The Common Good

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post Press Items
Now, before you sprain an optic nerve rolling your eyes, let me begin by saying, "Yes." Yes, I realize that the vast majority of HuffPost readers do not fall within young Mr. Bieber's target demographic. Many of you likely are asking yourselves (perhaps out loud, as we adults are wont to do), "Who the heck is Justin Bieber and why should I care?"
In 1943, in the throes of World War II and one of the most fraught times in contemporary human history, the psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper explaining, as he understood them, the five basic, motivating needs common to all of humankind.
But this is our year. I can feel it. We'll sojourn into the unexplored realms of substance and coherent logic. We'll even ditch such phrases as "evangelical voting block" and soak in Jim Wallis' wisdom: "Many -- even most -- evangelicals don't fit media stereotypes and are growing weary of hearing them repeated over ande over again, especially from writers who know nothing about us, have an agenda to use or distort who we are and what we believe, or simply should know better." This will be the election year in which we...
I would never have been mistaken as a political supporter of President George W. Bush. But in his early days as president, I was invited to have conversations with him and his team about faith-based initiatives aimed at overcoming poverty, shoring up international aid and development for the most vulnerable, and supporting critical agendas such as international adoptions of marginalized children and the broken domestic foster care system.
In my Miami lifetime (now more than half of my 56 years) I have focused on building the kind of community that reflects compassion across numerous divides: race, ethnicity, income, education, ability. I have discovered ways to advocate "appreciatively," leaving room for redemption of all parties. I have promoted connecting through the heart and then applying fact and reason to divisive and perplexing complex community concerns. I have sought common ground by going to higher ground (a favorite Rev. Jim Wallis quote).
I've learned that it's especially important for those who are always trying to change the world, to remember what they are thankful for in their world as it is!
For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. Even as a child, with the prospect (and visions) of sugar plums and bundles of wrapped Christmas presents dancing in my imagination, it was our annual family gathering, a food-a-palooza in November that claimed the preeminent spot in my holiday heart.
The Baylor survey appears amidst a debate on what lessons politicians should draw from religion to address issues such as the nation's deficit. On the one hand, religious voices such as Sojourners, a Washington, D.C.-based evangelical organization, have called for "shared sacrifice" among Americans to help the "least of these," a phrase drawn from Matthew 25:45. At the same time, others have advocated what's called the "prosperity gospel," which includes the belief that God will provide and financially bless those who believe.
But a prominent religious leader of the progressive left, Rev. Jim Wallis, disavowed such tactics and specifically called out Hitchens for being "as bad a secular fundamentalist as Jerry Falwell or the Ayatollah Khomeini are bad religious fundamentalists." "He is a hostile, vitriolic, hateful person when it comes to people of faith," Wallis told HuffPost. "He is intellectually completely ignorant of religion."
I've been hearing a lot of talk on all sides about the American Dream lately. This has pressed the question: Is the American Dream God's dream? The American Dream traces its roots to the United States Declaration of Independence. Our forbearers declared: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."