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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: ElBaradei's "Age of Deception"

Mohammed ElBaradei
All of us planning to be active in the global effort in 2017 to ban nuclear weapons should set aside time in December to read (or re-read) The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohammed ElBaradei.

ElBaradei's account of his years leading the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) help explain what the nuclear weapon "have-not" countries are up against as they try to get the nuclear weapon "have" states to disarm. (Did you know that nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapons "haves" is the foundation of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)?)

Reading The Age of Deception is particularly important for people who live in the two biggest nuclear weapon "have" countries - the USA and Russia -- as well as those who live in countries that followed the USA and Russia to vote against the nuclear weapons ban negotiations. As I re-read sections of The Age of Deception today, this quotation leapt out at me:

Every statement by one of the nuclear weapon possessor states to "reaffirm" the deterrent value of nuclear weapons, every action to refurbish or modernize a nuclear arsenal, was another sign of a lack of good faith to the nuclear have-nots. (p. 125)

Those words were written in 2011. Clearly, the well of good faith has dried up. The nuclear weapon "have-not" countries throughout the world are moving to compel to the nuclear weapon "have" states to disarm.

The Age of Deception deserves close reading by anyone who wants to understand why a nuclear ban will be negotiated in 2017.

Related posts

It is a stunning lesson in global civics to observe who voted "YES" and who voted "NO" (and also who abstained) on L.41 - "taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations."

(See Who would possibly vote "NO" to banning nuclear weapons???)

Far too many people think that the NPT is about freezing the status quo, and preventing additional states from obtaining nuclear weapons. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. The NPT is based on a quid pro quo: nuclear "have-nots" agree to not acquire nuclear weapons, and nuclear "haves" agree to disarm.

(See A DEAL'S A DEAL! (What part of "nuclear disarmament" doesn't the US understand?) )

How do you formulate a statement that can somehow convince the United States to eliminate its threatening nuclear weapons? How do you formulate the 10th request? Or the 100th? Knowing all the time that the United States is in the position -- will always be in the position -- to say, "No" ?  At what point does it dawn on you that the United States will never give up its nuclear weapons, because it has the power and the rest of the world doesn't?

(See 360 Degree Feedback in New York (2014 NPT Prepcom and How the World Views the United States))

Monday, December 5, 2016

An Educational Alternative to Rivalry

The thinking that will usher in a "world beyond war" must include entirely new approaches to education: a re-thinking of how human society experiences "enough."

Several weeks ago, in one in an ongoing series of posts about "world beyond war thinking," I talked about the need for a overhauling education to become relevant to a time when war is over:

In a world beyond war, it will no longer make sense to spend a lot of time becoming knowledgeable about war.

I went on to talk about a different type of knowledge -- how to "resolve conflict in the absence of war -- particularly [how to provide] value in the form of outcomes that give maximum possible satisfaction to all the parties to a given conflict."

I continue to think that's a good description of what's needed. But/and I believe we need to go even deeper . . . .

What "education" looks like

I started by thinking about how history is taught in our schools. I started down the path of examining the state-mandated history curriculum in California, and to see what peace studies scholars have found about the weighting of curricula.

My mental image of myself, c. 1976
(Green Bay Packer Jerry Kramer leading power sweep.)
At the same time, I struggled to step further back, to ask what paradigms currently shape our education, and what we need to do to embrace a new paradigm.

(As someone who devoted year after year to playing football in high school, I am acutely aware that history class is not the only place we educate young people about social values.)

I thought of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and the idea that if your model of life is banking, you view education as a process of shoveling "wealth" into the heads of students.

I reflected on the writing of (recently deceased) futurist Alvin Toffler, which suggested that once we no longer live in a factory-centered society, we'll need to have schools that look a lot less like factory preparatory schools.

I began to wonder if we don't need to root out an enormous amount of bias in our education system based on the idea that there's not enough to go around, and eventually it's going to come down to a fight . . . .

"Non-rivalrous" goods

I have been intrigued by a concept in economics -- one that I learned about through the study of intellectual property. As the goods and services provide each other come to consist less and less of solid "things" (think: "potatoes") and more and more of "ideas" (think: "a song"), the social consequences of consumption change dramatically. We start to notice that our existence is tending away from competition for scarce resources, and toward abundance.

In economics, this latter category of goods is referred to as "non-rivalrous" -- essentially meaning that my consumption doesn't leave less for you.

And once you wrap your head around the idea of formal rivalry, you begin to notice the much wider scope of practical rivalry. (Example: is the shortage of iPhones or tickets to Hamilton real or constructed? Example: you know how they say that there's really not a shortage of food in the world, but rather a failure to distribute it . . . ?)

"Struck it rich!"
(Prospectors in the Black Hills)
in Harper's Weekly
"A Journal of Civilization"
August 12, 1876
The story of the loaves and fishes and the feeding of the multitude in the New Testament comes to mind. One way of talking about that story is as "a miracle." Another way to think of it is that the desire to share outweighed hunger in a way that eclipsed rivalry. (Perhaps both descriptions are right.)

Another story: the conflict at Standing Rock has led me to go back and study some Native American history. I learned that one phase of the conflict during the 1800s followed the discovery of gold in the Black Hills. The Black Hills were and are sacred to the native people. It made perfect sense to them that something tremendously valuable lay buried in those mountains. The question to them, however, was, "Why wouldn't we all just leave it there, all the more confirmed in our knowledge of the great spiritual potency of those lands?" (Black Hills, including gold therein: non-rivalrous. Mined gold: rivalrous.)

"Leave it in the ground?" Just a short time ago -- in the days when the world was afraid it would run out of oil -- those words made no sense. The rapid realization that the climate crisis will require us to change our energy systems, and in fact our entire approach to consumption and to growth, has also opened the possibility of taking a hard look at our bias for rivalry.

These are just a few initial thoughts. There is room for a greatly expanded exploration of the degree of rivalry in our economics is required, with strong emphasis on the way in which our pre-existing bias for rivalry has conditioned our economic outcomes.

TR and James

Theodore Roosevelt in Africa
(Source: Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt)
I recently read The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898. What I was most struck by was the degree to which people like Theodore Roosevelt were conditioned to believe that conflict was just a necessary component of a healthy mental, emotional, and physical makeup for the individual -- and that the same applied to society overall. War against Spain wasn't directed at any desired outcome; it was just "the thing to do."

The philosopher William James thought about all that he saw and heard during the US rush to war with Spain, and struggled to articulate a different path for the country. In "The Moral Equivalent of War" (1910) he conceded that perhaps people couldn't resist throwing themselves into a "noble" and challenging endeavor; but, he suggested, we could use reason to identify constructive endeavors that benefit all of us.

"The Moral Equivalent of War" is an important document for all of us who are trying to think about a world beyond war.  For one thing, it is sobering to observe how even a great thinker like James could be so enmeshed in the rivalry, competition, conquest, and war thinking of his time that he had trouble stepping outside it. It is also worth noticing that a hundred years ago someone was calling on the peace movement to take ownership of the limitations it imposed on itself through rhetoric and style. Most important, James illustrates the power of offering a fresh choice.

All of this leads me to posit that our challenge as "world beyond war thinkers" will be to work together to come up with mass education that looks entirely new: an "educational alternative to rivalry."

Related posts

There is a growing movement of people focused on the "world beyond war." To many of these people, the question is not "if" but "when?" They share a conviction that the world will get there, and they see that it makes a difference how quickly (and in what manner) the world gets there.

(See WAR: Headed for the junkheap, yes . . . but how quickly?)

Adopting a "world beyond war" frame -- saying "war is going away; the question for me is how fast" -- implies optimism-realism, outcome orientation, and humility.

(See The Mind of the "World Beyond War" Activist)

It seems very hard to imagine having arrived at the world beyond war without the hand-in-hand changes in education, infrastructure investment, and the way society decides on communal action in the face of conflict.

(See Where to Put Effort for a World Beyond War)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

STANDING ROCK: "There's nothing worse than too late"

#NoDAPL encampment at Standing Rock - December 3, 2016

Having answered a call for clergy to go to Standing Rock, my friend Paul Benz, a seminarian at Pacific Lutheran School of Theology (PLTS) here in Berkeley, posted this on Facebook yesterday. With his permission, I share it. (Paul posted the image above after arriving at Standing Rock; I've added additional images that Paul has previously shared on Facebook.)

