Parenting During a Political Crisis

What is happening in American politics and how do we talk to our kids about it? It’s hard for me to shake the feeling that we are facing a political crisis that is symptomatic of a deeper cultural one. Let me begin by saying that my comments here only indirectly refer to the crisis of morality, decency, and reason represented by Donald Trump. His flagrant disregard for common courtesy, human rights, and the democratic process disqualify him from holding the highest office in our land. To debate t … [Read more...]

Democracy, Violence and the Risk of Tyranny: An Interview with Prof. Paul Dumouchel

In this extraordinary election season, when democracy and peace seem to be under siege, we are presenting a series of in depth explorations of big issues that aren’t discussed in mainstream election coverage. This week we were honored to discuss political violence and the risks of tyranny with Paul Dumouchel, professor of philosophy at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Prof. Dumouchel’s book, The Barren Sacrifice: An Essay on Pol … [Read more...]

A Message to White America About How to Decide If You’ll See “The Birth of A Nation”

Nate Parker’s 2016 movie, The Birth of a Nation, is based on the life of the African-American slave Nat Turner (1800-1831). It’s a movie rife with violence and brutality, turning an unflinching eye toward the endemic abuse and sexual exploitation of black women at the hands of their white owners. It blinks only to spare us the trauma of witnessing the assault itself. To use modern terminology, the movie explores the rape culture that existed as a justified component of the subjugation of black sl … [Read more...]

Discovering a New World of Hope Through Repentance: On the Convergence of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Yom Kippur Eve

A federal court ruled against Standing Rock on the eve of Indigenous Peoples’ Day / Columbus Day. The legacy of Christopher Columbus: “Destroying land, water and people since 1492.” It’s so bitterly ironic. I’m enraged and on the verge of despair.Studying Columbus’s atrocities, I come across a chapter from Howard Zinn about the genocide by Columbus in what would become Haiti. Then, noting the morbid cosmic synchronicity, I scroll downDemocracy Now’s “Headlines” page from the DAPL ruling to th … [Read more...]

The Melvin Bray Interview: Politics, Racism, and Telling a Better Story

Our guest for this week’s installment of our Raven ReViews Election 2016 series was Melvin Bray, author of the upcoming book Better: Waking Up to Who We Could Be. (Pre-order now with the code Ship16 and receive 20% off!) Melvin is a gifted storyteller and writer whose approach to telling better stories about ourselves is especially pivotal in this election season. As we struggle with the issues of racism that have dogged the presidential campaigns, his insights are especially important for Chr … [Read more...]

Beyond Police Accountability: Building Cultures of Compassion

House Bill 972After the shooting Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, it took an uprising and the pressure of thousands to compel the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release portions of the tape of his shooting. It was noted at the time that the video of Scott’s shooting would likely be the last to be released by police. On October 1, House Bill 972 took effect, prohibiting the release of police body and dash camera recordings to the public. Those whose images or v … [Read more...]

“Am I A Racist?” Confronting Our Blind Spots with Melvin Bray

The question, “Am I a Racist?” may be harder to answer than it first appears. Because answering “no” to the question is not necessarily an ironclad defense. Here’s why.Blind to Our ScapegoatsRacism is a form of scapegoating and scapegoating has a tricky way of hiding in plain sight. Of course, scapegoating is easy to spot in others. We know it when we see it and it’s easy to condemn because we recognize it as a form of injustice. With racism as our test case, this is obvious.But here’ … [Read more...]