Flashbacks: On Religion

Religious choices are a personal decision. Although I’m a regular church attendee, I try to be respectful to all. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

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On A to Z

a-z-2013Someone declared April as A-to-Z Challenge Month. Sure, the challenge’s intent is to have a separate post for each letter, but hey – I have a streak of independence.

With 1,167 posts before this one, why not use my archives to meet the challenge? After all, even frequent readers aren’t aware of some of the posts.

Therefore, I present A Frank Angle’s A-to-Z. Visit as many as you like, because as in my tradition, there is something for all …. so hopefully you’ll visit at least one.

AFAa2zBadgeA is for Acquaintance – People that were not in my graduation class: set 1 and set 2

B is for Ballroom – … and ballroom dance delivers benefits

C is for Cruising – We like cruising, so start your trip with a click

D is for Dinner Group – … We hosted a night of Chopped

E is for Education Reform – Although the need is obvious, here are the obstacles

F is for Frank – Yep, that’s my name, but these are the All-Time Franks in baseball

G is for God and Government – I must say that this post about the separation of church and state is pretty darn good

H is for Handbells – It takes many bells to make one instrument

I is for Italian – I’m 100% Italian heritage, and Ellis Island is an important place

J is for Joys – To whatever give you joy, but for some of us, it’s reliving the cartoons of our youth, and here is where the series started, which led to the first honoree

K is for Knowledge – What do you know about supersonic kangaroos?

L is for LearnerLearning should never stop

M is for Moderate – This early post defines an independent moderate, thus shows why neither party wants me … well, except for my vote

N is for News – Staying informed is important, but there is something more biased than the media

O is for Ohio River – A story from my hometown on a river during my youth.

P is for Politics – I wrote this shortly after the 2008 election, but before the Tea Party’s emergence (which is what makes this post interesting)

Q is for Quantum – Actually, this past post was On a Quantum Thought

R is for Recipes – I’m sort of a Foodie, so try Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti or my own spaghetti sauce that offers a little crunch

S is for Science – Like sports, science has players, plays, rules, and boundaries

T is for Trieste – A beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea that is the place of my birth

U is for Universe – The universe is vast and inspiring, and this post includes one of my absolute favorite videos

V is for Victory – The raised arm created an unexpected moment in college

W is for Wonders – There are many wonders in our world, and let’s not forget Fibonacci, Pi, and Tau

X is for X-Factor – and one X-factor in life is forgiveness

Y is for Why because I can – This is the first main post about the religion-science interchange; now there are 44, plus here is the very first post

Z is for Zinfandel – I enjoy a wide spectrum of wines, especially reds, but zins were the first to capture my fancy – and cheers to the wine group at church

AAA+++ Bonus for the bloggers on my sidebar and on the More Bloggers page, for as without them and you, I wouldn’t be here, so try to visiting someone soon that you don’t know, and tell them I sent you.

Addendum: To learn more about the A Frank Angle A-to-Z Challenge, click here.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 113

On the 9/11 Post
The three key points of my 9/11 post were political grace, education/learning, and forgiveness. Since political grace received the most comments, here are two goods reads from Politico: one from each, a Democrat and a Republican

From Francis Cardinal George about forgiveness: The common good is the goal of the economic and political orders, but it is a goal that cannot be reached by excluding God or by worshiping a false God. It makes a difference if one worships a God who tells us to forgive our enemies or one who tells us to get even with them. As we remember those who were killed on 9/11 10 years ago, we should come to a new recognition that forgiveness is essential to living together in peace. Forgiveness is not forgetfulness nor does it deny the power of evil. We have lived too close to evil to paper it over with platitudes. Forgiveness shapes our lives and makes social peace possible when we ask God for the strength to change the pattern of our lives together, to heal us and make us whole.

The portion of President Clinton’s speech in Shanksville that I heard about heroes knowing they were going to die was awesome.

On Politics
Sarah Palin says she is “getting a kick out of getting out there, giving a speech, and making comments about things that must be discussed … like corruption, crony capitalism, the waste, the fraud.” Cheers for The Nincompoop for accurately described herself in more ways than she realizes.

It will be interesting to see how the Solyndra issue plays out for President Obama.

Listening to the spin around the GOP victory in NY-9 district’s special election reminds me of the Democratic spin around their victory in update New York earlier this year. Could it simply be that many incumbents on both sides are in trouble? Then again, let us not forget that most people disapprove of other members of Congress much more than their own.

I appreciate this quote from columnist Dana Milbank’s column regarding the Supercommittee: The chief congressional bean counter (Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf), highly regarded by both sides as a neutral referee, laid out the choices: If you want to keep entitlement programs the way they are, you’re going to need big tax increases and sharp cuts to everything else government does. If you want to keep taxes where they are, you’re going to need severe cuts to entitlement programs as well as to everything else.

Kudos to Robert Samuelson for this quote from his article in Time:
Republicans and Democrats exult in vitriolic attacks on each other. Their pleasure from mutual vilification comes at the public cost of lower confidence. By contributing to this, the disarray over long-term deficits also undermines employment.

