On Reformation Sunday

Oddly enough, Reformation Day is just a few days before Election Day 2010. On the other hand, changes desired by many voters today is not even close to the changes brought forth by the Protestant Reformation leaders.

The reformation of the 1500s brought forth changes in political, economic, social, and artistic aspects of society. New Christian denominations formed. The Roman Catholic Church eventually changed. Through the historical lens, no wonder historians list the Protestant Reformation as one of the most impacting events in history.

Martin Luther wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church – not leave it – yet his theology is the foundation of Lutheranism. However, today’s Lutherans divide themselves into different organizations as they interpret both the words of Luther and the Bible differently. Then comparing any of the Lutherans to other Christian denominations is another story.

Nonetheless, many congregations today can find their roots in the events approaching 500 years ago. Today, an aspect of the Tea Party movement wants to force their religious philosophy onto everyone. I say we may need more study, dialogue, and inward reflection to bring about a reformation of the current religious climate.

Below are three videos, a choir’s hymn set to images from the Reformation, a handbell choir to the same tune, and for those who have the time, a longer travel documentary by travel guru Rick Steves.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Singing Choir)

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Handbell Choir)

Rick Steve: Luther’s Germany


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 73

On Dancing with the Stars
Most seasons have a surprises; meaning someone stays around who really should not. I know that’s the effect of the people voting, but the people screw it up. As a fan of the show, I was not a happy camper when ABC announced Bristol Palin’s participation. For one reason, I feared that her mother’s supporters would blindly keep Bristol around too long regardless of her ability – possibly even win. Well, it seems to be happening.

On the World Series
In a nutshell, I don’t like the how much television controls sports. Too many days passed from the last league championship game to the first World Series game. Bring back the days when MLB announces the dates at/near the conclusion of the previous playoff series. Oops … that will cost too much money.

Now Bud Selig is open to expanding the playoffs …  well, for more money. Count on me being against it.

On the College Football Season
No question I’ll be in the minority on this one. During of time when conferences expand in order to have a conference championship game, count me in as one favoring ten-team conferences. Let’s see – play everyone in the conference during the season – what a novel idea. Oops … conferences will lose a payday.

On the Head Stepping Stone
Let me get this straight. The Rand Paul campaign worker intentionally steps on the head of a MoveOn.org supporter, and he is asking for an apology. In the words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!” See Stephen Colbert’s great commentary!

On Charlie Sheen
Speaking of maroons, Charlie Sheen’s continuing behavior demonstrates that his life is a train wreck – that’s sad as he needs help. How and the heck does he keep his job? Oops … that would cost CBS money.

On Quotes from Delaware
Christine O’Donnell’s history continues to be a treasure trove: “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.” Delaware Republicans, what were you thinking?

On a California Votes
The California Chamber of Commerce is terrified about the Proposition 19 vote regarding marijuana. Check out the facts they use in this ad.

On Sports Nicknames
Hey hey sports fans, risen from the cobwebs of my archive is this post about the name team nicknames in sports. A lot of work went into this one, so enjoy.

On Going Tube Free
Papermaker Kimberly-Clark recently announced it would test market tube-free toilet paper. The dada-zz taking the route of the abacus? Say it ain’t so because the world just won’t be the same.

Have a safe weekend!

On a Tea Party Mask

The Tea Party is an interesting mixture of folks. I am confident that many are very educated, so I am not going to call them stupid or ignorant. Many are good, everyday people who are understandably rejecting the cesspool of Washington politics. The latest Democratic control has put them over the edge enough that they are voicing their concerns.

The Tea Party has also attracted its share of from the fridge. Equivalent to the anarchists of the left, these people are the ones linking President Obama to Nazism, Fascism, Socialism, Communism, and what other negative –ism they can muster. “Birthers” also fit here. I try to ignore many of them just as I do the anarchists.

Listening to comments by Christine O’Donnell, Rahn Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sharron Angle, and others gives me a glimpse of their social conservatism activism, something that the Tea Party does not include on their platform. Could social conservatives be using the Tea Party to push their agenda? Is the Tea Party being hijacked?

With religious fundamentals as one common theme (but not the only), and coupling it with various versions of fear mongering, is this group a coalition between a rejuvenated Moral Majority of Jerry Falwell with the reincarnated Red Scare of Senator Joe McCarthy?

