Tuesday, August 29, 2017


   The violence of Hurricane Harvey is both natural and human.  

    From its very beginning, creation has been marked by natural violence.  The universe was born in violence when the initial energy dot expanded/exploded to begin forming space/time.

   Earth itself was born in violence.  Four and a half billion years ago a star died and exploded.  The debris flew out into space and there it mixed with cosmic dust and then came back together again to form our sun and solar system, with Earth being the third planet out from the newborn sun.  

   From the beginning, earth was a hot violent place.  Great pressure pushed mountains up toward the sky, earthquakes shook the earth and reshaped it, and floods covered the land and then receded, leaving the land more fertile.  Evolution advanced when living things began to eat other living things.  In time, animals ate other animals.  All this happened long before humans and sin came to earth.

   When we humans arrived, evolution became conscious of itself and responsible for itself, within human possibilities and restrictions.  We alone are gifted with reason and faith, so we have the power and responsibility to avoid violence and build peace.

   Unhappily though, some humans will add their own form of violence to the natural calamity that is Harvey.  Some "religious" people will no doubt proclaim that this devastation was caused by homosexuals, or maybe by transgendered people, or maybe even by immigrants, or by God only knows whom else they don't like.  What a horrible, violent expression of Christianity!

   Writer Ann Coulter, who I believe knows better, just said that she would prefer to blame the hurricane on the fact that the past mayor of Houston is a lesbian, rather than on climate change.  Good old American capitalism!  Anything for more profit!

   Actually, it is very possible that global warming could have made the hurricane more intense.  The politicians and corporate executives who deny global warning for their own personal gain or profit should take note.  I urge them to take a good hard look at the people who are suffering so greatly.    

    Let us all take a good look at the people who are suffering.  I just sent a donation to the Red Cross to help the victims of the hurricane.  I sincerely recommend that you do the same thing.  We are one people, one family, one world.


Saturday, August 19, 2017


   At first, as I watched the horrific ugliness in Charlottesville, VA, I felt angry.  "These stupid thugs!"  I exclaimed.  "Don't they have anything better to do than join idiotic causes and mindlessly chant expressions of hatred and untold suffering?"

   Then I learned that many of them have good jobs and are thereby contributing to society.  And I felt sad.  My God!  How can these beautiful young men, with so many gifts and so much promise in them, turn so ugly?  What has gone so wrong in their young lives?

   Finally, I realized that these young men are part of a society and culture that lives in the back woods of the American psyche.  I paused and looked into those woods.  And I felt fear.  Fear for these young men.  Fear for their victims.  Fear for our country.

   Deep in that human darkness;, the "Superior Christian White Man" still reigns supreme, as he did when he owned slaves on his plantation.  Uneasy, he has to find ways to confirm his White supremacy.  To begin with, he refuses to concede defeat in the Civil War, and is waiting for the South to rise again.  He certainly does not consider Blacks to be his equal in any way.  Very importantly, in the 1930's he found a modern "savior" for the White race in Adolph Hitler's notion of the White Superman with a demonic hatred for Jews and other "inferior" people.

   As an offspring of the back woods of the American psyche, the "Superior Christian White Man" is an angry, hateful child in an adult's body.  So, for example, he is big enough to  wield a heavy club or drive a car into a crowd.  Yet, he is small.  He stands for nothing real or positive.  He confounds reason and lives in dark human, spiritual emptiness.   He must be told by spiritual adults, "When you act hatefully, there is no humanity in you."

   Often encouraged and "inspired" by badly educated, disoriented preachers, he shows his allegiance to his Christian God by chanting hatred toward people of color, Jews, and all who are different from him.  He and his misguiding pastors must be told by spiritually adult Christians, "There is no Christ in your Christianity!"

   The "Superior Christian White Man" is a living example of someone who has fallen into evil.  Evil is not the opposite of good; it is the absence of good that should be presence in any given society, culture or situation.  In the back woods of the American psyche, human development has been arrested.  Educational and social evolution is stymied. Where such human emptiness abounds, prejudice and hatred fill the vacuum.

   I wonder:  do these beautiful young men know that 600,000 lives were lost in the Civil War so that America would not be an inhuman country that enslaved our fellow humans?  Do they know that almost 400,000 Americans died defeating Nazism, whose hateful slogan they chant over and over again?  Do they know what the Holocaust really did to millions of fellow human beings?  Do they know the horribly violent history of the KKK?  And if they know, do they care? And if they know and don't care, then what happened to them when they were younger?  Certainly, they were deprived of the normal, loving human education and upbringing that they deserved.

