Category Archives: Politics

My first Father’s Day gift came years before I was a Dad

I’ve been given a lot of Father’s Day gifts over the years.  I’ve gotten shoes, books, a basketball, shirts, and pictures.  When I was in eighth grade, I got a phone for my room.  This might sound strange.  Not many eighth graders get Father’s Day presents.  I remember once telling a friend about the gift my Dad gave me for Father’s Day, and he was confused.  My Dad always gave my sister and brother and me gifts for Father’s Day.

“Being a Father is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he would explain to us.  “And I couldn’t be a Father if it wasn’t for you.”  Although that was only technically true of my sister (his first born), I never argued the point.  The message was clear, and it was one that I don’t think I truly grasped until I was a father myself.  Becoming a father is the best thing that ever happened to me.

I am the father of two girls, and I adore them.  Their laughter is beautiful music.  Their smiles are the greatest of masterpieces.  Their imagination is mind-boggling.  Their dance is breath-taking.  I savor every moment that we are together.  They make me want to be a better person.  I want to give them everything.  On this Father’s Day, I want to give them a gift.

This year though, I’m not going to give them a doll or a toy.  I’m not going to give them a book or a Blackhawks t-shirt.  I’m going to give their gift to someone else, and they are compassionate enough to understand.  Instead of giving to them, I am going to give to other daughters, because everytime I look at my daughters, I can’t help but see the future.

I dream of my daughters growing up in safety and health.  I dream of them getting educated, finding their talents, discovering their gifts.  I dream of them making lasting friendships and falling in love.  I see tremendous giftedness in both of them, and my most important role as a father is to help them see and develop these gifts for themselves.  My dream for them is to fulfill who they were created to be.  My dreams for their future are a luxury that I will never take for granted.

My dreams for their futures are a luxury that most fathers in the world cannot afford.  For most daughters of the world, safety, dignity, education, and health are unattainable dreams.  So my gift to my daughters on this Father’s Day is to the daughters of the world.  My gift this Father’s Day is a word of encouragement.  It is a word of awareness.  It is a call to action.

Maternal health is not a women’s issue.  It is a global concern.  For millions of women, giving birth is the most dangerous thing they will ever do.  Motherhood should be a gift of life, but far too often it is a death sentence.  In many places in the world, women are valued for little more than giving birth.  They are treated as a walking uterus, to be valued if they give birth, and thrown away when or if they cannot.  Girls are forced into motherhood too soon, when it is biologically possible but anatomically dangerous.  They are not allowed to rest and heal between pregnancies.  They have little access to contraception.  If pregnant, health care is difficult to find, and often impossible to afford.  And postpartum care is not even on the RADAR for most.

My faith does not let me standby and allow this to happen.  Jesus raised the widow’s son because he had compassion for her.  He healed the woman that was bleeding for 12 years, returning her to a life fully integrated into the community.  He invited the women to learn at his feet, alongside the men.  He debated a foreign woman at the well, and exulted her faith.  Jesus believed that crazy notion that women are to be valued and treated with dignity and respect.

I believe the same, and so I am called by that same Jesus to do something.  I am called to give my daughters – and all daughters – a gift.

no woman no cry posterThings you can do:

  • Go to Healthy Families, Healthy Planet.  This initiative is funded by the United Nations Foundation, and housed by the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society.  On this useful website, there are fact sheets,  resources for worship, tips for hosting a panel discussion, and instructions on how to host a screening of the film, No Woman, No Cry.
  • Find or host a screening of the incredible film No Woman, No Cry, which tells the story of four women with at-risk pregnancies.  This is a touching, emotionally charged movie.  It is documentary film-making at its best.
  • Write to your Senators and Representatives, and tell them to support aid for international maternal health and family planning.  Supporting women’s health is the single most cost-effective form of aid that we can give.  Remember, Family Planning does not equal abortions.  Increased access and education about contraception can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and reduce the demand for abortions. US Aid to International family planning efforts in 2012 provided contraception to 31 million families.  This helped prevent an estimated 9 million unintended pregnancies, and 4 million abortions.  Maternal health and family planning is Pro-Life. (source: the Guttmacher Institute)
  • Men, stand up and be heard.  Too many believe that maternal health is a woman’s issue.  In most of the world, men’s voices are the most influential in determining public policy and education.  If more men demanded that their daughters were taken care of, it would happen.  There are education programs being set up through developing nations teaching men about their role in family planning.  Stand up men, for your sisters, your mothers, and your daughters.  Do no take the dreams you have for them for granted.

