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Archive for bryan

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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Fireside Issues | Gun Violence

We have to protect our society. It is a moral imperative. We have to stop arguing about which guns you can own and which guns I can own. That has mostly been settled. The real culprit here is an industry unchecked, riding the wave of public opinion to profits beyond your imagination.

22Feb2017 | | 3 comments | Continued
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Fireside Issues | Abortion

If you want to end the practice of abortion, as I do, you will have to do that in partnership with women and providers.

29Jan2017 | | 3 comments | Continued
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The Progressive Vote Will Not Be Cast For Hillary Clinton

NPR and MSNBC want you to believe that it doesn’t matter who the nominee is. Tow the line anyway. the person, the character of the nominee is irrelevant. Fox News wants you to believe the same thing. They are wrong.

1Mar2016 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Choosing the Right Coffee House

To get started in finding the right experience with coffee, you have to choose a coffee house. This is important because there are a lot of coffee houses out there that are expensive and cushy, but do not fall into the “micro-brew” coffee house category. Micro-brew coffee shops will roast their own coffees on the […]

21Feb2013 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Choosing the right coffee drink

The owner of the coffee shop where I worked was a stickler for quality, and I worked with him for over two years. There were customers in our store that came to our location because I was working, trusting that my skill with steamed milk and my knowledge of espresso would come together in a […]

9Feb2013 | | 6 comments | Continued
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Why Obamacare Isn’t Enough

We have been entangled in a running debate in our society about health care, the related skyrocketing costs, and how we are going to pay for them.  In spite of the political backlash initially endured by the White House Administration, the Affordable Care Act, where the rubber meets the road and where the pocket book […]

31Dec2012 | | Comments Off on Why Obamacare Isn’t Enough | Continued
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Religious Tools of the Trade: The Church, The Bible, and The Doctrine

When we learn to use the tools and hone our craft, we can make something beautiful. When we leverage the Bible for our own purpose or to prove our own point, or use our doctrine to manipulate people into uniformity, or even use the church to grow the church rather than invest in the community, then we misuse the tools of the trade.

10Aug2012 | | 1 comment | Continued
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The Rule of Law and the United Methodist Mistake

The next generations will inherit this church, and I am afraid they will inherit a church that does not reflect the kind of inclusion and hope for humanity that they are seeking in order to understand their relationship with God.

4May2012 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Bad Religion

Religion tends to be about the rules, about the law. Spirituality tends to deal in Grace and Mercy and personal progression. Religion, balanced with grace, mercy, and progress, can be a powerful catalyst for personal growth.

17Apr2012 | | 4 comments | Continued
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Faith, Fear, and Defibrulating the Right

The right is suffering from an arrest of reason, and much like cardiac arrest, when one is faced with possible demise, their thoughts are turning to the afterlife.

19Mar2012 | | Comments Off on Faith, Fear, and Defibrulating the Right | Continued
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Finding Meaning in the National Debate About Debt

We have had a major crisis in our house recently that started with a heated conversation about our budget, and I thought that I would share the events that led to our household meltdown so that we might learn from my mistakes and apply those lessons to our national debate about money. It was budget […]

18Feb2011 | | Comments Off on Finding Meaning in the National Debate About Debt | Continued
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Confusing Borders, Boundaries, and the American Comfort Level

From Ohg Rea Tone: People sometimes drift into my personal space.  I generally enjoy people so my personal space does not extend as far as the reach of my arm.  When I shake hands I am likely to pull the other person close, look them in the eye, and measure their sincerity.  The enigma of […]

26May2010 | | 10 comments | Continued
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Nashville 2010: The Day the Music Died

A long, long time ago… I can still remember How that music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance That I could make those people dance And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while. I don’t have cable.  My family does not value the television enough to pay that […]

7May2010 | | Comments Off on Nashville 2010: The Day the Music Died | Continued
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The Paddle: Using Fear and Force in Public Schools

In an article for the Associated Press yesterday, contributed to by the Washington Post and published on the website chron.com (a Houston area online resource) Temple, Texas is reported to have reinstated corporal punishment.

19Apr2010 | | Comments Off on The Paddle: Using Fear and Force in Public Schools | Continued
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Regaining Respect for the Office of the Presidency.

