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Sins of the Fathers

by on November 29, 2019

Sins of the Fathers

by Marco M. Pardi

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me.” Deuteronomy 5:9 and Exodus 20:5

“Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7 and Numbers 14:18

All comments are welcome and will receive a response.

To be very clear, while I do not subscribe to the concept of a personalized God, I hold a deep respect for those few believers I have known who do so honestly, living fully according to the precepts of their religions. That in no way means I agree with them; it means I respect honesty. I have no respect whatsoever for people who wrap themselves in the mantle of a religion while living an anathema to that religion, the people who have used that mantle to enrich themselves. I have lived among and worked with people of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I’ve also lived where these religions were practically unknown.

Western society generally prides itself on the position that you can believe whatever you want to believe so long as you do not force it on others, or bring harm to others. That appears to be rapidly changing in the United States.

There should be no doubt that, even among reasonable people, themes fundamental to religions permeate through the social and political systems of those people. Of course, we could say the reverse is also true; social and political themes which became religious themes did so by the simple grafting on an assumed “divine authority”. One of the more puzzling themes I have encountered is that of visiting punishment, or some sort of reckoning onto the descendants of those who supposedly committed some offense.

I first encountered this concept when, as an Italian child relatively new to the post WWII United States I met with some hostility from other children who claimed their fathers fought against the Germans and the Italians, two of the Axis Powers.

Of course, I was not savvy enough to generate a meaningful rebuttal. I knew only that my father was distinctly not a Fascist; he was sympathetic to the deposed King of Italy, but was strongly in favor of a British style parliamentary system. (I later learned how he used his position – Colonel – to orchestrate resistance against the German occupation of Italy.) But Americans, especially kids, knew little or nothing about internal Italian politics. So, I relied on less cerebral skills to deal with those wishing to resume hostilities.

At that time we lived in the North. I learned about the Civil War with some disinterest, it not being my war. And I read about current Southern White hostility toward Northerners. I thought that understandable, Northerners being able to speak grammatical English and more likely having a full set of teeth. But when I moved to the South I again encountered hostility. Older by this time, I tried to explain I came to this country; I was neither a “Yankee” or a “Rebel”. Some years later I began reading about “reparations”.

This was a concept I understood. As the German locusts were retreating from Italy during WWII they seized and occupied a 39 room chateau we owned in the Alps above Cortina. The Americans and British duly bombed it to dust and it was only in the mid 1960’s that the government of Germany paid us “reparations”. I did not know the details, but I understood the concept.

Yet here was talk about reparations for the enslavement of Africans brought to the New World. There was precedent. Major German companies were embroiled in court cases over reparations to the survivors of concentration camp labor forced to work for them during the war. Those cases were largely won by the survivors, even the children of those survivors. But the cases were bolstered by the meticulous records the Germans themselves kept of every person imprisoned and subsequently forced into a factory or mine. How could anyone provide documentation specific to a huge slave trade which functioned solely on descriptions such as Adult Male Healthy, Child Female Sickly?

I don’t know, but I suppose some crafty real estate attorney calculated the value of that chateau at the time of the bombing, or perhaps what it would be worth in the 1960’s. I do know that we have seen many wrongly convicted and incarcerated Americans awarded cash settlements after they were freed. I assume those settlements were based upon calculated lost earnings, with perhaps some punitive award thrown in. Native American tribes have successfully sued the federal government for breach of contract subsequent to treaty violations and land confiscation.

But to identify all living African-Americans as necessarily the descendants of people brought here in slavery over 150 years ago – which many are not – and hand each a lump sum cash settlement is clearly unworkable. For one thing, it would mean parcing out tax money in the U.S. treasury to ensure that only money paid in by those presumed to be the descendants of the slavers would be used for the pay out. Otherwise, tax money paid in by the descendants of slaves themselves would be mixed with that paid in by Native Americans, by immigrants from non-slave trading nations, and by descendants of the slavers. How well do you think that would go over?

There are other ways providing reparations. We have known for decades of outright racially based discrimination in many sectors of American society, including availability of loans for housing, small business support, federal subsidies to farmers, and much more. A serious and meaningful response to those issues would result in a deliverable value.