Dads, give someone a Father’s Day gift.  Give a daughter hope for a future where she is not sold into slavery for her uterus.  Give a daughter hope for an education.  Give a daughter a dream for her future.  Give a daughter the gift of life, and life abundant.

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The Unnamed Miracle of Christmas

Mary survived.

She gave birth to a boy surrounded by animals, filth, and dirt.  There was no midwife or doctor or antiseptic or sterile instruments.  There was no one to help.  She was young – probably not fully physically mature.  Still, she gave birth to a boy and survived.  The unnamed miracle of Christmas is that Mary survived.

Healthy Families Healthy Planet

I first heard this statement from Katey Zeh, Project Director of Healthy Families, Healthy Planet.  This initiative of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society is funded by a grant from the United Nations.  Its mission is to educate people about the dangers of motherhood in the Global South, and to advocate for the protection of these mothers.  They have produced this video, which is worth a watch.

A lot of people get very tense when you start talking about family planning.  This is a hot-button issue in American politics.  Yet I believe that this project is one of those things that can and should transcend partisan politics.  Maternal health is a pro-life issue, and so is family planning.  Family planning includes education about contraception, birth spacing, and the importance delaying a girl’s first pregnancy.  Maternal health is not a women’s issue.  It is a human issue.  When women are healthy, their children are healthy.  Education about women’s health reduces abortions, miscarriages, and maternal mortality.  That is something we should all be able to support.

In many parts of the world, where women are still treated much like cattle, family planning and education can be a matter of life or death for a mother and her children – both born and unborn.

This Christmas season, as you ponder the miracle of God becoming flesh, think also of Mary.  Think also of a 14 year old girl you know.  Ponder what would happen to her if she were forced into pregnancy, and was unable to access a doctor, a midwife, or even a clean floor on which to give birth.  Think also of the mother that died in the last 90 seconds in childbirth.  Think of the women that are valued not as people, but for the service their uterus provides.  They are forced into pregnancy too young, and too often.  They are giving birth in terrible conditions.  They are dying.  Their children are suffering.  They need us.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief provides a guide for putting together Birthing kits.  If you are interested in putting these together, you must follow the guidelines precisely.  Follow this link, then click on “Birthing Kits” along the right side of the page.  This is a great way to #BeChristInChristmas.

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Where is the Love?

I am not a conservative or a liberal – as they are portrayed by the other side.  Most people aren’t.  I know that good, loving people can consider the same issue, read the same Bible, pray to the same God, worship in the same pew, and come to very different conclusions.  Some of the most valuable lessons about God and Christ have been taught to me by people that would consider themselves liberal and conservative.  I’ve been taught about grace, and shown unconditional love by people from across the spectrum.  Differing political opinions do not have to be the end of a loving relationship.  If they are, then we’re all in more trouble than I thought.

The current political climate is a difficult one to manage.  I have some strong feelings, and I’m sure you do to.  I have come to my conclusions through prayer, Bible study, reading other sources, examining the current culture, talking to friends, listening to speeches, and a variety of other ways.  I try to listen to those with whom I disagree, but like most people I probably go to my tried-and-true comfortable sources more often than not.  I have changed my mind over the years.  I have cast ballots that I now regret.  My faith informs everything I do, including how I vote.  It must also include how I engage with those with whom I disagree.

I try to focus not on the areas in which I disagree with others, but seek to strengthen the places of contact.  I try to focus on those things which we can agree, and see where it goes from there.  I think an important starting point is here: Acknowledge that the world is broken and in need of healing, so let’s love each other and leave room for disagreement.

