Unpacking the myth

Today a friend of mine shared a poignant post from John Pavlovitz’ blog which was written last week. It is the Myth of Pro-Life Christianity. The author’s eloquence is spot on. I’ve pondered much of what he said for the past 9 months as I’ve watched Americans die in record numbers while the national leadership dawdled.

“We are currently losing several thousand people here every single day and likely will for the coming months.

In less than a single year, more than 300,000 Americans will have died.

That’s 75,000 “Benghazis” for which these same people flagellated themselves and clutched their pearls and engaged in wild public histrionics, because American lives were supposedly important to them.

That’s 100 “9/11 attacks,” for which nineteen years later, they still proudly brandish their #NeverForget bumper stickers and annual social media eulogies and America First bravado—because unnecessary death moves them, apparently.” – John Pavlovitz

They stood by and did nothing while the country has been ravished by a pandemic which they denied. They mocked and degraded scientists and healthcare professionals when they knew of the deadliness of the virus. They blamed China for their own incompetence and complicity. I never believed any of these turds were pro-life. It was just a punch line for them. They’re against abortion and that’s a good cause but they don’t have any idea what it means to be pro-life.

I pray everyday that our lack of national leadership won’t do anymore harm. I pray for the victims, families affected, medical professionals on the front lines.

Wrong man for the job

Rage by Bob Woodward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a page turner. Woodward does a great job of reporting on the Trump presidency with extensive interviews with the principals in the story. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. The quote from the last page of the Epilogues sums up the book and the Trump presidency as well as anything I’ve read.

“For nearly 50 years, I have written about nine presidents from Nixon to Trump—20 percent of the 45 U.S. presidents. A president must be willing to share the worst with the people, the bad news with the good. All presidents have a large obligation to inform, warn, protect, to define goals and the true national interest. It should be a truth-telling response to the world, especially in crisis. Trump has, instead, enshrined personal impulse as a governing principle of his presidency. When his performance as president is taken in its entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

— Bob Woodward

A comic genius

There’s a lot to be concerned about if you’re a citizen of the United States. We’re embroiled in a global pandemic. One hundred and seven thousand of our citizen have died and one million eight hundred thousand are infected with the virus. We are country at war with ourselves with anemic national leadership whose only interest is in re-election in November. Despite all of this there is reason to smile. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of Sarah Cooper. Now I can’t wait to see her latest skit. She’s become very good at satirizing our president using his own words and lip synching them for TikTok or YouTube videos. She’s been on Twitter since 2008 and has a million followers. I wonder how many she had a month ago. She’s recently appeared on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show and also appeared with the Ellen DeGeneres on EllenTube. I listened to one of her interviews and she said these thirty second clips satirizing President Trump take up to five hours to create. She’s one of the people keeping me sane and apparently many others too. Keep up the comedy Sarah!

Shelter Us

This has been an apocalyptic day in an apocalyptic time. We have had nearly a week of looting and rioting following the murder of an innocent black man by police in Minneapolis. The country and world are enduring a pandemic and now we are beset by civil strife the likes of which we have not seen in over fifty years. We are descending into chaos and perhaps worse. Tonight our president threatened to send the military into states that did not meet his ultimatum to end the uprising. It’s all bound to fail as only love can conquer hate but our president is not a man who loves anyone. I pray for him everyday. He’s out of his depth. Worse yet we need real leadership at this time in our history and in the world as we grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

People are hurting and sending in the troops is not going to allay their fears nor will it end the strife. It will likely cause the pandemic to worsen. Recently I read that Michael Joncas had released a new hymn in the midst of this chaos. It’s called ‘Shelter Me.’ It’s going to be a classic and maybe it will bring peace to our strife torn country and world. The enemies of peace and freedom seem to be winning tonight.


We thirst for you in this dry and weary land

Last night on my way home I turned to look at the setting sun and snapped this picture. There is no special filter but a beam of light appears to be streaming from the sun toward me. It’s my habit to pray as I walk and my prayers had focused on the pandemic and those who are the caretakers along with those who are suffering and dying. There is a time in all prayer when I have to ask myself “Is there a higher power” who really cares? Do these prayers make a difference? I read the psalms from time to time and often there is a conversation implied. One of my favorites is Psalm 63 which was written by David in the Desert of Judah.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. –

Psalm 63

The psalm is about being stranded in the desert away from one’s family. There’s a connection for me with the psalm. Many times in my life when I have felt alone and afraid I have turned to this psalm and read it again. The beam of light in the photo invited a connection too. It signified an answer to prayer.

