Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas and Hope

To all who are looking for hope, head on over to Bethlehem.

But be careful ... Herod is huffing and puffing.

Yes, hope is what we're dealing with.
Perhaps, like Paul notes, not in things we can see.
But things unseen.
Things that once seemed a bit more palpable.
But now shadowy and dim.

For the time being, Herod's in charge.
Backed by Rome.
And the religious elite of Jerusalem.
No one wanted an upset.

Except God.
Who seems intent on upsetting things.

So, who knows what tomorrow holds.
Though I like to think:
God holds us, in good hands.

I don't want to get all sentimental on this stuff.
Which is easy to do.
And nothing like sentiment to dull the senses.
And mislead the soul.

For way too many, or so I think.
Sentiment satisfies the soul.
So the soul can be locked up again.
Until next year.

A little sentiment, like cinnamon, goes a long way.
Have fun.
Sing "Silent Night" and light a candle.

But don't be misled.
Herod's power is soon to be revealed.
His fear and hatred soon to explode.
And the Holy Family flees for their life.

This Christmas is different for me.
I can't get Herod out of my mind.
And, I suppose, it would be wrong to try.
It's the way of things, far too often.

Merry Christmas, I'll say.
Because Christmas is the account of hope in dark times.
The account hope that sustains.
Even on the Refugee Road, with the Holy Family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I know who I am ...

There aren't enough negative words,
To describe what I think of DT.
And his cabinet.

But, damnit all, I'm not anyone else but me.
I know what I value.
I know what's important.

And I stand by all of that.
In season.
And out of season.

When Paul wrote to Timothy about seasons.
It's always hit me deeply.
There are seasons when things are just right.

And seasons when the bitter winds.
Of adversity and confusion.
Blow away the right.

But, heck, so what?
In season.
Out of season.

I'll stay the course.
Honor my values.
And love God.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tough Times

Tough times.
Hard times.
Miserable times.
Such was the case.

For baby Jesus.
Parents on the move.
Ordered by Herod.
Hateful, hideous, paranoid Herod.

On the move.
Cold and dark.
The little inn was full.
But the inn keeper made room, anyhow.

We can always find room.
Jesus doesn't need much.
Just a little place will do.
And life begins anew.

And the birth came about.
Angeles sang to low-downs in the fields.
Foreigners saw the star and arrived.
Herod heard and Herod howled.

Who's this upstart?
This pretender to the throne!
This nobody!
Of no account!

But the wise men seem to know something.
I need to know, too.
Where's the little bastard.
Bethlehem, you say?

Kill 'em all.
Every last child.
Girl, boy - who cares.
Kill 'em all.

Parents flee to good old Egypt.
Nemesis and friend.
Where it all began.
Pharaoh and all.

Herod goes to hell in a handbasket.
Eaten up by worms.
Fitting end, I suppose,
For such a crummy creep.

But life wasn't to be easy for the child.
Life was one hardship after the other.
Maybe the first 30 years weren't too bad.
Good momma and good father.

But the last three.
A test for sure.
Easy way out?
Or the hard way in?

He choose the hard way.
And people hated him for it.
Couldn't wait to get rid of him.
Put an end to his malarkey.

But we're sort of stuck with him now.
But we still get rid of him, too.
We make his birth a commercial success.
And some yell Merry Christmas, in your face.

And groan and moan about taking Christ out of the deal.
When he's never been in the deal anyway.
Not the American deal of cash and carry.
Nor the evangelical stuff of sawdust and tears.

Life still isn't easy for the child.
For the man.
For God.
For Christ.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What Child Is This?

In the darkest of nights,
In the chilliest of times,
When all is lonely and questioning.
There comes a moment.
The cry of a child.
Parents’ amazed.
Shepherds and Angels.
Wise Men and a Star.
The craziness of Herod.
Flight for life.
Who knows:
What child is this?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent - Stand On Our Heads

Advent is perfect for our times.
It says, "Just wait."
Some, of course, wanted big times and fanfare.
But such was not the case.

