Friday, July 29, 2016

HIllary's Home Stretch

Hillary Rodham Clinton now has the nomination of the Democratic Party for president of the US in the 2016 election.

It's been a long couple of years--or decades--leading to this day.

May she hold up during August, September, and October and win the election on November 8, 2016.

Monday, July 25, 2016

God alone is great

I loved the prayer by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld at the opening night of the Democratic Convention.

"God who is great, mighty and awesome in a season so filled with chatter of who is great and what is great and what shall be great-- 
Let us remember Scripture's clear, simple explanation of greatness: God is the great, the mighty and the awesome--for God defends the cause of the widow and the orphan and loves the stranger residing among you...."

Her prayer brought me to tears.

What a witness!  

May we all remember this true definition of greatness and not be fooled into seeking bombastic greatness or military greatness. 

Many thanks to this beautiful rabbi from White Plains, New York, for leading us all to remember the only One who is truly great--our Creator--and to follow Scripture as we measure greatness in our political candidates.

Note about her:  Julie Schonfeld is the first female rabbi to serve in the chief executive position of an American rabbinical association, having been named the executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly in 2008.

Another note: Bernie Sanders supporters booed the opening prayer by the Reverend Cynthia Hale when she mention Clinton's name in her prayer.  See the commentary by David Gibson of the Religious News Service:

Gibson writes:

Then again, Schonfeld, a leader in the Conservative Jewish movement, never mentioned Clinton. And she delivered what was the most biblically profound meditation of the day-old convention — with perhaps a sidelong dig at Trump, who party leaders hope will emerge as the one true opponent by week’s end:
“In a season so filled with chatter of ‘Who is Great’ and ‘What is Great’ and ‘What Shall Be Great,’
Let us remember Scripture’s clear, simple explanation of greatness:
God is the great, the mighty and the awesome,
For God defends the cause of the widow and the orphan,
And loves the stranger residing among you.
This is God’s greatness and this is the greatness the American people must strive to imitate.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Deporting children who are rape victims

Elena from Honduras

Young girls are raped by gang members and forced to work for them--but when they flee with their family to the US, they are deported back to their home countries.

Read this heart-breaking report by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist.

This is the policy of our government, approved by President Obama, who in general tries to improve immigration policy.

But refugees like Elena from Honduras are deported even though their lives and safety are in danger.

We bear some of the guilt for these policies.  

We must change things for Elena.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Yay for WOC and Women Priests!

Congratulations to the Women's Ordination Conference as they celebrate 40 years of working for women priests ordained regularly in the Roman Catholic Church!

Currently there are 40 or so women priests ordained outside the rules (irregularly).

Watch this great, short video:

They are pleased that Pope Francis has made a few 

The video includes a reprise of "Sister, Carry On" made popular by Carolyn McDade.

Low-Information Voters

Good to hear that Ken Burns and historians of the American presidency are teaming up to inform voters about who Donald Trump really is.

Historian David McCullough calls DT "a monstrous clown with a monstrous ego."

Thank you, Sharon, for letting me know about this article in the New York Times.

My friend Jan Leonard introduced me to the term "low-information voters..." a nice way of referring to people who vote as if the presidency were a high-school popularity contest.

Burns and McCullough are trying to give these people a little more information.

A Small World After All

Not sure who produced this great little commentary, but thanks to my friend Sharon for sending it to me:

Remember: HJ TAC

I'm memorizing the names of the five most powerful women in the world--the five most powerful people in the world after Hillary is elected president of the US:

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Janet Yellin
Theresa May
Angela Merkel
Christine Lagarde

I had to look up Christine--I need to know more about her:

She's been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since July, 2011.

Here's an acronym to remember their names:  HJ - TAC.

Now that women have significant power in the political and economic world, I need to be a good citizen and know their names and roles.

Did God call him home??

Did God call him home?

Michael Smith, I mean.

Every time any one dies--whether by cancer or by mass murder--we blame it on God.

"God called her home" or "God called him home."

In President Obama's speech in Dallas on July 12, he made a personal comment on each of the five police officers who died.  In regard to Michael Smith, he said:
Michael Smith answered that call. In the Army, and over almost 30 years working for the Dallas Police Association, which gave him the appropriately named Cop’s Cop Award. A man of deep faith; when he was off duty, he could be found at church or playing softball with his two girls.
Today, his girls have lost their dad, for God has called Michael home.

