize more eavesdropping on Americans suspected...

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...

“These Things Are Doable” But Neither Party is Willing

“Get It Together, Democrats.� So says Bob Herbert in the New York Times recently. He points out the problems facing the Republican Party at the national level (“the party is in free fall�), but then adds, A survey taken by the Pew Research Center showed an...

“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...

The Amazing Disappearing (Borrowed) Dollars

Former President Clinton, in an interview on ABC (as reported in Common Dreams): "What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan,...

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...

Defense of Marriage, the Better Strategy

I am an advocate of defense of marriage. But to me it does not seem a good strategy to try to defend marriage (or marriages) by being preoccupied with the private sexual behavior of a small minority of people. I wish Christians (and churches and voters in general)...

Whatever You Did, or Did Not. Matthew 25.

Words of Jesus, who is called "Christ." It is from his title that we derive the word "Christian" (from Matthew 25:34-46) These are precisely the "kinds of people" we instinctively turn away from - unless we've had pretty good moral training. But Jesus gets a little...

“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...

Violence and Chaos, New Orleans after Katrina – Gee, I’m Shocked

The Washington Post tells me this morning, "Armored military vehicles and national guard troops started moving into New Orleans Thursday morning amid continuing reports of violence and chaos in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina." Of COURSE there's violence and chaos....

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...

Pro-Life Catholics Fit Better In The Democratic Party

Dan Schinzel, of Omaha, in a recent article from the Omaha World Herald, argues that Catholics who care about pro-life and justice issues would be much more appropriately involved in the Democratic Party than with the Republicans. The World Herald says "The writer ......

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.]...

Big Government, & Punishing Innocents for the Crimes of the Guilty

Information Clearing House has this article by Mike Whitney complaining about the new repressive measures dictated in Britain by Prime Minister Blair. In case you can't tell, Whitney likes George Galloway's courage and bluntness. (Galloway is a Member of the British...

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...

Bible Study: Guidelines for Handling Attention

Here are some thoughts I derived from spending time with Luke 12: 1-15. As you will see, I'm just pulling some general principles here, not applying them to specific situations around us. I think some of the applications are obvious, others need to be more tailored....

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...

Long-Distance Sin: Less Visible But More Deadly: Part I

A friend sent me this quote from the book Sin and Society by Edward Alsworth Ross, published in 1907 (with forward by Theodore Roosevelt!). (Ross was in Madison, Wisconson, where he would finish out his career, but he had just spent 5 years as a professor at the U of...

Economics, the Prophet Habakkuk, and America

[Here's part of a recent comment, dealing with American economic oppression around the world and the Biblical implications of that.] "One thing that some of us who are concerned about the collapse of the global economy can say, which supporters of the war in Iraq...

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...

Shame on Promoters of Corrupt War-making – Personal Story

[This recent comment speaks for itself.] My son is one of those kids deployed in Afghanistan. In his letters he tells me of the futility of the effort and of the contractors living well and making money left and right. He is just one of many and I hope and pray that...

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 -...

Morality: WHICH Kids Do We Send To Their Deaths?

Bob Herbert, in his opinion columns for the NYT, tends regularly to pin things down to moral basics, as in this recent example. From the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were...

Koran 9:11 Offers Some Hope to ‘The Eagle’

I received an email yesterday pointing out how much of Old Testament history happened in or referred to the area that is today's Iraq. That part of the email was fairly accurate. Then it added this alleged quotation from the Koran, the holy book of Islam. Quran (9:11)...

Was Jesus Violent? The Temple Money-Changers Incident

One incident often comes up in discussions of Jesus and the generally non-violent flavor of his teaching - the time (or two) when he overthrew money-changer's tables in the temple compound in Jerusalem. [Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, John 2:8] I am assuming that the...

Mark Twain: “We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem”

Mark Twain, 100 years ago: "I have read carefully the Treaty ... and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem ... It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make...

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...

Can Proponents of Unjust War Justly Call Themselves “Pro-Life”?

An editorial in the Tahlequah (Ok) Daily Press illustrates how difficult it is for some to be consistently pro-life. The occasion was the anniversary in January of Roe vs. Wade. (Emphases added.) First, the author attacks the hypocrisy of the very narrow "pro-life"...

