Thursday, September 28, 2006
When I lived in Denver, I became a big Colorado Rockies fan. I was able to have some peaceful co-existence between my favorite teams because they were in different leagues (and the prospects of them facing each other in the play-offs was slim).
Having been in the Kansas City region for the past decade, the Royals have been growing on me. I have spent many years wondering if I had three teams that I cared about, surely one of them could reach .500.
Right now, however, I wish the Royals better luck in future seasons, but the only purpose they play in my universe is to lose to the Tigers and win as many games as they from the Twins. It perhaps seems uncaring and callous, but I have gotten in touch with that 15-year boy inside of me who remembers what 1984 was like for the Tigers and his passions are overwhelming any of my rational, constructs about the possibility of an "ecumenical," non-competive enjoyment of baseball. To October!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
These two groups (those who find difficulty with the law and public officials) aren't mutually exclusive. The story tells how Rep. Skelton attempted to obtain a state issued voter ID card (Skelton doesn't drive because of a disability). He left 45 minutes later empty handed. What was the flimsy form of ID that Skelton tried to use to get his state ID? His federal congressional identification card.
He was told that was not acceptable (this is from a county clerk that knew who the congressman was). Lets be thankful that the law will eliminate the huge potential of voter fraud from those who are using counterfeit congressional identification cards in Missouri.
Monday, August 14, 2006
The question sometimes is asked is anyone actually reading my blog (or most blogs in general). The answer is clearly yes. I traveled to Alabama several months ago for my church and met a young man who had found my blog page and been reading it. However, I'm not going to say that I have a huge audience. (I've never spent much time with website statistic/hits programs). Yet there are also sorts of reasons to blog. Leaves is, in the end, not for anyone else, but rather a chance for me to express some of the thoughts and ideas I have about my church.
I'm still debating on how much self-disclosure to post on the blog. For a wonderful blog, from an outstanding person who is willing to share, many, many things about herself, visit Janet's Blog. Janet is my sister-in-law and her blog chronicles her struggle with breast cancer. I think many people could be helped by reading Janet's blog. I also have learned so much more about her by reading the blog. But in the end, I don't know how much of writing the blog is simply about Janet needing a place to express herself.
We all need to be heard and blogs provide a new way for that to happen. When in seminary, I read an essay by Robert Putnam called "Bowling Alone." Putnam looked at the decline in civic culture and community institutions. I believe there is the possibility for blogs and other types of social networking software to help rebuild our social networks (by no means are they the answer alone).
If you are so inclined, please visit Leaves from the Blog of a Tamed Cynic (the title is a reference from a book written by Reinhold Niebuhr--see Leaves for more info) and e-mail me on what you think.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Lets be clear, one can run a website any way they want to and post the message that they wish to convey. However, I think that blogs that try to limit a real discussion fail to understand the medium and the true power of the Internet. It also seems that conservatives are more likely to want to reign in debate than liberals are (warning! huge over-generalization!)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Still, anytime you want to quibble about the content on johncombest, you are reminded of the tag line of "Missouri's political news website since Oct. 2001." Every morning (I'd say like the US Postal service, but that might offend a good Republican like John!) for the past five years, he has posted links to the significant Missouri political news. It is an impressive run and the new look is a welcome development. John may have started the site for his fellow Republicans, but we all benefit.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Another problem can come when the congregation comes up with a "All Babies Must Eat" mission statement--something no one disagrees with, but is just so perfectly obvious you wonder why you need to put it in print.
