President Obama in Germany, 2013: No longer a larger-than-life figure...
Speaking at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, he didn't utter a memorable one-liner, like John F. Kennedy - "Ich bin ein Berliner" - or even Ronald Reagan - "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall".
Given the current circumstances, perhaps if President Obama had tried such lofty oratory this time, it would have fallen flat anyway.
By all reviews, President Obama's visit to Berlin this time could not possibly compare to his last visit -- in 2008.
That was predictable. Germans, and most Europeans generally, had unrealistically high expectations for the newly minted U.S. President back then. And by the time a U.S. president is in a second term, he (maybe in the future, she) has accumulated baggage of all kinds.
An American working for Deutsche Welle offers this analysis, "Obama's speech disappointed -- in a good way".
"Ich bin ein Berliner." > "I am a jelly doughnut."
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 8:24am
Allan: Both articles were interesting. The second was funny and entertaining.
Obama is saying in this made up speech that he should have said, [taken from the second article] "There are many people in the world who say that you need a steady job and your own money to lead the good life. Let them come to Berlin.
There are some who say you cannot drink four-euro-lattes at Starbucks, separate garbage in eight different cans, send your boy to ballet class - and still be the capital of Europe’s economic powerhouse. Let them come to Berlin.
And there are some who say that a strong welfare state saps people of their initiative, ambition, and drive. Let them come to Berlin. Lasst sie nach Berlin kommen."
Good play on the old Kennedy Berlin speech.
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 9:44am
Obama lacked any memorable words because he lacked a memorable agenda for G8 summit trip. Maybe Bam should have made a speech about helping Bashir hold off the Al Qaida terrorists that are trying to take over Syria. That would've been memorable and newsworthy.
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 11:23am
If "O" had fulfilled his 08' promises maybe he would be more popular worldwide and here in the US.
As this president continues to lose support...the Tea Party continues to gain support across this nation. Two to three times more people went to DC for a Tea Party rally yesterday (middle of the week and on very short notice) vs. the numbers who turned out for Obama in Germany.
EarlGrey: Obama may be the TEA party's best recruiter. We all were warned that in the second Obama administration, we'd see the real Obama come out. Who would have thought that the various scandals of abuse would have happened, Benghazi, spying on all Americans' phone, e-mail, and Facebook messages, promoting the legalization of gay/lesbian marriage, and NOW he wants the US to cut back to next to nothing our Nuke Stockpile [supposedly the Russians will do the same - yea right].
Interestingly that anti-Obama movie that ran during the past election [forget the name of it] warned that Barry aka Barack Obama had the cutting of America's Nuke capability as one of his goals that he'd persue in his second term [surly makes his accidental on mic comment to the Russian leader just before that last election make even more sense].
So EarlGrey, I believe that YES, Obama has been a major help in getting folks to value the TEA party and it's values, myself included. I'd hate to have to say you were right, but you were. Glad I didn't vote for Barry in 2012, just wish Romney had been the real Mitt Romney, he might have won and this discussion wouldn't now be happening.
But it's important that the TEA party keep the "nut jobs" like O'Donnell /Palin from being the voice of the TEA movement. More sane folks like you [EarlGrey] do a far better job presenting the TEA values that regular sane folks can easily listen to. Paul Ryan does a good job, and maybe even Rick Perry, he's a likeable guy, just needs help in debates.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 4:27pm
Adding one bit of clarification in my post above. As far as the gay/lesbian marriage issue, I believe that should be determined by each state rather than the Federal Government dictating such policy, same with abortion.
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 8:11pm
MikeFromUnderwear comes out of the closet. He is a tea nut after all. He says "independent" but he's dropped all sort of hints about hew he hates "LIB/DEMS."
No one who has really studied the gospels can possibly think that anyone can follow Jesus' teaching and be a right-winger, tea person or fundamentalist.
Substitute "religious right" (or even "social conservative") every time the world "Pharisee" appears in the gospels and see how well it fits - and whom Jesus was really talking about.
Jesus to Tea Party: Matt 7:21-23.
