American and European public squares are replete with extremism,
polarizing language, and moral cowardice. Yes, that is correct: moral
cowardice. Political correctness and an unwillingness to confront facts
are deceiving millions into buying into false historical narratives and
feeling paralyzed about making any absolute statements. Here are some
paradoxical realities that deserve critical thinking and deep
reflection, not platitudes and soundbites.
jihadists do not believe in fostering a pluralistic society, with
liberty of conscience/religion, free speech and diverse worldviews
learning civility and common good unity. While the vast majority of
Muslims live peaceably with neighbors of all faiths or none, the
agitators are proposing either a gradual or abrupt takeover of the West
(and the rest) in the name of their faith. Extremists defend the
subjugation and even extermination of all opponents of Islam and in
chilling Orwellian fashion, declare that true “freedom” is only found in
submission to their version of Islam.
makes the above particularly nefarious is the cozy relationship between
the pagan-secular Left and radical Islam. The political Left will
persecute artists and bakers for refusing to endorse same sex weddings
but turn a blind eye to the jihadist’s oppression of women,
anti-Semitism, and blatant denunciations of gender and sexual liberty!
This is moral cowardice where hatred of Jewish and Christian morality
triumphs over history and reason.
kills babies. While a tragic necessity in rare cases of the mother’s
survival or baby’s unviability, “pro-choice” advocates are now
celebrating the termination of life at all stages, from early gestation
to infanticide. And anyone who disagrees is depriving women of
reproductive rights. The missing part of this “pro-choice” extremism is
the choices men and women make that lead to conception and the
irresponsibility of fathers in particular to care for the fruit of their
intimacy. While incest and rape may be presented as exceptions, the
vast majority (97%+) of abortions are elective due to economic or
emotional issues. This is moral cowardice.
refusal of many conservative Christians to face the realities of
emotional and sexual abuse, racism, and sexism within their histories
and current structures is also moral cowardice. In a convoluted desire
not to bring shame to the church or the gospel, leaders that cover
serious transgressions or make excuses for a lack of justice actually do
greater harm to Christian witness. Regardless of ecclesial traditions,
no person should feel disempowered or marginalized by any church.
Becoming intentional about lamenting our tragic history of racism and
sexism can lead to new friendships and true reconciliation. Victims of
abuse must be heard and helped, and perpetrators brought to justice.
cowardice can be overcome with humility and love, intentional
repentance and resolution, and fostering new friendships across the
barriers we create, and Jesus died to destroy and transform.
is often a prism, with color and light refracted so many ways. When we
hear each other’s stories, we see more of the beauty and brokenness, wit
and wisdom in our world. Ask a friend to share their experience – and
you will be better for listening.
goodness, justice, and love are four “echoes of a Voice” (N.T. Wright)
that point toward a Creator and the best attributes of being human.
I enjoy watching Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors rise to the
occasion in a game…I want to thank every faithful husband and wife,
mom and dad, woman and man who show they are champions every day. Your
love, diligence, loyalty, and hard work make our world better.
I was 12, my dad wrote in the Harvard Alumni Journal that “Charles is a
fiery humanist and a repressed basketball star (too short).” I had
heart, but not the gifts needed to go beyond early high school. But we
can all discover and fulfill our place in God’s world, growing in
character, charisma and capacity.
sad. A young, privileged politician harasses, tried to dox and calls on
others to make life miserable for a 77-yr-old woman praying for mercy
and protesting abortion. Passionate disagreement is fine, but this kind
of inversion where a kind woman is accused of all manner of hatred is
inexcusable. Friends on all sides of all issues – can we please debate
today with all the personal and social tensions of our world on my
mind. Feeling hopeful and wounded, envisioned and saddened at the same
time. What can I do?
Pray. Steward today well. Refuse entrapments.
Bless the very ones angry with my worldview. Live in the opposite spirit
of our polarized world.
Friends of all political and religious
persuasions: You are loved and respected and together we can improve our
world one act at a time.
“The truth shall set you free.” This quote from the
Gospel of John, chapter 8 verse 32 is often quoted and rarely
understood in context. Jesus is speaking about the differences between
his real followers and those that profess religious adherence while
avoiding obedience to love and truth.
before this verse, Jesus shares that his true followers obey his
commands…and THEN, the fullness of liberating truth comes into view. In
other words, knowledge alone does not liberate; a relationship with God
is what matters most. And, consistent with all of St. John’s writings,
proof of life with God is that God’s people love one another and all
around them, willingly serving those that cannot return the favor.
God-infused, unselfish love is the foundation of our lives, we can face
the truth of any matter head-on, because we know we are loved by God
and care more for his glory and the good of others that our selfish
wants. We can face the truth about ourselves and our need for continual
transformation. We can face facts about the economic, moral and social
issues of our day, knowing that our neighbors are both divine
image-bearers and in need of redemption.
Knowing the truth is liberating and here are some applications to everyday issues:
kills a human being. In an extremely small number of cases, preserving a
mother’s life may require a tragic moral choice; however, technology
allows us to see a real human developing inside the womb!
southern border needs regulation with hospitality, security with
compassion. Ignoring it only exacerbates human suffering and political
and economic agendas of elites that have no contact with the people
soaring deficits are inexcusable, with tax revenues the highest in
history. Smart people can balance our federal budget in a few hours,
while cowardly congressional leaders kick the can down the road of
housing is a local and national crisis. Neither socialism or
hyper-libertarianism can lead us to the private-public partnerships and
common good solutions we need.
we love God and our neighbor, we will seek solutions for these and
other apparently intractable problems. We can face both human misery and
divine opportunity with hopeful realism. It is time for thoughtful
folks to say, “Enough!” to posturing politicians and pundits and work
for justice neighborhood by neighborhood.