The Science of Forgiveness – John Templeton Foundation

The Science of Forgiveness, written by leading scholar Dr. Everett L. Worthington, reveals key insights about forgiveness and its potential to heal society and ourselves. During the late 1990s, in the aftermath of the fall of Communism, Nelson Mandela’s election in South Africa, and an easing of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the world faced a new era in which former enemies tried to work with each other. Forgiveness took on new significance beyond religion, with which it had often been associated.

Source: The Science of Forgiveness – John Templeton Foundation

Christian nationalism is real. The way you talk about it might make things worse. | The Week

The concept has circulated for decades in scholarly circles, where it was more often used in an international context than applied to the United States. But since 2016, it’s become a popular term of art for Christian conservative politics. Georgetown international affairs professor Paul D. Miller defines Christian nationalism as “the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way.” Sociologists Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry use six criteria, including belief that the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation and that American success is “part of God’s plan.

“It’s easy to find criticisms of Christian nationalism, which dominate both academic and popular discussions of the subject. It’s far more difficult to locate advocates, at least under that name. Rather than encouraging substantive analysis of specific opinions or proposals, the label functions as a pre-emptive dismissal. To describe something “Christian nationalism” is inevitably to reject it.

That rejection is too quick, though. It’s possible to worry about specific kinds of political enthusiasm without dismissing all religious interpretation of American history or purpose. “Christian nationalism” is simply too broad identify the real problem with some brands of right-wing politics — as shown by the fact that a majority of Americans meet at least one of Whitehead and Perry’s criteria. Christian nationalism, in the scholarly sense, certainly exists in this country. But in its popular incarnation, the phrase often confuses more than it clarifies — and its overuse may undermine one of our best defenses against the real thing.

Source: Christian nationalism is real. The way you talk about it might make things worse. | The Week

James Ross Kelly – Now, Let-Me-Tell-You-This-Story… | The Galway Review

I was in Peter’s cabin in southern Oregon, in the summer of 1981. Peter had finished at Crosier Seminary in 1965 and having done a stint as a chaplain in the Navy, or maybe it was the Army, he declined to be ordained, and went to work selling books for New Directions. In 1967, he’d been chatting up bookstores for James Laughlin, and he stopped in San Francisco—took LSD, and tried briefly to become King of the Hippies. Soon realizing there were too many pretenders to the throne, he then retreated to Southern Oregon, where he bought a very small cabin in the woods and went on forays for Amanita muscaria mushrooms every fall and for Amanita pantherinas every spring on the Oregon coast or in the mountains. He’d dry hundreds of them and step into an altered reality most every day, then run ten miles so in his mid-forties he looked like an athlete in his twenties.

Source: James Ross Kelly – Now, Let-Me-Tell-You-This-Story… | The Galway Review

Deconstruction’s Critics Are Those With Much to Lose – Red Letter Christians

One of the issues with the discussion around deconstruction is that the people who are preaching and teaching about it, namely pastors, have a dog in the fight: it is sort of like asking a dairy farmer if you should become vegan.  They obviously don’t want that, and their livelihood is directly affected when people leave the church.  I know this conversation well, as my own family is and has been deeply involved in ministry.  My dad is my pastor.  So while I grapple with my own issues with the church, I am doing so in an environment that is still very much Christian.  I do not take deconstruction lightly, nor do I wish for churches to die.  I want the church to flourish, and flourishing requires weeding out that which is harmful.

Source: Deconstruction’s Critics Are Those With Much to Lose – Red Letter Christians

Texts Show Kimberly Guilfoyle Bragged About Raising Millions for Rally That Fueled Capitol Riot — ProPublica

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for former President Donald Trump and the girlfriend of his son Donald Trump Jr., boasted to a GOP operative that she had raised $3 million for the rally that helped fuel the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.In a series of text messages sent on Jan. 4 to Katrina Pierson, the White House liaison to the event, Guilfoyle detailed her fundraising efforts and supported a push to get far-right speakers on the stage alongside Trump for the rally, which sought to overturn the election of President Joe Biden.

