Last night I was listening to a commentary by Daniel Schorr, an OLD hand in Washington journalism, and an unabashed liberal. I really enjoy Mr. Schorr’s commentaries, because they usually tell truth to power, hold people’s feet to the fire, and he does it so well. Last night citing the Blagojavich and Madoff scandals and recent news of corruption in the allocation of funds for Iraqi reconstruction, Schorr had them on the ropes, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the knock-out punch. He set them up with a jab, “I am unhappily reminded of my time in the Soviet Union, where bribery and other corruption were so commonplace as to be accepted as a dismal fact of life. Health care was nominally free, but it took a bribe to see a doctor. America isn’t there yet, but it badly needs. . . .”
Needs what, Dan? A good swift kick in the pants? A return to morality and honesty? Fire from heaven? What? (more…)
How many times have we read Christ’s parable of the vineyard and assumed its application is long in the past? It’s easy to interpret as the history of the Jews, who were given the Abrahamic Covenant but then failed in their stewardship by rejecting the prophets and ultimately killing the Master’s Son.
But recently, reading Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy, I saw the parable in a whole new light. Tolstoy says: (more…)
In the New Testament, there are two occurrences of the word wealth: a silversmith of Ephesus said to his fellow idol-makers “. . . ye know that by this craft we have our wealth” (Acts 19:25); and from Paul to the Corinthians, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Cor 10:24). It is interesting to see these two statements juxtaposed onto America today. Our idol is wealth itself, the accumulation of which has become the American Dream. Whereas seeking another’s wealth, or the prosperity of another, is seen as anti-American. (more…)
Last week I finished a new book called The Summer of 1787: the Men Who Invented the Constitution by David O. Stewart. The author does a good job of weaving together vignettes of the Framers, notes on the contemporary situation, and the actual goings-on in the Convention. I came away with more knowledge, understanding, cynicism, hope, and respect. (more…)
I recently read the essay “Notes On Nationalism” by George Orwell. Below are some of the more relevant passages, illuminating because of their applicability 60+ years later.
Orwell gives the name “nationalism” to an attitude or approach that he describes. It is beyond pride in one’s country or patriotism. It is a pathology that I thought was a rather recent invention. But judging from the statements below, it was abounding in his time also. He wrote this during WWII. And I think much of it correlates to a situation of war, because I see many of the attitudes he criticizes as having increased since September 11, 2001. (more…)
In his book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, Eric Hoffer gives various reasons why people join mass movements. Most have to do with the believer’s desire that the movement absorb and absolve his unworthiness into a higher cause. As James said, “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall . . . hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). (more…)
In the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, a man named Zeniff wanted to reclaim the “land of [his people’s] fathers’ first inheritance,” at his time occupied by an enemy people. Looking back on his decision years later after he had led his people into a trap that locked them into a backbreaking tributary situation under their enemies, he wrote, “I [was] over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers.” His people, the Nephites, had records from prophets saying that the land would be consecrated unto them, and so I’m sure Zeniff felt confident that the Lord was on his side in his endeavor. But he was not working under instructions of the Lord, and the timing for the inheritance was not right. (more…)
In the middle of reading Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose, I saw in the video store a picture of Eisenhower on a documentary called Why We Fight. It was the Grand Jury Prize Winner at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
The movie’s launch-pad is Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell speech in which he warns America of a military-industrial complex and draws that concept out to the current war in Iraq. (more…)
One of the definitions of pornography from Merriam-Webster (www.m-w.com) is: “The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.” This same definition can be applied to most political talk-shows. (more…)
Mitt Romney carried Utah with about 90% of the Republican primary vote. But since Romney dropped out of the race, lots of Mittlers have expressed their dislike of the obvious GOP nominee, John McCain. I have tried to ask why, but the answer is usually too emotionally-centered to be understandable to someone not in the same boat. However, I finally figured it out: In the eyes of Conservatives, McCain is too willing to (cover the children’s ears) compromise. (more…)