Going forward from here, the question is not what can our leaders do for us, but what we, as people of Faith, must do to heal our country and our world.
Many of us who are Democrats or Liberals are angry and/or despondent at the failure of the Second Impeachment attempt of our ex-president.
Consider that in voting to acquit the ex-president the GOP has refused to join with America as a whole to deal with the problem. He is now their problem, and theirs alone.
It will be telling to see how – or if – they attempt to deal with his blatantly criminal behavior and failure to uphold his oath of office (among other things); and whether the internal strife his failed presidency has engendered within their ranks will rip the party apart, or transform it into an unapologetically racist and even violent movement.
But the Democrats are not blameless in all of this…
Continue reading “Where to Go From Here: Thoughts on the Second Impeachment”
The Gospel is very clear and very explicit on this: It is we who must change to include others. They are not called to conform themselves to our standards.
There’s been quite a furor in the news recently (as noted in this link to a column on CNN) about two lawmakers in Mississippi who are invoking what they call “The Billy Graham Rule.” They are using it to shut women out of the political process in ways that are what I’d term antediluvian: resorting to tropes and portrayals of women that we know to have never been respectful, let alone accurate, and which have the effect of oppressing and excluding women from public life; keeping them under the control of men; and treating them more as property than as persons worthy of respect in their own right.
Continue reading “About the Billy Graham Rule”
In 1 Kings chapter 2, the Hebrew Bible speaks of the bloody purge commanded by King Solomon at the start of his reign. One of the young King’s targets was Joab.
Joab had been David’s most capable commander: ruthless, zealous, and without an ounce of compassion. He seemed to be intensely loyal to the Monarchy, but that did not necessarily mean he was blindly obedient to the King. For instance, a few years earlier he had killed David’s rebellious son, Absalom against David’s wishes; and he killed a rival (and his own cousin) Amasa, whom David had appointed to replace Joab. Finally, when David died, Joab made the mistake of supporting a rival claimant to the throne, David’s son Adonijah, instead of David’s [apparent] choice, Solomon. Not a nice guy, to say the least!
Once he became aware that a purge was taking place, Joab fled to the Tent of the Ark of the Tabernacle, claiming Sanctuary as others had done before him – including David himself. Upon hearing this, Solomon ordered his new General to kill him anyway; and so Benaiah went into the Temple and slaughtered Joab there.
The modern “Sanctuary” movement embodies this same concept: we can (and should) offer sanctuary to those fleeing injustice. On the other hand, we cannot (and should not) provide sure sanctuary to those fleeing justice.
In my little New England hometown of Lincoln, Massachusetts, this very question is on the ballot in this coming weekend’s Town Meeting: shall we as a town adopt a resolution declaring we are a “Welcoming, Safe Town which resolves to make all residents, workers and visitors feel safe and secure regardless of immigration status.”
Continue reading “Compassionate Sanctuary”
We cannot be our own judge.
“No, I am not a racist.”
The problem with self-declared exonerations such as our president recently gave is that they’re meaningless. (And no, I’m not saying that he or his administration is meaningless – far from it! But, judging the meaning of the current administration is not the subject of this posting.)
Here’s the issue: statements such as “I am not racist” originate from our own point of view. They are an expression of how we see ourselves. And of course, we are our own heroes in the reality show that is our life. So, no – we’re certain that we’re not racists. We’re not misogynists. We’re not bullies. We’re not evil. Those are negative words, about nasty things – everybody agrees they’re nasty, but we’re not nasty – so no, such nasty, negative, sad terms are not labels that can be applied to us.
In proclaiming our guiltlessness, we ignore that we cannot provide a valid and balanced judgment of ourselves with regards to the accusation that we are racist. That judgment must be left up to others, to those who are the victims of racism. Our racism (or any oppressive behavior we may exhibit) can be only identified by another, not by ourselves. We cannot be our own judge.
Continue reading “I’m Not Racist?”
What do we mean when we say “all men are created equal”? And, who gets to decide what “being equal” means?
It seemed appropriate for my final post here for the calendar year 2017 to focus-on and reaffirm the ideals that I see as central to my walk as a Christian (and indeed, for all Christians). Then ask how those ideals should (or at least can) be applied within the context of the issues of the present time.
Let’s begin with some well known quotes…
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
– Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
– The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
The well known maxim “All men are created equal” is itself is a corollary of the First and Second Great Commandments as stated by Jesus…
[One asked] “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” [To which Jesus replied] “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
– Matthew 22:36-40 [The Message]
“All men are created equal” is the foundational principle upon which this nation is built. Putting that principle into practice is at the heart of the entire purpose of the Constitution and Laws our forefathers crafted for themselves (and us). And, “All men are created equal” is the standard by which all of our laws, regulations, court decisions, ideologies and leaders must be judged. It is the standard that lights our way in times of confusion and discord.