A child, a manger, refugee status.
There's never a welcome for such love.
Such love disgusts the rich and the powerful.
The mean and the proud.

And especially the religious.
Oh, how the religious love to be religious.
They sing "Joy to the World" with tears in their eyes.
And pat themselves on the back.

They give to charity, yes they do.
And "those people" who receive the alms.
Better damn well shape up.
Or ship out.

Advent says, "Wait."
But there's a strong and strange power in:
That kind of waiting.
That kind of wanting.

Advent turns the world upside down.
And perhaps to see God a little more clearly.
We'd do well to stand on our heads.
To see what God sees.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Good Old Earth

Morning musings, Rev. 12.16, "But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river the dragon had poured from its mouth."

Caught my attention, this reference to earth.
Good old earth, dear old earth.
Coming to the defense of the woman.
Swallowing the hate and malice of the dragon.

The earth is good, said God.
And good it is ... in all of its incredible pieces.
Mountains and rivers; deserts and oceans.
Field and forest; sea to shining sea.

And the winds come, and the rains fall.
The sun shines, and the earth is dry.
And human beings come along.
In the image of God.

And we bend and we twist the good old earth.
To suit our fancy and fit our needs.
Needs sometimes out of bounds.
Needs that seem dragon-like in their writhing.

How good is the good old earth.
How is seeks to cope with evil.
The dragon's evil, of course.
But our evil is another matter.

The good old earth tries to swallow our evil.
Our malice and our greed.
To serve the LORD and save us.
The good old earth tries so hard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A New National Motto

I wish we could rid ourselves of the motto, "In God We Trust."


It's a ruse, a blind, a cover.

A deception of mind and soul ... to lull us into some kind of unreasonable stance, that because of our motto, we have a leg up on just about everyone else ... and the great God Above looks upon us kindly, and will offer us unstinting protection against our foes, whatever and whoever they may be.

Micah the prophet alludes to this, as to the other prophets, as well.

The ease with which the people count on God to save them, because they have filled their lives with easy slogans and easily performed rituals.

Reminds me of Little Jack Horner, sitting in his corner, eating his Christmas Pie, and delighting in a plumb pulled from the dessert, and concluding, "What a good boy am I."

The fact that he sits in his corner, all by himself, eating the whole damn pie, makes clear to me that he's not such good boy after all.

Though he may be no better or worse than any other boy ...

Sadly, all of our god-talk has blinded us to our sordid history.

Sure, I'm glad to be an American - it's suited me just fine ... me and mine.

But for millions, the bright American Dream has been mostly a nightmare of poverty and loss.

Can't we be a bit more honest about all of this?

It's in our guns we trust, and in our bombs, and in our second-to-none technology, satellites above and drones a-flying ...

Rather than saying, "In God We Trust," how about a new national motto, "We have a lot of work to do!"

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Good Night!

I'm tired.
Of Drump.
Of the GOP.
Of the deceit and lies.

I feel for the people,
Who signed on with him.
The angry folks.
The bigots who thought they had a chance.

Yes, I feel sorry for them.
They've been fooled.

How it must hurt.
Betrayed again.
Betrayed by the American Dream.
Betrayed now by their Savior.

They're so angry.
So angry.
So angry.
So, so angry.

They need someone who can offer hope.
Who can address their needs.
For health care.
For jobs.

For hope.
Hope is the piece.
Hope is the power.
Hope can be an illusion.

But it can also be life.
With hope, things happen.
With hope, people stay the course.
With hope, folks can handle anything.

I'm tired.
I'm tired of Drump.
Of Pence.
Of the GOP.

Is Hillary perfect?
Is she the savior?
Is she the new Madonna?
The new Mary?

Get off of it.
Don't be silly.
She's a politician.
But she's my politician.

She's knows how it works.
She knows how to play the game.
She knows who the players are.
She knows how to tap the power.

