Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Gratitude: A Choice

I wrote this for the November Beaverton Resource Guide.

This quote comes from thirteenth century mystic, Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

I admit, I do not always feel grateful. If I were forced to keep track, I may find that I pray the “help me” prayer more than the “thank you” prayer (that is when I pray at all). That is a lot to admit but why not be honest? These are interesting times. The last thing any of us might feel is gratitude when our lives have been turned upside-down and our future is uncertain.

Here is the catch. Gratitude is not an emotion. Gratitude is a choice. Gratitude is a discipline. Gratitude is a habit. That is why parents instruct their children in the art of “please and thank you.” Get in the practice and one day it will become second nature.

The cynic in us might respond: What about the injustices and the suffering, mine and others? Do we just be grateful and ignore that? What is the benefit?

Here is the bottom line. Gratitude is about survival. We won’t be able to do anything about injustice and suffering if we do not take a daily inventory of what is positive in our lives. As we make the choice to practice gratitude we will discover that we have many items in our personal inventory to help us face our challenges.

Meister Eckhart knew what he was talking about. Make the choice to be grateful every day and list the specifics. You will discover that it is enough. You have everything you need.

~ John Shuck

John Shuck is an ordained Presbyterian minister having served four congregations since 1992. Learn more at

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Night Is Coming--Sermon

I am John Shuck.

My website is john shuck dot com. J-o-h-n-s-h-u-c-k dot com.

I am a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister and I have been for 27 years. I am a minister at large in Cascades Presbytery which covers Western Oregon. 

Today is Sunday, March 22, 2020. It is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. 

Places of worship have been closed down. 
We have lost our freedom of assembly. 
We have lost our freedom to worship.

The Gospel reading for this Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is John chapter 9:1-41.  

Here is the text. 

9As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ 9Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ 10But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’12They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ 16Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight19and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ 20His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’25He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ 28Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ 36He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ 37Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ 38He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. 39Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ 41Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.

There is a lot in this passage. One verse that immediately caught my eye and ear is verse four. Jesus said:

4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 

Businesses have shut down. Schools have shut down. Churches, mosques, synagogues, and all places of worship have shut down. People are told to stay home.  Protests around the world have stopped. It appears in the United States that we are headed for Medical Martial Law. This could be the same for the entire world. 

Over what? A virus in which the vast majority of people who receive it, have no symptoms or if they do have symptoms, they are symptoms of a cold or mild flu. If we didn’t watch the news, we wouldn’t know anything was wrong. People are so afraid of getting sick, that they willingly give up their freedoms, and even beg the authorities to take their freedoms and rights away from them, to alleviate their fears.  

4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 

Night is coming. 

There are many people who are challenging the official narrative. It is likely they will not be able to do this important work for long as the platforms are silencing dissenting voices and call anything that departs from the official story line as misinformation or false news. If we wish to hear these voices that are challenging the narratives, we may need to go to websites that are not hosted by the huge corporate platforms. You will have to search.  Free speech will be the next casualty. 

Night is coming. 

I am a member of Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth and have been since 2010. The media continues to lie about 9/11 and so of course it cannot be trusted to tell the truth about this Coronavirus event. I am more and more convinced that this Coronavirus event is a psychological operation by world elites who operate beyond national boundaries. The goal is ultimate social control. 

Night is coming.

President Trump and leaders of other governments are actors reading their scripts. The media reads a script. This has been planned. The starting date for this coronavirus event was October 18th, 2019. That is the date that something called Event 201 was held in New York City.  It was a rehearsal for a pandemic. This is the script that is being played out now. For details I refer you to James Corbett of the Corbett Report for important analysis.  

Jesus said, We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 

What are the works of Jesus? Telling the truth is a work of Jesus. Researching for yourself what is happening is a work of Jesus. Connecting dots is a work of Jesus. Admitting to yourself that the world we thought we knew is not real is a work of Jesus. Reminding people who we really are is a work of Jesus.

I am not here to convince you. I cannot. All I am doing is to say what I see and hear and I am inviting you to do the same. Research for yourself. Trust yourself. Don’t seek the approval of others for what you see, hear, and know. Check everything. But you decide for yourself what is real.

It is very difficult and disconcerting to know who and what to trust and to stand alone when others in their panic try to shut you down with shame. Know that they did the same to the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and they did the same to Imam Hussain (alaayhi salaam) and they did the same to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and the same can be said for all the prophets whose stories we read in the Qur’an and in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Gospels. If you are shut down by telling what is real, you are in good company.

