I am working my way through The Long Loneliness, an autobiography of Dorothy Day. As she was beginning her work in journalism, it was 1917 in New York City. A massive time of upheaval.
She was still not convinced of Christianity, but her work in journalism kept her from attending any meetings of Socialists, though she declared herself a Socialist at the time. In her writing and in her exploration of the tremendous upheaval in her world, Day was insightful in her observations of leaders and ideologies.
Over the years what I have always read about, heard about, and believed was Billy Graham had a way to proclaim Christ and be a friend of high powered people without having much of a political agenda.
Then I came across a documentary on a Catholic priest named Theodore Hesburgh. It was unreal how he influenced major government decisions across the board, from Civil Rights to nuclear treaties to the Vietnam War.
When Terri and I were moving from Minnesota to Alabama, part of our trip included an audiobook called The Anglican Way. It was a time in our lives of major shifts. A major move. Moving away from ministry into something that was a complete unknown. And knowing I was moving away from the denomination I was raised in and had been a minister for 30 years.
This piece by David French is something I’ve mulled over for awhile because I’ve read both of Jonathan Haidt’s books mentioned in the piece. I’ve also found it’s not just about trying to talk to conspiracy theorists. Ideologies are so entrenched currently, all the mantra is these days is to show someone else just how wrong they are, and BOOM… they’ll see it my way!
Not so fast.
“The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love, which in the end remains ‘the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life’s worth or lack thereof.'” — Pope Francis, On Fraternity and Social Friendship
It’s not a common practice for me to reflect back on a year. But this is 2020.
And yet, it’s hard for me to look back and reflect accurately. I journaled a lot… but I don’t keep my journals in any particular order and that lack of discipline cost me this year. Plus, a lot of the time I’m journaling and if I look over it I more often than not say out loud, “What was I thinking?”
Some favorite quotes:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
My next book is a re-read from earlier this year: Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman. It is part of the Renovare Book Club and so I am working my way back through the book. A PBS documentary on the life of Howard Thurman: