Saturday, October 06, 2012

Shut Up And Dance!

So I've been wasting the past couple hours reading stuff on the internet in search of something about which to write.  An article by Josh Barkey about what he calls "poopstain pulpit-monkeys" (my challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to use the clues in this sentence in Google to discover if I'm making up what I'm writing about; I have at least one reader who just doesn't seem to understand how Teh Googlebox works, so I want to see if he can answer this simple test) was interesting, but all I did was link to it on Facebook for folks on my friend's list to read.

Then there was the article from The Guardian about the Central Park Jogger case, which seems still to trouble the waters of New York City.  I checked, and I've written everything I wanted to say about it; one of the perils of doing this blogging thing for so long is you tend to cover the same ground.  Since I have no interest in repeating myself, I decided to just let it be.  Again, if you're interested, you can put "central park jogger" in the search box at the top left and read what I said.

It's Saturday.  The weekend.  Get up off your couch and do stuff.  Have some fun, for crying out loud.

If house music doesn't do it for you, maybe this will . . .
If you're feeling romantic, and want to dance slow and close to someone special, well . . .
So quit your belly-achin' and get out there and dance.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Why I Can't Take Libertarians Seriously

If you click here, you will find the following comment:
The Supreme Court may declare that the Earth is flat, but that doesn't make it so.

The Constitution is a fairly simple document. It is understandable to anyone who can read and engage in some research. It is not written in a cryptic code or some long-lost language.
My general approach to the world is simple enough: Theories work as long as they account for as many facts as possible.  Whether it's molecular biology or political theory, it's all well and good to say some stuff that sounds really good, but if there are no actual facts to back up what your theory claims, then it's gotta go.

So, the first sentence is a nonsequitur.

The second is a composition of irrlevancies and straw-arguments.

The Constitution was written in English in 1787.  We live in 2012.  Words meant different things then.  Even simple words.  Shoot, the lower case of the letter "s" looked an awful lot like the lower case letter "f"; there's even an episode of the BBC series The Vicar of Dibley that uses that as the basis for a series of jokes.  Less trivially, we have the Federalist Papers, many of which were written by the Constitution's principle author, James Madison, that go to great length explaining various parts of the Constitution.

All of that is well and good.  We have a document, the Constitution, and some explanatory materials to help sell it to a public that wanted to know how it would work.  That got it ratified.

Then, Congress got in to the act, and the various states, and folks started saying, "Hey!  You can't do that!  It's not in the Constitution!"  Who decides that?  Well, since 1803, when Chief Justice John Marshall said that certain acts by former Pres. John Adams violated the Constitution (even though he declared the suit itself, known by its title, Marbury v. Madison, had been brought without any standing by the plaintiffs, effectively tossing the whole deal away), no one stood up and said, "Hey!  You can't do that!  It's not in the Constitution!"  Most folks, in fact, said, "Hm.  Interesting.  Adams violated the Constitution."

Since then, what the meaning of the Constitution is as applied to specific cases has been left to the Supreme Court of the United States to decide.  When the First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law . . .", does it really mean that, or can exceptions be made?  Well, it turns out that exceptions can, indeed be made!  Thus we have the Supreme Court upholding the convictions of people speaking out against various and sundry government officials at different times in our history, criminal political sedition, and the legalized outlawing of the CPUSA during the 1950's.

Similarly, for example, local prosecutors have managed to get indictments against Christian Science adherents who refuse medical treatment for their children who subsequently die.  Sikhs, who are required to wear a turban to hold in their very long hair, are also required by law to remove their turbans and wear hard-hats if they work construction.  Native Americans cannot use traditional elements in their worship like peyote because . . . OMG it's a hallucinogen!

Folks who say the things above, that the Constitution is a simple document to read and understand miss the point that it is, in the end, a living, breathing thing.  It gives shape and substance, strength and legitimacy to any and every act the government takes.  How that is applied is a matter, in the end, for the courts, particularly the Supreme Court.  We may not like how the Supreme Court interprets the text of the Constitution; that doesn't mean, however, the Court is ever "wrong" because there is no meaning to the Constitution apart from how it is applied in the real world.  Thus, prior to the mid-1950's, it was provide separate public accommodations based upon race.  Obviously it wasn't "right" in a moral sense; it was, however, Constitutional as interpreted by the Courts in nearly sixty years of Constitutional jurisprudence.

