Category Archives: In the News

The Man Who Led the Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7th is the anniversary of the 1941 Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941, a day which, according President Roosevelt, would live in infamy.

My friend Hugh Hansel was an adolescent in 1941. He had gone fishing on a sunny Sunday in northwest Ohio and, when he returned home, he found the adults agitated and fearful. Over the next couple of years, Hugh watched older schoolmates go off to the war. He saw how they and their parents wept at their parting, and his young heart developed a deep hatred for the Japanese.

Fast forward to the next decade. Hugh had himself seen combat in Korea. After returning home, he and his wife Phyllis moved to Upland, Indiana, to attend Taylor University and pursue a degree in education. While he was there, it was announced that Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the man who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, would be on campus to speak. Signs began going up around Upland, calling on people to boycott Fuchida’s speech.

But Hugh wanted to see the monster who had attacked an unsuspecting enemy. He was filled with hate toward the Japanese generally and toward Fuchida in particular. Yet, by the time Fuchida’s speech ended, he had experienced a complete change of mind. He waited for Fuchida, not to give him a piece of his mind but to shake his hand.

The story he heard Fuchida tell was remarkable. Continue reading

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The Power of Idolatry and the Idolatry of Power

The last sentence in St. John’s first letter is: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” It’s placement as the apostle’s final word gives it substantial weight. He clearly regarded it as important.
We do not. The sentence hardly seems to fit our postmodern era. Idols were a part of their culture, not ours. Humanity has advanced beyond our ancestors’ crude worship, lavished as it was on lifeless, heartless symbols and images.
Think again. Consider the images that we have endowed with power: the apple with a bite taken out of it (Apple Corporation); the golden arches (McDonald’s); five yellow bars, radiating out like sunrays (Walmart); the smirky gold smile (Amazon). These images connote power, even world dominance.
One year out from the U.S. general election, I can think of two other symbols that connote power. The Donkey and the Elephant. Continue reading

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Man Forgives His Brother’s Killer

The reporter’s “cultural” explanation also fails to explain similar acts of forgiveness. Who can forget the forgiveness offered by Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to the white supremacist killer Dylan Roof? Then there was the multi-colored Jamrowski family in El Paso who forgave the man who went to Walmart to kill Latinos. And some of us remember Corrie Ten Boom, who forgave her Nazi guard after the deaths of her sister and parents and her own terrible mistreatment in Ravensbrück.
People don’t understand it – this remarkable forgiveness. Some are angered by it. But sooner or later people will come to recognize it. It is the mark of the forgiven people of Jesus. Continue reading

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Why Would I Jump out of an Airplane at 14,000 Feet?

The answer to the question in the title is: Because I want to. I’ve wanted to for decades. When I was younger, I often dreamed I was flying: I would jump in the air and just float, at will, over the neighborhood, the city, the countryside. Sometimes when I got into bed at night I would hope for that dream.
But that is flying, not falling, which is presumably what happens when one steps out of an airplane. Continue reading

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The Insurgency of Love Is Looking for Recruits

In 2007, President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers to Bagdad and the Anbar Province in Iraq. The objective was, in part, a “unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain … Continue reading

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Why You Should Not Claim “the Right Side of History”

History doesn’t have sides nor does it take sides. It is simply the story of which sides we have taken. Continue reading

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If Shakespeare Were Writing from Washington

The power-hungry devour those around them. The truly powerful do just the opposite: they nurture and empower them. Continue reading

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Get off the Bandwagon of Hate

Six days after the 9/11 attacks, in remarks made at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush told his audience, “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.” He went on … Continue reading

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God and Judgment in the #Me Too Era

Oprah Winfrey once explained that a sermon was the immediate cause of her departure from the orthodox Christian faith. In his Sunday message,her pastor Jeremiah Wright read and then exposited an Old Testament text in which God portrays himself as … Continue reading

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Is There a Christian Way to Think About Kavanaugh?

The country is like a volcano that is ready to erupt. Smoke is billowing. If the eruption comes, it won’t matter if one is a man or a woman, a Democrat or a Republican, a Conservative or a Progressive, everyone … Continue reading

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