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November 2005
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January 2006

10 Political Christmas Wishes

The busyness of the Christmas season overtook me, so I wish everyone a belated "Merry Christmas."  I ran across this interesting article by Bob Burnett at about his "Political Christmas Wishes."  It worth a read, especially wish #3:

Convert to Christianity, George Bush. Abandon the fundamentalist pabulum you've been spouting - the "Weekly Reader" summary of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelations. Read the Gospels. Pay attention to the teachings of Jesus: The admonition to tell the truth. Not to murder. To care for the poor. Step into the light, George. Before it's too late for you to save your soul.

Wow!  That's really putting it out there.  Its almost as radical as the Magnificat.  While such a statement might sound way over the top from most pulpits, I wonder if it is more hopeful and faithful than more moderate questioning.  Embedded in in the political radicalism is a belief that people can change and experience a conversion.  It is easy to scoff like Jonah that Nineveh will never change.  If we let George Bush off the hook from our pulpits for condoning torture, violating civil rights and denying justice to the poor, have we given up on his soul?  If we are afraid to speak out to our congregations, have we given up on their souls as well?  I understand that we are not all called to be rabble rousing prophets, but I think every good preacher knows how to put tough issues before the flock. 

I'd like to here from some of you.  How are you addressing the prophetic challenges of preaching these days?  Most of my preaching had been in a congregation that was probably half Democrat and half Republican.  How do we handle the challenges of preaching truth in a politically divided congregation?


Bill Moyers for President!

A grass roots group is starting up a petition to draft Bill Moyers, formerly of Public Television (before they took on Walmart as a sponsor), to run for President.  Bill Moyers has always been an inspirational voice in my life.  I loved his work on "The Power of Myth" with Joseph Campbell, and his great interviews and books like "Listening to America."   Since then he has been the best orator and champion of democracy I have heard in this nation.  Just read his keynote address to the National Conference on Media Reform or his Take Back America speech from 2003.  Whether he runs for president or not, it would send a clear message and maybe shake up the Democratic Party a little bit.  The group is trying to get 100,000 signatures by January 1, 2006.  Take a minute a click on this link,  I get about 1,000 readers a week, so if you all take 30 seconds, we can be 1 percent of the needed signatures.

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The Real Way to Take Back Christmas?

Every year I have a “Christmas rant” about the excess of materialism, usually somewhere around the 3rd or 4th Sunday of Advent. I have tried very hard to not give in this year. When I heard people were paying $5000 on EBay for the new Xbox, I shrugged it off as this year’s craze toy in the grand tradition of Tickle-Me-Elmo and Cabbage Patch Dolls. No need to rant, it happens every year. When I read that an electronics company has developed a Bluetooth ski jacket that acts as a receiver so snow boarders can talk on their cell phone and listen to MP3 music while thundering down the slope, I did some deep breathing exercises and after a few minutes decided it was a cool idea and maybe not to over the top decadent. At least there are other minds working on noble causes like cures for cancer and third world poverty, right?


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Luke 1:26-38, 47-55 Advent 4B

When you think of Mary the Mother of Jesus, what is the first word that comes to your mind? I’ll bet that many of you the word was “virgin.” Seldom do we say just Mary. More likely we say, the Virgin Mary or the Blessed Virgin or just the BVM for short. For some Christians, the perpetual virginity of Mary is an essential article of faith, proving that Christ is truly the Son of God. For others, it sounds absurd and archaic, or even a patriarchal plot to keep women subservient.

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St. Francis Quote

A reader asked if I knew the reference for the following quote that was in my Advent IIIB posting.  I did it from memory, so if anyone remembers the where this is, please post it in the comments or email me.  The quote from my posting was:

"As St. Francis put it so well, “We are the moon reflecting the rays of the sun from our surface.” The light that shines from us may be great as we allow more of ourselves to be open to the true light of Christ, but the source of light is still Christ."