Richard Rohr Meditation: Service Instead of Domination

 Both the Christian religion and American psyche need deep cleansing and healing from our many unhealed wounds. Only a contemplative mind can hold our fear, confusion, vulnerability, and anger and guide us toward love.

Contemplative Christians can model a way of building a collaborative, compassionate politics. I suggest we start by reclaiming the wisdom of Trinity, a circle dance of mutuality and communion. Humans—especially the powerful, the wealthy, and supporters of the patriarchal system—are more comfortable with a divine monarch at the top of pyramidal reality. So Christians made Jesus into a distant, imperial God rather than a living member of divine-human relationship.

.. Isaiah tried to teach such servanthood to Israel in the classic four “servant songs.” [1] But Hebrew history preceded what Christianity repeated: both traditions preferred kings, wars, and empires instead of suffering servanthood or leveling love.

.. We believe our elected officials are called to public service, not public tyranny, so we must protect the limits, checks, and balances of democracy and encourage humility and civility on the part of elected officials. . . .

We reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. . . . Disrespect for the rule of law, not recognizing the equal importance of our three branches of government, and replacing civility with dehumanizing hostility toward opponents are of great concern to us. Neglecting the ethic of public service and accountability, in favor of personal recognition and gain often characterized by offensive arrogance, are not just political issues for us. They raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority. [2]

.. We already have all the power (dynamis) we need both within us and between us—in fact, Jesus assures us that we are already “clothed” in it “from on high” (see Luke 24:49)!

Richard Rohr: The Politics of Connectedness

a shift of emphasis away from means towards ends; away from economic growth towards human development; away from quantitative towards qualitative values and goals; away from the impersonal and organisational towards the personal and interpersonal; and away from the earning and spending of money towards the meeting of real human needs and aspirations.

Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

I was invited in April to give a paid book talk here in Lancaster, and I was so blown away by the societal innovation the town’s leaders had employed to rebuild their once-struggling city and county that I decided to return with my reporter’s notebook and interview them.

.. Greater Lancaster is a microcosm of America. The city has a population of 60,000, about 40 percent of whom are white, 40 percent Latino — mostly Puerto Ricans whose parents came decades ago to process chickens.

.. Unwilling to let their hometown die a slow death, and fed up with weak municipal politicians, Mann and other civic leaders “got together in my living room” to become catalysts for change. “Our first insight was that leadership matters” — and if it wasn’t going to come from the politicians, then it would come from them — and it would be devoid of party politics.

.. “We found that people who were responsible for key parts of the city, business and government had never met each other,” said Mann. “They were all in their own silos, and we — Hourglass — were neutral, so we could get them together.”

.. When a leader from York told him: “Ray, you know, we take care of our own. We’re doing things our way,” D’Agostino responded, “Maybe that’s part of the problem.”

.. locate the stadium in the city’s northwest corridor in 2005. Recalled Mann: “I went to opening night and sat next to people from suburbia and they said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m in Lancaster.’”

.. Hourglass, and other groups provided the funds so public officials and the private sector could learn from the best experts in the world on how to lift their city and businesses. These included bringing in the mayor of Charleston, S.C., Joseph Riley, to explain how to build a thriving downtown; Edward Deming to teach quality improvement strategies; and an urban development expert from Brookings, Christopher Leinberger, to help create a long-term growth vision for the city and county. They’ve even looked to Denmark for insights.

..  found the hunger for best practices profound. “There is an awareness that all good ideas don’t start here,”

.. Gray, with the help of Leinberger, started by drawing up a long-term revitalization plan, which he carried around on a small note card every day to make sure every decision aligned with it.

..Gray told me he once remarked to F&M’s president, “You want to make Lancaster a place where students want to come and I want to make it a place where graduates want to stay.”

.. he forged a quiet partnership with Lloyd Smucker, a Republican who was then a state senator, to establish a community reinvestment zone that created the income stream to pay off the bonds needed to fund the convention center. “That was because Smucker and I could work together,” said Gray. “You get an awful lot done if you don’t worry who gets credit.”

.. Part of Gray’s strategic plan was also to bring public art into the city. “Art makes people feel better about themselves and their communities,” he told me, “so we made a huge push for public art

.. The unemployment rate in Lancaster County is 3.3 percent while in the city it’s over 10 percent. And while some 30 percent of the city lives below the poverty line, it reaches 50 percent in some of the poorest neighborhoods.

 

 

Jimmy Fallon tried to stay out of politics. But Trump sucked him in.

Jimmy Fallon has never been a fan of talking about politics.

“It’s just not what I do,” Fallon said in an interview last October, when asked about the pressure to be in the “anti-Trump lane” like so many of his fellow late-night TV hosts. “I don’t really even care that much about politics. I love pop culture more than I love politics.”

.. “Even though ‘The Tonight Show’ isn’t a political show, it’s my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being,” said Fallon, who added that he watched the news coverage of Charlottesville and was “sick to my stomach.”

.. But he has largely declined to address Trump, aside from monologue jokes — and now, it doesn’t even matter. Because Trump has ensnared him anyway.

.. This can’t be the ideal scenario for Fallon: Even before he took over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno in February 2014, he emphasized that he would stay away from politics. “Mr. Fallon acknowledged that his ‘Tonight’ will not be a place to go — at least initially — for hard-hitting interviews with politicians or celebrities dealing with some unpleasantness,” the New York Times wrote in a profile. “If that means taking criticism for soft interviews, Mr. Fallon said, so be it.”

“The political stuff? Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, they have it. And Stephen Colbert, who is an animal. He’s amazing,” Fallon said at the time. “Those guys are good at it. I don’t want to mess with that.”

.. “I tossed and turned for a couple of weeks, but I have to make people laugh. People that voted for Trump watch my show as well.”