March for Our Lives

Watching young people march to end gun violence in our schools and on our streets brings tears to my eyes. In addition to celebrating their cause, their determination and actions, “not just a moment but a movement,” I am overwhelmed by what I see. All of the movements for civil and human rights wrapped up into one. A culmination. The message that everyone has a right to live, to live in safety! Black and white, male and female linking arms. And though sexual preference and identity is not as visible, I am sure all are linked in solidarity around these rights too.

A new generation. New voices. Passionate, clear, and courageous! Coming at a time when the adult world is divided to the point of governmental paralysis. At a time when militarism and the violence that accompanies it is promoted. While our young people march for life our government prepares for a military parade to strut our weapons of destruction. Young people take to the streets at a time when a president tweets like an unreel stereotypical teenager, and teenagers speak with maturity and the wisdom of ages, calling us back to sanity and caring for one another.

I think of Jesus saying, “A little child shall lead them.” Well these are not little children marching, but they are young and they are leading! Thanks be to them and the power of love.

Words cannot do justice to what is happening. May the Spirit who gives life continue to be at work in these our beloved children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, our students, all God’s own.
As they speak and act, may the world hear! And as their education continues, may it prepare them, not to fight in wars, but to make peace and embrace justice with mercy and integrity, healing but not forgetting all that they have witnessed in their young lives.

May those who have been silenced by death shine brightly and speak eloquently through all who live on. And my faith tells me that even those who have moved on forever, live on.

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Christianity’s (America’s) Challenge: Back to Morality

Have we as a nation lost our civility? Has lying in high places become the norm? Or name calling? Or a penchant for violence? For those of us who are Christians, we ought to have something to say about these behaviors.

Christianity is a many faceted religion with many different organizational expressions. And in 2018, Christianity is a very polarized religion in step with a polarized America: right wing and progressive Christians are deeply divided. Admittedly there are many gradations between the right and the left. Do we share any basic moral values?

With the Trump Presidency, it is hard to tell if truth or facts matters, if nationalism has any moral boundaries, or if violence, American violence naturally, is ever wrong, if being first is always right, if self aggrandizement is a positive value. Trump claims to be Christian. It behooves those of us who also call ourselves Christian to get back to some fundamental moral principles.

I think the challenge of Christianity in our time is to, at least try to set out the basic ethical perspectives of our faith. Not a simple task. But, at the risk of being thought naive, here comes my search for common ground.

A caveat first. I know that the practice of ethics is not always black and white. I grew up on situational ethics. Nonetheless, I think there are some basic principles on which we ought to be able to agree and then take it from there on the hard stuff. Some rights and wrongs seem self evident.

First, I would begin with the Ten Commandments, originally meant to apply to free men, expanded by Jesus to apply to all people, to women, slaves, and even enemies. The Commandments need interpretation, but in their initial form, they seem basic and make sense if we are to live together as social beings. Common sense.

I acknowledge that the first three Commandments refer to our relationship to God and would not be as universal as those that follow, but we are, after all talking about common ground for religious communities. The first commandment seems especially relevant for our times, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” This obviously includes all kinds of idolatry since our “graven” images are not what they were thousands of years ago. This Commandment is a great protection from giving anything other than God, however, we name God, our ultimate loyalty. For example, ultra-nationalism is dangerous and idolatrous.

Next,I would take seriously Jesus’ summation of the law: Love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. A summation of the law which puts love into action. This requires of us that we pay attention to how we define love and how we practice it.

Finally, I would turn to Paul: In Christ there is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female for all are one in Christ Jesus. While in Paul’s day, this impartiality applied to Christ communities, by our day it can be seen as applying to society as a whole. God cares for all of creation impartially.

There are, of course, many ethical subjects addressed in Scripture which were time and culture sensitive even from the author’s perspectives, from which we can often derive insights for our time and place. And there are issues which are not addressed in Scripture. For insights on these matters, we need to return for guidance to the basic ethics meant to be written in our hearts and applied universally over time. In these matters we engage in the discernment seeking to be led by the Spirit.

