I admit that I find the gospel of partnering with God for the healing of the world much, much harder than the gospel of God loves you and wants to give you a ticket to heaven.
It’s harder emotionally, physically, financially, socially and culturally. It’s tiring. Without the Holy Spirit, without worship, without community I’d give up and go back to that old gospel. It was easier in those days, for sure.
It was easier when it was about me and my blessing, my healing, my salvation and inviting other people to enjoy my amazing new life. It was much easier when it was about going to church. About finding a Sunday service that made me feel good and affirmed what I already believed. It was easier when I could modify some moral behaviours and then live for myself, my ambition, my convenience and my comfort around that. It was easier when, because I knew my eternity was sorted, I could spend my days accumulating experiences, success, approval, dollars, possessions, relationships and the accolades that come from “ministry”.
Archives For About Life
Things I have learned through my sixty odd years of life..
An apocryphal story is told of Fosdick meeting a young man for a walk in Central Park. “I’m jealous of your faith,” said the young man. “I’m afraid to ask questions, because I was raised in a faith that provided all the answers and to ask questions was to show unfaithfulness.” Coming upon a reflecting pool, Fosdick mused, “Son, your faith is like this pool: calm, bordered, shallow—you always know what it’s going to look like and what the boundaries are. But it’s not a “living” faith. It’s not going anywhere. Vital faith is like a stream bubbling up from a well deep within the earth. As it makes its way, it twists and turns, sometimes changes course, is deep and slow in some places and fast and turbulent in others, responding to the geographical reality. It’s joined by the waters of other streams and together they make their way back to their source.”
Stagnation, not change, is Christianity’s deadliest enemy. Vital faith has always been dynamic, flowing, and moving. So one of the biggest challenges for thinking Christians today is facing those who conceive of “true” Christianity as something that never changes. While many faith communities have invested untold energy arguing over changing the style of liturgy and music used in worship, what really need to be addressed are many of the basic theological tenets espoused by that liturgy and music.
Take, for example, a contemporary worship song in which God is praised for knowing where every bolt of lightning strikes. This might be comforting for those who want to believe God controls the world like a puppet master. It is, perhaps, less comforting for those who have been struck by lightning.
For many religious people, it takes some serious readjustment to change those theological underpinnings and recast Christianity as something fluid. Some are too controlled by fear—of change, of uncertainty, of being called heretical—to make the shift. They keep trying, desperately, to hold on to old conceptions as if their eternal life depended on it. But there are alternatives.
Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity (Felten, David;Procter-Murphy, Jeff)
One thing most New Testament scholars agree on—and they don’t agree on much—is that Jesus’s main aim was the kingdom of God—not some saccharine vision of a future in heaven, but a clear political statement about the here and now.
From the Book: Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity (Felten, David;Procter-Murphy, Jeff)
It continues to amaze me that there are Christians –both preachers and politicians- who seem to be much more interested in defending the honor and the interests of the very wealthy than they are to lending support to the less advantaged ones among us. Their priorities are the opposite of those reflected in scripture (James 2:1-7; 5:1-5). They will speak up for low taxes on the rich but not defend livable wages for the working poor. They will call for deregulation on businesses but not stand up for better consumer or environmental protections. They sound much more like the devotees of Ayn Rand than disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Ayn Rand worship by many including of course Rep. Ryan who says he is Catholic greatly confuses me. Ayn Rand was an in-your-face atheist who proclaimed empathy to be one of the biggest detriments to mankind. Isn’t Jesus Christ the absolute bedrock of empathy? How do those who call themselves conservative Christians reconcile those facts? I just don’t know….
America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us.
I wish our politicians in Washington would look seriously at the words above from Woodrow Wilson. They were spoken almost a century ago but are as true today as they were then.
Synergy is a term I am somewhat fond of but seldom get to use it. It means the working together of two or more things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. That is at the core of the quote above. The reason that America has been a great nation in this world is that we have accepted and even celebrated our diversity. Individually we just a nation of about 300 million different people but when we look beyond our individual self to the common good we are much more. We seem to have lost that concept lately at least inside of our nation’s capital if not throughout the land. I pray that some day soon we come to understand it once again. We should be celebrating our differences not hating each other because of them…
What do we do as Christians when confronted with these harsh realities? The Bible urges us to “remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself!” (Hebrews 13:3). Jesus knew what it was like to have a loved one incarcerated. His cousin, John the Baptist, was falsely accused and arrested (and eventually executed). Perhaps this is why Jesus, in Matthew 25, tells his disciples “when I was in prison, you visited me.” As a victim of false imprisonment and injustice, Jesus entered into solidarity with the incarcerated and exposed the flawed justice system of his day. Of all people, Christians should be the most skeptical of prisons. A simple survey of prisons in the Bible will reveal that prisons were mainly used to oppress minorities, exploit the poor, and silence the prophets. And the prison system today continues to do so.
