Saturday, December 25, 2010

Does the Spirit of Christmas Live?

DRESDEN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 26:  A giant Chris...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
This year I wanted to write a kind of Christmas letter in praise of the Spirit of Christmas...as a way of saying thanks to E, A, and all of you who remind me of what Christmas is all about.

Does the Spirit of Christmas Live? (my title)
It’s become customary this time of year to hear concerns expressed about the loss of Christmas spirit. Sometimes these fears are more about one’s cultural identity — and the sense that one’s group is losing power and influence — than they are about the actual meaning of Christmas. At other times, one hears something that sounds less reactionary and more like a thoughtful question: Have our Christmas rituals lost some of their meaning? Have they become old and tired or do they pale in comparison to more novel inventions?

Questions like these may be prompted by our experience or by polls like this one by the folks at Gallop, “Christmas Strongly Religious for Half in U.S. Who Celebrate It.” These headlines, like all headlines, tend to be written provocatively, which appeals to the culture warrior in all of us as well as the thoughtful social critic who resides deeper in our hearts. The story seems to be one of a divided culture in which one half of us sees a profound meaning in Christmas and the other half is engaged in one long shopping frenzy. The reality is very different and as luck, fate, or grace would have it, a good bit more comforting.

To read the entire post, visit: Being Blog - The Secular and Sacred Spirit of Christmas
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

President Obama is the only grown-up in Washington

Part of being a wise politician – and an adult – is compromising with your ideological rivals sometimes, especially when it's for the greater good of a divided government and recovering nation. Lately, it seems President Obama is the only grown-up in the room.  

To read the full post click on CSMonitor.com

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Friday, December 17, 2010

A holiday gift: principled civility?

This holiday season, there’s a special feeling in the air — acrimony.

It radiates from Washington, where almost everyone seems to feel betrayed by the tax deal or the angry reaction to it. Liberal Democrats complain loudest, but clearly, President Barack Obama is irritated by the left’s furious second-guessing. Republicans have also found a way to take offense — certainly at the president’s analogy of negotiating with hostage takers. If they are kidnappers, what are the House Democrats?
 
We are a long way from the new Washington that both Obama and his predecessor promised. But perhaps this is a gift of the lame-duck Congress: the reminder that all should abandon dreams of post-partisan politics and return to the core values of his or her party. Civility is important, but in politics — as in life — it is no substitute for a political party’s fidelity to its core ideals.

Read the rest of the post at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46502.html