Source: Texts Show Kimberly Guilfoyle Bragged About Raising Millions for Rally That Fueled Capitol Riot — ProPublica

Living Out Charism | Commonweal Magazine

Pope Francis’s call for all of the baptized to be part of the upcoming synodal process has been inspiring to many Catholics, if frustrating for those who feel their bishops could be doing more to get things going. But in bringing forward the voices of the lay faithful, the Holy Spirit hasn’t waited for the hierarchy. The Church believes in this inspired renewal so deeply that it has extended specific recognition to the International Associations of the Faithful: “Even a cursory glance at the history of the Church reveals the magnitude of the work performed by these associations at crucial moments in its existence, and the wealth of charisms generated in all ages by lay movements created for the renewal of the Christian life.” The International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities is one such organization.

Source: Living Out Charism | Commonweal Magazine

Pacific Yew

Pacific Yew
I was once paid
To survey Yew trees
In Old Growth forests
In Oregon near Crater Lake
Mammoth Douglas fir & White fir
Covered the landscape, rolling sides
Of Mountains, the Yew were generally
In wet areas, crevices of creeks
They grew as attendant soldiers to the large conifers
Only the fifty to sixty feet the oldest of them
Lining the feeder streams that stretched downward
To Creeks that all ran to the Rogue River
The surrounding clearcuts were littered with their
Brothers & sisters as they were sexed male & female
Into large piles to be burned as unmerchantable
In Canada they made them into beautiful
hardwood flooring, after closing a bar in
British Columbia I was drinking beer
At a timber faller’s home & complemented
him on his floor as it was gorgeous red hues
& Blond running throughout the lengths of the boards,
& I asked him what kind of wood
It was, as I had installed wood floors
for about as brief a time as I had logged,
“THAT,” he said, as he waved his Molson,
“Is Canadian Yew wood!”
& he said it as if it came from the Queen herself
The females have tiny red berries
but were no different in appearance
Then the males, but that they were
dioeciously conifers with separate sexes
Was something that seemed an oddity,
yews were generally few & far
Between but in the right conditions
they would form stands that followed
The creeks downhill & appeared
as un-uniformed limby
Gnarly red barked ever green twisted
with holes & grown
Over defects that were as old as
the tall Douglas fir. their large
European counter parts were used as chapels
By early European Christians
who took them from
Pagan worshipers that found their otherworldly
Appearance in deep forest
to be contingent with forested
& I who had formerly spent
My short forestry career in clearcuts
where all this had been raped,
Well, the three weeks I spent with
Yews, kind of sealed this notion
That yes, this separate place
was an amalgam
of earth, with a presence
All its own, we were surveying Yew
because its bark had been found
To be a cure for breast & ovarian cancer,
the worry at the time was
That we had cut too much of it
& the need for it for medicine would
Be its demise in a few short years
Notwithstanding the fact we’d burned up
More than was left as “trash wood”
perhaps every incurable disease has
Its counterpart, the European Yew were almost wiped out
because of its prize as the commodity for long bows,

this is really more understandable
Rather than the overuse because it was “just in the way,” the tidy up
of D-8 cats & the ever present need to & burn the left over’s

so, we could entertain
The notion of growing back trees like corn that
had in a elegant fashion been growing to cure
The beloved’s—the grandmother’s,
the mothers, the young women whose
Lives were to come into an age of
life out of balance
All of us reductionist drones
that in corporate discounting of the lovely,
& the obscure
Into spreadsheets & bottom lines
while the checkerboard square clearcuts
Of Pacific Northwest took away
the great bands of yew & the spotted
Owls—who were never seen
as created harbingers of loveliness,
& health & the sure goodness of answers
to all our problems.

from Black Ice & Fire: Poems by James Ross Kelly