Daily Practice for December 28, 2016

Word: 

I am sure that the head cold that I have is slowing my thinking down significantly. But I have been staring at the blank page for several minutes wondering what to write. The whistling of my sinuses is not helping. Please bear with me as I attempt to string thoughts together.

I've been watching this case in Forth Worth unfold. A mother (Mrs. Craig) called the police because a man put hands on her child, choking him when the child littered on the street. The mother then called the police to report the offender. The officer listened to the story and asked the mom what the problem was. She told him that it is not okay for another adult to put their hands on her child. The officer asked "Why not?" More than one time. It was as if he was using anti-de-escalation techniques and attempting to provoke the mom. I suppose that would simply be escalation.

Anyway, the officer kept provoking the mom, siding with the guy who choked her son. "Why don't you teach your son not to litter," He asked. She lost her composure and when she did, the officer did a take-down and put her under arrest for failing to identify and resisting arrest. Her daughter, who tried to intervene, received the same treatment.

Anybody want to guess the color or ethnicity of the folks involved? You got it. Mrs. Craig and her family are of African-American descent while all the others involved are of European (white) descent.

This is ridiculous.

And the police chief of Fort Worth has said that the officer's behavior, all caught on cell phone, was rude but not racist. Because, apparently, you have to use the *n* word or some such nonsense for it to be racist. He's wrong. It is racist when you take the word of all the white folks over the black folks. When the black folks end up incarcerated in a situation where the arrest should have been of the white neighbor.

Of course it is racist. Implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from thinking in your sub-conscious most often below awareness and without intentional control. Just because it is implicit or buried, does not mean it isn't racist. You don't have to know you are racist to be racist. And really, because of the media and our education, we receive multitudes of messages that support racism against black people that form a large unconscious bias. Part of our job is to unbury that bias and to work intentionally against it. This officer may not consider himself racist, but the evidence of bias is present like a shining and flashing star. He is racist, as most of us are.

The Craig's are out of jail but still have charges pending against them. The neighbor that choked Mrs. Craig's son is still free. The officer is on desk-duty while IAB investigates.  Lee Merritt, the attorney handling Mrs. Craig's case, is keeping everyone updated via Facebook as is Shaun King, writer at NY Daily.

Racism is not going to disappear in the flash of an eye. I was reading friend's posts last night and read where a friend gave her child a doll made in Africa, with skin and features just like her daughter's. The little girl was captivated and said, "She is so beautiful!" over and over. Her mama started crying with joy.

The biggest part of this work is our own internal work. We need to uncover implicit bias and shine a light on it. We may not be able to change our gut instinct, but if we know about it, we then have to work through reasoning it out and act from a reasoned perspective.

The johari window illustrates this. There are for categories of knowing about yourself. The most dangerous categories are the unknowns. Blind to self--where others see clearly and we are blind. and Unknown to self--where nobody knows. Our task is to shrink the unknown categories so we can operate out of the knowns. Implicit bias is dependent on being unknown. It is scary to pull those things out of the dark closet and shine a light on it because then we have to acknowledge the worst things about ourselves. But it is a journey worth taking for ourselves and for everyone. Perhaps, if our Ft. Worth officer was working on his unknowns, he would not have treated Mrs. Craig and her family so odiously.

...

How do you enter the unknown?

...

Today's practice brings music from Katie Melua, a poem from John of the Cross, and a quote from Beth Morey. This is followed by readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition.   And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out). Our prayers for this week focus on Ghana and Nigeria.

Onward!

Link: From https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/increasing-your-self-awareness-johari-window-enrique

Opening:

Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.

BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--hmmm

Music:

Perfect World by Katie Melua

Readings:

I Came Into the Unknown by John of the Cross

English version by Willis Barnstone

I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing
rising beyond all science.

I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

It was the perfect realm
of holiness and peace.
In deepest solitude
I found the narrow way:
a secret giving such release
that I was stunned and stammering,
rising beyond all science.

I was so far inside,
so dazed and far away
my senses were released
from feelings of my own.
My mind had found a surer way:
a knowledge of unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

And he who does arrive
collapses as in sleep,
for all he knew before
now seems a lowly thing,
and so his knowledge grows so deep
that he remains unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

The higher he ascends
the darker is the wood;
it is the shadowy cloud
that clarified the night,
and so the one who understood
remains always unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge by unknowing
is such a soaring force
that scholars argue long
but never leave the ground.
Their knowledge always fails the source:
to understand unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge is supreme
crossing a blazing height;
though formal reason tries
it crumbles in the dark,
but one who would control the night
by knowledge of unknowing
will rise beyond all science.

And if you wish to hear:
the highest science leads
to an ecstatic feeling
of the most holy Being;
and from his mercy comes his deed:
to let us stay unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

...

Curated from To Touch the Sky: Poems of Mystical, Spiritual & Metaphysical Light, Translated by Willis Barnstone

Sacred Text

Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad

Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading

Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran

Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen

Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!

Quotable

“I hear talk of that slippery slope, and my heart catches for a beat. But there is the musky truth I'm standing in that I can't deny, and it tastes of so much holy. That old way, the narrow line, I see now that was a slippery, saccharine surface where my soul could gain no purchase. For the first time, my feet feel sure beneath me, and that sense is twining its way up from my ankles, racing toward my knees, my thighs, my secret places, my heart. It's in my blood now, and I can't deny it. I can't deny it.

I open my eyes, because I could see even through my clutched-closed lids that the darkness is light, that the blindness has given way to searing vision.

I can't deny it.”

― Beth Morey, Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul

Prayers:

Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up.

Focus countries: Ghana and Nigeria

Let us pray.

We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.

For signs of hope and peace, we pray for

  • Christians and Muslims who take risks to work for dialogue and reconciliation between the two faith communities.
  • Talking drums and rattles.
  • Ama Atta Aidoo, Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others who tell good stories from an African context.
  • Fufu, yams, cassava and peanuts.

For the oppressed and weary, we pray for

  • The curtailment of deforestation.
  • A more just distribution of wealth and power.
  • Just and peaceful relations between members of different ethnic groups and between Muslims and Christians.
  • An end to human rights abuses against minority groups.
  • Those who suffer from malnutrition and diseases such as malaria, whooping cough and HIV and AIDS.
  • Better stewardship of the environment and natural resources.

For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE

Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.

Lord’s Prayer:

Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi

O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.

May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.

Categories: daily-practice daily-prayer prayer ritual spiritual-practice

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