Ted Cruz’s Nasty Game

But Cruz had made his point and done his damage, providing the latest (and most vivid) illustration of how little control Trump has been able to exert over his own coronation, how much rancor he has failed to exorcise, how few bridges he has succeeded in repairing, how far short he has fallen in making these four days in Cleveland as dazzling and exciting as he’d long promised they would be.

.. Cruz took that balloon and stomped on it, smiling all the while and turning a dull affair into a freak show. At the conclusion of his remarks, his wife, Heidi, had to be escorted from the convention floor by security officers as some delegates screamed at her.

.. He talked of himself, of America and of Election Day, saying: “We deserve leaders who stand for principle, unite us all behind shared values, cast aside anger for love.”

He clearly wasn’t evoking Trump, and he seemed not to realize that he was listing virtues that he was ignoring at the very moment, with those very words.

The Building Blocks of Learning

Sixteen hundred years ago, Augustine argued that the essence of a good life is choosing the right things to love and loving them well.

But over the past several centuries our models of human behavior have amputated love. Hobbes and other philosophers argued that society is a machine driven by selfishness. Enlightenment philosophers emphasized reason over emotion. Contemporary social science was built on the idea that we’re self-interested, calculating creatures.

This philosophical shift has caused unimaginable harm, especially in the sphere of education.

.. Basically what’s happened over the past generation is that we’ve put enormous effort into improving the academic piece of schooling, but progress has been nil because the students’ emotional foundation has been collapsing under our feet.

.. while some teachers are good at raising their students’ test scores, other teachers are really good at improving their students’ school engagement. Teachers in the first group are amply rewarded these days, but teachers who motivate their students to show up every day and throw themselves into school life may not even realize how good they are, because emotional engagement is not something we measure and stress.

Richard Rohr: Drawn from Within

Our carrot-on-the-stick approach to religion is revealed by the fact that one is never quite pure enough, holy enough, or loyal enough for the presiding group. Obedience is normally a higher virtue than love. This process of “sin management” has kept us clergy in business.

.. The good news of an incarnational religion, a Spirit-based morality, is that you are not motivated by any outside reward or punishment but actually by participating in the Mystery itself. Carrots are neither needed nor helpful.

.. Henceforth, you do things because they are true, not because you have to or you are afraid of punishment. Now you are not so much driven from without (the false self method) but you are drawn from within (the True Self method). The generating motor is inside you now instead of a lure or a threat from outside.

God’s Love: Grace

God does not choose to love the Israelites, anybody else, or us today because we are good. God loves us from a completely free, deliberate, and arbitrary choice. This recognition is the engine that drives the entire divine drama. Without it, we have nothing but sterile requirements and rituals. From the very beginning, receiving God’s love has never been a “worthiness contest.” This is very hard for almost everyone to accept.

How can we experience true transformation?

Give people a common enemy, and you will give them a common identity.  Deprive them of an enemy and you will deprive them of the crutch by which they know who they are.

-James Alison

When we realize that everything belongs, when we discover who we truly are as God’s beloveds, there is no longer any reason to scapegoat or exclude anyone.  Rather than directly fight evil and untruth, we must bring it into the Light of Love.

I do believe that we come from God and are returning to God, but we need a softening of the heart in order to see again and find our way home.  I know of no way for hearts to be softened other than by a combination of love and suffering.

-Ruth Patterson

God’s Unconditional Love

The word that is translated as “steadfast love” is often rendered “covenant love” or “faithful love.” Today we often call it unconditional love. It’s “one-sided love,” if you will, because Israel never keeps its side of the covenant, just as we never keep our side of the relationship to this day. Yahweh has learned to do it all from God’s side since we are basically unreliable as lovers.