Two news items are out that I find ridiculous. The Governor of North Carolina is calling the response to the state's anti-transgender bathroom law "political theater," diminishing the importance of the response. And the lawmaker in Minnesota who introduced anti-LGBTQ legislation and is now receiving mean letters says he is being bullied. In my mind, I just say, "Poor baby. Join the ranks of the 80% of transgender youth who report feeling unsafe at school."
What neither of these heteronormative, cisgender, white, men of power realize is that they are messing with real people's lives. I can't take my son to visit his extended family in North Carolina if I know there are no safe bathrooms. Or if the government thinks they have the power to look into his pants.
All this in the face of not even 1 bathroom incident involving a transgender person being reported. Sigh.
#itstime to embrace the Love Your Neighbor part of the great commandment.
Today's practice is inspired with music from Lauryn Hill, a fable from Edwin Friedman, and sacred wisdom from Confucius along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is mine.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
I Find it Hard to Say (Rebel) by Lauryn Hill
There was a man who had given much thought to what he wanted from life. He had experienced many moods and trials. He had experimented with different ways of living, and he had had his share of both success and failure. At last, he began to see clearly where he wanted to go.
Diligently, he searched for the right opportunity. Sometimes he came close, only to be pushed away. Often he applied all his strength and imagination, only to find the path hopelessly blocked. And then at last it came. But the opportunity would not wait. It would be made available only for a short time. If it were seen that he was not committed, the opportunity would not come again.
Eager to arrive, he started on his journey. With each step, he wanted to move faster; with each thought about his goal, his heart beat quicker; with each vision of what lay ahead, he found renewed vigor. Strength that had left him since his early youth returned, and desires, all kinds of desires, reawakened from their long-dormant positions.
Hurrying along, he came upon a bridge that crossed through the middle of a town. It had been built high above a river in order to protect it from the floods of spring.
He started across. Then he noticed someone coming from the opposite direction. As they moved closer, it seemed as though the other were coming to greet him. He could see clearly, however, that he did not know this other, who was dressed similarly except for something tied around his waist.
When they were within hailing distance, he could see that what the other had about his waist was a rope. It was wrapped around him many times and probably, if extended, would reach a length of 30 feet.
The other began to uncurl the rope, and, just as they were coming close, the stranger said, “Pardon me, would you be so kind as to hold the end a moment?”
Surprised by this politely phrased but curious request, he agreed without a thought, reached out, and took it.
“Thank you,” said the other, who then added, “two hands now, and remember, hold tight.” Whereupon, the other jumped off the bridge.
Quickly, the free-falling body hurtled the distance of the rope’s length, and from the bridge the man abruptly felt the pull. Instinctively, he held tight and was almost dragged over the side. He managed to brace himself against the edge, however, and after having caught his breath, looked down at the other dangling, close to oblivion.
“What are you trying to do?” he yelled.
“Just hold tight,” said the other.
“This is ridiculous,” the man thought and began trying to haul the other in. He could not get the leverage, however. It was as though the weight of the other person and the length of the rope had been carefully calculated in advance so that together they created a counterweight just beyond his strength to bring the other back to safety.
“Why did you do this?” the man called out.
“Remember,” said the other, “if you let go, I will be lost.”
“But I cannot pull you up,” the man cried. “I am your responsibility,” said the other.
“Well, I did not ask for it,” the man said.
“If you let go, I am lost,” repeated the other.
He began to look around for help. But there was no one. How long would he have to wait? Why did this happen to befall him now, just as he was on the verge of true success? He examined the side, searching for a place to tie the rope. Some protrusion, perhaps, or maybe a hole in the boards. But the railing was unusually uniform in shape; there were no spaces between the boards. There was no way to get rid of this newfound burden, even temporarily.
“What do you want?” he asked the other hanging below.
“Just your help,” the other answered.
“How can I help? I cannot pull you in, and there is no place to tie the rope so that I can go and find someone to help me help you.”
“I know that. Just hang on; that will be enough. Tie the rope around your waist; it will be easier.”
Fearing that his arms could not hold out much longer, he tied the rope around his waist.
“Why did you do this?” he asked again. “Don’t you see what you have done? What possible purpose could you have had in mind?”
“Just remember,” said the other, “my life is in your hands.”
What should he do? “If I let go, all my life I will know that I let this other die. If I stay, I risk losing my momentum toward my own long-sought-after salvation. Either way this will haunt me forever.” With ironic humor he thought to die himself, instantly, to jump off the bridge while still holding on. “That would teach this fool.” But he wanted to live and to live life fully. “What a choice I have to make; how shall I ever decide?”
As time went by, still no one came. The critical moment of decision was drawing near. To show his commitment to his own goals, he would have to continue on his journey now. It was already almost too late to arrive in time. But what a terrible choice to have to make.
A new thought occurred to him. While he could not pull this other up solely by his own efforts, if the other would shorten the rope from his end by curling it around his waist again and again, together they could do it. Actually, the other could do it by himself, so long as he, standing on the bridge, kept it still and steady.
“Now listen,” he shouted down. “I think I know how to save you.” And he explained his plan.
But the other wasn’t interested.
“You mean you won't help? But I told you I cannot pull you up myself, and I don’t think I can hang on much longer either.”
