Activism, with Prayer and Silence

(This is my review of Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for  a New Generation, by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox. 2013, North Atlantic Books.) I was very pleased with this book.  It is a conversation between a young activist and an old one.  Adam Bucko (late 30’s, raised a Catholic in Poland, helps run a ministry to homeless youth in New York City) and Matthew Fox (late 70’s, a thinker, educator, author, and former Dominican, was evicted from “The Church” by the Vatican – in effect for talking too much, sorta like Socrates.  He then became an Episcopal priest). It is full of wisdom and good examples deriving from the integrity of the authors’ own spiritual searching and service.  There’s a strong Christian flavor, but don’t go here to learn conservative American Evangelical theology.  They show some preference for Christ and his teaching but are open to a wide variety of spiritual theories and practices. “The Bhagavad Gita, for example, talks about the importance of service, but it’s more about fulfilling your role or duty … In Western traditions, there is more of a concept of individuation.  You’re literally called by name to a specific kind of task.  In this … Continue reading

Good Comment on Christians as Republicans

Here’s a very helpful reaction to the article “Why Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican.” Thanks CT for putting things so well. I have added underlines and bolding. This is a great article. Although I am not American, if I had to vote I would also struggle with voting Republican. While I don’t agree with all of the policies of the Democrats, I believe they are by far the better option. We cannot tar all Republicans with the same brush but from what I can see their policies are not consistent with the teachings of Christ nor will they bring people to Christ which is what we as disciples are called to do. Regarding the obsession with abortion and homosexuality: While I agree abortion is wrong, I don’t see how criminalising it will stop women from aborting babies. People need to have a personal conviction that abortion is wrong and that will not come from aggressive anti-abortion tactics or rhetoric. Instead, would it not be better to provide better sexual education so that less young women fall pregnant and provide better facilities for young mothers who may feel that they are unable to support a child alone? Would it not … Continue reading

Wear Your Diagnosis Lightly – It’s Not Really You

A lot of us have “been diagnosed” with specific personality or mental conditions. I don’t formally have such a diagnosis (I’ve not yet seen anyone qualified to do it for me); but I’m sure there are several people around who’d be glad to offer suggestions! The thing I worry about is the effects I have seen such diagnoses have on people – the self-defining, self-shaping label it provides. It does affect one’s self-perception, expectations of what they can probably do, or not do, and how they are likely to behave. It really does, in my experience. So it narrows a person’s view of themselves and their world – and thus clearly restricts their potential.

“With Malice Toward None” – A Necessary Standard!

In pretty much his last words to the American people, Abraham Lincoln began the wrap-up of his Second Inaugural Address with these famous, beautiful ideals: With malice toward none, with charity for all . . . And I think he really meant it. In a nation that was an ocean of anger and blaming and malice, he asked us to move forward without malice. “Malice: Intention to harm or deprive in an illegal or immoral way. Desire to take pleasure in another’s misfortune.” [Wiktionary]

When the Government – or Society – Is Against You: What Should Christians Do?

Some American Christians worry that we are being “persecuted” and that our “freedom of religion” is being infringed. That’s always true to some extent – and the idea is scary. How did Jesus deal with it? Jesus practiced non-violent non-cooperation toward evil persons. The results of his courage were both short-term and long-term, mostly good, some brutally bad. Jesus’ immediate followers – the Christians of the first century, also faced lots of suffering. They suffered government harassment, even arrest and execution. They suffered from neighbors and fellow-citizens – the insulting or aggressive behavior of others around them in society. They suffered all the normal pains and sorrows of human life, of which there are many.

Limbaugh Has Judgment Problems? That’s Dangerous to Us – and Not a New Discovery.

I think the (verbal) behavior of Rush Limbaugh is a moral issue, and has a strong negative impact on the quality of citizenship in society. So, that needs to be said. This is my letter to the editor published in May 2006 in a small-town Nebraska newspaper. Some of my best friends are Limbaugh addicts (“dittoheads”). You don’t always agree with all your friends, right? I personally am sad to hear Rush is coming back to McCook airwaves. I fear he will undermine habits of good citizenship, and will damage families and spiritual lives. Unfortunately, he behaves like what Isaiah calls a “scoundrel.”

The Two Most Obvious Facts of Life

Here’s my ex-temp ramble in response to the line “momentum succumbs to entropy” seen elsewhere . . . + and you can say entropy succumbs to momentum. – but you have to have an energy source for momentum. + well, the plants and animals find energy to bloom and bear seeds and run and climb; so can we – but they all die + and more come – but the energy-supply machine (the sun) is running down

America’s Problem & Blessing: People Who Take the Bible Seriously (with 2 Rules of Interpretation)

Frankie Schaeffer grew up in a modern, politically radical, Americanized “Christianity”. He is not pleased with what it teaches or how it operates. In a recent article he gives a fairly thorough explanation of his concerns and how they relate to current political personalities – e.g. Michelle Bachmann. I have to agree with much of what Schaeffer says. Here’s an example: America has a problem: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. America has a blessing: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously.

A Covenant for Civility (Sojourners)

[You can sign this covenant online at the Sojourners site. I have added underlines and bolds to the version below.] How good and pleasant it is when the people of God live together in unity. -Psalm 133:1 As Christian pastors and leaders with diverse theological and political beliefs, we have come together to make this covenant with each other, and to commend it to the church, faith-based organizations, and individuals, so that together we can contribute to a more civil national discourse. The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural differences. Too often, however, we have reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ. We come together to urge those who claim the name of Christ to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Security – and Moral Bankruptcy

there is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security “No way.” No way. As in not possible in this world. but it can easily bankrupt itself, morally and economically, in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone. – President (& General) Dwight D. Eisenhower In other words, you can’t buy enough guns (etc) to make yourself safe. But you can go completely nuts trying. Eisenhower quoted by Brian McLaren in Everything Must Change, p 167.