I guess that is the question with which I struggle.  Can we love each other and leave room for disagreement?  And a second question that seems to be of particular importance to our churches.  Can we disagree and still work together for the Kingdom?

My answer to these questions is “Yes, and Yes.”  But it’s not easy.  How do we go about loving each other in the midst of disagreement?

Remember that all people are created in the image of God.  Every person is of sacred worth, and is loved by God.  Even if they are driving you nuts.  Even if you think that person is a conceited, ignorant, know-it-all.  That person is loved by God.

Remember that all people are flawed.  And so am I.  I am not the final authority.  I’m just a guy with a wordpress account.

Consider the last time you  changed your mind.  Someone in one of my Bible studies brought this point up.  When was the last time you changed your mind?  If it has been awhile, then ask yourself why that is.  I’m also guessing that you didn’t change your mind because of a well constructed 140 character tweet, or a bitingly funny picture with words on it.

Be willing to concede that the Bible says a lot of things, and also very little.  The Bible should be the primary guide to discernment for Christians.  According to the United Methodist Church, “The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”  In other words, it is our greatest source of divine truth, but it is not the only source of truth in the world.  For most modern issues that are so divisive, it has little to say directly, but much to say indirectly.  I try to take it as a whole, living Word.  This means Bible verse wars are probably not very productive.  In depth analysis, reading, prayer, and conversation over the Scriptures can be extremely productive.

Keep your eye on the mission.  Instead of getting bogged down in particulars and pet projects, see the grander scope of what’s being done.  Part of the political disconnect is that it seems like the mission has turned into winning, when the mission should be working to make our nation stronger, more stable, and safer.  If we can start with a common interest, e.g., helping the poor, then a conversation can begin.  What is the nature of charity?  What does the Bible say about how a government should care for its people?  If we start with a common value, then the particulars of how to go about that become ways to grow, learn, and expand.

-Acknowledge that there are fundamental differences sometimes, but this can be a good thing.  In other words, we need each other.  Liberals and Conservatives and everyone in-between needs each other. We need each other to act as checks and balances.  We need conflict to generate creativity, but sometimes the conflict can rise to levels that are destructive.  Media, pundits, memes, TV commercials,and tweets like caricatures.  They like broad sweeping statements and biting sound bites.  They love gaffes – as if Mitt Romney actually believes that corporations are people, or that Barack Obama actually believes he built your small business for you.  Candidates are not sound bites.  People are not caricatures.  Values, beliefs, and principles cannot be wrapped into packages and labeled.

Can we disagree and still work for the Kingdom?  If the answer is no, then I am deeply saddened.  I pray that the answer is yes, we can work together in the midst of disagreement.

We need each other.  The body of Christ is meant to be a complex, working body.  There is room at the table for everyone.  I may be more liberal than you.  I may be more conservative than you, but I will do my best to love you.  I believe together, with the Holy Spirit, we can make a difference in this broken world.  I believe that together, in the midst of turmoil, political bantering, name-calling, and fear, we can bring people to know the good news of Jesus Christ.  We can work together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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USA! USA!

Is that what I’m supposed to be chanting right now?  Should I be waving my flag and shaking my fist.  Should I pop some champaign, honk my car horn and shoot off some fireworks?  I just heard (on ESPN of all places) that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react.

Should I be excited?  Should I be proud?  Should I feel safer? Should I feel sorrow?

At this point, I’m not really sure what I feel.  I still remember the numbing sadness of September 11.  I remember running out of tears on that horrible morning as I was glued to the television for hours on end.  I remember the anger, the sadness and the confusion.

Now that Bin Laden is dead, should I be happy?  Does the death of this sick and twisted man take away any of that pain?

I’m thinking of the last ten years as the United States has responded to that awful day with two wars, trillions spent, an economy in shambles, and thousands dead.  Will the death of Bin Laden bring our troops home?  Will it make any of them safer tonight as they sleep on foreign soil?

The President is about to speak.  Should I feel proud that I voted for him?  Should I think more of his presidency?  I’m not sure how much he had to do with this.  I am sure in the next few days Republicans and Democrats will tell me about how I should feel about this night.  And I have a feeling that they will tell me very different things.

