Category Archives: Loose thoughts and musings

Pastors That Embody The Gospel and Don’t Use it as a Weapon: Thoughts from My Friend Fr. Kenneth Tanner


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

This is the latest Facebook post of my friend Father Kenneth Tanner,  Pastor and Priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Before this he was on Staff and wrote for “Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.” His blog is located at https://medium.com/@kennethtanner 

As for me after doing some work around the house, I went out to watch Maddy playing in her little wading pool and slipped, causing me to do the splits, land hard on my right knee, and further aggravate my right hip. I have my bilateral knee injections on Monday and will have to bring up this, and the number of times I have had my knee or ankle go out, and my increasing number of falls. Since I had my VA evaluation Tuesday I have to send them an update. I think I will go back to using a cane, because it is really getting old. So I am going to go back to editing “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!”

Please have a good and safe day and read Fr. Kenneth’s Essay on being a pastor in a time like this. He is refreshingly honest and pretty much sums up why I will not be a Church pastor or fight the politics of institutional Chaplain ministry when I retire from the Navy in less than 100 days. But we do need pastors like him.

Peace,

Padre Steve+ 

Father Kenneth’s essay follows…

 

Those who follow my social media know that the vast majority of my stories and images are about Jesus—his authentic humanity and his vulnerable divinity, how his unique person is our salvation and the salvation of the world. I’m astonished by and obsessed with Christ.

This same Jesus, who embodies the law and the prophets, who became one of us—a frail human who’s not immune to hunger, thirst, pain, and death—in order to liberate captives and set the oppressed free.

Those who bear the name and work of Jesus as they lead the church are not allowed to remain silent about the illnesses effecting their societies. We are held accountable for silence and inaction.

Our nation’s war on drugs and on terror has slowly eroded civil liberties and presents us with a crisis about personal freedoms, police powers, incarceration, and so on, and black Americans have shouldered the cross of what’s wrong.

Jesus came to set prisoners free—actual prisoners.

Justice systems are corrupt, are punitive rather than restorative, and America is not immune.

The gospel seeks to upend all of that with a profound trust in the ability of humans to heal—to be forgiven and to forgive—a trust that’s not shared by our nation’s “survival of the fittest” mentality.

Jesus stands with the poor, the refugee, the prisoner—not the ideal poor, or employable refugees, or model prisoners but the kinds we find in the real world, just as they are in all their inconvenience—and he expects us to lift up their cause.

What’s happened lately is that the political Left and the political Right define a lot of what the gospel urgently calls us to embody and to do as “political,” as supporting the ends of political movements, figures, or parties.

For the Left, if you believe that pre-born children have the right to life, for but one instance, then you must be a Republican or a supporter of the President.

No, you are simply applying to our public life together ideas of humanity, creation, and personhood taught in the Scriptures.

For the Right, if you want immigrants and refugees welcomed and treated with dignity, for but one instance, then you must be a Democrat or a supporter of their leaders.

No, you are simply listening to the law and prophets of Israel and applying to our public life together their relentless and ubiquitous warnings about God’s wrath toward any people who do not welcome and care for strangers and sojourners.

Salvation is not only about life after death but about this world, about our time and place in this world, and God is often waiting for Spirit-empowered humans to bring the kind of salvation he intends for the world by living the gospel.

So while I do not speak out about most things that concern me—I would never stop speaking right now if I did that—I do speak out loudly when I feel compelled before God to do so (as in this week’s meme about Breonna Taylor and our society’s collective responsibility for her).

It is a high wire act and something like a personal siege to be the leader of a spiritual community in this moment.

I don’t know any pastor who’s not disheartened, burned out, and ready to quit. They won’t tell you about it, but I will.

I preached Jesus Christ to the folks at Holy Redeemer for 15 years but like every other church in this town (and around the country), our congregations are divided between those who want everyone to wear masks at church all the time or they won’t attend and those you don’t want to wear a mask at all so they won’t attend, some who think the pandemic is a hoax and others who think it’s real, along with so many other silly binaries that divide us, driven by a media and a political class that thrives on our separation.

