As I wrote on June 30 I am losing steam on this blog. Have I actually said and expressed everything that I think or believe? Probably not. Recently I have been pondering why I believe what I do and I think I will share that with you. This will be an ongoing collection of posts. Today is my introduction. Please feel free to comment.
Everyone develops a worldview and political opinions based upon their own life experience. My view has changed over the years and I simply attribute it to living the life I have been given. I do not ascribe to any particular news channel, pundit, author, magazine or organization. I am repelled by the constant negative, mud-slinging, doomsday attitude that many people seem to thrive on. I do not believe in being continually angry because the world is not exactly the way I want it. As a teacher, I am particularly interested in and drawn to social issues.
There are four things that I believe have formed my opinions:
1. My faith. As a Christian I believe that Jesus is the exemplar for the way we are to live. I do not believe it is my job to judge the way other people live. Jesus said he who is without sin throw the first stone. Jesus came to bring a new way of love, forgiveness and compassion.
A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34) He repeated this commandment 23 times in scripture.
Jesus taught us to love, forgive, feed the poor, be humble, serve others and not judge each other. In our present society there are many who loudly claim to be Christian, but spew hatred and judgement of others, refusing to allow programs to help those less fortunate. Jesus said this is the only reward they will ever receive. (Matt 6:5)
I want to add that it is certainly not only Christians who are kind, tolerant, and work for social justice. Most religions stand for the same values.
2. Reading - I average a book a week. Reading has expanded my understanding of other cultures, given me insights into other people's lives and circumstances, more compassion, and a perspective on history. The more I read the more I understand the human condition as it exists, not as I wish it to be.
3. Teaching - for 34 years in 7 buildings and 4 districts - particularly my last 20 years in an inner-ring suburb of rich diversity. It has made me a better person. I have learned tolerance and respect for people who do not live as I do. I have seen firsthand the long-range consequences of poverty and neglect.
4. My own life. My life took very unexpected turns that I was not prepared for. I struggled with clinical depression and great emotional turmoil for many years. I learned that you never know what is really going on in an individual's life and should not assume or judge anything about other people. My new motto became - anything that can happen can happen to me.
Next: My views on certain political and social issues.