Is that bad?
Does that disqualify her?
Has she made mistakes?
Who hasn't?

But she's got a heart for children.
For women.
For the elderly.
For the people.

She knows the world.
As few of us do.
She's been in the eye of the needle.
She knows how it threads.

Anyway, it's been a long, long, day.
The news is painful.
The American Saga sad.
But I'm hopeful.

Why not?
Hope is my life.
Hope is my blood.
Hope is my DNA.

Why not?
I can't help myself.
Hope is what I am
And I'm glad about that.

Good night.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Woke Up Thinking

Woke up this morning (thank you LORD),

Thinking of some who've played a pivotal roll in my life.
Whose words opened windows.

So the light, as I see it, came in.
To accent and accelerate.

I give thanks for Calvin College.
And two professors:

Sociologist Rodger Rice who had us read:
"The Other America."

And Don Wilson, anthropologist, who suggested that
The Church missionally could be boorish and cruel.

And another professor: theologian Dr. John Bratt, who
Gave me the term, "Theistic Evolution."

In high school (Grand Rapids Christian High School,
The Rev. Morris Faber who said, "I believe you will do it."

Along the way, other professors of English and History,
Who saw in me something worth redeeming.

And Seminary professors, Western Theological Seminary, who
Saw the world large and bright.

Folks skilled in things of mind and heart.
Who loved the LORD, and loved the world.

I've said this all before.
But it deserves saying again.

These teachers taught me well, and
Well they shaped my life.

They led me to a better place.
Where the light is bright and where compassion abides.

So, what can I say?
But Thank you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

World with End

I found myself thinking the other day.
Yes, I know, a real surprise. Ha.

Thinking about the edge of the "known" universe.
7 ... 8 billion light years away?

And then what?

Beyond that?

More space?



World without end?

In my mind's eye, I have a sense of something going there, and then, on and on and on ... and then more ...

Words with specificity suddenly crash in on me.

I need definition, mostly, I guess ... it's so far, and then no more.
It's this long, wide, high, deep.

For a moment, it's as if I grasp it.
And, then, it's gone.

My mind reaches beyond.
And then finds a wall, of sorts.
The end ...

Not of the universe, whatever that is.
But the end of my mind.
A mind of boundaries.
Additions and subtractions.

Oh well ...
It intrigues me.
Can there be anything without end?
Then it can't be anything.
Any thing.

It's some thing ... more.
Than any thing.

I have an idea.
And then I don't.

World without end.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

True Blue

It was the Presidential Election of 1968, my second year in Western Theological Seminary, that D and I registered for the first time to vote.

We came from GOP families, I mean, GOP families, most of whom are still GOP.

We registered as Dems.

A few years later, after a stint in the coal fields of West Virginia, D and I were in Altoona, and I had prayer for the local Democratic group and said to them, before the prayer, that "I am a Democrat, because the Democratic Party has a clear and consistent record on behalf of people - and that all of this is consistent with my Christian Faith."

D and I have never looked back, but only forward. D's score is perfect; mine?

In 1980, in some fit of bi-partisan foolishness, I cast my vote for Reagan, something that has shamed me ever since.

With that exception, I'm Blue ... True Blue, all the way, because I believe in helping people, in doing everything, anything, to make life better.

And I believe in people ... people want a shot at life, a chance; people want to love and be loved; to have families and rear their children in peace; to eat pizza and have a vacation now and then; they want good schools and good jobs, and then come to retirement with confidence that there'll be enough to make it.

I believe in people, and I believe in God, and those two beliefs are pretty much the same ...

And I'm Blue to the core ...

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Morning Funeral

A funeral this morning for an unusually gifted man.
Who rode freight trains,
And invented new toys for his kids.
And reinvented and improved just about everything.

A video of stills and music ... from his parents to him as a babe in arms.

And then a kid ... and then the adolescent ... and then a young man.