On a worldwide scale, we are already seeing another kind of human displacement: Climate refugees. This is no new problem. Linguistic evidence strongly supports the position that the name Hebrew derives from the Egyptian word hebiru, essentially meaning migrant or itinerant laborer. During repeated droughts in the area which came to be known as Palestine the residents moved to the fertile Nile Valley, taking what jobs they could find.

At the height of Imperial Rome edicts were issued limiting the amount of coal that could be burned in households; a black pall hung over the city in deep winter. People who could, fled the city for the rural villages. And now we are seeing mass migrations in several parts of the world as largely man made climate change drastically alters rainfall, crop growing patterns, forage for livestock, and seawater temperatures which support or deny fish.

Who is the main driver behind climate change? The fossil fuel industry, supported by tax breaks and subsidies passed by our elected officials and their appointed minions. Through disclosure of internal documents we now know that the major oil and gas companies knew they were destroying the environment as early as, or before, the 1960’s. Yet they have grown into the world’s most profitable and most powerful multi-national companies. Their tax sheltered income is in the trillions; their power resides in their ability, as a cartel, to turn off the tap and roll living conditions back into the 1800’s.

And their air pollution and the water pollution which changes the chemical balance of salt and fresh water is acceptable to a large portion of humanity which sees it as a side effect of the medicine needed to fix and maintain everyday life.

Most people are aware of the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Few people are aware of another such blowout. Twelve miles off the coast of Louisiana a drilling rig toppled in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan has been leaking 700 barrels of oil every day up to the present day, and is still leaking at that rate (U.S. Govt. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement). The same Bureau said, “For every 1,000 wells in state and federal waters, there’s an average of 20 uncontrolled releases – or blowouts – every year. A fire erupts offshore every three days, on average……” (USG, BSEE) The Gulf of Mexico is the world’s largest open sewer. And who are the new hebirus, the new migrants fleeing the changing conditions which spawn violence and desperation? We are seeing them all over the world, drowning in the Mediterranean, being killed in the Middle East and in Asia, and having their children forcibly taken from them at the U.S. border. Well over 5,400 children have been taken, most shipped to unknown and now untraceable locations. ICE has admitted it had no tracking technology when it sent infants and children to foster homes, shelters, and orphanages throughout the U.S.

But America, despite its claim to “Pro-Life” is growing support for Draconian laws proposed and passed by elected representatives banning abortion under most or all circumstances and restricting or banning access to contraception, dooming many children to homelessness, poverty, hunger, revolving door foster care, juvenile and adult prison, and the desperation that leads to acceptance of any kind of work, be it drug trafficking, prostitution or what amounts to mercenary enlistment into an imperial military. The very same elected legislators who propose and enact the “Pro-Life” laws are attempting to eliminate Social Security, MediCare, MediCaid, school lunch support, and SNAP – the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (the proposed cut to SNAP is 450 billion dollars).

Looking back at that title, Sins of the Fathers, we might ask ourselves who the fathers are. Of course, we must recognize that the concept originated within a rabidly patriarchal society. So, we can now understand “fathers” in a more inclusive sense not restricted to males.

Who paid us for the loss of our chateau and all its furnishings and personal items over twenty years previously? The aircrews who bombed it? The German General Staff who ordered the seizure? No. The next generation of German taxpayers, the people struggling to put their lives back together paid us. They paid for the sins of the fathers.

Years of hard fought legal and even physical battles have won advances for African-Americans now living in America. But who should pay for the lives lost or spent in abject misery during the years of organized slavery? How should it be paid? To whom? The original “fathers” are long dead.

Who should pay for the officially approved genocide of Native Americans, the hundreds of treaty violations, the forced dislocation of people to lands so poor they could barely feed themselves, the confinement to Reservations? How should it be paid? To whom? The original “fathers” are long dead.

Who will pay for the lives of our children and grandchildren as they struggle to survive on diminishing arable land, with greatly reduced available seafood and clean water to drink? Who will house and feed the masses attempting to relocate to where life is still possible? Who will answer their questions on how this came about? We are the fathers.

Who will pay for the unwanted children, especially those born with incurable medical conditions they will experience for life, born into circumstances which could not have supported them even before the vicious cuts in the social safety nets? We are the fathers.

The old advertising slogan, BUY NOW, PAY LATER, has been replaced by the unspoken ethic, PILLAGE AND RUIN NOW, THE BILLS WON’T BE DUE IN OUR LIFETIMES.

