Sunday, December 22, 2019


The first kid said, “The earth is round. But to me it looks flat. What should I believe?”

The second said, “Of course it’s round, dummy!”

Kids (and adults) can believe almost anything.

For weeks, and even today, secular and right-wing press has assumed the tight linkage of Trump and evangelical Christianity.

But now Mark Galli, a leader in evangelical Christianity, has exposed the error of that simplistic  Trump-Evangelical linkage. You can read his thought in “Christianity Today,” a leading evangelical Christian journal, here:

Not all evangelicals support Trump, you say? Right. Galli does not. 

Me? Well first, I am an evangelical? I was baptized in the Evangelical Church, graduated from Evangelical Theological Seminary. I was accepted for ordination in the Evangelical United Brethren Church. I now live in an evangelical Quaker retirement community. Yes, I’m an evangelical; it’s in my blood. But in recent years I wouldn’t have mentioned that because of the supposition that evangelicals are one in support of Trump.

Now a Truth has finally emerged with a huge bang. The evangelical editor of a dominant evangelical periodical, “Christianity Today,” has written: “Trump should be removed from office.”

Let’s go back to an evangelical Sunday school. A kid’s hand goes up. “What I do and what I say should match. Right?”

Sunday school teacher: “Of course! You’re right. That’s what I’ve taught. You get an A.”

And finally I can say out loud, “I’m an evangelical. Life-long. And I don’t support many of Trump’s actions and a lot of what he says.” I can assert that the great fellowship of evangelical Christians cannot be portrayed as Trump’s buddies. Just like I can say: “The earth is not flat!” Thank you, Editor Mark Galli.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

DO FACTS MATTER ANYMORE? Article of the week

Can you imagine a better name for the current American president than his surname, Trump?  He seems to think that facts don't matter. Bluster trumps fact.☹️ That's the main point of the
the best article I've read this week.

So, here we go. I point you to "Impeached by the Facts."  November 6, 2019. You can read the article for yourself, on-line, for free.  Just click on the link.

A quick recap of the key point: the President works on the premise that he can do anything he wants. That includes denying facts. Not that facts don't exist. Rather, that they don't matter because the President can do anything he wants.

President Donald Trump receives a briefing, Thursday, April 6, 2017
Photo in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The author's conclusion: "Without a horizon of shared truth, politics becomes simply the exercise of brute force. . . ." "It is not a world in which democracy can survive."

I judge the article to offer fine analysis of the political situation in the U.S. Though I've recapped it, it's well worth your reading it in its entirety.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Do you read Jim Wallis? Wallis writes articles, books, and web-based material. I'll give you a link to  the best articles I've read during the week past. It's Wallis on what loyalty to Jesus means now.

A bit of introduction to Wallis. He leads a movement, "the Sojourners," which shapes and leads Christian social action guidance. When I studied theology in  Chicago, Wallis and his group were centered in suburban Chicago as well. We (my classmates and I) looked to him to leadership in thought and action in the civil rights struggle.

I've encountered Jim since then as well. In Tacoma in 2001 he spoke to a community gathering in St. Leo Parish (Roman Catholic).

Now Wallis has shifted attention to the current poisoned political atmosphere. He continues to provide leadership to American Christians--both in thought and deed.

This month Jim has published a new book. He's written an brief article introducing some of the main points in the book.  Read the article, get the book. Either way, look for the spirit conveyed in his words.

The theme is The Caesar Question: Where does your loyalty lie?" Jesus faced this issue. Now we do.

If your loyalty lies with Jesus you'll get some clear instruction from Jim on what that means today. Instruction, or thought-provoking questions at the very least.

Here's the link.  Enjoy the read. And learn.

Jim Wallis, World Economic Forum, 2012
via Wikimedia

licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Saturday, November 2, 2019


Last week I realized that I read a lot. Every single week I read articles from the best sources, like The New Yorker,  Why not share the best of the best with you via this blog? Let me give it a try with this post.

Today I share a reference to an article by a seventy-one year old, the esteemed Arthur Krystal, that tickled my aging ribs.  I recommend that you read it too. On-line if you're young enough to appreciate that medium at Or, if you're in the older decades of life, run over to the public library to read it in a real magazine. Look for November 4, 2019 issue.

The article is a wry review of recent works on aging, written by a variety of  persons such as scientists, psychologists, ancient and modern philosophers. You'll get all kinds of ideas on the experience of aging.

