A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace





















































































Daniel Craig As Evolving, New Age James Bond “Everyman”: Hey, It Works For Me

I went to see Quantum of Solace because I liked Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, and because I always take my husband to opening weekends of all good new action movies. I’d already heard reviewers complain that this new Craig/Bond was insufficiently Bondish—i.e., not enough jokes, too much heavy emotion, too many similarities to other, un-Bond-like traditionally-vengeful action heroes, not enough Bond-techy gimmicks and vehicles, too few glam locales. And what to make of the movie’s weird politics? And of Bond’s lack-of-sex with his sexy new love interest? I went to see for myself.


I liked the movie very well. I thought it was very effective, violent, destructive, action entertainment, for those who enjoy this genre. I thought it was definitely worth the price of admission. Even if it was only part of a to-be-continued movie, it was a very complete and satisfying part, setting up well the Craig/Kurylenko movie(s) to follow, which will tantalizingly develop Bond’s budding romance with this particularly ravishing new heroine.


I thought Olga Kurylenko was great. She reminded me of what I love about Catherine Zeta-Jones. I hope she will endure as an unkicked-aside Bond sidekick for many films to come. How much more can Bond evolve, than to stick with one woman?


I liked this movie’s (admittedly undeveloped) politics. I was glad the writers went to the trouble to imply that good and bad actors can be found in every nation and every endeavor, and that all of us will have ample opportunities to participate–or not–in increasingly rampant opportunities for corruption, greed, crime, terrorism, hypocrisy, war, cruelty, espionage, exploitation, backstabbing and wanton violence, especially as enhanced by the global contest for dwindling resources—oil, water, money, what have you….


I also enjoyed the side-talk references affirming vengeance as both a very powerful and tempting human motivation and an unsatisfying one, and forgiveness—of oneself and others—as essential to sanity and peace. Very un-traditional un-Bondian stuff. Very New Age perspectives. And also very true.


This Bond movie didn't disapoint my expectation for novelty, either. I don't think I'm alone in my curiosity about life in desperately poor third world locales like Port au Prince, Haiti, or about glamourous off-the-beaten-track cultural events like traditional bareback horse racing in the public square, and exotically-staged modern operas.


I also loved the new holiday Coca-Cola commercial which preceded the movie. Taken together, the new commercial with the new Bond movie, I got a heady whiff of what our millennial creatives are all about and up to these days: philosophical acceptance of an imperfect “what is,” along with real commitment to making “what is” better, through positive, ideologically indifferent, large and small, person-to-person, moment-to-moment, choice-by-choice contributions in gray areas and complex moral situations, in whatever way they can.


Thus, I saw variously flawed and well-intentioned players in the movie and the commercial persist in acquiring the necessary wisdom and clout to act well their parts and support one another when and where it mattered most—that is, when push came to shove. These creatives and the crowds they are playing to believe in the power of acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion, diversity, and best of all, in one person’s ability to make a difference and find a quantum of solace within such caring moments.


I liked watching Daniel Craig’s Bond try to do his best with his very limited but amazing personal resources. I enjoyed watching him courageously try to make some sense of a morally chaotic world, and seek meaningful ways to contribute and endure. Craig’s Bond is a unique and powerful Everyman perfectly suited to today’s audiences.


I don’t miss the grand old Bond clichés. That was then. This is now. Welcome back, Mr. Bond.



Please send comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you. 🙂






Ironman (the Movie) Offers Good Entertainment and Good Politics

It's hard to find an action movie that both my husband and I think is wonderful, but Ironman has proven once again that it can be done. I loved the characters, humor, romance and politics in Ironman, and my husband especially enjoyed the heroism, computers, robotics, stunts, jets and action. The whole theatre, filled with middle/high-schoolers and adults, cheered and clapped when the movie ended. Amazingly enough, we hadn’t even been exploited or insulted by stupid politics, graphic sex, or gratuitous violence masquerading as entertainment….
You can tell that the whole world is changing when a big-box-office action movie has as its major theme the evils of war profiteering and global weapons proliferation. Ironman simultaneously entertained and enlightened the whole crowd. Multi-faceted Robert Downey Jr. and classy Gwyneth Paltrow were at their most charming.
Ironman is a sweet, funny, exciting, well-made, fast-paced action movie I recommend to all who enjoy high-quality movie-making in this genre….

(Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com and I'll post them here. Thanks. 🙂

Rachel Corrie Uncensored, Bullies and Martyrs, Lambs and Lions, AIPAC, and Messianic Voices Off

I was privileged to recently attend a one-woman play called My Name is Rachel Corrie, about a young American tragically killed by an Israeli bulldozer as she protected Palestinian homes from destruction. Art-upon-art lavishly swirled in layer upon layer, as a dedicated actor-artist nurtured a compelling script crafted by two talented playwright-artists from the lyric insights of writer-activist Corrie—herself one of God’s great artistic creations….


After the play, I was grateful to Rachel and her parents, to the actor and playwrights, to the director and leaders of the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for collaborating so beautifully to share Corrie’s insights as she matured into a loving, idealistic, modern-day David out to slay her Goliath-of the-moment.


Rachel Corrie had no affection for bullies. Burning with a wish to stand up to power and deadly violence, she seemed born to resist injustice. I think she would have been just as eager to oppose Palestinians attacking innocent Israelis, were she drawn to their plight first.


I was saddened to think that some who cherish holocaust narratives like The Diary of Anne Frank would try to censor Rachel’s inspired voice and words for partisan reasons. I doubt any peaceful Jew seeing this play would urge such censorship.


But after it opened successfully in London, extremist Jewish organizations protested its further production, and it was dropped in New York City, Florida, and Boston. The Shepherdstown festival lost a $100,000 pledge and risked a boycott for their decision to stage it. During production, the protest in West Virginia continued in several purchased and prominent playbill pages presenting the Israeli-extremist side of the story, including six touching photos of Israeli “Rachels” tragically killed by Palestinian violence (implying an erroneous six-to-one death toll of Israelis to Palestinians,) along with a dehumanizing and demonizing suggestion about how all Palestinians want only to kill Israelis and put an end to Israel, while all Israelis want only peace.


Christians, Jews, and Muslims have found relative safety from prejudice in America, and I can understand why each of these groups would want to zealously guard such hard-earned respite, especially in view of their respective ghastly historical memories of exploitation and persecution. Which is why, wherever Muslims in America gather to air grievances, polite, respectful Jews show up to tell their side of the story.


American Muslims, however, rarely feel welcome to speak at Jewish events which accede to violent solutions in Israel/Palestine. In both America and Israel, the Jewish-extremist viewpoint is so well-funded and orchestrated as to saturate media and government; it also has much to answer for, in egging on the Bush administration’s current war on Islam, or should I say on Iraq, or should I say on terror…all of which have worked out to be pretty much the same thing. To the extent that nearly every influential comment opposing extremist policies in Israel is instantly reprimanded, often with accompanying accusations about the speaker’s anti-semitism—to that extent is the Palestinian/Islamic world-view grossly under-represented and out-of-balance in America, and of course in Israel/Palestine.


Considering all the pre-play controversy, I was nervous myself about attending it, and hoped I wouldn’t be thought anti-Semitic. I still hope to avoid that charge, although I welcome the labels of pro-peace and anti-violence.


The voice in the Israeli-Islamic conflict consistently drowned out in America and Israel is the moderate/peaceful Islamic voice, although peaceful Muslims are working hard to change this. AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and other American Jewish organizations are too vigilant for their own good, defending themselves too assertively against slights both perceived and real, and attacking perceived attackers. An anti-Jewish backlash in reaction to such strategies, and to Israel’s typical knee-jerk disproportionate violent responses to aggression seems sadly inevitable.


Peaceful Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other Americans are often so aggressively intimidated by their own extremist factions that they rarely speak out publicly against the vengeful actions, bloody rhetoric, and sheer barbarism of all they see, on all sides. Caught within the context of a violent century’s heightened emotions, most moderates—peaceful Jews and Christians and Muslims and citizens of all nationalities everywhere—are too frightened even to say “Enough” to the extremist voices within their own groups.


As long as demagogues and partisan extremists freely pressure and intimidate moderates, worldwide anti-Islamism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism will continue to grow. And if the hot-blooded AIPAC successfully pushes extremists in America and Israel into another bloodbath, this time against Iran, the potential for anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Islamic blowback upon moderates in all these groups everywhere will be as terrible as the cataclysmic impact upon the direct victims of the war.


