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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Friday, April 21, 2006  
Religion & Politics

I don't know if any of you watched Meet the Press last weekend, but they had an Easter Sunday discussion about religion by various authors and leaders. I really enjoyed it. Everyone discussed topics reasonably without interrupting each other which was refreshing. Here is the transcript of the show if you have a chance to read it. I'm posting a few excerpts, too, that I especially like and agree with. What do you think?

SISTER JOAN CHITTISTER of the Order of St. Benedict and author of Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir said: We have to choose now with whether or not we want religion, that is this thing that binds us together, that is somehow or other genetically wired in us, that, that Aristotle talks about, that all the churches talk about. Or do we want denominationalism. What church, what religion do we want? Do we want the religion of the Crusades and the Inquisition and the witch burnings and segregation and slavery and the oppression of women and Puritanism that led to Prohibition, that didn’t last because it was somebody’s creed imposed on everybody else’s creed? Or do we want the religion of the peace movement that Jesus talked about, and the labor movement and the civil rights movement.

This new Puritanism is this notion that somehow or other, by failing to honor honorable traditions, that we’ll be a better, holier people. It didn’t work before, it’s not working now, it’s not going to—it’s not going to take America into the future.

TIM RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, when you hear the phrase “Christian Nation,” “Christian Society” what comes to mind?

JON MEACHAM, managing editor, Newsweek magazine, and author of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation: That it’s not the case, that we are not a Christian nation, that there’s no such thing. As it says in Hebrews, “We seek—we have no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come.” The idea that we are a Christian nation, we are God’s chosen people, has often been used to cloak and to justify some reprehensible social behavior and I think Lincoln was right when he said, “We, we’re not God’s chosen people, we’re his almost chosen people.” And I think that—I think everyone’s temperatures will go down, their blood pressures would go down if we realized that every political discussion, every political fight does not have to be a religious one. If you go to what I consider to be American secular scripture, Federalist 10, James Madison said, “We’re not a democracy, we’re a republic. Let religion be one force among many as we work these things out and let’s let the soul’s journey go forward as it will.”

TIM RUSSERT: Rabbi Lerner, you wrote this in your book, “Most of those on the Left ... feel queasy even thinking about allying with spiritual and religious progressives. ... Many on the Left, to be blunt, hate and fear religion.” Why?

RABBI MICHAEL LERNER of the Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in California and author of The Left Hand Of God: Taking Back Our Country From the Religious Right: Well, there’s a long history of this, first of all, because the left emerged in the struggle against feudalism and sided with the emerging capitalist class and adopted a world view that said that that which is real is that which can be verified through senses or measured. But there’s another more immediate experience, and many of the people on the—who have come into liberal or progressive movements have had the experience of being in oppressive, hierarchical, patriarchal, sexist, homophobic or racist churches. And that experience has led them to, I think, draw the wrong conclusion, namely that they’ve said, “Well, this is all religion.”

They forgot the voice of Martin Luther King Jr., where the left was strongest when it was speaking from a religious perspective. In other words, they, in, in a way, bought what the political right has succeeded in doing: convincing people that religion only means right-wing politics. So they focus on a wedge issue, like abortion or stem cell research, one of those, those kinds of issues, homosexuality, and they forget that the Bible also is calling every 50 years for a redistribution of wealth, every seven years to forgive all sins. Where are the fundamentalists on that? Well, the fundamentalists are suddenly forgetting about the word, the exact word of God, when it comes to financial redistribution of wealth to the people in the, in the society, but they are very exacting over their narrow issues.

And the left then ends up—those people who fled from repressive forms of religion identify all religion that way and don’t understand that, in fact, the aspiration to connect to the holy is a central need of human beings, a central aspect of reality that must be validated. That’s why we’re creating this Network of Spiritual Progressives to not only challenge the religious right, but also to demand a space in the liberal and progressive world for a spiritual consciousness.

10:38:00 PM

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