Freedom of expression is the chili hot topic of the day. We all have opinions but I’ve noticed lately in todays media frenzy how often we only hear part of the story. We’re bombarded with a version of the truth that might be accurate but fails to represent the full picture. When you leave out or ignore opposing views (especially the controversial ones), the story is incomplete, a dressed up version of the truth that moves so fast I feel hopelessly unable to keep up.
“Whenever I want to say “only” or “always” someone or something proves me wrong. Richard Rohr
There was this particularly jubilant quartet, great voices, gaining on me fast (which is not difficult at my speed). When I turned around I was surprised to find them dressed in black tuxes, with crisp white shirts, black cumber buns, and red bow ties. I remember thinking how in the hell are they able to run (while singing) in such cumbersome costumes, until they passed me up. From behind they were completely naked. I was shocked but that did not distract me from enjoying the toned derrières bouncing down the street.
Now if I only told you about the tuxes, the story would be correct from one point of view, but deplorably off target in terms of the full naked truth.
“We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking – while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations.” Sharon Salzberg
“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” James E. Faust
A few days ago I participated in a back to school retreat with the faculty and staff of Notre Dame High School at the beautiful Mission San Jose. We explored the act of living humanely in a chaotic world. It was the usual stuff with a bit of a twist. We came together with newspapers, water bottles, and sunflower notebooks charged with investigating the full dignity of the human person, the right to participate in society, seeking the common good and well-being of others, especially the poor and the vulnerable. How the economy must serve the people, not the other way around. That our work is more than a way to make a living, it is a form of participating fully in the world, giving us not only purpose, but a sacred obligation to love our neighbors. Sound suspiciously like Catholic Social Teaching? Because it is!
We are one human family, so we’re sort of stuck in this together, and suddenly loving our neighbor has global implications in a shrinking world. Sifting through current events, looking behind the pretty picture, we gently broadened our vision of what it means to be human or humane.
“A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.” Mark 12
A moral position is not a message, says Anne Lamott, but a passionate caring inside you. Everyone deserves a graham cracker, a safe place to live, and the inalienable right to the procurement of joy. I’ve learned the vulnerable are not always the ones who look like they need help, sometimes they come dressed in ways constructed to deceive, and avoiding the raw, stripped down, stark naked view of life doesn’t make it go away.
We all fail at life. There would be no need for love if perfection was possible. That’s where the best lessons can be learned, where reconciliation begans, and the blessed conferral of absolution, “I forgive you, go, and sin no more,” a Jewish guy.
We’re all a little broken. We don’t need more varnish; we need a carpenter. Bob Goff
“I used to think that paired opposites were a given, that love was the opposite of hate, right the opposite of wrong. But now I think we sometimes buy into these concepts because it is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality. I don’t thing anything is the opposite of love. Reality is unforgivingly complex.” Anne Lamott.
I think we are sophisticated enough to realize there are two sides to every damn story. If I’m afraid to follow the truth into the shadows, where the story might be hiding behind a classy tuxedo, I’ll miss the half I’m in search of, the naked truth.
“There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves.” Eugene Kennedy
I’m Living in the Gap, drop on by, we can debate the naked truth.
- Old ways won’t open new doors.
- “Why were you lurking under our window?” “Yes – yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our windows, boy?” “Listening to the news,” said Harry in a resigned voice. His aunt and uncle exchanged looks of outrage.”Listening to the news! Again?””Well, it changes every day, you see,” said Harry.” J.K. Rowling
- “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”John F. Kennedy
- “One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.” Gwendolyn Brooks