One of my favorite Christians and author is Shane Claiborne. Several years ago he established and still lives in a strong Christian community in a very poor neighborhood in Philadelphia. He definitely takes the words of Jesus to heart both physically and mentally. He also has a very unique sense of humor which makes his books and writing very appealing to me. One of his books entitled Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals is much in the line with the words above.
Lets face it if Jesus were around today he would very likely be shunned by almost everyone including, and maybe even especially, the current Christian religious establishment and especially the conservative evangelical variety. He would be thoroughly trashed by the likes of Fox News Channel as being one of those dying heart liberals who care too much for those lazy people who won’t lift themselves up by their bootstraps. He would simply be too radical for most in those groups. He would be called one of “those” people. You know what I mean. This simple but obvious fact saddens me greatly. When did taking care of the poor and visiting prisoners go out of style with many of my conservative friends?
“There isn’t a person on earth that would make fun of a bald three-year-old who was undergoing chemotherapy. And yet, if someone’s acting weird we call them names. … It’s so accepted that it’s frightening,” Laura said, highlighting insults like “whack job,” “nut case,” and “psycho.”
Let’s face it our society is still pretty much biased against those with mental illness. Our prisons are filled with many who are in that category. They say about one-third of those homeless who live on our streets are afflicted with mental illness. We just don’t seem to have much compassion or even understanding of the mentally ill.
Many of us see mental illness as more of a personal weakness rather than a disease. We think “if only that person could get his act together he would not have any problems. So is it no wonder that so many will not seek any relief for their conditions. Many problems in this area are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that can now be readily relieved by medication. But because of the stigma attached many just don’t seek help. This is especially tragic when that mentally ill person manages to so easily get a gun and then go into a crowd of people to relieve his demons.
One of the problems in this area is how our entertainment venues depict mental illness and its treatment. The movie “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” is very typical of that genre. In it all the patients are kept in a totally spaced out drugged state by sinister caregivers. About the only recent movie to give a realistic view of mental illness is ”A Beautiful Mind” where Russell Crowe plays the part of a real-life Princeton professor battling severe mental illness.
Thankfully somethings are starting change in that regard. There is currently a new TV show called “Perceptions” that shows a very functional bi-polar who is a college professor and deals with many of the difficult life issues in the series. I applaud those who are bringing this issue up today. It takes guts to deal with these types of things. Now if we could just push this understanding down to the average person level….
Every day we make hundreds of choices in our lives. Many of them are things like what to eat, or when to go to bed. I think most of us are pretty good at making those daily decisions. But I am convinced that many, including myself, are not so good at some of the higher level ones. We just don’t spend enough time thinking them through before we make our choice. Being in my seventh decade of life, I have been through a gamut of choices. I will use this wisdom to reflect on how I did in that regard. In this series I hope you get some insight into your own travels and hope that you learn a little from my words.
The title “Don’t Get Stuck” should give you a pretty clear idea of where I imagine I am going with these posts. The idea is to never think you are stuck with just one thing. There are always choices. Some might require stepping back a few steps to admit that you made a previously unwise choice and then going from there. Some might be having the guts to go forward into an unknown area. Some might be better for you; some better for others. But, the choice is always yours.
I haven’t completely thought out this series yet so I don’t really know how it will conclude but I do have quite a few titles in mind. In order to not bore you to death I will likely intersperse this series with my usual stuff. I hope to learn a few things about myself along the way. I would love to hear from any of you about possible topics and also I would love to hear some of your stories in this area. I very highly encourage you to ring in here. If you don’t feel comfortable with letting others know who you are email me at email@example.com or comment as “anonymous”. I will break my rule about accepting those types of comments for this series .
