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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


“Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”
                             Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare

I hear a lot of people talking about what they want
They want fewer taxes
They want a sense that business can grow, unfettered
They want to feel safe
They want affluence

Me too!

But I was taught by my parents
Who were taught by their parents
(Ah that Mennonite tradition)
That we are put on this earth to help others

Not just ourselves

And this has stuck with me
And then there are those pesky sayings of Jesus

Good grief
Blessed are the poor?  Those who hurt for others?

It seems so odd
But it what I have learned, sometimes the hard way
Is that while it is not wrong for me to want safety, and to seek to flourish

I cannot strive for those things
If the cost is too high

It is OK to seek to rise to the top
But not if you have to do so by destroying and minimizing others
By lying
By manipulating with fear

It is not OK to create a sense of safety
If you do so by isolating, and leaving other people to die

It is not OK seek affluence if my efforts leave others in poverty
Or hurt others
Or even hurt the earth (yes I am talking about climate change)
It is not OK

We cannot get what we want by using power, and brutality
Inequity, and falsehood
And leave others behind

Not only is it not moral
Not only does it violate God’s template for how to live

But it doesn’t work
As Thich Nhat Hanh notes,
“The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides.” (― Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames)

We cannot be selfish ( which is where many in America seem to be right now.  “America First”.  “Me first”)
We cannot leave damaged people and a damaged earth in our wake

It is as the prophet Micah once said (to a country that was behaving much like us)

“God has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does Yahweh require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”


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