People NOT like us: Fighting the demon of differences

With hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees flooding Europe, our response as a nation has at best been tepid. We have 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., but many would rather build walls than talk about how humanely to deal with the small children caught in the political crossfire. This week a 14-year-old geeky student brought a homemade clock to school and was arrested for making a “fake bomb”—four policeman surrounded and handcuffed the confused, slightly built young man. He happened to be Muslim and “looked” the part. Why is it that people not like us bring out our dark side? I believe that fear for our safety seems to trump human dignity. But, should it? Would we put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps if we had it to do all over again?

A VIRTUAL MONASTERY: The Poison of the “Us and Them” Christian subculture

The ascetics of the early church lived in caves, whipped themselves, and made vows of celibacy or silence. Monasteries were founded. Many of these did some amazing work, from copying by hand the scripture to creating beer for the masses to make something useful and drinkable during the unsanitary Middle Ages. The dark side of monastic life is the whole idea of living in a conclave, removed from the world. To be “holy” literally means to be “set apart” for God. So, why not focus on the “ apart” part of it while living for God? Some brilliant things happen when sequestered to study and learn. University time does this. But, when and how do we forge a path in the secular as we grow in the sacred? And, our times these days are filled with technology that allows us a separate life. Do you live in a virtual monastery?