   These beautiful young people, with galaxies of possibilities for good living withing them, must somehow be stopped in their tracks, taken up and lovingly re-formed into the human persons God intends them to be.  We owe this both to them and to ourselves and our country.

   The back woods of the American psyche does not exist only in the southern United States.  It exists throughout our country, among men and women, and tragically, in our President, who is a hopelessly empty man.  He understands nothing and cares about  no one and nothing but himself.  And he surrounds himself with a whirlwind of aggressive confusion to ensure that he remains empty of understanding and of caring for others.  

   We live in an especially dangerous and fearful time.  America is under attack from without and particularly from within.  Some politicians are putting their self-interests aside and are beginning to openly question the President's ability to govern.  We must encourage more of them to do so.  And we must speak up every time we get the opportunity, and demand a better educated, more just, more united, peaceful and loving country.      



Sunday, August 6, 2017


   Against strong opposition, Pope Francis is working to change the church.  In the past half century, Vatican II's aggiornamento, "coming up to date," was stymied by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. During their papacy, the church fell further behind the times.  

   So Francis inherited a church that is still operating according to rules and laws that reflect the structure of the Roman Empire with its Emperor and Senators, instead of the 21st century people of the eternally living Jesus Christ--people who can discern God's presence and intentions for today's world and put God's intentions to work in and for our society and culture.

   Instead of moving forward since 1965, the church has deteriorated and has fallen further behind the times.  Most American bishops have worked to keep the Imperial structure of the church intact, along with their imperial authority.  With a few beautiful exceptions, like the pastoral leadership of Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, for the Catholic people in general, theology and spirituality are at a deadening standstill. Our everyday society and culture have fallen to new social and political depths.  In response, literally millions of "up to date" American Catholics have simply walked away from the church.

   One bright spot in this dismal history is the influx of Hispanics into the church, with their beautiful traditional devotions and spirit of life.  But as our Hispanic brothers and sisters become more "Americanized" and take on the values of today's society and culture, their traditions will fade as did those of other ethnic group.

   In a frightening development, many Catholics who identify themselves as "Conservatives," have tied themselves to other Conservative Christians who are literal fundamentalists, e.g., who believe in the six days of creation and deny evolution, and believe in Noah and the flood, etc.  Such literalism sucks the life and Spirit out of our Catholic faith and makes religion look foolish to today's truly educated people.

   Also, many Catholics have identified themselves with today's deeply polarized politics, most especially on the side of the Republican party.  They have actually identified themselves in terms of one political party, i.e., "We are Conservative Catholic Republicans." 

   They say this in a way that makes being conservative and Republican the same as being a Catholic.  And some even go so far as to consider America to be a theocracy, which they mistake for Jesus' idea of the Kingdom of God on Earth.  While we certainly should be involved in our politics for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God on earth, we should never identify any political party or any institution of our society with the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

   Of course, Jesus was human and was involved in the politics of his day.  With his Christ consciousness, he despised the brutal Roman occupation of Israel, and often sharply criticizing the political leaders of his Jewish society.  Using our own Christ consciousness we can and should work to give politics, (as well as business, education, health care, labor, etc.,) the ever growing fullness of meaning that they could not possibly have on their own.  

    Christ offers the world a graced, luminous humanity which both shows us the imperfection of our society's institutions and gives us the spiritual strength to get involved in our institutions, including the church, and help move them ever more forward toward their intended fullness of life.  The universal, global Christ alone is the Savior of the world.  And the universal, global Christ is the heart of Francis's revolution.

   As I said, Francis is facing strong opposition, from the Catholics who are identifying with a certain brand of politics, to bishops who continue to live and act in a monarchical church whose  structure is collapsing all around them, to the negative influence of ex-Pope Benedict XVI's presence in the Vatican.

   For our part we can follow Francis's lead and continue to develop and deepen our own universal, global, all-embracing and loving Christ consciousness of one luminously alive humanity of fully respected and loved brothers and sisters.  And we can work to bring our politics and all the institutions of our society to ever greater life, and do all that we can to help make our blessed Christ vision became an ever greater, ever more living reality in the world.