Category Archives: Jim Purcell

New Feature -Politics and Faith; The Christian message is a political one that is both complex and straightforward

I am happy to announce a new feature to this blog, from time to time there will be a column about how faith and politics or often interlinked.

The columns will be submitted by a dear friend of mine that many in the Northern Monmouth County area know well, former publisher of the Courier, turned Baptist minister, Mr. Jim Purcell.

I hope that all will find Jim’s addition to this blog insightful and at times inspirational. Let me know how you feel about it.

His first colum is titled: The Christian message is a political one that is both complex and straightforward.

There is politics within the message of Jesus Christ, and it is the stuff of powerful controversy. Born a poor Jew within Roman-occupied Palestine, God made a choice to introduce Himself physically into the history of mankind in a purposeful, guided way.

He did not decide to arrive as an earthly king, or a noble of Rome or even as a clergyman locked away from other people. Christ arrived where He was needed most – to people who were desperately in need of salvation and, above all, redemption.


During the 1st century AD, Palestine was expecting a savior, but not exactly the kind that appeared. Many occupation-weary Jews hoped the savior would come from the model of the Maccabees, the militaristic Jewish family that led a rebel army and vanquished the Seleucid Army during the 2nd century BCE. Upon victory, the Maccabees went on to found the Hasmonean dynasty, which was in power from 164 to 63 BCE. So, the experience many Jews had with salvation was not of the kind that Jesus brought. Prior to Him, salvation was seen in militaristic, even nationalistic ways.

Then came Jesus, and His message of peace, tolerance, good will and the work of God. He did not ever say He was here to found a new religion. Commonly, Jesus instructed upon reforming the Jewish Law, and informing perspectives about the will of God.

He had politics and they were amazingly simple, and hard, all at once: Love God, care for the widows and the orphans, heal the sick, feed the hungry, look after the poor, welcome the stranger, care for your neighbor as you would yourself, and liberate one’s self and others not with violence and war but with peace, love and determination.

The God that Jesus spoke of did not believe in creating earthly empires, nor of watching people oppressed and left to cruel fate or, worse yet, being exploited by others. Jesus informed us that each of us has a personal relationship with our Creator, and that He is our link – our bridge – to God the Father.

Where’s the controversy in this? Simple enough: No one was ever killed, harmed or even berated for preaching war. War is the easiest thing to preach, because the orator can wrap him or herself within a flag and play a catchy tune and the crowds do tend to love that show. Yet, to speak of God and His intent in a way that runs counter to the music and the great speeches by allegedly honorable men and women is seen as a so-called “perversion of religion” because God doesn’t have a team, a flag, a nation or even a favorite football jersey.

Peace is a political problem. War is an activity that people seem intent to engage in, and try to rationalize it and discover the God in it. But there is no part of God in it.

Just as controversial are ideas about giving voice to those who are marginalized, even oppressed by the politics of hate and derision.

If there is a Devil, it does not seek the physical, psychological, spiritual or social health of humans or their communities. It would revel in dissent, epidemic, social stratification, exploitation of peoples and the demonization of groups for the sake of division alone. And, this is the state of politics today.

The common ground that is needed in government and politics is not the agenda or platforms of parties, but rather the agenda of God as made apparent in the Word. And, that agenda is caring for the health, welfare and physical/spiritual development of not a few people, or some people, but just people. It involves tolerance and, dare I say, something better than is being commonly offered by or to each of us.

God is neither Republican nor Democrat and favors nor advocates for either party, and for good reason. But, as community leaders and allegedly people of conscience, it should be the business of people to adjust their agenda to faith and not use faith to market what is not about faith –greed and evil.

If God is to bless America, it will not be because that saying is emblazoned upon a bumper sticker in red, white and blue, but because it is America that observes its alleged relationship with God. That begins not at political rallies but with long looks in the mirror.

(Jim Purcell is a former journalist who is a licensed Baptist minister. His book, “Faith Outside the City,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $14.95. He also operates a website focused on Christian faith at: www.FaithOutsidetheCity.blogspot.com.)

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Filed under Faith Outside The City, Jim Purcell, politics and faith.