The Bible does not say “the lamb shall lie down with the lion,” but,“ the lion shall lie down with the lamb”—meaning, the powerful shall offer peace to weaker opponents as a wise first step toward peaceful resolution of conflicts. Even the mega-powerful United States is finally learning that everyone’s interests are best served when the mighty dare to humble themselves to acceptance and generosity toward weaker “others,” and truly begin to see—and treat—their neighbor as they would want to be treated, to love their neighbor as their own self. Our learning curve in America, meanwhile, has been excruciating for Muslims worldwide.


In the peaceable kingdom, the powerful will “lie down with” (a tender, intimate metaphor) all their lambish neighbors. This means that the biggest and toughest of the terrorizing thugs on every block, whether they be the American or Chinese nations, whether Iranian, Jew, or Muslim, Irish or British, a strong band of criminals, a tough group of insurgents, whether militias, tribes, national armies, navies, air forces, or even the marines, all the mighty and powerful will come to realize that their job is to protect the weak from those who would hurt them, and not to push the weak around in order to prevail in conflicts, however troublesome or longstanding.


Lambs, too, are opening their eyes to the fact that the terrible lions they so fear may in fact be more fearful themselves than fierce, and desperately in need of peaceful perspectives from ancient cultures and wise elders willing to patiently remove the painful thorns of ignorance and fear from their dripping paws.


Extremist Jewish leaders preaching the wisdom of ten-eyes-for-an-eye, and depicting Israel as a tiny beleaguered island within a vast sea of murderous Muslims all wanting to kill Jews and “erase Israel from the map” (please see the writings of Arash Norouzi) are as repellently manipulative as extremist Palestinian leaders claiming to be nothing more than a defenseless band of ragtag refugees confronting the combined wrath of the world’s largest and most powerful military forces, or American Christian-extremists sounding the alarm of American invasion from rapacious outsiders and infidels, or American patriots bristling with nuclear arms, self-righteously claiming to be the potential victims of nations working frantically to develop even a single one.


Violence, or violent extremism, or terrorism—that is, resorting to violence to resolve conflicts—turns out to be “the problem” itself, and not, as many have tried to persuade us, any particular ideology, ethnicity, religious tradition, or national affiliation. The burning question is always: who is committed to non-violent resolution of conflicts, and who isn’t?


Whether Bin Laden or Bush, Communism or Capitalism, Shiite or Sunni, Hamas or Abbas, Judaism or Islam, the U.S. or Iran, Saddam or Arafat, Hirohito or Mao or Eisenhower or Hitler—it is increasingly evident that “the good guys” are the ones who are committed to resolving conflicts non-violently, while “the bad guys” are the extremist zealots who turn to the use of violence to resolve their conflicts, whether through conventional warfare, street-fighting, or assassination, whether by suicide-bombing, napalm, nuclear weapons, torture, or IEDs. The choice of violent extremism IS the problem; and violent extremists ARE the terrorists.


Disproportionate retaliation against aggression makes sense only for cornered wild animals fighting for survival against overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, this is the very vision offered up by violent extremist leaders, regardless of affiliation, who deliberately stoke up fears and urge violent responses by perceiving all situations through dire scaredy-cat doomsday lenses.


Fortunately, the world seems to be developing new improved crap-detectors, and violent tactics in our small, interconnected, and media-rich world don’t play so well in Peoria anymore. People now recognize man’s-inhumane-violence-to-man for what it is, regardless of context, and despite all the varied ideological, ethnic, religious, and national colors and flavors that violence so often comes wrapped up in—whether it be bulldozed homes, the shattered bodies of innocent children, or maimed and traumatized young soldiers from every land.


The sanctity of human life has finally emerged to be the world’s highest human value, rising ever more clearly above even the most rabble-rousing words of demagogues and ideologues bent upon stirring their fellow-citizens to torture and murder.


In the promised land we are approaching, constructive criticism of the policies and actions of various peoples and organizations won’t be called anti-semitic or anti-American or anti-Islamic or un-patriotic. Instead, powerful, messianic, moderate voices of Jewry and Christendom and Islam and all other isms will speak freely and softly of peace, cooperation, and compromise in all our holy lands, where we will all work side-by-side, undivided by ancestry or belief or tradition, letting go of old grudges and offering olive branches of reconciliation, as we non-violently resolve each day’s natural conflicts freshly and openly, as they arise.


