by Rev. John Thomas, the former General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, now a professor and administrator at Chicago Theological Seminary
May 2, 2013
Americans remain preoccupied with the confusing motivations of the two young men who detonated bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon killing three people and injuring scores more. Why would these “boys next door” who had never had a significant record of criminal behavior suddenly turn into would be mass murderers? Continue reading
We all have the trick of saying—If only I were not where I am!—If only I had not got the kind of people I have to live with! If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion. – Oswald Chambers, The Shadow of an Agony
John D. Podesta – Chair, Center for American Progress Action Fund
The editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post have made some of the most block-headed decisions of all time. They are gutting their coverage of climate change. That’s right: Two of the largest news publications in the country have effectively said that the environment and climate change are a low priority, and have cut staff and shuttered blogs devoted to the topic at a time when we’re experiencing some of the most extreme, global-warming-related weather in recorded history.
If papers across the country are slashing resources, who’s going to cover the most important issue of our time? Who’s going to hold politicians and corporations accountable?
ThinkProgress is launching a new climate initiative that will bring you innovative and in-depth reporting on one of the most critical issues of our time.
But the only way we can succeed is if progressives come together to support an initiative we so desperately need. Will you be one of the first 100 individuals who get this program off the ground?
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We’re committed to not only keeping the public informed, but effecting real change:
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As always, our goal is to bring you hard-hitting news while staying light on our feet: Our rapid response reporting and innovative social media methods will enable us to debunk right-wing misinformation on climate change as it happens, before it gets regurgitated throughout the press. It’s about action and it’s about accountability.
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John D. Podesta
Chair, Center for American Progress Action Fund
A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task placed closest to us, God begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about God.
Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.
Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2
My Utmost for His Highest (1935, 1992)
Psalm 147:3 – Talmud, Babah Batra 14
Rabbi Rachel Sabath
God allows for a shattered world and for a people who are broken and scared. But God also insists on our going forward, continuing with what is whole as well as with what is broken.
We learn this from the incident in the Bible where Moses breaks the first set of tablets that he brings down to the Israelites. These shattered tablets were not discarded. Rather, both the new tablets and the shattered ones were placed in the ark.
Let us hold gently those broken parts of ourselves and others so that healing and renewed trust can be established.
By Rick Warren
Editor’s Note: At Pastors.com and Saddleback Church, we’ve all been in a place of mourning for our Pastor, Rick Warren, his wife Kay and their entire family after the loss of their youngest son, Matthew, who ended his own life last week after a very long battle with mental illness. You can read Pastor Rick’s words to the Saddleback family for yourself. We who are near Pastor Rick have drawn strength from his thirty-plus years of teaching biblical truth, and out of that teaching, we’ve adapted a transcript from a message delivered over a decade ago at Saddleback. Hear Pastor Rick’s words and let them speak to you in your own places of tragedy and loss… Continue reading
For the person for whom small things are insignificant, the great is not great.
Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.
Rancor is the outpouring of a feeling of inferiority.
Oswald Ortega y Gasset - Man and Crisis (1962)
One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
A friend should be a master at guessing and keeping still: you must not want to see everything.
When we fight some monster we must take care lest we thereby become a monster.
Friedrich Nietzsche - Basic Writings of Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, Peter Gay (2000)
openDemocracy – free thinking for the world – April 2013
The Turkish media’s unjustified attack on Bejan Matur, a Kurdish poet who succinctly showed how fragile the peace process is, is not a contribution to peace. Rather it is a misunderstanding of the peace process. I salute you Bejan and want you to know that I am in solidarity with you.
Demystifying Ocalan’s letter – Ali Gokpinar, Fulbright grantee, concentrates on conflict resolution, peace building, and civil war from his home in Turkey.
This is a historic period. Despite the misunderstanding over a ‘ceasfire’ in the Turkish media and public, the PKK’s jailed leader Ocalan in fact did ask the guerillas to move out of Turkey on March 21, as Kurds celebrated the beginning of the spring, Newroz. His speech’s motto was that it is time for “politics” rather than “armed struggle”. His promising call, read both in Kurdish and Turkish, was slightly puzzling. But three overall points stand out; a call harmony, a rather selective critique of the Kemalist nation state and a request for forgiveness.
Ocalan’s reference to the coexistence between various ethnic and religious communities in Mesopotamia, his emphasis on the brotherhood between the Euphrates and the Tigris Continue reading