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Faith and Beliefs
1994  #001-018
1995   #019-070
1996   #071-122
1997   #123-175
1998   #176-227
1999   #228-279
2000   #280-330
2001   #331-382
2002   #383-434
2003   #435-487
2004   #488-539
2005   #540-591
2006   #592-642
2007   #643-694
2008  #695-746
2009  #747-798
2010  #799-850
2011 #851-902
2012   #903-947
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Star tag: Vern Barnet does interfaith work in Kansas City. Reach him at
a column by Vern Barnet every Wednesday in The Kansas City Star.
[Star printed and Star web versions, and the version here, may vary.]
Usually the column deadline is one week in advance of printing.
copyright 2012 by Vern Barnet and The Kansas City Star.
We can include reader comment only when we see it.
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The Column Ends Abruptly

2012 November 5 Monday
Dear Readers,

Presumed forthcoming print changes at The Star, suddenly presented to me 2012 November 3 Friday, led to the conclusion of my writing the “Faith and Beliefs” column the next day, after 18 years and 947 columns. Because The Star has made no announcement, I am writing this. [Dec 8: The Star has still not acknowledged the end of the column, presumably to minimize comment.]

The column was initially compensated, but when The Star financial situation tightened in the past few years it became a voluntary contribution to the community. An on-line option was studied, but various factors make it unsuitable at this time.

I hope to continue in other ways to contribute to the community. I appreciate The Star's past expansion of coverage of religious issues in the metro area and the skilled editors who taught me about better writing. I am grateful to those about whom I wrote and my faithful readers. 

Those wishing additional information may read an    excised version of an "exit interview" in PDF

An unsolicited comment from David Nelson appears here,  Folks have asked to whom they can express their opinion; here are some options  followed by others' unsolicited comments.


Unsolicited comment

Sad Day for KC Star
To The Kansas City Star

November 7, 2012

I was saddened to open the Wednesday paper FYI section today and not find the wisdom and thoughtful column of my friend Vern Barnet.  For 18 years I have been reading his weekly reflections about “Faith and Beliefs.”  He has reminded me that religion is about more than religion.  It is about science, education, entertainment, daily living, parenting, loving, politics, economics, sexuality, and the list could go on.  Dr. Barnet is one of Kansas City’s rare treasures.  His wisdom about world religions and his willingness to share his insight has enabled this city to become one of the most welcoming communities for all people.  Through CRES he made possible the “Gifts of Pluralism” Conference only weeks after 9/11.  His vision created the The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council.  I would often ask Vern why “Faith and Beliefs” was not syndicated and shared beyond the KC Star.  He reminded me that the column was not generic but a very intimate part of our city and more often than not informed us of events in our city and our area.

I am one of the lucky ones who will continue to receive Vern’s amazing gifts.  He is my best friend and I read and discuss books and the events of the day on a regular basis.  But I am sad for this city.  I am sad for his his critics who often got more of his time than his friends.  He answers every email with honesty, compassion and courage.  I am sad since we can read Dear Abby, Miss Manners and Billy Graham in dozens of newspapers, but “Faith and Beliefs” was only in The Star.  This great city lost a bit of its greatness today.

 David Nelson, D.Min. The Human Agenda

A slightly shortened version was submited to the Kansas City Star today.  They limit letters to 200 words.


2011  Nov 15
Readers request
     Folks have asked how they can express their opinions as David Nelson has, above. I am not encouraging this. But as I have always tried to respond to my readers, below are some options. I think it is unrealistic to expect The Star to reverse its decision (no one in management has even acknowledged my "exit interview" and to date no announcement about the conclusion of the column has appeared), but I recognize that readers have a right to express their opinion about what kind of content they want from their paper.

Letter to the Editor (for publication):

   Via Star website form at bottom of page
       (compose letter off-line then paste into form)

  Via USPS:
     Letter to the Editor
     The Kansas City Star
    1729 Grand Blvd
     Kansas City, MO 64108

Email to management (not for publication):

    Mike Fannin, Editor and Vice President

    Steve Shirk, Managing editor

    Laurie Mansfield, Ass’t managing editor-features

Since preparing this short list, I've learned that readers have contacted others in Star mangement, but I am not encouraging or discouraging whatever readers may wish to do. 


Additional unsolicited comment

M writes
     Damn.  Damn.  And double damn.  Say it ain't so, Joe!  What a downer.  The Star is simply further sinking into insignificance and banality.  I hadn't always followed your column in long times past, my focus flitting hither and yon elsewhere, but since I started working on this new novel--dare I say it--I read it "religiously."  I feel like there's been a death in the family.  :-(

L writes
     Very sorry to learn we will no longer have your articles in the Star! I sent an email lamenting this conspicuous omission to the Features editor. 

F writes
     I am still praying and cussing. As --- said, we need more of Vern, not less. 

