The Post-Soul Alt-Right World

The post-soul alt-right budget proposal of Presidency of Donald Trump and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, forgets – or never knew – what most people know:

Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it’s accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another’s eyes or heart. – Sue Monk Kidd

The White House budget proposal fails the soul test. But it does makes us ponder something else about the human soul’s potential for darkness:

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness; on the confines of the two everlasting empires, necessity and free will. – Thomas Carlisle

Say “good-bye,” America, to Meals-on-Wheels. Say “good-bye” to empathy. Say “hello” to the post-soul alt-right world that forgets or never knew.

It’s enough to make an old soul cry.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 17, 2017.



Talking about death and dying

Talking openly about death is a rare thing. We don’t like talking about it. We prefer it go away and stay away, like rain: “Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.”

When someone dies, it’s often said they’ve passed, passed away, or passed on, a sentiment dating back to a Greek idea of the immortality of the soul. It was/is assumed the soul at death is set free from its mortal cage to live forevermore.

The likes of Barbara Brown Taylor, of whom I consider myself one, have different idea. “Matter matters,” she says. Flesh and blood matter. Flesh, blood, and matter matter. Christians, following the older view of the Hebrew Bible, do not share the belief in a part of us – a soul – that survives our mortal frame. Instead, we profess a curious hope that affirms the essential goodness of corporal existence. Belief or hope in the resurrection of the body may seem even stranger than the immortality of the soul.

I have no more reason to believe in the resurrection of the body than I do to believe in an immortal soul. Watching the life go out of my dogs, I did not imagine some invulnerable part of them leaving their bodies to pass on to some other state of being. They were dead. I cried. I grieved. I mourned their loss. I never thought I would see them again. If they, or we, had a future, it seems more natural, so to speak, to think of them in their bodies all over again.

But which body would it be? Would Maggie, our West Highland White Terrier-Bichon Frise, be the playful pup or the one with the tumor on her hip? Would I be the 73 year-old me, the new-born me, or the teenager with the raging hormones?

Passing away has always made more sense to me than passing or passing on. “You are dust and to dust you shall return” makes better sense to me. The Earth will go on, as will those I love … for a time … but not forever, so far as any of us really knows. I say the Nicene creed on Sundays and ponder what it means to say “I look for the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come.” The world to come, so far as I can tell, is the Earth where Cecil the lion doesn’t get killed by a dentist, and the lion and the lamb…and the dentist…lie down together in peace and hurt one other no more.

My friend Steve talks openly about death and dying. “I’m dying,” he says, not with a morose or maudlin sensibility but as a fact. It’s not a great surprise to him. Would he and we prefer the rain to go way and come back some later day? You bet. But it won’t, and even it if would, it would be back some other day. There’s great grace in the acceptance of death and the maturity to speak of it aloud, enjoy old friends when one can, laugh and cry and hug and kiss those one loves.

That we would want something more or fear death as the end is part of being human. The time of death is not time to debate philosophy or theology. It’s time for compassion, and for grace and courage to recognize our creatureliness – the distinction between every creature and the Creator, mortal life and the Immortality, the finite and the Eternal.

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 29, 2015

Does a corporation have a soul?

Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority ruling that corporations are persons with the same rights as voters, blogger Chris Glaser posted “Does a Corporation Have a Soul?”



Beyonce on the floor of Congress


Congressional leaders are singing off key, inviting a national food fight. They want us to believe they’re soul-singers. But the sound is wooden. No heart. No soul. Instead we hear only of sequestration, protestation, damnation, remonstration, and gyration, but no gestation, no universal gun registration. Only sequestration.

Bring in Beyoncé! “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming fo’ to carry me home. I looked over Jordan and what did I see? A band of angels comin’ after me, comin’ fo’ to carry me home.”

If you agree that Congress is acting like the prisoners before Beyoncé came to their rescue, send this link to your Congressional Representatives. Tell ’em Paul Robeson, Johnny Cash, Etta James, and Beyoncé told you to. 🙂