Thursday, April 13, 2017


(Please check column on your right for Part 1)

   Our new vision starts with the facts and the truth.  For example, in politics, the fact is that House Speaker Paul Ryan said his version of the Health Care bill would guarantee that everyone had access to health care.  But the truth is that his version of "access" meant that not every American would actually have health care.  So he was playing with words.  Further, the truth is that the government has an obligation to ensure that everyone has health care.  This is not "socialism."  The government's obligation is one of "justice for all."

   Someone may ask, "How are you so sure what the truth is?"  I respond that in this case I know the truth in two ways.  One:  I know the English language and I know when it is being manipulated to tell a lie.  Two:  Being endowed with the grace of Christ I can discern the obligations of social justice that pertain to all humans.  Now I invite you to join me in seeking and seeing the truth together.

   In my previous Post I spoke of the tension between an arguing husband and wife that put them in a dualistic world.  Each one was opposed to the other.  The therapist supplied a third, higher element, their mutual love, making their dualistic situation a trinity.  As a result, the therapist 1) created a way for the couple 2) to heal and save their marriage, and 3) to move forward and evolve in their lives.  Here we have the three elements of our vision:  Creativity, Healing/Saving, and Transforming/Evolving Life.  These elements are those of God, who is ONE Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving LOVE.  

   In theology, we can say that God is Infinite/Eternal, Creative LOVE (Father), flowing into and begetting World Healing/Saving Love (Son), giving rise to World Transforming/Evolving Love (Holy Spirit). 

   Also, divine LOVE is never static.  Divine LOVE is always creating, always healing/saving, and always urging the world forward in its evolution.  We experience God dynamically when we experience God as calling us forward from the future.

   Our first and best guide to living the vision is Jesus, the individual human being who was the universal Christ, i.e., the whole universe saturated with God's overflowing love.  Like Jesus, the vision starts here and now in the flesh, on the ground.  Like Christ, it expands to embrace the entire world, the earth, the universe and infinity/eternity.  It is the one vision that is fully worthy of our human reality and dignity as beloved and sacred images of God.

   Starting on the ground, we begin with ourselves by looking more clearly at our own talents, abilities and opportunities, all of which show us our vocation in and for today's culture and society.

    For example, people competent in education can work to create a school program (public and Catholic) that will truly create in the children an ever more intense desire for learning, so that, as someone said, education will be not filling buckets but setting fires.  The program will heal the children's ignorance with humanizing, edifying knowledge.  And it will move the children's lives forward in their ongoing evolution of understanding how to make a living and how to make a life.  Academically forming children how to make a life will include appreciating the talents, possibilities, respect, dignity and transcendent purpose that each child possesses as a beloved and sacred individual member of the human community.

   Those competent in business and economics can work with businesses to create stronger motivations to produce the best possible goods and services at fair prices.  They will work to heal any of the business's shortcomings, e.g., in providing clean and safe working conditions, fair living income for its workers, and respect for the environment, and they will help move the business forward in justice by helping the business give retraining opportunities to employees who are fired because the business sends their jobs to another area of the country or overseas, in order to maximize profits.  Thus they will also help move the business forward as a respected, contributing member of the community, nation and world.

   In sum, when we come face to face with the degradation of our humanity and the earth, we will speak up and act to correct it and to elevate our humanity, making our humanity more luminous in the Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving love of Christ. 

   In my next Post, I will begin to discuss the new "landscape" and atmosphere of the vision and the new language and conversation that the vision will create.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


   Why a new vision?  Because many Catholics still believe and live with a worn out, heavily moralistic, authoritarian, medieval-style church vision.  And many American Christians have been politically seduced into being strongly opposed to other religious visions and to newly suspected and even hated immigrants and foreigners.  And for those who have turned their backs on our shared humanity and wish us ill.  A new vision is necessary.  And it has to be built from the ground up.  So let's begin with some down to earth examples.

   A young therapist was stuck between a quarreling husband and wife.  When he sided with the husband, the wife got angry.  When he sided with the wife, the husband got angry.  He couldn't find any room for compromise.  So he consulted his director. His director said, "Your job is not to take either side.  You have to go higher than just looking for a compromise on the level of their tension.  You have to help them rediscover the love they share.  If that love is still there it will give them higher common ground on which they can see the real facts and truth of their quarrels.  And they can work from there."

