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THE ABUNDANCETREK BLOG

  • Music & Lyrics for "I Can See Clearly Now"
    --in memory of Andy (1977-1994)
  • HYMN: "Be Still My Soul"
  • PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS
  • BREATHE!
  • PRAY!
  • BE STILL AND KNOW GOD!
  • PRACTICE STILLNESS

  • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2004 + sunny and mild


    + CommonDreams offers a speech on the environment by Bill Moyers as he accepted a Global Environment Citizen award from Harvard Medical School. | READ SPEECH

  • COMMENT IN EGROUP | COMMENT BY EMAIL - write "blog comment" in subject


    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2004 + mostly cloudy and warmer after a cold snap. An inch or 2 of snow remains on ground from Sunday's storm.


    + Here is today's DailyDig:

    One goal is to seek the person of high position, the great person, the spiritual person, the clever person, the fine person, the person who because of his or her talents or achievements represents a peak, as it were, in the mountain range of humanity. The other goal is to seek the minorities, the physically and mentally retarded, the prisoners, and the despised; the degraded, the enslaved, the exploited, the weak, and the poorest of the poor.

    The first goal aims to exalt the individual. The other seeks the wonder and mystery of God becoming human by seeking the lowest place. Two completely opposite directions! One is the self-glorifying upward thrust. The other is the downward movement to become human. One is the way of self-love and self-exaltation. The other is the way of Godís love and love of oneís neighbor. | READ ACCOMPANYING MESSAGE

  • COMMENT IN EGROUP | COMMENT BY EMAIL - write "blog comment" in subject


    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2004 + rainy and windy; snow washed away


    + DailyDig offers Advent messages by Oscar Romero who was martyred in the struggle for the liberation of Latin America. | READ MESSAGE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject


    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2004 + sunny and cold. 5 inches of snow on ground since yesterday morning.


    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I discovered the Hermitary which offers recommendations from Evagrius Ponticus on this practice. Warning: If you take these recommendations seriously, you will have to change your life a lot if you are anything like me and most of us very privileged Americans. | READ RECOMMENDATIONS | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + The NEW YORK TIMES offers a column by Maureen Dowd in which Rumsfield meets Clarence, angel First Class. Clarence shows Rumsfield what the situation would be like if he had never lived. I don't agree with all of her points but it sure is creative. | READ COLUMN | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I discovered Awakening.net which offers a description of a powerful epiphany experience by Metta Zetty. Here's an excerpt: "In this moment of Recognition, I suddenly realized the fundamental simplicity of our existence and our purpose:

    There is nothing we need to do or achieve,
    beyond the fullness of the present moment.

    And, I understood that this realization will dawn upon each of us, naturally and inevitably, as we begin to release our resistance to the flow of this energy moving within our lives." | READ DESCRIPTION | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + DailyDig offers a Christmas message by Dorothy Soelle. Here's an excerpt: "For many years I was so disgusted by the commercialization that Christmas has endured, so sickened by the terror of consumption, the pressures of buying, giving, and eating, that I did not want even to think of Luke 2. The violent context in which we live had blocked the light of the text, which seemed to me hopelessly instrumentalized for lies. The baby in the manger was embarrassing, like rich almond candy." | READ MESSAGE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, interviewed Paul Krugman about Social Security and other economic and social concerns. Krugman claims that the crisis in Social Security is not as big as many in the media say it is. He claims that privitization schemes have not worked elsewhere. He says that single payer health care systems in France and other countries are doing a far better job than the US health care system at reducing infant mortality and keeping people healthy. You can find the interview later today at democracynow.org. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject


    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2004 + sunny and cold


    + Air America Radio points out that the NY TIMES has a column by Paul Krugman pointing out that plans like the proposed Social Security privitization are big failures in other countries where it has been tried. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + DailyDig offers an Advent message by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Coming of Jesus in our midst. Here's an excerpt: "It is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God, whereas the world fell into trembling when Jesus Christ walked over the earth. That is why we find it so strange when we see the marks of God in the world so often together with the marks of human suffering, with the marks of the cross on Golgotha." | READ MESSAGE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject


    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2004 + sunny and cold


    + Awakening.net offers a description of a powerful epiphany experience by Metta Zetty. Here's an excerpt: "In this moment of Recognition, I suddenly realized the fundamental simplicity of our existence and our purpose:

    There is nothing we need to do or achieve,
    beyond the fullness of the present moment.

    And, I understood that this realization will dawn upon each of us, naturally and inevitably, as we begin to release our resistance to the flow of this energy moving within our lives."

    | READ DESCRIPTION | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + Democracy Now! offered a national broadcast exclusive today: "... we speak with former Army Reserve Specialist Aidan Delgado. He served in Iraq from April 2003 to April 2004 where he was deployed in Nasiriyah and Abu Ghraib. Soon after his arrival in Iraq, he sought conscientious objector status and turned in his weapon. At Abu Ghraib, he witnessed U.S. soldiers abuse and kill Iraqi detainees. After serving his full tour of duty, Aidan Delgado was finally granted conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged." You can find the broadcast at the website. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + DailyDig offers a Christmas message by Thomas Merton: The Time of No Room. | READ MESSAGE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + CommonDreams offers an article by Molly Ivins on the torture and abuse going on in Guantanamo and other US military prisons. I am a citizen of a country which is doing this. It is horrible. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject

    + CommonDreams has really come through with a great article by Walter Wink on the non-violence of Jesus and its similarity to the modern activism of Saul Alinsky. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject


    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2004 + sunny and cold


    + Q: How can I sign up for the new church for the new age?
    A: You already did. You are here! But if you would like to let me know, then join the new church for the new age eGROUP or send me an e-mail. You will need to do the 12 practices of stillness, silence, solitude, simplicity, detachment, discernment, devotion, delight, humility, healing, holiness and heavenliness. You already are in one way or another. And, why not? These practices wake us up so that we can enjoy the ongoing, continuing, everlasting heavenly feast. It's a feast of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom. | JOIN TNC4TNA eGROUP | COMMENT BY E-MAIL - please write "blog comment" in subject


    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2004 + sunny and cold


    + S&H offers reviews of 20 recent DVD/video releases. | GO TO REVIEWS | COMMENT - write "blog comment" in subject

    + S&H offers a list of the best spiritual movies of 2004. | GO TO LIST | COMMENT - write "blog comment" in subject


    MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2004 + partly sunny and chilly


    + CommonDreams offers an article by Helen Thomas challenging the Pentagon on the safety of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + CommonDreams offers Scott Ritter's views on the Oil for Food scandal currently rocking the UN. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT


    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2004 + rainy


    + The S&H spiritual practice of kindness begins with a great teaching of the Buddha.| COMMENT


    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2004 + cloudy


    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of healing, I rediscovered Wayne Dyer. | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of healing, I rediscovered Jose Silva & the UltraMind System. | COMMENT

    + Traprock Peace Center led me to an encouraging true story from New Democracy World on the soldiers "illegal" Christmas truce of 1914. This story needs to be told and re-told. | READ STORY | COMMENT

