KINSHIP

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Most of us know our kin, sometimes wish we did not.  Can we imagine a world of kinship, a place where the man who is black, the woman who is Muslim, the neighbor who is gay, the co-worker who practices Buddhism, the homeless man on the corner, the drunk in the gutter – can we somehow see each of them as kin?  Related?  Worthy of our love and compassion?

Society, governments, and religions often, inadvertently or overtly, put separations between us defining our differences thereby reducing relationships to a status of “us” and “them” in denial of the paradigm which the great wisdom leaders throughout history from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gandhi, to Muhammad, to Jesus of Nazareth to Lao Tzu to Gautama Buddha tried to teach during their lifetimes.

Even when placing our lives in service to others, we are not recognizing God’s dream for his/her Creation – being one with the other and not separate.  Kinship is what Jesus practiced.  He was one not standing outside the circle, but in the midst of those “… whose dignity had been denied…with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless….the easily despised and the readily left out…the demonized…the disposable.”  cac.org

We, who are eternally hopeful that the time for non-violence, for peace, for kinship has arrived, read the words of one of the revered prophets of the Judaic tradition, HABAKKUK, who said, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time, it speaks of the end and will not prove false.” 

“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together, the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.  The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them.”  ISAIAH 11:6

It paints a beautiful picture of what life on earth could be – was intended to be.  Do you see it?  Are you willing to live it?  It’s our choice.

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SOUL FORCE

“One of the key words Gandhi used in expressing the meaning of nonviolence was ahimsa, literally ‘non-harm,’ the refusal to hurt others. It’s the rock bottom of nonviolence. A second key word was satyagraha (a combination of the words for ‘truth’ and ‘holding firmly’) sometimes called ‘truth force,’ holding on to what is true and good, striving to bring about more humane conditions for people and society. King called it ‘soul force.’”

—Dr. Gerard Vanderhaar  

Pace e Bene Nonviolence

Are we on the brink of a nation-wide recognition, an awakening (call it revival if you like) of what America is becoming as a society and commit our energies to reversing the  downward spiral of violence and hatred?  Or are we destined to fall, like many before us, to anarchy and despotism at the hands of a minority too blind to see the equality of all the nation’s people?  This is not just a Pride issue or a black issue, or a poor people’s issue that we must address.  It is an issue of ‘SOUL FORCE’.

What will be revealed in the coming months about the soul of America?

PRIDE

There is POWER in solidarity –

“An important element of this new power is that it is not power for the sake of personal gain, but power for the sake of all the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society. The powerless are recouping power . . . the power of the gospel, which works for the betterment and liberation of all, especially those in greatest need.” cac.org

June is PRIDE 🌈 month.  Part of the celebration is recognizing that equality is not freely given without bloodshed, heartache and tears even in a democratic society.  Each of the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society has paid the dues to rise above inherent societal intolerance, ignorance, and hatred.  We agree to love ourselves as created and then expect the same love from others.  Black or white, any shade in between, short or gangly, genius or challenged, flighty or pragmatic, artistic or color-blind, wealthy or poor all belong in the grand scheme as devised by the all-knowing Creator.

The LGBTQ+ community understands this, has realized enormous gains in recent years.  However, that progress is not guaranteed and not free.  Transparency in who we are as people, as lovers, as neighbors, as workers, and as activists ensures that our rights will not go away at the whim of a repressive political system or religion.

This is why PRIDE month is important.  The parades and celebrations, fun and colorful, are merely the tip of the iceberg.  The legacy we leave for future generations is dependent on the actions we take today to inform the world,

“Here I am, love me or hate me; it’s OK because I am a child of this Universe, the same Oneness that has created all of us in the image of goodness and mercy.”

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BLACKOUT

There is POWER in solidarity –

“An important element of this new power is that it is not power for the sake of personal gain, but power for the sake of all the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society. The powerless are recouping power . . . the power of the gospel, which works for the betterment and liberation of all, especially those in greatest need.” cac.org

PENTECOST

“Help me to win my endless fears
You’ve been so faithful for all my years
With one breath you make me new
Your grace covers all I do.”
JEREMY CAMP – WALK BY FAITH

PENTECOST – the one breath that makes us new creatures

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“The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going……” 

what is Pentecost

SOLIDARITY

WE ARE ONE HUMANITY ALL LOVED BY THE ONE NAMED GOD.

Matters not whom one prays to, the color of one’s skin, or whether one lives in Minneapolis or Memphis – WE ARE ALL ONE UNDER ONE GOD. Is that so difficult to understand?

“AS YOU DO UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU ALSO DO TO ME.”

how does your garden grow?

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.
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The bush beans and kale, planted in late February, have provided the dinner table with a bounty of fresh beans and greens for 3 months and are now ready for the final stage in their journey – the compost pile.  The second crop of beans is popping from the ground and the tomatoes are in their prime providing delectable fruit far surpassing that which is available from the grocery store or produce stand.  It has been a very successful season in the backyard garden.  A few summer squash and perhaps pole beans will be given a chance to survive Florida’s summer heat and humidity.  But, September is just around the corner with its invitation to plant a winter garden.  Life is good.

So much can be learned about life simply by watching nature.  Everything has a season and everything has a purpose.  Every part of the Lord’s creation knows its purpose and lives life according to that intention – except for mankind.  We are the only creature which has a choice in how we live.

Each of the world’s major faith walks endorses the simplicity and intelligence of nature.  Christian literature tells us that we reap what we sow.  Sow discord, disharmony, fear and hatred; that is what we will gather within our hears at harvest time.

What’s growing in your garden?

Sober today?  Give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.sober emoji

leadership

Many in America are in a state of denial.  They refuse to believe that the most powerful country on earth has been brought to its knees by a virus, something unseen that can lurk within, undetected until it lashes out with deadly consequences upon its unfortunate victims.

For some of them, a popular conspiracy theory is more acceptable – the Chinese have done it for economic control, the medical community is inflating numbers to make covid-19 appear more dire than it actually is thus receiving more federal aid, and the Democrats have conspired to use the bug for political advantage in November.  Damn those Dems anyhow.  I had no idea we were that powerful.😁

What cannot be denied is that a divided nation has become even more divided pitting those who mask against those who don’t mask, those who practice social distancing against those who freely interact, and those who prefer to be safe until a vaccine is developed against those who call the lockdown a politically motivated drama.

Political leadership is the key element in this division.  We do not enjoy the leadership of a uniting force in government.  From the Tao Te Ching we learn the following wisdom:

The best of leaders,
his people hardly know that he exists.
Next is the leader his people love and praise.
Next comes the one they fear.
Next comes the one they shame.

Nonchalant and reticent.
When work is done,
His people say, ‘We did it all but naturally!’

–  Lao Tzu