Because we are human, we often have trouble sorting out cultural moral positions from religious ethics. Often our cultural views are so embedded in our minds and feelings that we see them as either divinely inspired or natural. Even Scripture was set in a given historical time and place. Basic ethical laws are meant to be universal and timeless, even though they need to be fulfilled in new ways in each age. Jesus said that he didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

Basic ethics assume that human beings have power to create livable societies and a responsibility to do so.The point of basic ethical behavior is not salvation but a survivable society. We are being called to a civil society to choosing life over death for ourselves and future generations. Moral law is given as a gift. Moral behavior cannot be trumped by a need to win at all costs. Means matter. All of us on this small planet are interdependent and connected and need to be respected.

Of course, there is a huge gap between moral theory and practice. There are inequities at birth and all are subject to sinning and being sinned against with all the consequences thereof. Human beings are fallible and beng moral takes effort. Which leads us to the subject of mercy and forgiveness which is for another time.

I am reflecting briefly on a complicated subject. I claim that there are basic moral tenets in Christianity that define us and need to be discerned and applied. They help provide a framework for the new creation to which we are called. They are a moral foundation on which to build even in the complex setting of our modern world. We ignore them at our peril.

The challenge of today’s church is to reclaim the basic ethics that sustain life.

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There Really is Something Special/Different about Jesus!

So I was listening to a wonderful sermon for children about how Jesus is their friend, and how they can pray to Jesus, saying whatever is on their minds about how they feel or what they care about, when it dawned on me, they are being asked to  befriend someone who died 2,000 years ago, and be befriended by him.  They are being asked to imagine him as real in their lives now, this invisible person who lived so long ago. Why didn’t I see this before, what a stretch that is for my rational adult mind.

Or, maybe I did see it at some level. Maybe that’s why I have always prayed to God. God at least was never human, always was and always will be invisible. The great “I am.”  I can even change my image of God knowing full well that that affects me more than God…for God is God after all. Its not that I did not recognize that Jesus was of God and from God and returned to God, or understand the essential importance of who he was and what he taught.

I accepted the significance of Jesus’ death and the empty tomb, and am aware of many variations and interpretations of what that means for individuals and religious communities. But here I was listening to someone tell children to pray to Jesus as if he was, well, alive. Dead and now alive. Alive for them. And for me?

This requires me to come to terms with how I see Jesus, the human being. And to accept the reality of resurrection without even a shade of doubt. Or, at least, to reinterpret my doubt.  Jesus as present to us  as God in real time, in our lives, is quite a claim. It does boggle the mind, or could boggle the mind. We are so used to the thought that we often don’t even stop to think about how amazing a claim it is, that he who was dead is alive.

Resurrection is embedded in the Christian faith. Roman Catholics, in addition to believing that they can pray to Jesus, also pray to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and to the Saints. Death is not the end.

We have a person, well a being, or is it a Spirit, at the heart of our Christian faith who was alive, walked the earth, and is now living and even active in life. The Christ. Of course. That is what Christianity is about, how it all began. And in the simple affirmation that Jesus is alive today, though he died as a human, is the uniqueness of our faith.  Jesus, alive and accessible.

In Judaism, some people believe in life after death and some don’t. (Probably, if truth  be told, the same could be said for Christians.)  But there is no human figure to whom one prays. In Islam, Mohamed is venerated for who he was, but in devotion, Allah is blessed and present. And Buddha, not one to whom people pray either. Though very present, it seems to me, in his teachings and in the practice and worship of his followers.

You might say that the Christian affirmation of life after death, based in the belief that Jesus, the once historical figure, is not only alive, but present and with agency, and part of the Trinity is unique to Christianity and blasphemous in some traditions.

In the beginning the Word was with God, came to earth, and returned to God, and speaks to us,  one with the One. There it is, something we take for granted that is really a quite amazing claim.

Christians tend to have one person of the Trinity, God Creator, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit at the center of their worship life. But each of these expressions of God with us, is admittedly also real along with the one most real to them. A rich palette of possibility for not only what it means to be Divine, but also human.

Believing that Jesus is with us, Jesus who was once one of us, leads to the belief that we too share in resurrection. No, I am not praying to my forebears who have gone before. But their spirits are with me. Not just because I remember them (some of them I never knew), but, because I suppose, even while my rational mind sometimes objects, I believe that death is a transition to new life, a new life that I can’t even begin to imagine, but life that is beautiful and full. I don’t see the gold streets that some have imagined. But I do see the tree with its many different leaves for the healing of the nations and of the soul.

So, I am still not one who usually prays to Jesus, though every time we return safely from a road trip, I utter the words, from the depth of my heart, “thank you Jesus.”  I am, however, one with those who do pray to or talk about Jesus as present as naturally as I talk with God, leaning toward the Spirit. I am now aware of how deep and clear a statement of faith it is for those who claim, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” And by implication, belief in resurrection itself.

Maybe I am just articulating what those children can take for granted as the Minister speaks. Jesus did say that little children would lead us. I just want to be clear about where they are being led. And obviously, I find myself still surprised!

Maybe the real issue is not the presence of Jesus in modern life, but where we think he is leading us. The old hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war…” pops into my mind. Wrong I say. Of course. Where then are Christians going?

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Women in Ministry

In 1955 there were 4 women in our entering Bachelor of Divinity (now a Master of Divinity) class at Princeton Theological Seminary, preparing for Ministry. When we entered, women were not yet being ordained. That changed in 1956 in the Presbyterian Church, USA after years of advocacy. Imagine my delight when I attended a Women in Ministry Conference at Princeton in 2017 and was in the midst of over 200 women clergy who had been ordained through the years. And there are many more.

Two Seminary professors, Abigail Rian Evans and Katherine Doob Sackenfeld had made it happen and on this occasion released their new book, “Faith of our Mothers Living Still.” An apt title for them as well as for the women in the book’s pages “redefining ministry” as they say.

One of my old friends and onetime challenger, the Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, Womanist Theoligan and Ethicist,  was the keynote speaker and brilliant as she dynamically shared the history of African American Women through the eyes of her great grandmother onward. I need to give a shout out to her mother, Corinne, now about to celebrate her 98th Birthday, who was on the first Task Force for Women of the Presbyterian Church, USA. which I served as staff liaison from the Board of Christian Education. She is a gem!

The Conference ended with a deeply moving worship service led by Sister Miriam Terese Winter, who had earned her PhD from Princeton Seminary. Through that service we got a glimpse of a new Spirit filled creation and  of a constructive theology, born out of the chaos of years of deconstructing patriarchal theology. (On which we build into the future even as we critique it as Martin Luther did 500 years ago. Reformed, reforming, and ecumenical.

Between these book-ends, were many inspiring and encouraging conversations, presentations and re-connections. So many gifted and creative women!

Coming home, I am inspired and grateful. As I listen to a CD by Sister Miriam Terese Winter, “A New Day Dawns”, I am again taken by the freshness, clarity, and depth and breadth of her faith and vision in the words, and I am enjoying all the varied voices singing. And then I am surprised by the male voices that join in half way through, surprised and delighted. Of course, so it is in life. I am satisfied.

The profession of Ministry is a complex profession, for which I have new found respect and admiration. I wish the press could see beyond the conservative mega church sensationalists to the heart of professional Ministry and all we have to offer society and give us a shout out!

Women in Ministry are doing amazing work! We are building on the work of all who have gone before us, who built and sustained our churches and missions, and engaged in many forms of community service and justice advocacy through the years.  Like reformers before us, we are change agents for a better world. We are empowered by Christ’s Spirit and relationships with one another and with our sisters and brothers of good will throughout the world. Religion is not dead, it is just catching its Breath for a new day!

Praise be to God! God’s new order come! God’s will be done!

 

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Ultimate Racism

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before, but undoing the work of the first black President of the United States is an ultimate form of racism. Better than killing the actual person, which would make him a martyr, is wiping out his legacy.

This came to me as I was sorting through last year’s magazines and came across a picture of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama on a cover. I remember how elated I was when he was elected. How full of hope. How pleased with the passage of Obama Care, imperfect as it was it was better than anything we have ever had.

As his Presidency went on, I was glad when his primary approach to international affairs was negotiation. I took heart in his leadership in protecting the environment. And as I thought of these things, I realized my bubble of hope has burst. His legacy is being hacked away by our current incumbent. And without my realizing it, it has affected my optimism over Barack Obama’s election.

The hacking began with the claim by now President Trump, before his election, that Barack Obama was not an American citizen. Since that false claim, the attacks on Obama’s legitimacy have only gotten worse. His programs are being dismantled,  his approach to international affairs derided as soft. And, perhaps most offensive of all, the claim that somehow, he was not about making America great has been touted by a President who is the real deal, who is going to “Make America Great Again.” It is going to take a belligerent, sexist, and obviously racist, white evangelical male who claims to hold to Christian fundamentals, to “Make America Great” again. Give me a break! I thought we were making America really great when we elected an African-American as President!

