Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Monday, January 31, 2005

A Tale of Two Men (?)

I present for your consideration two men: Man A lives in rural North Carolina, is underemployed and concerned about his retirement, owns a pickup truck and two shotguns, and agrees with most (though not all) positions of the NRA.

Now, Man B has two master's degrees, was a consciencious objector during the Vietnam war, has signed gun control positions, and agrees with most (though not all) positions of the ACLU.

What do these two men have in common?

They're the same person!

I, of course, am describing myself. No, I have never voted a straight party ticket in my life, and I resent anyone trying to place me into a political or religious pigeonhole. That dehumanizes me. It dehumanizes anyone. That may be why political discourse in this country is so vicious nowadays. We look at each other as The Enemy, rather than as a child of God and fellow traveler to the tomb.

Never, never, never, try to push somebody into a box they haven't already entered voluntarily.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Somebody please explain this.

I don't know if what I'm doing here amounts to anything more than mental masturbation, because I don't know if anybody besides me is reading it. I did get one comment once, from Christina (which I appreciated), but that's all.

Anyway, I have a question, in case anyone is reading this. It is this: How does calling someone a "liberal" or a "right-wing nut" or anything related to that refute the assertions in that person's argument? After all, facts are facts, and the truth is the truth, no matter who says them.

Now, I have read enough from some columnists and commentators to know that they have precious little to say that I care to read or hear, but that does not rule out their being right on some rare occasion, does it?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Who owns the truth?

Among the disciples of Jesus there was Matthew, a tax collector, who earned his living taking money from his fellow Jews and giving it to the hated Roman occupiers. Also among Jesus' disciples there was Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were a political party like the Weather Underground or the Michigan Militia dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Romans. Polar opposites politically, yet equally apostles of Christ. God is not a Republican, regardless of what James Dobson and Jerry Falwell say. And God is not a Democrat, regardless of what the Berrigan Brothers said thirty years ago. Back then, unless you opposed the war in Vietnam and supported welfare you had no part in the Kingdom of God. Now, you can't call yourself a Christian in public unless you support the war in Iraq and line up to kick welfare recipients. I envision God shaking His head in sorrow.

Once more into the breach

I've been away for a while. You see, my wife has been laid off (Thanks, Bush Administration) and while she's home, I don't spend a lot of time on-line. Today being national boycott day I've got a few minutes I can sneak away from work and post once more.

True resourcefulness, I've been told, is taking the bad things in life and extracting the good out of them. My wife is planning to go back to school to study something she has wanted to do for years: phlebotomy, medical technology, with an ultimate goal of working in crime scene forensics as she did when she was a paralegal.

Now, I want to follow my dreams, too, but I see obstacles in my way. I have discovered my true calling: I realized it when I taught Photography ten years ago, but now I feel it stronger than ever every Tuesday night when I teach my New Testament Class for Gardner-Webb University. I would like to work full-time as a college professor, but you need a Ph.D. for that. I have two masters degrees, but that's not enough. If I went back for my Ph.D. I would be 60 years old before I got it, and who will hire a brand-new 60-year-old professor?

So, to Plan B: Make my living selling on e-bay and teach part-time. I also have my business of selling web sites to businesses. Unfortunately, it's much easier for me to speak to a group (class, congregation, crowd, etc.) than to an individual. Well, pray for me.

Friday, January 07, 2005


The wisest man I ever knew, Dr. George Buttrick (now best known for editing the Interpreter's Bible) once said to a conference, "The older I get, the further to the right I go theologically and the further to the left I go politically." When a member of the audience asked him how this could be, he replied, "It's like a pendulum. It swings over here into Jesus Christ, and over here into human need."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

True Religion

James 1:27 says that true religion is this: "to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. " So the Republicans are right about personal morality, and the Democrats are right about social action. Dividing personal morality and social action from each other is as absurd as breaking an egg by dividing it lengthwise. Short post today.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Christian Is as Christian Does

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will separate all the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will say to the goats on his left hand, "Depart from me, you workers of evil. For I was hungry and you let my unemployment benefits lapse. I was thirsty and you polluted my water supply. I was a stranger and you exploited my labor. I was sick and you made health insurance unaffordable and put the cost of prescription medicines out of my reach. I was in prison, and you cared more for your conviction rate than about my innocence." And the people will say to him, "When did we do all this?" And he will reply, "Inasmuch as you have done unto one of the least of these, you did it unto me."

Monday, January 03, 2005


I went to post a comment on my step-daughter's blog, and it told me I had to register. Registration involved setting up my own blog, so here it is. I have been giving this business some thought. I visit political blogs out the wazoo, since I have been active in politics practically since before I was born. I am also an ordained minister, so I have a strong interest in matters of faith. During my last year in seminary I fell in love with media production, but I'm doing nothing with that now. My skills are ten years out of date. So I surf the web looking for places to stick in an apt comment here and there. Now, I can ramble all I want, and anyone who wants to can share. I welcome your comments, opinions, thoughts, feelings. I do not accept name-calling, labelling, or ad hominem attacks. All these are short cuts around the thought process, and have no place on this blog. This blog is for thinkers only. All others will be summarily ignored. That said, welcome to my on-line world.