Yesterday, I had a big homework assignment about the lenses or charisma that public theologians should have in our time. Simultaneously, a discussion broke out in my friend group regarding the divisiveness of the world in our current state. The question: Is it more divisive than it was in the 1980's? My answer was yes. I relied on a historical understanding of our current state as being a hinge time or in Phyllis Tickle's parlance, one of our 500-year-rummage sales. After having this discussion, I turned to our reading, and in completely new language, it discussed this same fact: We are going through a destabilization. And it is pitting security over and above liberation.
The biggest thing I learned from the reading is that it is not a problem that can be addressed through local change. We are too much at the mercy of global market forces. It will require a world-wide change from a market-share to a mind-share mindset. In the market-share mindset, when dissonance is introduced into the system, we respond with rules, regulations, and building of walls that determine who is in and who is out. There are always winners and losers.
In a mind-share mindset, the high value is interdependence rather than independence. In this reality, everyone is welcome. As my professor states: "all forms of bigotry are expressions of opinion unless they actually harm someone." But since we are also going through a destabilization, the old symbols that brought meaning to our life are losing their meaning. In religious parlance, the cross is losing its meaning; in governmental parlance, the Executive Branch is losing its meaning. The meaning of the cross is being discarded by those who find blood atonement anathema. The Executive Branch no longer has an imbued respect accorded it. That is not to say that these changes cannot be for the good, but that the symbols that carried our conversation either need to be set aside or reframed in such a way that they coincide with the growing mind-share mindset.
Unfortunately, in everything I read, it is going to get worse before it gets better. We will see more restrictive religious RFRAs that codify bigotry. More violence in the world. More competing for scarce resources. This is, in fact, a place in time where our African world-citizens can lead the way with the philosophy of Ubuntu. Ubuntu: "I am because we are; we are because I am." This is the mind-share mindset.
Today's practice is inspired by music from Symphony of Science, poetry from Rumi, and sacred wisdom from Neil deGrasse Tyson along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is from NASA.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
We are All Connected by Symphony of Science
The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it
But the way those atoms are put together
The cosmos is also within us
We're made of star stuff
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself
Why am I So Blessed? by Rumi
You keep coming out of my chest
into visibility, singing songs,
telling tangled stories.
With one breath a universe whirls
into being. You wash the world.
You tighten the string around my finger.
But why am I so blessed,
with a Jacob and a Job on every side,
whose houses have been broken into
and their sweet-smelling linens stolen?
Now you lead a procession into the cemetery
as though it’s a garden.
You shout, Rise and dance,
and they do, the ancient dead, the newly dead,
so happy to be out in the air again,
the graveyard looks like a marketplace on a holiday.
I am not saying these things
to appear visionary and spiritual.
I have seen this happen in ways I cannot express.
Always test a high-sounding remark.
If someone claims, I have left all that,
see if his shirt is torn in the back.
Tell the word-men to quit talking
and listen to the grief a lover feels.
Be relentless in your looking,
because you are the one you seek.
Barks, Coleman; Jalal al-Din Rumi (2010-09-14). The Essential Rumi - reissue: New Expanded Edition . HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
1 Peter 1:8b-12
Qur'an Surah 3.61-67
Bhagavad Gita 3.36-39
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 Daily Torah Study, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the "staggering" number of Europeans joining terror groups
for IS bombing of a Kurdish neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria
for the growth of lawful bigotry as in Mississippi
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72, hours,
212 incidents, 49 killed, 128 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the surrender of 800 Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria
for Myanmar's promise to free political prisoners
for the US army's decision to allow Sikh members to wear a turban
for Ted Hakey who shot up a mosque in Connecticut and received forgiveness
For Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore
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
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
29 If a man or a woman has a lesion on the head or on the beard [area],
30 the kohen shall look at the lesion, and, behold! its appearance is deeper than the skin, and in it is a thin golden yellow hair, the kohen shall pronounce him unclean. It is a nethek, which is tzara'ath of the head or the beard.
31 But when the kohen looks at the nethek lesion, and, behold! its appearance is not deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, the kohen shall quarantine [the person with] the nethek lesion for seven days.
32 And the kohen shall look at the lesion on the seventh day. And, behold! the nethek has not spread, and no golden yellow hair was in it, and the appearance of the nethek is not deeper than the skin,
33 he shall shave himself, but adjacent to the nethek he shall not shave, and the kohen shall quarantine [the person with] the nethek again for seven days.
34 Then the kohen shall look at the nethek on the seventh day. And, behold! the nethek did not spread on the skin, and its appearance is not deeper than the skin, the kohen shall pronounce him clean, and he shall immerse his garments and become clean.
