I'm branching out a little, trying to broaden my horizons. For several years, I focused my study nearly exclusively on monastic topics. But, I need a change, and there is no reason to believe that monastic spirituality excludes the entirety of life. In fact, it should be just the opposite and embrace all of life.
Stanley Kurtz's new book, Radical in Chief, which examins Barack Obama's political, and as seems likely, personal philosophy. I wasn't sure I wanted to read the book, but saw that it was available on Kindle, so I ordered it, more to keep up with family conversation on Thanksgiving if the topic arises than any other reason.
When I first heard about the book, I djd think could be an important one; Obama has not been clear or consistent in defining himself to the American public.
So, my first impressions of the book?
Kurtz didn't set out to write a smear of Obama, and the book is not of that ilk. In addition, Kurtz makes the point several times that he initially didn't believe Obama to be a socialist; it was only in researching the president's early years, especially his years in New York, that he came to the conclusion he did.
Kurtz shows that Obama decided early on that he wanted to be a community organizer and that, under his socialist mentors, one of the key traits of a community organizer is to keep the objective of implementing a socialist system as secret from those being organized. They profess high ideals that sound close to American ideals, but they mean something entirely different.
It seems to me, that people who take on such tasks end of living a lie. They calculate to deceive others about who and what they really are. Not only is that fundamentally dishonest, it must take a great toll on the personhood of the individual. At some point, the lies must come out.
This is the very opposite of the monastic ideal; Benedict would have us know ourselves, be honest with ourselves and those around us about who and what we are; not always a pretty picture, but in the end, it's the best way to live as a fully human being.
I'm not judging Obama, I don't know what his motives were or are, but his past is more than a little scary.