Under the file of Sermons I have included the full extract of the funeral homily spoken yesterday at Ian's funeral.  It will be the basis for my first December column.  God bless.  


Dear Readers

I am pleased for Danville News running my Woody Guthrie series.  We now resume writing my regular columns (until the next roadtrip) but I am grateful that they have welcomed me to write weekly columns.  This is a valued platform.  We include my most current column on this home page and have made them all availble as files under the Column Page, well except for the last several as I can't figure out why Godaddy won't let me upload them.    For you I write.  


Danville News Column
Robert John Andrews
Friday, 24 November, 2017
“Am I Harvey?”
Word Count:  750




What is the difference between romance and harassment, I asked.  She replied immediately:  “Consent.”

Being an amateur about women, I needed to know more.  I wondered:  “What makes consent consent? When is consent mutual and when is it the result of pressure?   There’s got to be some data and metrics available.  What is the difference between what Al Franken did and what Roy Moore is alleged to have done?  Isn’t Trump the Chump’s criticism of Al Franken’s misbehavior and his demand that Franken be held accountable for such misdeeds a tad hypocritical (ironic, comical, tragic)?”


She smiled the way women smile at male dolts.  


One thing this dolt is beginning to realize is that Harvey Weinstein’s exposure (pun intended) as a serial abuser signals that we are evolving culturally, emotionally.  We’re improving in our awareness, although the new awareness requires redefining roles and relationships. Still, we must realize we are benefitting from the empowerment of women who have declared:  “Enough is enough.”


We are evolving.  It wasn’t too long ago in America that women owning property was illegal. Any inheritance went to their sons, otherwise her husband’s brothers.  It wasn’t too long ago women were denied suffrage – no vote.  I remember an old school teacher telling me that it was expected when you married you resigned from teaching.   Yes, once upon a time upper class women went to finishing school rather than obtain academic degrees.  A woman’s identity was dependent upon her husband.  She was regarded a baby-making machine.  Or an apparatus for male pleasure.   Women weren’t really regarded as persons -- they were either prostitute or pedestal, temptress or princess.  Not too long ago (within memory of many of you) you never imagined women holding political office.  I still boast that my first vote in a Presidential primary went to Shirley Chisolm.  


But I am bothered by all this.  I hope most of us males are bothered to the point of apprehension.  How clean are we?  When have we acted like Harvey?


When I look into a mirror
I see something I fear
It isn’t me I see
Staring back is Harvey
How often I too
Have others used 
Only to serve me
Stealing their humanity
Trust betrayed
Power's charade
Examining my intent
Am I any different?


Am I?  Has what I considered flirtatious behavior been received as harassment?  I’m feeling gun shy.  Perhaps plenty of us fellows are feeling gun shy.   Embarrassed even.  When have we acted toward women as improperly and inhumanly as a drunken fraternity boy?  Frat boys call it scoring, right?  A contest to win?  This in contrast to the discovery of lovely, pure, exciting, joyous romantic overtures and surprises?  When haven’t I acted the gentleman?  All women deserve loving respect.  Yes, those passions can be tough to bridle and tame, similar to all natural forces.    Fire controlled and harnessed warms homes, cooks meals.  Fire untamed, rampant, burns acres of vineyards.  Water harnessed can turn turbines and produce electricity.  Water untamed floods towns and destroys islands.  


So be it for passions, for good or ill.  But the key tip-off about whether it is romance or harassment, whether natural sparking or abuse, is not consent but who wields power.  Rape, I’ve been taught , uses sex to dominate, control, exercise power.  Sex becomes a weapon.  You inferior, me superior.  That’s true evil, using others, demeaning others as instruments to further your own ego, your self-centeredness, your own desire to be the Alpha male.  Which is curious because when you behave that way, you prove your inferiority.  


Perhaps Harvey, Al, Donald, Roy,  me, and other predatory Neanderthals are shoving us toward the next evolutionary stage, toward a finer, respectful, and loving humanity, less consumed by power and domination and more interested in goodness and sincere love.   


We could be on the threshold of finally becoming human together.  


What Harvey will never know
Is experiencing heaven here below
In the beautiful soul I have known
The joy of woman’s love truly shown
Love is more than who you take to bed
It is who you wake up with instead
A friend holding hands while you walk
Strolling, enjoying the romance of talk
A kiss, a wink, her eyes flashing bright
Bathed in her spell sunset and morning light
The times shared of laughter and tears
On shared pillow with her face near
Contented, pleased, wanting more
Days and nights for her to be adored
The thrill of introducing her to others
Saying to them, “This is my lover.”



Finding My Writings…


Angel’s Share now features Chapter 25 (Lydia) of my Seasons for Everything:  Tales of a Reluctant Pastor.

"This Land" -- The latest version of my Woody Guthrie road trip's 17 expanded columns (pending permission to use the lyrics) can be found here:

This_Land_Master_copy_full_text_10_October_2017.pdf
827.9 KB



I also got playful this Labor Day and culled together a series of Religous Dim Sums, couplets (love that word) for pastors and congregations.  Enjoy.

Religious_Dim_Sums.pdf
332.2 KB


Click here to preview my "First Impressions" article about my impressions of church worship visits.

First_Impressions_pdf.pdf
366.4 KB


Click here to preview my "Beyond Third Grade: A Primer on the Bible."  I have attempted to take texts ripe for skeptics and the curious and offer up the proclamation in the story.  Enjoy.

 

Poetry Corner (with apologies to Percy Dovetonsilsz)

see under Calendar please



In trying to clean things up, all previous poems (as of 11/19/17) can be now found not as a PDF but text under the CALENDAR file (reachable above), coded by category: Love and Romance, Dim Sum Fun, Religious and Philosophical, Myth, Family, Political.  Since I was told I am driving a Model T website and need to buy a new car with automatic windows I am no longer able to load PDF's onto my clunker of a website.  So I am making all my poems available as text.  I write them for you...


Political Quips


Bob ecclesiastical (20 November):  Now I cannot be judgmental given my own flaws, but I do ask Roy's pastor and the other pastors supporting him how would they respond if similar allegations were brought to the attention the South Baptism Connvention and the church elders about a pastor?  What steps would they take immediately.  I have a good idea.  

Make America Good!

Bob loving Fox News for getting it right (15 November):  Of course I am referring to Shepherd' Smith's clear and concise rebuttal of the Uranium conspiracy nonsense perpetuated by frantic Republicans and nutsy pundits like Hannity.    His reporting clarifies everything.  

Check it out: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5646426075001/?#sp=show-clips. 

We also note it was Hannity's interview with Roy Moore that did them both in, especially as the three respondents surprised Hannity by realizing the interview put a noose around his own neck.  it wasn't what Hannity was expecting.  Fact win.  


 Bob not surprised about Roy Moore (10 November):  First:  ain't no way anybody should refer to him as judge.  Two:  makes me reread my own poem about Harvey W and fearful that I see him looking back at me in the mirror.  Third:  Come on now, it is Alabama -- they have a grand tradition of the masters taking advantage of young girls and justifying it Biblically.  Fourth:  I am so glad Donald the Chump Trump (aka Mussolini) has come out so honorable and virtuous by saying that such behavior (alleged) would warrant Roy Moore stepping down;  Of course, how come the chump never did step down?  


When babies are gunned down the NRA obfuscates, the Republicans...bloviate (I wanted to use another word but it wasn't pastorally decent -- but you can rhyme, can't you?)


Bob with no more tears (6 November):  What word do I want to hear from my president in light of another shooting:  "I have no tears left to cry.  I am out of prayers to pray.  My heart is too broken to feel the sorrow of those mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and friends.  But I am angry enough to say no more tears, no more prayers.  We will no longer be hypocrites.  We will do something to cure this national madness."  


Heard the perfect nick-name (besides Donald the Mussolini) this morning on the news.  Perfect for the way China and the other nations have played him and view him:  Donald 'the Chump' Trump


Caught a portion of this.  Well worth connecting with:  https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value
So proud and grateful for the women with wings I have been privileged to know...


Bob sardonicus (3 November):  The United States isn't Trump, Inc.  Mussolini wanted to run the courts too.  Besides, who wants to be run by a terrible businessman who is only a paper billiionaire surviving on loans and debt?   And when he returns from his trip, please check to see his Visa.  I'm not sure if Homeland Security should allow him reentry.  


Time to call out 'truthiness.'  Ignorning Facebook until it is held to account.  


Bob in light of the New York attack (1 November):  Oh' please Donald the Mussolini, please just shut up.  How do you convince others of the greatness of the United States?  By threat, brutality, fiat, and acting like and imperial bully?  I am reminded of the unholy days of Christedom when we thought baptism by force was the effective form of evangelism.  Wrong.  Better is what Luther said:  "One beggar showing another beggar where to find bread."  By Christianity showing its excellence and causing the critic to see that its has something beautiful and good to offer.  So too the United States with our fine justiice system.  You mean, the critic says, they actually treat even offenders with just rights?  You know, I've been opposed to them but what they have is remarkable.  I might want that...  It is like parents:  treat your kids the way you want to be treated.  It is like what Dad taught me:  to be respected you must first be respectable.  


Which list best applies to our President?  The first is Joseph Goebbles' principles of propaganda as summarized by Leonard Dobbs.  The second is Doris Kearns Goodwin's summary of the qualities of leadership exemplified by Abraham Lincoln.  You choose.


PRINCIPLE 1: PROPAGANDISTS MUST HAVE ACCESS TO INTELLIGENCE CONCERNING EVENTS AND PUBLIC OPINION
 
PRINCIPLE 2: PROPAGANDA MUST BE PLANNED AND EXECUTED BY ONLY ONE AUTHORITY
 
PRINCIPLE 3: THE PROPAGANDA CONSEQUENCES OF AN ACTION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN PLANNING THAT ACTION
 
PRINCIPLE 4: PROPAGANDA MUST AFFECT THE ENEMY’S POLICY AND ACTION
 
PRINCIPLE 5: DECLASSIFIED, OPERATIONAL INFORMATION MUST BE AVAILABLE TO IMPLEMENT A PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN
 
PRINCIPLE 6: TO BE PERCEIVED, PROPAGANDA MUST EVOKE THE INTEREST OF AN AUDIENCE AND MUST BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH AN ATTENTION-GETTING COMMUNICATIONS MEDIUM
 
PRINCIPLE 7: CREDIBILITY ALONE MUST DETERMINE WHETHER PROPAGANDA OUTPUT SHOULD BE TRUE OR FALSE
 
PRINCIPLE 8: THE PURPOSE, CONTENT, AND EFFECTIVENESS OF ENEMY PROPAGANDA; THE STRENGTH AND EFFECTS OF AN EXPOSE; AND THE NATURE OF CURRENT PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGNS DETERMINE WHETHER ENEMY PROPAGANDA SHOULD BE IGNORED OR REFUTED
 
PRINCIPLE 9: CREDIBILITY, INTELLIGENCE, AND THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF COMMUNICATING DETERMINE WHETHER PROPAGANDA MATERIALS SHOULD BE CENSORED
 
PRINCIPLE 10: MATERIAL FROM ENEMY PROPAGANDA MAY BE UTILIZED IN OPERATIONS WHEN IT HELPS DIMINISH THAT ENEMY’S PRESTIGE OR LENDS SUPPORT TO THE PROPAGANDIST’S OWN OBJECTIVE
 
PRINCIPLE 11: BLACK RATHER THAN WHITE PROPAGANDA MUST BE EMPLOYED WHEN THE LATTER IS LESS CREDIBLE OR PRODUCES UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS
 
PRINCIPLE 12: PROPAGANDA MAY BE FACILITATED BY LEADERS WITH PRESTIGE
 
PRINCIPLE 13: PROPAGANDA MUST BE CAREFULLY TIMED
 
PRINCIPLE 14: PROPAGANDA MUST LABEL EVENTS AND PEOPLE WITH DISTINCTIVE PHRASES OR SLOGANS
 
PRINCIPLE 15: PROPAGANDA TO THE HOME FRONT MUST PREVENT THE RAISING OF FALSE HOPES WHICH CAN BE BLASTED BY FUTURE EVENTS
 
PRINCIPLE 16: PROPAGANDA TO THE HOME FRONT MUST CREATE AN OPTIMUM ANXIETY LEVEL
 
PRINCIPLE 17: PROPAGANDA TO THE HOME FRONT MUST DIMINISH THE IMPACT OF FRUSTRATION
 
PRINCIPLE 18: PROPAGANDA MUST FACILITATE THE DISPLACEMENT OF AGGRESSON BY SPECIFYING THE TARGETS FOR HATRED
 
PRINCIPLE 19: PROPAGANDA CANNOT IMMEDIATELY AFFECT STRONG COUNTER-TENDENCIES; INSTEAD IT MUST OFFER SOME FORM OF ACTION OR DIVERSION, OR BOTH


OR:


Ten Leadership Attributes from Doris Kearns Goodwin 
This comes from Doris Kearns Goodwin, noted historian and author – worth us revisiting these days. The original article appeared in Parade Magazine:


1. The capacity to listen to differing points of view, to let Lincoln's advisors argue with him, question his assumptions. He created a climate in which people felt free to disagree without fear of consequences.


2. The ability to learn on the job, acknowledge errors, profit from mistakes, withstand adversity, come through trials of fire. Everyone is broken by life, Hemingway said, but some are strong in the broken places. This ability, Stephen Covey argues, literally turns failure into success. It is not our mistakes that hurt us most, but our response to those mistakes.


