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Jesus Did Not Have A Laptop Part II

Why does it matter that Jesus did not have a laptop? Simply because it strikes at the heart of the ongoing struggle between religious traditions and the realities of evolution. If Jesus showed up today and used a laptop, the clergy within the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) would likely condemn his (Jesus) activities. When the CDF confines it's pronouncements to an interpretation made through a myopic lens from the desk at the Vatican, there is going to be conflict with the actual practice of the faith. What is needed today is adaptation not contraction. Adaptation does not infer a relinquishment of those traditions which mark the Roman Catholic expression of Christianity but instead represents a spiritual intelligence necessary for leading human beings. Contraction is a sure sign of smallness for Love is able to embrace and expand. When the institution evidences protectionism in its attacks against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United...

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The True Price of Ignorance

The self-serving video released by the Taliban showed the hideous and brutal shooting of an Afghan woman revealing the true price of ignorance.  A great many of the Taliban are simply a woefully ignorant band of fighters who have been able to regurgitate a corrupt form of Islam without considering the need to undergo examination of the relevancy, authenticity, or veracity of their religious practices. In the safety of their isolation their law is above Allah's justice. This was never more evident than in the laughter of the men who cheered the death of a helpless young woman.  Allah honors human life and women.  These men reduced the woman to a thing, a possession, an object of their ego-maniacal world. These are not the actions of men, but instead of thugs. It is not the power of their faith nor their religion that empowers them to such actions.  See it for what it is.  It is the power of guns and brutality that gives them license to commit such acts....

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Jesus Did Not Have A Laptop-Part I

I like tradition.  Tradition roots us as humans in a way that brings a deep sense of identity and belonging.  It should be treasured and valued within religious practice. Religious tradition is a most sensitive domain as it treads on deeply held beliefs and practices about God, worship, and what is means to belong to a religion.  Religious traditions powerfully inform families and cultures. That being said, the Roman Catholic Church has had a busy first quarter of 2012 under the auspices of protecting the traditions and "full teaching" of the Church.  The actions taken through the official arm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) directed at religious groups in the United States and individuals  in Ireland have been heavy-handed, counterproductive, and even repugnant.  The language used to convey a sense of religious authority from the CDF has been denigrating to the institution of the Church.  To be matter of fact, the recent edicts...

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What Can We Learn?

The election that resulted in the historic win for Aung San Suu Kyi, marks a significant shift in the political future for Myanmar.  Also known as Burma, this country has signaled a willingness to embrace a democratic reform at such a pace that can only be called breathtaking. Suu Kyi herself is witness to the hyper-change after year of house arrest between the years of 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010.  This stunning turn-around is a result of many factors, but is certainly a case study for those in the West. What can we learn?  First it is important not to demagogue governments that differ from the democratic representative system that the west supports.  The junta led government in Myanmar was repressive and totalitarian; however, the U.S. made the effort to solicit diplomatic communications with the leaders. Second, as Myanmar moved toward China, the U.S. did not overreact.  This is a critical lesson.  Myanmar's...

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The Exceptionalism of America?

Is America an exceptional nation? This past week I participated in a public forum on the topic of American Exceptionalism.  As one of the presenters, I included a global perspective of the United States in the Twenty-First Century.  The realities of globalization and the shifting economic power to the BRIC nations have resulted in changes to the narrative of America as a superpower and an exceptional nation. Is this a bad thing for the perception of America to change?  Do Americans lose their identity if America is no longer viewed as a superpower, but instead as a powerful, but imperfect nation-state? These questions are important for the national dialogue to ponder at this juncture in history.  It is unquestionable that America's role in world affairs is undergoing tremendous change.  Perhaps this forebodes a better positioned America.  But some would say such talk is unpatriotic as well as signals to the international community that America is...

