Friday, July 31, 2009

We are a Church most suited to those estranged from their own communities....

An exchange I had over at Rev. Sam Trumbore's post: Pentecostal … Unitarian Universalism? More on this over the weekend....
1. I have sent a link to this posting to the entire board of my congregation, and look forward to continuing the discussion locally, if not here.

But reading back through the comments, I was struck by Bill Baar’s comment, “We are a Church most suited to those estranged from their own communities, and we offer a path back to living a religous life outside of their heritage.”

I have to disagree profoundly. We are a Church most suited to those estranged from their own communities… says to me that UU’s prime audience is for people who are estranged from their own pasts. I’d suggest that our prime audience is people who are already with us. And second, it’s possible to leave the past behind without necessarily being estranged from it. Third, people who are estranged from their own pasts have in common that they are estranged, not a shared past.

Using estrangement as a commonality necessarily rejects the people who are already UUs! Imagine creating a group of people with, say, broken hearts. Once you have explored the broken heart, what do you have left? You cannot build a religion or any other movement on a deficit!

It also really rejects people like me who were raised UUs. If I hear that my religion is “for” people who are rejecting their pasts, then where do I go? My own religion is rejecting me. I don’t think that’s what anyone intends.

Comment by Diggitt — July 20th, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

2. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Points taken Diggit, and sorry for not responding as I don’t get notified…

I think UUism is very much for those who find themselves estranged. Our faith about restoring ourselves, about learning to reconcile Faith with Science; Sharia with Modernity; the great conflicts found in all faith traditions today between religion of peace, and religion of violent judgments.

The Iraqi Hayder Al-Khoei wrote of the great Iraqi Sociologists Ali al-Wardi, http://eyeraki.blogspot.com/2009/07/ali-al-wardi-angry-sheikh.html

Ali al-Wardi, the man who introduced Iraq to sociology, made a lot of enemies by virtue of his academic work. When writing about Iraq’s history, culture and faith he made sure to take off his Shia cap and analyse even the most sensitive Shia doctrine through objective lenses. Naturally, because he himself came from a Shia family, many of those intellectual enemies came from the Shia ranks that saw him as a traitor to their faith. Even today, when I mention his name in front of hawza students or Shia clerics I can see them flinch. It works almost every other time.

UU Churches should not be so much about adopting ourselves to the strangers we see immigrating to America, but about exporting what we do best: taking folks like Ali al-Wardi and offering a Religious life to those straddling their own cultures chasms. That’s what we really do best. We take those who are estranged (even someone like myself raised a religious Liberal turned Marxist) and offer a reconciliation.

I’ll post something on my blog as this is an idea that’s been turning in my mind.

Comment by Bill Baar — July 31st, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mostafa Kiarostami


The name and identity of another supporter of the Freedom Movement, who got killed has been revealed. Mostafa Kiarostami whose only sin was taking part in the first "green" friday prayers, was beaten by baton on head in proximity of the friday prayers location, and a few hours later passed away.
via Revolutionary Road

Death to the Khamene'i on public buses!

via Revolutionary Road. Iran's going to blow. I hope the Administration is ready for Revolution.

Chomsky On The Iran Protests

He gets it. Via RFL/RL
U.S. linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky spoke to RFE/RL's Radio Farda on July 24 about the postelection unrest in Iran. A couple of choice quotes:

"There was an expectation that this election would somehow be different and there would be opportunities for change, which certainly a substantial part of the population wants. And those hopes were dashed. The election results, both the manner in which they were presented and the numbers that came out, really lacked credibility and many people thought they were inaccurate, so they rose in protest. But to predict such protests has never been possible, too many factors are involved. Nobody I know predicted it in this case."

"Putting aside the details of the election, about which we don't know much, the whole structure of the regime is oppressive and authoritarian, and undermines basic civil and other human rights. Protest against it is not only honorable but courageous, because it faces extreme violence."

Murder in Chicago: it's just among friends

Arlene Jones writes The carnage continues while elected officials do little.
As many of you who read this column know, I am not a fan of Mayor Daley. While I was watching Channel 7 News' coverage of the rally that occurred after the murder of Rosalyn Tripp, someone asked the mayor about the effect of Chicago's murder rate on his Olympic 2016 bid. His response: "It has no effect because, first of all, you look at all the victims; they know each other and the offenders..."

Well, ain't that just dandy?
Enough is enough. Chicago needs to be swept clean of politicians like this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Than A Dozen Shot In Chicago Overnight

via CBS: 7 Victims In One Attack; Total Of 14 Hurt Over Four Hours

It's awkard participating in a Peace Making group in Chicago and not talk about our violence.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Najaf v Qom

Anthony Shadid writes Iraq savours balance of state and religion
As Iran simmers over its disputed elections, Shia clerics in Iraq are looking across the border with a sense of satisfaction that they have found a more durable answer to a question that has beset Shia Islam for centuries: what role should religion play in politics?

[***]

The confidence of the clerics in Najaf speaks to the sense that their city has returned to its pre­eminence in Shia scholarship. For decades, its once-unquestioned influence was in danger of being eclipsed by Qom. Today, Najaf seems on the ascent, building on the monolithic authority of Mr Sistani and his colleagues. An economic revival, meanwhile, has begun transforming the skyline.

“We’re not following Iran,” said Ali al-Waadh, a cleric and representative of Sistani’s. “Iran should follow Najaf.”
And I think the past month in Iran shows it most likely will. We're at an inflection point in History and I think few in America know it.

Patrick McIlheran: The week judicial liberalism gave up

From McIlheran in JS Online,
...she [Sotomayor} went out of her way to spurn President Barack Obama's view about empathy: "Judges can't rely on what's in their heart," she said. She's disavowed that moral superiority is granted by being part of a minority. "I do not believe that foreign law should be used to determine the result under constitutional law or American law," she said Thursday, throwing overboard the progressive dream of correcting our bad habits in the court of world opinion. Asked whether the Constitution is a living, breathing document, she replied it is "immutable" but for amendments. "It doesn't live other than to be timeless," she said.
Antonin Scalia must have wept at the beauty of this statement.

Why such a thorough repudiation of all that progressives feel? Why must Sotomayor be portrayed as identical to a George W. Bush appointee before Democrats can vote for her?
Read him all but the conclusion is
...what's become clear is that the week that was supposed to be the humiliating rout of old white guys in the Senate has turned into the surrender of judicial liberalism. That has become the philosophy no potential justice can admit to, even when her president owns the Senate. Whoever in the administration coached Sotomayor knows this: A conservative Supreme Court is not at odds with America. It is its reflection.
Not theology or Religion but reflection of how Liberalism in today's manifestation is spent.

Yelp Church Reviews

A review of Unity Temple in Oak Park here. So is it wrong to plug your own Church here?

Racial profiles that hide and obscure

Some racial profiles hide people. They don't single poeple out. Fellow blogger Arlene Jones writes of that kind of screen over at Austin Weekly News about events that happened within a few blocks of Chicago's Third Unitarian.
Back on April 2, I wrote about already dreading the long, hot summer. Even before the weather broke, while the days were balmy and the sun shone for more than just a few hours a day, I was already predicting that this would be a horrific summer. The news over the weekend that seven people were shot in just one hour's time in Austin should have this entire community in an uproar.

One of the seven individuals shot Sunday night was a 9-year-old child. I don't care what is going on. There is no excuse for individuals to be doing drive-by shootings - ever. And when the unintended target of those shootings ends up being a child, the outrage from this community should be fast and swift. Everyone in this community should be ranting and raving about the violence. We should be demanding that those responsible for the carnage receive a punishment that would make a lifetime sentence at Tamms Correctional Center seem like a holiday.

Now, if the Chicago police had accidentally shot a 9-year-old child, the Austin community would have been outraged. All over the television, we would have seen a variety of livid West Side ministers. But let the sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters - or even some of their own church members shoot a child - and all I am hearing is silence. Even the online version of this newspaper didn't have it as a breaking news story. So let's all just be honest. We just don't give a damn.
Next weekend will be the same. (Last night was the same: 5 shot on South Shore). Few care... few care to know. Have my friend Arlene over to the White House for a cup of coffee maybe? It would be a huge step forward.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Love abides. Love does not divide.