On September 12, 2001 I bought an US flag and hung it outside my balcony window.  I called a Muslim friend of mine, hoping that he was safe, afraid that he might face violence because of the church at which he chose to worship.  Will he face violence again tonight?

All I can know for sure tonight is that I am thankful for the American soldiers that have dedicated their lives to my protection.  I am thankful that someone else was able to do the work that I could not imagine doing.  I pray for our American soldiers everywhere as they continue their efforts to protect us.  I pray for those that are now in increased danger because of bin Laden’s death.

Above all I pray for peace.  Osama bin Laden died tonight.  It’s not often that I feel that the cause of peace can be advanced with weapons of war, but surely that has happened tonight.  Surely we have taken a step toward peace, right?  It is difficult to know how big of a step.  A man who dedicated his life to evil – to killing innocents and framing it as the will of God – is dead.

I pray that no one else has to die in order to defend liberty.

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The Great Disconnect, Part II

President Obama announced yesterday that he has struck a deal with Republicans.  On the surface, this sounds great.  I’m all for getting a little governing done – compromise; make deals; cross the aisle.  It sounds good.  But then I read a little bit more about what the general facts of this compromise, and I’m so let down.  Again.  To me, this compromise epitomizes what is wrong with our political system – no one is willing to do anything that might be unpopular.

I don’t know all the details of what is going on.  I am only a casual oberver of politics.  I’ve made it clear before that I voted for Obama, and would consider myself more of a Democrat than a Republican, but I’ve never been a strict party-line follower.  I’ve voted several times in important elections for third-party candidates just because I don’t think either party gets it.  And this compromise is a perfect example.

Everyone seems to recognize the problem with a huge national debt.  It reached an alarming level generations ago, and it has only gotten worse (with a brief respit in the 90s when the federal government actually had a budget surplus).  Today, the national debt is beyond what a person can even fathom.

To paint with an extremely wide brush, I can sum things up by saying that Republicans want to lower taxes and lower spending to get the budget under control.  This would allow the free market and capitalism to “do its thing,” so that people can work and buy and own and sell without impediment.  Without government interference, investors can do more investing, which then creates jobs, which creates income for all people – including the working poor.  In short, lower taxes and lower spending benefits all and balances the budget.

On the other hand, Democrats are generally okay with higher taxes and more government programs to create a safety net for people.  They believe that the free market, left unimpeded, simply creates a wider disparity between rich and poor.  They are in favor of a progressive tax, meaning that higher incomes are taxed at higher rates because people with higher incomes have presumably reaped the benefits of society, and should therefore pay for it. In short, higher taxes and social programs benefit all and balances the budget.

I do not believe that either stance is inherently more moral, or even more correct.  I think there are problems with both.  I think there is room for both as well.  I think the values of either side have merit, and either side expressed without checks would be dangerous.  The problem is, in our political system, neither side has the courage to do the unpopular part of their system.

In other words, Democrats want to spend on important programs, but they do not have the courage to push for higher taxes.  Republicans want to lower taxes, but do not have the courage to actually cut any programs.  The recent compromise was a perfect example of this.

The Democratic President wanted to raise taxes and extend unemployment benefits.  The Republicans in Congress wanted to keep taxes at the lower level, and end unemployment benefits.  This is perfectly in line with the basic values of each party.  But when they came to a compromise, they picked the two popular, more expensive, and thus defecit-inducing solutions.  The compromise was to extend the unemployment benefits, which will raise government spending; and keep taxes lower, which will keep revenue lower.   So what do we get: More spending and less revenue.  In other words: defecit.

Instead of two parties that hold onto their values, and come to tough compromises, we have two parties that are concerned only with holding onto their jobs.  The Democrats keep spending on programs, but don’t have the will to actually raise taxes to pay for them.  The Republicans keep lowering taxes, but don’t have the will to actually cut programs.  I realize that this is an oversimplification, but the end result is clear.  What we have is a great disconnect – a cycle of creating programs we don’t have money for and cutting taxes because its popular.