May we learn without having to endure more lessons from ever-greater tragedies, wars, and environmental catastrophes, and may we all awaken together to begin with a convert’s zeal our great shared task of peacefully saving our tiny blue planet, and all our brothers, every one.


Please write comments to njcpace@gmail.com . Thank you! 🙂








Come listen to me sing this peace and love duet I wrote for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw….

Not that I can sing, but these two wonderful entertainers sure can. Click on “more” below, and then, below the words to the song, click on the “Dreamin 1.wav” file to hear me sing the words and melody. And please let Tim and Faith know that you've heard a peace and love song that was made just for them (and just made for them, too…. They will know how to pick up some very nice harmonies….) I hope they love it and that you'll love it, too. (Sorry, but I ruined what voice I had cheering at my daughters' games, so now I have to almost whisper or my voice cracks!)

“Dreamin’ of Peace” – a duet written with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in mind….

by Nancy Pace, June 07, njcpace@gmail.com


FAITH:  Darlin’, after supper

When story-time is done

We’re thinkin’ of you far away

And dreamin’ of peace


We’re holdin’ things together

We’re sendin’ up our prayers

We’re blowin’ you sweet kisses

And we’re dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


TIM:   I told you ‘bout my buddy

He’s lookin’ out for me

We’re comin’ home together

And we’re dreamin’ of peace


When this war is over

When all the fightin’s done

You’ll never be alone again

Just dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


FAITH:  The days are gettin' harder

The kids are getting tough

The only way I sleep at night

Is dreamin’ of peace


I’ll lay you down and love you

I’ll never let you go

I need you here beside me

Just dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We're dreamin’ of peace


TIM:   Here everything is crazy

It’s hard to understand

How everybody’s fightin’

And dreamin’ of peace


Children dream of fathers

Mothers dream of sons

Young men dream of sweethearts

Who are dreamin’ of peace


BOTH:   We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


Can’t We Just All Get Along?

I’m tired of hearing all the arguing about who is right and who is wrong—especially about religious doctrines and political ideologies, from Christianity v. Islam to Democracy v. Theocracy, right down to partisan bickering, conflicts within denominations, and even conflicts within congregations and families. Why does everyone feel it necessary to have the final word and definitive answer about everything?


What would better suit me is for everyone to confess proudly to “knowing” what feels right to them as an individual, regardless of how well- or ill-informed they are, however finely or ill-honed their opinions and conclusions–and then everyone respect those personal truths for what they are. It’s perfectly normal to want to test our opinions on other people, and it's perfectly OK to respectfully disagree and discuss, but why do others have to be “wrong” in order that we may be “right”? Why can’t we just all be right for ourselves alone, or, just-as-right-if-incomplete, as anyone can ever be in this best of all possible worlds?


Why don’t we all just humbly accept that we are destined to live and die with great mysteries and uncertainties, and that we weren’t meant to know very many things with any great deal of clarity? We can still pursue understanding, but it's more fun when we realize that whatever it is that God intends for us to do and be and have and believe on this earth—a God of each of our personal understandings, and Whoever or whatever we each choose to mean by that Name, or none—it is very evidently not likely that we will ever clearly understand everything, or anything, and will certainly never all come to the same conclusions. That doesn't mean we cannot live our own faiths, our belief systems, our personal ways of knowing and seeing, even if we can't convince everyone (and sometimes, even ourselves) that “they” are wrong and “we” are right.


It must be evident by now to most people, in this great information age, that God, if (S)he exists at all, only offers tempting bits and controversial hints about His/Her/Its workings and nature and identity, not to mention those of mankind and the universe. Certainly each of those tidbits and partial answers leads to greater wisdom, but also to ever more questions…. The Bible and the Koran, for instance, are only the beginnings of discussion, not its end, as evident from all the conflicts and disagreement mentioned above.


To claim to “know” something, or anything, with any finality, seems the merest hubris, disrespectful even to God and his ineffable creation, and to all the other humans who invariably will come to some other conclusions. Certainly one sign of a well-educated person is that they finally have learned enough to realize how little they really know about anything.