People who complain about the application of this or that clause and say the Court got it right or wrong miss the point; if the Court says, say, the commerce clause doesn't apply to particular activities, then no matter how many liberals scream and shout and stamp their feet, it doesn't apply.  No theory of the government can overcome the reality that the Constitution only means what we as a people and the courts declare it to mean as it is tested in and through our life as a polity.

That's why I can't take Libertarians seriously.  They claim some theory about what the Constitution is, how it works, how it is applied or not applied takes precedence over the long history of actual Constitutional jurisprudence and casuistic application.  The Constitution is a real thing; it has real words the meanings of which are not clear despite any claim to the contrary; if it were, indeed, clear we wouldn't need courts or anything else (this commonsense reality also seems to slip through the keen logic Libertarians pretend to apply) to figure out if something is or is not Constitutional.

All we have is reality.  The history of our country, how we have applied the Constitution, how it has broken down over disagreements concerning the relative merits of state versus federal power, how different issues bring different parts of the Constitution to bear on various aspects of our national life, and how that application has changed over time.

We have all that.  Then we have Libertarians whose Constitution exists . . . in no place of which I know.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

And The Earth Died Screaming (UPDATE)

The only part of the debate I encountered last night was a 90 second snippet while I was in the car picking up Moriah from rehearsals for the school musical.  It was the point where Pres. Obama was talking about Gov. Romney's tax plan.  Romney, in what seems to have been a performance fueled by Red Bull (in more ways than one) basically called the President a liar, then barged over the hapless Jim Lehrer in his insistence on getting in the last word.

If you don't believe in zombies, you weren't paying attention to Lehrer last night.  From everything I read, this veteran reporter from the Taft White House was about as able to control the proceedings as a kitten herder.

The reviews all seem to be that Obama made a dog's breakfast of things last night, Romney barging over, under, around, and through both the President and the Moderator in an effort to say everything he could.  Now, on the merits - as if that was all there ever is - Romney's performance was appalling.  He managed to toss the Republican base, his sons, and even every speech he's given since the summer of 2011 under the bus in an effort to appear less crazy than the party that nominated him.  If that's all we had as guides, then for all his haplessness, the President clearly came out on top.

The President's supporters, however, were looking for more.  They wanted Obama to come out swinging, to hold up every crazy thing Romney has said in pursuit of the Republican nomination and ask the American people, "Really?"  They wanted him to fight.  To fight for the principles of the Democratic Party.  To make his case that he really, truly understood that things still kind of suck and a Romney Administration would only increase the suck factor.

The problem with these wishes are simple enough.  When has Barack Obama ever done such things?  If the past four years have taught people anything, it's that Obama is willing to concede beforehand any principles that might make the Republicans complain to FOXNews.  I would love to play poker with this guy.

It isn't only that Obama is and always has been a lousy debater.  He seems averse to confrontation.  He would much rather seek common ground, letting negotiations and debate and discussion swirl around niggling details in an effort to achieve whatever the goal of the moment might be.  That he dragged out Simpson-Bowles last night, talked about "reforming" Social Security - as if that had anything to do with the operating deficit; as if, indeed, it has anything to do with anything other than making the ghost of David Broder smile - should tell an impartial observer all he or she needs to know about the President and his approach to dealing with the very real problems we face.

All this talk about tax cuts and spending cuts.  Not a word, it seems, about jobs.  Not a question about the fact that the only Republicans who oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline are the Nebraska Republicans who will face the consequences of this disaster-in-waiting.  Did they mention the rapid increase in the melting of the Polar Ice Cap?  Did the words "carbon tax", "cap and trade", or even "global warming" even come up?  I can't tell from the discussions online.

Was there a question about gun violence?  Not that I can tell.

