Sunday Morning Podcast
Henry David Thoreau, a natural inquisitor of the nature of being, remarked - in the form of a challenge, I think - that ‘to affect the quality of the day was the highest of art forms.’ I love the openness of this thought, the airiness of it, and yet, the deep calling. Alain de Botton, the British philosopher wrote in his marvelous book, Religion for Atheists, that what formal religious bodies understand is that people are forgetful, and therefore need to gather on a weekly, if not more frequent basis, to be drawn back to their more noble thoughts. And where, hopefully, they will learn how to answer the call of affecting the quality of the day for the better.
Our podcast today covers Jeff Gibb's controversial film 'Planet of the Humans', the new normal - as proposed by the Latin American Council for Peace and Research, The Examin - the prayer of awareness, and the work and thought of Gregory Baum, the Canadian theologian and author of the Massey Lectures, Compassion and Solidarity, the Church for Others.
And we have a service of communion as well.
Awareness of Separation,
Sunday Morning Podcast,
June 28, 2020
Last week, we spoke about separation being the core of evil. Awareness allows us to see when and how and where we have become separated.
Separated from ourselves first and foremost, which is the same as to be separated from God, from our divine spark, from the endless possibilities beyond our own current knowledge. It then follows then that we are separated from others, which grants us the dubious freedom to perpetrate atrocities unhindered by conscience. And then, of course, we are separated from the natural world, which becomes our play toy, instead of the glorious unfolding miracle we might encounter.
It does not matter where or how you start to rebuild your awareness. In some ways, your own life, if you let it, will draw your attention here or there and it will reveal its instruction to you.
Whatever the path, allow it to unfold. Lay your bossy self aside and let the spirit direct you to what is yet to be revealed.
In a way, the sacrament of communion, which has been formalized beyond recognition of its original intent, still, has at its heart, the regular practice of reconnection for the purpose of awareness and the hoped-for resulting transformation. And we are going to celebrate communion together in this gathering. So look around and see if can find something to eat and drink to represent the communion elements. It does not matter the specifics – I am sure you can find something more interesting than grape juice and dry bread, but it may be that is your choice of elements. What matters in true communion, is what matters always, the condition of the heart. The physical matters you may choose to suit yourself.
Call to Worship
Poem by John Ciardi,
as quoted in Seven Sacred Pauses,
by Macrina Wiederkehr
What lifts the heron learning on the air
I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare,
A long stroke through the cumulus of trees,
A shaped thought at the sky – then gone. O rare!
Saint Francis, being happiest on his knees,
Would have cried Father! Cry anything you please,
But praise. By any name or none. Bur praise
The white original burst that lights
The heron on his two soft kissing kites.
When saints praise heaven lit by doves and rays,
I sit by pond scums till the air recites
Its heron back. And doubt all else. But praise!
Here is the film I refer to in our podcast. You can watch the complete film on line for free, it has been made available for everyone to see on YouTube..JUST CLICK HERE OR ON THE PHOTO ABOVE. The film's director and writer, Jeff Gibbs, concludes the film with this remark: ‘I truly believe that the path for change comes from awareness. That awareness alone can begin to start the transformation. There is a way out of this. We must accept that our human presence is already far beyond sustainability ……Less must be the new more….it is not the carbon dioxide molecule that is destroying the plant, it’s us.”
Extensive research and filmmaking, and the conclusion draws us to the simplest of spiritual practices: awareness. “Awareness alone can begin to start transformation.”
Our Christian faith would draw this conclusion too. Which is one of the reasons we gather on a regular basis to consider matters from an alternative worldview than is offering in common culture. But awareness is a spiritual practice available to everyone - just as this film is. If you have the courage, watch it.
June is Pride month. And here is the best, short, compassionate, clear sighted article I have read on the subject of homosexuality from a Christian viewpoint I have found. It comes to us from the SALT project. "Many people begin this discussion with the few — the very few — verses in the Christian Bible that seem to teach against homosexuality. But this is a false start. There are more than 30,000 verses in the Bible. A handful of verses can be cited that seem to teach against homosexuality; but even more verses can be cited that seem to approve of slavery, or seem to teach against women in positions of leadership — and obviously human society has in these respects become more just and inclusive over the centuries. The key point here is this: When reading the Bible, it’s never simply a matter of finding a few verses here or there. We need to know which verses to focus on, and which general themes to emphasize — and to help us with this discernment, we need a guide and teacher. For Christians, our guide and teacher is Jesus of Nazareth. . . ."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST. It is not a long piece of writing and so beautiful articulated and sensible. For those who have difficulty with this topic, it may be helpful.