Monthly Archives: July 2010

What is Justice?

With Social Justice being somewhat of a battle cry these days, I think it might be important to ask those who are working for social justice to please define it.

The word “social” is easy. The dictionary says: “of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community.”

The situation gets a bit thornier when we try to define Justice. Normal definitions have to do with moral codes and the law. Well, are the laws defined by our moral codes? Whose moral codes do we use, and how do we define those?

There are certain values which seem to be inborn. Those shared values make us human, and in fact, allows us to become a society. But we have such clever methods of justification that we can twist almost anything into a moral code.

Just watching the nightly news will make it obvious that there are at least two sides to every story, and a different opinion for every person watching. How can we derive our laws–our system of justice–from such a diverse pool, from such an aggregate of special interests? Our opinions, and therefore our beliefs, stem in great part from our needs.

Examine, if you will, both sides of the abortion controversy. Or the death penalty controversy. Or the controversy of your choice.  On each side you will find passionate feelings and opinions, and myriad justifications for those feelings and opinions.

But is that how we should write our laws? Should the moral code of our country be dictated by the current sway of passionate feelings and opinions?

Is there an alternative?

Matthew Fox, in his book A New Reformation writes: “Sustainabillity is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.”

What if we built our laws, not upon feelings, opinions and scriptural interpretations, but upon sustainability? What if we projected two hundred years into the future and refused to do anything that would knowingly cause harm to our descendants, seven generations hence?

What if sustainability was the law of the land?

We might have a stable economy. We might have an educational system that addressed the needs of the students. We might have a food and water distribution system that nourished every citizen. We might have a fair taxation system that we could depend upon for the next few generations. We might have systems that would perpetuate in righteousness, and the politicians would not be able to throw the citizenry into fear so they could be re-elected, because the very way our representatives are elected would be different.

Sustainability isn’t just another buzzword for the decade. It could very well be the definition of social justice, and the salvation of our society.

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Filed under Social Consciousness, Sustainability

Rightmindedness

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to that word: Rightmindedness.

We have a thousand opportunities every day to choose our mindset. If we get our minds right, we can choose happiness, joy, freedom, love, light, loyalty, sunshine.

Or, if something we don’t like happens, we can allow it to color our whole day, our month, our year.  A moment’s temptation can throw us off a diet, for example, and in a few days, all the good hard work that’s been done is erased. Or, we could choose to not let that happen. We could choose to put our minds right again, and not let a small slip throw our world into chaos.

The same goes for fear and anxiety. We can let it run our lives, or we can live with self-forgiveness and let old conflicts go. When new situations arise, we have the power to choose our reaction to them. If we behave ourselves, what do we care if others misbehave?

I read an article about how human minds seek out similarities. We like finding coincidences. We match up things that go together. We say things like: He looks just like so-and-so, except for…”  And that also goes for series of events. In one day, we could have a flat tire, have to wait so long at a professional’s office that we miss another appointment, get some bad news and have to deal with a miscommunication. Each of those things has the potential to ruin our day, if we let it, especially if we run down the litany of everything that went wrong to the spouse or loved one.

Instead, we should run down all the great things that happened. All the miracles that we’ve bunched together, all the coincidences, all the moments of synchronicity and delight. All the good things that people did for us, all the nice things people said about each other.

We’re not in control of much in our lives, but we are in control of our attitude. I know people who are negative, and I know people who are positive. I’d rather hang with the positive folks. The socially fragrant ones help me enjoy life.

I’m working on getting my mind right, one decision at a time, because that will make life a lot more fun. And it will also make the world a better place.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Discipline, Friends, Fun, goals, Goodness, Honesty, Joy, peace, Personalities, regrets, relationships, Spirituality

Every Day at 5:50pm

Beginning July 1, I’m joining a group of people who will spend five minutes at 5:50pm (Pacific time; 8:50pm Eastern) every day meditating.

We expect that our energies will join to help eradicate fear and greed on this planet. We expect to concentrate on the concept of Rightmindedness in the hopes that this five minutes of concentrated effort will not only change us, but will ripple out and effect real change everywhere.

Please join us. Five minutes. Set your timer. Close your eyes and visualize our planet in good hands. How hard can that be? Sometimes the tiniest of actions produces the greatest results.

5:50pm for five minutes every day. I’m fairly certain that you won’t be doing anything more important for those five minutes, so why not add your considerable energy to the mix?

Magic might happen.

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Filed under concentration, connections, goals, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality