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Topics - Russ Saltzman

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Your Turn / Transfiguration Sunday - Cue the Twilight Zone Music
« on: February 08, 2013, 03:52:19 PM »
I'm supposing you all need a good sermon for Transfiguration Sunday.

If I find one I'll send it along. Meanwhile, there's this:

Transfiguration Sunday/Ordinary Time 5 (10 February 2013; Pastor Russell E. Saltzman)

Your Turn / Finding My Inner Gun Owner
« on: February 01, 2013, 03:27:41 PM »
Up yesterday at First Things magazine's web site. Sort of whimsical, sort of not.

Your Turn / Wishing Our Way to Doomsday
« on: January 17, 2013, 09:28:10 AM »
This up today at First Things "On the Square" website:

"... I met my first survivalist (a term that has spooky-kooky connotations survivalists hate) in the seventies. He was a pastor who was the Ohio Council of Churches’ legislative lobbyist. He and his wife were both committed survivalists and otherwise entirely normal. They had a cabin far from the maddening crowd, stocked, safe, and secluded near the Ohio River. I had the impression it was bristling with weapons and freeze dried food. ..."

More at:

Your Turn / Senseless Sermons
« on: October 11, 2012, 11:49:52 AM »
My original title was "Stuntman Preaching" but my editor switched it to "Senseless Sermons," supposing it simply sounded significantly more scintillating.

Your Turn / Why Did God Create?
« on: August 10, 2012, 02:48:03 PM »
At my age you might think these sophomoric questions wouldn’t matter. Likely they wouldn’t if I hadn’t I slept through religion, logic and philosophy when I was an actual sophomore (the real action was over at history, journalism and poly-sci, should you ask). Besides, it is my age. These things take on a keener edge as time advances.

Anyway, my internet search finds nothing about why God created. The hits always connect to us. Google the question and the suggested links always return “Why did God create us.” Google is hardly an authoritative source for answers to impossible questions, but it is suggestive of being the sort of question nobody much bothers with if you can't find it on the internet in the first one hundred hits. If the answer isn't on Google, does the question even exist?

Point is, I don't want to know about us. I want to know about God. Did he wake up one morning and say, like me, "I think I'll make a three-shelf bookcase"? I could make use of the bookcase; of what use is creation to God?

The closest I've hit is an Islamic site that indulges in tautology: "You can't very well have a creation without a creator, therefore, God creates." Nothing about why, though.

So, Why did God create? Fill me in on it, huh.


Your Turn / The Jesus Newspaper in Topeka
« on: August 02, 2012, 11:57:20 AM »
Today's essay at First Things.

Walt Disney. Marceline, Missouri. News reporters praying on assignment. And no tobacco spitting in the newsroom.

Your Turn / Bachelorettes and Humanae Vitae
« on: July 19, 2012, 07:35:23 PM »
From the article at First Things

"I am rethinking Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical condemning artificial birth control. Well, actually not rethinking since I cannot remember ever thinking about it much at all, ever, except dismissively. So best to say, I am considering it seriously for the first time. I actually sat down to read it."

Thanks for clicking the link. I'm in a hits war with another unnamed author. I get lunch with you're help.

Your Turn / Biblical Entertainment
« on: July 10, 2012, 08:24:02 PM »
An earlier First Things column on entertainment bibles, particularly something called - drum roll - The Voice.

". . . what I’ve learned is just ever so astonishing. The vitality and importance of The Voice, I am led to infer, is almost level with the Coming Consummation of Time. If you want to read God’s story, this, at the very least, is the best thing since Moses took dictation for the Pentateuch. I am perhaps exaggerating the exaggerations promoters are making."

Read here

Your Turn / Because Spontaneous Creation Made You
« on: July 10, 2012, 08:14:11 PM »
This appeared at First Things near the day the so-called "God particle" was discovered. This column addressed whether God is necessary at all to make a successful universe.

Did God create?

"There is another possibility. A panel discussion of physicists, entitled “The Universe: No God Required” at the recent SETIcon II conference, offered a different conclusion. It’s just the laws of physics. Why do the stars shine? 'Because with the laws of physics,' astrophysicist Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley, is quoted, 'you can get universes.'"

See the rest at

Your Turn / Shopping With the Poor - On The Square at First Things
« on: June 07, 2012, 09:55:36 AM »
The average Walmart shopper earns less than $50,000 a year and typically does not have or does not use a credit or debit card. A customer going in Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, or a Dollar General - again, an average - earns less than $12,000 annually.

I generally shop a rung or two even further down the retail ladder. But for me it is a choice, an affectation, and a capitalist pig at Forbes helped me remember a couple things about many of the people choose I shop with.

Your Turn / Remembering
« on: May 24, 2012, 12:20:42 PM »
May was the month Richard Neuhaus was born. I take note of it and at First Things "On the Square" today repeat some of what I've said before about the man.

Your Turn / The dead leave things
« on: May 10, 2012, 11:02:08 AM »
I post these things here hoping to simply boost my hit statistics at First Things web site. Nonetheless, I'm always astonished that some actually seem to enjoy this stuff. But should you care not in the least, hit it anyway. I am lagging behind George Weigle - and nearly everyone else too, that's not the point.

Your Turn / Against Aging at First Things web site
« on: April 12, 2012, 09:21:31 AM »
Martin E. Marty, theologian, scholar, historian, Lutheran pastor, has said the first rule about aging is "No whining."

Personally, I think he's missing an opportunity.

Your Turn / Blood, Slaughter, Art
« on: March 29, 2012, 09:53:34 AM »
Some have asked me to post my First Things meanderings when they appear.

(I should point out in the interests of self-disclosure that all the requests have been private and none have been made for public attribution. Oh, sigh.)

This piece has performance art, Lawrence, Kansas, blood and slaughter, and chickens. A perfect combination I thinnk for the last Thursday in March.

Your Turn / On the Square at First Things web site
« on: March 15, 2012, 10:11:33 AM »
A friend suggests this might be a fair meditation for the Sunday of the Resurrection. Friends of course have been known to mislead us.

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