a better way

Fr. Richard Rohr, in the mission statement for the CENTER FOR ACTION AND richard rohrCONTEMPLATION, shares the following:

“The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. Oppositional energy only creates more of the same.”

It’s all about energy, isn’t it?  Physical exertion, emotional expenditure, spiritual contemplation – it all revolves about the issues that are present in our lives.  Where we spend our time and energy determines who we are, what we advocate and ultimately the state of mind we enjoy in peace or endure in turmoil.  Therefore, next time I am tempted to jump into the mud with the other mud wrestlers (or whatever else hangs out in the slime), perhaps I should remember the exhortation of Fr. Rohr.

…and they all chimed in, “Yeah, Larry, and we’re going to nominate you for sainthood.”

Y’all ought to know by now that I live by the principle of progress rather than perfection, that lofty ideals are meant to be pursued, not attained.  It’s the journey, not the destination that constitutes a successful life.  Striving for a world dedicated to non-violence begins in me with every action, thought and prayer offered to the cause of personal earthly peace – “oppositional energy only creates more of the same.” 

That’s difficult to digest.  Does it mean that I should not be concerned about the injustice and hypocrisy which permeates the world?  Should I just throw my arms up in frustrated surrender over the racism and intolerance infecting American society? Should I sit in my quiet place with my beads and prayer shawl praying away the hatred and bigotry?

No, certainly not.  I should continue to see with dismay the horrors of social injustice, I should continue to speak out against the racism in my neighborhood, I should continue to protest by whatever resources I have the denigration of brothers and sisters of another race or creed or nationality.  But, I should not jump into the mud and lather up in my own  hypocrisy, intolerance and bigotry.  Justifying my disagreement and winning a victory over another’s viewpoints is not the goal of non-violence.  Proving the insanity of national politics will not make ours a better country.

I refer often to the wisdom of the ancients.  The thoughts, the words, and the sayings which have survived the test of time have done so because they are – wisdom.  In my opinion (and yes, I have many) the one nugget of wisdom erringly ignored by religious leaders and politicians alike is lead by example.

What examples are we choosing to lead us and guide us through an extremely violent period of world history?  Whom do we choose to inform us and thereby sway our opinions?  To what and to whom do we listen?  What do we read and view on media screens?  Where are we expending physical, emotional and spiritual energy?  Is it oppositional or is it conducive to understanding and peaceful solution?

Hillary (yeah, don’t allow the name to betray your religion) famously said in her campaign, “When he takes the low road, we take the high road.”

Doesn’t really matter whether she meant it or actually lived it.  The advice is great wisdom.  Let’s not get mired in the mud (or sewage) which poses as moral guidance or political leadership.  Observe it, digest it, and then continue to follow the compass which points true north.  Let our criticism of the bad be tempered by practice of the better.

Center for Action and Contemplation



Folks, I’ve got a confession to make to y’all.  Gabby ain’t as smart as he appears to be.  NosirreeBob, when the Big Guy upstairs took inventory of all them loose screws floating around in my head, he just sighed and threw away the screwdriver, said something ’bout sending me back to the factory for a major overhaul.  Now, the time has come for me to fess up.

Y’all might ask, “Well Gabby, how in tarnation did you come to this conclusion?”

It all started back in the summer of 2016.  I was watching Bugs Bunny on the cartoon network when my best bud Larry said, “Hey Gabby, let’s educate ourselves and switch to the news on CNN.”

Now, I forgive Larry for his indiscretion.  He just don’t understand how important Bugs Bunny is to my daily routine.  A day without Bugs is like a day without vittles.  But, I obligingly switched to CNN.  On the screen was a fat-assed, old white boy with an orange hairdo that would have turned Bozo, the clown, green with envy.

“Who’s that a-hole?”

“Heck, Gabby, that’s Donald J Trump.  He’s campaigning for the Republican nomination for President,” Larry replied.

“Don’t like him.  Looks like a left-over, half-baked tortilla with a can of Cheez Whiz dumped over his head.”

Well, folks, that was my first run-in with DJT.  In the following months we, Larry and me, saw a lot more of him and just like Grandpappy always taught me I stuck with my first impression.  Didn’t like him, he was a gas bag and he ain’t shown any more sense than a squealer trying to suck tit on a bull boar.  Just seemed like a downright mean sunuvabitch who aint’ had enough daddy love when he was a young’un.

But, I digress.  The point of this story is the friends, neighbors, and family who took me aside when we was discussing the election and told me how stupid I was and how I needed to read more about the candidates.  You see, I knew Hillary brought a lot of baggage with her, what with Bill’s dalliance in the White House and their connection with Pizzagate and a bunch of other stuff those right wingers were throwing at us, but she seemed more qualified to serve the people.  DJT hadn’t shown anything other than service to hisself and his empire.

But, my friends and neighbors is educated folks, got degrees behind their names and they’s leaders in the community.  Can’t say as much ’bout family.  Hell, cousin Bubba still believes that tacos are a Mexican conspiracy to rape and pillage in America.

So, when they told me that DJT is the man to make America great again, I gotta think they knew something I didn’t know.  Maybe I wasn’t up to snuff about politics like they were.  And that’s my confession.  I voted for Hillary.  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Now, there’s other things I gotta reconsider.

Climate change.  Maybe they was right when they said it was a Chinese conspiracy.

Mexicans.  Maybe they are nothing but a bunch of drug pushers and rapists.

Undocumented immigrants.  Maybe God does make some folks “illegal”.

Gays.  Maybe they are an abomination.

Muslims.  Maybe they want to take over the world.                   T

Transgenders.  Maybe they aren’t fit to serve in the military.

John McCain.  Maybe he is a loser like Trump said.

Poor people.  Maybe they don’t deserve to work in Trump’s cabinet.

Rich people.  Maybe they all are altruistic and caring folks.

Facts.  Maybe there are alternative facts.

Kellyanne Conway.  Maybe there was a Bowling Green Massacre.

Putin.  Maybe he is a great leader like Trump said.

White supremacists.  Maybe some of them are good people like Trump said.

Michelle Bachmann.  Maybe Trump is God’s answer to America like she said.

God.  Maybe God does love white, Anglo-Saxon protestants more than anybody else.

Trump.  Maybe he is a “very smart man” like he says he is.

Okay, folks, Gabby’s got to stop the bullshit.  My boots ain’t high enough.  NosirreeBob.  Ain’t no high-falooting, college degreed boys gonna tell Gabby he’s stupid and needs to read more.  Gabby’s gonna keep on slaughtering the English language and talking irreverently.  It’s who I am and it comes from the heart.




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