Monday, November 28, 2016


One of my favorite quotes on commitment: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I DON'T WANT TO RUIN ANYONE'S THANKSGIVING BUT something that bothers me at Thanksgiving time is thinking about the Indians. I've brought this up to others and they don't seem to get it sometimes. I've been grieving over these issues for about six months because I've been studying about the early missionaries in America and how they treated Native Americans. I've been thinking about the European culture how it had binary thinking at it's roots, or a division between the Christians and the "heathens" who were on their way to Hell in their view. The Native Americans had a more holistic view of the Great Spirit and connection to nature. Missionaries from Europe, both Catholic and Protestant, established missions throughout California, as well as other areas, but at the price of negating and decimating the Native Americans and their culture. The fundamentalist Puritan Christian worldview sometimes sees other religions as pagan or demonic, so I learned the European missionaries who were most fanatical, they wanted to eliminate all Native American culture, rather than allow the natives to enjoy Christianity AND their Native American heritage. So I've been thinking about this a lot. When I was a kid I was drawn to a Native American community and my Mom took pictures of me and my "Indian friends." But now as an adult, I'm thinking about it on a deeper level. Learning more about how Native Americans were treated by missionaries is upsetting to me. I wish theology didn't so often damn the "other."

The Puritans had a practice of days of thanksgiving to God before their epic journey. And I think a holiday to officially give thanks is good for everyone. Abraham Lincoln made it official, after it being a longstanding practice. Gratitude is a powerful force.

I know the Puritans and Pilgrims initially had courage or faith expressed in their risk-taking to journey to the New World which is a part of our history. After Samoset and Squanto helped them survive they had fifty years of relative peace co-existing with Indians. They saved the pilgrims lives and until these initial peacemakers on both sides died there was sharing and reciprocity. Ironically, the Indians were more Christlike than the missionaries seeking to convert them. However, the Puritans harsh view of God and resulting prejudices ultimately created a community of judgement as expressed in historical crusades of hate like the Salem Witch Trials and their actions against Native Americans. Literature records their spirit being anything but Christlike and loving, such as the novel The Scarlett Letter.

Looking at the myths of our country's origins recently has been unsettling to me. They had a theology of "manifest destiny," (that God was on the side of Puritans and early American settlers to take the land) undergirding their belief in a divine right to take land from others. This thinking was drawn from the Bible when the Israelites in the Old Testament say God told them to take the neighboring Canaan Land and in some cases wipe out the inhabitants. The Puritans used this biblical metaphor, putting themselves in the role of the Chosen People with a God-given right to "possess the land" even though the Native Americans were here. I was thinking how it's very convenient for any individual or nation to take what they want from others under a divine imprimatur. I looked at the sermons preached then, and it's this whole idea which is dangerous territory when one appeals to the Old Testament because of passages in which Israel was told it was okay to wipe out whole towns and take their possessions and wives. Yet, I've been thinking, if God created the earth and the people therein, then what gives any group or person the divine right to take the land, wives, and possessions of another? Bob Dylan wrote a song "With God On Our Side" that critiques the mindset of using God to justify war and genocide.

When Abraham Lincoln was asked by leaders from both the Union and Confederate armies whose side God was on in the Civil War he had a wise response. "What is important is not whether God is on your side, but whether you are on His," Lincoln said. In this case, once again, biblical injunctions were used by the South to support slavery, such as Ephesians 6 "Slaves, obey your masters."

I think JFK had a wise response to this in the early Sixties when civil rights issues were in the air. Kennedy stood by a young African American man's right to attend college in Alabama, even though a racist governor and system tried to prevent him. In quoting the scriptures, let us not cling to the letter of the law and forget the spirit behind the scripture that sets all men free (2 Corinthians 3:6), Kennedy said.

I was contrasting in my mind the early settlers and how they used theological justification that it was a "just war" against "heathen violent savages" and the difference of how Christ Himself would not advocate this, in the Sermon On the Mount's Jesus injunction is to love and forgive.

Thanks for listening to me journal these thoughts out, for those of you that stuck with this long post and read to this point. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

That's why I have such a passion for making our Canaan Land film to show the difference between authentic faith and toxic faith.

Monday, November 07, 2016


My Election Eve Poem I Wrote tonight for you:
Twas the night before voting and all through the house
The Righties and Lefties were scared like a Mouse
They both shared their propaganda with care
In hopes that their choice for Prez would be there
They obsessed about who slept in Bill and Don's beds
And tried to flip states, the Blues and the Reds
The Righties say Hillary kills, steals and lies
The lefties say Trump is Hitler in an orange wig disguise
But soon it is over and the race gone from sight
And it will be fine, so sleep well and Good Night