Archive for the ‘Social Issues’ Category

2014 Aspen Ideas Fest – Spotlight: Health

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love, once you heard their story.”

“Great programs don’t change the world; great people do.”

“Girls are not property. They aren’t pure. They are real, and they are our future.”

“Be present and receive the gift of amazing stories.”

“Once you see what great design can do, you can’t unsee it. It becomes a part of what is possible.”

“People – whatever their circumstances – just want to live.”

“Ten years from now, we will have a powerful story to tell!”

These are just some of the inspiring comments I heard last week, when I had the joy and privilege of attending the 2014 Aspen Ideas Fest – Spotlight: Health at the Aspen Institute campus in beautiful Aspen, Colorado. What an amazing experience!

Each day was a feast of surprising, provocative conversations with world-changing people, all of it aimed at transforming global public health. From young architects building culturally relevant hospitals to robotic engineers creating exoskeletons, from international scientists to local activists, from courageous African men and women working to expand family planning to American politicians working to expand access to healthy food, from musicians who awaken dementia patients to physicians who are alert to new therapies and from young students to retired professors, everyone involved was united in a shared vision of making health, not just healthcare, a reality for all people.

I was reminded over and over that when creative change-makers come together to share ideas and listen to one another, miracles can happen. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of the inspiring stories I heard and some of the astounding people I met during my week in Aspen. For now, know that the world is full of heroes — and we are called to be heroes too!

Find more of Anne’s McCrady’s Ideas for InSpired Living at InSpiritry.com!

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Independent Opinion

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion;

it is easy in solitude to live after our own;

but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd

keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

At a time when there are so many diverse opinions being proffered in the world and those opinions are causing so much trouble (terrorism, American politics, religious conflicts), I am drawn to Emerson’s quote.

We, humans, are an opinionated bunch! On most topics, there are as many ideas as there are people. As we live in neighborhoods, communities, nations and organizations, we confront the collision of those differing ideas every day. At work, in coffee shops, at church, even at the dinner table — people disagree with us.

So what should we do? (more…)

Empathy 101

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

“If there is any great secret to success in life,

 it is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place

and see things from his point of view as well as your own.” Henry Ford 

As I worked on a poetry presentation this week, I realized that the the ideas I am presenting are not limited to writing — they are, in fact, InSpiritry ideas worth sharing! The workshop I have been developing is a lesson for poets about persona poems. For the uninitiated, the persona of a poem is the person speaking to the reader. In some persona poems the writer assumes an identity other than their own.  That persona can be another person, an animal, a place, even something inanimate. In a persona poem, an alternate point of view means using an intentionally different way of speaking, to become that other voice. Enough about literary technique, though; back to my original reason for this post.   

What drew me to widen my considerations about writing persona poems was my assertion that “persona poems compel us to consider how it feels to be someone else.” (more…)

2010 – Happy New Year

Friday, January 1st, 2010

2010 – Happy New Year! 

Well, here we are. Ten years into the New Millenium. Post 9/11. Post Economic meltdown. Post Bush-Cheney. Several degrees into Global Warming. Several setbacks into Global Cooperation. The backside of the Great Recession. The end of a decade of decadence. Folks, straighten your chair backs, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for landing; somehow or another, we made it!

So – as we come to the end of this bumpy ride—what’s next for us?

I have no crystal ball to foretell the future, but my hunch is that, like so many generations of God’s people on planet Earth, we are about discover the consequences of having to collectively learn things the hard way!

Here are just a few of the tough lessons in store for us: (more…)

The Best Way

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

He was a Mahatma (Great Soul) and India’s Bapu (Father of the Nation).

October 2 is the birthday of Mohandras Gandhi, political leader, spiritual advisor, social activist and wise elder. Educated and of means, but having experienced the sting of racism while in South Africa, the domination of India by Britain and the brutal violence between Hindus and Muslims, Gandhi turned his life to what he called non-cooperation – just saying “no” to injustice. A student of Jesus’s teaching as well as other world religions, he practiced kindness and forgiveness in a sacred endeavor towards the Greater Good. Because of his leadership, people around the world were inspired. In tribute to Gandhi, the date of his birth was designated several years ago as the annual International Day of Non-violence. (more…)

Free Speech: America’s Second Best Idea

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

See full size image “Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Action

are meaningless without Freedom to Think.”

Bergen Evans

 

What a pleasure it has been to enjoy Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on PBS (if you haven’t tuned in, it’s inspiring!) As I have been watching the nightly episodes, it occurred to me to consider America’s second best idea. I didn’t have to think long; the blogosphere offered a couple of controversies that confirmed my choice. If the Parks are America’s best idea (although I might suggest it could have been our consitutional democracy), then the second best idea is our First Amendment, and in particular freedom of speech. (more…)

Question for the Day 6-24-09: Healthcare

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

 

We all profit if our healthcare system is transformed…

and that profit will not be just financial! 

This week in Washington, the hot topic is healthcare. Those with an eye on the cost and scope of expanding healthcare are calling for reform. Those with a heart for medical care as a humanitarian mission are calling for healthcare to be transformed. Most of us, confused and concerned with how to provide healthcare for our own family and others, are somewhere in between. (more…)

InSpiritry Question for the Day 6-11-09: Electricity

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

“Poverty, Violence, War, Earthquakes, Floods…all reasons families are forced to live in Third World conditions.”

Last night, a line of dangerous summer thunderstorms raced across North Texas, full of sky-splitting lightning strikes, damaging winds, tornados, heavy rain and hail. As our huge, old trees heaved in the gusts and thunder rattled our windows, we heard a high pitched POP! and then total silence. (more…)

Question for the Day: May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

“President Obama has announced that Sonia Sotomayor

is his nominee for the Supreme Court.” 

Yesterday, after several weeks of consideration, President Obama introduced us to the woman he is nominating as the next Supreme Court Justice. (more…)

Our Most Human Question: Why?

Monday, February 16th, 2009

 Your imagination, my dear fellow, is worth more than you imagine.
Louis Aragon

This past Thursday, February 12, was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, one of the world’s most imaginative and influential thinkers. In the UK, a celebration called Darwin200 is taking place to honor his scientific ideas and their  impact. Events are taking place this month and will continue until November 24, the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous book, The Origin of Species.

You remember Charles Darwin: the 19th century God-fearing husband, father and naturalist who stumbled upon an idea so revolutionary and disturbing that he waited 15 years to publish it, for fear of alienating his friends, family and faith. In fact, his fears were confirmed. His discovery of Evolution–the idea that plants and animals with some traits survive and others do not leads species to emerge or change into new forms over time–did cause alienation, not just in Darwin’s life but for us 200 years later! Even today in state houses across America, educators and boards of educations are arguing, often with raised voices and tear-filled eyes, both sides of the issue of biology curricula: evidence-based science or creationism/intelligent design. As the debate rages, our poor teachers are faced with trying to inspire the scientists of tomorrow while maneuvering the storm.

Thinking about all this, I imagine God shaking his heavenly head and wondering about these miraculous human creatures made of the same stuff as water, spring flowers, sea turtles, star dust… people who by design endlessly long to understand the world, but who sometimes ask “why?” and then refuse to believe the answers they find.

And that is it in a nutshell: Darwin’s explorations as well as human discoveries from the beginning of time are rooted in that very human, and for the faithful divine-inspired, question, “why?” In fact, asking “why?” is at the heart of learning, that thing we humans must do to survive. (more…)