Not just a black issue – it’s a human issue. Are we up to the challenge?
Not just a black issue – it’s a human issue. Are we up to the challenge?
Martin Luther King, Jr. – an impossible and unrealistic dream or a legacy squandered by hatred and division? Or might you be one who believes great strides have been made in equal justice and opportunity for not only our black and brown brothers and sisters, but also for those of different creeds, lifestyle and nationality – the Puerto Rican, the Muslim, the gay and lesbian?
Yes, laws have been passed and legislation protects, but has the heart of white, privileged America miraculously filled with compassion since the era of MLK, Jr.? What leads you to believe so? Equal job opportunities? Fair housing practices? Safe city neighborhoods? Justice in the court systems? Protected voting rights? Or maybe state and federal governments represented proportionately by members of all minority groups? Really? You truly believe this is so? Can you unequivocally state that a gay man, a black man, a Muslim woman, a white woman walks as securely through life as a white man?
Well golly gee, I would love to share some of that whacky weed you are smoking followed by a swig of the Kool-Aid you’re drinking. America, wake up! We are at a crossroads in our country’s destiny. We have been rent asunder by today’s world and national political powers who want to see us even further divided because it will be then that their vile plans can be instituted – race against race, black against white, straight against gay, Christian against Muslim, Democrat against Republican. Dr. King spoke often of the brotherhood of mankind as the only way to keep this ship (the earth) from sinking and the necessity of non-violence in solving our problems. So, is his dream dead or merely shifting gears? It’s up to us, isn’t it?
one nation, indivisible, with liberty & justice for all
“the time is always ripe to do right”
“morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated”
When I was a little boy and did foolish things, they smiled and called me cute. When I was thirty-five and did foolish things, they admired and called me adventurous. Now that I am an old man doing foolish things, they roll their eyes and call me senile. I just don’t get it. Make up your mind.
Psychologists and spiritual gurus tell us that our opinions are formed by our perceptions of life experiences. Perceptions – if this is true, than obviously some of us need hearing aids and new eyeglasses.
I did not choose to take this journey. I did not pick the itinerary. So, if you don’t like my route, take it up with the TripMaster. She is always right.
Hell no, I am not opinionated; I’m merely right all the time.
I wanted to write something clever to ring in the New Year. I thought maybe something funny or satirical. How about deep and profound? Or maybe inspirational? Nothing, nada, zilch. I have nothing. I’ve made no resolutions, I have no high hopes.
Remember the show years ago called THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS? Within about half an hour, 2019 will be the year that was. There will be no fond memories, no awesome events, and no ‘light my fire’ inspirations. Folks, 2019 was a certifiable dud, a wasteland of time, a sewer of unintelligible gibberish. And we had a front row seat. With thanks let us bury 2019 in the deep, dark hole in which it belongs.
2020 will be spectacular when and if we make it so. Give back the insanity to those people who want an insane life. Return the uncivility, the crass behavior, the smutty behavior, the lies and deceit to those who thrive upon it. Return to sender C.O.D. You and I don’t need it in our lives. We have better things to do. AMEN ?
Let’s love our friends as if they are irreplaceable because they truly are. Let’s treat our family as if we actually like them. Let’s see the rest of struggling humanity as brothers and sisters because in compassionate solidarity we are one.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. STEP 10, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
Humility is defined on page 58 of TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS as “a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become who we could be.”
Sobriety is serious business, but most often we alcoholics take ourselves too seriously. The steps are suggestions that can never be practiced perfectly, but can always be pursued in daily activity. With practice and time, step 10 becomes as routine as brushing teeth in the morning. Along with a gratitude list it’s a great way to start the day. But unfortunately, humility can’t be attained, it can’t be practiced, it can’t be prayed into existence. It just happens. When I think I’ve got it, I don’t.
“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way
I can’t wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
But I’m doing the best that I can”
SOBER TODAY? GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR HIGHER POWER A HAND
“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now….we thought we could find an easier, softer way. But, we could not.”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, chapter 5, How It Works
Wisdom from the BIG BOOK, the alcoholic’s bible, teaches us that there is no easy way to transformation and restoration. We cannot hang on to old ideas, we cannot party with the old crowd, we cannot entertain previous bad habits and expect a sustained, peaceful sobriety. Millions of successfully recovering alcoholics will testify to this assertion from HOW IT WORKS. For us there is not an easier, softer way.
