“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
The Republican Party apparatus has to realize that this trash-Trump tactic is simply not going to work. The reasons people are showing support for Trump have little to do with whether they think he is virtuous or not – most know he is not. They express their support for Trump out of protest – they are sick and tired of “politics as usual,” whether from conservatives or liberals.
Nothing else has stopped “politics as usual” so far, so why not try Trump.
Someone said to me, recently, that we have Trump as the natural progression of decades of forced political correctness – this phenomenon is the natural result of it. If the “political correctness” juggernaut results in simply shutting-up people who attempt to express opinions that are not currently in vogue (liberal vogue or conservative vogue) without actually changing hearts and minds, this is the kind of end result. Out of pure frustration and insult, people will support someone who forcibly does the opposite of the demands of the current arbiters of political correctness (or accepted respectability).
I don’t believe that the majority of people who express support for Trump are unthinking, bigoted, misogynist, etc., idiots as Trump opponents like to assert. (Some are, but, some liberals are, too.) And, of course, the popular media feeds the controversy.
This is protest, and we are foolish if we don’t heed the tea leaves. The more the Party apparatus or others try to bring Trump down the presumed “usual way,” the more they are going to fail. Keep piling it on – it just makes the protest more fun for those protesting.
My seminary – for which I have great love, within which I made fast friends and found colleagues, from which I was formed in worship in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd (what incredible symbolism in that name, alone) and in scholarship found in classroom and conversation – this seminary of long tradition (honored by many, ridiculed by others) is in a very difficult place, a different kind of trouble in these days.
I don’t know the details. I don’t, so I can’t bring myself to throw down the club of blame and accusation on either side. I have to wait. I know the Dean as a fellow seminarian. I know some of the faculty as teachers and mentors. I know them all, and respect them all. We not only studied together, but we lived together in the tight confines of the Close.
This is, I’m afraid, what tends to happen within institutions as they go through profound change. Frankly, this is what happens within communities and nations, too. We see it in our own politics, in the events in the Middle East, and in other graduate institutions, too. These types of things happen as a result of our very human nature – sources of great good and great evil, incredible creativity and deadening banality. This is way we need, frankly, the One who redeems and restores and saves us from the worst of our human nature, from ourselves – individually and collectively.
What we see happening at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church we will continue to see with increasing frequency and ferociousness until the turn comes. This is a microcosm of what is stating within the entire Church. How will we respond? The question asked within the title of a book by Francis Schaeffer comes to mind – “How should we then live?” This is the crux, isn’t it? How are we each to live out the commands of Jesus in this very difficult, but practical, situation? How will each of us love God with all of our being and then, and here is where the significance really finds it’s ground, how will we love our neighbors – deans and faculties and pundits all around?
Will GTS and will the entire Church make the decision to do the profoundly difficult thing, the profoundly counter-cultural thing, and be reconciled, be redeemed, be reformed, and be transformed in the glory of the grace and mercy and love and faithfulness shown to us by the One to whom we owe everything? We have a choice, don’t we? Frankly, we have to “man-up”, we have to “woman-up”, we have to “Christ-up” and do the right thing, else we are just another example of hypocrisy – a failed thought-system, a worthless religion. We know what we need to do, and with God’s help we can do it, if we are willing. Are we willing? If so, just watch what God will do! Amazing!
For those who have ears to hear… What do you think? It is my experience, and from what I witness and read concerning leadership in many denominational and even “emergent” structures, that we honestly only want to gather around us those who scratch our itching ears… we don’t want to step back and carefully consider what is going on around us and what then is necessary to do. If it fits our preconception and personal want, fine, but it if doesn’t, we ignore or reject it – to our own peril. Click on the link, below, for the article.
What do you think?
“That than which nothing greater can be thought.” – The ineffable mystery of God
The eve of a new year is upon us. I wonder, sometimes, how open we are to whatever-may-come. Are we more apt to rigidly attempt to force life into a mold of our own imagining, perhaps because of fear or intimidation or weariness or confusion or insecurity or, perhaps, due to being lost to our own humanity, an honest sense-of-self, lost to our own possibilities?
