Friday, September 25, 2009

Meat Loaf & Erev Yom Kippur

Sunday, Sept 27, 2009 is Erev Yom Kippur--and Meat Loaf's 62nd birthday. Marvin Lee Aday was born in Dallas, Texas on 9/27/47. As the performer “Meat Loaf,” he sings a song stating, "I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that."

The song never says what it is that he won’t do, but in many of our lives, what we will not do is forgive.

May we notice any resistance to forgiving, and may we be aware of the vast potential to forgive which is *always* present inside us.

So may we be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

shana tova umetukah 5770

May the year beginning this evening be good and sweet for all my Jewish friends--and for all beings, everywhere.

"Leshana tova tekatev v'etachetem - May you be inscribed for a good year!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marvelous. With such a wide range of beliefs (as in the comments on my previous post), we can surely learn much from each other.

I think the President’s detractors are responding in a very different way than they did with similar healthcare reform, as proposed by Hillary Clinton. Then, they attacked parts of the bill, with substantive issues. This time, they are virtually ignoring the many legitimate issues they could raise, and making things up. It feels to me that there is more emotional energy here than can be explained by mere disagreement about healthcare reform.

But there is another opportunity here. Deeper than the healthcare conversation, we can talk about race and racism among us. Clearly there is a lot of anger, pain and frustration on all sides.

If we are to have that conversation, I would like to suggest a couple things.

We know this is a difficult and emotionally-charged topic. If we are to really engage it deeply, and hear each other’s truths, I need to feel safe enough to remain in the conversation. When accusations fly, as people attempt to shame each other, my emotions are heightened and my fight-or-flight instinct is activated. It would help me to hear others better, and to feel safe enough to speak my own truth, if we could all refrain from such blaming and shaming.

Of course, in such a difficult topic, we will probably still feel hurt and/or feel blamed. Let us try to adopt an ethic of risk, and try not to censor ourselves, and also try to forgive each other if we inadvertently hurt each other.

Finally, in order to fully engage and learn from each other, I need to know that my truth will be received, and that I will be listened to with respect and empathy. Let us agree not to shut each other down, or dismiss comments out-of-hand. Again, we’ll make mistakes, but if we try very hard to imagine that each of us speaking the truth, as we know and experience it, it may help us to deepen our conversation.

If that sounds interesting and useful to folks, let us try again. I think that racism (and classism and sexism and a score of other ways to Other our human cousins) affects the words and deeds of the overwhelming majority of people. In specific, I think it is a strong (probably unconscious) component of much of the dissent aimed at President Obama. And I think the more the President’s political rivals align themselves with the mobs of angry citizens willing to do violence, the closer we get to a one-way trip into full-blown fascism.

If you want to talk about these topics, and especially if you want to talk about racism and/or charges of racism as you experience them, I welcome the conversation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 last chance

President Carter says that "an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man."

Sara Robinson writes on AlterNet that the fifth and final stage on the path to fascism is when government officials condone and encourage violent groups (such as Teabaggers and Town Hall obstructionists).

Then Ms. Robinson details our last chance to stave off a descent into a fascist state. Her article insists on nonviolence (we must not let them claim to be "innocent" victims), and includes other suggestions. We must make sure the media get the story right--coordinating rapid-response letterwriting to local papers to keep the facts in front of the populace, etc. It is important to support those legislators who do not show fear. Finally, she writes we can shut down the hate talkers by recording their ridiculous words and writing to the advertisers on the shows, quoting the threats and incitements to violence.

Racism, nationalism and fear have often led to fascist regimes. Thuggery is on the rise; we have one last good chance to keep the hatemongers away from the reins of the most powerful country on earth.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

freedom *from* religion?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation ran an ad in the most recent UUWorld. The Rev. Mr. Matt Tittle has an excellent Facebook post about it; and several comments below his post are well-reasoned and open-hearted. Mostly, folks are dismayed that UUism is "shooting itself in the foot" by including such "us vs. them" thinking--ironically, in an issue where the cover story is about radical inclusivity. Scott Ullrich, the UUWorld Business Manager, takes responsibility for the ad, in his letter, here.

Commenting on Tittle's post, the Rev. Mr. Bret Lortie notes, "As I work in my city to convince my interfaith colleagues that we are a faith, this kind of narrow minded message makes it difficult."

You can see the whole FFRF ad campaign here.

Freedom from certain types of religion, perhaps. Freedom from certain behaviors done in the name of religion, absolutely. Freedom from all religion, perish the thought.