July 16, 2019

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: June 22, 2019 (Church Edition)

Hope (Indiana) United Methodist Church (2016)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: June 22, 2019
Church Edition

Church and the Autistic…

“As a Christian, I believe that worship is primarily intended to glorify God,” he wrote, “and may have misinterpreted your Evensong as an actual worship service, at which my son’s expressions must surely be pleasing to God, the experience of other worshipers being secondary.”

That was the letter angry father Paul Rimmer sent to the Rev. Stephen Cherry, dean of King’s College Chapel at Cambridge University. Rimmer had taken his two sons to a choral evensong service on June 16. One of them, Tristan, has autism, and loves music. However, his condition leads him to call out at times, and an usher at the Chapel asked Mr. Rimmer to remove his son from the service, telling them that the dean wanted them to leave.

Catherine Pepinster at RNS describes what happened later.

The dean replied with an apology, also on Facebook, in which he clarified that he had not himself asked for the Rimmers to leave but took responsibility for what had happened. “Sometimes we fail,” he wrote, “and I realize that we especially failed you and Tristan on Sunday afternoon.” The dean and Rimmer met last week to discuss how King’s College Chapel can do better.

Rimmer’s post has led to broader soul-searching about how houses of worship treat people with autism and others with special needs. He has been inundated with messages recalling similar incidents elsewhere and promising him and Tristan a proper welcome at their services. He has connected several organizations with expertise in autism with Cherry so that the chapel can get informed advice.

…Rimmer said that he thought it could be appropriate for special services to be sometimes held for people with special needs but that it is also important for people like his son to be welcome at all services unless there are exceptional circumstances — such as a recording or broadcast.

According to the National Autistic Society in the U.K., more than a quarter of people with autism and their families have been asked to leave a public place because of behavior linked to their autism.

The article goes on to talk about some of the good things churches and denominations are doing to make welcome those who have disabilities, and indeed, to learn from them and appreciate their gifts.

“The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (1 Corinthians 12:22)

Church and racial justice…

Pastor Benjamin D. Wayman is pastor of a mostly white congregation in a small, rural town in Illinois that is likewise mostly white. However, after the events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, they began to study and talk about what the gospel has to say about racism. They started to take action in a small, simple way. They put up a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the church lawn.

In an article at Christian Century, he tells what happened next:

Our sign was stolen the first week it was displayed. We replaced it. All Lives Matter signs began appearing on lawns all over town, along with “We support our officers” bumper stickers and shop decals…

…Our church has lost count of how many times our BLM sign has been stolen. We have received angry letters from local citizens (including parishioners from a sister church) and anonymous phone calls, and had an ALM sign put up after someone stole our BLM sign. Obviously we struck a nerve. Our church became known in our community as the “Black Lives Matter church.” But congregants at St. Paul’s often joke that we should accompany our sign with one that says #whitepeopletrying.

However, the pastor has been learning a deeper lesson through this experience. A lesson about himself and his own discipleship in this area.

Even though I’m a pastor at St. Paul’s, I have not placed a BLM sign on my own lawn. When I had to call the local heating and cooling company to fix the air conditioner at St. Paul’s and then again a day later at my home, I wondered whether they would connect the dots between my church’s witness and my own, and I was nervous.

It has been said that for the privileged, equality feels like oppression. I would add that for white people like me, pushback feels like persecution. The prospect that I would, on behalf of my neighbor, place myself or family at risk makes me nervous. Herein lies my deeper sin.

Not yours alone, my friend.

Church and the LGBTQ community…

Here in Indianapolis this week, the Indianapolis Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church notified Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School of a canonical decree, stating that the Archbishop will no longer formally recognize Brebeuf as a Catholic school in the archdiocese. Why? Because administrators refused to fire a teacher who is married to a same-sex partner.

