Vice President Mike Pence asserted that he never eats, travels or meets alone with any woman other than his wife. His statement was met with howls of indignation from late-night comics. But, based on what we now know of some men’s behavior, maybe it’s not a bad idea.
Thanksgiving calls my attention toward the good in life, toward the countless things I’m grateful for. It reminds me life is worth living for as long as you have it, in whatever season you find yourself.
I remember reading years ago about the fall of a bishop, I think it was. Apparently, this respected bishop had been excommunicated, or at least removed from his post in disgrace. His sin? He’d displayed a fondness for making money and accumulating wealth. Makes you wonder how we got from there to the contemporary prosperity gospel, in which God wants every Christian to wear a Rolex, drive a Cadillac and become a political power-broker.
These days, Christians are identified by our finger-wagging, tongue-clucking condemnation and intolerance — but rarely by our love. Often, Christians’ smugness, tribalism and angry rhetoric contribute to the problem. That shouldn’t be so.
The same Bible tells us that every day of our lives was planned by God before we were born — and then tells us in the next breath to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” as if the whole responsibility lies with us. So, what is it?
If you’ve tried and tried to change a generally unhappy situation and nothing will give, at least consider the possibility that this is where you’re supposed to be for now. Maybe you’re here for some purpose you haven’t recognized yet.
How, exactly, are we to overcome evil with good? Campaign for better gun control? Donate blood? Hold community prayer meetings? Those all might be compassionate actions. I’m certainly not opposed to them. Yet they don’t seem adequate. Nothing seems adequate.
It’s my contention that you rarely must sacrifice the integrity or the cherished details of your own beliefs to listen to, or work with, those whose beliefs differ. The commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is an example of that.
If you somehow picture the United States as still made up primarily of white Christians, and even more specifically by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants think again. That country, if it ever existed, is gone forever.
Hurricane Harvey provided merely the latest excuse for people to take pot shots at Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen. There’s something about the guy that just makes some folks livid. I don’t get it.
No doubt, whole generations of my Kentucky ancestors are now kicking the slats out of their coffins at the thought of church leaders contaminating our Christian souls with an Eastern system of meditation. Yet I find much that is compatible with my own Christian beliefs about embracing humility, forgoing judgment and maintaining peace of mind.
Don’t be imprisoned by your fear of hearing something that might undermine your beliefs. If your beliefs are that fragile, they need to be undermined. Instead, be brave. God is big enough to help you digest contradictions. Learn and come away wiser.
To a bitter Confederate widow, Robert E. Lee said, “Madam, do not train up your children in hostility to the government of the United States. Remember, we are all one country now. … Bring them up to be Americans.” Clearly, it’s ironic (some might say hypocritical) that the general most responsible for nearly destroying the nation would advise others to forget their ill will and heal that same country.
In the years since 1982, when Mother Teresa established her order’s first rural convent at Jenkins in Eastern Kentucky, the Missionaries of Charity have carried on her work of serving the poor, the sick and the aging in the mountain community. Mother Teresa is to be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church Sunday.
Mother Teresa's legacy: Eastern Kentucky convent carries on her work