The last sentence often found years ago in Universalist Churches. I think they're still there on the wall of the First Univesalist Church in Elgin if the new owners haven't painted the sanctuary's walls.

 I've heard these words read at weddings and funerals. Their truthfulness understood by anyone who has loved, or been loved; by Christian, or Humanist.

We UUs have stumbled badly not including Paul's words in our poorly worded Standing on the side of Love campaign.

Our targets for outreach may be perplexed as to just who we think stands on Love's other side. Read Paul's words of outreach to Corinth though, and you'll find a truth that's comforted many for ages. Not the promise we're on your side (what's that worth?) but the truth above all truths: that Love abides.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Senate Unanimously Passes Missile Defense Amendment

Here's one UU's thinking about Peace Making should chew on a bit. The Senate unanimously passed the missile defense amendment to Defense Authorization on voice vote. The Lieberman-Sessions Amendment would:
Deploy Effective, Affordable Missile Defenses to Europe

This amendment would express the sense of the Senate that while the administration reviews its options for providing a long-range missile defense capability to protect Europe and the United States from Iranian missile threats, it should: 1) continue to develop the planned Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system for Poland and the Czech Republic and 2) only consider alternatives that provide similar capabilities as the GMD system for the defense of Europe and the United States. It would also reserve $353.1 million in funds authorized by the FY09 and FY10 NDAAs for European missile defense to be used only for these purposes.
This amendment easily comports with any draft Peace Making Pledges and Resolutions I've seen and agreed with. Anything that expands the range of options so that a war-of-last-resort doesn't mean a Nuclear First Strike is a very good thing and an important step towards a peaceful world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama, Gates, and the Chicago Police Misconduct list

My post on it over here. The Prez made a colassal blunder with his comments last night when there are far bigger issues he would prefer us focused on. He just can't resist an opportunity to talk about himself as iconic symbol and Lynn Sweet played him for it.

Sotomayor, Alito, and the UUA

Lillian Rubin blasts Sotomayor for failing to defend liberal judicial philosophy at her confirmation hearings. I think rightly so. Sotomayor --quite wisely-- presented herself as a Latina Alito before the Senate.

Which begs the question should UUA similarly denounce her? While her record different than Alito's maybe, she refused to defend it, and chose the Judicial Conservatives instead.

Or instead pray she's hypocrite as a commenter over at the Beacon Press hopes?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Two Iranian Christians May Face Execution For Apostasy

Via RFT/RL

I read this stuff and think of Sinkford with Akmenijad and it sickens me.
Two Iranian women jailed in Iran's notorious Evin prison for converting from Islam to Christianity may be executed for apostasy, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Amir Javadzadeh, a broadcaster for the London-based Christian radio station Channel of Affection, told Radio Farda that the two women could be put to death even though "they were not politically active at all." He said they "just wanted to serve people according to the Bible."

The two women, Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, were arrested in March, although they "converted to Christianity about 10 years ago," Javadzadeh said. He added that they became Christians after "spending a lot of time studying the religion and helping others."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Merging of Church and State in Illinois

Grants to Churches in Illinois Governor Quinn's Capital Bill (Here as PDF). Pretty good for a State near fiscal collapse.
Christian Love Missionary Baptist Church will get $250,000, Bethel Lutheran Church will get $200,000, Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church will get $400,000, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church will get $200,000 to upgrade its kitchen and Our Lady of Peace in Chicago will get $45,000 to improve accessibility.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We Could have used that Peace Making Resolution

To sort out the morality of assassination and predator drones. From today's Opinion Journal Online,
The CIA has recently opted to step up its use of Predator and Reaper drones to kill al Qaeda and related militants in Pakistan's tribal areas. That program is done in consultation with Pakistani officials and is less risky than sending in individuals, because it doesn't involve U.S. personnel on the ground.

One official with direct knowledge of the secret program said that assassination teams could be more effective than taking out al Qaeda leaders with drone-fired missiles. "We're talking about the difference between two feet and 50,000 feet," said one official with direct knowledge of the program. "Do you want the collateral damage of 50,000 feet or two?"

