The Compassionate One

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From Thich Nhat Hanh’s Good Citizens: “…in order to have compassion to offer to others, we have to offer it to ourselves first. We cultivate compassion by looking deeply to understand the suffering inside us and around us. You don’t have to be rich to help people. In fact if you’re too wealthy you can’t help people. People who are rich want to continue being rich, so they invest all their time and energy in maintaining their wealth; they don’t even have time to take care of themselves and their families, so how can they help other people? Being wealthy is not a good condition for spiritual life. To live simply and to be happy is something that is possible. When you transform yourself into a bodhisattva [a compassionate person], you have a lot of power—not the power associated with fame and money, but the power that helps you be free and enables you to help and bring relief to many people.”

Roger

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Suspended Between

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In 1966, after the passage of the Voting rights Bill, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his book Where Do We Go From Here: “A year later, the white backlash had become an emotional electoral issue in California, Maryland and elsewhere. In several Southern states men long regarded as political clowns had become governors or only narrowly missed election, their magic achieved with a “witches’” brew of bigotry, prejudice, half-truths and whole lies….Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash. This characterization is necessarily general. It would be grossly unfair to omit recognition of a minority of whites who genuinely want authentic equality. Their commitment is real, sincere, and is expressed in a thousand deeds. But they are balanced at the other end of the pole by the unregenerate segregationists who have declared that democracy is not worth having if it involves equality. The segregationist goal is the total reversal of all reforms, with reestablishment of naked oppression and if need be a native form of fascism. America had a master race in the antebellum South. Reestablishing it with a resurgent Klan and a totally disenfranchised lower class would realize the dream of too many extremists on the right. The great majority of Americans are suspended between these opposing attitudes. They are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.”

Roger

Raising up America

From Vincent Harding’s Introduction to Martin Luther King’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community: “I recalled the story of [Fannie Lou Hamer] being questioned by a reporter at the historic 1964 Democratic National Convention and asked about her powerful challenge on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to the convention’s acceptance of segregated delegations. Did her vigorous antisegregation stand mean that “she was seeking equality with the white man?” the reporter asked. “No,” Ms. Hamer firmly replied. “What would I look like fighting for equality with the white man? I don’t want to go down that low. I want the true democracy that’ll raise me and the white man up … raise America up.”depositphotos_28789195-stock-video-woman-standing-on-beach-holding

Incarnational Cross

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From Robert Saler’s Theologia Crucis: “… an incarnational logic of the cross, born from formation by the gospel and its gifts, results in a situation in which the properly formed …Christian, loves the world more than the world loves itself. The community of fidelity to the crucified—the church—must call the world blessed to preach gospel to it.”

Roger

Glory to God

last-supperFrom Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God: “…Oscar Romero, bishop and martyr, riffed on a famous proverb crafted in the second century by the bishop Irenaeus. In Latin this pithy, mellifluous maxim reads: Gloria Dei, vivens homo, which translated means, “the glory of God is the human being fully alive.” The glory of God is homo, the human being, the whole human race, every individual person, vivens, fully alive. God’s glory is at stake in the flourishing of people, every single one and all together. How could it be otherwise if the incomprehensible Mystery toward whom the human spirit dynamically tends self-communicates to the world in Jesus and the Spirit as absolute, challenging, sheltering love. In thus choosing to create, save, and dwell within the world, holy mystery has made the world and its inhabitants precious beyond all telling. Harming human beings, inflicting violence or neglecting their good, translates logically into an insult to the Holy One. The two are so tied together, by God’s intent, that the glory of the One is at stake in the well-being of all others.”

Roger

Hospitality

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From Norman Wirzba’s Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating: “According to a rabbinic tradition …it was precisely the months inside the ark that mattered most because it was there, in the work of feeding and caring for the animals, that Noah revealed what it means to be a righteous one. On this view, the ark was not primarily an escape vessel but a school for the learning of compassion. Here Noah refined the sympathies and dedication that are crucial for the development of a caring, hospitable relationship with the world. By giving up self-interest, Noah learned how to transform himself and his work into a gift for the good of others. …The triumph of Noah’s life is that, like God, he recognized the needs of others and then attended to them. What Noah learned is that the whole world is God’s ark because it is the place where God shows himself to be a hospitable host.”

Roger

The Sun

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From Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander: “I have the immense joy of being human, a member of a race in which God … became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun…. Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.”

Roger