Systemic Violence, Part 4

Systemic Violence, Part 4 (Systemic trauma) is happening right before our eyes; yet the response of American citizens has been muted by the argument that what they are seeing and hearing is not oppression at all; it is compliance with laws. But those laws just happen to be rife with ethnocentrism, rejection of the stranger, … Continue reading Systemic Violence, Part 4

Systemic Violence, Part 3

Systemic Violence, Part 3 Religions, governments, and all corporations and organizations are highly capable of evil while not recognizing it as such – because it profits us for them to be immoral. Fr. Richard Rohr[1] Last week I noted that society has ostracized a relatively new group of people from the fruits of our economic … Continue reading Systemic Violence, Part 3

Systemic Violence, Part 2

Systemic Violence, Part 2 Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse. When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose. You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal. Bob Dylan[1] Last week I noted that our capitalistic economy is a structurally violent system. It is a significant contributor to the … Continue reading Systemic Violence, Part 2

Mental Illness, Part 6

Mental Illness, Part 6 Serious mental illness is a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder…resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. American Psychiatric Association[1] Last week I used Figure 4 to illustrate how my brother’s manic episodes seemingly shifted his perceived reality, circle C, outside of … Continue reading Mental Illness, Part 6

Mental Illness, Part 5

Mental Illness, Part 5 Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypo mania) and lows (depression)…When your mood shifts to mania…you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. Mayo Clinic[1] It appears our circles of reality, individually and … Continue reading Mental Illness, Part 5

Mental Illness, Part 4

Mental Illness, Part 4 We have done the people of God a great disservice by preaching the gospel to them but not giving them the tools whereby they can obey that gospel. Fr. Richard Rohr[1] Figure 5 illustrates a positioning of religion and spirituality in perceived realities. Area A signifies one person’s perceived reality. Area … Continue reading Mental Illness, Part 4

Mental Illness, Part 3

Mental Illness, Part 3 We don’t live in the world of reality, we live in the world of how we perceive reality. Filmmaker Bryan Singer[1] Last week I introduced this diagram (Figure 1) as a representation of one person’s reality. Everything within circle A can be perceived by this person – physically, intellectually, and/or emotionally … Continue reading Mental Illness, Part 3

Mental Illness, Part 2

Mental Illness, Part 2 We don’t live in the world of reality, we live in the world of how we perceive reality. Filmmaker Bryan Singer[1] Last week I defined mental illness as behavior outside of societal norms. I will now visually represent my understanding of that definition. My basic assumption is that our individual and … Continue reading Mental Illness, Part 2

Aggressive Media, Part 3

Aggressive Media, Part 3 Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.[1] The form of aggressive media that most exposes my aggressive tendencies is that of sports. This is particularly humbling to confess because I consider myself a non-violent person, even as I faithfully follow and cheer for my favorite teams. When I was younger, I … Continue reading Aggressive Media, Part 3

Non-Physical Violence, Part 4

Non-Physical Violence, Part 4 There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to … Continue reading Non-Physical Violence, Part 4

Non-Physical Violence, Part 3

Non-Physical Violence, Part 3 A lot of giving and receiving has a violent quality, because the givers and receivers act more out of need than out of trust. What looks like generosity is actually manipulation, and what looks like love is really a cry for affection or support.  Henri Nouwen[1] Violent, aggressive acts are not … Continue reading Non-Physical Violence, Part 3

Non-Physical Violence, Part 2

Non-Physical Violence, Part 2 The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.  Elie Wiesel[1] In last week’s reflection on non-physical violence I focused on verbal aggression and how the words we say, write, and even think can wound in ways as bad or worse than physical acts of violence. Verbal aggression, like its physical … Continue reading Non-Physical Violence, Part 2

Guns and Immaturity, Part 4

Guns and Immaturity, Part 4 Love God. Love neighbor. Love self. Love period.  Rev. Jacqui Lewis[1] Because we are inseparably interconnected with all beings, we cannot mature into our truest nature without first accepting others as possessing equal value and equally deserving of the respect we desire for ourselves. When Jesus told us to love … Continue reading Guns and Immaturity, Part 4

Guns and Immaturity, Part 2

Guns and Immaturity, Part 2 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother … and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…  Matthew 10:35-37 Immaturity expresses in countless ways when it … Continue reading Guns and Immaturity, Part 2

Guns and Fear, Part 2

Guns and Fear, Part 2 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul… Matthew 10:28a I ended last week’s Life Note by saying there is a reason Jesus taught that we should be willing to give up our lives instead of committing violence against another. It is the same reason … Continue reading Guns and Fear, Part 2

Guns, Mental Illness, and Jesus

Guns, Mental Illness, and Jesus Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52 On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman walked into two adjoining Uvalde, Texas classrooms of fourth graders and murdered 19 students and two teachers … Continue reading Guns, Mental Illness, and Jesus

Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 4

Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 4 And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Matthew 6:5 According to gospel accounts, Jesus divided his waking hours among three activities: prayer, … Continue reading Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 4

Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 2

Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 2 …strive first for the kingdom of God and (God’s) righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 Last week I suggested the church may be canceling Christianity by the practices and teachings it has adopted as standard church fare. What I mean … Continue reading Is the Church Canceling Christianity?, Part 2

Is the Church Canceling Christianity?

Is the Church Canceling Christianity? Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-16a Wikipedia defines cancel culture as “a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles.”[1] I began this series of Life … Continue reading Is the Church Canceling Christianity?

Reborn into Ordinariness, Part 2

Reborn into Ordinariness, Part 2 “I was reborn into ordinariness, but what more could one ask for?” Kevin Kelly[1] Kevin Kelly, an independent photographer at the time, was 27 years old and in Jerusalem during Easter weekend, an experience he shared with Ira Glass on the podcast, This American Life, in 1997.[2] He found himself … Continue reading Reborn into Ordinariness, Part 2

Reborn into Ordinariness

Reborn into Ordinariness “I was reborn into ordinariness, but what more could one ask for?” Kevin Kelly[1] The annual Christian celebration of Easter is over. Easter Sunday, even in the post-pandemic days, is one of the few times that people flock to church in unprecedented numbers (the other being Christmas Eve). Easter is an unusual … Continue reading Reborn into Ordinariness

Guns ‘n Moses, Part 3

Guns ‘n Moses, Part 3 The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the … Continue reading Guns ‘n Moses, Part 3

An Extraordinary, Ordinary Christmas

An Extraordinary, Ordinary Christmas Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Luke 12:6 Our challenge at Christmas, as every day, is to stop discounting the ordinary in search of the miraculous so we can see the miraculous in the ordinary. The Christmas stories of … Continue reading An Extraordinary, Ordinary Christmas