Like many of you, I watched the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45thPresident of the United States. And like many of you, there was much I appreciated in the ceremonies and also things that concerned me.
But what really caught my attention were the remarks of New Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. After painting a very grim picture of the state of the nation, Schumer said this:
“Despite these challenges, I stand here today confident in this great country for one reason: you, the American people.”
Senator Schumer’s words echoed Barack Obama’s words at his final press conference as President, “At my core,” he said, “I think we’re going to be OK . . . . I believe in the American people.”
Now when Schumer made his remarks, I joked to the Colson Center board members watching with me, that “William Jennings Bryan just woke up from his grave and said, ‘Amen!’ and Winston Churchill just woke up from his grave screaming, ‘No!’” (more…)
One of the things I enjoy doing is following politics and public discourse. I think it’s important for all of us to stay in the loop on what is happening in the world and in American life. More than that, however, I think it’s important to engage in these things. But it’s an understatement to say that much of what happens in public discourse is less than pretty. Unfortunately, this often includes Christians.
The last several U.S. Presidential elections have revealed the division in our culture. The amount of true discussion and debate over the issues of greatest importance has taken a back seat to well-crafted one-liners delivered at just the right time for maximum rhetorical impact. A lot of time is spent talking past each other instead of listening to each other.
But this goes beyond politics. I have seen an increasing entrenchment in our views and a vilification of people with other views. When this is the case, we are not going to work together. How do we dialogue for the common good and with the goal of solutions? I don’t hear a lot of people talking about that. (more…)
When I first met my husband I was 16 years old. I would have said I fell in love with him immediately. We stood in the darkness of an October night and talked and talked. Two months later we exchanged those words—I love you—also whispered in the dark of night. But it took five more years before we were married, and in that time, that intense emotion that had carried us through the early months became more measured. I still felt giddy when I saw him. I still wanted to spend my life with him. I still counted him as my best friend. But true love, I learned, is slower than that initial emotional and physical connection led me to believe.
Loving our kids was similar. I felt a surge of affection (hormones?) after they were born. I felt fierce protective instincts. I was willing to sacrifice sleep and energy. But building that base of love with them took years. it went slowly. (more…)
“Mindfulness” is a buzzword these days. As a recent article in the Sunday New York Times points out:
. . . mindfulness has come to comprise a dizzying range of meanings for popular audiences. It’s an intimately attentive frame of mind. It’s a relaxed-alert frame of mind. It’s equanimity. It’s a form of the rigorous Buddhist meditation called vipassana(“insight”), or a form of another kind of Buddhist meditation known asanapanasmrti (“awareness of the breath”). It’s M.B.S.R. therapy (mindfulness-based stress reduction). It’s just kind of stopping to smell the roses. And last, it’s a lifestyle trend, a social movement and — as a Time magazine cover had it last year — a revolution.
Many Christians will be skeptical of mindfulness simply due to its Buddhist roots, and yet at first glance, there’s something attractive about it. In the midst of an overworked, consumerist culture or production and competition, couldn’t mindfulness offer us all something true and good? Awareness of the present moment—my own emotions, the states of being of those around me, the possibilities inherent in right now—aren’t those all good? (more…)