It rips me up. Day and night. I/we won’t be one of them by the grace of God but a tidal wave of pastoral resignations and church closings is coming.

I *thought* we were all centered in Jesus Christ. I thought we were different at HR. It’s a MAJOR gut punch. I don’t even hear from families we served for more than a decade. Not a phone call, not a text, not a peep, even though we reach out consistently.

Then I read something from Eugene Peterson, in his “Eat This Book,” about 1982 and economic and racial tensions that were present and how disappointed he was, after 20 years of preaching, to see his congregation as divided as the world.

He started reading Galatians and the Corinthian letters and realized that Paul had the same troubles with his congregations in the first century, divided over truly dumb stuff.

It’s a human problem.

Eugene realized he was not a failure.

And he decided to double down on Jesus Christ.

And that’s how The Message was born.

I decided months ago to double down on Jesus, too. And my joy in preaching and leading has returned, even though far fewer people hear my sermons. They feel like some of the best of my life and some folks are hearing them. And that’s OK with me. It really is.

When I do address matters of public concern I address them not as a person with political interests but as one called to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That means that sometimes I sound like a “liberal” and sometimes I sound like a “conservative.”

And therefore a lot of times I am misunderstood by most everyone for all of the reasons I just laid out. And that’s OK with me, too. It really is.

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A Quick Note in the Midst of Life, Nightmares, Night Terrors, and Editing my Book

 

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

It has been a strange but good day. I was off from work because our military personnel Were given the gift of time off because over the past year we have had no sailors charged or convicted of Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence. That being said I went to bed late last night because I was doing my editing. When I went to bed and got to sleep I had a number of vivid and violent nightmares related to war, PTSD and betrayal. I got up so tired that after a couple of errands and appointments with Judy I took a nap, and the violent nightmares continued. Between last night and the time I got up from my afternoon nap I ended up throwing myself out of bed onto the floor four times to not just to defend myself from attackers but be an agent of vengeance against them. Thankfully my rearrangement of furniture prevented serious injury.

The nightmares were vivid. They included people I did and didn’t know, one strangely who never figured in any violence against me, but a retired Chaplain who I once considered a friend who used my knowledge to help his advancement in the Chaplain Corps. However, he and his wife had used my wife to care for their kids for more than a decade and a half when they were too busy, only to toss her away, and me when we were no longer profitable to them and their kids no longer needed the rides to school provided by Judy without charge regardless of the time, effort and gas money expended, or career advice given by me that helped him get promoted.

But he was in the nightmares, in them didn’t seem to do anything than pay me scant attention and walk away in doctors office waiting room just before people tried to kill me.

Somehow his presence in those nightmares alerted me to danger, and thus armed I was able to defend in my nightmare myself using guns and arrows against assailants who I injured but did kille because they proved the truth to me. I let them live because they were not the real threat, and I had maimed them for life. In fact we gained each other’s respect and friendship despite our differences, but my former friend was another matter. He didn’t appear again in those nightmares but he might again. Maybe he is simply a metaphor in my dreams.

I haven’t had anything to do with him years, and I cannot remember the last time I saw him. Even though he lives a few miles from me we don’t run in the same circles, I think that is because he wants to retain the respectability of his large mainline Protestant denomination, and to keep his complicit silence on so much of what he knows to be true of the secret dark heart of the Chaplain Corps. Likewise, people like me are becoming every more in  military Chaplains, remaining  true to our Ordination vows, and ours Oath to the Constitution to provide for all the rights to their religious beliefs without prejudice. Even so I speak the truth, at least as I have seen and experienced it and am not afraid to do so.

I am fascinated by the violent nightmares and in my former friends role in them, for those who betray us are not usually open opponents, but those that we once opened up to because we thought we were on the same side. But when such a person ghosts you, and then shows up prominently in your nightmares you have to think of their motivations. At this time I think it is because he is a spineless weasel under the thumb of his shrew of a wife, but I could be wrong, and since only Judy would know the details their identity remains safely concealed, as it should.

