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« A New Paradigm of Peace | Main | Mystics in the Market Place »

January 28, 2007

Comments

rayleus

Thanks again for "Shake-ing" things up, JCS. I love the site and hold all of its ideals in my heart. These goals are quite a challenge, and it takes people of vision and faith, like yourself, to help them become reality.
These are very insightful comments in this article. There's one observation I can make that may seem minor but could have far reaching effects. I would recommend that the peace movement/Out Now/Global Marshall Plan movement steer clear of terminology such as "Higher Self" and other terms that conjure up images of new age philosophy. As a practical political point of fact, for any grass-roots American movement to enjoy success it must be appealing to people who follow that good-old-time-religion - i.e. your Sunday pulpit Christianity. Of course, major sectors of that loosely affiliated community have fallen under the influence of a skillful group of orators who breed hostility towards the teachings of the compassionist Christ while giving lip-service to him as a Redeemer who guides and protects us in our imperial, domineering endeavors (aka "spreading Democracy" or whatever Orwellian catch-phrase is in vogue). Nevertheless, it's the same whether one is a "Christ" Christian or a "PC Christian" (i.e. someone led by the right-wing political correct pundits, which is to be led by a a moral relativism that is defined moment to moment by the reigning politico-religious leadership. Try to imagine what these same leaders would be telling their congregations if Clinton had led us into this war and had dealt no-bid contracts to Gore's company to provide the vast majority of outsourced defense department tasks. Their stance is a transparent hypocrisy that is all the more insidious because it professes to be a fixed morality rather than the relative morality that it truly is). On one vital point they are consistent and united: they believe that New Ageism is a fraud and has the insidious effect of teaching people not just that they have God within them, but that they can become God through their own efforts. This is what is commonly meant by the term "Higher Self", and it is understood this way by most American Christians.
In order to avoid having to explain this, or be forced into defending certain vague terminology, it would probably be better to be more specific and universal, and use terminology that most people cannot find fault with.
To say "we want to get in touch with our Higher Self" implies that we are not currently in touch with it, and that although being technically a "self" it is not "our normal self" or the self we commonly live within. New Ageism aside, I think what's often being said in these sorts of statements is that "we all have an innate desire to cultivate the higher aspects of our nature and to reject the lower. The higher nature is of God, and we want to bring Him into our lives and give expression to His will. We do not want to see strife, bitterness, and divisiveness in our society. We want to eliminate it.
I think "transcend" is another buzz-word - it conjurs up "transcendental meditation". By transcending strife, etc., one wonders are we removing it altogether or just getting ourselves to a point where it doesn't bother us to see its affect on others or ourselves?
The being said, the focus on the Global Marshall Plan, and other pro-active means of implementing the agenda of peace through practical, attainable goals, is probably one of the best places we can devote our political activist resources. I agree that stopping the war is the next step, but it will be difficult because, as I've said before, I really believe that the current war is not an issue that arose from genuine political debate - it is a matter of deception and fraud. The American people would never have signed on to this war had they not been fraudulently induced. The sole voice of skepticism in the U.S. Congress died, along with his family, in a horrible plan crash. (btw, the odds of that happening are no more than 1 in 100 - face it, peace has bad luck!). Indeed, we know American's hesitation to condone aggression is the very thing that motivated the deceivers into committing their deception to begin with.
The criminals who perpetrated this fraud must be brought to justice. Otherwise, regardless of any spiritual considerations, we as a nation have given tacit consent that such eggregious criminal behavior is acceptable to us so long as our political and media system continues to justify it and put a prettier face on it through means of spin (e.g. "intelligence failures" - this is a term invented specifically for this war). Those spiritually imperfect of us who want to see truth and justice are not the ones at fault. If a murderer is allowed to go free in the face of overwhelming objective evidence, then the justice system is not serving the people. If the victim's family is blamed because of their words of anger and bitterness, then it is a cynical system that has learned how to justify its own conscious perpetuation of evil.
Aside from the earlier stated linguistic concerns, which do have a real impact on how one is perceived and interpreted, I think it is imperative to consider the issues of morality and justice as a whole. In America, we are fond of saying that Truth and Justice are the American Way. Jesus said the Truth shall set you free. Without truth, there is no justice, no morality, no spirituality, no contact with divinity - no peace. From a foundation of truth, many of our ills begin to right themselves. Lies and deception eat at our personal and social insides and develop into horrible diseases that seem incurable. We must insist upon the truth.
Of course, we must be tolerant, but we must also be steadfast. Indeed, another common complaint amongst Christians is that those that are normally grouped into the category of "liberal" are so overly tolerant that they are tolerant of evil. We must be tolerant of others' views - so long as they do not promote falsehoods or impinge on other's rights. We should be as indignant and intolerant as Christ was to the Pharisees when we see the deliberate misuse of knoweldge intended to abuse and take advantage of others. We must be compassionate towards those who err in judgment - but compassion does not mean ceeding ground with respect to those things we know are right. To that end, we should never accept the proposition that our own imperfections provide justification for others to commit evil against us and our brothers and sisters, or that the manner or tone in which we express truth can provide a justification for rejecting the truth being expressed.
If we work to improve our interior life and our outer life simultaneously, not considering one exclusive of the other, then we can truly demonstrate that faith and works go hand in hand and we can avoid the pitfalls associated with choosing one over the other. If we utilize an ecumenical language that does not imply that the theology of Christ and the Church Fathers must be co-opted and re-written as a new age/eastern pantheism that one must accept in order to move humanity forward, then our chances of uniting like-minded brethren in the joint task of implementing faith with works will be much greater.

