Friday, May 31, 2013

Politics and Faith

Recently, I attended a reception for the congressional representative for the 1st District in Maine. I had been a party faithful for many years. I was amongst many friends and like minded people. I had been the municipal the Chair of the party, an elected city council person and a school board member. For many years I thought I could keep my faith and moral beliefs separate from my political thought. They did not have to be reconciled. That has changed for me. I have decided I must reconcile my faith with how I vote and who and what issues I support. I struggle with the realization that Constitution appears to not require morality, but favors freedom. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does not include, necessarily morality. So many have rationalized their political decisions and support with this in mind. I must support issues that reflect truth. According to Pope John Paul II Truth cannot Contradict Truth.
So for sake of conversation AND, to be honest, I wanted see the reaction I might get if I made a comment to a few friends that I was moving to the right. I was becoming more conservative. A few agreed but did not engage.  One very intelligent friend suggested I read a book called God's Politics by Tom Wallis. I looked at the book and the reviews and it seemed to present a very liberal view of how God might or should impact our political thought and actions. I still will read the book, but with caution and prayer. I also had a conversation with a person I have liked and respected for many years. She quoted me the Boston Catechism about conscience. I could not counter her statement that generally if your conscience is different with what the Church teaches than you are OK to vote or make worldly decisions with your conscience as the guide. Conscience trumps the teaching of religious leaders?  I wondered. Was the Pope wrong? Was the magisterium wrong? I had some discerning to do.  I left the meeting thinking, I may be in the wrong political party.  Maybe I should just become an unenrolled independent citizen and vote my conscience. I will think about this some.

I reviewed my Year of the faith email today. I have been participating in a Year of Faith program that facilitates the reading of the Catholic Catechism in one year. I was pleasantly surprised to see todays topic the exact challenge that I was struggling with. Day 227 How to Form and Follow Your Conscience Seems the holy Spirit decided to assist with my discernment. Praise God.  I believe that coincidences are usually for a reason and many times are the holy Spirit intervening. Not always, but in this case it seemed to be clear.  The caveat to my friends comments was that the conscience can be poorly formed. It can be based on erroneous information.  How do you decide.  As a practitioner of contemplative prayer now for more than 20 years, I usually give it to God in prayer, and I reach a very confident conclusion in most cases.  I have been reading the magisterium as well which I think is important to be sure your conscience is formed in communion with the Truth.

  Additionally, an exceptional blogger Robert Sylvester wrote related blog today. Church-Secular-or-Mystical?

So my plan going forward it to NOT join any one-sided party platforms or activists groups.  I really like the idea of a bipartisan effort, that I wrote about in my last blog. 
Enough for today.  OnWard

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Citizens For Political Reform

I joined Citizens for Political Reform today. I am so tired of extreme partisan politics in government. This group was founded by some great people from both sides of the isle. Check them out at: The Bipartisan Policy Center

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Undivided Self

Taking sides in a conflict has its risks. 

Margaret Thatcher said "Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by traffic from both sides”.

If both sides are extreme and unwilling to compromise the only reasonable place to be is in the middle.  Right?  I am not sure.   Political research says most Americans, yes a majority,  are in the moderate middle when it comes to social and political positions.  We all know or have a family member who is far right or far left in their thinking. They are many times the minority at a family gathering, taking hard positions on this or that topic often times raising minute issues that in the end represent extreme positions.  When our Democratic process provides only extremes to vote for what are we to do?  Vote independent?  Not vote? Get involved.


ADHD is not that simple 

This article is a good article that argues that non-medicine intervention is the best course for treatment of ADHD.  But I believe the comentary about the French culture and the suggestion that ADHD is ONLY a behavorial issue is eroneous. There are many well behaved ADHD diagnosed children and adults who have great difficulty in focusing, sitting still or staying on task, but to suggest a whole ethnic approach is better seems very prejudice. Remember our American values, stemming from the Constitution provide for freedom and expect self-discipline in deciding where the line of freedom ends and responsibility begins.  That makes treatment of ADHD more of a challenge in American society.  How much freedom do you give to children? Any? Too much discipline can bring ACE (adverse childhood experiences) and border on abuse. Too little then you have the spoiled brat syndrome.  This simplistic solution simply hammers our American values and only serves to further erode public truth about how people develop.   This is POP psychology at its worst.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In confidence....

When you tell a person something in confidence without stating it such  and it becomes an public declaration it presents a difficult situation. Although it should not have been shared, if you forget to say "please hold in confidence", there is a human flaw that wants to share.  Sometimes it is to make a political point or to "get back" at someone.  Unfortuntely, people are hurt. 

I have served as a counselor, a member of a number of boards and as a parent.  What I hear from loved ones, or friends remains in my head and becomes the subject of my prayers for others. Just between me and God. period.  A gossip goes about telling secrets, but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence. Proverbs 11:13

The only exception to this is where a there appears to be an indication of harm to a child or others. Like many professionals I am a mandatory reporter.