The LIE

I suspect any concession announcement from President Trump’s will mirror one of his most influential—and malicious—political LIES. However, I won’t be surprised if our current president never utters anything acknowledging his defeat or congratulating President-elect Biden.

Citizen Trump was arguably the highest profile “celebrity” to publicly doubt former President Barack Obama’s place of birth. Mr. Trump was a birther. Though there were earlier clues about Trump questioning Obama’s citizenship, his 2011 appearance on Good Morning America represents his flagrant LIE meeting his biggest audience.

Tweets inevitably followed.

When the then New York real estate mogul and former reality TV star came down the Trump Tower elevator to declare his presidential bid in 2015, the LIE was one of his favorite calling cards. Speak or tweet the LIE and reactions followed. Many jeered . . . how wrong and misguided that LIE was. But many, in particular those who were forming his political base, cheered.

Citizen Obama had job interviews, applications to colleges, and campaigned successfully and unsuccessfully for political office. His background was known. Individuals and institutions had endlessly vetted him over the years. Had his citizenship been a question, it would have been questioned early and often. However, there was nothing to question. Continue reading →

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Hawkish Wisdom

hawkOnce we had a predator settle into our neighborhood.

Which fascinated, but didn’t frighten, my wife and me.

What did you think when I mentioned predator? How about if I had written Buteo lineatus instead? Somewhere nearby, probably less than a block away, and way, way up in the one of tallest trees, a red-shouldered hawk had unpacked its suitcase in our neck of the ‘burbs. For weeks, we heard a sharp, repetitive cry across the street. At first, I was convinced it was a bird and probably a robin or blue jay protecting its nest. A few times I wondered if it was a bird in trouble, fallen from nest and parent.

I also imagined the sound could be one of our brash, street smart squirrels. They always seem ready to rumble. Not long ago, I had a squirrel scamper away from me and then dash up a tree. Out of harm’s way, it settled onto a branch to squirp-and-chirp at me. I felt like I was a bad boy and being scolded.

Finally, we spotted Buteo lineatus. A red-shouldered hawk was perched at least twenty feet from the ground, in a tree beside our driveway. Continue reading →

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Retired, Still Foolish

I’m taking some PTO today from hospice . . . personal time off. Not long from now, after walking the dog and munching on breakfast granola, I’ll aim the car north on Highway 99 for a church meeting.

This year, the Annual Conference for the California-Nevada region of the United Methodist Church, will gather in lovely Modesto. A nice little city.

I will attend for a few hours.

Today, in the last calendar hours of spring, I will be at the Modesto conclave so that I can hear my name read as one of the newly retired clergy. This gray-haired old coot will do the official deed, shifting from an “active” to a “retired” minister.

No bells. No whistles. No parade. Rumor has it that I get a swell medallion for a keepsake. The church is nothing if not generous.

Maybe forty-five years ago, I had my first wade in the water of denominational gatherings where ordination was discussed. At some hazy point in the past, I declared my candidacy for the ministry and a group of men (yeah, it was mostly men then) had to ask me a few come-to-Jesus questions and either recommend or not recommend that I move on to some other committee for more approval or disapproval. I was ordained a deacon on a hot June night in Redding, California in 1977. The rest is history and mystery, rural churches and campus ministry, hospice and new church starts. Oh, the failures I had. Oh, the joy I shared. Continue reading →

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