It is no accident that our now President, Donald Trump, has as one of his top advisors,  Bannon, a known White Supremacist. I am finally beginning to get it.

It is not racist to disagree with Ex-President Obama on some issues or on his leadership style. Some on the left think he did not go far enough. (How far can a President go with the Congress blocking him quite deliberately and methodically at every turn?) It is wrong to claim, however, that he did nothing right and, in fact,  set our nation backwards.

Why didn’t I see it before? We are looking at ultimate racism in action. A black man may have won the election as President, but he is illegitimate anyway.  It isn’t that only a white male will do as President. It has to be a misogynist, power hungry, violent, gold loving white male to get America back on track!

I hope this is a last gasp of Chauvinism at its militant worst. Backlash. I don’t want this to be who we are as a nation. We are better than this!

I admit that some Americans feel disenfranchised, left out, by all of  Movements of the late Twentieth Century. They need a spokesperson. But President Donald Trump or his more rational appearing cronies (who is a crony of whom?) are not going to get them anywhere.

And, if truth be told, even with the advances we have made in race, gender, sexual preference and identity, disability, worker’s rights, the environment, etc. , many of us still feel the effects of discrimination or inequality.

Let movement into the future include all who feel left behind or forgotten. We are all in this together.

Racism of any kind, especially ultimate racism at the top, is an enemy of our humanity and of my belief in a just and loving God. President Obama’s legacy stands and so does he.

 

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Life and Death

The day did not begin well. While reaching for a dish in the cabinet I knocked down a large pot which fell forcefully on my ring finger, pressing it on to the blade of my smoothie maker, leaving me in pain with a large and bloody gash. Then I discovered that we are out of toilet paper. Then I found out I had gained a pound right before Weight Watchers weigh in. All of which made me late for a dentist appointment. Little, really minuscule meaningless  annoyances that left me stressed as the day was beginning.  But I was alive and she wasn’t.

The fact is that no amount of small things can distract my heart from the fact that my dear friend and former parishioner, Dr. Ching Ling Kung  has died. She who made me part of her family. She who was like another sister to me. She of shared confidences, had a massive stroke that did so much brain damage that she never regained consciousness. At first she was on a ventilator. And after that was removed, she lived for three days as family and friends kept vigil, her children at her side around the clock until she breathed her last breath.

On Thursday, May 11, after cremation, she was laid to rest where her husband for many years, and father of their children, John, Lee is buried.  Her children with the help of her current minister, Allen Fairfax, with me as his side-kick, will celebrate her life in a memorial service this Saturday.

I was not ready for Ching Ling to die. She was in church on Easter Sunday and seeing her was a joy and such a given of life. Somehow, I expected her to always be there. She with the healing hands and loving heart for so many of us. Trained as a doctor in China,  she practiced and taught acupuncture in Boston and was an herbalist. She studied Chinese philosophy that was far over my head. I knew her as a mother who loved her children and grandchildren fiercely, her friends with an unwavering loyalty and worried about all of us. Her daughter says she is in a better place, and I agree with her, knowing as a person of faith I should, but that truth will have to grow in me. Right now I am coping with the loss of her.  Later I will celebrate her old and new life.

As a Minister, I have officiated at many funerals. And as a family member attended still others including that of my younger brother. What I am discovering is that Ching Ling’s death seems to stir thoughts about my own death as non of the others did. Maybe for all of us, the death of a friend is often the death of a peer and that seems very close. So as I pray for and encourage her friends and especially her children, to live into the future as she would want them to, I think of my own family.

I want to live as long as I am given to live. Even bad days are a gift of life. And I want my family to live fully into their lives when I am gone. As another doctor friend says, we always have to leave in the middle of the play. While we are here, life is precious. I think my worrying about those I love is just an expression of how much I love and treasure them.

Ching Ling has journeyed home into that Mystery we can only see dimly where love beyond our imagining abides.

Until that time comes for any of us, we have work to do and lives to live, and love to give. Let us hold fast to our precious days in time and space, in finitude, for it is here that we hone our spirits and walk firmly in the footsteps of all who have gone before, paving the way for all who will come after. Embracing this life as the beginning of eternity.

