Life moves on and my ranting days are behind me. I hope, however, to close with a look back at the factors that have contributed to making my life fulfilling and satisfying. They will be issued periodically so I hope you will check them out and share your insights with me as I look back on 91 years. And I might still find the need to nostalgically look back at scenes from the alleged "good old days."
The plight of refugees in the Middle East has been an overriding concern my entire lifetime. I well recall that during our college years in the 40's (then fiancee) Regina saying, "This horror MUST be stopped!" Yet it continues! How ironic that such misery seems endemic in that part of the globe where three of the world's most popular religions were cradled: religions concerned with the welfare of ALL humans. How many generations of Palestinians have wallowed in refugee camps with little or no hope for the future. And their Jewish neighbors suffered untold horrors in recent times solely because of their religious views. Christians too have seen the "Holy Land" as the sacred birthplace of their Prince of Peace.
Isn't it time for the true nature of religion to exert itself and renounce the divisions of the past? Yes religious doctrine has been divisive. Extremists in most all faiths have espoused selfish doctrine and and followed murderous practices with false claims.
What an opportunity for the world to unite through these religions in standing together to renounce selfish claims with a message of peace, love, justice and opportunity for for all. Religions in each sector of the world have developed different practices and customs in trying to explain the source and meaning of life. Sensitive and enlightened people recognize, respect and appreciate the differences.
The creative intelligence of humans has made astonishing, bewildering progress in expanding the possibilities of enriching life on earth. It is time for a world-wide meeting of religious leaders to use the same energy and skill in bringing peace in the most troubled part of the world as an example of what is possible.
Think of it! A meeting of the religious leaders of the world initiates a process for having Palestinians and Israelis live together in peace ! All the world would be united in standing together against the forces of evil.
I may be a naive idealist, but as the good books of one of those three religions states, ".....your old men shall dream dreams, and .............it shall come to pass."
I guarantee you will find it a very moving experience - as I did some months ago live at The Aspen Institute. Nothing would delight this 90 year older more than to find a way for Oprah's 2+ million and many more see this on the internet. I hope you will help me get the word out!
This power of this message may even cause me to delay my thoughts on PEACE another week.
Sorry! You'll have to wait until next week for my peace plan. This old man has trouble keeping up with all the publicity from Reddit and now having my picture and story on page 150 of the May issue of Oprah's magazine.
I continue to marvel at the readiness of my mind about 4 AM virtually every morning to consider a broad array of fascinating topics. Recently it was to ponder what books would be written about the current election by future historians. Certainly within two years there will be a book to take advantage of a "hot market". But how different it will be 10, 20 or more important 50 years from now when others will have the opportunity to look back and objectively see what is gong on RIGHT NOW! And that is called history - a topic most often judged by school students as to be booooooooring. And what a shame, because if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past, then............an adage too often forgotten.,
Perhaps a look at history is what impelled me to go to Georgetown University to hear Madeleine Albright discuss the topic, Religion, Peace and World Affairs: The Challenges Ahead. Unfortunately too many young people only know of Secretary Albright's recent actions and the publicity that has focused on her exuberance in backing her preferred presidential candidate in a statement that she later apologized for and her fetish for jewelry. Too bad more publicity hasn't been given to her insightful, prescient book, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, published in 2006.
She stressed the importance of seeing religion as a unique and integral part of the culture of each society and that we in the United States have not paid enough attention to understanding its importance in dealing with other countries. Rather than seeing suicide bombers as warriors or fighters, all should see them as murderers.
And so a host of questions came to mind:
In what way does religion impair peace?
How do we invite hostility by acquiescing to hearing jokes at the expense of other faith groups?
As a melting pot country, how can we be so audacious as to be defined by one religion?
What are the factors that distort the quest for a religious/spiritual life.
And a number of other related ones that came to me in attempting to answer the hundreds of questions I received from youth throughout the world on Reddit.
And so I return to a constant theme of mine - the universality of ALL true religions as a means of examining the meaning, purpose and source of life and seeking a loving relationship with all humans.
But this has gotten far too long for me to add my peace plan. I'll have to put that off until next week. I know, all the world is eagerly awaiting all I have to say, but time and strength has caught up with me. In the meantime I'll spend more time with the book I mentioned in my other blog, Corinna Nicolaou's A None's Story:Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, & Islam. At Kramer's Book Store she wove an interesting tale of how she as one totally ignorant of any religious tradition spent four years trying to learn what religion was all about and if there was anything she was missing in life. While she told us how she was able to convince the "minds" at Columbia University Press to publish her book, she refused to tell us what she found out. I can't wait to see what she says.
How lucky I feel to have all these opportunities - I feel the need to share my good fortune with others,
I truly appreciate Oprah Magazine's extending my "fifteen minutes of fame" to 16! I hope any new friends (or old ones too) will continue the conversation with me started by Reddit two months ago. . New to Social Media as I am, may I suggest you do so by giving feedback on the comments section on this blog.
And while this is published irregularly you can learn of new Rant's weekly on my other blog, http://www.dcfreeculture.com
While the events calendar may not be something you can take advantage of, I'll always mention when a new "Rant" is issued.
The previous Rant referred to a topic I'd love to see all America exposed to:
The Slam Poetry of Clint Smith. I hope you will check it out and refer it to your friends. It is at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izf8ADh6ymY I'd enjoy conversing with as many of you as possible through Oprah as I did on Reddit. Ron I'll have much more to say in a few days.
Returning from a week long trip to my boyhood home in San Antonio late last night, I was able to produce only an abbreviated blog this week. However it gives me an opportunity to underscore my theme for last week - Slam Poet Clint Smith. I was gratified that a new friend in San Antonio confirmed for me the high regard I had for the power of poetry when Barbara said, "It gave me a totally new perspective on race and immigration."
In all candor I was disappointed in the number of people who took time out to hear Clint's recitation last week. I strongly urge more of you to find 15 or so minutes to view it this week. It can be found at