Breaking down barriers

A common saying of mine is when religion is inclusive it is at its finest; when religion is exclusive it is at its absolute worst. It matters not the degree of self-proclaimed piety, if we practice exclusion we are sealing the fate of our own demise.

A great example of the power of religion is the work of Pope Francis. The Catholic Church was in trouble with the pedophile priest scandals and too much of an inward focus. With Pope Francis focusing on outreach to those in need coupled with a humility long needed, he has touched many within and outside of the church.

He has broken down barriers. He has led by example, washing the feet of a Syrian migrant and condemning those who want build walls to isolate people. When asked about homosexuality, he has said who am I to judge?

Yet, with heightened fears of terrorism, xenophobia, bigotry and racism have surfaced in an ugly way. While many do not condone this evil triumvirate, what may have been an undercurrent is now more visible in public, campaigns and even governance. We should be vigilant and shine spotlights on these unhealthy behaviors. We certainly should not be voting for people who advocate exclusion or condone bigotry.

These actions do not make us safer. Nor do they make us better people. They prey upon our fears and insecurities. So, let’s not erect barriers and then throw stones  at those on the other side. Let’s emulate the Pope and break down barriers.






11 thoughts on “Breaking down barriers

    • Lisa, I agree with you on Pope Frank. The divisive rhetoric has likely been around, but became more popular with the shock jocks on the radio. Then came the editorial disguised as news. Now, GOP candidates led by Trump and Carson said political correctness was the greatest problem in America. Really? My theory is foregoing PC empowers the speaker to be uncivil and lie, both of which are being done in abundance by Trump. The way to beat Trump is to not to mudwrestle with him, as he has already won – stick to the his lack of substance on issues and history.

  1. Note to Readers: I have written before about the dot connectors among us. They may write a well followed blog that connects people around the world or they may be that tireless person at work that has a hand in most office social or community relations functions. They may be that neighbor who brings a casserole by when you return from a hospital visit. Or, they may be the church member who arranges food for funerals or outreach. These dot connectors are like the peacemakers we bless in religious texts. They are needed and appreciated.

  2. Yeah Pope Frank was quick to feel the wraith of the GOP trickle downers when he caution the continuing cultivation of mammon. One of the few recent times, in memory, that the party exhibited true, not faux, outrage. How dare the Pope concern himself with growing covetousness. And that cuts both ideological ways.

    And we can call out, and spot light, bigotry all we want, but most are just dark to their prejudices.

    We can chastise but we can’t converse, because, for the most, they lack a vocabulary of grievance. The ability to parse in language, what’s pissing them off in particular. So they chant back the simplistic slogans of those who stoke for personal gain the aforementioned xenophobia, bigotry and racism.

    Keith, did you happened to hear David Brooks the other day, on Charlie Rose… I think. Brooks suggest that our nation’s institutions are failing and we need a centralized plan to repair and revitalize them. A sorta return to a Pre-GOP Whig Party nationalism, I gather. A top down approach. With it’s built in elitism.

    That’s interesting when compared to your bottom up dot connectors that you consider the corrective. Now that’s a debate worthy of a great nation. But that might educate, God forbid, a few people about just how a Republic works, and where’s the T and A and $ in that?

    Another good post.
    And Go Cubs.


    • Thanks Doug. I missed David Brooks on Charlie Rose, but watch him weekly on PBS Newshour with Mark Shields. He is correct that our institutions are letting us down, but the cure will likely need an all of the above approach. I have noticed with the absence of institutions doing what they need to do, a confederation of initiatives by individuals, businesses, entrepreneurs, and foundations are taking up the slack. I believe it has always been a joint effort between government funding, venture capital and regular investors, yet, the government has been slow or non-existent in too many places. Further, our political parties run for office at all times, so they rely less on facts and govern with rhetoric, which ranges from exaggeration to lies. Plus, collaboration has waned and is not valued, which is strange as that is how it supposed to work.

      We need this groundswell of bottom up collaboration, civility and ideas to show our leaders how they need to act. But, we do need them to meet us halfway. A reason I blog and send countless emails is they need to hear the real truth and not a version that suits their needs. Thanks for reading and commenting, Keith

  3. Raised Catholic but I no longer practice religion but I do believe in God and the goodness of humanity. However I admire Pope Francis. He is moving Christianity into the 21st Century. You know I agree with you.

    • Kim, I think you are not alone in practicing the humanity of your faith away from formal religion. This Pope is bringing many folks back with his focus. Keith

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