On Saturday, January 8, 2011 Jared Loughner attempted to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He failed but managed to kill 6 others and wound 14 including Rep. Giffords. This act of non-random violence by a crazed individual has renewed the call for a more civil tone in the ongoing political debate about everything. This appears to be rather complex since no one has laid out a road map for decreasing the vitriol.
In unrelated news Debbie Friedman succumbed to pneumonia Sunday, January 9, 2011. Friedman had an extraordinary voice not only in the literal sense but also in her interpretation and presentation of scriptural and liturgical themes. Her body of work spanned 50+ years. Some of her music has been incorporated into regular worship at many congregations. Her songs will still be sung for generations.
One of Debbie Friedman's earliest compositions was her adaptation of Zechariah 4:6:
"Not by might and not by power, but by spirit alone shall we all live in peace." Imagine that.
Peace achieved via spirit, whether divinely inspired or simply the spirit of community before self. That's the recipe for peace. Too simplistic in a complex world? The best way to attack complicated projects is to break the problems down to simple, basic components and put those pieces together to reach the goal. And the goal is simple: Turn down the heat and increase civility in the political debate. Begin with spirit, it's that simple.
Not by might and not by power but by spirit alone shall we all live in peace.