Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day!

The reason there is a Memorial Day is easily forgotten.  There are Memorial Day sales, it is the beginning of summer, it’s a long weekend and we don’t have to work Monday, of all this we are aware.

But I wonder how many of us remember that originally it was called Decoration Day.  In 1868 the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Civil War veterans, designated the last Monday in May as a day to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.  By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate traditions merged and the day was extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

In the past, military service affected a majority of American families.  Certainly that was true in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and both World Wars.  Not true any more.  These days only a small percentage of us are directly impacted by military service.  I’m sure that the relatives and friends of those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan have a different relationship with Memorial Day than the rest of us.

And so, for the rest of us I suggest we take a moment and honor those who have died on our behalf.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Not Interested!

What doesn’t interest me today:

Anything having to do with O.J. Simpson.
Horror stories about people suffering as a result of a natural disaster.
Grief stories about people who have lost friends or family in a terrorist attack.
Reports of insider trading.
Political polls.
Anything having to do with Donald Trump.
What Millenials care about.
The relationship between Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Anything having to do with Bernie Sanders and his rabid followers.

Upcoming summer movies.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Evolution Won't Help!

Where we’re at:

Technology is transforming our world faster than evolution can keep up.
Machines are replacing people in jobs faster than new jobs can be created.
Artificial intelligence, still in its infancy, is already superior to humans in many ways.
Our basic institutions, political, economic and social, are being disrupted as humans lag behind technology.
A fair question to ask is: Do homo sapiens have a future?

The short answer is: We will continue to evolve and we do have a future on this planet, but our days of being in charge are numbered.  We won’t be replaced by computers and other still-to-be-developed machines, but we will be overtaken by them.  Like it or not, this is inevitable – transformation trumps evolution.

Speaking of Trump, the same phenomenon is in play.  For white, working class men his candidacy is appealing because it promises to stem the tide of history that is leaving them in its wake.  Their ego/identity is premised on being in charge, and they’re no longer in charge.  Too bad, boys.  You’ve been overtaken.

We can call it a paradigm shift.  For millions of years we have lived in an evolutionary paradigm.  It has done a great job of getting us to now.  Living in a new paradigm is unknown territory.  Struggling against it won’t help.  We should relax and enjoy the ride, wherever it takes us.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Being Grateful!

I make it a practice to be grateful every day.  Here are what others say about being grateful:

The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.
n  Dr. Robert Holden

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before?  What if I knew I would never see it again?”

n  Rachel Carson

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
n  Karl Barth

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
n  Maya Angelou

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.
n  Ralph H. Blum

From experience we know that whenever we are truly awake and alive, we are also truly grateful.
-- Br. David Steindl-Rast

Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
-- G.K. Chesterton

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice.  I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment.  It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.
-- Henri Nouwen