Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reverence and Otherwise

In the morning my thoughts float around in their zigzag way, and sometimes one lands on my hand. Today it was this:
All my deploring of things people do and the way things are has not helped matters.
This was triggered by morning coffee music with Pete Seeger, which was "Down by the Riverside." The thing about him, he meant it.
Ain't gonna study war no more,
Ain't gonna study war no more...
Now, the illustrious Pete, may his good work never end, meant it, he was against war and tirelessly sang and spoke about it.  And we still have war, don't we.  Oh yes, the bad bad karma of tribalism playing out in unfunny boy games in the Middle East.  God bless them, why don't they just give up their claims on a piece of earth and try to sneak into America like everyone else?

But one thing Pete did accomplish was give people, including me, a way to be in harmony together with our beliefs.  We all sang Guantanamero along with him, rocking a bit from side to side.  We all felt the sadness of the eternal cycle of unnecessary pain, flowers gone to young girls gone to soldiers gone to graveyards.  Gone to flowers.  The community we formed singing was a good thing, an excellent thing. I don't get to feel that much, other than in my women's meditation group, where the warm energy far from war goes round and round.

Last night Tom and I went out for ice cream, like our parents before us, though ice cream has changed since chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.  Believe me, their toes would curl in alarm at the price of Jeni's Salty Caramel.

We got to talking a little about how as children we occasionally felt something in church I describe as shared reverence. I remember that especially on Easter morning and Christmas Eve.  Now I appreciate the sense of new clothes and spring hats - and white gloves on the ladies, back then - as a way of washing ourselves clean, resurrecting.

Tom went to a small-town Methodist church, and I went to a liberal Congregational church, but they had in common a shared acceptance of the Christian tradition.  In both churches there were those who got that it was not about the tribalism of Are you saved? but about love and unity. Certain stories were emphasized, like the parable of The Good Samaritan. It makes you sad to compare that with what is happening now on the Gaza strip.

I have had many good experiences in my Unitarian church, but have never felt that reverence in these 30-some years, despite our minister's many sermons on love.  I think this is because a percentage of the members there hate the very ideas of belief and mystery.  Atheists have long been vocal in the denomination. In my church, every summer we have a lay service by the Atheists and Skeptics, who affirm their belief only in what can be shown by science, which they revere more than I, who have been the victim of it.  In this service someone may talk about the mystery of life, but it is a head trip, not a spiritual practice, and does not go toward love and compassion. They would snort at the "notion" that Something loves us, and all is well.  They discard mysticism with the term "woo-woo."

I was recently told my group is woo-woo, O-kay, but I, too, have trouble with All shall be well when I watch the evening news.  Still, I enjoy experiencing the mystery and elegance of this great junkheap, even as I deplore the things men do.  For example, I am closely watching our tomato crop, pictured in its entirety here.
And, by way of the miraculous, I figured out how to download photos from my phone to my evil new computer, and then upload them.

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