Politics is downstream of culture, and culture is downstream of religion. If we want to understand what is happening in our nation–in our world–work this “equation” backwards.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Running this observation backwards, religion influences culture, and culture influences politics. This seems so simple and clear, but very few people are talking about it, and this truth gets no play at all in the media. And here we are fixing that.
All of the major religions in the world share at least two of the same core teachings:
- Love God, and
- Love your neighbor.
None of them teach belittling or attacking others if they have the wrong thoughts or opinions. Instead, they teach love and forgiveness. And if we are going to do the truly hard work of loving in this way, we need the influence, the pull, the encouragement and discipline of a religion, or another sufficiently influential moral compass. A moral compass that we respect enough to follow it and take on these unnatural actions.
- Hey, Will, is it really unnatural to love our neighbors? A. Yes. It is easy to love the loveable, and only slightly harder to love those who are merely annoying. We get no pats on the back for that. If the command to love one another is to mean anything, we must change and learn to love the unlovable. Democratic Socialists. Trump supporters. Antifa. Cops. Looters. The lot.
Here are my definitions of real love in action:
- Love is having a shared history.
- Love is coming through for the other person when you don’t much feel like it.
Love is not a blend of chemicals that wash over our brains when we feel ourselves falling in love. Love is a verb. And like all of life, real love is hard work.
As Americans, we all have a shared history; none of us have lived through all of it, but all of us have lived through some of it together. All of us can read and share all of the unique American experience in that way. And all of us can come through for the truly unlovable. Let’s take the two points in order.
The shared history part is very much the easier, and often either ignored or bastardized to fit an agenda. When I was young, I was taught that with rare and glossed over exceptions, America, as a country and its leaders and heroes, was almost all good. Today, the reverse is being taught. That conflict is easy to remedy. Start with understanding the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Learn the history of your country by reading honest history books. After getting a good start, you might try throwing in Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” If you have a sufficient grounding in our real history, Zinn’s deep bias in his twisted account will be all too clear.
What you will find is that our country, America, had a unique and truly inspired inception, a necessarily flawed implementation, and an up and down history since 1776. The overall results are impressive as we continue to reach the lofty goals committed to in the Declaration, and guaranteed by the Constitution. The real and overall impressive history of America is there for all to see. Revolution 2.0™ is certainly one source of the right information.
Now, let’s tackle the love the unlovable part. Let’s start with antifa and others perpetrating crimes against persons and property. The first thing with all of the unlovable is to pray for them. More specific to antifa, et at., arrest and prosecute the “Black Bloc” crowd and others for offenses including destruction or theft of property and assault. I remember a good friend saying, after one of his sons had done something wrong, “Thank God he was caught.” Initially, I was shocked by his reaction. After he explained, I understood that the process toward change needs to start with correction. Then others need to come alongside to offer encouragement and show them the delights and other benefits of a different path. And still others need to show up in this person’s life to help him keep on keeping on, and to grow. And, eventually, for the former miscreant to help others. All of this is love, including the governmental arrest and convictions, and the encouragement and commitment from individuals.
Today’s Key Point: It does take a village. And we are all in it. Each entity, including government, should be called on to do what it does uniquely well, and only what it does uniquely well. In this specific example, government arrests and applies consequences. Individuals then take over, showing up in that person’s life. And by individuals, I do not mean “Them”; I mean us, you and me. No progress will be made by voting for the government to do everything, or waiting on others to do our jobs.
Let’s take on loving Democratic Socialists and Trump Supporters, if indeed you do not love them in the first place. First, stop with anything that starts with, “How could anyone with a room temperature I.Q believe,” or, “These people are dead wrong, likely evil, and will destroy America and…” Instead, start with, “Why do you believe that?” And continue with gentle, probing questions with the intent of understanding. “First, seek to understand.” Stephen Covey’s Habit 5. Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most popular book is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. After achieving understanding, gently, and knowledgeably, steer them to your way of thinking. And be alert to learning from them as well. That’s how you love them.
Finally, for today, the key to loving cops–law enforcement–is to see them for the professionals they are, and not berate them for not being who they are not. Don’t be surprised if an armed law enforcement officer reacts in the way he has been taught, which includes, correctly eliminating threats to the community, fellow officers and himself. If you want differently trained and motivated professionals to show up in response to mental health or domestic disturbance calls, that is likely to be a good solution. But remember to safeguard the community and the responders, and know that it will take more money, not less. The cry to Defund the Police will need to stop immediately. In addition to cops, there will need to be enough other professionals, e.g., social workers and mental health pros, to respond in no less time than the cops show up today to those same calls. There will be great inefficiencies with the need to staff the three groups of pros needed to cover the three types of calls, 24/365. And cops may well be needed in addition to, not instead of, the other pros to provide protection for those professionals and the community. Inefficient, clearly; more effective, yes. And we all need to be clear that both sides, the cops and other pros, as well as the suspects, have responsibilities. Everyone needs to be accountable for their behaviour.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.