Extra Extra Read All About It – The Courier Is Sold To New Owner

Yesterday was a sad day after I read the post on Melissa Gaffney’s blog Sableminded about the April 1st demise of the Courier newspaper.
I have been a fan of the Courier for  a long time, and have been lending this blog to the online version of it for a number of months now. At one point I was considering having MiddletownMike visitors redirected to the Courier version of this blog. I had been hearing for quite awhile that the Courier was in trouble and that it’s future was in question, but I had thought and hope that the paper would somehow survive and live on in some form or another, but due to that uncertainty  the redirect just never seemed to happen.
When the Courier’s publisher Jim Purcell announced that the Courier was only going to publish bi-weekly and that through a partnership with Rutgers University, it was going to attempt to survive on-line as a web based publication, I was at first disheartened.  I became encouraged a few weeks later however when I was told by Jim that it looked like the web based model was going to work out, revenue had already increased over the previous months due to the new venture with Rutgers.
So, when I heard a couple of weeks ago that the Azzolina family had changed their mind and no longer desired to be in the news business it came as a mild shock, if they couldn’t find a buyer they were going to shutdown operations.  I didn’t quite want to believe it, after all the paper seemed to be on track to  profitability once again. Needless to say then, that when I stopped by the office to say hello, it was a rather gloomy place.  
Today though, when I returned home from work and logged onto the blog I noticed  the headline on the Courier widget “The Courier is sold to new owner“, my spirits were lifted.
I don’t know who has brought the Courier or whether or not that they intend to keep the online version up and running, but I am happy that they did. It would have been a real loss to the bayshore if the paper had folded, the Courier after all has been a staple of northern Monmouth County for since 1955. 
As for MiddletownMike’s future with the Courier, I don’t have an answer for that just yet. I need to make a few phone calls to see what the future may hold. I am just glad that the paper did not fade away like so many others have done lately.
I am also happy to think that some of the people at the Courier, who have become my friends, may now not have to worry about losing their jobs and finding employment elsewhere. I hope  

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Filed under Bayshore, blogs, demise of newspapers, Jim Purcell, Joe Azzolina, Melissa Gaffney, Monmouth County, Rutgers University, Sableminded, The Courier, web-based publication

Art Gallagher is a Partisan Hack and I Have the Audio to Prove it

Hey Mrs… Walsh I’m uhm, not really in charge of the layout of the website or uhm, you know, necessarily if I can make any changes once I summit it..”

The following audio clip is a message left on the voice mail of Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee, Patricia Walsh’s answering machine a few weeks ago.

This rambling and often incoherent message was left by JJ Sullivan, the supposedly impartial reporter who was hired by Art Gallagher of the MoreMonmouthMussings blog to cover the goings on in Middletown and Keyport.

Out of all the towns in Monmouth County and the bayshore in particular, why would Gallagher feel that it was so important to cover Middletown and Keyport? The answer, Revenge.

Revenge against Jim Purcell and the Courier newspaper for dropping his column in the wake of his infamous “N” word controversy and Middletown Democratic Party leader Joe Caliendo, who Gallagher feels organized his firing from the paper and his censorship from the Middletown Human Rights Commission.

In his misguided angry and angst, Gallagher has allowed himself to become a tool of the Middletown GOP and his once insightful and at times thought provoking blog has been turned into a clearing house for lies and falsehoods about Jim Purcell and his friends, as well as the Middletown Democrats, in particularly Patricia Walsh.

You see, Walsh and her running mate Jim Grenafege are on the verge of becoming the latest democrats elected to the Middletown Township Committee. The Middletown Democrats need only win one seat to gain the majority on the committee for the first time in over twenty years, but to win both seats and a super majority that would mean that they would control
bonding and all that goes along with it (good-bye Mr. Carton), and the Middletown Republicans can’t let that happen no matter what. So, the Middletown GOP entered into some sort of unholy alliance with Art Gallagher, an alliance that I am sure will come back to bite him right in the ass.

The Republicans provided to Gallagher an ancient deposition from a law suit that was brought against Patricia Walsh 10 years ago and settled in 2001. In this deposition Walsh admitted that her legal bills where mounting and that she borrowed money from a friend to help cover her legal expenses. This loan, which has been paid back, has been turned into some kind of “dirty deed” by Gallagher and the Middletown Republicans.

In his attempts to discredit Walsh and the Middletown Democrats, Gallagher hired a reporter, JJ Sullivan, to cover the non-story for his MoreMonmouthMussings blog.

Gallagher handed over to his reporter, the information that was provided to him by officials in the Middletown GOP (Mayor Scharfenberger?), and told Sullivan to make the story happen.

The following audio clip I am told is the one and only attempt by Gallagher’s reporter to contact Patricia Walsh for a comment. While you are listening, please note that Sullivan does not explain why he is calling for a comment or what he will be writing about, just that he wants to talk to her about some allegations. He tells Walsh that she would be able to call him over the weekend, but he had to have the story submitted by Friday night and he didn’t know whether or not he would be able to make any changes to it once it was submitted, which would lead one to conclude that JJ was afraid that Art Gallagher would have editing control over what was finally published.

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Jim Purcell, JJ Sullivan, Joe Caliendo, law suit, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Republicans, MoreMonmouthMusings, Patricia Walsh, Peter Carton

>Art Gallagher is a Partisan Hack and I Have the Audio to Prove it

>”Hey Mrs… Walsh I’m uhm, not really in charge of the layout of the website or uhm, you know, necessarily if I can make any changes once I summit it..”

The following audio clip is a message left on the voice mail of Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee, Patricia Walsh’s answering machine a few weeks ago.

This rambling and often incoherent message was left by JJ Sullivan, the supposedly impartial reporter who was hired by Art Gallagher of the MoreMonmouthMussings blog to cover the goings on in Middletown and Keyport.

Out of all the towns in Monmouth County and the bayshore in particular, why would Gallagher feel that it was so important to cover Middletown and Keyport? The answer, Revenge.

Revenge against Jim Purcell and the Courier newspaper for dropping his column in the wake of his infamous “N” word controversy and Middletown Democratic Party leader Joe Caliendo, who Gallagher feels organized his firing from the paper and his censorship from the Middletown Human Rights Commission.

In his misguided angry and angst, Gallagher has allowed himself to become a tool of the Middletown GOP and his once insightful and at times thought provoking blog has been turned into a clearing house for lies and falsehoods about Jim Purcell and his friends, as well as the Middletown Democrats, in particularly Patricia Walsh.

You see, Walsh and her running mate Jim Grenafege are on the verge of becoming the latest democrats elected to the Middletown Township Committee. The Middletown Democrats need only win one seat to gain the majority on the committee for the first time in over twenty years, but to win both seats and a super majority that would mean that they would control
bonding and all that goes along with it (good-bye Mr. Carton), and the Middletown Republicans can’t let that happen no matter what. So, the Middletown GOP entered into some sort of unholy alliance with Art Gallagher, an alliance that I am sure will come back to bite him right in the ass.

The Republicans provided to Gallagher an ancient deposition from a law suit that was brought against Patricia Walsh 10 years ago and settled in 2001. In this deposition Walsh admitted that her legal bills where mounting and that she borrowed money from a friend to help cover her legal expenses. This loan, which has been paid back, has been turned into some kind of “dirty deed” by Gallagher and the Middletown Republicans.

In his attempts to discredit Walsh and the Middletown Democrats, Gallagher hired a reporter, JJ Sullivan, to cover the non-story for his MoreMonmouthMussings blog.

Gallagher handed over to his reporter, the information that was provided to him by officials in the Middletown GOP (Mayor Scharfenberger?), and told Sullivan to make the story happen.

The following audio clip I am told is the one and only attempt by Gallagher’s reporter to contact Patricia Walsh for a comment. While you are listening, please note that Sullivan does not explain why he is calling for a comment or what he will be writing about, just that he wants to talk to her about some allegations. He tells Walsh that she would be able to call him over the weekend, but he had to have the story submitted by Friday night and he didn’t know whether or not he would be able to make any changes to it once it was submitted, which would lead one to conclude that JJ was afraid that Art Gallagher would have editing control over what was finally published.

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Jim Purcell, JJ Sullivan, Joe Caliendo, law suit, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Republicans, MoreMonmouthMusings, Patricia Walsh, Peter Carton

The use of the "N" word is not and never will be Accetable

I have just finished watching MoreMonmouthMusings’s  Art Gallagher interview that has been posted by Jim Purcell over at the Insideclamdigger blog and I just have a few comments about it.

Art looks a little disheveled, like he has just woken up from a long winters nap, and at times he seems awkward while trying to explain his position.  He fumbles over much of what he has to say, much like Don Imus did when he tried to explain himself to Al Sharpton. 
At one point, Art tries to link the controversy around Belmar Mayor Ken Pringle’s use of the word “Guido” to describe the bennies that flock to his shoretown and his own ill attempts to address race. Unfortunately I don’t see much of comparison in this argument.  
While guido may not have been the smartest choice of words by Pringle to discribe the many tourist that crowd the beaches of Belmar each summer, it is certainly not looked at in the same light as the “N” word.  Is guido offensive to some, absolutely, does it make you want to cringe at its mention. I think not. 

