August 2008    Volume I, Issue 2

Another Way of Doing Business

By Lawrence M. Ventline, D.MIN

Adults acting less than morally mature in weighty issues at the supermarket or on the street, or, their “right” to one’s space on the super freeways, or the growing and deplorable sense of one’s being “entitled” these days, has more to do with courtesy, manners, and moving beyond the split mind of dualistic thinking that Erasmus of Rotterdam reminded medieval thinkers about as they moved into dividing Europe over the Reformation. New paradigms can aid resolution to matters great and small.

Thinking beyond “either/or” and “right/wrong” is a paradigm that may well work for students, parents, pastors and peasants also, for that matter. Winning and losing is the political way that falls short always of another way to try—a new consciousness or contemplative mind that transcends one beyond dualistic thinking, or the split mind.

With the 40th anniversary of the late Pope Paul VI’s letter, for example, and “either/or” thinking On Human Life, readers and those who did not read it, missed much of the missive’s teaching against easily available contraception of the 60s sexual revolution that was super for predatory masculine energy at the expense of women. Zooming in alone on the ban of a contraceptive culture, society and media missed mutuality, mutual respect and communication between spouses. Merit of the pope’s encyclical got lost and now finds favor, as demographics show, depletion in birth rates in so-called “developed” countries, including the U.S., a phenomenon known as “Demographic Winter.”

Thinking like Erasmus beyond my way or the highway, right or wrong, either/or positions would have prevented the division of Europe over the Reformation perhaps. If Erasmus was listened to beyond the pope on one side and Luther on the other in the 16th century both “sides” would have won instead of all losing.

The twelfth century Saint Francis of Assisi was fond of the courtliness of life and manners, translated, courtesy. Are we too “modern” to respect life from womb to tomb and everyone in between? In the thrust to be “right” and “my way or the highway” thinking, do we shut down dialogue and bridges to hone deeper understanding of people’s postures.

We can use a good dose of reminding as Seneca espoused beyond informing - Thinking another way beyond the dualistic split mind, “either/or” tight-gripped postures where all lose, sad to say.

Furthermore, we need a dash of respect for authority also before demolition sets a course of destruction for human life in this town I love where I live and walk in its beautiful parks near awesome people and water, God created in love. Forty years after its writing and following 42 million marriage dissolutions—divorces—and nearly 50 million abortions, we need to read Paul VI’s, Humanae Vitae (On Human Life). Catch what you missed when perhaps blind to the rich thought and call for mutual respect among spouses in communications, sexuality and the total human person.

Father Lawrence Ventline is on special assignment for the Archdiocese of Detroit, is a licensed mental health counselor, author, and long-time religion writer for The Detroit News.

He lives in Harrison Township and can be reached at, or Sacred Heart Church, Roseville at 586 777-9116, So True A Tale of My Christmas Tree, is his latest book­—a children’ tale due out soon.

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