Mohandas Gandhi: What Christians can Learn from The Great Soul from India

 

 

I have the privileged of volunteering occasional Sundays at a local Youth State Prison.  By liturgical “coincidence” I was asked to reflect on the Christian Beatitudes one day before remembering the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, The Great Soul of India who changed how human beings see themselves.  Below you will find my reflections.  I hope you find them interesting.

The Beatitudes—January 29, 2017–Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Scriptures: Zep2: 3, 3:12-13–1Cor 1:18-31–Matthew 5:1-12

There are not many scriptural passages more familiar, yet more perplexing to us than the Beatitudes? We continue to get sideswiped with their rigorous honesty, yet most Christians continue to live our lives like we never heard them before.Many a religious person has observed that even though the world has had the Great Sermon, and the Christian ethic for over 2,000 years, we have come no nearer to achieving it and putting it into practice than Jesus’ disciples on that mountain that day.  Perhaps the Sermon remains a dream or vision because the plain truth is;

That the Christian ethic is completely impossible without the Christian Action that goes with it .

In other words, we Christians like so many other religious people have yet to close the great gap between “We ought” and “ We can”.  The fact is that we can do nothing to realize the ought of the Christian challenge without a real Commitment to Jesus whose grace can empower and enable us to do so.   It goes something like this:  When we commit to Christ we become his disciples.  When we become disciples, we are called to create BELOVED, BLESSED Communities wherever we are.  But we have a problem, We live in the United States of America and our new president and those who serve him and elected him are not practicing the formation of Beloved, Blessed Communities.

Let’s face it, if the beatitudes were written to accurately reflect the predominant values of the United States today, they just might read:

  •  Blessed are the powerful, for they shall control others.
  • Blessed are the movers and the shakers, for they shall make things happen their way.
  • Blessed are the strong, the young and the beautiful, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are the winners, for they shall be lauded and applauded.
  • Blessed are the affluent, for they shall have what they need and want.
  • Blessed are Americans, for they shall live in God’s country.
  • Blessed are those in authority, for they shall possess all power and ALL truth.

I believe that our readings today help us to understand that The Power we have in our discipleship of followers of the One God.  We live in world that has turned outside down in terms of the teachings of Jesus.  As Christians we know that Truth will be revealed to us eventually…But in the meantime, we are called to spend our spiritual lifetimes making choices that are contradictory and paradoxical.

  • As a people, the Beatitudes challenged us to live out of our vulnerability not our fears; to be willing to acknowledge and touch our weaknesses; to embrace parts of ourselves that our culture tell us we ought to eliminate.
  • We are called to have poverty of the spirit in a culture that encourages us to accumulate everything we can:
  • To be meek in an age where position and prestige are fashionable;
  • To show mercy only when it makes interesting news to publicize other’s sins and flaws;
  • To make peace when we are urged to make war.
  • To keep promises and covenants with one another when we are urged to live by our own needs, wants, and fantasies.
  • No wonder many of us give up on God or give up on ourselves and our search for God—it is very difficult to live in this contradiction…..Our physical, mental and emotional lives suffer in our struggle with the “We ought and the We can.”

 On January 30th, we will be remembering the death of Mohandas Gandhi, the Great Soul of India.  He led the Indian movement for independence and did more than any person in history to advance the theory and practice of non-violence.  His influence on world affairs is infinite.  Yet, he posed a special challenged to Christians.

Here he was a Hindu who politely rejected the dogmatic claims of Christianity while embracing with great consistence the ethical claims of Jesus and the teaching of the Beatitudes.  For Gandhi, the non-violent struggle for independence was deeply spiritual, and not necessarily political. He believed in the identity between means and ends, and he approached each campaign as an experiment in truth, and effort to realize God’s will on earth.  We ought and We Can became One goal.