Some of us in our senior years think that our choices in life have pretty much played out. I don’t believe that for a minute. Some of us think that due to the roads previously chosen some choices are not now possible. I don’t believe that for a minute either. Come back on the days ahead to see where this series goes and help me move it along certain paths.
Be forewarned that I am not a professional in this area. I am not a self-described lifestyle coach or anything like that. I am just a simple guy who has made many choices in life; some of them pretty good, some not so good and am willing to share them with you in hopes that you and I might learn something from them.
Never get stuck in your life thinking that you are out of options.
I have come to a realization lately that these stories of all us old people living longer is a bunch of phooey. Here I am finishing up my second year of being on Medicare and when I read the obituaries in our local small town paper I see lots of people who are much younger than I am. That fact has kind of startled me and warned me that my years on this earth might be shorter than I have planned. You never know.
At our ages if we show up in tomorrow’s obit it probably wouldn’t bring a big surprise to anyone especially to those younger folks who are currently taking over the country. Some might even be relieved that one less person is on the Social Security entitlement program. But I have been told by all those statisticians that I will live considerably longer than my parents and grandparents due to all the advanced technology and stuff. I am a planner, I have always been a planner and I am planning on living another dozen years or so but maybe the big guy upstairs has different plans.
In reality I think the biggest voice in the “living longer” stuff are the financial planners. The more they can convince you to put aside and let them manage, the bigger their income. I was told I would require 90% of my pre-retirement income in retirement. In reality the number is more like 60%, maybe even lower. I admit that we are living more frugally than before but we are also living more satisfyingly.
In the end (pun intended) we will go when we go. None of us have a big part of that date. Yeah, we can maybe stretch it out a few more months if we spend hours a day at the gym and eat nothing but alfalfa sprouts but who really wants to do that? I kind of think my DNA and genes have a more prominent role in how long I live.
Like it or not, admit it or not, as we get over a certain age our bodies start to deteriorate. That is just the normal scheme of things. Some like to delay the process with various creams and other snake oil type things. But in reality we all die sooner or later. I think those of us who are reconciled with that fact live a more comfortable and soothing life. Those who battle it to the end are doing just that; battling it to the end. I don’t want to be in that camp. Some day I will wake up to read my obituary in the paper. That is just the way it is……
I am a big fan of the TV show “Little People, Big World” about the Roloff family. The mother and father and one of the four children are dwarfs. I think I relate to them because I too face a daily handicap. I have watched the show since its origination I don’t know how many years ago.
What brings this to mind is the latest episode of the family where they went on vacation in Costa Rica. During their trip Matt, the husband who has some pretty severe physical limitation, struggled to keep up with the family but often times was unable to do so. His frustration came to a head during a dinner that he and his wife, Amy, had during the trip. They have been struggling with their marriage of twenty-six years and this came to a peak during the episode.
I almost came to tears during their discussion as I could so relate to what Matt was saying. When our limitations get in the way of fully participating in life it becomes a very frustrating thing. My wife, bless her soul, almost always goes out of her way to make sure that I am included in group and family events and discussions. But there are times that I feel very isolated in life despite her attempts. I blame her for not being there for me when I subconsciously know that she has her needs too during these events. She has a life of her own. Sometimes I become so selfish that I forget this.
I’m sure that all couples struggled at some times, and probably often times, during their marriages including my wife and me. I hope Amy and Matt are able to work things out. I have come to depend so much on my wife for so many things in the hearing world. She makes all my phone calls, appointments, and many other things. I just don’t fully appreciate all she does for me.
Like Matt I get frustrated with life when things don’t go my way. When I come across that waiter who asks my wife what I want to eat instead of asking me. When I get sales clerks who walk away after they discover I am deaf. When my wife does her own thing instead of helping me. I know frustration is part of life and life is not always fair but that doesn’t always make the pain go away…
We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.
We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.
We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.
The above quote is from one of the bloggers in my Feedly stream. Rachel is a young religious blogger and author with a pretty large following of which I am one. The list above is part of a longer one about why so many young people leave the church once they get out on their own.
I am definitely not a millennial as Rachel dubiously claims to be but I am certainly attuned to her list as many of the reasons I no longer attend a denominational service.
But this post is really intended to be about a mini-epiphany I had when I read this article. Almost everything on her list also could be said about the Republican party. I’m not sure if this is a chicken/egg thing or an egg/chicken. Either way it means lost membership to the associated organization. I really mourn the continuing growing insignificance of both the church and the Republican party. I really want both to stay relevant in world today so I am hoping that eventually they will give up their stubbornness and destructive thinking and start listening to all the Rachel Held Evan’s out there.
Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do…..
As he’s getting older, he finds himself less tolerant of pettiness and dairy products.
I am going to do a rare cross post here between two of my blogs. I am doing so because I think this post has a spiritual as well as general message.
While the referenced source above is about life being more than just money, this post is actually just about the description of the author. Besides having a very interesting name the author of this post over at Red Letter Christians has very interesting look on life. I am proud to say I share his views of God and getting older. But I guess I am luckier than hs is in one regard. I still drink lots of milk. They tell me it is good for my osteoporosis.
I too am currently a free-range Christian and have been for a few years now. I am no longer instructed weekly in what I am supposed to believe. I no longer feel I need to jump through all the denominational belief hoops in order to be a Christian. I can now believe that God loves all of us and not just those who believe as I do. Instead I now tend to look at the Lord’s word from a more personal, some might say naive, view. From what I can glean from the Christian Bible I also agree that God expects more from us than almost any of us can imagine or at least willing to put forward.
One of the things that pushed me out of the last church I was in (that is besides being nudged out the door because I did not tow the denominational line closely enough and was probably asking too many question in adult bible classes) was their stubborn insistence that they have it all figured out and everyone else is just wrong in one thing or another. In that regard, I also proudly share the belief that God knows more than they do, or everyone else for that matter.
One of the things that prompted me to start my blog over at RedLetterLiving more than five years ago was that I just grew less tolerant to pettiness of some mainstream beliefs about the current version of church. In these five years I have learned that I am by no means alone in those feelings.
Thanks Morf for reminding me what it is all about….
For some unknown reason I have always been fascinated by group pictures such as shown in my revised header above and a larger copy here. I love looking at each individual face and trying to imagine their life story. In studying local history such as from the picture above I have come to understand just how hard previous generations have it compared to ours. It makes me appreciate all that I have today.
We must remember that our grandparents, or maybe great grandparent, often time worked a twelve-hour day six days a week to just put bread on the table for their family. I suspect that many in the picture above due to working around limestone came down with emphysema and other such lung related problems. Many, like their coal miner brethren, likely died of lung cancer. There is still a very strong limestone industry just south of where I live. But I am sure that their employer now takes the necessary precautions to prevent such dangerous environments that those in this picture faced.
I am not much of a collector as such. I do have a few “Simplify” signs strewn around my study that I have been collecting for a decade or so. I am now on the lookout for pictures like the above. I take digital copies where I can but I would really like to gather some of the old originals. I have had that opportunity in the past but sadly didn’t take advantage of it.
For some reason I look at group pictures and have a sense of empathy for all those who posed in front of a camera many years ago. I think that is one of the reasons I have such a passion for local histories. During the past twelve years my wife and I have made at least one annual trek to various cities within a day or two driving distance. We spend much of our time there studying its history. I have collected many books and such and I will soon be presenting in a new blog. For those who might be interested I will be giving you more info about this new project soon.
In order to appreciate what we have today we must understand how those who have lived before us helped shape our present world.
A century ago, people were dreaming of flying, trying and failing, falling on the ground. But why do people fall? Why do they continue to fight when all hope seems to be lost? I believe it is because it is in our nature to fight, to try to find something in the darkness of the things we do not understand, in the chaos that surrounds us……
Don’t over think it, don’t tell yourself what you are doing is more than what it is, don’t try to impress anyone. Don’t play it safe either.
Simply write like yourself, and write exactly what you want people to read.
As I have mentioned before I like to try to understand what the youngest generation says and thinks about the world today. In that vain I am a regular reader of a young Romanian called Christian Mihai. His blog is on my blog roll to the right. Sometimes his youth and inexperience shows dominantly through but sometimes he also has streaks of wisdom beyond his years flash through his posts. I like the insight this young man gives me about the world today and about each of us who occupy space in it. Obviously I am not the only one who feels this way as he does have over 42,000 followers. I am envious in that regard.
The first quoted paragraph above got me to thinking about the difference between a century ago and now. Are we more cautious about things now than a century ago? I don’t know, I will have to think on that a while. He somehow puts a light spin using dark words. Failing is something none of us want to do. Some of us don’t attempt many things simply because there is a possibility of failure involved. I am definitely not one of those people. I fail frequently but the occasional successes are worth it.
