Healthy Questions on Healthcare Reform

Have you seen the movie, John Q, starring Denzel Washington and Robert Duvall? The movie is about a man (Denzel Washington) who is down on his luck, whose little boy needs a heart transplant, and his insurance company won't cover the operation. In his desperate situation, he takes desperate action and takes hostage a hospital emergency room until the doctors perform the operation.While some may find the story far-fetched, John Q does raise far-reaching questions bearing on health care … [Read more...]

Hipsters, Divine Providence and PBR

I was pondering why hipsters in Portland drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, when they live in the microbrew capitol of the world. Some Portland pubs actually make a big thing of promoting PBR. One friend informed me that it is hard to find lagers in Portland, and so some resort to PBR: they like the taste and that it’s cheap. Another friend told me that hipsters drink PBR because it’s ironic. “Ironic?” I asked. The answer I got was that hipsters drink it (at least some of them) because it carries no meanin … [Read more...]

I Have a Dream Today

Fifty years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” Speech. That speech lives long in our memories, ringing in our ears, and hopefully, residing deep in our hearts as a dream we all share.I am reminded this morning of that speech once again. May we all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin—including my white hide. This is not to say that we should discount the color of our skin and hide it: we should value people’s skin color … [Read more...]

Instead of Divide and Conquer, Let’s Conquer the Divide

Eventually, whites will likely become the new minority population in America. How do whites respond to this likely demographic change? Dr. David Anderson has provided a constructive approach to the issue.Certainly, whites are not a monolithic reality. For one, we are made up of a wide array of ethnicities and people groups, whether we are cognizant of it or not. Moreover, our responses to such issues as these are not uniform. Further to what Anderson says, whites like me will either react … [Read more...]

Born Free. Live Free.

This post contains the basic message I gave at Irvington Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon on the morning of  August 25, 2013. The church has been going through Paul's letter to the Galatians. While drawing from other portions of Paul's letter, I give special attention to Galatians 4:21-31 (the text for 8/25) in what follows.Listen to this piece.Have you ever felt trapped in the past, that you could not get loose from the chains that grip you, the patterns and ruts and the memories tha … [Read more...]

Gatorade, Gunfire and the Good Samaritan

In view of the biblical command to care for one's neighbor, what does it look like to love a diverse neighbor as oneself?In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells a Jewish religious teacher to be like a despised Samaritan who loved a man (likely a Jewish man) beaten, robbed and left for dead as he himself would hope to be loved. Samaritans were often despised by Jewish people because of their different religious views and heritage. The hated Samaritan compassionately cared for this helpless man, … [Read more...]

“The Buddhists Are Coming! The Buddhists Are Coming!”

To those of you who are American Evangelical Christians, what do you feel when you read these words “The Buddhists are coming! The Buddhists are coming!”? Consternation? Fear? Joy?This summer, I was invited to share a few words at a groundbreaking event for a Zen Buddhist temple where my dear friends, Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson, serve as abbots. I have worked with them and their community for several years now in Portland, Oregon, on matters pertaining to spirituality and the common good. Whe … [Read more...]