Dr. Deacon Grandma–Cynthia W. Yoshitomi–January 29, 2017

Values to Live by in These Times..Wisdom from the Black Christian Church

 

We Must Continue the Moral Resisting Together…Bring the Children..Bring the Grandparents…

DARKNESS CANNOT DRIVE OUT DARKNESS;
ONLY LIGHT CAN DO THAT.
HATE CANNOT DRIVE OUT HATE;
ONLY LOVE CAN DO THAT.
HATE MULTIPLIES HATE,
VIOLENCE MULTIPLIES VIOLENCE,
AND TOUGHNESS MULTIPLIES TOUGNESS
IN A DESCENDING SPIRIAL OF DESTRUCTION…
THE CHAIN REACTION OF EVIL–
HATE BEGETTING HATE,
WARS PRODUCING MORE WARS–
MUST BE BROKEN,
OR WE SHALL BE PLUNGED INTO THE DARKNESS OF ANNIHILATION.-
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King

http://www.breachrepairers.org/moralresistance

Community Organizers Meeting in Modesto California in February 2017

 Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican
by Dennis Sadowski

Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican

“Pat Campbell-Williams, co-founder of MOSES, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, in Detroit, right, tells a person she met October 19 at the city’s Rosa Parks Transit Center about early voting for the 2016 election. She will be one of 600 people from grass-roots organizations planning to attend the U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 16-19 in Modesto, Calif. (Credit: CNS photo/courtesy Jacob Bolton, MOSES.)
Pope Francis changed her outlook.
Campbell-Williams, 60, co-founder of MOSES – Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, rooted in the city’s churches – had the chance to hear the pope in November at the Vatican when he addressed the most recent gathering of the World Meeting of Popular Movements.
Pope Francis applauded the work of several hundred people from more than 60 countries working in grass-roots organizations of the poor, the underemployed, indigenous communities and farm workers. His words energized the longtime activist.
“It’s what I’ve been working for in all of my life, grass-roots organizing,” Campbell-Williams told Catholic News Service, “and to have the pope to be in the forefront of what we’re doing is just amazing. We’ve got a man of God that’s pushing things. The fact that he’s doing this got me excited.”
Campbell-Williams will be one of 600 people – whom the pope calls protagonists, meaning people facing everyday struggles – from throughout the United States attending a regional World Meeting of Popular Movements February 16-19 in Modesto, California.
The meeting is co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program; and PICO National Network, which engages in religious congregation-based community organizing.The U.S. meeting is being planned at the request of Pope Francis. Cardinal Peter Turkson, dicastery prefect, will attend the meeting and address the delegates.  More than 20 U.S. bishops also are expected to attend and participate in plenary and small-group sessions over the four days, said Ralph McCloud, CCHD executive director.Campbell-Williams said hearing from people of different faith traditions from around the world in November was inspiring and expects the same in California.

“I learned that we all are going through basically the same things around the world,” Campbell-Williams said. “We didn’t understand that until we told our stories and came together in solidarity to talk about it. That was amazing to just hear everybody tell their story in their language. It connected all of us to the same stories. We’re all basically dealing with the same issues.”

Dominican Sister Cheryl Liske, executive director of Gamaliel of Michigan, one of the organizations that will be represented at the meeting, said it is folks like Campbell-Williams whom the pope has in mind when he calls the church to move beyond charitable acts to accompany people on society’s margins.

“Church people in general, we get charity. We don’t get the Gospel message about justice. Our bishops, like the rest of us, are in that same mix. The important thing is that the bishops in Modesto, California, interact with the folks. They (grass-roots people) get the Gospel message right there on the ground, that this is about the widow and the orphan and the alien among us,” Cheryl said.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, is hosting the four-day gathering at Modesto’s Central Catholic High School. Co-hosts are California Bishops Jaime Soto of Sacramento and Armando X. Ochoa of Fresno.

Modesto, located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, was chosen because of the economic and social challenges facing the region’s diverse population, meeting organizers said.

Blaire told CNS he wanted to learn from community representatives so the diocese could work more closely with similar local organizations.

“When you haven’t worked with community organizers, you have to do a little rethinking. A lot of people said movements in the church are supposed to be spiritual movements. I said to them, ‘There are many spiritual movements, like the folks living the real experience.’ We have to hear them and listen to them and accompany them,” the bishop said.

