Category Archives: Commentary

Spiritualizing our habits in a material world. . .

We are all creatures of habit–and mostly bad ones that prove detrimental to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, subsequently to society in the aggregate. As infants and youth we form habits based upon observing those within our immediate environment–parents and other adult figureheads, siblings, playmates, etc. In today’s society ad to that TV, video, Facebook, etc. plus innumerable other fictitious and often infamous characters created to entertain us. Many over the age of 55 will readily compare the vast contrast in their upbringing with that of the youth of today. But most fail to take into account the vast contrast in the two societies. Continue reading Spiritualizing our habits in a material world. . .

Our Displaced Neighbors

by Peter Makari,
Team Leader and Area Executive for Middle East and Europe

It has been so sad to watch the destruction Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have wreaked on Houston, coastal Texas, the Gulf coast, and the islands of the Caribbean. They are tragedies of immense proportions which remind us of the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans, the Gulf, and the Caribbean in 2005; and Sandy in New York and New Jersey in 2012. In each case, as the flood waters recede, the extent of the damage is revealed. Even before that, news commentators and politicians begin talking about recovery and reconstruction plans, and a timeline for people to return home. We pray for all those affected. Having relatives that were displaced by Katrina, but who were never able to move home again, I have a personal sense of the impact such disasters have on peoples’ lives for the long term—beyond the immediate event and evacuation. Continue reading Our Displaced Neighbors

Lament not over trials and adversity . . .

Trust was the sole topic of one of the regular weekend programs on National Public Radio (NPR). The subject was analyzed and intellectualized by philosophers, laypersons and professionals of every walk of life. Oddly enough, the conversations were all about trust in (and of) others in every conceivable business, professional and personal setting. Not once did I hear any reference to being trustworthy. Among the primary laws of the New Age is trustworthiness. Continue reading Lament not over trials and adversity . . .

Where is the hope?

by Meighan Pritchard,
Environmental Justice Curriculum Trainer

“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Vaclav Havel

As I write, residents of Texas are beginning the long process of recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Other storms are gaining strength in both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. The summer monsoon season in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh has left over 1,200 people dead; it has also ruined crops and hundreds of thousands of homes and put at least one third of Bangladesh under water.  Continue reading Where is the hope?

The labor of Love . . .

Labor Day weekend throughout the nation this year includes an added dimension with all of the clean-up efforts that must surely remain in progress for months (if not years) to come from Hurricane Harvy’s recent record rainfall in Texas. Its lasting effect on national gas prices, however, may remain for some time. Otherwise for most least affected, we simply count our blessings and continue our holiday celebrations with holiday picnics and celebrations as usual–hopefully accompanied at some point by assistance wherever and however possible to those grossly affected areas in Texas and elsewhere. Continue reading The labor of Love . . .

With hurricane Harvey, a compassion deficit and Trump’s Paris problem

When hurricanes or floods strike, we often witness a remarkable mobilization of compassion through charitable giving and volunteerism. The instinctive response of many affirms the best of humanity, but we should also not miss how such devastating events frequently reveal a compassion deficit when it comes to the government policies and corporate practices that exacerbate the acts of Mother Nature. This was the lesson of not only the failed levees of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago, but also the past floods of Houston, including a flood last year when an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle responded with the title, “How Policy Fills Houston Living Rooms with Water.” Continue reading With hurricane Harvey, a compassion deficit and Trump’s Paris problem