Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy "Occupy"...Oy!

The Occupy phenomenon inspires me greatly, as many who read this blog know.  While I may not agree with how they do everything, I do agree with fighting against greed in the form of corporate personhood, dehumanization, and the curtailing of our civil rights when we truly begin to assert them. 

The protesters' commitment to nonviolent direct action and "leaderless" governance through General Assembly is nothing short of amazing. The harsh actions of the police in many cities against the them, speaks to the power and truth of this movement's goals. But "Occupy" has pretty much become a brand name now.

Pretty soon, we will have to occupy Occupy to reclaim it!  Whenever a word gets overly conceptualized and repeated, it loses its force and its power. We need to avoid making it an idol, when it should be an icon, pointing beyond itself.

I am guilty myself, in that I coordinated "Occupy Eucharist." Simply "Eucharist" would have sufficed.

Let us focus, then, on occupying the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters here and around the world, making compassion and justice flow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yup, I'm Pissed!

Eston William Nelson, II

The world's madness seems much more prevalent to me these days. We live in a society that, among so many other insanities, allows innocent children get bullied to death. Have we lost our bloomin' minds? Yup, looks like it.

Eston Nelson, II, was one of those innocents; he died by his own hand. Apparently his school had anti-bullying policies, but these didn't save him. 15 years old, dead. All his dreams and talents lying in the ground. What the hell?

Evil exists. The more we feed it, the more it grows. The more we avoid exorcising our own inner demons, the more they fester. Yes, any one of us can be the bully or the one who does nothing to stop it. Both live within us.

Right now, however, I simply need to be pissed off. Will I remain so? Of course not, because as a person of faith, hope lives in my heart and spurs me to be compassion. This leads me to strive toward realizing the Beloved Community.

This darkness will pass but never be forgotten; for right now, though, I am pissed, grieving the death of still another bright light gone out for no damn good reason. Ya can't let it go until you walk right through it!

And when I do let these emotions go, then I can pray for those who hurt this beautiful child, for their conversion to wholeness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Having Fun

What joy last evening to have a laid back dinner with some very close friends, and then head over to an Irish pub to drink and sing. Between pursuit of a Masters degree, working with Protest Chaplains Chicago, jointly running a household, and co-nurturing a relationship--all wonderful things--it's easy to forget to just have fun.

It is, likewise, tempting to think one shouldn't have fun due to all the problems in the world, too much to do, or any one of a million excuses for avoiding it.  But this is wrong. We cannot lose our capacity for play, or we become spiritually stagnant. Would that more of it existed in our work lives and our worship. Letting one's hair down gives us chance to get over ourselves and our feelings of self importance. It is humbling without being sickeningly pious, and gives the Beloved the chance to dance with us, perhaps unawares.

Play, furthermore, allows us to touch the timeless capacity of life, to truly dance in the fields of the Lord. While it is true that "we don't have time, time has us" as I believe Heidegger says, we need to transcend it to touch our deepest real selves.

We are way too serious these days. Yes, we have much on our minds, collectively and individually, but we must let go from time to time. It clears the mind and frees the heart.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Within the Many, One; Within the One, Many

The Ven Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that "the Buddha of the future will be the sangha," which is the spiritual community; Jesus tells us that when two or three gather in his name, he is present (Mt 18:20). Those among us who've opened to the Beloved's beckoning know this and feel it intimately, not only with all humans, but sentient and non sentient Life. It just IS.

As sure as mountain streams roar back to their source, so, to, do we. When we let go, completely, in surrender to That Which Is, we enter into that mysterious embrace totally, only to emerge, changed, yet the same, not same. But we "return" to the love found in community, and, thus lead others to surrender and, who thus find themselves changed irrevocably as well.

Being holy, however, is not the same as being perfect. Because we are individuals, we each have likes and dislikes, character facets and flaws. Holy community smooths the edges, allowing the good to shine in each member, and the whole body. But the roughness rarely gets completely polished out. Perhaps the shadow side remains because the Beloved somehow works through that too (If you don't believe me, read the Hebrew Scriptures and see how true this is). If nothing else, it reminds us who we are and Whose we are.

It seems to me, too, that these weaknesses bring us together. We compliment each other, filling in the other's lack, thus only working well together, for even when we're doing something "alone," if it is good, it benefits more than ourselves ultimately. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Love, Lover and Beloved: the Divine Dancing keeps going, and we're a part of it.