Medicare for everyone!

What we need to understand is that as the body ages, multiple systems begin to fail or become diseased. Knees, hips, and shoulders must be replaced. COPD becomes a big problem for many, as does adult onset asthma. Allergy problems are an issue. Blood disorders develop, cancers arise, heart attacks happen, muscle-skeletal problems arise–there is a long list of issues that develop as people age. Not to mention various kinds of accidents. Americans now expect to live to 80 or 90—-and there is no way to do that without excellent health care, lots of preventative testing and measures, and seeing multiple doctors. It isn’t just hospital stays—-medical care means lots of meds and many visits to various specialists. Medicare allows all of this kind of help. Moving to private vouchers will mean that only the wealthy can have the care that is now available to ordinary working class Americans. Medicare for everyone. Why should world class health care be only for the wealthy??????

Thomas Merton—Monk, Mystic, Poet, Writer

A Life in Letters

Recently, I have been reading Thomas Merton, A Life in Letters



Two of my favorite bloggers:  Reverend Bill Peterson, a retired Presbyterian minister, and Dr. R Scott Colglazier, Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Reverend Peterson was the pastor of Salem Presbyterian Church in the 1990’s, where my father was pastor from 1960-1968. Dr. Colglazier and I both lived on Main Street in Salem. His mother worked for my first husband’s drugstore, Apple Drugs, and my mother was his third grade teacher. Oh, how I love these webs of connectivity—across the miles, across the web, reaching out through time and space, reaffirming Thomas Merton’s epiphany “…we cannot be alien one to another….”  The line of connection stretches from Connecticut to Indiana to California, a shared experience of place and memories.

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  Prayers, poetry and commentary compiled and distributed by the Rev. Dr.

William D. Peterson, aretired Presbyterian Church USA Teaching Elder/ Minister of the Wordand Sacrament Bill
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Bill Writes:
The world may seem very large geographically, but as Frederick Buechner’s reflections shared this morning indicate, No man nor woman is an island to his or herself.
    In relationship to the following message from R. Scott Colglazier,  his memories of November 22, 1963, when he was in the first grade, relate to the day I was in the fall semester of my senior year at Wheaton College, and driving to E. Lansing, MI, for interviews scheduled for the next day at Michigan State University. Now I know more of our respective ages and stages in life.
As to the “small world” phenomenon, however, in April of 1994,  I was ordained an installed as the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in the community in Southern Indiana that was the location of the school Scott so vividly describes. Scott himself was no longer residing in the community by the time Kathy and I moved there, or during the six years of our subsequent sojourn with the good people of the community, but members of his extended family were still in the area.
So thank you Scott, for providing such a vivid example of the web of life that directly or indirectly connects us all in good times and in times of tragedy.


Small Boy. Big Memory.

November 21, 2013 by Dr. R. Scott

I remember it with such vividness. I was in first grade. The school building was old. Wooden floors. High ceilings. The hall echoed with voices and footsteps. The heavily-stained oak desks were perfectly aligned and bolted to the floor. (No collaborative learning in those days.) We sat in rows. We sat quietly. We listened to the teacher and learned.

My mother walked me to the bus stop each morning that fall. I wore dark bluejeans replete with orange stitching, and the pants were stiff, as if made of starched cardboard. I wore a white polo shirt for my first grade picture that year. I didn’t smile. I was serious, even as a first grader, earnest and serious. I was sitting toward the back of the classroom on November 22, a classroom ringed with dusty blackboards, and above the boards, art work illustrating numbers and letters. My first grade reading book featured “Dick and Jane.” (Oddly enough, the names of my dad and aunt.) The illustrations in the book were warm and familiar.

I remember sitting in Mrs. Cauble’s class, and then a terrible anguished scream rang out from the hallway. It was not a scream exactly, more like a high-pitched groan. I then heard the sound of a woman running down the hallway, her shoes making a frantic clacking sound against the wooden floors. I later figured out that the woman was the school’s secretary. I don’t remember her name, but she assisted the school principal, Mr. Spradley, who was rumored to have an electric paddle in his office for any student who dared to challenge his authority. A short time later Mrs. Cauble, sweet, old and now shaken, shared the news that the President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been shot and killed.

