David lives in Kingston, ON, Canada
He is currently primary caregiver to his mother
He has three grown children, one daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. All of whom he is immensely proud of.
We need, I believe, a renewed understanding of what it means to be part of a global ecosystem and a global civilization – a civilization with global, and finite, resources.
If it isn’t obvious from the emphasis on Mutuality in all of my writing, I am what most would label as a “progressive”, or “liberal” or “leftie.” Given the implied definitions that are attached to any of those, I don’t find them particularly satisfying. Being Canadian, I also fall into the group described as “socially progressive and fiscally conservative.” That’s better, but it’s a bit unwieldy in my opinion.
So my best suggestion, and my hope, is that you’ll read something I’ve posted and decide for yourself. From politics to business, from faith to fantasy and science fiction, I hope that you’ll find something to pique your curiosity, tickle your fancy, or challenge your assumptions.
And if you do, I hope that you’ll take the time to leave a comment, start a conversation, or pass it along to a friend or two. After all, the whole point of all of this is that we’re all interconnected and that we all have something to contribute.
Like most people, my own “life journey” has had its share of highs and lows. There’ve been times when I felt as though I could see over mountaintops. There’ve also been a few dark, bramble-filled stretches that left me beaten and drained. Eventually, the journey led me to embrace what I’ve come to think of as the Principle of Mutuality . It’s the yardstick by which I measure my success, or more often lack of it, in deepening my relationship to the people I care about, the world I’m part of, and the incomprehensible vastness of a universe we’re just beginning to understand.
It goes by many names – the Golden Rule, the Ethic of Reciprocity , Reciprocal Altruism , being ” wired to care “, or just plain common sense. Although my writing deals with distinctly different topics, they are all, even the sci-fi, linked by that common theme. Whether it’s played out in the political arena, in business, in our personal lives or in our dreams and imaginations, we can no longer deny the web of interconnectedness that binds us one to the other. That reality is underlined and made concrete by the very existence of the medium we’re using right now.
We live, as the proverb says, in interesting times.
I’m probably best described as a Progressive Christian; a broad umbrella that covers those who, while rejecting outdated doctrine and dogma, still find relationship with the Divine through the message of radical love that lies at the heart of Christianity.
I hold to a panentheistic (don’t leave out the “en”, it’s important) understanding of God. That is, that God, whatever you conceive “God” to be, is both immanent (intimately part of all of Creation) and transcendent (beyond Creation). I respect the traditional expressions of Christianity. They empowered and sustained millions over millennia, inspiring them with the courage to champion social change and the fortitude to “seek justice and resist evil.”
However, the traditional image of God (in western theologies at least) as some sort of bearded guy on a throne in the sky is, I believe, an obstacle to our continued spiritual growth. Theos , the Greek word translated as “God”, isn’t a man writ large. It’s a concept that encompasses all of Creation. When, in the course of my personal spiritual journey, I realized the liberating power of that concept, it led me to write Do Unto Others .
I also admire those who have attempted to reformulate Christianity in new and exciting ways, or to create entirely new spiritualities, drawing on their own experience of the Divine to express, in new words, the eternal message.
However, I believe that most of us aren’t so much interested in a “new” message as we are in hearing the ancient one that lies at the heart of our history and our spirit.
Not the message of doctrine, that claims we must “believe” certain things – rather, the message of faith, that challenges us to do certain things.
The message that says whatever you do for the least of these, you have done for me ;
The message that recognizes that our “neighbor” is the whole world;
The message that calls us to embrace the world in all its wondrous diversity.
Seems Like God – Reflections on Life and Faith is home to essays, discussion, and resources from that perspective.
| A Little History
Life and Faith has existed, in one form or another, for over twenty years. Debuting in 1988, it originally ran on a “BBS” (“bulletin board system”), utilizing FidoNet software. Even then, using what now seems incredibly clumsy technology (users had to make long distance calls to Canada from as far away as Australia to participate), people of faith who wanted to explore their beliefs without the “baggage” that accompanied traditional religion were finding each other all over the world. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be associated with an incredibly diverse range of people who helped me to explore the depth and breadth of a faith that refuses to be bound by dogma or doctrine. Long before online education became an everyday occurrence, these scholars and theologians were hosting workshops and forums through Life and Faith that opened windows for participants from across North America and around the world. Indeed, the Statement of Affirmation for People of Faith and the Golden Rule Resolution are just two results of the collaboration of people from across the globe who came together to create common statements of what it means to be one with Creation.
