Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth is a bit dark, but also rich.

It's About the Spanish Civil War AND about a young girl fighting to discover what's really real for her. As the fascists battle the commies in the hills, there is a slam against the commies that is really a reverse slam against religion. Communist rebels are apprehended with some "there's no god" brochures, and are chided for having "red' propaganda. But, the commies are clearly the good guys/underdogs.

Meanwhile, this little girl who is miserable (her father died, her step dad is hateful - a fascist captain yet) loves fairy tales and just happens to have an encounter with fairies and a faun and a monster or two. It doesn't end well for our friend, but she ends up in a magical afterlife kingdom (the "Underworld"), leaving us with the question (foreshadowed by the "red" propaganda), "Is she really in an after life, fairy wonderland, or is she hallucinating with her last moments of consciousness?" And, of course, once we allow ourselves to ask that question, the natural next step is to question the after life myths that comfort us during our fearful and difficult moments in life. Is it real, or is delusion?

So - anything that makes the Lefties look good and that uses artful mythology and makes you think - I have to give a thumbs up.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Rev. Durrell Watkins Debates Homosexuality & the Bible on Jamaican Radio

The Reverend Canon Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div., was interviewed January 24th on “Hot 102 FM” radio in Kingston, Jamaica. The interview took place on a program called “Today” and included a debate with an Anglican priest in Kingston. Both Durrell and his debate opponent spoke by phone to the radio hosts.

The Anglican priest’s view was that homosexuality was disordered and that the Church’s response should be to compassionately call gay and lesbian person to “repentance.” Reverend Watkins, by contrast, supported a liberative interpretation of scripture and an unequivocal affirmation of same-gender love and attraction.

The Kingston priest insisted that homosexual practice could not be supported scripturally and that the bible should be read literally and taken to be authoritative. Durrell’s position was that every person is in fact selective about what she or he considers authoritative in the bible and for him any statement that was oppressive or unjust could not be authoritative. To give an example, Reverend Watkins said, “I disagree with the bible when it says, ‘Slaves obey your masters.’ I also disagree with the few passages that seem to promote homophobia.”

When asked if his was a God of love, Reverend Watkins said, “Absolutely! Love and inclusion.” And his was the last word when he said, “For me, a biblical passage that is authoritative is Jesus’ Golden Rule. He said to treat people the way you would want to be treated is in fact the summation of the ‘Law and the prophets,’ the bible as he knew it. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. No one wants to be treated as a debate issue rather than as a person.”

Sunshine Cathedral remains committed to being a voice of hope, healing, and liberation in support of same-gender loving and gender transgressing communities of faith in Jamaica.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Must See Her Majesty

The Queen!

I'll be the first to admit, I was skeptical about seeing it. A movie about Queen Elizabeth and her response to Princess Diana's death? Excuse me, didn't we all watch it on the news? It isn't fiction, and it isn't ancient history or historical myth...so, how could it be very interesting? Well, one should never prejudge as I was reminded by finally seeing this marvelous film!

Yes, Diana was the "People's Princess," and we all loved her for her beauty, her moxy, her willingness to stand up to the establishment (of course, as the daughter of an hereditary Earl, she wasn't exactly from the "wrong side of the tracks" herself). We admired her for her work with people with AIDS and for her campaign against the use of landmines. We even admired her for seemingly being a very good mother. She wasn't just an aristocrat in the UK, she was the princess of our hearts, all over the world.

So, of course I was prepared to see the queen's character in "The Queen" as rather vilianous, cold, soulless, etc. But instead, I was reminded that most issues in life are complex and there is never just one side to any story.

"The Queen" shows Queen Elizabeth II as very human. A daughter who relies on her mother's counsel, a wife whose marriage has settled into a routine, oddly comfortable, but hardly passionate partnership, a mother whose stoicism may have prevented her from being as demonstrative with her children as she could have been, and a grandmother who is fiercely determined to protect her grandchildren.

"The Queen" also shows Elizabeth saying of Diana, "we liked her once," and it shows why she may have not liked her as much toward the end.