    + From COMMON DREAMS: Yesterday, Howard Dean gave a speech on the future of the Democratic Party. He says the Democrats need to focus on a destination and not just a direction. | READ SPEECH | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of discernment, S&H led me to PEACE IS THE WAY, edited by Walter Wink. | READ AN EXCERPT BY HENRI NOUWEN | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I just discovered that the free Kundalini Yoga course I just mentioned (below) offers excellent material on the 7 chakras. | SEE CHAKRA MATERIAL | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I just discovered a free Kundalini Yoga course | GO TO THE COURSE | COMMENT

    + The DAILY DIG from the Bruderhof Community offers a daily thinkpiece for peace and justice and love. Today's is by Henri Nouwen on the difficulty of waiting. | COMMENT


    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2004 + partly sunny and mild; snow melting rapidly


    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of simplicity, I have discovered that the SIMPLE LIVING organization offers alternatives to our hurried, scattered, complex way of life. | COMMENT

    + The DAILY DIG from the Bruderhof Community offers a daily thinkpiece for peace and justice and love. Today's comes from Tolstoy: "A Blasphemous Prayer? Men pray to the Almighty to relieve poverty. But poverty comes not from Godís lawsóit is blasphemy of the worst kind to say that. Poverty comes from manís injustice to his fellow man." | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of discernment, I have discovered that S&H offers an article by B. Alan Wallace on "Focusing on What Matters, Moment By Moment" . | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Traprock Peace Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary on December 18. | READ ABOUT IT | COMMENT


    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2004 + cloudy, then rainy, after a couple of inches of snow fell last night


    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of silence, Iím reflecting on what Meister Eckhart said about silence: ďNothing in all creation is so like God as silence.Ē What is it like to practice silence? Do you stop being you? I donít think so. On the contrary, I believe that you increasingly experience what it is like to be the real you. The real you is very much like God. But donít go out saying that too loud! As soon as we start saying that, saying anything, then we are far from being like God. We canít say much that we can be certain about. And, even if we are certain about something, we canít be sure that we have chosen the right time or place to say it. Learning how to be silent is a quest for a growing awareness of time and timelessness. In time (or earth or chronos time) we speak. In timelessness (or heaven or kairos time) we are silent. | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of silence, I have discovered that S&H offers a review of ACTIVE MEDITATIONS FOR CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER by Thomas Keating. It also offers an excerpt. | READ REVIEW | READ EXCERPT | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of silence, I have discovered 1st CHURCH which offers a message on the importance of this practice citing various sages. | READ MESSAGE | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of silence, I have discovered FRIENDS IN CHRIST which offers an excerpt on the importance of this practice from NO GREATER LOVE by Mother Teresa | READ EXCERPT | COMMENT


    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2004 + partly sunny and chilly with a deep freeze and flurries predicted for tonight


    + www.boombasticradio.com SOUNDS GOOD!!

    + The Peacemakers Guide from the Bruderhof Community offers a wonderful quote by Thich Nhat Hanh. | READ QUOTE | COMMENT

    + Chuck Currie offers his viewpoints on the Bible and homosexuality based on the scholarship of Walter Wink. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Chuck Currie, whose progressive Christian blog is one of the best, offers thoughts about that "controversial" United Church of Christ ad. | READ BLOG | COMMENT


    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2004 + cloudy


    + The Peacemakers Guide from the Bruderhof Community offers a wonderful quote by Thich Nhat Hanh. | READ QUOTE | COMMENT

    + Here's that "controversial" United Church of Christ TV ad.

    + BE STILL MY SOUL is a favorite hymn related to my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness. | GO TO THE HYMN

    + It's Advent! Let's sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Check out the Presbyterian Hymnal and the CyberHymnal.

    + Have you heard that CBS and NBC are refusing to air an ad by the United Church of Christ? Common Dreams offers an article by John Nichols of The Nation on this deplorable situation. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Ah! Very relaxing, calming, stretching, expanding, opening, energizing, healing ... and more! Now for lunch!

    + Very busy "monkey mind" but I did stay with my mantra for much of the last 22 minutes of sitting still. Now it's on to yoga.

    + OK. Here goes. I'm sitting still now. I'm turning off Al Franken now and I'm going to sit still right here in front of the computer. It's 12:40pm. It is so hard for me to turn off the latest news and stop blogging or searching for wisdom on the net. But here goes! (as soon as I upload this post that is!)

    + But I keep coming back to Erich Schiffman's MOVING INTO STILLNESS in this continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, CelestineVision.com led me to DiscoverTheSelf.com. The practice of stillness leads us to discover the true Self. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of THE NATION, gives us something to ponder: "A Russian friend once said to me, 'You Americans are an odd people. You love our liberals, but you don't like your own liberals.' He added, 'You should support your local liberals too.'" She remembered this as she thought about the current situation in Ukraine. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Here's today's Zen wisdom from DailyZen.com:

    Too much knowledge leads to overactivity;
    Better to calm the mind.
    The more you consider, the greater the loss;
    Better to unify the mind.

    Water dripping ceaselessly
    Will fill the four seas.
    Specks of dust not wiped away
    Will become the five mountains.

    -- Wang Ming (6th century)

    + In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I have discovered the Orion Society, devoted to connecting people and nature, which offers an article on stillness by Scott Russell Sanders. Sanders includes this statement by Pascal: "I have concluded that the whole misfortune of men comes from a single thing, and that is their inability to remain at rest in a room." | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + In my quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I have discovered LightAndLife.com which includes a section on stillness and a concise page on the seven chakras. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2004 + rainy morning followed by sunny afternoon

    + CommonDreams, a very comprehensive website for progressive values, offers an article published Monday, November 29, 2004 by the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia headlined If You Read the Gospels, the Religious Right is Most Often Wrong. In it, Rick Mercier asks: Was Jesus a big winner in the last election? | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Now I'm back to my quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness. S&H offers a great review of STILLNESS SPEAKS by Eckhart Tolle including a powerful excerpt. | SEE REVIEW | COMMENT

    + I'm still doing election reflection even as I try to move back to an emphasis on prayer and meditation and contemplation. The Republicans won last month but it was not overwhelming. The two-thirds of this country which is Liberal (21 %) or Moderate (45%) must find ways to prevent a Conservative takeover. Those figures come from the exit polls. Most Americans do not want to turn over control to the Right Wing of the GOP, as the following analysis of our recent elections points out:

    Hereís Rick Hertzberg in a recent New Yorker: "In (the November 4) Times, a front-page news analysis argued that ďit is impossible to read President Bushís re-election with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country - divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership.Ē That is certainly true in institutional terms. But it is not true in terms of people, of actual human beings. Though the Republicans won nineteen of the thirty-four Senate seats that were up for grabs last Tuesday, for a gain of four, the number of voters who cast their ballots for Republican Senate candidates was 37.9 million, while 41.3 million voted for Democrats - almost exactly Bush's popular-vote margin over Kerry. When the new Congress convenes in January, its fifty-five Republicans will be there on account of the votes of 57.6 million people, while the forty-four Democrats and one independent will be there on account of the votes of 59.6 million people. As for the House, it is much harder to aggregate vote totals meaningfully, because so many seats are uncontested. But the Republicansí gain of four seats was due entirely to Tom DeLayís precedent-breaking re-gerrymandering of the Texas district lines."

