Thursday, June 18, 2020

God’s Revival vs Our Deafness

We all have individual rights and freedoms; Americans perhaps more than most. However, I believe the Bible in general and Jesus (and Paul, John, Peter and James) in particular clearly teach our rights and freedoms are not to be used for our own self-aggrandizement but for the benefit of all humankind. 

We are in the midst of a revival of consciousness. Those who do not see it are the very ones who insist on individual rights without the accompanying responsibilities. Nothing severs the connection to God faster than self-centeredness. It is a mistake to think God speaks only to Christians. God will not be silenced by our deafness.    When Christians refuse to listen God will speak to those who will. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Love, Suffering, and Injustice

“We have met the enemy and he is us’-Walt Kelly speaking through Pogo.

“We have met the enemy and they are ours”-Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry. 

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you ...” When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity of accepting and having compassion for him is there. Jesus called this “loving your enemy.” When you are able to love your enemy, he or she is no longer your enemy. The idea of “enemy” vanishes and is replaced by the notion of someone who is suffering and needs your compassion” 

Pogo’s enemy represents our interior fear and suffering which can (and usually do) become externalized and cause others to suffer-Perry’s external enemies, which demand conquering. Jesus proposes a solution-love your enemies, bless those who cures you-which is a little too abstract for some and requires a bit of inner transformation for most of us. Thích Nhất Hạnh  shows us a way to do it. 
For example, take a minute and ask yourself what kind of internal suffering is going on in the mind of anyone who would kneel on the neck of another person for almost nine minutes, deliberately causing a slow agonizing death. What kind of suffering is going on in the mind of Trump (and make no mistake, he is suffering) that causes him to say and do what he says and does. 
My point is to illustrate the need for restoration as well as justice. In fact, there cannot be any real justice unless restoration occurs. Anything else is simply vengeance, retribution. I am talking about the difference between retributive justice and restorative justice and saying God always favors the latter over the former. Of course, your opinion here will depend on how you view the cross. How do you view the cross?

Excerpt From
Living Buddha, Living Christ 20th Anniversary Edition
Thích Nhất Hạnh & Elaine Pagels
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