We left Pacific School of Religion at 10:15 last night after our classmates prayed over us. We reached Reno by 3 am headed for North Dakota. We are responding to the call for clergy to come and support the water protectors at Standing Rock. Why are the Five of us going?

Why am I going?

Standing Rock: "You can't drink oil."
Because water canons are filleting peoples skin in below freezing temperatures with little to no media coverage.

Because Energy Transfer Partners first route for the pipeline was refused by people who had enough money (and white skin) to force them elsewhere and elsewhere happened to be under a lake where people with less money (and brown skin) draw there drinking water with little to no media coverage.

Because if Energy Transfer Partners and the Banks have the money and power to keep us from hearing about this they also have the money and power to put people to work on a new source of energy not a one time construction project that could break and contaminate the Missouri River... the Missouri runs right into the Mississippi River.

Because the Lakota people have a right to have their water source and sacred burial grounds protected and the media isn't saying much.

Because Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and the prophets before him consistently commanded those in power not to oppress the poor of the land and for too long the institutional church has harmed those it was called to lift up.

Because the children may ask me one day "where was I?" What did I do?

Because right defeated is better than wrong unchallenged.

Because the way address evil is not ignoring it.

"Call your bank. Divest from the pipeline."
Because the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remained neutral during times of great moral crisis (Dante's quote).

Because if I receive call myself a follower of Christ who commanded me to love my neighbor and I turn my back on my neighbor when they are being blasted by water canons and tear gas then i am a liar.

Because going is a way I can do something. It's not the only way. Call sheriffs offices and demand they not spend taxpayer dollars sending officers to coral people at the behest of Energy Transfer Partners.

Call Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase and tell them to divest funds from DAPL.

Call the Governor of North Dakota and President Obama.

Because there's nothing worse than too late.

Because Advent is Action and Christ came for Love.

Because it's the right thing to do.

Related posts

As kids across the US turn to making construction paper turkeys and learning the story of The First Thanksgiving, they will inevitably start asking questions.

(See Thanksgiving 2016 and #NoDAPL: 4 Questions)

Every time I've heard an ambulance in the past forty or so years, I've thought, "help is on the way."

(See Christmas: "Help is on the way . . . ")

I believe that once the Church comes out of the closet -- that is, once we start speaking quite openly about the difference between the world as we find it and the world as we believe God wishes it to be -- there is no way this old world will be able to stay the same.

(See Let the Church Out of the Closet )

Saturday, November 26, 2016

IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: Learn from history ( ... or else ... )

Since the election of Donald Trump, people are dusting off their history books to learning about resistance, critical thinking, dissent. protest, and much more . . . .

A friend of mine shared on Facebook today:

"Historian, Holocaust expert and Yale Professor Timothy Snyder posted to FB on Tuesday Nov 22: Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today. . . . "

Earlier this year, I devoted many hours to reading Snyder's books Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning and Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. (See Regime Change! Intervention! "Kick Out the Bad Guys!" Not so fast ....)

Below I've pasted Prof. Snyder's "twenty lessons" ... and added some links to pertinent blog posts of my own.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

 . . . see Hoping Against Hope (Resistance in America)

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

 . . . see Using the Good, Old Criminal Justice System: Worth a Try?

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges. 

 . . . see Easter Victory: The Guantanamo Lawyers

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary. 

 . . . see Greenwald Was Right: "Humanitarian" War in Syria? It's Just More War

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.

 . . . see 9/11 Memory: Grieving and Celebrating Valor, Leaving Vengeance Behind

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps "The Power of the Powerless" by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

 . . . see reflections on 1984

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

  . . . see I am (I will become) Bradley Manning

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

 . . . see Why Weren't People Talking About It?

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

. . . see October 28 in Somalia: Another Day, Another Drone Killing

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

. . . see Never Try to Silence a Tuesdayista

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

. . . see Listening for Community (A Chicago Encounter)

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

. . . see Pentecost, Guantanamo, and the Moment When Talk Becomes Priceless

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

 . . . see got police state?

