Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day, a father's letter and our communities


Today we celebrate America with the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. What a day it promises to be for all of us.

This week Parade Magazine published a letter that President Obama wrote to his daughters, Malia and Sasha. As I read the new president's words, it became very clear that this man is first and foremost a dad who loves his children. As I thought more about the content of his letter, I realized that the message here could serve well as an agenda for our work.

Take a moment to read his letter:

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me-about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours.

In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation. I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity. I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country-but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free-that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something. She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much-although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you-to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have.

That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure. I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.

Love, Dad

An agenda worthy of our best efforts, don't you think?
.

61 comments:

Chris said...

These are the good things I want for you and all children lucky enough top be born. But one of my first acts will be to make sure that some babies never see the light of day, and if they accidentally do, to make sure they do not get medical care in a timely manner, to make sure a portion of aid given other countries for family planning will go for abortion.

Anonymous said...

nice letter. I am curious, however, if the letter was written to and for his daughters or to and for release to the press and the USA for some "other purpose". I guess I am cynical as to why a private letter to his kids would be released to the press if it was truly meant to be a letter just for his kids. I am thinking he had another motive.

Anonymous said...

great letter.

chris, your attitude is terrible. I really don't know how you can claim to have the love of Christ in you, because you are the most bitter, hate-filled person I have ever encountered online. Do you ever have anything positive to say? Or do you just like tearing people down every chance you get? You're attitude on this blog is a spirit of divisiveness and I am sorry that your true spirit has been co-opted by this evil.

I voted for the other guy, but regardless of what you think, you can't help but be excited for such a historical moment.

Anonymous said...

I will certainly pray for the new President. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he makes good decisions.

Larry, do you think he will do *anything* to protect the most vulnerable among us -- the unborn? Or will he simply walk lock-step with the pro-abortion forces who helped elect him?

J-Man

Anonymous said...

I wish I wasn't so synical, but my first thought was along the lines of Anon 9:33. Having said that the thing I like the most about President Obama is that he does seem to be a loving father and husband. Chris, I am actually glad that you keep plugging away with your point of view, and I will not label you or your heart, but I do believe that you might get a better hearing if you would be positive when you can.

RC

Anonymous said...

Richard, it is one thing to encourage genuine debate it is another to encourage divisive hate-speech

Politics and culture said...

Hate speech? Please.

Chris may not always present his views in the best way, but it is certainly not hate speech.

For you to label his views in such a way seems to be more in line with hate speech.

Chris said...

P&C

Just to clarify, I am a her.

Lynn Leaming said...

While I have no doubt that President Obama wants the best for his daughters and America's children, my heart wishes he had said he was wanting to be President to help these United States turn their hearts back to God and put Him back in our schools and institutions. I am praying that He has a heart that is surrendered to the will of God and not the will of the Democrats.

You could not help but have tears as Aretha sang "My Country Tis Of Thee"...indeed we live in the "sweet land of liberty".

A final comment. Whether I agree with Chris' comments or not, at least he is brave enough to comment under his name and not Anonymous where you say whatever you feel with no ownership of who you are.

Politics and Culture said...

Oops! Sorry Chris. Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

I thought President Obama gave a wonderful speech. Unfortunately, the white man - hating Revereand Joseph Lowery made me irate when he had the gall to say, "we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when WHITE WILL EMBRACE WHAT IS RIGHT" ( emphasis added). What an absolute joke. I guess the white man does not embrace what is right? Why did Obama have a racist give the Benediction? or did Michelle put those lines in? Why not just let Reverand Wright take the podium and tell us why the white man is so awful. I just don't get it. Without the white vote, Barack would still be voting "present" in the Senate. Please, Larry and others from the Left explain this one away for him, take his side, tell me what an idiot I am for thinking this line was so out of place, call my comments hate speech and the usual other comments one gets when raising issues that the majority of the bloggers here throw out when an "outsider" dares take a position that does not agree with most here. What a downer to an otherwise wonderful day. I guess the press will ignore this comment. James Daughtryverste

Anonymous said...

Not a good start. First, Obama flubs the oath (did he not practice it? Look over it?) Then Lowry offers a divisive and offensive prayer.

But Obama did give a good speech. I especially liked his emphasis on responsibility. Unfortunately, that idea will go nowhere with a congress run by Democrats eager to "spread the wealth."

