All posts by Dr. Charlie Self

Some Wisdom Amidst the Noise, Part 3

Not all opinions are equal. Just because we feel something does not make it right. May we humbly (re)discover critical thinking and tender hearts, without fear of where our learning may take us.

We need more beauty in our lives, from a child’s smile to magnificent sunsets. Please pause and never lose the wonder.

Lord, help us to enter the mystery of your holy love and humility, seeking ways to bless those that curse us and do good for those that desire our demise.

Lord, help us become active contemplatives and contemplative activists, seeking your glory and the good of others, worshiping in our gathered communities and our scattered domains of work.

Lord, help us navigate between fear and foolishness, learning courage bathed in love and wisdom.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Amen.

One test of (all) leadership is principled compromise leading to proximate justice.

At the heart of being human are the deepest desires for God and meaningful work.

Be countercultural tonight: invite friends over for a potluck…with food all of you have cooked from scratch.

Boys can dance and girls can hunt…and they are still different.
How did three such different people come from the same parents?
God delights in uniqueness.

Some Wisdom Amidst the Noise, Part 2

As we face personal and community challenges, there is “wisdom from above” that is pure and peaceable and unites love and justice, compassion and empowerment. Here are some more reflections as I listen to God – and that listening is mediated through wise people in my life.

Confusion leads to anarchy and ultimately external control. Clarity leads to accountable liberty and greater personal responsibility. On most issues, ethical/moral clarity is not difficult – it is just demanding.

Reflecting and responding beats reacting and resenting every day.

Instead of castigating former and present leaders, how about constructing new friendships?

Current reactions in our civil conversation are morphing from legitimate dissent to hysterical accusations and perceptions. Instead of anger and violence and quashing voices, how about concrete actions of love and service and policy proposals that have a chance to work? I challenge all parties and groups to think of the common good of all – Black and White, rich and poor, religious and secular.

Grateful for the global church of all ages today: Jewish and Gentile, African and Asian, Near Eastern and Western, in soaring cathedrals and hidden catacombs…from Mt. Sinai to Monte Cassino, from Armenian chapels to American campuses, from bells and incense to freeform dance and song…may their testimonies inspire our fidelity and service.

Choosing contemplation over cynicism, helpfulness over hatred and vision over venom. Such responses are harder than reactions, but so much better for the soul and society.

Some Wisdom Amidst the Noise, Part 1

With the contentious political environment, compression of events and the overwhelming amount of data we are all juggle, gaining perspective is an important virtue. I offer the following as reflections that I hope will refresh and renew, stimulate sound thinking and compel kind action. Enjoy – and pass on!

Dear political opponents: state objections to candidates and policies based on principles, not memes and reactionary obstruction.
Dear thoughtful conservatives and progressives: stop labeling and shutting down arguments and seek principled compromise and proximate justice. Let’s all grow up.

There is a “more excellent way” than our current anger: it is agape love that is holy and humble, selfless and serving, uniting deep compassion with durable convictions.

A guiding question for each day: How have I added value to someone’s life?

Labeling keeps us from listening. We can learn even from “opponents.” Look past age, class, color, ideology and listen to the ideas, facts and logic. You may also make a new friend in the process.

“Searching for a heart of gold.” Neil Young describes our longing for integrity – especially in politics, Left or Right. The search begins in my own soul: “Create in me a clean heart, O God…”