"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tranquillity of The Holy Spirit

"St. John of the Cross says that every quality or vitrue which the Spirit really produces in our souls has three distinguishing characters.....

  Tranquillity, Gentleness, Strength. 

.... Fuss and feverishness, anxiety, intensity, intolerance, instability, pessimism and wobble, and every kind of hurry and worry -these, even on the highest levels, are signs of the self-made and self acting Soul the spiritual parvenu"

- Evelyn Underhill. The Spiritual Life

Attentive To Time

"Therefore, be attentive to time and the way you spend it. Nothing is more precious. God, the master of time, never gives the future. He gives only the Present, Moment by moment, for this is the law of the created order.... 
You will not be able to excuse yourself in the last judgment, saying to God: "You overwhelm me with the future when I was only capable of living in the present."
- The Cloud of Unknowing

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Mistrust of Politicians and Bankers

I arrived at the White House on November 14th, 2008. It was not my first visit there, but by any measure, it was the most consequential. You occasion was the inaugural meeting of the newly-christened Group of 20, or "G20.......

The world was lunging from an economic slowdown to an economic meltdown to total panic. Financial markets were frozen. Stock markets were plunging. Shipping volumes were in a free fall. The global economic situation was visibly worsening by the day. In short order, the US economy alone would lose nearly 9 million jobs, see 10 million foreclosures, and shed nearly three and a half trillion dollars in retirement savings.

As Leaders, we were not under any illusion about finding Perfect Solutions. The options before us were all bad, and the only objective was to avoid imminent Calamity. The meeting's final communiqué committed to "whatever further action are necessary to stabilize the financial system. " And we meant it. The stage was set for massive worldwide deficit spending, unprecedented and coordinated monetary interventions, and huge corporate bailouts.

In the weeks and months that followed, a measure of stability return. The Panic subsided and financial institutions stopped collapsing. The stock market bottomed out. In fact, it returned to pre-recession levels faster than most of us had imagined. Corporate profits, too, recovered comparatively quickly.

For many people, however, things would never be the same. As the Great Recession faded for some, employment and wages leg behind for most......

This experience has taken its toll on the Public's enthusiasm for markets, capitalism, and globalization.....

Add insult to injury, when the crisis hit, the result was unremitting capitalism for the working class and socialist protection for the Wall Street financier who caused the Meltdown in the first place. Still, in many Elite circles, the old narratives quickly returned. Even Bank Executives were soon back to paying themselves bonuses - not that they had ever really stopped - and decrying any attempt to regulate their sector.....

I am not saying these things to denounce or disparage the American system. I still believe in the general efficacy of markets more precisely, of well-governed markets. History shows unambiguously that capitalism usually produces Fair better incomes than the Alternatives. The market has a unique ability to connect capital and ideas with customers, and to drive sustained economic growth. The tendency of government, by contrast, is to politicize the allocation of wealth and opportunity at every turn."

- Stephen Harper. Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership In the Age of Disruption 


Stephen Harpers book on the the topoc of Populism really is proving insightful. He is not fan of Trump nor does he think is a real conservative. He takes his shots at him. This was interesting. 

"The same pundits, press, and pollsters who deemed Trump utterly unelectable are now telling us why he won. They have become instant experts on what happened and what to do about it. If you are not skeptical, you should be. 

The good thing is that we do not have to look under rocks or rely on Talking Heads for the answer. Trump is trying out these really not that much of a mystery. The president has been Frank about the economic and social forces that motivated his voters and ultimately put him in the White House. In truth, he saw these Transit earlier and more clearly than anyone else. We need look no further than Trump's inaugural speech. It was a clear distillation of what was behind the populist uprising in 2016.......   

There were four major themes that came out of the speech (Trumps Inaugural). They were unique. They distinguish Trump's approach from those long taken by establishment politicians in both major parties. 

The first was, for lack of a better term, a certain economic realism. Particularly atypical for a Republican, there was no talk about the morality of the markets or praise of economic liberty. This was not a speech for think-tank Scholars or philosophical conservatives. Instead, Trump articulated a hard-headed focus on bringing industry back to America and restoring jobs for American workers. 

