Uncommon Decency


Listen to me read "Uncommon Decency".A Macy’s employee led a customer to safety and went back to help others during the mass shooting in Clackamas Town Center yesterday. The Macy’s employee’s deed has been rightly hailed as a heroic act. It was an act of uncommon decency.We are all familiar with acts of common decency at stores: sales clerks ask us “How’s it going?” as they ring up our purchases and wish us “Merry Christmas” to which we respond in kind as we depart.Sometimes sales cle … [Read more...]

Mass Shootings

121211 P Mass Shootings

Listen to me read "Mass Shootings".This afternoon there was a shooting in the middle of a major shopping mall near where I work. At least two people have been confirmed dead so far. What do such shootings say about our society? Random violence? Random lives? Random meaning? How do we respond?So often we approach one another simply as mass, where we have no inherent meaning or value. Kind of like the stuff we buy at Christmas—no inherent meaning, only the value we give to it. Of course, p … [Read more...]

How to Sustain Jesus’ Justice Movement, Part 1

Jesus, Adam and Eve

Listen to me read this piece.Many Christians today are getting involved in various justice initiatives as they take to heart Jesus’ life and love that has transformed individual lives and entire communities ever since his first advent. I am excited about their passion for holistic and equitable compassion. I only hope that they will finish well the race that they have begun. It won’t be easy. “Justice” often appears sexy to people at first. But the injustices that we must confront are by no m … [Read more...]

Food for Thought: Food in Isolation vs. Food in Community?


I was going through a previous test for my "community and ministry" class and came upon this test item: “True or false, according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian community has enough to eat when one shares it with others. When one desires to eat in isolation, hunger ensues.”Regardless of what Bonhoeffer thought on this subject (as important as his reflections are to me), what do you think, and why?If it is the case that eating in isolation leads to hunger, why would that be?And … [Read more...]

Approaching the Alien with a Benevolent Spirit not an Alien Idea to President Bush—or to the Bible


Listen to me read "Approaching the Alien with a Benevolent Spirit not an Alien Idea to President Bush—or to the Bible". On Tuesday, former President George W. Bush encouraged lawmakers to engage in debate on immigration reform with a benevolent spirit (The Dallas Morning News, article by Tom Benning, republished in The Columbian titled “Bush Urges New Approach to Immigration” on Wednesday, Dec. 5, A7). The former President had hoped to bring about widespread immigration reform durin … [Read more...]

Cyber Bullying

cyber bully

NEW: Listen to me read "Cyber Bullying". Social media isn’t always so social. In fact, it can be downright anti-social. Of course, much of this has to do with how people use it.  But there is also something built in to various forms of media that shape us in certain ways. For one, there is often an undue sense of immediacy and familiarity with social media. People feel comfortable barging into other people’s lives (especially those they don’t know) on their Facebook pages and in other spaces an … [Read more...]

Food for Thought: Compromise is Key to Politics and Life–What Hill(s) Should You Die On?

P Food for Thought (2)

Compromise is at the heart of the democratic process. So, when do you compromise? Some will say that compromise is caving in, and so one should never do it. Others will say that it is meeting in the middle, and that it needs to be one’s aim for the sake of the common good of all. If it is the latter, when does a politician compromise? What is acceptable?This is especially difficult for politicians, who have responsibilities to honor their constituencies, their political parties, and their o … [Read more...]