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 10:21pm
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
You can be a Tea Party person or a liberal and still be a Christian...as long as you do the will of the Father. God is above politics even though both sides claim He is on their political team.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 11:31pm
EarlGrey: Well said, especially the last sentence.
Billsmith: Really, mike from underware??? How junior high of you. so because you can't badger me to agree with your point of view you now are going to mock me by insulting my user name? Unfortunately knuckleheads like you only want to believe bad things about those who do not agree totally with your world view. You're as narrow minded & as full of hate towards those you disagree with as ElRushbo.
Truth be told, I don't care if the state allows gay marriage. Also the churches are also free to make that choice too. That's between them & God. There's a quote the Billy Graham said on this issue: It's the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and our job to love. So even though I'm not comfortable with it, it isn't my problem to solve, that too is God's. All I 've got to do is love the person, because God went to the cross for them too which includes you. I'm sorry that I am not as good at demonstrating Godly love, because its the lack of that in your life that has pulled you away from God. For my failings to be more like Jesus I humbly apologize. Be at peace.
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 5:36am
MikeFromUnaware: You say you want to be like Jesus but you embrace the tea party and display the qualities attributed to Pharisees. Either you are not clear on Jesus' qualities or you are not trying very hard.
You are also quick to conclude that I have pulled away from "God" (based on whatever you imagine about my life) - assuming that God and organized Christianity are the same thing. I don't know what's "out there." But I reject your concept of god and the cult preachers, priests and theologians have built on it.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 8:55am
Billsmith: As I've told you numerous times, I am a voracious reader and have come across a book by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne about Red Letter Christianity. The red letters are the words printed in red in the New Testament that are Jesus' words.
This whole idea of the red letter sayings of what Jesus actually did say at various times during his ministry is a very challenging thing, because Jesus holds a high standard, but it is THE Standard that we as his followers are to be striving towards. It IS very telling that Jesus didn't speak at all [at least what's recorded in the Bible] on homosexuality, yet I'm sure, that he was aware of it, but as Campolo said in the book, it wasn't on his Top Ten Hit List of things to go after.
One thing they mentioned too, which is very sad indeed, that today most non-Christians when asked what they know about Christians seem only to be able to say what and who Christians are against, rather than what and who they are for. Unlike people's encounters with Jesus, no one seemed to walk away from Jesus saying, wow Jesus hates gay folks, but rather sinners of all kinds were comfortable being with him. Same with the 1st Century Church, as was recorded folks saying: look at how they love one another, not look at who they hate. So definitely there's something amiss in THE CHURCH today, especially the Evangelical Conservative branch.
By the way, when I said I'm still a Lutheran, as usual you made an assumption [which you like to do] that I went back to the LCMS, I might be worshipping at the ELCA Lutheran Church. Actually I'm doing both right now [not as a member of either] as this book by Tony Campolo is giving me much to think, consider, and pray about.
As I've told you numerous times, I take my walk with Christ very seriously. Just because I don't see everything the same as you doesn't mean I'm not searching and striving to be more like Christ, but if you must bash someone, then yes it's better you bash me than the Risen Christ, as I AM a sinner and full of flaws and definitely not what would be considered "the model Christian". Jesus, on the other hand, was not a sinner, who is who he said he is and is worthy of all praise and honor.
The difference between you and I is your search appears to have taken you away from Christ and mine brings me closer, even if not to where you believe it should be. Each of us are at a different place in our spiritual journey.
The other difference between us is I don't condemn or bash you for your beliefs or lack of which is how you come across to my ear [because I realize we both are seeking truth and are at different places than the other person]. You don't seem to have that ability, which is what makes trying to discuss anything with you [secular or religious], not much fun. You believe you are superior to me mentally, intellectually, education-wise, spiritually, etc., etc. This probably is true. I've never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Just remember who the first folks to see the Risen Savior were: the Shepherds. Working-class folks. The "Brain Trust" really weren't interested back then, or unfortunately today. Consider this, all the Apostles were working-class folks of no importance, not highly-educated men who were men of letters other than Judas Iscariot. Granted there were other learned men who did come to Jesus, like Nickodemus and Joseph of Arimathea [he provided Jesus with a tomb], and later Saul of Tarsus [who became Paul], but they seem to be the minority of his followers then and yes today. Believe it or not, the continent with the largest percentage of Christians per capita is Africa. Many churches from Africa send missionaries to the US; remember when it used to be the other way around? So maybe part of what Jesus was saying to the wealthy young ruler when he said it is harder for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel going through the eye of a needle might have also meant well educated man, because they would have been the folks who were wealthy. Man's wisdom is foolishness to God.