According to Brian G. Paulson, provincial for the Midwest Jesuits, the school and the Archdiocese have been fighting for two years about the teacher in question. The split will have a limited impact on the school, but it may isolate the school from the larger Catholic community. Brebeuf is an independent Catholic school, not governed by the archdiocese, and administrative decisions are usually left to the school. The school has a nondiscrimination policy that protects school employees and others in the school community from discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and marital status. Only the president, principal, religious studies teacher and campus minister are required to be staffed by practicing Catholics.

This is the second public situation in the Indy Catholic community. Roncalli High School has been under fire since it suspended a gay school counselor last year. Shelly Fitzgerald was placed on administrative leave over her marriage to a woman. Her dismissal has led to an intense public discussion throughout the city.

This new situation has further stirred up the debate.

Read coverage from the Indianapolis Star

Church and the community…

Caroline Cunningham tells the story of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia:

St. Stephen’s, an Episcopal church in Center City Philadelphia, isn’t open on Easter. There are no sermons on Sundays. It doesn’t have any members. And yet this castlelike Gothic Revival building on 10th Street is still a functioning, active church — just not in the ways you might expect.

Rather than opening on Sundays, the church operates on a four-day schedule, with midday services Monday through Thursday. And rather than focusing on growing the congregation, St. Stephen’s is fully invested in being present for the community, practicing a true open-door policy that makes it a place of support for anyone in need.

I encourage you to go to RNS and read the story of this amazing congregation and its creative, community-centered approach to being God’s people in the world.

Talk about Jesus-shaped!

Church and camp…

An article in The Lutheran tells the stories of several young adults who are serving God but who may or may not attend local congregations. Instead, they consider camp their “church home.”

For Eli Neitzel, worship happens under the stars, in the flickering glow of a campfire, surrounded by trees. At his church, you won’t find hymnals, pews or Sunday best. Instead, it’s muddy shoes, sweaty bodies and an intergenerational chorus of voices accompanied by guitar. 

Neitzel’s home church is Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland, Neb., where he’s spent every summer since he was a high school freshman. Now, Neitzel, 26, is a teacher who serves on the camp’s staff during his summer break. “The reason why I love to call camp my church home is [it’s] the strongest place where I can see Christ through others,” he said. “It’s more of a family.”

Don Johnson, executive director of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, said Neitzel’s feelings are typical—several young adults connected with LOM call these camps, rather than ELCA congregations, their primary church home.

Some of the young adults interviewed came from small ELCA congregations where they had few peers. At camp they found the community for which they were longing. Others like the group-building that happens in the camp setting, which doesn’t always take place in church. Camp provides meaningful leadership opportunities. It also tends to be more inclusive and provides a relaxed atmosphere where many feel more free to be themselves.

When some people think of a “church home,” they find it in God’s great outdoors. At camp.

Church and parking…

• • •

Sometimes I just need some CHURCH!

Comments

  1. Robert F says

    The prospect that I would, on behalf of my neighbor, place myself or family at risk makes me nervous. Herein lies my deeper sin.

    Those words strike home. It is abashing to feel the weight of them. One of the things this country and world, and the church, need so badly is for more of us to be willing to take that risk, and pay that price; as Christians we claim to remember that Jesus did — but do we?

    • senecagriggs says

      What are we to pay the price for F?

      • The price of standing up to the inherent racism and bigotry of our white Christian counterparts. Who, as the pastor in Illinois said, think equality is oppression and pushback is persecution.

        • Robert F says

          Yes, among other things.

          • “It’s not enough to simply offer a gospel that only offers divine forgiveness of sins. A gospel that is faithful to the Jesus story must include people forgiving people. It must include a redistribution of power and resources so that everyone has what they need not simply to survive but also to thrive. It must include reparations alongside reconciliation. It must include access and inclusion where the vulnerable have been excluded. A gospel that is faithful to the Jesus story must include material, holistic liberation.”

            https://www.patheos.com/blogs/socialjesus/2019/06/challenging-exclusion/

            • Robert F says

              Exactly — those are the other things I meant. Thanks for the good quote and link.

