Going on Vacation

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Going away for a week to "vacate." We'll be in Canada for most of it trying not to act "American." Read More . . .
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The man who has the REAL Progressive Pulpit

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The Rev. James Forbes launches a radio show today on Air America at 4 pm Eastern. The first guest will be Helen Thomas. Next week, Desmond Tutu.

Jim is one of the best voices we have in the religious left. I've heard him speak and have met him and I couldn't recommend this highly enough. Glad AAR is doing this and I hope it catches on.

Here's the link to the Riverside Church piece on the show until AAR gets its act together and puts up their own page for him.Read More . . .
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An Eye for An Eye

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When I was in seminary and took the requisite course in "Old Testament" (don't get me started on the difference between OT and Hebrew Bible) we had the conversation about Exodus 21:23-27, the infamous An eye for an eye passage that has been so misused over time.Read More . . .
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That was then . . .

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I wrote a column for the church newsletter in October of 1993. It began like this:

There is some risk in writing about joy. It can be a fleeting thing. By the time this reaches all of you, we will have all gone back to business as usual as we are not directly affected by the historic events that took place . . . Read More . . .
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No time . . . what else is new?

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My pile of books to be read is getting bigger and bigger. Summer is the time we are supposed to be able to get caught up with our reading. That does not seem to be happening. instead . . . Read More . . .
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For Betty

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I was at the eye doctor yesterday, the fourth or fifth visit—I'm losing track—to try to re-fit my contact lenses so that I can see to drive and to read without "cheeters." Getting the right fit is an art as well as a science.

Anyway, I checked in and in the waiting room was a friend I hadn't seen for probably 7 or 8 years at least, Betty. Betty was an active member of my "home" church, the church that I first joined and that ultimately ordained me. I love Betty. She was an activist who cared deeply about the earth and about people. She was an artist who made the most wonderful dolls and other three dimensional art. . . . Read More . . .
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What's it Really about?

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With Peterr's post on FDL about gay marriage and my earlier post about yesterday's Busy Day, I went back into my archives to a sermon on "Closets." One reading was taken from the West Wing ( I said on the "About" page, I'll be bringing up stuff now and again from WW. Here is the WW dialogue with the other "reading" after the break.


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West Wing Episode 19
“Let Bartlet be Bartlet”
Aaron Sorkin, writer

Sam is in a conference room with representatives from the military and congress hashing out, yet again, the issue of gays in the military. He is arguing specific cases of service men and women who have been “outed.”

An army Major says:
“A lot of the cases you are talking about of gays being discharged came from voluntary statements”

Sam replies

“They were not voluntary statements. Not by any definition given in any civilian court in this country.

It is not a voluntary statement when it is given to a psychoteherapist as in the case of Marine Corporal David Blessing.

It is not a voluntary statement when its made in a personal diary as in the case of former West Point Cadet Nicole Garrison.

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Busy Day

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It was a hot sticky, sometimes rainy day in downtown Boston today. My Episcopal priest friend Anne said that someone from the group Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry asked if we knew what a "mitzvah" was (probably one of the rabbis). They answered the question themselves, "a mitzvah is wearing a collar on a day like today." Yes, there were a few of us in our clerical collars. I didn't consider it a mitzvah, just "suiting up" for what needed to be done.

Floating around the halls inside the State House were a number of nuns in full length wool habits. None of us could figure out what they were doing there or what statement they were making. They weren't hanging out across the street with the anti-marriage folk. They had no buttons on showing any "side." They could have been at the State House for any reason.

Then there were the blonds wearing pearls . . . .

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No Satisfaction

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1990 was my first year of ministry. I was ordained in May and spent the summer packing and moving to Portland OR where I had done my internship. I was returning to Portland to begin a new church start-up in the western suburbs. The planning for that would take a year. In the mean time I got a part-time job serving a small congregation on the east side of town.

Even though it was my second career, it was the first year of engaging in what in anyone's estimation is a challenging profession. Then along came January of 1991 and we were on the brink of war.

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"Each occasion is worse than the last . . . but only a little worse"

"Milton Mayer went back to Germany after the war to interview the citizens who were once his friends, to ask how it could have happened. His friend the baker explained, "One had no time to think. There was so much going on."
People reported that they had become separated from their government with every new crisis or reform. Gradually they accepted decisions made in secret because they trusted Hitler and others who they felt knew more than they did."

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