Shuck and Jive

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Shoulder Length and Longer

A couple of my peeps pointed out that my picture is in this month's Presbyterians Today. It is in an article by Jody Harrington.

She writes about various bloggers and their opinions about the decline in membership in our denomination.

Here is her article.

Here is the article of mine to which she linked.

In the print edition, they included a picture of me. My peeps didn't recognize me at first.

This was BH (Before Hair).

This picture was taken a while ago when I was pastor at First Presbyterian in Billings, Montana. It was originally published in the Billings Gazette in response to the then upcoming invasion of Iraq.

A number of us ministers signed a statement against the invasion. My then presbytery, Yellowstone, even approved a similar resolution:

As members of the Presbytery of Yellowstone, we believe our faith dictates that we voice strong opposition to a pre-emptive strike by the United States against Iraq.

While many of us hold that a state is justified in using force in certain situations, we believe that a military strike by the United States against Iraq at this time is not morally justified.

While we deplore the past actions of Saddam Hussein, he poses no clear and immediate threat to the United States or the nations of the world. A unilateral, pre-emptive strike by the United States would be viewed by the vast majority of the world's population as an act of aggression on behalf of U.S self-interests, even if self-interest is not our motivation. If the United States sets this example, other nations might claim justification for attacking their weaker neighbors.

Peaceful alternatives have not been exhausted, but must be pursued through the United Nations. Iraq has been and can continue to be contained by a cooperative effort led by the United Nations. If Saddam is a threat, he is a threat to the world, not to the United States alone.

An attack against Iraq would lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including children. It would further destabilize the entire Middle East. We cannot afford to increase tensions between the West and the Arab world, or escalate the spiral of violence around the globe.

Peaceful alternatives to war are not flashy or terribly exciting, but war will not lead the United States nor the world to the security we seek. Peacemaking is hard work, but the way of peace is the narrow road that leads to life.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Presbytery of Yellowstone joins other governing bodies within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and our ecumenical partners in urging the President of the United States to exercise restraint and to work with the United Nations toward a peaceful resolution of this crisis.

This photo made me realize how long it has been since this insanity began. It also made me think how quaint are our concerns. We have been fighting two wars going on eight years in Afghanistan and seven in Iraq, and I finally get my picture in the denomination's magazine because of my opinions on church membership loss.

The latest issue of Newsweek puts these wars in

Iraq has now outlasted World War II, while in March Afghanistan will edge out Vietnam as the longest American war ever.

Civil War
3 years, 11 months, 29 days
April 12, 1861–April 9, 1865

World War I
4 years, 3 months, 15 days
July 28, 1914–Nov. 11, 1918

World War II
6 years, 2 days
Sept. 1, 1939–Sept. 2, 1945

Six-Day War
6 days
June 5–10, 1967

Gulf War
1 month, 13 days
Jan. 16, 1991–Feb. 28, 1991

Iraq War
6 years, 6 months, 9 days
March 20, 2003–Sept. 28, 2009
(And counting)

American Revolution
8 years, 4 months, 16 days
April 19, 1775–Sept. 3, 1783

Vietnam War
8 years, 5 months, 21 days
Aug. 7, 1964–Jan. 27, 1973

War in Afghanistan
7 years, 11 months, 22 days
Oct. 7, 2001–Sept. 28, 2009
(And counting)

My hair will get a whole lot longer before this is done.


  1. how quaint are our concerns

    Thank you very much for your posts, this one especially. Now that we get to see your pictures (thanks to declining church numbers and you're getting noticed for noticing), we like you even more!

  2. You may be growing the pony tail, but the pony tail is starting to grow on me ;-)

  3. Thanks JK, you made my day!

    Snad--it'll be growing all over creation... : )

  4. Just keep it out of my lunch.

    And the copier.