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Africa after the 2008 Global Recession

Much of the development throughout the African continent for the past several decades was fostered through the presence of NGO's and foreign aid.  The 2008 Global Recession resulted in dramatic cuts in the aid from richer states.  As developed states were focused on domestic economic recovery aid dropped precipitously. Today, four years later there has been a dramatic shift as the business leaders.  Africa is in the midst of a potential economic resurgence, fueled by Africans.  There is an increasing will to see Africa compete in the globalized economic game.  Africans are looking to steer their own course as a viable economic competitor in the globalized world. Africa has the challenge of undemocratic governments, corrupt leaders, and resource imbalances.  But there are signs of change.  In support of these changes, NGO's and the distribution of foreign aid must adjust to the growing will of self-determination.  But a further challenge will...

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Afghanistan good'nuf

There has been a phrase in use in Afghanistan for several years now.  This phrase captures the stated objectives for the overall mission.  This phrase represents the real objective, over and against the publicly stated objectives.  The phrase is "Afghanistan good enough".  The goal is to stabilize Afghanistan "good enough" for withdrawal of ISAF forces as well as secure the lines of support for the Afghan army. That has been plan; at least until the three recent incidences have ignited new violence in the region.  The first was in January 2012.  A You Tube video was posted revealing several U.S. Marines urinating on the dead Taliban fighters.  The second was in February 2012 as a result of the Qur'an burnings along with other refuse.  And the third just occurred this past weekend, March 11, 2012 when a U.S. soldier inexplicably  killed Afghan civilians while they were sleeping.  Men, women, and children were slaughtered in their...

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Yankin' Your Chain

Please, everyone stop with the game set in place by Rush Limbaugh.  As an old friend of mine used to say, "He's yankin' your chain".  But it is more than that, Limbaugh is manipulating; and doing a fine job at that. Limbaugh need not be given the platform to "dominate" a national discussion.  This is out and out manipulation.   He used vulgar, crude, outlandish language.  He used such language when speaking about a young women who testified in Congressional hearing.  And he created a national conversation unworthy of all Americans. Whereas "Yankin' Your Chain" customarily infers having some fun or joking around, what Limbaugh is doing is beyond having fun.  And by the reaction, people are lured in to the game.  Just like a predator targets children, Limbaugh targets his prey and then watches the game begin.  He watches people line up on a particular side of the bait he has thrown out.  He watches as the dogs bite one another....

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Try Walking The Other Way

Typically my blog posts focus on domestic and international affairs.  But another feature of what is offered through Out of the Box International is Coaching Services.  Recently I took on a new client and needed some time to reflect about her specific purpose for hiring me. My best place for planning, thinking, ruminating, reflecting is while walking on a nearby trail.  And on this particular day I decided to walk the trail in reverse.  I just needed a change. I have walked this trail hundreds of times yet as I rounded a corner, the scenery looked unfamiliar.  Every thing was different from this vantage point.  I was surprised that the trail felt new in places and I marveled at how much I hadn't known from the reverse direction. ...new vistas, new vegetation, new landmarks were popping up all along the trail.  It was a new experience simply because I walked the other way.   It was an enjoyable surprise. It also came to my awareness that...

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Enemies or Competitors?

During the Chinese Vice-President's visit to the United States the bi-lateral relationship did not appear to be fractured or at risk of flaring in to open conflict.  In fact, it did appear that Vice-President Xi had established a warm and genuine relationship with his counterpart, Vice-President Biden. Quite a contrast to see the Chinese VP laughing with the U.S. VP, but it was a good sight to be sure.  Now, anyone who finds the company of Joe Biden to his liking can't be all bad.  Biden is known to be warm, candid, affable, and a bit, well, free-spirited with the way he expresses himself. Here is a taste of "Biden speak" during Xi's visit, "This is a guy who wants to feel it and taste it, [the American political system] and he's prepared to show another side of Chinese leadership," said Biden. "He is intensely interested in understanding why we think the way we do, what our positions are, and the need to actually broaden this kind of understanding." (Reuters,...

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