A Bodhisattva is a being who has attained enlightenment and is dedicated to helping others attain it as well. This is a good thing because Bodhisattvas serve as teachers, guides, and role models of compassion and selflessness, inspiring others to strive for the same level of enlightenment. Bodhisattvas also remind us that all beings are connected and that we should treat each other with respect and kindness.
It is easy to be aware of the injustices that exist in society due to privilege. Whether it be gender, race, or class, there are distinct advantages that certain groups have over others. But being aware of these disparities is not enough. We must go beyond acknowledging the existence of social injustice and strive to be comfortable in our own privilege.
Being comfortable with privilege means understanding the implications of privilege, both as a source of privilege and as a source of oppression. It means being conscious of the fact that the advantages someone has come from the disenfranchisement of others. It means being conscious of the power dynamics that exist between different groups and using that knowledge to advocate for the rights of the marginalized.
Furthermore, being comfortable with privilege means taking an active role in the fight for social justice. It means educating ourselves and others on the realities of oppression and taking action to fight against it. It means standing in solidarity with those who are most affected by injustice and doing our part to bring about change.
It is not enough to simply be aware of social injustice. We must do our part to ensure that those who are most adversely affected by injustice can access justice and the resources they need to survive and thrive. We must strive to be comfortable in our privilege and take action to ensure that the privileges we enjoy do not come at the expense of those who are less fortunate.
Saw this on Representative Mike Thompson’s Twitter feed this morning. Mike Thompson represents California’s 5th Congressional District. This letter from a Catholic Priest friend says it all about Arch Bishop Cordileone’s latest misguided decision:
“Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world…
Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests (“all you who labor”); he is the host of those who come; he is the setter of the table; and he is the feast which is shared (“Take this, all of you. this is my body, this is my blood”)…
We are guests at the meal, and sometimes (by his calling) servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come. If you don’t like the company Christ calls (and, admittedly, it is a rag tag bunch of sinners, one and all), it’s… you who need to leave the table, not them.”
“How do we put on the mind of Christ? How do we see through his eyes? How do we feel through his heart? How do we learn to respond to the world with that same wholeness and healing love? That’s what Christian orthodoxy really is all about. It’s not about right belief; it’s about right practice.”
— The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind–A New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault
Cynthia Bourgeault’s last book “The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart.”was so engaging that I was excited to read this one too. I’m not disappointed. I feel like the Samaritan woman at the well. Just last week in one of my posts I wrote about how knowing Jesus was a lot different than following him and doing what he did. I was ripe for this journey.
The possible overturn of Roe v Wade and the gradual erosion of individual liberties in the United States leaves me very concerned for the future of our country and our planet. Our land is on fire. The southwest and other parts of the country are becoming uninhabitable due to climate change which is not being addressed in any meaningful fashion. Today Justice Roberts said that the leak of the draft opinion of Justice Alito was a breach of trust. Doesn’t Justice Roberts realize that the Supreme Court’s possible move to ban abortion in the United States of America is also a breach of trust from one of our co-equal branches of government.
These old white men on the court are hardly representative of the citizens of the United States. They are a ruling minority appointed to life time terms on the court mostly by presidents who did not win the popular vote. They are an anachronism. They are out of step with a country where seventy percent of its citizens support a woman’s right to chose what she will do with her body. Imagine if men were held to the same standard.
They call themselves pro-life but really they’re just pro-birth. Once the child is born they don’t give a rats ass what happens to them. There isn’t mandated state supported prenatal care nor is there any help for mothers and children afterward. Many of the children are born into poverty or addiction. There is no thought of how the child was conceived nor the ability of the mother to bear the child. No exception for rape, incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage.
Tonight one of my conservative relatives attempted shame me into supporting this diabolical agenda by virtue of membership in the Catholic Church. It got me to thinking. Maybe I don’t belong in the Catholic Church. Maybe it really doesn’t reflect the values that are important to me. The majority of these conservative justices are Catholic. Maybe I’d be better off as an Episcopalian, a Quaker or maybe no church at all. I don’t have to belong to a church to find God or follow Jesus. Jesus said, “Follow me!” He didn’t say join this church or that church. The historical Jesus was Jewish and there is no mention of abortion in any of the Gospels because Jewish folks don’t believe that life begins at conception. They believe that ensoulment happens after a child is born.
