Amidst the final days of a surreal summer and in anticipation of the election propaganda about to be unleashed, I offer the following observations for my thoughtful audience to contemplate:
It is easy to caricature and criticize, but difficult to think critically and act wisely.
In the absence of solutions, attack your opponents character and motives. It will veil your superficiality.
The world is changing daily while our educational and governmental enterprises are still stuck in decades-old systems.
The way forward for the global economy is unleashing wealth creation, not taxing the productive. This said, wealth creation without compassion and ethics is one more form of exploitation as dangerous as increased government bureaucracy.
Changing our politicians without moral and spiritual change in the populace at large is simply replacing one ruling elite with another.
St. Peter wanted to build a monument to an ecstatic experience; Jesus invites us to build people with faith, hope and love.
The "new atheists" recycle the old, unsuccessful arguments with better promotional material. The Preacher was right, "There is nothing new under the sun" - including attacks on faith.
When we make the exception the rule, there are no more rules. In the ensuing moral anarchy, the way is paved for dictatorship.
Failure to self-regulate allows others to run our lives.
When a Palestinian leader of repute stands and proclaims Israel's right to exist within reasonable borders, and with real exchange of commerce and diplomats, there is a chance for peace.
Do not ask people of deep faith to promote lifestyles contrary to their convictions. Conversely, the call to faith is an invitation, not a coercive calculation. We are freest when we defend for all others the rights we desire for ourselves.
No one wins with a mosque at the 9/11 site. Bitterness is amplified and religious tradition obscured by political agendas. A place for all to pray and remember is the only way forward.
Every leadership guru advises, "Begin with the end in mind." My challenge to the Left and the Right is simple: what is the 'end" you have in mind for the USA and the world? On the Left, is it some kind of Star Trek-inspired global federation ruled by a politically correct elite? On the Right, are you trying to bring back the good old days that never were?
Solving BIG problems begins with "small" acts of personal courage and kindness. Mother Teresa did not begin with grant money and media campaigns - one child at a time was rescued from the ash-heap.
We can improve our economy and rebuild our infrastructure with private-public partnerships. We need private initiative and profitable ends. We also need oversight for ethical and structural integrity.
If you journey around the globe, you will find a direct connection between the level of political freedom and the historical influence of Judeo-Christian values. Except for some movements in Indonesia and Turkey, no Muslim-dominated state has ever been a pluralistic democracy with complete freedom of conscience, religion and speech. Of course, it took about 1200 years for Christendom to cease its infighting as well.
The either/or fallacy rules too much thinking. Churches divide over musical and sermon styles instead of creating mosaics of the best of the past and future. We need head and heart. It is not freedom or oversight, but liberty with accountability.