Archive for July 2010

Anyone can believe as I do. Prophets told us that the words of faith are written in our hearts. If I summarize down to a list, it starts to look like cliche. Well, I do not approach this topic as an attempt at evangelism. I cannot "give you my faith." That is, in fact, one of my beliefs: any faith you find will come from your own heart. On the other hand, I can tell you about Permanent Things I've found in my heart.

Different Drummer: Larry Crabb

A poetry reading sets the tone for the first of a two-part focus on religious beliefs. Negative part first: what I don't believe.  In some ways, the state of Christianity in America today is so shameful that you almost have to share your faith by distancing yourself from aberrant views that many people expect to hear from what I call "Politically Active Christianity" or PAC.

Different Drummer: C.S. Lewis

How a poem appears on the page can be just as important as how the words "sound" at a reading.  For "Chapter And Verse" the obvious choice was to show the verse as scripture.


Americans have a somewhat adolescent obsession with fairness. As an example: most of our sports, including our "football" game, include specific penalties for simulating injury.  USA results at this year's World Cup have attracted the largest American audience ever, but FIFA's inability or unwillingness to address simulation of injury will stop the largest sports market in the world from getting fully invested in the planet's most popular game.

Different Drummer: Mike Emrick

So, what are we now? 229 for the fifth year in a row?

One of the things we should do on birthdays is evaluate our growth during the past year and check to see if we’ve fallen off track. We may do that as individuals, ruefully, for our own birthdays. As citizens, though, we fail this standard. As I’ve said, this day is now much more “Fourth of July” and much less “Independence Day.” It’s all about the fireworks and very little about our nation.

Since July 4th fell on a Sunday this year, I enjoyed a message on this topic today. In fact, the pastor addressed some of the same issues that I’ve been raising. Here are the 3 major points from this morning’s sermon:

  1. Do we enjoy the fruits of our freedom without tending to the tree of liberty?  Perhaps we take for granted the world our forefathers worked so hard to leave for us.
  2. Do we enjoy the benefits of free-market capitalism while ignoring our (collective national) conscience?   In his writing on democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville suggested that our country would only be a “great nation” if we continued to be a “good people.” In other words, morality would matter most for whether our system of government would succeed or fail. Can we point to numerous instances of corporate recklessness as a dire sign for our future?
  3. Do the Christians among us primarily seek “Christianity without commitment” now rather than what Jesus specifically sought? This ties in with the type of Christian political candidates we see so often … casual rather than committed.

I won’t go into any detail on answers to these questions. There won’t be a single, federal answer. We all have to evaluate these things individually. Instead, let me end with a quote from Katharine Lee Bates and “America The Beautiful.” For roughly 100 years now, that song has been a second national anthem for the U.S.

America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self control, Thy liberty in law.

It starts by acknowledging that we have flaws. Step One.

Every four years when all the election talk about "character" starts running wild, I get a reminder that in some ways I'm the ideal candidate for president. If you are only ticking off items on a checklist, what do we value most in a president?  I have my own reasons for thinking that I am not the best person for the office. Top of that list: I believe in telling people the truth.

Different Drummer: Todd Snider

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