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cook County Commissioner Beavers on States more corrupt than Illinois: Utah and Oregon

Tony P getting under Beaver's skin. If Utah and Oregon are more corrupt, than we have to beat them on body count with 11 shot dead over the long weekend. We need more than a Peace Making Pledge for this City.



xp Bill Baar's West Side, Prairie Politics

UUA's call for a Truth Commission

Rep. Eshoo released Letter to CIA Dir. Panetta (PDF here) asking for Panetta to correct his previous testimony that the CIA really does lie on a systematic basis since 2001. Illinois's own Jan Schakowsky cosigned.

When folks are laying themselves on the line like this, we need a truth commission more than ever to figure out what in the world is going on between the Hill and Langley 'cause somebody's lying.

Nargess Mohammadig: We have to Speak of Hope and Love

Via WLUML,Nargess Mohammadi's speech on acceptance of the Alexander Laner Award,
We have to Speak of Hope and Love

Everyone has the right to Freedom of Speech and Thought: Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

If one day we realize the goals of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, that will be a day of victory for human kind. If one day, humans can, without fear, insecurity, prison or death, express their beliefs and thoughts, and through peaceful means set out to publish those beliefs, authoritarianism will be undermined. But until that day, all those who hope for freedom will have a difficult road ahead.

I am very disappointed that I was not able to among you today. On the 8th of May, while on my way to an international women’s conference in Guatemala, I was banned illegally and without any legal order from travel and my passport was confiscated at the airport by security officials who identified themselves as affiliated with Office of the President.

You well know what is transpiring in Iran today. Many journalists, human rights defenders, political activists are currently in prison. On the other hand there are painful scenes of the murder of young women and men, which have inflicted a pain in our hearts that is beyond description. The innocent face of Neda, the young woman who has come to symbolize the peaceful protest of Iranians, will not fade from our memories. Of course, the movement and the demands of the Iranian people serve as signs of hope and promise and the realization of a bright future in our country which will indeed lead to freedom. The Iranian people have been working to achieve freedom, justice and democracy for one hundred years in their country and on this path they have forgone their lives and their possessions. They continue to work toward the realization of common human ideals, and certainly they will be victors on this path.

We have to speak of hope and love and what hope is more powerful than the human chain across the world, where individuals from all corners of the world, act in solidarity to support one another. No longer can governments, with the excuse of national sovereignty, erect a wall around the peoples of their nations, and with the same excuse, treat their citizens as they please and view any voice of objection from around the world as an act of interference in their internal affairs.

In the introduction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, foundational definitions have been provided, such as the unity of human kind as members of the same family, and the inherent dignity of human beings. In other words, the future of each individual in any part of the world, is not the sole concern of governments, rather their well-being is the concern of all members of the human race.

Today, speaking in defense of the people of Palestine, the US, Afghanistan, Iran, etc, and raising objections to the violation of human rights by governments, rulers and other powers, is not only not interference in the affairs of another country, which should not be prohibited, it is in fact the duty and commitment of every free individual anywhere in the world. This issue is not only emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it is emphasized in all religions, in all languages and in various different forms. Saadi the renowned Persian poet puts it beautifully: “The children of Adam are limbs of each other [having been created of one essence].”

Along these lines, I would like to thank the reputable and significant Alexander Langer foundation for their support of human rights defenders and for honoring me with their award. I am well aware of the immense value of this important award. This award does not belong to one individual, rather it belongs to all those working toward freedom in Iran. The honoring of human rights defenders around the world with such awards works to create powerful links in the strong and connected chain of human beings around the planet, who have taken up the difficult task of pursuing the path to freedom and democracy with support of the international community. This support makes the road ahead less difficult.

5 July 2009

Source: Change for Equality

18 Tir 1388, Tehran Bolvare keshavarz

Today's protests on the anniversary of the 1999 demonstrations.


Live RPG removed from soldier

Video over at Military Times. Pretty heroic stuff on the part of the Medical Staff not to mention the Solider who got hit.

Iran election: faces of the dead and detained

Over at The Guardian,
Hundreds, probably thousands, have been arrested in Iran since the
presidential election on 12 June. Human rights and campaign groups such as Human Rights Watch, the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Reporters Without Borders have been collecting and publishing the names of those dead or detained.

