“So what can I, personally, do about this mess?”

That’s a question I’m being asked more and more, as the dismally partisan, sectarian and one-sided impeachment proceedings play out in Congress;  as crisis after crisis (our all-too-porous borders, homelessness, the economy, etc.) grabs the headlines;  as people feel more and more powerless to actually change the rot that they see all around them in our society.  “What can I, personally, do to change it?” I think there are several things one can do:  but they all have to begin with accepting the situation as it is, and ourselves as we are.  It’s no good saying, “Things should be this way”

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That’s a trick they didn’t teach us at seminary

Being a retired chaplain, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip.  (Click the image to see a larger version at the comic’s Web page.) The comic amused me on many levels, but it also highlights a sad truth.  I don’t believe in the so-called “rapture” (it’s not biblically valid at all, and was never part of the teaching of the early church), but an awful lot of people seem to spend an awful lot of time arguing about it.  In fact, so many alleged Christians spend so much time arguing about when and

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Pain can do that to you . . .

I was saddened to read that a Belgian athlete has chosen euthanasia as the only way she could see to end her pain. Belgian paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics and silver at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, died by euthanasia Tuesday, officials said. Vervoort, 40, suffered from incurable, degenerative spinal pain. She said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro three years ago that she only got about 10 minutes of sleep some nights and described the pain that caused others to pass out from just watching her. She said sports

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Bill Barr on the foundation of our Republic

US Attorney-General Bill Barr gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame University last week.  I think he summed up very well the real issue with American politics and society today.  I’ll quote from his remarks at some length. In one sense, Barr simply explained what President John Adams meant by a statement he made in a 1798 letter. He then showed the significance of that statement to American life today. “We have no Government armed with Power which is capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by … morality and religion,” Barr quoted from Adams’ letter. “Our Constitution was made only for

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A fascinating piece of history

A reader sent me this photograph of the ceremonial axe of Pharaoh Ahmose I (c. 1549–1524 BC) of ancient Egypt.  Click the image for a larger view. According to the Egyptian Museum: This axe was executed to commemorate the liberation of Egypt from the Hyksos. The copper blade together with its cedar wood handle is entirely covered with gold and ornamented with precious stones. The inlaid decoration of the axe is divided on each side into three compartments, all decorated with motifs alluding to the expulsion of the Hyksos and the re-unification of the country by Ahmose. The side shown here is ornamented with

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Doofus Of The Day #1,054

Today’s award goes to the faculty and students who took part in this nonsense.  Speaking as a Christian pastor, it’s enough to make me cross (you should pardon the expression). Students at Union Theological Seminary in New York City were instructed to confess to potted plants as an “expression of worship” and as a “liturgical response to our climate crisis.” Many online mocked a tweet from the seminary affiliated with Columbia University for celebrating the unusual chapel service where students of the cloth “held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain

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Restoring marriage

The problems inherent in marriage are discussed in an article at National Review.  The excerpt below highlights many of the issues they discuss, and I’ve highlighted one paragraph in bold, underlined text for further discussion. Who or what is to blame for this unraveling of marriage and the complete breakdown of trust in Rob’s world, and in the world of so many white, working-class people like him? Economic instability is most immediately evident … Less visible but more dramatic is the role of social alienation. At least two generations have now come of age in the aftermath of the divorce revolution, and

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Letting the camel’s nose into the [moral] tent

There’s an old Arab proverb that warns, “Never let the camel get its nose under the tent, because the rest of the body will follow“.  It’s a variation on the Western proverb that “if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile“.  I daresay the concept is common among almost all cultures.  In politics, they call it “moving the Overton window“;  starting with discussion within a socially accepted range, then moving the discussion to gradually include more and more extreme elements, getting people accustomed to the new concepts.  In due course, society will accept as common or normative things that

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