The second was trade. Trump challenged the assumption that free trade is inherently and always good for the United States. He called and trade deals that create and uneven playing field between American-based firms and international competitors, particularly trade agreements with China and Mexico. 

The third was nationalism, which includes the America First philosophy. Trump criticized representatives from both parties for putting Global priorities ahead of national imperatives. He pledged to govern in the national interest without nuance  or apology. 

The final thing was immigration. Trump broke with the bipartisan consensus in its favor. He notably rejected policy that effectively allows large numbers of low-skilled workers into the country......

While each of these subjects deserves further discussion, Trump did not have much to say about practical solutions. There were few policy proposals or commitments that went beyond slogans like "winning again." Eighteen months into his presidency, this is still proving to be a weakness. 

This does not, however, diminish Trump's insight into the electorate. It does not change the fact that he saw things that much more experienced observers had not. Indeed, in his inaugural speech, he was telling us what he had tapped into and why he won. He was reviewing the blueprint that got him to that Podium and into the Oval Office."

- Stephen Harper. Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership In the Age of Disruption 

- Stephen Harper. Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership In the Age of Disruption 

Life Of Normal

"Life is neither particularly exciting or great, nor disastrous or grandly and interestingly tragic. Life is just trundling along, which is why I have been  quiet."
- Commuting To Timbuktu.. Swiss expart used to live in Djenne Mali

Friday, December 7, 2018

Reform Thy Self

The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example.
- A Tramp Abroad

A Cantankerous Chruch Choir

The choir always tittered and whispered all through the service. There was once a church choir that was not ill-bred, but I have forgotten where it was.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

A Fast Lie

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Mark Twain

Only Hogs Go To Church?

 “There warn't anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it's cool. If you notice, most folks don't go to church only when they've got to; but a hog is different.”

 ― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Thursday, December 6, 2018

What is Populism

"But what exactly is populism?....

At least since Trump's damp and dreary Inauguration Day, populism has become a loaded term. It has been made the default explanation for any political view or event that diverges from establishment opinion. Opposition to trade deals? Populism. Protest against immigration? It must be the populist. And unexpected election result? What else did populism? And So It Goes. One academic has the gist of it: most uses of the term populism are motivated by an establishment desire to denigrate any opposition to the "liberal consensus." Put differently: there is a tendency, particularly among contemporary liberals, to call political outcomes that they support "democracy," and ones that do not "populism." In other words, they see to wait equate populism with demagoguery.

That effort is itself demagoguery, for populism can have a positive interpretation. Put simply, it is any political movement that places The wider interests of the common people ahead of the special interest of the privileged few. If you think about it, in most every democracy, every political party tends to frame its core appeal in such terms, at least to some degree.

Is this such a nonsensical concept? In fact, there are times when the consensus of the political establishment diverges from the weight of a public opinion. For instance, the desirability of trade deals and of unskilled immigration are areas where the leadership of both the US Republican and Democratic parties has often parted company with the bulk of their supporters. When such divergence occurs, it is the tendency of the elites to try to take such political debate off the table. Populism is a force that can put these issues back on the agenda.

There have been many instances of elite consensus being challenged by the wider public. Economic orthodoxy in one peroid has become economic heresy in the next. Wars have been undertaken when they should not have, and pacifism has been practice in the face of inevitable conflict. Elites often have interest and perspectives that are distinct from those of the general public. And they are sometimes wrong.

Think of it this way. Populism is a framework for identifying political priorities and making political decisions. But it does not tell us much about the underlying policies per se. So-called populist politicians have stood for ideas that could be classified as left-wing, right-wing, or even Centrist."

- Stephen Harper. Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership In the Age of Disruption 


"These voters do not tend to have college degrees. They disproportionately work in Industries, such as manufacturing, they are facing ongoing disruption from low-cost competition and new technology. In short, they are in the parts of the Western economy that have fared poorly in the post-Cold War era, the age of globalization. 

And they were feeling voiceless. This is a common finding in different studies of both the Trump election and the Brexit referendum. The concerns of these people have been either largely ignored or, if acknowledged at all, vigorously denounced. There can be no doubt about the extent to which these voters believe that the political establishment does not care about them. They have come to mistrust both the traditional liberal/ center-left and conservative/ center-right options."

- Stephen Harper. Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership In the Age of Disruption. 

Salut Hitler's Sheep

"Meanwhile, Oster and Dohnanyi continued their work under the protection of Admiral Canaris. If ever anyone led a double life, Canaris did. He took morning horseback rides in Berlin’s Tiergarten with Heydrich, the piscine ghoul, and yet was at this very time using his power to undermine Heydrich and the Nazis at every turn. The gangsterism of Hitler sickened him. On a trip to Spain, while riding through the countryside in his open car, he stood and gave the Hitler salute to every herd of sheep he passed. “You never know,” he said, “whether one of the party bigwigs might be in the crowd.”"

- Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

He Preached For Free And The Price......

"He preached for free, and the price was worth it."
 - Huckleberry Finn 
- Mark Twain. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

No Economic Gods

"I begin by looking at market economics. The market is a powerful Institution for resource allocation and wealth creation. However, conservatives must resist market dogmatism. Policy-making does not occur within a textbook version of reality. It happens in the real world, with trade-offs, imperfect options, and non-economic considerations. Markets are a tool of good economic policy, but they are not an objective in and of themselves.

Groing public concerns about economic dislocation and trade are far from being without merit. However, they require a careful response that resorts neither to protectionism nor state dependency. People want meaningful work, as well as the financial security and personal dignity that comes with it. Conservatives must be champions for paid work and must set out an agenda that creates the conditions for it"

- Stephen Harper 

The Past Way Of Approaching The Future

Reading about populism the last few weeks and I encountered this interesting statement... 

"I do not want to go back to the past; I want to go back to the past way of facing the future."

- Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Christmas Story Up And Down

The Christmas Story

“In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down…down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature he has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.”

~ C.S. Lewis

The Flip-Flop Incarantion Of Jesus

“Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.”

~ Augustine

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Great Depression Politics

"It was the Great Depression, and misery, starvation, financial ruin, despair, and suicide were affecting thousands of lives. In response to the raw need of the people around them and their search for social justice, my parents lives and home were infused with a panoramic sense of history and big ideas of economic and social reform, democratic processes, and populist politics. They looked for deliverance from the awful conditions that threatened to destroy their community. Mostly, they refused to accept the prevailing political notion of the traditional political establishment that there was nothing I'm to be done but Riding the Storm."

Preston Manning. Think Big: Adventures in Life and Democracy. 

Grinding Axe

"As a boy, I would sometimes do my homework in a little anteroom off his office. I would leave the door ajar and listen as he talked with visitors. It was there that I got my first exposure to politics and government. My father had told me that if I listened closely I would hear the sound most familiar to the ears of an elected politician - the sound of the grinding of an axe."

- Preston Manning. Think Big: Adventures in Life and Democracy

Bad Policies.

"I could have concluded what most commentators concluded. They had predicted Trump could not win- that he could never win - because he is a fool and a bigot. Therefore, they surmise, the voters must be fools and bigots as well. 

For many liberals, wedded to the belief that those who disagree with them are fools and bigots by definition, that answer may be good enough. For us conservatives, who fancy ourselves students of human nature and Human Experience, it should not. The ones with the foolish and preconceived notions were those who got it so wrong. It is a time to reexamine our assumptions. 

So here is my re-examination in a nutshell. A large proportion of Americans, including many American conservatives, voted for Trump because they are really not doing very well. They are not doing well in the world that we conservatives created after the Cold War. And they are not doing well, in part, because of some of the policies we conservatives have advocated. 

In short, the world of globalization is not working for many of our own people. We can pretend that this is a false perception, but it is not. We now have a choice. We can keep trying to convince people that they missunderstand their own lives, or we can try to understand what they are saying. Then we can decide what to do about it."

- Stephen Harper. Right Here, Right Now

For Truth You Have To Sit In Jail

"Fastenko, on the other hand, was the most cheerful person in the cell, even though, in view of his age, he was the only one who could not count on surviving and returning to freedom.  

Flinging an arm around my shoulders, he would say:  

 'To stand up for the truth is nothing! 

 For truth you have to sit in jail!  

Or else he taught me to sing this song from Tsarist hard-labor days: 

 'And if we have to perish 

 In mines and prisons wet,

Our cause will ever find renown 

In future Generations yet.' 

 - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL1.

Astonished He Could Sob So

"He recalled out loud his wife's tears, hold years of tears: some due to love notes she had found in his trousers, some to some woman's underpants in his overcoat pocket, stuff there hurriedly in his automobile and forgotten. And when he was thus torn by burning self-pity, his armor of evil energy fell away, and before us was a ruined and clearly a good person. I was astonished that he could sob so."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Poles of War

"Such as the eternal and universal aspect of war; the more grief it accumulates at one of its poles, the more joy it generates at the other."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

How Many Shot?

"They began to Converse in a whisper, and we tried not to listen. But it was quite impossible not to overhear the newcomers whisper. It was so loud, so disquieting, so tense, and so close to a sub, that we realized it was no ordinary grief that had entered our cell. The newcomer was asking whether many were shot."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

People Work Differently

"He had grown up differently from those others too, and he worked differently. His father had plowed the earth in the most literal sense."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Two Time Canadian Migrant

 "Soon after Fastenko returned to the Motherland, he was followed by a Canadian acquaintance, a former sailor on the battleship Polemkin, one of the mutineers, in fact, who had escaped to Canada and become a well—to-do farmer there. This former Potemkin sailor sold everything he owned. his farm and cattle, and returned to his native region with his money and his new tractor to help build sacred socialism. He enlisted in one of the first agricultural communes and donated his tractor to it. The tractor was driven any which way by whoever happened along and was quickly ruined. And the former Potemkin sailor saw things turning out very differently from the way he had pictured them for twenty years. Those in charge were incompetents, issuing orders that any sensible farmer could see were wild nonsense. In addition, he became skinnier and skinnier, and his clothes wore out, and nothing was left of the Canadian dollars he had exchanged for paper rubles. He begged to be allowed to leave with his family, and he crossed the border as poor as when he fled from the Poremkin. He crossed the ocean, just as he had done then. working his way as a sailor, because he had no money for passages, and back in Canada he began life all over again as a hired hand on a farm."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL1. 

A powerful piece of writing I thought. The last two lines especially. 
"The old fella with the lively eyebrows - and at sixty-three he i no way bote himself like an old man - was Abatoky Ilyich Fastenko. He was a big asset to our Lubyanka cell - both as a keeper of the old Russian prison traditions and as a living history of Russian revolutions. Thanks to all that he remembered, he somehow managed to put in perspective everything that had taken place in the past and everything that was taking place in the present. Such people are valuable not only in a Cell. We badly need them in our society as a whole. "
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

In Need Of Old Peoples Stories

The old fella with the lively eyebrows - and at sixty-three he i no way bote himself like an old man - was Abatoky Ilyich Fastenko. He was a big asset to our Lubyanka cell - both as a keeper of the old Russian prison traditions and as a living history of Russian revolutions. Thanks to all that he remembered, he somehow managed to put in perspective everything that had taken place in the past and everything that was taking place in the present. Such people are valuable not only in a Cell. We badly need them in our society as a whole. "

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Just Before Societies Fall

"Before societies fall, just such a stratum of wise, thinking people emerges, people who are that and nothing more. And how they were laughed at! How they were mocked! As though they stuck in the crawl of people whose deeds and actions were single minded and narrow-minded. And the only nickname they were christened with was "rot." Because these people were a flower that bloomed too soon and breathed too delicate a fragrance. And so they were mold down. 

These people were particularly helpless in their personal lives; they could neither bend with the wind, nor pretend, nor get by; every word declared an opinion, a passion, a protest. And it was just such people the mowing machine cut down, just such people the chaff-cutter shredded."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1. 

Needing Old Men With Histories Stories

"The old fellow withthe lively eyebrows - and at sixty-three he in no way bore himself like an old man - was Abatoky Ilyich Fastenko. He was a big asset to our Lubyanka cell - both as a keeper of the old Russian prison traditions and as a living history of Russian revolutions. Thanks to all that he remembered, he somehow managed to put in perspective everything that had taken place in the past and everything that was taking place in the present. Such people are valuable not only in a Cell. We badly need them in our society as a whole. 

