March 3, 2017

A deluge of anti-Semitic actions has occurred since the election. One report cited 124 incidents in the past week. Cemetery vandalism is now a regular story on the nightly news. In St. Louis, over 100 gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery, which took a lot of equipment and people and therefore was well organized, according to police. Similar vandalism occurred recently in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. The Anti-Defamation League reports an alarming uptick in such incidents since the election.... Read more

February 25, 2017

This weekend, in a workshop on Islam, the leader illustrated the purpose of Islam’s five-times-a-day prayer practice by talking about things that are enticing and hard to resist, and things that are habitual and hard to give up. Sugar, she said, and told about her own attempts to give up sweet things, and how, when she succeeded for a few months, she felt free. Alcohol, drugs, anger, fear, she went on to talk about these as human habits hard to... Read more

February 25, 2017

Truly I am not a sci-fi fan. I don’t read Asimov. I haven’t even seen all the Star Wars movies, though I do like the ones I have seen, but not for the other galaxies or robots, or the outer planetary saloons full of frightening creatures like Jabba the Hut, or the other jaw-dropping strangers who, oddly, drink whiskey. I like those Star War movies for the old western style shoot-outs, and Harrison Ford and the Wookie winning the battle... Read more

February 24, 2017

This afternoon the Trump Administration’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, barred a number of news organizations from attending an announced, off-air, press briefing at the White House. The list of those banned has not been officially released, but is said to be rather lengthy. It includes CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, the LA Times, the New York Daily News, BuzzFeed, The Hill, Daily Mail, Politico, Huffington Post, and The Guardian.  Among these are eminent newspapers in the US and Great Britain, and the world-renowned... Read more

February 19, 2017

There are so very many people who beseech us insistently to see them as more glorious than they really are— Caesar and Herod, to name two in Jesus’ own day – and in ours, movie stars galore: Brangelina, that passionately romantic duo, now divorcing; Matthew McConnaughey, Most Beautiful Man in a Lincoln Continental. Tom Brady, fabulously nicknamed Tom Terrific. And our President, whom the whole world sees clearly as the bare-naked emperor of our divisions. The whole culture of America... Read more

February 18, 2017

This may be the Best Film of the year. Already, it is one of the seven best, nominated for the Oscar. What makes it a Best Film is that it elicits from all of us, whatever our race,  age, or location on this earth, an unwavering empathy for a boy growing into a man who is from the first frame to the last, fully human, fearful and free. Our first glimpse of Chiron is of him fleeing a gang of... Read more

February 17, 2017

In this amazing year, 2017, four films about black life in America are among the seven nominees for Best Film (Fences, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Loving), and three more (13th, I am Not Your Negro, and OJ) are contenders for Best Documentary in a field of five. This abundance of films starring black actors and actresses, and telling the stories of people whose lives are unseen by white America, has never occurred before.  Even more stunning is the fact that they... Read more

February 14, 2017

The old law, Jesus calls it: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. According to the Bible, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled this way, in what was the great kingdom of the age. But this law has never really grown old, nor is it really ever out of fashion. Proponents argue for it, hotly, in its modern versions: Guatanamo, a place without any prisoner rights, a place reserved for terrorists because we can torture them there. We do not... Read more

February 10, 2017

Here’s something else Donald Trump has brought to DC town:  blatant misogyny. It hasn’t been this bad in – forever, actually.  The slamming of women in Washington has never been as bad as it has in the past week. At the height of the McCarthy era, when the House Unamerican Activities Committee was jailing some people and blacklisting dozens of others in direct violation of their freedom of speech, a woman who was the Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith,... Read more

February 5, 2017

Like a dust storm blowing across the prairies, swearing has entered the common parlance in America. Or, maybe it’s truer to say swearing has been part of ordinary speech for quite a while now, but of late, the veil of pretense about not swearing has been ripped away. The Veil. That’s the buzzer that bleeps out the swears that celebrities use on talk shows, while a little blur appears on their mouths. They are all smiling and laughing, even about... Read more

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