Hypocrisy, Grace, and Empathy

A popular political cartoon has a man holding two signs. On one: “No Mask Mandate! My body. My choice.” On the second: “No Abortion After 6 Weeks. Her body. My choice.” This is, of course, hypocritical. How can you plead for freedom from government regulation at times, and for it at others? Yet, the cartoon …

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Why Should You Support Anti-Masking?

Throughout the pandemic, I was an ardent pro-masker. I wore a mask everywhere. I thought it was a way of protecting others from the virus. I had also hoped it would prevent me from infection, but it didn’t. Still, I wore it religiously. With others, I celebrated in the spring when those masks could be …

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The Problem with “Biblical Values”

Actually, the problem is with the words, not the values. It arises when you use a phrase, understanding what you mean by it, but the reader or listener takes it another way. A conservative newspaper columnist recently wrote of her apprehension that liberals were pushing the LGBTQ agenda. She feared they were attacking the “biblical …

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Hear Their Stories

In a school district in suburban St. Louis county, a controversy arose over the teaching of diversity curriculum. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Aisha Sultan described it, detailing the heated feelings and speeches.  In one forum, a woman of color told of her own experience with racism. A nearby white woman responded to her, “No, you …

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“Staying” or “Beginning”?

I’m intrigued by something Father Richard Rohr wrote in his The Wisdom Pattern: Order-Disorder-Reorder. “It seems to me we must begin conservatively—with clear boundaries, identity, and a sense of respect for our reality. Then, and only then, can we move out from that strong center, according to our education and experience.” (p. 61) The trick, …

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A Backlash of Decency?

I have a new hope for 2021. The tragedy of the raid on the Capitol by President Trump’s radicalized supporters on January 6 prompted some officials to call it a day of infamy, similar to December 7. But Christians may also remember it’s Epiphany day. Maybe there’s a bit of epiphany in the aftermath of …

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Conspiracy Theories: The Election Was Rigged?

Why, with overwhelming facts to the contrary, do so many people believe the presidential election was rigged or stolen? To understand this, I turned to psychologist Rob Brotherton’s Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. Here are some of his points, as I understand them. Conspiracy theorists don’t like ambiguity. It’s unsettling not being on …

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2020: And Now for a Little Good News

The ending of the season finale of comedian John Oliver’s show on HBO, “Last Week Tonight,” was cathartic. After an expletive-filled rant regarding how “bad” (euphemism) the year has been, he pressed a trigger and pyrotechnically blew up the gigantic numbers, “2020.” For some reason it feels good to vent anger and pain vicariously like …

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A Happy Family?

Showman P. T. Barnum had a display in his 1860’s American Museum called “The Happy Family.” It was a cage where natural prey and predators peacefully coexisted. People flocked to see lambs resting with lions without becoming mutton. Asked if he planned to keep the exhibit, he supposedly replied, “The display will become a permanent …

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How Many Voices?

I once ran an experiment in a church I pastored. I put black and white beans in a Mason jar and set it on a table next to a sign, “Guess how many beans are in this jar.” People could submit their guesses for a chance to win a fabulous prize (I think it was …

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