Did God look down on Dallas before the shooting and select five people to "call home"?


Did God look with grief on the shooter and his actions and those hit by bullets?


After they were dead or dying, did God call them into God's fuller presence, embrace them, and welcome them?


But to say simply that "God called them home" takes the killer off the hook.  It places the decision to end their lives in the hands of God.  

I refuse to believe in a God who "takes people home" when they are in the fullness of life--who wants their earthly lives to end.  

God doesn't cause cancer.  God doesn't cause bullets to fly.  

God allows a lot of crime and illness to occur, but we abuse God's name and honor when we blame God for these events.

President Obama on "the will to make change"

What a wise and truth-speaking president we have now.

Enjoy him while we can.  It has been a great eight years in many ways.

"It will be a while before we have another president come along who will talk like this," comments John Arthur, sending this excerpt from the transcript of President Obama's speech on Tuesday in Dallas:

"As a society, we choose to under-invest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.
"We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.
"And then we tell the police, 'You’re a social worker; you’re the parent; you’re the teacher; you’re the drug counselor.'
"We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience; don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind. And then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over.
"We know those things to be true. They’ve been true for a long time. We know it. Police, you know it. Protesters, you know it. You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context. These things we know to be true. And if we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.
"In the end, it’s not about finding policies that work. It’s about forging consensus and fighting cynicism and finding the will to make change."

Full text:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pres. Obama - Man of Scripture

Officers Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith, and Patrick Zamarripa,
Photo by Stephen Crowley, NY Times

"Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory," President Obama began his speech at the memorial service for the five slain police officers in Dallas, Texas.

He was somber and wet-eyed as he yet again spoke to survivors of a mass killing, surely the worst of his duties as president.


Text of speech:

To watch and hear him speak was deeply moving.

Here are reports from the Religion News Service, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Woman Power

In a year the five most powerful people in the world could be: 

Hillary Clinton
Janet Yellen
Theresa May
Angela Merkel 
Christine Lagarde

Thank you to John Arthur for this tweet!

Ten Top Cathedral Novels

Thank you to my friend Judith Steinmetz for pointing out this article in The Guardian, "Cathedrals in Literature" by John Mullan in 2011. 

The photo with the article was taken by Peter Lewis (Loop Images, Corbis).  It shows Salisbury Cathedral, the focus of The Spire by William Golding.

Mullan lists his favorite novels set in cathedrals with a commentary on each one, starting with The Spire and followed by The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the last book written by Charles Dickens.  

"Murderous passions are nursed in the shadow of the great cathedral," comments Mullan.

Each book is set in a cathedral, which becomes a central character in many of the novels.

Joanna Trollope, a descendant of Anthony, is the only woman author on the list with a book called The Choir.

Judith manages the hospitality ministry of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, so she knows the life of a great cathedral intimately, including the politics and personalities that form these novels.  On Sundays she makes sure that her team of volunteers provide the coffee, tea, cakes, and cookies after worship, and for events on other days of the week as well.  

What a challenging volunteer ministry!  And what a champion reader!  Judith's favorite books read recently are all of Anthony Trollope's novels in the series known as the Barchester Chronicles.

The list includes a set of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, inspired by a visit to Chartres. Not surprisingly, Rilke felt oppressed by the lofty stone structure, a metaphor for religious oppression.  

Mullan quotes one line:  "And in the towers' quelled ascent, / and sudden spurn of skies, sat Death".

Friday, July 1, 2016

Legal marijuana: 2nd thoughts

Thanks to John Arthur for pointing out this article in Fortune Magazine about the problems Colorado is having with marijuana:

Colorado is having second thoughts about its rush to legalize marijuana. Marijuana-related hospitalizations have tripled since legalization, and ER visits are up 30%. Moreover, two of Colorado's neighbors - Nebraska and Kansas - are suing the state, claiming it is contributing to illegal drug trade in their states.

It's not 2-3% THC in marijuana today.  It's 20% or more.

Voters in Pueblo, Colorado, are rethinking access to marijuana in their city.  

For the full article by Jennifer Alsever, see: