New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


The Spiritual Jackpot

December 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Transforming Western Culture with Indigenous Consciousness

by Robert C. Koehler

The topic was “Indians of the Midwest” and the professor was knowledgeable and conveyed serious respect for Native culture, but something kept gnawing at me as she talked.

There are two types of Indian stereotypes, she said — the negative (the ignorant savage, the abductor of white women, etc.) and the romantic (woo-woo, New Agey, let’s play Indian, “go ’Skins!”) — and left it at that, implying, OK, if you are non-Native, the best attitude to strike is a certain respectful distance, neither denigrating the culture nor seizing hold of it like an idiot. If you want more, attend lectures and look at the artifacts on display behind glass cases, but DO NOT TOUCH. (more…)

Reclaiming Our Humanity

December 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Pancho Ramos Stierle, Politics

Finding Shelter from the Storm … and Within Ourselves

by Pancho Ramos-Stierle

The time has come to reclaim our full humanity. It’s time to put our principles before profits. It is time to evict the greed and violence in our communities. It is time to arrest the consumerism and materialism that is destroying the biodiversity of our Planet and the spirit of our society.

Some politicians, in their blindness, would like to criminalize hanging out on the sidewalks. And it is blindness because before “cleaning the streets,” as they say, we must clean first our minds, we must clean our consciousness and heal our hearts. How is it possible that they are spending trillions of dollars to bail out the banks and not the people to provide us with homes, jobs, health care and public education? How is it possible that they are spending billions to develop “safer nuclear weapons,” and they are spending trillions to kill brothers and sisters on the other side of the Planet, and not investing that money to eradicate the physical poverty in our communities at “home”?

I’ve been living without a regular shelter for more than 2 years, and I am one of the 12 million “illegal human beings” in this part of the Planet, but I’d rather have no physical shelter than have no spiritual shelter. (more…)

Replenishing the Earth

September 27, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

Healing Ourselves and the World

by Wangari Maathai

During my more than three decades as an environmentalist and campaigner for democratic rights, people have often asked me whether spirituality, different religious traditions, and the Bible in particular had inspired me, and influenced my activism and the work of the Green Belt Movement (GBM). Did I conceive conservation of the environment and empowerment of ordinary people as a kind of religious vocation? Were there spiritual lessons to be learned and applied to their own environmental efforts, or in their lives as a whole?

When I began this work in 1977, I wasn’t motivated by my faith or by religion in general. Instead, I was thinking literally and practically about solving problems on the ground. (more…)

Lessons from San Quentin

June 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Michael N. Nagler, Politics, Stephanie N. Van Hook

A Nonviolent Approach to ‘Criminal Justice’

by Michael N. Nagler, with Stephanie N. Van Hook

“San Quentin may you rot and burn in hell, may your walls fall and may I live to tell; May all the world forget you ever stood, may all the world regret you did no good.”Johnny Cash

In Camus’s The Stranger his main character, Meursault, has murdered another man in cold blood on the beach one hot summer day for no evident reason.  Days before his execution, gazing at the sky in his cell, Meursault suddenly realizes that freedom is still possible, still immanent, even with his body in chains. On the exact nature of this realization Camus makes no comment, but as the gates of San Quentin penitentiary closed behind me on May 27, 2011, the scene came to mind and gave me perhaps a similar notion of the absurd, and of truth not served, and the horrible secret of our “democracy”: that there is no such thing as criminal justice. (more…)

Healthy Boundaries

February 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ahmed Afzaal, Community, Culture

Searching High and Low for Common Ground

by Ahmed Afzaal

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2012 presidential hopeful, is being taken to task in the blogosphere for some comments he recently made on Fox and Friends. The controversial remarks appeared in the context of his criticism of two Protestant churches that are allowing local Muslims to worship in their facilities. In defending his position, Mr. Huckabee provided more ammunition to his opponents when he suggested that Islam was “the antithesis of the Gospel of Christ.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on Mr. Huckabee to apologize for his offensive remarks.

The word “antithesis” means the exact opposite of something; in the science of rhetoric, it denotes the counter-claim that directly contrasts the original proposition (called thesis). I cannot be fully certain of what Mr. Huckabee meant; however, when I read his statement that Islam was “the antithesis of the Gospel of Christ,” I understood it to mean that these two religious traditions stood in a starkly contrasting relationship of thesis and antithesis; that they were being seen as more or less incompatible and mutually exclusive, lacking in any common ground. (more…)

What the World Needs Now…

January 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Debbie Ouellet

It’s Cool to be Kind

by Debbie Ouellet

“What this world needs is a new kind of army the army of the kind.”

— Cleveland Amory, author

Search the headlines at the dawn of this new decade and you’ll find countless examples of everything that’s wrong in the world today. The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Genocide in Dafur. A deadly earthquake in Haiti. Recently, a friend commented, “The whole world’s gone to hell and there’s nothing we can do about it.” The acceptance in that comment troubled me. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the sentiment voiced.

Is there nothing we can do about it? The question stayed with me for some time. Let’s face it: the problems plastered all over the evening news are so big that whole governments can’t seem to find a way to correct them. What hope does a solitary person have in making a change for the better?

Like other “truth seekers,” I decided to go looking for an answer — and found its genesis in the most unlikely of places: a calendar of holidays and observances. In January and February alone, there are four days dedicated to acts of kindness: January 21st, Hugging Day; January 24th, Compliment Day; February 11th, Make a Friend Day; and February 17th, Random Acts of Kindness Day. At some point in history, a person or organization decided to lobby to dedicate one day each year to bettering the life of other human beings. How? By being kind to them. And, why? Because there is something we can do about the state of the world. (more…)