S writes
     I just discovered at the cancellation of your column.  I read it faithfully and was also in awe of how you responded to readers on the website.  This makes me sick at heart and actually almost physically sick.  Stupid, senseless, insightless, wrongheaded, wrong in every way.  What a loss to the community!  Unbelievable. 
     I hope there is an outpouring of protest.   Not that that would fix anything, of course.  The Star probably wouldn't report it if there were.  Nevertheless, I will submit my two-bits' worth of outrage.
     Your column was an ongoing manifestation of light, love, intelligence, exquisite sensitivity, scholarship, kindness, compassion, sanity.   Well, there is no end of such attributes.  So, like all manifestation, it returns to its Source in the great Silence. 
     Non-attachment is indeed difficult!

D writes
     Did I miss something? Did not see your column yesterday. Peace!

W writes
. . . .Was free too much for the Star to pay you? . . . .

G writes
     This morning I have had the chance to read the "exit" interview at the CRES site. A sad moment, even if only some months away from 1001.  I will miss the column and will now make it a weekly habit to check on, to see if there is some kind of post

C writes
     Beautifully said, Vern. Good luck, and I hope we'll meet in person one day.

S writes
     I must have missed where it said that your column is ending. I am sorry to hear that.

S writes
   . . .for many years your column was the best ongoing commentary in the paper. . . . on the topics of beliefs, religion, spirituality, inter-faith understanding, and discussion of cultural events related to these subjects, it was unsurpassed as a resource to the community. . . . it was a beacon of intelligence, sanity, scholarship, and kindness. That canceling it was a major loss to local readers and a very bad decision. 

E writes 
     I have . . .  followed your column for years. I sent it to --  and -- each week. Below is the letter I sent to the Star editor. Your column is a great loss to me, yet has and will continue to greatly strengthen my commitment to the “Whole”.
  You can’t begin to imagine my disappointment in opening up the Star again Wednesday morning to find out that you have dropped Rev. Barnett’s spiritually inclusive column. I had hoped that last week was an oversight. In my opinion, in this time of growing divisiveness in this country and the world, we more than ever need voices of spiritual unity and understanding. I’m sure you have had local pressure from some groups to eliminate Rev. Barnet’s column, yet I’ve seen your paper stand up against many giants. At least you owe us, the subscribers supporting Rev. Barnet, an explanation. I, for one, would like to see more local news articles instead of fewer.

P writes
I have missed your weekly  writing in the KC Star.  What happened?

Vern responds
     Thanks for missing me! I miss my faithful readers! . . . . I think The Star has decided not to announce the end of the column in order to minimize complaints that the paper . . . decided not to continue it. I know others have written to The Star but so far nothing has appeared. I really appreciate your letting me know it was of value to you!

A writes
     Estaghfirullah for the Star's dropping your column for Billy Graham.  Whatever happened to religious pluralism?!  (I do suspect that it is coming whatever the status quo does to try to stop it, however.) 

H writes
     We miss your column. Hoping everything is ok with you healthwise.

B writes to The Star
     “Sadly, a voice of wisdom is missing from the Kansas City Star.  Impatiently, we await an explanation to our question:  why has Dr. Vern Barnet’s informative column been discontinued? 
     Dr. Barnet has a unique ability to raise essential questions, to apply the wisdom of sages to modern crises, to connect the dots between art, science, the earth, our deepest spiritual yearnings, our  human relationships, and the major world religions which thrive in the heart of America.  His column enriched our hearts and minds, providing a context for elevated conversation about those essential verities common to all faiths.
     His transformative column motivated thousands of believers and non believers--whether followers of primal faiths in communion with nature, Asian spiritual practices, revelation-based monotheistic religions, free thinkers, or liberation movements—to put aside fear and prejudice, to cross state, neighborhood, and ethnic boundaries, to meet face to face, to know one another and to be known, establishing trust and understanding where none previously existed. 
     The interfaith movement initiated by Dr. Barnet has just begun.  It will continue into the next century, as his legacy.  Regrettably, the Kansas City Star may be less relevant to that process.

L comments on the above letter to The Star
     What a beautiful letter!  I also wrote one. But it apparently has not been chosen for publication, as I have not had that phone call. Maybe your letter will make a difference!

S writes
     I have missed your column in the K C Star so much, and have not been able to find out why it was discontinued.  It is most disturbing to me that Billy Graham's is printed everyday, as if all of the readers are of that very fundamental Christian belief.  Helen Gray has not responded to my e--mail, after one week.  I hope to hear from you that something can be worked out so that a more balanced voice is expressed in the Star.  I don't have a computer, just this little Mailstation, which can send and receive e-mail.  My address is :[    ].  I look forward to hearing from you.  I have read and appreciated your column for many years, and have saved many of them.  Thanks,