Category Archives: civility

Civility and Freedom

The first freedom of a civil society is liberty of conscience/religion. Living with civility and debating world views is critical for ordered freedom. Allowing for changes in perspective, policy and religious conviction and being thankful for redemption is also part of a civil society. 
People change. They may move in directions I differ with, but I want to offer ears of openness instead of suspicion, and a heart of humility instead of ideological rigidity. 

I am sad that there so few Democrats that are pro-life, unlike the 1980s. I am sad that too many Republicans do not see the structural barriers to equity for many Americans. I am gladdened by the efforts of local leaders of all parties that work together for neighborhood renewal. 

And I remain convinced that the Gospel-centered local church as a community of holy love, is the key catalyst of personal and community transformation. 

Dear political leaders and pundits: please evaluate current ideas and actions and do not judge women and men of either party too quickly based on 20, 30 and 40-year-old statements.
To all thoughtful friends: please pause and reflect before public reaction. You will keep friends and your ideas will be better-informed.

December 31: Reflections and Resolutions

Reflections and resolutions are part of the in between moment as we prepare for 2019. Rather than offer self-help palliatives and platitudes, I suggest that we consider history and hope for our community, nation and world. Here are some reflections and resolutions for our local and global communities.

Mr. President, confrontation and personal attacks are not always the best way for promoting policies for all people. Please consider greater conciliation and principled compromise and stop the personal attacks.

Republican and Democratic Congressional Leaders, you can get your revenge or actually legislate. You can investigate for two years or build a legacy of goodness. You can start your Presidential campaigns or actually help your constituents.

Members of the media, your partisan “gotcha!” journalism has only exacerbated tensions. How about serious investigations of facts and explorations concerning solutions instead on one more hit piece?

Friends of conscience and goodwill, we can begin making the world a better place by discussing serious issues with civility and leaving ad hominem attacks at the door. We can renew our neighborhoods and our nations with new partnerships for the common good.

Lust for power is more potent than money and sex. Will we use our positions and privileges to serve or simple aggrandize more authority? Will we remember why we began a pathway of leadership or will we default into self-protective modes?

2019 can be a great year of courage and wisdom, or a terrible year of anger and competition. May we choose well.

A Pause for Beauty

Throughout history, thoughtful men and women have agreed that cultures rise and fall on their inner moral virtues as well as their military and political prowess. “The Good, the True and the Beautiful” are categories that shape our worldview and civil society.

We live is a world deeply marred by injustice, oppression and ugliness. We also have astonishing moments of sacrificial virtue, justice and beauty. Contrary to the cliché, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” we can assert the universality of both the idea of beauty (with its cultural preferences) and certain human experiences that awaken awe and take our breath away.

Year ago, singer Sarah Groves presented the song, “Add to the Beauty.” Part of redeeming our world – however imperfectly – is each of us adding to the beauty. Such labors of love go beyond artistic expressions. Beauty is expansive and each of us can contribute, from doing daily work well with a great attitude to fostering new relationships.

As we lament over sin and violence, we also need a Sabbath of Beauty. There is so much beauty in our Father’s world. For example, a first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and hearing Bach on the cello. A baby’s unfeigned smile. Athletic ability honed by years of practice. Mountain peaks and ocean waves.

Let’s add to the beauty.