Wily Tricks  & Tricky Questions

Presidential Race Baiting Jesus and the Tax Question It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave, we all sing, in the National Anthem . O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In truth, though, America is a land where Nazis march in the streets carrying tiki torches, where minorities are booed for free speech, and where the poor will soon be uninsured, unless… Read more

Down on One Knee and True to the Flag

Jesus Is Kneeling With Them Since when did kneeling become disrespectful?   Once again, the President has lied, calling kneeling during the national anthem an act of disrespect for the flag.  And no one is calling him on his misuse of this word. Disrespectful?  How can the figure of a man on one knee with his head bowed ever be seen as disrespectful? This is a prayer position. It is a part of the ritual in many churches. This is exactly… Read more

The Vietnam War and Jesus’ Parable About Authority

How Do You Decide To Obey, and Whom? I thought I wouldn’t watch Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s series on The Vietnam War. I lived through it. My college and graduate school years are indelibly marked by it. I made annual pilgrimages to DC or to NYC, to join large protest marches. We rode on buses, marched for hours, then rode back, tired, numb, badly in need of a shower. Which was nothing, it turned out, compared to what US… Read more

The Howling Over DACA and the Generosity of God

The Kingdom Where Latecomers Are Equal to Those Who Have Been Working All Along Perhaps the most upsetting image of the kingdom of heaven Jesus offers is that of the Generous Employer, who keeps hiring on workers all day long. Early in the morning he offers nice wages to a group of workers, and he asks them if what he is offering is fair, and they say, indeed it is. Every hour the Employer hires more. And behold! He offers… Read more

Rescuing Houston  – America’s Dunkirk?

The Cajun Navy’s Fine Hour In the midst of devastation, as water welled over much of Houston and several other towns, as all preparations for flooding gave way before torrential rains, an awesome act occurred – people came together to rescue one another. At the height of the rains, there were 14,000 national guardsmen working on rescuing people. And, there were 10,000  volunteers working on the same task. They’ve been called the Cajun Navy. They’ve been called heroes. Angels. The… Read more

Land and Flag – Blood and Soil

Are These Values That Unite or Divide? The Charlottesville video is chilling. Young white men, their torchlit faces earnestly chanting Blood and Soil, Blood and Soil march through the summer streets, wearing Nazi symbols and KKK badges. Their chant changes to Jews Shall Not replace Us, and then it changes back. The President, who easily condemns the press, and politicians who disagree with him, found it impossible to condemn these young men. He  struggled to them, blaming their violence equally… Read more

September’s Deportees

Holding on to an American Life Saturday was Indonesian Independence Day. And a surprisingly large number of Indonesians living here in New Hampshire gathered in a small UCC church in the tiny town of Madbury to celebrate. The parking lot was full of grills and tables bearing food. Men in traditional costumes danced the rituals of victory over the Dutch, the colonizers of long ago. The fact that these Indonesians are Christians is a vestige of Dutch rule, for most… Read more

The President’s Evangelical Clergy Council

A Failure of Moral Courage and of Gospel Understanding Friday evening Rev. A.R. Bernard, an African American member of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council, resigned in response to Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville. VA march of white supremacists, KKKs, neo-Nazi’s, and other alt-right groups, and the murder of Heather Heyer, a counter-demonstrator killed by a white supremacist’s car in an act of terror. The silence of the President’s clergy group in response to this situation, which has sparked critical response… Read more

Confederate Statues: Art or Identity?

Monumental Anger About a month after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, during the annual Virginia Festival of the Book, at a talk given by local Charlottesville historian and City Councilor Edward Ayers, a young woman who lives in Charlottesville asked a question about taking the Lee statue down. “People around her gasped. “You would have thought I had asked if it was O.K. to torture puppies,” she recalled during a 2013 conversation on Back Story, a podcast supported… Read more

Your Words Defile You, Jesus Said

Words Said In Charlottesville Pride and Anger: Foundational Sins of the Alt White It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles . . . . what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles . For out of the mouth come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. – Jesus, according to Matthew (15: 11, 19) The… Read more

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