Tag Archives: Vietnam

the Holy Family today

Here is a powerful statement of faithfulness. This is art that is challenging power while proclaiming the Gospel. I am inspired that there are believers like the #nakedpastor who still have the courage to speak the truth to those in authority and remain true to the call of Jesus in our lives.

#BLOTUS would not allow Jesus and His parents into the United States today, even if they were fleeing for their lives.  Drumpf knows the danger the Christ child is to his  administration’s views and wishes.

I have hidden behind walls of barbed wire and concertina in Vietnam.  It can make you feel safer. But, the thing to remember is that walls hold you in  just as much as they keep others out. And I, for one, don’t like being a captive.

nourished on the blood of sinners

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924–2006) was a clergyman and long-time peace activist. Ordained in the Presbyterian church, he later received ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ. He was an athlete, a talented pianist, a CIA agent, and later chaplain at Yale, where the influence of Reinhold Niebuhr’s social philosophy led him to become a leader in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He went on to serve as Senior Minister at the Riverside Church in New York and President of SANE/Freeze (now Peace Action), the nation’s largest peace and justice group.

Coffin prominently opposed United States military interventions in conflicts such as Vietnam up to the Iraq War. He was also an ardent supporter of gay rights.

In his book, The Courage to Love he wrote:

The temptation to moralize is strong; it is emotionally satisfying to have enemies rather than problems, to seek out culprits rather than flaws in the system. God knows it is emotionally satisfying to be righteous with that righteousness that nourishes itself on the blood of sinners. But God also knows that what is emotionally satisfying can be spiritually devastating. 

Pointing a finger is far easier and far more emotionally satisfying than offering understanding and having the courage to search out the root causes of social ills. Many among us even blame the poor for their poverty rather than search for the flaws in system that perpetuates their poverty.

The growing number of poor and the hungry in our country are not our enemies. They are the living and suffering symptoms of a flawed and spiritually devastating economic system that we refuse to address.

With less self-righteousness and  more courage to love we might come to a place where we are willing to look at the system rather than just continue pointing our fingers. Until then, however, we just continue to be nourished on the blood of sinners.


hunger is a four-letter word

I’ve touched the shadows of vaporized victims forever etched in stone in Hiroshima.

I’ve experienced the violent death of friends and comrades in the rice paddies of Vietnam.

I’ve witnessed atrocities too repulsive for words in Sierra Leone.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the ugly results of my own nation’s misuse of power in the name of peace as I worked to stop the Second Gulf War.

Over the past four decades, I have seen…I have touched, smelled, tasted, heard and felt violence and the lack of peace in scores of countries and dozens of combat zones around the world.

But, none of that compares to the unbelievably gross and senseless vulgarity of global hunger. Hunger is a four-letter word scrawled in red across our entire planet.

And the reality we need to face is that there will never be peace until we erase this moral outrage.

Peace can never be achieved without justice. And justice demands the cries of the hungry are stilled.

We can end hunger in our lifetime. It’s the first step toward achieving justice in the world. All we have to do is decide is that is what we really want. I’m not convinced it is.