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In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the holiday we celebrate today, I am reposting my two cents, first published June 13, 2008.

 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matt: 5:43-44

  What would the world be like if Christianity as a whole really took this seriously? 

     While these words certainly sound nice, and few disagree in Sunday School, it seems to me that very few actually live these words.  Our nation was touched and somewhat perplexed at the compassion of the Amish a couple of years ago after a gunman killed 5 small Amish girls before killing himself.  The entire community forgave him, turned up in droves to his funeral, offered his widow condolences and the Nation generally approved.   I wonder if there was any controversy within the Amish community themselves.  Five years earlier, a cowardly civilian attack performed by hijacking airplanes and flying them into skyscrapers launched a cry of retribution leading to two wars with millions of casualties, the relaxing of civil rights and Geneva convention protocols, and lifting the torture ban regarding prisoners. 

   When other countries asked not to jump into war, to slow down, we derided them.  When Singers spoke out against the idea of war they quickly became Pariahs and were decried as unpatriotic, complete with burning of albums and death threats.  In short, most of America acted the way the natural man does, we returned violence and intolerance for violence and intolerance, loving our neighbor and hating our enemy.  At my own peril, I am going to take a journey down into politics and war, a subject fraught with contentious traps, and explore the possibilities of nonviolence and loving our enemies.

 

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First Published May 21, 2008

If there is one thing that can make religion unpopular in today’s pluralistic society, It is the idea of claiming access to exclusive truth.  On my mission I learned firsthand how the act of sending someone to your door is felt deeply offensive for so many people.  It is one reason religion is just something you are not supposed to talk about, in the interest of keeping peace.  Religion is simultaneously deeply personal and deeply divisive. 

     When you feel a strong spiritual bond of community, spirituality and faith, the proselyting of others is seen as an assault on everything you stand for.  At the same time, helping others see what you have and sharing it also becomes important the more invested you become and the more joy you find in your faith.  Calm assurance that you are “right” has been used to justify coercion, violence and even genocide against outsiders through history.  This in spite of the fact that such actions are almost always roundly condemned in the holy writings of all the faiths involved. Read the rest of this entry »

First Published May 29, 2008.

  It turns out that trust is chemical, at least according to modern neuroscience and research into oxytocin.  Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the neuron part of the pituitary gland that has long been known to strengthen uterine contractions in childbirth and to start milk production in breast feeding.   More recently, scientists have started to understand its role in brain and behavior with key role in trust. Read the rest of this entry »

     I welcome one and all again to my roundup of all that is well with my surfing the internet for hidden treasure of knowledge relating to all things mind, soul, and body.  This week I have great posts on death, death, and death.  Also parasitic stalkers, forbidden fruit, and Heavy Metal, and smell receptor farming to name just a few.  So dig in and enjoy the very best I could find- Read the rest of this entry »

A thousand apologies for my light posting of late.  My work among the sick and infirm has cut deeply into my writing and pondering time.  However, I will post as I am able.  In the mean time, here is a treasure trove of great stuff from around the blogging world for your enjoyment. Read the rest of this entry »

    ” We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”

            Doctrine & Covenants 121:39

      Few things in life distort the relationship of communities and society more than power and politics.  The American revolution and the revolution in France introduced democracy to both America and Europe in roughly the same time period.  The French revolution ended up much more violent and tumultuous than the former, described by Charles Dickens as “the best of times” and “the worst of times” simultaneously.  The French revolution was an extremely violent and intolerant uprising.  It led to mass beheading and guillotining of the aristocracy.  It led to the rise of the first of the modern despots in Napoleon, who enthralled the recently empowered majority, was voted into power which he refused to release and unleashed upon the rest of Europe, as the revolution ran off its rails.

The Storming of the Bastille in 1789

 

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  As noted and documented in a previous link, the summer Blockbuster Batman: The Dark Knight presents a terrifying picture of a the Joker as psychopathic villain holding an entire city hostage to terror in a manner that feels more like a documentary than a movie making it truly chilling.  His view of people is twisted in that he feels sure he can manipulate them into monsters through a series of very twisted, cynical ploys.  (Warning: spoilers ahead) 

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    I thought that for this time in particular, in a era where war against western society has been declared by another group of psychopaths who fly passenger planes into skyscrapers, the movie very timely and relevant.  Read the rest of this entry »

Well, another week gone by and as always, I’ve mined my favorite nuggets from the internet I have surfed across, especially for you, the reader.  So without further delay, I present the very best of the internet- Read the rest of this entry »

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