The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 25, 2020
Profound Thoughts Edition
Before we pass on a few profound (and not-so profound) thoughts over the Brunch table today, allow me to share a link to a truly profound conversation between “eco-theologian” Michael Dowd and our own Damaris Zehner. Dowd blogs at Post-doom and you can find his interview with Damaris on YouTube HERE or by clicking on the image below. You’ll get a great overview of Damaris’s career and background, and the kind of life she is most interested in practicing and writing about. You can follow her observations and reflections regularly at Integrity of Life. And we will keep the link to the Post-doom interview up on the IM Bulletin Board so that you can continue to access it easily.
Here are a few of Damaris’s profound thoughts that she expresses in the interview:
Mostly, we live daily. Nonetheless, what a good culture would do is to set up our daily lives with the future in mind. So, whether we’re thinking about it or not, whether we are aiming for something specific or not, we are living in such a way that there is something in the future for our children, grandchildren, and for all life on earth.
And if I were to choose a single Bible verse that I think works both spiritually and practically to every audience, it’s Micah 6:8, which is “love justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” And I really think that that covers it — whether we are talking about how we handle the environment and other species, how we deal with the economy, how we deal with other people, and how we prepare for the future. If we’re living humbly now, we won’t use up what other people will need in the future. If we’re thinking of justice and mercy, we will be considering the whole world around us.
If we are doing that, it goes back to what you were talking about, which is the sense of gratitude. When we’re not front and center, grabbing and shoving out of fear, then we can just sit back and go, “This is a nice world. We like it here. Let’s stay.”
This week marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Here are some poignant thoughts expressed about remembering the Holocaust.
But one thing I took from this was a big fear I’ve now got about people of absolute faith. I always thought faith of itself was – could only be a positive thing. Everyone talks about the importance of having faith. Well, these guys had faith, absolute faith. And there’s one really desperately upsetting…ideologically, there’s one desperately particularly upsetting moment where – in the book – where I talk about how Himmler and Hoss most admired, as prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses. They pointed to them and said, see that faith? That’s the kind of faith we need in our führer – absolute, unshakable faith. (from an interview with Laurence Rees, Auschwitz: A New History)
Today, you have a young generation of Germans. And I do not believe in collective guilt. So I have absolutely no problem with the young Germans. I even feel sorry for the young Germans because to be maybe sons or daughters of killers is different than to be sons and daughters of the victims. And I felt sorry for them. I still do. (from an interview with Elie Wiesel)
Our age is a different age. The words are not the same, the perpetrators are not the same perpetrators but it is the same evil, and there remains only one answer: Never again. (President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany)
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A few profound, curmudgeonly thoughts…
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The always intriguing Mockingbird blog takes note of several recent observations about “the increasingly tenuous relationship between individuals and institutions.” One of the best articles cited is How Did Americans Lose Faith in Everything? by Yuval Levin. Here are some of his poignant thoughts:
But what we are missing is not simply greater connectedness but a structure of social life: a way to give shape, purpose, concrete meaning and identity to the things we do together. If American life is a big open space, it is not a space filled with individuals. It is a space filled with these structures of social life — with institutions. And if we are too often failing to foster belonging, legitimacy and trust, what we are confronting is a failure of institutions.
…We trust political institutions when they undertake a solemn obligation to the public interest and shape the people who populate them to do the same. We trust a business because it promises quality and reliability and rewards its workers when they deliver those. We trust a profession because it imposes standards and rules on its members intended to make them worthy of confidence. We trust the military because it values courage, honor and duty in carrying out the defense of the nation and forms human beings who do, too.
…What stands out about our era in particular is a distinct kind of institutional dereliction — a failure even to attempt to form trustworthy people, and a tendency to think of institutions not as molds of character and behavior but as platforms for performance and prominence.
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And then there’s this…
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Some profoundly eye-catching headlines…
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Jim Lehrer’s Rules of Journalism
May he rest in peace and his tribe be restored a hundred-fold
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On my winter playlist…