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Easter

It is Easter night and I am weary but happy as I write. It has been a good day: meaningful worship, time with family and friends, telephone calls. My heart is filled with gratitude. I find myself especially grateful for our sons who have brought me so much joy, taught me so much, and been at the heart of my life. They are good people, each in their own way. Adults of whom I am proud.

Of course, while many celebrate, Easter day does not suddenly erase all pain, sadness, loss, brokenness for everyone.  I am aware that Easter, resurrection, new life, takes place over time. Easter can come into our lives at any time of year. Surprise and the power God has to raise the dead in life and beyond it is forever with us.

What I come away with is that what Easter is all about is the ultimate triumph of love and life, in little and large ways. What God has done, God continues to do and will.

And there are flowers and candy.

 

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Holy Week

Today we took our dog to “get her hair done.” The groomer is very considerate of her age and all went well. She is now shorn, comfortable, and beautiful. We also got cartridges at Staples, food at Trader Joes, and worked on Income Taxes. In between we grabbed something to eat. And, oh yes, a conference call about a church we love. This is what retirement is like for us at the moment. And I am grateful that we are still doing as well as being.

But it is Holy Week and in the past, at this time of year, when I was working, I would be overwhelmed with preparation for and leadership in worship services, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Goof Friday, then Easter. Not now. Now I am running around with ordinary things…like everybody else.

So this is what Holy Week is like for most people. The events in Jesus’ life, lived so long ago, that led to his crucifixion and resurrection are not so in front of me.  They are more, well, off to the side. In fact, the recitation of such a time of violence and violation in Jesus’ lie is something I would rather ignore. But, we will be attending Maundy Thursday services and will keep Good Friday privately.

The suffering of Jesus reminds me of the suffering of so many people throughout the world today and in the annals of history. How do we bring an end to human induced suffering?

I actually believe that the crucifixion of Jesus helps us answer this question.

As I force myself to focus on Holy Week, I see the once warrior God who became the   crusader Christ,of our faith, turning the tables on our reliance on power;  God’s offering God’s own life for love of humanity and ultimately mocking the worst that human power can deliver, death. Divine Power speaking to human power and giving hope to the seekers of peace.

The cross, it seems to me is God acting and suffering with a love that seeks to end human suffering, not perpetuate it, that offers forgiveness and grace, and in pursuit of justice seeks not revenge but redemption.

God does not go easy on sin but shows its cost in vivid detail on the cross. Even God s not spared.  With the dawning of Easter day, comes the truth that God has power over death.  God’s power is life giving even when the end seems final. God incarnate has the last word.

But it seems to me that the message is not just about the end of life and conquest of death itself, it is about what we end up believing about power as we journey through life. Human power and violence is a dead end, empty, for those who exert it and those who believe in it.

Somehow, this message has meaning for me as I go about the mundane details of living and working. It gives me an insight into the mystery of God, the nature of goodness, the meaning our lives can have on earth, and the hope that comes from knowing that the chasm between heaven and earth is more of a veil that can be lifted than a wall that cannot be breached.

And while it took the violence and violation that Jesus’ endured at the hands of corrupt human power during holy week to bring home the message that God’s power is non-violent, the enduring message is that the worst that human power can deliver is powerless in the face of Divine power, that power for peace and good that we are capable of embodying, however imperfectly.

Human well being can only be brought about by the pursuit of justice and peace and the practice of compassion, mercy, and grace.  The enduring and triumphant power of the life force embedded in humanity through God’s love cannot be stamped out.  Suffering is not God’s will and yet, when it happens, God is there for God was there. And Easter will dawn.

When I finally stop to reflect on holy week, these are my rambling thoughts, some of them. These happenings of another time during what we have come to call, Holy Week, can, for me, enhance, enable, and ennoble even the most trivial aspects of daily life. The God these times help reveal,  as the veil in the Temple separating the Holy of Holies from the people is torn in two at Jesus’ death, accompanies me through life, is my compass, and my peace.

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Fragments and Communication

Since the Inauguration of President Trump, I have been reflecting on how much of our modern communication relies on texts and tweets. President Trump being famous, of course, for doing end-runs around the media with his tweets. Which of course they report.  Fragments, one liners and slogans are gaining power. They have always had some appeal.