There are evil forces in control of this world. Evil forces that operate in the darkness. Evil forces disguised as angels. We need to know what is real. 

In today’s reading, Jesus heals a man who was born blind from birth. The authorities, the Pharisees, do not want this kind of healing power available in their world. They want to control all healing even though they are incompetent to actually heal. They want to say what is true for everyone even as they are blind to truth. They make people live in fear, casting out of the synagogues anyone who says that Jesus is the Messiah. It isn’t about whether it is true or not, it is about control. Jesus proves he is sent from Allah. That is why they end up crucifying him. That is the only answer they have. Might makes right. Silence truth-tellers. The passage concludes from verse 39 to 41:

39Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ 41Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.

Night is coming.

I cannot predict how this script will play out. It appears that martial law could happen in America by the end of the week. I don’t know. Signs of this are happening now. Do know this: Martial law will not being enacted to protect from a pandemic. That is a ruse. This is a manufactured pandemic, just as 9/11 was a manufactured event. This is far worse. This is a shut-down of the world in preparation for total control and enslavement of humanity which will likely be fully in place by the end of this decade.  I recommend you read the work of David Icke. 

The tragedy is that people won’t resist it, but actually beg for it. They will beg and are begging for everything to be shut down and for the military to come and protect them because they are afraid. They are so afraid of dying, of getting sick, that they give up their rights thinking that the modern-day Pharisees are worthy of trust. 

It is possible that in certain areas of the world, various biological agents will be released killing many people. They can kill who they want. The point is that all of this is not the result of a disease naturally taking its course and that the authorities are protecting us. That is a false story. Think it through. Think it through for yourself.

It is possible that some sort of vaccine will be promoted in the coming weeks or months and it will be mandatory. If you refuse it, you won’t get access to food or whatever. This vaccine is not a cure for coronavirus. This vaccine is something else. The same people who create these bioweapons also create their supposed cures.  Problem. Reaction. Solution. They create a problem. The people react with fear. They create a solution which the people accept and even beg for which is more control, more surveillance, mandatory vaccinations, a cashless society, all to benefit the elite.

Night is coming. 

The World Health Organization, WHO, is now promoting the idea that cash spreads the virus and we need to be completely digital in regards to currency. This is a severe form of control. Now when your card doesn’t work you can pay with cash. When there is no cash, those who control your card (guess who) can prevent you from getting what you need. This has nothing to do with slowing the spread of viruses. It is part of a long-planned agenda.

Night is coming.

While we are all freaking out over this, laws are being passed to restrict more freedoms. I read this yesterday, March 21st 2020 on Reason Magazine:

“The Justice Department is using the COVID-19 outbreak to press for sweeping new powers that include being able to detain Americans indefinitely without a trial, Politico reports.

The department is asking Congress to allow the U.S. attorney general to ask courts to suspend court proceedings. These include "any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings," reports Betsy Woodruff Swan, citing DOJ documents presented to Congress.

In other words, the Justice Department would be able to postpone trials, hearings, and other procedural steps that follow arrest. That represents a potentially huge violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial.”

That was from Reason magazine. How many rights guaranteed by the constitution are now gone?  Right to assembly, right to worship, right to commerce, right to a speedy trial. Restrictions to free speech and privacy are on the way. Jesus said, 

4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 

Night is coming. 

What do we do?

One thing. This is the most important. You must control your fear and not let fear dictate your response. Yes, this is happening. Night is coming. 

But you are not your body. 
You are not your emotions. 
You are not your thoughts. 
You have a body. 
You have emotions. 
You have thoughts. 
But you are not them. 

You are having an experience that is temporary. As the old hymn says, “The Earth is not my home. I am just passing through.” You will die someday. That is not the end of the real you. 

You can step back and say to yourself when you are feeling afraid, “That is interesting. That is what is happening.” But you do not have to be enslaved by whatever it is you are feeling or thinking. 

That is why the scriptures are full of wisdom and practices including prayer and meditation, that help us to remember who we really are. David Icke says and I think he is correct that “We are infinite consciousness having an earthly experience.”  When this experience is over, we go back to who we really are. 

