Lunar Trifecta

Supermoon 1.31.18The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”

Dates and times for viewing plus more . . .

For those of you interested in numerology, astrology, and some soothsaying check out this video.

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Civility and Truth

Hidden Agendas and Clear Intentions X

Context

Some thoughts following the US Government shutdown at Midnight, Saturday, January 20, 2018, and band-aid reopening this week.

CivilityCivility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored. And civility begins with us. The Institute for Civility in Government

TruthTruth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of “truth to self,” or authenticity. Truth is usually held to be opposite to falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning. The concept of truth is discussed and debated in several contexts, including philosophy, art, and religion. Many human activities depend upon the concept, where its nature as a concept is assumed rather than being a subject of discussion; these include most of the sciences, law, journalism, and everyday life. Some philosophers view the concept of truth as basic, and unable to be explained in any terms that are more easily understood than the concept of truth itself. This discussion proceeds at Wikipedia.

Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by ‘Truth Decay,’ defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy. Read more and download the free ebook

Observations

The paths of civility and truth, in times of peace, seem to run in more or less parallel harmony. During more contentious times including war, these paths rarely seem to intersect. In fact, the visibility of these paths erodes leaving only a memory like a mirage.

The four interrelated trends from ‘Truth Decay’ warrant repeating.

  1. An increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data;
  2. A blurring of the line between opinion and fact;
  3. An increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and,
  4. Lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.

Equally important are the four causes discussed.

  1. Characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias;
  2. Changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle;
  3. Competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and,
  4. Polarization, both political and demographic.

Sometimes problems persist because we don’t know what to do. Other times the problems persist because we are too lazy to make the effort. Address the causes and the resulting trends will change.

Closing

TrustAccording to the latest edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, the United States has experienced a significant 37 percentage point drop in trust across its institutions while at the opposite end of the scale, China experienced a 27-point gain. When it comes to government, one of the most important trust indicators, China leads the way. Edelman found that 84 percent of people in China trust their government, the highest level worldwide and an eight percentage point increase on 2017. Read more.

The United States Founding Fathers got it right about democracy. We the people . . .

That was at a moment in time and circumstances have changed; and are now in a state of accelerating, exponential, and perpetual change.

Democracy is not inherited, it is created. We are wise to ask, ‘Are the agendas hidden and the intentions clear.’

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Muckraking Redux

Stormy Daniels and Ya Got Trouble

I asked someone recently if they were aware of the extent to which they complained. Their response was measured and thoughtful. ‘It makes me feel better.’ So there you go. One person’s joy, another person’s sorrow.

Two sermonettes found me on my laptop this morning. A pastor friend of mine told me that one of his teachers in divinity school shared the maxim that if a sermon failed to make at least one person laugh and one person cry, then the sermon had failed. See if these two pass muster with you.

Line and Feather

Muckraking TargetsHistorians have long looked to a few key criteria in evaluating the beginning of a president’s administration. First and foremost, any new president should execute public duties with a commanding civility and poise befitting the nation’s chief executive, but without appearing aloof or haughty. As George Washington observed at the outset of his presidency in 1789, the president cannot in any way “demean himself in his public character” and must act “in such a manner as to maintain the dignity of the office.”

New presidents also try to avoid partisan and factional rancor and endeavor to unite the country in a great common purpose. In line with their oath of office, they dedicate themselves to safeguarding and even advancing democratic rights and to protecting the nation against foreign enemies. They avoid even the slightest imputation of corruption, of course, political but above all financial. They Were Bad. He May Be Worse.

 Line and Feather

Now On StageAnd so it was — on the anniversary of the inauguration; with a government shutdown consuming the capital; with cities across the country, including this one, hosting women’s rallies condemning President Trump as an emblem of misogyny — that this national moment delivered a glut of customers, journalists and a notable adult film actress to a perhaps inevitable fate.