J-Man

Anonymous said...

chris, no one wants abortions to increase in number or even occur. mr. obama talked about that during the campaign. we've just finished 8 years of a pro-life administration with a supreme court that decieded the 2000 election. Why didn't mr. bush do something if you think that the key to this problem is who holds the office of president?

btw--i've never read such defeatest, negative comments at a time when we need to come together. amazing, amazing, bewildering. not sure how mr. james puts up with this.

Anonymous said...

J-man:

Not a good start? In over an hour of ceremonies, 1 minute of the benediction was arguably objectionable. Plus, I think it was actually Justice Roberts who made a mistake in the oath, and Obama waited politely to give him the chance to correct it. If those were the only problems in any public presentation over one hour, I would say things went really well!

Anonymous said...

I actually thought the oath stumble was kinda funny.

Overall, I thought the ceremony was good -- very unifying. Until Lowry's offensive prayer. What he said was indefensible (though I'm sure some who comment here will try to defend his words).

J-Man

Anonymous said...

ANON 1243 -



ANON 1243 - have you not read the comments from others on Larry's blog over the last 2 years? If you have not, you have missed daily defeatest,negative comments against everything the President has done - and actually down right cruel comments about President Bush by the usual suspects that comment daily here (see Belinda's comments every time she comments on this blog). Everything has been Bush's fault - eventhough the Dems controlled COngress and had as much to do with the events as the White House. Or have you read CNN - i direct you specifically to comments on CNN"s Political Ticker? you might want to take back your comments.

With respect to your comment as to how Mr. James puts up with all of this - I guess you want to only hear one side - the Left side - and want the rest of us to shut our mouths or make only statements that you believe in. If someone dares to disagree with you or the other left wingers who despise anyone who has a different viewpoint, then that person is an unpartriotic American. You need to understand that now you are going to get a taste of what the republicans have been getting for 8 years. Where were you with all of this "coming together" talk the last 8 years? Instead, I am sure, based on your comments, that you fell in line with our good friend Belinda who called our troops murderers and wants Bush put in prison.

I have 3 words for your comments - Amazing, Amazing, Bewildering.

Anonymous said...

I'm also wondering where all this talk of unity and coming together has been for the last 8 years...

How about if we give President Obama the same kind of treatment that President Bush received? How would that be?

Anonymous said...

some of you who ask why it wasn't this way in 2001 have a very short memory of the election of 2000! settled weeks late by a supreme court vote. . .talk about sour grapes this year! compare the approval ratings of the outgoing president and those of mr. obama. i say give the man a chance. . .buck up, people!

Anonymous said...

I thought President Obama gave a good speech, but Lowery came across like a fool.

RC

Anonymous said...

a: the stumble at the oath WAS made by Roberts

b: Democrats controlled Congress for only TWO of the eight years Bush was in office with the Senate being in control with an EXTREMELY slim majority. Bush only found his VETO pen during the last two years!

c: Bush is gone (didn't any of you see him leave!)

d: Get over it. Obama is popular, as popular as the rest of the country has deemed Bush unpopular (unless that 22% approval rate represents a poll of only Democrats and Independents).

e: Obama's speech FINALLY marks a return of intelligence, eloquence and articulateness to the presidency

f: Chris - you leave me
speechless.

g: Lowrey's end to the benediction is a line he's given in speeches and sermons for more years than anyone can remember. Sorry if it offended some white people that he actually remembers when whites DIDN'T do what was right. I saw it as a kind of turning of the page from that era. But there are many of you who want African-Americans to have total amnesia regarding the past 300-400 years. The fact is we're happy, we will move on. But this moment has a is full of past and future. Sorry you can't relate.

Anonymous said...

But it was over the past two years that everything fell apart!

How about it, Larry -- does President Obama deserve the same kind of support and respect that President Bush received? Or does he deserve better?

J-Man

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:54 --

No, I guess I can't relate to an ugly, hateful, divisive prayer.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, there are a lot of people on here who want to sweep the issue of race under rug as if it never happened or never created problems for future generations. Such belief comes from pure ignorance.

Anonymous said...