Take this seriously. We are limited now by our five senses. But that is not who we are. The incarnation of Jesus shows this reality. He was one with God and then willingly gave it up to have a human experience. Then he goes back to God.  The point is that his story is all of our stories. We, as we exist in this world, are all incarnations of infinite consciousness. We are infinite consciousness having a finite experience. The example of this in the Christian faith is Jesus. It wasn’t just him. He is a teacher and prophet for all of us.

This is why Jesus told the truth. This is why Jesus allowed himself to be crucified. Even as he knew that was coming, he still told the truth. His mission and his message served to awaken us. We are here to continue this work of awakening even as “Night is Coming.” 

They may kill the body. 
They will not and cannot kill my soul.  
I am a child of God. 
I will not fear.

Repeat that again and again. 

We have one but one task. We are here to bear witness to what is real. Your courageous bearing of witness can help awaken others. This is how God will defeat evil by awakening us all to Truth.

Regardless of what others think. 
Regardless of what others do. 
Regardless of the powers of darkness.
Seek what is real for yourself.
Bear witness to what is real. 
Do not be afraid.

Center yourself. 
Remember who you are. 
You are love.
You are strength. 

You are a child of God.


Please share this if you think it is helpful. You can find the text for this sermon with links at  I will post what I can as long as I can on my website and on my Facebook page, Twitter account and VK account. 

I am John Shuck. Be well. 


Photo credit: 
Jesus cures the man born blind
JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings were selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings.

JESUS MAFA. Jesus cures the man born blind, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved March 22, 2020]. Original source: (contact page:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Sermon for Conspiracy Theorists

I haven't prepared a sermon since I left my church in November. Now that the country is doing "virtual church" and since I am a "virtual pastor" I thought I would create a "virtual sermon" for you to "virtually read."
Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Today is March 15th, 2020. It is Sunday. It is the Third Sunday of Lent. Many churches are closed. Many are offering instead “virtual worship.” The goal is of course not to gather in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has now been called a global pandemic.

It is this pandemic that made me think about my vocation. I am no longer the pastor of a congregation. Yet I still feel like a pastor. I feel the need to be pastoral to someone. A pastor should say something about our situation from the perspective of the Gospel. I wrote this on my Facebook page this past week:

“I am no longer the pastor of a congregation. It would be interesting to be one at this time. But still I am a pastor at heart. However this pandemic shakes out, either with massive death or sickness, or if it fades away, pastoral care is needed especially as we enter, in the US at least, unprecedented isolation and grave economic hardship as our economies (especially our individual household economies) are threatened by all of the shut downs. Perhaps we need more than anything a Gospel perspective as opposed to the partisan political perspectives that dominate so much of our discourse. Namely, I think we need to come to terms with fear in relation to survival and accepting anything authorities may do, whether illusory or real, that momentarily alleviates that fear. The reality is that we all will die someday. That fear of death must be faced. Life in the gospel is living as if one is ready to die. That of course is the gospel’s freedom. We live for this moment. For truth, for justice, for love with courage. When we die, we die as those who go forth to live. 

I am not sure what I can offer as a pastor in this unique time for me as a pastor without a church. Perhaps I am at this point an internet pastor. I have been spending my time since leaving my last church reading, researching, and sharing what I learn from others on this FB page. It doesn’t seem like much. But it is what I do now in this time of my “sabbatical.” But more I feel is coming. There is a lot inside me that needs to come out. 

Do know, whether you consider yourself spiritual or not from whatever philosophy or faith tradition or none, that I will do my best to communicate what I see to be real as uncomfortable and controversial as that can be. I will be wrong. I will not see everything. I will get stuck in a deceitful rabbit hole on occasion. But I will seek to explore what is real. 

From whatever your perspective on philosophy/faith etc., you are welcome here. 

I will do my best to be empathetic and hopefully kind as I do that. For those who find what I write and share too objectionable, then peace be with you in your journey. What will not work are attempts to silence me for following my path. 

I do this, and I still do it as a pastor, because I feel called to it, summoned you might say. I have no idea what is to come for us as a country and a world. But I know that those guides who are real for me (Jesus and Hussain peace be upon them) are worthy of my trust. 

Their example (and their presence that I feel) is stronger, more true, and more real than the enemies of humanity who I name here often and who I feel we are summoned to unmask, name, and engage.

I guess this is all to say that I am a pastor even at this moment—a brother in faith to some—a brother in humanity to others, and I am not afraid of what is to come for us, the human species, but I am ready and open to do what is to be done this day as a pastor.”