Fracking?  I haven't found a word about the practice that, not covered by the Environmental Protection Act, may yet set fire to wells across my home state while simultaneously dumping thousands of pounds of benzene, toluene, and God alone knows what other chemicals in the land and water.

In short, the debate kind of turned out the way I expected.  Romney has been desperate enough to make sure he had everything crammed in his head, vomiting it out in a way guaranteed to make him look like someone who was calm and not-at-all crazy.  The President, refusing to stand because that would require a spine, allowed it all to happen because he has never yet stood firm if there was space to the side where he could move.

At least the journalists can froth over the renewed horse race for the next couple weeks.

UPDATE: Charlie Pierce was reminded of the first Reagan/Mondale debate.  Liberal radio gas-bag Thom Hartmann was reminded of the only Carter/Reagan debate (I heard the first fifteen or so minutes of his show on the way home from work this afternoon).  Each used these past debates as touchstones, although I think Hartmann's was far more apt.  As I wrote back in August, Pres. Carter is still waiting for the media to point out the many and sundry ways Reagan just spewed fantasy after fantasy.  Some folks are consoling themselves that Gov. Romney's estrangement from the truth will, at some point, wear through the President's dismal performance.  Others, like Craig Crawford (thanks, Lisa for the tip) offer the strategic defense narrative, sometimes referred to as the multi-dimensional chess argument.  The problem with such arguments is they grant a certain benefit of the doubt that just isn't backed up by any evidence.  For some reason, it's impossible for partisans to say their guy lost.

Obama bombed last night.  He bombed big time.

Romney's been lying his way through the campaign, calling the President a liar, being a smarmy, entitled rich guy. His performance last night, as manic as it seemed, was nonetheless consistent with his actions since he began campaigning sometime in 2011.  All the howling about Romney's nose growing each time he opened his mouth really doesn't mean that much.  Forget Jim Lehrer, veteran of the McKinley White House Press Corps; he looked befuddled by his microphone; he was just not ready for Romney not to give a tinker's damn there was a moderator whose job is supposed to keep things moving along and regard certain rules and decorum as important.  No, the job of saying to Gov. Romney, "You know, I wish I'd brought my hip-waders with me because the shit's getting really deep," that was up to Pres. Obama.

Romney managed to deny the tax plan he's been running on for over a year.  Romney managed to toss his five kids under the bus as a bunch of liars.  Romney managed to toss his running mate's signature "plan" away as so much dross.  He did it all with the energy of a mosquito on crack, and attention to politesse of Leona Helmsley in IRS headquarters.  None of these things matter because, to be honest, Pres. Obama sucked.

Will it matter next week?  Will it matter when the next debate comes around?

Because the mainstream press now have their story, that Romney turned a corner, restarted his campaign, reinvented himself - pick the cliche - yes, it will indeed matter.  The narrative for the campaign was needlessly altered last night.  Not because Romney has so divorced himself from the truth that I doubt he even cares all that much.  No, the fault for the change in circumstances lies solely with Pres. Obama and his stuttering, faltering performance last night.

This doesn't mean I want the President to lose.  What I want, however, is for the President to do all sorts of things he has never done and, it seems, cannot do.  Faced with an opponent who has demonstrated he is quite willing to do anything and everything to win, the President seemed unable even to muster an outraged glance at Romney last night.

None of this, however, deals with the initial substance of the post, viz, that the many and very serious matters we face "domestically" weren't even acknowledged as existing last night.  Perhaps because Jim Lehrer thought "fracking" was a euphemism for what happened during the Clinton Administration, or got confused that the Keystone Pipeline didn't go through Pennsylvania.  That's an even bigger source of frustration.  Not that Romney floated above the solid ground of truth without a care in the world, nor even that the President looked and sounded befuddled and not-quite ready.  It would be nice, I guess, if we could talk about actual stuff, instead of Romney's unicorn-producing tax plan or whether or not the President was a bigger liar than Jon Lovitz or Romney's five kids put together.
If you're curious, the apropos lyrics are here