Early this week I heard this hoot-of-a-comment from British journalist Llewellyn King. (This quote may not be exact, but I am close.) “Bill O’Reilly should be treated as a piece of Americana to be glued on a shelf in a case of a museum. I watch him in the same sense of horror as a mongoose views a snake.”

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 36 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads
About Jobs (from The Hill)
Two reads about regulations: Regarding Job Growth, The GOP’s Tough Sell

Interesting Headlines I Saw this Week on The Onion
Dryer Sheets Recalled Due to Danger of Over Snugglification
Trojan Introduces “No One’s Pleasure” Condoms for Bitter, Resentful Couples
McDonald’s Releases McCrazy Burger
Lack of Media Interest Makes Genocide Cover-up Unnecessary
Study: Abstinence-Only Lunch Programs Ineffective at Combating Teen Obesity

I Saw These Research Studies this Week
Families with high number of dogs more prone to dog bites
Watching Sponge Bob can lead to learning problems
Facial symmetry study declares Buffalo Bills are most attractive NFL team

On Potpourri
Last week the Kennedy Center announced this year’s honorees: Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo- Ma, Sonny Rollins, and Barbara Cook. I enjoy this show, which CBS will broadcast on December 27th, 9-11 pm

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommended The Help as it is a powerful movie. After the movie, I felt ashamed of our past, proud of our progress, and angry about the how much further society has to go.

I’m stunned to learn that a friend of Kate Gosselin described Kate as “fame hungry.” Who would have thunk it.

I hope to have a casual post on Saturday.

In the words of Garrison Keillor: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.

On 10 Years Ago

Regardless of the type of media, there was no shortage this past week of 9/11 stories. Sorrow, confusion, fear, pride, anger, grief, emptiness, and dismay – the stories were there to capture the emotion – as they were there to capture heroism, patriotism, or genuine service and compassion. This post is not about recounting where I was on that day; nor of my personal encounters with that day; nor is it to rehash the countless stories that already exist – but to stimulate thinking.

Learning is an important tool for everyone. All one has to do is read online comments regarding anything about Islam to conclude that many, if not most, American non-Muslims know very little about Islam and hold many misconceptions.

Forgiveness, an important Christian foundation, is something that one must do in order to heal their wounds. My November 16, 2010 post about forgiveness concludes with a challenge regarding 9/11.

My last aim is to remind us of something we had, but have lost. 9/11 brought a political grace to Washington. The event brought elected officials together. 9/11 gave leaders an opportunity to lead to heal. 9-11 gave Washington the opportunity to listen, discuss, and gracefully disagree. 9/11 gave leaders the opportunity to be country first. 9/11 gave us as citizens to be one. I a column titled Into an Unknowable Future, Tom Brokaw wrote these words a few weeks after 9/11: Will the surge of bipartisan spirit endure, washing away the pettiness that devalues public life and alienates voters? (NY Times, Sept 29, 2011)

It is my nature to be reflective and positive about life.  I appreciate the image above because it reminds us of what was and illustrates the light of hope for what is to come. And yes, a positive image.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 82

On Two Arizona Hurts
Most Americans are rooting and cheering for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the more I learn about her, how could one not.

Another hurt is that of the shooter’s parents. As they understandably stay secluded within their home, the media remains camped on the outside. They must feel a wide range of emotions as shame, rage, shock, bewilderment, and countless other adjectives. Personally, I would like to see three things for them: all media leave, someone close to the tragedy reach out their hand of forgiveness, and hope that they accept those who reach out – and the sooner the better on all counts.

Note: NBC reported that one of the injured went to the parent’s home for grant forgiveness, but he couldn’t get access.

On Mindless Finger Pointing
Sarah Palin is right in saying, “We are better than the mindless finger pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.” However, is she is capable of mindless finger pointing?

Oh Rush for saying, “What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.” Are any conservatives out there going to challenge him?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently sent a letter seeking campaign funds while also mentioning the recent shootings in Arizona and the Republican far right. What were you thinking?

On the Two Speeches
President Obama delivered a magnificent speech Wednesday night in Tucson. Honest, genuine, compassionate, eloquent, realistic, inspirational, graceful, and many more adjectives can describe the speech. Anyone denying so is simply lost wondering adrift in the woods of partisanship.

After the speech, out of curiosity, I tuned to Fox News to hear their comments, which were all positive. Now compare that speech with the video released from Alaska earlier in the day.

Of the Tucson speech, I don’t recall seeing Speaker Boehner (R-OH) or Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) in the crowd. If that was the case, not a good decision because one of them should have been there.

On an Upcoming Speech
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will deliver the 2011 State of the Union address. Hey members of Capitol Hill. Consider standing and clapping only after Mr. President is introduced and at his conclusion. In between, sit and listen with dignity.