Yet we are the fathers, and soon enough the paternity suits will hold up in court. In teaching Human Behavioral Science I always destroyed the myth of instinctual “Mother love”. Perhaps the best arguments against that myth have been playing out before our distracted eyes.

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28 Comments
  1. mkdohle permalink

    You know Marco that the “Gordian-Knot” is a good metaphor for the human condition for me. I am not sure that there is a way out of this for us. Perhaps things have to get worse, much worse, before they get better. I just don’t know. After all, history is littered with ‘dead’ societies, perhaps we are next.

    We are a short sighted species. Especially when it comes to matters that have to do with profit. As Pope Francis said about greed. When it becomes the basis for one’s life, then chaos will ensue.

    Too much knowledge, too much power, and too little maturity is leading us down a merry path for sure.

    You can’t change things. Yet each of us can be agents for a better world by simply dealing kindly with those we can help. I can’t change anyone, or convince anyone of anything, yet I can be helpful and listen. It sounds like something that is not worth much, yet what else can we do.

    So I am not going to give simplistic religious answers, they won’t help, just as simplistic political answers won’t work either.

    Don’t carry what you are not called to carry my dear friend. But simply do what you can.

    Peace
    Mark

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    • Dana permalink

      Mark, I am going to write down this quote of yours and place it in a prominent location where I can see it often. It’s a wonderful reminder. Thank you.

      “Don’t carry what you are not called to carry my dear friend. But simply do what you can.”

      Dana

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    • Julie permalink

      Perfect Mark 👌❤

      Like

    • Thank you, Mark. The commitment you have maintained to your faith and the life long work you perform for the benefit of others form the model for the honesty I hold in the highest esteem. Your advice goes to the heart of the issue, and I will hold it before me.

      Like

  2. Dana permalink

    Marco, this is true intellectual stimulation, and we can always count on you for that.  

    Slavery reparation is a sticky subject that should be addressed at length and in detail, but I’ve yet to see most raise points you mentioned. I know there are white politicians who are advocates.  Are they sincere in their “apologetic” intentions, or do they simply need endorsements and/or votes?  I haven’t given it enough thought until now.  

    Perhaps a better idea would be the fairness of a Universal Basic Income for every American eighteen years of age and up.  It’s an egalitarian concept, and one with an abundance mindset.  Those who don’t need or want it could certainly use the dividend to support needier family members, and as one candidate has said, permit people to age with dignity.  I also like the idea (not mine) of providing financial literacy classes for those still in high school in preparation for the proposed income. I really could have and still could use that type of education, but I find it so boring and even stressful despite the necessity.  Martin Luther King Jr. was an outspoken advocate of UBI, and the idea may have originated with him (I can’t recall just now). I support the concept as well as the proposed plans for execution. This might also be an interesting experiment. This is not an attempt to use your blog as a platform for political endorsement, but UBI is worth discussing.

    I’ve gone through some resentful periods in my own life until not so long ago.  As an adolescent I slipped through the cracks of the Canadian and U.S. governments – mostly provincial, local and state, but also at the border.  For some time I felt “owed” by someone or something.  Too often I failed to consider the very ones who basically left me for dead – those who “brought me into this world” as the saying goes.  To date they have never once acknowledged my feelings, much less empathized with or even believed what I and countless others have said.  They will never acknowledge me, and it’s anyone’s guess why I continued to speak to them at all. I accepted whatever financial reparation I could get, which wasn’t at all what I really wanted. Validation, acknowledgement, and acceptance (and even an apology) might have gone a long way in my overall well-being and success.  Accepting funds originating from a cult might only have worsened my mental health.  Desperation sometimes unfortunately called for desperate measures.

    Other questions can be raised regarding reparation from the abusive founder (now dead) in charge of the outfit where I was taken. What type or how much of an award should have been made?  What level of abuse did each survivor experience?  How can that be measured?  Every human has different coping mechanisms and abilities. Some survivors have been left with irreparable psychological damage.  From conversations I had nearly twenty years ago, many women later experienced similar reproductive health issues. I feel those may possibly have been linked to our endocrine systems.  I have no way of knowing, but I heard story after story.  And as you know, I had severe problems of my own.  However, even that can’t be measured when it was just one traumatic event and set of circumstances of many. 

