As we consider the turmoil in our streets and online, there are two guiding questions that may help us with a civil and insightful conversation. First, what does “there” look like as we aspire for a more humane, just, and loving world? Second, what are some practical steps toward this vision?
It is much easier to agitate and destroy than it is to build just and sustainable structures that help offer a flourishing future for all. Tearing down monuments to an unjust past is emotionally understandable. Yet, thinking deeply how to teach and understand the many narrative of American history will require more thoughtfulness that current reactions.
Conservatives tend to ignore the historical and systemic shortcomings and focus on personal opportunity and responsibility in achieving the ideals of the Founders and Framers. Some (not all) progressives find it hard to affirm anything positive about the past but offer few practical and economically feasible solutions for all the crises we face.
What does “there” look like? I long for a day when every (of every color or culture, class and gender) person – from conception to coronation – lives in a world with access, equity, and opportunity and can, with the help of others, flourish personally and add to the goodness of our world. “There” includes immigration reform, so America is hospitable and welcoming immigrants ready to contribute. Neither open borders nor separating families are good solutions.
Practically, serious reforms are needed in all sectors (business, criminal justice, education, political accountability, mental health, strengthening families, and more) so that these pathways are created and sustained. We can forge and better future without extreme deficit spending and defunding law enforcement.
Will we find the courage and wisdom to get past anarchy and ignorance, nostalgic and utopian dispositions and work toward justice? The road ahead is perilous but full of promise.
Life and Death.
In my posts, I aim for love,
kindness and thoughtfulness. I have convictions, but I value hearing all
sides and discovering some common good convergences. I will work hard
to avoid personal attacks while affirming the right to dissent on
Recent abortion laws enacted or proposed represent a clear and present danger to vulnerable life. The occasional tragic moral choice is one thing but discussing the fate of a viable person being born is inhumane and morally repugnant.
I oppose abortion in principle; however, the New York and Virginia laws move from President Clinton’s, “safe, legal and rare (and he opposed partial-birth infanticide)” to celebrating the destruction of a human life.
Some progressives celebrate science when speaking of climate change or evolution but ignore it completely when abortion or infanticide are mentioned. Becoming the defenders of the weak and vulnerable in and out of the womb will help validate other compassionate concerns.
When exceptions become the rule, finding common first principles becomes challenging and the loudest voices win over sanity and truth. We can do better than this.
Friends of conscience of all political persuasions, please pray, reflect and humbly love every person from conception to coronation.
First thoughts on Kavanaugh:
He is neither Messiah nor Antichrist.
His majority and dissent rulings as a federal judge show perspicacity and restraint and respect for the separation of powers. His appointment is not racist, sexist or xenophobic. His involvement with Starr in the 90s and later his defense of presidential power (during a Democratic administration) are part of a career marked by little controversy and should be seen in context.
It is important to remember that NO prior successful nominee has had to answer hypotheticals (Ginsburg, Souter, Thomas, Sotomayor), so expect some deflection when Roe v. Wade comes up. Also, the whining about “settled law“ is historical nonsense. 19th C. Courts gave us Dred Scott and “separate but equal” and fortunately these were later overturned. Our real crisis is a Congress (both parties) failing to do their job well, finding principled compromises for contentious issues.
He seems a decent, imperfect and kind person with basic integrity and a first-class mind. If religion is made a litmus test, we are violating a fundamental assertion of our Constitution. Feinstein’s horrendous, “Your dogma is strong…” is the last gasp of folks that think devout women and men cannot exercise sound judgment. What if Keith Ellison came up for nomination Progressives would decry conservative critique of his long involvement with the Nation of Islam as, “Islamophobic.” Why is Catholic-phobia tolerated?
I will share more during the formal hearings.
Privilege. A reality. Will we use it for humble service or self-aggrandizement?
Lord, help me use every gift, opportunity and resource to honor you and promote others.
We cannot be “anything we want to be.”
But we can, by God’s grace, fulfill everything the Lord’s designed for us.
Theology is art and science, poetry and prose, ecstasy and ethics, affirmation and action.
Dear conservatives and progressives:
Make a friend different than yourself. Enlightenment will follow. Friendship and common goals can help us transcend our prejudices. May I continue shedding stereotypes and learn deep listening and mutual love.
When we ask someone in greeting, “How ya doin’?” Let’s listen for their answer.
Classism, racism, sexism…lose their power through friendship and shared vision.
Shalom is possible when a vision of flourishing overtakes hatred.
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…”