The Other Beautiful America

I have always loved what America has the ideals to be.  As my friend Jen apparently knows as a history teacher, those ideals can be found somewhere between the Magna Carta, The Plymouth Covenant, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Constitution — each laid claim to in Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech and his understanding of “the Beloved Community”. Since King, there have been moves toward equality of the sexes, and President Obama’s decision to support gay marriage, as a new generation stakes its claim to America. So much of this is under threat with the current administration, but the ideals of the country still hold in many places among people who care for each other, who still believe that human beings have dignity and worth, that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

“Seek first the community where God reigns” — my paraphrase of Matthew 6:33

As of this week, my blogs  “Like It Matters”  and “Because It Matters” have reached a combined 20,000 hits so I want to celebrate those people who make up the America I believe in . 

This should in no way diminish the incredible natural beauty of America — the one of song and story. Having toured America and  written about it in the blogs, I can tell you that the Grand Canyon is a miracle of nature and there is so much more which reminds you that no human being could keep up with God’s creativity. Yes, the natural beauty is also threatened by the current administration, but everybody talks about that. This blog began out of frustration that I wasn’t hearing opinions or stories I could relate to. I was astounded after writing the very first blog that other people shared my opinion. I had begun to believe that good religious people and liberals no longer existed. They do. This blog has become about them and their stories, their thoughts, for all 20,000 hits. 

So, enough about me. Let’s talk about the other beautiful America.

Every church in America — if it talks about Jesus — has the right intent. Nobody starts a church with the intention of hurting people. If it takes Jesus seriously, however, it is part of the beloved community that makes the world –via the people around it– better off. Most every church in the UCC and liberal Protestant denominations believes in kindness and taking care of each other — until recently the norm, now radical concepts.

When I want to listen instead of talk, the Society of Friends (Quakers) is where I go to be filled.

Certainly, without a doubt, all of the clergy or ministerial types mentioned in these pages do that. People with specific stories here (or mentioned) include:

Gordon Sherman and Cy Sherman, Rick Fowler, John Hudson, Jeff Brown, Pat Speer, Lynn Carman Bodden and her husband Peter, Char Corbett and her sister Sioux Wilusz, Greg Coles, David Ratz, George Harris, the late Prophetess Gerry Claytor and her late husband, Rev. Benny Claytor, their daughters, Kim and Bennyta (now called “Bee”), Caroll Cyr  and the staff of Silver Lake, Cat Chapin-Bishop and her husband Peter, Peter Wells, my wife Michelle Madsen-Bibeau, Todd Farnsworth, Linda Lea Snyder, Lisabeth Gustafsen, Ken Ferguson, the entire staff of CYC Senior High camp, and Camp Wightman, staff and campers from the now defunct Deering Camp and Conference Center, the late Newt Perrins and his still very  alive wife, Val and the staff of Skye Farm. The late Charlie Crook .

While I like them doing “charity” work, my friend Pat Speer (covered in a blog) and his organization Christian Activity Council believes the church is called to push for justice, so that churches don’t need to do charity. Until Jesus returns, I’m ok with both.


“People are people, so why should it be, that you and I should get along so awfully?” — Depeche Mode

(thoughts on beautifully American groups…)

There’s a group of people I grow to respect more and more in this country, precisely because they have no reason to be kind, but do it anyway: the LGBTQ community. A few weeks ago, a lesbian saved the life of a Senator in Washington. She’s married. He doesn’t believe in gay marriage. If it were up to him, she’d have a much harder life. When it was up to her, he got to keep his life. She could have forgotten how to use her gun, or lost her way to the Senator’s location, but she didn’t because it would be a dereliction of duty and apparently out of character for her. After this event, she could go home and look at herself in the mirror. Could he?  Of course, not all gay people are like her  and not all Senators are like him, of course. It’s just that there’s no reason for either of their behaviors and she did the Jesus-type thing.

I make the case also, because I know my friend Leigh McCaffrey — an ordained minister in the UCC and a lesbian herself. She lives near Orlando, Florida and when a hateful man from another religion killed a room full of gay folks, that community came together. They didn’t go Muslim-blaming. They didn’t flip out about terrorism, they didn’t attack back. They came together, became tighter, supported each other, celebrated life and grieved the loss. Given that there still many place where Leigh and her partner Sue can’t go, for fear of death, that seems incredible to me. Still, Leigh knows Jesus personally, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I just am.

In these pages, I have talked about Patty Bucchieri, whom I called “the nice lesbian” because she was, and is, good to our children. In our church, there are lots of nice gay folk. Patty is just so kind and a good Christian, I wanted to highlight her . In these pages, there are also in-the-closet gay folks covered — but of course, I can’t say who they are, just that they changed my life.

NAACP, Bridgeport’s IMA, Black Lives Matter, Jeff Brown’s ministry of peacemaking in Boston, Bridgeport Food Pantry, The Geraldine Claytor Magnet School in Bridgeport, CT, Boys and Girls Clubs of Rochester, NY, Beyond The Moment

I’m old. I like old causes, obvious causes, things that make sense to me. Race relations makes sense to me. Promoting harmony and rights for some of the coolest people I know makes sense to me. It seems like many of my friends have moved on to new causes, but this one still remains  unfinished. We ended the war. We’ve had the sexual revolution. We have had the equal rights movement, but pretty much racism has gone unchanged in this country. Yes, the women’s movement has lost ground for years. Yes, it seems that every single good thing is being threatened by this administration. But somehow, after the Civil Rights movement and MLK’s death, everybody else realized they could get their rights, and the fight against racism went untouched by the White community. Like the last case of smallpox, it came roaring back stronger than ever over the last few years , as some pockets of America want to go back to straight-out oppressing Black folks. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to finish one project before I move on to the next one so I have tried to write blogs about racism and racist violence whenever it happens. I now write prayers at night because it took too much out of me to write and grieve that much — sometimes 3 times in a day. There is so much to treasure about Black culture (No, I still don’t like most rap, or dance songs that are only about sex, but my kids do) that I hate to lose it. The groups above or individuals, like the rest of beautiful America, cares when it’s hard and still talks to White culture even though the abuses of that culture should have had us written off years ago.

That said, there are other organizations that make the world better and deal with some of the issues: The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, N.O.W., People For The American Way and National Coalition Builders Institute in Washington, D.C.

Some organizations making the world better every day aren’t run by anybody, or anybody you’d know: Alcoholics Anonymous and every other 12-Step group in the world is an incredible gift to humanity.  You can change your life, find meaning, and be a part of change for free at these places.

In the same vein, there is Celebrate Recovery that my friend Dave Ratz (mentioned in blog years ago) ran a local chapter of in New Britain, CT. Also a fine group, the religion piece of it might be off-putting to some and life-saving to others. In New Britain, at 500 Main St., there is an offshoot  of CR called Recapture Healing and run by Marie Bachand.

Jean Milo is now a big mucky-muck with Save The Children.

Organizations don’t have to be big to do good things. Cunningham Tire in N. Reading, Massachusetts, will balance and install tires for free. Bob and Derek are brothers who want to help motorists for free. They consider it a ministry, and it is. They are great guys.