Right there in our cell we read Fastenko's name in a book about the 1905 Revolution. He had been a Social Democrat for such a long, long time that in the end, it seemed, he had ceased to be one."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


"At any minute, one of us could have been pulled out for interrogation..... One night of undisturbed sleep was more important than all the fates on Earth!"

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. VOL 1

War And Dirty Church Decisions

"Even if Bonhoeffer could have explained that he was in fact working against Hitler, many in the Confessing Church would still have been confused, and others would have been outraged. For a pastor to be involved in a plot whose linchpin was the assassination of the head of state during a time of war, when brothers and sons and fathers were giving their lives for their country, was unthinkable. Bonhoeffer had come to a place where he was in many ways very much alone."

- Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy 

Intended Church Death

"In January 1941 Bonhoeffer traveled to Munich to see Justus Perels, the head lawyer for the Confessing Church. Perels was working hard to lobby the Reich government on its treatment of Confessing Church pastors; so many of them were being drafted and sent into battle that the Confessing Church was being decimated. This was intentional on the part of the Nazis."

- Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

He Blesses Thru You Also

"I have not written about my many, many companions on the Way, but today, the day before I arrive in Santiago, I wanted you to meet Victor.

Victor and his wife walked the Camino in 2013, just after she started her treatment for Ovarian Cancer.

Six months ago, Victor’s wife Elsa, lost her fight… and Victor lost Elsa.

Tomorrow he will arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago after walking for and with Elsa, surrounded by his memories of her.

Over the hour or so that we walked Victor talked and talked about his many weeks on the Camino and all the people he had been able to share with about his devout God-loving wife and how SHE had blessed so very many people (he was always careful to clarify that it was SHE who was blessing people and he was just the vessel.)

When it came time for us to part, I looked at Victor and I blessed his trip and then right before I turned to walk away, I said, “Victor, you blessed all those people also. You. God is using you, as well as Elsa, to bless people.”

At these words, this strong, former law enforcement officer started to get very emotional, his eyes welling with tears.

My friend Connor has taught me to not be afraid to lean into people when they get emotional, so, before I knew what I was doing, I looked Victor square in the eyes and said, “There is an old poem that goes like this:

Christ has no body now but yours

No hands, no feet on earth but yours

Yours are the eyes through which HE looks compassion on the world

Yours are the feet on which he walks to do good

Yours are the hands with which HE blesses all the world."

- Tony Kriz. http://tonykriz.com/yours-are-the-hands-for-victor/.

Unable To See Sacredness

"I am getting to visit beautiful churches all along the Way:They are gorgeous. And inspiring. And yes, I feel the sacredness when I stand inside of them, look up into those vaulted ceilings and listen to the Mass.

But here is the question I am asking myself: Are these ancient monuments to worship fundamentally different than say… my dining room back home? Are they?

Both have walls that are soaked with stories. Both have floors that are soaked with tears… and hopes. Both are filled with symbolism. Both are arranged around a table where “families” and friends gather. Both are the place where divine work takes place.

You see, the problem with me is not that I need to go out into the world and find more sacred places. The problem with me is that I am too often blind to the sacredness and divine narratives that saturate every facet of my life…

… if I am only awake enough to see it."

-  Tony Kriz. Blog

Something Devilishly Interesting In Every Woman

"Ah, you boys! You children, little sucking-pigs, to my thinking… I never thought a woman ugly in my life- that’s been my rule! Can you understand that? How could you understand it? You’ve milk in your veins, not blood. You’re not out of your shells yet. My rule has been that you can always find something devilishly interesting in every woman that you wouldn’t find in any other. "

- Fyodor Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

I'm Begging You To Stop Carrying My Bag

You can show that you have rights and deserve respectable treatment easily enough without fighting to insit on it. You can resist or refuse and suffer arrest. 

By going the second mile you are putting the soldier in the place of being accused of oversteping his authoriry. 

He is humbled and humiliated and now you are in a position of equality, or more -  the law may now permit you to punish him. 

Even I have human right too. See we are both equal humans. You could be charged for resisiting to carry thr bag, to prove human dignity. The better is not resist and show the truth of it in a non violent and messy way. 