As quoted above, the benediction included the words: "we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right." Maybe a little 60's and corny, but does anyone really disagree? I'm truly puzzled. Does anyone not want for "black not to be asked to get back" (of the bus), etc.? Is it just that he injected race at all?

belinda said...

regarding Obama flubbing on the oath of office: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28753348/

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Bush was quite popular during his first couple of years as Americans, despite his ambiguous election, gave him the benefit of the doubt. It was only after the first 4 years that public opinion started to turn. And then it was turned based on his actions, not "just because."

Yes, I think we should give our new president a chance. Let's see what he actually does instead of making dire predictions which may or may not have any real validity.

Larry James said...

Yes, we should accord our presidents and all of our leaders our respect. While we cannot surrender our values or pull back from honest debate, we must be respectful.

Tomorrow I will post a piece about the history of the Capitol Rotunda and what its history says about our racial challenges as a people. The prayer that is so offensive to some here came from a sweet man who has walked in shoes most of his critics cannot possibly understand. He grew up a bit ahead of me, but he was around when the Crayola box included a "flesh" colored crayola that was later changed to "peach." Can we be open to the pain and the suffering of our brothers and sisters, even when we ourselves don't fully understand? Can we be humble enough to admit our ignorance?

Anonymous said...

Larry:

Your response to Rev. Lowrey really disappoints me.

RC

Larry James said...

RC, sorry that I disappoint you. It is an honest reflection of how I feel and of what I've learned in the city over the last 15 years. If you don't mind, I'll ask a question or two. 1) What is so offensive. The Rev was into a poetic refrain and meant only to call God into his experience and us with him. 2) How old are you? 3) Where do you live? 4) How many people of color do you really know and talk to honestly? Just wondering, not accusing, just trying to figure out your point of offense.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to you, Larry, i am white and i have embraced what is right all my life. I don't need nor want to hear race baiting at a Presidential inauguration. And if you can't or won't understand how truly in bad taste his statement is, then there is no reason to debate any issues with you because you won't or can't see the other side. There is always some excuse for when an african american leader makes such type of statements. I think it is an absolute disgrace reading all of the comments here defending this statment.

With respect to Obama's approval rating, don't you think it is a little premature to be discussing approval polls when the President has done nothing. I mean the man has been President for less than 1/2 a day.

Since I voted for Obama - because McCain was a poor candidate - you can't blame me for having sour grapes, so pull out another stone and throw it because that one won't work.

Let's face it, the last part of the Benediction was devisive, in bad taste and racist. If you can't see that, then you should stop drinking the Cool Aid.

James

Larry James said...

James, not wanting to be defensive, but I've never said anything about "sour grapes."

Anonymous said...

Larry - I am hoping you are just caught up in the moment and when you step back and reflect on your comments to RC you will see that you really are accusing him and in a way belittling him and everyone else that was offended by this "prayer" that you now call a "poetic refrain". My guess is there are alot of "whites who embrace what is right" by supporting CDM. Maybe, just maybe, for once you will be a little less quick to take up for such "poetic refrain" by thinking, " he sure is painting with a broad brush". I am done supporting CDM with my money and my time. While I am embracing what is right, it will be some place else. I am sure I won't be missed, though, since i am a bad white guy.

Anonymous said...

After reading what was written here I Googled the benediction. It was all of about 45 seconds long and was given with a little smile and also received with smiles and chuckles in response. It was clearly not meant to be offensive. I must repeat my previous question:

I'm truly puzzled. Does anyone not want for "black not to be asked to get back" (of the bus), etc.? Is it just that he injected race at all?

BTW: I'm white and not the least bit offended. His statement is obviously about a long standing historical problem and not a jab at anyone in particular. It appears to me that you have to be looking to be offended to take such umbrage at this small remark.

Anonymous said...

I think we are seeing in this blog today a double standard in racism. Had a white guy stood up in "prayer" or "poetic refrain" today and said somehting like - It is time for Blacks to quit harping about the past to white people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the past, lets look to the future and quit throwing racism in our face every time you don't get what you want", my guess is that there would be an uproar like you have never seen before.
This was a PRAYER!!!! I see no reverence in referring to a racial rhyme during a prayer. This inauguration should not have been used as a platform about race or color - it is about AMERICA, or at least I thought it was... maybe in retrospect it was about Black America, eventhough Obama would not be President if he did not get the White vote.

Anonymous said...

re: the oath flub

Obama interrupted Roberts, then Roberts lost his train of thought.

Both men goofed. It's not a big deal, but this continued "Obama can do no wrong" attitude is not "Change we need".

