Connecting body and spirit: 9-29-08
Where Protestant disunity began: 10-1-08

'Values' TV for kids: 9-30-08

As you may remember, the late Fred Rogers of the Mister Rogers TV show fame was a Presbyterian clergyman, and his show sometimes was thought of as a secular ministry carrying eternal values for children.


In some ways, that's what Laura Wellington has tried to create with her animated show "The Wumblers."

As she explains on the Web site in a welcome to parents, "Spiritually and globally conscious, The Wumblers devotes each and every episode to making the world a better place for ALL."

As a grandfather of six (the oldest of whom is six), I'm always on the lookout for wholesome books and other learning tools for little kids. I wasn't aware of The Wumblers until recently, though I now see that the weekly TV version of it is on the TBN channel on the Time Warner cable system to which I subscribe, though the timing isn't especially good -- 7:30 on Saturday mornings.

But maybe that's a perfect time for your kids or grandkids.

The Wumblers are make-believe characters who are designed to teach helpful lessons and values to kids. As the site says, "The particular timeliness and necessity for responsible adults to teach their children values that ensure a more peaceful and promising future for everyone is, unfortunately, obvious. The Wumblers helps to promote these values in an engaging and entertaining manner through a combination of brilliant storylines, original characters, and lighthearted play."

So have a look around the Wumblers' site and check out the TV show if you have a chance to see if you find it reinforces things you want young people to learn. And see if the fantasy aspects (kids born from watermelons, food falling from the sky) are helpful or distracting.

* * *


When I wrote recently about the impending death of -- and new book by -- the Rev. Forrest Church, I did not expect that he would return to his pulpit in New York and preach again. But, as this New York Times report recounts, that's exactly what happened this past Sunday. Go, Forrest.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Today's religious holidays: Rosh Hashanah (Judaism); Navaratri (Hinduism)


Just Thinking

Part of the market declines are because of Bush saying that we could see the entire economy collapose if we don't approve his half-baked plan. President Bush is an incompetent man.

Compounding it with "Be afraid, be very afraid, be very, very afraid," is the same tactic he used to drag us into a war that should not have been fought. So he thought it would work again. He thought he could pressure and scare everyone into doing NOW what he and his rich buddies wanted by insisting that everyone "be afraid ... be very, very afraid." The Chicken Little Bush Administration needs to stop this kind of grandstanding and get down to real business.

I'm pleased to see some true conversative Republicans have finally stepped up to the plate to endorse fiscal responsibility instead of writing blank checks for idiot Presidents just because they're of the same party. Can you imagine the AUDACITY of a proposal that would give ONE MAN, Henry Paulson, a recent Treasury Secretary, sole SIGNATURE AUTHORITY over $700 billion?!!!?!!! Unbelievable. Who in this country has $700 billion signature authority? Not Bill Gates. Not Warren Buffet. And what has Henry Paulson done? He was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the players in this huge fiasco. Sure, let's trust that guy. Another worthless paper-pusher.

This is the language of the bailout proposal that Pelosi aptly pointed out would give Henry Paulson Czar-like powers: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Boys and girls, we have a new word. Can you spell CRONYISM? Sure, I knew that you could. B-U-S-H. CZAR may be spelled B-U-S-H, too.

Just Thinking

What Mr. Rogers did was great. Among many other things, Mr. Rogers made children feel wanted, and helped convey a sense of inherent worth, independent of personal achievement. There is inherent worth in all human life.

However, that said, some parents neglected to teach their children that not all ideas, opinions, skills and talents are equal. Some children were allowed to believe that their ill-informed opinions about Science were the same as well-informed facts. Some children, especially only children, grew up believing that they were geniuses and that all of their ideas were profound. They were SPECIAL.

Now we have the opposite situation to what once existed. Now we have a nation whose high school students have the highest self-esteem of any industrialized nation, but one of the lowest when it comes to actual achievement. That's what happens when parents neglect their duties. Children can become so ill-informed and ignorant that they don't even know that they are ignorant, because they come to believe that their opinions count the same as fact. Every tiny thought they have is special and deep. And who wouldn't want to hear their precious opinions?

Joe Barone

I loved Mr. Rogers. His peaceful nature and gentle way of doing things just rubbed off on you.

And I agree with you, "Go, Forrest!"

adam harrison

Oh, oh. The atheists won't like this. They don't like this "values" stuff. Strictly scientific method and survival of the fittest for them!

And, of course, they will tell you who are the fittest! (chuckle)

And if your beliefs are not in line with this, Sam Harris (leading New athiest) says this of believers: "Some propositions are so dangerous that it may be ethical to KILL PEOPLE for believing them." (Pages 52-53 of his book The End of Faith)

Yep. The New Atheist Genius actually says that you can kill people for their BELIEFS. Note that carefully: BELIEFS. Not ACTIONS. BELIEFS.