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...

Responses to Some Questions About this Site

(Here are my hasty responses to questions asked by a woman writing a book about "who is pulling the strings" in our country. The indented paragraphs are her questions.) Thanks so much for your interest and your kind words. I apologize for not responding sooner – it...

The Love of Many Has Grown Cold in America

"Many false prophets will arise and deceive many, and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:11-13 The love of many is growing cold in America. There were several major...

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....

Was It A Lack In My Faith? A Christian Very Puzzled by His Church.

(Here's a comment recently added to A Lament for the American Church. It speaks for itself.) Thank you for finally putting into words what I have been feeling all along! I have often wondered if it was just me that saw all the war mongering and hypocrisy in the Bush...

Social Security ‘Reform’ is Still a Distraction

Barb Corso pointed out this distraction three months ago ("Deny Health Care to Millions?"). Now Robert Reich has made the same point in USA Today. (or here) Political deception and distraction are still wrong and destructive, even if done by the very powerful. They...

Pewjacked – Excommunicated for Not Backing Bush!

Rob says: Thanks to [a friend and] the AP for this smoking gun: Minister ex-communicates members for not backing Bush How about that purported "liberal media bias" now? Can anyone remember the local atheist club splitting down the middle because some of its members...

Faith and Responsibility

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am...

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...

Creative Fidelity, Personally & Nationally. We Cannot Go Back.

WHAT IS 'CREATIVE FIDELITY'? In a text I use for my "Life and Teachings of Jesus" class at the college, the author discusses the 'how-to' of inter-personal relationships, insisting that there are "moral as well as intellectual capacities" required. He lists seven...

Wislawa Szymborska, poem: Cleaning Up The Mess(es)

This poet puts things so matter-of-factly, and sees so realistically. I see this applying to more than military "adventures" - see after the poem. THE END AND THE BEGINNING by Wislawa Szymborska (Nobel Prize winning Polish poet) After every war someone has to clean...

I Am Angry, and It’s Very Appropriate

It's been difficult for me to write these last few days partly because I am so deeply offended and outraged. Now they are pretending their drive to destroy the US Senate and the Judiciary is a campaign in defense of faith and of people of faith. It is not. It is...

Good Faith versus Bad Faith

Bad Monotheism - Bad Faith I don't think the greatest enemy of monotheism is atheism, agnosticism, polytheism, dualism, or pantheism: It is bad monotheism, monotheism carried out in bad faith. Yes! "Bad faith" is NOT a virtue even in our very...

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...

I wanted to be like Jesus … But I didn’t wanna be a Christian

Connie found the Barry McGuire site the other nite to listen to some of that cool old Christian rock. There she found some interesting paragraphs from his biography. "When I was a little boy, my grandmother told me something I've never forgotten. I was probably about...

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...

Easter, & The Cross, The Deliberate Holy Strategy of God

Today is Easter. Here in honor of that memorial are some difficult but worthy lines from one of my favorite thinkers (from The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, Peter Taylor Forsyth, 1909, London). What is truly human is not sin, sin is no factor of the true humanity,...

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....

Evil in the Heart is the Only Reason for Torture

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." - George Orwell So let me say some very obvious things about torture: The only reason to torture another human being, or to order or enable torturing, or to...

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...

Maybe You Should Be In (a) Mainstream Church!

Sunday seems a good day to re-attend to this comment from bookaholic (last week's Open Thread). People looking for an alternative to churches that ignore Jesus' teachings, get Caesar and God mixed up, don't preach love, etc. might want to try something really, really...

Daily “Sabbath”: an Ignatian-Style Meditation & Prayer Site

Here's a valuable site: sacredspace.ie. It provides daily guides for brief meditation and prayer. I'm not Catholic in background, practice, or inclination; but I have gotten major benefit from studying certain Catholic saints and philosophers. Ignatius Loyola (founder...

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...

“My Friends Are Dead” and I Wonder …

This is almost verbatim from a diary by soonergrunt at dailykos with some comments from me at the bottom. First soonergrunt quotes from the Associated Press: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq rose to 1,500 after the military announced...

Cheney’s Reasons for Invading Iraq – According to Cheney Himself

Some of us in the church have begun to feel like captives on an Alfred Hitchcock movie set -- so many fellow believers are putting stock in every word the Bush Administration is saying! The following can be useful in proving that the reasons given for the Iraq war are...

