Saturday, November 04, 2006

Katharine Jefferts Schori's Investiture Sermon


This morning, beginning at 11 a.m., I watched Katharine Jefferts Schori's investiture online via streaming video. This is the first such service I have ever witnessed, and I found it quite moving and hope-inspiring. At several points during the service I grabbed screen captures, which I hoped to share along with the transcript of her sermon. Unfortunately, the screen capture software, which has worked beautifully for me in the past, yielded nothing but all-black images. This is disappointing, because I had gone to the trouble of capturing some great shots, like the one of KJS knocking on the door with her staff at the beginning of the ceremony, shots of her with the outgoing Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, an pictures of the banners, choir, liturgical dancer...the list goes on. I hope there will be pictures of the event somewhere--possibly in the photo galleries of her official web page.

The sermon was wonderful, though, and to me it felt very timely because the focus was on the notion that "we're all in this together"--all will not truly be right with the world as long as some of God's children are living in poverty, without clean water, without adequate healthcare. But I'll shut up now and let Bishop Katharine's sermon speak for itself. She said, in part...

In Death of the Hired Man, Robert Frost said that "home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in." We all ache for a community that will take us in, with all our warts and quirks and petty meannesses – and yet they still celebrate when they see us coming! That vision of homegoing and homecoming that underlies our deepest spiritual yearnings is also the job assignment each one of us gets in baptism – go home, and while you're at it, help to build a home for everyone else on earth. For none of us can truly find our rest in God until all of our brothers and sisters have also been welcomed home like the prodigal.

There's a wonderful Hebrew word for that vision and work – shalom. It doesn't just mean the sort of peace that comes when we're no longer at war. It's that rich and multihued vision of a world where no one goes hungry because everyone is invited to a seat at the groaning board, it's a vision of a world where no one is sick or in prison because all sorts of disease have been healed, it's a vision of a world where every human being has the capacity to use every good gift that God has given, it is a vision of a world where no one enjoys abundance at the expense of another, it's a vision of a world where all enjoy Sabbath rest in the conscious presence of God. Shalom means that all human beings live together as siblings, at peace with one another and with God, and in right relationship with all of the rest of creation. It is that vision of the lion lying down with the lamb and the small child playing over the den of the adder, where the specter of death no longer holds sway. It is that vision to which Jesus points when he says, "today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." To say "shalom" is to know our own place and to invite and affirm the place of all of the rest of creation, once more at home in God.

You and I have been invited into that ministry of global peace-making that makes a place and affirms a welcome for all of God's creatures. But more than welcome, that ministry invites all to feast until they are filled with God's abundance. God has spoken that dream in our hearts – through the prophets, through the patriarchs and the mystics, in human flesh in Jesus, and in each one of us at baptism. All are welcome, all are fed, all are satisfied, all are healed of the wounds and lessenings that are part of the not-yet-ness of creation.

That homecoming of shalom is both destination and journey. We cannot embark on the journey without some vision of where we are going, even though we may not reach it this side of the grave. We are really charged with seeing everyplace and all places as home, and living in a way that makes that true for every other creature on the planet. None of us can be fully at home, at rest, enjoying shalom, unless all the world is as well. Shalom is the fruit of living that dream. We live in a day where there is a concrete possibility of making that dream reality for the most destitute, forgotten, and ignored of our fellow travelers – for the castaways, for those in peril or just barely afloat on life's restless sea.

This church has said that our larger vision will be framed and shaped in the coming years by the vision of shalom embedded in the Millennium Development Goals – a world where the hungry are fed, the ill are healed, the young educated, women and men treated equally, and where all have access to clean water and adequate sanitation, basic health care, and the promise of development that does not endanger the rest of creation. That vision of abundant life is achievable in our own day, but only with the passionate commitment of each and every one of us. It is God's vision of homecoming for all humanity. [Applause]

The ability of any of us to enjoy shalom depends on the health of our neighbors. If some do not have the opportunity for health or wholeness, then none of us can enjoy true and perfect holiness. The writer of Ephesians implores us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace – to be at one in God's shalom. That is our baptismal task and hope, and unless each of the members of the body enjoys shalom we shall not live as one. That dream of God, that word of God spoken in each one of us at baptism also speaks hope of its realization.

The health of our neighbors, in its broadest understanding, is the mission that God has given us. We cannot love God if we fail to love our neighbors into a more whole and holy state of life. If some in this church feel wounded by recent decisions, then our salvation, our health as a body is at some hazard, and it becomes the duty of all of us to seek healing and wholeness. As long as children live exposed on the streets, while seniors go without food to pay for life-sustaining drugs, wherever peoples are sickened by industrial waste, the body suffers, and none of us can say we have finally come home.
For news coverage of today's event, see Episcopalians install female leader on Yahoo news. I'll add more links as I find them.

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Saturday Comics

GOP Campaign Strategy
Attack Ad Template
Bum Rap
...Scientific Method
Napa Valley Fat Cats
False Prophet
...Who Don't Study Hard
Doing Harm...
...To The Troops
You Decide
Get A Job
Complicated "Stuff"
First Things First
Stay The Course
Great Expectations
Krusty The Clown
Washington Insiders...
...Staying On-Message
Sign O' The Times
Bone Thugs -n- Harmony

And my favorite for today: Bottom Line

Some comments about Charlie's situation can be found in the previous thread.

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We can do anything--together

Hat tip to Staff at Buckeye State Blog for pointing out this ad from American Family Voices Voters' Alliance.

