Friday, December 21, 2012

All of the Above

Having read and listened to lots of commentary this past weekend, our response to this tragic event should probably be a complicated “all of the above.”

The Connecticut killer allegedly used automatic weapons, which allowed him to fire more rounds than he might have otherwise. No one expects the U.S. to accept European-style gun control, but do our citizens really need military-style assault weapons? Even an armed security person would be challenged trying to intervene in that situation. At some point, we have to draw a line or risk a domestic arms race. Do we all really want to become fully-equipped soldiers?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


While the middle-class economy, Social Security, the environment and various other justice issues are of grave concern, the primary issue for me in this election was health care.

I keep saying it because it’s true. If we don’t stop viewing health care as a way for big corporations to make money, and start viewing it as the primary way to keep our society healthy and productive, it will keep draining our economy.

The only way to control health care costs is to take private, for-profit providers out of the equation. Put everyone on Medicare and let the government continue to set prices. “Big insurance,” “big pharma” and many doctors won’t like it, but again, health care should not be about making huge profits.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Healthy Religion

Two recent articles in the Gainesville Times showed the sharp contrast between healthy and unhealthy religion. Columnist Joan King discussed the tendency of religion to dominate and divide. More conservative columnist, Trevor Thomas, gave a good example of this in his defense of discriminating against gays and lesbians when it comes to marriage.
Healthy religion is what you get when you practice the main teachings of Jesus without filtering them through a particular worldview, and accepting that some words were probably added over the centuries that were not part of the original. You find similar teachings from Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed once you dig through all the unhealthy layers that naturally build up over time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time To Stop the Hate Talk & Start Listening To All Sides

I cannot recall a time in my 58 years when American society was so polarized and driven by fear and negativity.  It’s not just the Hannitys and O’Rileys of FOX News, but their liberal counter parts on MSNBC, also.  Americans have always enjoyed spicy and controversial entertainment. Before talk radio, cable news and reality TV, it was daily soap operas, local gossip sessions and a few extreme religious groups.  But the media has taken it to new heights over the past 2 decades.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Breathe deeply…

The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

Be still and know God.

Let your whole being become a silent prayer.

Be here now.

Breathe freely…

Naked you came into the world – leave the same way.

The world will try to clothe you – don’t let it.

The world will sell you “happiness” – don’t buy it.

Sell your possessions – travel lightly - blessed are the poor.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hope For All

In addition to its love affair with wealth and power, the other problem with fundamentalist religion, including fundamentalist Christianity, is its insistence that some people will spend eternity in hell. Committed to the “letter” of scripture rather than the “spirit” of scripture, fundamentalists use ancient fears and medieval hermeneutics to promote religious ideas that confuse and divide. The real needs of humanity are ignored and even exploited.

Our basic problem (our sin) is our various addictions. Some are addicted to drugs or sex, but most Americans are addicted to money and what it represents and buys. The Bible insists “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Jesus said far more about the danger of money than he did about the danger of hell.

But instead of focusing on the freedom from our addictions (salvation) that Jesus brought to everyone, fundamentalist religion promotes an “us versus them” mentality in which a wrathful god punishes those who challenge their particular belief system. We believe right, they believe wrong… we’re going to heaven, they’re going to hell.

The Christian good news (gospel) is this. God loves the entire human race unconditionally. He will finally heal our addictions. His grace will finally set us free from our primary addiction - which is self. We will all finally learn to love and be loved. Heaven, and all it represents, will someday be a reality for everyone.

Monday, January 2, 2012

America's Liberal Soul

The word “liberal” is a nasty word for many people, especially in the south. That’s unfortunate because no other word expresses the soul of America as well as the word “liberal”, which basically means free and generous.

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, he was driven by liberal ideas such as liberty, freedom and equality…elevating basic human rights above the rights of kings, dictators and wealth.