Archive for January, 2018

Into the definition

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

The other week I heard a phrase. 

“His loving kindness endures forever.”

I grew up in the mid-1900’s memorizing the same phrase with the words, “His mercy endures forever.”

Two cultures met in the mid-1900’s.  The words that were emphasized by each culture reflect their differences.

1)  A guilt society plays to right and wrong.  Mercy is the antidote to a guilt society – pardon bestowed. 

2)  A shame society plays to society and unity.  Loving-kindness is the antidote in a shame society – honour bestowed.

You will notice with the 80 and 90 year olds that they talk of being lifted out of the pit of guilt. 

The legalism of their day and age is decried, deconstucted, and dismissed by them – they are not satisfied unless mercy is applied.

20 and 30 year olds honour the victim whose rights have been trampled – from sexual assault to harassment based on gender to . . .

The intervening decades between an older generation and a younger generation – while deconstructing the old rules – dismissed the old parameters around which we defined victimization.   The younger generation has taken on the noble task of redefining the rules – creating a new sense of society.  For the sake of the victims, they are not satisfied unless honour (loving kindness) is bestowed.

My question is – how were these new rules arrived at?  Are they any better than the old rules?  Who decides?

Words and definitions

Monday, January 15th, 2018

As I started 2018, I was reminded how words paint a moral landscape.

On Sunday, our preacher for the day mentioned the situation we are in.  His references were vague.  Vagueness often increases our scope of vision.  I’m sure some who were listening would cite Donald Trump, others  Justin Trudeau, or Korea, or immigration, or sexual harassment, . . . . .

A new word that is cropping up is “attestation”.  In order to access grant money for youth summer jobs, an organization must “attest” that jobs that are created will not be in contradistinction (my word, a great word which I think describes what is being asked) to the law or the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

There is a grey area, which is described as the right to freedom of speech.  An organization may have at their core a strong disagreement with the current societal norms (or one might say the current norms of the authority structures of society).  At the moment individuals and these organizations are allowed, under the ruling of their conscience and under religious freedom, to express those thoughts.

The attestation asks about these core beliefs.  The actual work being anticipated over the summer is secondary – the application will be rejected if the attestation cannot be signed. 

This nuance of the word attestation creates disharmony in an older word which we use when we describe our society – tolerant. 

Perhaps we are finally seeing what the word toleration – a term that began its current ascendency about 30 years ago – really means.

Have we been able to repaint our moral landscape or are we finally seeing the true picture?