Today I am grateful for the birth that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of birth and renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…
“For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” Isaiah 9: 6-7, MSG
If we lived up to what we say we believed…if we treated others the way we would like to be treated…if we could fully comprehend the internal impact of our behavior toward others on our own humanity, we would behave differently.
Of course, we can’t or don’t and so sometimes understanding the overt consequences of our behavior is enough to keep our egos in check.
But when there are no consistent consequences that deter us from ignoring morals and mores and manners, when there are no consistent consequences for deviant behavior, chaos ensues…
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~ Lord John Dalberg Acton
I watched some of the PBS series on Italian Americans last weekend, and I was struck most by the fear this new group of immigrants generated in the European Americans who were already established in this country. Like the Irish who had come earlier in the century, Italian Americans faced negative stereotyping, discrimination and violence.
I was reminded that the struggle to live up to the ideals of our founding has existed since America came to exist. I was also reminded that the achievement of ‘whiteness” available to these groups seems to have robbed them of their collective memories of prejudice and distrust experienced by their ancestors.
If they remembered, would that change their attitudes?
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.” ~ Coretta Scott King
People want to ascribe evil to only the most extreme behavior and label it inhuman. But evil is an all TOO human characteristic. And just like all the “isms” plaguing American society, is rooted in human frailty and fear.
“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.” ~ W. H. Auden, English poet
The acronym WAIT (Why Am I Talking) is a coaching tool I learned from a fellow coach that I use when I find myself talking instead of listening.
I use it while coaching and it’s also helpful in personal conversations about difficult subjects, or when I find myself trying to control the conversation or in a conversation competition with the other person.
I think it’s a tool American’s could really use right now.
“They didn’t notice the gracious pause he’d take after someone would finish a sentence, the way he’d give folks the chance to take air back into their lungs, before he’d fill the space up with his own breath and words.” ~ Cynthia Bond, Author Ruby
Nobody has it all. #45 is a case study in having “it” all and having nothing of value.
That’s because nothing external to us can authentically empower us. Real power comes from our connection to and understanding of who we really are.
“An authentically empowered person is humble. This does not mean the false humility of one who stoops to be with those who are below him or her. It is the inclusiveness of one who responds to the beauty of each soul. …It is the harmlessness of one who treasures, honors, and reveres life in all its forms.” ~ Gary Zukav, Author of Seat of the Soul
Inhale Real Power, Exhale Pretension… Inhale Connection, Exhale Disdain… Inhale Inclusiveness, Exhale Irreverence… Just Breathe
I saw the #ThisIsNotUS hashtag trending this past weekend and was gratified to see so many pointing out the obvious…that white men carrying torches, white men beating people of color, white men murdering those with whom they disagree is about as American as it gets.
“Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be.” ~ Bruce D. Schneider, Energy Leadership
Inhale What IS, Exhale Illusion… Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Willful Ignorance… Inhale Transformation, Exhale Status Quo… Just Breathe
I saw a post from a fellow, former military member who was tired of seeing posts about race. What privilege it is to be tired of READING about race…to be exhausted from SEEING images of people harassed, arrested and murdered because of their skin color…to be weary of HEARING about race-based religious persecution.
Maybe instead of wishing the marginalized in America would accept their status and keep their persecution to themselves, those who aren’t having the same experiences could exercise a little empathy and effect some change.
“Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger…” Leviticus 19:16, MSG
White American Evangelicals would have you believe Jesus is white, white American males are oppressed and the only terrorists in this country are of Muslim ancestry. And that they, individually and institutionally, are not the direct beneficiaries of “talents” stolen from black and brown bodies…
“I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.” Isaiah 1: 14-17, MSG