   The tension between the husband and wife was obscuring the facts and truth behind their disagreements.  They needed to find "higher ground" on which they could come together and approach their disagreements from the same point of view. Their love for each other, if it still existed, was the key to solving their quarrels.  

   Another example.  In politics there is a natural tension between liberals and conservatives.  In bad times, such as today, the views of each side are so stubbornly and at times irrationally clung to that there is no possibility for any effective solution.  For the good of the nation, and the world, both sides must find "higher ground" on which to find the facts and the truth, so they can then create solutions based on the facts and the truth.  In this case, the higher ground is the fact and truth that they were elected to serve the people, and that they are all Americans.  They are to serve the people in a way that serves the common good of their constituents and of all Americans--and even to serve the common good of the whole world, e.g., in matters of climate change and peace.

   So the "blueprint" for the new spiritual vision requires finding the "higher ground", the true point where we come together to find the facts and the truth and use them to find solutions to our tensions and challenges.  At first glance, this may seem too simple and even naive an answer.  It is not.

   To begin with, today the sad fact and truth is that many of our political and religious leaders are of such poor quality that we cannot realistically look for much good to come to our communities, churches and nation in the short term.  So while we protest against our poor leadership and search for higher quality people to lead/serve us, we must work on creating the new vision ourselves.   

   A further challenge is that we naturally see a dualistic world, e.g., husband-wife, liberal-conservative, dark-light, big-little, American-foreigner, rich-poor, Black-White, yin-yang, etc., etc.  These dualities are natural to us.  They show us the wonderful diversity of reality.  But they often clash, as in the examples above.  Let's look at the dualities more closely.

   When we fall into quarrelsome tensions over the dualities, we say we have to find a compromise.  Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved on the same level which it was created.  So compromise has to be founded on willingness to find a higher level or value than the level of the individual views that are in contention.  That level is the level of unity, or progress.  Compromise founded on a lower level or value is bad and even dangerous, e.g., compromising one's values, or the safety of children in a school. 

   The higher level that I'm talking about is basically the fact that we are all human. Our basic identity is our shared, common humanity.  We are humans first, and individual persons second.  But in today's culture, our individuality comes first and our community as humans comes second, if we care to pay attention to it all all.  For example, how many young married couples speak of their their marriage, and focus on the bond they share, and how many speak of their relationship, and focus on their individuality and possible lack of full commitment to their marriage?

   How many corporations consider their employees as an integral part of the corporation?  When they send their employees' jobs overseas, how many help their fired employees train for new jobs?

   Even today's science tells us that there is first one universe, and then there are trillions of individual galaxies, solar systems, planets, etc.

   Our common humanity gives us our shared dignity, integrity, respect, and transcendent purpose.  It identifies us as rational, reasoning, feeling, loving, caring, homo sapiens.  And today we must account for the fact that our humanity is not static but in motion.  We are ever-becoming-ever-evolving humans.  If we don't move forward in our humanity, we will move backward.  Compare today's progress in science with our political and religious backwardness.

   Our new spiritual vision embraces the whole person, at ever level of our personhood.  It is as earthy as Jesus.  It includes our physical body, our emotions, our personality, our psychological and mental attributes, and our social and individual make-up.  Today it even includes the basic understanding of who we are that is presented by quantum physics.  I believe that we can say that the famous equation e=mc2 helps us understand who we are as humans.  We are immaterial energy (e) that is showing up as a material/mental body, (mc2).  Wow!

   Spiritually speaking, energy, like all created reality, is an image of God.  God is not Someone who is here or there, but infinite/eternal LOVE that permeates the whole universe.  Energy permeates the whole universe.  So the universe, the world, and we are made of love-energy (e) that is showing up as air, water, fish, birds, soil, flowers, mountains, and people, (mc2).  The new vision shows us that we humans are incarnate love, love-in-the-flesh.  Our humanity is made of love.  We are beloved humans, living in a beloved world, on beloved earth.

   Finally, the new vision also shows us that we are sacred humans.  We are sanctified by LOVE's presence within us and within the earth and our societies and cultures. 

   With the shallowness of much of today's spiritual understanding, I have to emphasize that I did not just add beloved and sacred to our humanity and the world, as if it were the icing on a cake that we can take off and still have the cake.  It is the cake itself.  To sound silly, we can't take the cake off the cake and still have the cake.  It is just as silly to say we can remove beloved and sacred from the human and still have the human.  Also, we cannot remove beloved and sacred from the world and still have the world.  Our vision shows that being human is being beloved and sacred.  We are beloved, sacred humans living on a beloved, sacred earth.  And as humans, we are called and empowered to act accordingly.

