Friday, October 31, 2008

An 'Idiot Wind'

This editorial is a good summary of the slander/ad hominem attacks against Obama occurring in this presidential race.

What I am struck by in so much of this election season is how what is forgivable about one's own candidate is unforgivable about the other candidate. For example, if Barack Obama was an adulterer like John McCain (who apparently left the mother of his children for a younger, richer woman), it would undoubtedly be lifted up by McCain supporters as a clue to his character. But since it is their own candidate, McCain's past personal life is ignored - except, of course, for his tour of duty and years of imprisonment in Vietnam.

Similarly, if Obama had been an active member of the U.S. Council for World Freedom, an organization linked to right-wing death squads in Central America, as McCain was for years, surely McCain's supporters would make a big deal about it. If Obama had been one of the Keating 5, as McCain is, you can bet that his opponents would raise questions about his judgement and character.

Of course, it goes both ways. Undoubtedly, supporters of Obama tend to see McCain in the worst possible light. We tend to cut our own candidate some slack, while nitpicking every failure or inconsistency of the other candidate. It is a lot like the bias we have for our own team in sports - it is irrational and often unfair to the other side, and it blinds us to both the good in our neighbors on the other side of the aisle, and to the limitations of those on our side.

All of that said, however, the ad hominem attacks by the GOP and the McCain campaign have crossed the line of honor and decency. I can only hope that the politics of smear do not succeed on election day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My friend Dylan alerted me to this link to a great political ad:

Watch the top one first, then the bottom.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Honor, or the lack thereof

I am non-partisan as a pastor, because it's the right thing to be.
But here's an email I just wrote. I know it won't do any good. But I am sick of the dishonorable fear mongering and false witness bearing of Barack Obama's opponents. It is really getting ugly.
By the way, I think it is time our spell checkers learn how to spell both 'Barack' and 'Obama.' I have a feeling we'll be writing about him for a long, long time.

Honor, or the lack thereof
From: Eric Lemonholm
Tue 10/28/08

Republican Party of Minnesota,
I just received your mailing, trying to link Barack Obama with William Ayers' 1960's radicalism and domestic terrorism.
Do you have no honor? Do you have no shame? The whole campaign that you're running, "Barack Obama. Not who you think he is." is dishonorable fear mongering. Trying to smear Barack Obama's good name by falsely linking him to terrorism is dishonorable. I do not think I need to tell you how false this smear campaign is. You already know. It's another attempt at swift boating a candidate, lying often enough that people begin to believe the lies. The loose connections between Obama and Ayers - which all occurred decades after Ayer's '60's radicalism - are no closer than Ayers' connections with many people in Chicago politics, Republicans and Democrats alike. You know this is true.
If you cannot win an election by sticking to real issues and speaking the truth, you do not deserve to win. If you cannot win an election without resorting to bearing false witness against your neighbor, you do not deserve to win.
Eric Lemonholm

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Okay, it's been about two months. I've finally caught my breath with everything going on. It's been a very difficult, growing time - but also a joyful time! If you read today's sermon, you may understand a little where I am at, in terms of both spiritual struggle and good times here at Grace. We had 20 new members joining our little congregation today, and when I asked if anyone else wanted to become members, two more people came forward. We have a lot of new pre-school children in Sunday School. It's exciting!
We also celebrated the Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) of seven great 10th graders this morning. Even with a small snow storm, it was a wonderful morning at Grace.
This year, I am doing both Confirmation and Senior High Youth group with a pastor of a three-point parish, so we have four congregations doing youth ministry together. It is working beautifully, and we have a lot of fun together.

Here are the first 8 sermons of my Acts series. The Sept. 21 sermon is the one I submitted for a class in the D.Min. program. It's not the best sermon, but I did a lot of exegesis work on the passage - and not many people write sermons on the story of Ananias and Sapphira (in case you've forgotten the story, it's a couple whom God strikes dead for lying about their church offering).

Sermons on Acts, Fall 2008:

2008-9-7 Acts 1

2008-9-14 Acts 2

2008-9-21 Acts 4-5

2008-9-28 Acts 6

2008-10-5 Acts 6-7

2008-10-12 Acts 8

2008-10-19 Acts 9

2008-10-26 Acts 10

Walking with you in God's amazing grace!