Thursday, February 20, 2020


   Benjamin Franklin famously said that we have a Republic, if we can keep it.  Our founders knew that our Constitution and our country could not work unless the American people had a strong and clear religious faith, strong family life, and a strong commitment to public service.

   Sadly, at this point in our history we have fallen from these ideals.  Our country is now engaged in a social, moral, cultural and political civil war.  We have fallen dangerously below ordinary political differences into a swampland of irrational, vicious separations that are eroding our Constitution and the Rule of Law.  In fact, our present fall is not just in what we are doing, which is our moral life, but it goes all the way to who we are, which shows us our very souls, our very meaning of who we are as humans and as Christians, i.e., it goes to our spirituality.

   The present crisis calls for the deepest possible reawakening of our true meaning as humans and as People of God.  In the process, we need to clarify and deepen our understanding and expression of our faith.  What we do follows from who we are.  Therefore, our moral conduct follows from our spirituality, which shows us that we are images and expressions of Jesus, the Eternal Christ, the presence of Divinity on earth, who is living and acting in today's world in and through us.

   Our faith is vital to our politics because it shows us the wholeness and integrity of who we are.  It also shows how to see and understand the very meaning of our government and country.  In the heart and mind of Christ we do not simply accept all the particulars of any political party.  We choose political leaders and programs that can most realistically work for our whole society, a society that is marked by love for all without exception, with emphasis on the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcast.

   Today, our faith is telling us that we have to make vital, life and death choices.  One very important example arises from the fact that we are divided between the challenge of abortion and the challenge of a broken Constitution rising from a continuing attack on the Rule of Law.  Looking at the whole picture, it seems clear that we have to face the challenge of our broken Constitution and the Rule of Law.  If they fall, America falls.  No empire is guaranteed to last forever.  We don't know what amount of chaos will follow if America falls but in the chaos abortion will be  pushed into the background as we struggle to rebuild our broken country.

   Both challenges are spiritual because, as I said above, both show us who we are as Americans and as Christians.  These are no ordinary times. I suggest that the danger to our country is so immediate and so great that we are being called to put our particular concerns aside, no matter how vital they are, and to focus on the life and death concern to make our beloved country whole again.  

    God bless America. 

Friday, February 14, 2020


   (From Mark 22:28-34:  "Which is the first of all the commandments?  Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

     The second commandment can sound like an impossible one to obey and live by.  How can we love terrorists and those who would destroy us?  How can we love those who disagree with us in today's rancid political atmosphere?  How can we love anyone who would harm us or our society in any way?

     I suggest that the answer to these questions lies in the meaning of "love."  We usually think of love as the beautiful, sentimental affection for someone one.  We want to be with those we love.

      Love can be love of friendship, or sexual love, or love for the sake of the other.  This last kind of love is agape.  Another word for agape is charity, i.e., love that goes beyond affection to the point of our freely sacrificing something of ourselves for the other.  This, for example, is the love of husband and wife, of parents for their children, and even of soldiers in battle who risk and sometimes love their lives for one another.  It is the love of Jesus on the Cross.

      Christianity is not naive.  We don't have to like someone in order to love them.  We can hardly be expected to like those who would harm or even destroy us.  Agape is not naivety, it is spiritual maturity.  It extends to all those who would harm or destroy us and moves us to work to get through to such people so that they can live at peace with themselves and with us.  We must of course protect ourselves against those who would harm us.  That may even call for defensive military action after all peaceful means have been exhausted.  

      It is normal and healthy to get angry at the injuries and injustices being inflicted upon us by the leaders of our society, be they political, educational, corporate, etc.  Such harm to all of us definitely calls for political action.  Likewise it calls for well informed action when our school do not educate our children properly.  And it calls for social action when our culture is attacked and made more crude and even violent. 

      In all cases, it calls for action that is informed and inspired by the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of creative, healing and world-transforming love.  It is not enough to say what is wrong.  In Christ we must learn and proclaim what is right and then use all the peaceful and just means available to us as citizens and voters to change what is wrong into what is right in the service of the common good.