We have brought those lists, and reports from trusted media sources, into a database that we are asking readers and those elsewhere on the internet to contribute too.

Since we launched this exercise we have had hundreds of emails, photographs and names sent to us. Keep them coming.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Peace Making Statement at UUA

Good posts here and here on a cumbersome Statement that should have been put to rest at Salt Lake City.

A reply to me by Joel that needs a fuller response. Let me sip my second cup and hopefully make sense before rushing off here.

He wrote,
I agree that a year won’t help. Either it says, “Every UU is free to believe what they want about war, and their beliefs are equally valid”- in which case it is meaningless, or it says, “Peacemaking is central to our faith, but we’ve agreed not to be too hard on our deluded members who are serving with the forces of violence”, in which case we’ve just alienated a lot of members. I just don’t see any way around the central dilemma- how do you declare a credal statement for a creedless faith?
Yes, we believe what we want as UUs but our freedom does not validate all beliefs. Far from that. We covenant in a journey towards truth and part of that journey should mean we analyze those truths found by UUs and others and sort out what's sensible and not, what's good and bad, what's true and false. We're free (and I'd argue obligated) to make judgments including judgments on fellow UUs beliefs, as long as we do so within the bounds of behavior we've covenanted with each other.

Peacemaking is central to the service members mission. They will tell you that (ask some). A Peacemaking SOC does not by definition drive out Service Members. The ones I've read drive out Pacifists instead (one reason why I dislike such SOCs).

The SOCs sound an awful lot like creeds. I think we're better off without them and instead encourage more pastoral letters and commentary from UUs. They can be written though; and they can be written in non-creedal ways.

I argued (and lost, UUs judged me wrong) that my Church's draft --which read a lot like the UUA's draft-- was far too grand; scaling from the personal to the international. Keep it focused on the international I argued, and test what the SOC guided, on real world cases.

That's really the test of these things: how does conscience formally expressed for a collective, guide the collective in practice.

If we can't get from conscience to practice as in the case of this SOC, then best to write it off. Start over if we have too.

But it should not have been rejected as incompatible with Military Service (I have to go back and reread the UUA's draft to see if there was a clause that did that.) but a Peace Making SOC certainly doesn't drive out Service Members by virtue of the word Peace in it.

And lack of a SOC in no way validates any and all beliefs. Nothing we do as UUs validates in that way. We are not a Church of ethical blank checks. We have a lot of judges maybe, but no blank checks.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Alan Wald: Inconvenient Truths: The Communist Conundrum in Life and Art

Alan Wald reviews some bios on key American Red authors,
Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth, Steven G. Kellman. W. W. Norton and Company, 2005.

An Honest Writer: The Life and Times of James T. Farrell, Robert K. Landers. Encounter Books, 2004.

The Lives of Agnes Smedley, Ruth Price. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Ralph Ellison: A Biography, Arnold Rampersad. Knopf, 2007.
If we add these volumes to the growing shelf of other outstanding biographies of writers on the Left—Jack Conroy, W. E. B. Du Bois, John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman, Josephine Herbst, Langston Hughes, John Howard Lawson, Claude McKay, Clifford Odets, Don West, Nathanael West, Richard Wright—the weight of an engagement with Communism in the making of US literature in mid-century becomes incontestable. The magnitude of the phenomenon will become possible to appraise as more attention is allocated to middle-range writers, especially those in popular genres (science fiction, pulp, historical novels, mystery fiction), as well as the neglected cultural Left functioning in the Cold War era itself. Even so, there will always be some scholars who simply cannot stomach the idea that a major artist could actually have been a real "Communist," or that the cultural movement around the Party could have been as inspiring and nurturing in one situation as it was constricting and vulgar in another. There is also the temptation to invalidate a credible achievement of the Communist movement (such as its exemplary contribution to anti-racism) by pointing to a deep flaw (blindness to brutal dictatorships). Such conundrums can cause scholars to try to abridge or tiptoe around the whole matter. With considerable success, the four biographers in this review opted to take the more difficult road.