Anonymous said...

larry, I have been reading the comments all afternoon. I am disappointed in your refusing to call out the obvious racism. It seems you have forgotten the fact that behind this successful CDM are alot of white people who have embraced what is right. Instead, you are quick to defend what seems to most to be a defenseless position. I don't care if it is poetic refrain ( whatever that means) or prayer ( which makes it even worse if it can be) or however else you want to characterize it; the Reverand was out of order but showed his true motive - to turn his prayer into a chance to interject race and further divide this country.

Larry James said...

It is very clear that we need more conversation about race in our community. I can say that I in no way meant to call white people "bad guys." That said, I will say again that we may need to be open to others whose life experience is undeniably different from our own. Building community requires less on the judgment side and more on the listening side. Of course, I hate to lose supporters, and again, intended no offense, but the last 15 years has helped me understand all that I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Funny how anonymous posters get in a huff and threaten to drop their anonymous support. I'll be a skeptic and say they aren't real CDM supporters anyway. LJ is right. Racism is not dead and we must continue to understand before passing judgment about what we white people think we might know about race.

Chris said...

I've heard enough about race today to last a lifetime. I personally think the country has gone crazy.

I hope we can move on. I hope his economic plan works but I fail to see how he can spend so much money when the country is broke. It never worked for me. I just hope there isn't mass depression, mentally, when it fails.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the context of those lines in the prayer were where each group falls in the lived experience of race. Non whites are still not always treated fairly, and not all whites do what is right in regards to their attitudes and treatment of non whites.
I would say most whites do what is right most of the time in regards to race (certainly way more than when this line was first used). Many still do not. Perhaps the other white people who are offended don’t have as many racists in their family as I do (I’m also white). Just last week an acquaintance told me an Obama joke that included the N word. In that moment, I had an opportunity to do what was right, that a person of color would not have. Why? Because this person would never have made that joke in the presence of a person of color. So much racism never even comes to the attention of persons of color. It is shown only in the company of whites. At that moment we, as white people, have the opportunity to say “No, that’s inappropriate.” To do what is right.

Larry James said...

Friends, I have just now watched and heard the prayer offered by Revereand Joseph Lowery. Until now, I was responding to comments without actually watching and hearing the prayer. Those of you who objected and who were "disappointed" and who judged that he was race baiting, etc., I cannot tell you how much I disagree and how far off the mark you really are with your assessment. Lowery, an aged warrior for civil and human rights, prayed the prayer of a gentle, strong prophet. He employed the language of his life and of his work. You could build a semester's work in an American History class around the words of the entire prayer and pull out event after event that would illuminate his language. He added humor to his sweetness and challenge to his graciousness. Those of you who took exception to his prayer have judged him wrongly. Having now listened, I wonder if you paid attention to the entire prayer or not. Frankly, I am very disappointed in your lack of understanding. After hearing the prayer, I fear that those of you who cried "racist" or "race baiting" against this man's heart protest too much and reveal more than you intended about your own journey. Those who feel uncomfortable when someone challenges us anew to confront our racial reality as a nation and as people, need most of all to face the reasons for this discomfort. I thought the prayer was wonderful. One thing I have learned today, never comment on something like this until I've actually heard the content of the matter for myself.

Jim Morrison said...

Keep it up Larry!
I am broken-hearted reading these comments. I am a middle-aged white man from a generation caught in-between. I really never knew overt racism and it has been easy for me to dismiss suffering that I never witnessed first-hand (or unintentionally ignored). I have lived, gone to school and worked for the past 2 years in East Baltimore and received an education far beyond what I intended. For any of us to assert that our lack of personal prejudice somehow nullifies the lingering effects of institutional racism and segregation is a deep and evil spiritual blindness. Reverend Lowery has earned the right to speak from now through eternity. I consider it a privilege to participate in atonement for the injustice perpetrated against children of God based on the color of their skin. We should seriously pause and consider when we pray for "justice to roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." It is beyond comprehension to me that today's events could be viewed with anything other than awe, humility and thankfulness.

Anonymous said...