I have started a dozen different blogs over the years and let most of the fail due to lack of personal interest or readership. I am currently in the process of starting yet another blog. This one about local history from across the U.S. One of the focal points will be to try to learn what has made us as a country a success and how we might get that fervor back.
Christian says “don’t over think it” but by the same token we must not under think it either. Fearlessly charging ahead is a symptom of youth. Fearlessly holding back is a characteristic of old age. We must all try to live and experience life in between these two states. His last words in the quote above is a reminder to me to not try to write like someone else. Sometimes I self censor when I should just be saying what I want people to read. Some say I am bold in this area but personally I sometimes think the opposite….
But, virtually every night, I would also feel from those who came, along with that hunger, a very deep cynicism about social change even being possible. And when it came to Washington or Wall Street, the cynicism was overwhelming. Virtually no one trusts either our political system or marketplace to be fair, honest, moral, or even open to doing the right thing. Most Americans seem to believe that the primary institutions of our public life completely lack integrity. And sadly, that cynicism, for many, even extends to their churches or other religious institutions, which they don’t regard as playing an independent leadership role for the common good that could hold other institutions accountable.
Excerpt from the weekly email from Jim Wallis (6/20/13)
I have been emotionally down in the dumps for several weeks now. So, when I read the quote above from Jim Wallis on his “Hearts & Minds” theme they hit me directly in the face. I couldn’t think of a clearer way to describe what I am feeling right now.
I have a deep hunger for the common good and social change in our seemingly quickly degrading world. My cynicism is indeed overwhelming sometimes. It just doesn’t seem worth a pittance to continue to do anything to effect any change. It just seems a waste of time. I have lost faith in Washington, Wall Street and yes, even some versions Christ’s church to some degree. All seem to have abandoned anything resembling the common good or even common sense.
Does that mean I have given up on life? Hell NO!! I have just given up on affecting any change via our current institutions. I need to step back and look seriously about how I, on a personal level, can put a glimmer of socially conscious light in myself and maybe even those who might read my words. I need to get back to my roots, to a simpler time to make sense of the world today. It is not about Washington, Wall Street, or even the institutional church. It is more about how I treat my fellow-man and what I do with the gifts the Lord has given me. All that stuff in Washington and Wall Street is as Will Rogers says is applesauce. That is it is nonsense. I hope to never lose sight of that fact……
I seem to talk about boredom pretty frequently on this blog but I have never tried to specify just what that means to me. So let’s do a little of that for this post. As usual we will go to Wikipedia; here are some bits and pieces:
Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do… The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852
There are three types of boredom, all of which involve problems of engagement of attention. These include times when we are prevented from engaging in some wanted activity, when we are forced to engage in some unwanted activity, or when we are simply unable, for no apparent reason, to maintain engagement in any activity or spectacle. Boredom proneness is a tendency to experience boredom of all types. ….
There is an inherent anxiety in boredom; people will expend considerable effort to prevent or remedy it, yet in many circumstances, it is accepted as suffering to be endured. Common passive ways to escape boredom are to sleep or to think creative thoughts (daydream). Typical active solutions consist in an intentional activity of some sort, often something new, as familiarity and repetition lead to the tedious.
As I have come to learn the supposed causes of boredom are wide and varied among the “professionals” (kind of like religion). I can’t really say my boredom is pinpointed by any of the definitions above. When “I” say I am frequently bored I tend to mean that the challenges before me are just not very, well, challenging. I was bored in grade and high school because the teachers, for the most part seemed to be unable to challenge me in any significant way. They would spend hours and hours going over something that I seemed to glean in a matter of minutes. The rest of my time was spent mostly looking out the window and daydreaming. To stave off boredom I started reading books. I went through the Hardy Boys series in less than a year. I became a big fan of Steinbeck and other rebels of the time.
I admit that boredom is a rather frequent companion with me. It is a constant challenge to find stimulating things to do day in and day out. When I hear people who say they are never bored what they are apparently saying is that they always find life’s circumstances to be challenging. How can that be?
To close up this post with a nutshell sentence “If I don’t have stimulating things to occupy my time then I am bored.” It seems almost as simple as that. What is the cause of this lack of stimulation? Probably me but that will take at least a dozen post to even begin to understand.
