America’s socio-psychic health

Featured

Thanks to MinnPost.com for publishing this opinion piece on socio-psychic dynamics of the American political culture in 2017 as seen through the ancient myth of Narcissus.

Click Recalling Narcissus -and the roles of Echo and the pond to read the story on MinnPost. Then, if you choose, leave a comment on the MinnPost page or here on Views from the Edge.

In any case, as always, thanks for dropping by the evaporating pond!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 23, 2017.

Amazon review disappears!

Featured

Amazon
***** Striking a blow against willful ignorance, March 15, 2017
By Amazon Customer

This review is from: Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (Paperback)

This is a powerful book, its essays best absorbed in small doses. I used it as a daily meditation, studying no more than two at a time.

The title suggests a turning inward, a journey toward inner harmony, but it is really a clarion call to informed action against the national perils of collective madness and willful ignorance. The book connects us with threads of thought from seminal philosophers, and my favorite is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Read this book. Talk about it with your friends. It is important. James Robert Kane, author.

The customer review vanished from the Amazon site.

“Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!” I’m guessing either Amazon followed James Kane’s counsel by willfully providing customers with a very “small dose” of this customer review (as in one short hour on the site before the dose vanished) or Amazon is ignorant of the disappearance of “A striking blow against willful ignorance.”

It’s hardly a matter of life or death. But it’s enough to drive an anxious author mad  when Amazon lists 10 five-star customer reviews of Be Still! but posts 8 instead of 10.  Where, O where, are the other two? Wait! Wait! Don’t tell me! I need to get a grip and be still!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 19, 2017.

 

Antidisestablishmentarianism 2017

Featured

It’s a big word with a special history, namely, the 19th century dispute in England between the establishmentarians, their disestablishmentarian opponents, and, finally, the antidisestablishmentarian supporters of the establishmentarians, the opponents of the disestablishmentarians!

Back then the issue was whether the Church of England should be the constitutionally “established” church of England. The conservative establishmentarians had answered yes; the more liberal disestablishmentarians argued against the establishment of religion; the antidisestablishmentarians whiplashed the disestablishmentarians back into line. There was no separation of church and state.

In the United States it is different. Because the founders were disestablishmentarians, there is  no established religion. They enacted what was later described as “a wall of separation” between the state and religious institutions. Yet in 2017 the American version of the English establishmentarians speaks and acts as if there.

The American alt-right is a curious mixture of religious antidisestablishmentarianism and governmental disestablishmentarianism, i.e., the strategic elimination of governmental institutions overseen by alt-right White House Strategic Advisor Steve Bannon.

The White House has announced the “re-organization” of the executive branch of the U.S. Government, one of the three branches of the U.S. Constitution. It’s a curious cocktail of religious establishmentarianism without government – but you can’t have an established religion with a disestablished government. Or can you?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 18, 2017.

 

 

Seeing with the Ears

Featured

Last night the story of Nicodemus‘s night visit with Rabbi Jesus intersected with a quite unexpected introduction to Max Picard’s The World of Silence read aloud on Voetica.com. Click HERE for the audio of David Juda’s reading of Max Picard’s The World of Silence or watch and listen to the re-blogged sermon on Nicodemus,”Seeing with the Ears”for this time when words so often fail the longings of the heart.

Views from the Edge

Nicodemus and Jesus on a rooftop, Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937 Nicodemus and Jesus on a rooftop

He comes by night. He slips along the buildings of the city streets in hopes that no one will notice. He is a man of position and authority, a learned teacher with a Ph.D. in religion on his way to the kindergarten teacher. “Everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten,” wrote Robert Fulghum. Nicodemus has a sense that he has lost a thing or two along the way, that he needs to start over again.

He’s sent a private message asking for a confidential meeting. The arrangements have been made for the time and place…under the cover of darkness… at Nicodemus’ request.

Dressed in a hooded sweatshirt pulled up around his face and wearing an old trench coat to blend in with displaced people who spend the night on the street, Nicodemus changes his normally stately gait on the way to his secret meeting.

View original post 684 more words

Desire for a vast and endless sea

Featured

Mrs. Semar taught our high school English class to appreciate good literature, to avoid using words like ‘beautiful’, ‘great’, ‘amazing’, and ‘incredible’, and to be careful, when referring to a source, that we not Littleprincetwist it for current purposes contrary to the author’s intent.