    As for pillaging now and paying later, a few decades ago I met someone who had applied for every credit card possible. Their plan was to “shop until they dropped,” knowing they were going to file bankruptcy afterward. Strategic planning goes beyond impulsive choices in my concept of ethics, but it’s difficult to compare the two. I support contributing to the economy, but fail to see how their plan would have benefited themselves.  

    As a new single parent I lived on credit cards for a while. It was the difference between starving and caring for my children, or not. I had no help, not even a nearby family member to assist with food or childcare. I was virtually on my own and with not enough child support even to cover my existing mortgage payment. I did what I had to do to survive as an uneducated single parent without a job or hope of a career. Other desperate measures included co-habitation to save money – never a wise reason to move in with people despite the amount of time already spent together.

    We also need to fix the broken higher education system, one of pillage now and pay later, even if that isn’t the intention. I have an insurmountable heap of student loan debt. I mistakenly assumed life would one day be blissfully filled with meaningful work, long before I even registered for the first class. For someone motivated by work it’s been an eye-opening, depressing experience. But, life has been much more meaningful in other ways, so I try not to live with regret.  I’m here, exactly where I want to be at the moment. I do like one plan for overwhelming student loan debt – paying 10% of one’s income for ten years, then having the rest forgiven. Debt forgiveness for public servants is also a good idea.  

    When innocent people have been incarcerated for years or even decades, I can only imagine what life would be like upon release. I have little to no concept of money or financial literacy.  I can only imagine what might happen to their lives should a large award be made. This is just one of several reasons I don’t support the death penalty, especially when there is insufficient or no DNA evidence.

    Together we will continue to destroy the myth of “motherly love” instincts, even instincts to keep offspring safe. This insults me as a female human being, that I’m not only meant to have children, but also know precisely what to do with them after they’re born. I was far from a perfect mother, and goodness knows I’m still not. But, I know without question I possess no “motherly instincts” (or instincts at all, for that matter). I had to read every book I could get my hands on for the type of attachment parenting I chose to adopt. Since I had no culture of my own, I came home with heaps of library books about mothers around the world. I also looked to elephants, primates, and even mammals like dolphins and whales for examples. I did the best I could with what I had, and oh that I knew then what I know now.

    Thank you for continuing to write, and for addressing critical issues like climate change.  I’m always here to read, even if and when I fall behind in my responses.  I “talk” to you so much in my mind, that sometimes I forget I can speak to you here as well.

    Dana

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    • Thank you, Dana. The depth of your comments merits several articles in response. I can’t begin to do them justice in a reply, so will refer to them often as I formulate larger discussions of each of the areas and points you so eloquently raised.

      I do hope your comments here are widely read. They accurately expose the issues and problems and they clearly show the courage and the wit you applied in addressing and overcoming them.

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      • Dana permalink

        Marco, thank you. I’m really enjoying being here again, and writing is always beneficial for me. Did I ever think I would have a Muse? The concept of the male Muse never occurred to me until I met you. You inspire me to write and help me find the courage to do so.

        Dana

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        • Thank you, Dana. Writing is cathartic and helps us to sort ourselves out. I’m so glad you are enjoying it and I look forward to more from you.

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      • Dana permalink

        Marco, this is to follow up on my comments about Universal Basic Income vs reparation to various peoples. I felt there might have been others with a similar approach, including Martin Luther King, Jr.

        I was just watching a recent interview with Andrew Yang, and he mentioned Thomas Paine’s “citizens dividend.” I first heard about UBI through Andrew. I typically leave economics discussions to others. It makes my head “hurt,” but I am learning.

        The Social Security Administration’s website has Thomas Paine’s “Agrarian Justice” pamphlet, where his ideas can be found.

        https://www.ssa.gov/history/paine4.html

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        • Thank you, Dana. This is a valuable resource. Of course, the U.S. is rapidly moving toward a Russian style kleptocracy.

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  3. Julie permalink

    Hi Marco, this is a powerful piece of writing full.of truths that i wish the world at large could embrace. You are right, I feel in highlighting examples where there is little or no thought of future generations with decisions made by multinational companies (fracking comes to mimd) and some governments. In Australia we have the stolen generation, you may be familiar with, i think from memory occurred in the 1950s with our aborigines and today they receive many financial and support systems in place to repay these people. While i acknowledge this enormous affect on our indigenous people, I also understand there are many other people in disadvantaged situations that don’t get any assistance. Thank you for writing an authentic honest piece once again ❤

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    • Thank you, Julie. We seem to have been overtaken by a world wide storm of vicious greed which more and more people follow in hopes of getting some of the droppings.

      I do remember the discussions about the “stolen generation”, a phenomenon which was duplicated in Canada, the United States, and everywhere else imperialist powers established colonies. The French dubbed it “The Mission to Civilize”. An Anthropology professor of mine spent many years among the Australian Aborigines, providing us with rich and very troubling discussions. Yet, even then, we were perplexed by “how to unscramble the egg”. Throwing money around just doesn’t do it. In fact, that’s just a projection of the very kind of thinking which caused the problem in the first place.

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      • Julie permalink

        So true Marco, having completed some aboriginal studies a while back and having worked in the legal system for almost 20 years these too are my thoughts exactly.

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  4. mkdohle permalink

    I am working with a man who has been in and out of jail for the last 20 years. He is at this time 51 years old, with nothing that he can call his own, and really, no friends. I helped him a few times (going against my gut feelings), then had to stop because he was a con-artist. Yet, it was how he survived. I finally had to tell him not to come around anymore to actually protect the retreatants. Many who come here are in deep pain, and need the place for silence, prayer, or to just rest. they, for the most part, are compassionate and easy targets.

    Well about two months after he left, I got a letter from him, he was in jail. He wanted to write to me. So I did, letting him know that he is a human being, worthy of respect and i would write him, but could not help him on the financial level.

    In his letters, all he did was complain and was actually writing to me during classes given there to help them when the got out of prison. He was in for one year. I tried to encourage him, and to get him to get involved in the programs there, but to no avail.

    Finally, he tried to bully me into sending him some money, which I had to refuse and told him that I can’t write to him anymore. Since all he wanted was to con me. I was hard on him, but actually hoping to break through on some level, so that perhaps some real communication could come about.

    I did not hear from him for a year, when, yes, he was back in prison. So we wrote again, and it was sort of the same thing, but there was a difference. he did tell me about his past, which was horrendous. He was moved from foster home, to foster home, and there was a lot of sexual abuse done to him, which of course has a deeply negative effect on his life.

    When he was released after 6 months, he came by to see me. He seemed different. He lost a lot of weight and was using a cane, he has serious back problems. As we talked he told me that he was living in his truck, but was going to make it. He told me that in the past he came out to talk, but we never really did. So I brought into focus that the reason we did not talk was that he only wanted money from me. I would still be open to him talking to me, but I will not help him anymore with money.

    He brought up his past, and after listening, I told him that yes, he had a very difficult past, but he could not use that as an excuse to continue to live the way he did in the past……there has to be a better way I told him. Here you are 51, with nothing, no friends, because you used them up. To his credit, he did listen.

    I think it is finally starting to ring true for him, and he seemed open to what I said. it is funny, the more I am ‘blunt’ with him, but not angry, he seems to want to get closer. It is not to late for him to change how he does things, or how he looks on others as just simple avenues for more money.

    I am not trying to save him, but boundaries are important. If I start to look at the pile, the huge pile in front of me that shows me human suffering, I will be overwhelmed, yet I can try to help, just this one, and then the next, but not all of them.

    Of course Marco, I am different than you on how I look at the God question. Each human being is a child of a personal God who loves. I guess our deepest desire is to be seen and loved, and I believe that we exist, the universe exist because it is ‘seen’ and ‘loved’. So all humans are Christ Jesus since he said that what you do to the least you do to me.

    One reason I am pro-life is that in a culture where the rights of the unborn are shuffled aside, I don’t see how we can become a humane culture. Or where sex is presented to the public as a form of entertainment, each having the right to having as much sex as they want without responsibility. This is directed at the men, not the women. Atlanta is now a hub for sex-trafficking, so many men, and women, partake of this trade knowing of the reality of the situation of those who are forced into this line of work. There is so much, the burden of this sin in objectifying other humans beings is on a cultural level too much to bear, though it is often pushed under.