35 But if the nethek spreads on the skin, after he has been declared clean,
36 the kohen shall look at it, and, behold! the nethek has spread on the skin, the kohen need not examine for golden yellow hair; it is unclean!
37 But if the appearance of the nethek has remained the same, or if black hair has grown in it, the nethek has healed; he is clean. So the kohen shall pronounce him clean.
38 If a man or a woman has spots on the skin of their flesh, white spots,
39 the kohen shall look, and, behold! there are dim white spots on the skin of their flesh, it is a bohak [pigmentation] which has spread on the skin. He is clean
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
1. Praise the Lord! Praise the Name of the Lord; offer praise, you servants of the Lord-
2. who stand in the House of the Lord, in the courtyards of the House of our God.
3. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to His Name, for He is pleasant.
4. For God has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel as His beloved treasure.
5. For I know that the Lord is great, our Master is greater than all supernal beings.
6. All that the Lord desired He has done, in the heavens and on earth, in the seas and the depths.
7. He causes mists to rise from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His vaults.
8. It was He who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, of man and beast.
9. He sent signs and wonders into the midst of Egypt, on Pharaoh and on all his servants.
10. It was He who struck down many nations, and slew mighty kings:
11. Sichon, king of the Amorites; Og, king of Bashan; and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
12. And He gave their lands as a heritage, a heritage to His people Israel.
13. Lord, Your Name is forever; Lord, Your remembrance is throughout all generations.
14. Indeed, the Lord will judge on behalf of His people, and have compassion on His servants.
15. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the product of human hands.
16. They have a mouth, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but cannot see;
17. they have ears, but cannot hear; nor is there breath in their mouth.
18. Like them will their makers become-all who trust in them.
19. House of Israel, bless the Lord; House of Aaron, bless the Lord;
20. House of Levi, bless the Lord; you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord.
21. Blessed is the Lord from Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
This psalm contains twenty-six verses, corresponding to the twenty-six generations between the creation of the world and the giving of the Torah.
1. Praise the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is forever.
2. Praise the God of the supernal beings, for His kindness is forever.
3. Praise the Master of the heavenly hosts, for His kindness is forever.
4. Who alone performs great wonders, for His kindness is forever.
5. Who makes the heavens with understanding, for His kindness is forever.
6. Who spreads forth the earth above the waters, for His kindness is forever.
7. Who makes the great lights, for His kindness is forever.
8. The sun to rule by day, for His kindness is forever.
9. The moon and stars to rule by night, for His kindness is forever.
10. Who struck Egypt through its firstborn, for His kindness is forever.
11. And brought Israel out of their midst, for His kindness is forever.
12. With a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, for His kindness is forever.
13. Who split the Sea of Reeds into sections, for His kindness is forever.
14. And brought Israel across it, for His kindness is forever.
15. And cast Pharaoh and his army into the Sea of Reeds, for His kindness is forever.
16. Who led His people through the desert, for His kindness is forever;
17. Who struck down great kings, for His kindness is forever.
18. And slew mighty kings, for His kindness is forever.
19. Sichon, king of the Amorites, for His kindness is forever.
20. And Og, king of Bashan, for His kindness is forever.
21. And gave their land as a heritage, for His kindness is forever.
22. A heritage to Israel His servant, for His kindness is forever.
23. Who remembered us in our humiliation, for His kindness is forever.
24. And redeemed us from our oppressors, for His kindness is forever.
25. Who gives food to all flesh, for His kindness is forever.
26. Praise the God of heaven, for His kindness is forever.
Referring to the time of the destruction of the Temple, this psalm tells of when Nebuchadnezzar would ask the Levites to sing in captivity as they had in the Temple, to which they would reply, "How can we sing the song of God upon alien soil?" They were then comforted by Divine inspiration.
1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept as we remembered Zion.
2. There, upon the willows, we hung our harps.
3. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and those who scorned us-rejoicing, [saying,] "Sing to us of the songs of Zion.”
4. How can we sing the song of the Lord on alien soil?
5. If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [its dexterity].
6. Let my tongue cleave to my palate if I will not remember you, if I will not bring to mind Jerusalem during my greatest joy!
7. Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of [the destruction of] Jerusalem, when they said, "Raze it, raze it to its very foundation!”
8. O Babylon, who is destined to be laid waste, happy is he who will repay you in retribution for what you have inflicted on us.
9. Happy is he who will seize and crush your infants against the rock!
David offers awesome praises to God for His kindness to him, and for fulfilling His promise to grant him kingship.
1. By David. I will thank You with all my heart, in the presence of princes I shall praise You.
2. I will bow toward Your Holy Sanctuary, and praise Your Name for Your kindness and for Your truth; for You have exalted Your word above all Your Names.
