An Alternative View

October 21, 2019

The Rev. Bro. Robert Barker is a retired clergyperson with BSc and MDiv degrees.

I welcome my readers to my new guest column and thank the Clare County Review for the privilege.  In this first column I shall tell you something about myself and what I intend to be its focus and underlying basis

You may already be somewhat familiar with my thought through my letters to the editors that have been printed in this weekly newspaper for the past two decades. 

 I have a BSc degree with a double major in History and Communications from Western Michigan University, and a MDiv in Practical Theology from Concordia Theological Seminary.  I have lived in the Clare and Weidman area since 1997 when I moved to this area as a pastor.  In 2004 I left the church where I was pastoring and retired after 30 years of ministry in a conservative Lutheran church body which its dogma and practice I could no longer accept or propagate.  I declared myself to be Spiritual and Not Religious.   

I study and practice Metaphysical Spirituality.  Metaphysical Spirituality does not understand the deity as a being separate and apart from the universe.  Metaphysical Spirituality understands the deity in a Panentheistic manner; that is “the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time.”   The Divine Mind of the Universe pervades and interpenetrates all life in the universe including you and me.  All souls are vessels of the One Universal Divine Mind.   It is from this perspective I shall write this column speaking to current events as well as spiritual/religious matters.

My column will be one of alternative thought and shall strive to represent the people of this area who find themselves underrepresented in the print media and who do not necessarily identify with the conservative political, religious viewpoint.  

I am an strong advocate for the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  I am especially concerned about the erosion of the Separation of Church and State and the right of Freedom of and Freedom from religion in our country.  No person or religion has a Constitutional right to use the coercive power and the public treasury of government to promote their particular religious belief and proselytize.

I am in agreement with the principle that one person rights end where another person’s rights begin. This is what the founders of this country intended. 

I shall strive to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted,” a pithy statement coined by Finley Peter Dunne who said that this is the purpose of the news media.

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