Sunday, July 30, 2006
Spiritual activism--passing this on
A message from Phyllis Curott of Temple of Ara; this is from their quarterly newsletter. Reposting because I support Ara's and Phyllis' work, and because I figured it'd make a nice change of tone 'round these parts.
"One person can make a difference."
With each passing day I have rewritten this letter, moving from joyful personal and Temple news to a deepening concern about the conflict in the Middle East.
By the time this email reaches you, I'm sure circumstances will
have changed yet again. But I'm not optimistic that they will have
changed for the better. You're probably having the same
conversations I've been having--wondering how bad things will get
and what the solutions might be.
To find a solution, you need to understand the origin of the
problem, and that is no easy matter--history both ancient and
modern, land, money, and poverty, egotism and the hunger for power,
and of course religion and fundamentalism. Where does one start?
Believing that one person can make a difference, I've been very
involved with the Network of Spiritual Progressives lately, serving
on the Clergy and National Advisory Boards and speaking frequently
with the organization's founder, Rabbi Michael Lerner. The other day
we were talking about the contents of an ad to be run in major
newspapers, calling for peace. I joked to Michael that this war is
what happens when God doesn't get laid, and Michael laughed, saying
that I should put that in an ad in the NYTimes. Some people would be
offended, some would laugh, but how many would really understand the
sorrowful truth behind the humor?
God is alone, and so are we. The world is out of balance. In the
beginning, the Bible says that: "We created humanity in our image,
man and woman we created them." WE in OUR image. In the beginning
there was God *and* Goddess, El as God is referred to early in the
Bible, *and* Asherah as the Canaanites (Uritic) *and* the early
Israelites both called their Mother Goddess. In the beginning, there
was unity, there was balance, and there was love. But over the years
that balance, the essential wholeness that is divine love was lost.
It seems to me that that is the real but hidden force driving
this world-threatening dispute. That is the source of the wound at
the center of Western Civilization. It is a wound that grew out of
three compounding cosmologies where "we" became "He"--a solitary,
often angry, punishing and absent Father God, a wound shared by all
three religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. When God exists
without Goddess, masculine without feminine, when the world exists
without the presence of the Sacred, humanity without divinity,
confusion, pain and violence are the consequences. When religions
justify killing because they have the "One True Way," they have no
way at all. They are no longer religions; they are nothing but
When we cannot see the Divine in one another, we give ourselves
license to kill. Were we to recognize the Divine in one another, we
would be empowered to love.
Sounds like utopia, especially given the current conditions. Is
there time to bring about such a radical shift in perceptions, in
culture, in religions? I don't know. But I know that we must act as
if it is possible--because the Divine comes into the world through
each and every one of us. With that realization comes profound
responsibility: we have no choice but to respond from the full
measure, power and beauty of this truth.
Understanding the core origins of the current explosion of fear
and fundamentalism, violence and suffering is the starting point to
finding the genuine, long-term solutions that everyone instinctually
knows are vital. But it's not enough to analyze intellectually, or
respond emotionally. We must counter the bloody politics of
fundamentalism with the spirituality of immanent divinity.
And we must restore balance with a contribution of feminine
energy, moving around the full circle--from idea to courage and
determination, then to compassion and love, and finally to hard work
in cultivating the seeds of a new vision, honoring God *and*
Goddess. This path always returns us to the center of that circle,
the point where heaven and earth are one. The place where and the
moment when humanity and Divinity recognize one another, where *you*
stand, seeing clearly, responding courageously, feeling deeply, and
acting purposefully. The center is where you can look at yourself,
and the Other, and declare from your heart "You are God/dess."
One person can make a difference. I hope you continue to thrive
and grow. And in this time of violence perversely justified by false
religiosity, I also hope that you will join us in cultivating a new
spiritual reality to heal a wounded world.
Peace, love and blessings,