    Until we understand the sacredness of life, all life, we are spinning our wheels, and perhaps coming to a stop at least as far as our current culture is concerned. From what I have learned from the NDE, apart from my faith, is that, when one hurts, we all hurt. What we do to others we will experience full force when we have our life-review. We get away with nothing, it is just that justice does not happen in this world, or if it does, it is very rare.

    Living in the past is not helpful, though we can learn from it. Trying to pay back what was lost generations ago seems futile unless it can lessen the harm done that is still in effect today.

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  5. mkdohle permalink

    I am the worlds worst editor, sorry about the above first paragraph. Here is the correction. Wish there was an edit function on this site.

    I am working with a man who has been in and out of jail for the last 21 yeas. He is at this time 51 years old, with nothing that he can call his own, and really, no friends. I helped him a few times (going against my gut feelings), then had to stop because he was a con-artist. Yet, it was how he survived. I finally had to tell him not to come around anymore to actually protect the retreatants. Many who come here in deep pain, and need the place for silence, prayer, or to just rest. they, for the most part, are compassionate and easy targets.

    Like

    • Dana permalink

      Mark, I always get something from what you’ve written even though I have no religious beliefs. It’s really comforting to see you here again, and to observe your self-awareness.

      As you might recall, I’m a survivor of extreme religious abuse, and had all but given up on the idea of finding Christians who actually practice what they preach. There are some, and you are one. Like Marco, I respect that quality. I’ve never had the sense your intention is to convert anyone to Roman Catholicism, and you’re certainly not profiting financially from your work.

      I can appreciate your efforts with the gentleman about whom you spoke. Culture shock alone can affect someone released from an institution after a period of time. How society and prospective employees view people with criminal records can also seriously affect their quality of life and any chance for success. I can only imagine how incarceration affects mental health and self-esteem.

      If just one person is unconditionally caring, without judgement, and has confidence in someone, that can make all the difference in an individual’s life. I think you have probably done this for many people, as Marco has done for me.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your experiences here.
      Dana

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      • mkdohle permalink

        Thank you Dana, you are always so encouraging, love that about you.

        Human nature can be ugly, and the wounds we receive, and give, can be truly horrific. I would think that there are places in the world where the vast majority of people suffer from PTSD. In fact so common, that it is normal.

        Religion along with politics, because of the power endowed lends to a great deal of abuse. The “Will-to-power” is a true curse for our species.

        If our leaders in the Church really took to heart that they are called to be servants, things would be a lot different, the same goes for politics, but sad to say I doubt that will ever happen. Power seems to corrupt. I do not trust the Reds, nor the Blues, both are equally corrupt. Yet I also do not believe that governments can get us out of this pickle, or this very big Gordian knot.

        My faith gives me a place to stand from when the waves get high, and the boat rocks, and seems to be sinking. Yet I am called to get out of the boat and walk, as Peter was asked to do. I have found, for myself, in spite of the terrible corruption in my own Church, that the power of the Infinite is real.

        What I love about Marco, and many of his friends, like yourself, is that you are a true seeker. For a seeker, when the truth is found, whatever that is, then there will be acceptance and joy. That is why I continue to seek.

        When anyone thinks they have the Infinite figured out, the they are worshiping themselves, an idol that is understood and scary. For me, when going deeper into my own faith path, the mystery only deepens, and I have to dive deeper.

        It is good to be back.

        peace my friend
        Mark

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        • Dana permalink

          Mark, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I’ve never been a big supporter of politicians, either, but there are some decent, well-intended people who become involved in politics.

          If we examine the life of Jimmy Carter, I don’t think we could find a better example of someone in office who had the utmost character. There are others like Barack Obama, whose public service prior to his campaign speaks for itself. I will always come to their defense and that of a few others. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and what they have working against them. And they are human beings just as we are, not demigods expected to know and do everything we want.

          I’m glad I don’t have to figure out the Infinite; I can barely figure out the Finite. As opinionated as I can be, I become disillusioned with those who purport to know everything. This especially holds when they have no personal experience with what happens after the physical body expires. Richard Dawkins is one of those as an example. For a number of years I respected his work as an evolutionary biologist and read a few of his books. His true colors rose to the surface by some of the things he said, particularly his misguided attacks upon Islam. And from what I gathered, he and so many other atheists equate lack of belief in a god with what happens after death. He has never died; thus, he cannot tell me there is “nothing.”

          My favorite people are those who appreciate the mysteries and don’t think I’m weird for doing so. As a non-theist and survivor of religious abuse, over the years some have found me a curiosity. I’m moved when I hear the Islamic Call to Prayer, and I once had a tremendous mystical experience in National Cathedral. It was triggered by the hauntingly beautiful voices of an a cappella choir walking through the cathedral while singing. It was almost an out-of-body experience for me.

          Like

    • Thank you, Mark. I do have edit rights, but I can’t seem to understand how to use them. Nonetheless, I’m sure we all understand what you are saying. And that’s precisely where the importance is. Your example, and your willingness to show us how, in the light of your faith, you wrestle with issues and arrive at conclusions far outweighs technical issues and the “empty words” so often mouthed by others.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mkdohle permalink

        you are such a kind man my friend. Take care of yourself, please.

        Peace
        Mark

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      • Dana permalink

        Marco, I found a way to permit users to edit their own comments for a specific period of time, such as five minutes. This might help users who comment from their cell phones, along with the aggravating moments of “auto-correct” that occur almost simultaneously with submission/send. That happens to me with emails quite often.

        The ability to edit one’s own comments might also help those who write stream-of-consciousness, then read what they wrote afterward.

        If you enable these permissions, users won’t be able to edit their email, name, or website. It also appears users cannot edit their own comments without your applying permission.

        https://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/allow-users-edit-comments-wordpress/

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  6. From Liz: Hi Marco.

    Several of your postings leave a heartfelt and deep impression on me.
    Your beautiful posting on Plato was very difficult for me to finish reading because I couldn’t stop crying. My recent loss is still very painful and (at this time) difficult to cope with.
    Other postings leave me speechless 😶. They are so profound and eloquently written and sometimes require deep thought. Conversations that I prefer to have in person.

    Like

    • Thank you, Liz. We are glad you participate in commentary. Yes, in person is always preferable, but you can see we are spread around the world and that makes things a bit tough.

      Like

  7. From E: Hi, I read and agree with your post. It was very well articulated.

    I just don’t know what is reasonably in my power to do at this point. I am more active voting than I’ve ever been before, started composting and recycling most thing which has significantly cut my landfill contribution (I hope, but I’ve also read stories of recycling being turned into garbage determined not cost effective enough).

    I also pride myself on not buying useless going-to-be landfill sessional junk this time of year…

    Reaching out to my elective representatives hasn’t gotten me very far the couple times I’ve tried. Any suggestions?

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  8. Thank you, E. Living in a State almost completely controlled by the so-called Republican Party means any attempt to converse with our legislators must begin with very large bags of cash. Failing that, we are left to our own devices.

    I’m glad to see you have increased your efforts at environmental mindfulness, though you always were oriented that way. You remember the slogan: Think Globally, Act Locally.

    Until we free ourselves from the regime which has seized power in this country we must measure our resistance in the small acts of our everyday lives.

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  9. In finally answering this offering, I don’t know where to start. The first time I read this, many days ago now, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep while reading it; yet I have come back again and again searching for the wisdom to contribute my own thoughts.

    The idea of reparation, where it is truly warranted, is a valid and valuable one. However, there are so many people in this world, and in my personal circle, who seem to think that the world owes them something, that it is difficult for me to hold much sympathy for the idea as a whole. Is that hateful? Do I really owe for what someone else has done? I barely get the concept of asking for help, yet there are those around me who have no trouble at all in asking for whatever they want or need. When I can’t provide something for myself, I do without until I can.

    “Mother’s instinct”; how I wish that could be true. In raising my own children, I made a myriad of mistakes. My mother made mistakes in raising me, and now I am forced by circumstance and her health to be a mother to her. It is the source of my exhaustion.

    I’ve changed my mind; I am not currently able to do justice to this piece. I can only do what I can do, and at this juncture, it isn’t much. I thank each of you for your inciteful comments; they will keep me thinking for some time to come. Rose

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  10. Thank you, Rose. The questions you raise and the comparisons you make contribute to the article and to the associated discussion. I wouldn’t make too much of past “mistakes”. We did what we knew to do at the time. Too often I’ve had to remind a current day critic: You weren’t there.

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