    I wonder how many of the one-third of Americans who say they are conservative are "true believers." No, we can't let Tom Delay have his way. We just can't. | COMMENT

    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2004 + cloudy and mild

    + C-SPAN offers a great audio clip: the November 15 Kalb Report on "Values, Religion, Politics and the Media." Scroll down through several pages in the video/audio section. | COMMENT

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2004 + cloudy and mild

    + PRACTICE STILLNESS! Working on this practice I went to a favorite source of information and inspiration: SpiritualityHealth.com. I discovered a course on PEACE OF MIND which looks like it will be worth my time and effort to take. Yours too? | GO TO COURSE | COMMENT

    + I am working on the practice of being still which I believe is vitally important in the journey of awakening to the reality that we are heavenly beings. If you are interested on working on this practice, please visit PRACTICE STILLNESS.

    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2004 + cloudy and mild

    + I have been in an interesting "conversation" with a couple of conservative "true believers" at the AMERICA COMING TOGETHER (ACT) BLOG. See particularly posts 202 and 203. | VISIT BLOG | COMMENT

    + Since this is just a blog, I guess I can offer just a beginning of a new webpage on the twelve practices of the new church for the new age which lead to our awakening as heavenly beings: stillness, silence, solitude, simplicity, detachment, discernment, devotion, delight, humility, healing, holiness and heavenliness. Your suggestions for this new webpage are very, very welcome! | VISIT WEBPAGE | COMMENT

    + DVD/VHS RELEASE: RottenTomatoes says that the critics like STRAYED (2004) > GENRES: Dramas, Foreign Films, French, Drama, World War II / "The film manages to evoke the uncertainties and terrors of war without subjecting us to the usual battle scenes and unquestioning heroism." -- Jeffrey M. Anderson, COMBUSTIBLE CELLULOID

    + DVD/VHS RELEASE: RottenTomatoes says that the critics like THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD (2004) > GENRE: Dramas, Musical, Surreal, Music, Canada, Families, Musicians, 1930s, Live Performances / "A Guy Maddin film is so visually inventive, so full of rich detail, and so prismatic in appearance that attempting to describe it is like trying to explain the color blue." -- Matt Bailey, NOT COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU

    + NEW MOVIE: RottenTomatoes says that the critics like BAD EDUCATION (2004) > GENRE: Foreign Films, Spanish, Rape, Spain, Homosexuality, Drug Addiction, Gays, Love / "Not for everyone, but for those who are willing to invest themselves it is a particularly enriching experience about the fine line between art and real life." -- Boyd Van Hoeij, BIBLOI.COM

    THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2004 + partly sunny and mild

    + CommonDreams offers "An Attack on American Tolerance" by Robert Kuttner, an article on the intolerance of Bush and the right-wing zealots. Here's an excerpt:

    What is uniquely alarming in the United States today, among all the democracies and in our own history, is that a president of the United States is explicitly on the side of antimodernism. Never before has an American chief executive worked deliberately to foment a fundamentalist absolutism that is ultimately tribal, theocratic, antiscientific, and incompatible with pluralist democracy.

    | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2004 + partly sunny and mild

    + Jimmy Carter was interviewed recently by Al Franken on his AirAmerica Radio show. He reminded me that the Carter Center is doing a lot to promote peace and justice in our world. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + Where is the outrage in this country at what are troops are doing in Fallujah and other places in Iraq? Read what an independent and unembedded reporter has to say. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Here's an excerpt from a WaPo article cited in the November 10 post of the Liberal Christians blog:

    Battling the notion that "values voters" swept President Bush to victory because of opposition to gay marriage and abortion, three liberal groups released a post-election poll in which 33 percent of voters said the nation's most urgent moral problem was "greed and materialism" and 31 percent said it was "poverty and economic justice." Sixteen percent cited abortion, and 12 percent named same-sex marriage.

    READ BLOG | COMMENT

    + HealingIrag is a blog by a Baghdad dentist. The November 13 post tells us how much harm the war is causing. Why are we not hearing this in the mainstream media? | READ BLOG | COMMENT

    + Father Jake Stops the World is a blog by a progressive Episcopal priest. Very thoughtful (and long!) posts are offered frequently. | READ BLOG | COMMENT

    TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2004 + partly sunny and mild

    + Altercation offered a link to Carlson Tucker's PBS show transcript of his interview with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! | READ TRANSCRIPT | COMMENT

    + Have you seen this yet?

    A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN
    - author unknown

    Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

    All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

    He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

    In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

    Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

    He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

    Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

    If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

    It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

    Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

    Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

    He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

    The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

    He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

    Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

  • COMMENT

    + CommonDreams offers an account of the devastation in Fallujah. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2004 + sunny and mild

    + THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULERS is the book by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and her brother. | READ ABOUT BOOK | COMMENT

    + Jim Hightower offers a letter from Homer Simpson to President Bush asking for guidance on applying a variety of Biblical laws. Why do some Christians take certain verses so literally and completely dismiss other verses? | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + The official exit polls from the recent election reveal how Americans see themselves politically. Here's how (from largest to smallest):

  • 23% - conservative Republican
  • 18% - moderate Democrat
  • 15% - moderate Independent
  • 14% - liberal Democrat
  • 12% - moderate Republican
  • 6% - conservative Independent
  • 5% - liberal Independent
  • 4% - conservative Democrat
  • 2% - liberal Republican

    Leaving out party affiliation, it looks like this:

  • 45% - moderate
  • 34% - conservative
  • 21% - liberal

    Party affiliation looks like this:

  • 37% - Democrat
  • 37% - Republican
  • 26% - Independent

    COMMENT

    + Dahr Jamail, who reports independently and un-embedded-ly (!) from Iraq and was on Democracy Now! this morning, interviews an Iraqi professor who has turned against the American occupation because he believes it has become increasingly brutal. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2004 + sunny and cold with some snow left on ground

    + Jack is taking Peaceful Steps to promote peace. I met him at the Traprock Peace Center this week. He plans to go the annual protest at Fort Benning next weekend, then to the counter-inaugural in Washington, and then on a trek across the country beginning in April. Let's pray for him, pray for peace, pray for the Iraqi people, pray for all who are waging peace and pray for all who are waging war. | VISIT PEACEFUL STEPS WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + I went to church and heard a wonderful sermon by an economics expert who is affiliated with SabbathEconomics which promotes economic justice based on a very compelling study of the Hebrew scriptures. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2004 + snow showers

    + As I reflect on politics from my progressive faith point of view (particularly the Perennial Philosophy and Process Theology point of view), I am thinking more and more about one of my favorite quotes. STING: "There is no political solution to our troubled evolution." (GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE - THE POLICE)

    I am not suggesting we don't stay very involved in the political process but I am suggesting we remember that we are all connected to each other in a mysterious and wonderful way and that meditation and prayer is the best way to connect. Blogging and conversation and other methods are also good! Our inner connectedness is so important, so vital, so powerful. Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr are two of my heroes because they so thoroughly understood this and made such a difference.