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

What Gets You Through

I'm sure you've heard the lines before.  "Why are you taking your children to a funeral?  They don't understand what's going on."  For some reason, we believe it not just possible but necessary to prevent our children's exposure to the reality of death.  For some reason, we believe that adults "get it" and children "don't".  We believe there is some magic cocoon in which children dwell that death, in whatever form, just can't penetrate.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit over the past couple days.  Monday afternoon, Miriam came home from school and told me that a friend of hers lost his father to a heart attack on Friday.  An eleven year old boy now has to face the rest of his life without any chance to get to know the man fifty percent of whose genetic material makes him who he is.  He won't have his Father around to teach him how to drive.  He won't get in arguments about homework or how late he can stay out.

These are all horrible things.  They tear at our hearts, make us want to "do something" that cannot be done - take the pain away.  My parents both lost siblings when they were children, and I can say without fear or equivocation the pain never goes away.  My parents are 91 and 88 and I know they live every day with the reality of loss almost a century old.  All anyone can do is find ways to heal, to let the wound not go away yet not become the overriding reality of life.  Far too many people do not, and therein is the real tragedy.

Thanks to a link at the website Feministe I read an article in Salon about a support group for families with cancer patients.  The group hosts not just the adults with the disease, but children as well.  The author of the piece, Mary Elizabeth Williams, presents a setting in which death and life become part of the routine, even when the deaths are gut-wrenching, such as the week three of her fellow group member died - bam!bam!bam! - leaving four children without a mother.  Not long after, Ms. Williams daughter, Bea, matter-of-factly told a friend's mother about the three deaths.  Ms. Williams writes:
[The] mother[] looked at Bea, and then me, and then back to Bea, in astonishment. “But you still … like … this club?” she asked her.
I understood the question, and the concern behind it. I had been struggling with it myself, especially because my own health has improved so much since we first began coming to the club. (I’m now on maintenance treatment, with another year to go.) Why are my kids still there? Why make them witness so much death, so much grief? Why put them, week after week, in a room with a bunch of kids whose parents are sick and, in some cases, dying?
But when that mother had asked Bea about it, my daughter just smiled brightly and said, “Oh, yeah. They have beanbag chairs and they give us popcorn.”
Ms. Williams continues:
Children don’t experience difficult events or grieve like we adults do. Fortunately, their club understands that. My daughters, who originally stipulated they would only join on the condition that, “We don’t have to sit around and talk about our feelings,” have check-in time each week if they do want to sit around and talk about their feelings, but the real healing takes a very different form. A few times a month, a local animal group brings in dogs for the kids to play with. On other weeks they do art and they throw parties and they hang out in their beanbag chairs and talk with each other about their favorite TV shows and somewhere in all of that, the most amazing thing of all happens. The sickness and death and uncertainty don’t go away. They’re there in the room all the time with these kids. But they’re there in a room with a group of loyal, loving friends.
I had asked Bea, after the day of the two dead mothers, if she still wanted to go to the club. I had been prepared for her to reconsider, but she answered resolutely that she still wanted to go. She also mentioned the popcorn again. Then she looked at her hands and said quietly, “It got me through your cancer.”
When I posed the same question to my 12-year-old daughter, Lucy, she too gave the same answer. Yes, of course she wanted to keep going. “It makes me feel normal,” she said. “It makes me a better friend.” It really does. When a classmate she hadn’t even been close to lost a parent to cancer last year, she instinctively reached out to the child. She didn’t make the kid talk about her feelings. She just sat with her at lunch, asked her about her locker. She wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t awkward. Because she’d been there before. 
And she sums up, talking about the precious gift she's given her children in the midst of the sadness and pain:
I didn’t put this family in the path of death. I put us in the paths of Lisa and Ted and Mamie and Julia. And we made a choice to get tangled up with them, to love them and to let them love us. To sit in beanbag chairs and eat popcorn and paint pictures together and drag ourselves to Queens for funerals and miss them when they’re gone. To take the risk of being hurt, because what the hell else are we here for? What else is there in life but to show up for each other, week in and week out, whether we’re 8 or 80? I came to that club because I knew my kids needed to get support. And they have received it, beyond all expectations. But I never dreamed how much they would also wind up giving. I never imagined how much sorrow they and their friends would face, or how beautifully they would face it together. (italics added)
We can learn a lot from the ways we expose our children to the realities of life.  Death may not, after all, be the worst thing a family can experience.  It is far more natural than, say, the terror of abuse or abandonment, realities millions of children experience without the kind of support networks Ms. Williams' children live with. The fact is millions of children live with this reality, the reality of death as an intimate experience.  Whether from disease or hunger or war, our world is filled with children marked with the knowledge that all of us have a limited span on the Earth.  How we come to terms with that knowledge, how we help those we love and for whom we're responsible come to terms with that knowledge, makes everyone better, stronger people.  There are no short cuts, no hiding spaces, no covers that, when pulled over our heads, makes this particular monster disappear.

