A New Way of Looking at Today’s Presidential Campaign


I just received this in my email inbox from a dear friend of mine in New York City. It’s from his friend from seminary. I liked his perspective so I thought that I’d share widely this reflection on today’s politics. Let me know what you think…

Weekly Reflection by Rev. Durrell Watkins

I speak only for myself today. I am not representing my family, my neighborhood, my parish, or my denomination. Today I write to you not as the pastor of the Sunshine Cathedral, but as a member of the Temple of Democracy. The spirit that inspires me today is the spirit of justice and the sacrament that I hold up is the grace-filled act of making a choice and voting one’s convictions. The creed that fills my heart today comes not from ancient councils, but from the American motto, “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, One).


With that uncharacteristically patriotic introduction, let me now add that I hope that every American plans to vote in November’s presidential election. And I hope that all people will consider the important issues and vote for the common good, for “liberty and justice for ALL.”


We shouldn’t vote for the most dynamic individual (Obama might come out ahead if that were the test).

We shouldn’t vote for the person who has spent the most time in politics (that would favor McCain).

We shouldn’t vote for the person with the most impressive education (Obama would win that contest).

We shouldn’t vote for the person who has survived the ravages of war (McCain would be the winner in that case).

We shouldn’t vote for the person who is the best orator (Obama would be the clear winner there).

We shouldn’t vote for someone just for being a person of faith (Obama, Biden, and Palin each share that claim…I’m less familiar with McCain’s spirituality).

We shouldn’t vote for someone just for facing the challenges of racism (as Obama has),

nor should we vote for someone just for facing the challenges of sexism (as Palin has).

We shouldn’t vote for someone just for achieving personal success (both tickets feature very successful candidates).

We shouldn’t vote for someone for having the most attractive spouse (that would result in a tie).

We shouldn’t vote for someone for having “family values” (they all love their families).


All candidates this year have impressive credentials and have overcome some amazing odds. As individuals, we might admire any or all of them. What we are left to vote for is vision, commitment, and a plan of action to insure equal opportunity, equal rights, and equal protection under the law. So…


We SHOULD vote for the person who we believe will lead this country in the ways of peace and prosperity.

We SHOULD vote for the person who will promote freedom OF and FROM religion, and the separation of religion and state.

We SHOULD vote for the person who stands for equality for ALL citizens.

We SHOULD vote for the person who will care for our environment.

We SHOULD vote for the person who will try to provide quality care to children, elderly, and all who need medical care.

We SHOULD vote for the person who will try to make education through college accessible to the greatest number of people.

We SHOULD vote for the person will protect us from enemies while also protecting our civil liberties.

We SHOULD vote for the person who we believe best understands how to stimulate the economy without overlooking the neediest among us.

And we SHOULD always work to end homophobia in both parties and among all candidates.


In the past, both parties have offered good ideas and good leaders who have been a blessing to this country. So, we aren’t called to party loyalty or to the personality that we feel most drawn to; we are challenged in this election with weighing the ideas, the promises, and the plans of each candidate and making an informed and responsible choice for the good of our nation and our world.


Whoever you support, encourage them to keep the discourse respectful in these final campaign months. Let’s insist that these candidates discuss ideas and issues and not personally attack each other. We don’t want the person who can deliver the nastiest zinger; we want the person who will help our country be as good as it can be for as many people as possible.


Finally, if you believe in prayer, please pray for the candidates this year. Three Senators and a Governor are trying to balance their own health, the well-being of their families, the responsibilities of the current offices they hold, and the demands of the campaign trail. And whoever wins will inherit a sluggish economy and a war, and hopefully, whoever wins will try to bring unity and civility to a nation that is deeply divided on many issues. These candidates need our prayerful support as they run, and the winner will need extra wisdom and energy after winning. So, hold these candidates in prayer.


I can’t tell you who to vote for, but I am asking that you consider the issues very carefully and on Election Day, prayerfully cast your vote. If everyone does that, we’re all bound to win.

Catching Up

Twitter is really eating into my intermittent blogging ideas. I suppose it’s that I figure it’s already ‘out there’ I don’t have to put anything ‘out here.’ So, I’m going to bullet some stuff to catch my trusty reader(s) up on what has been going on lately.

  • I’m not sure I’ve described my office here but it is a combination equipment store room/office. Oddly shaped with some of the walls being exterior walls. It has one vent that is approximately 6″ in diameter and I believe it is connected to the vent in the rest rooms. So, I keep it closed. In the summer it gets rain forest hot and the winter it gets arctic cold. I have done without the suit and tie at work and have been wearing a polo shirt. I am getting used to it.
  • My DirecTV was acting erratically last week and there was fear that we’d miss the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus 3-D movie on the Disney Channel on Saturday. When I called DirecTV the earliest time I could have gotten a service call was today. Not good. But the digital satellite gods smiled upon us and blessed us with uninterrupted ‘tween pop star goodness. And that was 2 hours that I can’t get back.
  • The Introvert/Extrovert family had a wonderful time being back in Montreat/Black Mountain, NC. Sigh, it was very nice catching up with that community. I miss it so.
  • The Elder Extroverted Holy One has an interview with a church that is located in the eastern part of Tennessee (vague enough?). I’m excited for her and the potential of this church.
  • The Young Extroverted One starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks!?!?!? Holy crap! We are so not ready for that and at the same time we are so ready for that.
  • Contemplating stuff to do to the house to make it look better is overwhelming. My head is going to explode.
  • I missed the Music City Brewer’s Festival this year due to me paying attention to publicity for it. Damn.
  • Caught a new show on the Planet Green network called “Off the Grid.” Chronicling the efforts of my man crush Les Stroud and his family to live off the grid in the Canadian wilderness. Nice.