The full impact of this news did not really sink in until I went home, because for the next few days I watched the black and white news coverage on the television with my mother. We were living in a small two-bedroom house on Standish Street, and I remember sitting on the living room floor and watching the procession of sadness – the horse-drawn casket, Mrs. Kennedy in her black dress, the two children, and the sober voice of Walter Cronkite’s as he offered commentary on the proceedings.

I remember feeling confused, upset and afraid. Of course the entire nation was shocked. I now realize that the death of President Kennedy was my first awareness of impermanence. The implacable reality that the universe shifts. I would learn that lesson again with Dr. King’s death. And Bobby Kennedy’s death. And then my grandfather dying. And then two friends killed in an automobile accident. And then a President resigning. And on and on goes the litany of life. Impermanence: You wake up and the world is one way. You go to bed and the world is different. November was such a sad day.

I was a small boy. It is a big memory. I’m still trying to understand that day in November fifty years ago.

Books My Students Have Written

Oh…such fun to brag. Below is a list of books written by my former Senior English students at Salem High School in Salem, Indiana. I can’t say I helped them much, but apparently I did no harm.

**  Jim Apple, SHS 1987

Dr. James Apple,  Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Stairway to Nirvana

** Ann Branaman,  SHS 1986

Dr. Ann Branaman, Florida Atlantic University

 Self and Society, Blackwell Readers

** Ron Henderson, SHS 1983

Professor of Landscape Architecture and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University and former Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University,

The Gardens of Suzhou

** Sherri Luce, SHS 1978

Midnight in Legend

Under the Mistletoe

Where Her Heart Is



Reformation Day Recalls Principles of Protestanism

“Reformation Day Recalls Principles of Protestantism.” The Knoxville News-Sentinel [Tennessee] 25 Oct. 1958, sec, 1:2,

Reformation Day Recalls Principles of Protestantism

Principles of the Reformation, still an integral part of Protestantism, and present-day effects of the Reformation are set forth in a Reformation Day article prepared by the Knox County Presbyterian Ministers Association, representing all Presbyterian Branches.

The statement was written by the Rev Floyd Doud Shafer, Fourth Presbyterian Church, with the cooperation of Dr. A. E. Dallas, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and Dr. E. K. Reagin, First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Began in 1517

“Protestantism, a dominant force in Western civilization for more than 400 years, began on October 31, 1517, when a young Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted on the doors of the Castle Church, in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 theses, or arguments, against the sale of indulgences and other abuses of the church of his day.”

“There are certain easily recognized distinguishing marks of the Protestant way of life. Protestantism has popularized the Bible, promoted Biblical research, and made the Bible an all-time best-seller. Protestantism has promoted the missionary enterprise and each year raises millions of dollars to build hospitals, found schools and operate churches around the world.”

The statement praises “the colorful evangelistic campaigns, so characteristic of American Protestantism.” It says they “have made religion a living experience for millions. Protestantism thrives on lay leadership. In predominantly Protestant countries, Protestantism acts as the conscience of society and government and is always ready to make its voice heard on social and political issues.

Pulpit Is Symbol

“Protestantism creates the atmosphere of inquiry, open debate, free speech, unhampered investigation and experiment, individual decision and corporate action; champions law and order; upholds the rule of majorities yet seeks to safeguard the rights of minorities.”

“Protestantism’s most obvious symbol is the pulpit through which the church interprets the Word of God, opposes iniquity, challenges to repentance, proclaims the grace of forgiveness, calls for justice, encourages tolerance, appeals for righteousness, pleads for the poor, the afflicted, the sick, the tempted and the fallen….”

Writing of the work of the Reformers, Mr. Shafer credited them with originating the public school system. “For example, a Presbyterian Minister, the Rev. Samuel Carrick, founded Blount College in 1794, which became East Tennessee College in 1807 and is now the University of Tennessee.”

“Today in truly Protestant churches, the Reformation continues wherever the Bible is understood as God’s word to man, is preached and read and its principles put into positive action; whenever persons rightly understand their mutual responsibility for each other’s welfare in every realm of life; wherever protest is made against Fascism in church or state; wherever righteousness is sought from Almighty God and not from social custom or group acceptance.”

“Protestantism reveres its history and celebrates its origin. Now it goes ahead with the ever-difficult task of making the Reformation continue by seeking newer and deeper meanings of the Gospel for men and societies in the atomic age.”