We limit ourselves, terribly, I suppose. We limit our ability to love – and I think more significantly our ability to receive love. What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made? Where along the line have we bought the lie that our consumerist culture peddles, and that we as a people soak up lock, stock, and barrel?
If we imagine ourselves to be free, particularly of the fear of what we cannot know or control, free from even the fear of death, then where do limits exist in understanding the potential and possibilities existing all around us?
If only we take one step, if only we run the race set before us, if only we decide to move beyond the boundaries of our own creation, then why limit ourselves and capitulate to whatever binds up our hope, our lives? What can we discover in this new year if our imaginations are set loose to run free and run wild? God’s peace and blessing we with us all, I pray. Happy 2014!
When I sit on my stoop in the early morning and talk to a hardened pain-in-the-butt regular who just arrived home on a bus from Florida, from his last parent’s funeral… wanting someone to acknowledge his crying grief and to just find someone to show his father’s Purple Heart, medals from Korea, his folded flag, the reference of his great-grandfather in a book about African-Americans in Seminole County – I know we all bleed just the same.
When a well-to-do uncle, husband, cousin, father, friend suddenly and unexpectedly dies on the operating table. When his funeral will be dignified and well attended in the midst of grief and heart-ache – know that we all bleed just the same.
It was interesting to me to see and hear what these young “creatives” from the Pratt Institute are thinking about in their design theory, creative process, social understanding, and sense of where things are going through their art (fine, graphic, communications, media, digital, etc.) and design (architecture, industrial, interior, fashion, furniture, etc.). 300 of Pratt’s most accomplished graduating students are presenting their work at the annual Pratt Institute juried exhibit at the Manhattan Center.
One observation deals with their projection of the “post-digital” age – their words. Did you “hear” that? A rediscovery and assertion of the analogue concept – not really about sound recording, but applied to all manner of things. There is a sense that their current reality is within a developing “post-digital” age in conceptual ways, but most profoundly in relational ways.
The other interesting observance deals with social understandings. In the “interior design” exhibit, there is a presentation of interior space as a means for relational community generation and development. The project deals with ways of designing large, interior gathering spaces, and in this instance a “mega-church” is the project focus. Remember, these are all incredibly well thought out projects – many have won national awards. Smack-dab in the middle of the interior depiction graphic of the “mega-church” are people in pews (yes, pews) as if right after the service is ending. Along with others, there are two guys holding hands, a couple. There are a good number of Christians at Pratt – and they are very adept at naturally integrating their faith in their creative work, but not like what general society is used to. My assumption is that a project depicting a “mega-church” is probably a Christian student’s.
Which leads me to this: The profoundly destructive battles being waged in the Culture Wars are just not there for these folks (a war mostly being fought by Baby-Boomers and the first part of GenX – like me). The dualistic tendencies (and frankly, fundamentalistic whether political or religious) are not present, as of yet. Yet, I say, because moving into adulthood in these times seems to dictate a giving up of hope, excitement, wonder, and discovery for something like cynicism, drudgery, abject anger, bitterness, and forlornness.
In these students, there is still hope! That’s why I like working with students – there is still positive hope!
There is a malady growing in our American culture – tragic incidents like Newton are canaries in the mineshaft.
How shall we understand ourselves as a people? How shall we live? How shall we conceive of a civil society? What had been the foundation has been pushed aside – what informs us, now? What forms us as a people, now?
What if we used the principles of apophatic theology (theology by negation, via negativia – discerning things of God by asserting what is not) to our prevailing culture and society? How might we describe what we are as a society, how might we discern our sense of ourselves and others, or how might we conceive of our American psyche using apophatic principles? We discern what is by asserting what is not.
For example: American culture is not Christian. As Americans, we are not communitarian. Something like that – I’m sure others can come up with much better examples.
How might we discern truly our present-day American society or culture by asserting what it is not? Secondly, how might we figure what it could be by asserting what it should not be?
What is Democracy without Privacy?