It’s not often I experience simultaneously awestruck joy and numbing sadness. I experienced that Monday when I visited for the first time the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City. The Myriad’s Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is a true wonder. This 13,000 square-foot conservatory showcases 750 plant varieties from across the globe, cascading waterfalls, a sky … Continue reading Wonder or sadness over God’s creation: It’s our choice
Mark Twain once quipped, “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.” I don’t believe God created war — it is an evil and entirely human enterprise — but it does seem America is bound for a costly, and utterly stupid, geography lesson in a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. For any … Continue reading America needs to stop playing proxy-for-profit in Middle East
Theologian Paul Tillich once said humanity’s “ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate.” Symbols sometimes speak more eloquently, and with far greater impact, than words. While Tillich was speaking of our use of symbols to relate to God, his words hold true on any topic of … Continue reading The symbolism of cowardice and courage
America recently passed the 400th anniversary of our nation’s two defining, and contradictory, character traits. It was in July and August 1619 the first democratic assembly convened in what would become the United States. And, it was this week in August 1619 the first shipment of slaves arrived on American shores. The first event was … Continue reading Healing America’s multiple personality disorder
What is in the meaning of a poem? That question has perhaps never had more import than it does now, as we struggle to grasp both the genesis and meaning of our nation’s identity. Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” has been a topic of debate in the last week, after the president imposed … Continue reading Has the American colossus fallen? That’s up to us.
Recently, on July 20, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Today, we carry phones with 7 million times the data storage of the Apollo computer. Yet, our society has woefully degraded in its respect for science since Neil Armstrong took that “one giant leap for mankind.” Consider the growing gulf … Continue reading To save ourselves, we must end the president’s war on science
In the summer heat of 1787, delegates gathered in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention, to craft for America a new government. But, the outcome was by no means certain. Would we be governed by a new monarchy? By some form of oligarchy? Those were the most likely outcomes, as demonstrated by countless revolutions before and … Continue reading A republic — if we can keep it
If you want to know a nation’s values, just look at its budget. There really is no better measure of our values than how we spend our money. And the president’s proposed FY20 budget tells quite a tale of his values. It’s nothing new for Republicans and Democrats to have different fiscal views. But, … Continue reading Caligula vs. conservatism: The ‘values’ of the president’s budget
It’s tax season, which means it’s time for hard-working Americans to donate to our favorite philanthropic cause: corporate welfare. I know, after four decades of real-wage stagnation for working-class Americans, you’ve all been hand-wringing over the plight of our country’s bloated billionaire class. After all, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the top 1 … Continue reading ‘Tis tax season, Christmas for plutocrats
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That quip from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime U.S. Senator from New York, was long accepted as truth. You could twist and spin the story all you wanted, but at the end of the day, facts remained facts, and everyone knew it. … Continue reading Immigration: This side of the rabbit hole, do facts even matter?