Dissent as a Spiritual Discipline If the Church Sells Out to Power and Glory

[A Review of Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Charles Marsh, 2014] Marsh introduces us to Bonhoeffer’s ancestry and walks us clear through to the last imprisoned years of uncertainty that ended in his execution just days before the end of WWII. It is not written to coddle nor to discomfort whatever our self-image is as American Christians today, but tries to show reality. This is what biography should be – excellent credentials, extensive research, sensitive awareness, sympathetic objectivity, thorough treatment, and clear organization and writing. Two eras of his life seem particularly important to our current experience … Continue reading

Contempt and Hate Sloshing Around Is A Huge Moral Issue.

Many of my Republican friends would protest and say it isn’t true – they don’t hate people, nor even hold them in contempt. They love them. They just wish they’d straighten up and … I don’t know what. Not be poor? Not be born into economically oppressed inner cities (or stagnating rural areas)? Not grow up in an American subculture? Not be persecuted? Not be abused? Talk like the white majority in whatever community they are in? Go to church with them? Don’t listen to weird music? Don’t get arrested for things that white people are doing but don’t get … Continue reading

The Billionaires Win Big. What Next?

The billionaires won big in yesterday’s election, so the Party-That-Tends-To-Hurt-People got stronger. But, as the hurt increases, the ‘little people’ (which seems to be most of us) will not blame that party. They (we?) will dutifully follow the teaching of the billionaires (through, e.g. Fox News) and blame the other party, the Party-That-Frequently-Tries-To-Help People. Do we need to abandon this dollar-dominated, greed-driven, manipulative foolishness? Maybe really get into something more Gandhian, or more ML Kingian, maybe something that would even be more Christian, more basic, more powerful? Or maybe get more of a hybrid, where the spiritual power of the … Continue reading

Losing Gov Candidate says, “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly … ” (Micah 6:8)

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 that is entirely credible because that’s how he has lived his entire life. And unlike others, he did not go into politics wealthy and he’s not coming out of it wealthy. … Continue reading

Capitalism: Does Anyone, Biblically, Have Authority to Interfere in Economic Matters?

I’ve experienced it a number of times – many of my Christian acquaintances can get so worked up with contempt and even hatred for their government. They often seem to have no respect at all for the idea of government interfering in people’s lives in any way – or at least not in well-off or successful people’s lives. Those attitudes are not actually capitalism. They are anarchism of a certain sort, or radical libertarianism, or tea-baggery. And of course I am stating it in extreme terms. But I actually do hear it in those terms. Aside from the fact that … Continue reading

When You Work On It It’s No Longer Impossible – “A Set of Problems to Solve, One After the Other”

Here’s the guy who did the (illegal) high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center. Dare you think about the impossibe? – especially something impossible that badly NEEDS doing? Interviewer: I assume that an illegal or clandestine wire-walk, or any other kind of performance involving a major public building, would be much more difficult today. P.P. It would be impossible. But in my life I work on the impossible, so when you work on it it’s no longer impossible. It becomes a set of problems to solve one after the other. Obviously the world has changed. New York … Continue reading

10 “Rules” For Happy Married Life – from a Couple Who Practice Them!

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 who does what or who does more. Laugh at yourself. Be kind and patient. It’s not about being right; be willing to compromise. Make time for each other (harder to do when you have kids but important). Compliment each other. Turn off the tv. Never go a day without … Continue reading