To be sure, some scholarly inquiring types spend lifetimes educating themselves about particularly intriguing aspects of reality, and certainly we can listen to their viewpoints more attentively than to others, and to better purpose. But even then, we owe respect to everyone’s story, regardless of their expertise and talents or lack of same, if only for the peculiarity and uniqueness of their experiences and understandings, for their particular dreams, their one-of-a-kind strivings, victories, and holy lost attempts.


But why ever hope to find one unique and particular version of wisdom and experience which is generalizable to everyone, whether in the field of politics, religion, philosophy, or any other field of knowledge? Why not just celebrate our own unique versions of truth, and those of others?


No one can doubt the veracity of each uniquely individual experience and its conclusions, at least for that one person, however fatally flawed the limitations inherent in being only one person, with only one person's experience and understanding, and only a highly fallibly human capacity to communicate, to boot. We can always safely rejoice instead in the universal commonality of ultimately not-knowing, and live joyfully within such uncertainty and risk, supporting every human effort to grapple with understanding and sharing of personal truths—without setting ourselves aggressively into opposite camps that polarize attempts at communication and turn them into contests of rightness and wrongness.


Especially in religious, philosophical, and political discourse, we can spend less time divided among our many differences, and instead celebrate and focus upon our many commonalities—all the universal truths upon which we can all agree, all that unites us, such as love, hope, faith (wherever we choose to put that faith), respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness, hard work, spiritual practice, community, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, purity, selflessness, peacefulness…and the rest of the long list of good things we can all agree upon which goes on forever. These ecumenical values, in all their various positive permutations and versions, can always be communally embraced, taught, admired, built upon, and warmly shared among people of all faiths and ideologies, or of no faith or ideology. Then, instead of forever being self-righteously “right”–that is, wrong–we can celebrate and embrace one another's uniqueness, and…just get along.






Please send your comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net

Prayer's Progress




Prayer’s Progress

(to be read from the bottom to the top)





angel floating

dragon flying

signals smoking

peace piping

toes tipping

breast puffing

throat swelling

loaves rising

brown rounding














Please send feedback to nancy.pace@adelphia.net. Thanks!


If THE DEPARTED Reflects American Cultural Offerings to the World, Then We Yankees Truly Should Stay Home

The Departed is a too-long slog through a repellent underworld of hopelessness, human frailty, and continual struggle. An angry, bitter old man’s cynical vision of despair and disillusionment, it mocks all human efforts to transcend past and primal influences. Its desired audience-response seems to be disgust.


Although The Departed offered challenging roles to talented actors and film-makers, I kept wondering, why did any of them, the immensely talented and capable Scorsese included, even bother? Why make this movie? What’s the point of pooling all that energy, creativity, and talent on such a boring, pointless script? The Departed is neither entertaining, nor satisfying, nor thought-provoking, nor enlightening, nor any other respected goal of movie-making—unless perhaps you find pleasure in staring at cripples or ogling car wrecks.


Scorsese’s many clumsy attempts at youthful (Tarantinoesque?) edginess played out as merely shock-by-politically-incorrect low-life humor,  inspiring only embarrassed titters. I found this film completely lacking in compassion, crass, boorish, and childishly defiant about religion, race, and responsibility. It was definitely a movie offering family values–all the wrong ones. For those hooked on action and violence who want to see positive values, start with L.A. Confidential or A History of Violence (see my review elsewhere in this blog), In the Line of Fire or The Fugitive. It can be done!


When I compare this kind of American blockbuster to, say, the Iranian blockbuster, Children of Heaven–also a depiction of human struggle under the most difficult circumstances–I can certainly understand why many Muslims find our culture decadent, and why they hope to prevent us from infecting their own cultures.


Always in search of high-quality action movies which my husband and I can both enjoy, we saw The Departed on opening night out of respect for Scorcese’s better (if uneven) previous efforts—The Age of Innocence, Taxi Driver, Casino, and Raging Bull. We even heard, while standing in line, that the reviews so far were stellar. What a disappointment.


Leonardo di Caprio’s and Mark Wahlberg’s brilliant performances were very appealing and convincing, but I found little else to like. The sound was uneven too—either way too loud (I literally protected my ears) or too soft.


In comparison, Invinceable—although formulaic—was a recent high-quality action movie we will add to our collection, one which I would be proud to export to other countries as an example of American culture and entertainment. That we might use our great wealth and freedom in order to corrupt the minds of our own youth and those around the world with garbage like the life-sucks-and-then-you-die story offered by The Departed is a truly depressing thought. 


Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net








Today’s Muslims: More “christian” Than Christians?

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People everywhere, many Americans included, have begun to think of Muslims as more “christian” than many Christians—in the traditional sense of “christian spirits” that are loving, forgiving, pious, selfless, gentle, kind, and peaceful in their attitudes toward other human beings.
While most Americans still aspire to such qualities, we are today viewed globally as both culturally and politically rather more mean-spirited than christian-spirited. Many foreigners now see Americans as greedy and materialistic, and think of America as an arrogant young nation that tries to tell others how to live, that foolishly and hurtfully pushes its culture, economics and politics onto unwilling others.
If Osama bin Laden had wanted to increase world awareness of past and present American support for regime changes, friendly tyrannies, and repression of democratic movements around the world, he succeeded brilliantly, even though few Americans are even aware of these sad and distinctly un-“christian” exploitations in support of American corporate interests.
And if Osama bin Laden had wanted to stir up empathy for Islam, he could hardly have dreamed up anything more brilliant than our current bloody military adventuring in the Middle East. Ignoring all expertise, we’ve turned a criminal, political, social and economic problem—terrorism—into a military one, barging willy-nilly into a very un-christian war against peaceful people who never threatened us.
But Osama’s biggest bang for his comparatively small, if immensely tragic, PR. buck was sending our reading public—most of whom previously couldn’t find Iraq or even Israel on a map—scrambling for best-sellers about Islam. Because, sometime during the last five years, Americans finally noticed that Muslim cultures, although very different from ours, are, in fact, very “christian” in ways we greatly admire—along with having many unique shortcomings, like every culture.
For example, many Americans are motivated by their christian spirits to protect women’s rights to equality—to enter any profession, to be educated, to be equal citizens—but they are also sadly free to become drunks, addicts, prostitutes, rape victims, divorcees and unwed mothers. Muslims’ “christian spirits” motivate them to overprotect their wives and children, with the many drawbacks that come with that approach. Future christian-spirited dialogue and exchange between our two cultures will bring us all closer to understanding and agreement about our common, universal, “christian”—if not exclusively “Christian”—values, all those which offer respect and support to all human life everywhere.
The single sad silver lining behind bin Laden’s blood-and-publicity-soaked attack was to open western eyes and hearts to Islam. We have finally seen enough Muslims to look past the angry, despairing extremists, past the unfamiliar turbans, suspicious scarves and rough accents, to see clearly the many kind human faces and wise human hearts of gentle fathers, bright mothers, laughing daughters and fierce sons—who are, after all, not really so different from our own.
For the first time, Americans are experiencing the christian spirits of this exotic and unfamiliar culture which devoutly prays many times daily, is devoted to family, and which, just like Christians, exhorts its children at home, mosque and school to acts of goodness, kindness, generosity, and peace.
When we choose to see them through christian-spirited eyes, we’ll see a gentle people who have suffered greatly during a century of relentless violence from outsiders, simply because oil was discovered on the land of their ancestors, who yet still reach out hospitably to all who come, not as occupiers and invaders, but as peaceful, respectful visitors and citizens.
Most Muslims, like most Christians, have “christian” spirits, wanting to raise families in a compassionate culture which nurtures universal values. Yet most Americans today agree that, somewhere along the way, America has lost many of her ‘christian’ ways.
Certainly we’re coming off very poorly in our latest war. Our national leadership has acquired a well-deserved international reputation as far-from-christian-spirited religious extremists, unschooled in diplomacy and too quick on the draw.
I am not an expert on Islam; I keep up with the news and have a lifelong interest in all world religions and philosophies. But I do know that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, one which accepts Jesus as a great prophet, along with all his teachings.
I have closely observed my Muslim neighbors, and know them by what we used to call their “christian witness”—that is, by the way they live their lives. As a group, Muslims are pious, kind, neighborly, civic-minded, charitable and scholarly. Islam, as practiced by its most thoughtful and faithful practitioners, embraces the high ecumenical values espoused in Jesus’ teachings, particularly those about universal brotherhood, peace, charity, service, forgiveness, and love of God.
Yet, right after the towers fell, Christian extremists, perhaps fearing their congregations would be pulled away by curiosity about Islam, forgot to exhort their flocks to christian-spirited unity with their global brothers, and instead chose to preach sermon after mean, frightening, televangelical sermon demonizing Muslims as violent, cruel, scheming, and anti-Christian.