            • john barry says

              Eeyore, after reading the Patheos piece perhaps they are not stealing the BLM signs from in front of the church but liberating them to share with all. I like how Pathos give a critique of Jesus , not only his thoughts and actions but his decisions. Better to have left the sick and lame as they are to make a progressive social point. If only Jesus had access to Patheos , he might have gotten it right.

              After reading the inherent wisdom and contained in the Pathos article, I have penned a new song

              I Have Decided to Follow Pathos
              I Have Decided to Follow Pathos
              No turning pages
              No turning pages

              I have Decided to Follow Pathos
              I have Decided to Follow Pathos
              The political agendas before me
              Reality and common sense behind me

              No Turning Pages
              No Turning Pages

              It was good to have some info about the BLM org. I have not heard about them lately but I guess in Ill. they are still a hot item. It does take a lot of courage to actually place a sign {small} in front of your church in a pretty safe area. It rivals the Freedom Marches and Freedom Bus in the 1960,s in taking a courageous stand.

              I will corner the market with my new idea, it is a bracelet , with the abbv. WWPD, it will be worn and a great conversation starter, and then my Patheos (Copyrighted) song could be worked in as an invitation to Starbucks is given. Starbucks does not follow Jesus so we will have to pay for the coffee but it is affordable.

              • Given the reaction that pastor got, maybe not as safe as you think. It wasn’t all that long ago that white activists were killed in the South for things almost as simple as this.

                • john barry says

                  The activist who got killed got killed in 1964 and they were targeted for their race, which in the march of history not a long time but I would say to most people , a long time ago. However, the point is the 3 activist were facing real risk, knew it was dangerous and paid the price. I think the sign compared to the that action shows progress . The Freedom riders and the early civil right marchers were tackling issues a little more serious and overt than sign stealing. I know in Alabama in 1965 a lot of ;people would not tell their A/c repairman and even their plumber I thought all men are created equal so I can understand the fear one must have now in Ill.

                  I think someday there will be a movie made about the sign incident, the Movie will be

                  The Sign , not in Mississippit, is not Burning but is often Stolen.
                  the story must be told, WWPD?

                  • Progress is neither linear nor guaranteed.

                    • It is so obvious that the problem is not with the church posting those signs, but with its neighbors stealing them and reacting so negatively to the church for posting them. Yet such is the resentment of many White Christians in America at any advocacy for the Black community at this time, even in small ways, that many Christians who know such a reaction is wrong won’t acknowledge it; that is how fragile the progress has been, and how nonlinear. If the members of that church were out on the street getting arrested for their advocacy, the same critics would call them lawless troublemakers, outside agitators, and worse, just as they did in the 1950s and 60s.

              • “perhaps they are not stealing the BLM signs from in front of the church but liberating them to share with all. ”

                That there is some high grade rationalization!

              • @john barry, It’s not that the BLM org. is still a “hot item” in Illinois, but that Black lives still don’t matter as much as White ones in our society. Until they do, the Black Lives Matter slogan still applies, with or without the BLM org.

            • I’ve spent a lot of hours thinking about the parable of the shrewd manager; never satisfied with the interpretations I’ve heard. I’m coming around to the interpretation that it is about forgiving others for their sins against God. After all, sins are trespasses against God. We forgive others, in real and tangible ways, not just in kind thoughts, and the Father sees it and is pleased.

        • Brianthegrandad says

          I have to give the pastor and his BLM sign story his due. They are taking baby steps. Keep putting up the signs. That’s a dang sight better than the typical slacktivist response of using social media and comment pages to complain and demand someone somewhere do something about the ills and wrongs in our society. However, it does feel like he’s doing a lot of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching. So, as a pudgy, balding, middle-age white man raising African-American foster daughters in the heart of Dixie, in the cradle of the confederacy, I have some advice for him: Stop caring what other people think. Stop fearing other people or their reactions. Actually, shocking the sensibilities of the white bread Churchianity of the people around you can be quite enjoyable. Give it a try. I’ve yet to have anyone respond with any sort of violence, threat of violence, or denial to fix my AC. Typically all I get is a little confusion and puzzlement when I point out the awkward black teenager they’re watching closely in the clothing store or on the volleyball court with their kid is my daughter.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Whatever Eeyore and his compatriots in the Policy Mangerial community say you are guilty of. A

        Anything you enjoy is obviously stolen from someone else. The Most Holy State, whose powers will be wielded by the Most Woke, will define what Thriving is and how many of your resources are necessary to ensure it.

