Japanese Sex Slaves and The Nature of Truth

Please read the quote below from the current mayor of Osaka, Japan, Toru Hashimoto.  He was speaking about the use of sex slaves provided for Japanese soldiers during World War Two.  Historians suggest that up to 200,000 Korean and Chinese women were forced into providing these services. “To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time,” Hashimoto said. “For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.” OK, I’m … Continue reading Japanese Sex Slaves and The Nature of Truth

The Heavenly Waiting Room

Many of us hold beliefs in an afterlife of some sort.  However, we have significant disagreement in how we think that afterlife will work as we hold mutually contradictory descriptions.  For example, if heaven for one man equals having seventy virgins to deflower as he wishes, then that person’s heaven equals hell for others. If one person’s heaven means being surrounded only by like-minded people, the majority of humanity will be denied entrance. My point: if our versions of the afterlife mean that others must suffer or be excluded in order to get our ideal world, maybe, just maybe, there’s a problem here. … Continue reading The Heavenly Waiting Room

Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Dear Friendly, Was Jesus really born on December 25th?  All these songs about snow and cold and shepherds sleeping outside in the fields in icy winter don’t make sense to me. Signed, Not So Sure About This. Dear Not So Sure, I was just a child when I heard some radio preacher say that Jesus was probably not born on December 25.  I thought the floor had just been yanked from me.  How dare that person question what surely is clear! Except it is not clear. First, the Bible does not indicate the date on our calendar that we call … Continue reading Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Why It Matters: The Episcopal Situation in the North Texas Conference

Jeffrey Weiss, a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, has asked these questions concerning the episcopal situation facing the North Texas Conference:  “Why does this matter? And to who? Clearly, it’s a big deal to North Texas Methodist clergy. But who else should be paying attention? And why?” Here is my response: Does this Episcopal situation matter to anyone besides the United Methodist clergy? Three Levels On one level, and speaking on a short term time frame, no, not really. We clergy and the members of the churches we serve are the only ones who experience anything directly. Even then, … Continue reading Why It Matters: The Episcopal Situation in the North Texas Conference

The Biopsy Was Inconclusive

“The biopsy was inconclusive.” My reaction to these words show me again how much I want certainty.  But certainty is not to be. No closure, no absolute answer, no clear direction.  I must make a decision with incomplete evidence. Hardly a new experience in the scheme of human history. The idea of “closure” is part of the fantasy of certainty.  Closure implies perfect release, decisions made on 100% evidence, freedom from second-guessing.  Frankly, very little crossover with reality there. Reality is what the early followers of Jesus found after the crucifixion.  All their hopes dashed, no new kingdom established, and … Continue reading The Biopsy Was Inconclusive