We, in this country, have a proud history of respect for the office of the President. We rally around those who inspire us and lead us through troubled times. We have worked to separate the man from the office, and we have been successful in the past. There have always been jokes about the President, and comedians are supposed to push the envelope, to go where you don’t expect them to go. Something has changed, however, in the last decade. Where there was once reverence for the office and a certain degree of respect for the man in the White House, there is now complacency about the treatment of the Presidency. In previous generations, bad jokes about the President would have been met with a frown or, at best, a nervous chuckle. But today, the Presidency is the bread and butter of late night routines and gets only slightly better treatment in the mainstream media.

18Apr2010 | | 3 comments | Continued
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The Many Hoods of Robin of Locksley

There has been a recent interest in the story of Robin and his merry men lately, and it is a telling piece of our modern culture to look at the ways that the story is approached through film as it developed and from the different sides of the Atlantic.

6Apr2010 | | Comments Off on The Many Hoods of Robin of Locksley | Continued
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The ipad: One More Reason to Go Mac

This is innovation. This is my virtual straw that breaks my virtual camel’s back. I am on my way to the land of the Mac enthusiast, and the chances are that I wills see you there someday. Maybe not now. But someday.

5Apr2010 | | Comments Off on The ipad: One More Reason to Go Mac | Continued
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Why the Health Care Reform Bill Passed

This is an issue of public opinion, and it is an issue that has been long considered by the public and their representatives. It is a political hot potato, and the potato has landed in the hands of the Obama administration. The reason that the previous administration did not address the issue with proposed legislation is that they were fully aware that any attempt at trying to solve the problem is most likely political suicide.

26Mar2010 | | Comments Off on Why the Health Care Reform Bill Passed | Continued
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Comcast Buys Out the New Media Christian Paradigm

Scratch Christianity, insert capitalism.  What is the driving ideology – and how do ideologies conflict.  Here is the basic problem with identifying with a specific ideology:  you have to accept the consequences of your ideology.  I have several examples, and I want to take a look at Comcast and the media empires, but I think […]

8Dec2009 | | Comments Off on Comcast Buys Out the New Media Christian Paradigm | Continued
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Marketing War to Children

At a Fourth of July carnival last weekend, I was pushing our double stroller and sweating to the tinny sound of bad music while my children begged their grandparents for tickets to ride the Ferris Wheel. I was looking around and considering the impact that these events have on my children, since I remember being naively fond of them when I was young. It was almost as though things came into focus all of a sudden when I realized that about half of the games and vendors and rides had guns.

9Jul2009 | | Comments Off on Marketing War to Children | Continued
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Finding a Voice With Music

Dad, I am one of those lovers of music that has no musical background. I wasn’t in band in high school; I never sang in a choir, I never even managed a successful stretch of lessons that allowed me to learn an instrument. I toyed with the idea of learning the violin, but I am […]

21Apr2009 | | Comments Off on Finding a Voice With Music | Continued
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Fact, Fiction, Science, and the Story of God

Understanding science and the way that we interact with our world is valuable information, and speculating on the specifics of the stories if the Bible are valuable to a deeper understanding of their significance. We have to admit, however, that there will always be an element that we cannot explain, and that we have a choice every day whether or not we accept that unexplained part as the mystery and power of the story, or shrug it off as a delusion of the minds of men.

9Apr2009 | | Comments Off on Fact, Fiction, Science, and the Story of God | Continued
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Mr. Gates Goes to Washington (Again)

Yesterday, Secretary Gates took his place in the new administration as an agent for change and an advocate for a more responsible approach to our defense budget. Strangely enough, the supposed champions of fiscal responsibility have been the first to cry foul.

7Apr2009 | | Comments Off on Mr. Gates Goes to Washington (Again) | Continued
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How to Handle a Heckler

In case you ever get the notion that you might launch your comedy career from the seats rather from the stage, I hope that this will be a reminder that the brave and the truly funny are always the people on stage. You are just the annoying person in the audience and, trust me, no one there is cheering for you.

31Mar2009 | | Comments Off on How to Handle a Heckler | Continued
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Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

So many people are unclear today about what it means to be liberal and conservative, democrat or republican, Methodist or Episcopalian. I think it would be a good idea to examine these things and to make conscious decisions and form intentional and reasonable conclusions about current events, rather than subscribe to an ideology or system of beliefs because our parents did, because the media is in an uproar, or because of the all-to-common cult of personality.

