Monthly Archives: January 2013

Institutions Have Broken Down

“A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down,” said Rebecca Peters, former director of the International Action Network on Small Arms. “It’s shocking to hear anyone in the United States considering a solution that would make it seem more like Colombia.”

via More Guns = More Killing –

So do we work to fix the institutions or do we arm everybody and hope that “good guys” outnumber “bad guys and the inadvertent casualties of good guys”?

Nourishing Friends With My Words

As I grow more surprised and disgruntled by the opinions expressed by my friends on Facebook concerning health care, gun control, and politics in general, this is a great meditation about the hard work of maintaining peace.

We so often juxtapose the activities of war with the tranquility of peace. We conjure up images of people sitting on the porch drinking tall glasses of sweet tea, rocking to and fro at the end of another peaceable day. We think peace is the absence of conflict and so, the absence of effort or hard work.

Beating swords into plowshares is hard work–hammering, melting, reworking and shaping new tools. Transformation of this magnitude comes with sweat and sustained labor. Moving beyond hostility and hatred produces calloused hands, sore muscles and bone-deep exhaustion. Welders, after all, forge the lasting peace[.]

…So, I’ve been thinking how I can fertilize my relationships instead of weaponize them. What if I spent my energies nourishing friends with my words, cultivating a safe space for them to share tender things? What if I fed people with great generosity and care? And what if I refrained from weaponizing my words to hurt, to gain power over someone or win an argument? I imagine I’d be transformed into a person of peace, someone living the song sung long ago (and still) about beating swords into plowshares.

via ShePonders: Swords into Plowshares — SheLoves Magazine.

He hurts the people I love the most

Sammy Adebiyi shares his vision for how the Christian church should relate to the LGBTQA community:

[H]ow do you love someone whose actions or behaviors you find really unacceptable?  How can I love someone who I believe is living in sin?

Great question. Do your thing Mr. C.S Lewis.

“There is someone that I love even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is……me.”

(If you can’t say amen, say ouch).

via The Gay Community and That One Time Jesus Called Me the ‘N-word’ – Prodigal Magazine.

Loving God Least

Richard Beck quoting Dorothy Day:

“You love God as much as the one you love the least.”

via Experimental Theology: The Credo of Dorothy Day.

What if this is actually true?

The story [of the prodigal son and his father’s eager forgiveness] isn’t about conversion to Christianity. It’s about God being on the look out for those in the family who have wandered off, and God simply can’t wait to welcome them home.

I read stories like this and I wonder, What if this is actually true? What if there is a God who is really like this?  What if God can’t wait to have us around–even with the garbage we keep carrying around and our half hearted “I’m sorries?”

What if God is glad to see us?

And the much more threatening question, What difference would really believing all that make in how I look at, well, pretty much everything?

via “But While He was Still Far Off” (or, what if God actually loves us?).

I Would Walk 500 Miles

Paul Salopek is setting off on a seven year walking tour of the world. After more than two decades traveling the world as a journalist, he’s now going to spend the next seven years walking from Africa to South America and finding stories to cover along the way.


“The short version is I’m interested in narrative, I’m interested in storytelling,” Salopek, speaking by satellite phone, tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. “After jetting around the world as a foreign correspondent, after flying into stories, after driving into them, helicoptering in, even, I thought about what it would be like to walk between stories. Not just to see the stories we were missing by flying over them, but to understand the connective tissue of all the major stories of our day.”

via What Do You Pack For A Seven-Year Trip? : NPR.

Interestingly, his wife will also travel the world, arriving ahead of him at places where she can find a few months’ work. Then Paul will spend weeks walking to her. Very romantic.

A Skull Makes A Mighty Nice Jar

From an article grappling with why we have such a difficult time getting our bodies to fall in line with the responsible and health-conscious plans that our brains make:

People of earlier ages didn’t have “selves,” didn’t see themselves as “thinking things” inside their heads who had to get out of their own mind to interact with the world. … The revolution of [René] Descartes’ thought was that the basis of human existence is thinking: I think, therefore I am. The fact that we know ourselves to be thinking inside our own minds makes it impossible to doubt that we exist. From this came the entire philosophical enterprise of proving that the external world also exists. We can’t doubt that we’re there, at least as a mind, but how do we prove everything we perceive isn’t an illusion?

Fast-forward 500 years, and nearly everyone in the Western world thinks of themselves as minds “inside” heads. A person is their mind, or the thinking part of themselves.

via You Can’t Help a Self You Don’t Have | Patrol – A review of religion and the modern world.

This post make me think that we’ve progressed beyond the classic philosophy class experiment of proving that you’re not just a brain in a jar hooked up to a computer simulation of the world. Instead, we’ve developed the impression that even if our skulls are real they’re still just a kind of jar that holds the “real us” — our thinking part.

Thinking Happy Thoughts?

I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”

— Jonathan Safran Foer via Everything’s Fragile.

Brief Moment in the Sun

Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.

Lawrence  M.Krauss via scinerds