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Civility and Health Care

What has become of civility in our society?  Civility is inherent in civilization.  To civilize is to instruct on the arts of life, to enlighten and refine them, to bring our society out of a state of barbarism.  However, a wave of incivility has us headed back to barbarism, diverting us from any sensible dialog or progress, especially as we consider health care reform.  My concern here is not just for health care.   Our health care system is exemplified by Paul Goodman’s comment about…

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Citizens Speak to Would-be Presidents (in 2000)

Welcome to this church service where "Citizens Speak to Would-be Presidents." I thank you for your attention and invite you to add to what I will say. As you can see, I have arranged for some video cameras and a microphone to be present. Not only will we partake of this exercise, others will be able to see and hear what we did. I hope and trust the cameras will not detract from our service. It's just a way to include more people in our…

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A Recession, Depression, Obsession Confession

I confess I’m obsessed with this depressing recession.  It results from, and brings out, some of the worst aspects of our people and society.  And yet, it is an opportunity to see and actualize some of the best. When I was born in 1945 a single man could support his whole family on his average income of $2,400 while living in a house that cost about twice that.  Mom, like most moms then, stayed home as homemaker.  I was the first of five children born…

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A Person among Persons

Speaking to the young graduates of Harvard’s Divinity School in 1838, Emerson said this of Jesus: “One man was true to what is in you and me.”  However, he also lamented that because Jesus was seen as the Christ, one of the three persons of the Trinity, his portrait grew to be as “the vulgar draw it.”  He wanted the young graduates to themselves come alive fully as persons.  “Always the seer is a sayer,” he said, and that, “only he [or she] can give…

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A Liberal Appreciation of Conservatives

My usual rant against conservatives needs corrective balance. I do for them here what I wish they would do for us – understand. Why? Our country has grown dangerously divisive, though we are and must be a single society. In our society and in our liberal congregations, conservatives deserve support both as persons and for their useful perspectives. Finally, we are more whole by knowing both ways in our being. Over two decades ago, when I read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The Conservative,” his appreciation…

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Was it happenstance or deliberate that the date of the attack would be our code for emergencies? Who would that emergency call be to? What synchronistic meaning should we see? Out of the clear blue sky, our own airplanes allegedly commandeered by Islamic militant terrorists, smashed into the twin trade towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and into a field in Pennsylvania. While Americans may have had a somewhat disdainful attitude towards those two boxy towers above the Manhattan skyline, both for their…

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America the Beautiful Because of Liberals and Conservatives

America the Beautiful Because of Liberals and Conservatives   An eagle soars high only on two wings. If such a grand bird were to use one of its wings against the other, it would be only crippled and crazy.  America is a bird divided against itself.  Instead of having a higher view, it flops and flounders on the ground.  Such a bird needs psychiatric help or prophetic warning.  That is my intent here today: I want to help America soar again. I see my beloved…

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