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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 »

angeldevil

   The blogosphere is one place where you will never find any shortage of opinions and punditry.  The recent election has been rife with partisan bickering and and all or nothing thinking.  The healthcare debate online suffers from much of the same problem.  It is fascinating to me how perceptions can vary from one person to another regarding the same reality.  

     Through it all, I cling to the idea that the vast majority of people are basically good.  At the same time, a look at history or the news makes quite clear that even good people are capable of doing some pretty horrible things.  Jonah Lehrer at Frontal Cortex recently shared a personal experience with one way that people with good intentions can make the world worse, the Just World Phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry »

  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 »

There just seems to be something about July.  Everything at the hospital is new and enthusiasm is bursting.  It has made for a busy week in trying to keep up with the very best the internet has to offer.  I have expanded my usual offerings and still have to great posts I’ve left out.  If any of you are real die hard fans, subscribe to the nuggets from all over feed on the sidebar.  For those who just need a weekly fix of the world wide web’s offerings, I present the best I’ve seen- Read the rest of this entry »

  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.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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 »

Making its comeback appearance after a week off, I present, especially for you the reader, the very best of the internet to have crossed my path in the last week. Read the rest of this entry »

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