how far have we drifted?

Having just once again read Orwell’s 1984, this quote resonates with me. It also resonates with me because of all that I see happening around me. When almost half of everything we hear from the two leading presidential candidates can be fact-checked and proven false, I am more than a little concerned about where we are as a society.

The consequences are ugly. If we continue to allow our leaders to openly lie; if we refuse to demand the truth, we will have no one but ourselves to blame when there is no difference between the two. That line is becoming more blurred every day.

Donald Trump, for instance, has already cried foul at the thought that his statements might be fact-checked during tomorrow night’s face-to-face debate with Hillary Clinton. How frightening is it when the two leading contenders for the highest office in our nation are afraid of facts?

Any of us can say anything. That doesn’t make our statements true. But, shouldn’t we hold our political leaders accountable for intentionally lying and using half-truths? Don’t we want our leaders to be factual?

I, for one, would like to have the statements of all presidential candidates fact-checked, even if, in those famous words from A Few Good Men, we can’t handle the truth.

three great treasures

Jesus taught that where our treasure is, there will be our heart, also. If we agree with the great Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, our hearts are surely in a good place. Our world would be a far kinder and much more gentle place if we would demonstrate our wealth in these treasures.

we always have a choice

This is a critical understanding for the world in which we find ourselves. Our society is sinking ever lower into a culture of anger, bitterness, hate-speech, disrespect, fear-mongering and deceit.

We may not be able to control the actions of those around us, But, we can always choose how we respond. We always have a choice.

Basic morality, basic decency, and mutual respect should be the norms that provide the framework for our society. I, for one, choose to live by those norms.

I am saddened to see those that speak and act in an intentionally divisive manner, purposely working to weaken and even break our bonds of community. But, I have a choice.  And I choose to live and act in the knowledge that all of us are one global family.

I choose to live in love. What about you?

nothing is to be feared

We cannot control the actions of others. That is a given. But, we can control our response.

One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is in the First Letter of John where the writer talks about the need for loving each other more. In one verse he writes, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..”

We need to love more, and we need to fear less. As Madam Curie so elegantly states, nothing in life is to be feared. Nothing. So that includes those that don’t look as we do,  those who speak a different language, those that worship differently than we do, those whose sexual orientation is not like ours, and even those who might hate us,

Fear is a powerful demonstration that the depth of our discipleship is too shallow. Our lack of love for those we do not understand is a clear signal that we do not love God enough to understand. We have nothing to fear.

a Christian response to terrorism

The Dalai Lama, long an advocate of peace and reconciliation among various faith traditions, recently declared that once a person or a group decides to indulge in violence they are no longer being true to their supposed beliefs. He pointed out that the Koran even states that once one commits bloodshed that person can no longer be called a follower of Allah.

Christians need to take a lesson from the Dalai Lama. In a time when so many are promoting divisiveness, here is one spiritual leader who continues to seek reconciliation. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we are called to be “ambassadors of peace and agents of reconciliation.”

There is no room in Christianity for hate speech, xenophobia, and divisive rhetoric. Faithfulness to Christ means we love and accept each other even as we have been loved and accepted. Violence, even in response to violence, is not part of the Gospel.

Faithfulness to Christ demands more. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is love. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is forgiveness. Anything less, as the Dalai Lama would say, is to be untrue to what we proclaim we believe.

a question of self-improvement

Self- improvement is always a hot topic. For many of us it’s a question of physical well-being, cosmetics, or mental capacity. All of those are good and have their place. But, Franklin understood that true self-improvement has to go far deeper.

The most meaningful self-improvement must focus on stretching our ability to see beyond ourselves. The old saying is true than “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.”

Franklin knew that a focus on doing for others, serving the greater good, reaching outward and keeping our focus beyond ourselves, will reap the greatest benefits of self-improvement. It’s a valuable lesson for the self-centered age in which we now live.

Tonight, before turning out the lights ask yourself: “What good have I done today?

Jesus and tax cuts for the rich

The Gospel reading for today is Luke 16:1-13. It’s a passage in which Jesus focused on money and how it is handled and used. This passage is especially interesting in light of Ha-Joon Chang’s comments.

Verse 13 is one that is familiar to most of us. It’s a verse oft quoted and even more often ignored by Christian and non-Christians alike.

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Wealth is a spiritual issue. That makes it a lifestyle issue.

Our focus is where our heart is. Faithfulness to Christ demands one focus. Wealth requires a different focus. To which are you devoted?