We're the country that took on the burdens of the whole world, and kept it free. You really think we can't fix our course in Iraq? And put our military where it needs to be to keep us safe? We're the country that taught the world how to fly and walked on the moon. We invented the future. Don't tell me we can't find an alternative to oil, and free ourselves from rich companies that make us pay, and little countries that hold us hostage. Don't tell me we can't rise to every challenge tomorrow holds, and demand leaders who give us hope instead of selling us fear. We're Americans. We can do anything. Together. It is time for a new direction in our country. It is time for new leadership that shares our vision for this country.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Today's must-read stories

...or yesterday's. I'm probably a bit behind on things--let me know if there's anything I should add.

From BradBlog--there was a front page post on Booman Tribune saying if you do nothing else today, read this thing.

Long-Sought Document Finally Surfaces Showing America's Largest Voting Machine Company, MD State Election Director, Hid Major Flaws From State, Country!

Also, I've seen a number of references to this story, but hadn't had a chance to read it until today:
U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Also, from Buckeye State Blog: Deb Pryce storms off from CNN interview - audio

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

The picture seen above is from a June 11 article that appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

This Saturday, November 4, marks the investiture of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The ceremony will be viewable via webcast. In a bulletin insert is going out for use at services this Sunday, Katharine writes, in part:

The Episcopal Church adopted a set of mission priorities at its General Convention in June. First among them is justice and peace work, framed by the Millennium Development Goals. We understand this work as a visible sign of the work of building the Reign of God. A vision of the Reign of God lies behind the ancient Hebrew concept of shalom, which means far more than simply peace. Shalom has to do with the restoration of all creation to right relationship with God, so that the hungry are fed, the grieving comforted, the ill are healed, and prisoners set free. The mission of the church, according to our Catechism, is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (Book of Common Prayer, page 855). That work of restoration and reconciliation frames all our ministry as Christians, whether we are students, parents, legislators, or farmers. We cannot be at one with our neighbors if some are starving or living in slums. The work of achieving the Millennium Development Goals is intimately wrapped up in the promises we make in the baptismal covenant to engage in God’s mission.

Katharine Jefferts Schori's official web page as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is now online.

She also has a book coming out in February: A Wing and a Prayer: A Message of Faith and Hope

Of course, I know that most of us are really focussed on the election that is just a few days away, and maybe this doesn't seem like that important an event if you're not Episcopalian. But it is kind of a big deal. Not just because she is a woman "breaking the stained glass ceiling", but because of her leadership style of reconciling, reaching out, listening...

We need more of that in our leaders, you know? Anyway, it's a good thing.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006


Note from Renee...puddle has some new posts up at pyzch.

From Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird, Oxford, 2006, pp65-66:

[Practice] vigilant waiting in the silence of just being. When we are well practiced in this way of prayer we will find that we have acquired a certain skill at recognizing thoughts. They appear and disappear in awareness. Now shift your attention from the thought to what is aware of the thought, the awareness itself. This is a very simple shift, but a shift that immediately reveals (however briefly) the still mind. The discursive, reasoning mind will immediately try to turn this too into an object of awareness by generating a mental image of the stillness or a thought such as "the mind is now still" and then embroider some commentary on that. But by now we are well aware of the subtlety of our thoughts. We have learned to use the prayer word as a refuge from those thoughts. We have learned to meet thoughts with stillness instead of obsessive commentary that we play over and over and over again. So now shift your attention from these objects of awareness to the aware-ing itself. The prayer word is essentially silent at this point, even if at more surface levels of consciousness it might be quietly recited. Here one waits, and when the moment is ripe the present moment opens up.

...we encounter the ineffable. It is ineffable because it is neither an "it" nor a "what." It is nothing that can be grasped by thoughts, feelings, words. Language wilts. The prayer word opens. It reveals not another object of awareness, but the groundless ground that is the core of all being. This typically registers to the mind as an indescribable vastness, streaming from all sides, streaming from no sides, an ocean full and overflowing with a luminous nothing. But I am not describing some particular thing that appears as an object of awareness, as some sort of visual or sensible experience, something you see happening to you. I'm trying to point to where no word has ever gone, but out of which the Word emerges. And so this Silence washes onto the shores of perception, making it stretch to receive in metaphors of light, union, calm, spaciousness.

The very attention that gazes into this vastness is itself this vastness, luminous depth gazing into luminous depth. You are the vastness into which you gaze. "Deep calls unto deep in the roar of your waters." (Ps. 42:7). But we must come to know this for ourselves as we are carried through this doorway of unknowing into the silent land.

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Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 4

This is the fourth part of my examination of my partisan leanings and why I can not allign myself with today's Republican Party. Part I dealt with the most obvious reasons, Part II dealt with the GOP's misplaced perspectives on Family Values, Part III dealt with abortion, and today I'd like to cover the biggest reason why I'm not a Republican:

If there is a measure of debate regarding my party affiliation when it comes to social issues then there is no debate as to where I stand on economic matters - I solidly stand in solidarity with those who work for a living, with those who have to earn their keep, with those who have to struggle to make ends meet. Without question I side with the Have Nots over the Have Gots inasmuch as it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, specifically regarding:

The Minimum Wage and Welfare
Slavery was abolished with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, but it is still in effect today. In slavery the master provided for the slaves' food, clothing, and shelter and the slave worked whenever the master scheduled them to work. Today's wage slaves are paid just enough to cover their food, clothing and shelter, and they haven't had a raise in a decade, such that many people end up worse off if they try to leave welfare in order to get a McJob. It just so happens that the Republicans have controlled Congress for the last decade, and while they have made every effort to cut taxes on the Have Gots they have done nothing for the Have Nots, and they never will. It's almost like they've never heard the words of Jesus, where He said:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Jesus: bleeding-heart liberal...


