"You" and "me" became "we" in service to our shared needs. But when other groups showed up, "we" became "us," a tribe opposed to "them." Violence and destruction too often followed, and we still search for a shared morality that works across tribes.
So let's enter 2015 looking forward to a better future. Let's not be a nation of complainers who find nothing good to smile about but plenty to be angry about. If we can't recognize the good in our lives, then we can never hope to find satisfaction. In that case, every year will be a bad one.
If soldiers in the trenches -- who were fighting the biggest war at that time -- were able to take at least a few hours to see beyond their conflict, to see the bigger picture and stop trying to kill each other, then why couldn't we?
And this is the heart of the Gospel! God is love. This is the truth. Jesus was also speaking of the truth of God, but the truth is that God is love. In a way this message is very vulnerable, but it has to be vulnerable, because love is vulnerable.
With all this holiday festivity, it may be hard to understand how there's room for anything but Merry; yet every year I struggle with mixed emotions. As much as I want to embrace all the cheer around me, I also feel stressed by all the preparations; I miss my family and the memories of Christmases past.
The wrongful convictions data coming from the Innocence Project provide all the proof we need that all things are not equal in the application of American justice. Justice is color coded, and truly a matter of black and white. Now is the time to change that.
I am humbled by the immediate and quick action from faculty and staff to create safe and honest dialogues on these sensitive, complicated, and deeply rooted issues that require us to look honestly at our core believes and long held stereotypes.
When I found out about the Eric Garner decision, I did not know how to respond. But my first instinct was not to stop. It was to go and do something. And I surely didn't pause to find my favorite worship song or let alone ask, "Lord, what would you have me to do?"
The best and most effective way to insure officer safety is still to strengthen proactive, positive police community dialogue, outreach and engagement. The Brown and Garner families and their supporters echoed that when they took great pains to repeat that the goal of protests was never anti-police but anti-police abuse.
If all lives matter, then the response should be mutual outrage and remorse for the loss of life. That should include the lives of cops and citizens, whether black, white, or of any race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
What is needed now is calm and thoughtfulness, and a real willingness to engage in dialogue on both sides. But respecting law enforcement is a critical part of that equation.
We have to start imagining a new reality -- this will mean fewer police and more social workers and teachers. This will mean creating more economic possibilities and investment that preserves and does not displace our communities. This will mean confronting decades of disinvestment in our communities.
Fifty years separate the events in the film and the headlines of 2014 and it feels as though little has changed.
The recent ambush and killing of two NYC police officers is heartbreaking and wrong on every level. Violence is never the right path. Let me repeat that -- violence is never the right path.
If you don't realize that a new day has dawned in law enforcement -- a day where a growing number of citizens automatically mistrust cops -- you might want to get back out on the street and walk a beat for a day or two.
In the months since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a nationwide debate ha...