Naming God in Our Own Image

Have you ever noticed the tendency we have to name things? For example, at least two of my friends have named their cars. And those little fur balls of joy and energy that we keep around also have names. We have even given names to faraway planets and stars. Perhaps it’s a sign of human creativity. If something doesn’t have a name, it’s like a blank canvas demanding to be filled. And the more unique the name, the better. Continue reading

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“Your Damn Emails!”

Consider for a moment that an executive officer of a major bank decided to use his own private server for work related emails.  His job responsibilities include keeping savings, checking, and mortgage accounts safe and making sure clients have the best financial deals on the market.  While the content of his emails may never be officially labeled “Private” or “Classified,” the very nature of his email contents are sensitive given his line of work. Continue reading

Oregon Shooting: the Heart of the Problem

This past week has been…troubling or upsetting would be an understatement.  Yet in this post-9/11 world, to call the terrorist attack in Umpqua Community College horrific might be exaggeration.  Of course, I might be-as the President said-numb to these events.  But the thing that has been bothering me the most has been the response.

There was, as to be expected, the shock and grief that comes with any disaster.  And no doubt we will see more in the days and weeks to come from family and friends of the victims.  However this is not the response which has disturbed me.  Rather it has been the political sniping and back-biting surrounding the issue of gun violence and gun-control.  “The shooter was a conservative who loved guns and conspiracy theories.”  “His name doesn’t sound Muslim.”  “If it weren’t for the NRA and rednecks, we’d have responsible gun-laws.”  “If the campus wasn’t a gun free zone, there wouldn’t be such a high number of casualties!”

Really?  Is this what America has become?  A nation of petty partisans who use tragedies to advance their ideologies and stroke their inflated egos?

Whatever happened to the United States of America?  Yes, I understand that throughout our history, we have not always seen eye-to-eye.  Yet somehow even in the worst of it, we could rally together as one nation.  It’s what makes Lincoln’s second inaugural speech so inspiring today.  He didn’t gloat.  He did not damn his opponents as hopeless idiots who ignore common sense.  He called for people everywhere “to bind up the nation’s wounds” with “malice toward none, and charity for all.”  He saw the end of the Civil War, not as an opportunity to destroy his Democratic opponents, but as an opportunity to reshape America to be better and more united than it was before.  And I believe he would have more or less succeeded had he been allowed to live.

But the opportunity he so clearly saw is still alive.  It was there at Pearl Harbor.  It was there when Ford pardoned Nixon.  It was there when Pres. Bush spoke to the firefighters and police officers after 9/11.  “We hear you.  The world hears you!”  This horrible event in Oregon is another moment for us to come together as one nation.  Let’s not let it go with spiteful words and jaded mindsets.  Rather let’s embrace it by asking ourselves, “What do we want for ourselves and for our neighbors?”  The answers may not be easy.  And there is a definite chance we won’t like them.  But they will be the answers we need to bind the nation’s wounds and comfort those around us who are hurting.