As Krystal says: "Now that we're living longer, we have the time to write books about living longer."  We also have the time to read articles and books about living longer. All to the better.

Krystal's is one of the best articles of the week in this old guy's opinion.


Old Man with Long Hair
Photographer: Subhams
Via Wikimedia

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Chill It (Global Warming:) what millenials (and the rest of us) can do about it.

There are global Limits to Growth, as Dennis Meadows has tried to teach us. Meadows has influenced my life. 

Meadows is still sharing.Read his interview in "Der Spiegel" (in English.) 

But why has Meadows’ message not sunk in? It seems so obviously accurate and truthful. But it goes against the lies of politicians and the needs of industrial progress. Against the real needs of an overpopulated world.

Fortunately, new crusaders including youthful millennials are coming to the fore. Perhaps they can get the attention of the rich and powerful.

One great example--Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old activist from Sweden. The tale is told in “The New Yorker,” September 30, 2019. I love her ability to express her concern--her outrage, her spunk. 

September 30, 2019. Greta arrives in the U.S. after sailing  to cross the Atlantic from Europe to New York as a protest against fuel-guzzling air flights. In New York she addressed a meeting at the United Nations. (Upon her arrival by boat she was asked, "What do you think about New York?" She answered, "It smells." Source: New Yorker article.)

Just at this current moment the anti-green, pro-fossil fuel United States government autocratically reverses the baby-steps made earlier on climate control. Perfect for Greta and millions of millennials cry out and resist. And resist they must, along with the rest of us. we older “limits” people--Dennis Meadows and the rest of us--keep up the work.

Greta and others believe there’s about a decade left until we cross a dividing line. After we cross the line, the battle is lost. Now’s the time for action.

Personally, in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. I’ve watched the winter snows entirely disappear from the slopes of Mt. Hood, east of Portland, OR. That did not happen when I was young. I’ve watched the retreat of the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier, east of Tacoma, Washington. On the road to Paradise as a child then peeking out of the window of my parents' car, I saw the Nisqually River emerge from the snout of the Nisqually glacier, easily within sight from the bridge. Last year I drove the same route. The glacier was not in sight from the bridge. The glacier had shrunk back around a corner. See what I mean on this map. (click to expand, look for Nisqually River and the Glacier.)  

Mt. Rainier: Nisqually Glacier (it's melting, losing to climate change) in its valley, lower right.
In the public domain via Wikimedia

What’s to be done? Let Greta Thunberg be our model. And pick up where Meadows points us to go. Alert voters! Elect candidates who’ll put environmental sanity high on their agenda. To honor the limits to growth do this: Read. Get motivated. Act. Influence others.

Thanks for reading. Reactions? Leave a comment.  

Saturday, August 3, 2019


Wild blackberries.  
  • Finding 'em.
Finding 'em was a cinch. Right there in front of me. Almost daily I walk the trail; you can see a hint of the trail just behind Lucy in the first photo. The Gettman Loop Trail (click the link for great photos) in Newberg, OR.  

I told Lucy about the berries. They line parts of the western section of the trail for 1/4 mile or so. Lucy is a real berry picker from childhood on. I figured she'd be tempted. But there was a surprise and here's how she surprised me.

A couple of days later, after I'd forgotten the conversation about the berries (blame dementia I guess), I was preparing for my daily walk. (4 miles around the Gettman Loop plus getting to the Loop from, and then returning to, our home.)

Anyhow, Lucy said, "Can I go with you today?"

"Sure," I said, surprised that she'd want to walk that entire distance. 

We walked and walked: down into the Stonybrook gulch, back up the other side, through the forest, south along the farmer's field on the left and the golf course on the right, then down through the primeval forest again for a second crossing of Stonybrook, puffing back up the slope to the golf course, and then finally heading north toward our home. 


But before we left the trail we reached the long hedge of berries, Lucy surprised me again. She pulled a plastic Kroger grocery bag from her pocket and said, "Can we pick some berries?"

See that grin on her face? I said "Yes. " She enjoys picking great berries, especially if they're free.

  • Pick 'em.

So we picked. And picked. These blackberry bushes have enormous thorns--for self-protection against pickers like us I guess. We continued despite the risk. Suppose you stretch to reach a berry, trip and fall forward into the hedge of berries. I don't want to talk, think, or write about that right now! But it did cross my mind while we were picking. No pain, no gain I guess. 

A male hiker stopped to inquire about our picking project. We chatted gleefully about the free berries. As he turned to run on, I called out, "These are for sale, you know."