    I guess what I am saying is: Most Liberals believe in God and we are just as good at connecting with the divine as Conservatives are. I intend to work hard on expanding the Progressive Christian market share of America. 43 per cent of Christians voted for Kerry. If we can get up to even 45 per cent for the next election we can win. | COMMENT

    + From The WitherspoonSociety: A new website boldly proclaims "Jesus Is a Liberal." JesusIsALiberal is described by its creators as "a website for liberal and progressive thinking Christians. This website is for those who believe that the teachings of Jesus outline a liberal, progressive, tolerant, loving, open minded, holistic, and sustainable vision for our World." Jonathan W. Logan, one of the creators of the site, says further: "While we come from three different Christian denominations, we all share one faith and a compelling belief in the positive good news of Jesus and His teachings and what they ask of us and require of us in living our faith -- good deeds, honesty (personal and professional), the cessation of violence & war, fairness & justice, a caring compassionate acceptance of others and tolerance for all whom we disagree with -- provided they do us no harm -- and a Liberal, Progressive, Tolerant, Loving, open minded, holistic, and sustainable vision for our World. There is so much work to do in this world!" | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + RottenTomatoes offers reviews of BEFORE SUNSET which is now out on DVD and VHS. Most reviewers love it so it goes on my movies to see list which has not been updated for some time. | READ REVIEWS | COMMENT

    THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2004 + mild

    + Witherspoon Society offers Gene TeSelle's election reflections. He begins:
    So the voters, for a variety of reasons, have narrowly supported an agenda that includes an aggressive foreign and military policy, a self-reinforcing plutocracy fueled by tax cuts for the rich, a growing national debt, attempts to dismantle the Social Security system, termination of inheritance taxes, assaults on reproductive rights and domestic partnerships, a devil-may-care attitude in environmental and energy policies, and a Supreme Court dominated by ideological conservatives. They have voted for a corporate feudalism to which they will be increasingly beholden. They have voted, furthermore, to support a theocracy dictated by Catholic bishops and Protestant evangelicals, a Holy American Empire eager to assert its power at home and abroad. Voters may not have understood what the whole package amounts to; often they voted on symbolic grounds. But the package was made clear in many ways during the campaign. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2004 + Brrrrr!

    + Alternet offers an article, "What it Means to be 'Evangelical'" by Sean Gonsalves, calling for a more complete interpretation of scripture than the Christian right is offering. "The evangelical right doesn't have a monopoly on 'moral values,' nor do they have a monopoly on proper and rigorous biblical interpretation." | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2004 + sunny and cold following a dusting of snow now melted

    + Here are some more political thoughts as I try to look at the big picture: I have been paying attention to the way Americans identify themselves politically for many years now. I believe that the current alignment has not changed much in the past 25 years or so. According to the exit polls, about 45 per cent of us identify themselves as moderates, 33 per cent of us as conservatives and 22 per cent of us as liberals. I believe that the best alignment would be about 50-25-25. We are not that far off. If 3 per cent of the moderates would become liberal and 8 per cent of the conservatives would become moderate, we would have a healthy political alignment. Until we achieve this, liberals need to reach out to moderates in order to prevent the conservatives from forcing their will upon us. Liberals and moderates together make up 67 per cent of the electorate. We liberals need to insist that moderates not allow conservatives to intimidate them into supporting policies which they do not really support. | COMMENT

    + Jim Hightower offers an article by Arianna Huffington which is highly critical of the Kerry campaign. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2004 + sunny

    + The New England Peace Pagoda is a very special place where prayers for peace are offered constantly. Visit the website. Visit the pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts. | VISIT WEBSITE | COMMENT

    + The NY TIMES Election Tables are quite thorough. I did the counting by regions and the results are quite revealing of our national divisions. Kerry won the Northeast overwhelmingly - 56% to 44%. He won all 117 electoral votes from Maine to DC. Bush won the South by an even bigger margin - 60% to 40%. Not one southern state went to Kerry. Bush won the the Midwest 51%-49%. I haven't totalled up the West yet but I think Bush won that region by a narrow margin, too. The Pacific Coast states went to Kerry by a big margin. The Rocky Mountain West went for Bush by a big margin. We are divided! The South put Bush over the top. Kerry won the rest of the country. The Democrats will make a comeback in the South sooner or later. | SEE THE ELECTION TABLES | COMMENT

    + Michael Moore is one of the few who are telling us about a huge bright spot in last week's election, the vote of the 18 to 29 year olds. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + The NY TIMES offers an op ed piece, "Why They Won," on the continuing Democratic failure to understand the culture wars by Thomas Frank who wrote What's the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2004 + partly sunny, very mild

    + TomPaine.com offers a very wise and compelling analysis of the election returns by Robert L. Borosage. Borosage is co-director of Campaign for America's Future, a new progressive think tank. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + So, twenty per cent of the voters who said Moral Values was their number one issue voted for John Kerry. What were they thinking? Don't they know that any moral person would vote Republican? (sarcasm intended - sorry but I can't be reconciled until I express my rage and regret) | COMMENT

    + The Online Gadfly offers some provocative Bible verses on the timely subject of What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD) | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2004 + partly sunny, breezy, mild

    + The PBS NewsHour interviewed a panel including Jim Wallis of Sojourners last Thursday regarding the religious vote. Wallis is urging people to vote all their values and takes issue with the partisan politics of wedge issues. | READ INTERVIEW | COMMENT

    + TomPaine.com offers an article by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich asserting that Democrats need to reclaim their strong moral heritage. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2004 + sunny and very windy

    + People on the right will so easily assert that I hate America because I actually believe that much of our foreign policy and much of our domestic policy is wrong. I donít hate America. I donít love America either. I love Americans. I love Republicans and I love Democrats and I love Independents. I love Red Sox fans and Yankee fans. I donít love France, but I love the French people. I donít love Iraq but I love Iraqis.

    I have to admit, however, that while I donít hate America, I do not believe in America either. I believe in God. I believe in love. I believe in truth. I have no reason to believe in America, a nation with many good qualities and all too many bad qualities. Some will call me unpatriotic. Thatís so meaningless to me. My loyalty is to all humanity and not just American humanity or the humans who agree with Americaís policies.

    America is simply a place, a place where many people live. I happen to live here and I like living here. Iím sure I could like living somewhere else, too. Although at this point in my life, I think Iíd rather be here. Iím simply saying that being an American is simply not that important to me and I donít think it should be. Humanity is important. Life is important. This planet is important. God is important. Love is important. Truth is important.

    Iím glad the Red Sox won the World Series but it really doesnít matter that much even though it seemed like it did a week ago or so.

    Maybe this election has cured me of a need to believe in America. Kerryís concession speech revealed that he believes in America. I donít. I hope America begins to correct itself. That would be good for all humanity and for the planet. I even dare to believe that this will happen. Not because I believe in America but because I believe in God, in love, in truth, in the basic goodness of humanity which is made in the image of God.

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2004 + sunny

    + RED SOX WIN WORLD SERIES!

    Until last night, this was a New England dream. They hadn't won one since 1918 when Babe Ruth was their ace pitcher! I wondered if I would ever see them win one.

    Actually I have 4 or 5 favorite Baseball teams but the Red Sox have certainly been Numero Uno for most of my life, since I spent summers in Maine in 1963, 64 and 65 and then lived in Boston or vicinity most of the next 9 years. Mary & I went to a game at Fenway in the pennant-winning year of 1967. They won that pennant on the last day of the season and then lost the series in the seventh game to the Cardinals. From a distance, I watched the Sox get beat in game 7 in 1975 and game 7 in 1986. It's nice to be a New Englander again as the Sox finally overcome "the curse of the Bambino."

    New England has finally gotten that monkey off it's back!

    The Red Sox won the first world series ever played in 1903. Now they have won the 100th World Series. It adds up to 100 because the WS was not played in 1904 and 1994.

    I know it's only baseball but I love it!