        Unless this a call to expand the economic clout of the wider Church by a return to the practice of tithing, and a concomitant involvement in the outlay of those funds to benefit the larger community. That sounds very good to me, and I know several Baptist and Pentecostal churches who are light years ahead of even the BLM sign putters and who labor tirelessly for economic ‘liberation’ in total obscurity.

        “Love the sinner. Hate your own sin.” Still the best advice I’ve ever seen on this board.

        • “Let him who has two cloaks share with whoever has none.”

          “What do you have that you were not given?”

          “Which of these was a neighbor to the man who fell in amongst the robbers?”

          “Sell all you have and give to the poor.”

          “Give feasts for those who cannot repay you.”

          • Burro (Mule) says

            There isn’t anything, apart from our own sin, that hinders either one of us from obeying those verses. However, please note that Christ did not say

            “Let him who has two cloaks surrender one to the redistributors so they can decide who gets it”

            “what do you have that is not taxable?”

            “Tax all that he has and give it to the poor”

            “Take away his money and use it to throw a party for those folk over there”

            I have no problem with Christ’s economic program. All good families operate on a socialistic basis, and yes, all humans should view themselves as family, but I am deeply suspicious of any scheme that invites Caesar to the table. Caesar is a demon.

            Anyway, one cannot love ‘humanity’. You have to love the actual people God places in your path through His Providence: From Edmund Burke: To love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind.

            When these links are broken, the temptation is to shift one’s loyalties to abstract ideologies, or to powerful protectors, or to a combination of both. For a long time now, secular society — particularly through the schools — has sought to weaken our loyalties to the “little platoons”, and replace them with a new set of loyalties — to “progress”, “diversity”, multiculturalism, and global management.

            • “…Let him who has two cloaks surrender one to the redistributors so they can decide who gets it”

              Well, if the Church won’t man up and share, *somebody* has to do it. Shall we have people wait around with no food, health care, etc, until the Church decides to get off its backsides and do something? Besides, redistribution is a secular good as well as a spiritual one -tske a look at academic studies of the dangers of excessive inequality both economically and politically. Yeah, thems that have has to have less, and somebody has to have the power to implement that. If you’re not happy with that, I have little with which to comfort you (assuming you *should* be comforted).

              • Burro (Mule) says

                Now that the devil is flushed and running in plain sight, I am indeed strangely comforted. All your disagreement with me about power politics and hierarchies has just been unmasked. We just disagree as to who is to be used as the fulcrum.

                Also, to MichaelZ below, the government to which Yahweh entrusted the institution of the Jubilee was the Judges, a period of almost total anarchy. When the Israelites clamored for a government with more teeth, Samuel warned against just such a thing.

            • Michael Z says

              The Old Testament, on the other hand, *does* have a lot to say in support of the government taking goods away from the rich and redistributing them to the poor. That’s literally what the Year of Jubilee was all about – canceling debts and returning land to the original owners.

              And, the prophets were pretty clear in their condemnation of societies that allowed vast inequality. A government that reflects the Biblical standard will, necessarily, take action to reduce economic inequality and to defend the most vulnerable members of society, i.e. “the alien, the fatherless, and the widow.”

              Given that we need to have some sort of government, wouldn’t you rather have a government that reflects Christian values than one that does not?

              • That rightly depends, for some folks, on *which* Christian values are up for discussion. Too many are all in favor of strict enforcement of sexual norms, and turn a blind eye to economic concerns (which get SO MUCH MORE airtime in the Bible than sexual ones).