The United States is not a theocracy. It’s founders were keen to make the first amendment to the Constitution about the separation of church and state. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” My religion is kindness and I believe that you have a right to worship as you chose but you do not have a right to insist that I believe as you do. I believe that the divine light is found in all sentient beings. That includes people, animals, trees, rocks, water, the blue sky and more.
I first saw this quote from a framed poster at Mount Irenaeus over twenty years ago. It’s as meaningful now as it was then. In fact I find myself more and more attracted to solitude the older I get. Sitting in church or anywhere for that matter never really turned me on. I find God or if you will the higher power in the silence of the woods, the babbling of a brook, the gentle lapping of waves along a lake shore or anywhere that silence abounds.
If you are wondering what God may be, Looking for a purpose in life, Craving company, or seeking solitude, Come to our Meeting for worship. We shall not ask you to speak or sing, We shall not ask you what you believe, We shall simply offer you our friendship, And a chance to sit quietly and think. And perhaps somebody will speak,
And perhaps somebody might read, And perhaps somebody might pray, And perhaps you will find here That what you are seeking. We are not saints, We are not cranks, We are not different- Except that we believe That God’s light is in all persons, Waiting to be discovered… Author Unknown
I’m listening to a book by Neil deGrasse Tyson on astrophysics. It’s extremely interesting and mostly over my head. Last year I took a course on “The Bible and Science.” It was a Christian college and though the professor was very open minded many of my fellow students clung to the belief that the Bible is literally true.
I’m a long time fan of Ilia Delio’s writing too and she frequently writes about how we need new thinking in the church vis a vis the discoveries of quantum mechanics. Tyson’s book has confirmed for me that the Bible is mythologized history. It was written by ancient writers whose grasp of the cosmos was limited.
There are lots of solid principles in the Bible. Universal truths like treating others as we’d like to be treated. Giving gifts and being repaid many times over. I accept that as I’ve witnessed it in my own life. Our concept of a supreme being and it’s expression must be revised in light of what we now know.
I’ve come to believe that white supremacy is so embedded in Eurocentric American Christianity that most folks can’t believe that Jesus and the early church were not white. That they were in fact brown and/or black. Look at the statues and paintings in most churches and museums depicting Jesus, his followers and most of the early saints. It’s highly likely that St. Augustine was at least brown. He was from North Africa. The Desert Fathers and Mother’s came out of the Egyptian and Ethiopian deserts. It wasn’t until Christianity moved to Europe and the Americas that it became a religion of conquest and subjugation of indigenous people.
A couple of years ago while I was visiting Assisi the leader of our pilgrimage invited us to pray a special prayer request in the Basillica of St. Clare in front of the cross of San Damiano. This is the same cross at Saint Francis was praying in front of when he heard the voice of Jesus asking him to rebuild the church.
On that morning in May 2018 I asked for a child for our son and our daughter in law. A month later I learned that they were expecting. We waited anxiously for the arrival of our third grandson. Those hopes were dashed in December 2018 when Theo Joseph died in utero. Everyone was devastated and I thought my prayer had been in vain.
In January of this year we learned that they were once again expecting a child. We learned at this time it would be a little girl.We prayed every day and sometimes twice a day. we waited in anxious anticipation.
This morning at 5:47 AM on the Feast of Saint Clare of Assisi, Fiona Katherine Watkins was born. She’s a healthy and beautiful baby. Is that a coincidence or an answer to prayer? I choose to believe the latter. Deo Gratias!
We are deeply flawed and broken. Our racism and bigotry are on full display for the world to see. White folks who don’t want to wear masks storm state capitols with assault rifles and other paraphernalia. Yesterday police in riot gear answer a protest by black Americans angry over the brutal murder of a black man stopped for a traffic infraction.
Is there a path to redemption? I’m not sure. We’ve allowed the cancer of racism and xenophobia to brood and fester for too long. We even have national leaders who promote it. We are not true to our founding documents but then we never were. Pundits and preachers say we’re a Christian nation while turning a blind eye to systemic racism.
The sin of the white man is to be expiated, through a genuine response to the redemptive love of the Negro for him. The Negro is ready to suffer, if necessary to die, if this will make the white man understand his sin, repent of it, and atone for it.