I know I have already discussed churches, but under groups, I want to acknowledge the no-longer kids of Center Church Lynnfield, MA, Union Congregational in Hall, NY, and Mountain Rise UCC who have grown up to make the world better in so many ways. I remain in awe of them for the kindness and intelligence they share in the world.

Also covered in a blog: Ability+ Sports who get people with any number of disabilities to the slopes in Vermont and do incredible work creating spiritually/emotionally whole people who are better skiers than I am.

Finally, I have decided recently to get involved with “food justice” issues. Who could be against people eating? Let’s not go there…. Who is for people eating? WhyHunger, started by the late musician Harry Chapin and Bill Ayres, its mission is to end hunger, by connecting up with grassroots folks all over America. They do incredible work and their monthly newsletter is full of agencies and organization that connect to the cause. Literate and intelligent and caring all in one organization.

***** healers and helpers *****

“There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul” — hymn

America is full of teachers,therapists, social workers, nurses, doctors who help people every single day. This became apparent especially after a Deering Reunion where people talked about what they had done with their lives since camp. Shout outs to:

Dawn Cunningham in Massachusetts is a great school teacher. Liz Solomon Wright is a college professor in Texas. My friend Cat Chapin-Bishop won the non-existent  “Mary Lou Brewer Award” for teaching in these pages, honoring both Cat and Mary Lou, ML is my favorite teacher of all time.  Barbara “Bobbie” Fox at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT is a teacher of healers. All of the staff at Charter Oak Elementary, Sedgwick Middle School, and Conard High School have taught my daughters to be fine citizens. Pam Shuman is a psychiatrist and teacher at Brown University (or was).

My former sister-in-law Marlene Sanford has worked with the developmental delayed for 20+ years.

My mother, Donna Rae Zoller Bibeau, was –and wanted to be — a nurse for most of her life. Deb Bercovici is a nurse. Maryanne Maccullagh is a chaplain to nurses … and patients. Karen Ross Gardener Gatchell has been a nurse for years.

The staffs of River Valley Counseling in Chicopee, MA, Petaluma People’s Service Center in Petaluma, CA, South Bay Mental Health in Attleboro MA, BHN in Springfield, MA and the staff of the Institute for Living in Hartford, CT ( at this age, I’m old enough to have worked at most of them) help clean up the messes life inflicts.

The Virginia Satir Global Network is, for me, the mother lode of all good things in family therapy and systems theory.

****** Arts and Artists**********

“Paint a pretty smile each day./loving is a blessing/never let it fade away/it’s all about love” — from “All About Love” by Earth, Wind, and Fire

“If I had a hammer/I’d hammer in the morning” — Pete Seeger

In the blog, I have featured/reviewed many an artist’s work.

MIchelle Beebs is one of the kindest people I know. She has an incredible ear for music. Both solo and with her band, the Money Makers, they are enlightened indiduals who kick butt as a tight-knit group with a groove.

Joan Osborne has a musical dexterity and a love of the world of roots music I admire. I have yet to pick up her new CD tribute to Bob Dylan, but I will.

Chapin, Chapin, Chapin…. The late Harry Chapin is one of my heroes. I have had the absolute pleasure to interview Jen Chapin, whom I admire in so many ways. The Chapin Family, The Chapin Sisters, Tom and Steve Chapin, the Jen Chapin Trio, Howie Fields, and Big John Wallace have all been positively reviewed here.

The Blues Brothers changed my life.

Larry Baker is a great author.

Ron Bottitta is involved with 99-seat theaters in L.A. And does good, provocative work with Rant and Rave out there.

Comic book and comic book movies show us the best in ourselves. The most recent one, Wonder Woman, is incredible.

TV show “Chuck” is a great show about kind people thrown into a very unkind world of danger.

This is the America I know, the beautiful human America. There isn’t a militarist or a corporation or Russian spies among them. They are just people with a belief in a just and kind world. And these are just the people I know or know of. No doubt, reader, you know people just like these. On this 4th of July, 2017 acknowledge and celebrate this beautiful America. Feel free to add organizations or people who also in the comments section. If any of it has typos or you’d rather not have it included, let me know that as well. 

Resisting with Peace,


Michael Steele, Mary Trump, and The Healing of America

First, a mea culpa: I didn’t even know that Mr. Steele had a podcast. I looked on You-Tube for Mary Trump ‘s podcast just after the E. Jean Carroll verdict of her uncle, our former President. I was curious about her response to that verdict. Though what I found wasn’t that, I’m glad I saw it. Now that I have found the podcast, I have downloaded and subscribed to it.

Who is Michael Steele? Mr. Steele is a Black man who used to be the Chairman of the Republican Party, back when there was a (non-Trump) Republican Party.  In fact, after a recent election (Obama’s first vs. George W. Bush?), Mr. Steele led an “autopsy” on what went wrong for the party and how to win again. He suggested that modernization (seeking younger voters) and diversity was the way to go. As has become apparent, that suggestion was not taken by the party, and they have gone the opposite way with what Steele would probably say are obvious results. Instead of putting out a wider tent, the party took in the tent poles, limited themselves to straight, White, old men and women until they could purify that to very White, seemingly straight, angry men who don’t particularly like women, women’s bodies, women’s rights, women’s autonomy. They, as he could have told them, lost elections that they should have won, appealing to fewer and fewer voters.

Steele is no longer Chair of the party, and is a guest commentator on MSNBC, frequently working with the more “moderate” hosts – Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe, Nichole Wallis of Deadline White House, and so on. Just prior to his interviewing Mary Trump, the Tennessee Three thing happened. Three members of the Tennessee State Legislature were castigated for daring to call for the gun control that their constituents demanded after many mass shootings. Of the three, two were Black, and one was a White woman. Two of the three were expelled and, just to point out the bigotry in the power structure, those two members were the Black members.

In listening to the radio broadcast as it happened, Mr. Steele seemed to be having flashbacks to the Old South, recognizing “dog whistles” for dogs long thought to be dead by White America. The passion and hurt in his voice as he discussed the events happening in real time were great signs of his humanity and, to be sure, his Christianity, (the one that likes Jesus’ words, not megachurch theology). I’ve liked to hear his thoughts on many things of political interest

Who is Mary L. Trump? She has fascinated me on any number of things. Yes, she is Donald Trump’s estranged niece, and that may be what started this journey for most of us. She is a psychiatrist who wrote a book: “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” which described the development of a narcissist in her family over the years who later became President. Her great-uncle (Trump’s father) was a narcissist and a powerful bigot in New York City who made his money by keeping (or throwing) Blacks out of their apartments in the big city. The former President followed in Dad’s footsteps, of course, while Mary’s father was ridiculed for having his own life, succeeding as a pilot on his own terms until his alcoholism got the better of him.  It is a great psychological study of an incredibly (self) destructive family. As one who likes psycho-biographical books, I found the book a great read, and it gave me insights into the man’s psyche  that allowed me to keep relatively sane during his tenure in office.

That’s how she came to my attention, but Mary Trump is so much more than that, it turns out. She is a Democrat! in the style of old radical Democrats who said what they believed. She pulls no punches in dialog about what she expects from the party and the people in power. She is a well-to-lesbian from The Big City. As others try to be bipartisan and polite, Mary is a liberal who doesn’t have time for that. She wants to be a Democrat while living in democracy. She believes in liberal ideas and she gives voice to them.

She sees herself as a “Nerd” and has a podcast which features “the nerd avengers”. Again, she’s a psychiatrist – an intellectual by nature, who knows how the mind works and is curious about human nature because she has dealt with it for years in her daily life.

Finally, Mary wrote a book on racism in America and its impact on our culture. The book is called, “The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal”, In it she explains that unrepentant racism in our history causes trauma for so many and doesn’t allow us to heal when we cling to The Old Ways vs. dealing with them.

So that’s the set-up: a Black, straight, Republican Christian who grew up relatively poor in a Southern city (if one thinks of Washington, D.C. as Southern) and a White lesbian Democrat , who grew up intellectual, in a relatively rich, elite family in  a Northern city, had a conversation. In terms of categories, they couldn’t be much different. In regular news media they frequently talk in terms of sociological categories, which leads to polling and analysis of politics, and speculation about the possible Presidency of Donald J. Trump and the feelings about it on the Right and Left.

To my original disappointment. It turns out, they are both tired of Trump and his impact on politics, criminal (lack of ) justice, and immorality around women and their issues and would rather talk about anything else. That original disappointment turned to hope as they chose a better path: They were just going to be them and talk about things that mattered to them as individual people.

Since it’s Steele’s podcast, he starts right off with “I don’t want to talk about that guy”. I want to talk about what’s happening in the rest of America. I want to talk about why America is so crazy right now and what to do about it. I want you to psychoanalyze this country right now. How did we get here?”

As a recently retired therapist of twenty years or so, I watched as she did the therapeutic thing: she healed him by listening and by being honest about the trauma he goes through every day in America. I don’t now if he’d call it trauma exactly, but it certainly was healing. You could see his body relax, his pupils wide open, and his jaw relaxed, as he simply took it in. She acknowledged his pain. She acknowledged that she didn’t — and couldn’t — know all of it, because she wasn’t him. What she did know, and could understand, she lifted from him.

After that weight was removed and the pain acknowledged, and she gave him a “corrective emotional experience” by sort of repenting on behalf of those who hurt him in the past and present. Answers about what to do and ways to see it came pouring out of him. He spoke about more things and made more connections. Their connection/friendship deepened.

As she spoke about our punitive justice system, she explained that it was cheaper to give someone an education than to punish them for acting out in a society that made them fear. She said neither side healed by punishing the other. Steele stopped and said, “that’s very reminiscent of the words of Jesus”. My heart soared.

As a pastor for now thirty three years, I got it. The Spirit was flowing between them and he knew in his heart of hearts that he was onto something. His faith offered a solution for the problem of mass incarceration in a Truth that she couldn’t come to by herself. Psyche and Soul were joined in the room for each of them. Transformation was happening. He spoke of God as a male and she said, “She (God) wasn’t going to allow injustice”. They were both talking about the same Person. They had found common ground in a country that is so divided it hurts.

It was an incredible experience – like watching therapy and the Spirit moving at the same time, and both people being touched by it. It was a reminder of all the things I love in life being in one place and the healing power each has

This, this, is how we heal our country. Yes, it is possible. I recommend this particular episode of the podcast to anyone who wants to heal and heal others in the political realm.

Thank you to both of them.

Resisting with Peace,


FYI — What America Would Look Like If It Were A Real Democracy

I’ve been listening to the news for years now, and I’m fascinated/sad/angry by the difference between what Americans, on the whole, believe and what laws, policies, etc. actually look like.

First among the controversial issues that the government (judicial, legislative and executive branches) is abortion. While numerous states, courts, and legislators rush to judgement about abortion. Americans , by and large believe that women have a right to decide about their bodies and there are complexities involved in conception and childbirth that we have never faced or even considered. Americans don’t believe in either the pro-abortion or the anti-abortion position.

No woman wakes up one morning and says to herself, “I think I’ll have an abortion” or “I want to kill any life within me”. No woman says to herself, I want to be raped, have incest, or want to die so this baby can live without a mother. No woman wants to watch her child die — in her body or outside of it. No woman wants to see her child suffer in her body or outside of it.

Women are both capable of knowing who they want in their vaginal cavity. Because of that, they are capable of being responsible for anything that happens as a result of someone being there. Americans want to let them make those decisions and give them the tools and support to make those decisions. Americans also want them to make that decision by discussing it with good men who want the best for them, and medical professionals who know what they are doing. In short, most Americans are actually pro-life. They are not pro-pregnancy or pro-abortion. They want the best for the people they love and whom they intentionally create .

Next controversy : Americans, far and wide, gun owners and non- gun owners alike, want assault weapons banned. Every single day in America in 2023 there’s a mass shooting, There is no one who isn’t touched by this. The number of people that have lost their lives in the years since Columbine is absolutely huge.

Why? People around the world can tell us, people with no political axe to grind. Assault weapons do exactly what they are supposed to do — kill, and kill a lot of people. Why would we even make them for general use by your average person? There should be no market for civilians to buy them. No gun maker should be able to sell them. Period.

Yes, there will still be mental health issues here, but we won’t be creating them via mass trauma. Yes, a mad person could kill people with a knife, but it’s a lot harder to have the same impact. Yes, we have a Second Amendment which is part of our culture, so we can’t take away all guns. Yes, hunters use guns, and they should be able to. They are not the the problem. Real gun owners understand guns and know what they are doing around them. The look to be safe and responsible. Tragedies will happen, but most Americans want to stay alive and they want the people they know to remain alive.

Financially, the amount that we spend to protect ourselves from these weapons, the amount we pay out in insurance for the murder of those killed, the lawsuits involved — all of these things are caused by assault weapons which are designed for just such an occasion. People who care about money at all know that, in addition to the human cost (and that can’t be overstated, of course) should understand this.

Nearly every poll I have seen or heard about say that most democrats and most Republican voters want assault weapons banned. Again, if America was a democracy and the voices of the people mattered, the scourge of mass killings would end simply by banning the guns make war on civilians possible.

The last thing I see that is controversial in political circles, but not much at all among citizens is gerrymandering. The fact some politicians get to make any vote have less importance is a tragedy and yet when maps are drawn for districts, the point is almost to make one political party dominant. That’s not right.

There must be a way to have non-partisan groups doing the design. I don’t know how we make that happen, but we must. I know that former Attorney General Eric Holder and former-President Obama have been involved in fighting for such things, with a group called “All On The Line “. They are very clear that they want pro-democracy, not pro- Democrats re-districting.

That said, I’m not sure Republicans can buy into anything with the Obama name on it. In the meantime, look around and find someone who is doing the work and join them.

Right now, we have a government that doesn’t seem to be responsive to the majority of Americans. Last time I checked, we didn’t call that a functioning democracy. First, we have to force politicians to listen by giving them actual skin in the game. If they can’t be voted out, they don’t care what we think.

