Sunday, January 04, 2015


Sunday Reflection: The quiet

The holidays are now behind us.  Something interesting happened this year; I got a lot of quiet time for reflection in the midst of it all. In part this was due to being sick, but also a happy combination of time with my family in Michigan and some driving.  

One thing that happened was this: I was able to unpack a few moments from the last year that went by too fast.  

One of them was fleeting but full.  When I debated the brilliant Judge Richard Sullivan at Yale Law School, my time was short.  I set aside my notes and delivered something that may have come off more as a rant than anything else, passionate and intense and, er, maybe not totally thought-through.  Now I am having the time to think it through.

One of the things I said in that rant was something I don't remember even having thought before.  It was a question rather than a statement, and now I am thinking through that question and coming to some answers.  The question was this:  "Why does drug dealing make us so angry?"  As a society, it does, after all.  That anger is reflected not only in laws and sentences, but the statements made by prosecutors and judges who speak for us all when they argue for and issue those sentences.  I have heard it many times, and read transcripts; in truth I delivered a few myself when I was a prosecutor.  Drug dealers, at some level, are more like white collar criminals than anything else-- theirs is a crime of capitalist instinct.

I love that this good question came out of the blue, and I wonder where it came from.  Perhaps leaving some of what I was saying unrehearsed allowed for something better to arise.  There are times when we call that the Holy Spirit, which can enter us only if we are not already full of ourselves.

Should the question be expanded? Why do a variety of different actions or words "make us so angry?"

As Thanksgiving 2011 approached, I recall a few suggestions you suggested should be condidered...

"May our debate about gay marriage be constructive."

"Raising these points -- gently -- over Thanksgiving dinner may do more to create change than all the posterboard signs in the world."

"Our hearts open and beliefs are reconsidered when our own interests are valued, respected, and appealed to through logic or story. That is the kind of dialogue that is good for us, and good for the world."

Striving to quell the anger in our hearts can also help create understanding and change - often an unexpected understanding of self...
CC-- You know, in the end that discussion turned out pretty well!
And like many conversations that touch numerous lives, in lesser or significant ways, the conversations need be continued - respectfully. . .
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