The Best Preacher I Ever Had

Who was the best preacher you’ve  ever heard? What made the preaching great?  Ever thought about it? I hadn’t much till I came across this piece in The National Catholic Registry. I grew up in a small town attending  both Methodist and Baptist churches, then later in life listened to preachers from many different churches and the radio and TV.  I have heard a many pastors and some  preachers. The preachers who really stand out for me are the ones who prick your heart and help  you see truth through a glass that is a little less dark.

Pat Archbold has made a list of qualities he values. I think it’s worth a read.

The Best Preacher I Ever Had.

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Photo Slideshow: Poverty in Today’s America | BillMoyers.com

 

Do you know how poverty looks today? 

Photo Slideshow: Poverty in Today’s America | BillMoyers.com.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.                   James 2:14 -18 ESV

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Originally posted on CNN Belief Blog:

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series about the faith lives of the presidential candidates, which includes a profile of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s prayers for a strong first debate may not have been answered, but that doesn’t mean the prayers weren’t happening.

Before he stepped onto a Colorado stage earlier this month to face off with Mitt Romney for the first time, Obama joined a conference call with a small circle of Christian ministers.

“The focus of that prayer was, ‘Oh, Lord, you know precisely what the president needs to say,’” says Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist megachurch pastor from Texas who helped lead the call. “’You know what this country needs during the next four years.’”

“’And so I would pray that your primary will and words that you want the president to…

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Snowballs in Texas

Texas

They say a Democrat in Texas these days  has about the same chance of winning a Senate seat as a snowball in Texas.  Especially when he’s up against the handsome darlin’ of our Texas Tea Party. Mostly they say that with an impolitic grin looking out at me from under a   ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ cap. But I’ve always been  a sucker for the underdog and I say That Democrat’s  got about the same chance that Truman had back in the day. Maybe even a scosh (that’s a hair less than a smidgen) better. It’ll be as easy as “chopping hogs” as a peculiarly Texan sport is called and maybe just as predictable.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s more than a little fed up with the shenanigans that have  gone on down in Austin since the Republican\Tea Party won their 101 to 48 super majority with a turn coat.  Oh, I know the polls say ‘That Democrat’ is so far down he’s forgotten what ‘UP’  looks like and wouldn’t recognize it if it sashshayed right up and kissed him on the cheek but poll  findings these days  are as skitterish as hummingbirds, here today plumb gone tomorrow, just like they were in 1948.  Sure, I know the Party Darlin’ spent 7.8 million dollars defeating his primary rivals and still has 1.5 million left while That Democrat hasn’t  shucked the wrappers off the first million yet.  Never you mind, contrary to the caricatures, money isn’t everything in Texas politics no more than it is up on K Street. Never has been down here. We like a good horse race, we like the brawl and outrageous  gall of the unlikely candidate, the risk taker,  the one with a snowball’s chance.  Our political history is full of them.

Democratic version of Look away!

Democratic version of Look away! (Photo credit: Norm Walsh)

The Party Darlin’ might  want to remember that.

In the 2011 session down in  the state capital these new  folks   pulled off a few  fast ones that would make even Fast Eddy blush.  They got away with it too  but the press made sure the story was told right in time for this election.  Ladies, with all the new free time you’ll have while riding a bus to the nearest WHP (since the Planned Parenthood Clinic near your home has closed) I trust you’ll be mulling over the new sonogram law among other things, like our famous Governor giving all that Medicaid money back to Washington and what that  means to you and your family. Please don’t forget who’s so kindly been looking after you  cuz you’re so  obviously not smart enough to look after yourself.

Unfortunately, we are about as good at voting down here as we are at dancing Gangnam style.

In the 2010  gubernatorial election our famous Governor won 51% of the vote which truly  stated amounted to just about 13% of all the registered voters since less than a pitiful 25% of us actually got off our hiney’s and voted. And that was before the sorry flub-ups of his infamous run for national office in 2011.  He might not even  top 9% now. In 2008 when Obama ran the first time he did not carry Texas, nobody expected him to. But in  my county over 58% of us turned out to vote for him.  A whole lot of those voters were women.

From where I sit if those kind of numbers turn out this November I think a snowball’s got a chance.

Can you say transvaginal  sonogram?

This post is part of the Weekly Challenge.

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Why Occupy?

English: Occupy Wall Street Together. We are 9...

English: Occupy Wall Street Together. We are 99%. Poster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Photos of Occupy Wall Street on Day 2...

English: Photos of Occupy Wall Street on Day 20, October 5, the day of the big march with unions in solidarity with OWS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Occupy movement’s loosely articulated goals and  sentiments have apparently moved across the pond once again this week, first to Spain then to Greece where Unions are protesting the new austerity measures  imposed by the government in an effort to re-assure their  ‘rescue’ creditors.  Spain is currently in a double dip recession with an unemployment rate of 25% while  in Greece 50.8% of  workers under 25 are unemployed.  A  CNN iReporter in Greece,  Costas Liveris,  said “I’m furious because even after the elections we got promises but nothing [from the government],” he said. “It’s the same policy but just a different party.”

Are these protests Occupy movements? I don’t think so since these groups  were protesting in direct response to actions that were impacting, or were expected to impact immediately, the quality of their every day life. In both Spain and Greece  people were in the streets, protesting in anger and out of real fear. The Greece protest was organized by unions, the more spontaneous ones  in Spain appeared to be  in response to additional  austerity measures planned by the government.   In Spain people have resorted in recent weeks to scavenging from trash bins in some neighborhoods as their unemployment benefits have run out and they find themselves living with friends or ‘squatting in buildings that still have water and electricity’.

Here in this country we still have a relatively low unemployment rate of about 8%, people here are in no way experiencing  the imminent  threat of a continuing downward spiral in our economy with no likelihood of improvement.  In contrast to the European protests the Occupy movement here was fomented on  rather abstract ideas about who to blame and who to  hold accountable for the financial crisis of 2008, without any  concrete or well articulated objectives to provide focus for either the participants or the observers.  As such the movement gathered supporters from both the far right and far left and everywhere in between.  Kenneth Minogue has said of  such movements, “An ideological movement is a collection of people many of whom could hardly bake a cake, fix a car, sustain a friendship or a marriage, or even do a quadratic equation, yet they believe they know how to rule the world…” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.  But it’s not the whole story or maybe not even the most important part of the story. The only people who are usually available for long-term protests are students, those not fully employed and those who are  retired, and of course those who are professional agitators.    Short term protesters  are more likely to resemble rest of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the 99% and I believe in peaceful protest. It is a tool, a useful tactic in a democracy as part of a strategy for change or to bring issues to the attention of the public in a forceful way.

austerity

Minogue has also recently observed,  “The most difficult of all tasks is making sense of one’s own time. Often, the problem is trying to understand why people – especially institutions – continue repeating the same self-destructive things they have gone on doing for so long. Why, for example, did 14th-century  French chivalry lose battles by sheer mindless bravado?” he asks. And then  he tells us why. “The French chivalry were supreme in the arts of the tournament, and they thought that a battle was just a tournament on a grand scale.”   They misjudged the scope of the  arena, they misread the context their  actions inhabited.

 This in a nutshell is the problem in assessing any current  movement, either as a participant or as an observer.  Especially for a movement as nebulous as Occupy.  They claim to represent the ‘people’s views’  and to promote ‘need over greed’.   How do they  measure that? How do you know if they  have made any progress?  What are the political goals? For any one who has not been paying attention this is a well financed movement here in the States.  So what do the ‘financiers’  hope to gain?  Do they hope to turn this movement into a political movement with measurable  objectives  much as the Tea Party has done?

The Occupy Denver and Occupy Washington D.C. are planning to Occupy the Debates. Yes, the Presidential debates. They will be protesting for the ‘people’ and against the ‘two corporate parties’.  Planned activities include  doing a survey,  having a People’s Forum with live entertainment, Poetry Slams and “opportunities to share stories and a People’s Dialogue to discuss the top issues that are chosen in the survey”.  Sounds  almost like fun; does not seem to carry any great risk with it or any significant outlay of  work.   Sounds almost like a sixties  Sit In doesn’t it?  They too seem to  have been caught up, victims if you will,  of  the wrong framework.

So, why Occupy?

Why Occupy when every city in this country  is full to over flowing with  opportunities for civic-minded people to make a real and lasting difference?  The list of organizations who need volunteers to do real work, with real people,  for real change is immense.

Why Occupy when you could be Useful?

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Challenge Mind The Gap

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