And of course the atheists will tell you what beliefs (VALUES) are acceptable. This is just what they did in KCFreethoughts country, Russia, for over 70 years.

But remember, they failed and self destructed.


There are powers who would feed children fairy tales regarding the creation of the world as being in a garden populated with snakes and apples. I was prepared to read that they are now trying to feed them the old "babies born in a pumpkin patch" tale, reworked "Watermelon Birthing 101".

It would seem, however, that the force behind the TV show, "The Wumblers", is the National Watermelon Association.

It makes us question whether or not subliminal messages delivered to children regarding watermelons are less noxious than subliminal messages regarding sugar laden cereal. True that the watermelon is natural and healthy. But a subliminal message is STILL a subliminal message. It is nice when a company or association truly caring about children, simply quietly sponsors a program for altruistic reasons.

That said, I am all for quality programming that both teaches and entertains. Sesame Street and even Care Bears and Veggie Tales also get their due for doing that.


Go, Rev Church. And "Shades of Art Buchwald".

I think that Forrest Church is testimony to the fact that a sense of purpose is all-important to life and both enhances and extends same.

Dave Miller

When Fred Rogers died, I was surprised to learn how many of my clients at the time (I'm a psychologist) had been touched by his ministry. I had heard he was a UCC I Googled him after reading your post this morning, Bill, and discovered that he was, indeed, a Presbyterian clergyperson...and a "More Light" one, at that!

Interested readers can see for themselves at:

(The material about Mr. Rogers is about a third of the way down the column.)

I'm not acquainted with The Wumblers, but I'm glad someone's carrying on in Mr. Rogers' tradition. Thanks for bringing them to our attention this morning, Bill.


Before there was TV for kids, there was Bible for kids and still is of course.

When you are a child, you don't question things. Kind of when you were a kid you had mercury drilled into your teeth, but when you are adult you know it's not good for you.

Religious people twist themselves as a pretzel into the walling of religious dogma from reality and weaving a whole canvass of "irrational" magic.

Parents have to teach children to "reconcile" and "rationalize" how Jesus went on pony rides with dinosaurs.

Bush and Palin thinks that the world is going to come to an end and Palin is likely to think it is going to happen within her life time.

When people think this childishly and their thinking is "compartmentalized", it is dangerous for democracy, it is tough for the country to progress if mankind is to go forward.

It seems like religion is changing its color like chameleon when new scientific knowledge comes about to adapt and carry on. The god of the gaps now takes on the "mystical" meaning and hides on the quantum level which an average Joe doesn't understand and people like JustThinking will twist it to "pervert" body of scientific knowledge which NEVER says anything about god. Are there ANY TOP LEVEL SCIENTISTS (not just people with an engineering, chemical or biological degree) but scientists who conduct the cutting edge research who have published a single paper in peer reviewed journals where god is invoked. Not bloody likely.

Perhaps, it's time to shed the skin of religion for good? And stand outside EACH BUBBLE OF RELIGIOUS DELUSION called "the only Truth" we all need to know?

Dolores Lear

"God's Daily Promise 9/30/08" "Staying Pure"
"How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you—don't let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 NLT"

Matthew 18:3. KJV. "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

1John 3:7-9. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

2Peter 1:4. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

Was Jesus part of a Celibate group that his cousin John the Baptist belonged to, in the Wilderness? The Essenes? Is this where Jesus was, during the lost years?

The Ones Saved at the Judgment Day will be the 144,000 Celibate males.

Revelation 14:3b,4a. "and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins."

'Adam' in Genesis was a group of males, that had their Female Clones made after they reached Earth.

Jesus is Alive. No Human dies and goes into Heaven. The Saved go. Alive, into a Spaceship, to another Planet.

Joe Barone

Patricia, How do you find out all this stuff? The National Watermelon Association!

Just Thinking

Isn't it funny how the people who claim to be FreeThinkers will contest valid Science when they don't like the way it sounds. They will try to suppress mere QUESTIONS about the information content of the genetic code. But information content is precisely defined, and the questions are deep, meaningful Scientific questions that get right to the heart of the real issue: if naturally occurring processes cannot create information in the genetic code, then our genetic code cannot be explained through naturally occuring processes. It becomes an emotional issue, and the question itself becomes heresy to their religion.

How dare a Scientist point out that no naturally occuring process has ever been found which increases the information content of the genetic code! How dare someone even ask the question of how complexity (precisely defined and measured as information content) came to exist. They become heretics to the religion of close-minded frenetic fools when they point out that ALL known mutations DECREASE the information content of the genetic code. DE-evolution. How dare someone corrupt the word 'evolution.'

How dare someone suggest that based on current evidence, it is entirely possible that the genetic code started off fully complex and has only been de-evolving since. That would be in line with creationism. Science more closely supports THAT theory because no naturally occurring process has EVER been found which increases the information content. If it only de-evolves, then it started complex and has been headed downhill ever since. Logic dictates this.