  In summary, the new vision shows us that we are evolving-and-unfolding, beloved and sacred, social/individual humans living in an evolving-and-unfolding beloved and sacred world that is evolving and unfolding with galaxies of possibilities toward wholeness in love and sacredness.

   We now have the "blueprint" or the "bones" of our new vision.  To those who still cling to the church despite all its shortcomings; to those who have walked away; to those who want to be spiritual and not religious; to those who simply want to live a life of consistent good will, and to those who have turned their back on our common humanity, I extend this sincere invitation to look, see and appreciate our common challenge.  The new vision can and must be built upon our common beloved, sacred humanity and its galaxies of possibilities, as we live and evolve on our beloved, sacred earth.    

   In my next Post I will begin to put flesh on the "bones" of the new vision.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017


   In a previous post I said I would write about creating a new vision and "changing the conversation,"with which we start to build a new society, which will move the Kingdom of God on Earth forward.  This is necessary because, even despite millions of citizens trying hard to live moral lives, our present public society can justly be said to be beyond repair.  We cannot correct it; we have build a new society along side it.  Hopefully, a renewed church will arise within this new society.

   In sum, we have to look within what's wrong with our society and discern and acknowledge the evil that is active within it.

    We naturally have trouble using the word, "evil."  With good reason we resist calling a person evil.  That judgment belongs to God alone.  Rather, when we see people engaging in violence, murder, racism, sexism, and hatred of all kinds, we prefer to say that they are wrong, or mentally ill, or criminal.  But as spiritually serious persons, we can and must go deeper and judge that such actions are evil. 
   How do we see and understand evil today?  To begin with, it is true that to err is human.  We are not perfect; we all make mistakes and do things we should not do.  Honest mistakes are not evil.  

   Here we have to clarify how some Christians understand evil.  They read the story of creation and understand it to mean that we were created as perfect humans and that we fell from perfection, and it was our own fault.  This is a misunderstanding.  The ancient Hebrews who created the story believed that everything that God did was perfect.  (They added the seven days of creation to the original story because in Hebrew, seven is the number of perfection.)  So to explain our human imperfection, they created a Fall from perfection.  That was the best they could do with the understanding of that time.  Christians later came to understand the Fall as Original Sin.

   Today we know that there was no Fall from original perfection.  We evolved from pre-human hominids.  We make mistakes because we are space/time creatures, and nothing in space/time in perfect.  The fact that we are imperfect is not our fault.  It is our human nature.

   As humans we can think, reason, understand, wonder and love.  These are the gifts--the graces--we use to overcome our imperfection and move forward and evolve in our humanity.  We will never be perfect here in space/time. 

   But there is a rub.  We also have the ability to say "No" to our humanity, to abuse our own nature and fool ourselves into believing that we are God.  We see this, for example, in authoritarian people who "know it all" and who dictate laws and rules to others and who will not tolerate any ambiguity or human fraility.  Such people are intolerable and can be dangerous.

   Our ability to say "No" to our human nature is actually our "Original Sin."  Believing we are God contradicts our own nature.  And that's were evil come in.  Evil is a self-contradiction.  It its a lie that pushes us into absurdity and unreality.  Ironically, when we raise ourselves to the level of God, we actually degrade ourselves and lower ourselves to a sub-human level.  

   Evil is deep within us and our society.  It cannot be discerned by shallow people or a shallow society.  It can be only be discerned by spiritual adults who can see the dark absence of grace that evil represents in people and society.  So while it is just and humble to say that people who inflict political, economic and religious corruption upon us are not evil, we have to be able to discern that evil is the root of the corruption that their actions inflict upon our humanity.         

