HESCHEL The World’s Pain – some are guilty, but all are responsible

There is immense silent agony in the world, and the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor, to prevent the desecration of the soul and the violation of our dream of honesty.

The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the Prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.

“The Reasons for My Involvement in the Peace Movement” (1972); later included in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity (1996).

SOURCE – https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Abraham_Joshua_Heschel

JUXTAPOSITIONS Hildegard of Bingen Baha’u’llah Benjamin Franklin Karen…

JUXTAPOSITIONS – Hildegard of Bingen, Baha’u’llah, Benjamin Franklin, Karen Armstrong,

“We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a hope. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”― Hildegard of Bingen
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes. (2nd Arabic Hidden Word by Baha’u’llah)
Benjamin Franklin, “The way to see by faith is to close the eye of reason.”
As a friend says – “In religion, you have to do it to ‘get’ it.”
Karen Armstrong sums up mythos and logos in a book review on Creationism by Michael Ruse in the New Scientist.

“In the pre-modern world, it was generally understood that there were two ways of arriving at truth. Plato called them mythos and logos. Neither was superior to the other. Logos (reason; science) was exact, practical and essential to human life. To be effective, it had to correspond to external reality. Myth expressed the more elusive, puzzling aspects of human experience. It has often been called a primitive form of psychology, which helped people negotiate their inner world…

Myth could not help you create efficient technology or run your society. But logos had its limits too. If you became a refugee or witnessed a terrible natural catastrophe, you did not simply want a logical explanation; you also wanted myth to show you how to manage your grief. With the advent of our scientific modernity, however, logos achieved such spectacular results that myth was discredited, and now, in popular parlance a myth is something that did not happen, that is untrue. But some religious people also began to read religious myths as though they were logos.

The conflict between science and faith has thus been based on a misunderstanding of the nature of scriptural discourse. Many people, including those who are religious, find it difficult to think mythically, because our education and society is fuelled entirely by logos. This has made religion impossible for many people in the west, and it could be argued that much of the stridency of Christian fundamentalism is based on a buried fear of creeping unbelief.

In the pre-modern world, it was considered dangerous to mix mythos and logos, because each had a different sphere of competence. Much of the heat could be taken out of the evolution versus creation struggle if it were admitted that to read the first chapter of Genesis as though it were an exact account of the origins of life is not only bad science; it is also bad religion.”

The only cure for terrorism is justice though…

The only cure for terrorism is justice (though it may be too late) – Terry Eagleton

SEE – his 4 Yale lectures – http://vox-nova.com/2009/04/16/terry-eagletons-yale-lectures-on-faith-and-fundementalism/

ON JUSTICE Job 33:8 “ but Job tells…


Job 33:8. “[but Job tells them]… I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, … ‘He counteth me for His enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, He marketh all my paths.’
Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against Him? for He giveth not account of any of His matters.

The Mission of My Life God has created…

The Mission of My Life
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

“Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent
about things that matter.”

  • Martin Luther King

Just look at us Everything is backwards…

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality.”

Michael Ellner

I found this wonderful document which gives 17…

I found this wonderful document which gives 17 ways to help you keep going in your efforts for peace and social justice – SOURCE – http://www.msjc.net/MoreInfo/17Steps.aspx

Enjoy and be encouraged;

