Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, August 19, 2019

just cruel

“People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I have been thinking a lot lately about cruelty

The cruelty of children separated from their parents
The cruelty of people in cages
The cruelty of SNAP benefits pulled from struggling families
The cruelty of the death penalty
The cruelty of people excluded and abused because they were born LGBTQI
The cruelty of people of color being treated violently and unjustly by police
The cruelty of ICE

Some people are just cruel
They are bullies
And they delight in abusing power

Because it is all about them. All about their wealth, their power, their ego
The other person doesn’t count.  They are nothing but an object to be used an manipulated, and even hurt, for the benefit of the abuser

They need to be cruel, for that is how they feel power
That is how their egos are stroked
They appear to have no other way of finding a sense of value

Seneca once said “all cruelty springs from weakness”

That is true

Cruel people like to act strong
Feel strong
Be seen as strong

But they are not
Their cruelty reveals their poverty of mind and soul

It is disturbing to see cruelty emerge as the modus operandi
Of our nation

Disturbing to see cruelty sitting in the seats of power

But it is even more disturbing to see so many people
Feeding off of this cruelty.
Finding delight in it
Cheering it
Finding their own sense of power through the cruelty of those they have chosen to adore

And doing so, in many cases, while evoking the name of God
Which is puzzling

Philip Pullman once made the following statement:
“…. there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them.”

I believe that cruelty violates the Sacred
I believe you cannot claim to “follow Jesus”, and follow the way of cruelty

It is as simple as that

Who are we going to belong to?
Which path are we going to follow?

That is the choice that confronts us this day

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, ….  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mostly, I am sad

Keep my anger from becoming meanness.
Keep my sorrow from collapsing into self-pity.
Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking. Keep my anger turned towards justice, not cruelty.
Remind me that all of this, every bit of it, is for love.
Keep me fiercely kind.
                               Laura Jean Truman,  Twitter, October 2018

It is another day in America
A polarized America
Spin, purposefully, into chaos and hate

It is an America in which
For most of us
Anger lies just below the surface

Our anger comes from different places
It is fueled by ideology
By fear
By resentment
By injustice, real or perceived

And it is fueled in many ways
By people purposefully manipulating us
But what we see, and hear, and read

But it is there

It is also an America in which there is deep, profound sadness
We all have our own reasons for that sadness
Children in captivity
Poor people neglected
Rich people entitled
The prevalent hate
The greed, and the apathy
The bullying from on high
The abandonment of the way of Jesus, by those who claim to follow him

But embrace and support everything Jesus spoke against

I am angry (at times)
Mostly, I am sad

And so I pray
That the God in me will stir
Or perhaps, that I will awake to that presence

And be so permeated by love
That even though
There is anger and sadness

I can allow my self
To remain open, and empathic

And walk through each day
Building up, and not tearing down

So that I may approach each person I meet
With fierce kindness

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A bad week for the God of Love

“The God of Love had a really bad week”
                               Diana Butler Bass

The God of love had a very bad week

It was a week where more legal immigrants we detained at the border
Mostly because the color of their skin made them a perfect target
For a racist leader.

It was a week when children remained in cages
Their fragile selves being destroy day by day by the cruelty imposed on them
By people claiming that God blesses their country

It was a week when gun control continued to be blocked

It was a week when hatred flourished to the shout of
“send her back”

A week when so called “patriots” tried to stir up both hate and
Fear, in front of my county’s courthouse

A week in which a person who dared to challenge them
Woke up to a broken car window and a vandalized care

It was a week when vitrol flooded the comments sections
On Facebook and News articles

It was a week when the Evangelical church, claiming to follow Jesus
Doubled down on its support of a cheat and liar
And worse

It was a week when an evangelical pastor
Suggested that if Trump loses the election
Christian leaders and politicians will all get murdered
(this same “pastor” suggested that the children and grandchildren of all who oppose Trump will be cursed)

The God of love had a bad week

Meanwhile, the God many Americans have created in place of this God
That tougher, stricter
Emperor God
Who is all punishment, wrath and exclusion
That God who plays favorites
And is all about power and wealth
And winning

This militaristic, angry
Cruel God…

Did so well

This God (or so we are led to believe)
Rode along with ICE as they rounded up good people
Smiled benevolently at the angry, chanting crowds
Blessed a country that has created economic inequity
Made race based injustice the norm
And neglected the vulnerable

This God sided with winners
This God flat out squashed the God of Love….

Or not

The truth is
And this is something
“a minority of white Christians know,
and the majority of Christians of color never need be reminded,
the God of love is always hanging around,
the brown-skinned Jewish rabbi preaching about the poor being blessed
and the broken-hearted comforted.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
Do unto others. Let the little children come.
Faith, hope, and love.
And the greatest of these is love.”  (Diana Butler Bass)

It was a bad week for the God of Love
But it is (symbolically)

And Sunday is coming

And on Sunday, Love wins