And then a husband, and then a father, and then a grandfather and then a man getting up in years ... and then just shy of 90 turns around the sun, time to tuck things away and say goodbye.

Others now, to take up the tasks.
The fun, the work, the play and the love.

He managed to be more than a father, a husband and an uncle ... more than a friend and a co-worker ... what it was that he was, best summed up, I suppose in his:

Never-going-away kind of smile.

I saw his life unfold in all of those delightful pics.
Like a flower - from seed to bud to unfolding.
And then wilting in the heat of time.
Petals dropping away.
Life getting lived ... lived quite well ... and then ...

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God was a favorite.
So was Amazing Grace.
And lots of other music.

So, I wonder ... about this thing called life.
We're so unconscious of it when we're in the throes of it.
And, then, one day, it hits us.
We hear the clock ticking.

It's okay.
Though I don't like it.
Times, I hate time.
And not a dern thing to do about it.

And so it goes.
Live while we can.
If we can.
As best we can.

Know nothing but love.
And love covers a multitude of sins.

What is love?
Oh, I don't know.
But I know it when I see it.

And I suppose you do, too.

A Morning Funeral

A funeral this morning for an unusually gifted man.
Who rode freight trains,
And invented new toys for his kids.
And reinvented and improved just about everything.

A video of stills and music ... from his parents to him as a babe in arms.
And then a kid ... and then the adolescent ... and then a young man.
And then a husband, and then a father, and then a grandfather and then a man getting up in years ... and then just shy of 90 turns around the sun, time to tuck things away and say goodbye.

Others now, to take up the tasks.
The fun, the work, the play and the love.

He managed to be more than a father, a husband and an uncle ... more than a friend and a co-worker ... what it was that he was, best summed up, I suppose in his:
Never-going-away kind of smile.

I saw his life unfold in all of those delightful pics.
Like a flower - from seed to bud to unfolding.
And then wilting in the heat of time.
Petals dropping away.

Life getting lived ... lived quite well ... and then ...

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God was a favorite.
So was Amazing Grace.
And lots of other music.

So, I wonder ... about this thing called life.
We're so unconscious of it when we're in the throes of it.
And, then, one day, it hits us.
We hear the clock ticking.


It's okay.
Though I don't like it.
Times I hate time.

And not a dern thing to do about it.

And so it goes.
Live while we can.
If we can.
As best we can.

Know nothing but love.
And love covers a multitude of sins.

What is love?
Oh, I don't know.
But I know it when I see it.
And I suppose you do, too.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cancer of the Soul

Cancer, a serious business requiring hard measures.
Surgery ...
Chemo ...
Radiation ...
And then some ...

Hard to treat.
Hard to defeat.
Hard to remove.

We all know this ...
From personal experience ...
Or that of loved ones.

Cancer's a serious business requiring hard measures.

But what of cancer of the soul?
Cancer of the spirit?
Cancer of our values and attitudes?

A serious business requiring hard measures.

As for the cancer of racism.
Most whites choose to pretend.
It's not there.

Or it's not their's ... but someone else's.

"It's not so bad."
"I'm okay."

At first instance, we all deny.
We all pretend.
When it comes to cancer.

But sooner or later, the reality
Is upon us.

And demands treatment.
Surgery ...
Chemo ...
Radiation ...
And then some ...

Racism is our social cancer.
And no sense pretending.
No sense hiding.
It hasn't gone away, has it?

Eating away at our vital organs.
Until little is left.
Soulless and weary.
We slog on in our denial.

Social cancer.
Cancer of the soul.
The mind and heart.
Attitudes and fears.

A serious business.
Requiring hard measures.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Was Born ...

I was born and baptized a Presbyterian ...
I was reared in the Reformed Church of America.
I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church.
I'm doing an interim in a Congregational Church.
It's not the biggest kind of world.
But I've learned a lot.
Mostly, what I don't know.
It's been a good world for me.
I've learned about walls.
And how to take 'em down.
Noting wrong with a wall.
As long as it has plenty of openings.
Without doors.
Doors that never can be locked.
If there are no doors.
Just passage ways.
And there ya' have it.
It's been good for me.
Amazing world.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I'd Prefer to be Quiet!

