Working for Something Better

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Hold to the Good

A technological error resulted in the previous post being published without the final two paragraphs! Apologies to you all! Below is an updated version of “Working for Something Better” with the entirety of John’s reflections. Thanks for your patience. 

The President’s racism hits me like a body blow. Of course I know that people talk like that, and that both individual and institutional racism remain alive and well. But over the years I have harbored the hope and assumption that progress was being made. The old familiar words for racial minorities are no longer heard in social discourse. We learned, I thought, to stop using the “N” word, first substituting “colored” then “negro”, finally African American which says what needs to be said about origin and identity. Racial quotas and barriers in education, business and the professions slowly came down. And so, at first, I had trouble believing what I…

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No More Silence

JohnMBuchananPastor Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and former publisher of The Christian Century John M. Buchanan shares his inner struggle following events in Charlottesville.

Other religious leaders’ reflections will follow here on Views from the Edge.

Hold to the Good

At first I thought that David Brooks was on to something in his New York Times editorial, August 8, 2017: “Getting Trump Out of My Brain.” I nodded in sympathy with Brooks’ observation: “For the past two years Trump has taken up an amazing amount of my brain space. My brain has apparently decided that it is not interested in devoting neurons to that guy. There’s nothing more to be learned about Trump’s mixture of ignorance, insecurity and narcissism. Every second spent on his bluster is degrading rather than informative.” I’ve abided by that sentiment for a while. I have been so overwhelmed by what I have seen happen to my country and its institutions that I simply haven’t known what to say. But I remembered whose I am and who I follow, and my own Christian saints and mentors, and I cannot remain silent.

After the violence and murder…

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With Patience and Courage

Hold to the Good

I had a good idea recently. Stop hyperventilating about Donald Trump and focus instead on American history; really focus. It is helping me and I highly recommend it. There is, of course, so much to hyperventilate and worry about, something new every day: Russian interference in the election and the President’s obvious unconcern, his rejection of the high moral vision expressed in American foreign policy for two and a half centuries and replacing it with a starkly different vision articulated by two top presidential advisers, H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn in the Wall Street Journal: “The President embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” That is a very different and harsh vision which David Brooks described as “moral decoupling…morality has nothing to do with anything…

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If the Answer is “Yes.”

Fourth Presbyterian Church-Chicago Pastor Emeritus John Buchanan stood with other worshipers to applaud Shannon Kershner’s sermon calling for people to stand with the widow in this election year. The sermon “The Persistent God” was posted here yesterday.

Hold to the Good

I have resisted the temptation to weigh in more than I already have on the Donald Trump phenomenon because we are saturated. Television news and the newspapers can’t keep their eyes off of him and I confess that I watch the 7:00 a.m. news because I don’t want to miss the latest outlandish thing he has said or done. I am changing my mind about writing because I heard a superb sermon yesterday by the Rev. Shannon J. Kershner, at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Shannon skillfully inverted the traditional interpretation of Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow and unresponsive judge who finally gives the widow the justice she is pleading for simply to make her stop asking and go away. Shannon said that maybe God is not the judge here. We are the judge. God is speaking through the widow, persistently urging and pleading to us for justice…

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Simply Being Kind

If you’re not big on churches, read to the end of Hold to the Good‘s post re-blogged here on Views from the Edge. The author, John Buchanan, is Pastor-Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church – Chicago, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and recently retired Publisher of The Christian Century.

Hold to the Good

One of the occupational hazards of the preaching vocation is that not everyone likes, or agrees with, what we say – particularly when we push on beyond the words of scripture to the behavioral and social ramifications. On occasion, rare to be sure, listeners tell us, in no uncertain terms that they did not like what we said at all. Sometimes it happens during that hoary church custom of greeting the preacher after the worship service, standing in line, shaking hands and saying, “Good morning, Reverend. I enjoyed your sermon.” It is heartfelt sometimes and sometimes it is simply a rote part of the greeting ritual but the sad fact is that we preachers become addicted to compliments however and whenever they come. When someone chooses the occasion to let us know they didn’t like the sermon at all, it hits us like a physical blow and we think about…

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Building Walls instead of Bridges

buchananThis post by John Buchanan’s “Hold to the Good” is well worth the read IMHO. John is Pastor Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church-Chicago, past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, and recently retired Publisher of The Christian Century.

Thank you, John, for your fine work than and now.

  • Gordon and Steve

Hold to the Good

I simply do not know what to say about Donald Trump. I grew up in a home where what was going on in the world and in the nation was talked about regularly at the dinner table. Politics was often a spirited discussion between my father, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and conservative in almost all his opinions and positions, and my mother who I realized was a lot less ideological and more liberal. He didn’t have much good to say about President Roosevelt and Eleanor but she liked them a lot. Dad used to brag that the first words I spoke as a toddler were “Wendell Wilkie”, the Republican presidential candidate in the 1940 election, an election FDR won handily. I still have his Republican campaign lapel pin bearing Wilkie’s picture from that election. Robert Taft, Harold Stassen, Earl Warren, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Nelson Rockefeller, were familiar names to…

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