"Going the second mile was a response to Roman military rules. A soldier could demand that a member of the local populace carry the soldiers heavy pack. But the Romans were relatively enlightened occupiers. To prevent undo hardship on any one person impressed into service, the rule banned the soldier from coercing more than one mile out of any commoner. In that context, Jesus suggested that when commandeered to carry a pack, the commoner should carry it a second mile. Once into that second mile, the commoner has put the soldier into the awkward position of breaking his own regulations and eventually may bring him to beg the commoner not to carry the pack. All three of these commands (turn cheek, give undergatement alao) from Jesus or suggestions by which a person in the disadvantage position could turn the tables and gain the upper hand against a supposed social Superior, yet without using violence."
- J. Denny Weaver. Becoming Anabaptist 

You Are Causing My Nakedness

Expose injustice. You don't  have to get violent and refuse to give up your coat and suffer arrest. There are nonviolent  ways to expose  injustice. 

Jesus' form of non-resistance does nit mean you have to be a doormat.

Your repressive sytem and excessive tarrifs and demands are causing my nakedness. You want the very cloths off my back. Take them all, tale my undergarment too so that people can see how much of a strangle hold you have on me. You take my coat everyday, truth is you are taking all I have anyway. So give him the undergarment as well. Walk naked so people will know you are naked becuuse of your dealings qith this man.

It will bring shame on him. 

"The cloak-and-coat comes from debtors court, in a situation where wealthy landowners held unjust, usurious liens against poor tenant farmers, who were perpetually in debt. The poor debtor had only the coat on his back to give as security for his loan. He must appear in court each day the debt is not paid and surrender the coat for security, but he may retrieve it again in the evening to ward off the cold or in the night. In that Culture, the shame of nakedness fell not on the naked man, but on the one who caused the nakedness. Jesus's counsel was that the next time the debtor went to court, he should strip off his undergarment along with the coat that he surrendered for security, and walk around naked all day to give witness to the unjust system that caused his nakedness."
- J. Denny Weaver. Becoming Anabaptist 

Turn The Left Cheek Means Treat Me As Equal.

Jesus's injunction to not resist an evildooer... means to not resist VIOLENTLY. There are other effective ways to resist and get your nessage across than violent ones. 

Jesus's teaching of non retaliation are not saying we should put up with inhuman and unjusy treatment. There is a way to resist  that exposes evil and injustice in the one perpetuating it. You can be nonviolent, and perfectly expose agression on their  part and expose their view of their Supperiority over you. 

Now treat me as an equal.  

Non-resistance does not mean you permit others to use you as a doormat. There are ways to demand human respec without retaliation. 

"To hit the right cheek, as specified in Matthew 5:39, and aggressor has to use a backhand. In the mores of that time, the left hand was considered unclean and would not be used in public. The right-handed, backhanded slap was an insult directed at a supposed inferior....  retaliation by the one being struck would give legal justification for punishment. Jesus suggested that instead of retaliating, the one struck should turn the other cheek. Turning the left cheek was not only a refusal to cower under the insult; it also denied the power to insult. It left the aggressor with a target that could not be reached by another backhand; the turned left cheek can be hit only by the closed right fist. But striking the inferior with a closed fist makes him or her the equal of the aggressor, which denies the point of the insult. "In that world of honor and shaming (the aggressor) has been rendered impotent to instill shame in a subordinate." Following Jesus's injunction not to retaliate in kind would thus lead to the socially inferior person gaining the upper hand."
- J. Denny Weaver. Becoming Anabaptist 

Friday, November 16, 2018

No Tangible Experiences of God

"... I compared the Camino to a Prayer Labyrinth and the Santiago Cathedral as the center of the Labyrinth. The journey to the center is a process of dying, of letting go, of repenting, of releasing lost dreams, of laying down past rejections, failures and hurts. Sitting here in a cafe in Santiago, that sentiment feels more true now then when I wrote it, closer to the beginning of the Way.

So many of my friends (and maybe me too) are losing the ability to trust God. They are losing faith because God doesn’t show up. God is not fulfilling the promises of so many pastors and worship songs.

I have to keep reminding myself that Mother Teresa struggled to believe and said that God had never spoken to her. I need to remember that the vast majority of Bible characters did not get their hopes fulfilled or have tangible spiritual experiences.

I am in good company.

Instead of God living up to my expectations, I am going to meditate these next days on what it might look like to lean into God’s expectations.