Ok, enough of this boredom talk. The last few days I have been working up a new and hopefully stimulating project to take on. That should keep me occupied for at least a little while.
Long before I became familiar with the academic debates concerning calling God “Mother,” debates that I am now currently a part of as a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, I was being raised in a household where I instinctively understood that the divine presence was manifest in the loving hands and arms of mothers, and most especially in the life of my grandmother who raised me. My grandmother’s kitchen was a theological laboratory where she taught me how to love people just as naturally as she taught me to make peach cobbler and buttermilk biscuits. I watched and listened as she ministered to the sick and the lost, with a Bible in one hand and a freshly baked pound cake in the other, despite having no official ministry role.
I knew that if God was real, if God truly loved me as a parent loves a child, then God was also “Mother” and not only “Father.” Only years of dogma and doctrine force you to unlearn what you know to be true in your own heart, demanding “Father” as the only acceptable appellation and concept for God.
God is love. There is no doubt about it for me that is the primary definition. Although I myself lacked a loving earthly mother I see that love manifested all around me.
Happy Mother’s day….
For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preferences to all others forever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. - Tom Paine in Common Sense, 1776
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. — Thomas Jefferson
But, you know, we have these entrenched entities – and I’m talking about both Republicans and Democrats – who believe that when you’re elected to office, you become some kind of member of the aristocracy, and that anyone who challenges you is attacking you and is unpatriotic. This is foolishness. — Benjamin Carson
We are the only real aristocracy in the world: the aristocracy of money. — George Bernard Shaw
I thought I would bring up some quotes about aristocracy as the inspiration for this Sunday. Some would deny an American aristocracy but obviously these quotes would not share that belief and neither do I. But they do account for a full range of privileged classes all the way from kings to the monied classes of aristocracy. Being blue collar in my roots I am just no fan of inherited or monied class.
When many of these words were spoken there was a rather stringent inheritance tax in place. In some cases it was as much as 80%. This meant each generation had to find its own way in the world and could not depend of their families to provide wealth for them. Of course now that the 1% hold so much power in this country they are trying to hold on to all they can. so now they try to re-label the inheritance tax into the death tax and even have some outside their monied group parroting that phrase for them. The old saying about power corrupting can also be said for inherited wealth; it absolutely corrupts.
We’ve lost something as a nation when we can no longer look at one another as people, as Americans, and — for people of faith — as brothers and sisters. Differing opinions have become worst enemies and political parties have devolved into nothing more than petty games of blame….
It is not about Right and Left — or merely about partisan politics — but rather about the quality of our life together. It’s about moving beyond the political ideologies that have both polarized and paralyzed us, by regaining a moral compass for both our public and personal lives — and reclaiming an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.
I always look forward to the weekly emails from Jim Wallis about our times. The words above from his March 29 emailing which I believe strike at the heart of our current problems. They seem to be the core cause and solution to our problems today. We are no longer able to view those who differ in their political views as Americans like us. Our politics has devolved into nothing but a petty game of blame. I don’t know exactly how this happened but I kind of have an idea of some of its causes.
Rush Limbaugh came on the national political scene in 1988. His rhetoric shocked many of us as blatant bigotry and hatefulness. He is plain a simply a school yard bully on the national scene. But it seems bigotry and hatred sells as his most recent contract was for $400 million for an eight year period. That money has spurned hundreds of look-alikes over the years. I simply can’t understand how Mr. Limbaugh became a major spokesman for the GOP. I can’t understand how so many who call themselves conservatives are so fearful of denouncing his rhetoric? He has been married four times; seems to have no family values, and shows a putrid disrespect for almost everyone. Is that really the face that conservatives want to be identified with? I think not but they seem still listen to him in great numbers and “ditto” almost anything that spews out of his vulgar mouth.
Fox New came on the national scene in 1996. It is very obvious that Rupert Murdoch who owns this media is very much in the same mindset as Mr. Limbaugh. MSNBC came into existence in 1996, some say as a response to Fox News but in a much smaller framework. These three things I think are the major contributors to the reason we can no longer look at one another as fellow Americans but instead now as the enemy. I like to call these contributors the “Limburger Affect”. It put a putrid stink on all our political processes!
I pray that something can happen to allow us to get back to looking at the quality of life in both our personal and public lives. If only we can get back and “reclaim an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.