Once they actually are listening, far fewer people will die due to gun violence. That’s what the people want, and that’s what the government can provide. Doing something is better than almost nothing we’re doing now. Thousands not dying is a good thing, obviously, and a majority of people want that.

Then, a stable rule of government, figured out by elected representative who actually represent the majority of people, that keeps women (who are already alive) and deals with the fetus as respectfully as possible, taking into account all of the health issues of the mother, especially ones non-medical men don’t even understand or know about, and using the best medical advice possible. This might be as as simple as government backing out of the situation altogether, and letting doctors decide the best course of treatment, in consultation with the mother, the father and all involved parties. Whatever it is, we need to do it, and we need to do it as soon as we can, — most Americans want this as well. It ought not be that hard through a democratic process which respects citizens.

If America at this moment in time were a democracy, we’d have less deaths and less division, meaning culture skirmishes rather than culture wars.

Let’s make government work again, shall we?

Resisting With Peace,


No Justice And No Peace for Easter?

No! No! No! No! And No! The Republicans in the Tennessee Legislature, while I listened to it live on the radio, said ‘You want to cry? We’ll give you something to cry about!’, to the people of Tennessee ! Like any abusive parent, that legislature punished reasonable protest and seems to feel self-satisfied about it. Lest there be any doubt about their character, the punished peaceful protesters for asking for peace itself. Then, they actively decided to punish who they felt like — people of dark skin — while not punishing a Caucasian women who committed the exact same “crime”.

Here’s the story. Three members of the Tennessee Democratic Party including one who started his term after the most recent election joined a peaceful protest by local students over gun control and were charged with breaking parliamentary rules of decorum and a vote was called to expel them. The young man explained that 1) he didn’t know about the rules, 2) that they were being used indiscriminately, and 3) at the time this happened, the legislators were on a recess, so he didn’t think, logically, that he could violate legislative rules if the legislature wasn’t in session, according to its own records. They voted him and the other Black man out anyway.

Then, to make matters worse, when it came time to expel the third person in the group, a White woman, they declined. So now, they had made it clear that not only was it wrong for students to want to stay alive, it was was wrong for two elected Black men to use their voice, it was wrong for his constituents to want to be represented in Tennessee. To her credit, she has said that she thought the decision was racially motivated.

In short, within a democracy, a legislature said there would be no justice for students, Black people in general, Black men specifically, city people (the districts they represented are in the largest cities of Tennessee) all who simply want to stay alive. And all of them will lose their rights because they weren’t polite enough? How many ways can injustice be done in one day, in one act?!

This cannot stand. Yet, in this Maundy Thursday, and now Good Friday, it does. As the man on the floor of the prayed the psalms aloud, I thought, “I want to see Easter”. I want to see peace and justice and representation in Tennessee and in all of America. I want to see, and I to be a part of, what comes next.

Resisting With Peace,


They’re Here, They’re … Get Used To It.

“Nothing Unreal Exists” — Spock, in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

“People are entitled to their own opinions. They are not entitled to the their own facts”

— Attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, also quoted by Mike Pence in a debate

“Legislators behind the Idaho bill said critical race theory “tries to make kids feel bad.” — NBC News, June 17, 2021

“The problem with transgenderism isn’t that it’s inappropriate for 9 years olds. The problem is that it’s a lie…If [transgenderism] is false, then for the good of society… transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” Michael Knowles, At CPAC yesterday

“The problem is not the problem. Coping is the problem.” — Virginia Satir

America has a real problem with truth, and it’s killing us. In the past few years, politicians have said “Critical Race Theory” shouldn’t be taught in grades K – 12. In Florida, they recently passed a “Don’t Say Gay Bill” Today, at CPAC, a man named Michael Knowles said “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life after saying “transgenderism is false”.

The fact that anyone can say that last one shows that we are off the rails, and people are going to end up dead.

Years ago, I had a conversation with a kid who told me “Billy says I can’t be trans. Trans isn’t real”. I responded, “Do you exist?”. The answer was “yes”. I then asked “Are you trans?” When the answer came back, “yes”, I said, “It seems like the argument has been won”.

I don’t know a lot about transgenderism, but I am sure it exists. In the 1970’s, I think, Renee Richards became the first trangendered person to play pro tennis or the first pro tennis player to become a different gender. In my graduate school days, we were taught that there were women who wanted to be guys so they could have relationships with women. There are men who believe they are female and want to have relationships men .. or women. I will say that we, almost to a person, couldn’t understand it, couldn’t believe it at first. That was in 1998 or so. Even before it was controversial, it was real.

Protestors of the past said, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it”. That’s my kind of revolution. It’s not saying, “We’re angry. Be afraid”. The phrase was more like, “We exist. Get over yourselves”. We need to have more revolutions like that. They are not revolutions of right or wrong. They are revolutions of facts. We know something we didn’t know before.

A few years ago, as Black Lives Matter rose to prominence, they too had a revolution of facts. “Yes, Black lives do matter”, many White people said, “What’s the problem?” Because there have been plenty of times in our history when people thought they didn’t. Then we learned about Black Wall Street and the massacre that took place there in Tulsa Oklahoma, in 1921. Then came Juneteenth and we learned that slavery didn’t end with the Emancipation Proclamation. It ended years later, when all Americans heard about it. Then came the book “1619” and there was backlash about the opinions in it. Facts, however, couldn’t be argued with and we have a clearer picture of American history. George Floyd’s death made a lot more sense suddenly.

There are still Holocaust deniers all over the world. 40 million dead Jews would be an awful lot of truth to hide. If we had to make it up, why would we? Besides, our soldiers saw the camps. Yet, whether or not people want to believe in the truth, it still exists.

The slaughter of Native Americans came to the fore in the Early 1970’s and while we were there, some of us saw the beauty in the culture we had once tried to remove.

Remember #Me Too? That, too, was a revolution of facts. Did it make all of us uncomfortable? Hell, yes, it did! Did we want to believe it? No, but evil exists, even if we don’t want it to, just as much as good exists, whether we want it to or not.

The question is, “What do we do about it?”. The answer, regardless of the question, is not deny it, hide it, and certainly not to kill it. It may not be to like the truth, or we want for ourselves. I have never pushed for people to be trans or gay or anything else, unless they are already. I never want to hear that anyone should be eradicated just because they exist because we don’t know what their existence means to us or others, either now or in the future. The truth can’t set you free if you choose not to hear it.

Yes, you’re certainly entitled to your own opinion about the facts, but you are not entitled to say they are not true. Because of God, eternal life may be an option, but it’s not ours to decide for someone else whether they live or die.

Resisting With Peace,


I Refuse To Stop Believing

There is an article on Yahoo News today about “Why Churches Are Declining in the U.S.” . I hate articles like that. They act like it’s a done deal, that it’s rational, that everyone knows it.

For myself, it can’t be a done deal. It’s not rational. At least one of us doesn’t know it. It may be denial. It may be tradition, or it may be stubbornness, but it’s not. God is real. I believe that Jesus was real, but I am sure that God is. There may be one God with many names. There may be many “gods” but One Godhead. I don’t know.

What I do know is that God , G-d if you prefer to highlight the Mystery, exists. In 1917, Professor Rudolf Otto went to Harvard University and gave a series of lectures in the midst of a world that believed in science as it understood it at the time — a world that would soon have its first ever World War.

The results of those lectures is a book called, “The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational “. In that book and the lectures it came from, Otto says there is something beyond us, something he called “the numinous” which is in every culture which in not “rational”, but not “irrational” either. It is Wholly Other. It is bigger than us, it’s unfathomable and we feel small in front of it.it’s we stand in awe of it when we meet it. For Otto, it is The Holy, mysterious tremendum (tremendous mystery). For most people, including myself, it is called God.

Yahweh, Allah, G-d, El Shadai, I Am Who I Am, Spirit — they are the same One Thing and many people experience it. When people feel a call to ministry or a sense of religious yearning or a sense of God in the world, this is what they feel/experience. It is the Source of all good things created in the universe. It is Truth and Love and Healing and Reality and Peace, and every other good thing you can imagine or feel.

Now, regarding Jesus. I will acknowledge that I have never met the historical person “Jesus” or “Yeshua” as they would have called him in Israel at the time. Also, “Christ” is not his last name, not the name on the mailbox out front of his house. “Christ” is a term for “Messiah” or “One who saves” people.

Finally, if you notice anything about the gospels, it seems that the four writers couldn’t keep their stories straight. Each writes from their own perspective much like an traffic report seen from different corners of an intersection. That doesn’t mean (though it could) they are liars. It just means that they remember different things and/ or were telling their stories to different people they wanted to connect with.

We still do that: To Woody Guthrie, “Jesus was a man who lived throughout the land, a hard working man and brave”. To others, he is the reason for Christmas, and our love of innocence. To others, he is “My savior God… How great thou art”.

I will not tell you that Jesus isn’t a myth, a made up story of a guy. I can’t prove that, though I believe he existed and he taught and he was born and died and somewhere in there he changed the world with his teachings and (yes, I believe) his resurrection after death. Could I prove that he existed in history just like I think of him? No, so I won’t pretend.

Having said that, if he was a lie, he was a heck of a lie. He said and did the strangest things. If he is a lie, then Gandhi was wrong, and Martin Luther King was wrong, and the Bishop who is running the Poor People’s Campaign is wrong. Each based their methods and tactics on Jesus’ words. Every pacifist who believes in humanity is a follower of Jesus’ words, as was St. Francis who did things that were just as strange and just as powerful and charismatic (thousands of followers in a very short time) as Jesus.

Does Jesus save people from their sins? Does he bring peace to unforgiving hearts and massively drunken failures, or slave traders? There are millions of people who will tell you their “experience of strength and hope” in meetings all around the world. The author of Amazing Grace was a slave trader who stopped his ways because he believed in Jesus.

Saving Jesus didn’t make sense to the early church or Saul by saving Saul’s life after Saul tried to kill Christians. Sacrificial Suffering still doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but if you choose to sacrifice for your beliefs, it seems to work fairly well, fairly often.

So, with all this, why does Christianity seem to be fading in the American landscape? Why are people not going to church? Why are young people, especially, not going to a church near them? That’s easy. If Jesus were alive today, he’d hate the most popular, biggest selling, most powerful churches in America — the ones everyone knows about because they see them on TV and in the news.

Evangelical churches, for whatever they believe about mercy and sacrifice, show up on TV hating dead gay people and disrupting their funerals. They showed up in the media as supporters of Trump’s Fascism and love for power. Even Jimi Hendrix who died of heroin overdose knew better than that. Hendrix said, “When the power of love is more important than the love of power, the world will know peace”.

Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Joel Osteen — hugely powerful people and very well known in the press missed that concept or certainly act like it. Their pastors fly around in private jets and refuse to house people flooded out of their homes (Joel Osteen). They scream about how gay folks are the end of the world, and then are caught having sex with their pool boys (Jerry Falwell, Jr.) They bilk their flocks out of millions. They cry about the end of the world, and then they support people who want to bring it about!

Anyone with a brain in their head would see that those famous and loud people wouldn’t know Jesus if he sat in their front pew. The idea that people aren’t coming to church because of the non-Christians they see on tv — all the time! — actually gives me hope. It means people are rejecting hate, they are rejecting brutality, they are rejecting money for money’s sake and power for power’s sake. Jesus did that too! Jesus wasn’t rich, and wasn’t particularly powerful during his own life, actively rejecting both of those things.

Do the statistics look bad for the churches in your neighborhood? Yes, of course they do! Are churches — especially little ones — dying? All the time. Liberal ones? Well, by comparison, they are not mega-churches, but they don’t often have greedy power-mad pastors in them either. I’ll take that trade any time.

Finally, there’s the COVID factor. Church attendance is down because of a pandemic. If those churches were full and people didn’t use reasonable precautions, there’d be a lot of dead people in those congregations. Regardless of your feelings about resurrection, most people don’t want those around them to die. So, yes, they’re not going to have great attendance. If people attended and died, attendance would be down. If people didn’t attend and didn’t die, attendance would be down (as it is).

What the church has, in this age of rudeness and not knowing each other, is ways to know and get along with other people. It has ways of caring for the hungry and the homeless and the angry and the uneducated and even the CEO’s of the world.

Jesus is offering what the world needs more of — love, peace, a way to work out your differences, a place to practice pro-social skills or social skills at all. The church can be a way to meet people you would never meet otherwise — people not like you, but people you would like.

The church offers, with it’s teachings, a way to raise children and keep them safe, and believe in themselves. Where did they get these teachings? Jesus in some way or another.

The church has what the world needs and the world has a lot of needs. By “church” I mean the ones I know of. And, while I believe in Jesus, I’m sure that good synagogues and good mosques offer the same quality of community that we offer. I Am Who I Am knows all of them and visits quite frequently, I’m sure.

The church of Fascism or hate or anger or strict adherence for parishioners but not for clergy shouldn’t be famous or growing. The non-welcoming church, the drastic church, the screaming in anger church, aren’t churches of Jesus, regardless of what it says on their sign. They’re just not.

So, yes, church attendance is down, but it’s not for any reason like people imply. Christianity is not fading because it has nothing to offer or is hocus-locus wishful thinking. Bad churches are fading as they should. Good churches meet people’s needs and offer a way to make life better. Sadly, both say “Christ” or “Jesus” on their front door right now. But if you’re looking for kindness, caring, community, a place to think about what might be right or wrong, I swear, the church is the place for that. If you walk in the door and that’s not what they are selling, you’re in the wrong place. Trust yourself, as most church trust you.

The church can’t die. It still has things to do here on earth. I somewhere between “encourage” you and “beg” you to find out for yourself. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Amen.

Resisting with Peace,


Won’t Stop. Won’t Go Back.

I started to type this as my pastor preaches about the Rev. Martin Luther King and the Spirit encourages me to say, “Amen!” to what she says. Scripture has been read from Isaiah in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and is followed by the re-proclamation of that text in the words of John the Baptizer.