Queen Elizabeth is shown to be a survivor of World War 2 who lived in London as it was bombed and who served as a mechanic in the war effort, who became a young queen who would reign for more than half a century and who never forgot the scandal and heartache of her uncle's abdication or how deadly the royal occupation was for her father who never expected or prepared to be king. With a sense of duty, responsibility, and a vocation that requires strength and high resolve, once can imagine an aging sovereign who feels deeply but finds expressing those feelings inappropriate, even dangerous. And when all she worked to protect seemed threatened by her former daughter-in-law, one might understand her resentments.

Beyond the shaping of the Queen's personality by forces not of her making and the duty which was thrust upon her by accident of birth, we also see a thoughtful, caring person trying to protect a royal stag from her husband's hunting party, and quietly grieving when the stag is killed. We see a monarch who learns that her people's attitudes have changed, and who then summons the courage to offer them what they need, no matter how counter-intuitive those needs seem to her. A leader who listens, and who even when it is painful dares to make a change in direction is an effective leader indeed.

We still admire and miss Princess Diana, but there is another strong woman in the story that may deserve admiration as well: HM Queen Elizabeth II. Blending fact with conjecture, the film "The Queen" brilliantly shows a real person beneath the crown that has been passed in unbroken succession for more than 30 generations. After seeing the film, one is bound to realize that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is also Elizabeth Windsor, Mrs. Phillip Mountbatten-Windsor, Daughter, Sister, Mum, Granny, Patriot, Matriarch, and more.

"The Queen" is not only a brilliant film, it is also an important one for helping us look into the soul of one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century, and now, the 21st.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

News Flash: Gay People Exist, Always Have, Always Will. Can We Move On Now?

The UN Millennium Goals don't mention same-gender love or attraction. Why should they? Who I send a Valentine's Day card doesn't really have much impact on issues that matter to people's lives (other than mine and my sweetie's). So, why is it that so many people, politicians, and pugnacious preachers spend so much time worrying about what makes me (or anyone) breathe heavy??? The perverse obsession with what consenting adults do is getting a little boring.

Hunger. Now that's an issue. It's also something we could actually wipe out. But not if we waste our time and energy on silliness, like trying to prevent Alice from marrying Sandra. Hello??!!

Education for ALL children. This is actually a radical concept in some parts of the world. This is also something we can accomplish, if and when that becomes our priority.

Improved health for mothers and children, effective treatments for HIV and malaria, environmental protection...these are biggies. We need to address these issues, and we can and we can make a huge difference. But instead, we argue over procreative freedom, same-gender love and attraction, and how to fund war without raising taxes. It's all very frustrating.

So, Anglicans, Catholics, right wing politicos, fundamentalists of every stripe, try to wrap your brains around this: Gay people exist. We always have. We always will. You can hate us, preach against us, write discrimination against us into constitutions, and none of that will make your marriages stronger nor will it make us disappear. More importantly, none of that will feed a single hungry person, improve the health of one child, educate one struggling person, or prolong the life of one person living with HIV. None of that will reverse global warming or bring peaceful, diplomatic, bloodless resolutions to international conflicts.

So, can we finally drop it? Gays exist and that is as constant as gravity. You don't have to like it, but you need to accept it. You don't have to like me, but please don't let your discomfort with my love life (I'm flattered that you care though) distract you from spending time, energy and resources on things that need to be settled for the good of our whole world. Hunger. Health. Education. Environment. Peace. Let's work on those things. You'll never wipe out homosexuality. But we can wipe out hunger, disease, illiteracy, and war. So, let's accept what's here to stay and get to work on what can be and needs to be eradicated. Fair enough?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cate & Judi

I've always loved her - Elizabeth, The Talented Mr Ripley, The Aviator...Cate Blanchett is a goddess.

But I've seen her in three of the last four movies i've watched. And she's as amazing as ever!

Babel, The Good German, Notes on a Scandal...my gods, the woman's a genius!!!
Tragic in Babel, irredeemable and without a single noble quality in The Good German; vulnerable, alternately weak and strong, fallen, and finally after paying the wages of sin (as it were), somewhat redeemed in Notes on a Scandal. All three characters brilliantly flawed, damaged, wounded...but never dull, never unbelievable, never gratuitous. I love her. I love her. I love her.

