America’s Empathy Deficiency

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Fourm on September 11, 2006

Thanks to my friend Randy Shadoe for passing along the video of Kyra Phillips and for our many enjoyable conversations and correspondences that keep me on my toes!


You too may have seen this one. The President is giving a speech to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and something goes terribly wrong in the CNN sound department. Suddenly we, the viewing audience, are hearing CNN anchor Kyra Phillips in the bathroom. We hear the zip of a garment, the flush of a toilet, and a conversation in which Ms. Phillips dishes some dirt on her sister-in-law.

It wasn’t long before this behemoth of a technical blunder was a momentary cultural sensation as video of the mishap bounced around cyberspace. To her great credit, Kyra Phillips went on Letterman to read a self-deprecating top ten list of excuses for what went wrong.

When I first saw the clip with Kyra Phillips’ private moment drowning out the President’s somber platitudes I laughed. It was great fun until the rusty cog wheels of my recollection began to turn, and through the fog of nearly twenty years of memory I recovered a bit of forsaken knowledge: I went to college with Kyra Phillips. Continue reading

A Prayer For Peace

The following prayer comes from Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders of Salt Films. Marthame and Elizabeth are former Presbyterian missionaries to the West Bank. I hope you will join me in praying in a similar way.

We see Hezbollah move to consolidate their regional influence by inciting Israel, and manipulating the resulting death and destruction for their anti-Israel, religious extremist agenda.
Lord God, may it stop.

We see Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate military actions, meting out devastation without regard for civilian life or civilian infrastructure.
Lord God, may it stop.

We see our own government’s failure to mediate, refusing to speak to enemies, enemies whom Christ calls us to love and pray for.
Lord God, may it stop.

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