Welcome to the Third Degree: Tough, brief, weekly interrogations that force thinking and response. With reliance upon and respect for your instincts, knowledge, exploration and determinations, this week, we target: Promises

• How have ancient spring rituals with fertility fascinations, featuring flowers, bunnies, eggs, goddesses and more, morphed, over time, into theologically generated, April 2020 celebrations of promise?

• It’s Easter Sunday. If Christian, with 2.18 billion worldwide believers, what promises obtain?

• If Jewish, 14.6 million are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform, what Passover promises sustain?

• Ramadan for 1.8 billion Muslims begins this month, again, what promises pertain?

• Given common origins, why the competing theologies and promises? Do sacred promises cause secular conflict and vice versa? What does history portray? Facing normative suffering, has personal resiliency provided palpable promise?

• Does the economic miracle of capitalism’s invisible hand provide for real societal advance, potential and promise? What pillars of society provide primary support and promise? What pillars need tuck-pointing or, alternately, replacement

• What political promises are inviolate? If the essential promise of democratic accountability depends on choice, where are the governors or legislators who promised a “fair map” November ballot opportunity to end the gerrymandering problem? How about everyone promise to call the governor and the heads of the legislature plus your representatives in the next week?

• Is a promise made, a debt unpaid? Does Robert Service serve us well as we appreciate that secular and sacred join on the promise trail with its own stern code?

Socrates reminds: The unexamined life is not worth living. Examinations will continue in “The Third Degree.” The answers and the actions are yours.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. John Borling is a highly decorated fighter pilot who served worldwide in high level command and staff positions. He was a POW in North Vietnam for over 6½ years. Now, an author, speaker, civic and business leader, he is the founder of Service over Self America. See sosamerica.org