- Tony Kriz (Blog May 29, 2018)

A Pilgrims Prayer

God, Guard these your children who, for love of your Name, make a pilgrimage. 
Be their companion on the way, 
their guide at the crossroads, 
their strength in weariness, 
their defense in dangers, 
their shelter on the path, 
their shade in the heat, 
their light in the darkness, 
their comfort in discouragement, 
and the firmness of their intentions; that through your guidance, they may arrive safely at the end of their journey.
- Pilgrims Prayer

God Didn't Trust Me

"God didn't trust me with with complicated theological systems."

-Tony Kriz. Aloof

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Moral Back Alleys

"But I always liked side-paths, little dark back-alleys behind the main road- there one finds adventures and surprises, and precious metal in the dirt. I am speaking figuratively, brother. In the town I was in, there were no such back-alleys in the literal sense, but morally there were."

- Fyodor Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov 

Much Suffering In Life

"Mitya broke into sobs and seized Alyosha’s hand. “My dear, my dear, in degradation, in degradation now, too. There’s a terrible amount of suffering for man on earth, a terrible lot of trouble."

- Fyodor Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wiggling Dream

"Anyone moving out of their passport country has a dream."

- William Jackson. Grieving An Unfulfilled Dream. Aug 23, 2018

History With The Oppositions Eyes

Anabaptism lived under the shadow of Münster for a long time. In the public mind throughout Europe, Anabaptism became virtually synonymous with Münster. In spite of the peaceful and passive stance that came to be the norm for Anabaptism, religious and political authorities feared and assumed that Anabaptism's is rejection of the established ecclesiastical authority would inevitably lead to another Münster. Repression of Anabaptists was the result.. Historiography has reflected the presumed identity of Münster and Anabaptism. In a virtually unbroken line of writings from Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger to Karl Hall in the 20th century, it was assumed that early Anabaptism began with the revolutionary Thomas Münster and reached its logical conclusion in Münster. I American historiography, not till the twentieth century did scholars such as John Horsch, Harold S. Bender, and Cornelius Krahn successfully challenge that interpretation of Anabaptist origins."

- J. Denny Weaver. Becoming Anabaptist: The Origin and Significance of Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism 

Pulling Out The Chair From Under Your Mind?

Pulling out the chair 
Beneath your mind 
And watching you fall upon God - 
There is nothing else for Hafiz to do 
That is any fun in this world."

- Shams-ud-din Mohammed Hafiz. Muslim Mystic (1320-1389)

An Empty Left & Right

"If we are not tasting the fullness of the now we will play the game of power to fill the emptiness. If we're playing the domination game, we can be as trapped on the left as on the right. Our greatest disillusionment with so much of even contemporary Progressive thinking is that it is still playing the power game."

- Richard Rohr. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. 

Brandy Wounds And Fire Tested Faith

(Jacob) Hutter set about developing or restoring an Anabaptist network. However, he was arrested in Klausen.....

.... he was taken bound and gagged, to Innsbruck and placed in the Kräuterturm. His torture included flogging; immersion in ice water until nearly frozen followed by thawing in a hot room before being beaten; cutting, with the wounds filled with Brandy and then burn. The outcome of his trial was a foregone conclusion. His death was by public burning in the Market Square of Innsbruck... Hutter remain defiant to the end, challenging his tormentors to test their faith with him in the fire....

Katherine, Hunter's wife, was arrested with him but escaped from prison.... She learned about anabaptism while working as a maid in a household that associated with Anabaptists.  In this way she met and was baptized by Hunter.... She was likely in her early twenties, and the significantly younger than her husband when they married. After escaping in 1536, she remained in Tyrol and was arrested two years later in Schöneck. This time she was executed. In six years as an Anabaptist, she was imprisoned four times. "

- J.Denny Weaver. Becoming Anabaptist: The Origin and Significance of Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Convinced You See Perfectly

"The ego must remain unseen and disguised to be effective in protecting itself. Evil always depends on denial and disguise, it seems. The ego as such is not evil, but it can lead us to do evil without realizing it. .... To succeed, evil somehow has to look like virtue. It leaves you blind to your own illusions and convinced that you see perfectly."

- Richard Rohr. The Naked Now