Posts

Etcetera...

I don't mean the title of this BLOG to be trivial, but I do allude to the terrible and fast pace of happenings around us. Since my last BLOG entry, there has been another mass shooting, with 26 persons losing their lives to a crazed mad man with a semi-automatic weapon. A huge earthquake has killed hundreds of people along the Iran/Iraq border. President Trump has been overseas, where he made a couple of "normal" speeches, and yet continued to utter incredible and divisive rants on the sides, and tweeted a few things that would have had any past president dragged before a congressional committee, most likely. But he gets a pass? Oh, and hundreds--hundreds of women have stepped forth with testimonies of being sexually harassed or assaulted by other film directors, famous Hollywood stars, and even a serious candidate for the Senate from Alabama (and in his case, some of his "dates" were apparently children). Friends, I'm not making this stuff up--this has all…

What Ever Happened to Middle Earth?

Warning: this is a political post--sort of. What I mean is that in it, I am hoping for, praying for, advocating for a type of sanity that has gone missing from the American political landscape. Here's what I mean...

If you read multiple newspapers, as I do, and try to read a balance of news across the spectrum from "liberal" to "conservative," a fearful thing emerges: the polarization of America into extremes has roots and wings--it is not just a myth of Facebook posts and bar conversations, apparently. Where did we lose "Middle Earth"?

In the political world, we have devolved into Bernie Sanders, Socialist Democrat, on one side, and "The Party of Trump" on the other. Responsible politicians falling anywhere away from these poles--even a really conservative guy like Jeff Flake--becomes persona non grata. Off with his head. Are we  even hearing from any Democrats several rungs down the fire escape toward reason from Senator Sanders? Chuck Sch…

How did Halloween become such a thing?

I read again recently that the amount of decorations sold for Halloween exceed even what we shell out for Christmas. How did Halloween become such a huge thing?

First of all, many of us don't spend as much on Christmas because we have TONS of decorations acquired over the years, and much of it came from our parents or grandparents when they "downsized." St. Paul's and North Hills Community Outreach does a thing every Fall where we collect donations of Christmas decorations and then offer them for free to persons who maybe can't afford to purchase them. You can't believe what all gets donated. Clearly, there is a prodigious glut of Christmas decorations out there, languishing in attics, basements, garages, and probably even stuffed into the little doors and drawers under nightstands and end tables!

But what about Halloween? It's always been a kid-favorite holiday, with the costumes, trick-or-treating for candy, and the resulting overall sugar overload. And…

Weinstein...

As a white, privileged male in a culture that makes me a dominant figure just because of how I look in the mirror, I am so sad for women today.

[Let me qualify this post by first stating that I no longer believe in gender being merely a "binary" thing, so when I use the terms "male" and "female," I am using them broadly, at least while addressing the topic of sexual harassment. For the purpose of this narrative, the terms describe persons who identify as female being exploited  or harassed by persons who identify as male. Such is the case of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and the women who have begun to come forward publicly  about his sexual aggressions.]

What women put up with--and have for millennia, most likely--is unbelievable. Books, research, and mountains of case studies have revealed a glimmer of what it is like being discriminated against, underpaid, and objectified because of one's gender. And now, this Weinstein story breaks, revealing the l…

What happened in Vegas will probably stay in Vegas...until it happens again...

Another mass shooting. This time the worst in U.S. history! Frankly, I'm tempted to just write blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...for all the good it does to write anything more about these tragedies. Here are a few facts I have read in the wake of this latest bloodshed:

-The number of persons killed by guns in the U.S. since 1970 is greater than the total of all of the deaths of Americans in all of the wars we have fought, beginning with the Revolutionary War!

-When ISIS claims responsibility, all Muslims are condemned as holding to a "violent religion"; when a person of color commits a violent act, many stereotype all persons of color as tending toward such acts; when a white person commits a heinous act like the Las Vegas shootings or the Charleston shootings, he is dubbed a "lone wolf." How very sad.

-A bill before the Congress to make silencers for guns legal has, at least temporarily, been delayed. AND, the NRA has gone dark. My pessimism says that they will …

Take a Knee...

When I played sports, or should I say "played AT" sports, as I wasn't very good at anything except tennis, it was typical for a coach, wanting to get our attention in practice, to call us together and say, "Take a knee." By planting one knee down, a group of young, restless guys were anchored to the turf, and would listen to the coach's instructions. Thanks to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and the events that swirled around the National Football League last weekend, the phrase now has a totally different meaning. It didn't help to have the flames of the controversy fanned by our Commander in Tweet, either.

Last year, after yet another young African American man was shot to death by police, Kaepernick, whose father was African American, decided to protest racial injustices by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem before a football game. It became a thing. He also became persona non grata to many people who felt he was "disrespecting…

God and Hurricanes...

The age-old questions of "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and "If God is good, why does God let things like hurricanes cause so much damage and kill people?" never get old, because this stuff does happen. Theologians call these the questions of theodicy. Is there a decent answer to either of these questions? Probably not one that is absolutely satisfying, especially to those who are victims, or who are in the path of destruction.

The Planet Earth is an amazing thing. I happen to believe a divine mind was involved in its creation, but am quite happy to let the scientists describe how it "came to be," how its evolutionary processes resulted in life as we know it--including our own--and so forth. Believing in a divine "spark" and/or divine, intelligent input to this creative process doesn't negate the efforts, observations, and findings of science, in my opinion, and believing in these scientific factors do not detract from my religio…