Thursday, October 13, 2016

"The Media"

Trump appears to be singing his final aria at the moment, before the curtain swings shut, and, unsurprisingly, it is a song full of petulance and whinging. "The Media" is pouncing on some tiny little thing he once said, a long time ago, in order to smear him, he tells us -- it's so unjust! Of course, it was not actually long ago at all (2005 is not quite ancient history, especially not to a man of Trump's years), and Trump was already well into middle age when it happened. Nor were these some uncharacteristic, off-the-record remarks from an otherwise reputable public servant. The only really surprising thing about the notorious Trump "lewd comments," in fact, is that anyone bothered to dredge them up from some hidden mic footage from ten years back, when they could have just played any number of recordings of the Donald's public utterances from his decades of high-profile obscenity and alighted upon something just as outrageous.

So too, the only real injustice here is not that Trump's reprehensible banner-men are deserting him in droves (except for those who already signed over their souls too completely to ever demand them back -- Christie, Gingrich, Giuliani, et al.), but that it took them so long to do so. The true outrage is not that everyone is at last joining the chorus to heap odium on Trump, but that they didn't do it long before.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Haiti: The New Comedians

While the world's attention was diverted by the gaudy spectacle of Haitian affairs this weekend, a humanitarian disaster was quietly unfolding on the presidential debate stage... Sorry, bad joke. I guess there is just something about the awful precision with which patterns in U.S.-Haiti relations repeat themselves, time and again, year after year, that invites a mordant satire -- though it is a satire without laughter, a sarcasm without mirth. Even Haiti's deadly natural disasters (a poorly chosen term for them, for their consequences are always most unnatural), of which Hurricane Matthew is only the most recent instance, tend to inspire ridicule-- not, to be sure, of the island or its people or the victims of catastrophe -- but of the pretensions of the false friends who always descend upon Haiti after the fact, from the ranks of both native political and military cadres and former colonial occupiers, bearing empty ameliorative promises and in the end thieving as much as they bestow. The protagonist, Brown, of Graham Greene's The Comedians, provides an example of such gallows humor in the face of environmental catastrophe. He observes, apropos a new literacy campaign announced by the brutal Duvalier regime in Haiti, under which the novel is set, that "No details [of the campaign] were given. Perhaps he was depending on a satisfactory hurricane. Hurricane Hazel in '54 had eliminated a great deal of illiteracy[.]"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


*Sigh*... You must have felt it too -- that twinge of nostalgia in watching the VP debate last night, when you saw Kaine and Pence up there, two chrome-plated monosyllabically-named bland middle-aged dudes with their matching ties (with the red for the Democrat and blue for the Republican, in a playful reversal that probably took some planning). I shed a silent tear, in regarding them, for the derisive left-wing blog post I might once have written, under different circumstances-- in a world, that is, in which these two and Hillary Clinton were our only candidates, and a certain hard-up real estate investor I could name did not exist -- or was safely confined to reality TV.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Once to Every Soul and Nation (Sermon)

First preached this past Sunday, 9/2/16. Names and places redacted. Trinitarian friends will have to forgive my somewhat polemical (and hence, perhaps not 100% fair) rendering of intellectual history toward the end of this -- sometimes you're just trying to make a point, you know?

Class Stories (Sermon)

This was first preached this past August. Names and places redacted.

Close Calls and Second Chances (Sermon)

I haven't generally been posting my sermons to this blog, but I suppose I could start. Some of them, of course, simply don't translate very well outside the Sunday morning setting, but I think this one stands on its own. This was first preached on January 31, 2016 and was considerably revised this past summer. Names and places redacted.