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The Butterfly Effect and America’s Decline

Butterfly in Flight (OK w TinEye)As a child, you no doubt enjoyed tossing pebbles in a body of water and watching the ripples extend far from the point of impact. On a much larger scale such movement is known as the Butterfly Effect, a term coined by Edward Lorenz, in which the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can make a slight alteration in air currents that, through a series of events, affects the formation of a storm thousands of miles away.… Read More


Enjoying Your Obamelet?

White House KitchenObamelet is an apt metaphor for the President’s transformation of the economy. It recalls Vladimir Lenin’s statement, made 75 years ago in reference to the Great Famine in Ukraine:  “If you want to make an omelet, you must be willing to break a few eggs.” Let’s be clear: I am not labeling the President a murderer or a communist like Lenin. Nor am I implying that he is intentionally hurting people.… Read More


Don’t Raise The Debt Ceiling- LOWER It!

FranklinDoes the debt ceiling debate seem familiar? It should. From the Carter administration to the Obama administration the debt ceiling has been raised 39 times. Each time the increase was opposed but then passed by the opposition party.

It’s like a political variation on the silent movie drama in which the poor damsel says, “I can’t pay the rent,” the villainous landlord demands, “You must pay the rent,” and the young hero declares, “I’ll pay the rent.” In the political version, the parties take turns playing the villain.… Read More


Have You Forgiven Yourself Lately?

forgive-yo-selfI don’t know about you, but I’m uncomfortable with the modern perspective on forgiveness. Part of the problem is that I am from a different age, but I don’t offer that as an excuse. It could simply mean that I am rooted in the past and fearful of progress.

Before addressing that possibility, let me explain what I mean by the modern perspective on forgiveness. These quotations will serve that purpose:

If you decide there is nothing to forgive yourself for, you are free to put away shame and guilt and move forward.… Read More


The Race Conversation

Stereotype-mePresident Obama’s speech following the Zimmerman verdict has received considerable criticism. Many say he should have refrained from commenting on the matter—both in 2012 when he said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin” and in his 2013 updating of the remark, “Trayvon could have been me 35 years ago.” On the other hand, Governor Mike Huckabee found no fault with the President addressing the issue, but argued that he failed to offer leadership.… Read More


Lessons From The Zimmerman Case

zimmermanIt seems that everyone with a computer or a cell phone is weighing in on the George Zimmerman verdict. The number of themes is quite limited, however. Justice was done, justice was not done; Zimmerman simply defended himself, Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin; racism was a factor, racism was not a factor.

The focus of this essay is very different and, I hope, more useful. It is on what those of us who were not involved in the case can learn from it.… Read More


Beware Of Positive Stereotypes Too

All stereotypes are based on the false notion that every member of a group necessarily shares the characteristics of all the others in that group. The most familiar stereotypes are the negative ones that plagued earlier generations: for example, “Italians are violent,” Blacks are lazy,” “Jews are greedy,” and “Poles are stupid.” Such negative stereotypes deny human individuality and malign whole groups of people for no good reason.… Read More


In Defense Of Guilt And Shame

guiltWhile reading last week’s church bulletin, I came across an announcement for a mini-retreat titled “Letting Go of Shame and Guilt” scheduled to be held at a nearby Franciscan Center. As I read on, I learned that the program concerned “12-Step Spirituality.”

Twelve-step spirituality derives from the Alcoholics Anonymous program that began in the 1930s and continues today. The 12 steps include admitting one’s addiction, turning to God, admitting one’s offenses against others, making amends, and praying for continued guidance.… Read More


Common Sense About Abortion

pro_life_vs_pro_choice_It’s election season again and abortion defenders are casting the usual aspersions, which may be summarized as, conservatives are anti-choice extremists who would impose their unscientific, medieval view of pregnancy on their neighbors and should therefore, at all costs, be prevented from holding office. This dire warning has become so common and so strident that it has converted a number of Catholics and other Christians and cowed many others.… Read More


The Decline Of Leadership

leadershipEvery day brings new examples of the intellectual deficiencies of people in leadership positions. Consider these examples. The U.S. Senate ignoring its obligation to create an annual budget for over three years (and counting). Congress pressuring banks to make highly risky loans and then blaming the banks when the inevitable financial disaster occurs. Congress and the President attempting to solve the nation’s debt crisis by increasing the debt.… Read More