Those of us who profess a faith walk and try to follow earnestly the God of our understanding know this principle applies to all aspects of our lives. Discernment is an integral part of daily living. Not only recognizing a spiritual value, but following the direction of that moral compass becomes a driving force in our lives. Talk the walk and then walk the talk. We cannot conveniently turn on and off the spiritual connection which has returned us to sanity.
And so it is that when discussions of social, political and religious significance occur, we have a choice – wallow in the easier, softer way of complacency and submission to the status quo or advocate what could be infinitely more difficult, but principled. Our guide? It has to be that same moral compass, that discernment which we discovered through the grace of sobriety. It has to be what was learned by giving up the easier, softer way.
I recently witnessed a conversation between two upstanding members of the community. Debating politics, one offered an opinion that his Christian faith had no bearing on his choice in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election. The moral character of his candidate had nothing to do with fitness for the office or ability to lead. The booming economy and low unemployment rate were, by far, a more important barometer than any character faults and defects. Maybe he is right. Maybe it is okay during the election cycle to put away in a box the faith and values which have transformed our lives. Maybe the economy, stock markets and retirement accounts are more important than the life and work of Jesus manifesting through us. Maybe. What do you think?
Sunday, December 1st, marks the beginning of the Christian season of Advent which leads up to the announced birth of Jesus, the Christ, Christianity’s reason for the season. Have you, whether a professed follower or a non-believer, ever wondered what would happen to this child if he were born in the year 2019?
“I cannot help but think of the journey of the children, women and men forced to migrate. In September  the number of migrants globally reached 272 million, outpacing the growth rate of the world’s population.” Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
Most of us who were raised in the comforts of an American Christian community surely remember the sweet stories about baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger being adored by the shepherds and wise men and lovingly attended by Mary and Joseph. We remember the art masterpieces depicting a handsome Jesus, obviously an Anglo-Saxon man, decorating the church wall.
We were somewhat dismayed upon learning that this proclaimed savior of the world was probably a brown-skinned, short man with curly black hair born into poverty to just one of numerous illiterate families earning a meager living working for the wealthy, religious elite. They were, of course, Jewish and followed Judaic traditions. Undoubtedly, they experienced hunger and probably did not have clean water or adequate sanitation. Security was to be found not in material wealth but in their devotion to the God of their ancestors and the cooperative charity of fellow villagers.
If Jesus were born today, he and his family would probably be immigrants on some nation’s border, possibly ours. He would risk violence at the hands of racial prejudice or trafficking in child sex trade. On the southern border of the wealthiest nation in the world, Jesus would likely be separated from Mary and Joseph and caged with other immigrant children.
Not much has changed, has it? Two thousand years later and we still treat immigrants as if they somehow do not really matter to the Father/Mother of us all, that they are less loved than we are. We continue to hang on to that image of Jesus, the privileged, Anglo-Saxon white man adorning the church wall. We noisily thump our Bible to support our prejudice while reading the words which state explicitly that every person on earth is made in the image and likeness of God. We somehow ignore the scriptures which tell us that we are to love our neighbors [earthly brothers and sisters] as ourselves.
The season of Advent is a journey for the Christian world leading up to the birth of its proclaimed Christ child. In addition to all the joy, jingle bells, gifts and Santa Claus let’s set aside time to contemplate what it would be like to be an immigrant. What if you and your family were forced to leave the comfort and security of your home and your community because of political or economic turmoil? What if the people on the other side of the border which you must cross hated you because of your skin color, creed or social status. What if you were financially disadvantaged and had to rely of the goodness and compassion of strangers to provide for your family? Would you be afraid?
If we justify our intolerance and lack of compassion for immigrants by citing the need to protect our families or protect our faith tradition or protect our racial purity, or protect white identity, then truly what we cherish is but a heap of rubbish, is it not? We are denying the reason for the season. How can we proclaim amazing grace at the altar while disregarding the message given to us through the life of Jesus, the impoverished immigrant?