   For example, spiritually mature people can discern evil at the root of a federal budget that takes food away from sick and elderly people, or takes health care away from people, without clear assurance that the states or the people themselves can make up for this loss.  They can discern evil at the root of actions taken by corporations who pollute the earth without any care for the earth or for people who suffer from the pollution.  Evil is at the root of the judgment leveled by religious leaders who condemn those who walk away from their church because their church is not spiritually nourishing them.  In today's spiritually shallow society, we are beyond the ability to correct these misdeeds on their own level.  We have to go deeper.  And this means we have to bypass today's society and build a new society.  
   Here's a good, practical example of how to handle and defeat evil.  Recently, a guest on Joy Reid's TV show said that President Trump's budget cuts are evil and could result in people's death.  Then a smug commentator trivialized the matter saying that we should "tone down the rhetoric."  In today's society, "rhetoric" means, "meaningless talk."  He then added that the Congress will deliberate on the budget.  He thereby presented two popular "defenses" for evil:  first he minimized the problem and then he tried to divert the conversation away from it.

   But Joy would have none of it.  She cut him off saying (I paraphrase), "Let's not go into politics.  We're talking about President Trump denying food and health care to needy people.  Stick to the facts!"  That was it.  Joy showed us how to face and defeat evil:  Recognize it and then without hesitation rebuke it and refuse to converse or negotiate with it.  Then get back to the facts at of the matter and search for the truth.

   Recognizing and rebuking evil clears our minds and spirits and makes room in our mind and spirit for us to create the vision of a new society of justice, peace and love, and a new conversation to go with the new vision and society. In my next Post, I will begin to create our new vision and the new conversation that will arise from it.

   God is calling us to recognize the signs of the times, both the good to be retained and the evil to be removed, so we can work to continue building the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for--which is why we're here on earth.




Wednesday, March 8, 2017


   Literally millions of Catholics have walked away, and are still walking away, from the church in protest against the way it is being run.  The church has not presented them with an understanding of God and our faith that has real meaning for their deepest and most precious needs in today's world.  They are not spiritually indifferent.  They are search elsewhere.  As they say, they are spiritual but not religious.

   One very important reason the church has failed in its responsibility to today's Catholics--and to the world at large--is that it operates as a closed system.

   A closed system is one that operates within itself without relating to the world outside itself.  In contrast, an open system operates in a living, mutually nourishing relationship with the world outside itself.  Especially since the Reformation, the church has closed in on itself.  At that time, it convened the Council of Trent (1545-63) and pronounced excommunication on anyone who disagreed with its teachings.

   The birth of the Modern World in the 1600's, with its modern science, modern nation states, and the Enlightenment, which replaced the faith with reason alone, moved the church to close in on itself even further.  It began speaking to the outside world, and preaching judgmentally at the world.  From within its theologically walled-in borders, it didn't notice that little by little the world was no longer listening.

   A closed system is structured in a way that separates the levels of authority from one another.  In the church, authority is structured along a hierarchy of pope, bishops, priests, religious sisters and brothers, and laity.  Authority moves in one direction, from the top down.  There is no true conversation among the various levels of authority, and therefore no true community.  This system created the unhappy description of the laity as passive, "pay, pray and obey sheep."

   An open system stays alive by nourishing itself from sources both inside and outside itself.  Such a church doesn't "run out of gas," whereas a closed system church does "run out of gas."  In the 17th century, the church began to run out of gas.  By the 20th century, following the moral and spiritual disaster of World War II, it was pretty much running on "Empty."  Pope John XXIII saw this condition.  He knew that the "internal gas" the church ran on was the Holy Spirit, and its "external gas" was openness to the fast changing world, where the Spirit was also present.

   So he called an Ecumenical Council to "open the windows" of the church so that the Holy Spirit could "fly" in, and to "open the doors" of the church so that it could dialogue respectfully with the outside world, where the Spirit also lived.  In sum, he wanted Vatican II to change the church from a closed system to an open system.  Unhappily that has not yet happened, although Pope Francis and some bishops, e.g., Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, are working, against strong opposition, to make it happen. 

   Until Vatican II, the church councils were written in "closed system" language.  Following the example of the Roman Empire, they used the legalistic language of a political state.  Most bishops were church lawyers who understood this language and taught in the language of church law.  As lawyers study laws, sins were catalogued and studied from every angle.  In the 1960's Fr. Bernard Haring tried to change the emphasis from legalism to an emphasis on love.  He is reported to have said, "If you want to know about morality, don't pick up the Code of Canon Law, pick up the Gospels."

   Rahner's emphasis on love and understanding, as well as the input from many outstanding theologians, greatly influenced the teachings and language of Vatican II.  The council is written in "open system language," or "pastoral language."  But many of today's bishops, still living in their legalistic world, still don't understand the language of Vatican II.