Larry:

I tried to answer once, but my comments seemed to go into cyber never-never-land. I will try again. 1.) I too actually watched the video of Rev. Lowery's prayer instead of just reading it, and I will give him a pass, but Larry I have heard you over and over again not give the same pass to others with a more right leaning perspective. If I wanted a defense others have said it better than I could 2.) I am 50, not ancient, but old enough to clearly remember the awful day of Dr. King's assassination In my hometown of Memphis. 3) I was born and raised in Memphis and still live in Shelby County. 4.) I know many people of color and preach for a fully integrated congregation that truly reflects the diversity of our community. To be honest you seem to be more than ready to give a pass and be very understanding to people like Rev. Wright and no such thing for the remarks of conservatives. I will be more than happy to supply my full name and any other information you might need. I am not trying to hid behind "anonymous." It is just a bit easier to post that way. We all look at things from our own perspective and that makes us all a bit unfair sometimes and tonight I am seeing a side of you that I do not believe reflects you at your best.

Anonymous said...

I should have signed off

RC

Anonymous said...

Richard, I think you're attributing anonymous comments to LJ, because he has said nothing but gracious things on this blog today, in spite of many poor anonymous comments from all over the map. (His 4:44 post, which is what I assume offends you, is hardly accusatory, but inquisitive and seeks to understand.)

This isn't the first time you've challenged "seeing a side of Larry not reflecting his best" -- it seems like that's the only thing you ever comment on and it feels like a broken record. You're really using an ad hominem approach to discussion. Question a person's motives and how they're acting strangely every time you engage them in a conversation...

Larry never gave Rev. Wright a "pass". He simply acknowledged and encouraged us to understand the feelings and the source of the emotion coming from our brothers in the black community before we pass judgment. Seeking to understand someone first does not equate to a pardon.

P.S. Why would you call Lowery a fool (1:51 post)? Surely as a minister of the gospel you wouldn't use such a harsh word on a fellow minister. Practice telling that to his face. "Rev. Lowery, you are a fool." I guess using the word "acted" as a qualifier makes it okay to sit in judgment. I'm seeing a different side of you today, RC, with your harshness towards those you do not even know. On second thought, I'm seeing the same side of you as you always display on this blog.

Anonymous said...

rc, ask the black members of your church what they thought of Lowery's prayer.

bobby j

Tim Timmons said...

What a blessing it is to listen to all these conspicuously religious white folks - the same ones that repulsed Jesus 2000 years ago - reincarnate in the piously devout of this message board.

I am housebound and bed-fast after 23 years with my intimate friend - but no matter how bad it gets - I always have my wife get me up to witness the born again Laurel and Hardy routine acted out by Chris and P&C.

I honestly thank God for both of you daily. As a comical duet - the two of you do more to bolster the already surging ranks of Neo-Pagan Shaman and Zen Buddhist followers of The Way than could be accomplished via any independently contracted national consulting firm.

Praise be to God for the leader divinely chosen to pilot America during what may become the most turbulent 4-8 years since Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln - in this case - as a direct result of what will one day be considered the most corrupt administration in American history - certainly since Watergate.

You ROCK Barack !!! (President, that is) - as do you Larry - and you too Belinda! What an awesome time to be alive!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:33:

Please get the fact right. I did not call Lowrey a fool. I said he came across like one. There is a big difference. You also have not looked very closely at my body of comments. I have praised Larry's posts many times. I am through with this thread. We have already beat it to death.

Anonymous said...

Exactly my point Richard. You are playing semantics with your words. Looking like a fool is just a way to give yourself a free pass when it is obvious the judgment you are making on a mans character. and while your first post to larry may be respectful, you always call him disrespectful on your rebuttal. It's really a poor conversation tactic.

What about the other anonymous comments. Have you talked to any black people in your church for their opinion or did you just open your mouth first?

belinda said...

Tim Timmons: thank YOU!

Jeff said...

Whenever I start to doubt my devout Atheism, all it takes is a quick read of the comments here and I remember why I left the church.

What a nest of vipers!

Anonymous said...

I haven't gone there yet, Jeff, but I can understand where you're coming from.

mundiejc said...

The comments on this post make me reconsider my belief that blogs are a good thing. My brother in law (who is a master's student in theological studies at LU) who is much smarter than me, tells me to stay away from blogs on almost a daily basis... yet I continue to defend blogs as being good for conversation and discussion.

