June 13, 2020
Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
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A Reflection from the Christian Traditions:
A Greater Consciousness
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
June 3, 2020
Address to the United States
Recently many Christian Churches read from the famous text of John’s Gospel, John 3: 16. The greater text contains the powerful imagery of being “born again” (John 3: 11-16). Actually, a more accurate translation would be “born from above” referring to the actions of Jesus rather than ourselves. Without entering into a scholarly debate, we can find wisdom in both images that have inspired and transformed people through the centuries.
As we look out into our World in this time of crisis, we see a renewed consciousness of what it means to be a human being. The sense of outrage born of the murdering of George Floyd by those sworn to protect him has disturbed the hearts of people throughout the World. Countless times in human history we have been “born again” from an honest awareness of our failures and our need to do better.
It sometimes happens that in times of crisis we are “born from above,” that is, we experience a greater consciousness by which we will never be the same. As repressive regimes threaten the human rights of the citizens it was elected to serve, courageous people from all walks of life rise up, speak out, and march. Think of what is happening in the United States. Could it be that we are being “born from above” as we see in most unlikely places and persons a new way of living, governing, and loving?
Consider the police who are “taking the knee” with protesters in an act of mutual solidarity. This simple gesture recognizes the long suffering and marginalization of people of Color. The time has come to realize that Black and Brown people were and are denied their rights as human beings. Police all over the Nation are standing with protesters giving hope that finally all people might be protected rather than assaulted for claiming their dignity and God-given rights.
Consider the Governors of States who are now recognizing the systemic racism that weakens and threatens the rights and dignity of all peoples. They are in the process of reviewing the oppressive policies in their States by which citizens are treated as criminals because of the color of their skin. Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota remarked he was made aware of this injustice by the protesters. Rather than threatening to assault the protesters with military assault tactics, Governor Walz allowed himself to be “born from above” with the higher consciousness of what is right and just.
Finally, the protesters marching in our streets are courageous people from all races and states of life. These are difficult days and there will be more difficult days to come but, if we can allow ourselves to be caught up in the breakthrough that is the present moment, we will be “born again” into a renewed understanding of what it means to be human. In fact, we will be “born from above” in our consciousness of what it means to be humane.
Go forward, holy community. Lovingly and courageously embrace the anguish of the present moment. Become aware of the hurts of so many and the failures of those who should have known better. Take responsibly not because you are guilty but because you care. Be the hope you long for as a new way of loving and living emerges.