Seventeen Steps for Peacemakers to Stay Spiritually Alive for the Long Haul
Dick and Charlene Watts
Notes for a presentation at a retreat for Presbyterian peacemakers
Introduction. Theologian Joseph Sittler has written that ”…we are by nature created to envision more than we can accomplish, to long for that which is beyond our possibilities …This restlessness may make us want to throw in the towel — or pull up our socks. You can play it either way. You can either be creatively restless, as before the unknowable, or you can simply collapse into futility.” Here are some ways to be “creatively restless,” to stay spiritually alive for the long haul.
1.         Stay focused on your Vision. An earlier peacemaking mailing reminds us: “Let yourself be overcome by a vision of the world that God intends, rather than guilt about the world that is.” Remember: “impossible only means that it hasn’t happened yet.” How do we stay focused? For myself, there are some biblical phrases I repeat almost every day. . . about children no longer dying in infancy, everyone living out a full life span, nations beating swords into plows, the earth being as full of the knowledge of God as waters cover the sea. Such phrases from the biblical vision mediate to me a reality that is more real than what currently merely is.
2.         Remember: the peacemaking calling is a gift, not a burden. Harry Fagan, a Catholic community organizer, put it like this: “So many people I know think it’s treasonous to smile. What you want to communicate is: We are very fortunate to be able to link up our lives with these great meanings. We need to have a great time. Nothing is worse than a dull do-gooder.” Wisdom from the Internet: “It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you’re done.”
3.         Never lose your sense of outrage. No, this isn’t a contradiction. “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Evil is real, and cannot be pawned off onto cosmic powers or rationalized as inevitable. We need a moral clarity that sees some things are just plain wrong and must stop… child abuse, sexual slavery, starvation, terrorism, and war.
4.         Take time to visit yourself – regularly. A European guest of U.S. peacemakers, his schedule crammed to overflowing, said, “We cannot live this way in the name of peace.” We need to heed the Zen saying: “don’t just do something — stand there.”
5.         Surround yourself with friends and colleagues. The fastest way to run out of steam is to operate as a lone wolf. Every committee should be to the fullest degree possible a community. Love your enemies, but work with those you can work with.
6.         Do something. (Yes, this appears to contradict the Zen saying! It’s a paradox.) The fastest way to break through the sense of helplessness and hopelessness is to act, in however modest a way. Gandhi got it right: “Anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
7.         Celebrate small successes. A longtime anti-hunger activist, asked how he avoided burnout, said: “You need two things: a vision, and the ability to celebrate incremental victories.”
8.         Always remember the difference between witnessing and persuading. It is a terrible burden to suppose that we must convert everyone to our truth. A witness simply says: “Here is what I see, what I experience, what I hope and work for.” That gives the other permission to say what she sees, experiences, hopes and works for. In that encounter, change may happen. To say it theologically: the Holy Spirit changes hearts and minds; we do not. That is a liberating realization.
9.         Find one area of peace and justice work to become expert in. We may have a comprehensive Vision, but it takes many of us to know enough to enter the public arena in a way that can help plow that vision into the soil of historical reality. Reinhold Niehbuhr’s words are never outdated “Consecrated ignorance is still ignorance.” What will yours area of expertise be—domestic violence or torture or U.S. policy toward Colombia?
10.        Never doubt that people and societies can and do change.
11.        Play, laugh and celebrate. Essayist and children’s author E.B. White wrote: “When I wake up in the morning, I’m torn between my desire to save the world and savor the world. It makes it very hard to plan the day!” We need to take both seriously,
12.        Listen for theological wisdom outside the church. Dancers, dramatists, artists, or scientists—all may see reality in a way that both illuminates and challenges our visions. In a recent New York Times review, Brian Kulick, stage director, commented: “You need Shakespeare and Chekhov every 15 minutes of your life because every 15 minutes of our lives we forget we’re human beings. Shakespeare and Chekhov grab you by the lapels and say, ‘You idiot! You’re living! Living your life!’ We need that every 15 minutes …To me, the core of theater and religion is the same. How do you stay in a perpetual state of wonder?”
13         Trust that God is in the rapids as well as the rocks. We tend to think of faith as refuge rather than risk, to value continuity more than change. We witness in a fast-changing world, politically, economically. and theologically. Joseph Sittler: “Lest the theologian be a mere ‘hod carrier’ for a closed tradition, she must look her day full in the face, participate in the joyous thud of ideas in collision, and share in her day’s vitalities and torments.” Bill Coffin: “I feel strongly that Oliver Wendell Holmes was right. Not to share in the activity and passion of your time is to count as not having lived. I don’t claim virtue. I claim a low level of boredom.”
14.        Enter empathetically into someone else’s religious tradition. In Barbara Brown Taylor’s words: “In a world flooded with information, it is important to change channels from time to time, if only to remember that the truth is larger than any one telling of it.” Open-ended dialogue between the world’s great religious traditions is an absolute must for our time.
15         Stay rooted in the Mystery. How do you keep alive the sense of the incomprehensible Mystery in which we all live and die? A 4th century desert monk, St. Gregory of Nyssa, reminds us: “Concepts create idols, only wonder comprehends anything.”
16         Remember where you fit in the scheme of things. A rabbi once said that we should each carry two pieces of paper in two pockets—one says, ‘I am the child of a King’ and the other, ‘l am dust and ashes.’
17.        Work and trust. A woman at retreat in Arizona told of a tough time in her life when she was snowed in at a mountain cabin. To fight off despair, she sat out on the ice-covered steps, chipping away with the only tool she had, a kitchen spoon, as I recall. After a few discouraging efforts, she retreated indoors. When she came back out later, she found that the winter sun had widened the little crack in the ice she had made, so she worked some more. And so the day went, outside to chip awhile, then back into the warmth. “Peacemaking is like that,” she said, “chipping and waiting, chipping and waiting.’’

SOURCE – http://www.msjc.net/MoreInfo/17Steps.aspx


the goal of a true democracy such as…

the goal of a true democracy such as ours, explained simply, is that any baby born in these United States, even if he is born to the blackest, most illiterate, most unprivileged Negro in Mississippi, is, merely by being born and drawing his first breath in this democracy, endowed with the exact same rights as a child born to a Rockefeller.

Of course it’s not true. Of course it never will be true. But I challenge anybody to tell me that it isn’t the type of goal we should try to get to as fast as we can.

Thurgood Marshall – Chief Justice United States Supreme Court (in the 1940s)


Few are those who see with their own…

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
Albert Einstein

The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

O SON OF SPIRIT The best beloved of…


The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.