PS -
Dame Judi Dench (I worship her; when I say grace she is the one who listens!!!), loveable in A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By, charming in Tea With Mussolini, gracious in Shakespeare in Love, regal in Mrs. Brown, adorably grand in Mrs Henderson Presents, strong in the Bond flicks, glamorous in The Importance of Being Ernest, enchanting in Last of the Blond Bombshells, sweetly pathetic in Ladies in Lavender, warmly prickly in Chocolat - this actor who is so easy to love in every single role manages in her 70s to convincingly portray a demented, evil, woman stalking shrew in Notes on a Scandal. Who knew that one could ever be afraid of Judi? But she is very intense and disturbing as the lonely, battle axe, needy, hardened, matronly public school teacher in Notes. Her range apparently knows no limits. And she is brilliantly paired with Blanchett in this film. A must see!!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Theistic Fatigue

Odd, isn't it, that in the 21st century people still argue about "God"? Some people choose to disbelieve in things for which there is overwhelming evidence (e.g., the age of the earth, global warming, the existence of dinosaurs in prehistoric times, the biological process of evolution, etc.) but seem to have little trouble believing in a Supreme Being who is personally interested in the thoughts and behavioral choices of every single human on earth.

Now, don't judge me as some out-moded humanist, a post-modernist cynic, or a religion hating secularist. I am a religious person, humbled by the contemplation of the mysteries of life, devoted to the study and practice of spirituality. In fact, I am a seminary educated, baptized, confirmed, and ordained member of the Christian tradition. But I am concerned about all the violence, anti-intellectualism, strife, and bigotry perpetuated by competing theologies in our world.

We are each entitled to our opinions, and there are plenty of realities in our universe that we simply can't pin down with current technologies. Belief is important and we won't all believe the same things. But if beliefs can vary so widely, and if proof is not necessary to support a belief, then how can mere belief be reason enough to deny equal rights to same-gender loving people?

You see, it's easy enough to exclude or vilify the "Other" claiming that such rejection or oppression is actually the will of "God." But eventually, such irrational prejudice disguised as values must be seen for the damage causing error that it is. As one Johnny Depp character says, "Villainy wears many masks, but none so dangerous as the mask of virtue."

Martin Buber said that to hallow life was to encounter the divine. Durant Drake said that human idealism is what we are calling "God." Sidney Mead said that our search for God is actually our search for reality. "Every picture of God is a self-portrait," said J. Frank Schulman. And Theodore Parker said to love people is how we actually love God. So many thinkers, so many views, but all demonstrating that a belief in God need not lead to a demonization of others.

God isn't the reason people hate or fear one another. Whatever is ultimately Real, whatever can be called divine, is the universal life force flowing through all beings. The real "God" is expressed as same-gender love, opposite gender love, non-sexual love, human potential, hope, kindness, compassion, wisdom, beauty...all that promotes life and welfare and harmony (as opposed to that which promotes fear, confusion, animosity, and injustice). Is belief in God reasonable? It can be. I even think it should be. But a reasonable god is not the cause of homophobia, cruelty, or oppression of any kind. I believe in God - but apparently not the same kind of god that seems to be at the root of the world's most bitter conflicts. God, have mercy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

She's Not Still Here

I was so sad to learn of Yvonne DeCarlo's death. She was 84 and had enjoyed a long career, so I shouldn't have been surprised or considered it a tragedy, but it was one more significant figure passing on.

Many may know DeCarlo for her voluminous "B" movies or for her appearance in the epic "Ten Commandments." Most people, especially my age, probably remember her as Lilly Munster from the campy, silly, gothic sitcom, "The Munsters." Some may even remember how long she held on to her considerable beauty or how corpulent she became in later life. But whenever I hear Yvonne DeCarlo's name, I think of Carlotta from the Sondheim musical, "Follies."

Y.D. originated the role of Carlotta and her famous song (probably more famous than the musical that gave birth to it), "I'm Still Here." The song of a showbiz survivor who had seen political, economic, social, professional, and personal ups and downs includes a line about being first a "doe eyed vamp" only later to be reduced to "camp." It seemed like a personal testimony for the beautiful DeCarlo who went from film star to TV monster mom. Sadly, though "Follies" is one of the all time great musicals, it has always had difficulty acquiring the critical praise and financial success that I believe it deserves. It's dark and smart and grand, and maybe that's just too much to pull off in our culture. But it has tried several times, and the first time included Yvonne DeCarlo.