For as long as I can remember Republicans have been proclaiming the need to lower taxes, but one thing that I have never heard from Republicans is what they believe to be a fair level of taxation. There is one Republican who has been honest enough to say outright that which today's Republicans imply - Steve Forbes. The Republicans ultimately want to eliminate the progressive scale of taxation whereby poor people are taxed a smaller percentage of their income than are the wealthy. Republicans want a flat tax because they no longer hold to the belief that was once unquestioned in America and indeed throughout the civilized world - noblesse oblige. From a practical standpoint it is certainly true that the wealthy benefit more from a stable society than do the poor, therefore they should pay a higher percentage. The police protect life, liberty and property from theft and it isn't the poor who are at risk of having property stolen. A stable society bolsters the position of the wealthy at the top of the economic food chain - keeping them from Marie Antoinette's fate - so it only makes sense for them to pay a disproportionate percentage since they benefit disroportionately from a stable society. Today's Republicans want no part of a progressive tax code and they have no fear of a popular uprising, "Oderint Dum Metuant" having replaced "E Pluribus Unum" as the nation's motto under the GOP.

Health Care
The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world without some form of univeral health care. Even Costa Rica has universal health care, and there is a relatively simple way for the United States to implement it here: if the federal government were to remove the enrollment restrictions from Medicaid then we would instantly have universal health care, corporations would no longer need to foot the cost of medical insurance for their employees, and if the increases in taxes were entirely absorbed by the corporate employers and everyone who was on commercial health insurance switched to Medicaid then the corporate employers would find themselves with a windfall of roughly $2000 per employee and family member covered per year. Consider the numbers:
Medicaid Members (2004): 42.4 million
Medicaid Budget (2004): $173 billion
Medicaid cost per member (2004): $4080
Medicaid cost if extended to every US Citizen (300 million people): $1.224 trillion
Current corporate spending on employee health benefits: $1.8 trillion

Savings: $576 billion each and every year, not counting the $250 billion annual savings from Medicare

If the increase of taxes were split between employers and employees then corporations would realize an even greater windfall, yet the Republicans would never support such a proposition since it has as it's primary concern the well-being of people instead of the well-being of profits. There's a really simple equation when it comes to health care:

Profit Motive + Inelastic Demand Curve = Exploitation

Only in America.

The right of workers to collectively bargain is non-negotiable, both in the public and private spheres. On this fundamental principle I will never waver - there is nothing to discuss - and that has no place in the GOP. Neither do I.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pay attention, Hillary...Howard shows how it's done

From the Washington Post:
Click the link above to read the whole article and see this great picture (by Tony Talbot of AP) of Howard Dean campaigning for Matt Dunne.

Howard Dean, in comments to reporters in his home state, said Sen. John Kerry had committed "a blooper," but the reaction had given Democrats an opportunity to highlight what they describe as the Republicans' weaknesses on the Iraq war.

"Kerry made a blooper. Bloopers happen," Dean said at the state party's campaign headquarters.

"I think we want to focus on the president's intemperate rhetoric in saying to vote for a Democrat is a vote to help the terrorists win," Dean said. "That's clearly untrue and that's exactly the reason why President Bush is a failed president."
See, Hillary...was that so hard?

Oh, and by the way--bad Democrat! No nomination for you!

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Reclaiming our Puritan roots

This is outrageous (hat tip to Brian at Plunderbund). From the Washington Post: Abstinence message goes beyond teens

The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
Of course I've got nothing against abstinence--I think it can be a positive choice and no one should ever be ridiculed for deciding to wait until marriage. What disgusts me is that this has nothing to do with public health but is about pushing one group's ideology as Jason Wagoner noted in the article. There are *so* many causes that could benefit from "millions of dollars of federal money", but this is where our current government's "values" are.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Open Thread

listener's grandbaby, dressed up for Halloween.

Update: Some links for Samhain from Street Prophets

Samhain with children
Ancestor feast- All invited!
Samhain: the Halloween before there was a Halloween
A Ritual of Samhain

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Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 3

This is the third part in a continuing series of posts examining why I am not a Republican, even though many people feel like I belong in that camp. Part I outlined the most obvious reasons and Part II dealt with Republicans' misplaced perspectives on Family Values. When I have completed this series I will revisit each issue and propose legislative solutions that are faithful to the Bible and progressive in their orientation, but today I want to speak on the most significant problem that White Evangelicals have against Democrats:


I am Pro Life, I believe that human life begins at conception. This is something that would be expected of an Evangelical Christian such as myself, but the interesting thing is that my Pro Life stance has next to nothing to do with Christianity - the Bible is mostly silent on the question of abortion. Most of the Biblical passages that are used to support the position that human life begins at conception actually speak - in context - to God's foreknowledge and sovereignty, not to the nature and character of the baby in the womb:
  • Psalm 139:13-16

    For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother's womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place.
    When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
    your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
    were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    Some would argue that this passage refers to the personhood of the unborn baby, but the writer is speaking of God's foreknowledge, as the writer himself concludes in verse 16.

  • Job 3:11

    Why did I not perish at birth,
    and die as I came from the womb?

    Here, clearly Job acknowledges that he was alive before exiting the womb, but the most ardent supporter of abortion will admit as much - this passage has no impact on the abortion discussion.

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5

    The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

    "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

    Again, this text speaks to God's foreknowledge, not Jeremiah's human existence prior to being born.

  • Luke 1:39-45

    At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

    Now this passage comes close to making a case for opposing abortion, the problem is that most every Christian will affirm that Jesus was no normal baby, so trying to prove a point based on the Zygote Jesus would be stretching it at best. As for John the Baptist who leapt in his mother's womb, he was heading into the third trimester and there is no debate about the humanity of a baby in the late-second or early-third trimester, so again this passage doesn't have much impact on the abortion debate.