16Feb2009 | | 5 comments | Continued
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A United Methodist Perspective

I am a United Methodist. My wife and I joined a United Methodist church in Sugar Land, Texas before moving to Nashville, TN, and when we moved to Iowa, we transferred our membership to a church that was just down the street from our house. We went through the ceremony for becoming a member of […]

16Feb2009 | | 2 comments | Continued
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The Changing Face of Etiquette

As we, our culture, are catered to by technology and the marketing machine, we begin to feel more entitled to the things that we consume and the benefits of our service industry. The idea of serving others is lost on those who become complacent with being served themselves.

20Jan2009 | | Comments Off on The Changing Face of Etiquette | Continued
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Jesus: Radical Rabbi or Practical Mystic?

There is a lot of talk these days about being “spiritual” but not being “religious.” We often hear, “I see myself as a spiritual person, but not as a religious person.” This is the mantra of the children of the counter cultural movement of alternative spirituality. It is so much the mantra of a movement that it is no longer counter cultural, but represents the mainstream American thought process.

19Jan2009 | | 1 comment | Continued
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The Modern Retreat to the Castle Keep

The worry is not that we are getting more or less safe, but that our perceptions of safety are changing. We have recreated the walled and gated villas of the past and, between our fenced yard, our attached garage, and our parking garage at work, can go entire days and weeks without seeing someone from our neighborhood, let alone someone from around town. We are creating a sense of safety that is grounded in separation rather than reality. We are raising a generation of children who are housed in homogeneous zones that have a comfortable, rhythmic vibration of sameness.

20Dec2008 | | 2 comments | Continued
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What’s the Matter, Don’t Like Actually Reaching Across the Isle?

To date, the Obama engine has been fueled by a rhetoric of change and hope. The “change” part of that language is not referring to a change in the political party in charge of ruining the government, it is a change in the fundamental way that we approach all of the decisions that we make fromt he top down. Rick Warren invited Obama to speak at his church, and Obama has invited Rick Warren to speak at his innauguration. Some say that this will alienate progressives, and I think that, to some degree, that is true. But let me ask you this: What is more progressive than going beyond sitting around a table together, but removing the table entirely and finding a way to stand together?

18Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Pay Day Loans and Porn

There are scavengers among us. They prey on the poor, the oppressed, and, strangely enough, the military. There are some things that the poor, the oppressed, and the military have in common. Loneliness, desperation, and a lack of money. I think that it is time to call a rat a rat. Two of the industries […]

13Dec2008 | | Comments Off on Pay Day Loans and Porn | Continued
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The Counter Culture Personality

I recognize that there is an inherent selfishness in many of the current social movements. Coordinating efforts to reduce waste and to organize distribution to the needy are certainly valuable, and could be more effective in reducing waste and assisting the needy than digging through the trash.  Sometimes, though, it is our individualism, maybe even […]

12Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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The Freegan Insurrection

My wife and I have been attempting to evaluate our lifestyle for some time now, hoping to live out our values as followers of Jesus and to create a sense of equity in our lives with the less fortunate. We have taken up recycling and composting, selling off our excess and getting back to the […]

12Dec2008 | | Comments Off on The Freegan Insurrection | Continued
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Is Bailling Out the Big Three Like Bailing Out Your Neighbor?

The Senate yesterday failed to reach an agreement on the bailout package for the auto industry, meaning that it will probably be January before the industry can get any help.  This is something that is being “cussed and discussed,” as my grandfather would have said, in many circles.  Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is […]

12Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Santa Claus Is Coming – So, You Better Watch Out

My family has been working on simplifying our life for years. We have sold most of our stuff, paid off our debts, downsized in apartments, streamlined our food budget, etc. We drive old cars and shop at the thrift store. We are not saints and are not trying to be, but the lengths that we […]

12Dec2008 | | Comments Off on Santa Claus Is Coming – So, You Better Watch Out | Continued
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Thoughts on Misunderstanding Charity

The holiday season is upon us, and everyone is geared up for the giving season. I think that a conversation on the merits of charity is essential at this stage of the game. I read an article on Trying To Follow a while back about clothing drives. It has some great fodder for conversation. In […]

12Dec2008 | | Comments Off on Thoughts on Misunderstanding Charity | Continued
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Do What You Do On Purpose

‘I have talked and written at length in articles for this magazine about the lifestyle choices that my wife and I have made for our family, but I feel it would be appropriate to spend some time on why we make those choices.  Having a purpose in your decision is as important as the decision […]

10Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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A Chat About Laughing – A Social Regulator

My son and I chat every day – usually on line – (We live in different States).  Sometimes we cut and paste the conversations into an article, usually when it is relevant to something that is being discussed here at The Fireside Post of when it is relevant to a current event.  This one is […]

