Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mother Teresa has doubts

Fine op-ed piece in Times ... A Saint's Dark Night by JAMES MARTIN ... about MT's "dark night of the soul." I wrote following to the Times:

The op-ed piece about Mother Teresa by James Martin is terrific. Great Christians, when free from the pressure of the church to "always put on a happy face," write of their own darkness. The obsession of Christianity to "conquer all ills" combined with American fixation on happiness generates huge amounts of uneasiness and anxiety, creating an ever-greater self-obsession. On the other hand, real darkness, wilderness-darkness, is an essential part of a living faith. The only faith that never doubts is a dead, calcified, faith. Living faith courts doubt. The witness of Mother Teresa isn't about an all-conquering happiness, but a faith-full life devoted to good, in spite of the darkness - a decision we all can make, each in our own way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Christian Jihad?

Reading NYTimes Mag (8.19.07) article on politics and religion – how the West has moved in very different directions than Middle East – we’ve separated religion and politics; but other parts of the world see them as one and the same, as the West once did in Middle Ages. Yet even in the west, after WW 1, “messianism” arose with a vengeance in Nazism and Communism. Even in America, there are Christian fundamentalists – Dominionists, Reconstructionists, Theo-cons – who dream of transforming our democracy into a theocracy and destroying the wall between church and state. They’re busy rewriting American history, seeking control of local school boards, the military and government, trumpeting fear at every turn, preaching well-regulated conformity to their own and ill-will to everyone who disagrees. As far as I’m concerned, they represent a real and present danger to the well-being of the Republic – not some enemy across the sea, not even some terrorist group flying a plane into a building, but Christian fundamentalists who despise diversity, hate freedom of choice and love their own brand of jihad against an unbelieving world.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Something more ...

Been reading a variety of reports, opinions, on our necessary stay in Iraq with comparisons to our withdrawal (we got booted out) from Vietnam ... that Iraq is more central to world stability and our national interests than Vietnam - call it oil!

But I wonder ... having greatly destabilized an already destabilized region (read: how the Western nations carved it up after the end of the Ottoman Empire), our withdrawal now from Iraq, precipitous or otherwise, would bring about a bloody re-balancing, no doubt. But a re-balancing none the less, and if Iran turns out to be the kingpin, let’s assume for a moment that diplomacy and Iranian desires for recognition and a place in the sun would create a pathway for peace, in spite of the lingering thorn-in-the-flesh of the Palestinian question.

Worst-case scenarios are the road-kill delight of hawks, neo-cons hoping for world domination, theo-cons hoping to provoke Armageddon, and other such folk who love the smell of napalm in the morning.

But I wonder …

There’s a definition of insanity … keep doing the same old things and expect different results.

With the old Soviet Union, the West won the Cold War by diplomacy, containment and third-world development. Therein are clues to a needed strategy for dealing with the Middle East, Iran, and whatever or whoever comes along.

Peace is best served by distance, letting the nations of the Middle East sort it out, trusting the powers of diplomacy, and being smart enough to contain but not to conquer.

Like Anyone Else ...

Like anyone else, who doesn't want a place to be heard ... just hope I have something to say. More later ...