Creamy
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Mis·ceg·e·na·tion n. The interbreeding of what are presumed to be distinct human races, esp. marriage or cohabitation between white and non-white persons (Lat. miscere, to mix + genus, race.)   America has a long and troubled history with miscegenation. Novelist William Faulkner wrote of the terrible fears of white Southerners in the antebellum years which lay behind the slave codes. And yet a tremendous amount of “interbreeding” went on. Diarist Mary Chesnut lived in Charleston in the war years and wrote... Read More
Germs
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Are germs good or bad for you?   Laughable question to my mother in 1960. Once we entered the house from anywhere else, we heard the command barked, “Wash your store hands.” “Wash your playground hands.” Anything we might have touched outside the house must have contaminated us. “Wash your school hands.”   All that hand-washing by millions of children must have worked. The relatively sanitary world in which we live has made cholera and dysentery rare. But in a Newsweek article,... Read More
Why?
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As hard as we try, our lives just don’t stick to the scripts we’ve written. As the bumper stickers tell us, “Stuff Happens.” Bad things happen to bad people, and they happen to nice people (like you & me), too. So we ask, “Why?”   The prophet Habakkuk groaned his protests to the Lord. “How long?” “Why?”   One thing that sufferers should not do is look for someone to blame, including blaming oneself. Jesus’ disciples once asked him whose fault it... Read More
Letterman
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Have you been a Dave Letterman fan? Are you still? Are you disgusted by his affair(s), or are you as cynical as the rest of his viewers are said to be?   Earlier this month Letterman shocked his audience and viewers by jokingly confessing to an affair with one or more women who had worked for him. He was being blackmailed for $2 million and decided to head off the publicity damage by admitting it himself and controlling the story. His... Read More
Letters of Love
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I spent the past week doing not much of anything, thanks to pneumonia in my left lung. The fever was so bad I thought my face was going to erupt in spontaneous combustion. I’m still too weak to run a triathlon. But I’d like to pass on to you some of the joy given to me by the first graders in our school. I wish you could see the handwriting:   Dear Pastor Jeske,   I’m going to be praying for you.... Read More
Polite Lying
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Ever since you were small, your parents hammered into you that all  lying was bad. Bearing false witness rates its own Commandment from God. I still feel the shame of weasel lies I’ve told in the past, and I try my best to work with my kids to help them tell the truth.   But--I don’t think you can say that every untruth is a sin against God. (Does that make me sound like a moral relativist?) When the Hebrew midwives... Read More
Die with Dignity
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Well, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the poster boy for the assisted suicide movement, is out of prison and doing very well on the lecture circuit. Word on the street is that he can command up to $50,000 a speech. The Hemlock Society was named, of course, for the poison drunk by the Greek philosopher Socrates. He is one of the world’s most famous suicides, although he was actually merely carrying out a death sentence pronounced on him by an Athenian court.... Read More
Liar
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For weeks now the news shows and bloggers have had a field day with Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) Earlier this month, as he and other congressional reps were listening to Pres. Obama speak on health care, he shouted out, “You lie.” He has since apologized to the White House, if only once. Though lambasted by most who feel the need to comment, his name recognition has shot up and so have contributions to his campaign fund. I will spare you... Read More
Moving On
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American Christians have always been a restless lot. Especially in cities people don’t feel as though they are obligated to attend the churches their parents and grandparents did. An increasingly large percentage of people in today’s congregations came from different backgrounds.   There is always a fair amount of coming and going in Christian churches, and not only between congregations of the same denomination. My own congregation, St. Marcus, receives dozens of new members through adult confirmation each year whose previous... Read More
It's the Economy, Stupid (Part II)
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Last November I blogged about some positive aspects of the Great Recession. My smile was a grimace, because my wife’s and my savings took a 33% haircut in the last year. I have prayed with some pretty desperate people who have been looking for work for many months. I have grieved with friends who have lost their homes or face bankruptcy. Our congregation is thrilled that our offerings have been flat—I feared that they would dive. With some deliberate underspending... Read More