Sunday, May 29, 2016

Love Thy Enemy on the Campaign Trail

I've been reading BODY BROKEN, by Robert Benson, and, in a chapter that contemplated the phrase "Love your enemy," I found myself thinking about the presidential campaign. First, I thought about the need for all of us to remove the vitriol from our political discourse. But then I went further.

Bernie Sanders is not my enemy, though I support Hillary Clinton. Even if those who support Sanders push me the wrong way, I can stomach the notion of loving them, perhaps in the abstract, perhaps as a vague sort of tolerance or forgiveness, or an open-ness to the value of their ideas and the value of differing opinions in driving the ship of state. Right-wing Republicans are not my enemy, though I strongly disagree with most of their positions. But Donald Trump?

And so I find myself squarely faced with the ultimate challenge. Can I love such a one? I cannot tolerate him. I cannot stand him. I hate him. I hate what he says and how he says it. I hate what he stands for and who he is and all he represents. I do, indeed, see him as an enemy to the things I cherish and believe in as an American. I see him as one who is dangerous and must be stopped. And here Christ tells me I'm supposed to love him. What does that even look like?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beauty, Imperfection and the Divine

Complexity can feel like chaos. It requires imperfection. Human beings are complex. Therefore, we are also awash in chaos and imperfection. We can strive for lofty goals, but we have to embrace our flaws and the certainty that we will stumble from time to time - more often than not. We need to find beauty in the stumbles. We need to find beauty in the complexity. Perhaps they are the same thing. Maybe imperfection is complexity, and complexity is beauty. Life, the world, and humanity are not unblemished models of perfection. They are beautiful, flawed riots of complexity.

Striving for perfection has its own kind of beauty. Once in a while, we glimpse perfection, and those glimpses deserve appreciation. Their rarity lends them a special kind of beauty - our brush with the unattainable divine. They remind us what is possible.

Just as we appreciate a variety of flowers in the garden, so we can embrace and celebrate many forms of beauty - the fleeting beauty of perfection, the gorgeous lopsided-ness of imperfection, and the struggle and dance between the two. Each has its own kind of beauty, defined and judged on its own terms, as each of us should be.

Friday, January 1, 2016

What Matters

I've been thinking about what matters. Easy to lose sight of.

What matters?  What really matters, from day to day and moment to moment over the long, or short, arc of a life time? What matters beyond that arc?

There is a passage in the TAO TE CHING that says "The master does nothing and leaves nothing undone." I have often struggled with that.  But perhaps the "nothing" is a recognition of what does and does not matter, a sense of perspective about the million and one little nothings that we think we must do, that indeed we do, and the million and one "nothings" that matter, in strange ways we can't even fathom. The things that the world calls "nothing" may be the ones that matter most. The things we fret over and stew about and do may, in the grand scheme, be utterly insignificant.

Let your spiritual eye zoom back. Climb to the top of a great overlook and take in the panoramic view of life. What is the nothing that you do? What nothing can you leave undone? 

What matters? 

Wishing you, as I do for myself, perspective in the New Year