   Vatican II wanted to change the church from a top-down, judgemental church to a brotherly/sisterly community of all the faithful, from pope to laity, who, within their sphere of their vocations and positions contribute to the church's living faith, with full respect and dignity accorded to every member.  The church's teaching authority (which is called, "The Magisterium,") arises not from any private revelation to the pope and then on down, but from the faith of the whole church.

   In an open system church, the important feature of membership is the people's common baptism, and their faith as they live it in the everyday world.  The church is not only the church of Sunday morning but the church of every weekday,  God speaks to all the people of the church, where they live, work and play, as well as where they worship.  All have the privilege and responsibility to make their faith known to the church so that the church leaders have the information and discernment necessary to make informed decisions as to what God want of us.  Popes teach infallibly what the whole church already believes infallibly.    

   Further, an open system church acknowledges that God speaks to people outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic church.  Salvation is open to all people of consistent good will.  Everyone in the world has the call and opportunity to respond to the INFINITE/ETERNAL LIVING LOVE that permeates the world, urging the world forward in its slow and bumpy, ever evolving and unfolding way toward wholeness in justice, peace and love.  So the church needs to enter into respectful and humble dialogue with all peoples throughout the world as it offers them the fullness of their salvation.  In a word, the church needs to be completely catholic (small "c"), i.e., open to the whole world.

   In such a church all its members work together and contribute to the whole.  Everyone who values our humanity, our world with its need for good families, good ecology, good government and schools, good economics, good relations among all nations, etc., will want to be active participants.  Such a church will be marked by people on their way to ever deeper and effective spiritual growth and maturity.

Note 1:  A necessary way to bring about an open church is to "change the conversation," i.e., to learn how to talk about such a church in a way that is easy to understand and implement.  In future posts I will try to help work out such a language.

Note 2:  What pertains to the church today also pertains to our government.  Our Federal government is closing in on itself and closing our country in on itself.  "American First!" has a certain appeal, but it can be toxic in today's world that needs positive inter-communication and inter-relationships very badly.

Note 3:  Thanks to Sr. Elia Delio for her ideas on open and closed systems in her wonderful book, Making All Things New -- Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness




Tuesday, February 21, 2017


   I have once again rewritten the page, "A New Creation Story."  I believe this new version has more meaning and impact for our spirituality in today's society.  I especially recommend it for young people who are looking for an understanding of faith and spirituality that is relevant to their lives in today's society and culture.

Monday, February 6, 2017


   I remember a story told a few years ago by a commencement speaker.  I don't remember his exact words, so here's a paraphrase.  Two young fish were swimming along in a stream.  An old fish came swimming toward them.  As he approached them, he said, "The water's fine today, isn't it."  When he had passed, one of the young fish said to the other, "What's water?"

   During Vatican II, Pope John XXIII told us to "read the signs of the times."  It was his way of saying that we should get to know and understand the "water," i. e., the world, we live in.

   We therefore should take a good, clear and honest look at America today.  Our way of looking at America is to see it from within the Spirit of Christ, who dwells deeply within America (and the whole world).  In this way we will see all things from the viewpoint of the indwelling wholeness in love that is slowly and with difficulty working its way outward, ever unfolding, ever evolving, toward visible wholeness in love.  

   We see that deeply within our country, wholeness in love already exists.  And we see it working its way outward, slowly and with difficulty, toward ever unfolding wholeness in love in our country--which is what makes us a great country.

   Jesus even gave us a "Spiritual Constitution" by which we could check to see to what extent we are evolving as a great country. It is the Beatitudes.  America is a great country if it blesses: 
    the poor;
    those who mourn;  
    the meek, i.e., those who temper their righteous anger with reason and humility; 
    the clean of heart;
    those who hunger and thirst for righteousness;
    those who are persecuted because they stand for Christ and his healing, saving, self-sacrificing love for the world.

   With our "Constitution" in mind, I believe we can say that America is a great country in the following ways:

   1.  Our founding principles of unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--for all Americans.  By "liberty" our founders meant not just freedom but socially responsible freedom.
    2.  The freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights and the Amendments to our Constitution
    3.  Our sense of  youthfulness, inventiveness, innovation and progress in so many fields
    4.  The millions of American individuals and families who love one another and all people.
    5.  The millions of Americans who work to protect our environment
    6.  The millions of Americans who are peaceful and want peace for all Americans and all the world
    7.  The millions of Americans who are actively involved in working to make America a more free and loving country.
   America is not a great country in the following ways:
     1.  A radical sense of uncaring individuality shown by those who see all others as rivals and competitors to be defeated

     2.  Those Americans who show a deep distaste for commitment that militates against marriage and family life

     3.  A shallowness among those Americans who have not grown past the Facebook, Tweeting and Radio/TV "Reality" level of social development.

