Falling In

Early FallThe sting of fall has definitely arrived. After a week of gorgeous Indian Summer (“Does the term ‘Indian Summer’ really have anything to do with Indians?” click the link to find out), night temperatures are falling into the freezing range and my flowers are showing leaf burn. The yard is piled high with Maple leaves on a daily basis. Soon the gardens will be bare of all but their yellow orange mulch blankets. It feels good to have the fire in the evening, and we can no longer expect to leave windows and doors open to the breeze.

The chickens head to roost earlier, and so do I. A comfy quilt and a book are inviting Read more

James O’Keefe Busted in Colorado

James O’Keefe, the conservative provocateur, has been on the prowl in Colorado, the setting of a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, as well as a nip-and-tuck governor’s contest. Last week, O’Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O’Keefe or his colleagues.

Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O’Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others. Recently, the 30-year-old O’Keefe has targeted the Senate campaigns of Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by filming undercover videos of staffers or the candidate.

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George W. Bush: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

William Rivers Pitt's picture

Thirteen years ago, after the Towers came down but before the war started, I wrote a book that claimed there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and therefore there was no reason to go to war there. That book has stood the test of time, but as it turns out, there were WMD in that shattered, battered and bombed-out nation…just not in the way it was explained to us.

On Tuesday, The New York Times published a thunderclap of an article titled “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons.” The gist of it, in short, is that Iraq was littered with thousands of chemical munitions the US and other countries had sold to the country before 1991. US troops were tasked to police them up and destroy them, a process that injured many of them in ways they still endure today, but because the Bush administration wanted to keep these munitions secret, the troops who happened to scoop up a leaking mustard gas shell and woke up the following day covered in boils and unable to breathe never received proper medical treatment.

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Come Into the Fray with Me

Stratford CaldecottI found an article in the Englewood Review of Books intriguing in the ’problem’ it describes. (highlighting is mine)

“Within current social media, stories, videos and pictures of what the Christian society would term “hope” and “love” and “justice” frequently attain virality and become behemoths of social popularity. This is good. In fact, this is something to be celebrated by Christians everywhere. The problem mentioned earlier, however, is that Christianity, in light of the popularity of an almost “Christian” justice throughout secular society, has found itself with less and less actions and postures that it can champion as uniquely Christian. That is, if the world’s justice appears much the same as Christianity’s justice, or even better than it, the argument that Christianity offers a better world seems to weaken in impact.”

Beyond the rather jarring statement that in this increasingly violent and partisan world we have somehow come to a societal embrace of Christian values, I find it problematic that we still feel the need to promote Christianity as the best or only way to a better world. Instead of rejoicing in a society in which people, of all faiths and non, champion hope, love and justice, the author is concerned that Christianity will lose its edge.
As a lifelong Protestant who has shared a spiritual journey with so many (including a Pastor) who consider themselves to be ‘recovering Catholics’ I am heartened by the breath of fresh air that Pope Francis has brought to the world, so that we can work together without damning each other in dogmatic nitpicking. Can’t we go further and embrace all faith communities and those of no religious faith as coworkers in the herculean tasks we face?

For myself I have no desire to promote my faith as best. I am happy to share how Christianity and Protestantism works well for me, as both expression of my values, and a community of encouragement and inspiration to fulfill those ideals. I am just as happy to work alongside with and to learn from others with different perspectives. I have found that my faith has been enriched, not endangered by folks with different backgrounds, stories and celebrations.
The final line of the review highlights what I find distressing:

“Not As the World Gives” has plenty to offer all Christians, and it is a useful part of the conversation surrounding how –Christ’s Church– is going to –lead–the world into a whole new society.”

I would offer a quote from Camus:

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

In other words – Let’s do this together.

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