week after Groundhog’s Day and in remembrance of the Bill Murray comedy
of reliving the same day over and over again, it is right to reflect on
some enduring challenges:
We have miles to go in our pursuit of justice for women and men of all classes and cultures.
We can celebrate Christian contributions to social progress, and we must deeply lament historic ecclesial complicity with oppression.
We can criticize Israeli policies, but most of the responsibility for lasting peace rests with Arab leaders acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as the national home of the Jewish people. Israel is not a western colonial imposition, but the historic home of an ancient people. The new plan presented by President Trump (and quietly endorsed by some Sunni Arab states in the region) is an opportunity that the current Palestinian Leadership is willfully ignoring.
Billions have been lifted out of poverty in my lifetime due to global trade, with access to new markets. We still have too many food, banking, and job deserts in our own American cities.
Our national debt and deficit spending reveal cowardice and a lack of concern for generations yet unborn. Both parties are guilty, and it will take both parties cooperation to find solutions.
UN officials admit that their proposals for climate change amelioration are of little practical use, except for the transfer of trillions in wealth. Unless China, India, and Russia sign on, little progress can be made. Every proponent of free trade and/or climate change skeptic must also care more deeply for the ecological life of our planet. Good environmental stewardship means a good economy for our grandchildren.
Let’s find a new way to fund education of all kinds without a lifetime of debt on graduates and ever-increasing tuition prices.
A rebirth of civility begins with an affirmation of the dignity and worth of each person we meet. We must end caricature, insults, and stereotyping of those different from us.
To all who are “triggered” by the free exchange of ideas:
careful what you agitate for…once you go down the road of restricting
liberty of conscience and expression, you will find there is no end to
the paranoia, lust for power, and totalitarianism lurking just below the
surface. We now have the marginal at the center and the center at the
The lessons of the French Revolution, the evils of the USSR’s formation and expansion, Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s destruction of Cambodia, Iran’s self-immolation…all of these started with words like “freedom” and “the people” and ended with authoritarians killing “counterrevolutionary” people.
Now we have feminist pioneers being eviscerated for not wanting men to compete in women’s sports. Science is thrown out the window and feelings reign supreme. Religious business owners (only Christian, by the way) are targeted for destruction. Arresting thieves becomes a cause for accusations of a “history of racism” with college leaders agitating…and when found out, hiding behind the very First Amendment they hate so much.
Cambridge scholars cannot speak at Oxford. Former Muslims are forced off platforms. Exposure of jihadism becomes a cause for accusation of another “phobe.”
can do better in a free and virtuous society. But we must have the
character and courage to debate without rancor and live peaceably with
our deepest differences.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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
2019 can be a great year of courage and wisdom, or a terrible year of anger and competition. May we choose well.
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.