  • Exodus 21:22-25

    If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    This passage actually does indeed speak to the issue of abortion. If a woman miscarried as a result of two men fighting then the one who caused the miscarriage would have inflicted upon him whatever harm came to the baby - eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise, life for life. Some would say that the penalty is inflicted based upon what happens to the woman, not the baby, but if that were the case then there would be no need of mentioning the pregnancy in this passage. This passage of Scripture is referring to the baby and it treats the baby as a human being. The problem, of course, is that the passage assumes that the baby is formed such that an arm could be identified, a wound could be discerned, a tooth could be found, and that would be well after conception. This passage does little to refute the logic of Roe v. Wade, and is thus pointless in the current abortion discussion.
The reason why I am Pro Life is because from the moment of conception there is no ontological difference between that baby and a full-grown adult besides growth and development. There is no point after conception where the baby "becomes" human, she is human from the moment a human genome is created - at conception - and as such it is just as wrong to kill her as it is to kill a full-grown vagabond by running over him with your car. No one else might ever know about the death of such an unknown individual but it is no less wrong. Ontologically, a human being is created at conception and the same laws that apply to killing any human being have to apply across the board to all human beings, be they newly conceived or terminally ill.

So how in the world could I vote for a Democrat? Simple - abortion is not a voting issue for me.

Say what?

If over a million children are being murdered every year with the approval of the government then abortion is not a voting issue, it is an overthrow the government issue. I don't think that too many people were impressed at Nuremburg when people said that they voted against the holocaust. When it comes to opposing abortion there is no middle of the road - either it's the murder of over a million children a year, every year, or it's not. Either it is an evil practice that has to be eliminated immediately, by any means necessary, or it is merely the elimination of unwanted bio-matter. There is no middle way on abortion, yet suburbanites lack the courage of their convictions to actually do something about it. Soccer moms hate that babies are being slaughtered but they have to get Becky to practice - they'll just vote Republican and feel better about themselves for having struck a blow for the "good guys."

Let them comfort themselves with the ashes of Slavs, Gypsies and Jews from Auschwitz, because that's the end result of their voting - death and dismemberment. The Republicans have appointed ten (10) of the last twelve justices to the Supreme Court, and Republicans have appointed every Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the last 50 years, but Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. If the Republican Party was serious about ending abortion then they would have done it by now, but they are more interested in milking the issue than solving the problem.

But even if Roe v. Wade were overturned abortion would still be legal in America - the red states would immediately ban abortion and the blue states would immediately legalize abortion, leaving the purple states to fight it out. The GOP in purple states like Michigan and Pennsylvania tend to be more moderate, and concentrating the abortion fight in those battleground states - sending the money and volunteers that the national party craves to the state parties - would strengthen a wing of the GOP that they have spent a generation trying to eviscerate. The GOP has no interest in killing the goose that lays the golden campaign contributions and they have no interest in resurrecting a dead wing of their party so they will keep abortion legal for as long as they can milk contributions from those who are long on expectations but short on personal commitment.

And yes, the Democrats do the same thing from the other side of the aisle.

And if you stop to think about it, both parties are full of male-bovine fecal material on the issue of abortion. It is the Republican Party which believes that government has no place in the private affairs of citizens. It is the Republican Party which believes that the government that governs least governs best. It is the Republican Party that should be articulating the Pro Choice argument, yet they take the opposite position. Why?

The Democratic Party seems to have no problem with the idea of creating a new branch of government to save some helpless creature against the wiles of the powerful, so why is it that the Democrats are absent when the most helpless of all needs someone to stand up for them? It is the Democratic Party which believes in an active government that protects the disenfranchized against the decision-makers. It is the Democratic Party which believes in protecting the least of these even if that means limiting the options of others who already have that which the least of these are trying to achieve - LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - yet Democrats side against the most helpless of all, unborn babies. Why?

The answer in both instances is the same - constituency.

When abortion became a big issue in the 60s and 70s the feminists and others who were pushing for abortion on demand were already solidly in the camp of the Democrats, so the Democrats ignored their governing philosophy and adjusted to accommodate the desires of their core constituency. The Republicans were beginning to welcome a flood of Southerners who were abandoning the Democratic Party in droves after Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress and signed it into law, and the Southern Baptists were (and are) among the most committed in their opposition to abortion, and the Republicans weren't going to alienate their new constituency by maintaining fidelity to their governing philosophy so they adjusted to accommodate the desires of their new constituency. Political parties are about winning elections, not philosophical consistency, so they focused on what was important to winning elections - their constituencies - and they've ensured that the gravy train of money and volunteers continues to flow by keeping Roe v. Wade on the books and blocking any initiative that would decrease the demand for abortions.

"They" being Democrats and Republicans.

When it's all said and done, both the Democrats and the Republicans are full of crap regarding the issue of abortion - neither party has any interest in ending abortion, and those who claim to viscerally oppose abortion have no intention of actually doing anything about it other than sending the Republicans millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers. Nothing is going to change when it comes to abortion - I give you the last 30 years as proof-positive - so for me, at the end of the day, abortion is not a voting issue.

Two tears in a bucket...

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Songs for Democracy

As I commented at the end of the last thread, I really am about to turn in, but I've just gotta post this first. Thanks to Abbey at As Ohio Goes, I just discovered this song by Victoria Parks entitled Bye Bye Blackwell. I think it will give many here a much needed smile.

I first heard Victoria sing at the Rainbow Push Ohio event I attended in September. There she sang "My Vote Don't Matter Anymore", which was inspired by one of the stories she heard during the public testimonies on election irregularities that took place in Ohio after the 2004 election.

