Sunday, November 25, 2007

Voices in your head, Part II

A series of quotes that explores the various aspects of mind and their usefulness.

Wisdom is always taste -- in both Latin and Hebrew, the word for wisdom comes from the word for taste -- so it's something to taste, not something to theorize about. "Taste and see that God is good," the psalm says; and that's wisdom: tasting life. No one can do it for us. The mystical tradition is very much a Sophia tradition. It is about tasting and trusting experience, before institution or dogma.

-Mathew Fox

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Voices in your head, Part I

A series of quotes that explores the various aspects of mind and their usefulness.
For a novelist, intuition is essential. Basically it's contrary to intellectualism, which is probably the thing that I detest most in the world - in the sense that the real world is turned into a kind of immovable theory. Intuition has the advantage that either it is, or it isn't. You don't struggle to try to put a round peg into a square hole.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"Come Let Us Reason Together"

According to a recent Newsweek story, evangelical and progressive leaders have launched a new appeal entitled "Come Let Us Reason Together: A Fresh Look at Shared Cultural Values Between Progressives and Evangelicals". A 40-page report, written by a committee of evangelical leaders and representatives of progressive think-tank Third Way, "calls for common ground on the toughest cultural issues of our day: abortion, gay and lesbian rights, treatment of the human embryo and the role of religion in the public square."

Despite a prominent member of the National Right to Life committee--and I'm sure any number of liberal-identifiers would as well--referring to the initiative as "a political ploy to silence the debate" the report argues that consensus is possible "through better communication and a greater willingness to focus on common goals".

Eve Conant interviewed Rev. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of 12,000 member Northland Church in Orlando about his involvement. Click here to read it for yourself--its short.

Here is a statement from Reverend Hunter on his position:

None of us want to compromise our moral beliefs, nor will we. But all of us need to learn to cooperate in ways that can advance parts of our agenda together, and in ways that can counterbalance the growing polarization of our country. Ideology ought to mature into practical progress."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cynicism, ideals, and faith

In his book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge writes:

In combating cynicism, it helps to know its source. Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist--someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations. Then they found themselves disappointed, hurt, and eventually embittered because people fell short of their ideals.

How can we be idealists and not be personally toppled when others disappoint?

For starters, there is no need to suppress our disappointment--because it's going to happen.

From there, I've learned to have three seperate sets of expectations:

  1. Expectations of an envisioned outcome

  2. Expectations about the actions and speech of others

  3. Expectations for my own conduct and perspective

Although I can exercise a varying degree of influence over the first two, they are ultimately out of my control. The third alone is up to me.

In work, school and relationships, I've found that if I am clear about the third, and have expressed the first and second, no matter how the outcomes may shift, or how others may behave, I can appreciate the results and learn from the process with my own integrity and peace in tact--usually. As a result, my ability to influence the first two realms has expanded as I've grown clearer, calmer, and more confident.

Thanks to Fred Kofman who has helped elucidate these distinctions for me.

A quote from Paul Hawken

Inspiration is not garnered from litanies of what is flawed; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. Healing the wounds of the Earth and its people does not require saintliness or a political party. It is not a liberal or conservative activity. It is a sacred act.

-Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest, Natural Capitalism, and The Ecology of Commerce

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pat Robertson v. A Generation of Evangelicals

This video from Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network is fascinating for its juxtaposition of several themes:

1. A perceived need for the GOP to reinvent itself toward broader appeal

2. The trend for young evangelical republicans to engage in global social, environmental, and racial justice

3. Disengaged-government arguments by the libertarian wing of the party

4. Robertson and co-host's telling commentary at the end: "just go back GOP to what you were before"

Will a "broader global concern", informed by pragmatism and sound management, overcome individualist cynicism?

Robertson can't imagine.