In later life, Y.D. made cameo appearances on episodic television, made for TV movies, even a STV flick or two, until her stroke a few years ago. Since then, she resided in a convolescent community for film actors. I hope those final years were happy for her.

Yvonne DeCarlo may no longer be with us, but then again, everytime I hear "I'm Still Here," perhaps she will be. She will at least be with me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

King's Chapel

I'm in Cambridge on a cold, rainy Sunday. I've been to a few chapel services at the Episcopal Divinity School over the last week, but I decided to worship in a nearby parish today. So, I got up and jumped on the subway and went into neighboring Boston to historic King's Chapel.

KC is the oldest Anglican church in Boston, the oldest Unitarian church in North America, sits on the property of the oldest burial ground in Boston proper, and was the home of the first church organ in New England.

King's Chapel was organized in 1686 in pre-revolution Boston and has been in its present stone building since 1754. It's bell cracked in 1814 and was recast by Paul Revere and has been in continual use since 1816. I heard it calling us to worship this morning!

In 1782 James Freeman was hired as the church's Lay Reader and served as the minister/pastoral leader. Freeman introduced the church to Unitarian theology and the church revised the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer for its own use. The revisions made the prayer book more Unitarian and even today the King's Chapel prayer book addresses prayers to God alone and has no mention of any creeds. The Trinitarian Gloria Patri has been replaced by a scriptural doxology to God.

Because of the Unitarian developments at KC, Bishop Seabury wouldn't ordain Mr. Freeman, so in 1787 the Senior Warden of the congregation ordained him on behalf of the parish. KC has been an independent, Unitarian church worshipping in the Anglican tradition (or an independent Anglican church with Unitarian theology) ever since. KC is unique in its non-creedal Unitarian worship in 18th century Anglican style; and though independent, KC is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association.

King's Chapel's worship is Morning Prayer every Sunday with the sacrament of Holy Communion offered on the first Sunday of the month. KC also offers a weekly organ recital on Tuesdays and Noonday Prayer on Wednesdays with Holy Communion on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Various religious education, social, and artistic events are also offered. The church is open daily for tourists. It is part of the Freedom Trail walking tour.

The worship was actually beautiful. The archaic King James Bible English didn't seem out of place and the poetry of the language actually fit with the historic surroundings.

The architecture is a window to history. Even sitting in the antique "boxes" was a way of revisiting a time long gone.

The 17 piece professional choir was amazing and the organist played the best and most captivating organ prelude I have ever heard. The service was formal but strangely not stuffy. The liturgy was full of singing, but wasn't high church. There was no processional and kneeling was an option at times but only a few people availed themselves of that option.

The sanctuary looks at if it could hold 200 or so people, but only about 60 were in attendance. The furniture was simple but rich and elegant. Rather than an altar, there was a simple table. There are no stained glass windows but there are cherubs carved into the walls in a few places.

The sermon was a bit dull and dryly delivered, but that can happen anywhere. But the history, the architectural elegance, the fabulous music, and the dignified prayers and readings made my visit to King's Chapel a very positive experience.

I will return in a few months to worship at KC again, and I can recommend that anyone who is in the Boston area on a Sunday worship with them as well. It's a history lesson and a genuine worship experience rolled into one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Slacker Me

I didn't mean to do it.
But I did it.
Or, perhaps I should say, I didn't do it.

I'm in Cambridge, MA taking courses toward my Doctor of Ministry degree. For two years, I'll be taking intensive courses every January and June. Then, in the third year I'll finish writing my doctoral thesis. Sounds simple enough. Do some reading before the courses, spend a couple of weeks in the courses, and a month later send in some papers. Wait a few months and repeat. Finally, write a small book and viola! one is a Doctor of Ministry.

So, I thought while I was away I would continue my normal life. I simply would be adding in some additional academic work. WRONG!!! I haven't a moment to myself, and when I do manage to steal some time, my Internet access is shaky. It wouldn't be so bad, but right before I came to Mass. I had something installed on my laptop that has made my computer unable to connect to the Internet. I'm quite handicapped, really, away from my work, my home, my partner and with spotty Internet abilities. I am currently posting with a borrowed Apple (I'm a Dell person, so I'm even having to learn my way around this machine).