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The Great Response

On the first day of seminary one of my professors said, “Seminary is not about telling you the answers.  Seminary is about helping you ask the right questions.”  There was a part of me sitting in that room thinking, “Who is this guy kidding?  All I have is questions.”  Yet that statement helped shaped the rest of my seminary experience, and continues to shape my ministry as a pastor.

I started this blog not because I thought I had all the answers.  I started this blog because I thought I’d be able to offer some questions, start some conversations, and encourage some thought.

Before “The Great Disconnect”, the most popular day on my site was when I commented on the wedding dance, and I had 89 hits.  On the two days after I made this post, I had 270 visits, only a few fewer than my previous busiest week.  Thanks to the help of people posting my link on their facebook pages, and 67 “followers” through Networked Blogs, my posts are reaching more people than ever before.

What’s even more exciting then the numbers is the response I’ve gotten, with the comments here and on my facebook page.  Several people have said things like Sarah May, who commented, “This is the best thing I have heard since this whole Health Care situation began.” 

While comments like that certainly stroke my ego, the ones that I cherish even more are the ones that said, “You made me think.”  As far as I’m concerned, that is the best thing I can do with this site.

If you are interested in more of what I have to say on this topic – espcially in response to some very thoughtful comments, please go back to the comments section of “The Great Disconnect,” and join in the conversation.  But beware, doing so might make you think.

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The Great Disconnect

A recent mini-movement on facebook has people posting this as their status: Name “thinks that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day”

Most people agree with this statement.  The question is, what are we going to do about it?  Some believe there needs to be some form of government intervention to prevent people from dying due to lack of health care.  For others, the idea of the government being asked to sort out the mess is like asking a pig to clean up your room.  It’s not going to be helpful, and will probably make things worse.

People that want the government to fix the health care problem are not socialists.  They do not want to wage class warfare or kill your grandmother.  People that want the government to stay out of it are not heartless.  They are not greedy, corporate thugs, hording all the medicine so that poor children will die.

There is however, a great disconnect that few on either side recognize.  Those that want the government to stay out of health care often make the argument that the government is not effective or efficient.  They resent the idea that BIG GOV will come in and make decisions for their lives and their money.

They want to trust competition and the market to regulate health care.  They want private charities, churches and philanthropists to be freed of burdensome taxes so that they may help those in need.  I read on some message board that, “Jesus never told me to give away other people’s money.”

On the other side, people that want the government to do something do not trust the goodness of corporations.  They feel that health care has spun out of control becaue of greed and fiscal iresponsibility, and to think that same group will somehow reform a wildly profitable system is crazy.  They feel that it is the role of  government to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves, and that those that benefit most from the systems in place in our society should bear the brunt of the cost.

And here’s the disconnect.  Many that feel that government cannot be trusted to reform health care have no problem trusting government to defend our borders.   They are all-too-ready to have the government tell people who they should marry, what can be on their TV,  and tell women if they can have a safe abortion.

Likewise, those that trust the government to reform healthcare also want the government to get out of their bedrooms and churches.

Certainly there are those that break these lines, but there is a disconnect, and there are inconsistencies on both sides of the debate that few want to acknowledge.

Liberals trust the government to help take care of the sick and the poor, but do not trust the government to regulate “morality” issues.  Conservatives trust the government to regulate “morality” issues, but want government to stay out of health care and the economy. (I put morality in quotes because I believe all of these issues are about morality, not just the ones that have to do with sex and gender.)

I’m not sure of what the implications of this are, but I cannot help but feel if more people at least understood and acknowledged their own inconsistencies, they would not be so quick to point out others’.

It seems like all can agree that sick kids should get medicine, abortions need to be reduced, and lives need to be defended from invaders and terrorists.  The question is how can we do those things most effectively? That is why this conversation and debate can be so good.  Maybe we can come up with some answers.

Unfortunately, the debate has been more about shouting, rumors, lies, and fear.  Above all, it seems as if many are out simply to win, and be right,  instead of doing what is right.  If the debate were about humility, compromise, questions, compassion and honesty, we might get somewhere.  I’m not sure if we are any closer to an answer now then we were three months ago.

