America is a great country. But the US Capitol Insurrection is part of a long, dark, racial history in the United States.

“This isn’t who we are.”

President-elect Joe Biden said these words in the aftermath of Wednesday’s assault on the US Capitol. Politicians like to say this during events like this. I believe that President-elect Biden and others who use that phrase mean nothing but good. They want to say that as Americans we aspire to higher goals and that what happened is something that is uncharacteristic of who we are as Americans.

This phrase comes from a good place. It’s also incredibly wrong. This is who we are. This is who we are as a nation.

African Americans, Native Americans…


Can someone be on the straight and narrow and become tempted to take a darker path?

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

-Mark 8:36

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”

-Margaret Chase Smith (former Republican Senator from Maine)

Is character something that can be corrupted? Can someone be on the straight and narrow and become tempted to take a darker path? Or is character revealed by situations? …


Why are so many pastors leaving the ministry?

The following tweet hit me this morning:

As a fellow pastor, I was shocked and nodding in agreement at the same time. I can understand why so many pastors are throwing in the towel. COVID really placed some stress on pastors, so on one level, it’s not a surprise.

That said, I think COVID was more of an accelerant than a cause. A lot of the causes were taking place long before the lockdown. There are a lot of things happening in our culture that leave clergy feeling depressed, ignored and unappreciated. …


Why You Should Listen to Spheres of Influence.

There are a lot of podcasters clamoring for attention on the internet. A fair number of them are probably better at this than I am. I’m not special and I haven’t reported from exotic locales around the world. I am just a mild-mannered middle-aged pastor that has a background in communications and likes to write and podcast.

So, why bother listening (or reading, since I write as well) what I have to say? Simple. Because I’m a misfit. What you will find here is a viewpoint that you aren’t going to hear in many other places. …


The importance of the witnesses challenged the official verdict.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…

Hebrews 12:1

The press release told the story: There was a suspect “under the influence.” Two officers arrive and order the suspect in his 40s to get out of his car. The suspect was handcuffed and appeared to be suffering medical distress. An ambulance was called. He was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

This…


One Pastor’s Experience of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

It’s been two weeks since I received my second shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine which means I am fully vaccinated. I still wear masks because it is still the state mandate, but it feels like the pandemic is nearing an end. It is not over and things could change that makes things worse. We don’t know if a variant could arise that the vaccines would do very little. That said, it feels like we are moving away from a year of staying away from public spaces. People are starting to peer outside for the first time in a year…


African Americans, Progress Made, and Work To Be Done.

There are certain stories that you hear about only after a parent has died. This is one of those stories.

My first trip was by car to visit my Dad’s relatives in Louisiana in 1973. We embarked on a trip that was familiar to many African Americans who moved north in search of a better life: taking a trip “down South” to visit relatives. That’s what we did: driving from my native Michigan to Louisiana. A year later we had to do it again to see my Dad’s sister, Choletile who was very ill. …


How Black Pride gave way to victimhood and resentment.

In the late 70s, my Dad found a new barber. This meant I had a new barber. I was fine with that except for one little thing: my Dad would get me up at 5:30 as in AM. On a Saturday. At the tender age of eight, I learned I was not a morning person.

We would make our way to the barbershop off of what was then Detroit Street in Flint and waited until the barber opened around 7:00 am. Other men were sometimes waiting ahead of us. When the doors opened up, it was time to either hop…


It matters in the classroom, on the playing field, in the workplace, and in the Oval Office.

Author’s note: The following was originally written in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character — character that does and dares as well as endures, character that is active in the performance of virtue no less than firm in the refusal to do aught that is vicious or degraded.

-Theodore Roosevelt

CNN commentator Van Jones could barely keep it together as he expressed his feelings on air about Joe Biden becoming President-elect. “It’s easier to be a dad this morning. …


How the common ground of faith became swallowed up by hyperpartisanship.

For the last year or so, I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast. It’s not like I have time to do a podcast, but I felt this feeling that I needed to try. There are a lot topics I could have talked about like autos or science fiction, but I decided to focus on the two issues that really fascinate me: religion and politics. I’m an ordained minister, that serves a small congregation in the suburban Twin Cities. Religion has always played a big part in my life and so has politics. Of course, I like to see where the…

Dennis Sanders

A middle-aged pastor living in Minneapolis. I write about politics, religion, sexuality, and autism. https://www.dennislsanders.net/

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