Tony Blair's speech The Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The conclusion from a speech made by a real Socialist in Chicago a few weeks ago,
Finally, we are required to do something that it seems rather odd to have to say. We have to re-discover some confidence and conviction in who we are, how far we've come and what we believe in. By the way, I think this even about the economic crisis. It is severe. It's going to be really, really hard. But we will get through it and not by abandoning the market or open economic system but by learning our lessons and adjusting the system in a way that makes it better. But on any basis, this system has delivered amazing leaps forward in prosperity for our citizens and we shouldn't, amongst the gloom, forget it.

The same is true for the security threat we face. We are standing up for what is right. The body of ideas that has given us this liberty, to speak and think as we wish, that allows us to vote in and vote out our rulers, that provides a rule of law on which we can rely, and a political space infinitely more transparent than anything that went before ; that body isn't decaying. It is in the prime of life. It is the future. And though the extremists that confront us have their new adherents, we have ours too, nations democratic for the first time, people tasting freedom and liking it.

And that is why we should not revert to the foreign policy of years gone by, of the world weary, the supposedly sensible practitioners of caution and expediency, who think they see the world for what it is, without the illusions of the idealist who sees what it could be.

We should remember what such expediency led us to, what such caution produced. Here is where I remain adamantly in the same spot, metaphorically as well as actually, of ten years ago, that evening in this city. The statesmanship that went before regarded politics as a Bismarck or Machiavelli regarded it. It's all a power play; a matter, not of right or wrong, but of who's on our side, and our side defined by our interests, not our values. The notion of humanitarian intervention was the meddling of the unwise, untutored and inexperienced.

But was it practical to let Pakistan develop as it did in the last thirty years, without asking what effect the madrassas would have on a generation educated in them? Or wise to employ the Taliban to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan? Or to ask Saddam to halt Iran? Was it really experienced statesmanship that let thousands upon thousands die in Bosnia before we intervened or turned our face from the genocide of Rwanda?

Or to form alliances with any regime, however bad, because they solve 'today' without asking whether they will imperil 'tomorrow'? This isn't statesmanship. It is just politics practiced for the most comfort and the least disturbance in the present moment.

I never thought such politics very sensible or practical. I think it even less so now. We live in the era of interdependence; the idea that if we let a problem fester, it will be contained within its boundaries no longer applies. That is why leaving Africa to the ravages of famine, conflict and disease is not just immoral but immature in its political understanding. Their problems will become ours.

And this struggle we face now cannot be defeated by staying out; but by sticking in, abiding by our values not retreating from them.

It is a cause that must be defeated by a better cause. That cause is one of open, tolerant, outward-looking societies in which people respect diversity and difference in which peaceful co-existence can flourish. It is a cause that has to be fought for; with hearts and minds as well as arms, of course. But fought for, nonetheless with the courage to see it through and the confidence that the cause is just, right and the only way the future of our world can work.
HT Tom Bevan's: 10 Years On, Blair Restates the Case

God's moods

Steve Paulson interviews Robert Wright about Wright's Book The Evolution of God

Some caution for the WWJD crowd (I would add the UU Jesus-as-ethical-model crowd),
He's [Jesus] typically seen as the great prophet of peace and love.

Yeah. But the fact is, the Sermon on the Mount, which is a beautiful thing, does not appear in Mark, which was the first written gospel. And these views are not attributed to Jesus in the letters of Paul, which are the earliest post-crucifixion documents we have. You see Paul develop a doctrine of universal love, but he's not, by and large, attributing this stuff to Jesus. So, too, with "love your enemies." Paul says something like love your enemies, but he doesn't say Jesus said it. It's only in later gospels that this stuff gets attributed to Jesus. This will seem dispiriting to some people to hear that Jesus wasn't the great guy we thought he was. But to me, it's actually more inspiring to think that the doctrines of transnational, transethnic love were products of a multinational, imperial platform. Throughout human history, as social organization grows beyond ethnic bounds, it comes to encompass diverse ethnicities and nations. And if it develops doctrines that bring us closer to moral truth, like universal love, that is encouraging. I think you see it in all three religions.
Multi-ethnic-imperialism not such a bad thing maybe; and it's the work of people, not God. And darn if the person isn't today's UU least favorite: Paul.