It was a shame you didn't bother to listen to that sermon from the AG about being a Pharisee, I think you'd have found much of what he said interesting, even though he probably isn't as well-schooled as you and those you respect. That's another difference between you and me. I'm willing to listen to someone, even if he/she appears to be less educated, or less read than even I am, because I can and have learned much from others, even those who seem to be even a duller knife than I.
I believe you might find this topic [Red Letter Christianity] of interest.
The first link [below] is for that book that I'm reading; you might find it of interest, especially the chapter on homosexuality.
The second link is to one of their TV shows [apparently Campoloa and Claiborne have a weekly TV show on one of the religious cable TV channels dealing with this very issue of Red Letter Christians that I just found now trying to find more info about the book which I'm in the process of reading.
This link for the book:
This link for the TV show:
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 9:43am
MikeFromDelaware: Interesting. You might also want to look into the work of the "Jesus Seminar". They've attempted to identify the "historic Jesus" and things he actually (or probably) said and separate out things added later. Their study includes the apocryphal gospels as well as the canonical gospels.
I admire much of Jesus' teaching. I consider St. Paul to have largely corrupted things.
Sorry, but the first people to see Jesus after the resurrection were women, in particular Mary Magdalene (not shepherds) - you know, those people that Catholics, fundamentalists, the LCMS and others consider not eligible to be clergy. Re-check your Bible.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 10:14am
Billsmith: I was referring to Christmas Eve when Jesus first arrived here as a baby. The Shepherds were the first to see him as the new born king. Yes, the women [also working-class folks] were the first to see the Risen Christ. Sorry, I wasn't clear as to which event I was referring.
I'll look into the Jesus Seminar.
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 12:37pm
MikeFromDelaware: Sorry, the reference to "risen Christ" threw me.
My issue is not with Jesus: It's with organized Christianity and with the clerics and theologians who organize it. Jesus seemed to have the same problem with the religious establishment of his day. The issue for me is: (1) Organized Christianity (hereinafter OC) trying to force everybody live in the way they decide. (You seem to think I am a progressive; actually I am a libertarian.) (2) The authoritarian nature of OC; something is true because somebody or something says so - the Bible or whatever. From blindly following the authority of scripture, it's a short step to blindly following the authority of some leader. This is why despots have long favored the church; it trains people blindly to follow. and (3) All the in-your-face preaching, unasked for. Jesus told people to live as an example. Much more effective than nagging at them. Less annoying, too.
I expect you'll tell me people aren't perfect. True enough. But there is something systematic about OC that encourages people to think a certain way and act a certain way. And the way they think and the way they act is not something I want any part of. Neither do I want to live in a religious dictatorship and that's OC's clear goal.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 1:31pm
Billsmith: When I went back reread my post I saw the Risen Christ where I should have put a reference of Christmas, so you read what I wrote and made a valid observation of women vs. the shepherds.
You make excellent points in this post.
Not all denominations want to run the government or society. I know you have your issues with the LCMS, but from what I've read and have learned [so far] about them, yes they have their strict rules for their congregations, but, don't seem to want to be involved in government and legislating morality, like the "Evangelical Conservative Moral Majority" type churches [ i.e., Pat Robertson/ the late Jerry Fallwell].
The only real instance I see is where LCMS Prez Matthew Harrison spoke to Congress in support of the Catholic organizations not being required to pay for birth control/ abortion stuff via their health-care insurance [HHS]. Harrison even said he'd prefer to be doing ministry work rather than anything to do with politics, but due to the extrordinary nature of this he's speaking up in defense of his Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ [the link with his video comments to Congress is available somewhere on the LCMS web site]. This is one of the things that attracts me to the LCMS is this lack of wanting to legislate morality to the nation.