The use of the N-word is unacceptable for use, in any way, inside modern English language. It is wrong because the word represents hundreds of years of oppression by white people against black people. The issue of whether the N-word can be used, or should be used, is being hidden behind a “Free Speech” argument and that is ridiculous.

The N-word as a term is not against the law to use. However, I would hope that no one who is in charge of anything, especially tax money, or the promotion of anyone who is intending on spending tax money, should be comfortable with the everyday use of that word. In particular, I would hope that anyone who is involved with politics would not, as a matter of course, use that word because it is classless, tasteless, hate filled and demonstrates a race agenda by using it.

The N-word is not illegal, and no one is saying it should be. It is just terrible that some people are trying to bring it back into fashion again in everyday language. There is a difference between the First Amendment and yelling ‘fire’ in a movie theater. The way that so many bloggers, who happen to be conservatives, are throwing this word around and trying to gain support for it, I suppose, is unnecessarily dangerous and wrong.

How this argument could be had in the 21st Century, in the United States, is amazing. That this argument is coming out of the political community in Monmouth County is doubly so.

The N-word is not acceptable speech, has never been acceptable speech by anyone, and will never be acceptable speech for anyone, of any race, political party or consequent to any agenda.

I have no ill feeling towards Art Gallagher and I do not necessarily wish him any harm. The problem is that he is a white, conservative member of the Republican Party, in the mostly white, conservative county of Momouth. He is not really qualifed or respected enough in the community to be expected to bring about an intellegent discussion on race and the use of the “N” word.       

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Don Imus, Jim Purcell, Ken Pringle, MoreMonmouthMusings, the Insideclamdigger

>The use of the "N" word is not and never will be Accetable

>I have just finished watching MoreMonmouthMusings’s  Art Gallagher interview that has been posted by Jim Purcell over at the Insideclamdigger blog and I just have a few comments about it.

Art looks a little disheveled, like he has just woken up from a long winters nap, and at times he seems awkward while trying to explain his position.  He fumbles over much of what he has to say, much like Don Imus did when he tried to explain himself to Al Sharpton. 
At one point, Art tries to link the controversy around Belmar Mayor Ken Pringle’s use of the word “Guido” to describe the bennies that flock to his shoretown and his own ill attempts to address race. Unfortunately I don’t see much of comparison in this argument.  
While guido may not have been the smartest choice of words by Pringle to discribe the many tourist that crowd the beaches of Belmar each summer, it is certainly not looked at in the same light as the “N” word.  Is guido offensive to some, absolutely, does it make you want to cringe at its mention. I think not. 

The use of the N-word is unacceptable for use, in any way, inside modern English language. It is wrong because the word represents hundreds of years of oppression by white people against black people. The issue of whether the N-word can be used, or should be used, is being hidden behind a “Free Speech” argument and that is ridiculous.

The N-word as a term is not against the law to use. However, I would hope that no one who is in charge of anything, especially tax money, or the promotion of anyone who is intending on spending tax money, should be comfortable with the everyday use of that word. In particular, I would hope that anyone who is involved with politics would not, as a matter of course, use that word because it is classless, tasteless, hate filled and demonstrates a race agenda by using it.

The N-word is not illegal, and no one is saying it should be. It is just terrible that some people are trying to bring it back into fashion again in everyday language. There is a difference between the First Amendment and yelling ‘fire’ in a movie theater. The way that so many bloggers, who happen to be conservatives, are throwing this word around and trying to gain support for it, I suppose, is unnecessarily dangerous and wrong.

How this argument could be had in the 21st Century, in the United States, is amazing. That this argument is coming out of the political community in Monmouth County is doubly so.

The N-word is not acceptable speech, has never been acceptable speech by anyone, and will never be acceptable speech for anyone, of any race, political party or consequent to any agenda.

I have no ill feeling towards Art Gallagher and I do not necessarily wish him any harm. The problem is that he is a white, conservative member of the Republican Party, in the mostly white, conservative county of Momouth. He is not really qualifed or respected enough in the community to be expected to bring about an intellegent discussion on race and the use of the “N” word.       

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Don Imus, Jim Purcell, Ken Pringle, MoreMonmouthMusings, the Insideclamdigger