“America First” has become “America Last”

For those who’ve followed this blog (or my ministry) for the last several years, I think you’ll agree that I try to strike a balance between my own beliefs and views (which are clearly rather Progressive); and emphasizing the importance of listening-to those who have different perspectives.  And, I believe this is imperative if we are serious about our faith: we must make a determined effort to really understand where others are “coming from.”

As I see it, we’re all in this together.  And, we cannot make progress towards a better future for all UNLESS we all believe together that it is a better future.  But, there comes a point where the line between reasoned debate and outright insanity is crossed.  That has happened repeatedly in the last few months, and isn’t going to end any time soon.  Even so, I have tried to differentiate between the actions and beliefs of our demonstrably incompetent and self centered president; and the well founded anger and doubts of many who support his administration.  Anger and concerns which many of us on the Liberal side of the spectrum actually share.  There is much more that unites us than divides us, even now.

But for me, this decision of the president’s to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord is the last straw.  (This article from the Weather Channel does a good job of summarizing what this will mean for us.)

Now, for those who have questions about Climate Change, fine: have questions. Ask them. Ask lots of questions. And when well informed folk respond, listen.

But the president’s decision goes far beyond that: it not only flies in the face of unequivocal scientific research and findings; but also puts the USA at odds with the ENTIRE WORLD.

No good can come of this in an environmental, economic, political or diplomatic sense. It isolates us from our allies and economic partners.  It removes us from our former status as a respected world leader.  We are well on the way to becoming the bully with a big stick whom others will have to join together to knock back into line.  It is hard to imagine a worse decision being made by any past, present, or future president – short of starting another global war.

I’m always happy to engage in reasoned dialog on the issue of Climate Change.  But, it is not a left vs. right issue, but a right vs. wrong issue: do we listen to what ALL reputable scientists are telling us? Or, do we subscribe to the conspiracy theories and “research” promulgated by a tiny band of deniers whose motives and qualifications are for the most part highly suspect?

For this country to remain strong, for it to retain it’s position as a world leader, requires more than just a large economy and an oversized military.  Other countries will eventually eclipse us on that score, and even sooner than we might think.  Such leadership solely through raw power cannot endure.  For us to remain a leading nation in this world requires us to lead in other ways.  Sadly, the current administration and leadership in Congress does not understand this, and is leading us down a path from which we will take decades to recover, if we ever do.

An Expository Reading of Pilate’s Questioning of Jesus

Presented at Sudbury Memorial UCC Church, November 25, 2012
Scripture: John 18:33-37

Prologue…

Today we celebrate “Christ the King” or “The Reign of Christ” Sunday, the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, a time when we ponder the meaning of Christ’s Lordship here on earth, and in our lives.

In exploring this today, we will focus on the topic of Fact vs. Faith.  For us to allow the Son of God to have Lordship over our lives, then Christ must be real and tangible truth to us in some way.  But, what does that mean?  How do faith, fact and truth intersect?  How does the truth of Christ become reality in our lives?

In 1975, James Cone, a well known African American Theologian, got right to the heart of this issue when he wrote that “Jesus is Black.”  People were shocked by this, as you might imagine.  Many rejected the idea, others tried to understand it as a metaphor.  But Cone insisted, saying that his critics didn’t understand, the TRUTH is that for African Americans, Jesus is Black.  He must be, otherwise, Jesus is not talking to those of us who are African Americans, but only to those who are White.  In order for Jesus to speak to us, to really be what he says he is – God with Us – then, for Cone and many others, Jesus must be Black.  Otherwise, Jesus is not someone that Cone can relate to as a member of a race that has been oppressed and marginalized for centuries because of the color of their skin.

In hearing this, our reaction may be “But, that’s not the truth!”

Really?  How can we be sure?  …Does it matter?

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