That is what I wrote a few days ago. Since today is Sunday, I wondered if it might be time to write a sermon. I started with the lectionary text for today, Romans 5:1-11, but my sermon didn’t seem to go anywhere. Although this line again sticks out as it always does. Paul writes that we

boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint…

I decided not to write a sermon. But I want to write something. There is much in me that needs to come out about so many things. So much suffering is now and is on the way for so many people, for the whole of humanity. The most vulnerable, the elderly, the sick, will be on the front lines of this virus. If exponential infection proceeds as it seems to be doing, perhaps millions could die around the world, including in the United States.  My prayers and my gratitude are with nurses and doctors and first responders who are caring for the sick. As Presbyterian pastor, Fred Rogers, who we know as Mister Rogers, said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I am taking precautions, not so much for myself, but so I don’t spread the virus if I am infected. We have been told that we can be contagious for weeks before we develop any symptoms. I am self-isolating with my wife and puppies. I don’t know what this is. I have no predictions regarding this virus. In this regard I am going along with the herd, but with a suspicious mind.

I could repeat the information we get from the mainstream media on our screens. But you know that as well as I do, possibly better, because I rarely watch it. My intuition tells me as well as what I have read and seen from people I trust, and from my understanding of recent history, is that something sinister is afoot.

I was asked if this is from God as a test. That is a question for which one can never be certain as are all questions about the workings of God. But I answered that I didn’t think it was from God. Yet in many respects, this is, as is all of life itself, a test.

Is this some random freak of nature such as the mainstream media tell us? Is this from eating a wild bat in a market in a China? My answer is again, I think not.

That answer puts me in the category of conspiracy theorist. A conspiracy theorist in the pejorative meaning of the phrase is someone who doesn’t believe what she or he is supposed to believe.

Aristotle is said to have said that “the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” So yes, I entertain many thoughts of conspiracy but I accept only those that are true. Aristotle might have been a conspiracy theorist.

The quote unquote “conspiracy theory” that I entertain in this regard is that this pandemic is a combination of bioweapon/PSYOP to push through a variety of agendas. Whether it was unleashed in a calculated way or by an accidental escape from the laboratory is a larger unknown. People I trust entertain this theory as well and given that biological weapons are being manufactured all over the world under the auspices of governments and their militaries, it seems logical that would be the first theory any thinking person would explore. But the mainstream media, a megaphone for the powerful, will not entertain this logical theory and instead it promotes the theory that this virus is a product of nature and was transferred to humans by wild bats. This is most likely a cover story. The Hollywood film, Contagian, is a blueprint for this story.

The media cannot be trusted for the truth of what is really happening.

I say this with confidence. One piece of evidence will suffice for my view of the media. At 5:20 in the afternoon on September 11th, 2001, World Trade Center Tower Building 7 was imploded by controlled demolition into its own footprint in less than seven seconds. Mainstream media has covered up this story to this day on behalf of powerful agencies that are supposed to supply truth but do the opposite, at least on this matter, such as NIST, the National Institute for Science and Technology. The mainstream media by this continued cover-up shows that it has lost all credibility regarding anything of importance. Obviously, what happened on September 11th, 2001 and especially who is responsible is of utmost importance to the human race. Those who really did it are still in control of the world today and are protected by their propaganda arm, their own media outlets.

My working theory is that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory for the purposes of mayhem by the usual suspects and unleashed at this particular time and manner for a variety of reasons. Those reasons I do not know but I suspect these reasons have to do with population manipulation and control for the benefit of the world’s elite. Many people I trust and those I don’t have a number of views regarding what these agendas might be and I find it healthy to entertain them per Aristotle. As these new agendas are rolled out in the coming months and years, we will know, or at least those who follow Aristotle’s dictum will know.

The big question is whether or not the populace will know and with knowing will free themselves from slavery to the elites. I have decided that question is not mine to answer. I can only leave that to God. My calling or summons is to tell what I think is real to the best of my ability. That said I do believe that there are people who have a hunch that something isn’t what the mainstream media says it is in regards to all of this. Many are drawn to what conspiracy theorists entertain without admitting it to others or perhaps even themselves that these people may be right to question what we are told by official outlets. These curious people contain a spark in their consciousness that is waiting for ignition. That is my hope. But again, it is not my business. I just do my job. My job these days is assisted by an increasing freedom from concern about what others think.