jcs

Great post, Ray!

Points taken to heart regarding the linguistic aspects of the argument. I think that was the beauty of our country's founding documents; they are written in crystal clear prose that is at once "religious" and at the same time firmly rooted in the reason and logic that carried the spirit of the times. Well said.

I also like your foundation of truth as a necessity or prerequisite to justice and peace. I agree wholeheartedly, yet still I fret about whose "version" of truth is the truest, etc. The evidence is overwhelming that we were deceived into this war, though those of us with eyes open at the time saw right through the deception. It still puzzles me why so many others didn't see it coming.

Compassion without surrender, eh? Tall order, fine line, etc etc etc . . .

I really appreciated the deep thought and analysis that went into this response. Will definitely be pondering your ideas.

best,
jc

rayleus

Cool. These are all issues close to heart and I've reflected on them quite a lot over the years. There's a lot of great stuff on the site that really makes me think.

I think one of the most disheartening things I do to myself is occasionally watch Fox News to see what kind of venomous rantings they're spewing forth. Just the other day I managed to catch the news flash that Barak Obama was educated in a shady, possibly terrorist, Muslim training school. "This may be the biggest story of the year." They are an endless fountain of preposterous, ugly propganda. The scary thing is how many people actually watch it for informational and emotionally reassuring purposes. I don't see how anyone can bear to watch the little smug face of Sean Hannity spouting off about how every single person who is against the Iraq war is a unrealistic, wishy-washy, flip-flopping, self-aggrandizing egotist. Meanwhile, Bush and Company are praised for being the only ones that have "core values" and are noble because they are "sticking to their beliefs." If sticking to lies over and over again (heard anything come out of Cheney's mouth the last 7 years that wasn't an outright lie?) shows steadfastness and is a core value that is commendable, then these people are all saints. Only problem is that according to Christianity they are saints of satan. Hannity is a schoolyard bully that hasn't got the guts to go man to man against someone with intelligence, facts and truth behind him. He relishes in pouncing on the unprepared and uninformed, but most of the time resorts to bouncing his inane gibberish off of his straw-man stooge Colmes, who does a pathetic job of pretending to be a voice of opposition. I can't say enough about him and the rest of his cadre of disinformation peddlers. I pray that they see the light and have a change of heart - but if they don't I pray that they are underminded by their own evil in time to prevent their sinister influence from reaching more of the innocent and easily misled.

And speaking of new proposals for the "we're looking for proposals" committee - how about this: The price tag for the war is now, what, around $680 Billion. Let's pass a resolution that says the war must be funded from tax dollars of people that approve the war. If there aren't enough people in the country that approve of the war, then your tax rate has to increase to cover the balance. Put those chickenhawks' money where their mouth is. Now that's friggin' democracy. That's Common Sense.

And speaking of exit strategies - anyone have any clues how we're going to clean up all the depleted uranium in Iraq from the bombs we've dropped? Wait - it can't be done! Oh well, they'll just have to live with the radiation and higher cancer rates. They'll probably complain, those ungrateful bastards. And after all we've given them. But hey, it's the least they could to help "keep us safe" "so we don't have to fight them here [fight who here?]."

Keep on rockin' in the free world.


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