I've slowly started reading more and commenting less. And each day that I come by this blog and see the multitude of ridiculous posts from Chris, and then another multitude of ridiculous posts from anonymous people from the other side of the aisle, who are like the left version of Chris, I wonder what the f*** we're even doing. This is ridiculous. No one listens to each other, many people attack individual commenters personally, because they disagree with something they said. I know RC, and while I don't agree with everything he says, he's no more inappropriate than those who have called him a racist in this post.

I include myself in what I've said above. I've been part of the problem. Its why I don't comment much anymore. I don't desire to be a problem. I desire dialogue. But its difficult to have conversations on the internet that should absolutely and always be had in the context of relationships. Words of judgement towards someone mean nothing without relationship. All they do is cause more and more division.

Larry, I think it might be time to disable comments. You know that we don't agree on everything, I being the christian anarcho-capitalist, much a product of my environment and narrative, just as your coming of age in the 60s has shaped yours. We all are dramatically shaped by what we have experienced. And all that arguing in the comment section of this blog does is re-enforce our own opinions, because we subconciously, in many cases, assign motives to those whose comments we disagree with. In conversation, that doesn't happen quite as frequently. And we surely think about our words more carefully face to face.

Anyway, I still enjoy reading your blog, especially your anecdotes of life among the urban poor... many of which I can relate to myself, living where I currently live. And I think many of us out there would be better off if we we're tempted to comment and respond to every little thing we agree or disagree with.

Just my two (or three or four) cents.

Larry James said...

mundiejc, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I've considered doing what you suggest here. I haven't for a number of reasons, but may yet. My main motive for allowing comments is the belief that often one can learn a great deal by simply "watching" or "listening" to a conversation.

Alan Bean said...

I think it's great that conservative folk who don't share Larry's perspective are still willing to read his comments. We've got to begin somewhere. I have noticed, however, that the internet tends to bring out the nasty in us. There is no substitute for face-to-face sharing.

Alan Bean

Anonymous said...

Larry and several others asked what was so offensive about the benediction. I can't help but notice that no one who was offended even tried to explain exactly what about it was offensive. It was just "if you don't [already] understand, you'll never get it" with no attempt to explain to those of us who don't currently share that point of view. That will certainly not help a conversation.

Please, if you're going to comment, be willing to share/explain your point of view, and not just state it.

Jeff said...

I have an ongoing interest in social justice, but outside of the Christian context. My brother runs an orphanage in Guatemala, and suggested I'd find Larry's brans of Christianity refreshing, and I certainly do. Most American Christians are a stingy lot. The hardened opinions and unwillingness to not consider opposing viewpoints as other than those of the Antichrist are a sad commentary on many people who espouse Christ and then spew hatred.

What part of "turn the other cheek" is so complicated?
What part of "judge not that ye be not judged" is so complicated?
What part of "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" is so complicated?
What part of "blessed are the peacemakers" is so complicated?
What part of "if you want to be perfect give all that you have to the poor" is so complicated?

My strict evangelical upbringing left me spiritually molested, and unable to accept God, primarily because of the difference between preaching and practice.

Larry, you offer a bright light in a dark world, and it's unfortunate to attract some really vituperative comments. I'm pretty sure I know who's side the Big Guy would be on, but then again, I choose not to judge.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Well said, Jeff.

Mikey said...

Amen Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Jeff:

Another Amen. My two cents worth:

If you judge Chrsitianity by the behavior of Christians, you will probably reach a negative conclusion. But I think this is true in many contexts. If you judge America by the specific behavior of Americans (or our govt), we are often found wanting.

But if you judge Christianity by its message, it holds up pretty well. Kind of like judging America by it's founding documents - in aspiration America is a pretty good place.

As G.K Chesterton said: "It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It is that Christianity has rarely been tried."

That said, anyone should be able to call anyone who claims to be a Christian to account for their actions and views when they are out of line with the faith.

Anonymous said...

Jeff:

Another Amen. My two cents worth:

If you judge Chrsitianity by the behavior of Christians, you will probably reach a negative conclusion. But I think this is true in many contexts. If you judge America by the specific behavior of Americans (or our govt), we are often found wanting.

But if you judge Christianity by its message, it holds up pretty well. Kind of like judging America by it's founding documents - in aspiration America is a pretty good place.

As G.K Chesterton said: "It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It is that Christianity has rarely been tried."

That said, anyone should be able to call anyone who claims to be a Christian to account for their actions and views when they are out of line with the faith.