It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

When Positive News Isn't by Michael Nagler

Michael Nagler is president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, a long-time scholar and teacher of Gandhian nonviolence, and founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley. His recent Metta Center blog post, "When Positive News Isn't," raises several issues regarding the cultural trend of violence and demeaning of Nature that we have been on for the past few centuries. In response, I posted the following thoughts on the Metta Center blog page.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Call Ourselves "Sapiens," Wise -- Are We?

I wrote this 12 years ago and am amazed at how current and relevant it still is...

We call ourselves Homo sapiens sapiens.  But, how wise are we, really?

I began this train of thought one day in mid April 1999.  I had come home from work and was going through the mail when I came across a newsletter reporting that three participants at the 1998 State of the World Forum had met a violent death on March 5. I remembered having read the news reports soon after it happened: three Americans kidnapped and murdered in the jungles of Venezuela, near the Colombian border.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Growing Up

The cauldron of oil called the Middle East is aflame with the passions of the oppressed and dispossessed, of fear and intolerance, of hopelessness and hope. Every day we listen to and watch the latest dispatches, ticked off like reports of the weather along the path of an advancing firestorm: Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Syria – and spreading eastward to add fuel to and join the ongoing fires in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. People, the grassroots, are waking up and letting it be known that they are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Is Peace?

Let’s start The Green Pen off with talking about peace, particularly since I’ll be writing a lot about it.

What is “peace,” anyway? The word means so many things to so many people – and not always positive. It’s something like the word “God” in that you almost can’t have a conversation about it without first getting  out on the table what it is you are talking about.