The world is fast becoming one very big small community. What the future holds for sites like Life and Faith/Seems like God is unknowable.
But it’s bound to be interesting.
Unity in Diversity
Late in 2005 I encountered Paul McKenna’s Golden Rule Poster . It was the genesis of a new understanding.
I have never believed that any one faith or tradition has an exclusive claim to the truth of God’s Presence. All life-affirming religions, secular moral codes, and scientific endeavor can help us to learn something of God, Creation, and the universe. However, while I had always understood my faith from an ecumenical perspective, I hadn’t invested much effort in thinking of it from an interfaith point of view.
Paul’s poster changed that. It led me to other resources, including Jeffrey Wattles’ book The Golden Rule , which documented the principle’s presence across millennia of human history. Not only was the concept of “doing unto others” present in other religions, it was also the foundation of the Ethic of Reciprocity and humanity’s secular moral codes. Research is even finding evidence to indicate that it’s part of our genetic makeup. That’s why the subtitle of Do Unto Others is The Underlying Principle of Life and How to Live It .
The Golden Rule Radical is dedicated to articles that speak to this universal principle – a concept that can provide common ground for a world that can no longer afford to ignore the reality that what happens to the least of us, affects all of us.
In his book There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics , John Maxwell proposes that the Golden Rule is just as applicable to the issue of business ethics as it is to any other area of our lives.
I’ve been a small business owner, a manager in large corporations, a process designer, a trainer, and a number of other things. No matter what business environment I was in, I always found that I achieved the best results when I treated my employees, my bosses, my customers, and my companies the way I’d like to be treated.
This section of Exercises in Mutuality will be home to articles discussing how the Principle of Mutuality impacts ethical business conduct and the application of the 7 Questions in a business/corporate setting.
- Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world – Tommy Douglas
- A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right – Nelson Mandela
- By definition, the silent majority does not make a lot of noise. It is content to make history – Pierre Trudeau
- Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. – John Diefenbaker
Whether the world is “globalizing”, “shrinking”, or “interconnecting”, it’s clear that the brinkmanship and confrontation that has long characterized politics can no longer be the standard method of operation.
Statesmanship, a word used to recognize those who rise above the petty self-interest of personal agendas, party politics, and national prejudice, has always understood the necessity of considering the greatest benefit to the broadest population.
Reciprocal Politics is the section to discuss the Principle of Mutuality as it applies to the efforts of politicians and governments to practice statecraft; what happens when they fail; and how we can encourage them to continue to try.
Creative Writing (Science Fiction)
As a teenager, authors as diverse as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and John Wyndham were my constant companions. Perhaps, then, it isn’t surprising that I found the idea of aliens or ancient astronauts “mentoring” ancient civilizations proposed by people like Eric von Daniken more akin to the myths that permeate human history than to any scientific “truth.”
More than that, I couldn’t look at those myths without seeing again the underlying principle of mutuality and the lesson we never seem to learn of what happens when we ignore it.
As a result, my own sci-fi effort, Danaerea (dan – air – ee – uh), weaves together the whole of human history, evolution, mythology, and science into an alternate reality that explains not only why we no longer live in a Garden of Eden, but how the battle rages, hidden from view, to enslave humanity or free it once and for all.
… The Unwritten Ending
In January of 2009 I was diagnosed with a cauliflower-sized growth in my chest called a thymoma . Although additional health issues continue to surface, I am grateful to be a Cancer Survivor .
That experience reminded me just how little time we each have to change the world for the better. I make no pretense to have “the answer.” Unless, as in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer really is 42.
Otherwise, if the past fifty plus years have taught me anything, it’s that we are all part of the problem, and that we all have to be part of the solution.
After all, mutuality says we’re all in this together, aren’t we?
As I said at the beginning, if you find something here to pique your curiosity, tickle your fancy, or challenge your assumptions, I hope that you’ll pass it on to a friend, take a moment to add a comment, or send me an email . I’d love to hear from you.