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Topics - John_Hannah

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Your Turn / Living As a Minority
« on: November 26, 2021, 06:56:07 AM »
David Brooks on being a minority in America today. Interesting; something to think about.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Christian Hostages
« on: October 22, 2021, 08:38:49 AM »
Impressive devotion and discipline by Anabaptists.  Lord have mercy.

I did not know the affiliation of these hostages before reading this report.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / One Year Lectionary?
« on: October 18, 2021, 01:16:13 PM »
My Circuit will be discussing the Advantages and Disadvantages of the One Year Lectionary at its next monthly conference. Can anybody here speak to that?

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Colin Powell +
« on: October 18, 2021, 09:50:28 AM »
We can all be saddened by the news of General Powell's death. His numerous contributions to our country and to the world are noteworthy and will be repeated often in the next couple of days. I note here that it is also significant that he was a practicing Christian. His parish church, St. Margaret's Episcopal Church is just a couple of miles from where I'm at in the Bronx.

He was due to retire from the Army the same day as I would (1 October 1993). I wrote him asking him for the traditional signed photo and noting that I was headed for a Bronx parish with a school. I thought the photo would be displayed in the school and remind students that opportunities abound in America. He did send me the photo and congratulations on my forthcoming retirement and assuming the pastorate at Trinity Church and School. Later I solicited his donation to the scholarship fund, "Light of the Bronx" that I had helped to establish. He responded with a brief note, again affirming my ministry and remarking with a vague reference that I would be receiving something in the future. About two weeks later I got a letter from some Manhattan group to which he had spoken saying that General Powell had directed his honorarium be sent to "Light of the Bronx." The check was for $3,000.   ;D

May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / The Ethics of General Milley
« on: September 15, 2021, 01:14:44 PM »
This resumes the discussion of General Milley’s actions at the end of President Trump’s term.

A summary of facts reported from a forthcoming book by Woodward and Costa:

1.  In December 2020 President Trump signed an order to evacuate all forces from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021. Neither the National Security Advisor nor anyone in the Defense Department knew anything about this. General Milley was able to get the order withdrawn as soon as he learned of it. Withdrawal on such short notice would have led to a horrible disaster!

2.  On January 8, 2021 Speaker Pelosi called General Milley expressing her profound alarm at the possibility of arbitrary behavior from the holder of the nuclear codes. General Milley assured her that he would prevent any illegal use of nuclear arms. (The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not in the chain of command for nuclear discharge. He is by Standard Operating Procedure to be kept informed.)

3.  Gen. Milley learned that the Chinese were fearful that the U.S. President would initiate a war in an attempt to retain his presidency. Gen, Milley called his counterpart to assure him that we would not. (Just as the president and secretary of state meet with and speak to their counterparts, so do official in the Department of Defense. Gen. Milley could speak to the Chinese general as a friend; we were not at war with China at the time.)

I do not count Gen. Milley as having done anything unethical or immoral, however much his behavior might be construed by some as insubordinate and/or treasonous.

1.  General Milley disobeyed no order.

2.  General Milley  did not block the president, who did not (Thanks be to God!) order any nuclear action. He did remind those at the operations center of the expectation that he be kept informed. Presumably he would have blocked any attempted nuclear use.

3.  General Milley did not give aid and comfort to an enemy at war since we were not at war with the Chinese at the time. (Generals prefer peace over war.)

Ethical decisions are not always clearly black or white. This may appear to be disloyalty to the Commander-in-Chief but is justified in view of the abrupt Afghan withdrawal order and the insurrection of January 6, 2021. His higher loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution.

(This is my judgement at this time but is subject to change if the facts understood now are not proved to be correct.)

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Afghan Refugees
« on: September 06, 2021, 09:04:03 AM »
Christians (including Lutherans) appear to be taking the lead:

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Dorothy Zelenko +
« on: August 10, 2021, 09:15:18 AM »
I have just learned of the death of Dorothy Zelenko, an exemplary Lutheran lay woman who served as treasurer of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau for a quarter century. She was generous in dedicated service to Christ's Church and graciousness toward its members yet frugal to a fault with the resources given by God. She can be credited with bringing the ALPB from the brink of bankruptcy to the thriving and independent non profit institution of today.

Although her death is no surprise since she has been ailing for quite a while, it is very saddening.

May she rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon her.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Pope Francis Restricts Latin Mass Use
« on: July 17, 2021, 09:13:09 AM »
Interesting development. Are there American Lutheran counterparts to the Roman Catholic parties?

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Sermongate
« on: July 07, 2021, 08:19:29 AM »
From today's Times; I don't know what to make of it, myself.

Your Turn / Philip Pfatteicher +
« on: June 27, 2021, 01:00:44 PM »
I just happened to catch the notice in today's NY Times. He died on June 22 at age 85. Requiem Mass at the Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street, Boston.

He made important contributions to Lutheran liturgical scholarship and practice. He was for many years the editor of the Ashby Calendar (Lutheran Edition). Author of Manuel on the Liturgy, Lutheran Book of Worship (with Carlos Messerli) and New Book of Festivals and Commemorations. In the 1960s he was a pastor in the Bronx (All Saints).

May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Pryaers at Civic Events
« on: May 21, 2021, 06:02:21 PM »
I caught the Medal of Honor ceremony today. There were prayers at the begining and the end. The camera did not show the chaplain nor was he introduced. His voice simply came "out of the blue" as he recited his well prepared prayer. My guess is that it was a military chaplain based on the content of the prayers. But that is only a guess.

I suspect that it represents an innovation. I had not seen it before and I have viewed a number of those occasions. Was this the request of the recipient, a very deserving Lieutenant (now a full Colonel, retired) Puckett from the Korean War or something President Biden wants? Don't know.