We stood in lines outside three hours, maybe four
A rainy November second, Two-Thousand-Four
All across our nation, too many to ignore
We turned out in numbers they'd never seen before

I should know dear,
I've been voting here
since the second world war
My name is Amos Connelly
Now they're telling me
My vote don't matter anymore
Read more about the song here, and listen to it here.

Never again...

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Alex P. Keaton returns to Columbus

Demetrius and I first moved to Columbus (to attend graduate school) at around the time the 80s sitcom Family Ties was wrapping up its seven year run. I remember our new neighbors telling us that the show supposedly took place in Columbus, Ohio, and that local stores like Lazarus (now Macy's) made sure that the characters could be seen carrying shopping bags bearing their names and logos. That little factoid had slipped my mind until I read at Pho's Akron Pages that Michael would be coming to Columbus today for an event with Sherrod Brown. Thanks to my incredibly patient husband being willing to come with me (I *hate* trying to parallel park), I was not only able to attend the event, but this time I've actually got pictures.

Actually, the reason I asked Demetrius to come along was because of the event's timing. When I first RSVP'd via Sherrod Brown's campaign site, it looked like the event would be from 11 to 12, so I was just planning to go to the event on my own once D came back from dropping Daughter in Ohio off at school. Then I got a reminder about the event saying that it was at 10 to 11, and it made a lot more sense to just go together after dropping Daughter off at school.

We arrived at about quarter to 10 at the building housing Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. We found a parking meter with a two hour time limit, but that seemed like it would be plenty of time. Nearly an hour and a half later, it was clear that it was *not* enough time, as Michael J. Fox and Sherrod Brown had not yet taken the stage. Demetrius had to run out to move the car and pump more money into the meter, thankfully getting back just as the program began. I was actually concerned that he might not be allowed back in, as the event was packed, with plenty of people who had been unable to find seats in the auditorium standing near the door. There were also bits of commotion from time to time as people in wheelchairs tried to get situated in the audience.

Turns out there was a section in the back of the auditorium that was labeled as reserved seating for people with disabilities.

But camera from the news had set up there.

One of the women sitting behind us said that the law building had been constructed before current accessibility standards were put in place. Professor Colker, who is a specialist in disability law, had used money from an award she won to pay for that seating area, and that she'd be furious to see what happened today.

There was also this guy wearing a shirt with the word REPUBLICAN in large letters on the front, who was clearly amused by the situation, and we wondered if and where he was planning to blog about it.

Once the program finally got under way, it moved along very quickly. We heard first from Dr. Wendy Macklin about the need for new sources of stem cells for research. She explained that stem cells come from the inner cell mass of blastocysts which are about 150 cell embryos, generated in in vitro fertilization clinics. Of the many embryos generated in these clinics, some will result in pregnancies, but many won't. Those that are not used sit in liquid nitrogen for sometimes years. In the past, these have been used to generate cell lines. We can use cells that were generated as cell lines before August of 2001. Initially there were about 22 cell lines, and of those, only a small number are usable, and those have been grown on mouse feeder cells in a variety of ways. Those are not likely to be useful for tranplantation in any way. Dr. Macklin said that even though getting new lines of stem cells would be unlikely to lead to a cure for any given disease immediately, it would be a huge boon to this area of research. For just one example, it would allow us to investigate how to "tweak" cells in the nervous system in other parts of the body that have been degenerating from a particular disease.

There were a number of people on the stage who were suffering from some type of disease or disability that could potentially benefit from stem cell research. Only one of them was scheduled to speak, but Sherrod Brown made a point of acknowledging the children by name. That was a nice gesture because, as tired as I had been getting of sitting and waiting for this event to begin, I could only imagine how restless the children were getting by the time things finally started.

After Wendy Macklin, we heard from Tanner Barton, an 11 year old boy from central Ohio talked about juvenile diabetes and how it affects his daily life. He's in 6th grade and is a competetive gymnast and swimmer. He went on to detail what is involved in constantly checking and maintaining the right blood sugar/insulin balance. The constant need for monitoring sometimes disrupted his practices and made him wary about sleeping away from home. He also related a recent experience that made him realize that he must be sure to get up early on days when he has an exam--so that he can have enough time between breakfast and exam time for his blood sugar to reach the optimal level.

Finally, it was Michael J. Fox's turn to take the stage. He started by saying that we need people like Sherrod Brown in Washington, so that science can reclaim its place in American society. It's part of what makes us great, along with our love and compassion for our citizens, and the desire to do the best thing for them. He thanked Tanner for sharing his experience with diabetes and said that it must be important for a guy his age to tell people what his life was like. Fox said, "Guess what? That doesn't change." At 45, you still want to share what your experience is like--it's a natural instinct. Michael congratulated Tanner on the beautiful job he did speaking about living with diabetes, adding, "I will use you as an inspiration."

Michael said that "this is kind of a coming home for me in a weird way", because Columbus is the home of Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties. He commented that he was recently asked what his character (a conservative teen who admired Ronald Reagan) would think of him campaigning for stem cell research. Michael quipped, "First of all, he'd be happy I'm wearing a tie..." and added that he thinks Alex would say it's the right thing to do. Sherrod Brown voting for the stem cell research enhancement act--to expand federal funding of stem cell reasearch--was the right thing to do--but Mike DeWine voted against it. He said, "A vote for Sherrod Brown is a vote for hope of a better quality of life for millions of Americans." Michael noted, as he has recently on television, that he is supporting candidates who support all stem cell research (regardless of party) Limiting this research is short-sighted, and Michael said that he has every confidence that research will improve the lives of people suffering from numerous diseases. The majority of the House and the Senate, and over 70% of Americans supported expanding funding for stem cell research, but Mike DeWine sided with President Bush in voting against potentially life-saving research. Sherrod Brown will stand on the side of hope, supporting stem cell research in the Senate as he has in the House of Representatives.