So anyway, until tonight’s sleep, be it pleasant or terrifying I wish you the best.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under ethics, life, Loose thoughts and musings, Military, ministry, PTSD

A Necessary Condition of Affairs… Stay Tuned.


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I won’t be posting much here on on social media much until I complete my book manuscript and get it to the publisher to meet contract requirements. As part of the contract to keep the book from being too expensive I am having to edit out about 30,000 words and create an index. Be assured that my agent and publisher are willing to publish any major sections separately to promote the book, and maybe use in future publications.

Tuesday I have a series of appointments with a VA contractor to review my medical records to determine my disability rating. I expect a 100% rating due to all the shit wrong with me, documented by over 2000 pages of medical records. I also have to drop of my paperwork for my Active Duty retirement physical.

I will occasionally post here, maybe old articles, but hopefully ones pertinent to our current crisis.

So until the next time I post.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Make My Day Trump Cultists that I have Tried to Reason With


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Here’s the deal. I do my best to treat everyone who comes to my site and comment with respect and simple decency. That runs out when a person, be they a subscriber or not makes comes to the site and makes ad hominem attacks and treats me like shit I say the hell with them. I had to do that today to a subscriber of a couple of months who I had a number of interactions with but even though he disagreed with me I treated him with respect and kindness while not giving up my position.

Today he responded to my post about what Mitch McConnell and was President Trump are doing with the chance to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a Trump apparatchik before the election. I told the man that I had treated Him with the utmost of respect and kindness since his first opposing comment but that he was done. I have blocked him from posting ever again and frankly I don’t give a damn what he or anyone else thinks.

So, if you want to be like Ray or Raymundo Ruiz , a Trump Cultist from Orlando Florida, formerly of Winter Park Florida.  I am calling him out by name. I won’t publish his phone number, address or Florida Registered Voter number, but let this is a warning shot to anyone who comes after me here. If I can identify you I will call you out, I will shame you.

That might sound unchristian, but I don’t tolerate bullies and will do everything within the law to call them out and shame them. They are unworthy of respect and deserve nothing more.

So if they come to your blog, website, Facebook Page, Twitter feed or anything else, don’t even attempt to engage them with reason or logic, because they don’t respect you and probably wish we were dead. If you can identify them shame them, if not block them.

That being said, I am done for the night.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

 

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, Political Commentary

Sea Bees in Japan after the WWII

On V-J Day, thirteen Naval Construction Battalions (NCB), three Special Naval Construction Battalions (stevedores), and one Construction Battalion …

Sea Bees in Japan after the WWII

Another of Greg Cox’s great tail end of the Pacific stories.

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♫ So Far Away ♫

Carole King scored another hit with this single, where she bemoans the fact that she and the man she loves can’t be together, and mentions that …

♫ So Far Away ♫

Jill Dennison writing about Carole King’s great and thoughtful song “So Far Away” which happens to be one of my favorite songs from the 70s

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Historical Analogue: Why we are reliving the nightmare of 20th century fascism, plus news headlines

By Robert A. Vella “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana …

Historical Analogue: Why we are reliving the nightmare of 20th century fascism, plus news headlines

A really thoughtful post by Robert Vella over at his Secular Jurist site.

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Purple Haze

Now I know why we drink so much boxed wine.

Purple Haze

I prefer my wine in bottles. lots of them.

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While The West Coast Burns …

The West Coast of the United States is on fire.  Property is being devoured by the hungry flames, lives are being lost, people are being uprooted …

While The West Coast Burns …

One you need to read from Jill Dennison. My brother Jeff posted his experience in our hometown at is not under any fire threat at the moment, but how toxic the air was.

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The Example of Adolf Eichmann: People that Embrace Racism are Just One Step from a “Final Solution”

Adolf Eichmann  Friends of Padre Steve’s World, Yesterday I wrote about the men in the dock at the Einsatzgruppen Trial and their actions. Tonight I …

The Example of Adolf Eichmann: People that Embrace Racism are Just One Step from a “Final Solution”

Reposting my own work because it really is important. There are too many like Eichmann walking our streets and in all levels of political office, as well as police and justice departments at the federal, state, and local levels in America today.

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