In the meantime, there is another sick kid not getting medicine.  There is another single Mom dying slowly of a disease that could be cured.  This nation’s life expectancy is among the lowest of industrialized countries and our infant mortality is among the highest.

In the end, I cannot help but think that no, Jesus might not have told me to give away other people’s money.  But the prophets told me something very simple.  Kings and kingdoms are judged on one criteria: How do you take care of your children and widows?  It’s a question not enough people are asking.

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Competition

I’ve finally been convinced.  I have decided that Competition is the only great motivator for excellence.  Without competition, no one would strive for anything.  Without competition, we will all be pathetic weak pansies waiting for handouts.  The Oprafication of America has to stop, and Competition must be restored at all levels of society – starting with the great hallowed grounds of Competition – the sports arena.

To that end, I want to create a new temple dedicated to the heroes of Competition.  Ben Johnson, Barry Bonds, Tonya Harding and Rosie Ruiz will be bronzed for all the world to worship.  These Great Champions were pushed to new heights by Competition.

Ben Johnson and Barry Bonds were tremendous athletes.  They were world-class, highly-paid professionals, yet no one would have called them “The Fastest Man on the Planet” or “The Greatest Player Ever,” until they went the extra mile.  Driven to excellence, these two achieved all-time status.  The fact that they are both pariahs today shows how weak the rest of us are.  Bonds and Johnson put it all on the line  – took chances – risked organ failure – shrunk their testes – for Competition.  What have you done in the name of Competition?

Tonya Harding was a powerhouse on skates.  She was the most powerful jumper in the world, but that Nancy-girl Nancy Kerrigan was threatening to dethrone her.  So Harding took the Competition to the next level – outside the ice rink.  She convinced her thug husband to whack Kerrigan on the leg.  Now that is dedication.  If Kerrigan were a true competitor, she would have been wearing shin guards.

And of course, the ultimate Competitor, Rosie Ruiz.  She destroyed her competition by winning the Boston Marathon after running about 3,000 feet. Driven by the desire to win, Ruiz didn’t let anything – not even the first 26 miles of the race – stand in her way.

If conservative pundits have taught me anything these last few weeks, it’s this.  Competition is Good.  It might be the only True Good out there.  Competition drives prices down, increases customer service, and is good for all of us.  Pure, unadulterated, unencumbered, untested, untaxed, unregulated Competition is the only way we may have prosperity (its probably the only way to defeat the terrorists too).

So let’s stop the bull.  I will only cheer for athletes that are saturated with steroids.  I should be able to get stronger just by sucking the sweat out of my favorite player’s headband.  In fact, owners should test their players and suspend anyone that is not completely bathed in the cream and the clear, because they obviously don’t want it bad enough.

After all, God helps those that help themselves, right?  That’s in the Bible somewhere, I’m sure of it.  I think its right after that stuff about not making idols.

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Glenn Beck and Crazy Beardface, WTF?

I tried to think of a catchy little title for today’s blog, but I couldn’t. I watched a segment of an interview on Glenn Beck’s show in which his guest, CIA expert Michael Sheuer, suggests it would be a good thing if Osama bin Laden pulled off a major terrorist strike on United States soil. All I could think of was, “What the f—?”

Scheuer: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it’s going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It’s an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.

Beck: Which is why, I was thinking this weekend, if I were him, that would be the last thing I would do right now

Glenn Beck has a right to be a total dumbass, but seriously, how can this guy have any followers?  How can anyone defend this?  He thinks it would be good for us all if a city was destroyed.  Which one? I wonder.  Which US city would Glenn Beck like to be destroyed?  Probably one like Boston or Portland, Oregon.  One with a bunch of pinko commies.

This guy claims to be a patriot?  People were up in arms when Rush Limbaugh declared he wanted President Obama to fail.  People were shocked that he would put political gamesmanship over the good of the country.  Now Glenn Beck wants thousands of Americans dead so he can say, “Told you so” to Obama supporters.  What a wonderful sentiment so close to Independence Day.

Enough is enough.  Glenn Beck is bad for this country.  I’m not just saying so because I disagree with his politics.  When a man goes on the air and suggests that the best way to protect America is for thousands of Americans to die, he needs to go away.