He went on to comment on the Limbaugh flap. "This past week I had a little run-in with some less-than-compassionate conservatives. I guess I'm not supposed to speak with you until my symptoms go away--or maybe I'm just supposed to go away." But he said that he's not going to go away, and neither are the millions of Americans and their families who live with debilitating diseases. We're going to make the diseases go away with the support of people like Sherrod Brown.

Michael J. Fox: I'm asking you to stand up for America's continued leadership in health, science, and medicine, and what is right for the hundreds of millions of Americans who have or are touched by debilitating diseases. Bush and DeWine's policies have been a rejection of the promising future of medical science. "Well, forgive me for this, but it's time we 'get back to our future'!"

This was greeted with laughter and applause for Michael, who received at least two standing ovations during his brief appearance on state. He ended by asking those in attendance to please vote for Sherrod Brown for Senate.

It was a very moving experience to see Michael J. Fox speaking to a packed auditorium about this difficult issue. It also made me have some rather uncharitable thoughts about Rush Limbaugh needing a visit from the Karma Fairy. Heck, *I* don't want to be seen in public if I'm feeling under the weather and not happy with the way I look. I can scarcely imagine the courage it would take to appear on camera, on stage, while not having the level of control over my nervous system that most of us take for granted. Especially someone who has been in show business--I would think that makes one more image conscious than the average person.

Michael J. Fox certainly *could* have chosen to live a private life with his family and friends, far from television cameras, not subjecting himself to the mockery and asinine speculations of the likes of Rush Limbaugh. There is no guarantee that expanded stem cell research would benefit him personally. I admire his courage in speaking out so publicly on this issue, and doubt I could ever be nearly that courageous myself, were I in his situation.

I'm almost positive that Mr. Limbaugh couldn't.

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NOTE! I handed this letter to Bernie on Sunday at a campaign rally, along with three pages of information and links (see my two previous threads!). I also spoke with one of his staffers about the situation.

Having trouble getting that letter started? Here's one I wrote, which you could retool to say something in your own words and adding your own notes about how you know Charlie, or know of his integrity. Thanks so much for your support!

Hallo Bernie,

I am a long time supporter who, even with the Election looming, needs to bring to you an urgent concern relating to civil rights and election fraud.

Long time Dean supporter and activist, Charlie Grapski, a doctoral student who teaches at Florida State University, was arrested on May 1st while investigating election fraud in Alachua, Florida. Grapski is charged with felony wiretapping for taping a conversation with a public official in a public place. The tape was confiscated and is being held by the State's Attorney, William Cervone (see below #), but if listened to the tape would prove that Charlie had the official's permission to tape, and more. Town officials seeking to quell Charlie's efforts restricted his movement in Alachua so much that he had to drop out of his bid for the Florida House. He has been repeatedly harassed and some of us fear for his safety. I include below lots of information. The editorials by the publisher of the High Springs Herald, I feel, are especially helpful.

Please have your staffers check this out to your satisfaction, and I hope you will call Florida State's Attorney, Bill Cervone #, asking that the tape be released, charges against Charles Grapski be dismissed, and that an investigation of the election fraud which officials have partially admitted to be undertaken, so that real justice is honoured. Enough is enough! It would also help if you could call Judge Peter Sieg+ asking him to lift bond restrictions. I can personally vouch for the integrity of Charlie Grapski, who is well known to many people nationally, through DemocracyFest events and blogging.
With all Gratitude, (listener)

# State’s Attorney Bill Cervone: Not only does the recording of the incident in question prove that Clovis Watson was openly recorded at City Hall with his knowledge and consent, but it also proves that Watson's account of the incident on the arrest report contains false statements about what occurred. (More on this below, with contact information)

+ Judge Peter Sieg: As it stands, Charlie cannot even legally visit friends, go to a store, eat in a restaurant, or attend public meetings. This ban is an egregious violation of his civil liberties. (More on this below, with contact information)

[Note: I included three pages of information, basically what was given in the two previous Charlie Threads.]

Questions may be addressed to:
Michael Canney 352-671-1991
Carol Thomas 386-418-3791

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HOME FROM THE CAMPAIGN RALLY (Proud Vermonter Alert!) by listener

On a blustery Sunday morning, well over 100 Vermonters packed the Underhill Town Hall to hear the candidates speak, just nine days before the Election. I'd heard only that Bernie Sanders (I-US Senate) and Scudder Parker (D-VT Gov) would be there. Bernie was unable to attend a recent Rally in my town of Jericho and felt so bad about it that he offered to come today. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only Bernie and Scudder had come to be with us, but everyone else came too! Peter Welch (D-US House), Matt Dunne (D-VT Lt. Gov), our town Reps (D-Bill Frank) and (D-Gaye Symington, who is also Speaker of the VT House) were there, along with the fine candidates for VT Senate and State's Attorney from Chittenden County.

As he made the rounds before the speaking began, and came by my table, I thanked Bernie for being a co-sponsor of the National Nurse legislation, HR 4903. He had been about to shake my hand but gave me a hug instead! (He gives soft, sincere hugs.) Without missing a beat, he said "That's an issue we need to do a lot more about!" I gave him my "I support the National Nurse" button. I also gave him a letter with information and links regarding Charlie Grapski's situation in Florida, and he was happy to take it. On the envelope I had written "URGENT CONCERN Re: Civil Liberties and Election Fraud" and when he spoke he mentioned Civil Liberties, which helped me feel heard.

