Thursday, February 23, 2017

Here's that man again..............

Clint Smith, the poet I heard about a year ago at an Aspen Conference on Race and Inequality. So very powerful!

Friday, February 17, 2017

I'm no proselytizer, but...........

................ I just have to share with you why this atheist attends church. You'll find it in the lead up to his sermon for this Sunday that the minister posted on my church's blog site.  Thrilling to me is also the great degree of social activism in this Unitarian Universalist church and the extremely large number of young people of all races, cultures, faith backgrounds and sexual orientation that are in attendance.

I truly believe that this introduction to his sermon shares a needed balm and comfort to surviving our present American dilemma.

A Great and Common Tenderness
As we wrestle with our own fears and anxieties about the direction of our country and the future of our planet, many of us have asked the question, "What do we tell the children?"
Here's the poet Rebecca Baggett's beautiful answer:
(for my daughters)
I want to tell you that the world
is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.
I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,
I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
"a great and common tenderness",
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.
I love the poet's reference to Neruda's "great and common tenderness." I'm waiting for that tenderness, too.
My sermon this Sunday, "A Balm in Gilead," asks how, in this time of vitriol and scorn, we can treat one another with tenderness and compassion.  And we'll hear from the All Souls Choir, who will share the spiritual "Balm in Gilead" and other beautiful music.

And before long I hope to share a major thought stream of mine regarding my 91 years experience in churches that has led me to becoming an agnostic atheist who finds hope in attending "thoughtful" churches.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Blood of Emmett Till

I've had an opportunity to attend a great many author book reviews in my 23 years in D. C., but none has been more dramatic or surprising to me than The Blood of Emmett Till.  The opportunity is also yours at the youtube listing below. Obviously a southerner, Timothy Tyson worked almost 10 years on this book and is at Duke University and Duke Divinity School as Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture.

More information about the book and the author may be found at:

Tyson's presentation is folksy, droll and challenging.  The large crowd interrupts with applause at many statements.  As a fellow southerner by birth (Texan) I could identify with much of his insight, particularly as he told of his grandmother and church up-bringing many decades ago singing the following in Sunday School as atrocities like Till's murder were not uncommon,

"Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Whether yellow, black or white,*
They are precious in his sight,
Jesus loves the children of the world.

*A better lyricist than I might add a line here like,
Neither atheist, Muslim,or Seik

The book is indeed worth your reading and perhaps discussing with others as Tyson credits Till's mother with the courage that actually precipitated the civil rights movement.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

God....placed you (Trump) there.

 “I believed that you would be the next President of the United States. And if that happened, it would be because God had placed you there.

Editor: From all my church going I must proclaim, THAT IS NOT MY GOD! - Ron Lehker

You might recall though that those were the words of the minister who addressed the congregation as president Trump attended the pre-–inaugural service at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House. I know that a great many of you joined me in astonishment not only in the statement itself, but also in the virtual attack on one of our basic democratic principles, the separation of church and state.

Unfortunately it has only gotten worse.
Consider this "hot off the press" report of Trump's appearance at the National Prayer Service in The New York Times:

And then please take time to read the article in the March issue of The Atlantic Monthly by Franklin Foer:

What an amazing, awesome responsibility we all have to maintain and improve a democracy that was founded on (immoral) immigration and nourished and expanded through slave labor!

This 91-year-oldster continues to be amazed at the vigor of young people in peacefully expressing their concern through demonstrations. May we all be equally committed to appreciating the progress of the past and our responsibility to keep moving forward providing refuge for those in need and freedom and equality for all.