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Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Speaking For" Christians

Pro bono publico and quid pro quo mean for the public good and this for that respectively. Pro phetes means to speak for. It is from this phrase that we get the word prophet. The prophet of God is one who speaks for God.

The Hebrew prophets spoke for justice. They spoke for the poor. They spoke out against systems that left the widows and orphans unattended. They were not, as I hope most readers understand, fortune tellers. Everything they said was contingent on present action. IF you continue to disobey God’s law, THEN God will give you into captivity.

I think a good name for Christians who play a similar role in modern culture—warning the nation of the evils and dangers of neglecting the poor and the outcast—is Prophetic Christians. Just as Evangelical Christians are those who see the most important thing about the faith as spreading it to others so that these new converts may receive Salvation, Prophetic Christians would be those who see the most important thing about the faith as improving this world and bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.

Jesus taught us, we Prophetic Christians, that when we speak for the outcast, when we speak for the poor, when we speak for those without a voice, we speak for God.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Anecdotal Evidence on Gays in the Military

I have two pieces of anecdotal evidence to share with regard to gays in the military.

First, a note to my left wing extremist Clinton hater friends. If you google Don't Ask Don't Tell you will learn that this is the Clinton Administration policy which banned gays from the military. Well, Clinton became president in 1993. I was in Northwestern University Reserve Officer Training Corps from 1989 until 1993, and every semester I was there I signed a piece of paper swearing that I was not gay. In fact, there was quite a stir about kicking ROTC units off campus because they didn't admit gays. All before Bill Clinton banned gays from the military. Moral of the story: Bill Clinton did not ban gays from the military. He made a compromise that turned out to be no compromise at all. There ended up being plenty of asking despite the new policy codified at 10 USC 654. Failing make things better for gays in the military is pretty different from banning gays from the military.

Second, although I see very little opposition to gays in the military these days, I feel compelled to point out that I served on board USS Billfish with four guys that were variously out. One MM1 was completely out. One YNC may or may not have been gay, but everyone on the ship assumed he was gay. Finally a couple of ST2's accepted $75 to let the completely out guy give them oral sex. Or at least that was the rumor, and for my purposes here, that is good enough. Billfish never failed to get underway on time because of the presence of these guys on the ship. No one tried to beat them up. Everything worked just fine. My point: it is stupid to ban gays from the military.

On Judaism

Some say that God/Truth exists beyond this natural world.  They are the Hindus who teach that this world is maya, illusion.  They are the philosophers who teach that this world seems ever changing due to natural forces, but the truth lies with the unchanging forms.

Some say that God/Truth exists in this world but cannot be changed.  They are the natural polytheists, like the Egyptians who saw their god Ra everyday.  They are the scientists who study the movement of celestial bodies.  Neither asks what ought to be; both observe what is.

Judaism established the natural world as both important and changeable.  Through the prophets, the Jews worked to see the world as what it could be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Reflection

James and Kate’s Great-grandmother (Kirschner) Barton was a precinct committeemen along with her husband in the 1950’s. She raised six boys and adopted a niece. She was running the “little old ladies” to the doctor well into her eighties. Great-grandmother (Beals) Stone threw her husband out of the house in the 1950’s because he drank too much and gambled their money away. She raised two girls without a husband in a time when that meant doing without just about everything; but she taught her girls a lesson about strength and priorities. Great-grandmother (Pineau) Shea immigrated to this country from Prince Edward Island and when her sister stole her purse to try and keep her in Boston, she boarded the bus and convinced the bus driver to take her to Brooklyn—literally with the clothes on her back. Great-grandmother (Craig) Cassidy spent an extra day on Ellis Island because her brother forgot to pick her up. She also brought her Old World culture with her, teaching her grandchildren about fairies that she had seen with her own eyes no matter what others would say.

My wife’s mom started a preschool here in Arizona over twenty years ago. She worked on Wall Street. She took care of her mother and raised her kids. She is a ball of energy that there is no way I can keep up with. My mom has taught the severely and profoundly mentally handicapped as well as children with learning disabilities. She has shown those children the same limitless compassion she as show my brothers and me. Out of the classroom, she is also their advocate, always looking out for their rights.

James and Kate’s mom is a woman of uncompromising standards, particularly when it comes to the pursuit of academic excellence. She loves learning as much as she loves teaching. She brings integrity to her work whether her students are adults seeking a certification or a three-year old learning her letters.

Add to this list the many female role models Kate has at church (I seriously do not have space to begin listing them), it is obvious to see how blessed she is to have so many examples. Sometimes I forget to consider how lucky James is as well. When you have a mother and father that are partners in their marriage, when you see a mother who is not only intelligent but intellectually curious, when you see strength to go along with your mother’s compassion that is the relationship you seek out as an adult. I guess my point is that for both Kate and James, one of the greatest gifts their mother has given them is to make it likely that their kids will also have a mother like her.