Loyal readers weigh in on subject of loyalty
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 6, 2002
The loss of loyalty is "the single greatest moral loss" in
today's society, coffee companion Greg Axelson said in this column two
weeks ago. In last week's column, Lorraine Champagne responded that if
loyalty is endangered, it is because of increased self-interest and decreased
Here are some more responses:
The first note is from a coffee companion who fears loss of brand loyalty
in selecting a new car is carrying over to human relationships:
TODAY'S DRIVERS have become free agents; they are able to taste a
number of different vehicles from the menu. Is it possible that this
automobile-world attitude has surfaced in the world of unconditional
love? To this "new car" generation, giving one's word, and
promising unconditional loyalty to that word, is frightening. They want
to leave a back door open, an escape hatch for a new model.
John Williamson, Calgary
"THANKS FOR reminding me that loyalty reveals itself in self-sacrifice,"
wrote another coffee companion:
YOU HAVE GIVEN me the perfect opening to wax eloquent about one of
my favorite Bible characters, Hushai the Archite, the king's friend
(1 Chronicles 27:33). I've always marvelled how "king's friend"
could be an absolutely acceptable job title, like king's advisor, king's
general or king's chef.
How did Hushai win such a humble yet esteemed title? He was loyal
to Israel's King David in a grasping and ambitious court. When King
David's life was in danger, Hushai stayed behind alone, at peril of
death, to face the king's seditious son, Absalom.
I can see it now. Absalom, Mr. Absolutely and Terrifyingly Handsome,
swept into David's court with the fire and fierceness of an F-18. And
there at the end of the runway stood Hushai, head bowed and unarmed.
[Absalom, blinded by his passion for power, failed to recognize the
betrayal that ultimately cost him his own life.] Hushai, by putting
his life on the line, helped save David's. Hushai, my hero and the one
who orders my ducks into a row.
Debbie Faulkner, Calgary
WAXING philosophical on loyalty and the struggle for dominance, the
religion editor of the Calgary Herald responded with a note on prophet-of-despair
Jean-Paul Sartre's dichotomy of "being and nothingness," in
the light of Aristotle:
IF THERE IS a God, if the universe is a cosmos instead of a chaos,
then, as Aristotle saw, the "other" is seen as another self,
an elaboration of our shared possibilities as human beings. This is
the foundation of what we call loyalty: the conviction that we are nothing
without the infinitely deep and inexhaustible others whom we can reflect.
Joe Woodard, Calgary
OUR FINAL response is also from a writer, Cochrane author and speaker
SPEAKING OF LOYALTY, it seems that we are not necessarily a "disloyal"
culture, but one that is only loyal to ourselves. We come from a generation
that saw our parents give up self-loyalty and sold their souls to the
corporation, to relationships, and to institutions, and we have thus
responded by taking the pendulum to the opposite extreme. But the answer
is not self-centeredness (as we are learning amidst the spiritual desolation
our culture is currently living in), nor is it in the abdication of
the soul. We are in need of balance, and needing to attend to and to
be loyal to both our soul and the world that we live in. It is a both/and,
not an either/or... A challenge that the authentic journey asks us to
David Irvine, Cochrane
THERE'S STILL more to say on this topic. In last week's column, Perry
Wager raised one angle we haven't picked up on yet. He asked the disturbing
question, "What of those who are loyal to what we believe to be evil?"
(I'm assuming Perry is referring to loyalties such as those underlying
conflicts in places like the Middle East.) What do you think?
© 2002 Warren Harbeck
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