                • Yes, they want laws to regulate genitals and reproduction, but not the economy; they aggressively advocate for centralized public control of the former, but say the latter should be relegated to the private sphere and the good will of the individual choice of charitable citizens, private and religious organizations.

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    Actually, I’m not in favor of any government telling people what they can or cannot do in their bedrooms. A government that powerful would be frightening to me. As long as they continue to allow churches to do so, I’m fine with Gomorrica.

                    • Robert F says

                      Then you are okay with same-sex marriage — glad we agree about that, at least.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      Oh, I’m not ‘OK’ with them. The civil society can call anything anything it wants. That doesn’t make it so. The problem comes when they require me to call it the same thing they call it.

                      I expect blowback on this, but I doubt the Catholic or Orthodox churches are going to change their minds.

                    • Robert F says

                      Triggered.

                • john barry says

                  I do not believe in mixing economics with morality so I am of course against paying for sex unless you are in Nha Trang on 3 day R and R. I know this works as a young John Barry was often told there is not enough money. People should not have to pay for love unless you are in Las Vegas .

                  Again I believe there is some confusion as Paul did preach mostly to the gentiles, if my spell check is working correctly.

  2. Robert F says

    Love that mass choir! I’m pretty sure Tristan, the boy with autism, would’ve been welcome at this worship gathering.

  3. The form of government most favored in Holy Writ is authoritarian Theocracy represented by and enforced by the Almighty’s self-appointed ministers. We live in what was intended to be a secular democratic republic whose authority glows from the people for whom it exists to serve.

    Burro given your drothers which would you prefer?
    .

    • Burro (Mule) says

      I prefer governments as close to the familial as possible. I’m fine with the patriarchal clan rule outlined in Judges. Governments are touchy things. Like the Sabbath, they were created to serve the people but almost everywhere they act as if the people should serve them. William Stringfellow, if I read him correctly, dealt with this phenomenon back in the 70s and I see no one who contradicts him.

      You assume that any minister of the Almighty must of needs be self-appointed. That’s pretty damned cynical, as if God the Holy Spirit had no way of informing us of His preferences. Unlike Stringfellow, I believe there must be at least one institution that is not entirely dominated by Lewis’ macrobes. I believe there are several, but even they have been infected, and don’t feel particularly well right now.

      Although I love my comforts, even at my advanced age I would surrender the lot of them to live among people who understood me, and I them.

      • Governments are touchy things. Like the Sabbath, they were created to serve the people but almost everywhere they act as if the people should serve them.

        The same is true of families, particularly the nonnuclear, extended families you are referring to. They can be just as idolatrous as any government, and have been for millennia. If you knew anything about the dark side of the Amish, you would see how this takes place right now in the modern world.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          We can’t avoid the macrobes. We can only hope to ameliorate their effects. Making the State strong enough to beat up your dad or your husband is like flinging the Ring at Gandalf and hoping for the best.

          I’m not so concerned about the dark side of the Amish, but more about the dark side of Amazon, the University of Georgia, and the Division of Children and Family Services

          • Robert F says

            You don’t want to make the state strong enough to beat up your dad or your husband, but you can tolerate your husband or your kid’s dad being strong enough to beat up you or your kids, because the macrobes? Interesting bit of patriarchy masquerading as esotericism there, Mule.

      • The United States was created to serve the people. Very few states could ever make that claim. It’s always astonished me that conservatives can make so much of the uniqueness and specialness of America without understanding at all what actually makes it so.

        I know of no reliable method to verify the bona fides of God’s ministers. I can tell you exactly how the Mayor is elected and of what her powers consist.

        Burro for the life of me I cannot understand how our integrity and our liberty is compromised in any way by having a strong social safety net and strong environmental laws. Can you help me to understand?