“I think it will be very important as the church that we listen because if we want to evangelize and bring the Gospel into the community, we have to hear what the community is saying,” he added. “We have to hear from the people themselves who are suffering. We can’t sit in our positions and think we can analyze all the poverty and suffering out there.”

Belinda Snead of Lexington, Kentucky, also is to be one of the grass-roots people attending the meeting. A leader in Building a United Interfaith Lexington Through Direct-Action, or BUILD, Snead told CNS there is no better way to learn about organizing successes and failures than by discussing her experiences with others.

“We all come from different parts of the country so everybody has a different dynamic that prevents them from getting something accomplished, from moving forward,” Snead said. “My goal is to go out and learn from others how they develop strategies on combating injustices.”

That’s exactly why the Vatican wants a U.S. meeting, McCloud said.

“First and foremost (the meeting) is to acknowledge the economic inequality that exists among the haves and have-nots” while examining the reasons people struggle because of unequal access to work, land and housing, he explained.

“(The meeting) acknowledges all of these things exist and to help bring people together who have been working on these, to understand there’s a connection between all of them and look at ways they might be able to work together,” McCloud told CNS.

Immigration and racism also are to be among topics explored, organizers said.”

WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES

 

Please ENJOY THIS AFFIRMING STORY BY CLARISSA PINKOLA-ESTES

“My friends, do not lose heart.  We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.”…..Read more…From Pacifica University Alumni Magazine.

http://www.pgiaa.org/made-times-clarissa-pinkola-estes/

 

Idol Conformity or Idle Conformity? The GIFT of the Thoughtful Non-Conformist

Although this is directed at Roman Catholics it is an excellent reflection on circumstances world wide today.

IDOL CONFORMITY  by John Churchman

To create anything at all in any field,

and especially anything of outstanding worth,

requires nonconformity, or a want of satisfaction with things as they are.

The creative person

— the nonconformist —

may be in profound disagreement with the present way of things,

or he may simply wish to add his views,

to render a personal account of matters.

To remain an accepted member

of the Roman Catholic Church,

I would have had to shed my non-conformity,

and hence my creativity.

But I had no really vested interest in the Church’s status quo. The only vested interest— or one might say, concern —which I do have in the present way of Church things rests in my ability to observe them, to assimilate the multifarious details of reality and to form some intelligent opinion about them.

I maintain an attitude at once detached

and yet deeply involved.

Detached, in that I view the Church with an outer and abstracting eye.

Contrasts in Church life move constantly across my field of vision

— tensions between the grotesque and the sad,

between the contemptible and the much-loved;

tensions of such special character as to be almost imperceptible;

dramatic, emotional situations within the most banal settings.

Only with a detached eye am I able to perceive the properties

and qualities of these things.

Within such contrasts and juxtapositions

lies the very essence of what Church life is today, or any day.

To know this and capture its essential character

I must maintain such a degree of detachment.

But, I never fail to be involved

in the joys and the desperations of Churchgoers,

for in them lies the very source of feeling

upon which my writing is based.

My feelings,

always specific and never generalized,

have their own vocabulary of things I experience.

It is because of these parallel ideas

of detachment and of emotional involvement

that I have become a critic of Institutional Roman Catholicism

and so often voice my disgust for its abuse of people.

It is likely why I am nonconformist in my personal life.

The deadening effects of over-conformity in the Church

are well understood.

Yet, when it comes to the matter of just what kind of nonconformity

shall be encouraged,

liberality of view recedes

and disappears.

There seems to be no exact place in the Roman Catholic way

where nonconformity can be fitted in.

Without people of outspoken opinion,

however,

without critics,

without visionaries,

without the nonconformist,

any Church, whatever its degree of perfection,

falls into decay.

Its habits (even virtues)

inevitably become entrenched and tyrannical;

its controls become inaccessible to the ordinary laity.

Witness the Roman Catholic Church today.

Nonconformity is a basic pre-condition of growth,

as it is a pre-condition of good thinking

and therefore of greatness in a people.

The degree of nonconformity present

— and tolerated —

in a Religion must be looked upon

as a symptom of its state of health.