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

. . . see Independence Day - From SURVEILLANCE

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

 . . . See The Surveillance Issue: The Fulcrum of the 2014 Election?

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

. . . see Obama in Japan: How About a Pivot Toward Peacemaking?

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

 . . . see How Is the US Implicated in Argentina's "Years of Lead"?

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

 . . . see Disarm the CPD

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

 . . .  see Edward J. Snowden: The 365-Day Man

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

 . . . see Dissent: PRICELESS!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

REFLECTION: When people say "the Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem"

The Trump administration has staked out a position against Islam and against Muslims. What does this mean . . . ?

The incoming administration of Donald Trump has placed itself in opposition to Islam, a religion with an estimated 1.7 billion adherents worldwide.

Donald Trump has named retired general Michael Flynn as his national security advisor. Flynn has said Islam poses an "existential threat" to the United States. "Islamist militancy poses an existential threat on a global scale, and the Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem, he said, describing it as a political ideology, not a religion." (See The New York Times, "Michael Flynn, Anti-Islamist Ex-General, Offered Security Post, Trump Aide Says.")

Read those words again: "[T]he Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem."

Now would be a good time for people in the US to learn some facts about Islam, and about its followers (Muslims), and to reflect on the adversarial position the new president has promised to adopt toward it and them.

A reflection

Muslim prayer rug, Turkey, 18th c.
(The arrow points the way)
Islam is fundamentally about submission to God:

Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m which forms a large class of words mostly relating to concepts of wholeness, submission, safeness and peace.[32] In a religious context it means "voluntary submission to God".[33][34] Islām is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, and means "submission" or "surrender". Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the same verb form, and means "one who submits" or "one who surrenders". Believers demonstrate submission to God by serving God, following his commands, and rejecting polytheism. (See Wikipedia: "Islam: Etymology and Meaning")

This reminds me of the words in the Lord's Prayer: "thy will be done," and of Jesus' words on the cross: "yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

I can understand people who say, "You know, putting God's will before your own -- that's really the hardest part of all this. The temptation is to just turn your back on the 'thy will be done' part. But if we're serious about our faith, we actually have to try to ask what God wants, for us and for everyone else, and to begin to see how small our own personal desires are in comparison."

And I can also understand a government that says, "If people start taking their faith in God seriously, their priorities are going to change, and they're certainly going to be a lot less in awe of us!" and "Hey, I'm the boss around here!"

It occurs to me that a lot of people of faith -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- are going to see the posture the US government is adopting, and they are going to say, "Does this government oppose anyone who has devoted themselves to serving God? How about me?"

A lot of people are going to be thinking about those words: "thy will be done."

Related posts

I've got a feeling he's gotten a lot of people to ask themselves, "What is my theology?"

(See It's a Matter of Theology)

We live in a 24/7 entertainment and media culture, and it is a constant struggle to shift from being a passive participant in the dominant cultural narrative to being an active influence on the ideas circulating in our communities.

(See In 2016, Walk the Talk: "Anti-Islamophobia." (You can do it.) )

I wonder if the outrage that many Muslims seem to feel at the suffering of other Muslims doesn't put us Christians to shame.

(See Fighting Back: It's alright as long as you're a Christian, right? )

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Meaning of "Race" in the USA: Class Is In Session ....

In his confirmation hearings for attorney general, Trump-appointee Senator Jeff Sessions will be asked to define the word "race." The nation will be listening . . . .

The USA is about to get a national tutorial on the definition of #race"
(Please share this message on Twitter.)

When Senator Jeff Sessions goes before the Capitol Hill hearing on his confirmation as attorney general in the administration of President Donald Trump, he will be asked about the time he called a  civil-rights lawyer a "disgrace to his race."

What may surprise some people is the amount of time that will be spent exploring the question, "What does the word 'race' mean?"

I will refrain from guessing what is in Senator Sessions' mind, or how the questions will unfold. That will all come out in the hearing.

Instead, I will explain why I think the process will be important for the rest of us.

What comes first?

A significant part of my past several months were devoted to reading and discussing Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, together with others from my church.