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2004 + cloudy

    + Mother Jones offers an article by linguist George Lakoff urging liberals to learn how to "frame the debate" at least as well as the conservatives do. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Maureen Dowd's current column is headlined BUSH IRAQ WAR PLAN CALLS FOR MIRACLE in today's Springfield REPUBLICAN. Here's an excerpt: "CIA officials were so clueless they wanted to sneak hundreds of small American flags into Iraq before the war started so grateful Iraqis could wave them at their liberators. The agency planned to film that and triumphantly beam it to the Arab world."

    Also: "The president has this strange notion that his belief in God means detailed and perfect knowledge of everything that God wants. He may wish to keep his head stuck in the Iraqi sand, but he may discover that the Almighty has His own purposes." | READ COLUMN (free NY TIMES registration required) | COMMENT

    + A member of the Bruderhof Community found ABUNDANCETREK - CONNECTIONS GALORE and suggested that I add their Peacemaker's Guide with a long list of peacemakers accompanied by a lot of information. | SEE THIS RESOURCE | COMMENT

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2004 + cloudy (but can it really be cloudy in New England today? I don't think so!)

    + PIPA, The Program on International Policy Attitudes, offers an article on the erroneous perceptions Bush supporters have about his policies. "But we like him!" | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Sojo.net is featuring ... the following very important statement for Christians to ponder and act upon:

    Confessing Christ in a World of Violence

    Our world is wracked with violence and war. But Jesus said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matt. 5:9). Innocent people, at home and abroad, are increasingly threatened by terrorist attacks. But Jesus said: "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). These words, which have never been easy, seem all the more difficult today.

    Nevertheless, a time comes when silence is betrayal. How many churches have heard sermons on these texts since the terrorist atrocities of September 11? Where is the serious debate about what it means to confess Christ in a world of violence? Does Christian "realism" mean resigning ourselves to an endless future of "pre-emptive wars"? Does it mean turning a blind eye to torture and massive civilian casualties? Does it mean acting out of fear and resentment rather than intelligence and restraint?

    Faithfully confessing Christ is the church's task, and never more so than when its confession is co-opted by militarism and nationalism.

  • A "theology of war," emanating from the highest circles of American government, is seeping into our churches as well.
  • The language of "righteous empire" is employed with growing frequency.
  • The roles of God, church, and nation are confused by talk of an American "mission" and "divine appointment" to "rid the world of evil."

    The security issues before our nation allow no easy solutions. No one has a monopoly on the truth. But a policy that rejects the wisdom of international consultation should not be baptized by religiosity. The danger today is political idolatry exacerbated by the politics of fear.

    In this time of crisis, we need a new confession of Christ.

    1. Jesus Christ, as attested in Holy Scripture, knows no national boundaries. Those who confess his name are found throughout the earth. Our allegiance to Christ takes priority over national identity. Whenever Christianity compromises with empire, the gospel of Christ is discredited.

    We reject the false teaching that any nation-state can ever be described with the words, "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." These words, used in scripture, apply only to Christ. No political or religious leader has the right to twist them in the service of war.

    2. Christ commits Christians to a strong presumption against war. The wanton destructiveness of modern warfare strengthens this obligation. Standing in the shadow of the Cross, Christians have a responsibility to count the cost, speak out for the victims, and explore every alternative before a nation goes to war. We are committed to international cooperation rather than unilateral policies.

    We reject the false teaching that a war on terrorism takes precedence over ethical and legal norms. Some things ought never be done - torture, the deliberate bombing of civilians, the use of indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction - regardless of the consequences.

    3. Christ commands us to see not only the splinter in our adversary's eye, but also the beam in our own. The distinction between good and evil does not run between one nation and another, or one group and another. It runs straight through every human heart.

    We reject the false teaching that America is a "Christian nation," representing only virtue, while its adversaries are nothing but vicious. We reject the belief that America has nothing to repent of, even as we reject that it represents most of the world's evil. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

    4. Christ shows us that enemy-love is the heart of the gospel. While we were yet enemies, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8, 10). We are to show love to our enemies even as we believe God in Christ has shown love to us and the whole world. Enemy-love does not mean capitulating to hostile agendas or domination. It does mean refusing to demonize any human being created in God's image.

    We reject the false teaching that any human being can be defined as outside the law's protection. We reject the demonization of perceived enemies, which only paves the way to abuse; and we reject the mistreatment of prisoners, regardless of supposed benefits to their captors.

    5. Christ teaches us that humility is the virtue befitting forgiven sinners. It tempers all political disagreements, and it allows that our own political perceptions, in a complex world, may be wrong.

    We reject the false teaching that those who are not for the United States politically are against it or that those who fundamentally question American policies must be with the "evil-doers." Such crude distinctions, especially when used by Christians, are expressions of the Manichaean heresy, in which the world is divided into forces of absolute good and absolute evil.

    The Lord Jesus Christ is either authoritative for Christians, or he is not. His Lordship cannot be set aside by any earthly power. His words may not be distorted for propagandistic purposes. No nation-state may usurp the place of God.

    We believe that acknowledging these truths is indispensable for followers of Christ. We urge them to remember these principles in making their decisions as citizens. Peacemaking is central to our vocation in a troubled world where Christ is Lord.

    - signed by more than 200 theologians and ethicists from across the theological spectrum

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Take action: Share this important theological statement with your friends, family, pastor, and church! Spread the word that as Christians, our allegiance to Christ takes priority over any national or political identity. | VISIT SOJONET | COMMENT

    + I can't help it! I have to mention the Red Sox. This blog is ordinarily about our spiritual journey and issues of peace and justice. Maybe this is a justice issue!! I have been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. There is no rivalry greater in my opinion than the Red Sox and Yankees. I am so beklempt about the Red Sox winning the pennant that I canít come up with adequate words to describe my feelings. Why am I so attached to ďRed Sox Nation?Ē Of course that the victory over the Yankees came after I moved back to Massachusetts adds to the sweetness. The Boston World Series tradition is huge. The first WS was played in Boston and Pittsburgh in 1903 with the Boston Red Sox winning it. Babe Ruth was a masterful pitcher for the Red Sox as they won the WS in 1915, 1916 and 1918. But then the Babe was sold to the Yankees and became the greatest slugger of all time, ďthe sultan of swat.Ē Since 1918, the Red Sox went to only 4 WS and lost each time in the seventh game. This happened in 1946, 1967,1975 and 1986. The Red Sox were denied WS opportunities in 1949, 1978, 1999 and 2003 because they lost to the Yankees on the last day of the season or in the playoffs. Finally, it went the other way! And in such dramatic fashion. The Red Sox lost the first 3 games of the best-of-seven American League Championship series. Game 3 was a totally humiliating loss by the score of 19-8 in front of the home crowd. But then the Fenway faithful were treated to two incredible games where the Sox came from behind and went on to win in extra innings. The rest is history. And it happened in Yankee Stadium, ďthe house that Ruth built.Ē The Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to lose the first three games of a best of seven series and then win games 4, 5, and 6 to force a deciding seventh game. Last night, they became the first team in baseball history to lose the first three and then come back and win the championship. Got to love Ďem.

    Love-john | COMMENT

    + The Boston Red Sox website offers videos of the Damon homeruns last night and other pennant winning features! | GO TO RED SOX WEB SITE | COMMENT

    + I am pondering an idea I am calling "mutual conversion." When people of two or more different spiritual paths meet, I believe each should try to fully understand and embrace the other person's "religion" while, most likely, still keeping one's own practice. Of course we would find some differences which would be irreconcilable. But I believe they are minor. The teachings and practices of all of the great wisdom traditions can be embraced for the most part.

    My main spiritual discipline is based on Christian Daily Prayer using the daily lectionary. But, surely I can add another discipline from another tradition from time to time and benefit immensely from doing so.

    So, I am proposing that when a person meets a person of faith from another tradition, each person agrees to "be converted" to the other person's faith. It is understood that we will most likely continue to practice the faith of our mothers and fathers after this mutual conversion takes place. But we will be adding to it the richness of the other person's tradition as much as possible.

    Am I making sense here?

    love-john | COMMENT

    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2004 + sunny

    + Sojonet offers an article on Bruce Springsteen's "civil" involvment in politics. Can a rock'n'roll singer help lead the nation to embrace civil discourse? | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + TrapRock Peace Center has collected some of the letters of a prolific writer of letters to the editor. | READ RECENT LETTERS | COMMENT

    + NiceUp.com promotes itself as "The Gateway to Reggae Music on the Internet" and I needed to stop listening to the political talk on DemocracyNow and AirAmerica for a while and "be jammin." How about you? | CHECK IT OUT! | COMMENT

    + DemocracyNow provides a chapter on "blowback" from a book by host Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodmann. | READ CHAPTER | COMMENT

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2004 + rainy

    + AlterNet provides an article by Howard Zinn detailing the many failures of the current "war on terrorism." | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + AlterNet provides some background on the Sinclair TV stations plan to air an anti-Kerry "documentary" before the election. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + SwingTheVote.US is seeking to swing NH to Kerry. | VISIT WEBSITE / SIGN UP! | COMMENT

    + Christian Peacemaker Teams are taking risks to bring peace in troublespots like Palestine. The Washington POST (free registration required) reports how 2 CPT members were attacked and wounded by Israeli thugs last month. | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2004 + rainy

    + Bush's attitude toward the poor is revealed quite sharply in his answer to the debate question about the minimum wage according to an article at prospect.org | READ ARTICLE | COMMENT

    + Spong articulates my feelings so well > John Shelby Spong is the "controversial" retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. I saw this post at the Delhi Forum on Progressive Christianity, a forum I recommend for anyone interested in extending the progressive Christian movement.

    Understanding the Christian Roots of My Political Depression

    The Republican Convention in New York City forced me to face the fact that my feelings about the Bush Administration have reached a visceral negativity, the intensity of which surprises even me. So I decided to search introspectively to identify its source. Is it simply runaway partisanship? That is certainly how it sounds to many who make that charge publicly, but that has not been my history. I did not react this way to other Republican presidents like Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford or Reagan. My feelings are quite specifically Bush related.

    I first became aware of them in 1988 when George H. W. Bush's campaign employed the Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis. This dirty trick was successful and the insinuation entered the body politic that to be the governor of a multi-racial state where all were treated fairly meant that you favored freeing black criminals to commit murder. Lee Atwater, mentor of Karl Rove, devised that campaign. The Willie Horton episode said to me that these people believed that no dishonest tactic was to be avoided if it helped your candidate to victory.

    The next manifestation of this mentality came in the South Carolina primary in George W. Bush's campaign in 2000, when the patriotism of John McCain was viciously attacked. It appeared that five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam was not sufficient to prove one's loyalty to America. The third episode came when the operatives of this administration destroyed Georgia's Senator Max Cleland in 2002, by accusing him of being soft on national security, despite the fact that this veteran had lost three of his limbs in the service of his country. Each of these attacks brought defeat to its victims but they also brought defeat to truth and integrity.

    In 2004 we have seen the pattern repeated. John Kerry, a veteran who served with honor and distinction in Vietnam was told in countless surrogate ads that his service was not worthy and that his three purple hearts and his Silver Star for heroism were cheaply won. For a candidate who ducked military service by securing a preferential appointment to the Texas National Guard, part of which was served in Alabama, this takes gall indeed.

    Then Senator Zell Miller, his face contorted with anger, recited a litany of weapons systems that he said Senator Kerry had opposed. What he failed to say was that most of these military cuts were recommended by a Secretary of Defense named Richard Cheney in the first Bush Administration! The last time I looked, the Ten Commandments still included an injunction against bearing false witness.

    Yes, other campaigns bend the truth but these tactics go beyond just bending, they assassinate character and suggest traitorous behavior. When that is combined with the fact that this party does this while proclaiming itself the party of religion, cultural values and faith-based initiatives is the final straw for me. I experience the religious right as a deeply racist enterprise that seeks to hide its intolerance under the rhetoric of super patriotism and "family values." For those who think that this is too strong a charge or too out of bounds politically, I invite you to look at the record.

    It was George H. W. Bush who gave us Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, calling him "the most qualified person in America." Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall, who had been the legal hero to black Americans during the struggle over segregation. Clarence Thomas, the opponent of every governmental program that made his own life possible, is today an embarrassment to blacks in America. To appoint a black man to do the racist work against black people is demonic. Consistent with that pattern, this administration entered an amicus brief against the University of Michigan's Law School because in the quest for a representative student body that Law School used race as one factor in determining admissions. The strange 'Orwellian' rhetoric again was deceiving. "We want America to be a nation where race is not counted for anything and all are to be judged on merit alone." Those are fair sounding words until one factors in centuries of slavery and segregation, or the quality of public education in urban America which just happens to be predominantly black. Next one cannot help noticing the concerted Republican effort to limit black suffrage in many states like Florida where it has been most overt, and to deny the power of the ballot to all the citizens of Washington, D.C. Does anyone doubt that the people of Washington have no vote for any other reason than that they are overwhelmingly black?

    Only when I touched these wells of resentment, did I discover how deeply personal my feelings are about the Bushes. I grew up in the southern, religious world they seek to exploit. I went to a church that combined piety with segregation, quoted the Bible to keep women in secondary positions, and encouraged me to hate both my enemies and other religions, especially Jews. It taught me that homosexual people choose their lifestyle because they are either mentally sick or morally depraved. I hear these same definitions echoed in the pious phrases of those who want to "defend marriage against the gay onslaught." Are the leaders of this party the only educated people who seem not to know that their attitudes about homosexuality are uninformed? People no more choose their sexual orientation than they choose to be left-handed! To play on both ignorance and fear for political gain is a page lifted right out of the racial struggle that shaped my region. Racism simply hides today under new pseudonyms.

    I lived in Lynchburg, Virginia, before Jerry Falwell rose to national prominence. He was a race baiting segregationist to his core. Liberty Baptist College began as a segregation academy. Super patriot Falwell condemned Nelson Mandela as a 'communist' and praised the apartheid regime in South Africa as a 'bulwark for Christian civilization.' I have heard Pat Robertson attack the movement to give equality to women by referring to feminists as Lesbians who want to destroy the family, while quoting the Bible to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. The homophobic rhetoric that spews so frequently out of the mouths of these "Jesus preaching" right-wingers has been mentioned time and again as factors that encourage hate crimes.

    I am aware that the former Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, famous for his attempt to place a three-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in his Montgomery courthouse to the delight of southern preachers, is on record as saying that "homosexuality is inherently evil."

