Coptic Christianity

February 17, 2015

People don’t often think of Egypt as a Christian nation.

Yet, more than 600 years before Islam was, Christianity was, in Egypt.

The beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS is yet another depraved, demonic and deliberately perpetrated act of religious murder.

To say this is not directly related to Islamic terror is a notion that terminally strains credulity.

None of us should sink to animalistic hatred in reaction.  Thus we would be mimicking our enemies.

Even so, denial is a fundamental insult to the victims of this morally religious degeneracy, and therefore it undermines a humane and critically definitive response.

 


Brian Williams

February 7, 2015

It’s now pretty obvious that the anchor of NBC News likes to embellish.  He likes to be the story and the star, and it’s no accident he always positions himself so the camera will be biased toward the right side of his face.

He’s a celebrity.  Not a journalist, but a true star.  Stars worry about which side of their profile will be photographed.

After all, he was there!  He did it all, and he needs to be the focus well beyond the stories he misreported.

As it happens, I was in New Orleans, just after Katrina’s flood waters were pumped away, working for the government as a chaplain assisting in recovery operations.  Just prior to leaving, the power was out, but the French Quarter was starting to show signs of life.

Some very appreciative folks opened their homes to me, very thankful that no water had ever compromised their street level door-fronts and living rooms.

Yet we are told that Pinocchio saw a body floating past in the French Quarter.  Really?

Six people died in the SuperDome, and somehow, by some chance, Brian Williams is on tape acting as though he knew them prior to their placement in the Dome?  Like their loss was his personal point of grief?

What are the chances?

Thankfully, NBC no longer has the ratings it once did, and sources of information aren’t limited to 3 major networks.

Still, one wonders about the state of affairs when the news is so blatantly a platform for spouting private agenda and seeking personal fame.

 


Paris and the NYPD

January 9, 2015

Violence has sullied the landscape of two great cities.

On the one hand, we have the “City that never Sleeps”, and on the other, we have “The City of Lights”.

Networks ostensibly acting in the role of reportage are editorializing, and trying to frame these events according to the narrative that each finds convenient, or acceptable.

With police being killed and magazine staff being executed, I think most folks make their own assessments.

We don’t need news outlets to educate us.  We need them to simply inform us.

Give people the basic facts.

Let them use their own calculus and react accordingly.

 


Cuba

December 18, 2014

Many years ago, my dad was born in Cuba.  I myself arrived on scene in Venezuela.

Thus, with a tattered passport in hand, registering my first born daughter as a US citizen at the Consulate in Melbourne, became a real adventure!

I think we should normalize relations with Cuba, and should have done so years ago.  This is not to deny the past, but it is to engender change for the future.

I believe the United States is Cuba’s best hope for freedom, and the more freedom people are exposed to, the more they will demand.

Neither Russia or China are paragons of liberty.  We trade and travel with them.

In the cause of justice, for the people of Cuba, and those who love them here, it’s time for a change.

Cultural exchanges should be set in motion, and I believe everyone will grow and benefit.

Vaya con Dios!


Why are we still in the Race?

December 9, 2014

Why are we still talking about Race?

Apart from the Human Race, there is no such thing as “race”.  We may as well be attempting to divide people according to hair color.

There is no such thing as an inter-racial marriage or a bi-racial child.

There is, however, such a thing as blatantly profitable stupidity.

The time is long overdue for our President, to openly state the scientific facts.  He is uniquely qualified to do so, and this would set the stage for further productive dialogue across our country.

Yes.  The White House calls for network time for President Obama to speak about race, and the coming address is adequately promoted.

The President then references biology and anthropology to reiterate the blatant fact that we are all sisters and brothers.  There is no Black or White.

Such a speech would easily mark the high-point of his, and perhaps, any Presidency in modern times.

It would obliterate simplistic categories of color, while reminding us that we are all Americans, regardless of our ethnicity.  It would celebrate the gifts that our collective and diverse ethnicity bestows, embracing the cultural depth that makes our country great.  But it would blow apart the enduring ignorance lying at the foundation of dysfunctional policy and resulting riotous protest.

My hopes are very high.

There is no valid reason why they have to be dashed.

 

Dr. Yolanda Moses:

 

 

 

 


Ferguson

December 1, 2014

“Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people…”      Luke the Evangelist

Without scrutinizing the forensics involved or analyzing a decision made by a Grand Jury, justified or not, the taking of life is a gravely sad state of affairs.  It is a heavy responsibility we place on the shoulders of mere human beings, who daily put their own lives at risk, and it is a most painful grief laid at the feet of beloved family and friends.  Sanctimonious hand-wringing won’t do, and clerical charlatans can’t help.

Because the individuals involved in the Ferguson altercation have differing skin pigmentation, this has engendered dangerously simplistic, yet eminently profitable approaches heavily couched in the spurious concept of “race”.  Indeed, a CNN commentator expressed the view that we need to have “all the races” involved in some kind of productive dialogue in order to move forward.

One wonders what “races” were being talked about.  Let’s see, are we referring to the Black race, the Yellow race, the Red race, the Brown race, the White race, the Italian race, the Indonesian race, the Icelandic race, the Israeli race?  Race?  Have we regressed so far and become that incredibly ignorant?