Muslims everywhere were dismayed and frightened by such un-christian televised messages, not to mention the rude insistence of multinational corporations to hawk materialist values and profitably push distinctly un-christian habits and lifestyles to anyone anywhere anytime.
Neither God nor Jesus nor any prophet, philosopher or saint cares which faith you pray to them from, nor what names you call them by, nor what form your prayers take; but they do care that all their many pleading and peaceful messages of acceptance, compassion, and reconciliation are spread everywhere to unify and bring peace to a frightened, suffering world.
On C-Span, CNN, and other media, Americans have heard the sad voices of Muslims in war-torn countries pleading to be left in peace, along with the voices of articulate and caring Muslim leaders sharing their concerns and patiently explaining their unfamiliar approaches. Many of us have also enjoyed the brilliant, award-winning family-values films and books streaming out of Iran and other Muslim countries.
We have also been terrified by American demagogues that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon and use it against Israelis or Americans. Yet, just as worrisome to many, is the terrifying possibility that our own malleable President, egged on by powerful, trigger-happy sidekicks, will use our own vast American nuclear arsenal to initiate a very un-christian WWIII.
Muslims and Christians alike want most to live their lives in peace, in accordance with their beliefs and values. We want our children to grow up in warm, safe communities, in homes and schools that support—or at least, do not undermine—our heartfelt beliefs and values. Muslims and Christians alike think it unreasonable to be under continual attack from commercial and media corporations who use our freedoms and our public airwaves to hammer away at our cherished values.
Muslim immigrants come to America for the same reasons all immigrants have ever come: for the freedoms and benefits of good government which serves and supports the quality of all the human life which God created equal on this fragile blue planet.
We all want a justice system which respects and serves all people equally, quickly, and affordably. We all want fairly-elected, familiar local public servants who spend our hard-earned tax money on our youngest and neediest citizens, on convenient, quality health care for all, on retraining workers, on offering quality public services and infrastructure, on supporting emerging technologies and creating competitive economic opportunities within a thriving economy offering living wages. We all want well-disciplined, high-tech educational environments and opportunities that offer all children a real chance in life.
Instead, Americans seem stuck with a bloated and increasingly indebted federal government which cuts local services to pay for its steady stream of immoral foreign wars, which only line the pockets of corporate war profiteers, while bankrupting average Americans and compromising our children's futures.
Instead of offering good local government, where small local militias are well-trained in non-violent conflict resolution and stand ready to assist local communities during emergencies—floods, hurricanes, epidemics, invasions—we have instead a vast, far-flung military machine enforcing hegemonic American corporate interests wherever in the world they see an opportunity to make a fast, if un-christian, buck.
Soon—although not soon enough for the hundreds of thousands of dead, disabled, and desperate Muslims and Christians we have harmed—America will retreat from its current un-christian aggressions, will expensively buy peace in Israel and reconciliation in Iraq, and will stand aside while Muslims shake off their dictators and sort out their own political destinies, whether violently or in a more christian spirit, as would better suit all our mutual interests and befit the highest values of all our various religious and cultural traditions.
When their oilfields have been carved up among them, may our charitable American christian spirits uphold their right to spend their oil money creating opportunities for their hungry youth, while we refrain from using our own vast stores of nuclear weapons during this most-dangerous era of unaccustomed American humility, as we wait in line politely for Middle Eastern oil like any other paying customer.
Hopefully, we will all—Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, and atheist alike—support only leaders demonstrating christian lives and spirits—whether or not they are Christians—leaders who advocate politics which reflect the universally cherished golden rule of treating all others as we ourselves would want to be treated.
May Christians and all other Americans join with all people everywhere in making christian-minded personal choices, and may we all support only political representatives having peaceful christian hearts, words, actions and lives—regardless of whether they be Christian, Jew, Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, or any other.
Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net

Creative Fun by Eppy

Here are some of my hobbies (painting, cartooning, etc.) as well as a self-portrait, and a portrait of me by my five-year-old friend, Alexa. Look for them elsewhere in my website to see/learn more…. Thank you for visiting my website!  -eppyharmon