“You must try,” the other shouted back in tears. “If you fail, I die.”
The point of decision arrived. What should he do? “My life or this other’s?” And then a new idea. A revelation. So new, in fact, it seemed heretical, so alien was it to his traditional way of thinking.
“I want you to listen carefully,” he said, “because I mean what I am about to say. I will not accept the position of choice for your life, only for my own; the position of choice for your own life I hereby give back to you.”
“What do you mean?” the other asked, afraid. “I mean, simply, it’s up to you. You decide which way this ends. I will become the counterweight. You do the pulling and bring yourself up. I will even tug a little from here.” He began unwinding the rope from around his waist and braced himself anew against the side.
“You cannot mean what you say,” the other shrieked. “You would not be so selfish. I am your responsibility. What could be so important that you would let someone die? Do not do this to me.”
He waited a moment.
There was no change in the tension of the rope. “I accept your choice,” he said, at last, and freed his hands.
Friedman, Edwin H. (2013-02-25). Friedman's Fables (Kindle Locations 117-172). Guilford Publications. Kindle Edition.
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Qur'an Surah 3.1-7
Bhagavad Gita 3.1-6
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Jewish Lectionary, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.” ― Confucius
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the bombing in Baghdad, Iraq
for the shooting at the White House and the harm done to an officer
for those affected by the kidnapping of 10 Indonesians in the Philippines
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
270 incidents, 80 killed, 196 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the stopping of the EgyptAir hijacker with no harm
for the seizure of arms being shipped to terrorists
for the Pope's courage to speak out on behalf of refugees
for the tea café Pappadavada in Kerala, India, that put a
refrigerator on the sidewalk with free meals for the homeless
For China, Honk Kong, and Macau
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
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.
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.
"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Take Aaron along with his sons, and the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; 3and assemble the whole community at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 5Moses did as the LORD commanded him. And when the community was assembled at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, 5Moses said to the community, “This is what the LORD has commanded to be done.”
6Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7He put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him, girding him with the decorated band with which he tied it to him. 8He put the breastpiece on him, and put into the breastpiece the Urim and Thummim. 9And he set the headdress on his head; and on the headdress, in front, he put the gold frontlet, the holy diadem—as the LORD had commanded Moses.
10Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and all that was in it, thus consecrating them. 11He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointing the altar, all its utensils, and the laver with its stand, to consecrate them. 12He poured some of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. 13Moses then brought Aaron’s sons forward, clothed them in tunics, girded them with sashes, and wound turbans upon them, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
Jewish Publication Society of America (2000-12-01). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Jewish Publication Society. Kindle Edition.
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
Praise the LORD, for He is good,
His steadfast love is eternal.
2Let Israel declare,
“His steadfast love is eternal.”
14The LORD is my strength and might;
He has become my deliverance.
15The tents of the victorious resound with joyous shouts of
“The right hand of the LORD is triumphant!
16The right hand of the LORD is exalted!
The right hand of the LORD is triumphant!”
17I shall not die but live
and proclaim the works of the LORD.
18The LORD punished me severely,
but did not hand me over to death.
19Open the gates of victory for me
that I may enter them and praise the LORD.
20This is the gateway to the LORD—
the victorious shall enter through it.
21I praise You, for You have answered me,
and have become my deliverance.
22The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our sight.
24This is the day that the LORD has made—
let us exult and rejoice on it.
Jewish Publication Society of America (2000-12-01). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (p. 1249). Jewish Publication Society. Kindle Edition.
The Voice version
12Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. 14But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. 15Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.
16Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing— sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. 17Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.
Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture (p. 1452). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Quran Surah 3.1-7
Quran: A Simple English Translation
1 Alif Lam Mim
2 God! There is no deity save Him, the Living, the Sustainer.
3 He has sent down the Book to you with truth, which fulfils [the predictions] in the Scriptures that preceded it: He sent down the Torah and the Gospel 4 in the past as guidance for mankind; He has [also] sent down the Standard by which to discern the true from the false. Surely those who deny God’s signs will suffer severe punishment. God is mighty and capable of retribution.
5 Nothing on earth or in the heavens is hidden from God: 6 it is He who shapes you in the womb as He will. There is no deity save Him, the Mighty, the Wise One.
7 It is He who has sent down the Book to you. Some of its verses are clear and precise in meaning— they are the basis of the Book— while others are allegorical. Those with deviation in their hearts pursue the allegorical, so as to create dissension by seeking to explain it: but no one knows its meaning except God. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it: it is all from our Lord.’ But only the wise take heed.
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 861-871). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
If you think that understanding
is superior to action, Krishna,
why do you keep on urging me
to engage in this savage act?
With words that seem inconsistent,
your teaching has bewildered my mind.
Tell me: what must I do
to arrive at the highest good?
THE BLESSED LORD SAID:
In this world there are two main paths:
the yoga of understanding,
for contemplative men; and for men
who are active, the yoga of action.
Not by avoiding actions
does a man gain freedom from action,
and not by renunciation alone,
can he reach the goal.
No one, not even for an instant,
can exist without acting; all beings
are compelled, however unwilling,
by the three strands of Nature called gunas.
He who controls his actions
but lets his mind dwell on sense-objects
is deluding himself and spoiling
his search for the deepest truth.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 477-488). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.