Ostensibly well intentioned cries that we should now have deliberations about “race” are broadly being made, and in one sense, they would be extremely healthy.  Yes, we should discuss race, so that this baseless and insolvent idea can be permanently debunked.  Dr. King understood this decades ago, which is why he spoke so eloquently about the deeper and definitive aspects of a person contained in the content of character, beyond the coloration of skin.  His dream clearly did not include continuing to define people along ridiculously contrived lines that can only result in a headlong “race” to a dead-end.

Celebrations of our ethnicity are a great thing, and they are anthropologically and socially valid.  They enable us to be informed by the traditions and experiences germane to the regions of Kenya, Tanzania, Russia, Korea, Chile, Ireland and the Philippines.  Yet, apart from that wonderful thing known as the “human race”, the term “race” itself has no informative bearing as it pertains to the characterization of people, either as individuals or in groups.  Race is a social construct first developed by racists, and it should not find easy, pandering, and, frankly, rather productive quarter in the Body of Christ.

If, as a nation, we had talked more and taught more about people as “people”, and not as “black” or “white”, we would have made much more progress in the arena of human relations than we have thus far.  Ferguson would not be largely known as a notorious hotspot for the looting of merchants whose only crime is trying to make ends meet.

Sadly, the Christian Church has not led in this endeavor, and too often falls lockstep into the bigotry that easily divides folks into dehumanizing classes related to skin tone.  We have been told that, in Christ, all distinctions disappear, but we have swept Jesus aside in the belief that embracing common misconceptions will keep us relevant in the community.  We can do better, far better.

As it happens, the season of Our Lord’s birth is a color-blind affair, including every soul ever called into consciousness.  Distinct from anticipating what we might materially receive on December 25th, the real point of the Nativity is what we might faithfully learn.  In this regard, it would appear there is much we can glean from the infant adorned in swaddling clothes.

Beyond the crude concepts that divide, the black and white truth is that Jesus is the Savior redeeming everyone, regardless of ethnicity, color or creed.


A Tower of Thanks

November 20, 2014

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The water cascades downward into a golden and gleaming dark abyss recalling the open gash left behind from a smoldering, smoky debris of a most monstrous treachery.  The emptiness conveyed in these pools of grief, if left alone, would memorialize unrelenting despair, apart from any spirited and resolute determination to creatively respond.

However, reflected beyond the shimmering glow pouring upon these lakes of repose and respect, a skyscraper has risen to keep watch over our best and brightest.  Called a Tower of Freedom, even more than the two gaping chasms fashioned in concrete, it is a living expression, declaring that our recollections remain, and that we will never, ever forget.

Whether as victims, or in victory, Americans have shown that we know how to rebuild.  At Pearl Harbor, and more informatively, in Japan and all across Europe, America has demonstrated the unique approach of uplifting those who attempted to bring us down.  We have reconstructed factories, re-made steel mills and completely renewed harbor yards, turning mortal adversaries into competitive friends.

The enemy we currently face is somewhat more intractable than the nationally uniformed combatants from a prior generation and paradigm.  In deeply desiring peace, we could be faulted for being too naive about the cessation of this war.  The relieved sentiment in the West left helpless the first victims of resurgent terror whose only liability was living in closer proximity to the religious blight now inflicting itself upon the whole planet.

Yet, even a cursory glance at history shows that the denial of things far away eventually leads to facing a more potent foe here at home.  The voracious evil we must strive against now is such that aid workers are as likely to be barbarically murdered as armed and trained soldiers.

So, in this season, while it would be especially tempting to try thinking of happier things and dozing off into easier times, we must remember that the first Thanksgiving did not afford such an option.  The one fast approaching will not either.

Whether initially sought after or faithfully held onto, Freedom has never been easy.  Those who have it don’t always appreciate it, and those who resent it are trying to erase it from the landscape of human experience.  In the current materialistic malaise, some may wonder why our particular engagement matters, as they miss the blatant fact that has made such a positive difference in shaping the terrain of the modern world.

We are Americans.  Those who went before us did not intend for us to be like everyone else.  Instead, they gave their lives to secure an idea for a people they yearned to bring to fruition, but had never actually seen in real life.  They died to give us the lives that, even in conflict, offer us an incalculable abundance in opportunity, and thereby, an unprecedented imperative of responsibility.

So we must hold a heartfelt gratitude amidst the exceptional challenges that face our country.  We are the people of the United States, and if we would strive to be great, as our liberty demands, we must also be willing to bear the characteristic burden of leadership that falls uniquely on our shoulders.

We know what it is to be knocked down.  Yet we’ve also shown what it is to stand up as a tall beacon bringing light and liberty most brightly for those of our sisters and brothers who still see our common existence as an unreachable dream.

With faith in God as the engine of our endeavor, our own historical desire has fashioned for us an extraordinary destiny that must include particular sacrifice.  Yet, knowing our tables of plenty are set to nourish the calling we are privileged to fulfill, we once again lay claim to the legacy our forebears personally bestowed.  That’s why this November 27th, we will humbly gather in appreciation of who and Whose we are, and give thanks.


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