As I've been thinking about these issues without he church, I'm again drawn to the work of Bill Easum. He has a great article talking about "Clarifying Our Mission, Vision, and Values." All three are important and Easum acknowledges the hard work to discern where God is calling a congregation. Definitely worth a read.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Perhaps a good reminder that no matter how many differences I ever had with RightMissouri, we have much more in common than the forces in the world who might wish to destroy our way of life.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
OfficeMax Inc., one of the nation's leading office-supply chains, is eliminating almost all retail mailin-rebate programs--long a source of consumer angst--effective Sunday. Instead, shoppers will see immediate discounts in product pricing at the cash register.Here is hoping that this is a start of a global trend! ;-)
Saturday, July 01, 2006
The polling firm was American Viewpoint, which handles a number of republican clients. However, what I found interesting is their listing of those clients. They display the name of former Kansas Republican fith congressional district candidate nominee, Adam Taft. Hmmm, perhaps somone should let American Viewpoint know that their former client was convicted of wire fraud with campaign contributions. He might not represent the image that the firm is wanting to project--but what do I know!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
Turnout at the Spiritual Activism Conference is high, but if the gathering is any indication, the biggest barrier for liberals may be their regard for pluralism: for letting people say what they want, how they want to, and for trying to include everyone's priorities, rather than choosing two or three issues that could inspire a movement.This observation might be correct, however, the real question is who will do the choosing for the "religious Left?" The real leaders of the religious Right were not established leaders of denominations, but rather became powerful leaders through their organizational and fund-raising efforts. I would content that the Evangelical Church is much more open to these entrepreneurial leaders than the Mainline Church is. (It is probably telling that one of the most significant leaders of the progressive movement in the church, Jim Wallis--comes from an Evangelical perspective.)
I believe there is hope for the Religous Left (or Progressive Faith), but there will be moments of frustration like the article documents.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"[T]he Iraq War will stand for a long time as a monument to the potential excesses of evangelical thinking - and when it comes to our foreign policy, I hope the next GOP President partakes of a little less of Bush-style missionary zeal, and a little more of that old-time conservative religion," - Ross Douthat, on how evangelicalism has changed conservatism in the Bush era.Nicely said.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Over at KC Buzz Blog, I wrote on a comment:
I'm unclear if the governor is covered himself under this policy. Also--could one accept gifts from non-lobbyists (such as the corporations that lobbyist represent)? What gifts/meals from about political parties or PACs?
What seems strange is the type of gifts the governor is talking about are exactly the the things widely accepted by his father--Rep. Roy Blunt. Does Matt Blunt believe that any other elected official should adopt his rules? Why doesn't he introduce legislation that would require all elected officials in Missouri to uphold this standard?
It is strange that Blunt has focused on one of the ethical areas that he is not under attack for. The nasty thing about ethics reform is that it needs to be comprehensive--campaign contributions, patronage positions, etc. Also, it is appropriate for state lawmakers, then it should apply to the Federal lawmakers as well.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
I guess I still find it amazing that a good Baptist like Matt Blunt is happy to seek favor with Catholic leaders. On issues like abortion, stem-cells and gay rights, Catholics (or at least the Catholic Church's leadership) is very much in step with the religious Right. I was listening to conservative Christian talk radio after the death of Pope John Paul II and listened to caller after caller sing the praises (ok not literally) of the Pope. Anti-Catholicism has been such a significant part of many American Protestants' belief systems that to see the negative attitudes diminished is very suprising. (I'm quite frankly torn between believing it is a step forward in tolerance or is it just politically astute for the Religious Right to try to broaden their base).
However, just to remind us that there are limits to the "Big Tent" of the Religious Right. Robert Novak recently wrote about Governor Mitt Romney that:
Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If Romney is nominated and their abstention results in the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's just too bad. The evangelicals are adamant, saying there is no way Romney can win them over.The irony is that the LDS Church is much more aligned with the political agenda of the Republican party, than the Catholic Church is (I am always inspired by the Catholic Church's prophetic teaching on issues such as concern for the poor and the marginalized). Yet criticizing the LDS Church (including calling them non-Christian and working to convert them) has become a cottage industry for fundamentalists. Perhaps because both fundamentalists and Mormons are trying to convert the same groups of people, suspicion between the groups continues. I mean when was the last time you had Catholic missionaries knocking on your door!