Gaye introduced Bernie, and I learned for the first time that my Rep. got into politics by hosting a dinner for Bernie's campaigns in '92 and '94, where she heard herself remark "to do that I would have to run for office myself." { ! } How many of you have had that sort of moment ~ especially in the wake of Howard Dean's influence? Oh, Howard, what you got us all into! ;-)

When Bernie spoke, his first issue was Healthcare. How I wished National Nurse Teri Mills could be there to hear him! Bernie has a huge lead in the polls and Peter Welch has a strong lead, so we feel pretty confident (not complacent, mind you; we have memories!) that they will win. At one point, Bernie said something about looking forward to the day when Bush and Cheney have to raise their hand and testify under oath ~ wild applause! ~ I turned to Peter and said, "That's going to be a good CSPAN day," and he laughed. We laughed, but mostly we spoke of serious things. Scudder was perhaps the most serious of all, articulating the ways Jim Douglas has done little and even taken credit for things, like the healthcare legislation that he actually fought against. Scudder got loud standing ovations! All it takes is for people to meet him. Sitting next to Peter, listening to Bernie speak, I felt deeply moved and encouraged for the future that very soon our Vermont delegation will be: Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Peter Welch in the House. I was so sorry I'd forgotten to bring my camera, but the son of a friend had his digital camera along, so hopefully we'll have some soon to embellish this post.

Candidate after candidate, from Bernie to Peter to Scudder to Matt, spoke and it was more than simply energising. It had been raining when I arrived, with a cold wind brewing, and now as I looked out the window I saw a fully involved snow squall. This is Vermont, after all. But inside, the warmth was palpable. The unified message, which received numerous standing ovations, is that when Pat, Bernie and Peter are in office in Washington and Scudder and Matt are in office in Montpelier, Vermont will lead the nation: healthcare for all persons regardless of their employment status, bringing our troops home and caring for them when they get here (even if Washington doesn't), strengthening our ties around the world, strengthening our economy, and leading the nation as regards renewable energy and sustainable resources! Vermont is not afraid to lead, and I believe we will be better equipped to do so after this election. Bernie and Peter plan to come back to Vermont after the election and have town meetings with us.

I have attended several debates and rallies, but something was different today. This message has grown and developed in recent months and is clearly more than rhetoric. It is fresh hope, not just for us here in Vermont today, but for all our children and for the whole nation. It's going to be AMAZING!!!

Bernie is going to be on NPR on Election night, maybe as early as 8:20pm, reporting on our early election returns. Be sure to tune in.

So here I am, totally enheartened for the first time in ever so long.
I can hardly wait to help count the vote here in Jericho!

♥ ~ listener

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 2

This is the second part of my examination of my partisan preferences and why I stand solidly in the Democratic camp, despite the observations of many that I ought to be elsewhere. Part One touched on the most obvious reasons, but now I'd like to delve into the heart of the matter. On many issues I have substantial agreement with the Republicans, but the way that they approach the issues and the way that they prioritize the issues makes the Republican Party an incredibly inhospitable place for people with some progressive convictions.

Family Values
I affirm the ethical system that is commonly referred to as "Family Values" at every point, however I do not believe that it is the job of the government to enforce that ethical system. Our laws reflect all of our values, and I certainly believe that every American has the right to work toward persuading a majority of their fellow citizens to support laws that reflect their views and values, but I have a serious problem with people dragging the name of Jesus Christ into secular politics, as I have noted on several occasions (An Evangelical View On Progressive Politics; Religious Right And Wrong; Theocracy, Rapture, And You; Pharisees, Sadducees, & Scribes; et al.).

I especially have a problem with this overwrought focus on the family. I believe that the family is a practical and valuable entity, but the United States of America is organized around the individual - not the household - and unless one advocates a one-household-one-vote Constitutional Amendment (which would likely repeal the 19th Amendment in the process) then it is impossible to logically assert the family as the primary organizing unit of society. Paychecks are cut to individuals, not families. Criminals are individually punished for their crimes, not their entire families. Individuals are elected to office, hired for jobs, and sued in court, not their families. American society is based upon the individual, and how those individuals interact with each other should be of little interest to the government - every small-government conservative should affirm that without question, as I have already noted.

But does the fact that America is organized around the individual mean that Christians should simply shut up and say nothing about the value of families? Hardly, but valuing the family unit is not among my highest priorities and it ought not be among the highest priorities of Bible-believing Christians. Why not? The priorities of Christians ought to match the priorities of Jesus Christ, and Jesus commanded us to focus on His kingdom, saying, "...the pagans run after [material] things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The things that we ought to prioritize are the things that will transcend this life, things that are eternal, like the salvation of men's souls. When we take an eternal view of secular politics is it abundantly clear just how futile all of this talk about families really is: there are no families in eternity, just individuals.

Say what?

Consider this discussion between the Sadducees and Jesus:
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
If there is no marriage in eternity then why are we so pressed about families here and now? When people try to redefine marriage into something that it has never been then we should certainly resist them, and when people try to equate moral turpitude with the union of one man and one woman we should certainly say No, but this is not an issue that requires any kind of priority. Marriage was instituted for the benefit of mankind - "It is not good for the man to be alone" - mankind was not created for the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a means to an end, not an end unto itself, much like the Sabbath. Who cares if three men want to call their intimate relationship a marriage - what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It certainly does not conform to God's revealed design for mankind and a Christian should certainly reject it, but reject it and move on - it's not that big of a deal and it's certainly not important enough to make me vote Republican, although some progressives really make me think twice about it.

Part III
In Part III I will begin to examine the following topics and explain why I can't vote Republican:
  • Abortion
  • Welfare
  • Warfare
  • Taxes
  • Labor/Minimum Wage
  • Energy (q.v. Exxon Profits and GM Losses)
  • Education
  • Civil Liberties
  • Seperation of Church and State

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Just reading through the list of titles in the archives below will knock your socks off~!

