· President Obama, mocking Republican candidates for the White House for complaining about “media bias” after the last GOP debate on CNBC, nevertheless made an excellent point in suggesting that dealing with the Chinese and Russians would be tougher than the media. That’s one thing often lost on that crew — I mean, you think that leaders from other nations would be intimidated by an American simply because he or she is American? Not anymore, as terrorists are showing these days.
· I actually find it funny that folks are making noise about getting rid of the political “establishment” in Washington, D.C., suggesting that power ought to be returned to “the people.” Sorry to say this, folks, but, in practice, élites have run this country from the jump, and our system was designed for that to happen. Even the idea of the “gentleman farmer” serving in D.C. for a few years ignores the reality that only wealthy people like him had the time to take off to do that. Besides, whom would you want dealing with other countries? An expert? Or a neophyte?
· Given the segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday about heroin problems in rural and suburban Ohio, I don’t understand why it would be news — after all, drug use among the privileged has been swept under the rug for decades. Anyone remember the anti-cocaine spots in the 1980s where people were wearing power suits? But they didn’t get hammered the way urban dwellers have been for decades. Indeed, I learned recently that one suburban high school in my area had had a problem when I was in high school (and I graduated in 1979) — what’s changed?
· Blogger the Rev. John Pavlovitz recently published an entry concerning the failure of Christian clergy to understand and appreciate single adults and apologizing for it on the behalf of pastors. While I got where he’s coming from, a big part of the problem is church culture in general where maintaining families is often seen as the primary — indeed, in some cases the only — function of the church, and if you’re not a spouse and/or parent, as I’ve never been, you’re somehow “less than.” Even singles ministries were formed supposedly for building us up, but the more mature and attractive folks began pairing up, leaving and never returning. We’re not told how to mourn those losses.
· For the musically-minded, I recently ran across these remarks that jazz bassist John Patitucci made three years ago: "There are so many people who want to play music, but not everybody has that gift. So, if someone has that gift and then they don't really work hard — God calls us to excellence -— that's a problem that sometimes gets people in church in trouble with music. They don't grasp the fact that if you're going to make music for God, it better be the best music you can come up with. It better be the highest level of music and it had better be music befitting a king. That means get in the wood shed and don't come out till you get it right. So, I take it very seriously."