Is this the apocalypse?

Tonight as we were eating dinner my wife shared of when she was a little girl who grew up in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said she often wondered if someday she’d come home and someone would have started a nuclear war. I grew up in those times too. We had civil defense drills in school. We’d be instructed to hide under our desks or place our heads next to the corridor wall to protect us from the blast. Families and schools built “fallout shelters” and they were stocked with blankets and other emergency items to ensure we survived the unthinkable aftermath of nuclear war.

That was almost sixty years ago. The threat of nuclear war loomed over all of us who grew up in the post World War II 1950’s and 1960’s. There was the Berlin buildup, Vietnam and the peace movement. Then the roaring 80’s of Reaganomics and a possible clash with the Russians. The threat of nuclear war loomed briefly once again. There were low grade wars in the middle east because of our addiction to oil. Thousands of Americans lost their lives along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s and other residents of the lands we fought on. The all volunteer force allowed most Americans the luxury of not having to be involved. Shared sacrifice was replaced with glib, “thank you for your service.” We could be distant and cold to the needs of the poor, the marginalized and to the planet itself.

There were the prophets who warned us there was a day of reckoning in the future. It was our children and grand-children who would pay the price of our disconnection with the planet and with each other. Politicians told us that we could not afford to disrupt our economy to address the needs of the planet. We ignored violent tornadoes, one hundred year floods that occurred with increasing severity, fires that burned out of control and threatened entire ecosystems.

Now we are in the grip of a pandemic that threatens the existence of our civilization. We are locked down in our homes. Afraid to to touch our neighbors or worse yet breathe on them. Doctors and nurses are dying to save us. We, in the richest country on earth lack adequate medical supplies and infrastructure to save our citizens. The cost in human life is immense. One expert today suggested that 200,000 people in the United States alone will perish. The world wide total will be in the millions. There is no known cure for the virus. Is this the apocalypse? Our vast weapons systems that cost trillions of dollars are powerless to stop the pandemic. Our military is infected and faces a threat they’ve never known. Field hospitals are being setup all over the country and the world to care for those who need them.

Yesterday as I walked in the woods near my home I saw deer who crossed my path. There were some robins too. There were some beautiful flowers along the trail. I wondered if I would be here next year to see them. Will this be my final spring? Will this be our final spring? Be sure to tell the people around you that you love them. Make sure your affairs are in order. There are no guarantees. Make peace with each other and with the planet. Live simply so others can simply live. Pray for each other even for those you don’t like.

We were flying to the moon

Reading on the internet tonight led me to Ireland and Sister Maud Murphy, SSL who has written a timely poem about the Coronavirus. She’s hit the nail on the head. It’s a theme I have thought of often this week as I’ve listened to politicians posture about how this virus is the fault of a particular geographic area of our world. The virus comes not from a particular place but from a lifestyle of over consumption. Our failure to live simply so that others could simply live has caught up with us. Now we face a reckoning of our own creation. It’s payback time and as an old friend once said, “payback’s a bitch.”

We were warned by Rachel Carson nearly sixty years ago when she published “Silent Spring.” Al Gore published Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and it was dismissed as too political. Politicians and pundits laughed and said there was no way we could afford to change our ways. It was not economically feasible they said. In 2015 Pope Francis released Laudate Si and again the politicians and pundits dismissed it. It was economically not feasible and some said the pope should tend to matters of the church because the climate and the economy were not his business. Last year Greta Thunberg warned us just as the prophets of old that our time was running out. She was dismissed as all the prophets have always been. They said she was crazy. Some folks said that Greta had anger management issues. The Green New Deal was dismissed out of hand by those who worshipped the golden calf of the stock market and economy.

Now the planet has spoken and she has our attention. Sister Maud Murphy has written a poignant poem that captures the irony of our dilemma. The stock market is plummeting and the economy is tanking. We are forced to keep our distance from neighbors. Businesses are shuttered. Maybe there is a silver lining in Coronavirus. Maybe we’ll emerge transformed. Maybe.

We were flying to the Moon
We were finding life on Mars
We were dropping bombs with drones
We were getting bigger cars.
We were building finer homes
Flying out to warmer lands
We were busy buying clothes
We were brushing up our tans.
We were throwing out good food
While we watched the starving poor
We kept burning fossil fuels
And our air became less pure.
We were warned by our Pope
Need to mind our Common Home
Need to watch our Carbon Footprint
Try to save our world from doom. – Sister Maud Murphy, SSL

Read the entire poem here.