Richard Rohr Meditation: Protecting and Also Bridging Differences

humans need concrete and particular experiences to learn the ways of love. [1] We don’t learn to love through abstract philosophy or theology. That’s why Jesus came to show God in human form, revealing a face we could recognize and relate to.

..  it must begin with somehow seeing the divine (ultimate value) in the other. If we really see someone in their fullness, we cannot help but treat them with kindness and compassion.

.. The problem is that the ego likes to assign lesser and greater value based on differences. Until all people everywhere are treated with dignity and respect, we must continue calling attention to imbalances of privilege and power. Arbitrary, artificial hierarchies and discrimination are based on a variety of differences: for example,

  • gender,
  • sexuality,
  • class,
  • skin color,
  • education,
  • physical or mental ability,
  • attractiveness,
  • accent,
  • language,
  • religion,

and so on.

.. “Intersectionality” is a rather new concept for most of us to help explain how these attributes overlap. You can be privileged in some areas and not in others. A poor white man has more opportunities for advancement than a poor black man. [2] A transgender woman of color has an even higher risk of being assaulted than a white heterosexual woman. [3] Someone without a disability has an easier time finding a job than an equally qualified candidate who has a disability.

.. “admitting one’s privilege can be very difficult,” especially for those who consider themselves tolerant and prefer to not use labels, “calling themselves color-blind, for instance.”

.. When we finally recognize our unearned benefits—at the expense of others—we may feel ashamed and that may lead us to make excuses for ourselves or overly identify with a less privileged aspect of our identity (for example as Jewish or female).

.. We must work to dismantle systems of oppression while at the same time honoring our differences and celebrating our oneness!

This takes a great deal of spiritual maturity. Unity, in fact, is the reconciliation of differences, not the denial of them. 

Our differences must first be maintained—and then overcome by the power of love (exactly as in the three persons of the Trinity). We must distinguish and separate things before we can spiritually unite them, usually at cost to ourselves, especially if we are privileged (see Ephesians 2:14-16).

God is a mystery of relationship, and the truest relationship is love. Infinite Love preserves unique truths, protecting boundaries while simultaneously bridging them.

Donald Trump’s Cabinet Picks Disagree With President-Elect on Some Key Issues

The president-elect’s pick for budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.), has opposed raising the debt ceiling, but Mr. Trump has proposed steep tax cuts and large increases in defense and infrastructure spending that many economists believe will cause the deficit to grow.

Several of his cabinet selections backed a trade deal negotiated by President Barack Obama with Asian nations, which Mr. Trump opposed and has vowed to abandon.

 ..Thomas Barrack, a longtime Trump friend and chairman of the inaugural committee, said the president-elect manages with an “open door” policy, where aides debate the merits of proposals while Mr. Trump “curates” the information and makes a final decision.
..Monitoring one potentially rogue agency could be challenging for any new administration, and Mr. Trump may need to keep an eye on several of them to ensure they promote policies in line with his promises and not the preferences of his appointees.
.. “This is a great, unanswered question,” said David Axelrod, who was a top adviser to Mr. Obama. “It seems that Trump does not come to this with a well-developed philosophy so much as a well-conceived marketing strategy. Now there will be a behind-the-scenes battle to fill in the void that will mirror the battle between factions of the Republican Party.
.. Wilbur Ross, his selection for commerce secretary; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who’s been tapped to become ambassador to China; and his selection for defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, have all spoken favorably of the Obama administration’s proposed trade deal with Asian countries,
.. His pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has called a federal policy that forces increased use of ethanol and other biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply “unworkable” and backed a 2013 lawsuit challenging the measure.
.. But, before the first caucuses during his early Republican primary fights, Mr. Trump told Iowans supporting the ethanol mandate he was “with you 100%.” isn’t out of the ordinary for presidents to appoint cabinet members with differing viewpoints.What is unusual about the incoming Trump administration, he said, is that his core White House leadership team doesn’t have the administrative background that’s useful in managing policy differences.

“The key here is not the fact that these are smart, successful people who view the world differently,” Mr. Naftali said. “That’s not new. It’s the fact that the center of the operation has absolutely no experience managing policy differences.”

An additional concern, he said, is that Mr. Trump may permit people to approach him through back channels that disrupt an “orderly policy process.”