Twenty Hours in America

More than anytime in recent history, America’s destiny is not of our own choosing.

We did not seek, nor did we provoke an assault on our freedoms and our way of life.  We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil.

Yet the true measure of a peoples’ strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive.

Forty-four people were killed a couple of hours ago at Kennison State University. Three swimmers from the men’s team were killed and two others are in critical condition.

When after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out.

Ran into the fire

The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.

They’re our students, and our teachers, and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels.

But every time we think we’ve measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.

This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard, we will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars.

God bless their memory. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

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I’m an Outdoorsman

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Josh: Tell me democracy doesn’t have a sense of humor. We sit here, we drink this beer out here on the stoop, in violation of about 47 city ordinances. I don’t know, Toby, its election night. What do you say to a government that goes out of its way to protect even citizens that try to destroy it?

Toby: God bless America.

Sam: God bless America.

C.J.: God bless America.

Donna: God bless America.

Josh: God bless America.

Galileo V

Mallory: I spoke to my dad, I’m sorry about Galileo.

Sam: They’ve got a lot of tests they can still try.

Mallory: How much is it going to cost to try them?

Sam: Don’t start with me.

Mallory: I’m asking as a taxpayer. It costs $165 million to lose the thing, how much more money is it going to cost to make sure you’re never going to find it?

Sam: I don’t know Mallory but we certainly won’t divert any municipal tax dollars which are always best spent on new hockey arenas.

Mallory: No, its better spent feeding, and housing, and educating.

Sam: There are a lot of people in the world Mal and none of them are hungry because we went to the Moon. None of them are colder and certainly none of them are dumber because we went to the Moon.

Mallory: And we went to the Moon, do we really have to go to Mars?

Sam: Yes!

Mallory: Why?

Sam: Because its next. Because we came out of the cave – and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is whats next.

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Take This Sabbath Day

You know, you remind me of the man that lived by the river.

He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town, and that all of the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, “I am religious. I pray. God loves me, God will save me.” The waters rose up, a guy in a rowboat came along and he shouted, “Hey, hey you! You in there, the town is flooding let me take you to safety!” But the man shouted back, “I am religious. I pray. God loves me, God will save me.” A helicopter was hovering overhead, and a guy with a megaphone shouted, “Hey you down there, the town is flooding, let me drop this ladder and I’ll take you to safety!” But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him, and that God would take him to safety.

Well, the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter he demanded and audience with God. “Lord,” he said, “I’m a religious man, I pray, I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?” God said, “I sent you a radio report, a helicopter, and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?”

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Undecideds

Good morning.

My prayers are with Ronnie Burke’s family today, I know yours are too. My prayers are with Officer Rafael Martinez and his family – they are not struggling with the loss of a child, but they are struggling with a terrible truth. My prayers are with those families, and with this one.

You know, I find myself on days like this casting about… for someone to blame. I blame the kid he stole a car. I blame the parents, why couldn’t they teach him better? I blame the cop, did he need to fire? I blame everyone I can think of and I am filled with rage.

And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame. Compassion for the people I do not understand. Compassion. Doesn’t always work so well.

I remember as a young man listening on the radio to Dr. King in 1968, he asked of us compassion and we responded. Not necessarily because we felt it but because he… convinced us that if we could find compassion, if we could, express compassion, and if we could just pretend compassion, it would heal us, so much more than vengeance could.

And he was right, it did. But not enough.

What we’ve learned this week is that more compassion is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And we are all, I think, everyone of us, tired. We’re tired of understanding. We’re tired of waiting. We’re tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to make them safe seem to fail. We’re tired.

But, we must know that we have made some progress. And blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that. Blame will not rid our streets of crime, and drugs, and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools, or our families, or our workforce – blame will rob us of those things. And we have had enough of that.

And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts. Because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together, and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better.

God bless you. God bless you, and God bless your children.

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The Stormy Present

We owe it to ourselves to stand in this dirt as survivors and witnesses. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for the absolute knowledge or power or right. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.

Men seek to douse the flame, douse the ideal, to return to a different age entirely, to return to the age from which our forefathers fled.

Fundamentalism is a vision, an idea as rigid as democracy is flexible. And we cannot let it overcome what we have worked so hard to earn.

Jed — Go see Lincoln and listen.

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Noël

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole.

The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you, can you help me out?’

The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’

The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’

And the friend jumps in the hole.

Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’

The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’

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