Why share this tale of woe? To explain why my blog has been so dormant lately. I will try to do better in the week ahead, and after that should definitely be back to normal. Until then, know that I am immersed in thinking and learning and will return to my daily life with a fierce energy that will certainly mean plenty of blogging in the future.

But for now, send me good wishes and continue to check my blog from time to time to see if I have had anything of interest to share (assuming I had the time and ability to share).

Best to all,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Switzerland Joins the Growing Moral Trend

Switzerland has recorded its first civil partnership under a new law that came into effect January 1. The two men have been together as a couple for three decades!

The civil partnership law provides same-sex couples with most of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

Not surprisingly, the Roman Catholic Church fought against the new law that now allows civil partnerships. A union of Protestant churches in the country actually supported the measure.

Switzerland has joined the growing trend toward fairness. Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, Canada, and the U.S. state of Massachussets have legalized same-sex marriage while many other places have legalized some form of civil union or domestic partnerships.

Of course many world leaders (including in this "home of the free") will continue to use religion as an excuse to keep gay couples marginalized and even penalized for their innate orientation. Such ridiculous arguments as same-gender love offends God or defies the bible will be used, and strangely those arguments will be taken seriously or least patiently by far too many. But people don't need a god to transfer their prejudcies to; they should own their bigotry and stop trying to disguise it as virtue.

As Europe takes the moral leadership in providing equality and fairness to LBGT people, it is surely just a matter of time before the rest of the world follows their lead. The U.S. may be among the last to finally do what is right, but we will finally live up to the cause of liberty to which we so freely pay lip service. With another major country offering civil partnerships, the New Year is off to a hopeful start.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Graveyard of the Gods

Have you ever stopped to think that Isis once ruled the hearts of men and women? And not just a few! The Egyptian goddess was exported beyond the Nile and was worshipped far and wide for a very long time. Whatever happened to her?

What about the hammer slinging Thor? In Northern Europe he was pretty huge. We don't find many temples honoring him today.

Baal? Other than being vilified in the Hebrew scriptures, how often do we hear anything about him? But once, he was fierce and mighty.

The Canaanite "El" seems to have morphed into "Elohim" and "El Shaddai" and other "El Something" names for the deity of the Judaic scriptures. But in a culture now long gone, El ruled the roost, and the heavens for that matter.

What of the Sky-god, Yahweh? He seems to have been adopted by the ancient people of the Old Testament, but to us Christians, Yahweh barely gets more than lip service. Except to the angriest of fundamentalists, the jealous, punishing, war god Yahweh has been replaced by the more accessible and likeable "Abba" or simply "God" for contemporary Christians.

We argue so vehemently about "our" god or "our" religion or "our" faith or "our" truth. Don't you imagine the disciples of Baal and Isis and Zeus and Apollo and Minerva and Pan and Bacchus and Artemis were as devoutly attached to their understanding of the divine?

In the Christian book of Acts we see very clearly that the citizens of Ephesus were outraged that St. Paul and his companions suggested that members of the Artemis cult convert to the new cult of Christ. But Artemis seems to be retired in the 21st century. Her followers are few, or in hiding, if they exist today.

My point? We are likely to worship something. We will contemplate the meaning of life and ultimate reality; we may even name this Reality and consider it divine. But the names and images we conjure and the stories that our imaginations create to help us relate to this Ultimate and Supreme Is-ness are suited to our needs, understandings, culture, personalities, and longings as they are now. The god we are willing to end friendships over, condemn others for, fight and kill for, conquer societies for may not withstand the test of time.

The Norse considered the Eternal, and one of the names and images they attributed to It was "Thor." But apparently we outgrew what Thor had to offer. Other names, other images, other mythologies have come and gone, and we have ours. But are we so certain? Dare we be so arrogant as to think our stories, our images, our names, our present understanding is it? Will nothing more relevant be discovered? Will nothing more useful be found? I bet the cult of Isis thought they had all the answers and that their goddess was the best way, the highest truth, and the key to the most abundant life. Are we so much wiser than her devout, sincere followers?