     4.  A breakdown in American education that has resulted in millions of Americans who are not properly educated, e.g., in civic knowledge and appreciation, in history, in thinking and judging skills.  One result of this breakdown is the rise of the number of people who listen to fake news and believe, act and vote with their emotions, without clear understanding and judgment.

     5.  A dehumanized and dehumanizing Capitalist system that:
         a) cares only for maximized profits
         b) is coldly uncaring for workers who lose their jobs
         c) freely pollutes the environment and expects taxpayers to pay for the clean-up
         d) skews the tax system to its own benefit
         e) helps divide our society between the "haves" and the "have-nots"

   In its present form our Capitalist system contradicts the Spiritual Constitution so much that it makes America small, not great.  From a spiritual point of view it needs a radical reshaping.  

   6A dehumanized and dehumanizing political system that is at a dangerous level of breakdown.  Our Ship of State has crashed upon rocks of incompetence, pettiness, hypocrisy, lies, delusion and hate, beginning at the highest level and traveling through society at large.  
      Millions of Americans don't even bother to vote.  Millions live in a delusional world of fake news, "alternative facts," and "honest mistakes" about massacres that never happened.  In the war that is today's politics, truth is the first casualty.

   7.  A Christian religion (not Faith) that is in serious disrepair, to the extent that it is either irrelevant to people who could bring a new birth of Faith to our country, or virulent in the hatred it preaches.
         One source of light in this dismal situation is those who proclaim that they are "spiritual but not religious."  Many young people are truly searching for deeper meaning in their lives.  They "see the water" in which they are swimming and see that it is polluted with the problems I mentioned above.  They are truly looking for a Faith that can enlighten and energize them to understand, face and solve today's problems.  Unhappily, I don't see anywhere near a sufficient number of spiritually knowledgeable and well-formed leaders who can guide them into more "saving" water.     

   I believe we can conclude that the "waters" of America today, while shining with some clear springs, are in very vital ways so seriously polluted that America is in real danger of falling apart.  I am old enough to see and feel that we are in a period that eerily resembles Germany in the 1930's.  When I see how our federal government is now operating, I remember Protestant Minister, Martin Niemoller's heart-rending words:

   They came for the Socialists...for the Trade Unionists...for the Jews...and I did not speak out.  He saw the water of his time with prophetic clarity.  Today I hear, "They came for the Immigrants, the Afro-Americans, the Poor, The Muslims, the LGBTQ community...

   Thankfully, some Americans are speaking out.  We need more, many, many more, because
in our great country the water today is dark, sad and frightening.  Along with all people of good will, we need to purify the water in whatever way we can, in the healing, saving, all-loving voice, strength and action of the Spirit of Christ.

   People are suffering.  Waiting is not an option.  May God bless America and the world through our Christ-ed voice and actions.




Monday, January 30, 2017


   In Jesus' time Caesar was the legitimate political leader of the Roman Empire.  Today Donald Trump is the legitimate political leader of the United States.  

   However, to be a truly and fully legitimate leader, President Trump must enrich our political identity by touching and enhancing the better angels, the soul, of our nation.  He has to respect the soul of America and lead the nation toward ever more humanizing order, justice, good will, peace, freedom and love.  He needs to be knowledgeable of America's great principles of freedom upon which our nation was founded.  He needs to care effectively about the American people and the peoples around the world.  

   Very importantly, he needs to see the complete, overall picture of our country and the world, and then make decisions that fit together the various aspects of our country and the world in creative, healing and world-evolving freedom, justice, peace and love. That's the way to put American First!

   Sadly, President Trump has not shown that he capable of being the fully legitimate leader of the United States.  He has shown himself to be a danger to our democracy and humanity, and thus to our spirituality, which is the continuing evolution of our humanity toward fullness of life in love.  He is a challenge to our patriotism and to our faith.  

