The Huffington Post Press Items
I know I am not the only one who is sick and tired of Washington's manufactured crises around budget and deficit debates. Brinksmanship has replaced statesmanship in trying to find a sound path to fiscal responsibility. It is time to make the right moral choices that will defend the most vulnerable and pursue an opportunity agenda to reduce the highest poverty rate in 50 years.
There is a tradition in the black church named "call and response." It's simply the experience of the preacher "calling" and the congregation "responding." I've always loved it. When you're preaching in a black church, and the congregants begin to actively and vocally respond, your sermon can actually get better, stronger, deeper, and more powerful than it might have been if everyone just sat there. Sermons get interactive. Congregations can be inspired by the preacher -- and the other way around. Ideas grow, get taken further, and even develop during and after the sermon. And it can make things change.
It was the biggest story inside the Beltway. Since last Thursday's hearing, the whole Washington media machine has been discussing and dissecting the extraordinary confrontation in the Senate Armed Service Committee regarding the potential confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. Several Republican senators were extremely combative with the combat veteran who earned two Purple Hearts for his wounds in Vietnam. Hagel deserves another Purple Heart for the wounds his former "friends" and party members tried to inflict upon him. Hagel didn't really defend his views -- which were both caricatured and attacked by his adversaries -- perhaps on White House advice not risk further debates before being confirmed.
In February, I got an email with the subject line: Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION. I assumed it was spam. But nope, it's legit. Facebook users filed a lawsuit against FB charging that the "sponsored stories/ads" were a violation of privacy. Judge Seeborg agreed. The settlement is for $20 million! (That's a lot of "likes.")
John McCain angrily insisted on "right" and "wrong" answers to his questions of Chuck Hagel yesterday. As a theologian and a religious leader, I want to say that John McCain is "wrong.
Pastors, parents, and people of faith -- they can make the most difference in this country. We have seen it just this week on immigration reform. On Monday, in a breathtaking display of bipartisanship not seen for years in our dysfunctional capital city, Democratic and Republican senators unveiled their plan for fixing the horribly broken immigration system -- which their partisan irresponsibility caused. It was quite amazing, really. The very next day, President Barack Obama announced his commitment to and principles for comprehensive immigration reform amid a cheering crowd of young people in a Las Vegas high school gymnasium.
In the past 20 years, the world has witnessed the death of social contracts. We have seen a massive breakdown in trust between citizens, their economies and their governments. In our own country, we can point to years of data painting a bleak picture of the confidence Americans have in any of our traditional institutions.
Tuesday was the 84th birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I don't know about you, but I miss his words, so I offer a few. King said "people often hate each other because they fear each other, they fear each other because they don't each other, they don't know each other because they cannot communicate, they cannot communicate because they are separated." I would add to his words: 'and in that separation they seek guns.' As an evangelical Christian, I'm going to make this theological.
Prominent evangelical leaders announced a new effort Monday to persuade conservative Christians and lawmakers they should support overhauling U.S. immigration laws.
This week, World Relief, as a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, launched the "I Was A Stranger" Challenge, the largest grassroots effort to mobilize thousands of evangelicals on the issue of immigration. The Challenge encourages individuals, students, pastors and legislators to go back to the root of their faith and have Scripture inform their attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy. A short video with some of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the country reading from Matthew 25 which says "I was a stranger, and you invited me in" was launched this week to help mobilize Challenge participants in churches, campuses and across the country. Armed with a simple bookmark listing 40 verses of Scripture related to immigrants, participants are invited to read one passage a day to inspire discipleship.