Real Scientists are willing to explore the question, regardless of the answer, and will acknolwedge that the answer could come out either way. But real Scientists want to know the answer anyway, because it's Truth. Some FreeThinkers are so afraid of the question that they work to suppress the question. :)


I have a "Special Screening" invitation for two people to Cinemark Place on the Plaza for "Religulous" today, Tuesday, Sept 30th at 7:30 p.m. I understand there maybe a discussion/panel after that as most of these things do.

Cinemark Place
500 Nichols Rd
Kansas City MO

I have planned to go see it with my wife tonight but something came up and we are not able to make it.

So, I am putting it up for the "highest bidder" - the proceeds will go support of the billboard of on I-35 and Antioch.

Normal movie tickets go for $8-12 in Kansas City, matinee $6 and I'd like to offer them to someone who'd like to be one of the first people in Kansas City and the country to see it for a measly suggested bid of $10 per person - total $20. NO MINIMUM BID IS REQUIRED, JUST A SUGGESTED BID.

First come, first served.

E-mail me at with your phone number and tell me if when you can pick it up or I can meet you somewhere in the area of South of I-435 in Johnson County - from Olathe/Lenexa on KS side to State Line on MO side as I will be out and about later in the day. I can deliver the ticket to you or you can pick it up and by that 6 p.m tonight or bring the $$s next time I see you . I will even map it for you and print directions as part of the deal.

It's recommended you show up early (30-60 min earlier), no recorded devices allowed, even cell phones. The theater has been overbooked as it's stated on the ticket.

I am still checking on the normal showing time for Fri & Sat and see when we can have a whole gang of folks.

This "special invitation ticket" is only for someone who cannot make it on Fri/Sat with the rest of KC FreeThinkers.

adam harrison

Now KC IGGY is asking for money?

Hilarious. And for a film that has been falsely advertised as a "documentary" when, in fact, it is just a propaganda piece relying on ridicule and smears...just like Iggy was trained to do!

Dolores Lear

Religion Membership Problems?

[tmattingly-weekly] 09/24/08: Out the church door

At the last church she attended before dropping out, Julia Duin was not impressed with the service opportunities available to her as a single woman.

She could do child-care work, greet people at the door or join the women in the altar guild. However, since her journalism work required frequent travel, Duin sought more flexible commitments. Perhaps she could play harp before services? Fill an occasional teaching role, using her seminary training or material from her books?

After several frustrating years, she quit going to church.

Soon she discovered that she wasn't alone, which caused the Washington Times religion-beat specialist to do what reporters tend to do. She started listening, reading and connecting dots. What she found was, as one
researcher put it, a "spiritual brain drain" out of churches today. "I found that a lot of people who were leaving were not necessarily new believers. They were the Baby Boomers who had been involved in all of this
for 20 years," said Duin, speaking at the recent national Religion Newswriters Association meetings in Washington, D.C. These active, committed laypeople had "been there and done that. ... So you couldn't just say to them, 'Oh just try this. Oh just try that.' "

Many believers, she said, are sad or mad -- or both. "They say, 'Listen .. I've done everything. Now I'm in the middle of a mid-life crisis and I'm not getting any answers.' These are the people who are saying, 'I'm
out of here.' "

The result of her research is a new book, "Quitting Church," that pours painful experience over a foundation of troubling statistics.

It's important to stress that Duin -- a longtime family friend -- focused on active churchgoers, not the "backsliders, the slackers and the complainers" most church leaders think would quit.

adam harrison

KC, I bid two dollars...for BOTH ticketts.

Let me know where I can pick them up.


The current highest bid is $40 for two tickets - here is the e-mail I received from an atheist meetup. Several others have come in.
40 bucks. 913-XXX-0310


adam harrison

OK 40 and 25 cents, subject to PROOF that you have a bid for 40



Re: Premier of "Religulous" by Bill Maher tonight...

It is 2:30 p.m. right now and I am going to be gone without access to a computer the remainder of the day.

If you e-mail me at with your phone number and tell me when you can pick it up or I can meet you somewhere, I will call you by 6 p.m or text you back.

I'll be in the area of South of I-435 in Johnson County - from Olathe/Lenexa on KS side to State Line on MO side.


Earth to KCFreeThinkers. What you've just done by selling a free screening pass is completely illegal, but I suppose you know it.

That free screening for which you have a flyer, is a promotion by the motion picture distributor. They are essentially allowing select people to view their copyrighted material. Selling your flyer is subject to a much stiffer penalty than even the practice of scalping.

Jeeps but it would be a pity if you were thrown in the hoosegow and the KCFT/A_theist game had to end.


Please. Values, morals, and ethics are not products of religion. Go learn something new, Adam.

adam harrison

So you assert, Lance. But the proof is lacking. They sure aren't the products of atheism.

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