Soul has been demoted to a new-age spiritual fantasy or a missionary's booty, and nature has been treated , at best, as a postcard or a vacation backdrop or, more commonly, as a hardware store or refuse heap. Too many of us lack intimacy with the natural world and with our souls, and consequently we are doing untold damage to both.
I love how one man in the press stood up and said, 'Wait a minute, there is something very wrong here,' ... Especially in the last several years, the press has not done that or not been allowed to do that -- take your pick. We don't have McCarthyism today, but history is repeating itself. . . . Money is everything, there is an arrogance of power, people speak up and are demoted. It's a wonderful time for this movie to come out.
I tried to imagine him capital-S Somewhere as we prayed, but even then I could not quite convince myself that he and I would be together again. I already knew too many dead people. I knew that time would now pass for me differently then it would for him- that I, like everyone in that room, would go on accumulating loves and losses while he would not. And for me, that was the final and truly unbearable tragedy: Like all the innumerable dead, he'd once and for all been demoted from haunted to haunter.
The mainstream media may have trouble resisting the temptation to declare that Karl Rove has been demoted, but the truth is quite the contrary. By giving up his role as deputy White House chief of staff, Rove has been freed to do what he does best: shape big issues and develop strategies to win elections.
In the midst of demotion, our hearts are laid bare before us, and we see grime, chaff, and darkness rise up in what we thought were our pure and dedicated hearts. What we often overlook is the fact that being demoted did not cause sinfulness to arise in our hearts; it simply revealed what was brewing within. The Lord will often use seasons of demotion to bring to our attention what has been before His eyes all along. To the sincere heart, this is a priceless gift.
How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites? . . . How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?
During their college years the oarsmen put in terrbily long hours, often showing up at the boathouse at 6:00am for preclass practices. Both physically and psychologically, they were separated from their classmates. Events that seemed earth-shattering to them-- for example, who was demoted from the varsity to the junior varsity -- went almost unnoticed by the rest of the students. In many ways they were like combat veterans coming back from a small, bitter and distant war, able to talk only to other veterans.
With the rise of classical Greece, the soul debate evolved into the more familiar heart-versus-brain, the liver having been demoted to an accessory role. We are fortunate that this is so, for we would otherwise have been faced with Celine Dion singing "My Liver Belongs to You" and movie houses playing The Liver Is a Lonely Hunter. Every Spanish love song that contains the word corazon, which is all of them, would contain the somewhat less lilting higado, and bumper stickers would proclaim, "I [liver symbol] my Pekingese.
We live in a world in which people are censured, demoted, imprisoned, beheaded, simply because they have opened their mouths, flapped their lips, and vibrated some air. Yes, those vibrations can make us feel sad or stupid or alienated. Tough shit. That's the price of admission to the marketplace of ideas. Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude, or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we're in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it's time to make a run for the fence.