Sunday, December 18, 2016


I love Jesus of Nazareth. 

I grew up in the church, a Presbyterian church.  I sang in the choir, joined the youth group, attended the special classes for confirmation and was proudly confirmed.  I remember our minister, Reverend Crawford.  Mostly I remember the kindness and acceptance.  Our church had one rule, the Golden Rule.  The Christianity that I was taught was the humility, generosity, and tolerance that Jesus showed us every day of his life regardless of hardships.

When our family moved to another town I found horses, and in typical teenage fashion I traded church for teenage activities.  But I continued to be inspired by the life of Jesus, and continued to celebrate his birth and his death.  While in college I once attended another Presbyterian church in Philadelphia.  The minister spent his entire sermon condemning us for the sins we had surely committed, never encouraging us to go forward in kindness and generosity and peace.  It was unfamiliar and unwelcome.  I did not return.

As I grew older I recognized that I don’t believe much of the Bible, or any other religious text.  I am an atheist.  This hardly precludes my love of Jesus, the humble carpenter who put love first.  I believe in Jesus as an example of the wondrous potential in each of us.  The man with the courage to speak the truth in the face of hypocrisy, to embrace the weak and the poor who could do nothing for him in return, to live his love despite the consequences. 
Unencumbered by various passages in the Old Testament, uncensored by organizations that may judge my actions by their own interpretation of faith, I am free to follow the Golden Rule, my conscience, and the example of Christ. 

This Christmas season think not so much of the child, but of the man he became, a man who loved and aided his fellow man, no exceptions.  Within each of us there is a capacity for kindness and tolerance and love.  Open your heart to the world, breathe deeply of the humble love that Jesus showed us.

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

I was thinking of using my young dog Poe to put the sheep in the pen on town common for the living nativity. When I arrived with the trailer I realized that the pen was surrounded with caroling kings, robed shepherds, a few outside fires, and a veritable road map of votive candles. I decided to use Song, a seasoned veteran. Good thing. The replacement lambs came out of the trailer like wild deer straight for the woods, and once turned drove hard for Bethlehem, brightly robed pageant participants be damned. It took a sure partnership to settle them and gently guide them through the obstacle course into their waiting pen.