Category Archives: common good

December 24: Advent Reflections, Part 2: Enjoying Faith, Family and Friends

A Poem for Christmas Eve
Candlelit church services with wiggly children;
Warmth around a fireplace.
Last minute creating and cooking, shopping and wrapping;
Poignant memories of departed loved ones.

Meals served to thousands without a home;
Grace encounters as Christ comes clothed with gratitude.
The kettle bells ring one more day;
Families brave the weather to visit friends in need.

Divine love comes wrapped in swaddling clothes;
A Virgin Mother nurses her Creator and Redeemer.
Longings for peace arise in hearts;
The Prince of Peace comes near.

A Merry Christmas to all!



Immigration

The USA, like most nations, has a checkered history here.
We have been hospitable and xenophobic, paranoid and welcoming. From the Irish to the Chinese, from Eastern Europeans to Jewish Holocaust victims, we have often closed our doors or poorly received “the other.”

And, for over two centuries, we allowed the slave trade to flourish.
For the past 50+ years we have has a confusing system that both welcomes and keeps in the shadows millions of people. I am thrilled that millions want to find a better life from all parts of the world and our Hispanic/Latino sisters and brothers bring family and a great work ethic.

But.

Our current chaos is unacceptable. Borders and security matter and deporting real criminals is part of keeping us safe. On the other hand, inhumane and inconsistent policies keep families apart (and this did not begin with Trump) while opening the floodgates for exploitation.

On the Mexican border, the Democrats want permanent voters (they are even beginning the slippery slope of advocating voting rights for non-citizens!) and many Republicans want the cheap labor. Mexico’s corrupt government fortifies its Guatemalan border while arguing for the right of undocumented crossings to the USA.

Meanwhile, thousands trying to enter legally wait years and pay thousands of dollars.

We can fix this, with courage and wisdom.

First, offer a legal pathway toward either guest worker status or citizenship for current undocumented, non-criminal residents. This means temporarily de-criminalizing the border crossing itself.

Second, deport all convicted felons to their countries of origin.

Third, convene a conference with Latin American leaders and talk frankly about shared concerns about migration, drug trafficking and security.

Fourth, call on the Mexican government to be a partner in helping all secure a better future with border security, hospitable immigration policy and rooting out corruption.

Fifth, improve border security and reunite all families where possible.

Sixth, call the bluff of the sanctuary movements and offer clear pathways out of the shadows (see above) for non-criminals.

And seventh, make sure American citizens and documented/legal residents have priority in education, job opportunities and services. It is wrong for a hard-working American student on scholarship and aid to have to take 5-6 years to graduate while a full tuition paying foreign student breezes through in 4 or an undocumented one gets a full ride.

Conservatives concerned with security are afraid of being labeled racist. Progressives speak of humanitarianism but offer little substance on security.

Let’s get past the accusations and agitation and actually love our neighbor by offering a system that is just! We can do this. Today. In Congress. And millions will rejoice.

Common Sense…Not so “Common”

Almost daily I hear or read friends saying, “Can’t people have common sense? Doesn’t everybody know that [fill in ‘fact’ here]?” The problem is that “common” is under question in every category. From family structure to journalistic objectivity, from core values to affirming simple facts about the world, there is little agreement on reality and truth, even on simple events or observations!

There are three crises underneath the loss of common sense: 1) Abandonment of reverence for God…and therefore absolute truth beyond ourselves; 2) Chaotic anthropology, with gender and identity constantly changing; and 3) Subjective epistemology that ends us with insipid assertions such as, “Well, my opinion is just as valid as yours.”

Here are some commonsense observations as one contribution to restored sanity:

Emotional reactions are easy. Wise responses to our world require reflection. Let’s all pause before speaking or writing.

A decade of empirical global research has concluded that if basic food, shelter and water are present…happiness is a choice.

Life is much more delightful when we think of serving others, not ourselves.

Let’s restore common sense, one thoughtful word, one kind act and one moment of clear thinking at a time.