        • john barry says

          Stephen, The United States was created to give people life, liberty and pursuit of happiness not a sure thing. Economic and political freedom is the foundation of this country , not serving the individual economic needs of people. I do recall Pat Henry doing the Give Me Health Care or give Me Welfare before the Revolution but he got misquoted. I live with my wife and have to do as she says as she has all the money, I get to cut the grass and eat at Taco Bell.

          If the government provides you health care can it not treat you if you smoke? How about plastic straws in California?. Overweight, no French fries. Nothing is more intrusive in private life than health care. How about the Little Sisters of the Poor who must include abortion in their health care offering ? Should people who voluntarily take illegal drugs be entitled to emergency room service? Why work at a minimum wage job if you can live off the safety net, which is really happening quite often.

          Who ever controls the purse string and makes the rules has the power. Ministers are paid and financed by the church goers , the Mayor is elected, join the church if you want to learn about the bones of a minister. However most in USA or anywhere would trade their political and social freedom for financial freedom floor.
          This is why the future of USA will be socialism as it sounds good and would work as well as the pigs running Animal Farm.

  4. thatotherjean says

    It’s encouraging to see that a few churches have worked out how to do Christianity based in love and service, not censure.

  5. Robert F says

    a little sunlight
    makes you forget
    a week of rain

  6. senecagriggs says

    It appears, from my limited perspective, the more the government attempts to fix income inequality, the greater the inequality becomes.
    ________

    To paraphase: “For you will always have the rich with you.”

    • Actually, from the 40s to the 80s – when the government had high taxes on the rich and banks and securities firms were more tightly regulated – inequality dropped consistently. It was after deregulation and “trickle-down” tax cuts were implemented that inequality started to go back up – and since 2008 it has skyrocketed.

      • Robert F says

        Inadequately regulated capitalism inevitably leads to extreme economic inequality — at its most extreme, it leads to widespread corporate monopoly, and practical elimination of competition in the markets.

        • senecagriggs says

          Our government appears to contribute to that very things.

          All the quantitative easy of the past decades

          So Eeyore, F., are you saying you think the government can fix this?

          • Robert F says

            Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand sure doesn’t.

          • It’s a question of what the present danger is. You could make the case in the second half of the 20th century that big government was be the greatest threat. Those days are long past. Predatory capitalism is the far greater threat now. Times change, and so do the remedies.

          • Well, we sure as hell can’t count on big business to self regulate. Got any suggestions besides government oversight?

          • It’s ironic that the Federal deficit is currently about the same as it was in 2011 when Quantitative Easing was about 2 years old. Then, the mantra from the .01% was deficit reduction. Well, presently, a great contributor to the deficit has been the Trump tax cut (to the wealthy) and no one is screaming about reducing the deficit.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/opinion/notes-on-excessive-wealth-disorder.html

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          What we have is two One True Ways
          “CAPTIALISM GOOD! SOCIALISM EEEEVIL! DIE, HERETIC!!!!!”
          “SOCIALISM GOOD! CAPITALISM EEEEVIL! DIE, HERETIC!!!!!”
          (“GOD SAITH! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!” optional.)
          And anybody who even thinks of a mixed system somewhere in-between is a Traitor and Thought-Criminal to both. Like the Anabaptists during the Reformation Wars.

    • Donalbain says

      Yeah. Why look at evidence and data? Just rely on your own experience that supports what you believed in the first place

  7. Christiane says

    https://www.npr.org/2019/06/22/734923655/opinion-the-filthy-and-uncomfortable-circumstances-of-detained-migrant-children

    when children with problems are sent from sanctuary in our country, then these kinds of conditions endured by migrant children become more understandable . . . . .

    what are we these days as a country, as a Church?

    “If I am not for others, what am I?”

    painful to live through these days of hatred and abuse that is driven by ‘elected’ leaders and visited on innocent children

    I’m ‘off the rails’?

    getting rid of the ‘inconvenient’ by sending them away from a Church setting is just a symptom . . . . soon they will be rounded up and ‘disposed of’ in a land where migrant children are tormented by a government that has no soul

    we’ve seen this before, if we have lived long enough, and it is ugly and vicious and inhumane

    ‘Church’? was it really a ‘Church’ that sent that boy away? Or was it a celebration of something other than Christ?