I’d prefer to be quiet.

I don’t like stepping up and speaking out.

I’d prefer to be quiet ... because the Truth of any matter, is always complex, and, frankly, what do I know?

When it came to homosexuality, a good sum of years ago, I would have preferred a little more time, a little more reading and thought, a little more reflection and prayer, until a dear friend said to me of her brother, who was gay, “He doesn’t have any more time.”

And considering my quiet ... I thought of those who were doing all the shouting ... 

The strident voices of hate never tire, it seems, of hearing themselves ... there’s comfort for them, I suppose, even in their lack of coherence, because words without meaning can be given meaning at will, and shouting, of course, as if volume alone, both in word-count and decible-level, increased the chances of their owning The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth ... and even if there’s no Truth whatsoever in their mean-spirited meanderings, they don’t care, because in their heart-of-hearts, they know they’re right, even when they lie, engage in double-speak and broadcast their perverted vision of their idealistic world of 1950s’ whiteness and moms in the kitchen.

I remember ... when I started to go public on some issues, at various times, some early on in school ... others came later ... not because I knew everything there was to know about everything, but rather because I knew enough about those who stood in the way of life for others - and isn’t that what it’s all about? Life for others, and some, for some reason, can’t let them have it - that I could no longer choose my quiet.

I had to step up and speak out.

Because I knew enough about what life means for others ... a place in the sun, a chance at opportunity - so I have to work: to tilt the system a bit more evenly, to increase the number of players and up the chances of victory, even a small one, for those who otherwise would have to stand at the edge of the field of play and never get chosen by the handsome captain ... watching the game from afar, and hurting in the gut so deeply, mind twisting in shame ... wondering why life is so cruel, and doubting themselves until there’s nothing left but darkness.

Okay, so I step up and speak up.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tyranny of Time

Time, you dastardly thief ... You take everything from me: Time, friends, family, life.
Time, you dastardly thief ... who are you? What are you?
History, Time, movement, ticks of the clock, turns of the calendar.
The enemy of all that’s me.
But what can I do?
One of these days, the last breath.
For me, okay.
But I don’t like it.
Death is a pisser.
Time, the thief.
I wish it were different.
But what would that mean?
So it is.
Time, takes away everything.
And shit stinks.
But who knows for sure.
If I lived more than a lifetime.
Then what?
And so it goes.
To God be the glory.
And I mean it ... if there is a god, and to this god I belong.
Then, so what?
I’m flesh.
I’m mortal.
I’m dust.
It can’t be any other way.
Can it?
Oh well.
Ho well.
To the end.
The last.
No more.

Friday, April 8, 2016

"The Gods of the Peoples"

From today's lectionary: Psalm 96.5 -

"For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made heaven and earth."

I guess there are at least two ways of reading this ... "the peoples" being everyone else but "my peoples" ....


"The peoples" includes "my peoples" and that includes me, too.

I suspect it was easy for Israel/Judah to read it the first way, but maybe the second reading makes the most sense, based upon the ease with which Israel/Judah constantly fell into idolatry, so painfully pointed out by the prophets who were not easily lulled into the propaganda of the ruling powers.

Perhaps a Tillichian focus might help - that the LORD who made the heavens is always transcendent - always beyond what any of us might understand ... reminding us to check our pride at the door, if you will, and hold our views of "our god" lightly.

Anyway, just some thoughts ...

Friday, March 18, 2016

It Happened on a Sunday Afternoon

Thelma called, panic in her voice - something strange and quite beyond words: “George shot himself. He’s upstairs.”

A quiet man who gave no evidence of distress … no sign of anything at all … I think in his late 50s at the time … so who knows what pain danced around him.

I walked over to the house, just a block away … one of those large, three-story affairs, a central Pennsylvania railroad town … 

Thelma answered the door … I don’t recall if anyone else was there yet … the police, an ambulance - I have no idea.

I went upstairs … did I go alone?

But in my mind’s eye, there I stand by the bed … George on his back, head on a pillow … lots of blood … where’s the gun? I don’t know … I don’t recall seeing it … lost in the folds of the bed?

I suppose Thelma thought he’d gone up for a Sunday afternoon nap.

But with a gun in hand, George ended his life instead …

That day, for the first time in my life, I wondered about suicide.

Like most folks, I had easily thought that suicide was a sin. Period! I had never dealt with it, never known of anyone in the family or in our circle of friends who took their own life. 

I remember thinking that George, a gentle soul, was certainly no sinner in this case, and certainly not deserving of eternal hellfire, or whatever grim punishments the church conjures up to keep wandering souls in line.

Did George shake his fist in the face of God?

Did George heroically assert his independence and end his life in some kind of ironic rebellion against God?

Was he guilty of some supreme cowardice?

I’m 28 at the time, and hurriedly thinking it through because the funeral is three days away.

It was then and there that I became clear - whatever suicide may be, it’s no sin … neither pride nor arrogance. It’s a moment of desperation, as the mind cannot see any other way out, of whatever the dilemma is. 

And no condemnation for the broken-hearted. No condemnation for those lost in sorrow, entangled in whatever heartache has come their way, either of their doing, or simply the circumstances of life … who knows just how tangled the pathways are for anyone. And when the moment comes, it all must make sense to them, even as it leave us bewildered as we try to figure out what will never make any sense to the living.

So, there it was for me … my first suicide funeral … and I spoke about the kindness and mercy and love of God for George … I remember saying something about our own struggles, and whatever hope I might offer, it’s not an encouragement to end our lives. But it is to say: None of the living can fathom the darkness that drove George to take a gun, load it, hold it in hand, place it to his head …

Did he take a deep breath?

Was he crying?

Was he thinking of Thelma?

Did it take long to decide?

I’ll never forget that Sunday afternoon and the funeral that followed.

It was a moment to decide.

I made the right choice, at least for me.

In subsequent years, other suicides would follow … amazing how people take their lives … some gave no hint whatsoever; others were clearly on a troubled road heading downward. Some do it in the home; others by a tree with a rifle … or in the car on the roadside. Maybe a note is left; in most cases, no note at all.

I’ve always remembered that moment when I had to decide. 

On a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Whose the Enemy?

“People of faith, whatever the faith, are never the enemy. The enemy is materialism.”

Somewhere in the early 70s, I heard this from the Ecumenical Institute.

At the time, it seemed so truthful, so vital. Though, at the time, my exposure to “other faiths” was pretty much restricted to Hardshell Baptists and Pentecostals. I did not yet know persons of other faith traditions. 

And what is faith?

But to look through the things of the world and see the hand of divinity, the love of the universe, the hope of the ages ... that beyond us all, beyond all sight and sound, life and death, a vast universe of goodness and purpose and justice and peace, at work in all things, for good.

Whatever the faith, however it appears, it behooves us all to welcome and affirm one another.
No one has to be wrong in order for anyone to be right.

And we’re all right, in bits and pieces, though none of us have it all. And so we learn from one another, and discover in one another the common element - our creation, and our Creator, and the love that sustains all of us.

Certainly, we’re all unique in our faith traditions and expressions, and in all of this diversity, a great richness of faith, hope and love. 

We give thanks for who we are, in the accidents of birth and culture - Hindu, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist, Christian (to name but a few) ... to be who we are, with grace and kindness for who others are, too.
People of faith are not the enemy of faith. 

There are enemies, of course - “the world of the flesh” as John’s Gospel often puts it - a craven materialism that grasps and takes and pillages the earth and animals and people, lusts for power and will stop at nothing to gain its own glory.