I believe the same can be also said of the ELCA [so far in my learning about them].
Both Lutheran denominations seem more interested in preaching their intrepretation of Christ than legislating, and from where I stand, that is a wonderful thing. I truly wish all churches would stay out of politics as it soils Christ's holy name, be it conservative GOP or liberal DEM, or any other political group. Preach Christ, minister to everyone, including GLBT folks by loving as Christ did. Now as to whether a church can or should say acting on gay/lesbian desires [marrying gay/lesbians, etc], that is for each church to pray about and to seek God's face and will and make their own decision, but should also respect the other churches' rights to make a diffeent decision. Obviously some are saying yes [ELCA, Episcopalians, Some American Baptists, etc] and others no [LCMS, United Methodists, Some other American Baptists, Southern Baptists, etc] .
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 4:51pm
MikeFromDelaware: You make a valid point that most of the groups taking political positions in the name of religion are distinct from any congregation or denomination. Some of the leaders are ordained; many are not. Some of the preachers who got into politics have even later regretted it (i.e., Billy Graham). It is a very human temptation for people involved in religion to think any idea that pops into their heads is god's idea. That's why I question many people's use of the word "pharisee." It gives the movement an undeserved bum rap. And it allows people to think that what Jesus criticized is not about them.
Sheep-ranchers were probably pretty well off and were likely in the field with hired hands for lambing. Of course, the magi showed up pretty quickly after that and they seemed quite well off. It is curious that the writer of Matthew made three Zoroastrian astrologers the focus of his nativity story. I also recall they told us about King Herod and the Wise Men in my LCMS Sunday School class, and I had nightmares for weeks after that about Herod coming through my bedroom window to kill me.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 10:28pm
Billsmith: I wasn't afraid of King Herod; I was afraid of the nuns in Catholic School. Let's just say, most didn't seem to be about passing on the Love of God, but more into putting the Fear of God into you, especially if you were a boy. The girls generally could do no wrong [most at that age wanted to be a nun someday].
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 11:22pm
MikeFromDelaware: Apparently those girls changed their minds, since they didn't have enough nuns to staff parochial schools and lay teachers took over (and formed a union) and then they didn't have enough students (those girls weren't making babies in accord with Catholic tradition) or enough money (after child-abuse lawsuit settlements) and they started closing schools. Same for nurses in hospitals. Now I understand most nuns are elderly and need taking care of themselves. I wonder if any former students of parochial school nuns have thought about getting jobs in the nuns' nursing homes. You know what they say about payback.
I used to date an ex-nun. Joined up right out high school. Usual story. Big family and one had been "dedicated" to the church. They sent her to college and she became a teacher. She left right before turning 40 and was very anxious to discover what she had missed.
Unfortunately, her history freaked out a lot of guys and she had trouble finding somebody to assist her "discovery." Jesus must have more ex-wives than all the movie stars and producers in LA put together.
I had a wonderful kindergarten teacher in my LCMS parochial school but they found out she'd gotten engaged to a Catholic and fired her immediately. Some of the other women teachers, though, would exceed any nightmare nun in being mean. Sexual repression can turn women really nasty.
If you haven't seen it, you might find the movie "The Magdalene Sisters" interesting. Ireland closed the last of the infamous Magdalene Homes last year, I understand, but the nuns who ran them went beyond cruelty.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 22, 2013 9:21am
Billsmith: I first discovered Lutheranism about 5 1/2 years ago on Christmas Eve. Our Evangelical Charismatic church only offered an early Christmas Eve service (at 5:30 p.m.) and my son, who worked in retail, at the time, had to work till 8 and wouldn't be able to make the service. So I checked around looking for a church that had a later service and found this Lutheran Church [later I realized it was an ELCA Lutheran Church] that had a later Christmas Eve service].