Alright, carry on with your daily activities I am done.

Welcome to My Blogroll Family!

If you like beer and if you follow me on Twitter, Brightkite, Plurk, Facebook or whatever other social networking site I have joined but forgot, you would know that I, also, like beer then it would behoove you to check out this new addition to my blogroll: the Beer School Blog.

Beer School Blog is two guys drinking beer and telling us what they thought. That’s it. There’s no pretension that one would find from a snooty wine taster. They use words that we all know to describe what they’re drinking. Simple enough. Me likey. Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet up with them in the near future to partake of some frosty beverages at a neighborhood bar in the Nashville area.

You can’t tell but I am raising a pint to them!

Huh?!?…Wha?!?…Oh! Hey there!

Don’t sneak up on me like that!

Yeah, so, it’s been a while. I guess my Twitter account is seeing more action than this place. I need to work on that.

Here is something that has been on my mind lately (among lots of other things). They’ve just added a new channel to DirecTV called Planet Green. Which is pretty cool and they have some good shows which appeal to my moderately handy, mostly granola self. But it mostly just pisses me off.

Seeing these architect/developer/real estate agent/independently wealthy couples either building green or fixing up old houses green kinda makes me a little mad. I’ve always felt that being environmental (and I do mean mental) is only possible if you have the money to do it. We do what we can here in east Nashville. We recycle pretty much everything, we compost (even though we don’t have a garden)(this compost heap looks like Marjory, the trash heap from Fraggle Rock but not as matronly), compact fluorescent bulbs throughout the house, buying produce from our friends’ farm in Springfield (if anyone wants info on buying from Natural Fields Farm let me know!), etcetera, etcetera, yadda, yadda, yadda. I agree that every little bit helps but I also believe that it’s the big stuff that will make big differences.

Big differences like solar panels, wind turbines, a brand new house…the list goes on of what we can’t afford as normal human beings. It just seems like these people on Planet Green are doing it because it’s cool and they get to be on TV. I think it’s cool but I also think it’s very important. Why aren’t these planet saving things more affordable? If they were more people would probably be able to obtain them which means more people doing the green thing. Wouldn’t that make the planet green?

Alright, I’ve ranted long enough. At the moment I’m helping do my part by not driving to work…which I have to do…right now…sigh.

New Video from Dads & Daughter.org

As a father of two beautiful daughters I find this organization very important. It seems more geared for dads and step-dads of girls that are a little older than the Young Extroverted One, but, at least I’m getting as prepared as I can. I know that we’re all in for a very bumpy ride as she gets older I’m just gonna strap in, enjoy the ride and love both my girls no matter what happens. Wheeeeeee…

Job Nonfulfillment

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Commencement address by Steve Jobs, delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University.

The only time I have felt like I have been doing “great work” or at least meaningful work, to me, was working for the Montreat Conference Center. And that was in any capacity. I’ve been a wilderness ranger taking care of their 2,500 acres of wilderness, a bellman in the Assembly Inn, a night auditor in the Inn (3rd shift one winter and read The Shining. Awesome.), AV Technician on up to Director of Production. I, also, felt like I was doing good work as a sound guy and sometimes bartender at the original Grey Eagle in Black Mountain working for beers instead of money. In each of those positions I have felt like I was doing something I loved. Maybe it was being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe it was the folks I was working with or the people I was serving. Maybe, in Montreat, it was working for the “Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin’ there in [his] ghost manger, just lookin’ at [his] Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors.” It just might be a combination of all of those things. While I’m in an industry that I enjoy I just can’t get behind what I’m doing here. Sure, it’s putting food on the table and insurance for the family, but, ugh. I just can’t stand being here wearing a tie and pushing for the almighty dollar instead of the Almighty.

I suppose I’m having some employment angst. It’s come up more so since I have been the new director of event technology at my current location. Also, with the Elder Extroverted Holy One’s graduation from Vanderbilt Divinity School and her current church search (that’s sounds kinda cool, “Church Search ’08” should be a t-shirt). There is a possibility that depending on the call she gets I might be able to be a stay-at-home dad. With the Young Extroverted One going to public school I could stay with the Bobblehead to save on childcare costs. We’ve even had a short discussion of possibly just owning one car.

With all of the possibilities of being able to be more of the domestic goddess that I could be I am certainly finding it difficult to get motivated to get up in the morning and put on that tie and coat. Thankfully, my work ethic kicks in and I continue to do the best I can no matter what I’m doing. . . . Stupid ethic . . .

Updated the ‘About’ Page

Yeah . . . so . . . um . . . a lot has happened since I first wrote my about page in January of 2007. Yikes. So, I had some time this morning to make an update. Check it out. If I had a mac at work I would update my family’s newsletter page. Wow, December 2007. No excuse other than I blog more than update the newsletter page and Twitter more than blog. I have some sort of hierarchy going on here. Considering that I don’t call my parents and brother very often at least they can follow me virtually like everyone else. So there!

Another Worthy Article from the Wittenburg Door

The 10 Worst Movies About Jesus


(Not Counting The Passion of the Christ Because That Would Be Too Easy)

By Danny Gallagher

The Robe

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

Jesus Christ, the Mini-Series

Zombie Jesus!

In Search of Historic Jesus

The Prince of Peace, a/k/a The Lawton Story

The Gospel According to Matthew


The Miracle Maker

The DaVinci Code

So, another fine article featured in the Wittenburg Door. There are some here that I haven’t seen. I might have to present a Jesus movie film festival at the church. Or maybe not. I don’t want to jeopardize the Elder Extroverted Holy One’s future job prospects. I’ll wait until she gets a job and offer the film festival at that church.