Civil Discourse

Religion and Politics

We are a passionate nation devoted to our principles and our beliefs.  History proves that many fought and died for those concepts.

Yet the admonition is to avoid speaking of religion and politics with family and friends unless  prepared for anger and disconnect.

Wonder why that is?  Why can we not have a dialogue about our concept of god and doctrine without the most negative attributes of our nature taking hold?   Why does a different concept of an unknown and unknowable Being dedicated to peace and love create animosity if the traditions and practices don’t always mesh?

Why do we not state our political beliefs and listen to the beliefs of others with the hope of understanding one another?  Why do we turn to rude and dismissive words to diminish the politics of others?  Political campaigns spend more dollars trashing opponents than they spend explaining programs of progress.

And when did the blessing of laughter turn into the sarcastic retort ridiculing differences that we perceive as diminishing ourselves or our  beliefs?  When did mean-spirited laughter replace the healing kind?

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Alleluia Moments

Literature, great to dreadful,  continues the search and rarely discovers a universal answer.  Meaning of life, good and evil, love/hate kind of stuff.   God, with all his names,  gets a mighty run.  Immense piles of uncertainty find comfort in his omniscience/omnipotent image.  When all else fails, god is the go-to in most of history and culture.

Without reflection or judgement on that comfort— that need for god to supply an answer— maybe we need to spend a bit of  reflection on what we keep close and true.

Years end.  Choices made in haste often salve the minutes yet destroy huge chunks of the years.  People we love will leave us or we will leave them.  Those awful things will come.  Opportunities to say “I love you.” will be no more.  Nothing to celebrate, nothing to share, nothing of hope.   That is not gloom or dread.

It is a  call to alleluia moments.

While we have our live and loves, keep them close.  Find a way to fix the broken parts.  Be the first to mend. Make the gesture.  Heal a wound.  Touch a place of hurt.  Erase a line in the sand if the line is a barricade.

We absolutely do live in a throw-away culture–use, discard, get another, get more, use, discard and throw away.   We pollute our land, our ocean, our loved ones and ourselves.  There are huge consequences of discarding the belief in fixing, repairing, saving.  Reality is that there will not always be more.

Find, create, savor the alleluia moments.  Love, listen to and treasure the people who are special.  Hold them close even if they push away.  When we love, listen to and treasure them the alleluia might  be there.

Relativism and Me (ccr)

At 5:30 AM  my intention was to tackle this blog after a few minutes of study and review.  Twelve hours later, I am thinking it is time to re-up at my local university.

Philosophy, Comparative Religions and Relativism are beckoning. In those twelve hours, give or take, I have read enough to know very  little— and that  I need to know so much more.

As disclaimer, I mean no disrespect nor do I intend any respect not earned.

My computer search of Relativism was as confusing as enlightening.  So much of what I read is word-play, twisting the language relative to the desired end.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI see relativism as a significant problem in the understanding of faith and morals.   They see relativism as a denial of the capacity of the human mind and reason to arrive at truth.

Much of the supporting material focused on time, place and culture when determining truth and morality.      A negative perspective of relativism gave a definition as not recognizing anything as certain and which has the goal of one’s own ego and one’s own desires.

What?  How does that work again?

How does recognizing that early Christianity is very different from Catholicism of today serve either ego or desire?  How does understanding that religious practices vary by country and culture tie into one’s own ego and one’s own desires.  Why is there any doubt that human mind and human reason can search for and eventually arrive at the obvious in the current time and culture?  Why is a church the only bastion of truth?

Catholics assume that  priests are celibate.  Greek Orthodox priests marry and have families.

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation makes the distinction between mortal and venial sin, relative to the person and the situation.  Many of us remember when confession was a weekly sacrament.  Today, in many churches, it is largely ignored.

In the 1950’s I was not allowed to attend weddings of friend marrying in non-Catholic churches.  Today Catholic priests share officiating duties at weddings in non-Catholic churches.

For decades, birth control was the hot-button issue of control of the private and intimate lives of Catholics.  Today many, if not most, Catholics would scoff at the idea of a priest declaring that the ultimate end of marital sex is pro-creation.

Small examples?  Maybe, but relevent.

I honor your beliefs formed by your culture, your place in time and your personal world view.  How does that detract from my own beliefs?

It doesn’t.