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, July 30, 2018

a sense of other

He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies – and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
                              Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene I

What have we lost
We sentient beings who wander this earth
Looking for that which always seems slightly out of reach?

We stand like Tantalus,
Stuck, grasping, unsatisfied.

What have we lost in our quest?

We have lost our sense of other
We seem so incapable of seeing “the other”
As fellow human beings
As brothers and sisters

As Children of God

We see only the labels
The surface

Christian, Muslim
Republican, Democrat
Trumpista, Libertard
Black, White, Brown
Immigrant, refugee
Rich, poor, lazy moocher

As we walk through our day
Immersed in our fears, our joys, our hopes, our hates

We cannot see that “they” are “us”
We are all walking in fear
We are all walking wounded
We are all walking hopeful

We have more in common than we think

And if we can get in touch with that common humanity
What a difference it would make

If I can see the hurt behind the hate
If I can see the fear behind the judgement
If I can understand what drives the other person

I might find that he or she
Is really just like me

Yes there are differences
There are different values, different priorities
Different ways of responding

But in the end, we share a sacred parentage
And we share a rock, hurtling through space
We share fear, and hate, we share a need for safety, and for meaning
We share greed, and lust, and compassion and generosity

And we share something deep and profound
That can unite us

But we have to see
We have to accept

We have to connect at that one place
Where we can connect
At that deep place
Where the Sacred lives

And then we have to walk each other home (Ram Dass)


As I write this I am reminded of a prayer by Michel Quoist

Lord, why did you tell me to love all, my brothers [and sisters}? I have tried, but I come back to you, frightened… Lord, I was so peaceful at home, I was so comfortably settled. It was well furnished, and I felt cozy. I was alone, I was at peace. Sheltered from the wind, the rain, the mud. I would have stayed unsullied in my ivory tower. But, Lord, you have discovered a breach in my defenses, You have forced me to open my door, Like a squall of rain in the face, the cry of men has awakened me; Like a gale of wind a friendship has shaken me, As a ray of light slips in unnoticed, your grace has stirred me… and, rashly enough, I left my door ajar. Now, Lord, I am lost!  Outside people were lying in wait for me. I did not know they were so near; in this house, in this street, in this office; my neighbor, my colleague, my friend. As soon as I started to open the door I saw them, with outstretched hands, burning eyes, longing hearts, like beggars on church steps. The first ones came in, Lord. There was after all some space in my heart. I welcomed them. I would have cared for them and fondled them, my very own little lambs, my little flock. You would have been pleased, Lord, I would have served and honored you in a proper, respectable way. Till then, it was sensible… But the next ones, Lord, the others, I had not seen them; they were hidden behind the first ones. There were more of them, they were wretched; they over-powered me without warning. We had to crowd in, I had to find room for them. Now they have come from all over, in successive waves, pushing one another, jostling one another. They have come from all over town, from all parts of the country, of the world; numberless, inexhaustible. They don’t come alone any longer but in groups, bound one to another. They come bending under heavy loads; loads of injustice, of resentment and hate, of suffering and sin… They drag the world behind them, with everything rusted, twisted, or badly adjusted. Lord, they hurt me! They are in the way, they are everywhere, They are too hungry, they are consuming me! I can’t do anything anymore; as they come in, they push the door, and the door opens wider… Lord! My door is wide open! I can’t stand it anymore! It’s too much! It’s no kind of life! What about my job? My family? My peace? My liberty? And me? Lord, I have lost everything, I don’t belong to myself any longer; There’s no more room for me at home. Don’t worry, God says, you have gained all. While they came in to you, I, your Father, I, your God, Slipped in among them.

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