As a side note, I suggested this in a comment on CNN yesterday in a comment to a good letter by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

On a PBS Series
Sometime ago I recorded God in America, a 6-hour PBS series about the role religious faith has played in shaping life, politics, and culture in America. Both my wife and I found it to be enjoyable and enlightening. Not only can anyone view each segment online, the series’ website also provides transcripts, interviews, a study guide, and other resources about the topic.

On the BCS Championship
Congratulations to Auburn and their fans for winning the the game, but not the true national championship because there isn’t one to win.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock recently said the “old system” is more likely to return than a playoff system. Then so be it! Break up the cartel!

On Rushing Waters
Our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the horrifying waters in Brisbane, Australia and most recently in Brazil. Please consider donating to the International Red Cross or your favorite international relief agency.

On an Approaching Day
Monday is Martin Luther King Day, and these words from Bill Tammeus’s Faith Matter’s blog stuck me: The progress we’ve made as a nation has been by fits and starts and, in the end, has left much unaccomplished. Each of us, no matter our ethnic origin, no doubt has a list of what has been left undone and needs to be tackled. (Source post)

Have a safe weekend.

On Forgiveness

Forgiveness was the topic in a recent adult Sunday school class at my church. We discussed several examples of publically proclaimed forgiveness as the Amish community forgiving the surviving family of the person whose murder-suicide spree at a local school shocked the community. My hallmark act of forgiveness was watching Pope John Paul II visit the imprisoned person who shot him, and then grant him forgiveness.

The reconciliation period for South Africans after years of Apartheid was a monumental cultural event involving forgiveness. As Lutherans, we also aware of our own denomination recently seeking forgiveness from the Mennonites/Anabaptists for the persecution Lutherans did to them hundreds of years ago during the Reformation period.

Through the words of the Lord’s Prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” – we ask God for forgiveness to receive forgiveness and to forgive others. Yet, how often in our life do we ask forgiveness from someone? How often do we go out of our way to grant someone forgiveness for something that deeply hurt us? How often do we receive forgiveness from someone for something we did?

If our group is an indication, events of forgiveness do not common occurrences – even though our doctrine is very clear: As a corollary to God’s forgiveness, ELCA Lutherans believe that all Christians have been given the responsibility of forgiving another’s sins against them (Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25, Luke 17:3ff).

I think of a person with whom I’ve had limited discussions. On our first meeting (and to my surprise) he told me his story of the hateful burden brought upon him by someone close. Months passed, and then I heard the same story in our second encounter. Later it hit me – the only way he can free himself of the baggage he carries is by forgiving the person who deeply hurt him. Unfortunately, our paths have not crossed in some time because I need to say that he is in command of his own heeling.

Today’s culture has its share of attitudes as “in your face” and “don’t get mad, get even.” Many glorify the behaviors demonstrated on reality shows. The instant nature of today electronic media also has a tendency to promote bitterness, grudges, lawsuits, resentment, and mistrust. Our political climate is a story in itself.

Through the current war in Afghanistan, regular threats from Al-Qaeda, and numerous other topics involving Muslims, the events of 9-11 remain with us every day. Is it not our Christian obligation to initiate reconciliation? As Christians, should we be the ones to say to Muslims, “We forgive all Muslims for the inhumane acts caused by a few Islamic terrorists.”

Tenth Avenue North’s Healing Begins

On Freeing a Burden

With Christians all over the world in the midst of Holy Week that leads up to the pinnacle of the Christian calendar and the foundation for the Christian faith, this post gives you something to ponder.

People activate a variety of feelings within us. Although the feelings can be positive or negative, people can make us angry, bitter, instill anguish, feel rejected or unloved, scared or stressful.

The Christian God is one of love, grace, acceptance, peace, and forgiveness; however, we live in a world in which we encounter circumstances and people that push our button of negative emotions.

While God gives us his unconditional love and grace to all, we allow the actions of others to act as a heavy collar of burden to drag us down in daily life.

While God is the ultimate forgiver of the sins we commit during our earthy existence, our pride (much of the time) blocks us from doing what God would do – and that is to forgive.

From his book Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World, Dr. Joseph Bracken (retired professor of theology, Xavier University), writes this enlightening words.

Especially in his healing ministry, Jesus touched the minds and hearts of those around him. He cured their physical diseases, but above all, he offered them forgiveness of their sins. Thereby, he assured them that he cared for them as the unique individuals that they really were. He restored to them the humanity that they had somehow lost in the sordid scramble for the good things of the world. All that he asked in return was that they be as humane to one another as he had been to them, that they extend to one another the same practical forgiveness of sins as he had offered to them.

So while we carry the yoke of pent-up anger, bitterness, resentment, rejection, hurt, fear, stress, and other related emotions caused by others, we must remember that the beneficiary may not comprehend or appreciate your act, it is your forgiveness to others that will lead you to a new freedom in life that is without the yoke of burden. Yes, another version of a Judaism Passover theme of “triumph over adversity.”

Happy Easter to we Christians…. and yes, Happy Pesach to those in Judaism.