Conspiracy theorists do suffer. They suffer from ridicule and censorship. They suffer from loneliness and from marginalization. Some suffer actual harm from what the author of Ephesians calls
“the rulers…the authorities…the cosmic powers of this present darkness…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Conspiracy theorists are like Old Testament prophets.
No one liked them then and no one likes them now.

But as Paul says in today’s lectionary text,
we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint…
Maybe I did write a sermon after all. A sermon for conspiracy theorists and for conspiracy theorists in the making. The world needs you. You are blessed and you are a blessing.

Those who believe what they are supposed to believe and who follow what the mainstream media says to believe will not be happy with me. I am at peace with that. There are plenty of pastors for them. But there are not many pastors for those who are not in the mainstream.

Really I am not a pastor in my understanding of the word, because I have not been called to a congregation. But as a fellow seeker of what is true, I will hopefully be a fellow traveler to you should you decide this lonely path is yours as well.

At that I will heartily say, Amen.

For further research I recommend exploring Kevin Barrett, Anthony Hall, Veterans Today, The Corbett Report, Philip Giraldi, Scott Bennett, Helen Buyniski, Francis Boyle (and here with Spiro Skouras), Joseph Mercola, Whitney Webb, Larry Romanov, Peter Koenig, Ron Paul, David Icke.

Bethlehem in Jeopardy!

I was on the Press TV program, "Palestine Files." This episode entitled, "Bethlehem in Jeopardy!", analyzed why the television game show, "Jeopardy" incorrectly ruled that the Church of the Nativity was in Israel as opposed to Palestine. Here is the story in The Intercept.

The Press TV program, now available on-line, wanted to explore why Jeopardy got this wrong, what is the reality for Palestinian Christians regarding Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, and was this Jeopardy error another sign of the calculated erasure of Palestinian identity.

I recommend watching the entire 25 minute program and sharing it widely. I was asked all the questions beforehand so I had prepared answers. The producers used two of my responses. I am on at 16:55. Here is the entire show.

Here is my response to the question:

According to several sources: Today, there are 23 settlements, which take up 8.1 square miles (21 square kilometers) of the Bethlehem area. 
Some 165,000 Israeli settlers — comprising about one-third of the total settler population in the West Bank— live here on hilltops, in houses marked by their red tile roofs what is Israel trying to do here?

These settlements are, of course, illegal, and immoral. Israel wants to take over all of Palestine and perhaps more, piece by piece by piece.  Why Bethlehem?  In part, this is my speculation, I think the immediate goal is to hassle relentlessly the Christian presence in Bethlehem. Wear the Palestinian Christians down. Drive them out. Bethlehem is a very important cultural and religious site for Christianity. 

Palestinian Christians are a problem for Israel.  For one, it goes against the so-called Muslim terrorist trope. For another, the Zionists don’t want Christians in Palestine to connect with Christians in the United States. Israel is working very hard to get rid of Christians in Palestine.  Palestinian Christians are the bad Christians. Christian Zionists are the good Christians, from Israel’s point of view.  For another, Bethlehem is a site of resistance. The Christmas story is a powerful story of resistance to oppression. The Zionists don’t want that story.  Finally, of course, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem show that they have been there centuries before these new Zionists appeared. 

I think the endgame is to take over Bethlehem itself and make it part of Israel. Then they will include the Church of the Nativity as a tourist destination for American Christian Zionists. A Disneyland kind of thing.  Israel will be caretakers of this Holy Christian site. 

And the other question:

Who is trying to delete the Palestinian identity here? Is it just Israel?

This is the big question, isn’t it?  Israel is more than just a country. Israel has more influence in the United States and throughout Europe and elsewhere than most people realize.  When you talk about the United States and its military-industrial complex, that which President Eisenhower warned Americans about in 1961, you have to see that Zionism is active in every part of it. 

We should call it the Military-industrial-intelligence-finance-education-media-government complex. At the top of every node in this structure are ultra-Zionists.  They control the media, finance, congress, and the presidency. These wars in the Middle East against Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and now Iran? They don’t benefit Americans. They benefit the elite who make money from it. And they benefit Israel. Netanyahu said 9/11 was very good for Israel. To point out this truth is to be labelled anti-semitic.  

This is a global takeover. It is not by Jews. Jews are victims. American Jews more than any, need to separate Judaism from Zionism. They have been co-opted by these ultra-Zionists.  

