The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for April 2008

It wasn’t a black student who bumped your kid’s college admission

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Wanna know who did?

I sometimes hear white friends express anger that their kiddo didn’t get accepted at the U. The assumption quickly follows that he or she got bumped by someone nonwhite.


Turns out the data support another conclusion: It’s more likely your kid got bumped by a white kid with a rich daddy. Privileged white kids account for nearly twice as many substandard admissions as do kids of color.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Schmidt, in an article headlined At the Elite Colleges – Dim White Kids, reported on research by the Educational Testing Service, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Educational Trust. A few excerpts: Read the rest of this entry »

“You don’t get to know the time” [readings for Sunday, May 4, 2008]

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Tough luck.

Few words of Jesus Christ speak more to our moment in history than these: You don’t get to know the time. I hear folks predicting Israel this and Iran that and Armageddon and Jesus comes back three weeks from Tuesday. I offer you the words of Jesus himself, to say, “I doubt it.” And it doesn’t appear to be my business. Read it in this Sunday’s readings, just below.

I don’t know how this modern political state called Israel relates to Biblical prophecy. I have some hunches – but who cares about hunches? I know that my faith’s central command is that I learn to love God and people. I can’t afford to mess that up just to fit into the eschatological theory of the moment. One must trump the other.

Peace to you!

Seventh Sunday of Easter; May 4, 2008
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10,32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 1 Peter 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

Acts 1:6-14
6When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”

7-8He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

9-11These were his last words. As they watched, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Israel’s UN ambassador: former US President “a bigot”

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Now here is some strange reasoning.

Jimmy CarterFormer President Jimmy Carter goes to listen to Hamas, for the purpose of finding out what the prospects for peace with Israel might be. He negotiates for seven hours to try to bring about a truce. In the end, it doesn’t work out.

Days later, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, says (according to the AP):

Dan Gillerman[I]t was “a shame” to see Carter, who had done “good things” as a former president, “turn into what I believe to be a bigot.” … The ambassador called last weekend’s encounter “a very sad episode in American history.” Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, “went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas.”

Now a bigot, according to my dictionary, is “an obstinate and intolerant believer in a religion, political theory, etc.”

OK. This 84-year-old former President, displaying obstinacy and intolerance, risks his life to try to bring peace to a country whose UN Ambassador calls him names.


I’d call it acting like Jesus.

[with a tip of the hat to 99]

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Written by Monte

April 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Politics

“Papa, I’m hungry”

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How US policy intensifies Haitian starvation

Saint Louis Meriska’s children ate two spoonfuls of rice apiece as their only meal recently and then went without any food the following day. His eyes downcast, his own stomach empty, the unemployed father said forlornly, “They look at me and say, ‘Papa, I’m hungry,’ and I have to look away. It’s humiliating and it makes you angry.” –

Thirty years ago, Haiti was an agricultural nation. It imported “almost no rice” and was an exporter of sugar. Today, almost all of Haiti’s rice is shipped in. So when imported rice prices soar—as they have recently—the poorest Haitians have little to eat. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm

The Pope’s beautiful “insult”

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Pope Benedict XVIPope Benedict XVI well illustrated the tension between citizenship in the Kingdom of God and citizenship in a nation of this world. Here’s a lovely summary by Patty Kupfer from God’s Politics:

WSJ: That ‘Insulting’ Pope (by Patty Kupfer)

During his visit last week, Pope Benedict XVI gave a consistent and prophetic call to U.S. Catholics:

I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrow and trials, and to help them flourish in their new home. This, indeed, is what your fellow countrymen have done for generations. From the beginning, they have
opened their doors to the tired, the poor, the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These are the people whom America has made her own.

Somehow this beautiful pastoral call Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Drink deep of God’s pure kindness (sermon for April 21, 2008)

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05.04.24 Easter A5
Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5,15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Blessed Be Your Name
Shout to the North
In Christ Alone

Sermon: While I read, get ready to tell me about the tone of these words. Read the rest of this entry »

If you love me … (readings for April 27, 2008)

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Serious Conversation by izadnhanaOne last time: These chapters in John’s story—thirteen through seventeen—comprise Jesus’ final words with his apprentices before his death. And these final words of Jesus luxuriate across five of the twenty-one chapters—almost a fourth of John’s story! John slows no other moment so deliberately (the crucifixion, for instance, rates a mere half-chapter!)

And in this slo-mo, frame-by-frame view, what’s the topic? Relationships. With him, with each other, with people who don’t understand and people who do.

“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.” And what’s that? Ah, let’s see, he said this and this and this, so we’ll love him if we follow the formulae precisely, right? If we mind every detail?

Exactly … wrong! Read the rest of this entry »