   And thus he is challenging us to make stark spiritual choice:  What shall we render to him and what shall we render to God?  The Gospels show us the way to our answer.  (Cf. Mt. 22:15-22)

   The Pharisees, looking to discredit Jesus, came to him in order to trick him into betraying Israel by giving legitimacy to the hated Caesar.  They asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar.  If Jesus said yes, he would be a traitor to his people. 

   Instead of answering, Jesus asked them to show him a Denarius, the Roman coin used to pay the tax.  It was stamped with the head of Caesar.   Take a moment to imagine this.  Jesus Christ, God in human form, was holding in his hand the image of Caesar, who claimed to be God in human form.  

   Instead of answering the Pharisees' question, Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render to God what is God's.

   What did he mean?  He was saying, "Give to his insane, humanly/spiritually illegitimate leader what is his political right to receive. Pay him his taxes because if we don't, the Roman army will annihilate us."  Jesus was facing the practical, concrete situation that Israel was facing at that time.  So he gave an answer that was sadly necessary under those particular conditions. He was not saying that we should give some allegiance to the political leader and some to God.  He was saying that we should give some allegiance to our political leaders, and all our allegiance to God. 

   He was subordinating politics to faith.  Jesus knew that everything and everyone, including the government, belongs to God.  And so did the Pharisees.  For example they knew well, "The earth is the Lord's and all it holds; the world and those who live there." (Ps. 42:1).  Kingship belongs to the Lord, the ruler over all nations.  (Ps. 22:29).  The story says that the Pharisees were amazed, i.e., confounded, by Jesus' answers.  That's because they were embarrassed that Jesus showed them to be the hypocrites they were.

   So Jesus gives us our answer to our question.  Trump or God?  We accept President Trump within the overall context of our true American patriotism, and within our overarching faith in God and Jesus Christ.  By doing this, we expect President Trump to fulfill all the requirements I listed above, which come under the requirements of both our country and our faith.  All them are of America and of God.   We render to Caesar only what is of God!  And we vigorously reject what of Caesar is not of God.

   Some Americans are saying that this means our country should be a Theocracy.  Some believe that Vice President Pence is of this opinion.  No. Our total allegiance to God does not mean that we should be a Theocracy.  It does mean that we must make sure that our faith is fully adult and up to date, so it can be relevant and effective in our country and world today.  This Blog is dedicated to presenting an adult, relevant, effective faith.   (In my next Post I'll show how Christ opens the way to freedom of religion for all people.)        

   In a previous Post I said that President Trump is a narcissist and psychopathic liar.  Now I must go beyond that sad opinion.  From my experience as a spiritual theologian and a psychotherapist, I believe that President Trump is a narcissist and pathological liar to the point of being delusional.  He is living in a world of his own making.  It is not the world of a democratic government run by laws; it is a world in which he is the supreme, unquestionable Caesar.  In his world, he does not ask advice from professional experts.  He has his own private Court, that feels free to tell the media to "Shut up!" and listen to their delusional views.

  And so, without consulting the experts that are readily available to him, he created his narrow-minded, bullish Executive Order to stop immigrants from entering the country, even handcuffing an Iraqi man who risked his life translating for our troops in Iraq.  With thousands upon thousands of people in the real world protesting, and with ACLU lawyers appealing to judges to correct the Order, he says that everything is progressing well at the airports.  

  And we remember that he "saw" thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11; and that there were record, overwhelming thousands and thousands of people at his inauguration.  I submit that nothing that he does should be considered to be normal.  The media must look at him and report on him in the context of his being not normal but delusional. 

   Sadly, many of those who voted for him are agreeing with what he is doing.  They are mistaking process for content.  Yes, he is doing things.  But they are destructive things.

   Far too many of our legislators are being quiet and thereby abetting the President's destructive, delusional actions.  With forced calm, White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus,  trivialized the President's actions and said everything is ordinary.  And Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, sounded like one of Caesar's centurions when she issued the order, "Get used to it!"  I just heard that Trump has fired the acting Attorney General, whom he hired, for telling the Justice Dept. not to defend the immigration ban.  The White House reported that she has betrayed the administration.  "Betrayed!"  Good "Caesar" word!  Such unhinged words and acts are causing serious damage to our country's reputation and to everybody's sanity.

   Today we face a great and somber challenge.  President Trump is offering us a coin stamped with the face of a false God and demanding we give allegiance to it.  In a peaceful but vigorous way we must oppose him every time he acts like Caesar, and loudly choose allegiance to God.  

   God, please bless America!