As she preaches, I am reminded that Dr. King also re-proclaimed words of wisdom. There are so many dimensions of life that King spoke about that he was right about, but I am going to limit my words to this. What King talked about is the Constitution and Bill of Rights that said “All men are created equal. Endowed by their Creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As we look at those words, we can see — even within them — that they were meant as aspirational — a goal, a fantasy that spoke more than it even knew, a dream bigger than could be imagined by humans of the time.

I say this because not only are all men created equal and endowed by their Creator, but women are created equal in value to men — all of humanity is created by that Creator and thus equal and endowed with dreams and visions. As the church proclaimed at Pentecost, in Acts 2: 17 and 18 (emphasis added)

17 Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

Of course, it “only” took us 150 years or so to understand that women were equal in value among humans, and there is more work to be done so that America knows that in its heart.

King pointed out that he was only asking for rights that the Constitution said he already had: the right to vote, the right to assemble any where people wanted, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He was asking for the prophecy of the Bill of Rights to become reality.

It’s hard to vote when the vote is prevented by the state you live in. It’s hard to assemble when you can’t sit at a lunch counter. It’s hard to believe in the right to live when you can be hung and people celebrate it. It’s hard to believe in liberty when your people were once slaves or later share croppers or now incarcerated at a higher rate than others. With all those things being true, the pursuit of happiness is nearly impossible.

And that was in 1954, and later in 1964. Since then, the list of people wanting freedom has grown.

Women wanted actual rights like Blacks had achieved then. Yes, they could vote, but they wanted to work and get paid the same amount for doing so. They wanted economic freedom. They wanted representation in Congress and ultimately in the White House. They wanted choice about their own bodies and what happened to them.

Next the Gay Rights movement came along. The gay community wanted to be seen as full human beings, and not be beaten up for existing and loving each other. Later, the AIDS crisis meant the movement could focus on basic survival which could be denied them by politicians. If the movement hadn’t begun prior to this, millions more would have died.

Most recently, the Trans Rights movement has come along. Like previous movements, they want the right to exist, to not be beaten up for simply existing, and all the other rights that Americans have. Like the women’s movement, there are medical rights involved which are unique to their cause.

In each case, the new movement built on the previous movements. In each case, the group wanted to claim the rights they believed the Constitution said they had, or they believed their Creator had endowed them with. Each fought off hate in order to achieve basic rights.

But something strange also happened, which King could not have foreseen: the sentiment that “It’s a [fill in the group] thing. You wouldn’t understand”. This idea may have started with the Black Power movement, which was against King’s philosophy of non-violence. The idea of pride and a form of cultural nationalism that led to violence and isolated movements became a problem, and remains a problem. Among other things, it seems to think that movements can be fads, “the latest liberal thing to think about”. Of course, fads go out of style. When Peace and Love became fashion, they ceased to be causes.

The other problem post-King movements had was either/or thinking. Identity politics meant that if you were “for” one group, you couldn’t be for others. Was a women who liked women to be seen as a lesbian /gay rights movement or as a part of the women’s movement?

King wasn’t about that. He was about progressing all of humanity. He set out to change people at their core — their hearts and minds. Yes, certainly, it was about Black rights, but he wanted Whites to see the humanity in non-Whites. This is not to say that he himself wasn’t affected by the other “isms”, but the movement for non-violent change reached beyond them.

So what does this mean? For me, if we have to choose, it means that issues of racial inequality should be fixed first, and those will always be my first priority.

As a follower of King’s nonviolent movement, though, I have been welcomed to accept the full humanity and equality of Black people — to treasure them and learn from them, just as King said, even if there are experiences I haven’t had that are specific to their lives. In other words, I don’t have to choose between men, women, trans, gay, straight, white, Black, Hispanic, or Asian liberation. It is my job, as a human being, to accept the full humanity of every person, even as I acknowledge the individual faults they may have. They are all endowed by their Creator with the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Anything that stands in the way of that is, quite simply, wrong. I will always be an “ally” to Black people, but that is not what King invited me and you to. King invited me and you, I believe, to be a part of The Beloved Community. Blacks are not “other”, gays are not “other”, trans folks are not “other”. We are all part of each other, and part of the same Community of Humanity, loved by our creator.

I will always be appalled by racial hatred, and racial injustice. It’s my job, as a human, and a Christian, to strive for racial love and racial justice… and every other kind of love and justice out there.

That means I want to help restore the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, I want to support the NAACP, I want to advocate for housing rights and against red-lining. I want Black people to have food, and clothing, and freedom to be themselves, to go where they want, to be who they want, and all of that until I die.

But I cannot turn away anyone else’s rights to the same,

Resisting with Peace,


How Democracy Is Supposed To Work

1) You vote.

2) Somebody wins. It could be the person you voted for. Might not be.

3) Regardless of who wins, that person is supposed to represent you.

4) If you have a problem that the government can solve, you can talk to your elected representative and ask them to consider it. They are representing you. They should try to help you.

5) Your representative has a weird role. They represent your will, unless they think your opinion or desire isn’t moral. They are supposed to be more moral, more high-minded than the populous.

That is democracy as it should be.

Why am I saying this? Because, it’s not about leaders’ power or ego, or celebrities, or corporations. It’s not about your favorite TV station. It’s not about parties. It’s about you and other people around you and the best way to be as a country.

If a candidate doesn’t believe what it says above, they shouldn’t be running. More to the point is that you shouldn’t vote for them. On this Election Day, choose wisely.



No Duh! Women, Lawmakers, Abortion and More..

Remember a few years ago, when White America learned about something that Black Americans have always know — “The Talk” that Black parents have to give their children about what to do if the police pull you over? We couldn’t imagine that anyone would have to do that in our country. They would be in shock over our disbelief. “How could you not have known it was part of our culture’s life?”, they would ask. And we would say, “How would we know it was part of your lives?!”.

I’ve been having one of those moments lately regarding another not-my-culture: women, especially regarding abortion

You may have heard this before, but men and women are different, biologically, (I’m not even going to deal with trans issues here, because — at age 62 — I’m just starting to understand the biology/psychology/sociology of women. That’s a whole other thing on the learning curve) . Again, for those in the back, Women and men are biologically different in the same way that, for instance, giraffes and lions are different. It is not that one or the other is better than the other. They are just different.

Most adults and a great portion of children and teenagers can tell you that men have penises and women have vaginas. But wait, there’s more! — and the “more” matters, a lot.

Historically, though, there was less (well, less known about the subject) — and that’s the beginning of the problem. Like the George Floyd thing, we got here because one group’s voice mattered and the other one — the one with experience — didn’t.

We men didn’t know anything, but patriarchy said we were supposed to know everything, so we made stuff up. The stuff we made up about “That Thing We Know Nothing About” could be fanciful: “It’s just a place to put men’s ‘seed’ — there’s nothing up there”. It could also be yucky: “It bleeds, get that thing away from us!” Notice that, by this it’s all one thing. Today, we know — if we’re interested — that there’s a vagina, and place nearby where pee comes out, and a place that we have yet to acknowledge…. but we think of it as one mysterious thing. As that changes, we might make some real changes in our society.