We can, however, make it far less of a monster by demonstrating the courage and, yes, wisdom to teach our children that death is real.  We can help them be better friends to those who have experienced loss by teaching them to sit and listen.  That popcorn and beanbag chairs don't disappear or cease to make life fun because we've experienced loss.

What gets us through, what gets our kids through, should be clear enough: one another.  Holding one another up, sitting and being there for one another without an agenda or a lesson or hollow words of comfort.  That there are kids who are learning this lesson in the midst of their sorrow and loss is a very good thing.

It might even be a bit of that transformation of the world about which I wrote.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Religion, Atheists, America

 ‘Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one. - Matthew 5:33-37
 The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. - US Constitution, Article VI, par. 3
In this morning Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank tries to have a little fun at the expense of atheists.
The nation’s atheists went to Capitol Hill on Monday to launch an effort that they hope will someday give them the lobbying clout of the Christian conservative movement.
They don’t have a prayer.
“What does that do to our non-theist community?” asked Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, which bills itself as the only full-time lobbying group for atheists, agnostics, humanists and the like. “What does that do to our minority religions like voodooism, etcetera?”
No doubt it makes them mad enough to cast a hex. 
We often hear people in public life babble about the United States being "a Christian nation".  Without ever being defined, I've always guessed that means people think the US is made up of people who self-identify as Christian.  I suppose that's a fair assumption to make, without being able to draw any real conclusions from such a broad and relatively meaningless statement.

For a very long time, some few have tried to take this rather bland social reality and make out of it a legal principle that we the people of the United States are Christian.  The decades-long arguments about religion and public life, for all the heat they generate, tend to add little light.  As hot things do, they also tend keep people from getting too close to them, so the arguments continue to be stuck in the same terms they have been for decades.

Recent polling suggests the general decline in religious observation we see in Europe has reached America.  Less than half of Americans are now members of a religious body.  These statistics include Judaism, Jain, Islam, Baha'i, and other smaller religious groups.  While we may tend to "see" Christians when we look upon our fellow Americans, as a practical matter, religious affiliation is less and less important a fact of American life.

As a matter of law, the United States is secular.  There is no official religion sanctioned by the state.  There is no official religious test for office according to the United States Constitution.  These have been and continue to be blessings to religious bodies.  With religious life free from state interference, observation and practice can grow and develop and change without it impacting our public life.

Except, of course, the past thirty-five years or so have seen the rise of a powerful political movement rooted in a particular interpretation of the Christian life.  Over time, this group has sought ties with conservative Jewish groups, Roman Catholics, and others to work for a particular set of social and cultural changes they see as necessary for improving American life.  The problem with these groups isn't their religious belief; the problem is their disregard for certain legal, Constitutional and social realities, not the least of which is the decline in religious observation in the United States.

The things these folks care about, and demand we recognize, resonate with a declining subset of the population.  This is not an argument for them to shut up; rather, I am suggesting that even those who support them need to recognize they are reaching a dwindling audience.