It is an interesting dilemma for those that are trying to form a political coalition from religious groups with very different theological positions.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
'As a mapmaker, I can have more of an impact on an election than a campaign, than a candidate,' says Republican consultant David Winston, who drew House seats for the GOP after the 1990 U.S. Census. 'When I, as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system in out of whack.'One can hope that there will be some courageous politicians that will put principle ahead of pure partisan gain before the redistricting cycle starts again.
Friday, April 14, 2006
The first is that everyone should have available, affordable healthcare through a market-driven approach focused on the patient's right to know about the quality and cost of their care with individual responsibility.Wow, I can't imagine a message that will sell better to the voters. Could they add more buzz-words? Is there any way to judge what will be a success? Perhaps everyone should have available, affordable healthcare--but do they? Hardly.
Back in January of 2005, then Governor-elect Matt Blunt said, after this first year in office "Missourians should notice a difference in their lives." reports an AP Story published in the Jefferson City News-Tribune. Blunt is quoted as saying:
I think they'll notice an entrepreneurial climate that has improved, that makes it easier for people to get good family-supporting jobs in their state with health care benefits attached to them.
As we approach the end of the second legislative session under a Republican General Assembly with a Republican govenor, can we start to judge them on their efforts? The governor thinks it is enough time. What will the people of Missouri think?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I refuse to run down to the courthouse and get married just so I can live in my own home,' she said. 'I love my house. I love the area. I love the schools. We wouldn't have bought the house if we didn't think it was what we wanted.It was silly of Ms. Shelltrack not to realize that she needed to get the rest of the city's blessing before she decided how to live her life!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
empowers individuals to take control of their own health insurance, rather than putting all the emphasis on employers.I think it is a fascinating experiment. The plan provides help for low-income residents to purchase insurance. I'm not convinced that the market will drive down costs if everyone is covered, however the plan will lead to universal coverage. Some interesting coalitions between right and left have formed during the crafting of this bill. I hope this might be a good model for the rest of the nation (or least some significant learnings).
Of course the top-ranked "Todd Elkins" according to Google.com is the owner of toddelkins.com, a realtor in Dallas, who targets the gay and lesbian market. I think the Todd of Dallas bears a slight resemblance to me and wonder if any of my former classmates have wondered if that is me. I would find that idea to be highly offensive, I mean I would never go into real estate ;-).
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The real schism of the party is not abortion or gay rights. It's religiosity. It's whether or not you believe God's Law should be used to set public policy.This tension seems to be brewing here in Missouri. (Thanks to Bill Tammeus for blogging the article).
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Mainline churches should be silent while Religious Right political leaders get to speak their mind?Do you care?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
- None of the Gospels were written by the names of those they are attributed to (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John), nor were any authors of the Gospels eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus. The gospels would have been written 40 - 70 years after the death of Christ.
- The first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses, but instead is the editing together of a variety of different written traditions (some which descended from Oral traditions). Each of these different sources had different perspectives and agendas.
It’s time to get back to the basics . . . Our country has been hijacked by liberals. We’ve had people with left-wing ideas pushing us away from what made America strong.What is so telling about her quote is this attitude among so many in the Religous Right that they are the persecuted minority, inspite of the fact they are perhaps the most powerful political force in our nation.
Lets see, control of the Missouri House, Missouri Senate, Governor's Mansion as well as US House, Senate, Presidency and the Supreme Court. Yet Davis believes that liberals have "hijacked" our country.
I also am going to play around with Blogger again. Unfortunately, my techie-side of me has thought in the past that I am too good to use a simple, "pedestrian" application like Blogger. Instead, I've been using a distribution of Drupal it is very powerful, but a real pain when the site crashes (as it has been known to do). The real question is, do I want to be a blogger or a web-code troubleshooter (the real answer is of course is that I want to do both, but I don't have time to do both!).
I have to say that I haven't used the Blogger application for several years and I'm very impressed with the advances they have made. I will have to start recovering my previous posts from the MySQL database (just to keep the techie in me happy! ;-).