By the way there are daily prayers at both houses of congress. The current chaplains are both retired Navy Chiefs of Chaplains.

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Marva Dawn +
« on: May 06, 2021, 04:17:31 PM »
I have just now learned that Marva Dawn died on April 18th.

Here is a link to a recent tribute to her:

She was a truly great theologian. May she rest in peace.


Your Turn / Prince Philip Funeral
« on: April 17, 2021, 11:18:49 AM »
Any comments?

My initial reaction: Certainly a fine witness to the Christian faith. Straight forward confession of the Holy Trinity and resurrection of the dead.

Yet a surprising ignoring of the Vatican II reforms, very apparent among American Episcopalians. A departure from Medieval style with the "resurrection sounding" cantate commissioned by Philip and the sounding of "Revelie" after the British Marine version of "Taps."

Peace, JOHN

Your Turn / Church and Racism
« on: March 19, 2021, 07:47:21 AM »
From David Brooks (NY Times, 19 Mar 2021), a strong affirmation of the Christian Church:

A Christian Vision of Social Justice
By David Brooks

Like a lot of people, I’ve tried to envision a way to promote social change that doesn’t involve destroying people’s careers over a bad tweet, that doesn’t reduce people to simplistic labels, that is more about a positive agenda to redistribute power to the marginalized than it is about simply blotting out the unworthy. I’m groping for a social justice movement, in other words, that would be anti-oppression and without the dehumanizing cruelty we’ve seen of late.

I tried to write a column describing what that might look like — and failed. It wasn’t clear in my head.

But this week I interviewed Esau McCaulley, a New Testament professor at Wheaton College and a contributing writer for New York Times Opinion. He described a distinctly Christian vision of social justice I found riveting and a little strange (in a good way) and important for everybody to hear, Christian and non-Christian, believer and nonbeliever.

This vision begins with respect for the equal dignity of each person. It is based on the idea that we are all made in the image of God. It abhors any attempt to dehumanize anybody on any front. We may be unjustly divided in a zillion ways, but a fundamental human solidarity in being part of the same creation.

The Christian social justice vision also emphasizes the importance of memory. The Bible is filled with stories of marginalization and transformation, which we continue to live out. Exodus is the complicated history of how a fractious people comes together to form a nation.

Today, many Americans are trying to tell the true history of our people, a tale that doesn’t whitewash the shameful themes in our narrative nor downplay the painful but uneven progress — realist but not despairing.

McCaulley doesn’t describe racism as a problem, but as a sin enmeshed with other sins, like greed and lust. Some people don’t like “sin” talk. But to cast racism as a sin is useful in many ways.

The concept of sin gives us an action plan to struggle against it: acknowledge the sin, confess the sin, ask forgiveness for the sin, turn away from the sin, restore the wrong done. If racism is America’s collective sin then the tasks are: tell the truth about racism, turn away from racism, offer reparations for racism.

A struggle against a sin is not the work of a week or a year, since sin keeps popping back up. But this vision has led to some of the most significant social justice victories in history: William Wilberforce’s fight against the slave trade, the Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s and the Confessing Church’s struggle against Nazism. And, of course, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

From Frederick Douglass and Howard Thurman to Martin Luther King Jr. on down, the Christian social justice movement has relentlessly exposed evil by forcing it face to face with Christological good. The marches, the sit-ins, the nonviolence. “You can’t get to just ends with unjust means,” McCaulley told me. “The ethic of Jesus is as important as the ends of liberation.”

He pointed me to the argument Thurman made in “Jesus and the Disinherited,” that hatred is a great motivator, but it burns down more than the object of its ire. You can feel rage but there has to be something on the other side of anger.

That is the ethic of self-emptying love — neither revile the reviler nor allow him to stay in his sin. The Christian approach to power is to tell those with power to give it up for the sake of those who lack. There is a relentless effort to rebuild relationship because God is relentless in pursuit of us.

“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love,” King wrote. “We can never say, ‘I will forgive you, but I won’t have anything further to do with you.’ Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again.”

McCaulley emphasizes that forgiveness — like the kind offered by the congregants of the Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, S.C., and family members after parishioners were murdered in 2015 by a white supremacist — is not a stand-alone thing. It has to come with justice and change: “Why is Black forgiveness required again and again? Why is forgiveness heard but the demand for justice ignored?”

But this vision does not put anybody outside the sphere of possible redemption. “If you tell us you are trying to change, we will come alongside you,” McCaulley says. “When the church is at its best it opens up to the possibility of change, to begin again.”

New life is always possible, for the person and the nation. This is the final way the Christian social justice vision is distinct. When some people talk about social justice it sounds as if group-versus-group power struggles are an eternal fact of human existence. We all have to armor up for an endless war.

But, as McCaulley writes in his book “Reading While Black,” “the Old and New Testaments have a message of salvation, liberation and reconciliation.”

On the other side of justice, we reach the beloved community and multiethnic family of humankind. This vision has a destination, and thus walks not in bitterness but in hope.

Your Turn / The Tone of Liturgy in 2021
« on: January 24, 2021, 11:59:11 AM »
Here is a run-down on the music, hymnody, and texts done at the pre-inaugural liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Matthew. I have been curious but we could see or hear any of it; the media showed only the congregation of and on.

Does such a liturgy for such a dignitary affect the direction of liturgy throughout the nation? I remember the Kennedy funeral liturgy and think that Cardinal Cushing became a negative example setting in a reaction that might be thought to have culminated in the quintessential guitar mass. This mass is far removed from "guitar." Does it portend a more conservative trend.

(Don't introduce politics here. Only theology and liturgy!)

Peace, JOHN

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