Last week the White House website posted President Trump’s March 3rd Weekly Address.

“I’m joining you today from the deck of what will be our Nation’s newest aircraft carrier…. Our carriers are the centerpiece of American military might, projecting power and our totally unparalleled strength at sea.

“This beautiful new warship represents the future of naval aviation, and she will serve as a cornerstone of our national defense for decades and decades to come.”

It goes on to cite “a famous aviator [who] once wrote that to build a truly great ship, we shouldn’t begin by gathering wood, cutting boards, or distributing work, but instead by awakening within the people a ‘desire for the vast and endless sea.'”

English literary critics who have searched for the unidentified “famous aviator” author most often point to a paragraph by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (best known for The Little Prince) in Section LXXV of his work Citadelle:

“One will weave the canvas; another will fell a tree by the light of his ax. Yet another will forge nails, and there will be others who observe the stars to learn how to navigate. And yet all will be as one. Building a boat isn’t about weaving canvas, forging nails, or reading the sky. It’s about giving a shared taste for the sea, by the light of which you will see nothing contradictory but rather a community of love.”

The sea metaphor is refers to “a community of love,” a matter of poetic hope for a peaceful world.  Other researchers trace “a desire for a vast and endless sea” to a number of other sources, but in no case is the poetic “desire for a vast and endless sea” used to beat the drums for military build-up.

The Weekly Address was poorly written in grandiose style, complete with capitalization of the word ‘nation’ (‘Nation’- as in the greatest, the best, the exceptional ‘Nation’ that stands alone above the lesser ‘nations’).

“Investing in the military means investing in peace, and it is an investment in the incredible men and women who serve every day to keep our country safe.

“These are exciting times and amazing opportunities are unfolding before us. If we all work together, then anything is possible.” – POTUS, 2017.

It was the President’s message of March 3, 2017, years after Mrs. Semar died, but her red pen is still in my head. “Stop using those words, Donald, and please strike the word ‘then’. No need for ‘then’ following the conditional clause that begins ‘if'”. Please show some respect for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and read The Little Prince again.

The White House needs a good editor – not Steve Bannon – and the Presidential bedroom needs better literature than Breitbart News.  Where is Mrs. Semar when the President needs her?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, Minnesota, March 10, 2017.

 

“Oh what a relief it is!”

Featured

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh what a relief it is!”

Writing a book is one thing. Promoting it is another.

I love the one. The other gives me a stomach ache. I sip joy as I write. I gulp down anxiety just thinking about the book’s material success (i.e., number of sales!). Which is why I’m so grateful to “Speedy” –  Bob Todd of Bob Todd Publicity – for relieving me of the gastric distress of promoting Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness.

Bob posted on my FaceBook page page today.

I’m delighted to be spreading the word about Gordon Stewart’s new book, “Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness” from Wipf & Stock Publishers.

”Be Still! is needed at this American moment of collective madness even more than the moments that occasioned many of the essays originally airing on public radio and other venues. With a keen eye and a knack for telling the right story at the right time, Rev. Stewart speaks to the pressing issues in our politics, economy, and culture, and consistently, often poignantly, puts them in ethical and theological perspective that clarifies what too often mystifies. Great bedside reading for those of us who stay up at night concerned about where our world is heading!”

–Michael McNally, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Carleton College; Author of Honoring Elders

I have gratis copies available for media interested in doing a book review or feature article, and for professors interested in considering the book for their classroom.

Contact me direct at BT@BobToddPublicity.com.

 

As for the Alka Selzer, remember what Speedy says,”take only as directed!” Then, slow down, be still, and leave your anxious madness behind! Who knows? With Bob’s bromide, I might yet become still – and know that I’m not God.😳

  • Gordon C. Stewart, thankful for Speedy’s relief, Chaska, MN, March 5, 2017.

 

 

Mia Culpa in the A.T. Era

Featured

Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, now available on Amazon, is gaining attention from professional journals, magazines, TV/radio stations, and professors interested in reviewing it or including it in college, university, and seminary courses, thanks to the good work of Bob Todd of Bob Todd Publicity.

Apologies to readers for this blatant act of author self-promotion. It is, after all, the second month in the A.T. (“After Trump”) Era.

Mea Culpa! But not too much! -:)

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 3, 2017.

