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Faith and Values: Biblically informed votes

Leading up to the primaries in the 2016 presidential election, I was talking to a friend of mine at church. She told me, “I’m going to vote for Trump because he’s going to win anyway,” even though she didn’t think he was the best candidate. We continued to discuss candidates, and when I mentioned Bernie Sanders, she responded by saying, “Oh! I didn’t know he was Republican!” My friend assumed that because our religious affiliations were aligned, our political affiliations would be as well. The idea that I could claim the same God and Gospel as she did but not vote the same way was perplexing to her.

Faith and Values: Turn a blind eye and bias takes over

Earlier this month I spoke on a panel addressing racism and prejudices in our community. I had prepared a short talk on how I went from a child who didn’t see color to a teenager who saw it too clearly. Kids don’t see people as white, or black, or brown. That comes later, when we hear our peers, our role models and the media make issue of the categories.

Faith and Values: Never, never, never

There are some things better left unsaid in marriage, or at least said differently than those first words out of our mouths. If you don’t believe me, search, ‘things never to say to your spouse.’ Using one search engine, I got over 79 million results and after reading each one (huge exaggeration for effect), I’ve selected a few of my favorites for this piece. You’re Overreacting This works as well as mixing flour with a very large fan. Since there’s probably not an agreed-upon standard that identifies their correct reaction level, you’ve started off by saying ‘you’re wrong’ and that rarely goes well. Instead, how about trying to find out what’s behind their reaction by listening with understanding. That tells them, “I Care”. We Can’t Afford It Slap in the face. If the item in question appeals to you and there’s a working budget, you can avoid this type of statement by saying, “I’d like that. Have you figured out what area of the budget it will come from?” Now the issue has become, ‘how do we pay for something we’d both like’ instead of ‘you haven’t even thought far enough ahead to see it costs too much.’ My Mom/Dad Never… Thanks honey, that makes me feel like I’m in a competition I can’t win. A biblical principal, in the book of Genesis, has a married couple leaving their father and mother and forming a separate union, perhaps to avoid just this type of situation. The separation acknowledges and supports that this new union is unique and the parties must work together within that framework for the marriage to thrive. Does that mean you ignore everything good from your parent’s marriage? Nope! But you could mention the principle you saw at home without identifying mom or dad as the source. You Never… Your spouse likely won’t take to heart what you’re commenting on, especially if he’s a guy (this piece is written by one of them so he probably knows what he’s talking about…sometimes). Instead, they may log into their memory banks for the last time they did exactly what you said they never do and then they’ll have proof that you don’t ever get things right.

Pope Benedict, in retired seclusion, looms in the opposition to Pope Francis

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 2, 2018, 9:55 p.m.

Ever since Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff in six centuries to abdicate the papacy, transitioning to a life of near seclusion in a Vatican City monastery, there have been questions about how the notion of two living popes would impact the Roman Catholic Church.

Fear and pain motivate both bullies and victims

I purposely began writing this reflection on the one-year anniversary weekend of the Charlottesville riot over racism and white supremacy. It was a tragic dramatic reminder of what bullying is about, and a powerful reminder of how victims don’t have to remain victims.