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

Tag Archives: History

Free Speech, Responsibility, and Religious Violence

Freedom is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the United States, and perhaps in the world.  Be it Religious Freedom, or Freedom of Speech, or the Freedom of the Press, the Freedom of Association, or any of the common conceptions of freedom that we experience in the United States, Read more →

American Exceptionalism and American Irrelevance

One of the genre’s of Science Fiction that I love is what is called “near future Sci-Fi”.  These are stories set to occur in the next 200 years or so.  What I love about them is that they “forecast” out not into some far off fantastic future, but into the Read more →

Kickoff

I love politics.  I love politics the way other people love football.  I watch 24 hour news channels in political seasons the way other people watch ESPN.  The minor of my Bachelor’s degree is in Political Science (Major in History), and I would describe my knowledge of practical politics by Read more →

How Can You “Come Home” When You Are Homeless? — 2011 Veteran’s Day Reflection

When I reflect on the few years after “coming home” from Bosnia, the years before some friends and a veteran counselor helped me to “get my head back on straight”, I realize that I had more than my share of luck.  I was lucky to be in a university that Read more →

Religion and the Four Great Fears

My dear friend, Chaplain the Rev. Seanan Holland visited us this weekend, and as usual he and I got into one of our hours-long rolling discussions about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  This time in particular, we were rolling around the origin and nature of religion, the fundamental flaw in Read more →

It’s Always an Oligarchy

In the last few months, I have heard the word Oligarchy being bandied around on the edges of American political circles.  In the Tea-Party wing, they are using it as a new word for “Hollywood Elite” and “Liberal Media”.  On the semi-far left it is being used to refer to Read more →

Soldiers and War Memorials

This Sunday, I preached a “sermon-in-dialog” with Roy Wedge, a member of the UU Fellowship of Midland, a Vietnam era Air Force Veteran, and a singer/songwriter.  Below is the final section of that sermon, written and preached by myself, telling the story of the last time I visited the National Read more →

Is Libya a “Growing-Up Moment” for the United States?

For all our power in the world, the United States is still a very young nation. Unlike the modern states in Europe, in Asia, and in the Middle East, we do not stand upon thousands of years of history in the location where our nation is. Because of our youth Read more →

A Short “I Told You So”

I wish I could say I did not know this was going to happen.  I really wish I had been wrong.  I really wish that my theory that the power of Mass Protests to significantly affect political realities is expirational had been proven wrong.  I wish that mass protests still had the power Read more →

What Turned a Conservative into a Liberal?

I regularly have conversations with conservatives, both political and religious conservatives. Sometimes that is through my work as an Army Chaplain, sometimes through my work as a liberal minister in a fairly conservative town, and sometimes it is through people from my past who seek me out to ask me Read more →

Why Even Good Militaries Do Not Make Good Governments

Hidden amidst all the celebration and joy these last 24 hours in Egypt, and in those who support democratic movements around the world, is a piece that seems to have been lost… and that is that, contrary to the Egyptian Constitution, President Mubarak ceded power not to the leader of Read more →

The Journey from Conservative to Liberal

I remember a day in seventh grade when I came home all excited to tell my parents that I had discovered that I was a Liberal. We had been studying the American political system in social studies class, and in our textbook was a little box that showed the typical Read more →

The Myth of Objectivity

I have a colleague here at seminary who shares with me several things, including that we both name our cats after Gods, and that we both have Bachelor’s degrees in History. Yet, we have a fundamental disagreement about the method of the study of history. He was trained to try Read more →

Unitarian Church of Evanston IL Spied Upon by Army Intelligence

In doing some research into the history of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and the opposition to the war in Vietnam, I have come across a little known and courageous moment in American history. It is a moment that touches three Read more →

The Journey Up Diamond Head

I would like to tell you all a story about my father. I’m not certain why I feel compelled to write this story, but I woke up having dreamed about it.    My Dad was my hero as a child. He was a career Sergeant in the Army, and later Read more →

Connected to the History

There is a joke I have heard told among Christian ministers. At an interdenominational seminary, a new Presbyterian professor of Church History gave an assignment for the first day of class, for each student to come to the course with a three page paper on what they knew of “Church Read more →

Independence Day

Every Fourth of July I begin my day the same way, I read the entirety of the Declaration of Independence. It is a yearly reminder to me that this nation was founded on the spirit of liberalism, and that to be a liberal (a true liberal) in this nation is 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 →