[Due to some publishing difficulties, it was necessary to re-do this article (quiz). I’ve added five more questions. See how many you can answer correctly without the assistance of Google!]
1. Because of rumors of assassination, he was sneaked into Washington, D.C. from Baltimore, Maryland for his inaugural ceremonies.
2. He was the first president who was divorced.
3. His wife was the first First Lady whose first name was “Eleanor.”
4. His birth initials were H.U.G.
5. This president’s wife died following her husband’s election and before he was inaugurated.
6. This president once gambled away a set of White House china.
7. He was the first widower to become president.
8. He was the last president who did not hold a college degree.
9. His last son, Benjamin, was killed in a train accident while his father was president-elect.
10. His oldest son (named “George Washington…”) was an alcoholic and committed suicide by drowning himself.
11. His birth name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
12. Which president told a Supreme Court Justice, “It’s better to get out while they still want you.”
13. This president once worked in his father’s service station, hauled fruit to the family grocery and, later, was a carnival barker.
14. When his mother and his wife died on the same day, he went west and became a cowboy.
15. He was so large he once got stuck in the White House bath tub.
16. Born over his father’s tavern, English was NOT his native language.
17. This president never married. There was some contemporary evidence (and rumor among contemporaries who knew him) that he was homosexual.
18. This president, who grew up in Georgia, was a noted racist.
19. He had major surgery for cancer on his jaw while president. The surgery was performed on a ship in the North Atlantic and knowledge of it was kept from the American people.
20. This president had five children by three different wives.
21. He was the first president to be impeached. He was not convicted in the U. S. Senate.
22. This president once owned a baseball team.
23. This president’s wife was devoted to him, but his first love was his neighbor’s wife!
24. He and his wife graduated from Stanford University with degrees in geological engineering.
25. This president’s wife was a severe epileptic. When he was assassinated, he said, “Oh, be careful how you tell Ida.”
[The answers will be published in a later edition of Columnist with a View.]
In times past, Christians were seen as catalysts for change. The Books of Acts traces the impact of Christians on a preponderantly pagan society.
When St. Paul encountered the worship of idols, he called the people out, challenging them to turn to the “one true God.”
According to church history, wherever the apostles, who were scattered by the Great Diaspora, wound up, they preached the gospel (“good news” of God’s love), a new way, and consequently thousands of people adopted a new ethic and a new lifestyle.
Ostensibly, twelve men (the Bible leads us to believe) were ultimately responsible for altering the way of thinking and believing in the first and second centuries.
The least we can say is that after the fall of Jerusalem and the spreading of this newborn faith throughout Eastern Europe, the world was never again the same. Yes, there was change, but the central question is: Was it for the better or for the worse?
A study of religious movements, disputes, outrages and wars provoked by Christianity (the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Reformation and Puritanism, to name a few) raises valid questions.
Today, Christianity has a tremendous worldwide presence. The twelve have become 2.18 billion! A substantial majority of Americans claim they are Christians. Christian missionaries are proclaiming the gospel in all parts of the modern world.
And a new question is raised. Has Christianity lost its power to significantly affect society? As I see it, that appears to be the case. And largely, I suspect, because modern Christians have perverted the message of Christ. What the modern church, in general, espouses is neither attractive nor effective!
If it were attractive, hundreds of thousands of new converts would flock to the churches annually. Sanctuaries would be overflowing–not half full. Churches, not the government, would be the most visible, successful protectors of the impoverished.
If it were effective–that is, if it had the power and the authority to change society–most of the prominent issues the church occupies itself with would be moot. It is unlikely that terrorism would be a major concern, and crime blotters might take up a column inch in our local newspapers.
Something is radically wrong with modern Christianity. It ought to be making an impact in and on our daily lives, but it isn’t. It should be changing our society, but it isn’t. It should be a proactive force for what is just, right and good, but it isn’t.
Is the church no longer a major, positive force for change in our society? I’m afraid so.
If you have doubts about this, consider the number of social issues where the church establishment is on one side and the majority of its congregants are on the other. The church needs either 1) to re- invigorate its message or 2) stop slighting its relevant, major message with minor irrelevancies.
It might also practice what it preaches!
[This article first appeared in the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch a number of years ago. It seems as relevant today as it was when it first appeared. Readers can find a weekly column by this writer in the Monday morning issue of the Herald-Dispatch.]
It is with considerable consternation that I try to understand how folks can say anything positive about the Trump administration. We are nearing a third of the way through his first year in office. It doesn’t look promising.
Trump made wide-sweeping promises about what he could do, including putting coal miners back to work, major infrastructure projects, repeal (which was later changed to “Repeal and Replace”)
the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), important immigration reform, comprehensive tax reform, and reduction of regulations, especially in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some I hoped for…others, not so much!
What we are getting is bluster and sputter. What’s shaking with some of these promises and declarations?