That’s the enemy, and it’s all around us, some of it all dressed up in religious garb, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today, the simple reminder that whatever our faith might be, to be that faith with great intentionality and discipline, joy and hope, and to look upon other traditions with favor and kindness.

Every human being of faith is pretty much the same, when it comes to the daily stuff of life ... moments of great insight and courage, and other times, stumbling and unsure. But people of faith, whatever the faith, are all caught up in a great procession of a great mystery ... the divine of the universe calls unto us, and walks with us in the days and nights of our lives.

Glory, laud and honor to the Divine Wonder in whom we all live and move and have our being.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Evangelicals, Crazy Mad in Love with Donald


That's the Evangelical Way - the way, the truth and the life.

The roots of it are deep, but in my recent memory, one has to go no further than the snake handlers of West Virginia and Kentucky ... in those deep and shadowy hollers, filled with the wreckage of mines abandoned and lives bent and damaged, the reading, the spurious reading, from Mark's gospel, about handling snakes, became a central element in worship.

To handle something evil and overcome it ... to dance with it, kiss it, play with it, and not be harmed by it - that's power, that's glory, that the Evangelical Dead End.

Because the snake sometimes bites, and people die.

And if the folks liked you, well, then, God called you home ... it was your time ... God said so.

And if they didn't like you, well, then, you failed ... you didn't have enough faith ... there was sin in your life and you didn't trust Je-e-sus ... and our god is a punishing god ... so, no tears shed - ya' had it coming.

And that's power ... power over evil, and power over death, and the power of judgment.

But on a more sophisticated level, Billy Graham and his crusades, his anti-union crusades, anti-communist crusades, his pro-capitalism crusades ... Jesus died for your sins, so that you can go to heaven when your brief span of years is done ... this earth isn't your home, but heaven is, and Jesus, the Jesus I proclaim, will get you there ... so, come forward now, and give your life to Jesus. You don't need your unions, your agitation, your FDR dreams of a better life; you just need Jesus.

And that's power ... ultimate power ... because you're heaven-bound, and your crummy relatives aren't ... and neither are those raucous Catholic neighbors next door, nor that Jew-boss of yours ... they won't get there, but you will ... you'll have the last laugh.

And that's power.

Then add to that the healers of every malady,  and the purveyors of wealth, health and happiness, and you end up with power ... and if heaven isn't quite the goal it used to be, then big homes and fast cars and Wall-Street-sized investments will do nicely. Heaven's bling, here and now ... Tammy Faye eyelashes and Jan Crouch hair ... and more miracles than you can shake a stick at.

Megachurches and Oral Roberts' Praying Hands ... miracle stories to keep the cash-cow happy and producing ... the woman who threw away her pills and the sweet little kid who no longer needs his wheelchair ... wow, that's power, too.

And do worship, of course, with the latest gimmicks and gizmos and trends and Twitter ... keep it thin and dazzling ... and preacher, wear those untucked shirts and pressed jeans ... but it's still the same ol' Je-e-sus who'll get you what you want - hey, you're a child of the King ... and if you think positive, if you give your tithe and then some, if you hate abortionists and if you despise homo-sex-u-als, well, then, you're better than they are, much better, and god loves you.

And that's power.

And so are guns ... bang ... there ya' go ... to protect my family and keep us safe ... and someday, when the Anti-Christ comes,  and maybe he's already here in that man in the white house ... we'll be ready with our bottled water and our guns ... and off to the woods we'll go ... no people of color, or course, just the White Bread, please ... whistling Dixie.

And that's power.

And if god hasn't punished anyone lately, then go after the Muslims, go after the poor, who are nothing but leeches on the godly system of Capitalism, leeches who make you feel bad, leeches who make bad choices, compared to your good choices, and they smell bad and do drugs.

And that's power.

So, no wonder, is it?

That Evangelicals are crazy mad in love with Donald Trump.