Tag Archives: leaders

a Veterans Day Prayer

God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation
and have laid down their lives to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought, whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now, especially for those in harm’s way.
Shield them from danger and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us, the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains, the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us! Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!

Amen.

Concord Pastor

fiddling while the world burns!

“If your house is on fire, you don’t comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don’t sit idly back and think, ‘Oh well, that is the way of nature.’ You get going, immediately. And you don’t spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don’t, you won’t have a place to live.” 
   ~Bill NyeUnstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, 2015

We have a president that ignores and dismisses anything that is not profitable to himself in some way or another. His entire focus is power and wealth. But like most men wrapped up in themselves, he is a disgustingly small package.

At a time in history when climate change demands strong, determined action from global leaders, the #BLOTUS, thumbs his nose at science and turns his back on responsibility. He has bet the devil his fiddle of gold won’t melt in the fire. Then the little man paused, smirked, and said, ” to hell with the rest of them.”

“I personally resent it bitterly”

Imagine:

Isaac Asimov has captured my feelings perfectly. Those that refuse to agree with fact built on a foundation of thousands of years of science and rational study have a right to their views, but to use those “feeble and childish beliefs” to enact laws that destroy our planet for personal gain is absolutely repugnant…and I, Like Issac Asimov, personally resent it bitterly

if you are not outraged…

I am not sure that Thurber’s quote is entirely appropriate for the situation in which we now find ourselves. Looking around with any degree of true awareness, fear and anger will almost certainly be two of the first emotions that come to mind.

I once had a bumper sticker that read, “IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! Sadly, it has gone the way of all old bumper stickers.

How I wish I had that bumper sticker now. Never has it been more relevant.

I am paying attention. And I am outraged. I am disgusted with the lies and the slander and all the deceit in the current Presidential campaign. But, I am more outraged that all of us who so loudly proclaim to live by Christian values don’t.

I am tired of all of us who play church, but do not live in love, who refuse to be peacemakers, and who really worship at the altars of wealth and power. When I look around in awareness I am saddened to realize that we actually have the government and the leaders we deserve.

how far have we drifted?

Having just once again read Orwell’s 1984, this quote resonates with me. It also resonates with me because of all that I see happening around me. When almost half of everything we hear from the two leading presidential candidates can be fact-checked and proven false, I am more than a little concerned about where we are as a society.

The consequences are ugly. If we continue to allow our leaders to openly lie; if we refuse to demand the truth, we will have no one but ourselves to blame when there is no difference between the two. That line is becoming more blurred every day.

Donald Trump, for instance, has already cried foul at the thought that his statements might be fact-checked during tomorrow night’s face-to-face debate with Hillary Clinton. How frightening is it when the two leading contenders for the highest office in our nation are afraid of facts?

Any of us can say anything. That doesn’t make our statements true. But, shouldn’t we hold our political leaders accountable for intentionally lying and using half-truths? Don’t we want our leaders to be factual?

I, for one, would like to have the statements of all presidential candidates fact-checked, even if, in those famous words from A Few Good Men, we can’t handle the truth.

do all the good you can

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. — John Wesley

This familiar quote by the founder of Methodism never loses its appeal to me. Every time I hear it used or every time I see it quoted again reminds me that we have an unending responsibility “to keep on keeping on.”

What continues to inspire me is that John Wesley didn’t just preach about doing good. He demonstrated the “do all the good you can” philosophy every day of his life. He preached to the poor, visited those in prison, and never ceased crusading for those marginalized by society.

Mr. Wesley would  not be popular in today’s United Methodist Church. He would be disgusted by (what would appear to him as) the laziness demonstrated by the majority of today’s clergy. He would find the amount of time we waste as both abhorrent and inexcusable. He simply wouldn’t tolerate the lack of zeal we demonstrate as leaders of the people called Methodists.

He wouldn’t be gentle in instructing us about doing good at all the times we could. He would be quick to administer a solid kick to the seat of our pants with a loving reminder that we are to do all the good we can for as long as we can.

And I am quite sure Mr. Wesley would let us know in no uncertain terms that there is no retiring from doing all the good we can. Wesley was raising funds for the poor in snow and ice less than two weeks before he died. But then, for him,  doing good wasn’t a career. It was a calling.

 

our problem

I first became aware of Howard Zinn when I came home from my humanitarian assessment trip to Iraq before the Second Gulf War. His voice was one that could not be ignored in it’s opposition to the cacophony of lies  and half-truths trumpeted by the US administration for the need to invade Iraq. His fearless attacks against the rampant stupidity being promoted won him a place as one of my favorites.

I was surprised and delighted to find that Zinn is also a favorite of Willie Nelson. As I was reading Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, I came across this powerful quote.

Civil disobedience is not our problem.  Our problem is civil obedience.  Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience….Our problem is that the people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity and war and cruelty.  Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…and the grand thieves are running the country.  That’s our problem.

Zinn is right. We are mostly like sheep and far too obedient for our own good. There is no righteousness in allowing evil to flourish and remaining silent in the face of injustice. Never doubt that authority always needs to be questioned, sometimes confronted, and when necessary…even disobeyed.

make them follow

As I was doing my morning check of TWITTER I came across several powerful remarks by Kofi Annan, the former General Secretary of the United Nations. His remarks were given at a youth conference and are right on target for anyone interested in changing the world. I want to focus on only one.

Where leaders fail to lead, the people can make them follow — the people can lead if there is enough noise, pressure and organization.

If we want a world without hunger in our lifetime we must make them follow. Our task is to make the leaders follow our understanding of a world without hunger, food for all, justice for all. Obviously, global leaders have not caught the vision of a world where no child is allowed to go hungry. So we must turn the leaders into followers.

We can make them follow by making noise. We must be the voice of the voiceless. We have to speak up and speak out for the poor and the hungry. We have to be their advocates if hunger is to be eliminated.

We can make them follow by putting pressure on them. Leaders, good leaders, listen. If we let them know we are serious, we won’t be silent, and we won’t go away, good leaders will pay attention to our concerns for the hungry.

We make them follow by being organized. This generation has the unbelievable networking power of social media. Organizing our efforts on behalf of the least of these among us is absolutely essential in achieving our goal of ending hunger in our lifetime.

Working together we can make them follow. We can lead the leaders to where we know our world should be. We can change the world. We just need to make them follow.