The Hoax – an Exceptional Performance

Featured

“He became President of the United States in that moment, period,” said Van Jones, one of the President’s harshest critics, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper following the President’s Address. Jones was referring to President Trump’s recognition of Carryn Owens, the young widow whose husband Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the raid in Yemen, the first American soldier casualty in his Administration.

“That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics,” Jones added.

It was that. But did anyone else recoil at the scene and the President’s remarks? Watch her eyes and face closely. “Than you. Thank you! But then, after it went on too long, “Can we please stop now?”

She was a prop. And she was abused in her grief. Her grief was FRESH. Her husband was killed 30 days before in a raid, authorized while the President was sitting at dinner in his Margo-Lago Dining Room – a long way from the White House “Situation Room” where Presidents, Secretaries of Defense and State, and other Presidential advisors gathered for other high-risk attack like the one that killed Osama ben Ladin.

Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens’s father, Carryn Owens’s father-in-law, had called for an investigation into the raid and had refused to meet the President upon return of his son’s body at Andrews Air Force Base. Click HERE for the NPR report.

Last night’s excessively prolonged applause from the floor of Congress was “a record,” declared the President, after he used the “heroic” Navy Seal and his widow’s grief, against William “Ryan” Owen’s father objection, to establish himself as the nation’s Pastor-President, declaring that the aggrieved widow’s husband was looking down on her, and that he is “very happy. His legacy is etched in eternity.”

Are we happy now?

“That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics,”said Van Jones. It was extraordinary. Truly an exceptional performance.

It’s a hoax, folks. It was a hoax.

-Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 1, 2017.

 

The Most Real Day

Featured

Today strips away every illusion. “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” Other days we avoid it like the plague, but it is our mortal truth. We die. Without exception.

It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, when many Christians offer our foreheads for “the imposition of ashes” as the beginning of everything that the is truthful.  Perhaps the term “imposition” is chosen because the recognition of our mortality and ultimate dependence rarely comes willingly, although it is the most “natural” of all cognitive recognitions.

We all run from death, but we never outrun it, leaving us to ponder on our most real day.

“Whatever lies on the other side of my years is beyond my mortal knowing. But I can and do affirm the eternity of God and the scriptural point of view that whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord, ‘All flesh is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God (YHWH, the eternal) shall last forever.’ Right now, that’s enough bread to live on today. . . . ”

– Excerpt from “When the Breath Flies Away,” Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, p. 64, now available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Today, I wish you a most real day. . . beyond exceptionalism.  It’s the beginning of all joy and personal responsibility.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, trying to get real, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Chaska, MN.

Mic check? MIKE CHECK!

Featured

What a difference six years make.

In 2011 “Mic check?” was the call and “MIC CHECK!” the response in the Occupy Wall Street camps. Electronic amplification was against the law. Only the human voice remained to protest crony Capitalism. The Nation’s  We Are All Human Microphones Now reminds us how it was in the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011.

How quickly things change. The “mic check?” call goes unanswered in the spaces that once attracted national attention. Instead the news is of a man named Mike whose voice was electronically recorded by U.S. intelligence while Mr. Flynn had a curious conversation with the Russian Ambassador during the presidential transition, and of another Mike, the Vice President-Elect, whom the first Mike “was not entirely forthcoming” about the contents of the conversation.

Some things don’t change.

In 2007-2008 Wall Street was big news. Time magazine and other media were asking “Is Capitalism Dead?” In 2011 Wall Street was back in charge, but Occupy Wall Street  continued to point the finger at crony capitalism, the deep tie between Wall Street and the Congressional Representatives and Senators whose elections depend upon the flow of capital into their campaign coffers. They do it without using microphones; they do it quietly through SuperPacs. No one has to tell them to turn off their microphones. they do it out of sight, very quietly. In the 2016 presidential campaign Wall Street was again the target of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both held the microphones. One was a phony. The one who was elected President appointed Wall Street billionaires to fill his cabinet, appointed a previously fired General named Mike his National Security Advisor, and loosened the Obama Administration regulations of Wall Street.

The one Mike misled the other Mike and the media are using their mics to amplify the story of the two Mikes. Now it falls to the people to use our voices. “Mic check?” “MIC CHECK!” “Mike check?” “MIKE CHECK!”

Many years before, following the Nixon Administration Watergate break-in of Democratic headquarters, the question was “Who knew what, and when did they know it?” “Trump check?”

Some things do not change.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 15, 2017.