Changes…

Today has been a very difficult day in the life of my faith tradition.

Due to a number of factors–some easily understood…some apparently beyond our control…some very possibly the result of some unwise decisions–many people who worked for my church found out that they no longer have work positions. Others will find out tomorrow.

I’ve been through that–and it’s devastating. Working for your faith is more than just “a job”. For many, it’s a response to a spiritual call–and to be told that there is no longer a place for you because of finances leaves you wondering where your place is.

Relationships will be irrevocably changed…relationships between individuals…relationships between individuals and the institution…and for some, relationships between themselves and God.

Can they be healed? Yes…and the only reason I can say that is because I experienced that healing.

But will they ever be the same? No. There will be scars… The question is, what kind of scars?

There’s a pottery technique known as “kintsugi.” When something is broken, it is mended with lacquer dusted with gold. Rather than trying to make the cracks invisible–to ignore the brokenness–it is embraced and made part of the history of the piece…a way of finding beauty in brokenness.

 

We are broken in many ways right now. There is much pain…much anger…much despair.

But I hope that through our prayers and support, we can find healing and reconciliation both as individuals and as a faith tradition.

Our histories–sacred and secular–are full of cracks and brokenness. What we do with them–whether we are able to accept them and find beauty in them–determines how we will live going forward.

Advertisements

Easter hope

In the darkest of nights
when hope’s disappeared
and the dreams that you had
seem lost and destroyed…
turn your eyes to the east.

The dawn will come…
unseen at the first—
then a lightening of sky
from black to gray…
and glimpses of pink
till the whole world explodes
in a sunburst of light—
Easter miracle of rebirth and new life!

It’s always the darkest
right before dawn…
but the dawn will come.

I know that there are many people who are wondering if the dawn will ever come…who are feeling trapped in the darkness of the time between. May you be able to find peace…and feel the love of the many who support you in prayers and warm thoughts.

 

Will there ever be peace?

As I listen to the news…watch the horrific pictures…this is a question that comes to mind. Will there ever be peace?

In so many ways, history would give a negative answer.

And yet…

I am a follower of the One we call Jesus…whose nickname is “Prince of Peace.” And that gives me hope.

It is possible to quote scriptures from all religions that would seem to promote violence and war–and some of them are very graphic.

But it is also possible to find a command in all the major religions to live in ways that would bring peace–if we were willing to do so. That requires something of us…to see “the other” as someone like us…and to want for them what we would want for ourselves.

Christianity All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:1
Confucianism Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Analects 12:2
Buddhism Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Udana-Varga 5,1
Hinduism This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Sunnah
Judaism What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

I know…the question always comes up about how/why should we do that when “the other” isn’t willing to do so? It has to start somewhere–so why not with us? If we persist in doing what we have always done, how can we expect any different results?

Will we ever have peace? I believe so. But I also believe that it must start within…only then will we be able to have eyes to see each other as brothers and sisters of one family.

Yes, it is a dark time. But…

We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it.–Saul Alinsky

I am worried…

I am appalled and worried…and sometimes, scared as I watch what is unfolding during this campaign season.

I have no problem with political disagreements; that’s part of our democratic process, and sometimes, out of those disagreements, we find new ways forward.

But what I have been seeing recently is more than simple disagreement.

When I see some of the pictures and look at some of the videos that come out of various rallies–especially the rallies in support of Donald Trump–it feels like I am watching something from 1930s Germany, and I find that frightening.

When a presidential candidate says that he would like to punch those who disagree with him in the face…that’s frightening.

When an entire religion is being called evil because of the actions of some extremists…that’s frightening (and incredibly unaware of the actions of extremists in our own religion).

When there is a call to build a wall to keep out those who are a different color and who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families…that’s frightening. (Yes, I know there are valid concerns that need to be addressed–but demonizing others is not the answer.

When a Christian minister calls for the execution of people who are LGBT right before he introduces (and supports) another presidential candidate…that’s frightening.

When children taunt schoolmates about the probability of being deported because of their color or ethnic origin if a specific candidate is elected president…that’s frightening.

When a top presidential candidate calls for making it easier to arrest folks who disagree with him…that’s frightening.

What has happened to our willingness to reason together? to work together to find solutions to difficult problems?

What has happened to our ability to see each other–even those we disagree with–as human beings?

What has happened to our empathy?

I don’t remember any political campaign in my lifetime being this violent and hate-filled. Yes, I remember the campaigns of the 1960s, and yes, there was violence…but not the systemic violence and incitement of hate that I see now.

We are better than this. We can disagree without pandering to our basest instincts…and I hope and pray that we find ways of doing this before it is too late…before we have become a country so divided that we become like Humpty Dumpty–impossible to put together again.