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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ferguson and Such: Root Cause

Michael Nagler is exactly right in his commentary on “Beyond Ferguson”.

Without getting at the root cause of such brutal incidents, the traumas and tragedies will never go away. Focusing on the details of one incident or another as if a legal investigation would reveal some sort of truth is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Also, an essential part of getting at the root cause is “the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society,” as Nagler quotes Martin Luther King, Jr., as saying with regard to the Vietnam War.

Violence, militarism, and materialism, I believe, are a consequence of our cultural worldview of separation, fear, and thus the need for protection from one another (and from nature, as well, by the way). On the contrary, the best protection is connection, not separation.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It ain't over 'til it's over....

Friend Geoff Ainscow was instrumental in getting Sunnyvale, California’s, gun safety ordinance passed by voters overwhelmingly last year. Geoff’s remarkable story of citizen action, and the incident that sparked him to “get mad as hell and not take it, anymore,” is chronicled at the website of the Conscious Elders Network.

Of course, the inevitable resistance from local and national gun rights advocates continues in the courts. See the article in today’s San Jose Mercury News.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Every Three Seconds...

…someone on the planet dies of hunger or extreme poverty.

That’s the theme of the documentary film Every Three Seconds that I saw at the Awakened World International Film Festival in Santa Barbara last week. The film chronicles the actions of five ordinary people who have accomplished (are still accomplishing) extraordinary things. The five are an eight-year-old boy, two grandmothers, and two thirty-somethings. None of them set out to do something extraordinary but all saw something in the world that they just could not sit still for, started with one small action, and followed up step by step in an unplanned, organic process that lead to an effort that they would never have dared to undertake if they had seen where it would lead at the beginning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Admissions: A Parable of Peace

If you haven’t seen the film Admissions, please avail yourselves of the opportunity to see this beautiful parable of the foundations of peace and the end to war. See the message from producer/writer John Viscount, which includes a link for a free screening.

Admissions received its world premiere at the 2011 Global Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP) in Cape Town, South Africa. It has since toured film festivals around the world and received many awards.

I will be joining John Viscount next week as he screens Admissions and offers a following workshop at AGNT’s Awakened World International Film Festival in Santa Barbara, CA.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Buddha as Community Peacebuilder

We may have a powerful ally in community peacebuilding! An article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle chronicles The Buddha’s work in dissolving crime and building peace in a formerly crime-ridden neighborhood of Oakland, California.

See the article here.