    I lived through the brutality that greeted the civil rights movement in the South during its early days. Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta can tell you what it means to be beaten into unconsciousness on a "freedom ride." I remember the names of Southerners who covered their hate-filled racism with the blanket of religion to enable them to win the governors' mansions in the deep South: John Patterson and George Wallace in Alabama, Ross Barnett in Mississippi, Orville Faubus in Arkansas, Mills Godwin in Virginia and Strom Thurmond in South Carolina. I know the religious dimensions of North Carolina that kept Jesse Helms in the Senate for five terms. Now we have learned that Strom Thurmond, who protected segregation in the Senate when he could not impose it by winning the presidency in 1948, also fathered a daughter by an underage black girl. I know that Congressman Robert Barr of Georgia, who introduced the Defense of Marriage Act in 1988, has been married three times. I know that Pat Robertson's Congressman in Norfolk, Ed Schrock, courted religious votes while condemning homosexual people until he was outed as a gay man and was forced to resign his seat.

    I know that the bulk of the voters from the Religious Right today are the George Wallace voters of yesterday, who simply transformed their racial prejudices and called them "family values." That mentality is now present in this administration. It starts with the President, embraces the Attorney General John Ashcroft and spreads out in every direction.

    I have known Southern mobs that have acted in violence against black people while couching that violence in the sweetness of Evangelical Christianity. I abhor that kind of religion. I resent more than I can express the fact that my Christ has been employed in the service of this mentality. My Christ, who refused to condemn the woman taken in the act of adultery; my Christ who embraced the lepers, the most feared social outcasts of his day; my Christ who implored us to see the face of God in the faces of "the least of these our brothers and sisters;" my Christ who opposed the prejudice being expressed against the racially impure Samaritans, is today being used politically to dehumanize others by those who play on base instincts.

    David Halberstam, in his book on the Civil Rights movement entitled The Children, quotes Lyndon Johnson talking with Bill Moyers right after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had passed by large margins in the Congress of the United States. This positive vote followed the arousing of the public's consciousness by the Abu Ghraib-like use of dogs and fire hoses on black citizens in Alabama. Klan groups, under the direct protection of Southern State Troopers and local police, had also attacked blacks with baseball bats and lead pipes in public places, which had been seen on national television. Moyers expected to find President Johnson jubilant over this legislative victory. Instead he found the President strangely silent. When Moyers enquired as to the reason, Johnson said rather prophetically, "Bill, I've just handed the South to the Republicans for fifty years, certainly for the rest of our life times."

    That is surely correct. Bush's polls popped after his convention. It is now his election to lose. The combination of super patriotism with piety, used in the service of fear to elicit votes while suppressing equality works, but it is lethal for America and lethal for Christianity. It may be a winning formula but it has no integrity and it feels dreadful to this particular Christian.

    -- John Shelby Spong

  • Comment

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2004 + cloudy

    + WitherspoonSociety.org offers this information about the progressive faith movement as the election approaches:

    A Call to Get out the Vote

    America: Follow Your Conscience,

    Vote ALL Your Values

    A Call to Action to the Progressive Faith Community
    [posted here 10-6-04]

    Click here for lots of suggestions for action.

    Dear Friends,

    At many points in our nation's history, from the struggle for the abolition of slavery, to civil rights, to the effort to fight poverty, the progressive faith community has come together as a movement to offer our nation a message of hope.

    Our nation needs us again. We are sacrificing our sacred values to the narrow and ideological agenda of a few - values of truth at all times, justice for all people, and community among all nations and faiths. In the midst of the most important election in a generation, some vocal religious groups are trying to convince America that our faith calls us to vote only on a narrow set of issues and values. Our message to America is: Vote ALL Your Values!

    Time is short, and we have begun a 40 day period of prayer, fasting and work. We ask all people of faith to join us in this plan of action:

    A) National Day of Action, October 16th - From Sacred Places to Civic Spaces. We ask our movement to come together in a National Day of Action on Saturday, October 16th. Through coordinated events across America and a Clergy and Lay person's march in Philadelphia, we hope to make sure the country hears our message. We call upon people of faith to move from sacred places to civic spaces, organizing our faith communities in marches and vigils in front of public offices. If you can't organize a vigil, hold a 'hungering for justice' fast for the day and meet up with friends in a potluck dinner, to strategize your get out the vote campaign (see below). Start organizing your event now, and advertise your event on an electronic map of America at www.voteALLyourvalues.org

    B) Vote ALL Your Values Campaign - We call for a mobilization of our community in a non-partisan voter mobilization effort called 'Vote ALL Your Values'. Together, we will call and visit millions of low income and minority voters before the election. Encouraging these citizens to have a voice in democracy could play a decisive role in the country's future, and research shows that contact by a 'trusted source', such as a member of a faith community, is most effective in persuading people to vote. You can be a part of it by organizing your own get out the vote team in your faith community, or even just by calling voters from your own home. We'll help you every step of the way.

    If you are called to act, the next step is to go to www.voteALLyourvalues.org to join the effort. If you find the internet difficult to use, call us toll free at 1-866-456-VOTE. And don't forget to pray, or perhaps fast for a day to ask God's guidance in this momentous time. So much is at stake, our faith calls us to action.


    Signed,

    Rev. Steven Baines, People for the American Way

    Rev. Chloe Breyer, St. Mary's Manhattanville Church

    Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin, Honorary Chair, FaithfulAmerica.org

    Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

    Maureen Fenlon, OP, National Coordinator, NETWORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby

    Rev. Dr. James. A. Forbes Jr., Senior Minister, The Riverside Church

    Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President, The Interfaith Alliance

    Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, Kol Tikvah Temple

    Rev. Peter Laarman, Director, Progressive Christians Uniting

    John Podesta, President, and Melody Barnes, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

    Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi

    Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, Coordinator, Let Justice Roll Coalition

    Adam Taylor, Director, Global Justice

    Rev. Jim Wallis, Editor, Sojourners Magazine



    Öand many, many more supporters and leaders in the Progressive Faith Movement.

  • Comment

    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2004 + sunny

    + voteALLyourvalues.org has resources for getting out the vote with the hope that progressive candidates will prevail. | Visit website | Comment

    + WitherspoonSociety.org offers a letter from a Presbyterian minister to the troops. He wants them to know that his vote for Kerry will not be a vote against the troops. | Read letter | Send a response

    + MotherJones.com offers this interview with the former marine who co-founded Iraq Veterans Against the War. | Read interview | Send a response

    + There is an internet portal for people praying for John Kerry and John Edwards. | Visit the website | Send a response

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2004 + rainy

    + James Carroll, a Boston GLOBE columnist, has some important insights on "Why Americans back the War." | Read the column.

  • Send a response to John@abundancetrek.com

    + The World Council of Churches has launched Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel which is doing everything it can to promote peace with justice in the Israeli occupied territories.