We went that Christmas Eve 5 1/2 years ago and well, I fell in love [spiritually], I didn't know Lutherans had a Mass. I thought how cool is this, the beauty and liturgy of the Mass without the Catholic teachings [no praying to Mary, the Saints, or for the dead, and definitely no indulgences, plus at the beginning of their Mass you have that time to reflect on your sins and then get absolution right there by the Pastor, so you can then go and receive the Eucharist in a worthy way, after all Luther started the Protestant Reformation]. That started our journey in Lutheranism. Interestingly, many former Catholics have become Lutherans [many of those went through a divorce and as that is the unpardonable sin in the Catholic faith unless you pay some serious cash and get a annulment so then that first marriage didn't exist which affects your children from that marriage, wouldn't that now make them "bastards" due to being born out of wedlock? I went through a divorce and my ex wanted me to go along with getting an annulment, to which I said, No. My kids [who are adults, married, with their own kids] have thanked me many times for not making them bastards and saying no to getting an annulment.]
Anyhow, the point I wanted to make [kind of got off my topic like after the first sentence] was that it seems to me that the Lutheran Church in general is what the Catholic Church should have "evolved" into [obviously that was Luther's goal as he didn't want to start a new church].
A Liturgical church with a Mass, that has married pastors [male and female in the case of the ELCA, only male in the LCMS], none of the abuses Luther rallied against. Wonderful music including Gregorian Chant. Some have referred to the Lutheran Church as "Catholic lite", I prefer to say "Catholic without the non-biblical stuff", Sola Scriptura.
As Pastor Todd Wilkins says on Lutheran Public Radio's Talk Program "Issues, Etc.", someone like me he refers to as a recovering Evangelical. It is one of the things that has made it difficult for me and my wife to simply join up either ELCA or LCMS as we're still working out some of our Evangelical beliefs vs. Lutheranism, interestingly both Evangelical and Lutheran are "Protestant Churches" but have some very different beliefs. So this journey into Lutheranism both ELCA and LCMS has caused me to re-explore the Bible and re-explore my beliefs and interpretation and understanding of God's Word. Not a five-minute process. Besides not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it takes me longer sometimes, but its not for a lack of study, reading, praying, and digging. We've decided on Lutheranism and happily call ourselves Lutheran. Now we have to see which Lutheran, ELCA or LCMS is where God is calling us. We like both, as both are Lutheran, but yet very different. So we've been exploring both and will wait on God's timing to show us where we belong within Lutheranism.
Sat, Jun 22, 2013 10:30am
MikeFromDelaware: What other churches/denominations have you sampled and considered along the way?
Did you check out the Moravian Church at any point? Founded by Jan Huss and pre-dates the Lutherans by more than a century.
And did you consider any of the members of the Eastern Orthodox communion or even Oriental Orthodox?
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 22, 2013 5:48pm
Bill smith: When I left the Catholic Church many years ago, I visited a Unitarian Church; it didn't take long to figure out they believed in God, but not in Jesus as God's son. I was "saved" at Faith City back when Steve's father Bert Hare was Pastor (Steve was still in school). Other Evangelical churches I've visited include a number of Charismatic non-denominational churches; an American Baptist; Southern Baptist; Church of God; Assembly of God; Presbyterian; and United Methodist.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 22, 2013 5:51pm
I did look on line about the Orthodox Church, but didn't ever go & visit. I might some time do that, just to experience their worship.
Sat, Jun 22, 2013 6:49pm
MikeFromDelaware: I did attend a Greek Orthodox wedding a long time ago. Very exotic. Lots of incense and chanting.
I've read about the Moravian Church. Instead of being derived from the Roman Church like the Protestants, they come away from the Eastern Church. Music is a really important part of their liturgies and they treat church as a celebration (with lots of singing). Not very many congregations. Closest is up near the airport. But what I've read about them is intriguing.
Unitarians are successors to the Arians - the side that lost the vote at the Council of Nicea in 325. Their version of the Nicene Creed was "being of LIKE substance with the Father" (not ONE substance). They accepted Jesus as the son of God, but not the doctrine of the Trinity. Modern Unitarian--Universalitists look for truth in all religions and believe eventually everyone will be saved. Nice people but nothing like traditional Gregorian liturgy.
Sun, Jun 30, 2013 9:42am
This is because Obama is a fake and JFK was the real deal. You can't cover up the lie forever.
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