Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Makes a Person a Christian?

 Today a friend wrote to me about faith and religion. He objected to the hypocrisy he perceives on the so called Christian political right.  Here is an excerpt from my response to him:
You mentioned faith. Here are some of my beliefs:

As for God and church and faith - even Jesus had a disciple who betrayed him.

We can expect normal human failings and even betrayal within Christian fellowship.

Hypocrites can be found both in and outside of churches, so if one would avoid churches 'because of hypocrites' one should avoid all of society.

One of my definitions of life is that it is a constant struggle to live with integrity and in accordance with our convictions. It is easy to be blind to our own faults while deploring the faults of others.
A Christian (or anyone else for that matter) is not their words but their actions.

Many people think being Christian is about what we "do not do" - a list of sins we reject.

I think being Christian is about what we "do": we forgive, we love, we do acts of material kindness to the poor, the sick, the prisoners, etc. We do acts of spiritual love such as prayer, encouragement and peace.

The only thing that Jesus acted against in his whole life was those who monetized religion, when he drove the money-changers out of the temple.

When did he give people a list of things they should not do? He said anyone who harmed a child would be better off dead.

When did he give lists of what people should do? He said to heal, to forgive, to share worldly goods, to tell people the good news of the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Elizabeth Tilley - Mayflower Passenger

Elizabeth Tilley, a Mayflower Passenger at age thirteen in 1620, is Goldibear's 10xgreat-grandmother.

Click to see Leo's Mayflower Tree to ancestor Elizabeth Tilley.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Four of Goldibear's ancestors were on the Mayflower. They were not spectators during a great event in history.

We both have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War of 1776, and others who fought in the Civil War. My grandfather fought in World War I and my father fought in World War II.

All were among the 'movers and shakers', none sat out the crisis as spectators. Even those who could not bear arms fought - my ancestor who was too old to join the 'Colonial Rebels' gave provisions to the army of 1776 - on credit.

In the current crisis in our country, how can we all be participants? Do only a small number of people in Washington, DC call the shots? Do only people as wealthy as Midas have a voice in government?

It doesn't feel like enough to email our Representative or even to march with protestors. I don't want to march. I want a functioning government, not a for-profit business, in DC.

I am not a customer - I am a citizen! And these days I am a citizen grieving for my country.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Takeaway

"Rebuilding a basis on which Americans can form a shared belief about what is going on is a precondition of democracy," media study from Columbia Journalism Review by Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman
Did you read the article in yesterday's post? Here is the link in case you missed it: CJR

This is my takeaway from it - that a democracy cannot survive without a shared belief about what is going on. 

Ponder this: who would want to destroy that shared belief?

Monday, March 6, 2017


Our country - that is me, you and all of us - have been fragmented by deep opposing forces seeking to gain our attention and confidence.  Using the social media - Twitter, Facebook and clones, traditional print and Internet news sites, and television news now on portable screens in cell phones and tablets, we have been attacked in our core values. The news has been weaponized.

Now, after the hand-wringing, we can look at scientific analysis and see what's been happening. Maybe we can even figure out why.

Use this link to view the amazing picture of what our use of media looks like. Read the story to see how it drives our political decisions.

 Columbia Journalism Review has done the work, it is our turn to do the rest: read the story, recognize the impact on our lives, and respond with all our strength to defend the integrity of our minds and hearts.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Not Fake News (unfortunately)

Are you feeling confused about all the news about Russia and the Trump team? Here is a link to The Washington Post , which sorts out the players, the contacts, the denials.