The god of your understanding is precious to you, and you are entitled to your understanding. But so is the next person, and her understanding may differ significantly from yours. Both understandings may be a mere page in a history book a few thousand years from now. So enjoy your understanding of God, but allow the same enjoyment for your neighbor. Christ and Allah may be the top contenders for Head Diety in Charge these days, but Yahweh and Baal once held those positions as well. Times change. Whatever God is, She must be big enough to respond to the honest heart regardless of what we call Her or how we imagine her to be.

Our image of God may one day wind up in the graveyard of the other gods, but that's OK. What all of these gods were pointing toward is the true mystery of life, and that is eternal and it is big enough to include every human spirit. Name the divine if you must, but consider that your name for the divine may not actually limit the divine. Ultimate Reality may, afterall, be more than any of us have imagined so far; It would almost have to be.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Religious Commitment for the New Year

I enjoy religion. I also enjoy theatre and film and travel and sunbathing. I like wine and cheese and bubble baths and naps. I like late night cable television re-runs. I like a lot of things.

However, I believe there is a very real need to form community, encourage compassion and generosity, creatively engage in ritual, and mark the momentous occasions of life (birth, marriage, maturity, etc.). For me, many of these needs are met by religion. And so it is that I remain religious.

Social staple that religion is, it is all the same humanly constructed. I know there are myths about a god directly revealing religious truth to one prophet or another and that prophet's record of the encounter is understood to be the unaltered message of the god. This makes good literature, but I don't for minute believe that a Supreme Being delivered the Book of Mormon, dictated the Qu'ran, or became uniquely incarnated in a person named Jesus. I don't believe belonging to one religion makes one a better person or that not belonging to a particular religion damns one to an eternity of torment.

The bible that I love is a creative collection of human thoughts. It tries to find meaning in life, especially when life is difficult; and it tries to offer hope (especially when life is difficult). It is influenced by the cultures and languages that produced it and it often contradicts itself and makes claims that no rational person could take to heart in the 21st century. And yet, I love the sacred literature that I call the bible and reading it critically helps to activate my own imagination in ways that enrich and empower my life. So, the bible remains a sacred book for me even though I am fully aware that every word in it is of human origin.

I'm hoping that more people come to see their religion as a choice they are free to make. Such freedom will require a great deal of self-discipline on the part of the religious person. I mean, church building is easier when you can promise that your church has all the answers or that the other religious tradition is satanic or that people who don't hold your preconceived opinions are on a slow boat to Fire and Brimstone Island.

But I'm hoping for a world where people who choose to be religious do so because religion brings them joy. The pageantry, the relationships, the ritual, the arts, the affirmation of human potential are so attractive that people commit to a church (or synagogue or ethical society or coven or sangha or whatever) and support that progressive and life-affirming organization for the same reasons they support public radio, Amnesty International, the local humane society, cancer research and other causes that make the world a potentially better place. Religion not as a weapon to condemn the "other" nor as a guarantee of privilege but rather as one of many opportunities to spread hope and goodwill in the world: that is what I hope to see.

Others will no do doubt reject religion, and when I see the homophobia, misogyny, racism, war, child abuse and other desperately immoral acts that have been perpetuated in the name of (and often by the leaders of) religion, I can hardly fault them. But for the rest of us, I am hoping that we continue to work to redeem religion so that it is no longer used to divide, injure, control, manipulate, and terrorize people but rather to free them to think critically, love extravagantly, and express themselves creatively.

I believe that healthy religion is possible (though it has so seldom been tried). And so I will continue in 2007 to encourage thinking, open, inclusive religion. This will mean that fewer people worship violence (disguised as crucifixion or holy war, etc.) and that fewer people will choose to argue what to call "god" (or even to argue about IF there is a god). Instead, people will simply assume that life is sacred enough and every person has sacred potential that can be expressed without fear of damnation and without pretending to have certainty about a life beyond this one. Healthy religion will gather people together for the joy of gathering and will seek to export joy rather than fear, liberty of conscience rather that blind conformity, and real hope for the present rather than an apocalyptic fear of the future.

I dare to hope these new ideas can become common ideas as the 21st century progresses. I am committed for at least one more year to expressing these ideas so that others may consider them and possibly adopt them.