In a very real sense, we are all Palestinians. The Palestinians and Gazans are on the front lines. May they continue to resist and may people of conscience around the world support their resistance. Our struggle for freedom is tied up with theirs.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

In Between

Here is the latest piece I wrote for the Beaverton Resource Guide.

In Between

There is a hauntingly beautiful song by Mary Gauthier called “Mercy Now” with lyrics that I think fit our time, the time of in-between.

Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, they'll do anything to keep their crown
I love life and life itself could use some mercy now 
Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it but we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance dangled 'tween hell and hallowed ground
And every single one of us could use some mercy now

Life is “hanging in the balance” and we dangle in-between. My personal life has changed and I am in between jobs, perhaps in between careers, even in between spiritual identities. One foot in a past existence and one in the next. Maybe you have been in a similar place or are there now.  Collectively, as a nation, as a world community, we are in-between as well.

As scary as it seems, the in-between is the place of mercy and grace. If we can accept this liminal place, this in-between that and the other and not attempt to force what is to come or hurriedly retreat to what was, we can find our truth. We can find ourselves and discover what is real and valuable and worthy of us.

The in-between is the space of our test. This is a place where we are given the opportunity to reveal who we really are. This is a place that invites the best in us to rise up and be beautiful, brave, generous, intelligent, creative and joyful. This is the place where we show the universe what it means to be human beings. This is where we prove that our appearance on this blue ball was not a mistake or a fluke but a planned gift.

This is where we put our opposable thumbs to good use and create homes and communities of justice and be a blessing to all living things. This is the in-between, the place of both meditation and action, where we discover that we are beloved, that we matter, and that come what may, we will be true to the better angels of our nature.

Let us not be afraid of the in-between nor fret over the “people in power.” They got nothing. For the “hand of grace” is indeed with us, now in the uncertainty, in the liminality, in the in-between. Let us trust that together, in time, we will reach that “hallowed ground.”

I have played this youtube of her song in church. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How About We End it Here

How about we end it here.
Do something unexpected,
courageous and wise.

Let the US leave Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Saud, Israel
and every other country to themselves,
and let’s make for ourselves a nice home,
spending our money on health and education
and sustainable, just living with Earth and our neighbors.

Let us bring our troops and equipment from all over the world home.
Let us melt down the useless bombs.
We need no more than the poorest anywhere and then everyone,
everywhere will live rich in spirit,
each with one’s daily bread,

like the beloved of God.

My Country's Skies Are Bluer than the Ocean

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

I thought of one of my favorite peace hymns, "This Is My Song" (tune: Finlandia) when I saw a photograph of Tehran, Iran on Twitter yesterday. Press TV, an Iranian English-speaking news outlet posted the photo and caption, "Tehran's blue sky right now!"

I have no quarrel with anyone from Iran. Who does really? Only the elite who profit from war. It is time for human beings to take back our lands and sing with confidence a song of peace so the God of all the nations will believe that we really want it.

Here are the rest of the lyrics and a nice harmony on it from the Indigo Girls.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Truth Jihad: A Conversation with Kevin Barrett

In March 2018 I had a live interview scheduled with Dr. Kevin Barrett on my monthly show, "The Beloved Community" on KBOO. Through a smear campaign led by Rose City Antifa complete with name-calling, character assassination, and a deluge of tweets and phone calls, the station staff and management were pressured to stop the interview and actually ban Kevin Barrett from being on the air. (Staff and management claim they were not pressured.) I appealed the decision but my appeal was never addressed. Dr. Barrett never had an opportunity to defend himself. Volunteers or the membership never had an opportunity to review this process.
On December 13th, 2019 I broadcast a pre-recorded show that included audio from the last sermon I gave to my church, an interview with Dr. David Ray Griffin and a speech Dr. Kevin Barrett delivered at a KBOO-sponsored event at Portland State in February 2018 about US-Saudi relations. Staff, in response to phone calls, stopped the broadcast in the midst of Dr. Barrett's speech and played Christmas music! In protest to this personal disrespect and censorship, I decided to take a sabbatical from my volunteer duties and support of KBOO and move my show to a platform that respects the spirit of the First Amendment. You can read my story here.
Over Christmas, Dr. Barrett interviewed me for his radio show, Truth Jihad, and gave me permission and encouragement to rebroadcast that interview on my program.

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