Monday, August 17, 2009

(My Version of) I Have a Dream ...

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. (Pascal)

So much egoic evil has come out of religious convictions ... maligning God with our human tendencies ... imagining Him to be the One to fuel our unlove for our "enemies"...

In my eclectic reading, I came across a snippet from, of all places, Vatican II, written back in 1965 -- I confess that I had never before read this:

"...all peoples comprise a single community, and have a single origin ... One also is their final goal: God. His providence his manifestation of goodness, and his saving designs extend to all people... we reject nothing which is true and holy in these religions ... looking with sincere respect upon these ways of conduct and life, those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what we hold and set forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all people..."

And so I see that good can indeed come out of religious conviction ... because that good transcends religious conviction.

I was once too spiritually immature to see that there could be truth outside of my own myopic "camp" ... and now I know I couldn't begin anywhere else, but where I was. I suppose it could be said that most of us have to start out "conservative." It's a place in which to begin, so that we can send down deep roots. But I no longer see it as a place in which to *stay*. We then have to go the whole way with Christ, and only then will we come to see that Christ is transcendent over our smaller views of Him. We can come to the place where we will no longer need to defend our boundaries so stubbornly, and we can dare to see that truth can be found in the most unexpected places ... for God keeps showing up, as Omnipresence is wont to do (LOL, the absurdity of trying to contain, and tame, Omnipresence...!).

I suppose most of us aren't ready for that yet, and it's taken me a very, very long, and very, very painful time to come to where I could even begin to scratch the surface of getting the point. And yet I see, over and over, Jesus exhorting us to "be not afraid, be not afraid!" It seems that a large number of Christians are still very afraid, as if God needs us to defend truth ... as if He needs us to do His work for Him. I can't help but wonder if we really love the Transcendent Christ who is All Truth, or if we love our own little version of Jesus ... a mascot for the Christian Club...?

It seems the most difficult thing to let go of is the steering wheel in our brain's control center ... to let go of preconceived notions of truth. It takes a long time, and a whole lot of shaking, to let go of the myth of reason, the myth of certaintude.

It seems that when we're finally centered in Christ, in Him in whom we live and move and have our being, that we no longer imagine the "need" to defend our boundaries so staunchly ... when we finally see how vast, how expansive, how all-in-all God really is, we realize He never needed defending at all ... for He had no enemies at all ... least of all His own confused, knowing-not-what-they-do children.

Perhaps when we finally see how He looks at us with eyes of endless compassion and acceptance, we can dare to extend even a portion of that compassion and acceptance to one another ... perhaps when we finally realize that He is all-in-all, we can stop competing, stop comparing, stop correcting, and start cooperating with the One who is Love ...

I have a dream ... and I'm just crazy and foolish enough to keep on dreaming it ...

Shalom, Dena

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