Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Category Archives: Politics

Senator Edward Kennedy, 1932-2009

In the family and community in which I grew up, Teddy Kennedy was symbolic of everything that was wrong with America. I remember long rants of my father about all the Kennedys, but Teddy specifically, whenever his name came up in the news or in conversation. I knew almost nothing Read more →

Policy or Vision as the Mission of the Church?

Recently, in private conversation, on this blog, and among radio hosts I listen to, there has been conversation about why the liberal churches do not get involved in certain national policy issues… and each time I hear that call I cringe. Though I have friends in several of our UUA Read more →

What is Really Behind these Town Halls… and a Retraction

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to much suffering.” — Yoda I want to thank all of the public and private responses to the more than slightly tongue-in-cheek article I put up a few days ago calling for Code Pink to go after those disrupting town Read more →

Military Ritual, Responsibility, and Mercenaries

My wife always worries that I will overstep my bounds on this blog, be it the bounds placed upon me as a military officer or those represented by the expectations of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the UUA. It is good that she worries about such things, because sometimes it Read more →

My Plan to Deal with those Disrupting Town Hall Meetings

For reasons I have written about here, I have decided to intellectually retract this article. I leave it up to highlight my own growth on the issue and to model honesty in blogging… but what I wrote here as somewhat tongue-in-cheek I now realize has ramifications I did not intend. Read more →

Please put the Government between me and my Health Care!

I have been debating whether or not to talk about this, because in one respect it is a little embarrassing. No one wants to admit that there are times in their lives where they were living not only paycheck to paycheck, but sometimes day to day… and even with that Read more →

Why We Can Not Ignore the “Birthers”

I have been reticent to write about this, because I know that my take on this issue could be seen as “fear-mongering”, and I truly do not intend it to be. One of the legacies of having been a counter insurgency, counter terrorism, and counter narcotics intelligence analyst is that Read more →

Iran and American Exceptionalism

With my passions, my history, and my hopes for the future is was probably inevitable that I would spend this weekend tied to my television and computer, following the limited amount of information that is coming out of Iran. As a former intelligence analyst, I can trace the political and Read more →

Biblical Literalism and Out of Context Scripture

When I first learned of reports that certain high level government reports from soon after 9/11 had been framed using Judeao-Christian scripture, I was neither surprised nor outraged. Perhaps I have become desensitized, but it is little more than I have come to expect from that time in our nation’s Read more →

The Failure of Mass Protests and the Political Right

I have written several times in the last few years about how the era of effective mass protests is over, how governmental and business power structures have become immune to them. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, such tactics were so new that they actually did change policy at Read more →

Grudgingly for State Recognition of Marriage Equality

I grudgingly support the equality of state recognition of all people to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation. Why grudgingly? Not because I do not believe in the rights of each and every person to have equal protection before the law… I certainly do. Not because I do not Read more →

Obama-Rama Mania Gone Way, Way Too Far

I know I live in Hyde Park (actually, I live on the border of Hyde Park and the neighborhood to the south of Woodlawn, but we work, shop, and go to class in Hyde Park). I know that less than 10 blocks from my apartment the secret service is sitting Read more →

The Bi-polar Extremes of Talk Radio

I like to listen to talk radio, just about any kind. Whenever I am driving in the car (if it is not a long trip) I am much more likely to have on NPR, or Air America, or even one of the many Conservative talk radio stations around this country. Read more →

The Political Assumptions of Progressivism

I have found that most of the people who identify as some kind of religious “progressive” have done at least some basic work around the worldview and assumptions that they are implying by linking their religious faith so clearly with the concept of progress. While it is not the kind Read more →

Why I’m not a “Progressive”

I remember a conversation with a religiously and politically conservative U.S. Army Chaplain while I was at the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. This Chaplain had found Celestial Lands, and had specifically read the article entitled “Unitarian Universalism and Military Chaplaincy“.  About two days into the two-week course, Read more →

GOP in Search of Leadership?

I have been following with a gleam and an avid eye the quest for leadership for the Republican Party… and I have found my choice. The party need not look any further than Jonathan Krohn, a 13 year old conservative from Atlanta. Boy’s got mad skills. Krohn spoke this week Read more →

Diversity as Good Business Sense

The past few days I have been struck by how obvious is the practical need for diversity in the workplace, be it the offices of mayors, the offices of a major newspaper, or a piping factory in Paris Texas. Lets step away from such issues (for a second) as institutional Read more →

Thank You, America

  I simply want to say this…  Thank you America, for my new Commander-in-Chief. I know, I have till wait to January to unwrap him… But it’s exactly what I wanted…  Merry Christmas Yours in Faith, David

Foreign and Domestic

From the Huffington Post: Palin: First Amendment Rights Threatened By Criticism In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in Read more →

There is Help… There is Hope

“I have found myself unable to sleep, waking up at three o’clock in the morning in a cold sweat, with nightmares of oil platforms and hunting rifles, only to rush to my computer to check Pollster.com” — Anonymous Liberal “My boss is noticing my productivity is down, but I just Read more →

Tired of Negative Apologetics

Perhaps it is that I am deeply involved in reading Reinhold Niebuhr, but I am tired of people attempting to prove their own beliefs by showing what is wrong with everything else, or negative apologetics. I’m tired of listening to political candidates discuss everything that is wrong with their opponents, Read more →

How Far Will We Go?