9Dec2008 | | Comments Off on A Chat About Laughing – A Social Regulator | Continued
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5 gifts that can change the world

It is that time of year when I scramble to get the last gifts before all of the other saps try scrambling to get the last gift, thus, I beat the crowd  My family has been trying to get away from the obligatory knick-knack purchases that we have always ended up getting for those that […]

9Dec2008 | | 3 comments | Continued
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The Worst Church Marquees and Why They Are So Wrong

This has been a burr in my saddle for years.  Longer than that, I guess.  Before I made the switch to regular church attendance, the oh-so-clever church marquees were a beacon of tacky religion that always made me wonder why people would gather in a  place like that.  Now, they are just embarrassing and they […]

7Dec2008 | | 4 comments | Continued
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The Scout Initiative: Naming Social Injustice

I have been thinking more about how to deal with social injustice, and I dug up this clip from To Kill A Mockingbird. There are layers of great stuff in this clip: There are several examples here of the actions that make a social movement. When Atticus learns that the Sheriff is not around, he […]

6Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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The Two Nap Dilemma

My children are in different stages of development. That makes life hard when you are trying to be appropriate with them and maintain your own sanity. My son doesn’t really need two naps during the day. He has been sleeping for about an hour in the morning and for a little over two hours in […]

6Dec2008 | | Comments Off on The Two Nap Dilemma | Continued
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The Internet: From Organized Reporting to Organic Journalism

On the internet, articles are typically written and distributed by persons rather than organizations, Organizations tend to be intimately involved with issues, where people tend to be intimately involved with other people. Some think that this devalues the articles or the authors online, but one cannot deny that internet material is typically apologetically about the […]

6Dec2008 | | 1 comment | Continued
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The Christian Message and Economic Prosperity…

We have mentioned Dave Ramsey and Joel Osteen on this magazine, and I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time on the difference between a minister and a motivational speaker. I think that the line can get pretty blurry. In order to do the subject justice, we have to mention the […]

6Dec2008 | | 3 comments | Continued
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The Blurry View Of Barack Obama’s Religion

Barack Obama has said, many times and in no uncertain terms, “I am a Christian.”  He has been on the cover of Sojourner’d magazine, a Christian publication.  His former pastor, The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was in the spotlight for some unseemly comments about patriotism (among other things), but Reverend Wright was clearly a Christian preacher.  […]

29Oct2008 | | 2 comments | Continued
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Looking Ahead to Harry Potter

Truly, Harry Potter is one of the great stories of our generation.  In a culture that is disconnected with a sense of a meta-narrative, Harry Potter gives us a glimpse into what it means to be shaped by the power of story.  What is it about this story specifically that has captured our cultured and […]

28Oct2008 | | Comments Off on Looking Ahead to Harry Potter | Continued
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Stealing Jesus – The 2008 Elections

Quoting from the book Stealing Jesus” by Bruce Bawer: “The simple word religion lends dignity to prejudice, muffles opposition and obliges the media to tread carefully. Not only politicians but journalists, too, are less likely to criticize frankly the attitudes of individuals or groups when they identify themselves as Christian and attribute their attitudes to […]

16Oct2008 | | Comments Off on Stealing Jesus – The 2008 Elections | Continued
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Gender and Ages and Race, OH MY!

Here at The Fireside Post, we intend to drive home our suggested connection between the elements of this election cycle and the the kooky world of Frank Oz.  Allow me, if you will, to expand on it a bit. There are some great messages of hope and tolerance in the Wizard of Oz.  The movie […]

15Oct2008 | | Comments Off on Gender and Ages and Race, OH MY! | Continued
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Bush’s Two Minute State of The Union

From the horses ass (or mouth, whatever), we get the whole truth.   In these times of struggle and turmoil, in an election year when all is clouded in distrust and double-talk, we finally get a glimpse of some honesty from the White House.   I have to admit, I am glad to see this administration breaking […]

14Oct2008 | | Comments Off on Bush’s Two Minute State of The Union | Continued
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Wicked: A marriage of literature, art, and music

We marvel att the marriage of art and technology and the ingenuity of those who can master that integration.  Steve Jobs and his folks at Apple are prime examples.  In the same vein, there is a marriage of literature, art, and culture that can culminate in the same kind of experience.  Probably the best example […]

14Oct2008 | | Comments Off on Wicked: A marriage of literature, art, and music | Continued