Rabbi Shai Held, co-founder of Machon Hadar, discusses his new book on the celebrated Jewish theologian, scholar and activist Abraham Joshua Heschel, on December 5, 2013.
God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed;
Give me courage to change things which must be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
Author unknown but used by Reinhold Niebuhr – http://www.bartleby.com/73/1472.html
Heschel counted among his friends other prophets of this period in our history: William Sloane Cotton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and others.
He also included among his friends many Christian theologians. In fact, according to his daughter, he said that Reinhold Niebuhr “understood his work better than anyone else.”
In his interfaith dialogues, he avoided conversation on differences; he and his interlocutors explored those religious attitudes which they shared. – http://www.preacherexchange.com/br_abraham_joshua_heschel_essential_writings.htm
Are we foolish to believe in a ‘personal’ God?
Here is the daily email for today – a short quote plus Eknath’s commentary – from the Eknath Easwaran site. Eknath was a wonderful interspiritual teacher long before the term was invented.
‘By love may He be gotten and holden, by thought never. – from THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
The supreme, radiant Being that dwells in our own consciousness cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, for this Being is one and indivisible, beyond all duality. But by loving Him “with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our strength,” we can come to live in Him completely. When we learn to love Her more than we love ourselves, our consciousness is unified.
It is all very well to talk about the Ultimate Reality, the Great Void, but we cannot love a Void. Here it is that we need God in an aspect we can love and understand – the Supreme Poet, the sustainer and protector of all, from whom we came into existence and to whom we shall return. We need a divine ideal like Sri Krishna, Jesus the Christ, the Compassionate Buddha, or the Divine Mother.
Loving the Lord means loving the innermost Self in all those around us. We need only somehow to increase our capacity to love – because we do not live in what we think; we live in what we love.’
A QUESTION ANSWERED: Eknath answers a question I’ve had for some time “Does it make sense in the 21stC to school yourself into a relationship with a personal version of God – given that the modern teachers e.g. Paul Tillich refer to Ultimate Being – and indeed that much earlier teachers refer to the void or the formless etc?” Yes it does.
God as infinite being may be unknowable but her/his love and knowledge flows via his Messengers – and through Creation as a whole. At least three of the major traditions refer to God having made (hu)man(ity) in His own image so the limits of that with which we can have a relationship are the Messengers – who perfectly reflect the heat of God’s love and the light of His knowledge. They were human as well as Divine.
They are like transformers that limit the infinite love and knowledge down to levels that we can bear – just as the transformer on your laptop reduces mains electricity to a few bolts. Without the transformer the laptop would blow up. We without the Messengers of God would either blow up or more likely remain in the grossest ignorance.
The Thought for the Day is today’s entry from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By.’ Get a brilliant quote each day from the Eknath Easwaran site – here – http://www.easwaran.org/thoughts-for-the-day-quotes.html
I try to have one email coming in each day for all of the Traditions from which we take our primary inspiration.