The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions—including our religious ones—and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring creativity into religion.”  Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British Empire; and Martin Luther King, Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk. 
Fox wrote this a while ago but it is right on target. We do have to change. People are complaining about church. They say it is not relevant. They say the members are hypocrites. We have lost some idea of what it is all about. We need to look again with fresh eyes at the gospel. We need to think clearly about Jesus’s words and what he did. We need to reinvent ourselves and renew what it is all about.
A number of years ago my husband and I had a house that we rented. Some people moved in and at first it was perfect. They paid rent on time and the house (from the outside) looked good.
As time went on the husband told us that his wife was sick and they would be late with the rent. This went on with them occasionally paying something on the rent. My husband and I felt sorry for them to be going through such a tough time.
Then it got to where they were paying no rent but continued to tell us their many problems. We were worried but we were too kind to put them out. Two of their grown sons came and went along with other relatives. Now we were more worried. Then one day they came and told us they were moving. This actually was a relief. They left and we went into the house. Things were damaged everywhere. It took much money and lots of work on our part to fix the house up to rent again. We later learned that the sons were selling drugs from the house.
Now we could haunt ourselves with how stupid we were to let this happen. And you are right…we shouldn’t. But here’s the thing…we consider ourselves to be good people….worthy of being called Christian and that is how we live. We wouldn’t let that happen again but they were the bad people not us.
I know that they left saying how dumb we were but being told of the wife’s illness ( and she really was sick) we lived out our commitment to be compassionate. It gives us a twinge once in a while but we lived what we believe.
Recently I wrote about the things that will be coming in the future and there are still some things that I can see ahead. I wonder what will happen with genetics. Will we be able to solve and end children being born with serious defects? Will we be wise enough to use the research in an ethical manner? As our knowledge of our most basic programming grows will we be able to use it for good? It seems that there is always someone who can corrupt the good.
Will we use extending life for everyone or just the uber-rich? Will extending life be for the good or will it create issues we can’t even imagine?
There are so many ethical issues facing us as our knowledge of smaller and smaller particles put us at risk. The same is true of our understanding of the universe and all it entails. With ethical behavior seeming to decline how will we cope with information that could change everything?
I probably will not be here to see how this all comes about but I pray that our ethical and moral decline will turn around and we will have the wisdom to do the right thing.
This week I have been assigned two Community Conference cases. After reading the information on both of them I am amazed at what teachers are dealing with. I don’t know how anyone can teach in an environment with so many problems. From my recent experience I see so much violence erupting in the schools. Students get in arguments and their way of solving them is to get in a fight. This is not high school….this is middle school.
The environment of violence that we live in today is being played out by children! This is how they have learned to react. They have no experience with other ways to handle disputes and disagreements. We have to find ways to break the cycle. The Mediation Center does have a program that goes into the schools and teaches groups how to mediate a dispute and there are peer groups that are trying to help.
This culture of violence will continue until we teach alternatives to young children and help them to be played out in Elementary School. We have to stop it early.
Have you heard about angels? In one of his fantasy books C.S. Lewis implies that they move to fast for us to perceive them. They are only visible when they slow down.
I am not sure about wanting to actually encounter an angel. I have an idea that they are pretty impressive to see. Have you ever noticed that in the Bible almost every time they appear the first words they speak are “FEAR NOT!” That should give us an idea of what they are like.
One of my favorite stories about angels was told my Madeleine L’Engle at a conference I attended. It is such a sweet story that I decided to share it here.
There was a religious school in a neighborhood. Many of the children there had families who experienced fighting, yelling and sometimes abuse in the home. One little boy was always falling asleep in school so one of the nuns asked him if he was able to sleep at night at home. He admitted that there was usually lots of yelling and the he was frequently frightened and pulled the covers over his head to try and disappear.
The teacher told him not to worry. That night she would send four angels to stand at each corner of his bed to keep him safe. The next morning she asked him if the night went well at home. He told her that he was not frightened at all…the angels were there but could she cut down the number of them? The flapping of their wings was keeping him awake.
