Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finding wisdom and inspiration

Some days, you just don't have much to share. This is one of those days for me. I've been facing some challenges in the "meat world" as they say, that are related to this awful mess that's known as our economy. So rather than have anything useful to say myself, I've been reading and watching around the tubes.

I know alot of what we read is hard and sometimes negative. But what has struck me in my recent wanderings is the depth of wisdom that's also out there. So I thought I'd share a little of that with you today. It comes from an interesting mix of sources.

First of all, here's some truth and perspective from one of our elders. Friday night, Bill Moyers commented on the situation in the Middle East. But its mostly a reminder of who it is that pays the price when "life and death become abstractions of policy."



For those of you who can't watch a video, here is a partial transcript (scroll down to the last few paragraphs from Moyers), but it will be hard to get the impact without the visuals.

Next, lets look to a couple of young people for some inspiration. Here's Andrew Gillum and Alisha Morgan from the Young Elected Officials Network, an organization started by Gillum, the youngest person to ever hold elected office in Tallahassee, Florida.



These young people have faced overwhelming odds. But to me, their message is one of persistence. As one of them said on a video at the YEON site, one of the advantages of being young is that you haven't been schooled in the odds of the impossible.

And finally, how about an "awe-shucks" moment from our friends in the animal kingdom? Do we have something to learn from them? Youbettcha!!!!



Our teachers are everywhere...young, old, human, animal.

1 comment:

  1. Having read some of the entries in your blog, the first thing I can think to say is that politics is a difficult thing because it works so hard to cover many many aspects of life. I think that if politics did not have its fingers in so many pies, we would not have so much trouble with each other because of it.

    I have decided to respond here first because when Bill Moyers said to open my Bible, I did so. He made some true statements and implied some false principles. First, it is true that the Arab people and the Jewish/Israelite people descended from the same patriarch. It is also true that Moses gave them the 10 Commandments, including to not kill. Third, it is true that the Israelites entered the land of Canaan with the mission to wipe out the people there and take over land. But notice that he does not mention the Arabs in that group. If you read the accounts of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite nation, you find that the Ishmaelites (ancestors of Arabs) are not mentioned to be destroyed. His point in the argument was supposed to be that religion has been the source of the conflict between these two people groups, but he does not back this up. Instead, he gives an example of violence which he portrays as hypocrisy against their own law. What he does not mention is that the people the Israelites fought there were even more immoral than the people here today that we send troops against to stop. Among other things, they practiced human sacrifice, especially of children. As for the sly implication of hypocrisy here; our own law says not to kill yet we have a military and we have a law system that contains capital punishment.

    The second historical correction here is a reminder that Arabs and Jews didn't fight in an organized way until the nation of Israel as we know it today was established after WW2. Before then, Jews were scattered over the world, as many of them still are today. Between the scattering of the Jews by the Romans in the late first century and the re-establishment of Israel in the twentieth, Islam came on the scene and built an empire that came to include Israel. Since Islam takes some roots from Judaism, the two have some holy places in common there in Jerusalem. I don't think that they are right to fight over those places, and not only because I don't share their religious beliefs. It is a particular interpretation of these beliefs, along with a few hundred personal grudges which starts blood fueds like these. Their reasons to fight are only partly motivated by religion, and I think those who began the fights only used religion as a vehicle to justify themselves. Sorry to write so much about this, but I hope it adequately points out how the weakness of his argument reveals his true intention, which was to defame today's Judeo-Christian morality and those who believe in its principles by giving this inaccurate account of how the violence began and then linking "our Christian Right" to the Israelie militants.

    The overall message there was that we aren't caring about the suffering, and that this war isn't at all personal to us as a nation. It's just numbers, not names, especially of those killed who are not from the US. I agree that this is a huge problem, and I'm sure we could talk all day long about how this happened, but the real question is what do we do?

    Do you know the real reason these conflicts are devastating? Because they are personal, there. I know a young man in Egypt, a muslim named Mahmoud. He once said that he wanted to go to war with Israel because his uncle was killed by them. I understand his reasons, but was relieved that my friend had a job in architecture that kept him very busy and that he has now married. I believe he will be much happier this way. Knowing him has given me something valuable. Whenever Egypt is mentioned, my ears perk up. I have a connection there. The same for Pakistan where another muslim acquaintance of mine lives. The poison and the cure are the same: the passion that comes from having a personal stake in the answer to the problem.

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