The music came on. The clothes came off. And an airport strip club claimed its piece of the American presidency. Now on Stage, Stormy Daniels: A Strip Club and a Presidency Meet After Dark

Line and Feather

Muckraking is in high cotton at present – an informative overview at Wikipedia provides some entertaining historical insights. The musicals of the 1960s were and are a favorite of mine. This video clip from The Music Man seems an appropriate closing anthem.

In the spirit of the order of service, here is where we send forth with blessings on each and all.

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Compassion

Compassion

http://thisisindexed.com/2018/01/compassion-is-a-boomerang/

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Enough is Enough

Trump One Year AnniversaryOne year, twelve months, fifty-two weeks, three hundred sixty-five days. However and whatever you’re counting, enough is enough. Please, Donald Trump, go back to Manhattan and let the rest of us make America great again. Peace and progress are our goals. All distractions are equal. And your distractions eclipse rational order.

Saturday marks a year since President Trump’s inauguration — and CBSN’s “Red & Blue” is taking time this week to look back at the year that was. “Red & Blue” asked CBS News chief White House correspondent, Major Garrett, to pick four pivotal moments so far.

Starting Tuesday night and wrapping up Wednesday, “Red & Blue” will revisit those moments, starting in April — Mr. Trump’s 75th day in office. Read and watch more

PS He didn’t arrive by himself and won’t likely leave by himself.

 

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Decision Point Redux

John Adams on the Two Party System

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Epiphany

With this observance of Epiphany, we bring to a close the fourth year of these celebration postings of Christ and Claus.

The observance had its origins in the Eastern Christian Churches and was a general celebration of the manifestation of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. It included the commemoration of his birth; the visit of the Magi all of Jesus’ childhood events, up to and including his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist; and even the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. It seems fairly clear that the Baptism was the primary event being commemorated.

Three KingsChristians fixed the date of the feast on January 6 quite early in their history. Ancient liturgies noted Illuminatio, Manifestatio, Declaratio (Illumination, Manifestation, Declaration); cf. Matthew 3:13–17; Luke 3:22; and John 2:1–11; where the Baptism and the Marriage at Cana were dwelt upon. Western Christians have traditionally emphasized the “Revelation to the Gentiles” mentioned in Luke, where the term Gentile means all non-Jewish peoples. The Biblical Magi, who represented the non-Jewish peoples of the world, paid homage to the infant Jesus in stark contrast to Herod the Great (King of Judea), who sought to kill him. In this event, Christian writers also inferred a revelation to the Children of Israel. Saint John Chrysostom identified the significance of the meeting between the Magi and Herod’s court: “The star had been hidden from them so that, on finding themselves without their guide, they would have no alternative but to consult the Jews. In this way, the birth of Jesus would be made known to all.”

Wedding at CanaThe earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus. St. Epiphanius says that January 6 is hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion (Christ’s “Birthday; that is, His Epiphany”). He also asserts that the Miracle at Cana occurred on the same calendar day. In 385, the pilgrim Egeria (also known as Silvia) described a celebration in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which she called “Epiphany” (epiphania) that commemorated the Nativity of Christ. Even at this early date, there was an octave associated with the feast.

Jesus BaptismIn a sermon delivered on 25 December 380, St. Gregory of Nazianzus referred to the day as ta theophania (“the Theophany”, an alternative name for Epiphany), saying expressly that it is a day commemorating he hagia tou Christou gennesis (“the holy nativity of Christ”) and told his listeners that they would soon be celebrating the baptism of Christ. Then, on January 6 and 7, he preached two more sermons, wherein he declared that the celebration of the birth of Christ and the visitation of the Magi had already taken place and that they would now commemorate his Baptism. At this time, a celebration of the two events was beginning to be observed on separate occasions, at least in Cappadocia.

5th Century Eygptian MonestarySaint John Cassian says that even in his time (beginning of the 5th century), the Egyptian monasteries celebrated the Nativity and Baptism together on January 6. The Armenian Apostolic Church continues to celebrate January 6 as the only commemoration of the Nativity.

This description and its references can be found on Wikipedia.

Until Christmastime 2018 arrives may Christ consciousness become a growing aspect of your being and the joy of Claus gift giving be with you in all your comings and goings.

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