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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Stepping Back From The Fray

When I turn on the radio or TV, or sign into Facebook these days most of what I hear is quite distressing. The world appears to be coming apart at its seams. War, terrorism, racism, sexism, religious extremism, and rancorous politics dominate our information sources. En depth conversation and discourse has fallen victim to sound bytes and tweets aimed at shaming and blaming someone or anyone for everything.

I step back, as best I can, from the fray and see flashes of light and glimmers of hope in the darkness and dread. We live in an age of turmoil because it is an age of unprecedented social, economic, political, and theological change. As our world grows smaller through rapid travel and instant communication we are confronted with the vast and wonderful multiplicity of life on planet Earth. Multiplicity also brings the different and other into our lives. We humans have always been drawn toward and feared whoever or whatever the "other" might be. Like a snake, it terrifies and fascinates at once.

One reason for the terror and fascination is that we recognize, either consciously or not, something in ourselves. We see ourself in the other. We encounter our own darkness and our own light. And our darkness and light is reflected to those who consider us as the other. 

This is where the wisdom of sages, saints, and mystics comes to remind us that there is no such thing as the "other." Whatever language or words we use whether: "One," "Neighbor," "Sister," "Brother," "Namaste," "Shalom," or "Communion," the spiritual teachings and practices of the ages call us into the reality that we all participate in and are part of a force and process called Life. 

Our challenge today is not to find an answer or solution to the world's problems. We already have the answer deep within us. We already see the answer in others. We already know the answer.  Love one another, even, and probably more importantly, those who threaten us the most.


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