    ‘white evangelicals supporting Trump’? or mainline Churches throwing handicapped to the curb or an entire nation tolerating the torture of innocent children ‘because they are not ‘ours’ . . . . well, these children are His

    and the question is, if these tormented rejected children belong to Him, then who do we belong to?

    strange days

    rant over for now

    • “if these tormented rejected children belong to Him”

      There’s no question, biblically, about the answer to that question.

      “then who do we belong to?”

      I suspect I know, and it’s scary…

    • Robert F says

      Thanks for your “rant”. The things I’ve been reading the last few days about the conditions these children are being held in by our government has set off a non-stop, continuous yelp/rant inside of me. Staying on the rails is leading to a place that looks more and more like an adumbration of aspects of Auschwitz; I hope we can get the train off the rails entirely before it reaches that destination, or something akin to it.

    • Robert F says

      Christiane, Lately things in this country have put me in mind of Franz Jagerstatter. Simple Austrian peasant though he was, he had the wisdom to see what direction his country had taken under the direction of Hitler, and he chose to get off the train, off the rails, rather than travel the same route. Perhaps he can be our patron saint in these times; and perhaps, though not yet canonized, he may still hear us if we speak to him, and respond from his place of power beside the Lamb.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      Embarrassed as I am to say so, that’s King’s College Cambridge here in England, not Cambridge, Massachusetts, who kicked that poor kid out, so it’s not really a symptom of Trump’s America, as such.

      • Christiane says

        Hello Iain,

        thank you, and I stand corrected FOR THE EXAMPLE I GAVE,

        however, I am the mother of a son with developmental disabilities and perhaps the Trump era itself is also a symptom of what I, my family, and my son have seen over the fifty years of his life, so I have stories to tell but I can’t do that here. I can only celebrate that my son is kind and gentle and has helped stretcher-bound residents in the group home where he lives at Eastern Christian Childrens’ Retreat in Wyckoff NJ. I can celebrate that he is a ‘servant’ of those less fortunate than himself. He can walk. I have witnessed him getting up and choosing a musical toy, which he loves, and carrying it over and placing it very, very gently into the hands of a stretcher-bound resident. The staff tell me that my son frequently shows kindness in this way.

        I am wondering just how ‘handicapped’ a leader is who refuses even soap and tooth brushes to migrant children ???

        I do realize that Trumpism is itself a symptom of something far more deeply embedded in us that needs healing. But in the meantime, our border children need help desperately. We cannot rest or be silent until they are aided, for the sake of our own souls as well as their benefit.

        Thanks again, Iain. I’ve been really upset, and I got it wrong. My bad.

        • Iain Lovejoy says

          Sorry, not trying to upset anyone. It’s just this attitude of trying to shut up kids happens all over. Happened to me and my kids when we started at a new church because they are noisy, and my eldest is a bit hyperactive (and mine were the only kids there when we started, wonder why?) – people complained to the vicar (who was new, and told them to suck it up, as it happens – and now there are more kids).
          Trump’s a [insert expletive here] but he’s not the only one. What’s happening in the US is bad, but there’s other bad stuff in other countries too (including my own, which is the UK, which is why I mentioned we can be sh*ts here too, sometimes, and hence my embarassent that the incident happened in England).
          Trump’s treatment of these children is utterly indefensible and I have absolutely no intention of trying to defend it.

