Thursday, August 5


Reflections on September 11 … Seventeen Years Later

Reflections on September 11 … Seventeen Years Later

"Life" Issues, 9-11, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, Change, Christianity, conservatism, culture, Enlightenment, faith, Four Quartets, God, Holy Mystery, Islam, Kingdom of God, memories, monotheism, Numinous, postmodernism, Religion, sadness, Shanksville, Spirituality, terrorism, The Divine, Uncategorized, United 93, violence, war, World Trade Center
As of today, it has been 17 years since two Boeing colleagues, whom I will call Roger and Ted, and I traveled on Boeing business to Salt Lake City to spend a few days working at the small Boeing engineering office there.  We had flown in the previous day, 10 September, and spent that day walking around the city, four-wheeling around the rough terrain surrounding the Lake, taking a hair-raising drive up into the front range of the Wasatch Mountains, visiting the Mormon Tabernacle, and strolling around Park City, before going to dinner at a local steak house. Next morning, 11 September, I turned on the TV in my room to watch the news as I got dressed. I was mildly surprised at being greeted by what appeared to be a picture of the World Trade Center towers burning. I say only “mildly surp...
Fair-Weather Originalists:  Be Careful What You Wish For

Fair-Weather Originalists: Be Careful What You Wish For

14th Amendment, 9-11, activism, autonomy, awareness, bigotry, Challenge, Change, citizenship, civics, conservatism, Consitution, critical judgment, culture, Equality, Executive Order, faithfulness, Fascism, First Amendment, Ideology, injustice, law, Muslims, peace and justice, political rhetoric, Politics, Presidency, racism, Rationality, Religion, Religious War, Secularity, social justice, Supreme Court, terrorism, Tolerance, Trump, Uncategorized, World Trade Center
Sometimes I think history has a wicked sense of humor.  The latest example of history-as-harlequin may be seen by observing the rhetorical, jurisprudential, and logical contortions of people attempting to defend President Trump’s executive orders (EOs) on immigration before, in this latest case, the 4th Circuit.  Most of the people defending Trump’s EOs – EO 13769 and its siblings – are employing the language, tactics, and presuppositions of original meaning, a common approach of conservative / “strict constructionist” jurists and constitutional scholars. To them:  the key question of how to interpret any given text of the Constitution or statutory law is to adhere to the original meaning of the law’s authors as expressed in the original language of the law itself.  In order for the la...
What the Buddha and Adolf Hitler Taught Me about Compassion

What the Buddha and Adolf Hitler Taught Me about Compassion

9-11, bigotry, Buddhism, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, citizenship, civics, Comfort, community, Compassion, conflict, conservatism, courage, critical judgment, culture, Economy, Enlightenment, Equality, faith, Freedom, Hope, Ideology, injustice, Joy, Longing, peace and justice, Poverty, Presidency, progressive politics, Rationality, Resistance, Secularity, social justice, Spirituality, Tolerance, Trump
I am very grateful to my in-law family for teaching me about Buddhism – and for teaching me about Buddhism, not merely theoretically or academically or discursively, but by living it out. Some are devout Buddhists – assuming that is not an oxymoron – and others are more casual. But all are real in the sense that Buddhist teachings, with whatever fervor they may be exemplified, inform their lives. In particular, I am grateful for what they teach me in terms of the lived reality of the supreme Buddhist value of universal compassion.  So you can imagine my astonishment when, while pursuing my several-months-long reading of Mein Kampf, I found that the improbable juxtaposition of Adolf Hitler’s political autobiography and Buddhism afforded me a very practical, and intimately personal, insi...