I’ve Been Gone for a While.

I have not written for ten days. I have felt a little burned out. Over the last two years I have written 1,602 posts. Sometimes you need to stop for a while. I felt I was becoming formulaic and boring. Certainly I was boring me.

One day in class, I noticed that I often present original ideas that I have developed from my extensive reading but I never seem to talk about my thinking. In my blogging, I have often simply responded to the thoughts of others. Response is not enough. I believe a writer, particularly a writer concerned with social justice, must of necessity present ideas about what can and should be done. It’s not enough to stand against things, you must also be for things.

Another thing I do at school is carry out my plan to remake the world. I preach endlessly the importance of not accepting my ideas as revealed truth but for my students to develop their own thinking processes so that they can consider and weigh facts to make good decisions based on their own experiences, observations and judgment. My faith in their ability to change themselves and then the world is not always apparent to readers of my blog, and it should be.

Sometimes the weight of the power of the 1 percent leads me to conclude in despair that nothing can be done. That is wrong. We have seen this kind of history with the power of the Robber Barons in the 1890’s and the early years of the 20th century. Their power, their money, their influence in the government were all reduced by the energy and faith of social movements drive by the need for change. That is happening again with Occupy Wall Street.

So, I return to writing the blog with some new ideas, a changed focus and a dedication to faith that change is possible and, in fact, inevitable.

James Pilant

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Andi comments on the previous post – The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

This is a comment on a previous post –  The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

(The article was actually motivated by one of my reader’s comments on Facebook and while I hope there are elements of a call for economic justice implied in it, I didn’t have any ethical argument except for inequality itself – James Pilant)

Here’s Andi’s response to the post –

While reading this article, I wondered about the ethics and what the author wanted us to tell. Is it the question whether it is morally right that people do the protests in NY or is it the question if it’s ethically that 1 percent of the population in NY owns about 44 percent of all income?! Or is it the more general question whether it is ethically to do protests in the street?

To answer this question it is necessary to know the definition of an ethical decision. A decision is ethically if it affects others, has alternative courses of action and is perceived as ethically relevant by one or more parties.
By comparing the questions with the definition, it becomes clear that the second question cannot be discussed under ethical terms. Only the questions whether it is ethically to to protests or to do them in NY, has alternative courses of actions.
Therefore I focus on protests and try to state my opinion about it.

To answer the question with the postmodern ethical theory (= decision is morally right if the person follows his emotions in a situation), I would say that doing protests to point to abuses is morally okay because it is a good medium to raise high attention in the press and in tv newscasts. But that’s only half of the story. To answer this question in a more rational view, the combination of postmodern ethical theories and ethics of rights and justice is needed. Here the question of fair procedures or fair outcomes comes up.

Whether protests are morally right or wrong, is difficult. What do you think about the following questions?:

Can a protest really influence decisions that there are fair outcomes for everybody? Or is it only a way to highlight unfair procedures?

My great thanks to Andi for taking the time to comment and not just to comment but to comment with intelligence and insight. I want Andi to know that author identification is up to the contributor. If you want to be clearly identified with e-mail, blog links, etc.., you have only to ask and I will modify the posting.

Thanks!!!

James Pilant

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Philip Yancey on what american churches have become. (via Dover Beach)

Exactly.

James Pilant

Philip Yancey on what american churches have become. “In view of Jesus’ clear example, how is it that the church has now become a community of respectability, where the down-and-out no longer feel welcome? The middle-class church many of us know today bears little resemblance to the diverse group of social rejects described in the Gospels and the book of Acts.”   – Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew … Read More

via Dover Beach

Do No Harm — my UU sermon from May 1, 2010 (via Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog)

In the last three generations of my family, there have been a good number of ministers. Of course, my family were Free Will Baptists and not Unitarians. (There is a lot more certainty in the sermons of the Baptists.)

I don’t attend church much anymore but I still like sermons. This gentleman has put one of his up as a post. It’s well written, choppy tight paragraphs, messages that seem to go in different directions but tie up like little bows into the big message by the end, and a couple of good personal stories to round it out.

I like what he has to say, I believe in ethics and morality. In the field of doing the right thing, the best move is often to do nothing at all, thus, do no harm. It’s a good topic.

James Pilant

Do No Harm Sunday, May 1, 2011 Unitarian Universalist Society Sacramento, CA Hymns: 126, 21, 162. Music:  “Trouble,” Coldplay; sung by Eric Stetson Reading  “To Be of Use,” a poem by Marge Piercy, from Circles on the Water Shared Offering: Turning Point Community Programs:  A Path to Mental Health Do No Harm.  What does this mean? This world is full of harm and woe.  We human beings feel it, and cause it, at a staggering level.  Modern-day slaver … Read More

via Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog