How do we reconcile the recently deceased ”hatchet man” of the Watergate scandal versus the “humble” (and perhaps even holy) man of prison ministry? Who wouldn’t be a skeptic in the face of two different people manifested in one man – a ruthless political operator and a servant of Jesus Christ? What comes between that time of being a ruthless person and living one’s life as a servant of God? The short answer is failure, brokenness, and repentance. Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer said “it is in our pain and in our brokenness that we come the closest to Christ,” and that is what Chuck Colson (and all the men he helped in prison throughout the world) would also tell you.
Chuck Colson was not at all an “evil genius” as the Associated Press described him in their obituary. He did perform a handful of dirty tricks during the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections, but so did a lot of other folks, both Democrat and Republican. Besides doing things such as funding false committees and getting Ted Kennedy photographed in a Paris nightclub dancing cheek to cheek with a starlet, Colson did contribute and encourage an unsavory moral climate in the Nixon White House from 1968-1972. However, the tapes of him conversing with Nixon did not provide a lot of hard evidence against Colson so the prosecutors had a problem. What the prosecutors didn’t know was that Colson… Continue reading →
At one end of the debate over appropriate and necessary health care reform is Obamacare, which is rather easily characterized as a heavy-handed approach laden with government intervention. It will be a huge challenge for yet another layer of governmental bureaucracy to solve the problems inherent in the health care needs of over 300,000,000 Americans. Consider now that even some in President Obama's party are now having strong regrets over the passage of Obamacare. "I think we would have all been better off – President Obama politically, Democrats in Congress, and the nation would have been better off – if we had dealt first with the financial system and the other related economic issues, and then come back to health care" (Rep. Brad Miller, D-NC).
Besides tort reform, the Republican approach is to put the citizens of the United States, rather than government bureaucrats, in charge of health care. The Republicans have several ideas that are of real substance to achieve this. The first would be to set up more functional "high-risk" pools that would allow individuals with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance that would otherwise cost a fortune. Next, extend tax breaks to individuals, affiliated groups, and small businesses so that health insurance can be more easily purchased. This tax break, now only extended generally to larger employers, would dramatically expand coverage to… Continue reading →
In 1634, a mixture of Catholic and Protestant Christian settlers arrived in southern Maryland from England aboard two ships, the Ark and the Dove. They had come to Maryland at the invitation of a Catholic Lord Baltimore who had been granted the land by the Protestant King Charles I of England. While Catholics and Protestants had been killing each other on a regular basis for a number of years in Europe, Lord Baltimore articulated a vision for a community where people of different faiths could live together peacefully. His vision was soon crafted into the “Toleration Act” in 1649 or “Maryland’s 1649 Act Concerning Religion.” This was the first law in the history in our nation’s history to protect an individual’s right to freedom of conscience.
Like any freedom, religious freedom requires constant vigilance and protection or it will disappear. Maryland’s experience with religious toleration ended within a few decades. The colony was placed under royal control and the Church of England became the established religion. Discriminatory laws, including the loss of political rights, were enacted against those who refused to conform. For Catholics this meant the closing of chapels and a restriction to practicing their faith in their homes. The Catholics and other Christians lived under this coercion until the American Revolution.
The last couple of weeks, my wife and I decided to spend more time exploring all the “good” there is in the Kansas City community. By “good,” I mean all the fun and rewarding things to do as well as all the people serving others in remarkable ways.
On Friday evening, June 15th, at least 400 people gathered at Livestrong Park (home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting KC soccer team) and honored Monsignor Tom Tank, the current pastor of Ascension Parish in Overland Park, Kansas. Monsignor Tank had the vision to challenge local clergy, bankers, and community leaders in Wyandotte County to help tackle the problem of inadequate and deteriorating housing that was quickly leading to unsafe neighborhoods. In 1996, an organization called Catholic Housing (now known as Community Housing of Wyandotte County, or CHWC) was formed, and a slow revitalization of historic neighborhoods began to occur. CHWC has helped hundreds of families realize the “American Dream” of home ownership, and prompted development in a community that had not seen new construction in 85 years. CHWC also facilitated low-interest loans and home-repair grants for existing home owners, helped first-time buyers educate themselves regarding the home buying process, and offered financial and budgeting classes. So what has been the economic impact on the Kansas City community? Since 2006, CHWC has directly invested more than $16.5… Continue reading →
My mother, Rose Mary, is a special woman. Recently I was sitting with a group of men and we were discussing what we were most thankful for in our lives. The discussion was about unexpressed gratitude for things that we had taken for granted and had neglected to give thanks for. My answer was my mother’s love for me and all of her children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. My mother will be 77-years-old this June and I guess I would compare her love for all of us like the sun shining down on us. Most days we just take the sun for granted but it continues to shine and provide light and warmth for all that we need. In fact, how often does one stop and reflect about the sun and all that it provides for us? Well, mothers are very much the same even when children are ungrateful. Our mothers gave us life, and sometimes we take that life granted. “Unexpressed gratitude is like winking in the dark. You know how you feel about them, but they don’t.”
Well, it finally happened. My oldest son, Lamar Hunt III, graduated from college with three bachelor’s degrees – one in philosophy, one in math, and one in linguistics. He did so well at “The University of Kansas” that family members were obliged to attend not one but TWO recognition ceremonies. The first was a ceremony for those in… Continue reading →