When I heard that a young woman, a McCain campaign volunteer, was allegedly attacked by someone who beat her up and scratched a B on her cheek, I felt my heart drop. In large part, it was out of sympathy for the young woman, because no one deserves to be Read more →

Investigating Liberals for being Anti-American?

On the Sunday nearest 4th of July this year, I felt called to preach a sermon entitled “Being a Liberal Patriot”, on what I mean when I call myself a Liberal. I do not usually talk about my sermons on the Celestial Lands Blog, because the blog is my pre-writing Read more →

Now I’m Really Concerned

It might come as a surprise to some of you now, or who know me now, but for years I was an avid listener and dare I say fan of right wing talk radio. In my office and workshop I nearly forced my crew to listen to Rush, G Gordon, Read more →

Electioneering and the Military

As this election season continues, becomes more heated, and touches deeply on issues that are of vital concern to me, I have begun to look closely at what I can and cannot do as a Reserve Army officer and a Chaplain Candidate.  In that search, I came across this amazing Read more →

Yzma – Palin

I wanted to share with you all my wife’s nickname for Governor Palin.  Though I put the pictures up here, it is not looks that have inspired this nickname.  Rather, it is the character’s “tag-line” that has inspired this “nom de guerre” for my wife, and it makes me laugh Read more →

The Privacy of Politicians

It’s possible I am going to ruffle some feathers with this post, and I know I have been more focused on politics than on liberal faith this past few weeks. It’s that time in the political year. And, there is a parallel to life in the ministry that I think Read more →

A Quayle Theory Choice

When I wrote the Quayle Theory of Vice Presidential Selection several months ago, it was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek way of choosing a Vice Presidential candidate. The theory is that a Presidential nominee should choose someone who is so anathema to their most radical opposition that they would still Read more →

Across this Nation

This week, my wife and I drove from the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago to the town of Cullman Alabama, between Huntsville and Birmingham, to visit family. Specifically, we were there to visit her sister and brother-in-law, and her two nephews. It was a good visit, even if I thought Read more →

How You Treat the Colors

Ok, I know this is going to seem like a small, somewhat insignificant thing to many of you who read this blog, but it is not to me. Call it my upbringing as the son of a soldier, the great-grandson of a medal of honor winning soldier. Call it the Read more →

Drill Here, Drill Now… With What?

For many reasons, I am not going to mention my support for any particular candidate in this election, and I am going to stick to discussing issues. Recently, there have been calls in this election to increase the amount of off shore oil drilling, to lessen our dependence on foreign Read more →

A Vision of Fear or of Hope?

Last night, as I listened to the speech of Barrack Obama acknowledging his clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party for the office of the President of the United States. As a preacher, I am always fascinated by his ability to gather an audience together, and bring them along with Read more →

Stay in the Race, PLEASE!

I’m going to go against prevailing wisdom, and call for Hillary Clinton to stay in the race. What’s more, I want her to dig up as much as she possibly can that might be damaging about Barack Obama, and throw it at him now, in the primary election. There are Read more →

Well, At Least It Wasn’t About Sex

It has taken me several days to write and reflect on Hillary Clinton’s claim that she had come under sniper fire when her plane landed in Bosnia in March of 1996. The reason has been that it is hard for me to properly reflect on something when I am angry Read more →

Authority and Responsibility

When I became a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at the age of 21, my promotion ceremony was on the Normandy Drop Zone at Ft. Bragg, NC. We had just jumped out of C-130 aircraft, at the beginning of a daylong movement exercise… in other words, we jumped out of Read more →

The Quayle Theory of Vice-Presidential Selection

The process of selecting Vice-Presidential candidates is one of the most mysterious processes for outsiders to American politics. It is rife with stories of “backroom” deals, exchanges of influence, access to major donors, and seeking someone who balances the appeal of a candidate within their own party. It is often Read more →

Preachers, Politicians, Vision

Yesterday, after I preached a guest sermon at Unity Temple, a woman shook my hand and told me she was hoping that Barack Obama was elected President so I would not have to go to Iraq. When I said something like “Well, we’ll just invade somewhere else” she chided me Read more →

Mr Cornet Wales

In a time in which the leaders of nations ask their countries to send sons and daughters to war, it is so often the case that the sons and daughters of those leaders are insulated from that service.  He had every reason not to go.  Third in line to the Read more →

Some Reflections on the Election

As a U.S. Army Officer, I am not going to publically state who it is that I am supporting for President of the United States in the current elections. Those of you who know me off-line probably already know, and those who know a little about me can probably guess.  Read more →

Message of Fear or of Faith?

Earlier this week the “No-War in Iran Coalition” held an event at our church, which we co-sponsored through our Peace and Justice Committee. The two speakers for the event were both men whom I had known of before. Scott Ritter is a former Marine officer, and a former Senior United Read more →

The Freedom to Listen, or Not

My father, a man who dedicated his entire life to defending his nation through military and then civil service, once said this to me about Freedom of Speech: “Son, Freedom of Speech means you can say whatever you want, but it does not mean anyone has to listen to you, Read more →

The Inherent Worth of Terrorists

In 1992 I saw a set of pictures of a village in Peru that had been massacred by members of the Sendero Luminoso, the “Shining Path”. It is hard for me even today to describe the brutality of those images. Hate is not too strong a word for the emotions Read more →

Votes, Volunteers, or Vision?

A friend recently told me (by commenting in this blog, no less) about an email that she read on one of her church email lists concerning the religious background of one of the current presidential candidates. The email was apparently a smear about whether that particular candidate was really a Read more →

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