3. On the day that I called out You answered me, You emboldened me, [You put] strength in my soul.
4. Lord, all the kings of the land will give thanks to You when they hear the words of Your mouth.
5. And they will sing of the Lord's ways, for the glory of the Lord is great.
6. For though the Lord is exalted, He sees the lowly; the High One castigates from afar.
7. If I walk in the midst of distress, keep me alive; against the wrath of my enemies stretch out Your hand, and let Your right hand deliver me.
8. Lord, complete [Your kindness] on my behalf. Lord, Your kindness is forever, do not forsake the work of Your hands.
A most prominent psalm that guides man in the ways of God as no other in all of the five books of Tehillim. Fortunate is he who recites it daily.
1. For the Conductor, by David, a psalm. O Lord, You have probed me, and You know.
2. You know my sitting down and my standing up; You perceive my thought from afar.
3. You encircle my going about and my lying down; You are familiar with all my paths.
4. For there was not yet a word on my tongue-and behold, Lord, You knew it all.
5. You have besieged me front and back, You have laid Your hand upon me.
6. Knowledge [to escape You] is beyond me; it is exalted, I cannot know it.
7. Where can I go [to escape] Your spirit? And where can I flee from Your presence?
8. If I ascend to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there.
9. Were I to take up wings as the dawn and dwell in the furthest part of the sea,
10. there, too, Your hand would guide me; Your right hand would hold me.
11. Were I to say, "Surely the darkness will shadow me," then the night would be as light around me.
12. Even the darkness obscures nothing from You; and the night shines like the day-the darkness is as light.
13. For You created my mind; You covered me in my mother's womb.
14. I will thank You, for I was formed in an awesome and wondrous way; unfathomable are Your works, though my soul perceives much.
15. My essence was not hidden from You even while I was born in concealment, formed in the depths of the earth.
16. Your eyes beheld my raw form; all [happenings] are inscribed in Your book, even those to be formed in future days-to Him they are the same.
17. How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God! How overwhelming, [even] their beginnings!
18. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand, even if I were to remain awake and always with You.
19. O that You would slay the wicked, O God, and men of blood [to whom I say], "Depart from me!”
20. They exalt You for wicked schemes, Your enemies raise [You] for falsehood.
21. Indeed, I hate those who hate You, Lord; I contend with those who rise up against You.
22. I hate them with the utmost hatred; I regard them as my own enemies.
23. Search me, Lord, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
24. See if there is a vexing way in me, then lead me in the way of the world.
1 Peter 1:8b-12
The Voice version
Early Christians stand apart from the culture and suffer social stigmas and physical persecution at times. Peter challenges them to remain faithful to Jesus who also suffered for not conforming.
8 Although you haven’t seen Jesus, you still love Him. Although you don’t yet see Him, you do believe in Him and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words. 9 You are receiving the salvation of your souls as the result of your faith.
10 The prophets who spoke of this outpouring of grace upon you diligently searched and inquired of the Lord about this salvation: 11 to whom and to what time was the indwelling Spirit of the Anointed referring when He told them about the suffering of the Anointed and the honor that would follow it? 12 The Spirit revealed to them they were not serving themselves but you. And you have learned from those who told you the good news by the Spirit that was sent down from heaven. Even the heavenly messengers would like to explore this news.
Quran Surah 3.51-60
Quran: A Simple English Translation
61 And if anyone should argue with you about this [truth] after the knowledge you have received, say to them, ‘Come! Let us gather our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves; and then let us pray earnestly and invoke the curse of God upon the liars.
62 This is the true account. There is no deity save Him. God is Mighty and Wise.’ 63 And if they turn away, God knows well the evil-doers. 64 Say, ‘People of the Book, let us come to a word common to us that we shall worship none but God and that we shall associate no partner with Him and that none of us shall take others, besides God, for lords.’ And if they turn away, say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ 65 People of the Book, why do you dispute about Abraham when the Torah and Gospel were only sent down after him. Do you not use your reason? 66 You are those who disputed about things of which you had some knowledge. Must you now argue about things of which you have no knowledge? God knows, but you do not know.
67 Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was an upright man, one who had surrendered himself to God. He was not one of those who associate partners with God.
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 959-969). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Bhagavad Gita 3.36-39
What is it that drives a man
to an evil action, Krishna,
even against his will,
as if some force made him do it?
THE BLESSED LORD SAID:
That force is desire, it is anger,
arising from the guna called rajas;
deadly and all-devouring,
that is the enemy here.
As a fire is obscured by smoke,
as a mirror is covered by dust,
as a fetus is wrapped in its membrane,
so wisdom is obscured by desire.
Wisdom is destroyed, Arjuna,
by the constant enemy of the wise,
which, flaring up as desire,
blazes with insatiable flames.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 533-540). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.