A Higher Loyalty by James Comey was an interesting read. What did I learn? Not much about the details of the struggle as they have been extensively chronicled by the many news outlets. But I did learn how much those like Comey give to all of us just being in the various law enforcement agencies sworn to protect our freedom. I also experienced to a degree that surprised me the awareness of how much we put on the shoulders of others what we should be carrying ourselves. As long as they are doing “their jobs” I can go about my life not concerned about the Constitution or the freedoms it provides. But Comey shares with all of us that this comes at great cost to many. They cannot do it alone. We, and I, need to do our part as well. Time will tell if we are up to our jobs, and if we are worthy of the commitments so many make on our behalf. The book ends on the hope that like a forest fire that clears the way for new growth previously hampered by the overgrowth of the old trees. I look to the youth of today to grow into that role. Now it is our turn to sort out what is true and give our energies to that same truth so that the young will trust that it is worth their lives.
This classic by C.G. Jung is so timely for today. As I reflected on its message I was reminded of Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of union differentiates. This idea teaches that the more we come together, the more we discover our self. In biblical times the individual counted only as a member of a group. Outside the group survival was all but impossible unless you could find another group that would include you. Then centuries later, we rebelled and swung to the opposite pole of individualism. For a time we reveled in this new found sense of the importance of each life. It seems now that we are faced with another important paradigm shift that it isn’t an either/or dilemma, but a both/and reality. Jung invites us to reflect on the good/evil that is inherent in each of us. When we accept and respond in ways that our faith traditions offer, maybe we can evolve from just being attracted to the eternal truths offered by the worlds faith traditions and actually try to live them. It seems like our present worldwide anxiety offers us this invitation. You can go online and download a pdf version of this valuable little book.
Mayer, Jane. Dark Money. Doubleday, NY. 2016. The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. In an attempt to understand why people who have more money than they could ever use need even more, I borrowed this book from the library. It was a page turner read. Mayer pulls back the curtain to let us see what is going on behind that enterprise and hopefully, we like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, will be aided with seeing who is really pulling the levers in our society. The best conclusion I can come up with is the insatiable need to be in control. It is the age old temptation to “be like God”. Mayer gives us the background of the childhood of the Koch brothers and I came away with a deep sense of pity for them. They truly didn’t have a chance and their response to this abuse is to be abusers as well. Alone they wouldn’t be too worrisome but they have aggregated many of the same persuasion so as to become a very threatening to our constitutional form of self governance. Now the current ruse is to want our “well being” and to lure the unsuspecting to use their sense of fairness as a tool of aggression. Books like Dark Money can help us resist this con game if we can see what is happening. Read this book, if fairness describes you .
If you are in the mood to dive deeply into a work that can help you get the ‘big picture’ of how we have come to an understanding of freedom and grace in the Christian tradition, I invite you to explore a work called A Gadamerian Reading of Karl Rahner’s Theology of Grace and Freedom by Dr. Carmichael C. Peters.