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    FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2004 + sunny and mild

    + I just discovered a great book which begins with a great quote which I repeat here:

    "More than anything else, the future of civilization depends on the way the two most powerful forces of history, science and religion, settle into relationship with each other."
    -- Alfred North Whitehead

    The book is FROM SCIENCE TO GOD: The Mystery of Consciousness and the Meaning of Light by Peter Russell | Read the book

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    + from TomPaine.com >

    New Partnership For America's Future

    House Democrats

    Thursday 2:16 PM

    Ten years ago, the Republican Contract With America was in its heyday—promising smaller government and spending cuts. Quickly dubbed the Contract On America, it didn't help everyday Americans. In fact, all it really did was win Republicans a majority in Congress, after which it was mostly forgotten. It's time for a new commitment to the American people, and House Democrats have stepped up. The New Partnership For America's Future is an action plan based around six core values: prosperity, national security, fairness, opportunity, community and accountability. The idea is to build a strong and secure middle class, and the plan includes a state-by-state listing of details. We say....FINALLY!              SEE THE DOCUMENT

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    + MovingIdeas.org also offers a comprehensive list of regular progressive commentaries. | see the list

    + I just discovered a comprehensive website on progressive politics which includes a great list of blogs. | see the list

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2004 + sunny and cool

    + THE NEW CHURCH FOR THE NEW AGE > I posted the earlier post at a Progressive Christianity forum and got this response:

    I'd love to hear more. Continue, please :)

    So I did! Here it is >

    I can see from other threads that you are open to my approach and, like most of us progressive Christians, are struggling with what to keep of the tradition and what to discard. I see the Bible as a Constitution for the church which CAN BE AMENDED as the Holy Spirit guides us into new truth. The need to embrace feminine characteristics of God is a must. I like A COURSE IN MIRACLES a lot but am troubled with its very masculine language. ACIM is indeed a new revelation of Christ. But I believe the medium of ACIM, a woman, didn't get everything right. Nobody ever does!

    I don't know much about Wicca but I suspect that its growing popularity is a long overdue reaction to an overly masculine interpretation of God. We need to be open to the wisdom which Wicca offers to the church, to humanity.

    I see all of humanity as the body of Christ, the new church for the new age.

    I believe that Holy Scripture is being written every day and here on the internet the constitution of the church, of the body of Christ, of humanity is slowly but surely getting amended.

    love-mystictrek

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    + THE NEW CHURCH FOR THE NEW AGE > Progressive Christianity is a movement which is far more important than most people realize. In most of the nations which have been traditionally been considered Christian, the church has become increasingly marginalized for many reasons. A lot of spiritual wisdom and energy is located in the New Age movement and other wisdom traditions which are found largely outside of the church.

    This is a crisis for the traditional church. I call the church which is resisting this wisdom and energy the old church for the old age. God is involved in the New Age. God is in charge of the New Age.

    I believe that God is creating The New Church for the New Age. Is it a Christian Church? Yes, but not in an exclusive way. It is open to new truth, new wisdom, new teachings, new rituals, new music, new dances, new ideas, etc. I believe that the day will come when we all will embrace the universal myth which Joseph Campbell describes so well. It is based on mysticism, the perennial philosophy, which Aldous Huxley describes so well.

    Possibly the most important difference between the old church for the old age and the new church for the new age is that the old church is hierarchical and the new church is non-hierarchical. We are all equals. Luther foresaw this by calling for the "priesthood of all believers." This is based on scripture! So, the new church for the new age is actually not so new! Maybe the New Church for the New Age has always been around as the true church. Melchizedek!?

    Egos are a major obstacle to the development of the New Church for the New Age. Leave your ego behind before entering the sacred space of the church. This has not been done through much of our Christian history. We are being humbled now as we learn so much more about God from wisdom traditions outside of the church. We must integrate this wisdom into the church. God will help us. God will not help us if we resist this necessary and beautiful integration.

    Jesus was open to the wisdom and energy of movements outside of the synagogue. The early church was open to the wisdom and energy of movements outside of the church. It integrated and welcomed. Progressive Christianity is true to the spirit which created the church in the first place.

    If I get some response to this post I will gladly go into further detail on this subject.

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    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2004 + first day of fall is quite warm here in New England.

    + Here's more from TheFourPrecepts.com: The four precepts are:

  • 1. Remember your Divine essence.
  • 2. Say Yes to Life unconditionally.
  • 3. Overcome the Spirit of Revenge.
  • 4. Follow your Bliss.

    + For the first time I have gone online at a cafe with free wireless internet. It's fun to blog with company around and good coffee and in this case the rushing sound of a waterfall nearby.

    + Wayne Ferguson has recently improved and expanded a wonderful website called TheFourPrecepts.com. He shares my commitment to discovering and living mysticism or the perennial philosophy.

    + Michael Moore wants progressives to stop whining about the Kerry campaign. | read article

    + I just discovered a website - stjameschicago.org/hymnal - which plays the tunes and displays the words of many hymns old and new.

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2004 + beautiful

    + From CommonDreams.org: Read an article suggesting that Democrats need to learn how to frame issues better than Republicans do.

    + From Cursor.org: Project Censored releases its "Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004 ," warning that "Perhaps no other time since the 1930s have we been so dangerously close to institutionalized totalitarianism." Read a CommonDreams.org article about this growing threat.

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2004 + cloudy and warm

    + Frithjof Schuon recommended japa yoga as an excellent method of prayer. | Visit a website listing 35 tenets of japa yoga.

    + Frithjof Schuon who lived from 1907 to 1998 was an outstanding thinker who embraced the Perennial Philosophy, or mysticism. Huston Smith described him as "a living wonder, intellectually ŗ propos religion, equally in depth and breadth, the paragon of our time. I know of no living thinker who begins to rival him..." | Visit a comprehensive website about Frithjof Schuon.

    + Perennial philosophy, mysticism, is described and discussed at several websites including Richard T. Nolan's http://www.philosophy-religion.com/perennial/.

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2004 + beautiful day

    + christianity.about.com offers important thoughts and links dealing with recent activities in the area of politics and religion.

    + Amy Goodman of the renowned radio show "Democracy Now" will be speaking in Northampton September 18.

    + The same progressive Christian blogger reflects sadly on Zel Miller's hateful speech at the Republican convention last night. Read the blog.

    + According to one progressive Christian blogger, Airamerica, the new liberal talk network, can only be taken in small doses. Read the blog.

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2004 + beautiful day

    + Fascism is explored in several articles recommended by cursor.org. Is America in danger of becoming a fascist state? Something to think about.

    MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2004 + second straight beautiful day after lots of rain and thunder on Friday & Saturday

    + "America's Disease is Greed" according to Andrew Greeley in this commentary published by the Chicago SUN-TIMES."

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 2004 + cloudy, humid

    + The VALLEY ADVOCATE published an interesting article on the media take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is Part 1. | This is Part 2.

    Click here to see this ad in pdf format.

    + Check out this ad from SOJOURNERS saying that God is not a Republican ... or a Democrat.

    + WOW! DemocracyNow.com!!! How have I missed putting this link on my connections galore page???

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2004 + partly sunny after several mostly rainy or cloudy days

    + WOW! Michaelmoore.com!!! How have I missed putting this link on my connections galore page???

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, 2004 + cool after several hot and humid days

    + Hereís a chuckle for you.

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2004 + hot, humid and overcast again

    + According to the Rasmussen daily tracking poll, Kerry has received a small bounce from the convention last week.

    + from salon.com > Tom Franks has written a book describing to us How the Democrats lost the heartland.

    SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2004 + hot, humid and overcast

    + ZOGBY.COM has some important post-convention polling results which possibly detect a Kerry landslide in the making. But we have to make it happen. It matters. Zogby shows that most voters who didn't vote in 2000 choose Kerry over Bush by a wide margin. Young people choose Kerry over Bush by a wide margin. We've got to get these 2 groups to the polls. Read the article.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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