On Double Standards and Deficits

Presumably, our elected representations are facing voter anger. Presumably, American voters are tired of Washington’s inability to reduce the federal deficit. With the possibility of majority changes in one or both Capitol Hill chambers, the news is running rampant with various polls regarding the upcoming election. My take – what a bunch of crap!

All of the House of Representatives’ 435 seats are on the upcoming ballot. As analysts focus on the 100 or so seats that are up for grabs, 335 are safe. On the Senate side, voters will determine the fate of 37 seats; the majority of incumbents are safe. If voters are angry and fed up with our elected representation, why will the majority of incumbents get re-elected? Obviously, voters must be fed up with others representatives rather than their own.

Deficits, a 40-year trend, occur when expenses exceed income. I firmly believe that voters believe that our elected officials need to get control on the spending. The real point of contention is finding agreement of where to cut the expenses while determining how much. Even without special interest influence, what is good for some is probably bad for others. In other words, who is to sacrifice?

As extending the Bush tax cuts remains a current debate, one fact remains fixed: taxes are the major source of government income. Republicans love the cut taxes mantra, but would you go to your boss asking for a cut in pay if you were operating a personal deficit?

Interesting, conservatives are now Great Britain’s party in power. Although they do not have a majority, conservative leadership is approaching their deficit with a novel two-prong approach: cut expenses and raise taxes. Besides these recent columns by Ruth Marcus and David Broder, seems I mentioned this approach in October 2008 in relationship to the Obama-McCain campaigns. Thus, I continue to maintain that much of America wants leadership capable of making tough decisions that are contrary to campaign rhetoric and party ideology.

On a Bird for Monday

Instead of providing a zany event of human nature to jump start your week, thought I’d use a different member of the natural world – the lyrebird. This Australian feathery aviary has the ability to mimic both natural and unnatural sounds from the environment. An unnatural sound (you ask)? Watch, listen, learn, and enjoy.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 72

On TV Ads
This past week I had television time in West Virginia, Virginia, and my Ohio home. The sad message is that campaign ads from state to state are ever so similar. How pathetic is that?

On the GOP Civil War
Sarah Palin recently commented that if the Republican Party does not embrace the Tea Party ideals, “the GOP is through.” I hope she means that the Tea Parties will then go elsewhere. Besides – the time is ripe for a solid third party to emerge. Then again, that would take something that many political leaders don’t have – guts. That’s a topic for another day.

On the Bush Tax Cuts
As people argue about whether or not Congress and President Obama should extend the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003, I raise a better question. What was Congress thinking when they passed (and President Bush signed) temporary tax cuts? By the way, the Republicans controlled the White House and the entire Capitol Hill at the time. Maybe the pressure on current Democrats is misplaced.

On Science and Religion
I recently saw a letter to the editor in USA Today that referred to an article about science and religion. Being interested in the interchange between the two, I located the Oct 11th article. With a title as “Science and Religion aren’t Friends”, I knew the article was either written by a scientist who is an atheist or by a religious fundamentalist – so I first checked the author, which confirmed my thought. Nonetheless, it was worth the read, although I disagree with the USA Today author and this rebuttal.

On a Post from the Past
Not long after the November 2010 election, I wrote this post about the Republican Party. Two years later and with the Tea Party influence, how close was I?

On a Short Vacation
My wife and I just returned from time in Charlottesville, Virginia; thus will post about the trip in the days ahead.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

On Two Time-tested Treats

Anyone can recall various products from the past that are no longer around or not easily found. Besides, the older we are, the more products we can recall. It just so happens that I recently encountered one of mine plus another classic treat.

On one of my trips to my hometown to deal with my dad’s estate, I stopped by get gas – and got an urge for an RC. (For those who don’t know, RC is Royal Crown Cola.) Well, no RC at the SE Ohio station surprised me – so I kept looking for what would fulfill my urge – and then, my eye caught something on the bottom shelf that I have not seen in years – a bottle of Ski. Then, while at the counter, I saw the all-new Peanut Butter Crunch Moon Pie.

The Double Cola Company introduced Ski in 1956 as an orange and lemon citrus carbonated drink. Moon Pie is much older as the brand by dating back to 1917. Ironically, both of these classics started in Chattanooga, TN.

By the way, both hit the spot as the snack I needed that day. I think Joe would approve.