Fragments. I have become aware of how many conversations that I have are mere fragments of thought and feeling. Words, sometimes taken out of context, sometimes superficial, sometimes meaningful, but incomplete. I long for, I begin to realize a real conversation. But then, I have to be open to saying what I think and talking about how I feel and be open to really listening to another. That sometimes leads to alienation when I want to keep the peace.

For instance. Okay. You say you don’t believe in God, but just what God, or concept of God, or religious perception of God, do you mean? Or religion. What do you mean you don’t trust it? Or, you believe in spirituality, not religion. Do you believe in learning but not schools? Or health but not medicine?

Or, how are you doing? Fine. But, that is not really true. You are struggling with some health issues. I can understand not wanting to talk about it, but just some basic information would help me connect to you.

I want to know my children as adults and I want them to know who I really am. Not sound bites or another’s impression.

Being a grandparent seems to require some circumspect, fragmentary communication too. A grandparent has to be sensitive to their own children’s boundaries for their children. We proceed with caution. Fragments. No complete thoughts about concerns, or even dreams. Or the context of life and values within that context. Being human yesteryear has connections with being human today. There is a conversation. Fragments won’t do.

What seems like long ago, I listened to TV ads as we entered the heat of last stage pre-election campaigning. What do you mean you stood up for women when you voted against Planned Parenthood? What’s up? Or what do you mean “Make America great…again?” Militarily, morally, economically, what? When was it last great?

How can we settle for one liners when the world and issues and we are involved in are complex? Of course, too many words can obscure the truth of who we are and what we really think or feel too.

I know that love lives beyond words. I love beyond words. So does faith. But words can be a means to deeper connection when we are willing to take the chance of using them. I know that some things are better left unsaid, or are beyond words. But most things?

Do we not talk because we don’t want to expose ourselves, or are afraid to really know one another, or don’t want to disturb some equilibrium? Or, is brevity better because we are so busy or so very private?  Or do we use fragments because we can, because we have smart phones we can dumb down.

I suppose electronic media has contributed to the “life in fragments” thing. But I don’t remember too many substantive conversations with folks back in the day either. Maybe it’s not just a now thing or even a then thing. Face to face conversation is not always easy. And connecting the dots and giving voice to how we feel is often hard.  If words and thoughts are hard, at least being together matters, even if its by Skype.

I guess that no matter how good communication gets, there is so much more left to say. That’s the mystery of being human and the nature of finitude. But, let’s be more courageous about communication. Tweets are for the birds.

 

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Stop the President Now

President Trump’s ban on immigration from seven nations, with an emphasis on Muslims is a threat to our democracy and an action we should all fear. The protests and alarm of so many Americans is heartening and hopeful. We care. Our freedoms matter. We have principles that need to be upheld like valuing diversity, showing compassion, supporting religious freedom, and rejecting outright racism under the guise of “Keeping America Safe.”

If we as Americans want to be safe, we must face the fact that most mass shootings in the United States had nothing to do with radical Islamists. That is not to say that radical Islamic militants, or the radical Christian right, or Jewish extremism are not a threat to peace around the world. But guns and our fascination with violence in the United States threaten our peace and do not keep us safe. If we want to keep America safe lets take on the American Rifle Association, violent video games, and the endless offerings of TV shows based on violent crimes albeit in an attempt to solve them.

But, I digress.

Back to the Executive Branch of our government. We cannot go about life as usual when out of the blue come executive orders that ought to make even faithful followers shutter. We know where religious discrimination can lead. We have seen genocides in our time, and the devastation and death associated with self serving dictators. And we have said, never again.

Consider this. Chaos might just be what the Trump administration wants, along with the press that accompanies it. And how about distracting us with what the right hand is doing while the left hand works its deception?  As long as some, or even half of the American population can believe in propaganda and one liners to defend the most heinous of actions, “Make American great again,” and “Keep America safe,” and who knows what comes next, President Trump has carte blanche to do whatever he wants. We must be vigilant.

Knowing something about the world of religion, I am familiar with false prophets and dangerous charismatic leaders who develop and control cults. This feels a lot like that. I tremble. I am with those who are desperately trying to hold on to sanity amidst the clever tyrannic madness that is at work and seems confident in their power to work over our minds and take over the national  agenda.

I pray for the survival of our democracy which rests with an awakened public and a bipartisan Congress able to stand up to the Executive Branch and if needed, the defense of an independent Supreme Court.

 

 

 

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