The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What does Lent mean?

Today is the first Sunday of Lent. If you go to a church service, someone may ask you, "What are you giving up for Lent?
It is not uncommon for people to say something like this, "I am giving up Chocolate." Or, "I am giving up Starbucks."
I don't think this is what Lent means. Lent is a time when we reflect on the true cost of following Jesus of Nazareth. The true cost is being shown us by the pastor is Iran who is facing execution this week because he refuses to deny his faith in Jesus.
Lent is about thinking about going all the way to the death for the One who went all the way of death for me.
(c) 2012 Ronald Friesen

Friday, February 17, 2012

How are Conservatives and Liberals alike yet different

Conservative versus Liberal Morality
by Richard Rohr, OFM
Jonathan Haidt says that the question "What is moral?" is guided by one's attitudes in six categories: 1) care for others, 2) a sense of fairness, 3) the value of freedom versus oppression, 4) loyalty to values and people, 5) respect for basic authority and tradition, 6) and a sense of the sacred versus "nothing is really sacred unless I decide it is".
He says that those who call themselves liberal or progressive tend to be nominally strong on the first (care for others), and also a bit on the second and third (fairness and freedom), but rather dismissive of the last three categories.
Those who call themselves conservatives at least pay lip service to all six categories, although all at a much lower level than the high of the liberal value of "caring for others". HIs conclusion is that, for all of their biases, conservatives do present a more honest valuation of full human nature, and that is why they can more easily create strong "groups". I think he is largely right. But Haidt also sees that conservatives can not usually recognize their over-identification with that very group and their own denied self interest in maintaining the status quo. Comfortable people tend to be conservatives ("conservare" in Latin).
How can we find the best of both groups? Human caring and a love of true freedom--that is also loyal and with a sense of the Sacred. Liberals deny the traditional values of the "first half of life" and falsely dive into the values of the "second half of life" in an often half hearted way (Ungrounded Enlightenment). Conservatives tend to do many "first half of life" values very well, but then sacralize them as if they are the whole journey and remain stuck right there (Naive Purity). There has to be a way to bring these two worldviews together. I see it most commonly in very humble people, especially if they have suffered hardships. They have their feet on the ground, but are searching for better ways to do almost everything.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


"Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road--
Only wakes upon the sea."
--Antonio Machado