Continue reading “All Men Are Created Equal?”
One thing I’ve noticed about many who reject Faith without thoroughly exploring the subject to begin with (“It just doesn’t make sense to me.”) – is that they envision faith as being focused on The Creation and The Afterlife – on narratives of The Beginning and of The End. They see these narratives – which most or all faiths have – as factually and fatally flawed, if not downright foolish; and so not worthy of serious consideration. Therefore, in their eyes, the faith as a whole must be flawed.
Now, there are many people who have adopted the label “Atheist” because they see the evil and pain in this world and cannot believe that a loving God would allow such things. (And perhaps even blame faith as responsible for much of the world’s pain – which, sadly, is true). Therefore, they say, there is no God. But, that’s an entirely different topic that I have referred-to in some of my past posts here on this site.)
When talking about the Creation or the End Times, the problem – at least in my view – is that focusing on a factual interpretation of a Faith’s narratives of The Beginning and The End completely misses the point. (Biblical interpretation Literalists, please take note.)
Continue reading “The Fallacy of Atheism”
Beth Woolsey’s blog is always entertaining, and often deeply insightful: filled with a deep passion for life and compassion for others.
This particular post of hers (which lays out why she left Conservative Christianity behind) in many ways reflects my own journey on the same path.
The New York Times just published an Op-Ed piece that discusses the link between Hurricane Harvey and Global Warming in a reasoned and balanced way. The author, David Leonhardt’s point is that: “…when we are faced with actual misery that stems in part from climate change, we should be honest about it. … What’s happening in Texas is heartbreaking, and yet it will be a more frequent part of modern life unless we do something about it. That, ultimately, is the most compassionate message about Harvey.”
Sadly, when we use the words “Climate Change,” many on the Right hear only “Libtard Conspiracy.”
Hurricane Harvey will not change that.
Continue reading “Getting Real: Harvey”
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
– The “Second Great Commandment” – Matthew 22:39
In a recent interview with Sean Hannity on Fox, Eric Trump said that those who oppose his dad “are not even people” and then proceeded to criticize those who are calling his father names, and making all sorts of vile accusations against him.
I’ll have to admit, it’s really hard for many to take such ire seriously. After all, no one has ever accused our current president of being a high-minded politician. And, all of us (even his most ardent supporters) can easily recite quite a long list of derogatory phrases he has used to label those he sees as enemies. He’s a master at the craft of name-calling and the memorable insult, we all know it.
But, does that justify our own insults of him in return? And, does our own insulting of him justify his supporters (and him) re-insulting us back? And, does their re-insulting of us in response to our insulting of them after they insulted us justify our re-insulting them back again? And, does our re-insulting of them for re-insulting us after we insulted them for their insulting us justify their re-re-insulting us again? And…
Continue reading “They Started It!”
A synopsis of the “A Message for All Ages” I presented to our congregation’s children (and adults) on January 22, 2017.
I attended the “Women’s March for America” in Boston yesterday. It was not easy to get to because Boston’s Public Transportation system was overwhelmed by how many people were trying to go, but it was well worth the hassle it took to get there.
I thought it would be good to show you a slideshow of some of the things I saw, as well as talk about what that March means for us and our neighbors.
Continue reading “Marching in the Light of God”
When I think about the definition many use for the term “Traditional Marriage”, I wonder whether it is right or fair to define all that marriage is based upon what we do with our genitals, and/or who we do it with.
There are many kinds of traditions out there. But when the term “Traditional Marriage” is used, it is referring to what the speaker sees as a faith tradition. Yet, as I spoke about in a recent sermon, “Tradition” is not synonymous with “Faith.” One must be dependent upon the other, but which one is primary: Faith or Tradition?
Continue reading “Traditional Marriage”
Let us not mince words, as a country we have a starker choice than we’ve ever had before: to choose hate, or to choose love. Which path does our faith call us to pursue?
A year ago today our souls were still filled with the words of President Obama’s Eulogy in Charleston for nine Christians murdered in their own church: in that speech his words were filled with calls for forgiveness, love, tolerance, and social justice. And then, a year ago today, the Supreme Court passed down a decision that made it legal for everyone in this nation to marry whomever they love.
How have these two great events impacted us now, a year later?
On the one side we have a political party that talks about respect and care and social justice. Now, admittedly, they don’t always live up to the ideals they hold, but the intent is there: a determination to love others as God love us.
On the other hand, we have a political party that talks about alienation, about deportation, building walls, embracing hate for all who are different from them in any way, claiming that the threat of deadly violence against another as the first and best defense against injustice. And, it is clear that the presumptive nominee of that party has no concern for anyone but himself: in his mind, people are tools to be used, not creatures of God to be loved as God loves us.
Let us not mince words, as a country we have a starker choice than we’ve ever had before: to choose hate, or to choose love.
Continue reading “The Great Divide”