Ah the Holidays! Traditions that give our existence in the United States a meaning that goes beyond the words we know as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year. And meaning is so very important to the human species…We all know these dates exist in earthly time, and attached to these dates there are national as well as religious and family traditions, but reverence is definitely the central theme for them all.
Reverence is a showing of deep respect. The Holidays during November through December allow us to set aside time in our lives to dwell on this deep respect. But what or who are we to be respectful of or to? Think about this for a moment, if we secularize these special days then why would respect ever enter into any part of a holiday’s recognition or tradition? The truth is, these are holy days and the secular has no place in them.
Oh sure, Thanksgiving can be about turkey, Christmas and Hanukkah about lights and gifts, Kwanzaa about community, and New Years about starting anew. We can even give a “sinister” new meaning to them as Thanksgiving has unfortunately acquired because of our ability to associate current human progress with past human realities…Hindsight is always 20/20.
But a nation needs its traditions in order to build upon its positive communal spirit. And the best way to build a positive communal spirit is to give joy and love to our gatherings. God as the “Great Creator” is the silver lining of our most profound loss and the essence of everlasting Love. To revere God is to give the greatest gift of all which is compassion. A nation that builds upon Godly traditions is at its most compassionate. Secular traditions eventually become divisive because there is no unifying principle to humble the communal spirit. Turkeys, evergreen trees, presents, candles and ball-drops are not unifying principles!
Because God is forgiving, God is for giving. Our nation’s year-end celebrations are meaningful because God has shown us the way. May we be blessed enough to know this Love, respect it, and share it always.
Being human takes a lot of thought. We humans don’t know this until life embarks on its discontented journey…We each have our own road, and if we are thoughtful enough, we use our free will to make some good choices. These thought skills take time and practice to perfect.
Freedom enables the best use of our free will. Even if we take for granted this freedom, our free will aught to be used with ample discretion. But humans rarely understand the many boundaries that exist within life’s framework to use discretion properly which is why communities of humans have rules.
When a human breaks the smallest of community rules there is need for justice. How many of us will honestly apply this standard on a daily basis, be thoughtful about it, and understand the burden of repairing each rule we break with humility? Probably quite a few of us practice it regularly. Yet we cannot assume that everyone will. As Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human…”
Rules usually apply in family, workplace, and organized group situations. We get good practice in these settings. Penalties for rule breaking are meant to cause brief shame. Our chance for redemption is pretty high if a sincere apology is accepted and we correct ourselves through active example. Shame becomes respect in this way.
Laws, however, are much more strict. This is necessary in the broader context of human interaction because we gave up tribalism long ago…Systems of governance are used between and among towns, counties, states and nations so that all people can move about and interact peacefully. The development of laws takes time and practice, and thoughtful governments try to improve upon their implementation continually which is the basis of justice.
Currently I see many people turning to tribalism to obtain “justice”. Law and order has been eroding which undermines any form of peaceful process toward desired justice. Dignity must be bestowed upon all humans no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual preference and even job choice. Harm directed at one of us is harm to all of us. Over the past centuries humans have already done too much harm to each other in the name of justice when in actuality the ulterior motives were more or less “spiteful revenge”. Where does this spiteful revenge come from? I believe that political forces cause us to lose sight of our human capacity to be our best selves.
In our goal to seek proper justice we must use empathy and humility. Peaceful protest in the public common is a fine start, but leadership must be identified and goals must be adopted. Positive change is a result of carefully measured action steps through our democratic process, otherwise we can fall prey to tribes using vengeful tactics.
Realize this though, political leadership quite often enjoys the use of oppression and injustice through political constructivism. If your intuition suspects that your government is not working for you or your community’s best interest, you have the power to change things! It is not your government’s responsibility to make change because if it was then we would always be waiting for change…Sound familiar?
What have politicians or other people in positions of power (this can include church figures too) constructed for you? Emotional and tribal barriers are burdensome to the soul. When a politician says that they can “change the soul” of your community, watch out! That is a political construct using their will to manipulate your free will…It crushes souls and demeans the spirit. Laws are then changed to suit their purpose of power over you. They will push examples of social, gender, and racial constructs to justify their use of power to take away freedoms.
What burden does you soul and spirit carry within you? Does it reflect the barriers that exist outside of you? You are responsible for discovering the truth that sets you free…Do not delegate it to a tribe or a politician. Forgive yourself for not understanding this before, and move forward in your life in humble purpose that includes all your acquaintances. Your light will reflect onto them and harmony with each other will be achieved.
“To err is human, to forgive is Devine.” – Alexander Pope
Fear is being allowed to fester in America…The type of fear that can only be fostered by the media and improved upon by the liberal academics because they are the prime manipulators of emotion. Is this fear linked to the polarizing politics of today? Perhaps it is simply the natural human instinct of preserving life at all cost? Either way, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look as only a Shrew would…
When President Roosevelt said in 1933 that ‘The only thing to fear is fear itself…’, he was not far from the mark. During that time we were at the peak of the Great Depression. He went on saying, ‘…fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…’ Fear as an emotion is ephemeral unless a person is consumed by it nonstop.
In my booklet, Archetypes of the Human Spirit, I picture a large fish with many sharp teeth as a symbol of the fear that consumes all efforts to improve not unlike the Bible story of Jonah and the whale.
This all consuming fear is that which comes when you are not sure that your choices are leading you in the best direction. Fortunately we have the ability to look back on past choices to determine the best path forward…This is why learning factual history is so important! In your own life your history is all of those past choices, and the outcome of those choices are what you have to learn by. Your anxiety ridden, uncomfortable present or future is an illusion of fear until you reconcile those past choices with what you learned after making them…And if you succeed in applying this model, you gain wisdom.
In America there is a certain effort underway to rewrite our history. This is an unfortunate circumstance because the “new” history focuses on victimhood and is consuming humanity’s efforts to improve. Learning everything we can about why we had slavery, The Trail of Tears, women’s suffrage, Jim Crow and gay rights in our “free” society is good, but only if we are brave enough to see the true context as whole and proper. It is only then that we can make progress as a nation that values Liberty for all rather than equality as an outcome for all.
RA house divided against itself cannot stand – Abraham Lincoln
Who are we kidding? Neither the liberal left nor the conservative right have all the answers to our country’s problems at this point in time. Have they ever? Let’s be honest…The best answers come in the form of a small community working together in a non partisan manner. And, if someone is not connected to and working against the community then we should consider that it may be by choice. Families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, Rotaries and even sports offer opportunities to connect in a variety of healthy ways. The only skill you need at first is curiosity. Defined as a strong desire to know or learn something, curiosity can open doors to a stronger sense of belonging. The best part about this is that you can belong to many different circles of community thereby finding your niche to make a positive impact.
I have a feeling that anyone who picks up a weapon to inflict harm on a community really knows down deep that they are not solving anything. Like being totally on the left or totally on the right the answer to their problem leaves a literal hole that oozes pain, guilt, horror and disgust, all of which are the antithesis of curiousity and clearly the mask of evil.
Isn’t this evil what the extreme left wing Democrats see in President Trump? And by the same measure isn’t this evil what the extreme right wing Republicans see in the extreme left wing Democrates? When did Congress stop being a community for the people? Elected leaders must have the skill of curiosity to belong to their peer community no matter which side of the isle they are on. The President is putting forward his ideas, but it seems as though Congress has no strong desire to learn or know how to debate and offer a compromise on the ideas. And what is worse, Congress has been modeling this behavior for far longer than I can remember. Unfortunately our leaders of the next generation are not witnessing the intended function of Congress.
I think we have reached a tipping point in this country. Evil is showing its ugly face in unimaginable ways. We must acknowledge its ability to reside amoung us and be curious enough to ask why it exists. Only then can we learn together the path of the humble messenger that we all can become. God help us…
The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.
In my last blog I stated that balance is a welcome state of being for humanity and very important for all facets of our lives. Because I am finding that certain elements in this country are ginning up much hostility toward capitalism, in this blog I would like to reflect on how we balance faith with commerce.
Once upon a time in order for a new community to be established in the North American territories it needed a church and a pastor. Faith was central to existence because life presented a multitude of hardships (One could argue that we still have many hardships, but that is a topic for a future Shrew blog). Many of these communities still exist today with a First Parish Church in its midst. Of course today most of these communities also have several other churches along with perhaps a Temple and even a Mosque. Faith in God or a Higher Power can be a grounding influence for many people, and I believe that religious practice in communities is a key ingredient for goodwill among humanity. The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.
So which came first, faith practice or commerce? I think this question is comparable to the chicken and egg hypothesis. We know that Britain colonized America in 1607 at which point the North American resources became valuable to many markets (Again, exploitation of these resources is another great topic for a future Shrew blog). In the very early days the settlers bartered their goods and services, no money was needed to support their basic lifestyles. Indentured slaves and negro slaves were in full use by 1640 thanks in part to the Dutch who brought the first negro slaves…Britain benefited the most from this practice because new markets for cotton and tobacco amoung other things were expanding at great rates and new immigrants to America were smart enough to know that this work on southern plantations was less than desirable. Moving ahead 50 years, the first paper money wasn’t issued until February 3, 1690 to pay for military action during the King Philip’s War (military personnel required payment to make their fight worthwhile). By 1776 the British pushed American “free spirits” to their limit. Because religious freedom was central to the impending free nation, British rule equated to Anglican hierarchical practices. I find it interesting that it took 170 years for these European free spirited transplants to break away from Imperial bonds, but honestly that is what tyrannical control can do to people…dependence on the “Mother Land” is like clinging to your mother’s warm bosom. It took tremendous personally inspired faith to fight for independence.
And so, the land of opportunity was born…Each man and woman sovereign to him/herself with inalienable rights and property protections. Property of course also includes your business and ability to make money which involves a tremendous amount of creativity. God created the Universe and we, as part of this creation, are inspired to also create .
I believe the best economies are local. They reflect the community of people united with threads of purpose. And many times they use the bounty of resources located in their region. These communities educate their young, learn from their past, celebrate their better days, reflect on their challenges, honor Mother Nature and love life through a respectful relationship with their Creator. A nation that respects a community’s innovation to thrive will reap the rewards.
Which came first, faith practice or commerce? One definitely defines the other and in my dictionary faith defines commerce…Just look on the back of our currency! In God We Trust 🙂