Again, witness the Roman Catholic Church

today.

To create anything at all in any field,

and especially anything of outstanding worth,

requires nonconformity,

or a want of satisfaction with things as they are.

The creative person

— the nonconformist —

may be in profound disagreement with the present way of things,

or he may simply wish to add his views,

to render a personal account of matters.

To remain an accepted member

of the Roman Catholic Church,

I would have had to shed my non-conformity,

and hence my creativity.

 

But I had no really vested interest in the Church’s status quo.

The only vested interest

— or one might say, concern —

which I do have in the present way of Church things

rests in my ability to observe them,

to assimilate the multifarious details of reality

and to form some intelligent opinion about them.

I maintain an attitude at once detached

and yet deeply involved.

Detached, in that I view the Church with an outer and abstracting eye.

Contrasts in Church life move constantly across my field of vision

— tensions between the grotesque and the sad,

between the contemptible and the much-loved;

tensions of such special character as to be almost imperceptible;

dramatic, emotional situations within the most banal settings.

Only with a detached eye am I able to perceive the properties

and qualities of these things.

Within such contrasts and juxtapositions

lies the very essence of what Church life is today, or any day.

To know this and capture its essential character

I must maintain such a degree of detachment.

But, I never fail to be involved

in the joys and the desperations of Churchgoers,

for in them lies the very source of feeling

upon which my writing is based.

My feelings,

always specific and never generalized,

have their own vocabulary of things I experience.

It is because of these parallel ideas

of detachment and of emotional involvement

that I have become a critic of Institutional Roman Catholicism

and so often voice my disgust for its abuse of people.

 

It is likely why I am nonconformist in my personal life.

The deadening effects of over-conformity in the Church

are well understood.

Yet, when it comes to the matter of just what kind of nonconformity

shall be encouraged,

liberality of view recedes

and disappears.

 

There seems to be no exact place in the Roman Catholic way

where nonconformity can be fitted in.

Without people of outspoken opinion,

however,

without critics,

without visionaries,

without the nonconformist,

any Church, whatever its degree of perfection,

falls into decay.

Its habits (even virtues)

inevitably become entrenched and tyrannical;

its controls become inaccessible to the ordinary laity.

Witness the Roman Catholic Church today.

Nonconformity is a basic pre-condition of growth,

as it is a pre-condition of good thinking

and therefore of greatness in a people.

The degree of nonconformity present

— and tolerated —

in a Religion must be looked upon

as a symptom of its state of health.

Again, witness the Roman Catholic Church

today.

 

–JOHN CHURHMAN

Why Aren’t We More Compassionate and Kind?

Why Aren’t We More Compassionate and Kind?

Developing Kindness and Compassion has never been more important both for adults and children.  Kindness and Compassion can both be seen and experienced as the New Technology for our New Age.  TED Talk on NPR (Guy Ross) revisited one of their podcasts from last year with Daniel Goleman, Karen Armstrong, Robert Wright, Krista Tippett Carol Kohn to discuss this more than ever important topic.  Each podcast is about 10 minutes long and linked well with the interviewer.  Please take time to listen and see how YOU can participate in this New/Old Way of Being.

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/December 9,2016

Robert Wright:  Are We Wired to Be Compassionate?  YES!  The Evolution of Compassion. “In the beginning, there was compassion.”

Hint–Goes back to Kin Selection.

Krista Tippitt:  Words Matter-–Compassion is a core Virtue, but it has been compromised and hallowed out by our culture and our way of using words.

Sally Kohn:  CNN Political Commentator.  Gets lots of hate Tweets (238 hate tweets a week.)  “Is it enough to be Politically Correct?–

Emotional Correctness is more important.

Karen Armstrong:  Author of “12 Steps to a Compassionate Life” and many other books on World Religions.  She is a Historian of Religion.  Why Practicing Compassion can Change Us.

Did Compassion or Religion come first?

Daniel Goleman:  Author of Emotional Intelligence.  Find out why it is important to give of our time and money.

Why Emotional Intelligence matters to All Societies.