I can attest to the fact that the statement from the book that provoked the most discussion was:

"[R]ace is the child of racism, not the father." (p. 7)

. . . and the discussion that proved the most difficult, and required the most time, involved understanding the difference believing that "race" is biological and understanding that it is a social construct.

What I noticed in those discussions was that people were so nervous about acknowledging an obvious physical fact -- skin that is dark brown or light brown or beige or pink or something in-between -- that they had trouble separating in their minds two distinct phenomena:

* the biological ramifications of those skin colors (very few)

* the ways society has acted over and over again -- with reference to those skins colors -- to impact the realities of those in those skins (very many)

One helpful step was to recognize that a social construct -- once it is constructed -- has real consequences. (You're not imagining that people in the US with dark skin have a very different experience than people with light skin.) A social construct, however, has no claims to being natural or right. And it certainly need not persist.

So 19th century . . . 

Louis Agissiz in 1879
It is fascinating to see how many great (and not-so-great) thinkers in the past took a shot at using biology to posit "racial" differences. You can read the role of (dis)honor in the Wikipedia article on "Scientific Racism."

One example that stands out in my mind -- in part because there are several important buildings at Harvard that bear his name -- is Louis Agissiz. Agissez was the very model of a modern 19th century scientist and public intellectual. He led expeditions all over the world, collected lots and lots of specimens, lectured widely, and published thousands of pages worth of scientific writing.

The only problem: on the biological determination of race (his big topic) he was dead wrong.

Freedom of thought

People are allowed to believe what they want to believe. (It's a free country.)

The challenge before the members of the committee evaluating the Sessions nomination, however, will be whether it matters what the attorney general of the United States thinks "race" means.

Here's an exercise: Read the words of any of the many US laws the attorney general is sworn to uphold -- the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, for instance, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The protections afforded by such laws against discrimination based on "race" -- are those protections provided in the face of biological differences? Or in the face of socially-caused differences?

What do you think? Does it matter? Why?

Related posts

The heart of the matter, at least as I understand it, is that race is a social construct, and it's concerned with power. "Whiteness" is a condition of power over and against people who get defined as "not white." "Dying to 'whiteness'," then, will involved giving up power, I think.

(See How Might the White Church "Die to 'Whiteness'"?)

The ELCA's presiding bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, has set an example: own the white privilege we've experienced in our lives. Will Lutherans step up?

(See "Personal Success Story"? "White Privilege"? or Both?)

"We need to first acknowledge the genocidal origins of OUR nation’s history of ethnic cleansing and occupation."

(See Native American Rights: Acknowledge the Occupation)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's a Matter of Theology

Post-Trump-election-victory USA: if ever good theology was needed . . . . Will the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its members bring it?

Detail from poster for the film Bal (Honey) by Semih Kaplanoğlu

I read a blog post yesterday by Lutheran seminarian and vicar Lenny Duncan: "The Road to 270 Was Through the ELCA." It's about the election of Trump, and it makes a very provocative claim:

"[T]he problem isn’t political. It isn’t sociological. It is theological." 

That feels right to me at a gut level. And it has forced me to think. "What is my theology?"

Before last week, I kind of took theology for granted. "We know what we need to know about God," I thought. "We just need to do a better job of getting organized."

But Pastor Lenny's blog post has made me go back to square one.

I'm hoping to get clear on some theology that will make as much sense this week, and next week, and beyond, as it seemed to make before November 8.

I've been turning a lot over in my mind. I'm realizing that I'm carrying around a lot of snippets of scriptural wisdom, but not all of them rise to the level of theology. And I've been taught a lot of theology, but very little of it feels totally reliable at the moment.

The best I've been able to come up with as of today is this:

We've nearly perfected the practice of treating other people as objects;
what might happen if we tried treating each other as children of God?

I know, I know, that's rather tentative. It's what I can manage right now, using what little I am carrying with confidence with me every day, and using words that I hope others can understand. (Perhaps what it lacks in certainty, it makes up for in possibility.)

The good news is that I know I'm not the only person reading what Pastor Lenny writes. I've got a feeling he's gotten a lot of people to ask themselves, "What is my theology?"

I look forward to seeing what others come up with.