  8. john barry says

    Historically America using the foundational principles our government and society was founded on with a heavy dose of learned common sense came up with a workable winning formula of a viable economic system that worked.
    Starting with Washington, A. Jackson, T.R. Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Regan , Bush 1 and even Bill Clinton common sense and a business/elite class that understood the symbiotic relationship between the different economic classes.
    Nixon in in 1972 with the misguided policy of opening up China started the game changer in one area. The other was the complete lack of fairness and compassion for the lower economic classes that the elites once had. We lost our way. Of course government has to play a limited roll and keep the playing field as level as possible.
    Actually the populist that really tried to be a game changer is Trump but he cannot defeat the establishment that controls all the levels of power. Example , one way to help working class families with child care, pay one parent (worker)k enough that they can raise their family on one income. From the extreme Republicans on one side, the Koch Brothers with their liberation nonsense , the pandering social extreme Democrats and the general establishment status quo that is no real dialogue and thoughtful solution to our current economic problems that are a ticking time bomb that no one wants to touch. I apologize for mentioning Trump but it is relative to the issue, in my opinion.
    To much to sound bite and settle here but at some point if the citizens in USA do not demand their leaders protect our economic system we will lose what we have gained. I totally agree with comments above that when the citizens, the working class, lose hope than big problems ensure. Most of my friends, who are fat and happy really dislike and have a terrible opinion of FDR but I believe he save the USA from revolution, and I know WW 2 helped.
    Business now have no allegiance to anyone but the stock holders and themselves. There is no social conscience based on Christian values as Americans historically interpreted them. The social safety net and all the programs that were needed and good have been abused by many in the working class .
    Nothing specific I know , but this is a subject that could cover many weeks. The total mis understanding of David Ricardo vs Adam Smith of absolute advantage
    Money does not buy happiness but it does buy freedom either for an individual or a nation. I have gotten off on a tangent and if you understand my comments let me know because I don.t (just joking) I am as serious as I can be.
    As my cousin who works for Duke energy in the power states often “Power to the People” but I am afraid having all that power has gone to his head.

    • Robert F says

      Since you brought him up, all I have to say is that Trump governs by deregulation. In this this age of global economic, environmental, and international relationship challenges, a policy of deregulation is a temporary, short-term economic and nationalistic feel-good strategy that we will all pay for (depending on our age and longevity) sooner rather than later. It’s like a drug addict’s addiction, and it won’t last; we’re going to hit bottom

      • Christiane says

        morally, if the barometer is how we treat the border children, Trump’s America is already in the toilet

        • Robert F says

          His people were in court before a judge the other day, claiming that legal requirements of hygiene and safety do not require the kids to have soap, toothbrushes, or adequate bedding, that’s it’s alright to have them sleep on cold concrete floors without mattress or blankets.

      • john barry says

        Robert F. I agree with you about the reduction in regulations. Many government oversight and regulatory departments have provided the foundation of our historic success. The pendulum swings to far with no, little or too much regulation and I share your concern. T.R. Roosevelt needed to be the trust buster for example.
        My point about that is the entrenched power elites do not want to change the status quo as it is good for them. Defined pension plans, health care and many lower and middle class gains have been eroded.
        Again I am with that there is real danger is the short term quick fix unless tax revenue increases increase in wealth across the spectrum. Good observation

      • senecagriggs says

        Then you do agree F.,

        On EARTH
        They all lie
        Nothing works
        You can never win
        AND
        Pond Scum inevitable rises to the top.
        ______________

        The cold truth is quite brutal.

        So I depend upon the sovereignty of God

        • Robert F says

          What? I agree with … what? Have you been drinking?

          • How easily they appeal to fatalism when the unfairness is stacked more against others than themselves.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              “I Got Mine,
              I Got Mine,
              The World’s the Way It’s Meant to Be,
              I Got Mine…”
              — Glenn Frey

              And if you’re Calvinist, doubly so. Whatever will be, Will Be; God Wills It, and who are we to rebel against His Will? In the past, the proof of Predestined Election was getting filthy stinking rich. (Today’s Prosperity Gospel is an echo of this.)

              Such “In’Shal’lah… Eh, Kismet?” fatalism and its corollary passivity has been one of Islam’s big handicaps throughout its history. Why should Christians join in the chorus?