Now, Dana Milbank isn't really very funny.  I know nothing about his religious beliefs or practices, but I daresay poking juvenile fun at self-described atheists and non-theists may seem like he's making a point.  In fact, the things about which the coalescing "atheist" lobby are concerned just happen to be things about which I object as well.  Not just swearing oaths and the national motto.  Public displays of religious belief at the Christmas holidays are really wrong.  I hear folks say, "What's the harm in putting up a creche in the public square?" To which I can only respond, "I'm a member of the public, it's my square, too, and I don't like it."

None of these things seem hugely important, yet together they create an undercurrent of public strife and mistrust that wells up every once in a while in particular ways.  I would much prefer we no longer celebrate the mass display of piety as something laudable, but rather remember we are to keep these things private.  Go into a closet and pray.  Stop trying to out-holy one another.  And for crying out loud, don't worry if the checker at the supermarket says, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  Last time I checked, being polite and respectful of other people's beliefs was something laudable.

The atheists have several things going for them, not the least of them the Constitution of the United States, the Bible, and common sense.  Rather than poke fun at them, it might well be time to start listening.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Transformation Of The World

Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. - The Mission Statement of The United Methodist Church, adopted 2008
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. - Romans 8:19-25
What does it mean that we United Methodists seek "the transformation of the world"?  I suppose we could sit around and pretend there isn't an answer already there in Scripture.  Were we less inclined to shout at one another, we might just realize how simple it is.  We might just realize how monumental is this task set before us.

See, here's the thing.  Jesus spent his time doing ministry sitting and listening to people, healing their hurts, inviting them in to community with their fellows, not so much "teaching" as living out The Kingdom of God.  He didn't waste his time trying to tell people what it was and wasn't, who was in and who was out.  He just went around and showed people.  If some dork got really stuck, Jesus would tell a story, usually prefaced with, "The Kingdom of God is like this . . ." and talk about seeds being planted, or seeds growing, or leaven, or lost coins.  Stuff folks could wrap their minds around.

The transformation of the world isn't a political or social or cultural program, although Lord knows it embraces them.  The transformation of the world isn't a moral or ethical program, although Lord knows it embraces them.  At the end of the day, the transformation of the world is just this: Living as if loving God and loving our neighbors really were the most important things in the world.  Jesus wasn't a conservative or a liberal; he wasn't a monarchist or republican; he wasn't a moralist or nihilist.  He wasn't a drunkard or whore-monger or a blasphemer or a rebel or a reactionary or a business tycoon or community organizer.  He was just the Son of God fully human.

When we celebrate with those who are joyful, the world is transformed.  When we reach out and comfort those who mourn, the Kingdom of God breaks through the sin of our time and makes it holy.  When we achieve peace with our fellow human beings, the world is no longer our mundane, sinful place.  When we recognize the sacrifice of those who give all they have for others, we see the world changing before our eyes.

These moments are always fleeting.  We long, like Peter and John on the Mount of Transformation, to set up a place where we all can rest, right here and now.  Sad to say, we cannot - yet - stop and stay and live in these moments where the Light from the Throne breaks forth in our present darkness.

We can, however, keep working each moment of our lives so that this might happen.

Our hope rests in the promise that this Light will fill all creation with real joy and peace.  For now, our job is to wade through the muck and mire of our chaotic world, dragging our fellows up and holding them, showing them they are loved, they are precious.  That as unique creations of a good God they have infinite worth, demonstrated in the cross and empty tomb of Christ.  It could be a little thing, such as a phone call to someone for whom loneliness is such a constant companion it has ceased to have any meaning.  It could be something more, such as letting another person know they have not lived and loved and struggled in vain.

It could be a really big thing, like standing up against the powers of our Age between the times and declaring they have no power over us, because our hope doesn't rest in the false security of rotting bread or a home that can be destroyed.  Even more than love for God and one another, I believe the Devil fears our laughter at his expense.  What is more demeaning of the presumptively powerful than derision?

These are things I believe more than anything.  I believe we have already won.  I believe the world has already begun to change; our task is to make that transformation clear in and through our living with others.  What task could be more important? What calling could match this?

Virtual Tin Cup

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