He chuckled and kept on jogging.

A second young jogger stopped. She and Lucy chatted for some time about the varieties of berries in Oregon: raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries and, of course, wild blackberries. When I asked Lucy about the conversation she said, "What a pleasant hello." 

When we'd half-filled the bag we headed for home.

  • Bake a pie.

Back at home Lucy washed the berries and prepared them for pie filling. After supper we ate a couple of  pieces of the award-winning level pie. I mean, if she'd entered the pie into the contest at the Oregon State Fair she'd have won the blue ribbon. I just know that. Fantastic taste: pungent, sweet, powerful berry taste that I'd been missing for decades since my berry-picking as a kid.

The next evening we hosted a family event: a visit from our adult daughter and her two teenagers plus her adult friend and her teenage son. We shared the rest of the pie together after our Friday evening walk visiting art galleries in downtown Newberg. The pie was a hit!

Now I'm thinking that next summer we'll be out on the Gettman Loop picking berries and then (I hope) preparing pie (or even pies--plural! Why not?) 

Do you have a wild berry pie story to share? Please click "comment" and have a go at it, either here or on Facebook. Let's build a wild blackberry picker community!

P.S. Supportive prayers for those shot dead in El Pasto and their  bereaved families! Just as I posted this, the news arrived.    Dear God, when will we develop the guts to control guns? Don't get me wrong. I've owned a rifle. I've killed my game. I'm not opposed to gun ownership. I live in the once-wild West of the U.S.A. But I want my grandkids to feel safe in their communities. I myself want to feel safe as I walk through the dense woods on the Loop Trail in my community. I want strict gun control.)

Saturday, July 27, 2019


My dear wife and I live in a community--Newberg, Oregon--that celebrates "the old days" every summer.  The Newberg Old Fashioned Festival is in full swing this weekend, July 25-27. It's a weekend of summer fun: kids towing their homemade floats in the parade, jazz band entertainment, and aisles of booths with vendors selling things old and new, including food items like "elephant ears." 

Ever had elephant ears? What are they? A sort of thick, pliable pancake. Perhaps you've seen them--at your state fair maybe. We ordered one elephant ear. We decorated it with toppings. One elephant ear divided equally between our friend and the two of us and we were absolutely stuffed!

A week earlier my wife and I noticed perhaps thirty-some antique cars in a parking lot a half-block from our house. What had brought them to our neighborhood? we wondered. We walked over to the display to find out. We examined cars from the 1950s and even earlier. Obviously their owners had restored them to tip-top shape and now were making them available for inspection (but not for rides unfortunately.) 

These cars brought back wonderful memories of our own youthful days. My wife posed beside one old Chevrolet that reminded her of a car she'd owned for a couple of years just after her college graduation.

Next and below, a makeover of an even older car and its owner.  Beside it, a restored delivery van. And so on.

Finally, me, beside another oldie. A Chevy again.

We were filled with joy there, amongst these beautiful restored old cars. It was like we'd seen them before. Just the sight of them brought back tons of memories.

But we still wondered, why were they in this parking lot on this day? When we asked someone, we found that the cars really were there for memory care patients, residents in a specialized memory care clinic across the street. With that we realized, of course! Relatives and care staff were bringing the patients--most of them in wheelchairs--from the clinic to the car show, where they could exercise their memories of cars like ones they might have used decades ago. The car club, we learned, showed their cars here, annually, to help memory care patients re-kindle some images from their earlier lives. 

Why not go old-fashioned for a day or two on a fine summer afternoon/evening time? 

I'll tell you that for us our city's old-fashioned days gave us these three really valuable experiences:

  • 1, remember trips from home to college, dormitory to drive-in or to the movies, in cars that resembled some we'd seen in the display;
  • 2, appreciate community support of patients who've basically lost their memories but will re-discover some if prompted by sights like the old cars; and 
  • 3, an experience away from our house, away from our devices like phones, computers and TVs, to get out in the open air with others of every age, having fun with varied age groups under a glorious blue sky dotted with white cumulus clouds.

You CAN really help keep your community or nation healthy and great. Bring people together over social/class/racial lines to celebrate something in common, such as the best of the old fashioned days.

Are we ridiculous for lifting up community-building while leaders on the right bash critics with wild words of abuse that have never been equalled in the U.S.? You decide.

For me, it's better to recall, build, face the future with memories of the past to guide you.  Build on that foundation. Make your community and nation great.

P.S. I try to post each weekend: building community and society with positive ethics and values.