According to reports from coal-mining country in southern Kentucky and West Virginia, not much has come from the White House that is boosting the return of coal jobs.
What little we are seeing, we can attribute to the efforts of West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice.
The executive order that removed restriction on dumping coal mining waste didn’t bring the opening of new mines, but it certainly unnerved a lot of people who live downstream and depend on fresh, clean water!
Legislation concerning the Affordable Care Act is stalled by any number of dubious “improvements;” and from what I’m observing many Republicans are questioning the proposed plan. What’s not to question when it will cost 10-20 million people their healthcare insurance over the next few years.
Immigration reform? Other than money in the federal budget (which is likely to be DOA in the Congress) for a wall along our southern border, not much is happening here either.
It appears that the administration is having a difficult time getting an immigration restriction on some Middle Eastern countries–which says to me that the new administration can’t even come up with a workable, temporary immigration proposal that passes judicial muster.
The truth is coal jobs are NOT coming back and repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act is doubtful. Comprehensive tax reform has turned out to be little more than a campaign ploy, which we hear about every four years. And, this country of immigrants is not going to look favorably on turning back people who are suffering. We had sad experience with that when we turned back Jews who were fleeing Hitler’s death camps. By boatloads we sent them back to their deaths.
Okay, so you say I’m expecting too much. Here’s how I look at it. President-to-be Trump said, “I can fix it!” He bought votes with startling promises. He even said he would accomplish “on my first day in office” some things that he has apparently forgotten. At the least, he has put some of his most brazen assertions about what he could do on the back burner.
President Trump hasn’t even filled a majority of important sub-level cabinet positions in his administration. He has assailed the nation’s press, calling it “the enemy of the people.” He has insulted his predecessor in a most noxious fashion–actually accusing him of a felonious act. He won’t even apologize, or admit the truth, after a congressional investigation has found absolutely no evidence of wiretapping or surveillance of Trump Tower before or after the election.
Trump has spent an inordinate amount of time pouting like a spoiled child.
He has piled up enormous travel and security expenses for us taxpayers running back and forth almost weekly between Washington, D.C. and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach; in addition, taxpayers are paying for his wife and son’s security at Trump Tower in New York City.
Considering that the nation provides a beautiful, perfectly adequate home for the president and his family in the nation’s capitol, this is a disgrace!
Mr. President, I’m a patient man. Let’s see what you can accomplish in your first 100 days. So far, it isn’t looking very promising. And I’m afraid you are proving those right who say you are “unfit” to be president of the United States.
A long time ago in Eastern Europe, what is now known as Germany, a stinky beggar awakened and sat up out of the stale piss-smelling straw he called his bed to a grand realization. Fleas!–the small black flecks that ate at his already skin-and-bones body, that were causing him the most grief, would soon be his greatest relief.
It was impossible to tell the beggar’s nationality because of the millions of black bugs which covered him from head to toe. His “grand realization” was that he would put them to work. So, he began the struggle of training them. He taught them to jump through hoops, walk a tight rope, and created the greatest flea circus of his time. His circus was such a hit with the local village they stopped throwing rocks at him and replaced the rocks with vegetables. He didn’t mind being hit in the head with a cabbage, as that meant he had dinner for the week.
When he got all the fleas trained, he started training larger insects, like flies, bumblebees and even a butterfly. People stopped attacking him altogether to see his show and even tossed him an odd Bob or two. He invested the funds back into his business as he didn’t like sleeping inside, and baths would sure kill half of his performers that lived off his flesh. He was growing weaker and weaker while his show grew stronger and more popular.
Once the king himself came to see the beggar’s tiny circus.
He offered the beggar a better life. The tramp refused the king, as no normal man would dare. When the king was moved to insist, the tramp proffered his greatest defense. The king’s confrontation and the ensuing defense brought the show to a close. The fearful audience ran away.
After that no one came to his shows or even acknowledged his existence. They ignored him no matter what amazing new acts he crated. He even used an eyelash to paint the fleas into clowns, but no one cared. Without money or food he gave up his body to his performers to devour, dying in the straw under the bridge he called home.
The day he died, his soul was met by a great god-like being that recognized his love for his performers although they had stolen his life. The being offered him a second life–one of magnificent performances. He was reincarnated as a politician.
He was perfect for his new profession–man’s version of a performing flea sucking the life from society, but performing so magnificently that no one cared. He was draining the life from his audience–his constituents–or anyone who would listen. He spent his second lifetime without seeing a single flea–ever!
On his second death bed, he missed his family so much he decreed that his body was to be interred in the local sewer so that it would once again feed the only creatures he really loved–the blood-sucking flecks of death and disease. From the former flea-infested politician sprang the greatest disease known to man.
The reincarnated beggar referred to it as the kiss of a friend; others called it the Black Plague.