“Do we dare keep voting according to our pocketbooks and private morality? Yes, we are God’s beloved, but so is everyone else! If we believe God wants what is good for us, how do we not understand God wants what is good for each and every living thing? What would it mean to vote as if the very presence of God were in our neighbor and the stranger alike, which is simply what Jesus taught?” CAC.ORG – Fr. Richard Rohr
Namaste – not the word Jesus used, but it certainly means the same. A follower of Buddhism would bow to you (and all of Creation) and say namaste – “I honor the divine in you.” Jesus said, “Love your neighbor (and all of Creation) as yourself.”
What’s so difficult about that? Why can we not believe that Jesus from Nazareth, during the time between ages 12 and 30 when no historian can provide an account of his activity, met up with traders from the East who followed the teachings of Buddha. Even non-believers in the historicity of Jesus or Buddha will have to admit that namaste is certainly a great way for earthlings to conduct themselves. It could be the key to the survival of our species.
Let’s give this idea a shot in our 2020 voting. Rather than endorsing candidates who claim to be God-sent, or candidates who claim to have the inside track to God, or candidates who attend the ‘right’ church, or candidates who profess the tenets of an intolerant and exclusive Christianity, let’s try “namaste.” Let’s try “love your neighbor as yourself.” Let’s vote as if the earth and all its creatures (including us) depended upon it.
Fr. Richard Rohr of the Franciscan order is an outspoken critic of the political and religious status quo. We agree that somehow Christianity, as envisioned in its early genesis, has missed the mark of its founders. We agree that the purpose of Christianity is not to look heavenward for salvation nor to follow a reclusive lifestyle. Christianity was meant to involve Christians in the nitty-gritty of the world’s disadvantaged and oppressed people. We are designed to focus downward upon earth’s sorrow and heartbreak, to participate in the world rather than seek escape in heavenly promises.
Buddhism calls this life “dukkha” – suffering. It is suffering which stems from our human tendency to want what we don’t have and not appreciate the blessings we do have. I can relate. How about you? We have houses which would be palatial to many of the world’s people, but want even larger and more luxurious homes. We have closets full of clothes whereas many people have nothing more than rags to wear. We eat to the point of unhealthy obesity while many babies are starving. We are coming into the Christmas season where the mantra is, “shop till you drop.” Yet this extravagance of material blessing does not eliminate dukkha.
Externals will not eliminate suffering. Only by resetting the internal defaults will we ever reach the heaven described by Jesus or nirvana promised by Buddha. It’s an inside adventure which each of us can undertake.
“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises?” AA PROMISES
WE THINK NOT
Get out there and vote. Jesus did not give us THE WAY and Buddha did not give us THE PATH for us to twiddle our thumbs and be recluses uninvolved in the planet’s survival. Bill W. and Dr. Bob did not give us recovery through ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS to muddle through life uninvolved in the lives of still-suffering fellow man.