3. He showed a ready willingness to share credit for success, creating what has been called “an emotional bank account, a reservoir of good feeling. Harry Truman once said: You can accomplish anything in life so long as you do not care who gets the credit.


4. Even more striking than the ability to share credit was his willingness to shoulder blame for the failure of his subordinates.


5. He possessed an acute awareness of his weaknesses which allowed him to compensate for them. Forming a team with his opposite Stanton.


6. He was able to control his emotions. Ritual of writing hot letters hoping if he put it aside he would cool down psychologically and never need to send it. If he did lose his temper, he followed up with a kind gesture immediately.


7. He understood how to relax, replenish his energies, shake off anxiety. Theatre and humor.


8. At crisis moments, his immediate instinct was to go to the battlefield, walk amidst the soldiers, visit the wounded in the hospitals, bolster morale, assess the situation directly. Equivalent to managing by walking around. Indeed, he never lost sight of the people he represented. His White House was open to ordinary people. Sensitivity to currents of opinion allowed him to become a master of timing.


9. He possessed a quiet but steely resolution to stick to his long term goals even at moments when his own popularity was at stake.


10. He had a remarkable ability to communicate his goals to his countrymen, with stories, everyday metaphors, as well as with a beauty of language. 

~~~~~



I should mention (teasingly) I am a strong supporter of the second amendment.  I believe every citizen deserves to right bear arms.  Being a strict adherent to the constitution, I believe everyone has the right to own a flintlock musket that, on a good day, will shoot two shots a minute,   and that these muskets should be used, as a friend taught me the other deay) for the militia organized to defend us from British invaders or exterminate native Americans or to crush slave rebellions  (which is why the South insisted on the second amendment).  



Bob getting out of his bubble (23 October):  Glad I visited the Bloomsburg Fair Grounds Gun Show.  Putting together a column on it, partly about getting out of bubbles, partly to observe.  Got the impression there are three basic target audiences (pun intended):  the real sportsmen interested in skeet, hunting;  those interested in personal security (nice collection of handguns designed for women;  then the militia crowd.  What really surprised me, and it related to the last audience, was all the stickers, posters, t-shirts, caps, that were very pro-Trump and anti-liberal (or at least their perception of liberal) and very defiant (pink T-shirt proclaiming 'infidel,' a hunting permit for terrorists) but all the zombie apocalypse stuff like stickers for cars and even baseball bats from Walking Dead wrapped in barbed wire.  I think I get something that is feeding this militia mania:  fear.  Their perception (as Rasputin Bannon reinforced lately in his speech) that the world is threatening, after them, hostile.  Quaker Parker Palmer describes this view of the world as hostile and an enemy as one of our pathological demons that degrade our humanity.  Very interesting.  Worth noting.  


Bob hearing a good reminder (22 October):  Attend the United Presbyterian Church of Mount Carmel's 130 anniversary celebration today.  Was a 300 member congregation, now at 14.  The master of ceremonies spoke after the covered dish most eloquently, saying:  "God is good.  We are here to serve."  There's a good motto for all of us.  


Bob getting ready for the Gun Show at the Bloomsburg Fair (21 October):  Kelly had better check his skirt, his slip of dishonor is showing.  But then his boss has a way of doing that to you.  


Bob thirsty (20 October):  A suggestion -- that the only water the White House and Congress is allowed to drink comes from either Flint, Michigan, or Puerto Rico.  Now that's a 10!!!


We really can avoid nuclear annihilation, thank you very much.  That would be nice.  There are some things I'd like to do and friends to be with.   It can begin if Il Duce Trump and the state department would take a moment to read Portia Nelson's poem, "There is a Hole in My Sidewalk."  Can't reprint it but you can check it out.  Free the energy by changing the pattern.  Thank you.




Cool.  My talk on 'The Other Side of the Coin -- the Life of the Danville Mill Worker' is now on Youtube, courtesy of Van Wagner.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC_BE29K1Uc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHLWtHXmMoE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOKpwxcttng
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyK0QJ_l3XE


Nathaniel's Call available for purchase! 

The paperback edition (355 pages) can be purchased from the following vendors:

Amazon at www.amazon.com 
for 18.95

Barnes and Noble at 
www.bn.com for 16.52 (plus shipping)

Booklocker at 
www.booklocker.com 
for 18.95


Nathaniel's Call Cover

Nathaniel's Call by Robert John Andrews 

LOUISVILLE

The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.

Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.

Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes).  We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.

As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don't think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel's Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”