Beyond Contradiction – May 25, 2020
As America began to reopen (too early for safety, I suspect) the complaining began. These masks are too hot. This mask is inconvenient, it is in my way! This is just a hoax, these masks anyway! All things in America these days always end with the politics of the thing, whatever it is. Half reject “said thing” because it must be a conspiracy of “the other”!
For many years I have been fascinated with the notion of the leadership of groups in times of high anxiety. Having been a parish priest for thirty-six years, how could I not. These days everyone complains. While that is wearying it is amateur in the extreme when compared to the master complainers of the universe, namely, the Children of Israel in the Wilderness.
The Scripture records fourteen times they murmured. I love the word. Why? Murmuring is speaking loud enough to be clearly understood and not so loud that the speaker is forced to take responsibility for the remark. Anyone who has ever reared children knows exactly what I mean. Keep in mind that every time they complained bitterly it was always against a policy designed to bring them safely through the Wilderness into the Land of Promise.
Fast forward. Masks and social distancing are designed to KEEP PEOPLE FROM CATCHING COVID19. It is the best way to slow this virus until a medical remedy can be found, prepared, and ministered to the entire human race. This is only a mild inconvenience compared to the Black Death of the Fourteenth Century, I’m just saying.
Let us take a long slow breath and consider two responses. One to take steps to calm ourselves down and the second to grow ourselves up. Once we do this, then do it again and again. It will help one’s blood pressure and generally improve the quality of life in this reopening society for everyone around us.
John W. Sewell
May 25, 2020
- Is extremism concerned with the supremacy of one’s own group, or is it defined by hatred of the “other”?
- Do extremists emerge on the scene suddenly, or do they evolve from mainstream movements?
- Are they found only on the margins of society?
- Is violence a necessary component of extremism?
- How do extremists decide on their beliefs?
- Are they rational?
- How can we define extremism objectively when so many possible variations exist?
Berger, J. M. Extremism (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series). The MIT Press. Kindle Edition.
-From Eckhart’s teaching The Nobleman
The first stage of the inner man and the new man, St. Augustine says, is that a man lives by the example of good and saintly people, though he still holds on to chairs and supports himself by walls, and subsists on milk.
The second stage is when he not merely regards the outward examples and good people, but runs and hastens to the teaching and counsel of God and divine wisdom, turns his back on mankind and his face toward God, crawling forth from his mother’s lap to smile up at his heavenly Father.
The third stage is when a man withdraws more and more from his mother and, being further and further from her lap, escapes from care and casts off fear so that, even if he might with impunity do evil and in justice to all, he would have no wish to do so, for he is so bound to God with love in eagerness, until God establishes and leads him in joy, sweetness, and bliss, wherein he cares nothing for whatever is repugnant and alien to God.
The fourth stage is when he grows more and more, and becomes rooted in love and in God, so that he is ready to welcome any trial, temptation, adversity, and suffering willingly, gladly, eagerly, and joyfully.
The fifth stage is when he lives altogether at peace with himself, resting calmly in the richness and abundance of the supreme ineffable wisdom.
The sixth stage is when a man is de-formed and transformed by God’s eternity, and has attained total forgetfulness of transitory, temporal life and is drawn and translated into a divine image, having become the child of God. Beyond this there is no higher stage, and there is rest and bliss, for the final end of the inner man and the new man is eternal life.
Try this growth sequence on for size!
In hope, in spite of the facts.
You cannot get out of a chronic situation without going through an acute phase.
- Rabbi Edwin Friedman
If a man calls you an ass, the best way is to take no notice of it; but if you are called so by two or more persons take the bit into your own mouth.
–Gen. Rabba 45.
Among all my patients in the second half of life – that is to say over thirty-five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort that was that of finding a religious outlook on life. Carl Jung – Psychotherapist of the Clergy (1923)
“Not only do you have to face your fear; YOU must also face the mother of your fear.”
David Whyte ++ The Heart Aroused