Iraqi Family Man Meets Freedom American Style

"In places like Bosnia and El Salvador, Chile and South Africa, East Germany and Argentina, people are struggling to come to terms with their former torturers and enemies. Should they be pardoned? Forgiven? Should they apologize? Be prosecuted? These questions must be...

Jesus Wept Over Present and Coming Destructions

A comment added to the "Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican" post below mentioned how some Bible-thumpers seem to welcome the idea of catastrophe, apocalypse, or Armageddon, and even feel they should help bring it about. Unfortunately I have indeed heard people...

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...

Why Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican

This was written about 12 years ago (as of today, in February 2017). Wow. And the problems remain, and have grown; which means these things still need thinking and talking about. References and Bible quotations...

US Churches, US Senators, and a Church Hero Under the Nazis

How many heroes does it take? In times of major crisis it usually takes a lot due to the sad fact that many of them will be taken down, electorally or even physically. I'm complaining about lack of leadership in the churches and in government and politics. When the...

Torture, or “Controversial Interrogation Policies”?

Calling a spade a "landscaping concept"? This was an article summary in a New York Times email I received a couple of days ago: The Senate voted 60 to 36 Thursday to confirm Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, but only a handful of Democrats backed him after days...

Will Christian Selfishness Deny Health Care to Millions?

While all the attention this week was on social security and the State of the Union Address, there were a few articles on healthcare that were just barely under the radar. On January 31, an article in the LA Times ("Health Care Overhaul is Quietly Underway"...

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...

Martin Luther King on War, from a Sermon

Here are excerpts from a sermon by Martin Luther King, primarily on war. There are some very potent remarks here. He was referring primarily to the Vietnam mess, but the remarks travel very well to our current behavior. (This is gratefully lifted from Ari's recent...

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...

Economics, the Bible, Galbraith, Sen, and Economics IS ETHICS!

My cousin in soCal was cleaning out old emails and sent me this one I sent her a year ago. I still like it. "I'm wading through "Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay", by James K Galbraith (econ prof at Austin, and son of John Kenneth G.). It was described...

Sorry, But Some Hitler References are Legitimate and Needed

What's wrong with mentioning Hitler or the Nazis? At best we use the word "fascist", which is like swearing with the word "darn." The fascists were 2nd stringers. The Nazis were the epitome. Why are we afraid to see how they operated? Evil is still evil and humans are...

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...

The Pope Opposed The American Tsunami.

The American Tsunami has hit Iraq, with a high and mounting death toll that is or soon will be comparable to that in southeast Asia. A New York Times headline today - "Amid Chaos, Sri Lankans are Struggling to Survive" - could just as truly read "Amid Chaos, Iraqis...

Wislawa Szymborska: “… the Question of Pornography”

from a new book I bought last night on the way to Chicago... "There's nothing more debauched than thinking.... Nothing's sacred for those who think. Calling things brazenly by name, risque' analyses, salacious syntheses, frenzied, rakish chases after bare facts...."...

Hark! the Herald Angels Sang! — At the Wrong Place

Here's an op-ed type piece I wrote last Christmas about God's strange approach to public relations issues that first Christmas. Christmas: God's public relations problem by Larry Harvey, published in Southwest Nebraska News, Dec 12, 2003 That first Christmas was a...

Family Values, Christian Morality – Defended by Hitler

  Current prominent figures, speaking words the "Christian Right" wants to hear, are not the first national leaders to use Christian morality as a rallying cry. These words are from 1933: "The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on...

Straight Thinking on Being Democrat, Christian, & Pro-Life

by pastorj; originally published mid-2004 I think we are overlooking the elephant in the room when it comes to this question... While there are certainly other issues separating the evangelical right from the Democratic party, the abortion issue seems like the deal...

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...

The Hopes and Fears of All the Years — Including 2004?

December 11, 2004 Simultaneous intensity of joy and sorrow - that is a big part of the story of Christmas. The star, angels, magi, and a baby called "God With Us" began a sequence that took Jesus fairly quickly through contempt and conspiracy to be humiliated,...

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...