This is a link to find where Glenn Beck is on the radio.

This is a link to find out radio station addresses.

This is my suggestion:

  1. Find out where Glenn Beck is on the radio near you.
  2. Look up the addresses of those radio stations.
  3. Write a letter to that station asking to remove Beck from the airwaves before he spreads more of his treasonous venom.
  4. If you want to do more, listen to his program for a little while, write down the names of the companies that are advertising on his show – especially if there are local companies.
  5. Write letters to those companies advertising on his show that you will not patronize their store as long as they advertise with this terrorist sympathizer.

Your letter can look something like this:

Dear Radio Station,

I would like to express my concern with your choice of programming.  During a recent interview on Glenn Beck’s television show on Fox News, he expressed his desire for a terrorist attack on the United States.  I am a patriotic American, and am outraged by Beck’s treasonous  and dangerous opinions.  While I support the first amendment and support Glenn Beck’s right to have his anti-American opinions, I would prefer to not hear them on my radio.

Please reconsider the programmming during this time slot.  I will avoid listening to your radio station as much as possible as long as his program is on your airwaves, with one exception.  Today I listened to Beck’s show long enough to record the companies that advertise during his show.  I will be sending a letter similar to this one to all of those advertisers.  I am also going to encourage as many of my friends and family and like-minded patriots to do the same.

Sincerely,

America-loving Fat Pastor

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Inaugural thoughts

This post appeared last Thursday in the Chenoa Town Crier:

As I write this I am watching the inauguration of Barrack Hussein Obama as the President of the United States of America. This is a remarkable day in the history of this country. Inauguration Day is always a day of looking forward.

It is natural to think about what will happen in the next four years. At this inauguration, it is difficult not to think about the last forty years as well. We are at a unique place in our history – a place future historians may use to mark the change of an era.

We look back on a troubled past. We look back on three hundred years of slavery, another hundred years of segregation and Jim Crow. We look back at race riots in our cities. We look back on fire hoses spraying and dogs attacking young people in the streets. We look back at white hoods, burning crosses, and ropes hanging from trees.

On a day such as this it is difficult not to think of the road that has led to an African American man being sworn in as the President of the United States. It is a road marked with tragedies and triumphs, of villains and heroes.

As we look at Barack Obama laying his hand on the Bible that was last used to swear in Abraham Lincoln, it is easy to feel good about the journey we have made. Yes, there have been some mistakes along the way, but today we see that the ideals on which this country stands – that all men are created equal – are more than words.

We also have to know that the road has not ended. An African American in the White House does not mean that racism in America is over.

This is a lesson I learned a little over a year ago.

I received a letter with no return address, addressed in barely legible handwriting. It was a newsletter and recruitment letter into the Ku Klux Klan. This group, which has the audacity to call itself a Christian group, sent this letter to me in hopes that as a Pastor, I might be interested in joining.

It made me physically ill. I believe I was targeted in their recruitment because I am a pastor. They obviously did not know that I was a student member of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. I don’t remember the details of their newsletter. I didn’t keep it. But it served as a stark reminder that our journey is not over.

Even as we look at our road and feel good for the distance which we have traveled, we are reminded by gestures, both large and small, that we have a long way to go. In recent months I have had conversations with people that believe we will never be one people. That race problems will always divide us.

Every day I live, every sermon I preach, every page of the Bible I read tells me that is not how God wants us to live. In the core of who I am is the belief that we as a people are created by God in God’s image, and that what unites us is stronger than the forces that try to divide us. I know the journey is not over, and it will probably not be over in my lifetime, but the struggle continues.

We may not make it to the Promised Land, but we continue to struggle. One person at a time, one relationship at a time, we move toward the day when the love of God overcomes all. As Christians we are called to do no less than work for the Kingdom of God.

So today I pray for Barrack Hussein Obama, and I pray for those that sent me that recruitment letter. I pray for our country, that we may overcome the challenges we face. And I pray for our world, that as children of God we may move together one step at a time toward the Kingdom of God.

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