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William Ayers chats with reporters

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While waiting for the Grant Park rally to begin, reporters knock on William Ayers’ door. The truth?

When he said he wished he’d “done more,” he didn’t mean “bombed more.” He wishes he’d been more unifying, more principled in his opposition to the Vietnam war. He barely knows Barack Obama.

clipped from
He said that he laughed when he listened to Sarah Palin’s descriptions of Obama “palling around with terrorists.” In fact, Ayers said that he knew Obama only slightly: “I think my relationship with Obama was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better.” […]
Ayers said that he had never meant to imply, in an interview with the Times, published coincidentally on 9/11, that he somehow wished he and the Weathermen had committed further acts of violence […]
Instead, he said, “I wish I had done more, but it doesn’t mean I wish we’d bombed more[…]
“While we did claim several extreme acts, they were acts of extreme radicalism against property,” he said. “We killed no one and hurt no one. Three of our people killed themselves.” And yet he was not without regrets […]
“I wish I had been wiser,” Ayers said. “I wish I had been more effective, I wish I’d been more unifying, I wish I’d been more principled […]

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In other words, the whole “palling around with terrorists” scare was Rove-style Politics 101.  Here’s hoping that those so ethically challenged awaken to the fact that most Americans declined to believe them.

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Written by Monte

November 7, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Politics

How odd the Bible is. (readings for Sunday, October 11)

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The oddness of the Bible—its miles-away foreign-ness—is, perhaps, too little allowed. Take this week’s batch of it:

Isaiah gives us a thrilling hymn of the end of tyranny and want. Perfect!  But he begins it in a destroyed city.

Psalm Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Psalm Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Jesus invents a story of a king who can’t get invited guests to show up at his son’s wedding—finally replacing them with homeless and helpless folk—quite a wonderful tale!  And then he tosses a guy who isn’t dressed right.  But wait – how could any of his lately-discovered guests be dressed right?  And isn’t it a little caddish to get so put out about it?

Why?  Save it, preacher:  Don’t give me that this means this and this means this. These stories are nearly impenetrable, and we fail the task of adequately communicating them if we make them simple: Jesus did not.

Impenetrable—but not completely so.  The process of spilling all their odd parts onto the table before me and wondering, “What on earth?” is among the richest pleasures of life.  And it is there amidst that strange mess that God defies expectations and reveals himself, refusing to yield mere information, but speaking in a way more wonderful.

What will we find here? Not much, if we simplify.  Moralisms.

But if we let it stand with all its oddnesses, and let the oddnesses themselves become the clues?

Well, in that case, who can say?

Proper 23 A: October 11, 2008

Exodus 32:1-14 or Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 or Psalm 23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

Isaiah 25: God’s Hand Rests on This Mountain

1-5 God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you.
You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 6, 2008 at 11:31 pm


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Sleet and ice all day Saturday caused cancellation of Sunday, so I don’t have a sermon here for you this week. Today is Monday; still can’t reliably stand on the street in front of my house!

I do recommend Lawrence Moore’s excellent post on last Sunday’s readings, tho’, at Disclosing New Worlds.

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Written by Monte

December 3, 2007 at 12:44 pm

A Crop of Justice (readings for August 19)

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grapesIsaiah tells his peers that God is “looking for a crop of justice” and a “harvest of righteousness.”

Somehow, we’ve come to think of justice in a punitive sense: making sure lawbreakers get punished. But I wonder if just-ness in Scripture is meant so negatively. For Isaiah’s language here, like that of Jesus, seems to be more directed to those who turn their backs on others. His message is not vindication for the religious, and certainly not “an eye for an eye,” but a call to abandon behaviors that victimize, and to go serve the poor instead. Jesus never argues for more religion, but rather for more compassion.

It’s a point that’s often missed today. A few examples:  Despite the fact that the Israeli army kills four times as many Palestinians as vice versa, many American Christians, seeing Israel in their religious literature, assume God is somehow on Israel’s side. And despite the fact that dozens of innocent death row inmates have been set free as a result of DNA evidence in the last few years, despite the fact that Texas is about to execute a man convicted of murder whom everyone agrees murdered no one, Texas’ death-row juggernaut has been unstoppable partly because of the support it gets from Christians—who’ve come to view justice as “making sure someone pays,” I guess. And despite the fact that our neighbors to the south struggle desperately to care for their little ones – partly because of our own NAFTA and corn subsidies – we’ve come to see justice as “making sure they pay” for infractions of the civil code, rather than making sure they have enough to eat! Feeding them would be “a crop of justice,” not punishing them!  How is Jesus’ example so far from our minds?

Small wonder that Jesus, in the reading below from Luke, warned that he’d come to bring disruption and confrontation. Defending the defenseless still draws the wrath of the religious.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Monte AsburyProper 15 (20); August 19, 2007
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2,8-19; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

Isaiah 5
Looking for a Crop of Justice
1-2 I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love, a love ballad about his vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard, a fine, well-placed vineyard.
He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds,
and planted the very best vines. Read the rest of this entry »

Readings for Sunday, June 3

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Trinity Sunday
June 3, 2007

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm 8

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

John 16:12-15
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 31, 2007 at 12:15 pm