February 19, 2019

A little marked anniversary is January 30, 1973. That is the day, ten days after Richard Nixon’s second inauguration, that G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord, Jr. were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping for breaking into the Watergate complex housing the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Five other men aiding the break-in plead guilty to lesser charges earlier. A local journalist friend recently handed me three Watergate books by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and promised – maybe threatened… Read more

February 14, 2019

This son of David has no name, none that the author of Second Samuel thought to record. Yet this son of David will die for David’s sin. (2 Sam. Chapters 11-12) The story of the unnamed son of David is disturbing, and disgusting in scale. It starts with David, great king of Israel, and it ends with him, him and a son of no name. Usually the whole tale is told as a romance, David and Bathsheba, as if in this… Read more

February 12, 2019

We pray that He remembers us, even as in dying we may not remember Him. Just lately emerging from shrinking forests and forced to find habitat on the savannah, our hominid ancestors became human and acquired a sense of self. We awakened one morning, so it seems, and if we could not say who we were, we at least could say we were not like the animals. We knew that we would die and the animals did not. We possessed an… Read more

February 7, 2019

Autonomous self-driving Ubers won’t be taking you on shopping trips or cross-country vacations before 2030. That is because “artificial intelligence” is only one of those things, artificial. It is not the other. Oh, I’m not a Luddite, but I do think I’m something of a realist. They have basic operational shortcomings that make them dangerous: They go blind in bad weather. Cameras can be obscured by rain, snow, dust. When lane lines disappear the vehicles don’t know where they are… Read more

February 5, 2019

I like the animals. I take note of all the critters that amble through our yard and I delight in the encounters. There’s something enchanting about it, as if I have unexpectedly bumped into the numinous. We live in an urban subdivision in Kansas City, Missouri bounded by some major streets. Still, I have encountered a deer on the porch, peering in through the front door. Her two fawns were lazing on the lawn. My daughter driving home from school… Read more

January 31, 2019

I have an email asking why, as The Vatican II Lutheran, I have so far said little about Luther, Lutherans, or even Vatican II. No special reason; I’ve simply found other things to mention. But for the emailer, Marcia, girl, this is for you. 1) Nail his 95 Theses on indulgences to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. This is a fable. Luther himself never spoke of the incident. In fact the story is not mentioned until after Luther’s… Read more

January 29, 2019

The March for Life demands a new demeanor to underscore the reality of America’s national shame.   John Stowe, bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, is right. MAGA caps are not the thing to wear to the March for Life. Even if someone tries to rebrand them―Make America Good Again―they are beyond salvaging. Toss them. Displays like that, the bishop wrote, suggest endorsement of a president who, incidentally, “denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees and people from countries that he describes with indecent… Read more

January 24, 2019

I wonder what my father might say, confronted with this evidence of the best in human nature. My parents were secretive in many things. Well before they died, my mother assured me, their only child, my name was on all their various financial accounts, checking, savings, CD’s, IRA, all that. This was their major rationale for never creating a trust, as I wanted them to do, or leaving a will. They could not understand a trust and a will would… Read more

January 22, 2019

“If Immigration says I’m an ‘alien,’ I get to pick the planet.” I thought that over. “Good enough, and welcome to Earth.”   Immigrants, I’ve discovered, like telling their stories and I’m pretty forward in asking. I hear an accent I want to know where it comes from. I met an Indian Sikh woman who honors Christmas every year with a tree, a real tree, not a fake. She is clear about that, adamant, not artificial. It is part of what… Read more

January 17, 2019

The Missouri River stretches across Missouri more or less parallel to Interstate 70. Highway and river intersect in many places as both amble across the state through a band of thirteen or seventeen  connected counties (depending on how tourist guides count them), once called Little Dixie. Little Dixie really begins in the west at Kansas City, where the Kansas River meets the Missouri. From there, it turns east toward St. Louis where the Missouri meets the Mississippi. Early settlers, attracted by… Read more

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