Pope John Paul II Against Bush’s Iraq War

September 26, 2004 Not surprisingly, I get posts and emails from people who disagree with my take on things as presented in this site; some (very few) are courteous and literate, and that is much appreciated. Many are rude and quite self-righteous in addition to being...

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 in Daniel’s Prayer Life

According to the Biblical account the ancient prophet Daniel was a very highly placed governmental / political figure, a man with tremendous responsibilities and an excellent reputation. So, of course, other powerful persons begin to scrutinize him - not to get a clue...

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...

Criticism, and A Beautiful Vision for Our Day – from Isaiah 58

From that awesome chapter, Isaiah 58:      "If you do away with the yoke of oppression,      with the pointing finger and malicious talk," Have you noticed how often you find oppressive behavior accompanied by blaming, finger pointing, and malicious talk? Writing...

Am I An Enemy of the Churches?

I’m not the one driving youth from the churches; many churches have proven very capable of doing that without my assistance. I’m trying to show them that the churches, in spite of appearances, are carriers of the most precious of...

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...

Confessing Christ Against America’s ‘Theology of War’

Nov 6, 2004 In Germany in the 20's and 30's many "German Christians" sold their hearts to unquestioning support of the German state and it's aggressive foreign policy. Some more attentive Christians felt they had to make a "confession" of their allegiance to Christ...

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...

Langston Hughes: Let America Be America Again

We were gone for the weekend to Lawrence KS. (Nice place!) Browsing bookstores we found Let America Be America Again* -- a few poems by the black "poet laureate" Langston Hughes, with a preface by Senator John Kerry. (It's a new booklet, though Hughes died in 1967.)...

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...

Does Pro-Life Voting Reduce Abortions? – Nat’l Catholic Reporter

October 6, 2004 An editorial in the National Catholic Reporter points out what "insiders" know - that abortion will remain legal in the US for many years to come. BUT, the article adds, there ARE "concrete steps our political leaders can take" that would significantly...

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...

Should Christians Work Against Poverty? This Muslim Thinks So.

"All state organizations that provide free or subsidized services for the poor could be done away with." "There would be no begging in the streets." "Nobody would be at the mercy of anybody else, and that is what would make all the difference."* "To me a world without...

C S Lewis on Christian Marriage & the Law

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused.</ The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question -- how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of...

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...

Remember Those in Prison

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3) That is a demanding standard. If twenty or thirty percent of Christians in the US would live up to that standard the...

Learning Jesus

May 11, 2004 I just finished teaching a community college course on "The Life and Teachings of Jesus." I was impressed to see that people actually changed during the semester. We just discussed what we read in the Gospels, and a couple of books by authors who take the...

Torture & Abuse of Iraqis by Americans

There is a sad logic in this. Can it be surprising that individuals or small groups should take the same attitude that their government has taken? These individual Americans had the power; they had been resisted; they felt no need to get permission; they did what they...

Should We Legislate Christianity?

May 8, 2004 The easy way to "win" the "lost" is to make Christianity into an ideology and force it on people by the power of the state. Shall we get on with it? Or if not that, we could make a simplified moral system with a few strong points of emphasis, and enforce...

Making Jesus Real or Making Machinery Hum

"There is no greater need in our time than that those who teach religion should concern themselves, not with tightening up the machinery, developing organization, or arranging more meetings; but rather to make Jesus real to men; to invite them into that transforming...

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...

Abortion: Right & Left vs Right & Wrong

1) It is repulsive to me to hear the phrase "lump of tissue" used of the developing human in a woman's womb. You know, if it's true of the fetus, it's probably also true of the child and the adult. "You are an accidentally united little lump of something" is what...

‘Defense of Marriage’ Falsely So Called

Dear Representative Nozzollio. It has come to my attention that you and other Republican representatives are co-sponsoring a DOMA bill for NYS. (DOMA S.2220) That is a Defense of Marriage Act. I must let you know that as a married heterosexual mother, I find the...

Do Fancy Houses Bring God Glory?

April 20, 2004 Millard Fuller writes of a large new mansion in Atlanta, with pool, lake, extensive gardens, etc., whose owner said he built it "Because I'm a born-again Christian and I wanted to glorify God."(1) Fuller then refers to Moses, Isaiah, Amos and Jeremiah...

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