Course Meets World Commentary Greg Mackie

On this page, I will post short commentaries relating A Course in Miracles to a topic "in the news." Here's how it works: I will present material drawn from the world's media—a newspaper article, a blog, an Internet discussion, etc. (with a link to the original source). Then, I will discuss the relationship I see between it and A Course in Miracles. For example, I might show how it echoes things said in the Course, or contrast what it says with the Course's view of the same topic. The goal is to bring a Course perspective to topics being discussed in the larger world.

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  • Unleashing Our Extraordinary Goodness One of the distinctive features of A Course in Miracles is how extreme and absolute its worldview is. You can see this, for instance, in its depiction of human nature. It presents two sides to human beings which could not possibly be more different from each other. One side is pure evil, and one side is pure goodness. Fortunately, though, the Course also tells us that only the good side is real; only the good side is our true nature. And there is nothing whatsoever stopping us from choosing the good side with all our hearts, and thus living lives of extraordinary goodness right here and right now.
  • 9/11 Ten Years Later: What Would Jesus Have Had Us Do? Recently, the world marked the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. This has led to a lot of commentary on America's response to those attacks and how that response has impacted the past decade. Most of the mainstream commentaries have agreed that we had to respond militarily to those attacks in some way, to get back at those who did this to us. But Robert found one commentary in the New York Times that was so fresh and radical that he said, "How did they allow this guy to say this in print?" NYT blogger Simon Critchley asks: What would Jesus have had us do in response to those attacks? Would he not have called us to respond with forgiveness? What would have happened if we had chosen forgiveness? A great question, especially for students of A Course in Miracles.
  • Is Jesus' Radical Love Ethic Impossible to Live Out? I recently attended a fascinating workshop by Jesus scholar Roy Hoover. Hoover presented evidence that Jesus' original message, stripped of the later theological agendas of the gospel writers, was truly radical: a "perfectionist" ethic of unconditional love and generosity rooted in trust in an extravagantly loving and generous God. But then, drawing upon the work of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Hoover qualified Jesus' extreme message. He suggested that Jesus' radical love ethic could not possibly be lived out in history: It could be approximated, but the unalterable limitations of human nature would forever make its ultimate accomplishment impossible. Is this so? A Course in Miracles says no, because our true nature and ultimate potential are not as limited as we think.
  • Is Jesus' Radical Love Ethic Impossible to Live Out? I recently attended a fascinating workshop by Jesus scholar Roy Hoover. Hoover presented evidence that Jesus' original message, stripped of the later theological agendas of the gospel writers, was truly radical: a "perfectionist" ethic of unconditional love and generosity rooted in trust in an extravagantly loving and generous God. But then, drawing upon the work of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Hoover qualified Jesus' extreme message. He suggested that Jesus' radical love ethic could not possibly be lived out in history: It could be approximated, but the unalterable limitations of human nature would forever make its ultimate accomplishment impossible. Is this so? A Course in Miracles says no, because our true nature and ultimate potential are not as limited as we think.
  • The Killing of Osama bin Laden: A Time to Grieve; a Time to Love Everyone who hasn't been vacationing on Mars knows about the big news of the past week: Osama bin Laden, head of al Qaeda and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed by US Special Forces. Many people all over the world have been celebrating his death. But to me, as a student of A Course in Miracles devoted to helping bring about a more loving world, there is no cause for celebration. For me, the killing of Osama bin Laden is not a time to celebrate, but rather a time to grieve and a time to love.
  • Don't Blame Me - I Didn't Do it! Fans of The Simpsons will recognize my title as one of Bart Simpson's favorite lines, and it is an apt description of our basic stance toward life. I've recently read two articles which show how ingenious we human beings are at using self-deception to both blame others when things go wrong and give ourselves undue credit when things go right. We're so good at it, in fact, that we do it without even realizing we're doing it. A Course in Miracles claims that we are practicing self-deception on a far more immense scale—that in fact virtually our entire experience of the world is based on it. This can be difficult to believe, but if the tendency is so evident in daily life, is it really so difficult to believe that our self-deception runs deeper than we think?
  • Don't Blame Me — I Didn't Do it! Fans of The Simpsons will recognize my title as one of Bart Simpson's favorite lines, and it is an apt description of our basic stance toward life. I've recently read two articles which show how ingenious we human beings are at using self-deception to both blame others when things go wrong and give ourselves undue credit when things go right. We're so good at it, in fact, that we do it without even realizing we're doing it. A Course in Miracles claims that we are practicing self-deception on a far more immense scale—that in fact virtually our entire experience of the world is based on it. This can be difficult to believe, but if the tendency is so evident in daily life, is it really so difficult to believe that our self-deception runs deeper than we think?
  • The Crisis in Japan: A Call for "Permanent Disaster-Relief Mode" The entire world is riveted on the horrific saga of Japan: the earthquake, the tsunami that followed, and now the growing nuclear crisis. It is heartbreaking to see all the death and destruction. The initial shock was devastating, and no one knows yet how bad the long-term damage will be. But amid all the stories of catastrophe, there have been signs of light in the darkness. One such light for me has been the beautiful examples of selfless service and generosity seen in responses to the disaster. The fact that disasters often seem to elicit this kind of loving response has led me to think that perhaps we should all go into what I'm calling "permanent disaster-relief mode"—especially since the author of A Course in Miracles himself has characterized our current world situation as an "acute emergency."
  • Hurts So Good? Recently, I heard a spiritual teacher present what was to me an odd (and definitely non-Course) rationale for forgiveness: We can forgive those who attack us because we secretly agreed to have them attack us in order to teach us a loving spiritual lesson. It's all perfect; everything that happened is part of a loving divine plan that everyone agreed to before we came to this world. Even when people hurt us terribly, deep down they're really doing it for our good. If this is so, what reason do we have to resent them? We can thank them for all the good they've done for us through their attacks, and be at peace.
  • Amanda Lindhout: Forgiving Her Somali Torturers Every once in a while, I like to share an inspiring forgiveness story in these "Course Meets World" pieces. Recently, a friend passed on another of these amazing stories: the account of Amanda Lindhout, who was captured and tortured by a Somali militia but survived her ordeal through love, forgiveness, and discovering her special function of helping the Somali people find a better way. Her story is one more example of the power of healing love to transform lives.

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