For a frame of reference, in the “science” and “philosphy” (aka religion) of it’s day, first it was “the place where babies are made” for men. Men put seed into that place and the seed was held safe until the baby was born. On occasion, baby girls were born, but — well, that couldn’t be helped, and they didn’t really matter. What men wanted was boys to carry on the family name. If a king had a boy, that was to be celebrated. Men did all the work, and men received what was due them — a male heir. If a girl appeared at birth, there was something wrong with the mother. If no baby appeared, there was something horrible about the mother. Women were hanged, beheaded, sent away, divorced, or any number of things for that.

Then came the Black Plague and everybody went into hiding … away from each other. Monks went into monasteries and contemplated on all the Holy things that God had created. They wrote down the Bible, they considered mysteries, good and evil — again, from their vantage point.

So “The Mysterious Thing” could be — among other things — scary/good/exciting/evil all at once. Monks in monasteries (where there were clearly no women around) came up with a book called the “Malleus Maleficarum” which explained what “that thing down there” did: It enticed men to break their vows of chastity and become devil worshipers. People (men) had lust, and women were the ones they lusted after, and women had “that thing down there”. Lust is a fun feeling (good/exciting) but if you’re a monk and you act on it, it leads to bad things and that’s scary. That mix of feelings is a great way to create an obsession. And so it was.

In the Renaissance, there was just a “down there” — when doctors looked, (at the dead, because no one would look at “that” when the woman was alive, The Baby Making Place was attached to The Vagina. The Vagina was a tube. Above that tube was “something” like maps of the new world that said “there be dragons here”. Depending on who you asked, there could be cosmic galaxies, or angel-wing-factories or who-knows-what at the top of that tube.

Modern reader: I’m not saying any of this is politically correct or the way it should be. I’m trying to describe both the reality and absurdity of the system where men are supposed to run everything: Patriarchy. This is what I sort-of grew up with, and — even it seems silly now — it’s what everybody believed. Also, modern reader: This is not necessarily a piece for children. I’m about to use terms. You can decide about whether your children should see them. I’ll leave that up to you.

Then came the Victorian Era. In that period, women had a “down there” and men and women didn’t talk about it in polite company.

In those days, according to “experts” (see note above on “experts”) women had a hole between their legs where the penis went.

Freud notably noticed that women didn’t have a penis, but then suddenly we knew more. Women didn’t have a “down there” to be ashamed of, they had a hole that didn’t have a penis. That, according to experts (like Freud) was what made them inferior. And so it was. It was clear to the psychologists of the day that women wanted to have a penis, so they took men’s for a bit, and there was sex.

The world revolved around sex, for years, and it still does in many places. In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, of course, we had The Sexual Revolution. The understanding was that Everyone Wants Sex — even women. When women began to take that seriously, they raised their own consciousness — by raising their skirts and looking at The Hole and checking out The Vagina with mirrors and other devices of exploration. Suddenly, the Vagina had a clitoris, and labia (two sets!) and a Grafenberg spot, maybe, if you believed in that sort of thing. Suddenly women understood how The Mysterious Thing worked. And, amazingly, it worked fine without men — it wasn’t the same, really, as having company and making love, but — yep, it worked fine for the Sex That Everyone Wanted — including women.

Then something weird happened. Well, lots of weird things happened. Women (feminists, anyway) didn’t want to be taken care, didn’t believe that men knew everything about them, and shouldn’t determine their destiny, even if the women did liked sex. Also, it turns out, not all of them like sex with men at all. Suddenly there was the Equal Rights Amendment, and the sexual revolution, and the feminist movement and Roe vs. Wade which said women could control their own bodies, and didn’t have to have babies if they didn’t want them.

Suddenly, there was a screeching noise in the American consciousness. All that was two much for Phyllis Schlafly (a woman) who liked Patriarchy. She liked being a wife, and being taken care of, and raising children — or so she said. So did her rich donor friends. and the anti-abortion movement was born. Also, the anti-feminist movement, and the Let’s-Go-Back-To-The Fifties-When-Everything-Made-Sense movement.

The 80’s and 90’s were about the fight between feminist women and the men who liked them and their values and anti-feminist men and women who didn’t like it at all. Somewhere in here, we figured out that women could have it all and like sex, so they were convinced that they should work harder by taking on at least two jobs — their profession and child-raising, and supporting their husbands. (They were, after all, still women). So, conservative women (and feminists among them?) decided they didn’t have to give up one for the other. It was still possible to raise a family and be a housewife because that was an example of women’s right to make choices. This was their choice.

OK, let’s stop here for a second…

Notice that to this point — women had vaginas and “down there”s and even sexual parts — mostly to please men, but they had expanded their universe and their place in the world by understanding themselves. They didn’t need to have anyone explain their experience to them. In discovering for themselves what was theirs, they changed how they thought about the rest of themselves.

To this day, men (and women don’t understand menstruation, or periods, how they happen, and where they happen. They almost understand ovulation because they have to , if they want to understand pregnancy and their wife. If you ask a man where a woman’s liver is, they can probably tell you, because men have one. But a uterus? Point to that, and it’s up there somewhere. Fallopian tubes? One on the left one on the right, sort of in the front “down there”. Eggs? We understand them at the grocery store. But wt size is a human egg? I (we?) don’t have a clue. A Uterine lining? If we don’t know where the uterus is, we don’t know where the lining is, or what it’s made of. What’s it made of? “That stuff” that women and girls have “up there”!

In short, because we don’t have those things, we don’t understand a thing about women when it comes to abortion. It’s not the vagina or the clitoris — we actually understand those things. It’s the interior body parts that we don’t have, don’t understand, don’t know or care to know about.

When a Senator or elected official says that women can’t abort an ectopic pregnancy, they have absolutely no idea what an ectopic pregnancy is, or where you can find one. The female leaders just roll their eyes, and try to explain, but the law against abortion becomes law anyway. And to prove they will not be mocked, the male Senators get extra-strict and say no abortions under any circumstance. Or “life starts when our swimmers get the job done”. Is that true? I don’t know. It depends on what you mean by “life”. I suppose it starts to begin at that point. Is that the same thing? I don’t know. Is a miscarriage a person? It it life? is it sacred in the same way we think of babies being that? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. I’ve never had one in my body. I’ve also never had fallopian tubes, a cervix, or any of that other stuff.

The D and C , they procedure they do in abortions? That’s the same procedure they use for miscarriages, apparently. It’s also, I think, the procedure they use to get a pap smear. Don’t women need those to stay healthy? Because I don’t know about those things,I wouldn’t be making laws about it. I won’t make laws about Vulcan biology because I don’t have two spinal cords. I won’t make laws about the fifth rung of Saturn because I don’t know if there even is a fifth ring of Saturn. I’d have to ask someone who actually knew. The number of things I don’t know is incredible, but no more incredible than most people’s ignorance.

So here’s what I think: We need to think of women as biological beings, whole in themselves and separate from men. who have the choice to connect to men sexually or not, who can choose to have babies out of those connections or not. As biological beings, they understand the general subject of their bodies — to a greater or lesser extent — but much better than people who don’t. It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but I’m guessing women have known this for a long time.

Abortion is not about lust or power or sex — things we are familiar with. Abortion is involved in the stuff we don’t know. This is why men on the Supreme Court shouldn’t make a decision about it — any decision. The four women on the Court — including Amy Coney Barret — can make decisions, by this logic. I think that means that 3 of 4 women want abortion rights for women.

I any case, people making rules about things they don’t understand is never going to yield good results. We need to take all the information and experience out there, to the best of our abilities, to make decisions. But I bet that women knew that, too.

Resisting With Peace,


Eric Anderson: The Hardest Working Minister In Show Business

I have known Eric Anderson since about 1986, when we met in seminary. That’s thirty-six years, so I feel like I know him well enough to write this on his 59th birthday. That means I have been in Eric’s life more than I have not. The fact that that’s true says a lot about Eric. It means he can see the diamond in the rough that is my ministry.

While Eric is straight laced and cognizant of his profession, I can be a heretic at times. In fact, one of the first memories I have of Eric is us bowling and me—after picking up a split — making hand gestures and saying, “The laws of physics, broken for you”. I’m sure he still doesn’t know what to make of that, but it seemed natural to me. The fact that I am who I am gives me great pleasure in knowing that he is who he is. .

While I tend to be emotional and a bit sloppy with it, Eric is more cerebral and far less sloppy in matters of ministry. Eric is focused and driven with his mind, as many men do, to follow a code of conduct. His faithfulness and loyalty to friends get him into places by shear force of will — and he doesn’t turn back.

Eric has been a loyal friend since seminary and that means some fairly extraordinary things. When I lost my eyesight in my my right eye, and having all kinds of challenges in life, health, and ministry, Eric took me in as a guest (and friend) at his place in Hawaii. That is the kind of thing that cannot be forgotten in a friendship.

How did it happen? My wife knew enough to call him and talk to him about. She and he made it happen, because Eric is one of my family’s most beloved people among my seminary friends. When he comes into town, we go see him almost no matter what, and he does the same for us. We like to have him around, and we miss him when he leaves. In addition, My kids love his kids, and seem to gel pretty well with them when we get together. They are both exceptional kids, and he is rightfully proud of them.

Eric and my family have things in common — different things, but all in common, Michelle and I have ministry in common with him, but Eric is more than that. Eric is an artist who loves theater and literature (like everyone else in my family, though I can put up with it) and he is an artist who plays music, which is probably my favorite thing in the world (and they can put up with it).

Eric also writes blog pieces, as I do.

Eric Anderson: The Hardest Working Minister In Show Business

I have known Eric Anderson since about 1986, when we met in seminary. That’s thirty-six years, so I feel like I know him well enough to write this on his 59th birthday. That means I have been in Eric’s life more than I have not. The fact that that’s true says a lot about Eric. It means he can see the diamond in the rough that is my ministry., and I can see the beauty and holiness in his.

While Eric is straight laced and cognizant of his profession, I can be a heretic at times. In fact, one of the first memories I have of Eric is us bowling and me—after picking up a split — making hand gestures and saying, “The laws of physics, broken for you”. I’m sure he still doesn’t know what to make of that, but it seemed natural to me. The fact that I am who I am gives me great pleasure in knowing that he is who he is. .

While I tend to be emotional and a bit sloppy with it, Eric is more cerebral and far less sloppy in matters of ministry. Eric is focused and driven with his mind, as many men do, to follow a code of conduct. His faithfulness and loyalty to friends get him into places by shear force of will — and he doesn’t turn back.

Eric has been a loyal friend since seminary and that means some fairly extraordinary things. When I lost my eyesight in my my right eye, and having all kinds of challenges in life, health, and ministry, Eric took me in as a guest (and friend) at his place in Hawaii. That is the kind of thing that cannot be forgotten in a friendship.

How did it happen? My wife knew enough to call him and talk to him about. She and he made it happen, because Eric is one of my family’s most beloved people among my seminary friends. When he comes into town, we go see him almost no matter what, and he does the same for us. We like to have him around, and we miss him when he leaves. In addition, My kids love his kids, and seem to gel pretty well with them when we get together. They are both exceptional kids, and he is rightfully proud of them. (Of course, he can’t take all the credit. His ex-wife, Evelyn, a minister in her own right gets at least some of the credit).

Eric and my family have things in common — different things, but all in common, Michelle and I have ministry in common with him, but Eric is more than that. Eric is an artist who loves theater and literature (like everyone else in my family, though I can put up with it) and he is an artist who plays music, which is probably my favorite thing in the world (and they can put up with it).

Eric also writes blog pieces, as I do. He writes a lot of pieces. He writes a sermon every week, of course. He summarizes that in 3 tweets, in “3 Tweet Sermon” on Twitter. Then he writes a piece with art that relates to a text (almost?) weekly. Then he writes “What I’m Thinking” occasionally — an opinion piece. Did I mention he’s busy?

His writing is reverent, with pieces of art that are awe-inspiring, This shows his breadth of knowledge regarding art, or maybe his learning about art over the years. Either way, Eric is getting smarter.

Finally, there’s music: as a member of Boys With Hats, he is part of a duo that has lasted years, and miles — and occasionally does gigs with family members. Plus he seems to write new music constantly, and — I think — performs it weekly for his church in Hawaii. In 36 years, he’s no doubt written two or three hundred songs. He plays at least 3 or 4 instruments and continues to create and produce material at an incredible clip.

Like everyone else, his tenure has included the pandemic. Like others, his ministry has also included volcanic eruptions, and all of the natural disasters Hawaii has to offer. On the other hand, Eric was more prepared for COVID’s challenges more than almost anyone I know. He has developed A/V skills during his tenure as Connecticut Conference’s media director, which included camera work, videocamera and broadcast work, soundboard and mixing work, recording work. He has done this on the national level as well, doing work on a few synods, I think. Remember that thing I earlier about the love of, and knowledge of, theater that he shares with my family ? It all started there, before I knew him.

As I’ve said, Eric is (with apologies to James Brown), the hardest working minister in show business.

His church is lucky to have him during such times. On balance, though, he is lucky to have them as well. Hawaii has been really good for Eric. He loves the culture there. He loves the language and the mythology. He loves the geography and the geology there. Also, no fool, he likes the coffee there. With all of that, he loves the people in his congregation. I’ve seen him lead Bible Study with them, and there is a genuine warmth there.

As I write this, it occurs to me that he probably needs to rest some after all of the creativity and producing he does. Yes, I still think of him as about 35 years old, but his birthday suggests he’s older than that. I bet his bones think he’s older, too.

And so, brothers and sisters and all of the other possibilities out there that he is able to keep track of, from the National UCC, to Connecticut and Maine, and Hawaii, I present to you “the act you’ve known for all these years…” Eric Anderson, the hardest working, most prodigious minister I know, my friend, Eric Anderson.