Many thanks for every letter sent, every blog post posted, every donation, every prayer/good vibe. ♥

Please post this around the blogs! (and please recommend)

Letters to the Editor:
Gainesville Sun
email to:
High Springs Herald
Independent Florida Alligator

For background information see the Timeline of events at

High Springs Herald News Archives

Use both the date and some key words. There is no fee.
March 30 - 'I have a long memory,' Lewis tells business that won't display his signs
April 8 - Lewis vs. Irby in Alachua city elections Tuesday
April 11 - Lewis defeats Irby in close Alachua election
May 7 - State House candidate arrested in Alachua City Hall
May 7 - PHOTO MONTAGE of arrest
May 15 - Grapski back at City Hall as allegations mount
May 18 - With county official now involved, situation heats up in city of Alachua
May 18 - Stop the games; show Grapski the documents (Herald Editorial)
May 18 - Grapski has produced no evidence (Letter from Bud Calderwood
May 25 - As mayor, I am outraged by Byerly’s comments (Letter from Jean Calderwood)
May 25 - Grapski's arrest a wake-up call (in response to May 18 letter)
June 1 - Calderwood avoided issue, attacked me personally (Letter from County Commissioner Mike Byerly)
June 8 - Judge: Grapski can speak at city meetings
June 15 - Alachua accuses Grapski of again illegallly taping a city employee
June 15 - With Grapski, is this really happening?
June 23 - Action & Reaction: Lawsuit alleges specific illegal actions by Alachua officials
June 23 - Alachua needs to investigate its elections, drop charges against me, Grapski (Letter from Michael Canney)
July 6 - Except for his home, Grapski now banned from Alachua
July 6 - Commisioners gave themselves pay raise without allowing residents to comment
July 27 - Grapski no longer a candidate for state House
October 12 - State Attorney's Office decides to officially charge Grapski in incident involving Alachua city manager
October 20 - Alachua admits to not considering some election ballots
October 20 - Grapski, who sued over elections, still unhappy with being banned from the city

Alachua Police Department mismanagement / misconduct
April 20 - Report: Police officer bites, batters woman (Hired by Clovis Watson, former weightlifting buddy)
May 11 - Alachua police sergeant charged with battery quits (Hired by Clovis Watson, former weightlifting buddy)
May 25 - Fired once, facing new allegations, officer remains (Hired by Clovis Watson, former weightlifting buddy)
June 15 - 'Non-existent' records appear, prompting investigation (Public records violations)
June 29 - Alachua officer accused of lying on application terminated (Hired by Clovis Watson, former weightlifting buddy)

Gainesville Sun news archives
March 23 - Open-records advocate joins race to House
April 30 - Lawsuit challenges Alachua election results
May 2 - House candidate accused of illegally taping meeting
May 3 - Editorial | 'Alachua Gotcha'
May 3 - Editorial cartoon on Clovis Watson's arrest of Grapski (link is to our site, Sun site no longer links to cartoon)
May 11 - A peculiar matter of spelling
June 10 - Complaints filed against Grapski, another man
June 17 - Suit alleges misconduct during Alachua election
June 23 - Heated words exchanged in Alachua at rally regarding election dispute
June 24 - Alachua manager switches parties and blasts Democrats
June 30 - Judge (nearly) bans political candidate from Alachua
July 1 - Looks like a witch hunt
July 22 - Let the races begin: Candidates qualify to run for office
July 29 - Commotion about Watson's resumé leads to 'e-mail wars'
October 10 - Grapski supporters protest charges

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What Do You See?

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 10:22-30
Who is Jesus? One thing that I have learned is that the way people answer that question speaks more about themselves than about the person and character of Jesus Christ. German Liberals of the 19th Century gave up their belief in the authority and veracity of Scripture so they went about their Quest For The Historical Jesus, and it just so happened that the Jesus they "discovered" looked a whole lot like a 19th Century German Liberal. There have been several such "quests" since then and every time, without failure, Jesus comes out looking a lot like the ones on the quest.

This is not limited to ignorant scholars in ivory towers - common, every-day folk do the same thing all the time. When I hear right-wing Republicans talking about Jesus it is amazing how their Supply-Side Jesus seems to fit right in with right-wing Republicans, and when I hear left-wing Democrats talk about Jesus it is amazing how Jesus seems like a Birkenstocked dude who'd be perfectly at peace within the realm of left-wing Democrats. Someone once said that in the beginning God created man in His own image and man has been trying to return the favor ever since. I especially find it humorous when people decry "annoying absolutism toward the delusional" while they themselves display and annoying absolutism toward the delusional. Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" while someone else says, "Jesus is not the way to eternal life. All Life is Eternal." Who should we believe? The Creator of the universe or some guy with an opinion? For the Christian it is not about our opinion, it is about the Word of God, the very words of God. It is not my opinion of Jesus that determines that which is really real - my opinion is irrelevant - it is Jesus' own words that reveal who He is and what is the nature of eternal life. Jesus is the one who gives eternal life according to Jesus, the question is whether or not you trust Him.

Do you trust Him?

What do you see when you look at Jesus? Do you see an idealized version of yourself or do you see the risen Savior? Do you see a good man or the Creator of the universe? Do you see someone who would put the Republicans in their place or the One who will judge all of the world? What do you see when you look at Christ? Do you see the One who suffered that we might be reconciled back to the Father? Do you see the One who laid down His life so that we might have eternal life? Do you see the One who is the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God? What do you see?

My Lord and my God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to see Him as He truly is,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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