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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Where does your "god" stand on the matter of Justice?

There is in fact a well established and very meaningful orthodoxy which declares that it is utter nonsense to talk about our fascination with gods we cannot see, while we foster a culture of inequity. The propagation of injustice is a direct contradiction of our claim to obedience to any loving God. It places our faith on tenuous ground, and nullifies all attempts, rhetorical and liturgical, to validate our stated beliefs.

Theological exercises that do not affirm the experiences and the needs of our common humanity are a gross misuse of physical and mental energy. Worse than that, they are potentially dangerous. To profess our love for, and our commitment to celestial beings while we actively antagonize one another is to live a lie. Lies have a tendency to erode our potential to live in authentic relationships. This is as true for each of us as it is for all of us. Lies negate and erode the life-enhancing potentials of individuals and of nations. A meaningful faith is one which finds expression through the cultivation of real equity in our stewardship of Earth and its fullness. Another word for equity... Justice.


In the physical, cultural, and political spaces in which we live out our lives we often have to confront the incongruities between the ideas that we have come to define ourselves by and the challenges that are inherent in the realities of our being together. The tensions herein are real and ongoing. Our efforts to resolve these tensions underline the necessity to engage philosophically with our selves and each other. The honest philosopher comes to acknowledge a truth that is universally affirmed: "There are more questions than answers; ... and the more we find out, the less we know". The less we know for sure that is.


Ultimately the most consequential question that we must answer is not about the nature of God. The responses to that philosophical piece are too subjective to be universally useful. We can agree that that question is indicative of a certain functional genius, and it most definitely has its place in our philosophical resumes. But the more pressing query is: Who is my neighbor, and am I his/her keeper? An affirmation of the wisdom and the duty implied in this question clears the path to the salvation we and our societies seek… and need.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trump... A Clear and Present Danger to Civil Society

It has been declared that politics is about life. I want to expand and expound on that: Politics is about our lives together. 

Beyond our individual interests and the group interests that are at times used to divide and rule us; there is that greater imperative that calls us to build the kind of national and international community that will secure our mutual interests and bolster our collective security. The leadership that this vision of our lives demands is what we are constantly  being called on to bring into being. Donald Trump is NOT the kind of leader our country and the world needs. His lack of moral acuity, his demonstrably horrible temperament, his ill-mannered attitude toward others - these traits are antithetical to everything we should be working toward as a society.

One does not have to look far in order to find the reasons that disqualify Mr Trump from holding the highest office in the land. Any casual observer of his conduct can, without much effort, identify a host of such reasons. His unapologetic divisiveness. His crass abrasiveness. His activist appeal to the racist underbelly of a nation still scarred by its history of bigotry. His disrespect for women, and for immigrants who are not white and rich... and corrupt. Add to all this his obvious inability to intelligently address any of the issues of critical importance in our national life and we have the ingredients for a national crisis.

Trump has demonstrated a lack of intellectual curiosity about our world that, in an otherwise uncorrupted process, would disqualify him from leadership of any corporate entity - much less the United States of America. His careless disregard for those with disabilities among us is a marker of the kind of warped amorality that those concerned about the health of our nation find detestable. His history of exploiting the economic system to benefit himself to the disadvantage of others is the primeval scream of a corrupt economic soul. 

When we add to all this Trump's careless disregard for truth, we have nothing less than the recipe for a national disaster. His propensity to promote violence against those who do not share his worldview calls the civilized among us to engage in the necessary constitutional measures to preserve our democracy. His ludicrously inconsequential bravado is matched only by his disrespect of those who have served in our military. 

This man is a clear and present danger to the further establishment of civil society here in America, and in the world. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Building Blocks Of Hope

Though we may disagree, there is no need to try to invalidate the perspective of the many of us who look back and conclude that times have gotten worse. To be sure, there has certainly  been an erosion in our sense of security. Truth be told though, the “good old days” weren't all that good for most of us. There is real progress going on all around us, and we are being called to be part of that progress. Our challenge, and we must choose to accept it, is to find ways to partner with each other across the divides constantly being highlighted amongst us.

Beyond the superficial national, regional, ethnic, and religious boundaries that divide us, we are constantly being called to reach out and touch each other in recognition of that deeper connection which is our common humanity. That reaching out must be defined by a coupling of the needs we share, and the resources available to us. A little from the many will go a far way in meeting the needs of multitudes.

The development and propagation of dynamic technologies, bring us closer to each other in our world. These technologies avail us of opportunities to break out of the isolationism that partners with ignorance to breed a pessimistic outlook on life. We are now able to reach out and touch each other in ways never before possible. The revolution in information technologies facilitates the  sharing of our lives and concerns in ways that were once impossible. In large measure it is now up to each of us to develop the resourcefulness to take advantage of every opportunity to empower ourselves and each other.

A greater sense of hope can be realized in the normal day to day circumstances of our lives. It comes when we live into the greatest calling of Life - the call to enter each other's lives in transformative ways. The seeds of hope are sown whenever we open up our hearts and minds, and make whatever resources we have available to enrich the lives and circumstances around us.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

We Can Build Walls... Or We Can Broaden Our Perspectives

If you are a consumer of “news” in our society you have probably developed a certain emotional obliqueness to the repetition of adverse events coming at you constantly. Indeed you may have come to cultivate a lack of attachment to any and all the issues being exploited in order to grab your attention, just so you can maintain some modicum of balance in your perspective on life. This expressed indifference has become a defining feature of the attitude of many people in our world.

A significant number of people have come to the conclusion that their indifference is necessary in order to maintain their sanity in what many have come to regard as a crazy world. The conscious construction of this wall - this defense mechanism to keep the madness out - might seem necessary, but it is not our only option… nor is it the most viable one. Reality bites, but we can find creative ways to avoid being uncritical consumers of the menu of an unconscionable media culture.

To be sure, there are things happening in our world that hold grave concerns for the future. There are enduring wars and strife. There are political dramas that raise questions about the assumptions we have cultivated about what constitutes good governance. Challenges to the foundational values that have come to underpin our political systems and the way we expect our societies to operate abound. Beyond the hypocrisies that are a part of the day to day relationships between nations, we continue to be concerned about the gross demonstrations of immorality and amorality in international affairs.

Bad news is a fact of life, but, thankfully, it is not the only news. While the reasons for pessimism persist, the necessity for optimism beckons. We may not be living in the best of times, but it is not true that we are in the worst of times. The violence that causes many to retreat is a fact of life; but cultivating hope for a more peaceful and prosperous world is an ontological imperative we must not ignore.