This is such a wonderful story and an example of the power of belief.
If there is one thing I have learned in the last week it is that a 79 year old does not bounce back. My husband has had several surgeries in the last few years…mostly from jumping out of airplanes in the army. I have had none. I have always been supportive of him during his recoveries but I am not sure I have appreciated just how hard it is to get back to your best you can be.
He has been so supportive and kind to me with this surgery which was not a bad one (as surgeries go), I guess experience is the best teacher.
I have no complaints today other than being tired. I am usually the energizer bunny but have had to listen to my body and rest. I am grateful that everything went so well.
I have always spent a lot of time crossing bridges before getting to them. This time I was better than usual. I think the time I have spent learning new habits and applying the needed skills did make a difference. My journey to be “worryless” is advancing. I’m not at the end but making progress. We can get better but it does take work. Seeing this improvement encourages me to continue my efforts and keep going.
I think that it is easy to get discouraged when we can’t see progress but it will come with time. Just work your way through one day before considering the next. Things can change.
I have been out of the loop for several days. Had thyroid surgery on Friday and am feeling good…just tired. After a fall season of chaos I hope we are moving into a winter season of rest and joy. I now have to catch up on reading everything that I missed.
I hadn’t been involved in the hospital system for a while and had forgotten how dehumanizing it can be. The hospital was good, care was good it is just how the system operates. It is so easy to feel like someone out of one of the dystopian novels. Especially the older ones like 1984 and Soylent Green. It is easy to imagine yourself discovering that the light embedded in your arm has just lit up and it is time for you to go and be floated up to bliss.
It has been under discussion and very much under wraps having a Death Panel decide who will be left to die. The majority of money is spent on end of life care. Sometimes the kind where life is extended but not necessarily for the better.However, judgement needs to be made based on health and choice. If we are lucky the medical system will continue to allow us to make out own choices and not force the elderly but active to be told that nothing is allowed at their age.
Terrible topic. So sorry. It is just something that I know could come if we don’t have a say about what happens.
Today I heard and interesting statement. “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” This thought has made me think about how things are changing in our country and other parts of the world.
The phrase came in church after an discussion of The Leverite Law in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, 6 and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
Times have changed since this was in effect. The woman was not considered at all. Now our laws recognize women as equal.
However, as we look at the initial quote we begin to question exactly what the values are today. So many are changing so fast that we can’t keep up with them and are part of our divisions. Even various religious denominations have switched from one idea to another. The earlier position of life at first breath came from the Bible: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7
It is debated if the shift to life at conception was a political one or a change due to science or some other influence. Either way it was a big shift that has led to a conflicted country regarding abortion.
This is just an example of how “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” I never thought of it from this perspective and it is interesting to do so.
I have been thinking about love. I’m not talking about romantic love but a more expansive love. Love, if nurtured, does not decrease…..it grows. Not just for one person but there is always more to share with others. Our ability to love can be endless if we encourage it.
Christ called us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This statement reminds us that it is important for our love to both reach out to others but also inward to ourselves. Both are necessary.
Most of the major religions consider love to be crucial. It is unfortunate that mankind has skewed the original tenets and intentions of them so much. “Religion” has encouraged divisiveness and exclusivity. Each “sect” is touting its “truth” and denigrating all others. So many splits and divisions have occurred that I am not sure we could name them all.
We have lost the call to love. Love our world, our earth itself with all its plants, animals, and beings with a fierceness that forces us to consider the good of it all. How far we have strayed.
We have to speak out with love. We may only reach one person but each one is one that is changed and with hope that they will pass it on.
The article and some comments started me thinking about how we should live our later years. I am of the opinion that we should not sit down and let everything pass us by. We have much to give and we have to speak out. This country and the world need to hear our voices and see that there are other ways. This whole thought process reminded me of this poem. It is my mantra!